We visited Peach Blossom Village–a rather lackluster tourist attraction in Yichang, Hubei Province, China–at the end of our cruise through the three gorges in April. It was a drippy, grey day (maybe it wouldn’t have felt so lacking in luster if the weather had been cheerier, and our views of Xiling Gorge had been clearer.
However, the flowers were pretty. The call these peach blossoms but our guide told us that the trees are ornamental and do not produce peaches that one would eat.
Like foreshadowing in a novel the email I got this morning told me that today’s prompt was “Final“. As seems normal of late, I felt like there really wasn’t anything I could add to the conversation. Since I got back from China on April 24th I have been tongue tied…or more accurately keyboard and camera tied.
The phone rang while my husband was in the shower. It was the wife of a friend of his, the one he was getting ready to go visit. His friend died this morning. After a long and arduous battle with cancer.
The mixed feelings that go with this end came through as she spoke to me, almost a stranger to her (the friend was my husband’s co-worker and we only met a couple of times). Perhaps it was easier to talk to a sympathetic, disembodied near stranger. It reminded me of something I used to say when I was in a lay leadership position: we are all pastoral care givers, it isn’t something that you can delegate.
She invited Richard to come and say goodbye, and said “he is as handsome as ever”. He will be handsome forever in the eyes of his best, best friend…a beautiful finale.
I was determined to not miss a single opportunity. My tenacity meant tired legs. But the offered sedan chairs were scarier to me than tired tootsies. The thought of two tiny Chinese kids hauling my well-rounded self up steep stone stairs made me feel a bit queezy. So up I went.
The third shore excursion on our Yangtze cruise was White Emperor City. Like the first two it was at the top of a hill accessed by lots of stone steps. All of the other English speaking folks on our cruise didn’t opt in so my son and I tagged along with a Chinese group. James speaks Chinese so we figured we could manage. But it turned out that the guide spoke excellent English and after each stop she took us aside and explained. So it was like having a private tour. She even translated famous poetry off the cuff.
The White Emperor City was different fundamentally from The other two: it was not a shrine or religious site. It was a memorial to the White Emperor, a man named Gongsun Shu. He was a local king who did well for his area and was considered loyal. He was moved to become emperor after a dream about a white dragon going upward to the sky.
This site had a good display and explanation about “hanging coffins” and a very good view of Kuiwen (the “gate” to the western-most of the Three Gorges) as well. More about that later.
My new purple suitcase is packed. So is the new teal one. I am, as my son used to say, bouncing off the pad.
I got home from Arizona on Sunday and today I depart for China. That means little or no internet access. So don’t be surprised if it seems like I’m not around…I’m not.
If the restrictions are the same as before: Sometimes I can post, but I can’t get or respond to comments. One trip I could see gmail but not the last few trips. I was once or twice able to use my WordPress reader, but couldn’t 👍 or make comments.
The reduced access makes me think about how reliant I am on various technologies. I use my smart phone: I have a Chinese SIM in the second slot; and can often use WiFi to access what my son calls the InterWeb (China’s internet, which is extensive). I can use an old email address and Skype to keep in touch with family.
Even with the restrictions technology has made travel much easier, from the standpoint of information and communication.
The Daily Post Prompt today is Massive. Weight is mass in a gravitational field, so, on the surface of the earth, massive means weighty. I was set to not get around to writing anything, which is my usual method. But as late evening sets in it occurred to me that maybe I could offer up one idea. I am not a clever poet like some who write a post or sometimes more a day, nor am I quick with words, if there is a poem in this day it could take me a long time to formulate it.
Today was absolutely lovely, sunny and, while it was chilly at first, warm.
I spent the afternoon at the nursing home. Waiting for things that never happened. When I arrived Grandma was asleep. Eventually she awoke. The meeting I went over for was one where she had confused things, and probably not answered the phone to the person letting her know what was going on. She’s been doing that, if not doing is doing. She has trouble hearing it and if it is the slightest bit out of reach she doesn’t answer. If she does answer she still doesn’t hear well and sometimes confuses the message. I have no way of knowing what happened for sure…except that no one came.
She has a very bad cough lately. It is hard to hear her go into one of the coughing fits; she is wheezing so badly that you wonder how she can breathe.
The meeting was to have been with a potential caregiver to be hired so she can return to her apartment. Watching her wheeze, knowing that if she were on her own trying to walk to the bathroom when a coughing fit hit her she could easily, I should say more easily than usually-which is pretty easily, lose her balance and fall. Both of the roommates she had while at the nursing home got around much more easily and with less assistance than she needs now, went home and have fallen again. While we waited I got a prayer request for a dear friend of mine who is Grandma’s age who fell and broke both a hip and a shoulder.
If there’s a right answer I sure don’t know it. I feel a deep silence. No guidance. No perky words of wisdom. Just waiting. Maybe she’ll get better. Maybe she won’t fall.
