• Tag Archives Gabe
  • Habitus

    Spring                                                                   New Bee Hiving Moon

    The dogs, that is, Sollie and Rigel, still have energy for the fight.  Damn it.  I’ve not yet figured out a foolproof strategy for keeping them away from flashpoints.  I will.

    Kate called and she says both Ruth and Gabe have had a change in habitus.  That’s pediatric speak for body change.  Gabe is taller and thinner.

    Ruth’s face has begun to elongate, moving from pre-school to school age.  This means, Kate says, that Ruth will hit puberty early.  Uh-oh.  She’s already lost a tooth.  This is stuff that usually happens around 6 and she was still 4, turning 5 on Monday.  Ruth is bright, athletic, blond and blue-eyed.  Can you imagine that combination in junior high?

    Meanwhile I have a quiet weekend to devote to the novel and to Latin.  Novel first, then Latin.  Probably a trip to the grocery store and definitely another go at seed starting.  I still have some tricks.

    A conference call at 5:00 pm about making a Sierra Club endorsement in a special election, the seat, Senate District 66, vacated by Ellen Anderson when she took a position on the Public Utility Commission.

  • Family Celebrations

    Imbolc                                                                Waxing Bridgit Moon

    No aurora so far.  A big solar flare yesterday, but nothing much going on right now.

    I had a truly senior birthday dinner experience.  At 4:10 I went into see my physician, Tom Davis, to get my blood drawn for a thyroid level check.  Then, Kate and I walked down Nicollet to the Dakota and had a very private meal in a room separated from the main floor where the Dakota crew was getting set for a show, War.  After all these years, there is still no one I’d rather share an intimate meal with than Kate.  She’s my valentine.

    Next month we celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.  22 years.  A long time.  But not long enough.  A lot of celebrating since April holds birthdays for Ruth and Gabe.  A nice string.

  • Family Time

    Winter                                     Waxing Moon of the Cold Month

    Kate sees this trip as vacation; I don’t.  Family related travel, the bulk of what I do, has a different purpose and feel.  It’s about relationships and the hard work necessary to maintain them.  It has the flavor of duty, but duty in a positive, not an obligatory sense.   The hard work has its pleasures, yes, lifting Ruth up in the air as she giggles, helping Gabe push his toys around on the floor, but it also has its rough edges.  A relationship with a sister, troubled since birth, breaks bad in a new, more intense way after she becomes pregnant.

    The parents of young children face a plethora of challenges, too, noise and activity levels after a hard day at work, insistent demands for attention, keeping the kids safe indoors and out, little time for themselves separately or together.   None of this is new, this is the ancientrail of child-rearing, but it is one meant to happen in an extended family.  In our case, as in so many, many others, children and grandchildren live in one state, grandparents, uncles and aunts live in another.

    Continue reading  Post ID 9898

  • West Colfax and the Wild West

    Winter                                       Waxing Moon of the Cold Month

    Gabe and Ruth asked for us to come over tonight.  We did.  We went with Jon and Jen and Ruth and Gabe to an art teacher’s art show.  It was in the ‘hood, just off west Colfax, the Latino part of that very long street, not too far from Montview, where Jon met Jen and where he still teaches.

    Jon had a cell phone photograph in the show, one taken at table setting level during a Halloween wedding.  The composition was clever and the cell phone grain gave the photograph a painterly feel.  It was easily the best piece in the show, though I should say the competition was not strong save for a couple of potters and a cartoonist.

    Along the way we passed a dulceria where they sell pinatas.  It had pinatas hung from the ceiling and lots of brightly colored party favors.  Snow White and Cinderella, in large cardboard movie style images, graced the front of the store.  Down a bit further was a dress maker, dark on this Friday night with big girl dresses for Quinceañera. Ruth wanted Kate to make her a strapless one, but in the truth telling way she has, Kate said, “Not until you get boobies.  You couldn’t hold the dress up.”  “Well,” Ruth went on, “Maybe it could have sleeves.”

