Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spring Stories

The weather has warmed... and cooled... and dried up... and rained. It's spring in western Oregon! The flowers are lovely. As the earliest blooms fade, the next round opens. Kitty is cute, too. And always happy to accompany me.

The horses are enjoying spring, too.

Goats, more flowers and a beautiful snake...

two foot long garter snake sunning itself

Gertrude the Guinea Hen enjoys admiring herself wherever she can find her reflection.

We recently discovered that she is laying eggs again this year... a nest right by the path to the shop. Mister McCoy is standing next to the nest without knowing it's there. I didn't know it was there either until I weeded that flowerbed.

A less happy story happened today. 88-year-old friend and neighbor Irv fell and broke his hip. Luckily, he was scheduled to come down to our place this morning. When he didn't show up, Johnny went to check and found Irv unable to stand... where he had fallen two hours earlier. Johnny called 911 and followed the ambulance to the hospital. Irv will get a new hip tomorrow at the Salem hospital. We are feeding his chickens and dog and gathering eggs until he is home again. One never knows what the next day will bring, weather-wise or health wise. It's a good reminder to enjoy the flowers while we can.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Johnny is home!

Johnny is home and had a wonderful time and arrived home in much better shape than when he left. The Prednisone, Methotrexate, and Qi Gong all seem to be contributing to his healing. He took photos as I had requested, but he did not bring back the warm, sunny California weather I asked for. Or maybe it just took a few days to arrive as the days, at least, are drier now.

No rain in California while Johnny visited. The first day he attended a school project where the kids in Kestrel's class posed as characters from the Revolutionary War era in a "Living History Museum". Here is Kestrel, as Anthony Wayne, giving his spiel to one of the visiting parents. I had never heard of Anthony Wayne and wasn't there to hear Kestrel, so I looked him up in Wikipedia. "Wayne adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him promotion to brigadier general and the sobriquet Mad Anthony." The students were stationed around the room, in costume, and had each memorized their character's story. What a great way to teach kids American history!

Back home, Cedrus demonstrated his electric drum set for Johnny. He now plays both keyboard and drums. When he has those earphones on, only he can hear the drumming. Kestrel still plays guitar and is now taking singing lessons, as is Munazza... a musical family.

The next day they all left for Wonder Valley resort where the Qi Gong retreat was to take place. Johnny and Steve and the kids stayed for the first week, then returned while Munazza stayed for the whole two week retreat. While they were all there, they stayed in a "cottage" that was huge: 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a big living room and this kitchen. [Correction: Steve tells me their, um, cottage had 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.]

Steve and Munazza's bedroom...

Johnny's bedroom...

Kestrel and Cedrus' sleeping nooks... well, not really. They were just empty cabinets in the kitchen that looked inviting...

Here was their actual bedroom...

The retreat had healthy food including any kind of milk you might desire...

And always fruit and veggies. Nearly everything was gluten-free.

Johnny and the kids spent their days trekking back and forth between the meal site and the trampoline area while Steve and Munazza did Qi Gong.

The meal site is visible across the pond here. The weather was lovely so they ate outside the dining room much of the time.

Evenings, Johnny and the kids joined in for the healing sessions. Johnny reported that his knees worked better after each healing session as he walked back to the cottage.

On the last day that Johnny, Steve and the kids were there, the kids invited all the retreat participants to a 15 minute exhibition they had worked up on the trampoline and outside of it, dancing. Here the boys perform while Munazza videotapes.
Here is a piece of the trampoline action:

This is one of the dance portions. From the reports of the audience, the boys were spectacular. And the kids had so much fun they are already working on a performance for next November's retreat!

Johnny said he did passive trampolining. The kids bounce... giving their Grandpa a lift.

Here they are in action on youtube:

Between eating and bouncing, some time was also spent walking the lovely grounds. Here they found a turtle at the edge of a lake.

After all the guys were back home, Cedrus made a dessert he had read about and wanted to make. He cut up strawberries and apples and rolled them in a pastry dough.

 ... and baked them in the oven. Cedrus is quite a chef and loves to cook. Johnny reports that the dumplings were very tasty.

The boys take several different dance classes. Johnny sat in on some to watch. Their favorite is "House", which is mostly fancy footwork and what the kids, I think, mostly performed at the retreat.

Each person gets a chance to do their specialty in the center of the group. Here is Cedrus...

 And Kestrel...

This dancer had a leg in a cast so she sat on a chair to do her thing!

 Just before Johnny left, Kestrel made delicious lemonade from the lemons on the tree in their front yard. I know it was delicious because Johnny brought me home a bottle of it!

And here is Grandpa just before leaving, having had a spectacular time.

And at the train station...

Naturally, they had to give the pose they learned in New Zealand...