moving blog

mizzou

Author: sjgriffin (page 1 of 3)

August. 19

Last Tuesday I went to meditation at the Show Me Dharma.  I enjoyed the meditation and the talk.  The talk was about the experience of meditation.  Of meeting all yourselves and your fears in meditation, and owning them with compassion for your suffering.  How transforming acknowledging your feelings about failures shortcomings as well as triumphs is liberating.  I could identify directly with this content from my  thoughts of the previous day on fear and judging.  I plan to sign up for a “committed” class, interpreting committed as having been participating in one of many ways for over a decade.  Actually, now I think about it, must be more than 15 years.  It’s a meditation followed by discussion with a book assignment.  While meditating at the dharmaI was able to , access a real feeling of peace.  Not happiness or delight, but peace.  It was very restful.  I can’t say I have practiced every day, but several days since then. Sunday I will meditate with the Unitarian Church group as I have been doing, and Tuesday I will meditate with another group.  It was one of the members of the Unitarian meditators, who spurred me to find other meditation groups.  He asked if I had meditated with other groups in town.  I said I had looked them up, but not attended.  He said he hadn’t either. And I said Ok now you have given me the motivation to do that this week, and I will let you know.  We help each other even when that is not our intention.

Last night I took Nate to a nearby historic town on the Big Muddy, as the Missouri River is called.  We had dinner at a much acclaimed restaurant there.  A wonderful culinary experience, in what feels and looks like a country store.  There are about six tables, a daily menu based on available local organic ingredients.  I had mushroom and cheese tortellini with tomatoes and squash and Nate had beef of course.  We had a baked Brie with pears appetizer.  It was all spectacular.  And a nice couple of hours with Nate.  I suggested he check out the restaurants he has been offered a job at on the weekend, now that the students are back, to get a feel of how much he can make, and how well it runs.  He and Noel are going tonight, and I will keep Caitlin  :-).  Grant is driving a truck back from Hilton Head with furniture given them by his mother who is downsizing.

I met a neighbor who seems in her fifties, and is divorced.  She is energetic and works at the Univ. as academic advisor for the business school.  We are going walking Sunday evening.  She will be away this weekend attending a power lifting competition.  While she is in good shape, I would not have picked her as a weight trainer.  I look forward to learning more about that.

I have noticed that the professional population is relatively fit and not obese.  The nonprofessional population is noticeably obese.  That includes the nurses and techs and other professional supports.  So I see the need the Urban Agricluture Center serves, in getting people to grow food, be aware of what they eat, and understand nutritional importance in a more personal way.  An uphill battle here.  At the major intersection near my house, there are no less than 6 fast food places.  And this is an upscale well educated neighborhood.

I had Nate come to finish setting up my wireless printer connection to my laptop, as I had hit a roadblock.  Turns out I had set it up correctly, but failed to select the correct printer from the printer menu on the laptop.  DUH.  I can’t believe I missed that little detail.  He came a hour before we needed to leave for dinner, so I had a half hour to just sit and chat with him.  That was nice as he was relaxed and upbeat about his job prospects, though paying the next month’s rent is going to be tight.  No, Noel and I are not going to rescue him.  But Noel and Grant are going to pay him for helping unload the stuff from the truck Grant is driving back from Hilton Head.  Nate feels bad about that, since Grant helped him unload when he arrived here, but he is not in a position to refuse.

 

August. 16

As I thought about my anxiety over the first day of urban farming, I asked myself “what happened to your enjoyment of novelty?”

I reminded myself to view this and other new experiences as novelty; exploration. To stop focusing on judgement.  Others judgement of me; my judgement of others.  Yes I was stupid and clumsy at the farm.  But I found I enjoyed harvesting the cucumbers and Gida beans.  That was a discovery for me.  Gida beans are said to be tender and delicious.  They are very long slender beans that look like long green strings hanging from the vines.  I am going to learn so much about gardening.  That excites me.  And I enjoyed learning about organic farming.  I learned about  diatomaceous earth as a defense against insects that were destroying the greens.  I learned there is a different crop problem every year.  I learned a little about the americorps from another volunteer.  That sounded like a good idea for Nate.

