Constance Ore is a retired Teacher, Choir Director, and Organist. And a formidable cook.

May 27, 2008

Filed under: — Constance at 7:54 pm on Tuesday, May 27, 2008

dogShadows.jpgLast week, heavy rains came, and in a very short time, Sanctuary became primordial with grasses grown waist high overnight and trees heavy with moisture hanging their branches low over the paths creating long dark passages though the forest. Creatures seem delighted at all the new secret places and Alphie disappears in the tall grasses as he checks out their latest activities. I am struck by the number of faces the acreage has as light and water bring about astonishing changes in colors and shapes.

bubbleyuck.jpgIn my weekly foray into medical matters, I stopped by the pharmacy to inquire if there were any effective over-the-counter products for mouth sores. The young man very helpfully told me that all I had to do was mix equal parts Maalox and hydramine, which is an antihistamine, and gargle. He said it had the same ingredients as a prescription mouthwash and would work just as well. All of this sounded quite fine, and I dutifully got the products and mixed them up, though the sight of “cherry flavored” on the hydramine and “mint” on the Maalox bottle did give me pause. Mixed, the color of the stuff was a very hot pink indeed. I took a mouthful and tossed my head back and commenced to gargle. Oh my. The tongue registered a flavor which the brain identified as possibly “fermented bubble gum”. It is always discouraging to find out first hand the drawbacks of certain approaches to things. I shall endeavor to carry on at least a day before calling the doctor and requesting a prescription with the assumption that whatever it might be, it won’t be as full of flavor as the above.

OldEyesNewEyes.jpgThis month draws to a close with Charles playing for weddings every weekend and John-paul returning from Egypt in just a few days. The grand daughters are finishing up the school year. . . older, wiser, and ready for summer’s new menu of activities. Life goes on, with happenings taking place “just like last year” but with enough variations to keep it interesting. We look upon it all with old eyes and new insights and we are ever thankful for the good things that accompany us on our journey.

May 20, 2008

Filed under: — Constance at 4:37 pm on Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This morning, Sanctuary was as beautiful as it can possibly be, with newly mown paths making the whole walk have the appearance of a well-manicured park. At the brow of the hill, on the north edge of the forest, a sharp-shinned hawk has her nest high in a tree not far from the path.hawks nest.jpg It is constructed of rough sticks, and without binoculars, her tail looks like one more large piece of nesting. Some mornings she is sitting out watching the sun come up but this morning she was dutifully on her eggs. As we walked on around the acrage, a brisk breeze from the north moved through the trees in the forest, making me think of other forests on mountain slopes and in other places. Going down the hill toward the wetland stream, the colors were clear and bright in the pasture, and the birds were unusually entertaining. There is a grove of tall deciduous trees just south of the neighbor’s house and in this season, the canopy is new green and full of life – an oriole was singing loudly enough to echo around us, and nearby, a catbird was very evidently working on learning the song. It followed, about a beat later, singing in the same cadence as the oriole, but quite off-pitched and not nearly as full and rich sounding. Then, a gathering of blue jays began to carry on, so I followed them with the binoculars and found a beautiful barred owl sitting on some bare branches and looking right back at me. In the big bird’s momentary distraction, a blue jay actually flung itself into the side of its head and went on, screaming insults. The owl lifted off to seek a more sheltered spot. Many mornings, our walk is less filled with sound and action, but this one was exceptional in every,binoculars.jpg
Because we’ve had lovely rain, the inevitable crop of mosquitos is sure to follow soon. With this in mind, I got out the heart worm pill that has been waiting for Alphie, and approached him as I had in the past, holding it out expecting him to gobble it up as before. This time he closed his great mouth and quite literally turned up his nose. It was such a classic move I had to laugh out loud, though I still had the pill in my hand. I got some very fine ham, cut a small chunk, buried the pill, and tried again. This time Alphie graciously accepted the offering, and swallowed it down whole. This was the very first time I have been faced with rejection of any sort because here is a dog whose taste includes old deer bones, decaying creature bits found in odd places in the pasture, and of course, toilet paper.

Tuesday’s have become “Blood Day” here because I go to the local clinic for my CBC reading. A record of the number and condition of the blood cells keeps us abreast of what is happening with the disease; it appears that there is some change occurring now after a splendid hiatus of six months. In the last several weeks, my energy is flagging and the bone pain is increasing while the white blood cells continue their slow decrease in count. The word “slow” is key. . . each week of life without facing the inevitable outcomes of the MDS is a happy one. Time moves forward with alarming speed when one is aware of the gift of another good and beautiful day, and this year’s springtime has brought forth more good and beautiful days than I can remember.

