Ordering Thai

Actually, the dogs get out to circle the neighbourhood every day. Ric does the walking. He does the grocery shopping, picks up meds, and deals with all other outside matters. I stay home, guarding my high risk.

We do try to maintain some normalcy by ordering out once a week. In our small town the choices are: Chinese, diner food, or pub fare. My favourite, Thai, is only available in the city a half hour away.

“Let’s order Thai and drive in and pick it up.”

I feel like a kid playing hooky. Our closest city is a tourist destination, typically bustling with people. Not this day though. Police patrol to make sure people are obeying physical distancing laws. It’s as if we’re on the set of sci-fi film.

We order two days worth of food. Small things make a big difference in these days of isolation.

Stay safe all.

Sculpting

The best openings are the one’s we carve for ourselves.

We spent New Year’s Eve reminiscing about eighteen years of togetherness. Stayed up past midnight, and talked about our future. Hope coloured our words.

Sculpting has been on my mind – not literally, but in the sense of chipping away at the outer facade to invite emergence.

Ric has shed fifty pounds of excess weight, and I am now joining him in that quest. We are entering this new decade with renewed vigour. There is much we still yearn to sample.

I’m lining up my tools, examining the material before me: changes lie ahead. Bit by bit, I will ply my craft, shed the excess, intuit the contours of this life I’m co-creating.

Emergence takes time, commitment, and a willingness to be open.

(Image taken from The Grand Trunk trestle. This town we have settled in stirs my impulse towards the creative. So grateful to be here. Hope it inspires you as much as it did me. I will be back Monday with a new weekly challenge.)

Pondering Abstractions

The certainty of yesterday
has slipped our grasp
light deflecting truth
tossing us into the abstract

I ponder process
and outcomes,
will my mind to carry me
gliding between thermals
dissolving into vapours

Some realities too hard to bear –
dislodged, we tread the indeterminate.

(I submit these images and poem to the challenges of Lens-Artists and Ragtag Community. While we try to stay focused on the upcoming holiday celebrations, our hearts are heavy with recent loss and the news of cancer striking close to home. I am reminded that Christmas can amplify tragedy. Be extra kind to one another.)

Paradoxical

Fear and intimidation formed the basis of his power. To this day I tremble, afraid I’ve misstepped – parked the car wrong, forgot to close the door properly, or spoken out of turn. My father was a hand grenade with the pin perpetually pulled.

He was also motivational, citing the works of Carnegie, Peale, Gibran, and even Rumi. His brilliance was a light for me to follow, although I never understand the paradox between this worldly man and the ticking time bomb.

He spoke of love with tears in his eyes, as if he recognized his own failing, as if love was something he didn’t deserve. In his final years, realizing the error of his ways, he cried often.

I didn’t know how to react. The man had broken me in so many ways – broken all around him. I could not just forgive and forget.

Love is paradoxical – its’ contours seldom defined by expectations.

Am I grateful that I had the father I did? Absolutely. I recognize that in his wake I am challenged, but also given the resources to overcome. Many times I wanted to walk away, and yet, I didn’t, sensing that there was more to be uncovered in this dance of love and hate.

Father has been gone for more than a decade. I still wrestle with the paradox.

( Reena’s Exploration this week is paradox. Images are from personal collection. Maple trees and snapdragons remind me of my father.)

Blessings Plus a Year

Sunflowers and chocolates kick off my birthday week. Delivered by daughter and her family made it all the more special. I share my birthday month with now seven-year-old Sloane and our youngest, so July is filled with blessings.

We are adjusting to the role reversals here – I now drive Ric to appointments, and do the waiting. Lots of time to think. Lots of time to count the “thank goodnesses”.

Thank goodness we were home when this happened. Ric had planned on driving down, by himself, to Arizona to sell the RV, but that was thwarted by paperwork.

Thank goodness he didn’t ignore the signs and wait until things were much worse. “Prevention,” the doctor told us, “saves a lot of damage.” We are waiting on further instructions, but the test results indicate he will need some sort of medical intervention to clear blocked arteries.

Thank goodness I had been practicing driving, so I already had the confidence built up – not to mention that Ric is a patient and gentle passenger.

Today I feel the blessing of being watched over and protected.

Life is good.

(Images from personal collection.)

Every Step a Miracle

Angel of Death. The name had started to stick. As a volunteer, working with the dying, my job was to help patients relax, ease some of their stress.

“She needs you more than me,” on old Irish doctor said as we both arrived at a patient’s home simultaneously. “I can give her medication for the pain, but dying takes strength and a surrender I can’t prescribe.”

I learned about dying from my sister’s bedside.

“Have you ever witnessed death?” her attending nurse asked, and when I shook my head, she cautioned: “You might want to leave now.”

