• Tag Archives sick
  • Moving From the Theoretical to the Concrete

    Lughnasa                                            Waxing Back to School Moon

    Kate has had a nasty cold since Monday and I can feel it trying to claw its way up my esophagus, making my throat scratchy.  My hope is that the recent two time bout I had with some bug in July, then August has revved up my immune system.  With rest I can pound this sucker down before it takes hold.

    Starting back on Latin today.  I took part of July, all of August and the last couple of weeks off with the bees and the vegetables and the orchard.  Thought I’d get work done on Ovid, review, but in fact I got very little done.  An old student habit of mine, if it’s not pressing, it’s not getting done.  I’m looking forward to the weekly sessions, building toward enough confidence to tackle Ovid and others on my own.  It’s a project, like the bees, that keeps the gears turning, not giving them a chance to rest.  Best that way.

    A few years back it was the MIA docent training.  Then the move into permaculture and vegetables and fruit.  That one’s still underway as I learn the complicated dance of seasons, cultivars, pests, harvest and storage.  The MIA training, for that matter, only gives you enough legs to get into the books and files yourself, training you to look and think about art, but each tour demands specific self-education on the objects and the purpose of that tour.

    (Minoan Gold Bee pendant from Crete, circa 2000 BC)

    Part of my impatience with the seminary experience is that I’ve moved so deeply into more concrete endeavors.  Art has the object as an anchor, then its history and context.  Latin has words, grammar and literature as well as Roman history.  Vegetables and fruit have real plants, particular plants with needs and products.  The bees have the bees themselves, the colonies, woodenware, hive management, pest control, honey extraction.  This is, probably, the world I was meant to inhabit, but philosophy and the church lead onto another ancientrail, that of the abstract and faraway rather than the particular and the near.  It’s not that I don’t have an affection, even a passion for the theoretical, I do, but I find my life more calm, less stressful when I work with art, with potatoes and garlic, with conjugations and declensions.

    I now have almost three decades of life devoted to the theoretical, the abstract and the political so I bring those skills and that learning to my present engagement with the mundane, but I no longer want to live in those worlds.  They are gardens others can tend better than I can.

  • Feeling Better. Me. Dwindling. Hilo.

    Lughnasa                                    Waxing Artemis Moon

    Ah.  It seems the nasties have journeyed on to other warm bloody creatures, leaving me in peace for now.  I hope my body now recognizes and will fend off these creatures that live only to replicate and in so doing make us feel bad.  But they don’t care.

    Groceries this morning.  Filled up the cart with fruit and vegetables and turkey burgers, soy milk and slim milk, Sharps and Diet Cherry Coke, a bit of feta cheese, some sliced turkey for the dogs, a few cheese curds, some peanut butter, oops, just realized I forgot the cereal, chicken breasts.  You know.  The stuff of daily eating.  It was church time while I shopped so I suppose we were all heathens in there, except for those righteous Catholics who went to Saturday night mass.  Grocery shopping has a soothing quality.  It combines shopping with a genuine need so the selection of items reflects not so much consumer driven behavior–though that does rear its head–as it does animal needs.

    (The Mexicans do mercado better.)

    Hilo has, as Kate says, the dwindles.  She’s becoming very thin and tentative.  We believe she’s lost the better part of her sight.  Last week she seemed frightened, wide-eyed and jittery; this week feels different.  Perhaps a resignation of sorts.  It’s sad to watch her fade away, but she still lives her life.  Napping with us this afternoon, going outside to wander around the yard.  Eating a bit now and then.  Live until you die.  That’s what I want for me and for her.

    The sewing machine is on its movable platform, the wind-up reels for the cloth are in place, we attached a high-tech stitch regulator and a laser pointer to the apparatus that allows Kate to guide the needle.  Now it’s RTFM, a couple of extension cords and she’ll be ready to practice.  No more taking pieced work out for quilting, now it happens here, right in our lower level.

  • Lunch

    Lughnasa                                      Waxing Artemis Moon

    Slept well past 6:30 this morning, then a very long nap.  The body still marshalling its resources.  I’m ready to be done with this, but it does not seem ready to be done with me.

    In between I went into the MIA to have lunch with Mark Odegard.  Mark’s a Woolly, a friend, an artist and a damned fine jazz piano player.  He has very interesting friends.  One friend of his is on a two-month journey in Peru working on developing a complete catalog of all, underline all, the plants in the Amazon.  Sounds like a crazy task, but he’s found somebody who’s already done a lot of the work.

