Crema

noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

No Pushing; Stop Pulling March 8, 2016

 

Calvin is nine in dog years, translated to human time – he is about 52ish.  Maybe because he lived on a leash in hot Florida for the last three years, maybe because he is older and not as strong anymore, he wiped out in the MI winter snow.  Result:  torn miniscus or ACL.  Either way, he stopped using that leg for a while.  Thanks to a wise and conservative vet, Calvin is being given time, lots of time, as much time as he needs to heal.  There was an initial prescription for some medicine to reduce the swelling and give initial pain relief.  He also got daily chews to support joint health and encourage joint strength.  I advocated for the continuance of walking this 80 pound lab for his mental health.  The vet agreed but said “no more freedom.”  He is leash restricted.  No zooming around until the healing is complete.

For nine dog years I’ve walked with Calvin.  He is pretty good though not stellar at staying right beside me.  He would prefer to be in front with a bit of strain encouraging me to walk faster.  Not now.  His brisk jog lasts  only a half mile if that.  The rest of his walk is s..l..o..w.  If you would meet Calvin for the first or fifty first time today, you would not see his internal injury on his outer body.    So you would question his limp or hesitation to go up the stairs or clearly painful struggle to lay down.    Its been over six weeks since the wipe out.  And actually, he wiped out once which led to a limp, but the second wipeout a week later took the injury to a more serious level.   When we walk, he does not want to be pulled.  Nor does it help at all to push him to a faster pace.  He is still on the DL.  Pet owners – do you get it?

I get it in human years, in human pain, in human experience of having part of me injured.  But its not on the outside where everyone can see.  In fact, I am trying to keep the outside intact so I can keep interacting with life that I love – the relationship with my husband/best friend; relationships with family, long time friends, new friends in the making; work; play; volunteering; errands; keeping my house and clothes clean; exercising; walking Calvin.  It has been a compact six months of hard – loss, old wounds re-opened, previous emotions of significant loss re-opened, moving, change, more moving, more loss, and all kinds of unfamiliar, new, learning.  It is intense and this most recent loss has wiped me out.   NO PITY PLEASE.  The reason I am sharing this is NOT for the sake of personal condolence.  It is to give a voice to people you know, that may not be able to say, “I’m wiped out.  There is hurting places on the inside you can’t see.  I need time to heal, and it’s not something that can be rushed.”

You who’ve been there, or are there – do you get it?

People who are reading this, look around you at the those you know and interact with.  There might be one or more who is like Calvin, like me right now.  Please, no pushing.  Don’t pull us.  It won’t help the healing for you to try to speed us up or tell us to “keep our chin up”, or say to someone else, “It’s been long enough.  They need to move on now.”  Everyone is unique and what is going on inside might be more complex than you understand, than even they understand.  So how they heal and the time it takes will be unique.  Think about the internally injured person right now.  Take a deep breath.  Another one.  Let go of your need to have them get over it and get better already.  If you can’t, you would love them best by giving them space from you and your need.    If you can, replace the pushing with hugging.  Drop the rope you are trying to pull them with and extend an invitation to have a beer, or a wine and cheese, or ice-cream or go to a funny play. Someone unexpectedly extended the invitation to really listen yesterday.  Those kindnesses are loving and helpful.  But be ready to hand out the rain-check graciously if they can’t say yes this time.   Keep on living your life and let them live into theirs even if it makes you uncomfortable.  Even if it takes a while for them to be like their old self.

I read these words today; words of a person who was overwhelmed by troubles:  “You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.”   This was a statement made to God by a man named David.  (Ps 56).  It struck me that I know God cancels my sin, but then goes and collects my tears.  I wonder what he does with them.  Maybe he taps people on the shoulder, or knocks them on the head and sends them out to love the hurting.  Sometimes He does something Greater and floods the hurting with Peace and Comfort that is more profound than people can offer.  I know this personally too.

And one last thing – if you are the one with the hurt who is pushing and pulling on your old self to pull itself up by its proverbial boot straps, I grant you permission to let the old self off the hook for what it cannot possibly accomplish.  There is work for grief to do.  Let it do its job and have its way.  For if it completes the unique task it has, the old self will return whole and changed and equipped with compassion it did not previously have.  It is worth the wait.

I’m eager to walk briskly with Calvin again.   Not just because his leg will be better, but because my heart will be too.  For now, slow is just fine.

