Sunday, June 28, 2009

Back to Life

Well, I totally missed Poetry Friday again, but I just came across this great site, and I figure I need to share it. My friend, Megan sent the link to me for The Favorite Poem Project, and I finally took time this morning to look. It's really cool! Little embedded vids allow regular folks to talk about their favorite poems, how they've influenced their lives, and then the poem is there, in text and read by the person.

I found the vid about this poem to be particularly touching, and quite apropos for where I am right now in my physical recovery.

A Psalm of Life
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real—life is earnest—
And the grave is not its goal:
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destin'd end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!


Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act—act in the glorious Present!
Heart within, and God o'er head!


Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.


Footprints, that, perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwreck'd brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.


Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

I feel like I've been slumbering a bit (although obviously not long enough this morning, because I was up at 4:30!), but, you know, in my life, because things have to be put on hold while one recovers from injury or illness. But I am glad to be back in the active world again, working and living and making my own footprints in the sand.

My sinuses are still dripping (more like the fateful call of The Raven by Poe, actually - drip, drip, drip, drip), but I'm back at work and doing well. The surgeon said Friday that he's thinking I might never need to have the knee replaced - isn't that cool? It's all healing so well! What a lovely bit of news, eh? Each time it seems more real! I have one more week of part-time work, and physical therapy is scheduled . . . and then he said to continue physical therapy as long as worker's comp will let me. I'm going to need to call my case worker Monday and see what the deal is on that!

Simon leaves for Scout Camp today (Mike will drive him out there), and we'll go retrieve him Saturday. He only has a few badges he's working on this time (in the past he's worked on 6 in a week), but one of them is Lifeguarding, which could eventually yield him some income - gasp!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Well, it's Father's Day, and I want to pay tribute to some fabulous men I know.

My husband is a wonderful father. He has spent a lot of time and effort building a strong relationship with our son, and I think it has paid off in a great, self-secure young man. I love how they talk with one another (even when it's about stuff that is so boring to me that my eyes roll back into my head), and I really love how they can both tease each other, and take the teasing.

I have to admit that there have been times when I've been a little jealous about their "boy club" (I will probably never think fart jokes are funny), but I've always known that the friendship they have would be important in helping Simon become a strong man. I am very thankful for my husband's fathering gifts. I love you, Mike.

My grandfather, whom I called Pop-pop, was a light in my life. He's been gone for many years now (20?), but I still think of him all the time. I remember singing with him, listening to him play the organ, and knowing that he loved to hear us sing for him. I remember his courage in facing the pain he had every day. He and Grandma gave us all a great model for how to love your family. I will always love you, Pop-pop, and I look forward to being with you in Heaven someday.

Now, for my dear dad. I made a list for my mom, and I'm going to make a list for Dad, too. Here are some of the many things I have learned from my dad:
  • always welcome new people with a smile, a handshake, and if they're entering your house, ask them what they'd like to drink
  • it is good to be able to laugh at yourself, and also to be able to make others laugh
  • telling jokes is an art, learn it and use it
  • the joy of playing games is in the play, not the outcome
  • sing out, Louise!
  • early mornings and sunrises are worth it
  • take time to watch sunsets, too
  • if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all . . . except for those few times when you're "simply acknowledging someone's differences" LOL
  • if you look like Santa, milk it (he carries candy canes in his pockets all season, I think)
  • family time is really important
  • never miss the opportunity to tell people you love that you love them
  • hugs rock
  • it's ok to cry, even when you're happy (maybe I learned this from Pop-pop?)
  • a good back scratch is always appreciated
  • cold hands on a warm back can be really nice . . . I actually used to love it when I was a kid and Dad's car heater wasn't working, and he'd come home from work and put his FREEZING cold hands on my warm back
I love you, Dad.

I want to say a few words of appreciation in honor of my father-in-law, too. Jim has always made me feel welcome, a part of the family since the first time I visited. He's like a second father to me, and I love him dearly. I love his sense of humor, and I love the way he gets us all sharing around the kitchen table (tell us about the very best breakfast you've ever had . . .).
I love you, Jim.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gov Strickland proposes 50% cut to Public Library funding

I don't post many things out of a political nature, but this one could not be missed. Gov. Strickland is proposing a huge cut to Ohio's public library funding.

I am not simply asking because this is my own field, but because I see, everyday, the growing importance of public libraries in our communities. As funding is cut for parks, Rec. Centers, public pools and after school programs, those children come to the library for recreation and homework help. As people lose their jobs they come to the library for help searching for jobs, creating resumes and "free" entertainment from our books and DVDs. Public libraries across the country are being called to do more with less money, but this kind of a cut would cause many of Ohio's libraries (long known for being the best in the nation) to lay off staff, cut hours or perhaps even close their doors.

If this is an issue that concerns you, please write to your state representatives and to the Governor's office. If you need the addresses, you can ask your local Librarian for them, or click here.

Thank you for your consideration of this issue.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fit as a Fiddle and Ready for . . . Work?

Well, it's been a long recovery, but it's time to get back to work and see how I do! I go back to work tomorrow, part time, and I'm thinking I can do it! I'll be working 4 hours a day, 5 days this week. The twist to this? I'm going to a new location! Yup - I'm starting back at a new (to me) branch! I'll write more on all of that another time . . . tonight I'm feeling like I need to do more of an update on my recovery.

