Revival? Revival!

I need to get back in the habit. Boy howdy, do I need to. I couldn’t even remember how to sign in to write here!

Just under four months and counting till my next awesome adventure.

I did not write enough about the journey through Bulgaria and Greece. I have tons of pictures and lots of memories. But sometimes combining the two….Or recalling the details, vivid ones….There was hardly time.

I should have made the time.

The trip was exquisite in every way, except I didn’t capture it the way I wanted to.

So four months to establish a habit. To show up, to write it down, to notice those everyday miracles.

Because in four months, I will be cruising through Northern Europe–with an eye on Belgium and France afterward…..ten countries in all, I believe. I want to be fully present, in the moment, for all of it. The best way to do that? Share it.

There’s a lot to do in these four months, so let’s get to it, shall we?

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Good Morning, Sofia!

Good Morning, Sofia!

It’s a new day.  A new hot day, apparently.  Bring it on!

Getting here wasn’t the easiest thing.  Getting up yesterday morning after just a few hours’ sleep wasn’t the easiest thing.  But the day was more than worth the push to put difficult beginnings behind. 

I feel much more ready for today.  Hopefully my mind will be a bit more willing to put words together for all of it in the coming days. A good night’s rest has already done a world of good. 

My Sofia Sisters, Old and New

 

Oklahoma

Prairie_fence.JPGThere’s nothing quite like going somewhere else, or getting ready to go somewhere else, that makes you take a good long look at home.

I am looking forward to seeing sights and hearing sounds, and tasting things that I don’t normally. The other side of the coin is that to those I am going to visit, I live in a far-away and unusual place.

I am watching out my window as I type.  There is a juvenile rabbit hopping along the fenceline in the yard next to ours filling up on an abundance of overgrown clover.  A flock of sparrows keeps darting from a variety of perches in the chain link fence to the dirt pile under the elm tree.  I wonder if locusts are digging out. There’s something delectable scurrying about down there.

Ah, there’s my pigeon buddy.  I don’t think it can fly.  For the past week, it has visited me in my garage, I have frightened it out from behind our air conditioner when I walked out the kitchen door, and right now it too is darting about around the dirt pile.  It flaps every now and then, but not much and lists a little to its left. Oops, well….it just made it to the top of the chain link fence.  Then came down to the ground again to feast on something.  Wait, no.  That’s a second one!  The injured one is climbing up the tree trunk now.  I might have to stop writing and watch to see what happens.

I hope in the next few days I can put together a digital photo album to showcase familiar parts of my surroundings that might be intriguing to those I meet.  My son was already sweet enough to put family pictures on a small digital key chain for me to take with me.  Now I need to learn how to say family, husband, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, niece in Bulgarian.  Should have done that a long time ago.  But I can say hello! And please and thank you and introduce myself. And count.  And gesture a lot.

Language. That’s a whole other adventure.

So will I get to do any of this in Bulgaria?  Will there by time to watch birds or find rabbits or catch the smallest glimpse of everyday life, somebody else’s mundane that is strange and fascinating to me?

I certainly hope so. In the meantime, where did that pigeon go?

Countdown…

I am going to start my 55th year of life in a country in which I was not born. An adventure! Could the whole year be one?

I am getting bruised where I keep pinching myself.

I confess I have carried my passport around with me since the May storms. It was not going to get swept away in wind or water. I have a reoccurring nightmare in which I arrive at the airport for an amazing trip only to find I have left my passport at home, there is no time to go retrieve it, and I have to miss out on the trip.

It will not be a self-fulfilling prophesy!

Today I had a thrilling morning just looking for rocks.  Since Bulgaria is the Land of Roses, what better gift could we find than Oklahoma rose rocks.  Abe and Ashley went with me and in well under an hour we had a small box full to clean and sort, which I will do tomorrow.  They won’t all go with me or I would have to leave my clothes behind.  But some of them will make lovely gifts.