This is a pretty random post, but if you use Adobe LightRoom 5, maybe you will find it helpful. This past couple of weeks I have been playing with a whole bunch of pictures 3 to 4 thousand, penguins are sooo cute that I could stop taking picture.
I really like Adobe LightRoom for ever so many reasons, but recently there were two, completely unrelated things that I found frustrating because I was Aware that it was possible to do them, but directions I found didn’t work. I figured out for myself how to do them, and will share them here, in case anyone else has the same problems.
The first is importing pictures on an external hard drive at their current location. The method that worked on my internal hard drive didn’t work after moving all of my photos and catalog to an external hard drive. I was unable to import new pictures without LR making copies. When I said “Import” in LR I was not given the Add files at their current locations option, so LR made a new copy of every file in the same folder! Grrrr.
What works, for no logical reason I can see is this: I highlight the folder in the library module then click the + by the Folders header (its on the left under Catalog), choose “Add Folder”. Then it says “no items match your search” and a box pops up so you can navigate to the folder. Find the folder, click “select folder”, then it finds all of the pictures that aren’t already in the LR catalog, and allows you to Add at the current location, click import on the lower right and you’re there. For a new folder create a folder in LR with the same name (and path!) as the one you want to import from.
The second is printing with true color: I am not sure whether it is LightRoom 5, my specific printer (HP Officejet 8620), or the combination, but the colors were wonky, blues especially were printing a very unnatural color. After a good bit of reading advice online, none of which matched the dialog boxes I seemed to have available, I accidentally found that I could get good color by selecting “Print Job” on the lower right instead of Print or Printer. This brought up options I couldn’t find elsewhere. By turning off “Draft Mode Printing” I was able to choose “sRGB IEC61966-2.1” for a profile under color management along with Intent: Perceptual it does a much better job of matching color.
Scan Grandma’s bill so they can be submitted to DSHS
Take her walker/wheelchair to the nursing home
Order her knee brace
Take my son in to fund his IRA
Get his tax forms and documents together
Clean the bathroom
Buy gifts for the nursing home staff
Put vacation pictures on a thumb drive for my dad
The tasks are simple. No individual item on my to-do list is complicated. However, getting through the list always is. Many tasks have little features or factors that make just doing it tricky.
For example: I need to scan my grandmother’s medical bills into pdf files so that they can be submitted. But my son is asleep in the room where I keep the scanner. He’s still on Beijing time. I’m not quite off of Buenos Aires time, so our blocks of being conscious and cogent aren’t lining up too well, a little twist to many simple tasks.
Then there is managing the list, just the number of simple tasks is a bit daunting so I try to figure out how to batch things up. Every “I need….” from Grandma is a minimum of an hour of travel time, longer in rush hour so you have to keep a tight eye on the clock, plus budget time looking for parking and sometimes a significant walk in to the facility. If I have any errand that is between here and there I try to insert it into the same trip…but lately that hasn’t worked so well.
I call it “the frazzle factor”, and it’s become a major roadblock. We had to go out to dinner the other night because I was so frazzled from a trip to the nursing home that I didn’t stop for food. I just couldn’t face finding parking again, a crowded grocery store and making a decision about what to fix for dinner.
How can I feel so worn out when I just got back from vacation?
For me it is slogging through the mud. Moving along, but without a spring in my step.
The mud this week is DSHS paperwork for grandma, walking her dogs, trying to get a Christmas package off to my son in China, and trying to get all the sh..tuff that got dumped in my living room put away. The stuff is due to hospital runs, Thanksgiving at Dad’s, and life in general; I (we) get home tired and dump stuff down. I can never work up a sense of vim, vigor and vitality for dealing with this stuff.
In the midst of this past week of insanity, a friend sent me a note that was essentially a sermon about endurance. I think the point of the missive was to remonstrate me for leaving the parish I had attended and participated in with vigor for about 25 years. The problem was, and still is, that the place sucks the life out of me. Everything one gave was met with “give more”, sometimes they said “thank you” first, but mostly not. Most people recognize others efforts with a litany of reasons why they couldn’t spend 8 hours on a Saturday working on the grounds, giving or attending a class, planning an event…Some of those same people had no qualms about adding big, new projects; claiming that they would inspire people to be more involved…they never did. I love many of the people there, but now only go for funerals. When I walk through the door it still feels like a huge weight drops down onto my shoulders. The place will, or maybe won’t, muddle along as it has always done, and no amount of energy on the part of one person is going to make a difference. I don’t need that. Sorry, Dick.
I do have endurance, probably to a fault, but what I need in my life is some vigor, a spark of inspiration, hope for the future. It is hard to see that right now in the day-to-day. Even Christmas feels like one more thing to deal with. Fortunately we have what I expect to be a supercallifragilistic (spelling? my spell checker doesn’t know this word) vacation planned for January. To get myself going this morning I started to pack.