I put up a new post on the blog at christinemgrote.com today. Please follow me there and unfollow me here. I’d like to put future posts at christinemgrote.com and use this site for archives only.
I know it’s been a while. Let’s not talk about it. No excuses.
My goal is to eventually post only from my christinemgrote.com site and keep this blog as an archive only. If you are seeing this because you’ve followed this blog years ago, (and I truly thank you for that) I hope you will follow me there. If I continue on this course, you probably won’t be bothered with a lot of notifications in your inbox.
I’m back to bird-watching. I haven’t done a bird-watching post since I watched the little hummingbird in June of 2016. It’s not that I decided it was time. It’s just that I noticed the two large hawks flying around the treetops of our woods. Read more at christinemgrote.com.
I wanted to share this with you because I feel very validated that Terry Petersen not only really got the message I was hoping to convey in Dancing in Heaven, she was able to express it.
Be who you are. / Give what you have. (Rose Ausländer )
I watch my precious six-year-old Ella in Occupational therapy as she threads the letters to her name through a fluorescent green pipe cleaner. She recognizes the letters—she has been reading for more than a year. But she struggles through fine motor skills exercises because of her small hands and shortened fingers. typical for persons with Down syndrome.
At times she breaks away and puts on a show, her head between her knees, a look-at-me-I’m-cute expression on her face. I remain calm without reacting, showing no censure. Only what I hope is a you-can-do-it look. The OT is in charge. And she encourages Ella. With both experience and love.
And I realize how much I treasure my granddaughter because another image of someone with handicaps far more severe, appears in my mind. Her name is Diane…
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Arthur just might be able to catch a squirrel, if it is a baby squirrel.
I found that out this morning.
Mark and I were sitting at our kitchen table after breakfast where we have a view of our driveway and the garden and woods beside our house. Mark was reading the news on his iPad and I was playing Lumosity, trying to keep my wits sharp, and not doing a very good job at it.
“Arthur doesn’t even see that squirrel,” Mark said. Arthur, who was in the near vicinity of a squirrel on the driveway. He never allows a squirrel to be in the yard without a chase. If he’s inside looking out at the squirrels, who scavenge bird-feeder droppings on our front porch, he starts barking. “Do you want to get the squirrel?” I’ll say. And Arthur races for the front door, taking the turns around the staircase on three legs. He’s never going to catch a squirrel, but he doesn’t know that.
This morning, I couldn’t see Arthur on the driveway from where I sat, but I could hear him barking. I stood up, went to the door, and saw this baby squirrel on our wind wall post.
“Oh no. Arthur’s got the squirrel trapped,”I said. I thought it was cute because I never believed for a minute this would end with a satisfying result for Arthur, but he was revved up by the chase.
I did what I always do, reached for my camera, stepped outside, and started shooting.
This clearly wasn’t good enough for Arthur. He was going in.
So close. Just not….quite….close….enough.
Meanwhile, the assumed parent squirrel could only wait and hope as he or she watched from a nearby tree.
Arthur darted in and around the post trying to find a way to access the squirrel. Clearly this baby was terrified.
That’s enough, I thought. I’ve got to get Arthur away.
Easier said than done. There was no way this undisciplined little canine was going to come when I called. I was afraid to approach the squirrel for fear it would panic and get itself into a more vulnerable position. That was exactly what happened.
It jumped to the bushes, fell to the ground, back to the bushes, back on the post, then repeated with Arthur inches behind it. Finally the squirrel gave up on the post and tried to make a run for it. Arthur chased it behind the bushes beside the house. The squirrel passed by a tree that could have saved it, and continued on to the porch with Arthur and me, my camera dangling from the strap around my neck, in hot pursuit.
Arthur had the little guy cornered against the wall of the porch. And I could see all the games we played with his toy squirrel had trained him well for the darting, pawing, and biting he was attempting.
I didn’t think, but merely reacted when it looked like Arthur had his prey. I lunged for Arthur and landed full force on my bad knee on the cold hard concrete, banging the lens of my camera against the concrete in the process. But I bought the squirrel enough time to make it to the boxwood bushes where the chase continued. I watched helplessly, sitting on the cold concrete, yelling for Mark.
Mark came and had no better luck than I at grabbing Arthur, but much better luck at not injuring himself during the chase. Finally, the little squirrel jumped to the tulip tree at the corner of the house and achieved relative safety. Mark helped me up and eventually managed to lure Arthur away from the hunt with pieces of cooked chicken.
I didn’t know if Arthur had injured the baby squirrel until I saw it a few minutes later with the parent.
Baby looked fine as far as I could see. Arthur was never thanked by the squirrels for his role in the valuable lesson in vigilance, awareness, and evasion. And I will be icing my knee today.
Today marks three years since my father’s last birthday, his 80th.
Where Memories Meet is two stories in one book. It is my memoir of losing my father to Alzheimer’s, and Dad’s account of the defining moments of his life. My story begins at the end of Dad’s life and proceeds backwards in time. Dad’s narration begins with his birth and moves forward in time. Eventually the timelines, or the memories meet.
These two excerpts concern Dad’s birthday. The first is his account in Part 1: “The End (2013) & The Beginning (1933).” The second is from Part 2: “The Last Year (January 2013 to January 2012) & The Early Years (1933 to 1950)”
January 18, 1933
I came in on the 18th day of January 1933, at 715 Manier Avenue, Piqua, Ohio. My Aunt Agnes said that my dad’s mother, my Grandmother Smith, insisted on naming…
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I thought you might be interested.
“What made you decide to share your stories as memoirs?”
“What helped you, hindered you in telling your story based upon your truth?”
“What is your main “takeaway” for your readers?”
These are just a few of the questions I answer in Kathleen Pooler’s interview. Kathy is the author of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse (that I reviewed here). She posted another insightful interview on her blog at Memoir Writer’s Journey. Kathy’s doing good work over there. Of course, the interview was with me, so I might be a bit partial. Or not. You decide. Read it here.
And when you’re finished over there, I hope you’ll visit Cynthia Robertson’s blog where she reviews and is running a GIVEAWAY of a print copy of Where Memories Meet. Enter by leaving a comment here.
“Grote has a talent for spot-lighting the sort of…
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