Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remembering Phil

Dearest Reilly,

As Godparent to you, come to me any time for answers to your questions. I'm not sure I can provide them, but be assured that I'll do my best to give you the best direction. I am limited, as everyone is, but I will not knowingly lead you astray.

My love, Phil.

P.S. Phone me collect. Anytime.

The note above was inscribed on the inside cover of The Bible Story, written by Philip Turner and illustrated by Brian Wildsmith, which Reilly received from Uncle Phil on the occasion of his baptism. Six short months later, Dr. Philip Druvanand Risto Sinanan, fondly known as Uncle Phil, died unexpectedly. It was late autumn; the holiday season was upon us. Our grief was immense. To this day, we still feel the loss of a man we longed to know better and to share the unfolding of our lives with.

On this day, the 21st anniversary of his death, I remember with great fondness my brother-in-law, Phil, and I give thanks to God for the time we had with him, however brief.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Better than a blue ribbon

After my swim today, somewhere between exiting the shower and drying my feet, a woman greeted me with bubbling enthusiasm. I see her often; we frequently exchange a joyful wordless greeting that seems to convey our mutual delight for the swimming pool and what it offers us.

"Excuse me," she began, then switched to her native tongue, her bright eyes revealing heaping praise. I had no idea what she was trying to tell me, but her eagerness and obvious pleasure held my attention. Her daughter soon appeared from the pool deck and stepped in to interpret.

"Mother says she saw you swimming and you are the best! She said you are a beautiful swimmer."

As if the blissful swim itself need be any more divine.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Distractions good and bad

Living near a major suburban shopping destination, it's nearly impossible to run an errand after Halloween without getting stuck in traffic. In addition to the usual vehicles, occasional bicyclist, and always-plugged-in pedestrians, there seems no end to the onslaught of visual distractions.

During election season, there is a veritable sea of signage, not to mention the candidates themselves, waving and smiling through gritted teeth at major intersections. And on the weekends, there are the men rocking large signs back and forth, drawing our attention to the current businesses that are closing up shop and hosting a blowout sale. And the teens dressed as Gumby or any number of costumed creatures. Did I mention car washes and screaming girls in their soccer duds, waving hand-made signs and directing us to pull into the parking lot right here, right now?

On my way home from yoga on Friday, the lack of chaos near Green Lake afforded me the opportunity to read the assortment of bumper stickers in view while I waited for the light to turn. Here they are, in no particular order.
Celebrate Diversity
Dognostics know there is a Dog.
Visualize Ballard
I'd rather be driving a Titleist.
Yea, I'm a bitch, just not your bitch!

Oh, so much to see, whether I'm seeking or not.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A day of thanks

More than three decades ago when I was not yet a mother, I jumped at the chance to work holidays. The pay was excellent and the sense of satisfaction ran high, especially during the years when I worked in intensive care. I loved the time spent with patients and their families. It seemed we all had gratitude for where we were, whether providing care, receiving it, or supporting a loved one.

At breakfast today, Mika's pager went off and a phone conversation ensued. Though not quite what we had in mind for this day, he left soon after to do three cases, all emergent and not suited to deferral for tomorrow. There was a time when I would have felt short-changed or angry. Today I told him I was proud of him and added, "Isn't it a blessing you have these skills?" Then a hug and a kiss and he was gone.

I later bundled up and headed out with the neighbor's little dog for a rainy Thanksgiving walk. They've gone across the pass today to celebrate the holiday with their young grandchildren. One parent stayed behind; she works as an ICU nurse. I hope she too can feel the blessing of this day, for what she is offering to those in need, and open to the gift that resides there.

Coming out of the woods I ducked under branches heavy with dripping leaves and spotted my foot doctor jogging in the rain. He slowed down, removed his earbuds and came close for a greeting and a hug. His delight in seeing me out walking with no obvious foot pain was not lost on me. In fact, I'd wager he was downright proud and pleased, as am I. Especially on this day of thanksgiving.

To giving and receiving; to service; and to the bountiful blessings in our lives!

Monday, November 21, 2011

La Nina is here!

With plenty of fresh snow in our local mountains and abundant rain falling at sea level, it appears our old friend La Nina is back. Many years ago I traded in my cross-country skis for some versatile swim fins and keep them in my van with my always-ready swim bag. One of these days after weeks of steady rainfall, I plan to don the fins in the parking lot and wear them into the grocery store. In ever-so-tolerant Seattle, I doubt I'll turn a single head, but surely I'll be smiling through the deluge.

Until then, take a gander at my spiffy new silicone bathing cap. Unlike my quick-as-a-whip mother, I didn't win the cap on daytime TV's Beat the Clock. Gotta love those Sheffer-girl genes!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A grand idea

While perusing an issue of Yes! magazine today, I came across a brainchild of an article about un-cluttering our lives, one drawer at a time. What a simple notion and so very doable! Excuse me while I open drawer #1.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Feet and hips and gait, Oh my!

In my ongoing rehab for plantar fasciitis, I'm proud to announce I've progressed to a new level of therapy called eccentric exercises. I'd been working with my wonderful PT, Dean, of Olympic Physical Therapy, since June on some hip stretching and strengthening exercises when I developed the pesky foot issue a month later. Since that time, we've been trying to keep the hip exercises going while focusing our efforts on the foot, since the pain was quite intense and disabling. The foot injections, anti-inflammatories, laser, ultrasound and exercises have paid off; hallelujah!

I'm grateful to be working with a foot doctor and PT who know what they're doing and communicate with one another! The gait work has long been the missing link in my mobility issues and I am so pleased to finally be working on that with these healers.

Step by step, day by day, with patience, gratitude and faith!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A song of the season

Against the dark stones
waves come, singing a heart song
at the water's edge.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Leashes on, barely!

"How can you be so obtuse?" Andy Dufresne's classic line in Shawshank Redemption came to mind rather quickly today when I foolishly set out around Green Lake with Eli and Maudie. Autumn. Squirrels. Foraging. Nesting. By the dozens.

Sunshine, blue sky, mild temps; so very enticing. And so very obtuse of me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My main men

By the numbers:
stylish hat
clean-shaven face
pairs of glasses
extraordinary men
kind-hearted, fun-loving relatives of beloved Faith
beacons of light in my life

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gathering in community

Nearly 30 years in the same community. Assisting with countless births, nurturing enduring relationships, crafting a life for herself and her daughter.

Today we gather in community to remember this remarkable woman and celebrate her rich and blessed life.

Here's to you, Faith: cheers!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Clarity during repose

I awoke in the early hours, called to explore thoughts and ideas mingled with feelings. I turned things over in my head, composed a piece of writing and applied edits with eyes still closed, tossed and tussled with the blankets, rearranged the pillows, gained a different perspective, then found sleep once again.

Oh, sweet slumber, how you serve us through the gift of rest.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Not a date, but jitters none-the-less

It's a sign of sorts, when, in the simple act of doing lunch, the other person calls himself a socio-phobe. What felt slightly awkward for me apparently felt less manageable for him, but we both got through it unscathed; at least I think so.

As for the soup and tiny falafel patty, double thumbs up!