Posted in Blogging, Feelings, Writing

Happy Birthday Dad

May 1st – the day my father was born many eons ago….at least that’s what I would rib him about were he here to celebrate it. I’m pretty sure that if my dad were still alive, we’d be celebrating his 82nd birthday with a day riddled with old-people jokes, laughter and something yummy to eat.

I’m not really sad, but it’s days like this that I do indeed miss him more. My dad was pretty awesome….yeah, I know…daughters tend to have inflated opinions of their dads, but I believe mine was justified.  He really was awesome and had an amazing strength.

In the short 18 years I had him, he taught me many life lessons….most of which didn’t hit home until later (of course). Most of all, he taught me about looking at life with the glass full no matter what is happening.

Dad had diabetes and lived with many side effects (normally you’d say suffered from here – but we never witnessed that). He went blind a few months before I was born, but that never stopped him from working, having hobbies, and helping around the house. When he had to have part of his leg amputated, we started calling him Peggy. He would come home from his job at the factory and ask “is your mother nearby?” When I responded that she wasn’t, he’d reply “Good! I got this great joke at work today” and launch some dirty joke.

At 82, chances are, he wouldn’t be in great health which may be why he didn’t live past 55. I’d like to imagine that if he were here…he would still be cracking jokes, listening to music, talking on the CB radio, and asking my mom every morning if he was in the obituary yet….only his head would be full of white hair!

Happy Birthday Dad – I miss you and I love you.

❤ Katydid

Posted in Blogging, Feelings, Hope & Inspiration, Writing

Music and Grief unite to create Joy

Last week my husband Dwayne and I were on a road trip from Sundance, WY to Albuquerque, NM for our Amateur Radio convention for our area of the country. It’s a long trip, but we don’t mind road trips periodically, especially when we have our SiriusXM to listen to Radio Margaritaville. Singing along in the car is a great way to pass the time and miles. 

My turn to drive usually arrives after lunch in order to provide a rest break for Dwayne, who always loses his steam mid-afternoon. As I listened to his light snores, I decided I needed something new so I hit channel 8 for the “80’s on 8” station. As I drove through Colorado, I sang along to many of my favorites from the “good ole’ days” until one particular song came on and I suddenly felt as though I was in a sci-Fi movie where I was sucked through a whirlpool and immediately transported back in time. I was suddenly in the back seat of my sister’s car, on our way to the hospital the night my dad died. I was driving while simultaneously  I was again that scared teenager, numb with grief in the dark of the evening hours, in the back seat of my brother-in-law’s Crown Vic. I could see the road ahead of me that I was driving on, all while being in that car in 1988 again…all at the same time.

The experience was surreal as hot tears trickled down my face.  I didn’t understand what was happening until my ears recognized the music. It was then I realized….I was hearing the song on the radio that was playing as we drove to the emergency room that night, nearly 26 years ago.

The grief of that night returned like a shock of thunder, racketing my body and soul. I was short of breath, I felt numb and confused. I was that 18 year old once again. I reached over and gently hit button 1 to return to Radio Margaritaville. When Dwayne asked why I changed the music, I caught my breathe and told him simply, “that song was playing on the radio the night my dad died.” 

After all this time, I find it hard to believe I’ve not come across this song. I don’t believe it showed up in order for me to relive the grief, that doesn’t make sense. The sting of the grief was temporary and my composure returned in about an hour. However, what I believe the song did do, was light the proverbial fire in my belly to write again. I’ve been craving time to write, I’ve missed it. For some reason I’ve let life get in the way which is stupid, because in effect I’ve been denying a part of me.  My brain immediately began crafting up what to write about this experience. I knew this was just the whomp on the head from the Universe I’d been waiting for. 

 I guess the periodic moments of pain are okay, as long as they are periodic. Memories are there, they don’t go away. The secret is not to dwell in them or live in them. You can’t change the past by living in it, which is why I know this reminder from the Universe wasn’t about going backwards. It was about moving forward. For that, I thank you Universe and I thank you Dad. Thank you for the reminder to get back to doing what I love in the present and doing what brings me joy.

