Wednesday, June 2, 2021

staying calm...in the midst of the struggle

I would be remiss to say...this image depicts rather well how the last 6-7 months have been unfolding for me.  It goes without saying that 2020 was a year that will go down as probably the most turbulent in my life and very much in many other folks lives as well.  And much of that turbulence has begun to settle...or...maybe it's actually that I've learned to stay calm in the midst of the struggle?

Job changes...relationship changes...address changes...de-stuffing (off-loading of stuff) changes...letting go of things I've clinged to for so long...and on and on that list goes.

I've neglected my love of writing here on this blog somewhat unintentionally...but now after all these months...I've come to realize that just having this blog to express myself is a motivational factor to continue to embrace my passions.

Go...Be...Do....has been a motto of mine for quite some time.  As has "onward & upward".  It seem that the daily details of life pushed that life-mantra into a backroom somewhere.  Time to bring that back out into the light....and Go Be Do again!

I've spent hundreds of hours turning inward......searching....seeking...digging through my "life stuff" all the while feeling like there was a wasp walking around on my head.  I realized that I'd fallen into trap of living in fear...versus living from a place of allowing and not resisting...and trusting that life will bring the greatest of experiences across my path...if I would just keep my eyes up and open and see!

I've been reminded of how important following my passion and what truly inspires me all the while living my truth without fear of criticism or skepticism really is to me.  (For example...the thrill of mountain biking...or the fun of exploring open water in my kayak...hiking on trails I've never been before).

I think it goes without saying here just how much I love being outdoors!  ...and living an outdoor...active...adventurous lifestyle.  So here's to jumping back into life...and trusting that all will be provided when and as needed...and to paying attention and aware and attuned to what's around me...and following the blazes on my trail!!

Go...Be...Do...LIVE!

I'm back.



Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Rest in Peace Dad

In honor of my father...Larry E. Dickson...I've decided to post the eulogy I wrote for him back in January of this year.  Dad passed on January 1 2021 and unbeknownst to me...I've now joined the "knowing what it's like group" of you who've also lost your father.

I knew for a long time that I'd wanted to write a eulogy...but it took me months to figure out how to do that.  Dad passed from Parkinsons so his passing wasn't sudden...but rather a long...unkind...struggle.  It sucks watching someone you love deteriorate physically and mentally...but I've very grateful that I lived close by and was able to share many moments with him in his final days.  All the while working through my own struggles with the parts of Dad's life I wasn't fond of. 

Fortunately...throughout this process I realized that this was Dad's struggle with life...not mine.  His battles were not mine to judge or resist or change or to pick up as my own...but rather...let the struggle be.

Suffering sucks.  And the experience of watching another suffer when you can't do anything to change it...sucks more!  But yet...I found some reassurance that (after 10 months of facility isolation from covid...and due to the mere fact that hospice was involved at this point...I was allowed (mom and I both were) into his care facility wearing an N-95 mask and gown) to be near him...just to be present...somehow brought some calm or support to relieve the struggle somewhat.  The reality here to was that for myself...the opportunity to say my goodbyes...to be present with Dad...was a pretty big deal.  I was one of the lucky ones...because too many people lost loves ones just a few months prior due to covid and weren't allowed to be at the bedside.  I considered myself very fortunate at this point.

Back to the eulogy.  These last days really helped me understand the value of focusing on the good...and allowing for the human side of living...and letting go of the bad.

Here's what I said at dad's funeral service:

Good morning...I’m Rachel...Larry and Norma’s youngest daughter. I’m going to say a few words and anyone who would also like to share your thoughts and memories with us that you may hold in your heart about Dad is welcome and encouraged so please do so. In fact...I’d love to hear what any of you would be willing to share!

We all know how perplexed and entangled the past 10 months have been because of the intricacies that the coronavirus dumped on each of our doorsteps. But one thing I know to be true...this global and very localized challenge has forced us to recognize and reaffirm what matters to each and every one of us most deeply.

I recognize that our family isn’t the only one here who has experienced grief and loss. And I am so very grateful that you chose to come together and join us at this time and show resolve to share your heart with us as we do the same with you.

I also want to thank you all for choosing to come to be with us today. Those of you who are members of Shiloh church....I commend you...for showing such compassion for dad and for mom for the past many years...helping mom & dad move from the farm into Wauseon...mowing their grass....and helping with countless other things. Many of you know in recent years the challenges and struggles and difficulties that dad and mom both endured.

But I don’t want to focus on the times of difficulty that many of us are all too familiar with. What I’d rather do here is to share some stories...shine some light on the humor that dad so often cracked us up with when we least expected it. And also share with you some of the many life-lessons dad taught me.

Probably the easiest way to sum up the 48 years I’ve been around dad would be by choosing words that I believe best described Larry Evans Dickson.

