Moving Beyond Time | May 2024

Moving Beyond Time | May 2024

Time is the horizontal dimension of life, the surface layer of reality. Then there is the vertical dimension of depth, accessible only through the portal of the present moment. — Eckhart Tolle

I first became intensely aware of this phenomena after listening to this conversation with Jenny Odell on the Emergence Magazine podcast. I was fascinated with the question Jenny asks, “What other kinds of time” and so began my journey with time this year… seeking what other kinds of time and especially vertical time! My main focus this year is to find the access point that takes me from the horizontal dimension of time… the time of the clock and the calendar to that magical moment when passing time seems to stand still!

I want to point out that this is not a moment where you think “will this day ever end” or “why is this day dragging on” or the “I’m so bored” moments but rather those moments where are no longer thinking of time… you are absorbed into the moment you are in and time fades from your mind.

One place that instantly finds vertical time, at least for me, is Presque Isle State Park… it is almost as if just entering begins to deconstruct time’s structure. But where else could I find that same phenomena?

I was fortunate to have LOTS of vertical time earlier this month when we were in Erie. But could I find pockets of vertical time at home?

I started from my “baseline” of seeking “vertical time” – meditation. Although when I began my meditation process a long time ago, I had not a thought of vertical time… rather, I wanted to find a way to find calm, to find quiet, to find a connection with myself. But years in, I am still not a meditation master… I can meditate for 15-ish minutes and then my brain is niggling me to “find something else to do.” And… in all honesty… I am well aware of the time passing as I meditate. This hurdle is why I began to include poetry and journaling to my meditation time and by making that change has moved my “meditation” time from the struggle to 15 minutes to something that is not a struggle at all… before I know it 30 to 45 minutes have ticked past without any awareness at all. A small pocket of vertical time in my day!

Of course, knitting can do this but perhaps not in the best way… as in I can completely tune out of everything when I am knitting… which is not always a good thing. Don’t ask me what we watched on TV (perhaps that is part of the problem, lol) and for sure don’t try and have an in-depth discussion with me! But what about spinning? In the course of my 100 Day project, I put away my spinning… but now that I am done, I think I need to get it back out because spinning is another one of those activities that melts time away… but I stay very engaged in the activity of spinning… and it absolutely has a meditative quality to it!

I mentioned poetry and writing already… but my “new-ish” habit of 15-ish minutes of drawing/painting is going quite well… I am blowing past those 15 minutes and before I know it time has “gotten away from me.” And I am having such fun… that seems to happen when I step through the vertical time portal!

But as I said… this concept was really the focus of my time study this year. I am excited to continue to look for pockets of vertical time in my day!

As always, I really appreciate Carolyn holding a space for us each month. Stop by and see where the other “worders” journeyed with their word this month!

See you all back here tomorrow with some Unraveling!

**Photo above by Mat Brown found on Pexels

Summer Bucket List | 5.24.24

Summer Bucket List | 5.24.24

I had an entirely different post planned for today and then I woke up thinking about Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day. I am not sure why I thought of this poem today… perhaps because we have been having a stretch of summer-like days, or perhaps because it is a long weekend and the “unofficial start of summer”… anyways I was thinking about “what else should I have done” and suddenly a summer bucket list was born!

Getting lost is not a waste of time. — Unknown

That little quote is most certainly true! Not wasting time this summer also seems importune… because how many summers might I have left? 10? 15? 20? More? However many, I can tell you it is not enough… so I am setting some intentions… ones I hope I can get lost in… and waste no time!

  1. Be a tourist in my town… at least once!
  2. Opt for more porch time!!
  3. Make some summer play lists… I am thinking a motivating weeding play list will do wonders! And a new Summery Happy Hour play list will be so fun!
  4. Learn something new… and then learn something else new!
  5. Reread some favorite books… I am thinking A Gentleman in Moscow, 4321, and Charlotte’s Web!
  6. Make ice cream!
  7. Make s’mores!
  8. Revisit Meadowcroft Rock Shelter and Ohiopyle
  9. Try a few new restaurants!
  10. Schedule a few “technology break” days!

I am kind of excited about this list… it feels both manageable and challenging! I will check back in on this list Labor Day weekend to see how I did!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you all back here on Tuesday with my May word update!

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.22.24

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.22.24

Greetings Dear Unravelers and Happy Wednesday!

There has been some significant “unraveling” this week as I picked out the seams on several pages from my book. Sigh. Building a Slot and Tab book is taking all my brain bandwidth. Foolishly, I thought I’d be able to just figure out a trick to add in my front and back covers… ha! So once I unpicked the seams… I got out my container of safety pins… and started pinning pages tabs and slots and began the building process. After some unpinning and repinning to get the pages in the correct order. I redrew my “stitch map” and am ready to begin again.

Picking out seams is a lot slower than unraveling knitting… just saying.

