Looking back

Normally I like to write in the morning. Today we were pressed for time because we had agreed to help my sister move. I could write about the moving experience as a tremendous shock when we arrived at my sister's home to find that she hadn't finished packing things, but instead I want to write about the awesomeness of my youngest sister. We were at the new house with the girls while others were packing and loading at the old residence. By having my children help watch kids, my nieces are almost six, two and a half, and seven months, we were able to get the boxes in the kitchen unpacked before the next load arrived. The sister who was moving has control issues. A lot of people in my family do, and I had to laugh when my youngest sister said that what my moving sister wanted was to sit in a chair and direct everyone, but I wasn't that kind of a person.

I feel good about what I accomplished before I left although I'm in quite a bit of pain right now from the events this week, the weather, and the food over at my sister's which I knew would bother me. I under estimated the amount of food my family would need to get us through the day, I was better on Thursday, and I think what I need to do in the future is over pack, realizing that some food waste is inevitable in those situations. To digress for a second, I used to spell very well, the older I get, the more trouble I have, and the more I write, the more I have trouble, so I'm wondering if anyone else has this type of a problem, or if it is just me.

My floor plants arrived today. I have to cut back some of them, I'm too tired today, but I'm excited to attack it tomorrow. I really want to get rid of my dining room table, buy a couple of bistro sets, and have enough plants to create an outdoor type setting indoors. This idea has already been vetoed by other members of my family, but sometimes it's fun for me to play the 'What If?' game with myself even if I have no one else to share my enthusiasm with. The house my sister moved into, I used to want that kind of a house. Now I'm past that. It's growth, progress, I can tell I've changed, and overall, that's a really, really good thing. I bribed my niece with a cookie to take a nap today. Helping my sister move gave me a chance to spend time with my nieces. My sister and I don't get along, we're too much alike in many ways, but it was wonderful to hear my niece say my name for the first time, and to see the trust in her open arms when she ran to me.

One of the many things I unpacked today was a set of silicone popsicle molds. I want a set, and I started thinking about what I could put inside of them. My kids aren't really into juice pops, the molds I have now are plastic, the handles break easily, and you can see the contents which turns kids off before they try them. The silicone pops have screw tops, I'm going to ask my sister what she thinks of them, and if she likes them, I'm going to order a set. They're on sale, I know we would use them, and I'm tired of the plastic molds breaking on me.

I have my breakfast berry smoothie almost perfected, it's really hard to explain how I feel about this. Today there weren't any strawberries in my daughter's smoothie, there were raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, more spinach than I normally use, and she drank all of it without comment or complaint. If I can just keep that going, I would be thrilled with that accomplishment. Another smoothie I love is my cucumber honeydew mint concoction. After drinking that, I can feel my body relax, as if the nutrients are going to the empty spots, filling them up, and soothing damaged cells.

Another exciting thing happened today. A friend of mine wants me to get him a Hank Aaron bobble head. He took pictures of my tickets, and sent the image to me as a text. We're going to be sitting in the fifth row, and I'm going to make sure that the package he receives from Wisconsin is something really special. Despite my seats, I'm still going to have to do this on a budget, but that's okay. My oldest daughter is thrilled to be going, she's never sat so close to the diamond, and I'm praying that she enjoys the game, and appreciates the money, and the kindness that went into someone else procuring these tickets for us. I told my friend I would pay for parking, you can get a discount if you drive down before the game, so that will be another adventure I can take with the girls.

Sometimes I have a bad attitude for reasons I can't explain or understand. The sister who was moving did thank us for helping her, I still don't really feel appreciated. I know she appreciates what we did, she had a way of undermining us, and that really was unpleasant. It's funny to see your good, and your bad habits in others. I can't remember if I wrote about this earlier or not, but a friend of mine is sending me a signed Conor Gillaspie ball, a birthday card that he wrote out for my oldest daughter, and we're also possibly getting a picture. My friend doesn't want anything for this, and I was so touched by that generosity, so even though that's something I can see myself doing, it's hard to believe that I'm the recipient of this kind of fortune.

Seeing my sister, listening to her, being at her house, I saw some of my bad habits, and that was helpful too. Sometimes a take charge person is what a situation calls for, other times, you're better off letting people do their own thing, and that can be a balancing act. Today both of my daughter's were just wonderful. They helped care for their younger cousins, my youngest did a very nice job arranging the lower shelves of my sister's pantry, and my oldest was so helpful when it came to watching the baby, and playing with her two and a half year old cousin. She made a plate of food for my mother, both girls had great attitudes, and I'm going to think of some sort of reward for their help and cooperation. When we helped my dad move, the girls pitched in to do what they could, and I'm really proud of them for rising to the challenges that presented themselves because it was complete chaos today.

