Minutiae

The days are busy; the evenings too. Not with big, important tasks;  just  the minutiae of daily life… . bread to bake, clothes to lavender, meals to prepare, groceries to buy, dishes to wash,  feet to scrub, vases to fill, socks to find,  hair to brush, a friend to visit, a neighbour to chat to, a letter to write, an email to send, a text to answer, and phone calls to make and  to receive….

My mother is improving and gaining strength. She will return home soon, we hope. Her  progress is good. I phone her once, sometimes twice, a day. A hospital is a busy place.  Our conversations are brief.

But I  grab a moment of the call, to talk to my brother or my sister; whoever happens to be with our mother when I phone. They are tired. I hear it in their voices. Whilst one sibling is at the hospital, the other cares for the house and my father. Care responsibilities are 24 hours.

Later, when it is 1 in the morning here, I may phone my sister again. It will be 10pm in Cairns. We discuss the day’s events. I am yawning and, suddenly, my sister switches from talking about hospital matters to something about ‘hammering nails’. I am silent for a while, wondering what this means. My sister is silent, too, for a moment. Then she laughs and asks, “What did I just say?” “Something about nails,” I reply. She laughs again; her great,big, only-my-sister-can-laugh-this-way, laugh. “I fell asleep. I was talking in my sleep,” she says.  A short while later, it happens again. We hang up before our words become any more incomprehensible 🙂

There are other calls to make at other times. To friends; to my aunt, in a rest home, to let her know that her sister is okay; to my uncle and my aunt who are moving to their retirement home. To others we Skype. My father likes to Skype chat. He types well and knows how to use those emoticons 😀

Thus are the smallnesses that occupy my days; that keep my fingers flying, my voice activated, and my brain engaged (mostly).

But there are other smallnesses that rest my body and mind; that communicate by ancient paths and provide calm and continuity,

and call forth joy every morning.

© silkannthreades

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101 thoughts on “Minutiae

  1. Pingback: You can’t keep a good peony down | silkannthreades

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      She really knows what it’s all about and how a door can be opened if only she could reach that far! Jack actually learned how to slide open the kitchen door by watching how she did it.

      Reply
  2. teamgloria

    the furry ones at the door!

    LOVE THAT.

    one smart cat, you can tell.

    ps: sending soothing thoughts about your family cares – that can’t be easy – *wavingfromlosangeles* with a kind-concerned-look.

    Reply
  3. melodylowes

    Life can be difficult, keeping up with caring for aging parents. I’m glad to hear that your mother is doing better – what a troubling time for you all as you adjust and try to make sure she is comfortable and cared for. On a lighter note – you ‘lavender your clothes’??? My, my, your domestic spirit puts mine to shame! 😉

    Reply
  4. Virginia Duran

    Happy to read that your mother is recovering. Little by little she’ll feel better. And I am impressed with your father’s confidence with Skype, wow. I love the way you describe the daily things by the way. I am very passionate about having a routine, I find a lot of pleasure doing some things everyday. Breakfast is maybe my happiest moment 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And hopefully they stay on the string; it’s not much fun when things become unstrung and the little beads go scattering all over the floor 😉 . We are very much hoping our mother will be able to go home before the end of the week.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My sister certainly was, and still is, exhausted. My mother has had a setback, unfortunately 😦 But I suppose that is to be expected. There are good days and not so good days for all of us.

      Reply
  5. lautal

    I like the description of your daily routine. All of us have something to do like you but only few are trying to tell us about that. Although, these small things make our lives. Whatever somebody does during the day is important and has to be done with love and pleasure. While I read your posts I feel your life is full of Joy!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I do so agree that whatever we do each day should be done with as much love and joy as possible. Not every day can be wonderful through and through but ,in each day ,there is sure to be one moment where we can experience joy.

      Reply
  6. Heather in Arles

    I hold on dearly to the joy in little things and am sending out Good Wishes for your extended family and four-pawed friends.

    Reply
  7. Elephant

    You do so many nice things during the day – flowers and making bread. I don’t think of them as small things. To take such care of your home, friends and family – they seem like big things!

    Elephant

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, small things can add up to something big; none more so than salt. You will like this…..it gave me such a laugh….when I made my bread I forgot to add salt!!!! So my beautiful bread was reduced to average in size and bland in taste. I suppose it could have been worse. I could have left out the yeast!

      Reply
      1. Elephant

        If you left out the yeast you would have noticed it wasn’t rising! But I do appreciate the lack of salt – obvious only after it has gone wrong – no picture is as perfect as we would like. I admire your effort!

        Elephant

        Reply
  8. Ralph

    Hi Gallivanta 😀
    Images in a comment……Yay !!
    Last year I spent 8 days in a Spanish hospital for tests, had friends visit, but the Spanish had a family member stay in shifts 24/7 and I could see how tiring it was for those family members especially if there were only 1 or 2 of them. Big hug for your sister 😀
    Love your cat. Ralph xox 😀

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, yes…3 images in a comment!!!! Thanks Ralph..my sister needs lots of hugs.
      My cat, however, doesn’t care for hugs. An occasional tummy tickle is permitted but, otherwise, she likes to be a free agent, beholden to no one, unless it’s dinner time.