Farm work is hard.  It is back aching work.  I found I was more comfortable sitting in the earth for the harvesting.   And I am barely strong enough to carry 25lbs of cucumbers uphill a hundred feet.  The sweat was pouring off me and into my eyes, even though it was a very mild day; high in the seventies.  That is how I got my exercise yesterday.  The day was a wake up call to get more physically fit.  And I found challenging myself to be rewarding.  Next Monday I will take pictures.

Today I did go to Zumba at 8 am.  It was fun and I got a great work out.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll do yoga.  I still miss having good friends, but I am enjoying getting involved in new things.

August 15

Indolence.

When I was working and craved an indolent day, it was so delightful.  Now I am not working and indolence has lost some attraction.  Then again I am having a hard time motivating myself.  I frequently advised patients to add structure to theI day without over scheduling.  Now I must follow my own advice.

Today is my first day volunteering at the urban farm.  Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.  I am both looking forward to this, and anxious about it.  This being one of so many new unpredictable situations for me lately.  Last week I found myself at a birthday luncheon with the uppity women, only one, the birthday celebrant, did I know even slightly.  The group was described as a great group of women having such a good time, they do it every month.  While the women were spunky, and funny and friendly; they were all much older than I.  Maybe the problem was they behaved old.  I know many women much older than I in DC whom I enjoy.  Many of this group were entering their 80’s, and their hiking biking days are over.

Entering so many new unpredictable situations is taxing.  I enjoyed the Green Sanctuary meeting, and the book club last week.  I feel pretty sure that several of those people will become friends.  And the meditation group at Unitarian church.  I believe I may be one of the older people at the urban farm.  I am glad I do have so much time and flexibility in order to meet people and become involved.

I had the family over to dinner last Friday.  That was enjoyable.  They stayed until quite late, seeming to enjoy themselves.  I realized I did not have enough toys for Caitlin, when we had to resort to TV after dinner.  So I ordered some puzzles and books yesterday.  Grand mothering is also a new and as yet not entirely predictable activity.  Though one I thoroughly enjoy.

While I am keeping to my intention to exercise three to four times a week, including some strength training, I have not yet participated in a class.  I think I will make that a priority for tomorrow.

columbia July 29

How the time flies.  I’ve been thinking that a lot lately.  Just today I heard Krista Tippett refer to the shooting in Ferguson three years ago.  I could not believe it was three years ago.  I looked it up and sure enough it was summer 2014.

Is my sense of time warped because I turned 65?  Am I disoriented because I moved states?  Yes to that, but does it account for this misperception of time?  I was surprised to see I had not written in 10 days.  It’s not that I’m “busy” in the way I have been.  Perhaps I am “busy” in new ways.  As I said, I spend time watching the birds.  I spend time exercising almost every day.  I spend time with my family much more than I could previously.  I wonder what else I am doing with my time.  Surely I am not the efficient accomplisher I was as a mother, or as a semiretired student.  So I wonder if efficiency is so important.  In some places it is important.  In my “real life” efficiency is a barrier to creativity and contemplation.  I’d like to reawaken my creativity.

I spent most of this week with Susan in Water Mill on far Long Island.  It was beautiful and relaxing.  We went to the beaches, to Long House Gardens.  We cooked and swam, and generally lazed around the pool. I probably would not have done that if I were working.  Still don’t miss work.  I miss my DC friends though, and am looking forward to seeing them early September.

columbia July 19

My bird feeder is on the deck just outside the kitchen window.  I am enjoying a close up view of the birds.  So many different birds.  The sparrows I have learned to tell apart.  I have seen house sparrow, field sparrow, lark sparrow, chipping sparrow.  A brillant red summer tanager, a goldfinch and an eastern bluebird among others.  There are now  seventeen different birds in my list.  I am fascinated with watching them, now that I can tell them apart.  I recommend the Cornell Univ. app called Merlin.  So easy to use.