Posted in Blogging, Nature, Photography, Writing

Musing on the Apple Tree’s Last Seasons

Our apple tree didn’t look great when we moved in nearly three years ago, but I didn’t expect it to slowly die off…branch by branch, limb by limb. Last year we cut off half the tree thinking that might help with the needed energy for the remainder of the tree.

What’s happened is that another half has died (technically a quarter), which wasn’t quite as obvious over our long winter as it is now with the spring blooms. I introduce you to our yin yang tree:

yin yang tree

I wish I’d taken this photo a couple days ago when the contrast was even more evident. The blooms on the living half are full and strong and our bees are working them. It’s looking like our 1/4 tree might bear some fruit in its final hours.

Living in Wyoming, trees aren’t exactly plentiful like i’m used to on the east coast where I grew up. Any time a tree has to come down is sad, but in this case it seems kinder to take it down this fall than to let it continue its slow demise.

We bought a new apple tree and planted it just in front of this one – if you look closely you can see it’s leggy trunk. Hopefully this new tree, christened with our bees, will grow strong and be here for many years to come.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to care for the remainder of this apple tree as it sees its final seasons while caring for the growth of the new tree nearby. A very visible balance of life and death in our back yard.

Posted in Ankylosing Spondylitis, Blogging, Living with Pain, Writing

Socks, Marathons and Dis-ease

Spring finally arrived in Wyoming and I’ve managed to get out and walk nearly every day lately. My friend Trudy and I are getting ready once again for the half-marathon coming up June 1st. As we walk, I’ve noticed my feet a lot more than I used to. I’m not sure if there is something new with them…I can’t imagine that my feet have morphed in to something different than they’ve been the past several decades (minus the size change of course). My heels hurt all the time right now, which unfortunately can be signs of my Ankylosing Spondylitis rearing its ugly head. I’ve had this issue before, so I recognize it. 

Heel pain as a result of a disease that affect the spine just seems weird to me. I’d rather think my feet are hurting because I’ve managed to pack on some pounds over this very long winter and my feet are telling me to keep moving and burn it off! But with the tell-tale morning pain and stiffness in my lower spine, and now some hip pain as well…I guess it’s time to consider going to the doctor. Considering….that’s all for now.

What does any of this have to do with socks I’m sure you are wondering…well, I decided part of my challenge when doing our 2+ mile walks is my socks don’t fit right and my feet sweat (gross!)…these are things that can lead to blisters as well as my inability to get through my half-marathon without a great deal of unnecessary pain. 

On a whim, I decided to Google “running socks” and was rewarded with nearly 31,000,000 results in .28 seconds. “Googling” totally beats the old days of going in to my dining room, plopping on the floor in front of the bookcase filled with the entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica (raise your hand if you grew up with those!) sliding a heavy book out and flipping the thin, crinkly pages looking for an answer. Actually, I do miss those books. I loved sitting on the floor just flipping through random pages, finding out about amazing things I never heard of. Anyway, I digress. Being a relative newbie to the world of people that exercise, I never expected the topic of “Running Socks” to be so popular! Of course many of the listings are for websites that sell socks. Imagine – entire stores and websites devoted ONLY to socks! How is a gal going to find what she needs when a cornucopia of sock options are presented to her???

Thankfully toward the top of the list was a reference to the website for the magazine Runner’s World which contained a story – cue the dramatic entry music….da da dummmmm…. Choose the Right Running Socks – Brilliant!!! A helpful article with socks for different types of running, how they work and why. I never knew socks could be so complicated! 

I visited the sites that had the socks that seemed to meet my requirements (fit my size 10s comfortably without slipping and wick away sweat for 13 mile walks/runs). I don’t think my needs are that complicated, but it still took me two a days of visiting websites, analysis and a final decision this morning. For the girl that usually buys a 10-pack of socks from WalMart for $5.99 – buying a pair for $15 was a bit of challenge.  I took a deep breath, got on the floor to stretch my back a bit, rubbed my sore heels, thought about my impending 3 mile walk tonight…and clicked “Order.” I have enough time to test these socks out a few times before the half-marathon to decide if I like them or if I need to visit my second choice. 

Time will tell…. 

In the meantime, I’l keep moving and walking and wait anxiously for Fed-Ex to show up with my new socks!