Archive for October, 2016

A HARBOR FULL OF GRACE

Angel and I drove to Havre de Grace again a week after the family visit — one of our favorite outings since moving here, only about 20 minutes from Bel Air.  Nobody here pronounces “grace” the fancy French way,  but as in “Amazing Grace.” A good, old flat American “A” is fine with Maryland folks.

A bit of background. Named for a port in France, this charming Harford city, more like a cozy village, is situated where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay, and is a historical area.  In the War of 1812, the British burned and plundered the area.  Now, thank God, it’s a haven of peace and serenity.

The day began gloomy and cloudy, but weather reports were hopeful, and we were rewarded by the sun appearing at noon and a gentle breeze blowing from the water.We both like walking to the lighthouse and back — besides being good exercise, we always see smiling faces, hear friendly greetings, and are both delighted when children run over to ask shyly:  “Can we pet your dog?”  We’d be disappointed if they didn’t!  Had a nice conversation with a young woman who’d lived in Jackson Heights before moving to Maryland, and gave birth to her only son at 41 as I did.  Small world.

Then, walking slowly with a cane, a man coming back the other way, abruptly announcing: “Dogs aren’t allowed here.” But he looked pleasant, not annoyed, so I said I’d seen the notices posted, nobody ever stopped us, and though we may not look like it, Angel was in fact what’s called a “comfort companion,” and I definitely needed one. That’s all I meant to say then, but suddenly found myself sharing about my depression. And was abashed when he told me he was on many medications, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease over two years ago. We hugged each other, said we’d trust in God, pray for each other, hoped we’d meet there again. And I promised to put him in my next post. So,  John Barton, I did.

When Angel and I got back to the Promenade Grille I ordered the best bowl of New England clam chowder I ever tasted, with a side of three hush puppies, one of which I shared with my friend — couldn’t resist her melting, pleading eyes, though I’ve been careful to keep to her diet and give her Cushing’s Disease medication — she’s much improved now,  even her tail hair has grown back luxuriantly. Adds more zip to her happy wagging.

Indulge this old former English major if I quote Emily Dickinson here:  “Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” I’ve been feeling little flutters now and then.

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OCTOBER SONG

Wrote one sentence yesterday — last day of the month again — on the premise of “well begun is half done,” for a post to be called “September Song,” but never got any further after Kieran and Bethany asked me for dinner and a sleep-over. Mixed up and baked an Irish soda bread, threw Angel’s and my stuff in a bag, and off we went to Baltimore.

Nolan and Jack ran out of the house barefoot to meet us on the front porch, laughing as they sniffed the warm bread.  And there inside was baby Maeve, so responsive at two and a half months, smiling, making happy sounds, waving her arms and legs as we talked to each other. And there was mommy fixing dinner, salad and lasagne for tonight.  Then daddy was home, roughhousing with his sons, letting them slide down his back head first as he held their ankles, then cuddling Maeve.  And gramma got to hold her again, giving her a bottle as she looked steadily into my eyes.

We ate a big chunk of the soda bread this morning —  Jack mostly just the raisins in his slice. Nolan asking for a second piece smeared with cream cheese. I was looking forward to watching his soccer practice after breakfast, but coach called to cancel because of rain soaked, muddy field. Declined invitation to accompany them on alternate family amusement — sneaker shopping for the boys at Kennilworth Mall.  Hugs and kisses goodbye, drove home, missing them all the way.

Last Sunday we all went apple picking at a Churchville farm — donuts and cider, sitting on the floor of a big wagon on the way to the orchard, Jack cautiously choosing only a few, Nolan asking for help carrying his heavy bag. Then to the casual Promenade restaurant at Havre de Grace marina for lunch, followed by joyous sliding and swinging at the harbor playground. Sat contentedly on a bench with Maeve on my lap — with a short break to show Jack that Gramma could still pump a swing — Bethany and Kieran keeping track of Nolan and Jack.

To make up for all this fun, I went to the Abingdon Y this afternoon where I staunchly pedaled an exercise bike for 40 minutes — a personal record. First time Kieran dragged me to his Baltimore Y a couple of months ago, I lasted 10 minutes under protest. He’s  disappointed when I admit I haven’t been “working out” — three days a week is his goal for his nearly 85 year old mom. I’m allowed, for variety, to now and then walk the treadmill at my condo community center.   Wanted to make him happy today.  He was.  Didn’t mind my rewarding myself with a Friendly’s coffee Fribble.  My idea of exercise is a leisurely walk with Angel on a beautiful day, but this doesn’t count, says Kieran.

Started a new antidepressant, Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine), three weeks ago, prescribed by nurse practitioner at Harford Memorial  clinic — cheek swab for DNA showed this medication to be more effective for me.  I’d googled and found that Effexor (Venlafaxine) and Trazodone were to be “used with caution.” Had been feeling groggy for several hours after waking in the morning. Now I’ve learned that Wyeth makes both Efexor and Prestiq,  and that there’s little difference between both.

Trying to keep moving rather than moping at home. And have registered for classes at senior center beginning next week:  Toning and Stretching on Mondays, and Line Dancing on Wednesdays. Started the latter a couple of years ago but dropped out when I couldn’t keep up, was usually on the wrong foot — most took the beginner class over and over, knew every step by heart. But thought I’d give it another try. Better than an exercise bike or treadmill, for sure.

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