      Reply
  9. ordinarygood

    I am pleased to read of your mother’s improvement and to learn that your father is alive too. So many of the ordinary tasks allow our minds to wander and mull through feelings and memories and/or to provide some respite from the concerns.
    Just a question however…..whose feet require scrubbing please???

    Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Well, grubby dog paws could do with a scrub! I think your son would growl at my wayward footcare standards too 😦 I do try, really I do.

        2. ordinarygood

          My son sees plenty of “horror stories” and plenty of people who refuse to alter their shoe styles, fit and size which would see them feeling much better and painfree. I’m pleased you see a Pod…..they can be much misunderstood as to their skills and helpfulness.

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          In my opinion, people who work with our feet are treasures! I want to keep my feet as healthy as possible for as long as possible. When I could afford it , I loved reflexology, too.

        4. ordinarygood

          My son’s employer got me walking again without a limp after I fractured my ankle in three places 11 years ago and they are working hard to ensure I walk well after the knee procedure. My daughter loves having her feet massaged. Reflexology would be good for her. Feet take us a long way they deserve to be well cared for:-)

        5. Gallivanta Post author

          That’s wonderful. You will be very confident of their ability to help you, post-procedure, after your positive experiences with them. Some of my mother’s walking difficulties come from being unable to find comfortable and suitable shoes.Her feet lack the support they need. We really still need shoemakers who can make custom made shoes. Perhaps 3D printers will make us better shoes one day 😉

        6. ordinarygood

          Finding comfy and supportive shoes can be very difficult. I live in running shoes and a pair of sturdy winter lace-ups. Gone are the days of summer sandals, jandals and bare feet. I like the idea of 3D printers making custom shoes. Does your Mum have a friendly Pod?

        7. Gallivanta Post author

          I love my sturdy winter lace-ups and for summer I also have a pair of sturdy sandals from Kathmandu (the shop!). We did find a Pod for our parents but only my father will go! I guess some people are comfortable with having their feet tended to and some are not 😦

  10. womanseyeview

    We have to enjoy those ordinary moments of peace we are given and you could teach us all how to do that…your words read like poetry. I am however intrigued by the task of ‘clothes to lavender’ – what does that mean?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am so chuffed that you hear poetry in my words. ‘Clothes to lavender’ is a little joke that my sister and I enjoy, in order to make the work of clothes washing seem elegant and lovely. The word laundry has its origins in lavanderie which has connections to lavender; and, of course, because I am looking for the references that explain this, I can’t find them!!!!

      Reply
  11. Leya

    i’m so glad your mother is recovering! Busy times for everyone, but it made me smile when you wrote that your sister fell asleep and was talking to herself. ..You have all had much to do, but now, hopefully everything will be more calm and maybe you can relax a bit and enjoy having your mother back again!

    Have a fine and enjoyable Sunday now. It’s summer.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I think when we can truly relax we will all fall asleep for a week! Or maybe longer like Sleeping Beauty! Thanks for commenting on the photos of the dog and cat. Jack, the dog, is always very jealous if I pay attention to the cat, so he paws the door furiously to get my attention back to him. The little cat, Zoe, is very funny (she’s an old cat) and is very clever at opening doors. A friend of ours calls her Gingernut, like the biscuit, because she is such a tough little thing. And she defends her territory with the ferocity of a Tom Cat.

      Reply
      1. Leya

        She is beautiful – I love yellow cats. Sometimes I wish I had a cat again. They were my companions throughout my childhood. I’ve only had dogs since a grown woman.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Maybe there is a cat waiting for you in your very old age when you are sitting quietly by the fireside. Cats have a way of finding us when they know we are ready. A cat found the retirement home where my aunt lives. She is the happiest cat; she has a dozen beds to choose from, lots of chairs, and everyone fusses over her.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          I wonder how we will be blogging? Using something like Google glasses perhaps. Don’t forget to send me your mail address so I can send the bookmark to you 🙂

        3. Leya

          OK! I think we corresponded over a bread recipe, but maybe you need my real life address too? I’ll send it. Google glasses?…Good idea!

  12. KerryCan

    Most important, it’s so nice to hear your mother is improving! And nice that you and your sister have each other for support. The minutiae must by kind of comforting in its familiarity. I love those pictures of the cat and dog!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, I love the comfort of familiarity, the small routines. Sometimes they become tiresome and boring, but mostly not. I don’t ever get tired or bored with the cat and dog. I wonder if they get bored with me when I don’t perform as they would like? 😀

      Reply
  13. Forest So Green

    I am glad that your mother is doing better, I have been thinking about you, my computer was having troubles, its fixed now, I have a lot of catching up to do, your flowers are lovely, as always, Annie

    Reply
  14. utesmile

    Life is busy wiht all these things….and I just threw a lonely sock away….. 🙂 I also talk to my mum daily and see how she is as every day brings different moods and pains. I always try to cheer her up. Glad that your mum is getting better and it is a relief! Wishing more recovery and a calm day for you!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Poor, lonely sock! 😦 Is your mother able to skype with you, or use something similar? Does she see all the lovely photos and inspirational ideas you put on your blog? Today felt calm, Ute, but it was also very hot!

