Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hunter's Moon

I took this photo a few days ago at the full moon.  This was in the morning a little after sunrise, looking west.  I am so close to the mountains on the east, I don't get to see the moon from my house when it rises.  So my moon shots are always at moonset.

When you live in a mountain valley, as the sun rises, you can see the shadow of the eastern mountains recede across the valley.  See that in this picture?

People in my life continue to heal, but oh so slowly. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Schizophrenic Life

Took my grandsons to the children's museum in Salt Lake yesterday.  This whole week the kids have had a half-day school schedule for parent teacher conferences.  When they are out of school, they're with me.  We had some free passes to the museum, and I thought this would be a good time to visit there.  I hadn't been there since my own kids were small.  It has really changed and really is a fun and fabulous place for kids to visit and play.  We were there nearly three hours when an exhausted grandma said it was time to go.

My time with the kids needs to be positive and engaged.  I don't just turn them loose to play.  I play with them.  No matter how I might be feeling, I have to keep my mood happy and upbeat.  I feel so aware of my influence on these little guys.  So we have lots of fun and laughing and learning. 

That's not to say it's always easy to be upbeat.  This week I've also been trying to spend time visiting, chatting with, and emailing my grieving friends.  Three of us got together on Thursday and it was such a crying fest, I wondered if that had been a good idea after all.  But it's all part of the process and there are no shortcuts in grief.  I mostly listened as the other two reminisced with stories of their lives with their lost loved one.  In some ways, it was an ice breaker for my two friends who had been grieving separately, to come together and help each other at a time when they need so much support themselves.  Over and over they expressed the importance of family and friends in their lives right now.  And I feel such a desire to be the friend they need.  That means I have to go through many emotional ups and downs with them. 

Add into this mix some additional worries and frustrations with my own aging parents, and my life is an emotional roller coaster right now.  I do my best to keep myself grounded with peaceful time spent alone. 

I'm not worried for myself.  I've been through tough times and survived and thrived.  Now is my time to help others; to influence children, to comfort my friends, to help my family.  I'm grateful to have the physical and emotional strength for this right now.  These circumstances will continue to evolve with time.  And they will be replaced by other circumstances that will be equally challenging and demanding on my strengths.

But that's life.  It will always be so.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Year of Sorrow

And another husband of a close friend has died.  Sydney was 91 and frail, yet remarkably active.  He was so proud of his garden and fruit trees he'd been nurturing along for several years.  He was an accomplished artist and sculptor--the only one I've known who was actually able to support himself with his art.  A recent fall and complications were just too much for his already frail body.  Still, he had seemed strong just recently and they were happily planning a trip to England and France next year for the D-Day commemorations.

This brings to three (out of five) the husbands of our old Reel Women movie group who have died just this year.  I add to that my much-missed internet friend, and the toll is almost too much.

My friends need me to be a strength to them right now.  So I will somehow be that.  Even though all this loss makes my own loss from a few years ago feel fresh again.

At my age, 65, you expect some loss.  You acknowledge we are getting older and  none of us will live forever.  But this is a lot in one year.  Now I just look forward to the end of 2013.  This is not a year I want to remember.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Two new birds -- to me, at least

I finally got out to Antelope Island for a little birding one evening this week.  I really wanted to get to Bear River before the opening of duck hunting (this weekend), but it was not to be.  It was a lovely evening on the island and I had success seeing two birds new to me.  The Sabine's Gulls are apparently a novelty if not totally rare in Utah.  Three had been reported near the second bridge.  Driving over, I was daunted by the large numbers of Eared Grebes and Wilson's Phalaropes spread out over the water and thought I would never find those gulls.  But on the way back, I stopped for another look and found all three right by the bridge.

At Garr Ranch, they had closed the gates for the night, but since they aren't locked, I let myself in and started to wander to the little woods behind the ranch house.  I was hoping to see a couple of different owls that had been reported.  However, I felt nervous there alone and decided to abandon that idea.  A couple of women were near the parking lot looking at some birds and I was lucky enough to get some pictures of an Audubon's Warbler (western version of the Yellow-Rumped Warbler).  I don't know warblers and haven't studied up on them, so this was a treat.  A large flock was hopping in and around the trees there, but I was lucky enough to get a few good photos.

Here are some shots from my evening.

Audubon's Warbler (Yellow-Rumped Warbler)

 Sabine's Gull among some Wilson's Phalaropes
 Two more Sabine's Gulls among the phalaropes.
 A bison who was right next to the road and inexplicably leaning up against a rock.
 Two-point mulie, also right next to the road and showing no desire to run away.
 And of course, if it's sunset as I'm leaving the island, I'm surely going to grab a shot.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The last remodel kick-off

My contractor came over today and we went over the details of the project.  I'm still undecided on what to do about flooring.  But very excited about the new doors.  In addition to the doors, I will do new casings as well as baseboards throughout.  The shower remodel is not significant, but will be a nice upgrade for the master bath.  And so pleased to put the rain gutter/heat tape project in his hands as well. His expertise is so valuable in that area.  I will get a quality product and work, and it will be hard-wired with a simple switch I can turn on and off.

As for the retaining wall on the west side of the house, he convinced me the retaining I already have is adequate, and I can just go ahead with adding top soil if I want it.  I'll have Alberto help me with that when we do the fall cleanup.

So it's off and running.  I still need to get the quote, which I know from experience will be resonable and doable, and then make a few decisions.  Then there will be a lead time to get the doors and other materials. He can start in a couple of weeks.  

This is the "last remodel" indoors.  After this, I may occasionally paint a room, change out carpet or furniture.  But the basic construction work will be finished and hopefully no more will be needed until the day I decide to move.

I can't wait to get started!