Recycled Fountain

Today’s bright spot is a new planter with five neon pink petunias in it. Last winter one of my fountains started leaking badly. I replace it with the smaller fountain shown in yesterday’s post, taking the pump from the leaking one to use with the smaller fountain since its pump wasn’t doing the job.

Then I got bags of potting soil and filled the leaky fountain so that it could serve a new function. It’s a bit early for planting, but I also found five neon pink petunias, and I planted them in the newly created planter. I’m very pleased with the results and it felt good to plant flowers again.

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Spring Break

I am so grateful for Spring Break, which now is a bit more than half done. I’m a volunteer tutor for our alternative high school, tutoring 34 hours each week, if everyone comes (thank heavens for cancellations!). I was really ready for Spring Break and I’ve spent the week mostly puttering on small projects, moving slowly and at my own pace, playing with my cats, and working puzzles. I even got to have lunch with a friend yesterday. Today there was a break in the rain (didn’t last–it’s now raining again) and it was not bitter cold, so I worked on getting my small outdoor fountain working again. I had to unplug it last winter when the pump became clogged with pine needles. The pump was really too small anyway. I’ve now replaced the pump with a bigger one, which I’ve put inside a screened basket to keep it free of debris, and plugged it back in. I can see it from my kitchen window (as well as from the yard) and it’s brightened my day to have it running again.

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A Kitten and the Faucet

I haven’t written in awhile and I’ve been trying to think what to write. I think I will do shorter posts, finding something which I’m grateful for. Today I’m very grateful for the new cats I’ve adopted, an 8 yr old black female named Foxy, and two 8 month old male kittens, Emmett, a buff colored tabby, and his brother, Ghost, a siamese. This morning Emmett figured out how to catch drops of water from the bathroom faucet. It brightened my day, getting it off to a good start. Here’s a photo of him.

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Sounds of the Day

the sound of dog toenails
on the hard floor
new hearing aids

I know my hearing has been getting worse over the years, and I finally decided to get it tested. Sure enough, while my hearing isn’t truly horrible, it has now gotten to the point where I can be helped by hearing aids. I got them this past Tuesday, and the last few days have been really amazing. I’m hearing things I’d forgotten about and noticing a lot more. It’s more than just not having to say, “What,” so many times. It’s all sorts of little things, such as the noise the dogs make as they walk across my marmoleum floors. Now I didn’t say that all the sounds were necessarily helpful, but then I can’t really pick and choose  what I want to hear versus what I don’t.

I’m still getting used to my new hearing aids, but overall, I have to say that my world is richer for having them. While all of our senses are important, I think hearing might be the most important. Helen Keller said, I believe, that she found her lack of hearing to be a worse handicap than her lack of sight because the lack of hearing isolates us from the rest of the world. And I notice this isolation with my fellow senior citizens. It is hard to engage in a world that you can’t hear, to have friends and family talking but be unable to keep up or understand.

So I am very grateful for the technology which allows me to hear what’s going on around me, to know that I’ll be able to keep up with my granddaughter’s conversations, that I’ll be able to continue tutoring, and that, yes, I can hear my dogs walking across the hard floor.

Snow Day Decisions

img_5688I was supposed to head into Seattle this morning on the 6:40AM ferry for an appointment. When I went to bed last night I knew we were under a winter storm watch, but since it was the third such warning this year and neither of the others had proven to be accurate, I still set my alarm for 4:27AM. However at 4AM I was awakened when my generator kicked in, causing the outside yard lights to activate enough for me to realize that there was some major snow outside.

I looked at the tweets on my phone and discovered that snow had hit Seattle as well as Vashon, and that while the Vashon schools only had a late start notice (later to be changed to closed), the Seattle schools were already closed. I lay in my bed, under my warm quilt, and pondered my choices. The decision should have been easy. The appointment wasn’t urgent and certainly not worth risking life and limb for it. Seattle rush hour traffic is not easy even with the best of conditions. A friend had offered to take me with his truck, and said I could call him even at the last minute, but I knew it would be a miserable trip.

Why did I even hesitate, you’re probably asking yourself. The decision was obvious. Reschedule. But I’d been brought up under a strict code which allowed for no “wimping out,” as far as meeting obligations and moving forward. Part of me said that I have a good car and I am a good driver and I just needed to get over my fears and do it. Thankfully, the saner part of my brain prevailed and I rolled over and dozed until a more reasonable hour. By 7AM not only had the generator kicked in yet again, but it was staying on (and is still on, thank you, you wonderful generator, over four hours later!), and I found out that The University of Washington was officially closed. In addition, the Vashon schools were closed as well. Now I knew my decision, which I was still stewing over, had been correct. Then the office where I was supposed to appear at 8:30 called at 7:45 to say that they were closed because of the snow. I got rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Had I forced myself to drive in the hazardous situation, I would have arrived only to find out that my appointment had been cancelled.

So, instead, I shoveled my walkway out to the gate, measured the snowfall (4.5″ at that time), and now I’m happily enjoying my unexpected snow day with no appointment and no students. I showered in the snow (for those who may not know or remember I have an outdoor shower), which was delightful in spite of having my loud generator on the other side of the low fence of my shower. I’m now watching enormous snowflakes fall all around my nice cozy warm home (thank you again, generator!). And I’ve vowed to be easier on myself and to give myself permission to say no when that’s the right answer, without feeling that somehow I’ve wimped out.

Midwinter

picking up dog poop
a light dusting
of snow

We got a surprise light dusting of snow overnight as I discovered when I woke. Yesterday was Candlemas or Groundhog Day, so we’re half way through winter, and I thought that having a bit of snow along with the chirping of birds was timely reminder of the midpoint. It seemed like a mixing of winter and spring, or looking back and forward. 

Defining Oneself

Seven years ago today I chose a new name for myself, a name which I felt better fit who I am. My birth name had never reflected me. Instead, I’d spent most of my life trying to fit the name. It finally occurred to me that it was high time that I got rid of what wasn’t truly a part of me.

And so I began searching through names, finding their meanings, looking at the numerology involved, imagining myself using various names, listening to the sounds, and so on. Once I’d found what I thought was the perfect name, I announced my decision to family and friends.

I then lived with my new name for six weeks, just to make sure that it truly felt like me, before I made it legal. The process was surprisingly easy, and as I stood before the judge in a room mostly filled with infants and children who were being adopted, I proudly asked for the right to bear a name of my choice, a name which reflected who I am.

Over the years I’ve never had even a moment’s hesitation that I’d made the right decision. My name fits me better than I could ever have imagined. Now, I’m watching a couple of my students going the same thing, but for different reasons. I’m very supportive of their changes and the way they are searching for their true identity. Names are important. They are an integral part of who we are.