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

May 25, 2010

Filed under: — Constance at 10:59 pm on Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Winds are wild and restless as the time of spring storms arrives. One looks out at the sky to see many clouds in constant motion – the street wisdom is that later on today, there will be a tornado somewhere as the heat and wind become more intense before sundown. Tranquil spirits are in California or off on cruises somewhere far away.

Who am I now? Another metamorphosis is taking place – I am definitely not at the “butterfly” stage. There is the constant pull of “what is” “what I want” and “how to deal”. Once I get past the “what I want” to “what is” without feeling really badly, then the “how to deal” part must be put into place. I got a blood transfusion on Friday but have not felt a great change in energy, and the food intake problem remains unsolved – I am still unclear about what will make me sick if I do eat – perhaps it is time to check out baby foods even if my formerly fussy taste buds become offended. The liquid diet continues to keep me going at the present, though I am slowly losing more weight.

Life goes on. Pentecost, with the wonderful celebration of the gift of the Spirit in flame and wind has been celebrated, and the church moves onward knowing well that it is loved and supported. Seeds in the garden are up and greeting the spring rains with eager delight, and our Alphie reached his fifth year, making him 35 years old in human count. He is at his zenith in age and should be a suave and sophisticated example of dogdom, however, this seems to have eluded him for he has an awkward walk that moves his body forward in a sway, sway, galumph, and he only achieves the beautiful image of the chocolate lab upon occasions when no one sees him but me. But the joy he brings to us is even larger than his huge smile and that is more than enough. We delight in what is good and we continue onward in hope – one day at a time.

May 18, 2010

Filed under: — Constance at 6:41 pm on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sanctuary is a study in landscape beauty with color, calm skies and a smattering of cottonwood seeds floating past. The vivid purple Dame’s Rockets are blooming in all those spaces where the plant determined to stop and spend the season. Since this behavior is so out of the control of human intentions, there are mutterings about naming it a “noxious species”. Fortunately, there are other, more pressing matters for those in charge of such things, so I am optimistic that these wonderful “look at me!” wild flowers are safe for several more springtimes.

Charles is spending several hours each day re-potting his huge collection of orchid plants. He shakes off the old potting bark, snips parts of the roots that have gone astray, rinses and washes the rest, then places it into a mix of fresh bark, sphagnum moss and perlite. The formula is devised to keep moisture and air beautifully balanced around the roots so they in turn will grow and make plans for next fall and winter’s outstanding displays. I have become accustomed to living in a house where flowers are in every room and in this, my spaces rival the finest palaces anywhere.

The last days have been hard, with foods morphing right under my nose from remembered spring delicacies to harsh and inedible things. The last awful part is that one has to eat something or become increasingly weak; so I grimly consume foods no matter what the taste or lack of it, knowing that in a few hours, my digestive system will reward me with stomach cramps and bloating. I feel trapped and sick; We have visited with the medical community and researched on the Internet for ways to deal with lack of appetite, taste changes, etc., and so far, we have not found a satisfactory answer. This is hardest on the spirit since there will not be a lovely change for the better in how life continues in earth time. I will be able to get some more red blood transfusions and it is likely that I will pursue that venue soon for an energy boost, but meanwhile, my prayers have become a mantra of simple words – “Please God, help me”. There was a time in the past when I felt compelled to add instructions, but in these days, I have come to realize that less is more.

May 11, 2010

Filed under: — Constance at 11:08 pm on Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This day is like tepid water flowing between the fingers and off the hand. . .it is grey and still and uncommonly cool for the season. I stayed in front of the great room windows for a longer than usual time, and the reward was watching a pair of deer moving leisurely down the path toward the house, grazing as they came. We have powerful binoculars on a tripod at those windows, and I was able to see the deer as though I were just a few feet away. These are beautiful creatures on which the burden of wildness falls heavily – this year the Nebraska legislature spent a good deal of time discussing how to control their numbers because they appear to be trampling out civilization as we now know it. This morning’s pair was more like animation added to a beautifully detailed tapestry.

The bird feeders also provided several “worthy seed moments” (these are the times when one says with satisfaction “it’s worth it” in reference to large cash outlays for pounds and pounds of sunflower seeds and the like) A wildly colored lazuli bunting accompanied the indigo bunting as they all stopped to fill up before moving on to their breeding grounds.

Graduations, concerts and weddings are beginning to define the rest of May. Last weekend, for Concordia’s ceremonies, Charles put on his wonderful academic apparel and as we carefully hooked the stole in place, and placed the soft hat with the golden tassel “just so” I thought about the meanings of this splendid garment through the long past; surely at other times and places it signified a grandeur far distant from the ritual uses of 2010.

I remain caught in a cycle that is without a proper solution – I must eat for energy, therefore I must generate some appetite. The various medications have taken the bitter edge off many of the foods, so I have been able to eat. However, the intestinal system is not pleased with anything solid, and therefore any satisfaction about eating is erased by the misery following. At present, it is the liquid diet stuff that keeps me going, and its finest redeeming trait is that you can get the labels off the little plastic containers and make very nice “shakers” for the Vacation Bible school at First Church. Stay tuned.

May 4, 2010

Filed under: — Constance at 8:47 pm on Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Everything seems beautiful this spring – the colors are vivid, the temperature is perfect, and we know we must enjoy everything while it is in place. In a week’s time, a hot and dusty ambiance could easily arrive and stay on for many days. Meanwhile, we plant the garden, consigning the seeds to the earth with the promise that this year, we really will weed, water, and protect that which comes up. Gardens are just naturally hopeful.

The latest challenge that has arisen because of the disease is a curious and unpleasant change in taste. For example, one eats a strawberry. It tastes bitter with not even a molecule of the unique and lovely flavor present. At first, you don’t believe what has just happened, so you try to eat another, and the same thing happens again. Then you try bland, or sweet, sour, or salty foods. Most are bitter and do not even indicate what food they are. The meds given to encourage the appetite have helped a little, because some foods taste like nothing at all, and I can tolerate eating them. It is a nasty loss because food has always called to me, and cooking has been a true pleasure. As we have begun to research this development, the Internet indicates that this is a common thing for people with cancer or AIDS. There are lots of ideas about how to deal, or at least how to keep from losing weight because eating is no longer a happy event. I am able to drink Ensure and that in turn gives me energy. I continue to make meals for Charles though that has become less of a delight because my usual approach of seasoning by tasting is no longer functioning.

So life goes on – this week, instead of thinking “Cinco de Mayo” or “Mother’s Day” perhaps I would encourage a “Taste Bud Appreciation Day” to encourage one and all to be thankful for this small bit of anatomy that can bring so much delight into the consumption of our daily bread.