Sometimes there are a dozen birds at the feeder.  They seem to take turns, so everybody gets a bit.  Sometimes there is a little jostlingfor space, but more often it seems to have an orderly rhythm.  one could wish we humans could follow their example.  Realizing there is enough to go around if we share.  Ocassionally the grackle or bluejay will muscle in, and all the others scatter.  But not for long.  The blujay or grackle get his fill and the rest move in again.  So much more sane than the human world we are experiencing today.  Imagine if the Israelis and Palestinians behaved like the birds.  Or even our presidential candidates.  Imagine that.  Makes me wonder if we humans might be an affront to nature.  I know nature is going to strike back in it’s own time.  Wonder if the humans will wake up in time?

My neighbor has a shaded bird bath just outside her window, and the birds go back and forth between bath and feeder.  Makes sense in these days of heat advisory.

Today, I am piddling about the house, and I only occassionally feel a tiny bit of guilt about my indolence.  When I think about it, I am actually accomplishing things, but expending so little effort that It feels like indolence.  Then again maybe indolence is a healthy thing that I and others have been unnecessarily depriving ourselves of.  I mean real indolence.  Sitting on the couch watching the birds, cleaning a bit between couch sittings.  It’s very zen, taking time to experience the moment.  Those cleaning spurts are prompted by some disarray I see from my couch;  sounds a bit like monkey thoughts to me.  I probably ned more practice at this indolence thing.

Last Friday Noel called to ask if I would pick Caitlin up at school, so she and Grant could go out with friends/colleagues.  She said Grant was thinking it would be an imposition, but she told him “That’s what she’s here for. ” For me it is a pleasure to get to know Caitlin.  I enjoy one on one time with her.  Far from an impostion, it is a treasured pleasure.  Many have commented that being here is a sacrifice, but I consider myself blessed to be invited.  After all I am the mother-in-law.  I am honored that they are willing to leave her in my care.  It’s a win win situation.  They get a break, and I get time with Caitlin.

I feel Caitlin’s frustration.  She struggles so with speech.  but she clearly understands and we are constantly amazed at the words she knows. ex: igloo.  She still finds it hard to put it all together into sentences, but happily joins in the play of naming things.  She has learned to say “Want_______”( e.g. milk, snack, water, help).  I am tempted to think she is so reluctant to part with her shoes (she sleeps in them) because she knows there is a tag on them identifying her and her parents; should she get lost.  That’s maybe giving her too much credit.  But I wonder.

 

Columbia week three

I have been feeling like a stranger in a strange english speaking land.  This week, I realized I have to discard all my expectations.  They don’t apply here.  I am continually surprised by mundane things.  The first was you are expected to supply your own washer and dryer, whether renting or buying.  More recently I was surprised to learn that a popular pub is housed in the best organic grocery store.  Good food and rotating craft beers on draft.  with an indoor and outdoor seating area.  Noel and Grant like to go on Tuesdays as they have $3.00 pints that day.

Last night I visited the indie movie house in town.  I arrived early as I expected to find a restaurant for a bite before the movie.  When I walked in, to buy a ticket before they were all gone; (it was Saturday night) I was confronted with a full bar, and a bakery serving soup, salad, sandwiches, quesadilas, pizza and quiche.  The box office was hidden behind these.  There was also an outdoor patio, as well as the indoor, light filled eating/drinking area.  So I had my craft beer and soup and sandwich, (delicious) and found a seat in the theater.  I was again surprised to find the seats in the theater all had a flip up top like college desks had in my day.  People were bringing their beer, wine and food into the theater and chowing in the theater whilst watching the movie.  Oh yeah, they also had popcorn.  People drifted in 10 minutes after the posted start time for the movie.  I am beginning to think the midwest is a much more relaxed and welcoming place than I expected. So I just need to check all that at the door.  And proceed with an open mind and heart.