Confident

Mechanical and Electronically minded

Persistent

Witty

Melodramatic

Fair

Assertive...Quick to impose his views

Human

Advocate

Clown

Mine of Information

Obsessed

Stubborn

Computer Programmer

Confident and Melodramtic

I could illustrate these words in one story. The time that a tornado ripped through the middle of the yard at the farm house in 1980. As you know...when tornadoes are brewing...the sky gets very dark and the air gets very weird. My sister and I and a friend had just come indoors from playing outside because it was obviously unsafe for us to stay outside as evidenced by the building storm. Dad and Mom were both home. All of us but Dad were sitting in the living room...I think dad was going window to window in anticipation of what might be coming. Then suddenly a very loud and intensewind... burst forth outside... the front door of the house blew wide open and we could see nothing but debris and dirt and what looked like a sandstorm rushing by. Dad yells at the top of his lungs “HIT THE DECK” (which means get in the basement in Dicksoneeze). Everyone but dad followed his own command. Next we’re all huddled in the basement and hearing no good sounds coming from outside.

I’m thinking to myself...where’s Dad? He’s going to get sucked up into the abyss! Of course that didn’t happen. But after this  whole ordeal...which obviously we all survived...we came to learn that dad was basically front and center like he always chose to be...confident...yet also very melodramatic.

It was through experiences like this with dad that I learned to lean into his confidence...his charge to the front attitude...I never doubted dad would always choose to be front and center...so confident in himself...yet seemingly never taking into consideration any potential dangers on his own behalf...because he always wanted to be right up front no matter the crisis...first to report what happened there. That was dad. It was as if this all came very natural to him like it was part of his DNA.

Mechanical and Electronically minded

One windy day...I decided I wanted to figure out how to build and fly a kite. Problem was...I had no idea where to begin. I think I was maybe 11 or 12 years old. Dad’s knowledge of how things work mechanically and electronically was astounding to me. He taught me that it was good to ask questions.

In fact, he encouraged my asking questions because he wanted me to understand the “whys” behind how a thing worked. So naturally....I told him my idea. To my utter surprise and amazement he began to gather items to build and fly this kite. He used a flexible bicycle flag antenna for the cross pieces...plastic for the body...and then meticulously explained to me the importance of a kites tail and how it functions and why this part was so important....he tore up pieces of an old bed sheet ...knotting strips together into a string like tail. I was very moved by how seriously he took my little project and how willing he was to make this happen. After he found a spool of nylon rope...all that was left was to fly it. Best kite flying experience I ever had! That kite went higher into the sky than I ever thought imaginable.

Witty and Clown

Dad liked to tell jokes. I hope you got to have the experience of watching dad crack himself up as he  told his corny jokes. The most recent one I can remember him telling went like this.

Two snakes were walking through the woods. (yes ...i told him as he was telling me this...that’s pretty funny already dad because snakes don’t walk...he chuckled)...and after one of them tripped and fell asked the other...”Are we poisonous?” to which the other replied “yes...why?” “well the first snake said...I just bit my lip.”

Advocate and Fair

Dad loved to shop at Big Lots. Back when there used to be a Big Lots in Wauseon...dad went there to make a return for something he purchased one day. Everything went per usual until the next morning he called the bank to check on recent debits and credits (this of course was back when to get information on your banking you had to call the bank and listen to an automated recording for each of your transactions)....here’s what he heard.

++++Played the actual audio recording+++++

Big Lots of wauseon had mistakenly credited him two hundred thirty-five thousand...four hundred and forty eight dollars into his account. He recorded this audio to prove to people that this actually happened...and then took great joy in playing it for anyone and everyone that would listen. Maybe it could be said that dad had something to do with Big Lots of wauseon closing...but regardless...he contacted them right away to ensure they got it all straightened out and they got their money back. He was always honest if things like this happened...which for some reason goofy things like this happened to dad. And he was always an advocate for Big Lots!!!

Computer Programmer

Dad wasn’t only an advocate for Big Lots but also for the usefulness of computers. He absolutely loved finding ways to utilize a computer to make his or anyone else's life a little bit easier. I’m pretty sure sometimes this made mom crazy...like how he figured out how to program the computer to control all the lights in the house. Turning on and off at certain times on their own. ...But he saw this as essential for making life easier...even though much of the time it made life a little more complicated for mom.

Another time when I was living in Tennessee and working for a whitewater rafting company I had been given the role of marketing director. Every day the Gatlinburg chamber of commerce would send us pages of addresses for those who had requested information regarding whitewater rafting. Up until this point those pages were simply converted to printed labels and brochures were mailed to them. I got to thinking ...why couldn’t we capture these names and addresses into a file and market to them more than once? Problem was...the format wasn’t usable. So... I called dad. I explained the situation to dad and before I knew it he was sending me a little program to use that he wrote...that would put these addresses into usable fields to capture for future use. This was dad’s vision...and genius when it came to utilizing computer power.

