Apr 18, 2014

The Power of Power Outages



Hello!

How are my lovely readers doing today? I just wanted to update you a little and share a thought or two.

I am healing nicely - PT is going well too. While my physical therapist is a young, smiling woman with long hair, I am still glancing around the back of her neck and on her scalp, as I am sure “666” embossed on her somewhere. How someone who greets you so cheerily and then without a blink, have you in tears only moments later, to then only have me thank her and wish her a good day! LOL. I want to thank you all for contacting me via emails and comments to wish me well. I have been off the computer for some time, as I am finding that my therapy days tend to trigger migraines, which keep me off the computer for a bit. I read all your emails and comments, but must limit my time on the computer these past couple of weeks. But again, I am very glad to be headed in the right direction, and before long, I will be tap dancing up a storm. (Never mind that I never tapped danced in my life...but never too late to learn with a brand new knee, right?).




During these past few weeks of spring has made my recovery more than a little interesting. A couple of weeks ago, about 5:15 AM, I awoke with the tornado siren blaring outside. I jumped up, and punched my beloved in the ribs (lovingly, of course) and yelled, “Get up! Tornado!” And I “ran” down the hall to the basement and “ran” down the stairs. It wasn’t until sometime later, after the storm passed, did my barber husband ask if I was okay. Thinking he meant my fear of the storm, but he was referring to my knee. He was behind me as I “ran” down the hall, and I barely recall him yelling at me, “Be careful! Be careful” as I made my way down the hall.  At the time, I thought he was talking about the storm in general, but no, he just hasn’t seen me move at such a pace in almost two years and I think I freaked him out more than the storm! I am a little frustrated because I have no memory of running, or getting down the stairs quickly, and I so wish I could replay that moment in my head and so I could see myself running once again. But, I do relish in the idea that I DID run, even though at the moment I can’t - but will again. 

Amazing how fear can energize a decrepit, sleepy person!





Storms energize me. I feel so energized, in general, during a short-term power outages. In fact, I think our culture’s norm changes for the better during power outages. Now, I am talking about short-term outages, such as a branch disrupting power over a few blocks, or construction knocking out a line for just the afternoon. Not the life-threatening, losing all our food, three-weeks-without-no-air conditioning outages. But during those shorter outages, it is amazing how neighborhoods reenergize when our lives lose their power source. 





Suddenly neighbors are out on the porches and in driveways talking to each other, borrowing candles and batteries for flashlights. No blaring televisions, stereos, noisy A/C units as the street grows darker except for small glows of candlelight flicker through open windows. Even in the age of cellphones with Internet service, most people conserve their phone battery until power is restored, so even cell phones are put away for a while. During those power outages, children are also outside playing, reminding me of my own childhood. Suddenly, eating dinner on the porch with a camping lantern is more romantic than just purposeful. As the street darkens, and neighbors gather around eating popsicles and ice-cream (because we all know how they will melt in just moments), it is nice to enjoy the moment, free from electronic obligations. 




My barber husband plays guitar (just a little bit) but suddenly, the music he plays is now a live concert, with a “lightening” show in the distance, accompanied by bass (thunder). It’s comical when the wind suddenly turns cold, how the adults in unison say, “Whoa!” and then we all wonder aloud where did that came from, as we look around and up at the sky like experienced meteorologists, as we offer up our predictions. 

The adults begin sharing their personal horror stories of storms from their past...the adult version of campfire, scary stories - sans flashlight pointed at the storyteller’s face. Suddenly porch steps, the curb, or a car’s bumper all become comfortable couches for neighbors who normally warm up the lazy boy with feet kicked high, behind closed curtains, and stereo surround-sound turned up to drown out any outside noise.




These short-lived power outages offer us a chance to reconnect not only with others, but to rediscover non-electronic ways to occupy our time: Reading a real book (not Kindle), knitting in silence, listening to the wind and rain, playing cards, taking a walk, draw chalk figures on the sidewalk (yes, really), or just lie back and enjoy the cool breeze blowing through the open windows. It is my observation that it seems as though our culture seeks “permission” to cut ties with our electronics. We pay bills, do banking, communicate, share, respond, research, play games, listen to music, and can even shop groceries via electronics. Things we do so naturally now via electronics, were once an opportunity to socialize, get to know the bank teller, meet a friend for a chat and coffee, or just browse the public library. We seem to feel like we are wasting our day, or feel non-productive should we take a day or two off from the cell phone or computer. 




While electronics are an amazing and wonderful part of our culture, they can also be a burden. A burden to upgrade, keep up, learn new programs, expensive, limited in some areas, and as we all know, it can also be unreliable. But mostly, this man-made power just doesn't have the power of real human touch.


Sometimes, living “virtually,”  virtually extinguishes real living.






I think the reason I am so drawn to abandoned buildings is because at one time, the building was so full of life and stories. And nothing man-made has enough power to bring that abandoned building back to real life. Only human love is powerful enough to bring life to an empty room...