I need to adjust my time expectations.  Today I joined a very refreshing meditation around a woodland fire circle (no fire) behind the UU church.  It was so nourishing to be in that peaceful state in a woodland on  a summer day.

July 14 columbia

It’s so easy to lose track of days when you are retired and may not need to know the date for more than a day.  Yes I know it’s available on my phone, all receipts, and on and on.  But who looks at that?  I did my final pollworker training yesterday.  They are using a new ipad system.  It is really sweet.   It worked well in the training.  The county clark is an awesome country woman who knows her stuff and has made design changes in the ipad functions to fit the county system.

Caitlin had another horseback class yesterday.  This time I put a helmet on her head that I thought would fit better than the one she previously used.  She made it clear, without a tantrum, that she wanted it off.  I took if off, she put it in the bin, went to another bin, retrieve the helmet she had worn, and put it on her head.  I secured it, and she was content.  She loves the trotting!

Afterwards i had dinner with Noel and Grant.  I brought salad and zuchini fritters.  They made Salmon on cedar plank.  The salmon was perfect; and melted like butter in the mouth.  The salad was great and there was none left over.  The fritters were not bad, but not as good as previously.  Too much chili flakes, and not enough flour/cornstarch.  Or maybe I did not squeeze out enough water from the zuchini.  Haven’t yet got my cooking mojo back.  But I will.

This morning I biked 5 miles on the MKT trail; which links Columbia to the statewide Katy trail along the Missouri River.  Following that I had bruch with Kathleen Knepper who was in town for a visit.  For those who don’t know her, she is a DC friend who moved to DC from Columbia MO to help care for her grandkids.  In our conversation, it transpired that she was old friends with my next door neighbor.  The neighbor of the fallen tree branch.  After several hours chatting, I took her to see my house and we stopped by my neighbor Jim’s house.  He was not home, so Kathleen left a note.  Then we went to visit a friend of hers in the next neighborhood to mine.  Her friend Kakie was a trip.  Quite a dynamic 80 something.  She asked if I was interested in book group.  Turns out her book group is the same one my new friend Cheryl belongs to, and Cheryl raised the question of a new member(me).  Kakie asked if the new member’s name was Suzanne, and Cheryl said how did you know?.  The group agreed to a new member, so now I have a new book group of fabulous ladies.

I plan to ask my neighbor Jim, and my neighbor Pam to wine and cheese at my house.  They seem like people I would like to know better.   So goes the settling in process.  I think I will try biscuits today.

July 12 columbia

My 65th birthday was Friday.  My son in law , Grant, organized a celebratory dinner for all the family plus Susan.  The restaurnt had great craft beers and very god food.  A good time was had by all.  My Medicare card arrived Monday.   The medicare system seems to me to be very opaque. It may have come to the point of having to call for some answers.  Which of course means a likely long wait time on hold.  Not an enticing picture.  Neverthless I have reached Medicare in good health.  My antihypertensive med was switched by new doctor and the foot swelling has disappeared; as we all expected.

So many changes.  It does make me live in the moment, as so much change is too much to wrap my head around.  My house now has all my favorite posessions in a new arrangement.  Sometimes a little disorienting.  George If you are reading this, you know well what I am talking about.  On the other hand life goes on in much the same patterns while adding new ones.  One thing about retirement is there is always time to exercise.  And I do.  Pictures of the house below, I hope.

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Susan and I walked a good three maybe four miles Saturday, We also went to a Missouri River conservation site ( of which there are many) and enjoyed the wealth of ecosystems and wildlife.  It was spectacular and awesome.  The river was running fast and powerful after all the rain we had had, though not at flood stage . There was plenty of evidence it had recently overrun its banks.  Probably in the flash floods of the past week.

Between us, Susan and I prepared a scrumptious meal for the family on Saturday, after taking Caitlin to the nearby children’s park.   It was too hot to be on the deck, so we unfortunately had to squeeze ourselves around the indoor table.  and before she left on Sunday we assembled my new bed.  See pic above.  The old one was at least 50 years old and five moves.  It could not be assembled without repairs.