 

 

 

 

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Pizza Floats August 24, 2014

I have an issue with getting started.  Its just plain hard to get going on anything.  My issues shows up first thing in the morning; getting out of bed; putting on my swimsuit to do laps; getting all the necessary car paraphernalia together to go somewhere; sitting down to write something; dialing a phone to call a friend; the full list would bore you.  So today it was not a surprise that it was hard to get myself going EVEN to go kayaking with the hubby.  I normally overcome the getting started issue and did today – thankfully.   This morning paddle was a chance for exercise, enjoyment, and fear facing.

 

And I found out that pizza floats.

 

Calvin the dog and I mutually enjoy one anothers company.  He made it clear that he would like to be with me on the kayak.  So, he got strapped into the a dog life vest I recently purchased.  Don’t laugh – today it did just what I needed it to do.

Before the hubby was seated on his kayak, Calvin fell/slid/losthisbalance/jumped out of the boat.   Know that I am not afraid of the ocean, but am afraid of this sting-ray, big fish, gigantic iguana infested intracoastal water.  For the dog, I am afraid of not getting him back in the kayak, and that he might swim away from me in front of another boat or too close to the razor sharp barnacles.  Reasonable Fear.

Calvin went out of the boat twice (the second time followed the pizza sighting).    We did not capsize.  I did not go in.  The handle on top of the dog life vest made it possible for me to pull his soggy 80 lb body onto the kayak.  I Am No Longer Afraid…to kayak with the lab…who whined the entire ride.   I now know if he ends up in the intracoastal, I don’t have to join him.

Halfway through our mostly delightful yak paddle, we came upon a large slice of pepperoni.  Pizza Was Floating, I never wondered before if pizza floats, but I am here to let you readers know – it does.  Pass it on.  Eat it, throw it away, but please don’t put it in the ocean. Yuck.

Dinner tonight – Pizza.  My Adie-foodie-friend shared this recipe via her son who prepared it for her.  It apparently has the WOW factor.  Looks simple enough to make.  I make my own pizza crust because its yummy, easy, & inexpensive.  No special recipe for that part.  Here is the  recipe for Malaysian Chicken Pizza

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons natural-style chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 (12-inch) Basic Pizza Crust
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 500°.

2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

3. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan.

4. Pour rice vinegar mixture into pan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. (Mixture will be consistency of thick syrup.)

5. Sprinkle cheeses over prepared Basic Pizza Crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top with chicken mixture. Bake at 500° on bottom oven rack for 12 minutes or until crust is golden. Sprinkle with green onions. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Note:  This recipe originally ran in Cooking Light September/October, 1991 and was updated for the November, 2012 25th anniversary issue.

(more…)

 

The Doors Calvin Opened April 25, 2014

Filed under: Adventure,Courage,Dogs,Expectations,new places,Uncategorized — lauradegroot @ 2:46 am
Tags:

The trademark of an official Floridian is that one will not go in the ocean during the ‘winter months because one thinks the water is too cold.

After 18 months, I am officially not a Floridian.  Though the water is chilly at first some days, if you stay there a wave or five, it is warm enough to enter.   Call me Coloradoan.  There are still many times I sit or walk on the sand and feel like I am on an extended time away from Colorado.  Not vacation exactly, maybe in-between there and somewhere else.

I think I was attached to familiar and would like that status again.  With the exception of a few good restaurants, a church we attend, some great people we hang out with,  and the ocean, South Florida still has an awful lot of unfamiliar.

“Unfamiliar is part of the adventure,” so say’s my confident-self.

“Listen Polly positive, where in the heck am I and what am I supposed to be doing here in this foreign place?, ” replies my cynic-self.

That dialogue needs interrupting, re-writing, a new perspective.  Or I am going to miss out on something.

 

It is dawning on me that walking through new doors, going to new places, meeting new people, trying new things could be done with  wide-eyed expectation.   Too often I respond with fear, defensiveness,  sometimes unwillingness.

As a natural connector, a liaison of resources, being unfamiliar is frustrating.  I am not helpful to people because of what I don’t know.  Instead I really need connectors, liaisons.    I’d rather be needed than needy.  Just being honest…  I’m aware this is a struggle, and I’m trying to let it simmer down.

Recently I  entered a place where familiar doesn’t matter.  I walked through a door that Calvin opened.   My ordinary yellow labrador, who prefers people over retrieving anything,  took me to a place I otherwise would not have gone.  The place was something like neutral territory.

