Monthly Archives: June 2013

Walking on eggshells – CORRECTION

It came to my attention that I made an incorrect statement in the June 22 “Walking on Eggshells” post. The statement is as follows:

“I recently was on the receiving end of some news delivered very gently because the other person was concerned about my feelings and reaction. It was very touching, and it turned out the walking on eggshells was unwarranted. Being concerned about someone’s feelings while having the courage to deliver the news showed a lot of compassion and class.”

The June 22 post now has the offending statement removed. I sincerely regret the error.

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Filed under administrative, rebuilding

Walking on eggshells

The post title is an idiom, or figure of speech, meaning one must deal with a sensitive or delicate situation or that one must tread carefully. I had the misfortune of a literal case of walking on eggshells earlier this week.

I mentioned that a mallard hen had nested behind the clematis trellis. Yesterday I was cleaning up the storm mess of leaf clumps and twigs and noticed nine broken eggs. The duck was not on her nest. Raccoons are known to raid duck nests and there were a couple of “calling cards” left in the yard suggesting one or two may have been responsible. The hen was on the roof of the house looking down at the nest. She was favoring her left leg. When I checked on her an hour later, she was gone.

It has been quite stormy since Thursday and we may not see a turn for the better until Monday. Monday is the only day without a rain chance all next week. A church has a sign up front reading “Thank you, God, for the rain. We’re good now!” Sometimes you get what you pray for.

It is not a secret that I am clumsy, and I have the scars to prove it. I have had to tread gingerly, to “walk on eggshells”, because of possibly exacerbating an injury or repeating an embarrassing stumble. Thankfully, the platform shoe era of the late 1970s and early 1980s is no longer with us. I had a couple memorable face plants courtesy of those evil contraptions. The only thing more dangerous was dressing in combustible polyester clothing and dancing in a crowded disco where everyone had lit cigarettes. Darwinism must have taken a break during the disco years.

We have all had to “walk on eggshells” at some point for differing reasons: fear of hurting someone’s feelings, fear of reprisal, handling a volatile situation, gently encouraging or supporting someone. As a manager, I would deal with occasional volatile situations, especially dealing with clients. I gave performance improvement plan recommendations that could result in job termination if not completed. I recently was on the receiving end of some news delivered very gently because the other person was concerned about my feelings and reaction. It was very touching, and it turned out the walking on eggshells was unwarranted. Being concerned about someone’s feelings while having the courage to deliver the news showed a lot of compassion and class.

Expressing feelings to another person is another common reason for walking on eggshells. I still find it hard properly expressing feelings, though I think I have gotten better at it through the years. Perhaps we should be more open with our feelings towards those closest to us. It would greatly reduce misunderstandings, although it would completely eviscerate the romantic comedy and romance novel industries.

You may notice many of my posts end with the hope that you give a meaningful hug to your loved ones. Lucy would give me at least a dozen hugs a day; now I go weeks without receiving a hug. Do not take a hug from a loved one for granted, and do not waste the opportunity to give one. I know how hard it is to tell someone how much you care about him or her, but you should do so occasionally. Actions speak louder than words, but actions in addition to works are louder still. It is a wonderful form of positive reinforcement.

Whether you have recently started dating, or you and your spouse are married long enough to reach the precious gemstone anniversaries, take a moment and consider how lucky you are to have someone who wants to spend time with you, and how that brings joy to you. Joy is contagious but not harmful, so infect the world around you.

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Filed under philosophy, rebuilding

Father’s Day 2013

Dad could not take part in the deck rebuild project, but Mom, John, and I (OK, mostly John) got it done. Dad is having an easier time reading now, so he enjoyed a book I recently finished. He also got a change to kick back and enjoy the day.

I inherited my love for reading and my boundless curiosity from my dad. I also tried being as outstanding a husband to Lucy as he is for my mother. I did not inherit his mechanical talent and have the blisters to prove it today.