I had my first hairdresser appointment in Columbia.  Funny how anxious I felt about that.  What if the color was not right, the cut bad.  But the hairdresser was great.  I had the color formula from my DC hairdresser, and he understood exactly how to replicate it.  He also taught me how to better handle the curls.  Ladies, he told me not to towel dry the hair.  Just squeeze the water out.  and no combing either, just squeezing and scrunching.  And it came out so beautiful.  I did not know I had such curls.   And they have stood up well to being slept on, and the humidity.

I had expected it might be drier here than in the swamp of DC.  Not true.  Just as humid here.  And the temp has hit the nineties everyday I have been here.  But it is awfully lush and green.

I am truly enjoying the birds visiting my feeder.  The feeder is hung off my deck, so I can see it from the dining table , the kitchen sink, and the living room.  I’ve learned to recognize various swallows, which I previously thought were all the same.  There are a surprising variety of birds in my yard, including a hawk that likes a particular perch in my neighbor’s yard.

People are so kind and jolly here.  Susan and I were in the better grocery store, hoping to find prosciutto.  The deli counter had only domestic prosciutto, and I wanted Italian for my birthday.  The delicounter guy immediately found the deli manager, and she asked what brands in particular I wanted, and promised to check it out with her suppliers.  She took my name and number.  Several minutes later, she seeks us out in the store to tell me her supplier can supply an Italian prosciutto, and it should arrive in about 8 days.  And that is only one example of how everyone behaves in Columbia.  Even the swallows seem to have a system whereby everyone gets their turn at the feeder, without fights.  The Grackles, though are not good citizens.  They butt in when it’s not their turn.  But the swallows are so numerous, they can’t stay.

My car now has a toddler car seat, stroller , sippy cup, and several toddler library books in it at all times.  You never know when you’ll need them.  It’s a whole new round of suburban living.  I marvel at it the way I marveled when I found myself with a staionwagon, dog and house in suburbia.  Not a picture I had ever dreamed of for myself.  And now I’m doing a reprise.

July 11

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I know it has been a long time since a post.

This is a pic of Caitlin on her horse Yogi.She has come to enjoy the therapeutic horseback.

I am now settled in enough that I can get to the things I enjoy.   I  have found  some good music, interesting art, and good food.  Most of the good food has been cooked at my home.  But My 65th birthday was at a restaurant that had great food and good craft beer.  Susan was visiting and we had a great time.   We met friends of Noel there, who appeared in the local paper two days later.  They are a family of whom the wife/mother runs an art gallery and the husband works with Grant in big data.  Madeleine the mom and her daughter Annelise were featured in the paper as they colored in the outlines of the mural Madeliene designed on a trail tunnel.  Trails are big here.   There are a lot of trails.  And Susan and I discovered that the Missouri River has several conservation areas within 10 minutes of my house.  And there are trails there.  ,  and an enormous variety of wildlife.   Am looking forward  to the fall migrations .    

The night sky is so much more available here.  We are watching the several planets and the moon with great interest in the telescope.

My neighbor came over today to give me the Osher catalogue. I learned he is 90 yo.  And he looks great.    This week I received my Medicare letter, because Of course I am now 65.  Thank you all for the kind birthday messages.

Susan and I cooked dinner for the family onSat .  It was a great dinner and we stayed up too late.  It was Noel who suggested the dinner and it was a great family experience.  I am so enjoying having the entire family at my house.  So much fun.  And such fun cookin with Susan.