Just over 6 months ago, Calvin and I took the Therapy Dog International (TDI) test.  We trained for 6 weeks and passed, even though he had to repeat the “leave it”  task.  (meaning to walk calmly by a row of bowls filled with temptations; balls, toys – no problem;   dish FULL of dog treats – problem).  Once the paperwork was complete, we just had to find a place to go ‘visiting’.

One day in the park, I met a man with a friendly goldendoodle  who was TDI certified.  He told me to contact a local Assisted Living community where they often went.   Calvin and I have walked through the doors of that place for many weeks now.  Because of my time working for a hospice in Boulder, I am fairly comfortable in the setting.  Staff and residents appreciate dog visits and Calvin is pretty good with the Elders.  He has leaned up against a few, threatening to topple them as they give his head a good scratch, but   we are working on that!  One particular man, who is somewhere between 95 and 100, (the age changes a little each time I am there), calls Calvin the beast.  Yet, when his thick fingers find just the right spot behind the ear, Calvin sits perfectly still, not even tail movement.  It mesmerizes me because this is the only person that makes Calvin goes that still.

A request came through TDI for an organization wanting therapy dogs.  The organization was a women’s drug and alcohol rehab center. This would be a big commitment as  back to back groups of women have about an hour outside having a snack, a smoke, a visit with therapy dogs.  We decided to try it once.  The outdoor setting is a circular space with a concrete half wall, bench all along the inside of the wall, shade tree in the center.  Attached to one side  is a gazebo .  A chair blocks the one way in so the dogs may wander from person to person.  Only one pup likes to play with the ball.   They all enjoy attention.   There is no familiar-unfamiliar.   No one is from there, knows someone there, or thought they would be there one day.   I’m surprised to find myself  there; ordinary me with my ordinary yellow lab.  I’m surprised by the women I hang out with.  They could be my best friend, my daughter, my neighbor, my mother, me.  Being Floridian, Coloradoan, Georgian, Texan, or New Yorkan doesn’t matter.   The neutral space was leveled by common love of dogs, being loved by dogs, and sharing dog stories.  I’m so glad I didn’t miss this.

We continue to visit there.

Maybe familiar isn’t all I need.  Maybe being Floridian isn’t the goal.  Maybe the struggle will give way to expectancy.   Maybe Calvin will open another door.

If he does…I’m going in.

 

Calvin and a few of his fellow visitors…

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Day 27: The Origin of Tea Time November 4, 2013

Final Button 3Most of the people I first met in Florida were fellow dog owners in our Apartment complex.  The dogs gave us a common interest and reason for conversation.  A few of those women have become more than just a fellow dog owner.  I am thankful and know that as we get ready to finish the home buying adventure this week, I will miss seeing them daily.  On one occasion my neighbor Cheryl and I realized we both grew up with Tea Time.  After school or between 3-4 pm, the tea-pot and cookies came out.  Black tea in a favorite mug with milk and sugar was and still is my favorite.

I decided to ask Mother Mary about this topic in my interview and the answer went down a lane I didn’t expect.  Enjoy:

Q:  Tell me about tea time origination?

“It’s from the time of Adam and Eve I am sure….I remember it with Grandpa  and Grandma Mouw, (MM’s Grandparents also called pa/ma) we always had tea time in afternoon.  There was catechism after school then we might walk to pa and ma….they would stop the earthquake for tea time.  It was around 3:00 in the afternoon.  

I guess tea time was part of  family routine.  Grandpa (my Grandpa – Mother Mary’s father), he had breakfast at home, then we brought “lunch” to him in the field at 9/9:30. Lunch was a sandwich with cookies or cake carried in a gallon size Karo syrup tin bucket.  There would be another tin bucket, 1/2 gallon size, that had coffee in the morning and tea milk in the afternoon.  

One of us girls (there were 5 girls, no boys) would walk to the field and find Grandpa.  Geri (the youngest) LOVED it.  Grandpa would be watching and go to the end of the row, park the tractor so they could sit in the shade , leaning against the big wheel, and eat together.  Usually just one of us got to go.  And there was always a dog that went along.  (me:  I love that).  He would come in for dinner at noon.  It was a  big meal,  meat and potatoes or casserole.  Lunch would happen again at 3:30, same routine as the morning.  Supper was a lighter meal, but plenty believe me.  Grandpa came home from the field, did chores and then ate supper.  