I was on a photo shoot and setting up in another room when I walked into this room to go get my chandeliers that I left in the corner. As beautiful as the old French chandeliers are...it was the bright sunlight that made me stop in awe and wonder. No matter how much I style a shot, even with the most beautiful props, the power of natural light, is by far, so much more powerful than anything I could ever create.

And that is a good reminder for me to realize that what I create, plan, or want, would never be as wonderful or powerful than what He wants for me - Jesus Christ.

I will always plan and create...but with an open heart and mind that allows Jesus to direct me, change me, and use me to the best of His ability, not mine. Man-made power is so wonderful and beautiful  that it is easy to see how it benefits our lives. But the true Power allows us to fully feel His presence - we don't have to see Him to know He is working within us. 

Happy Easter to you all, and may you always feel the power of Jesus in your beautiful lives.

from my house to your house,


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Mar 5, 2014

Rear Window


There is cabin fever and then there is 
CABIN FEVER!


Hello my lovely friends,

I hope all is well in your world. My world, these past two and half weeks have been a time of testing, a time for resting, and a time for "nesting."

Now before I share my last two and half weeks, I will share a few images I took at an 1800's log cabin that my barber husband and I visited not long ago. He felt I would really love it, since it would be a while before I could be out and about. (More on that in a moment.)



My beloved took me to a very remote cabin on a very cold and windy weekend....weather wasn't an issue, as the cabin had a wood stove. 


There wasn't a bathroom, rather an outhouse (below). No real running water (only water fed to the sink by a well) and no electricity. There were a couple of solar panels, but they were not hooked up at the time, but oil lamps are just the touch to make playing checkers romantic). My handsome barber is making a fire for me above, as I am a fire lover...fires are never long enough or big enough for me. :-)





The privy wasn't bad, actually...got to hear the coyotes up close and personal at night. I felt right at home with the little stove...we made great pancakes (or flapjacks, as my father would say) and brewed up some good ole coffee. Sometimes, I really believe I was born in the wrong century. 





The kettles on the wood stove (below) were full of water for washing dishes and ourselves. I loved the little bit of humidity it gave off in the cabin.





The sink was literally a little copper pipe, bent, and a turn knob to get the water going. More than once we got splashed, as it takes time for it to come down the hill...





While I was outside in the early morning chill, snapping photos, my beloved barber (and his very worn long johns) was getting breakfast. I love this image because you can see how small the cabin is (sleeping quarters was up in the loft). But to be honest, the little cabin had everything we needed and never felt cramped - only cozy.





This view from our porch was so serene.  A little farmhouse below in the valley with a bright red barn...




We drove around to visit the other few cabins (all owned by one person) and got permission to do some target shooting. Most people don't know that I absolutely love to shoot - and I will say that I am a very, very good shot. (I have target sheets to prove it :-)! Below, I am shooting our .22 Ruger long rifle. I was more interested in taking pics of this little red cabin area, but did take a moment to help site in the rifle with my barber/chef/shooter/fire-builder...







And of course, the rifle isn't all that I shot, I brought along some props to shoot! No way am I going to pass up such fab light at a great location. Below is just a sample of my styled shots...




While I could go on and on with my styled shots, I will have to show more of them later. I was just in heaven to have a whole day to just shoot, be outside, and be with my beloved. Couldn't ask for more, really.


But all good things must come to an end, which leads me to the present. 





A "REAR WINDOW" VIEW TO MY CURRENT LIFE:

(For those of you lucky enough to be so young you do not understand the reference to "Rear Window," that is a reference to a famous Alfred Hitchcock movie with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. Jimmy is laid up, and gets to know his neighbors through his rear window, up close and personal...)


Now, you get to know me up close and personal...maybe even more than you ever wanted or hoped for. But hey, this is reality (via iPhone) and as much I would love the "Pinterest" lifestyle, my life really isn't that "Pinteresting" to be frank.





Briefly to recap the last 15 or so months: Back in Nov 2012, I had "simple" knee surgery that went very wrong. I was in constant pain, couldn't even walk at a fast pace, or without a limp. I gained a ton of weight not being able to move for so long, and I never knew what was going to be a "good day" or a "bad day." I didn't write about it very much in my posts, as it was a depressing topic for me, and besides, I really didn't know how the story would end....




Well, on Feb 13th, I got a total knee replacement. Yup, sort of like the bionic woman, but not so bionic...I have been spending these last two and half weeks mainly in our bedroom...with my iPhone. Do you have any idea how crazy I am going without my camera? I decided this would be the best time to get my pro camera professionally cleaned (takes several weeks). When I am not dozing off, or doing physical therapy, then I have my computer and iPhone. However, today is the first day that I am not too tired to actually stay awake longer than 30 minutes....so I give you my "reality" below, all in its vivid glory... :-)





This is where my leg (and the rest of me, come to think of it) are almost 24/7. I must be in this passive movement machine 6-8 hours a day for the first three weeks. And the little controller next to me, allows me to increase the bending. My goal, I am told, is 110. I am happy to report that I did reach that today!

