Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meaningful intersections?

Sometimes, you just have to wonder.

When my son played soccer, there was one set of team parents that he and I both particularly liked, but we never socialized outside of the games. My son stopped playing after high school. More than five years have passed since then. The next time I saw that mom was last spring at the funeral of a young man who'd played on that team. At the reception, she and I made noises about getting together, and then quite a few months later, she sent me an email, suggesting that we meet for a chat.

It took me another couple of months to get back to her.

Two weekends ago we met for coffee. She talked at some length about her dad who seemed to be descending with devastating suddenness into dementia. I confided that my dad had died in a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients, and so we talked at length about the whole sad and challenging process.

Two days later, early on a Monday morning, she called me, saying, "Could you call me back as soon as possible? We just got an official diagnosis on my dad, and we need to get him into a nursing home as soon as we can." She wanted to verify the name of the nursing home where my dad had been. When I called her back, and she answered on her cell phone, she was at that moment walking into that very nursing home.

I think that's kind of remarkable. I hadn't talked to her for five years. We had never met socially before. We knew nothing about each other's personal lives. My dad had died years before I met her. But when we finally did get together again, I was able to reassure her about putting her dad into a nursing home, and I could recommend to her a home--two days before she would find out that she needed one immediately for her own father. I'm tempted to write, "But when we did finally get together again, it was so I could reassure her and tell her about the nursing home."

I believe she had an intuition that prompted us to get together at just the right time, so she could have a conversation with another daughter--me-- who had been through the same thing with her father.

I haven't heard from her since. I'll send her an email soon, and ask how things are going. But it may be that we have already transacted our "business," on the day we were drawn together at the coffee shop.

I'll see you inside at OUR coffee and tea shop, which is ALWAYS a meaningful intersection!


Nancy P said...

Off to bed. See you in the morning.

AndiF said...

In the realm of non-meaningful intersections, mine was time and temperature. I got hooked on watching the thermometer last night to track the temperature drop last night. Between 8 and 10 it went from 54 to 29. But I guess I can control my addictions because I didn't stay up to watch the final drop to 13.

A brrr morning to everyone.

Rick Bylina said...

Nancy...Life is paved with providential intersections that we sometimes cruise through. Nice that you looked both ways at this one.

Morning all...After a day of job interviews (nixed by Cisco, nixed by Red Hat, nixed by SAS, nixed by Sony-Erisscon), time to drown the "almost hired blues" in a good old-fashioned personal writing marathon, that is, of course, after chopping down a few trees for next winter's wood pile.

Write on! Write on!! Brothers and sisters, amen. Write on!!!

katiebird said...

Good Morning Andi & Rick & Nancy. (drifting off to watch the coffee drip)

olivia said...

Morning Nancy, Andi, Rick, katieb.

Nancy -- Hmmmm, I really believe you were meant to come together at this point in your respective journeys.

katiebird said...

Hi Olivia!

Maria Lima said...

Nancy, interesting story. I love meaningful intersection tales as I'm convinced our lives are full of them.

So many times I've been headed somewhere or at a particular event (sometimes doing volunteer work that I wasn't planning to do), when I've met/run into someone who then made an impact on my life.

That's how I got "Matters of the Blood" republished after publisher one (the asshat (tm)) vanished off the face of the earth. That's how I reconnected with a friend from San Antonio, who's now in Norfolk, VA and has recently published her first couple of romance novels. (we were once in a reading group together).

Andi - BRRRRR!! It's still rather unseasonably warm here. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Rick - best of luck to you on the interview process. It's something I detest mightily.

G'morning to the rest of you - kb, Olivia.

I'm indulging in a leisurely brekkie and Internet surfing before the trek to work and dealing with clients visiting from Ohio. (another most-day meeting...seems to be the season).

FARfetched said...

Hey all.

After roaring winds and heavy rain last night, it's cool and wet here. Might as well work on a day like this, huh?

Rick, bummer about the job interviews. I'm kind of glad you didn't end up at Cisco though; they're a competitor to the place I work for & we'd have to start trading gibes. ;-) But what's with cutting down trees? We get by with deadfall. 'Course, we have some acreage to justify the "Manor" part of "FAR Manor."

KB, that coffee ready yet? Yeah, gimme a cup. sluuurrrrrrpppp Ahhh. That's better.