Quite often before bed we would have another snack. “

Me:  “You ate a lot. ”

MM:  “Yes, we worked hard”

“Harvesters…as they moved from place to place, my mother would cook those meals for all those men.  We helped.  In the morning we would catch chickens, pluck and fry them,  go to the garden get veggies, bake pies, cookies/cake.  Sometimes other wives would come and help.   That was hard work.  We would do a few days in a row usually for 10-15 men.  The men were harvesting oats.  They would cut, bundle, put them in shocks.  One man owned a threshing machine.  He would run the machine on your property – all would work together to bring in the shocks and put them into the machine.  The oats  would run down into a wagon.  The wagon of oats would go in the granary on the farm.  This was for livestock not for breakfast oatmeal.  Just wanna be clear. ( I needed the clarity…I did not grow up on the farm.  And if I did, I would have run and hidden the chickens).   When they were done they would go on to the next place.  

By the way, Grandpa was thin, and he ate lots of butter, cookies, cake, pie, potatoes, lots of meat, but he worked hard.   We had our own meat – never bought it.  So a hotdog was a rare treat.  I still like them, got to be a good one though.  All this junk you can put on them – No No –  just a bit of relish, mustard, chopped onion and plenty of ketchup.

And I just had to add this extra note because I found it sweet…the original make your own dog/cat food:

“There were always outside kitties.  The kitties and the dog got table scraps  Peelings from potatoes apples and such – went to the hogs.  Kitties would get milk in the barn when Grandpa milked.  I don’t think we ever bought dog food.”

Tea Time when I was growing up happened because MM was intentional about it.  It was a part of her life as a girl, but she incorporated it as a mother because her children were hungry after school, needed a snack, so she would pour us tea.  We would take a breath and tell her a thing or two about our day.

Thanks Mother Mary for Tea Time.  Thanks for the history behind an ordinary, meaningful part of my life and yours.  Would love to have a cup with you on your birthday today, with your favorite cookie out of the Cookie Book!

 

 

 

 

Top Ten List of Things I Didn’t Expect, Part 2 July 24, 2013

I did not dream about this list.  On one of my daily potty walks  with Calvin, (I walk, Calvin potties), I realized there were below the surface things I didn’t expect.  Here is the deeper counterpart to the list in part 1.  (see July 23, 2012)

1.  The rhythm is missing.  Seasons of weather give rhythm to the year – cooler color season, soup season, planting season, vacation season.  Here, it is always bathing suit season.  I’ve had a few soup Days, the planting happens backwards or continually, snow bird season takes up 1/2 the year and people come to FL for vacation year round.   Don’t misunderstand…I LOVE being at the water any old day and exchanging my work fancy pants for bathing suits.   I don’t miss the cold & didn’t expect to miss the natural changes which gave a reliable rhythm to my world.

2.   When I got married, I never thought about year 27.   I never considered what it would be like to drop my twins off at college 1200 miles from home; sing my sister into heaven; enjoy  a 16-year-old girl from Thailand living with us; pack up our home of 11 years and leave a state we had lived in for 27/40 year (myself/JR) and move to the nearly southest/eastest corner of the US  – all in a little over 1 years time.  And so I didn’t expect how meaningful, comforting, amazing the phrase, “I’m still here” would be.  It’s a highly repeated phrase we’ve shared the last 8 months. The phrase sits alongside gratitude for the friendship, partnership, mutual mercy and encouragement that has been flung back and forth between us.  I love my husband for better, for worse.

3.    I am capable of learning new things.  Not just about how to play sports, but about how to do life post kids in the house, post living in Colorado. How to do life here with a fresh white canvas to paint on and alot more awareness of who I am.

4. I am grateful for the funds to buy a lot of plane tickets.  Those connect me face to face with the people I love.  Physical proximity to family and good friends should not be taken for granted.   I did.  Forgive me.  Now I’m not.

5. Prior to moving, I was warned about Hurricanes, Alligators, Bugs – they’re all here.  No one mentioned the powerful instantaneous cow-and-horse downpours that happen here A LOT.  I’ve doubled the amount of umbrellas I own and have strategically situated them.  It is an awesome and beautiful display of the Creator’s beauty.  Rain appreciation club member here.  Who knew.

6.  Truly I HATE tight things – spaces, pants, bras, long sleeves, coats, and especially shoes.  Barefootedness feels like a type of freedom that I’ve been granted.  Barefootedness feels like childhood.  Great non-expectation.

7.  Henry’s beach, Santa Barbara California – home to many of my best childhood memories.  I’m nearly unexpectedly overwhelmed with gratitude  for the Oasis the beach is, on a holiday, on the weekend, on a walk.  I am as content  and joyful there now as I remember being when I was growing up.  Thank You Lord for this perfect, personal gift.