This is my first Father’s Day without my father-in-law, and I miss him very much. He was a second father to me. Bob was gentle and kind, and he accepted me into the family without hesitation. Lucy inherited his quiet strength, his love for family, and quite a bit of his mechanical ability. When we would get ready-to-assemble furniture, Lucy needed to help me with figuring out the diagrams. I have some spatial orientation issues and Lucy could easily see what I could not. Bob also inspired me being the best possible husband to Lucy I could.

My father and father-in-law are still blessings in my life. I learned so much from them both and I am grateful to them.

Steve, Suzy, and Julie, you are in my thoughts and prayers today. I hope you find solace in the love your father gave you and the love you gave him in return. Stay strong, remember your father’s goodness, and give your children a hug from me.

If you are lucky enough to spend time with your father or father-in-law today, give him a meaningful hug and tell him how much you love him. If you are separated from your father or father-in-law either by distance or by his passing, take a few moments to remember him.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you men blessed with children!

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Filed under family, friends, rebuilding

“Blame It On The Rain”

As of late, we have plenty of rain to blame. Our summer seems fake, with spring doing the real moving and shaking while summer provides a front. The Milli Vanilli song referenced in the title is similar to our summer; an uncredited singer laid down the vocal tracks while the two credited members lip-synched on video and during performances.

I could not escape the rain when I visited my parents this weekend. It rained hard enough Saturday night and Sunday morning I had to move my car because of street flooding. Monday started cool and gray but ended sunny and warm. Light jackets and long pants gave way to short sleeves and short pants. On Tuesday, I attended a Twins game at Target Field. Lucy had wanted to go see a game there, but cancer stole that opportunity. We averaged about three Twins games per year, but our last game was August 2010. Target Field is beautiful, the weather was perfect, and the Twins picked up a badly needed win. Lucy would have enjoyed the evening.

Our “too much of a good thing” rain is causing problems. Southern Minnesota has large plots of farmland that is unplowed. The crops, if they could be planted today, would be almost two months behind. Resorts are experiencing cancellations. Mosquito, fly, and tick populations are booming, and the silver maple trees have a bountiful crop of “helicopters” dropping on driveways and gutters. Cottonwood seed cotton is thick enough to look like snow. My lovely sinus problem is high gear and people I know with allergies are in a heightened state of misery.

People generally like sunny weather. Constant dreary weather and unseasonable coolness cause crankiness, sluggishness, and a marked decrease in intelligence and patience (at least from what I can tell on the highways). When the sun makes a cameo appearance and the temperature becomes more summer-like, it is like a rebirth: colors are brighter, sounds are cheerful, and all seems right with the world. Then the weather changes and we are jarred back to a dreary reality with only hope for a better day keeping us going.

There are some advantages to the rain. The cloud cover and gentle pattering of the rain is soothing. Sleeping late is easy, especially if one is on vacation and has earned a break from job stress, and that can lead to inspiration to a blog post, courtesy of a Facebook status update I saw. I would have indulged, were it not for several close lightning strikes at 6:30 am. That was another disadvantage of the unsettled weather.

Lucy and I experienced an unexpected rain shower on the Gateway Trail north of Oakdale, MN almost ten years ago. It remains one of my fondest memories. We were nearing the end of a twenty mile bicycle ride on a slightly humid August day. Lucy noticed some clouds forming and asked me if we would make it back to the car before it would rain. I did not think the clouds were of any consequence, and assured her it would not even rain. About fifteen minutes later, we were riding in a gentle warm rain shower. We were sweaty and a bit tired, but the rain helped cool and refresh us. Lucy had a huge smile on her face after the rain quit after ten minutes, and she smiled all the way back to the car.

It would have been easy for Lucy and I to “blame it on the rain” when she received her cancer diagnosis. We chose to face forward no matter what the cancer battle threw at us. Like the unexpected rain shower years ago, we tried to make the best of it and it helped us cope. It is admittedly much harder to do so without her supporting me, but I do my best. The sun will shine once again.