    This was a thank you lunch, in part, for the bang-up design work he’s done for Artemis Honey.  As we have before, we wandered through the museum, looking at various things, talking about them.  The Ricci map.  The Minnesota Artists Gallery works by two young Asian women.  Ceramics and glass and wood bowls by women artists.

    In talking about my work I told him something I realized last week.  The museum work grabs my heart; I think about things there, mull them over, look forward to going in, get excited about new collections, new artists, encounter objects that pierce my soul.  Even the Sierra Club, which is important and I do it because it’s important, doesn’t grab my heart the way the art does.  I wish it did, but it doesn’t.

    Spent most of the day without internet service.  I tried to alter the way my router plugs into the internet and it worked for a while, then the router just went all kablooey.  An hour and a half of reading the manual, trying this, then that and I got the connection back but I lost the alterations I’d made.  I’ll try’em again tomorrow.

    Oh.  The Wolfman.  I spoke too soon.  As I watched the end, I found it gained texture and strength.  The cinematography was wonderful and the pathos of the altered conclusion–altered from the Chaney original–made the story more emotionally gripping.

  • Small Towns

    Beltane                                             Full Planting Moon

    As a cold winds down, the body’s defenses leave sludge from the war behind, most of it right now parked  behind my cheek bones.  I don’t know whether I really haven’t had a cold in two years or whether my memory isn’t what it was, but I know it’s been a while.  I remember why I don’t like being sick each time I get sick.  It feels yucky.  My plan is, next cold, 2012, just in time for the apocalypse.

    A classmate from Alexandria High wrote on my facebook wall inquiring about my health.  Larry Maple has gone to a lot of effort planning a big reunion for our class, our 45th, this fall.  To have someone from home ask about my health created an unexpected warmth.  In a small town like Alexandria people know you, know how you are, care about how you are.  These small gestures, inquiring about health, being aware of a child’s graduation or birthday, remembering communal events create a web of concern that is community.

    (Larry volunteers here, as did my Dad.)

    In the teenage years this scrutiny can seem overwhelming and intrusive, invasive, so it’s no surprise that many small town teens, myself included, can’t wait to leave and to leave for a more anonymous environment like a big city or a big college campus.  As we age, though, those small gestures can make the actual difference between health and illness.  Then, the small town doesn’t seem invasive, rather it seems supportive and caring.

    Of course, neither end of the continuum is the truth.  Small towns are networks of caring; they are also webs of prejudice and rigidity where your past never leaves.

    To the weed front.  With hoe and clippers.

  • 1:1-20

    Beltane                                            Full Planting Moon

    This morning I had scheduled for Ovid.  I’m down to verse 20 of the first book, about 14,980 verses to go.  I’ve not checked 10-20 with my tutor, so my translations are tentative until tomorrow.  Still, I made sense of the Latin in a way that seems right.

    Now, my cold and I are going to bed.  See if we can sleep this miserable rhino virus into the afterlife.

  • Good for the Crops

    Beltane                                               Full Planting Moon

    Much of our garden is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.  If it doesn’t produce leggy plants that focus on leaves, that should mean increased productivity for the vegetables.  Since we would not have put the honey supers on the parent colony until after the division and since division is normally done on or around May 15th, we’re a couple of weeks ahead on honey production, too.  To paraphrase a canard I’ve seen a lot of late, we write the garden plans in pencil, mother nature, however, controls the eraser.

    One of the chief delights of the docent program at the MIA is the number of intelligent autodidacts you get to meet.    I’m sure there are other collecting points for such people, but it takes a person committed to new knowledge to start the two-year training program and its three years after obligation for tours.  Since many of the people, over half I’d say, are retirement age or close to it, this signals a willingness to take on challenge at a point that many people dream of the eternal game of golf or the everlasting fishing expedition, a forever weekend of quilting bees or an eternity of television induced stupefaction.

    Summer colds have a special insult, that drug down feeling contrasts sharply with the sunny weather and the pleasant temperatures.  I slept poorly last night, but I got up with the dogs this am because they’re like cattle.  You have to feed them and care for them no matter how you feel.  A good thing, really, but it didn’t feel like it at 7:00 am.

    Onto Ovid, then back to bed.