Monday, April 5, 2021

Check In and Little Things Again

Believe it or not, I took a little break from blogging last week - only posting on Monday and Tuesday... and the April Fool's post Thursday.... and Postal History Sunday.  But, other than that - yeah - I took a break.  This is actually fairly significant because this represents the same number of days I missed blogging from April 1st through July 30th last year.  Yeah...  four months and only three misses.  Go a week and only post four times = VACATION!

Check-in with the farmer

I realized that we tried to do a 'check-in' blog post every so often last year and we have yet to do one dedicated to just that purpose this year.  So, we're going to do a very quick check-in here.  And, then, because it's what I want to do, we're going to revisit the topic of "Little Things" that make us happy.

I will start with the "elephant in the room" that would be my own health.  We have dealt with a bit of a saga over the last year that started with the discovery that I have hemochromatosis - a hereditary condition that essentially means my body cannot rid itself of excess iron.  The solution is, essentially, to donate blood as a way to remove excess iron from my system.  Yes, it is/can be more complex than that.  But, once the iron levels are in the normal range, blood donation can pretty much keep things under control.

In the process of checking things out, scans were made of my liver and kidney.  This resulted in the discovery of a small mass in one of my kidneys that was, after a couple of biopsies, determined to be cancerous.  We were able to delay action through the Winter to work around the issues that Covid-19 were creating for the health professions and scheduled for surgery in March.  We lined everything up as best we could, resigned ourselves to the process and... bruised a leg pretty good and developed a blood clot.

So, now I'm on blood thinners for a while and the surgery is rescheduled for late April.

To make a longer story short, the process has been hard on both of us.  I share it here not because I want sympathy but because it might serve as further explanation for some changes and actions we have taken of late.  We are setting ourselves up for a full recovery, but that process requires that we identify coping mechanisms that help us get through some of the "now."

Little Things Again

I think I have always taken pleasure in little things to some degree.  One of my favorite Christmas gifts that I received more than once was my own box of Ritz crackers and maybe some peanut butter or cheese or summer sausage.  I will admit that, as a teen-ager, I probably ate more than my share of such things while I was at home.  It's what teen-agers do (they eat a higher percentage of their parents income than is comfortable for the parents).  But, there was something symbolic about these being "my" crackers and cheese and that they were gifted to me.  My sister remembered this and gifted me my own crackers, cheese and summer sausage again this year.   

It was a little thing that made me happy.

Tammy and I both still love taking some time out most days to play a game of Wingspan.  You might call it uncreative and uninspired that we play the same game most days.   I call it soothing and it makes for a little thing that we both still appreciate.  It is time we get to sit across from each other and be friends.  

Maybe that's a good bit more than a little thing.

We apparently made some of the geraniums we potted this past Fall very happy and we have some gorgeous bright blooms in red, pink, white and fuchsia.   It's a little thing, but it makes us happy.

I have been trying to hop on the stationary bike frequently, giving myself a 20 minute span to see how many "miles" I can get.  You really have to keep the speed up around 95 rpms to get to eight miles and I've done that.  Since then, I've gotten up to 8.38 miles.  It's an absurd little milestone.  But, it makes me happy.  Ya, ya.  So some of you can beat that.  Don't care.  I'm happy.

I still like that new mechanical pencil.  The crocus flowers are fading, but the daffodils are showing promise now and the forsythia bushes are showing color.  The soil still feels good under my feet and that turn played by a cello still makes me smile.

A little while ago I was able to indulge myself with the opportunity to put "care packages" together for others and mailing them out.  I took what might be an absurd amount of joy in doing that.  Since then, I have received some unlooked for mail myself - including a box with some puzzles, a game and some books.  Thanks!  It makes me happy.

We received some new music from a favorite band (the Choir).  I still take great joy in exploring new music by artists I appreciate.  In the grand scheme of life, it may be a little thing, but that doesn't matter.  I see the offering of their talents as a gift that has been shared with me.  What's wrong with letting that improve your mood?

Someone else took the time to tell me they appreciated Postal History Sundays.  Another let me know that some words I wrote meant something to them.  A friend called me because they hadn't heard from me and was concerned about that.  Another asked for my input on something they were doing.   Someone else said that I had done a good job on something.  Another allowed me to explain what was worrying me without putting words in my mouth or interruption.

These things made me feel valued.  Maybe they didn't seem like much, but that's only true if you don't recognize them and acknowledge that they do matter.

I am reminding myself to take these positives and give them all FULL VALUE.  No apologies for the fact that they might not be a "big deal" and I am certainly not sorry to say that each of them made me feel good. 

The little things are going to help us get through the big things.  What little things have made you happy lately?


  1. Reading your blogs!

  2. I love this blog post. Reading it makes me happy on this windy day. And the little bit of color in my garden makes me happy too, even though the yard squirrels have eaten half of the bulbs I planted for a snack last fall.

  3. We enjoy your blog a lot!

  4. Catherine Faux4:49 PM

    Hooray for your very own Ritz! And hooray for a word of affirmation, a blooming flower, or other small thing that brings joy. These are essential elements of an abundant life, I think. Love you, big brother!

  5. I wish I could write 10% as well as you write. Maybe I'll ship you what I am trying to write to see if you can make it more understandable! I do enjoy reading your writings! Also, watch out(!), I do love you a lot!!


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