Recovery Update:
  • I can walk with nearly no limp - when I am using my cane and have my knee brace on.
  • I can walk without either the brace or the cane . . . or without both . . . but I tend to limp more, and it tends to make my right ankle hurt.
  • I'm still going to physical therapy 3x/week. It's great, it helps tremendously, and I have about 3 more weeks left.
  • I can go up and down stairs. I do much better with a railing or two, but can manage going up just fine with just a cane, and do fine with a cane and a friend's shoulder going down. I do sometimes go down one curb step w/just my cane, but it really feels like a free-fall, still.
  • I will see my surgeon again in 2 weeks.
  • At this point we're still all thinking that it's going to be a long time before I need to get my knee replaced - YAY!
Stuff I've Learned:
  • How to use a wheelchair, a walker, and a cane. Ironically, I've used crutches before, but for some reason I was unsucessful with them this time.
  • Putting a knee brace on over clothing is a pain in the patootie, but it's better than having all that hardware under your pant leg.
  • Always carry your cell phone. This is how I called for help when I fell, and how I've been able to stay in touch with everyone during my confinement in the recliner.
  • My 2 cats CAN both fit in my lap.
  • It is not a bad thing to have a small, galley kitchen. Sure makes cooking easier when you can hardly walk!
  • I am greatly blessed to have an abundance of friends! People have brought food, come for visits, built things for us, loaned me DVDs, played online games with me, called me, taxied me around in their cars, sent cards and done countless other kindnesses. I could never thank all of you (all of them) sufficiently. I am so blessed.
  • I have a marvelous husband. Mike continues to work hard around the house to keep things running. (for instance, today I think he did a mountain and a half of laundry)
So, I come to the end of this medical leave feeling full. I'm full up with the love of my friends and family, and I am, frankly, tired of sitting around and finding things to fill my time. I am ready in my mind to go back to work, to take on new challenges of a new location, and I am ready to push my creaky body into service once again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A favorite Poem

It's poetry Friday again, and even though I don't always participate, it occured to me to today to share one of my favorite poems with you:

There Once Was a Puffin

Oh, there once was a Puffin
Just the shape of a muffin,
And he lived on an island
In the bright blue sea!

He ate little fishes,
That were most delicious,
And he had them for supper
And he had them for tea.

But this poor little Puffin,
He couldn't play nothin',
For he hadn't anybody
To play with at all.

So he sat on his island,
And he cried for awhile, and
He felt very lonely,
And he felt very small.

Then along came the fishes,
And they said, "If you wishes,
You can have us for playmates,
Instead of for tea!"

So they now play together,
In all sorts of weather,
And the Puffin eats pancakes,
Like you and like me.

by Florence Page Jaques

This has been published with delightful illustrations by Shari Halpern

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bragging on my kid!

I feel like I brag about my kid a lot, but this week brought several more opportunities for proud tears to come to my eyes. (Yea, I'm a cryer) 8th grade is over for him now, and they had an award ceremony Thursday morning. Si received 2 awards, one for Outstanding Artist, and one for Most Original Topic of the Science Expo. He's pictured here with two of his close friends, Storm and Mark. The pic is a little dark, but if you click on it to expand it, you'll see it better.

This weekend is the Columbus Arts Festival, and our young artist is quite involved! As a Young Docent for the James Thurber House, he is performing a Reader's Theater version of "The Night the Ghost Got In" in two performances at the Poetry Stage.

He did a fine job this morning, and I look forward to seeing him read different parts tomorrow! Here he is, listening to the other young docents tell versions of explanations and other stories of mysterious happenings at the Thurber House.

Thanks to a great Art Teacher at AIMS (Arts IMPACT Middle School), Si has 2 pieces on display in the Student Exhibits. One is a print he made using linoleum blocks that he carved. As you can see, it's a lovely, detailed print of a leopard. Luckily he made 4 more prints, because his teacher wants to keep this one at the school forever.

The other is his self-portrait, and, as our friend Bu-ying said, I bet he'll have people stopping him on the street saying "Hey, you're that kid in the picture!" Larger than life!

Remembering Mandy:

I again find myself needing to write a few words in memoriam. A dear lady, Amanda Maxwell, passed away last week. Her memorial service was this Thursday night. She was a strong woman of God, a woman who lived her life seeking God's will and purpose, and raising a large family of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren who follow God as well. She has left a powerful, far-reaching legacy in her offspring, many of whom are great servants, loving people with great talents generously shared.

When I first met Mandy it was in the Sunday School rooms at our church. She and I taught together for a while, and I remember her nurturing, her compassion, and her love for both the children and me. I learned a lot about love from watching her. I've also have the honor of being friends with several of her children and some of her grandchildren. Again, her love shines through them, and her strong drive to "do what is right" is evident in all of them. I've always loved being around Mandy and her family. My heart and prayers are with them in this time of mourning, but I also celebrate with them, knowing that Mandy is now at home in the presence of our Lord. Her memorial service on Thursday was one of the most glorious, celebratory services I've ever been to. It was an honor to sing along with the old hymns, knowing that Mandy is singing with a glorious new voice beside her Savior.

Rest well, Mandy, enjoying your painlessness. Someday we'll meet again and have lots of time to share more stories and songs.