Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Progress takes Focus and Determination

And Chico seems to have a good supply of both.

Now that I'm over the wonder of walking in water at the pool, I can see that it is very painful, hard work.  I just sit and enjoy the warmth as Chico walks or swims back and forth.  Judging by the facial expressions, the swimming is painful too.  Still, he just goes back and forth, back and forth-mostly walking.  It's impressive.  Today there were serious swimmers, other rehabbers and children! in the pool too.

Chico walked a third of a mile in the water.  Our big hope is that he'll be able to walk one lap around the track (1/4 mile) in July, unassisted.  That certainly puts new perspective on 'weight bearing in January,' doesn't it?

Monday, December 27, 2010


Snow, snow, snow and more gorgeous snow. 

We welcome our new grand niece, Grace Lee Osborne, to the world.  She was born to Heidi and Dave, Connor and Kea in Seattle.

People come and go delivering fuel, food, mail, shoveling...A trip to the bakery...Friends and familiars.  We are grateful. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.

An excerpt from "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye, from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. © Eighth Mountain Press, 1995. Thanks, Pamela.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

Last night we had a fantastic time.  I want to write about it in full.  For now let me say that the best part was the love of friends and the feeling of community.  There is nothing like singing Christmas carols either.  We went to church and then to Mark, Beth and Liam's annual Christmas Eve party (We miss you IKE).  It was more galavanting than Chico has done in quite some time.  He did a little one leg-ged jig up in Lincoln.  He's holding up well today too.
Look at Beth's radiance on Christmas day.  I think Mark took the photo.


A quiet day.  Cold, crisp, beautiful. 

Pam and new dog, Digger aka Guster, came over with Finnish breakfast bread this morning while we still weren't dressed.  Big, white chunks of sugar like New York pretzel salt on top of the braided bread flavored with anise.  Wow.

Before we knew it, noon had arrived.  No time to sit around reading, my enduring, great hope.  We went around the town in the chill.  We were bundled enough to muffle sound.  "What?"  I yelled.
"I said, I guess people don't really stop by on Christmas."
"Depends on whose house."

At home there were white peanuts clinging to faux suede.  In spite of or mutual plea for no gifts, wrappings littered the floor.  As a neighbor walked by our large unadorned window, Chico leaped up and beckoned him in thus proving people (and dogs) do stop by on Christmas. 

In my family of origin, the Stewart family, there is a fondness for tartan.  As an American Scot, my father always made a big deal of this.  He loved the Ancient Hunting Stewart Tartan, Stewart of Appin, and many others.  On the other hand, it is forbidden for Stewarts to wear any tartan not bearing the name Stewart.  Anyone non Stewart shall not wear the Stewart Tartan.  I think these are ancient clan rules.  My mother, the seamstress and consummate do-it-yourselfer, nurtured his yen for the highlands with hand made garments of all types and in all Stewart tartans.  Now that my parents have passed, we siblings (6) amuse ourselves and each other with tartan tokens.  The Royal Stewart Tartan, shown here, is the most common.  Thanks, Nance.  Nice to be remembered, and nice to remember.

Now we look forward to Pam, Reinhold, Edgar and the new dog bringing over Indian.  They make great food.  They are great neighbors.

Merry Christmas.  We wish you all the joys of the season.  Twinkling lights, twinkling eyes, brimming hearts and (all the) rest.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

More Swimming

After a great evening with brother Gordon on Friday, we had some Saturday adventures.  Chico went into the pool again.  This time it looked much more like work, less like jubilation.  I guess we'll have to find that in Christmas Carols.  Increased activity brings increased pain.   I find myself stupidly asking, "What is wrong?" as Chico grimaces on his way to the loo, or just lying in bed.  Things are shifting again, like afternoon light.

Speaking of afternoon light, arriving home yesterday post swim and shop, we found a famous Bob StetZENmeyer blinking globe hanging like a plant on the porch.  Once again the generosity and benevolence of a friend welcoming us upon our return warms the cockles.  Thanks, Bobby.  Your spirit twinkles here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Rare Night Home Alone

Thanks for the comments! 

Chico made it in to real pants tonight and went out to a School Board meeting.  I stayed for a few minutes until I realized my time would be better spent at home.  Here I am.  He's gaining independence.  It's weird.  Rattling around trying to figure out how to best use the time...

The accident lent such clear, strong purpose. 

Luckily it was only a loan.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Big Day

Real Trousers,
Real Dress Shirt,
Crutches no wheelchair
and off to church he went.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Chico was itching to get to the pool at Vermont Sun in Middlebury on Saturday.  I was reluctant and cranky.  There is a lot to do these days.  Chico was determined. 

We arrived, circled around, tried to find a ramp in.  The ramp was in back at the rehab entry.  Chico insisted on using the front for a variety of reasons.  We had forgotten the crutches.  We had the walker and the wheelchair.  He walkered right over the pavement and up to the steps, held on to the banister on one side with both hands and hopped up.  Unstoppable. 

I helped him change in the Family Changing Room (bars all around) and we went to the pool.  Before I could get all my gear and chair set up to watch, he was in that lap pool and coming toward me.  When he actually got to me he was singing, "Just Walk on By" ( as sung by Dionne Warwick and written by Burt Bacharach).  It was a tearful moment before he gave a whoop and began swimming.  Next time he came by he was swimming and chanting.  Whatawonder.

Chico was in the pool for about a half hour swimming, walking and vocalizing. Again, just as I put my camera away and began to write, he was out of the pool and headed for the sauna.  Doesn't titanium conduct heat?  I dunno but I got him out of there before we could really find out.  Being with Chico these days is kind of like having a toddler.  Just when 'you' are focusing on something else, the toddler slips away.  Or just when fatigue is about to crash everyone under like a wave, a huge growth spurt occurs and everyone is renewed.  And if 'you' weren't there, 'you'da' missed it.  I don't want to miss it. 

From the fitness center we went to the Coop.  Chico cruised around with his walker.  First time walkering in public.  He did well.  He actually shopped for food which is an indicator of how comfortable he was.  He was unphased by his attire:  pajamas and unfastened sandals over socks.

Today is a little tricky-some soreness after a poor night's sleep.  He's had some great contact with community though both at church and at home. 

Life is good.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Albany Day

I'm continuing the Chornography (see Michael's Birthday) as I wait for Chico and Mark to return from Albany.  Michael is a brilliant songwriter and composer.  His album, "MOTHERTONGUE" of 2006 is a testament to the songwriting.  There are many wonders including, "nothing is pure [nothing is simple]."

Chico and I had a brief chat as they passed through Whitehall.  Apparently Dr. Hospodar approved a little weight bearing and urged SWIMMING (again).  (Suggestions for therapy pools are now being solicited.)  Sounds like things are progressing nicely by those two bites, huh?  I can't wait to hear more.  I have to get a 'handicapped' hanger - it seems we'll be having more outings!

Thanks for being with us through this.  The meals, for one thing, are more than helpful.