More Signs of Spring

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Under the kitchen window.

We have had several recent visitors to the house. My brother and sister-in-law came for a visit over the weekend and took mom to Crystal Bridges American Museum of Art . I stayed home because son Mike was here on spring break and got his wisdom teeth out on Tuesday. Then we had a couple of days of ice packs and gauze changes every 30 minutes. Today, he felt well enough to take the train to Springfield to visit with friends and on Saturday he has a solo performance: singing and electric guitar at his old haunt Black Sheep Café .

I have revived my former practice of writing down three things I am grateful for each night. Tonight I am grateful for: 1) Son Mike thanked me for my nursing care of him during his recovery (this seems exceptional behavior for a 19 year old.)  2) Now that I no longer have to rush through my days and to-do lists I feel I am a kinder, gentler, more empathetic person.  3) Spring–what can I say? I love everything about Spring, even the rain.

The rhythm of my life these days has a healthier pace. I lean into my work, I rest. Rested, I lean into the work again. As much as I can, I live without a waking alarm, (what a terrible way to start the day….with an alarm!) and I am grateful for both the rest and the work.

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Trip to Madison Wisconsin

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Lake Monona at sunset.

Last weekend I drove about 5.5 hours north to Madison Wisconsin. My daughter took a job at Epic Software last summer and I went to see her. After she got off work and rode the bus home (she has decided to live car-free for now) we walked around her neighborhood admiring the architecture and the two large lakes downtown.

We walked to a restaurant in her neighborhood for dinner and window shopped on our walk home.

Saturday we had planned to visit Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin home, but there were no tickets available. Just down the road from Taliesin is The House on the Rock, so we went there. It was a minimalist’s nightmare. See for yourself here: The House on the Rock . The original home, which was completed in the 60’s was cool and charming and had beautiful views onto the surrounding valley. After that, the owner just added a bunch of “eclectic” junky collections. Many of the items for display in the multiple buildings are twins to the junk I have just recently removed from our basement. It was dirty, dark and overwhelming.

After that waste of time, we had dinner and went back to her apartment, avoiding the many college-aged revelers celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. There, I worked on several sewing projects for her: hemmed her shower curtain, replaced the buttons on her wool coat and fixed a shirt that had torn at the sleeve.

Sunday, she gave me a tour of her employer’s campus. Epic Software has a large (640 acres or so) campus with dozens of themed buildings. Here the buildings were light-filled and decorated with humor and creative artwork.

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This charming fellow lives in the building that houses my daughter’s office.

We made mini-Quiches for dinner and I wrapped up the sewing projects while she went to rugby practice Sunday evening. I was a delightful weekend. When I go back, I will make sure we can get the Taliesin tickets.

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My daughter made this origami lotus flower for me. So cool!

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Spring Happiness

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This pretty scene is right outside our kitchen door.

Spring has arrived here in Missouri and there are so many reasons to rejoice. First, due to the warmer weather, I have finally gotten out of the basement and been able to work in the yard. We have crocus blooming and the daffodils and iris shoots are up.

Mom and I are having some heated discussions about what is best for the yard. I have the minimal esthetic preference and her choices for the past 20 years have reflected what is the least work and the most frugal.  We can usually find some common ground, but there is lots of arguing before we get there. I have been bagging up leaf litter and twenty years of downed branches and am preparing to plant grass seed and some trees.

I have finally moved into a rested place, so fewer naps and sometimes I spontaneously wake a 6am, ready to start the day.

My dreams have improved too. For months it was night after night of decluttering and brown recluse spiders and cleaning human messes (hospice residual.) Recently I had a dream where a hummingbird lead me where I needed to go–a garden full of eclectic and healing plants and then a human party in the meadow.

Ready for that dream to happen in real life.

Weekend Seminar

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Beautiful California Redwoods

Last weekend I attended a seminar at the beautiful 1440 Multiversity facility in California. The program was on Self and self and intended to help participants discover and incorporate their shadow self aspects.

The presenters of the seminar: Justin Hilton, Ann Randolph and Alanis Morrissette (yes, that Alanis Morrissette) were smart and wise and funny and knowledgeable about the topics presented. The exercises were powerful and effective.

In between the programs of challenging emotional work there was time for yoga and walks in the forest and a soak in the hot tub. The chef-prepared food was delicious and fresh with choices for almost any palate. I shared a hostel-style room with five other program attendees.

This seminar and restorative support were exactly what I needed at this moment. I am so glad that I took the time to go.

My People and Purpose Revisited

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The world has many enduring, difficult to solve problems. Poverty, violent conflict, racism, illness. I believe climate change and destruction of the environment are “your hair is on fire” type of emergencies. The window to reverse global warming is short and closing quickly. If we don’t fix that problem, we will not have time to work on the others.

Now that I am getting rested, I have energy to devote to healing our planet. As I do, I solve the problem of finding my people. That is where they are too. I have found my people at the local Friend’s Society Meeting (Thanks, Lou!), at the Sierra Club, at my Mindful Book club, where last night we discussed ways to shrink our carbon footprint (yes, minimalism is an excellent method.)

If protecting the environment is a cause that you would like to invest your energy in as well, I have a couple of recommendations. This book: Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken and Tom Steyer.

And this organization: https://www.plasticbank.org/

We are an intelligent, creative species and I have hope that we can turn this around. Now, I am putting my feet into that hope.