Monday, January 31, 2011

Life With Sisters


My sister is steadily improving after her stroke and today I was able to take her out to lunch. She had to let me push her in a wheel chair, which annoyed her no end, but the home health nurse said it was that or there would be no outing. My sister said that being in a wheel chair would make her look like an old lady (she's nearly 80). The nurse replied matter-of-factly, "You are an old lady, you've had a stroke and you need to be careful for a while."
Now, my sister still refers to herself as middle-aged. I've pointed out that the phrase means being in the middle of life and I've never heard of anybody living to be 160, but I only said that to her once.
I almost ran for the door right then, but I just had to wait to see what my sister would say. (I was praying it wouldn't be "you're fired" because it took me forever to find this nurse, and she is a real gem). My sister leveled 'the look' (a freeze-the-blood-in-your-veins look that she inherited from our mother) at Shannon, who is in her thirties,blond and very pretty, and said in a sweet but deadly tone, "I had always suspected that you were Nurse Rachet masquerading as Barbie."
I held my breath, waiting for Shannon's reply. She leveled a look of her own at my sister and said, "That's right, Mrs. ---------- and don't you forget it."
Shannon and my sister just looked at each other for a moment. In that moment I was thinking how much I was going to hate looking for another nurse.
Then my sister burst out laughing and said, "Honey, don't you think it's time you called me by my first name?" Shannon laughed and said she would like that very much, and I started breathing again.
Sisters. Life is definitely better with them.
Most of the time.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Who Stole Our Winter?


Okay, roses aren't blooming up here yet...I hope. I haven't looked around further down the mountain but, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to see something blooming down in the canyons around the 1,000 foot level because the weather has been so bizarre for the past few weeks.
Our temperatures have been in the 50's and 60's (!!!) in the daytime, with lows in the 20's at night. Beautiful clear sky, no rain, no snow.
I hate this kind of weather. Most people are loving it, and they look at me like I'm a spawn of Satan or something when I say I want winter weather.
Winter is my favorite season and I want it back! So please, whoever stole Southern California's winter weather (yes, we really do have winter in So Cal), give it back, give it back right now!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Moon Owl

 

A few nights ago I could not entice sleep to stay with me, so I wrapped up warmly in my wool cloak and went for a solitary walk through a forest enchanted by moonlight and snow. Each cedar and pine bough was draped with a heavy cloak of glittering white, while the dogwoods and oaks were elegantly bare of leaf, each branch piped with a topping of moon-silvered snow, some bejeweled by icicles.

The path turned and I walked under a canopy of entwined cedar branches, their green darkened to onyx by the night.  Although dark, the snow covered path glowed with a dim light, faintly emerald tinted, as though I were walking on pale sand at the bottom of a green southern sea illuminated by moonlight.

The path takes another turn and I’m at the edge of a small meadow, the snow deep, unmarked, glittering. Looking up, I see the stars twinkling coldly in the vast indifference of the sky. A breeze, moving slowly through the frigid air, takes snow crystals from the trees and scatters scarves of diamond dust across the meadow.

And then, as if it were following the swirling snow scarves, a Great Horned Owl glides silently out of the dark forest. Enthralled, I watch as it sails without a sound across the meadow. Whitened and silvered by moonlight and starlight, it seems to be a winter magic conjured by moon, stars, and snow. Only its shadow, a hard-edged pool of unforgiving darkness, proves that it is real.

Long after the owl has vanished, I stand in awe-struck wonder, caught fast in the crystal enchantment of the night.

It is not until the ice-filled, needle tipped hand of the rising wind caresses my cheek that I step back on to the path and let it lead me around the meadow and down through the moon-dappled, snow-sparkled forest to my cottage. I anticipate with gratitude the comfort of drinking a cup of hot chocolate by a warm hearth. As I open the door and step into the fire-lit coziness of my cottage, I turn back to the night and savor its enchantment for a moment longer.  Then slowly, regretfully, I close the door on the magic night, the stars and the Moon Owl.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Coming Back Into the Light

This past Christmas was a rather dark one for our family. My sister had a stroke on December 22, and one of my nieces, who lives in Georgia, was in a car crash on December 23. Thank goodness both are going to be all right.

I took the picture above on the morning of December 28 as I was driving home. I had learned the night before that my sister could come home as early as January 10th, as long as she has a full-time nurse for several months, so I am trying to arrange that.

I got a phone call around 2 a.m. on the 28 that my niece would be released from the hospital on the 29th, and she is now at home and doing very well.

As I started up the mountain early on the 28 dawn was just barely beginning. The higher up the mountain I drove, the more beautiful the sunrise became. I felt it was an affirmation that my family was coming back from the darkness, coming back into the light.
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