Thursday, March 15, 2012

2012 - National Dietitian's Day #5!

I had to be reminded that today is National Dietitian's Day by a dietetics student who wrote on our farm's Facebook page! I am a little embarrassed about needing to be reminded, not having a blog post ready for posting, and I suppose I have plenty of 'excuses', but I cannot hazard a guess how any one of them would stack up on being 'good enough'. So I'll let you decide. :)

Let's see - what did I do today? What distracted me from knowing that today was the 5th National Dietitians Day and posting so late in the day?

1) I got up to take our dog out for her morning romp chasing away any deer who roam the farm at will during the night.

2) I had breakfast, a shower, and then checked my personal email (not Facebook)

3) I read Messenger, the first poem in Mary Oliver's book Thirst - thank you Elaine for mentioning it in your kind comment - tomorrow I will re-read it, thinking about it with another day's perspective. :)

4) I then re-read the poem Swan and also Lark Ascending in Mary Oliver's book Swan - especially these lines in Lark Ascending:

.....'and singing at the same time
joyfully, and yet
as if his heart would break'......

I often feel this, even though I do not understand it. Are joy and heart-break/heart-ache two sides of the same coin? Do they need to travel together? Maybe, I don't know, but I will try to keep my focus on the side of the coin that is joy, keeping the inevitable heart-break, the chronic heart-ache, on the back side, at least in the background, as long as possible.

5) I re-read the essay Letting it Go in Julie Zickefoose's book Letters from Eden - I love Julie's style of gardening, doing it as much for the white-crowned sparrows as any hope for an heirloom tomato. The white-crowned sparrows just love the mess in our 'landscaping', too. :)

Two late photo additions and text: My first white-crowned sparrows showed up at our farm last spring, loving our 'au naturale' landscaping (i.e., a delightful, wild-looking mess). There were 5-6 of them, just slightly bigger than the other small ground-feeding birds, looking and acting just like a tiny-tots hockey team, all suited up and stuffed into their padded uniforms, wearing a great-looking helmet, racing around and chasing the other birds and each other all over the 'rink', i.e., under the feeder. Watching this display after the white-crowned sparrows arrived, day after day, until the American tree sparrows and the juncos left their previously comfortable winter home for their northern summer homes, was one of the funniest things I have ever seen! And then one day, I realized the white-crowned sparrows had left for 'up north', too. I was sad to see them go, because I loved their 'antics'. I was eager to see them return in the fall, and now I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing them again for a few weeks this spring!

(I know this photo is probably fuzzy because it is 'blown up' too much. I still love looking at the great 'white crown' on this bird). 
6) I began designing the front and back labels for the Chive Blossom Vinegar that I will be selling at our farmers markets. (slow work, fun work, playing around with design) I chose and ordered the glass jars on Monday, they were delivered on Wednesday, I began designing today after getting a full visual feel for how large of a space I have to work with)

7) Had a great phone call with a friend, fellow (no, 'sister') farmer, ranging from high-energy dogs to my dynamite daughters-in-law. Oh yes, some talk was about garlic, pigs, farmers markets, and how to market (i.e., sell) our products for a fair price that leads to a living wage, too.

8) Drove to a play date for our dog Phoebe, with her former owners and their dog. (no lying around cooling off in the ponds today - she got WAY too smelly and needed a full-soap bath yesterday, which wore me out - ha! - maybe that is my good excuse for not being ready with a Dietitian Day post today!)

9) I weighed up some garlic for a friend who swung by, through our circle drive, with a beautiful sleeping baby in the car - no visiting - must keep baby sleeping. Phoebe, stop barking! I remember those days so long ago now!

10) Tried to catch up (haha!) on another friend/author's blog. I highly recommend that all cancer survivors read any of the well-written books by Wendy Harpham, MD and visit her blog On Healthy Survivorship. Wendy's blog is her 'labor of love', and I confess that I was a little bit relieved to see that some of her posts are as lengthy as mine can be. Wendy's writing is the reason I still subscribe to Oncology Times. Frankly, I get weary and find I am decidedly uninterested in reading anything about new treatment protocols, etc, etc, etc anymore, unless they are talking about providing services for cancer survivors (or cancer prevention, but not much, if any, of that in The Oncology Times). Instead, I look for Wendy's articles about being a long-term survivor, both struggling and easing her way through life after cancer and life with cancer, life that has included big doses of uncertainty and loss but also joy. Her articles for Oncology Times describe her experiences and thoughts during her cancer journey while wearing the dual hats of patient and doctor, written for oncologists, trying to give them a glimpse with some tools to be the best healer they can be. I also have started a heart-felt note to Wendy, but I need to create a special time to finish it. Notes like that are not just a 'dash it off and be done with it' type of note. :)

11) I decided I have spent way too much time (years) reading about science and food and 'current affairs' (i.e., politics - arghhh) and not nearly enough time reading poetry. I am still dwelling on 'how could I have missed Mary Oliver?' and who knows who/what else, so I signed off of a couple of blogs that make me grit my teeth most of the time, even when I basically agree with their views. (I remember mentioning that I finally stopped listening to the radio, even NPR!, last summer, choosing to spend any time in the car listening to favorite music CDs.) Instead I signed up for Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. Thus when I start my day at the computer, I will read a bit of poetry and other literary tidbits, rather than those blogs or reading serious and stupid headlines (like which celebrities wore the same dress and who wore it better? omg - who cares? - sigh.......).

