Northwoods Journal: Changes

Hi from a friend’s house in Duluth, Minnesota. She lets me stay in “my room” when I’m too tired to drive home.

Back several weeks ago, in July, we were getting ready for our family reunion, enjoying walks like the one in my last post, and having a great summer. And then the husband had a stroke, a cerebral vascular hemorrhage (CVA). He has survived but our lives have changed, a lot.

Since then, most of what I’ve written has gone in a separate blog, one that tells the story of our experience since his diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. I won’t tell it again here, but in summary, we now have first hand knowledge of ICU’s, ventilators, tracheostomies, feeding tubes, and several other things that the husband never wanted to know about.

Hi, I’m the husband. My real name is Dennis and this is Occupational Therapy at Miller Dwan Rehab, the nicest place I ever wanted to get out of.

This is the first day in five weeks that I’ve been home all day. Dennis is in a rehab hospital now, a really good place, and making progress slowly. I felt he would be okay if I didn’t see him every day. The hospital is in Duluth, 90 miles away, and I’ve grown a little weary of the drive. I’m often in the car eating things I shouldn’t eat, just to stay awake – a bag of popcorn can last nearly 70 miles if I don’t spill too much of it.

Although I have wonderful support from friends and family, these changes leave me feeling physically alone quite often. Fortunately, I am spiritually befriended. God is such a friend. Jesus is such a friend. I took a walk this evening, kind of like the one in my last post, on the wetlands trail and saw evidence of my friends. It was almost like things were being pointed out, to look at, to talk about and enjoy. And I took pictures, of course.

All by itself in the middle of a nicely mowed field
Hello
She looked and then went on eating.
Sunset coming on.
Like fire in the sky.
Clouds, not mountains, in the east and in the water.

It’s September now. August was surreal, hard, and so different from anything we have known. We have yet to find out what our new normal will be. But it’s coming, and it will be okay.

February Goodness: More Snow

February had this one last day to show up with something good and it decided that snow would be its choice. I walked over to Mom’s to say good morning and the walkways were bare and dry. I came home an hour later wading through several inches of very loosely packed, huge snowflakes. It was clear that shoveling and plowing would have to take place again. February is known for being indecisive about its weather.

There are many features in this field, none of which can be seen. White, white, white.

It was worse by the time we traveled to the church. The highways weren’t completely plowed. The confusing thing about new snow is the way it seems to erase important things like where the roads and ditches are. Everything is just white and more white and even the air is full of flying white. The husband’s remark, “maybe we should have stayed home today?”

But I was kind of glad that I would have at least another day of skiing, possibly a whole week. We ended up with about 8 inches which was just enough to fill in all the ski trails I had made the last time I went out. It was a different kind of snow too – so very wet that I could not get the skis to slide at all. The walk was much like traveling in very large snowshoes. I only went for a mile but the scenery was amazing and the experience of being out while the snow was coming down was worth it.

My feet are kind of like snowshoes, right?

I knew this month would most likely be a difficult month, unless I purposely looked for the goodness of God in it. Winter seems too long in February, especially a pandemic winter. A good friend’s death seemed imminent and, indeed, has come to pass. I seem stuck in some patterns I want to move out of. There are things I want to do that seem out of reach. February is a month of waiting for change. I know that if I wait long enough, change is certain, and for that I am glad. Change is part of God’s goodness.

March 1st, tomorrow, in the year 2021 has never happened before. It is brand new, like our snow today. There are good changes to plan for, dream about, pray about, and bring about. Looking forward to it, just sayin’…

Deciding to Change

Do you find it hard? I have held back on making changes to this blog for a long time, mostly because I have a hard time knowing what to change to.  I’m not blessed with strong design opinions that send me searching for an exact thing.  I’m not technically astute enough to know what changes would make the blog more efficient or easier to use.  I’m not into hiring people to do things for me, or looking to pay for premium themes.  I don’t have a lot of time to figure it all out.

Until now…

I’m visiting my Seattle family and am not expected to do much except amuse myself. Suddenly, there is time so I’m making the decision.  The blog will change it’s look starting April 1 with the first post of the A to Z Challenge.  On that day, if you are one of my readers and think you’ve gone to the wrong place because you are not seeing all the swirly, busy, colorful stuff going on in the theme I’ve used for the last century, no, you are in the right place, read on.

It will be simple, easy to read and navigate and full of all the usual.

I’m preparing you (and myself).  Just sayin’…

And I really am interested – what has been the hardest thing you’ve decided to change lately? Or maybe it’s something you wish you were changing and haven’t had the time, like me?

A to Z Challenge: Hair starts with H (so does Hide)

Hair
Hair

And what do hair and hide have in common? Hide is what you want to do if you have bad hair. Hence, another h word, Hat.

Honestly (another h word) we can’t help but notice a person’s head, the majority of which is covered with hair. Regardless of culture, race, or gender humans have a lot invested in their hair.  An African-American friend told me that when they get their hair done, spending considerable time and money on it, they tell even their husbands “don’t touch my hair!” It’s important stuff.

Lately I have been considering retirement and the necessity of cutting back on expenses. We have saved money the last 41 years by the husband enduring having his hair cut by me. He may have gone to a barber one or two times but I can’t remember when. So I am developing the strategy of saving money on my hair cuts by 1) not cutting it or 2) cutting it myself. In the past a good cut by someone I trust has cost me at least $50, so I’m going to save a couple hundred a year even by conservative figuring.  Having considered this I approached the scissor moment a couple of times and then chickened out. Even being not too happy with how I look at present is better than having to hide under a hat for six months while a mistake grows out.

This morning, struck with sudden, irrational bravery I started in before I could change my mind. It’s only hair, right? It’s not like I’m deciding to cut off an arm or a couple legs. And I have to learn to do it if I’m going to retire (that might be a bit of an exaggeration). I looked at styles and how-to’s on the internet. If you want to convince yourself that we care about this subject just start looking – I found my target head of hair and a progression of how this person looked, season by season for years of her life.

This cut is not a radical change for me but it is four inches shorter and believe me, there is a trick to cutting something behind you in a mirror. Go ahead, try it.

 

wpid-20140409_102557.jpg
Before

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During

After
After