Tiger Lily

Roadside flora

My dad and I bored ourselves to tears at the hospital, waiting for the drips to stop. Afterward, a quick trip through the e-check and my car got the thumbs up.

We passed lots of Tiger Lilies along the way. They weren’t in bloom a week ago.

I’m tired. Battling a cold that has a sticky cough and makes me nauseous from time to time. Is it allergies? I dunno. I’m just trying to get over it and back on the saddle.

I’m going to try and focus on some things around the office/home this next week. Posting will likely continue to be spotty.

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Family day

All filled in

Drove out to my sisters today and enjoyed the drive. Picked up lots of supplies at the craft store and fabric store for my sewing project along the way.

Took another shot of the half grazed hill for compare and contrast purposes. Amazing what a few months can do.

Gave my brother a Coleco handheld football game I picked up at the antique toy store a while back. He instantly recognized it and the batteries seemed to work.

Hung out back with my sister and just shot the shit about life in general and it was good. If I had a million dollars, she’d so be on a beach right now having a frozen drink with an umbrella in it. She’s due.

My niece is getting ready to go on a trip to Yellowstone and I’m real excited for her. Hopefully the time with her pops and first plane ride will be super great. I know when I first went out West a brief time ago, I was bowled over at the difference of geography. It’ll be interesting to get her impression.

Speaking of pops, my dad’s been getting around, sat outside a piece today while watching my brother repair a mower. He seems a little haggard, but hanging in there with aplomb.

Overall, ya can’t ask for much more on a Sunday.

Keep the shiny side up

I’m sitting there with my Pops, he’s grown weaker through the treatments. Weight’s down. Appetite gone. Hair, gone.

The spirit’s there though.

In his quiet way, it’s there. If anything, in his willingness to resume chemo.

People ask me if we’re close, and I say yes without hesitation, but I know that I’m the distant son. The one that he doesn’t see as much.

We have a strong connection though, like the rest of the world is crazy. Like the drama that swirls around us cannot penetrate, and we exist with a mutual understanding.

I look at this photo and see myself. I see all the qualities we share.

I see how easy he is to read.

A lyric swims through my mind, “Never let you in. Never let you out.”

When awake from the upright nodding off, you can understand what he’s feeling in his expression.

Sometimes it’s blank. Sometimes it’s deep hurt and confusion. and sometimes it’s joy— The smiles lines you can’t repress.

On the drive home, I put in the new Loretta Lynn album, and tell him way too many details about it. About the production. About the wonderful collaboration between old and new. How raw it sounds, and how her voice, though not a smooth as Patsy’s, still bears a lilt all her own. A distinct ingredient.

She sings a song about missing being a mrs., and a line speaks of a wedding band.

He pulls his left hand up, as if waking from a dream, verifying that the ring’s still there.

His muscles calm and relax.

I like these days most of all. When I’m out in the country and spending this time with him. Windows rolled down, and neither of us forced to comment on the news.

Memories whirl by.

I’m home, I catch myself saying. This is where I need to be.

I recall these roads, from my first times driving. The curves. The trees. The fields. The shitty K-Car I got to take out. And my dad saying, “Keep it between the lines and the shiny side up.”

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Dishing

The egg dish

I’m not big on fancy wares for the table, tending to go for simple white with no ornamentation whatsoever. But I’ve always been drawn to this dish — the palette for eggs.

It has resurfaced for Easter as long as I can remember. I also recall perhaps wanting to use the thing for paints as a child. Heck, if I could find these in bulk, I’d probably do just that.

Easter dinner was simple and tasty, ham, potatoes, asparagus, devlled eggs, croissants and salad.

My ma filled up some of that fancy re-usable / disposable tupperware like things with a course for me to take home. I ate it immediately on return to my abode, washing the wares and stacking it along with all the other containers I’ve collected and never remember to return.

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Goldilocks barns

The sky was nice, but the temperature wasn’t.

Unlike yesterday, the brisk weather returned for what I hope is the last hurrah. I wound the clock forward on this 04.04.04 with some dismay. I tend to be a “fall back” kinda fella. But warmth is good, I just hope Summer doesn’t step on Spring’s toes.

I accomplished many tasks this weekend, and continued a streak exploring the outlying neighborhoods and checking off things from my to-do list. I found a nearby Home Depot and got handy things that don’t come with a new abode. Garbage cans, window screens, and some wall-hanging apparatus(es).

Picked up Ice cube trays, a baking sheet (I tossed out the old one), and other odds and ends at some home goods type store to boot.

It may read as boring, but getting things in order, and finding new places around the area is extremely rewarding. I dropped off my bike for a major tune-up, emptied my car of all the last bits of items from the move, found a sweet deal on an xbox Live connect kit, a used videogame store unearthed a copy of a car game for 12 bucks. Candles that smell like grass. Laundry april fresh and folded.

This evening I ventured over to my sister’s house and found the evening light to be right enough to capture these barn triplets I pass by every time.

Dinner was tasty, caught up with the pops and brother some, traded barbs with my niece, and enjoyed the whole evening very much.

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Spring Grove

Grandma

The day was entirely too beautiful to be indoors, so I opted out of any museuming in favor of a walk outside. I called up my grandmother to see if she was game, and it was a wrestling match with the phone – my wireless connection and my mom’s broken receiver.

We managed to get it together though, and met up mid afternoon for a driving and walking tour of Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum, located right around the corner in Northside.

History tidbits:

  • Founded in 1845, the original area of 166 hilly acres was purchased for $16,000. It was named Spring Grove because of the numerous springs and ancient groves of trees on the property.
  • It now encompasses 733 acres of which 400 acres are landscaped and maintained.
  • At first, I heard that this place was designed by the same fella behind Central Park. Not true. There’s another Spring Grove Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut that has this distinction.
  • The arboretum, with over 1,200 species, has 1,000 labeled for study.
  • There’s a section where Gypsies are buried, noted by red granite monuments.
  • The landscape "lawn plan" concept was created here.
  • Forty generals from the Civil War are "planted" in Spring Grove

It was a great day, leisurely wandering between things that caught our eye. At points we were on the ground, examining acorns and moss. Turns out, my grandmother (who prefers that moniker over Me-Maw) was married in a funeral home.

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Big Boy

Boo

I put the scare in my mom and brother at Frisch’s tonight. I had just gotten off the highway and was spent from the drive and hungry. They were leaving with a styrofoam container and didn’t see me. I took the opportunity to sneak up behind them and open the rear car door and mumble.

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Refuel

163 a gallon

Took my Dad to his last radiation session. While waiting, I kept getting phone calls. The first, from my own doctor, saying that my scans and bloodwork are in check, I do not need to see him again until September.

The next was from an ex-client who found a page I google-bombed, dissing their practices. I wasn’t in the mood to fight, I told them i stood behind it, but would disable it and for them to remove me from their vendor list.

It was off to prep for chemo with a new doc afterward and we had an hour to kill. As my pops napped, I reread a few chapters from Close Range: Wyoming Stories.

Lots of paperwork, a scare about cancelled insurance was unfounded, and we were off. Chemo starts this week, and sounds kinda heavy. My fingers are crossed.

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Sunday

A lovely one at that.

Birthday lunch for sis. In attendance: grandma, brothers, mom and myself.

Food was good. Company rushed.

Afterward, a trip to Home Depot to get blinds for the new digs. Had to order the tall ones.

The weather was incredible. A front was passing through, and the sky was a mix filled with all sorts of clouds. Reminded me of the West.

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