Nancy, it's always good when the universe presents you with an opportunity to help someone — and you take it. Here's hoping they find a cure for her dad, soon!

Maria, I *will* send you an email today.

Got a question for all you novelists: do you ever use mindmaps to get a handle on your project? FAR Future (the latest episode of which went up last night, BTW) is definitely going to be novel-sized, and my temperament seems better suited for short stories.

So I broke out FreeMind yesterday and started laying out the various threads. [LINK] I blurred the text to keep the threads under wraps. This is maybe 3/4 of the way done, and doesn't include dotted-line links (the big one just above center? I haven't started writing in that thread yet). Anyway, I was wondering if you use mindmaps, do you have any tips or ideas?

Beth said...

Morning, everyone. Sorry about the temp drops - the Weather Gods must be very confused.

The coffee smells good! Too bad it's leaded. :-)

Have you seen the mail that circulates regularly, Nancy, about people coming into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? I think it fits here. Glad you could help her.

Sorry about the job stuff, Rick. Sending virtual hugs.

No mindmaps, far. I use a spreadsheet to track what happens in each chapter, what threads I introduce, what the conflict is, etc. But I don't outline, so don't map anything out ahead of time. Good luck with it...

Sending warm vibes today - we're having above avg temps, and I'm happy to share. Hang onto that shoe, Maria!

GhostFolk.com said...

I'll send her an email soon, and ask how things are going. But it may be that we have already transacted our "business," on the day we were drawn together at the coffee shop.

This is so nice, Nancy. My interesecting "business" is usually conducted by overhearing other people's conversation.

Hang tough, Rick. Gawd, I hate what you're going through.

I think we shold be able to hire freelancers to go to job interviews for us.

Rick Bylina said...

FAR...Most is deadfall, but I heat with wood so I need 3-7 cords each winter. Most felled trees are opportunistic necessities either on my five acres or elsewhere. Termites have helped lean a giant oak (2-3 cords) a few degrees too many over the driveway. Two big pines have squishy earth beneath them and lean in the direction of the house--accidents waiting to happen in a stiff wind. Stuff like that.

Mind mapping. Hmmm. I have a lot of diagrams and spreadsheets to help me along the way, especially for timestamping...so very important in mysteries or time travel, but I use no formal programs. Tried one years ago, but it made the prose feel cramped.

More interviews on Freitag.

N e e d t o m a k e m o r e c o f f e e !

Nancy P said...

"Your name is ANDI, and you are a thermometerholic."

Hi, KATIEBIRD. Did you see the paper? 6,000 braver souls than I went to the event yesterday.

I think so, too, OLIVIA. I love what RICK said, ". . .life is filled with intersections that we sometimes cruise through." Note to self: Remember to look both ways at all times.

Nancy P said...

MARIA, that's a very interesting connection about volunteer work and meaningful intersections. I'm not sure what, if anything, it indicates, but it's food for thought. Something about our "will" and our "way."

FARFETCHED, I don't think I've heard of mindmaps. I'm going to follow your link!

Nancy P said...

Hi,GHOST. I hate what Rick is going through, too. He needs a meaningful intersection! I love your idea of hiring a freelancer for interviews. :)

Nancy P said...

BETH! I almost didn't see you there! It's that blinding Florida sunshine that did it--that, and my utterly consuming JEALOUSY of your warm weather. To make up for being such a petty b*tch, I've put on a pot of decaf, just for you.

Rick Bylina said...

Interview freelancers = head hunters and job shops.

Shhhh. My protagonist just got an impromptu enema when a meteorite crashed through his house while he was on the toilet. Whater geyser's indeed!

Must write more.

Beth said...

Yay, decaf! :-) It's mine, all mine...

There are clean sheets on the guest room bed, and wireless internet, and I'd even buy LEADED coffee (or tea for Kelly) - come on down to the warmer latitudes! I hate to be selfish and not share.

olivia said...

Nancy -- I love what Rick said AND what you said.

I love what RICK said, ". . . life is filled with intersections that we sometimes cruise through." Note to self: Remember to look both ways at all times.

Kelly McCullough said...

Hi All,

Green Tea this morning, Laura didn't leave the package out, so I don't know what kind. I'm imagining this one because it has a cool name: Blink Bonnie

Per Tea Source: A medium-bodied lovely green tea, with sweet, floral, forest notes to the flavor.