    After the opening, Kate and I took off on our own to give the family a chance to decompress from a full week of grandparents.  Tomorrow I’ll see Ruth at her gymnastics, then around 2 pm we’ll board the shuttle for National Grand Western Stock Show.  This will be my second time and I look forward to it.

    It’s an event similar to the state fair, but limited only to farm and ranch related vendors and activities.  Rodeos, judging of champion bulls, pigs, sheep, the Wild West Show we’ll see tomorrow at 4 and barrel races make up the bulk of the events outside of the ranch related wheeling and dealing.

    A lot of that goes on in hotel restaurants and bars far from the Stock show grounds.  Men in cowboy hats, blue jeans and vests gather around shots of Jack Daniels and beer chasers, talk cattle and land.  It all gives January Denver a distinctly Western tone.

    It also helps me define myself as a Midwesterner.  We’re agricultural, yes, but we’re row crops and feedlots, 4-H and county fairs, small acreages and farmers.  The West has ranches and cattle herds, oil and open land, brands and rodeos.  Yes, you could point to many similarities, but the differences are what strike me, making me realize I know very little about the West, in our past or in our present.

  • Happy Grandpa

    Winter                                             Waxing Moon of the ColdMonth

    When Kate and I arrived down south here in Denver, we got a 40 degree temperature swing.  At 8 am this morning, my weatherstation recorded -14.  When we got to Denver, it was 26.  If we’d left Minnesota at 50 degrees amd gotten a similar bump, it would be 90 here.

    Now, there are school closings here with a snow that would only bring out the sanding trucks in Minnesota.  Strange.

    After a nap, the grumpy traveler became a happy grandpa, taken upstairs by granddaughter Ruth to see her princess walkie talkies and her changeable Cinderalla doll.  Back downstairs grandson Gabe carried his toy train, Thomas, and came to me, “Up.”  So we did.

    Gabe and I looked at the Dreidel lights Jen had strung over the window sill.

    After a Mexican meal at the restaurant next to our hotel, the kids went home and the grandparents walked through the snow a short way to the hotel.  This snow is finer than most of them we get in Minnesota, light, but not fluffy.

    Bedtime here in the Mile High City.  With snow.

  • Live From the Front Range

    Winter                                                   Waxing Moon of the Cold Month

    Ancientrails hits the road tomorrow, coming to you cyberlive from Denver, Colorado in the new and rapidly expanding area around the old Stapleton Airport.  There will be wonderful grandchildren stories, important updates on children and a report on the interior of the Denver Mint.  Don’t miss anything.  Especially those grandchildren stories.  I can already tell you how they begin:  Ruth is the most amazing 4 year old I’ve ever known and here’s why.  Same for Gabe only 2 year olds.

    We’ll be there a week, the newly liberated Kate and the still liberated me, easing in to this new full-time togetherness thing.  We took a reluctant Vega and Rigel, along with old hand Kona, over to Armstrong Kennels.  Like always, once they got out of the truck and into the lobby, ok, the entry area, they started sniffing around and seemed quite alright with us leaving.  So we did.

    Lunch at Azteca which was on the way home, a nap, a business meeting.  This had good news.  Our finances are in the best shape they’ve been in since ever.  A propitious moment at which to retire.  We sorted through the various tasks remaining before Kate’s big party on the 20th, considered the positive news of Kate’s retirement again, and finished.

    I’ve been putzing around on various computer related matters since then.  I’ve managed to create or acquire three nagging problems, ones I’ve not been able to fix and it annoys me, but we’re leaving tomorrow and they will wait until we get back.  Fortunately, my netbook, which travels with me, isn’t one of them.

  • Going to the Mailbox

    Samhain                                                          Waxing Moon of the Winter Solstice

    The storm seems to have slowed down a bit, winds have decreased as has the snow.  It looks we got around a foot, but I can tell you that many of the drifts exceed that.