I didn’t leave. I’d promised my sister that she wouldn’t die alone. I stayed till the end.

I would do the same for many more. It was why I studied Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, and other forms of relaxation. Bringing comfort to the ailing gave me a purpose.

My grandmother had been a midwife. She practiced in a rural area, at a time when phones were not available.

“How did you know when to go?” I asked her once. “Births are unpredictable.”

“There is a subtle knowing that comes with the position,” she said considering her answer. “Sometimes I would have a dream alerting me to the time, other times it was just an impulse.”

Attending to deaths was much the same. Unpredictable, and yet with subtle cues. Grandma ushered life in, I helped the crossing over.

The circle of life.

(Note: it’s been years now since I have been able to assist the dying. The experiences I had were a gift and an honour. I was prompted to write about this experience by Reena’s Exploration challenge, and also by my weekly focus which is subtle. Life is precious and each stage a miracle. I am grateful to be reminded of this today.)

Image from personal collection. You can find this image and other works at any of my shops: KnutsonKreations (Society6), KnutsonKr8tions (Redbubble), or KnutsonKreations (Zazzle)

Bits and Pieces

Our first summer in the house and he’s putting in a new garden at the front. We’ve been scouting local nurseries and while he pretends that my preferences matter, he really is just humouring me. Ric has very specific tastes in flowers and most diametrically opposed to me. The viburnum featured, for example, will sit right beside the front door. Not a favourite for me, but maybe I’m just being too black and white.

As long as the birds still come, I’m happy really. We weren’t allowed near the garden as kids. My father laboured long and hard getting each row just so, and threatened us with sure death if we trampled it. I wonder if this is why I like wildflowers so. Besides, I suffered severe allergies back then, so outdoors in the summer was limited.

Can you imagine crushing rather developing the wonder in a child? It was different times, I guess. Perfection was important. Look at the sparkle in this sweetheart’s eyes. Doesn’t that just top it all?

(Bits and Pieces inspired by Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Open Topic.)

Oh Baby!

What a fun season to be photographing! Babies everywhere.

These are more of the ducklings I featured last week. The one on the right thought he’d try walking in the shallow water. Duck feet, he discovered, are awkward on land. Not sure if this dip was intentional – looked more like a face plant – but at least he came out of it with a snack.

Up the road, the new foals are stilling sticking close to their mothers. So sweet!

Featured image is a tree swallow, waiting for Mom to return with food.

Hope your day is filled with cuteness, too!

(Note: a watercolour version of the two ducklings is available is available in my shops. Check the ‘shop’ page for more information.)

Two Ducklings


zazzle.com

redbubble.com/knutsonkr8tions

Lessons in Acceptance

When my eldest sister was diagnosed with acute leukaemia and given a month to a year to live, I had to scramble to be there for her. You see, I was deathly afraid of hospitals, and almost fainted the day she had her spinal tap. I had to find a way to conquer my phobias and help her.

Someone suggested a conference being offered at our local university, on death and dying. I signed up. It included a weekend workshop with Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of Love, Medicine, and Miracles.

While there, I heard about Reiki – a system of balancing energy. I signed up for that too. Soon, I was meeting every Wednesday with practitioners of a variety of “healing” backgrounds. I became a workshop junkie, attending every retreat and conference and absorbing it all.

My sister thought I was nuts and would have none of it. I, however, was undergoing a vital transformation and embarking on a path that would encompass my life. I cannot begin to describe how rich and fulfilling those years were. I was very blessed.

And I was poor. The dichotomy got to me. It was not enough to do such soulful work, I had to support my family. So, I went back to school and became a teacher.

And then, I got sick. Too ill to work. I thought I had lost it all…until things started to get worse, and I had a little talk with the Divine Being upstairs.

“I accept that I’m not in control,” I conceded for the millionth time in my life. “I accept that you have a different plan for me.”

It’s not cancer. It’s yet one more rare and incurable disease to add to my list, but at least there is a treatment for it.

And later today, I’m going next door, where family has gathered to watch their father die. I have offered my services.

(My challenge this week is acceptance. Won’t you join me?)

Murphy’s Got My Number

Imagine my excitement when I opened an advertisement from Society6 to see one of my designs featured in the Mother’s Day email! Being featured is the coveted position we product-on-demand artists dream about. I shrieked with joy, and then…

…realized that of the 100 designs we have up on our site, this is one I discontinued. WTF?

“How can this be?” I moaned to Ric.

“Murphy’s Law.”

Murphy is a sadist. Just saying. I re-loaded the design, but of course it didn’t link up to the ad. No doubt someone reported that the image led nowhere, because Society6 has dropped it from the ad.

Sigh.

(To see more works – I promise they are active – visit us at KnutsonKreations.)