Ashley also went clothes shopping with me.  It’s been forever since I earnestly shopped for clothing, but as I began packing I noticed how worn some of my things had become.  I am not a clothes horse; they are something I put on to keep from being arrested.  But today’s shopping trip was such fun and even better, I am down two pant sizes.  Woot!

Very good start to the final week before I take off for Bulgaria.  Bulgaria.  My goodness.  Pinch!

I am sad to be missing my ASL Convention in Denton, but I trust I will hear the reports before I go.

 

The Birth of a Mom

My life as a mom started right smack dab in the middle of 1987. 

My life was already in tumult. Nine short, endless months before we had uprooted and transplanted 1,500 miles away from family and friends. I knew from past experience that becoming part of a new fabric, if you will, was not an easy thing for me. In the past, though, I had been able to go home to familiar voices and faces and routines after a day of new surroundings and faces. 

Not here. Not here where it rained and rained and rained, and where the traffic snarled like badly wound skeins of yarn, and the roads were quite similar. I was surrounded by friendly people who were eager to make me feel welcome. But their shared history was a foreign language to me. To them, naturally, mine had little relevance. In time we would make shared memories. But for now…

I was going to be a mom. Here. Just myself and my husband and the little one. Alone and more than just a little scared.

Things fell into place in my behalf quickly, however.  One of my new-found friends was having her baby at home.  Once I met her midwives, a skilled team with hundreds of births under their belts, I was able to set aside my white-coat panic and developed a healthy respect for what my body was capable of.  I was at ease with them from the start. 

I did have to endure a little standard-procedure pressure from the doctor who agreed to do backup, so that if complications developed, I could get into the hospital perched on a hill just minutes from my doorstep. This doctor was fond of C-sections and warned me at four months that I was too small to have the baby naturally.  My midwives laughed and reassured me that I wasn’t small. I certainly wasn’t feeling small! My concerned melted away. 

Until I was three weeks past the due date. My husband came with me on my last visit to see the backup doctor. She naturally wanted to do a stress test. Hubby asked what we were looking for–what we did or didn’t want to see. The test came out great. Doctor was not pleased. We got lectures on the breakdown of the placenta; hubby countered with further questions, the answers to which were more in our favor than hers.  When she insisted I should be admitted, he made a deal. If the baby wasn’t on the way in 24-hours, we would come back and do as she asked. She reluctantly agreed. Thank goodness. 

At the advice of my midwives, I drank a chocolate-castor-oil-milkshake (never, ever, ever, ever again!) and that got things started.  Walking around our block again and again and again kept things going. All other details have been lost except that moment my son was here.

Unbelievably here, resting on my chest, so tiny and breathtakingly remarkable. No evidence of being overdue, or having been in any kind of danger. Here now without the use of drugs, much less surgery. I heard that my backup doctor was in surgery when my midwives called to let her know I would not be coming in. It was announced to her over the loudspeaker that the Dekat baby had arrived, safe and sound. To this day, I wish I could have been there to see her reaction.

The dangerous part, if there was one, came when I didn’t produce any milk for him.  None of us had dreamed that would be a complication, given how well everything else had gone. I have never been quite as relieved as I was when we found that his little body did well with goat milk. The trial-and-error series leading up to that discoveryhad been exhausting for us both. My pediatrician told me later he could not explain exactly why he hadn’t put him in the hospital the first time he saw him, but he said he didn’t want to undermine our confidence as parents and felt he could trust us to turn things around. Which we did.

Finally, finally the chaos died. The midwives were on to their other moms-to-be. Daddy was back to work. I was alone in my house or our negotiating the winding roads of Danbury with a thoroughly enjoyable little companion. My days were filled with watching him learn, my nights with early-morning feedings and lullabies. When Dad got home from work, he took over–diapers, feedings, reading, all of it. 

My little one helped me meet people. He became part of the new fabric I was weaving. Here in this place far from home, I was creating my own home. My own family.