    First, my insulating vest over my sweatshirt.  Then the wind pants over my sweats.  Down coat.  Mad bomber hat with rabbit fur flaps secured under my chin.  Scarf around exposed neck.  Insulated socks pressed into Sorels.  I was ready to get the mail and the newspaper.  Successful.   Minnesota, a state where getting to the mailbox from the house can be a challenge worth dressing up for.

    After that adventure, I strapped on my snow shoes and headed out to Ruth and Gabe’s playhouse to retrieve the little giant ladder system still standing out there.  I waited until a historic snow storm to grab it just to test my true mettle. I’d say it was thin aluminum.

    The damn ladder system is heavy and clumsy.  Walking in snow shoes is not an elegant dance in the best of situations, but navigating around small shrubs without snagging and trying to thread my way between an electric fence and a snow-drift narrowed passage up onto our deck, all the while dragging a ladder–priceless.

    The ladder went in the garage to melt off its snow and be ready for Adam Lindquist, the improbably named Chinese lighting specialist from Lights on Broadway, who is coming out on Wednesday to install our new fixtures.  Huffing and puffing I sat down to drink some hot chocolate Kate made.  Decided to give myself 20 minutes of aerobic workout since I also shoveled the deck some.

    Just finished my other 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Now I can settle down and enjoy the storm.  Tomorrow, more Latin.

  • The Full Grandchildren Moon

    Summer                               Full Grandchildren Moon

    The full moon has risen over the seven oaks outside my study window.  It stands high, calling to mind the grandchildren of the world, how they come into our lives as gifts and remain as loved ones.  Ruth and Gabe, my grandkids, are in my life only because Jon and Jen found each other and felt enough love for each other and the future to give kids a chance.  Too often couples worry about the stability of their relationship (I know I did when I was married to Raeone.) or find the future too scary.  I didn’t.  I trust the future.  Even with all the gloom in the world, I believe there is something inherently hopeful and positive about humanity and about our often fractious, conflict laden existence, a richness and a starry-eyed vision, a many armed, many legged super-organism part of our nature that works through us for good.

    A beautiful 70 degree clear night, moon-lit and calm, a time to play a bit of jazz piano, hear the tinkle of wine glasses and head up to the dance floor for once last fling before going home.

  • Whew

    Summer                                      Waxing Grandchildren Moon

    OK.  This will be last of this.  But.  Kate reminded me of her surgery on June 30th.  Which preceded preparation for and the arrival and stay of Jon, Jen, Ruth and Gabe followed then, as I said yesterday, by our too inclusive preparations for the Woollys. No wonder I wore out yesterday.  Let my prop it up and keep going inner coach have the day off.  Better rested and more clear-eyed today.  Ready for ancient Rome.

    These two paragraphs came my way in the last two days.  Their conjunction speaks for itself.

    “Speaking of heat, NOAA reports that June was the hottest  month in recorded history, worldwide. That is the fourth
    month in a row of record warmth for planet Earth. June also marked the 304th consecutive month “with a global temperature above the 20th century average.” The last month with below-normal temperature worldwide? February, 1985. 2010
    temperatures from January to June were the warmest ever recorded for both land and ocean temperatures, worldwide. Stay tuned.”
    Check out Paul’s blog startribune.com/pauldouglas

    (I imagine it’s photoshopped, but still…)

    Mark Odegard found this quote in a book he’s reading about walking with caribou:

    Henry Beston in the beginning of book.

    “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of wild animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creatures through the glass of knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken a form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, greatly err, For the animal shall not be measured by man, In a world older and more complex than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethrern, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

  • Home Again

    Summer                                           Waxing Grandchildren Moon

    The grandkids have returned home to Denver.  Their parents only have a couple of weeks now before they return to their teaching jobs, Jon in elementary art and Jen in EFL elementary work in an experimental school.  Ruth and Gabe will return to child care at Humphrey’s, across the street from their house.  Ruth will only be there two weeks because she starts pre-school this year.  Watch out pre-school.

    (Denver at night from space)

    Gotta go.  The weather’s reasonable and the bees need attention.  See you on the backside of the hive inspections.