But!! I do have that first sock done and a second sock started! I am motoring down the leg and hope to get this one done yet this month!

Getting back to my daily stitching project has been a challenge… I need to rethink my time for stitching. Morning stitching with my coffee is just not “doable” in these spring leaning into summer days. I am watering plants early, filling feeders, grabbing a weed or twenty, cleaning birdbaths… I think you see where my focus is. Not sedentary, but rather active… which is not so conducive to contemplating what to stitch. I am contemplating another time during the day to sit and stitch…I have some ideas but right now those minutes are taken up with Book Making. So if I can get the book done this week…

A little update about my hearing aids… things are really going amazingly well! The cacophony of birds on my morning walk with Sherman is not quite so overwhelming! The floor creaks still are loud, perhaps because the creaks are only in a couple of spaces… so it is not an ‘often’ sound. And I have also acclimated to keyboard typing! Haha! It is just so amazing to hear all the things!

How about some reading news… I started Erik Larson’s The Demon of Unrest this week. Oh my… it is fascinating and so engaging. At night I am reading Helen Simonson’s soon to be published The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club and really enjoying it!

There you have what I am working on… what about you? What’s on your radar this week?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below!


Sometimes Monday | 5.20.24

Sometimes Monday | 5.20.24

Is it just me or is May just flying by? It sure feels that way to me… and I have really focused on slowly savoring the days!

So perhaps a bit of a celebration of what May has brought to my life this year….

It’s a Bud-o-rama!

Starting with my poppy… it is unbelievable this year! My single plant is loaded with dozens of buds with more appearing each day! It is also pacing itself on blooming… only 5 or 6 new poppies open every day. We have been lucky with cooler days but we have also had an abundance of rain (which is not a friend to the fragile poppy blossoms!) But I am so happy with the gradual opening and that each day there are some magnificent new blooms. I am savoring and celebrating them while they last!

I love their fragile, fleeting beauty!

Next up on my May celebration is the lavender plant which last fall I thought for sure was on its last legs… well, a mild winter must have been the exact CPR needed because this spring it is suddenly enormous and so heavy with buds… I am very much looking forward to this blooming! (as will the bees!)

We have some ancient weigela bushes on the east side of our house and some years the blooms are few… not this year, the branches are weighed down with the volume of flowers! Hummers love this… so on my list this morning is to finish opening the porch so I can sit in the morning with my coffee and savor those hummer visits!

My porch is a riot of dark pink!

I had huge success with the first allium bulbs that I planted last fall and second wave of bulbs is on the precipice of blooms! These are much more tender and fragile looking than the first alliums. I have no idea what kind of alliums they are, sorry. I will have a better idea when these tender buds open!

I am so excited for these alliums!

Some weeks ago I shared a recipe for sourdough crackers… my first attempt was an epic failure (entirely my error!) the recipe clearly states the need for an offset spatula to spread the dough. Well, I forged ahead with just a plain spatula… and my outcome showed clearly how necessary an offset spatula was – the crackers never achieved cracker status… rather gummy, chewy, unappealing lumps of seasoned dough. Once I got home from Erie, I ordered an offset spatula and tried again… I am happy to announce that my second attempt was a HUGE SUCCESS!! (However, I might have now put myself off “store bought” crackers, lol) My second try was with Za’tar added in… oh yum! There will be LOTS more of these in my future… the recipe is super easy if you use the right tools, lol!

These crackers were the perfect addition to tomatoes and mozzarella! (they were also excellent on my Friday Happy Hour Board!)

Finally… slowly but surely the pages of my 100 Day Project are coming together! It should all be together this week! I have a tiny hurdle about how to make the front and back covers work, but I am hoping that by putting them together some light will shine at the end of the tunnel… stay tuned!

Happy Monday all… I hope you all have things to celebrate today as well! See you all back here on Wednesday!

The Miracle of Hearing…Again | 5.17.24

The Miracle of Hearing…Again | 5.17.24

It has been a long journey to not hearing… one that really happened with little realization from me. I recognized that I was having hearing issues but I mostly ignored them thanks to the COVID lockdowns and the changes it brought to daily life for many people. I mean… if you are not going out much, who cares about hearing? And if everyone wears a mask… could that not be the issue with my hearing? Yeah… I was very much in denial and ignoring all the loss of hearing signs. But I did not realize how bad my hearing had gotten until late last year when watching anything on the TV with Steve became almost impossible. I could not hear the television at a level that was comfortable for him and he absolutely hated having closed captions on… so that impossibility spurred me to talk to my regular doctor in February at my annual check up. Well… those hearing challenges coupled with the ever-present tinnitus I have.

