Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Last weekend, I was up giving the camper van its monthly drive and getting it ready for winter.  As part of my drive, I stopped at the local gas station, and filled it up.  I needed a funnel to add the gas stabilizer, so went inside and the gal behind the counter was nice enough to give me a paper one.  Later that afternoon, as I was heading home in my Mini, I stopped at the same gas station again.  The car was quite dusty, so I ran it through the attached car wash before pulling up at the pumps.  When I went in to pay for the gas, the same attendant from earlier looked out the window at my vehicle with a puzzled look.  She noted the water droplets hanging to the car and scolded, "you washed it in hot water and it shrank, didn't you!" 


My piano is back home!  The living room is a little cramped, and I'm going to have to move some things around so it all fits, but I don't care.  Before I moved from my old house, I didn't play the piano often, but when I did, it was often because I was troubled - the music soothes me.  I'm glad to have it here - this house is starting to feel like home.


I absolutely LOVE late October weather in Kansas City.  I love the way the light shines through the trees in the late evenings, highlighting the fall colors in gold.  I love the turn from the heat and humidity of summer to the light jacket temps of autumn.  


These late few mornings have been cloudy and dark.  I've been back over a year now, and must admit I am still downright whiny when I have to get out of bed before the sun comes up.  I think I should get rain days at work.  I can hear the radio announcement now:  "Because the rain pattering softly on the roof in the pre-dawn darkness makes it well-nigh impossible to pry oneself out of bed, work and school will be starting one hour late this morning."

Wouldn't it be nice?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bicycle Ride!

It's been about a year since my friend Charlie died, and his family hosted a bike ride in his memory this past weekend.

I think he had a say in the weather, because mid-October can be cold and rainy around here.  This past Sunday, though, was 70 and sunny.  The morning started cool, just perfect for exercising.

The ride started just a mile or so from my house, but I still got there just barely on time.  I was a bit nervous about riding with a group (I've always ridden on my own before...), and kept forgetting things as I was leaving the house.  I had to go back in four or five times.  (How did I ever make it out the door with two young children?  I guess I was more organized in those days...)

But, I made it in time to leave with the group, and didn't have any trouble riding the whole twelve miles.  (I was pleasantly surprised with my ability to keep up with the more experienced riders; I'd had visions of them far ahead, me straining to catch flashes of the bright yellow-green of their jackets, making a wrong turn, having to figure out how to ride back home by myself.  Not that my imagination ever runs away with me...)  I did take one tumble.  I started out faster than the riders around me, had to brake - and caught my pedal on the curb.  I tried to correct, but hit the ground.  Fortunately, all I bruised was my pedal and my ego.  (my fun flashy taillight also fell off, but I didn't notice for another mile or so, and by then, it was too late to go back to get it.  sadness.)

It was way fun to ride with others.  Sometimes I was near the front of the pack, sometimes near the back.  I had people to talk to and people to watch.  The group stopped just often enough for me to catch my breath and snag a drink of water. 

It still doesn't quite seem fair that Charlie is gone.  He was one of the good guys and his family and friends all miss him lots; the Charlie-sized hole in our lives has not yet knit or healed.  Still, he wasn't one for dwelling on what he was missing - he was all about the joys he had.  In keeping with his life, though we were sad, we also laughed and talked and enjoyed being alive and with each other on such a beautiful day.  Charlie, here's to you!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Waiting... Not Very Patiently.

It took longer than I'd anticipated to get the permits approved - I didn't realize my house was in a Landmarks Commission district - which requires an extra layer of approval in the permit process.  Fortunately for my nerves, I found out in late August, just in time to get on the September meeting docket.  Also fortunately for my nerves, the city staffer who was in charge of my application was responsive, helpful and made sure I had turned in what I needed to have to ensure the application slid through easily.

As I was sitting in the meeting waiting, I was fairly confident all would go well.  But then came the case right before mine.  The lady wanted to expand her garage - but didn't have very detailed plans, and was significantly altering the street view of the property, so after about 20 minutes of discussion they sent her away to try again.

"Argh!", I thought.  "I don't have time to try again."  Instant panic mode.  When they called my name a minute later, I quashed the panic back down and put on my best smile.  My plans were more detailed, and the planned addition is barely visible from the street, so after just a few minutes of discussion, I was given the go-ahead. **whew!**

I'm not very good at waiting.  I know patience is a virtue.  And I've been practicing for a long time, really I have.  But I'm still not very good at it.

So now I have my permits, and I'm ready to go - and I have to wait until the foundation guy can fit me in.  He said, last week, that he should be able to do it in two weeks, but in my heart of hearts, I'm afraid that two weeks means that's when he'll think about maybe figuring out what he needs to do to begin pulling the resources together for the project which he actually might get to in the spring.

In the meantime, the year leaps towards winter, and my plumbing gets creakier by the day.  (The faucet for the shower has dying washers, and when you turn it on, you get a nice stream of water from the faucet itself.  I'm afraid to take it apart to try and fix it - old plumbing is not forgiving in the least!)

It's going to be a race between the plumbing giving way and the remodeling getting finished.  Each day, when I get in the shower, I pray that the faucet will turn on one more time, and when I finish my shower, I pray it will turn off again.  So far, so good, but this is hard on my nerves!

I'm trying to be patient and trust that it'll all work out - but I'm not patient, and I'm not so great at the trust thing either...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Entropy (definition):

a :  the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity
b :  a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder

I heard a part of a program on NPR this past week talking about order and disorder in the universe.  The professor (I'm sorry I didn't catch his name) on the program was talking about why it is so difficult to keep order in our lives.  It seems that five minutes after you clear a desk, its surface is again covered in papers.  Given that the tendency of the universe is towards entropy, why even bother?

His comments matched my mood well.  Why bother?

But then he continued.  Why bother?  Because life is the universe's way of bringing order into the equation.  Life depends on the orderliness of the cells within those who live.  Death comes when disorder among those cells (think, cancer) tips the balance towards entropy.

I've been pondering his words all week.  I like them.  They make sense at a deep level.  The clothes get dirty, I wash them.  The house gets dirty, I clean it.  The papers cover the dining room table, after a while I can't stand it, and I sort them and get them where they belong.  I take satisfaction in having restored order to my space, even though I know it won't last.  (I'm pretty sure the papers breed on the table at night after I go to bed...)  It's my way of affirming life.

I even took time this week to clean my desk at work.  (see photo)  It had been so long since I'd done it that one of the teachers came in, looked at the bare surface with surprise, and asked if I'd gotten a new desk.  I'm obviously going to have to work harder at that one...