Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Five

Five Things on My Mind Today:

1. My father-in-law: We now have a tentative diagnosis of Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease, which explains the incredible rapidity of his decline. Family stress just hit defcon five (or whatever the right high level number is). No one knows how much longer he has, but it's not long. His condition is horrible, and my mother-in-law is still in denial and acting spacy. Or maybe she's just protecting herself, which, when I think of it, isn't all that bad.

2. My spouse: I wish I knew the right words to say to make his father's illness less painful and disturbing for him, but I don't. It's not a journey I can or should make for him, but I do wish I could find the right thing to do to notch his stress/distraction meter down a few pegs.

3. Keeping things reasonably normal for my kids: We've been doing group yard work for two weeks now, and they like it more than they will admit, as it gives purpose and accomplishment to each day. I need to keep my OWN head on the straight and true and keep things stable for them, which means figuring out yardwork for today, finding cheery, joyful, fun things in the day, and not brooding. Probably one of my worst/best habits is brooding over things, which leads me to lots of valuable research and insight, but it also can make me emotionally unavailable, which is a Bad Thing.

4. Knitting, Stress, and Letting Go: When we were hanging around in the hospital last weekend, my fil was so confused and distractable, and there were so many strung-out people in the room that he seemed to be getting nauseous from just trying to keep visual track of so many things. Luckily, I had brought a bag of knitting with me, so I retired to the waiting room, plonked myself in front of the Perpetual Animal Hijinks channel running there and knit. And knit. And knit. Which is how that black K4K sweater got finished. It was a blessing -- not complicated, something to do with my hands as my head went all over the map, and calming. I think it was how I was able to jump in as needed and make phone calls, feed fil Jello with great patience, and feel like my day was somehow still productive and sane. I foresee record swiftness in reaching my goal of 10 K4K sweaters.

5. Enjoying the Moment: Not something a person with a quick mind generally does -- I'm usually so busy researching, problem-solving, anticipating the next need or crisis and setting events and options in place to deal with those that I often miss the peace and happiness of the moment. Fortunately, all the yardwork we've been doing has given me the gift of an oasis -- weeds are no longer screening my fountain, so I can listen to the gentle splashing of water and smile at the birdies who come there for a drink, a natter, or a happy bath. Our hummingbird is back, and it's fun to watch him and his antics. Spawn made a windmill, a really great one, in his last metal shop class, and put it proudly in the front yard. When the wind comes up, the propeller reflects light into the house in a strobing motion, which can be soothing to watch.

We made the hard decision to remove some specialty trees which were no longer lovely, so now I can go out on my front stoop where the fountain is, and smell freshly cut wood, freshly turned earth, and think slow, focused thoughts about what pleasant thing I or my kids might like to have there in that now deserted spot. I hope something bright blooms today -- I like to watch flowers as they sway in the breeze, what bugs come to visit, if they move in response to sunlight, if they open or close much as the day progresses, and how the light and shadows change across the flower and the leaves and the earth around them. They smell nice, too.

Guess where you'll find me if you come looking today? ;)

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