Give your loved ones a meaningful hug and feel the joy they add to your life. For those of you who are starting a new chapter in your life, remember a journey of ten thousand miles begins with single step and I wish you good luck and Godspeed. Thank you for your support.

Twins game, June 11, 2013

The view from my seat at Target Field, June 11, 2013.

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Filed under family, friends, rebuilding, weather

“Silver Threads Among the Gold” (25th wedding anniversary)

Today Lucy and I would have celebrated our silver (25th) wedding anniversary. The post title is a love song from 1873, where an ailing elderly man professes his love for his wife. In his eyes, she is as young and beautiful as when he first met her even though many years have passed.

We never had the chance to grow old together. Cancer stole that future from us just as cancer eventually stole her life. For all of the things cancer stole from Lucy during her battle, it never stole her love for me, her love for her family, her love for her friends, or her love for life. She fought hard to steal back precious time from the cancer and for that I will always love her and I will always miss her. She did not lose her battle.

I had thought today would be a very difficult day to get through, but I was wrong. Julie found time in her busy day to meet me for lunch. A half-hour spent with someone smiling brightens up a difficult day. After lunch, I went to the cemetery, gave Lucy a bouquet, and spent some time with her. I wish I could take her to dinner as we normally did for our anniversaries.

Please remember Lucy and give your loved ones a meaningful hug from her. Thank you for your love and support today.

25th anniversary bouquet

Happy 25th anniversary, Lucy! I love you and I miss you.

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Filed under family, music, rebuilding

Just ducky

There is an old saying, “Lovely weather for a duck” and for the past ten days the Twin Cities must seem like duck nirvana. Steady drizzle, heavy rain, wind, and cloud cover are giving the lakes and rivers a badly needed recharge. The ducks are quite happy, of course, even the hen mallard who built a nest behind the clematis.

Mallards are average sized ducks. A female ready to lay a clutch of eggs might tip the scales at three pounds and stands about a foot tall. I am close to six times as tall and easily 65 times as heavy. I had noticed a hen mallard in the backyard for a couple of days. She flew away when I approached Friday evening. Saturday morning, she was in the backyard again. However, her behavior was quite different. She immediately curled up and seemed injured. As I drew closer, she charged me hissing and flapping her wings like an upset goose, startling me for a couple of seconds, and then she slipped behind the clematis trellis. I figured out she had a nest and was defending it. If she is that determined to nest and risked her life to do so, who am I to say no? Assuming some varmint does not interfere, I will have a lodger for the next six weeks, and I could see up to a dozen little puffs of yellow fuzz scampering behind the hen when everyone leaves the nest for the last time.

Lucy and I had a hen mallard try nesting in the front yard eleven years ago, but she abandoned the nest within a week leaving three eggs behind. This was about the time coyotes were first spotted in the southern metro and we had fox as regular visitors. Nature is not always kind to neither man nor beast.

Yesterday’s hail did not seem to do any damage to the plant life though the aluminum siding on the south side of the house suffered some more dents. Anenomes, flax, bleeding hearts, honeysuckle bushes, and white violets are in their flowering prime with the yarrow and irises close to blooming and the blackberry bushes have flower buds. The silver maple trees in the neighborhood are laden with seed “helicopters” that are already falling, and I am sure the cottonwoods will soon make it look like a blizzard in June. Something besides ducks enjoy the weather.

There are some advantages to the unsettled weather: neither the furnace nor the air conditioner has run in over two weeks. Everything is green and the flowers are stunning even if they are trying to play catch up. Transplant shock is greatly reduced. The extra mowing helps make up for the reduced hiking and walking, but only slightly.

I hope your weather is cooperating and you have a chance to enjoy it. Give your loved ones a meaningful hug. Everything is just ducky when you have someone to love and to love you back.

Dawn Valley annuals garden 2013

The Dawn Valley annuals garden has a red, white, and blue theme this year.

Dawn Valley rock

This rock is located near Lucy and has some interesting blue veins on it.

 

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Filed under gardening, nature, philosophy, rebuilding, weather