My doctor surprised me by listening carefully and making a referral to an ENT physician (who conveniently has office hours in the same office my doctor is in!) I made the appointment and that began my journey. I met with the ENT (who I really liked) and had a hearing test. He spent time examining my ears. And then sent me off with the technician who administered the hearing test… yes, in a small sound proof booth (which made me laugh, because at that point most rooms were sound proof for me!) Once my hearing test was done I was back with the delightful Dr. Kubik for him to explain in great detail the results of my hearing test and how my hearing loss would benefit greatly from hearing aids. He also gave me lots and lots of information on tinnitus but he believed there was some chance that once my hearing returned, the tinnitus might just go away…  no guarantees, but he recommended that I wait to get the hearing aids and see how things were after I had them for a few weeks. My next step… an appointment with an audiologist!

And so I made the appointment with the audiologist with eager anticipation! I met with her before we went to Erie and was amazed at what she did in that appointment. She “plugged” all my hearing test data into a “sample” pair of hearing aids and put them in my ears.

I wish I could explain that experience fully… but it was instantaneous and miraculous…  I could hear! EVERYTHING! Me breathing. The AC blowing in the office. I could not stop the tears that flowed from my eyes. She made a few measurements of my ears and asked me some questions about how comfortable I was with technology (i.e. an app on a phone) and then she laid out the plethora of hearing aid options. Really…  so many options ranging in price from $1400 to $6000… yeah, very pricey options. After much discussion with her about my lifestyle and my age, I opted for a middle of the road rechargeable hearing aids (as opposed to ones with batteries that I could change…) the mid-priced Oticon Intent™ with a price tag of $3600.

A bit more on hearing aid pricing… paying more does not equate to hearing better. As my audiologist, Kara, explained to me there are some improvements in background noise reduction (i.e. noisy restaurants, large groups of people) but the day to day hearing is not better with a pricier model. I wanted to be able to remotely control my hearing aids, so that had a big part in guiding my decision! (Things I did not do… call around to other hearing aid places to see what their pricing might be. I also did not go to Costco, which Steve thought I should do.)

I was fortunate that my insurance paid for the visit with the ENT physician, the hearing test, and all appointments with the audiologist but it does not cover hearing aids… at all. (I believe that this needs to change… hearing should not be limited to “those who can afford it” ever.)

I went to pick up the hearing aids on Tuesday afternoon and that appointment took surprisingly long! First there was a test where a small microphone was inserted into each ear canal and a series of sounds were played. She then plugged that data into my hearing aids and then she put hearing aids in my ears and played more sounds. She had me take them out, change the ear dome and the filter, and then put them back in (which is not as easy as one might think!) She gave me the lowdown on how my hearing aids work. She also asked lots of questions about how I want to do things like answer phone calls and listen to books or music. She showed me how to turn them down/up and off/on in the app and in my ears. And made an appointment for me to go back and see her on the 31st of this month! In the office I had some “itching” in my ears which I asked about. Kara said that itching might be just because of something “in my ear” but if it persists I should call her and she will work on other ear domes that might work better. (I am happy to say that as of Thursday the itchiness is completely gone.)

With Kara’s advice (and Kym’s suggestion as well) I have opted to be “thrown in the deep end” as in… my hearing test results were my “out of the gate” option. Not dialed back… but full on hearing from the start! And hearing is very overwhelming… just saying! The drive home… the sounds of other cars freaked me right out! Typing this blog post… who knew a keyboard was so freaking noisy! The refrigerator running… feels like MAX VOLUME! Sherman’s toenails clicking on the wood floors! Speaking of floors… the creaking!! How on earth had I not heard that before?? (Also buzzy bees and the *actual* cacophony of birdsong… omg, LOUD, LOUD, LOUD!) But as Kym said… these are sounds my brain has not heard for years so it is my brain resetting itself again. And as for TV watching with Steve… well, he can’t believe I can hear the television at the volume we now have it at! Ha! (I can hear it and it could go even lower!!)

I had long stretches on Wednesday and Thursday were I did not notice the tinnitus at all but at the end of the day, when I take the hearing aids out… it is back with a vengeance… sigh. But I am hopeful that as the days progress my brain will realize that it does not need to make a sound any longer because I can hear!

I realize that I am very, very fortunate (privileged… yes, so much privilege… sigh) in my journey to hearing again. We can well afford the hearing aids. I live in Pittsburgh where Pitt… UPMC has a HUGE hearing loss program… an ENT physician whose speciality was hearing loss, testing in the same office my doctor’s office is, an audiologist who is in the same building as well. I was able to get state of the art hearing aids with an app for my iPhone. And if the tinnitus does not improve once I have acclimated to being a hearing person again… Pitt has a tinnitus program to help me retrain my brain (this is not covered by my insurance, but I am fortunate that we can afford it if it is necessary!)

I also realize that everyone’s journey is not the same but I am hoping that by sharing my experience… you might find something that works for you!

 

 

 

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