12) Head down to the basement with our dog after first tracking down my husband out in the barn to sit out a tornado warning in the safest room in the house, our brewery and canning room. (Being Midwest born and bred, plus seeing The Wizard of Oz at a vulnerable young age, I have had a life-long healthy fear of tornados and refused to even look at a house more than once that did not have a basement while we were farm-hunting!) While racing in from the barn and to the basement, my husband thought to bring everything we needed for the two of us to finish shelling the popcorn we harvested last fall. During that hour, I got a call on my cell phone (who is checking on us?) expecting my mother. Instead, totally unexpected, it was the farmer who won the poetry slam at the MOSES Organic Farming conference, just letting me know his winning poem was now up on Facebook. His poem brought me to tears, as did last year's winning poem. I'll write more about this later.

13) Tornado warning still in effect for 5 more minutes, however, now the thunder is really close and we get to see how our new dog is shaking, panting, and laying on our feet, her head in our laps, curling up small instead of in her usual stretching and sprawling completely relaxed repose. We're done with the popcorn, time for a beer (for us) from our supply of home-made and locally-brewed beers in the brewery.

14) So much to do, so much needs my attention. So many choices to make between what I need to do, what I want to do, what I love to do. What will I choose to do? Will I make my life crazy-busy, choosing to accept an 'opportunity' that would cause any 'sensible' dietitian to jump up and down with crazy delight or will I pass it up/pass it off? This sounds rather vague, I know that :), and hmm, hmm, maybe just maybe, this pending 'opportunity' that has been 'occupying' Diana's mind for the past month is the reason I am ignoring National Dietitian Day! Too much to think about, too few hours in the day that I don't need to sleep, too few brain cells for effective and chronic multi-tasking (age and late/lingering 'chemo-brain' are both a part of my life), too much of a desire to explore poetry and my birds and have my hands in the soil. One way or another, I'll let you know some of the details, yes, or no, big or little, what is appropriate, when the time is right, what I decide, how I decided, why I decided what to do about this 'opportunity'.

15) Ok - back to a tornado watch for our area until 11 pm tonight - ok - I still don't know what we're having for supper, being rather interrupted late this afternoon when I would typically be starting to think about possibilities. At least we still have power (this is a big concern because power outages happen often with storms/wind due to so many dead and still-waiting-to-fall ash trees, stripped of their beautiful life and brought to their knees by the non-native and invasive emerald ash borer), so scrounging up something will be easy to do. Popcorn! We have plenty of that - just kidding, but that is an option for later tonight if supper is skimpy.

16) So off to think about supper, my husband is off to the barn, Phoebe is still at/on my feet. I'll make a call to check on my mother again in a few minutes, upstairs where cell phone reception is better. I'll close up shop with my computer for the day, make sure Phoebe has one last chance to tell the deer 'scram!', read a bit for pleasure before falling into bed, sleeping well (unless of course those tornado sirens fire off again during the evening).

17) Let me just end by saying that I don't know if I am 'retired' or not as a dietitian. I still pay full dues, still do a lot of volunteer work at the national level for subgroups within my professional organization (The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the new name this year for the former American Dietetic Association). I am speaking next month at our Local Food Summit, billed as a Dietitian - Farmer - Author, so that sounds like I am still a dietitian and definitely not retired! I have three types of favorite emails to see in my Inbox: 1) from our sons/their wives and friends, 2) from dietetic students, interns, and other RDs, and 3) comments from my blogs, all of which I write as a dietitian. So, since 2 out of 3 of my favorite emails have something to do with being a dietitian, I think that means I am not retired.

I see I didn't even list checking Facebook. It was sometime in the late afternoon, before the tornado warning. I take that as a sign that I have very likely forgotten to include at least a dozen more things I did today, things that filled my day but clearly distracted me from focusing on National Dietitian Day. Oh right now I can remember one more - I washed the walls in our mudroom and kitchen where Phoebe had done artwork with her lovely feathery but muddy tail.

Just for fun (and if you have time) here are the posts I have written for the past 4 years on (or near) National Dietitian Day. Someday, I'll re-read them again myself to see how my thoughts may have evolved during these past five years.

2011  I'm Late Again
2010  It's All About Change
2009  There and Back Again
2008  Celebrate National Dietitian's Day (the first!)

Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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