      Reply
      1. utesmile

        My mum only knows what a computer is but cannot use one, she has never learnt. We telephone the old fashioned way. She doesn’t understand blogging either so internet etc is to difficult to understand. Technology was never her forte. She still lives in the last century really, but she has a flat screen TV now, my sister bought, which she loves and is able to switch on and change channels. She does see our laptops and is amazed. I can’t get into the internet there though as there is no Wifi in the home so I cannot show her. 😦

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          That is a shame but telephoning the old fashioned way is still a fine method of communication. The important thing is to communicate, not the method used. My cat and dog have figured this out very cleverly 😉

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, April. A little setback over night but we’ll keep our fingers crossed that my mother is basically on the mend. Well, as mended as one can be in old age 🙂

      Reply
  15. April

    I love your photos. I can empathize with you about how it feels to have a parent who is ill and lives so far away. Which, if I don’t stop commenting right now, I’m going to lose it. I need to find some things to do………

    Reply
  16. mixedupmeme

    I am glad your mom is better. It seems we never finish the things we have to do, but somehow they get done.
    I don’t want to be a burden on anyone and never thought I would be. Now at the age where it is hard to do even the hair combing. Family is far away and I know we must leave our independent life and lean on others for even the smallest of needs. I am already tossing out nonsense things. lol Who needs a dozen sticky note pads? Who needs a 40 coffee mugs? I was a teacher and I really do have 40. Who needs 4 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper? I don’t give gifts anymore. Who needs old calendars….just because the pictures were pretty?

    I should be tossing instead of playing on the computer. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Shouldn’t we all be tossing?!!! But computer play is much more fun. I am laughing about your collections, though. I am guilty, too; very guilty. What shall we do….sing a song?

      Reply
  17. lensandpensbysally

    Your words are jewels that honor the everydayness of our lives–the ordinary and extraordinary that blend into who we become. The peonies are an apt metaphor for the way life changes and evolves and evolves again. They are one of nature’s most gorgeous of children.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Peonies certainly are gorgeous, and I like your idea that they are an apt metaphor. What amazes me about peonies is that even in their transformation they retain beauty and fragrance.

      Reply
  18. jaggh53163

    A very well written post about all the little things that fill our days… Depending on our perspective, it’s amazing how much we accomplish in a day, or how little we accomplish. I like to believe that in a day like that, we have accomplished the really important things. There is nothing dearer than communicating with loved ones.

    Reply
  19. Mrs. P

    Isn’t technology wonderful! I’m glad your dad likes Skype. Mine hasn’t figured that one out yet, is comfortable with a computer, hard to reach by phone…so I visit as often as possible. Glad your mum is doing better!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Technology is wonderful although often challenging! I struggle to keep up with all the new developments but I hope I will always be able to learn some new tricks.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks Joanne. My mother had a little set back last night but we are still hoping for a return home soon. Yes, you are right, they are peonies; on their last petals but still beautiful. Is there a lesson in that 😉

      Reply
  20. YellowCable

    That is such a joyful way to view these small things in life even you have to solve the unsolvable sock puzzle 🙂 I am also glad to hear your mother’s condition is improving.

    The forth joy are great companies. Those pictures of them just make me smile. Lovely story 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you 🙂 Jack, the dog, and Zoe, the cat, make me laugh every day. They are good companions. Mmmm…but I wonder if they know anything about the missing socks? Jack used to love to eat socks when he was little.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. Both small things at the door actually make quite a noise with their cries of ‘let me in, I want breakfast’ but it is the routine of their behaviour that is reassuring and amusing.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, it is good to break things down in to parts, for I do get overwhelmed sometimes. But, then, when I wake in the morning and see those funny little faces at the window, it’s impossible not to laugh and be lost to a moment of pure, refreshing delight. There is goodness in smallness.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. My sister was so tired that day but, as here, respite care, is not always easy to obtain so families make do as best they can. At least, we can still see the funny side of life.

      Reply
  21. Clanmother

    “There isn’t any such thing as an ordinary life.” L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

    I always quote L.M. Montgomery when I am doing the dishes, dusting, or washing the floors!! It is the simple tasks that make me realize that within the ordinary, we experience extraordinary moments – whether it is singing “Let it be” at the top of my voice or laughing to myself at the memory of a joke told years ago. I also think it is being connected with people – sisters & brothers, mothers & fathers, children, friends, that are the “extra” in the extraordinary.

    Like Cindy said – what a wonderful life!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am laughing at the images you have given me of yourself; singing loudly; quoting L M Montgomery. You are extraordinary, my friend. I don’t know the Emily stories (sadly :() but these images are for you Anne Books
      Anne's House of Dreams 1935
      Anne’s House of Dreams was given to my mother in 1935. It was printed in 1934. That is the oldest of my mother’s Anne books. Here are the others All our Anne Books

      Reply

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