May 13, 2008

Filed under: — Constance at 7:35 pm on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

DSC_3917.jpgWhat astonishing days the planet has just come through, with cyclone and earthquake and tornados changing the face of huge parts of the earth; add the misery contributed by humanity in its dealings with humanity, and the picture becomes bleak. Yesterday, I saw images of thirsty people standing in water that is too dark and lethal to drink, and images of hungry children running toward relief trucks with too little rice to give. Today there are photos of entire villages shaken into debris with people crying over their dead. All of that, and I am here in the middle of a green place with weeping willow fronds moving in the wind and pear and plum trees so covered with blossoms the air is filled with a gentle snow of white petals. It is too much and it turns my mind into a weary morass which cannot reconcile these things. In the small sound of a single voice, one asks God for large mercy and aid for difficulties too huge to comprehend.

DSC02519-2.jpgBack inside my own skin, life goes on with a continued slow slide downward in the blood counts. Now the blood is to be read weekly because the white cells are at the “low critical” stage. I knew that I was slipping because of the increase in fatigue and bone pain. All the tests taken by the gastroenterologist came back negative, with no signs of the typical illnesses that might cause the digestive difficulties, so “it is what it is”. DSC02519.jpgIn this little phrase, I quote from a story told by daughter Janna about her twins. Returning from a Florida beach holiday several weeks ago, the girls were sharing a motel bed and Fiona was tossing and turning, unable to become comfortable because of a sunburn that she’d gotten the previous day. Ursula began to complain bitterly and commanded her sister to be quiet so that she could get to sleep. Fiona calmly responded with “It is what it is” and then as both the rolling about and Ursula’s dismay continued, she said, “You gotta accept what you can’t change”. Each time I think about these philosophical offerings coming from a seven year old, it makes me smile; changing the years to decades, the philosophy still applies, but perhaps without the smile.

I have to come back to the small and near things to feel at peace once more – Alphie is laying against my feet as I type this, and Charles is sitting next to me working on a manuscript. The setting sun has changed the tops of the trees gold and the birds are making their final commentaries to this day in May. Sanctuary is beautiful and teeming with new life moving forward as it has each spring since the beginning of time. “It is what it is”.

May 6, 2008

Filed under: — Constance at 9:27 am on Wednesday, May 7, 2008

alphieTongueAndPaper.jpgYesterday morning I did one of the more interesting medical tests that I have encountered in my new life. It was one in which I blew into a blue bag and captured my breath in six successive test tubes over a period of three hours. I had ingested some powder in 8 ounces of water and the interaction of my small intestines and that material will be recorded through the testing of the breath. After doing this, labeling the tubes, etc., I boxed them up and sent them to the laboratory. To get ready on the day before, I could eat fruit, white rice, chicken or turkey – basically non-fibrous things, and in the morning while I did the breathing, I was not to exercise or eat or drink anything else. This is called a “Bacterial Overgrowth Test” and was taken to try to determine why my digestive system is not behaving more normally. Charles had to take Alphie for his morning walk and the dear dog brain was immediately challenged by the change in routine. When they got back, Alphie felt it necessary to bring me well-chewed toilet paper, inner roller still in place, several socks and a shoe. As I rescued these items from further destruction with loud “No’s!”, he seemed pleased with the reaction – I think he was assuring himself that I was still properly alive and life could go on.

egyptJP.jpgThis week John-paul commences his travels again. They will ultimately take him to Cairo, Egypt where the temperature hits 100 degrees on many days at this time of the year. He will get to see the great pyramids while there, and of course, will get to experience the culture of that place on the African continent. As he prepares, getting properly inoculated, choosing clothing that will work, and gathering equipment and papers, the adventure calls out to me also – of course, it would require a different body than the one that I presently occupy, but that doesn’t lessen the vicarious enjoyment of contemplating the possibilities.

SpringBlossoms3.jpgMay is always a special month for all generations with school concerts, proms, graduations, Mother’s Day, and weddings. it seems to be the time where winter is finally set aside and new spring and summer beckon. Every bush and tree that blooms in this season is happily covered with blossoms because late frosts, high winds or hail were absent this year and the pear, plum, crab apple, forsythia, lilac and redbud are leading the celebrations with grand color and scents. It is good to be alive and able to observe the awakening once more – give praise and thanks to God!