Far, no mindmaps, I'm afraid. My process is very linear and mostly I hold it in my head.

-15 this morning with wind chill at -38. I kissed Laura goodbye as she went off to school and then pulled the blankets over my head for another hour.

Conda said...

Hi all, Rick, Beth, far, Katiebird,and all, don't let me miss anybody.

I've been lurking because Boise is having a WINTER. So much so that the schools are closed today. My drive to teach class is 50 minutes instead of 15--so it's really cutting into my creative time!

But I just needed to mention that we have an elderly family member with terminal cancer and I'm quite grateful that services are so much more available and better these days. I went through taking care of my mother in her last illness 18 years ago, and things have changed, for the better!

Time to shovel snow, again. Before the next storm hits. Again.

FARfetched said...

Um, Conda… why shovel if you're going to have to do it again in a couple of hours?

That was our philosophy back in Michigan, anyway. A universal law, also, was that as soon as you finished, the plow would come by & bury the last 4 feet of your driveway again.

Conda said...

Very true, far--especially about the snowplow. Unfortunately, the snow we've been getting is very wet and keeps freezing so there's black ice underneath it and it weighs a ton. Just trying to keep ahead of it. And failing!

Nancy P said...

Any LOST fans out there? Here's a cool ABC website with extra stuff:


Nancy P said...

OLIVIA: :) Has everybody checked out Parvum Opus today? Olivia's photo is beyond beautiful.

KELLY, THAT IS TOO COLD! Move to Hawaii at once.

Ah,CONDA, I don't think I could ever do that--take care of somebody at home--for very long. Unless the only other option was setting them out of an ice flow, of course. Even I wouldn't do that. But I am sooo not constituted to be a nurse for longer tha a week. As you say, thank god there are decent options now, at least in some places.

Nancy P said...

Okay, I'm 90% packed for my trip to the book festival in Lexington, Ky. tomorrow. Now I can go over to Sally's for pizza this evening and watch the KU-KState bball game with her. Beth, I wish you could get that one. It's a fierce rivalry--even if KU has won the last 20 gazillion games--and it's more so this time since KU is undefeated and Kstate has maybe the single best college bball player in the land. And it's at KState.

Beth said...

Have a safe trip tomorrow, Nancy! Enjoy the weekend. And pizza tonight and bb - I'm jealous. Sounds like a good game. I'll be watching UVa and Maryland, since I don't get ESPN full court. Yell extra loud for me!

FARfetched said...

We had a couple of strategies for dealing with ice… one was to just drive over the snow & let it pack down over the ice. After a couple of weeks, you'd have a layer cake about an inch thick. Pry it up in chunks & toss it off the driveway. I could sometimes get 4x6 foot chunks to come up at once.

My uncle had terminal cancer… it'll be 2 years around the end of March since he went. Don't forget to take time off shoveling to spend time with your relative.

Hey O, lookin' good today. Definitely pervable, too!

Kelly… only minus 15? Global warming must be catching up. Some of those winter mornings at MTU would start at -40 before the wind chill. Grab some breakfast, add another layer, and get goin', that was the deal. Well, they would cancel ski classes when the windchill got to -60, but that didn't happen too often.

katiebird said...

Have fun watching the game, Nancy. I'm going to try to lose myself in Lost.

(waving) Hi! Andi & Rick & Olivia! & Maria & Far & Ghost & Beth & Kelly & Conda (O this is getting dangerous...I'm GOING to miss someone, but who?)

I haven't taken a tour of the Neighborhood in a long time. But, I'll do it tonight. Is anyone home?

boran2 said...

That's an interesing story, Nancy. I can hear Rod Serling right now. Coincidence? Maybe not.

Our connections to each other never cease to amaze.

Beth said...

WOW Nancy! Looks like it was a great game. They showed us the last minute of play - how exciting for KState... Lucky you, getting to watch all of it!

katiebird said...

I got totally lost in LOST. What happened on the game, Beth?

Nancy P said...

K-State won. KU played well, but K-State played better throughout the game and they were almost always ahead. It's hard to feel bad about it. They're so happy. They broke a 20-year losing streak. But the bad news is, they're GOOD. They could take the Big 12.

I'm off to bed, so I'll have to put up my travel post early. You guys have a good rest-of-the-week!

Nancy P said...

Indeed, boran2, indeed. And goodnight. :)