Sunday before Susan left, we put my new bed together.  It was quite a puzzle, but we got it done.  And I love it.  More settling in.  Maybe the final settling in is finding an adequate hairdresser.  I think I found him. Sorry if isn’t a woman.  He was amazing with the curls.  ,,and I have never had such fabulous curls.  I reserve judgement on the color unil the next hair wash.   I am wearing the curls now; initially for convenience given the amount of time required for the smoothing.  I am getting used to the idea of curls.image

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June 30

Sunday I went to the Unitarian Church in Columbia.  While it is smaller than RRUUC, it has a very friendly congregation.  The minister is young and deeply thoughtful.  I met a neuropsychologist who works at the VA. She confirmed Noel’s impression that there is a need for medically trained psychiatrists in the city.  We have a lunch date.  I also met a retired minister and her wife, a retired health policy wonk.  They informed me Columbia is in the top ten places for active retirement in the US.  I believe it.  There are so many parks and trails, so many things to do.

Monday, I finally got art hung on the walls in the living spaces.  It is looking good. Comfortable, but stylish, I think.  Of course I discovered on Wednesday, that stylish and two year olds do not mix.  Had to remove all breakables from her reach, including plants.  I had already gotten the child safety latches for the kitchen.

Tuesday night I attended a chamber music concert at the the historic Missouri Theater.  It reminded me of the concert hall in Pittsburgh where I heard much wonderful music.  Tuesday’s performance was the Lyssander Piano Trio.  The music was transporting.

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Noel and Caitlin visited Wednesday afternoon.  Noel got my computer and printer on the wifi network and talking to each other.  Yay.! and set up my TV, but I could not find the TV power cord.  The TV had been sitting in the basement for over a year, as we were using Nate’s TV.  I suspect I mistakenly threw out the cord.  Fortunately a replacement was available on Amazon, and should arrive next week.  I had bought toys and books for Caitlin on Tuesday, so she was happy and they stayed for dinner.  After playing with the new toys, Caitlin discovered the rock collection, and enjoyed playing with the rocks immensely.  Noel found a box of photos, and we both had a great time looking through them and remembering events of her childhood.  Looking at those pictures, I remembered how much I liked the house in Carderock.  And how much of the kids childhood happened there.  The temperature is much more moderate this week, so we were able to have wine and cheese on the deck before dinner.  Grant’s employer was named by the Columbia Business Journal as best employer for the year, and the company had a big party to celebrate; so he was out that night with his buddies from work.  several times a week I find myself thinking this is why I am here, and why it is important to be here.  This was one of those times.

I also got my car registered on Wednesday.  In doing so, I needed to go to the assessors office to get a waiver of taxes.  On the way there I passed the pollworkers training site, so I signed up for training and had my first session the following day .  There will be three training sessions before the primary for state and local offices on August 2.  I had not realized pollworkers got paid.  and they get paid better than jurors.  Columbia has to import Republican pollworkers from outside the city to have enough to staff their polling sites at times.  each site requires that a Republican and Democratic worker sign off on any irregularities, and the report for the site.

The church just lost it’s paid kitchen staffer and the Sunday refreshments are temporarily being done by volunteers.  A volunteer was needed for the upcoming Sunday, so I stepped in.  I received an orientation from the church administrator on Thursday after the pollworker training.  I figured this would be a way to meet more congregants.  Then I took Caitlin to her Therapeutic riding lesson; her third.  This time they went on a trail ride, and trotted.  She smiles wide when they trot.  Noel says she believes the riding is helping with her sensory sensitivities.  Noel is able to brush her teeth without fuss now, and there are many fewer tantrums over shoes and clothes.  She allows people to hold her hand now .

 

When the ABA therapist arrived at home I set her up with Caitlin in the downstairs play room, where Caitlin would not be distracted by what her parents were doing, but feel comfortable.  It worked really well.  She did a lot of work, without distraction, and Noel and Grant and I were able to cook dinner and chat about the weeks activities uninterrupted.    When Therapy was done, the therapist came upstairs to tell us Caitlin had mastered 106 objectives in the month of June.  The therapist said that is more than any child she has seen has achieved.    She said it was quite astounding.

Noel informs me Missouri is now a swing state in the presidential election.  not necessarily a must win state, but a state where the vote is a dead heat.  That should make voting more meaningful, and maybe increase the turnout, which may make for a very tiresome day for us pollworkers.

 

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