Monday, March 21, 2011

March Getaway

Most people like to head south for a winter getaway 
but Doug and I decided to catch a bit of winter 2 weekends ago.  Just a wee getaway.
We had not had 2 days off together since vacation last summer. Headed north (Montana and Glacier Nat'l Park) on an Allegiant Air flight (those less expensive flights out of smaller airports) on a Friday evening.  Left 88 degree weather and found ourselves in freezing weather in a few hours.  
We had 2.5 wonderful days of doing something very different from our daily routine.  We reflected on life and the future and the amazing creativity of God.

We stayed at a cute little cabin in Martin City, where we were told, "People are renegades."  The cabin was really cute.  Unfortunately, the leg of the bed frame gave way as Doug sat down on the bed that evening.  "Well, never mind, I'll sleep on that side.  It shouldn't be that bad."  Well, it wasn't so easy to sleep at that weird angle, trendelenberg-like, so we pulled the mattress onto the floor at 5 the next morning for a couple decent hours of sleep.
But never mind, because we had this to see the next day. 

Doug enjoyed quite a few cups of his favorite brew.
We didn't make this snowman but he had no face when we found him and his arm was dislocated to we set that right.
We enjoy reading aloud to each other (especially on vacations) and started reading the book Unbroken, the fascinating and well-written account of a WWII American GI 
who was captured by the Japanese.
A few other weekend memories we came home with: the breakfast waitress whose name was Electra Omega ("my parents were a little weird"), the Irish band playing at the Belton Chalet, the spicy supper that Doug couldn't enjoy so the waitress replaced it and refused to charge him for the meal, the sound of geese flying north over Lake McDonald, the clear water of Snyder Creek flowing through the ice and snow.
We were blessed and refreshed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Do you have a "Dementia Mentor?"

We all need mentors in our lives. I have many (and many of them aren't aware that they are mentoring me). In the past year I have been privileged to care for a beautiful woman with dementia. When I have dementia I want to be just like her. Why? She always had the sweetest disposition, never complained, was always thankful for something or someone, and always spoke kindly to everyone.
While I was away last weekend, she passed away. I don't always cry when my patients die, but I cried when I heard she had died.
Daughter Trisha sent me this poem which speaks so poignantly of the dementia process. 
Forgetfulness by Billy Collins
The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets, something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
 (This is where I was last week-end. More on that later.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Simple beautiful things in my life this week

Tulips from friends...

blueberries on my Apple...

a strawberry on my Apple...

And other beautiful things:  
playing Mexican Train with friends,
lunch out with co-workers (patio dining in March),
working on a project with a friend,
mentoring a new nurse today,
keeping up with my Bible reading and prayer,
Skyping Bowman and Trish,
a little wedding planning with Angie,
knowing God Is In Control.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Improving my mental health

I read an article about mental health that said people who "work" with their hands have markedly  better mental health than those who don't.  
This can take many forms: playing piano, gardening, sewing, decorating, cleaning, 
baking bread, woodworking, painting, fixing a car, dusting (okay, maybe not dusting).
So to improve my mental health and that of my sweet sister-in-law Loraine last Saturday, we made whole wheat bread.
She had never worked with yeast before.
And she did a wonderful job--totally "got" the kneading technique and the bread was seriously the best whole wheat bread I have made in years.  
(Okay, truth be told, I don't make bread all that often.)

Here she is.

And here is the delicious result.

Best Whole Wheat Bread

A slightly sweet, healthy half-whole-wheat bread

1 loaf

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
 (I did use King Arthur flour this time)
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast – I always use quick rise (bread machine) yeast.

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.
2. Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes.  Shape into a loaf and place in greased loaf pan.
Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled; about an hour 
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, lightly place tin foil on top until bread is done.
5. Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Just a short post saying how blessed I am with my amazing daughters.
#2 (birth order, not value) was home again from Lubbock this past weekend, bringing joy to our lives and making me smile.   Angie is one of the funniest people I know.
(And a killer Scattergories player.)
I am proud of her for doing a challenging thing -  living apart from her fiance' and
 working nights on a busy med-surg/oncology floor, making new friends and a new life.
  Learning some of life's hard lessons 
and growing in grace.
It was also great to see her sweet, handsome fiance as well.
109 days until their wedding.