8.  Distance makes the heart grow fonder?  Yes it does.  So does watching my girls grow into remarkable young women via places I’ve never been, people I’ve never met, things I’d never do, experiences I’ve never had.  They are leaning into their lives full steam ahead.  I’ll take the Skype conversations over a phone call, and the individual visits over no visits at all.  In fact spending one on one time with each daughter has offered new depth to our changing adult relationships.  Didn’t see that comin…

9. The companionship of my dog in all of the unfamiliar is priceless.

10.  I’ve liked to watch birds on occasion.  Other than the shameless thief of the seagull nature, my eyes and interests have opened up wide for birds.  They are plentiful here and I’ve spent much time quietly enjoying them, appreciating & observing them.  Perhaps number 10 on the list points out the most unexpected of all, the relief and healing of having time to live at a sustainable pace and notice beauty, people, opportunity, blessing, potential.

And it took a move to Florida for this to happen.

I certainly didn’t expect that.

 

Top Ten List of Things I Didn’t Expect

Filed under: Change,Dogs,Fun in Florida,moving,South Florida,Tennis,Uncategorized — lauradegroot @ 3:44 am

I have a very active imagination.   Maybe that is why I dream so much.  I don’t use it all up during the day, so it continues into the night.

I dreamt about this list – even the title.  I saw the list in the dream but have no idea what it said.

In one of the thousands of conversations we had leading up to our move from the 303 to the 561, I remember saying “we don’t know what we don’t know.”   At 8 months, 23 days and 7 hours and 44 minutes after arriving in tropical south Florida, here is a no-particular order list of a what I do know now.

1. I like the weather.

2. JR and I spend a lot of time together, and like it.

3.  Tennis Rocks.

4. Delray Beach is a long way from everywhere else we go to visit.

5. It rains here A LOT.

6 . I am barefoot 90 percent of the time.

7.  I’ve celebrated 7 holidays at the beach.

8.  I miss my daughters tremendously, and when they visit I am tremendously happy.

9. Calvin our lab has lost weight and eats twice as much as he did at a mile high.  I contribute this to the 4-5 walks he gets a day instead of his slow wandering in the backyard.  Most people ask if he is a year  or two old.  When I tell them he is 6, the common response is “WOW he looks so young and handsome.”  I however, am on all of those same walks, have not increased my food intake and  not lost a pound.  I have been carded at a restaurant, but  rather than checking to see if I was legal drinking age, I think it was to see if I got the 55 plus discount.

10. Seagulls will snatch the best bite of your peanut butter and pickle sandwich right out of your hand if you’re eating it on “their” beach.

 

Calvin’s Menu April 12, 2013

Filed under: Change,Dogs,Food and recipes,Uncategorized — lauradegroot @ 4:03 am

I mentioned to my mother-in-law, that there are not a lot of similarities between Colorado and South Florida.  The blue sky may be one exception. It is necessary to acknowledge the differences and find ways to adapt to the way things are here.

Our Colorado home, (still for sale folks – great house – great neighborhood – fantabulous neighbors – make an offer!) had a large backyard which our big yellow dog Calvin spent a lot of time in.  Especially when the humans were not at home.  Here in FL, he always has to be on a leash. When this apartment is human free, he has to remain inside.  I’ve not heard murmuring from him, but have picked up on “the look” which I interpret as his request for leash freedom and wandering privileges.

I will give Calvin props for being the quickest to adapt to our new surroundings and lack of potty privacy.  I’m just wondering if his new menu has anything to do with contentment?   Please tell me what you think after you read what Calvin has consumed in 5 short months:

2 dozen chocolate chip cookies

one large chocolate bar

one roll of chocolate chip cookie dough

1/2 stick of crisco

1 bag marshmellows

1 bag dark chocolate chips

1 bag wrapped caramels (incl wrappers)

2 packets onion soup mix

1 packet dry ranch dressing mix

2 pears

3 plums

1 roma tomato

2 yukon gold potatoes (raw)

1 very large sweet potato (also raw)

I need to clarify, I did NOT offer any of these items to him.  He simply pulled the bin off the shelf and took out some items; helped himself to what was on the kitchen counter; and twice stood on two feet to reach produce in the big bowl.  I do appreciate that he has only tipped the bowl & not caused it to crash to the tile floor.

He may be missing the backyard, but then again, maybe not.

 

 
followingthewatershed

wa·ter·shed (noun) 1. an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. 2. an event or period marking a turning point, a change of course.

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