Tomorrow the girls go back to school. Friday is their last day, and I'm so looking forward to summer, the sunshine, the weather has been lousy lately, and that bothers my bones which makes it really difficult for me to do anything without pain. I want to sit out in the sun, and just soak up the glorious rays. My in-laws are on the lake, and I'm hoping they won't mind if we go over there to swim and hang out. Hopefully they won't, because biking there and back a couple times a week would be a great exercise opportunity for all of us, and I think spending time with family is important.

A lot more on my mind, but I'll have more tomorrow.

Take care,


Moving forward

My dream last night

On a large mountain full of trees and jagged rocks, I'm hiking with a group for a weekend trip. We're outdoors for the entire weekend, and have already hiked for at least an entire day. We're far away from any main road, and have almost reached the highest point on our hike. As we are just about to crest the top ridge line, I notice black clouds gathering in the sky. We haven't noticed them since they had been out of our view, obscured by the tall mountain ridge. I can see the clouds swirling and boiling, as dark as the black smoke from a diesel engine. These clouds have warped and compressed themselves into some impossibly potent form. Waves of red and green shimmer across the otherwise black velvet surface, hinting at powerful forces restrained inside. They indicate how much energy and rain the clouds hold, and will soon be releasing on the mountain.

Our hiking group was totally unprepared for this black swan storm. We had no way of predicting it since our cellphones were all out of range, and weren't receiving signal. We couldn't see the storm clouds gathering, since our line of sight was obscured by the tall mountain ridge as we climbed it. Nobody else was around to warn us about this approaching thunderstorm, and we had walked right into it.

As the swiftly moving clouds crested the peak from the opposite direction, their intense rain hit the watershed line and started flowing towards us. Luckily we were very close to the top of the mountain, so the flood waters had little space to gather. There wasn't much area for the water to gather before pooling and flowing towards us. Still, I could see a wave of filthy mud-saturated water flowing towards us as the drops started to hit. Its foamy gray front hit our shoes and knocked a few of us down, but nobody was swept away. The large irregular rocks and the cavities between them provided enough drainage to allow this water to pass us by.

We climbed further up the mountain, and saw a neighborhood of cookie-cutter McMansions. Their wealthy owners had abandoned all of them for the season, and nobody was home. We picked one of them for a refuge to wait until the storm passed. Here at the peak of the mountain, a few of our hikers were able to receive signal in their cellphones and checked the weather reports. The storm was forecasted to last just less than one week, so we were stuck indoors until it passed.

The house would provide us with shelter, water, electricity and even a vantage point for cellphone signal. However, we found no food in the entire building. This was not the least of our worries. Many of our group were smokers, chewers or otherwise nicotine-dependent. Whatever we had packed with us would have to sustain our habits for the time we were sequestered in this rambling mansion.

We found it wise to shelter underground in the multi-level basement, where pumping and generating equipment was mounted on steel scaffolding. one of the more irritated and proactive members of our group called a meeting. They elected to leave the mansion before the storm had entirely passed, to reach safety. This was mostly motivated by their desire for nicotine and to a lesser degree for food.

I had been distracted while they called the meeting, and was trying to operate a pumping machine built together with one of the electrical machines. It was operated on a pull-chain mechanism that regulated how quickly it operated. Unlike a pull-chain for a light switch with its discrete ON and OFF positions, this pull chain varied the pump speed continuously. The beaded chain looped over an axle, and rotated the central axis as it was pulled in either direction. A user could set the pump speed by pulling either end. This would only set the initial pump speed. As the pump operated, it would slowly rotate this control axle and eventually turn itself off. I did an experiment and set the initial speed to a low value, then watched the pump gradually slow down and turn itself off.

Eventually we arrived home, but I found myself in the bathroom of another expensive building. It was either a restaurant or a private home and had an exotically designed toilet. This toilet had a self-cleaning feature that relied on a series of bubble apertures in the bottom of the bowl. Pulling a string would turn the bubbles on for a short time. In three small streams, the bubbles would flow through the apertures and cleanse the inside of the toilet. It was unclear how they worked exactly, and the entire mechanism seemed flimsy and unreliable.

It seemed that the hikers had made a brash gamble in leaving the safety of the mountaintop mansion so early. Even though we hadn't waited until the storm was entirely over, nobody was injured or lost on their return trip. We didn't return as a group and instead split up and dashed back to the parking lot as fast as we could. Some of us were concerned for the other hikers, since we lost contact with them. It seemed that each of us was more concerned about getting our fix and filling our belly than with the safety of our fellow hikers.

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