I then started to snap pics of my immediate (and daily)surroundings. I wasn't really thinking anything of it, until I downloaded them and started to play with them; I realized that what has become "normal" really isn't all that normal...really...




I realized as I stare at my bedside table, filled with all sorts of things I need throughout the day...I have a large amount of potions, lotions, balms, and creams...my skin has never been so dry, and my leg, when not wrapped up in its ace wrap, looks like a small blizzard, or snow globe, has taken residence since I am not allowed to have any cream near my incision. 

My lovely caretaker/barber has brought me home things he finds at the pharmacy, while waiting for my perception to get filled...I am starting to feel like all these old-time remedies would fit perfectly in that cabin a few weeks ago!




What I find so ironic is that my "corn husker" and "bag balm" right next to my antique tea towel...



For those of you with eagle eyes (or magnification enhancers), I am sure you spotted the honey and surgical tape. That is for my very burnt (but small burn, thank God) that I got last night. My beloved was making me a fab dinner, and as I hobbled into the kitchen on my cane, he held out a spoon for me to taste, while next to the stove. I had no idea that he had just taken the sauce pan out of 400 degree stove. I grabbed the handle to turn it out of the way, and well...let's just say I didn't think about my knee for the first time in over a year, for a few hours.




To my left, on my honey's side of the bed, I have my "desk," Every morning, my beloved puts my large basket filled with stuff, along with the leg machine, ice, and fresh water. Actually, I have no idea if any of this interests anyone at this point, but hey, this has been the most exciting day in a while. Plus, I personally love knowing the details of those I see online or in magazines. Yes, I am one of those that will take out a magnifying glass and scope out the details of a pic of someone's desk, or kitchen...I know I can't be the only one!





My basket has lots of very unrelated things in it: My therapy pages, a book on French kitchens, image files to be downloaded, glasses, scissors, kleenex, chocolate chips, almonds...the usual.




Then back on my right, on the floor next to my side table, I decided to take a quick snap from my phone. It wasn't until I downloaded it, did I realize that my pic may need some explaining...

Is it me, or does it seem a little strange (I prefer the word,  "eccentric")that my side of the bed my Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is leaning next to my Russian, WWII Mosin-Nagant, bolt-action, rifle. And my Mosin-Nagant, is leaning against my antique, linen, monogrammed table cover?? My rifle is very handy, as the arrow below points it out. I have shot it before, (at a shooting range) and I offer no apologies for it...except to my neighboring shooting buddies in the next stall, who said that my gun sounds like a cannon. (I also have a very beautiful Ruger Red Lable, 20 gauge, O/U - over/under that my barber got me). My goal is to own a very nice (old) Smith and Wesson and an old, (decorative) Winchester rifle...I love both those makers. But I digress...





To be honest, I never really thought of neighboring weapon, Julia, and linen, until I took this pic. And the funny thing is, I use all three. Julia is second to none, my Mosin's site is dead on (no pun intended) and my linen table cover has seen many a tables over the years.

So whether this side of me endears you, or fears you, (and I wouldn't blame you if it was the latter), I am who I am... :-)

And who am I? Well, for now, I will say that I am someone who is very loved by my barber husband. I must boast that he has made me(from scratch) delicious meals of Boeuf Bourguignon (beef stew in red wine, bacon,  onion and mushrooms), Paupiettes Deboeuf (braised stuffed beef rolls), and a very rich Reine Desaba (chocolate and almond cake).  (And why is it again, that I have a gained a ton of weight...?)







Well, it is time to do more PT...which I hate and is very painful. But everything is going pretty well and I see the surgeon again on the 14th. I will be up and around before long.

Until then, I will keep resting, nesting, and testing myself with lots of therapy. 

I appreciate and am so grateful to all those who have sent me beautiful cards, stopped by to visit, or sent me some of the most wonderful hand-made gifts that brought tears to my eyes. (The good kind of tears, which I welcome any day!) To all my readers, know that I am thinking of you and thank you for just stopping by for a visit.

Miss you all.
from my side of the bed to yours...



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Feb 13, 2014

Snow, Snow, Snow!





Just a note to let you know

that in spite of all the snow,


my heart warms up with a glow,


when thinking how I miss you so. 



My computers are up and running finally! However, I'm not at the moment.
When I'm running again, I will be sure to slow down long enough to visit with you again. Until then, may you have a very heart-warming Valentines!


(And no worries, all is well.)

(And I never claimed to be a poet!)




from my house to your house,

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P.S. If you commented on any post not long ago and don't see it, I did read it, but for some reason, Blogger is not publishing them. Hopefully this will get fixed, but thank you, dear readers, for the lovely comments. I do read them all and feel special that you took time to stop by.
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