To this day, I love his company. He is laughter and energy, quick wit with a little goofy mixed in still. He has brought endless adventures and a treasured daughter into my life.  He will always make my heart overflow with love and joy like nothing else I have ever known.

June 30, 1987. Happy new being-a-mom year, one of the best new beginnings ever.

Thankful For a Creative Mind

I had a pretty challenging morning today.

All my children are out of state this weekend.  So I am holding down the forts which consists of feeding and watering a cat and a dog at one house and watering plants at the other. The plants are tomorrow. Which was a good thing because after the cat and dog I was pretty much toast.

I let myself in the house without a problem and carefully put my keys down so I would remember where they were. Kitty was happy to see me. Wouldn’t let me walk far, twisting in and out around my legs. Eventually kitty was fed and watered, so I let myself out the back door to say hi to the puppy. He’s getting big, but his claws are still puppy-sharp.  We played a bit and I was done. Time to feed him, so I went back to the door and turned the knob….

It didn’t budge…

So I did what they always do in the movies. I wiggled the knob like that would do something. 

It didn’t. I am still not sure how, when I locked the doorknob after I let myself out…

So here I stood with a dog still bouncing like he’s on springs. Slowly I checked the options:

The only gate out of the yard is locked from the outside. Impossible to consider unlocking the gate to escape. 

Call someone to do so? No cell phone. In fact I had left the phone at home when I went to workout. Then I dashed to do animal check afterward. My husband had no idea where I was.

Okay, swallow that little bubble of panic.  It was time to put the old noodle to work.

That stockade fence sure was intimidating. I tried to get a foothold on a cross piece. I wasn’t letting myself consider what I would do if I got to the top. The dog was helping. Yeah. Getting over the stockade fence was not going to be an option.  

Ah, good news. That fence did not circle the entire back yard. On the east side there was a length of rather encouragingly droopy wire fence. The dog joined me to contemplate how to get over it. I was sort of afraid he would follow me, if I were successful. If? 

No, must. But I am so dang short. Could not hoist one of my stumpy little legs over the top. Time to find a climbing tool.  

Yay! Folding chairs. What if I broke it climbing on it? 

What if I died of heatstroke locked in the kids’ back yard? I can buy a chair.

Didn’t break the chair, didn’t break a leg! I was out of one yard. And in a strangers’ yard. I had noticed two cars in the driveway when I pulled in the kids’ driveway. Better knock and let them know what I was doing in their back yard. 

No one answered. There was no way over their fence there by the door. Only option–gate on the other side of their yard. Provided it was not…locked… And no one shot me while I slithered through their back yard.

No locks, no guns, no police. Just the poor puppy howling because I left him and hadn’t given him a thing to eat. I walked calmly and carefully to the kids’ house pray, pray, praying that I had not locked the front door when I went in.  It would be a long, hot walk home. And then there would be the issue of getting back in the house if there wasn’t another key other than the one locked in their house…

Too much worry.

I finally breathed when the front door opened. I promptly fed and watered the bouncy, sharp-clawed puppy, said goodbye to the kitty who was racing about the house like he was full of my initial panic, and got myself home so I could eat, too. All of the sudden I was very hungry, very thirsty and very tired.

All that to say, I find myself grateful for that ability to push the fear away so I could think, and the ability to think outside the box until a solution worked. Had there not been chairs, there was a gas grill that might have gotten me hoisted up and over that fence…

Gotta appreciate and take care of that fabulous brain, because when I need it to work, most of the time, it does a pretty good job!

Photo by Th Sid

 

Let’s Grow!

Life is a garden. 

Dig in!

Today’s post was I nspired by a local nursery sign. I have had veggie plants and flowers for awhile now, but was afraid to move them off my sheltered porch given our May showers ranging from torrential to frozen. But with my hubby’s help, we’re off and growing.

 

Onions and oregano, showing how it’s done

 

Front porch family