Persistent

Rarely when dad was working on something, RARELY, did the repair or fix go smoothly or as planned. Yet dad was brilliant at navigating these challenges persistently with creative solutions. It had to be done. It had to be fixed. It had to work. It had to be figured out. Dad’s relentless persistence to complete a task...to reach the end was often inexhaustible. He had a confidence in his problem solving abilities that fueled his persistence to find a workable solution. Yet he also had a humor about him during these times as well because often he’d set himself up with his pile of tools or pile of screws or pile of whatever to fall and crash making a momentous drama moment. I got to where I could see these things coming and after trying to prevent it time & time again...I would just watch this unfold...and in doing so learned that (I think) this was another way for him to express his melodrama...all the while...laughing about it after the fact.

Obsessed

Many of you are aware...dad liked to talk on the phone. An unwritten Dickson rule was...that if the phone rang...it MUST be answered by the 3 rd ring...because ALL phone calls were that important. He also absolutely loved calling friends and family to talk on the phone. I think this was one of his obsessions...yet he loved talking to people. He always had a story to share or some wisdom to impart.

No doubt there are many many other stories that could be told about Larry Dickson...and I hope some of you share some more today with us.

I also hope that I’ve served dad’s memory well here today. He taught me so very much. Some good...some not-so-good...but I can only hope to have a small piece of the vast mine of information dad maintained. But he is much better off now...in a place of peace. I can rest assured that he has finally found his peace. It takes all of it...the good and the not-so-good to live a life. Rest assured dad...that I know...it is well.


Dad was laid to rest not far from the farm property that he and Mom raised both my sister and I.



 

 

Friday, October 2, 2020

RAFTING the East Race Waterway!

This was right before we geared up and ran the course.

Most people from around here (Northwest Ohio) have never heard of the East Race Waterway.  I'd bet that most people in Northern Indian have no idea what it is either.
If live in northern Ohio and you've ever wanted to go whitewater rafting without having to drive to Pennsylvania or Michigan or Kentucky or Tennessee or West Virginia then head to downtown South Bend Indiana's East Race Waterway!  The ERW is a man-made whitewater course that is open to the public on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

No experience required...although this is a self-guided course so you're rafting at your own risk...but...you're only looking at class II rapids...so no big.

A MUST MUST add to your summer adventuring list of things to do!!  $6 bucks per person to go down this course, which also includes use of the South Bend Parks and Rec equipment (raft, paddle, life-jacket, helmet).  It takes maybe about 10 minutes to run the whole course...an no worries...every so many feet there's a trained professional with a throw-rope waiting on the sideline to help you if you get into trouble.  Except in my case...which I'll tell you about more here in a second.




This was after we ran the course...notice how much less dry we are...and maybe slightly more haggard looking.

Funny thing here is...this year...I was determined to experience the ERW again!!  It hadn't rained for weeks....but the ONE DAY we are able to go (which happened to be a Sunday) it stormed buckets...and eventually the course was closed down due to lightning in the area.  Ironic.  But hey...at least they were still open and running during this blasted Covid year from hell.

Chris, Isabella, Isaac and I got to run the course one time in a raft...and then I ran the course a second time in a ducky before they closed the course for the weather safety factor.  Everyone had a blast...and some fun stories came out of the experience (like Isaac accidentally whacking Chris in the helmet in between paddle strokes throughout the run...which is really the main reason you're required to where a helmet...to protect yourselves from yourselves...hah!)

 

I had run this course years and YEARS before and it was very interesting to see what had changed and what hadn't over those years.  The course looked exactly the same...but one of the big changes...and at  least in my mind...was if you went down this course by yourself in their 2-person ducky they no longer offered kayak paddles (the double ended sort of paddle versus the single canoe paddle type you see me holding in the photo above).  Why does this matter you may ask??  Well...I'll tell you.  It takes some serious finesse to effectively maneuver your own boat having to either adjust your stroke type (power, direction, angle) or switch from side to side...in order to control the direction and speed of your boat.  Why might speed matter you make ask?  Well...I'll tell you.  Whitewater comes in all shapes and sizes....and there's one particular type that can be a bear....and that one is a recirculating wave...that is one that pours over and over itself like a washing machine turned on its side.  On the edge of the particular recirculating wave that I discovered on THIS day...has a reverse sucking sort of power to it...so much so that if you didn't have enough momentum to get through it...you guessed it...it sucks you right back into it.  Which happens to be exactly what happened to me.  I saw this rapid coming....tried to gain as much speed as I could (which I could tell was no where near enough) I paddled with all the gusto I could create with my one-sided-paddle and just as I crested the edge of the wave...I could feel my boat just simply stop....hold for one second and then reverse suck right back in.  The only thing I could think to do...was paddle harder (which in retrospect was futile...nature is gonna win these sorts of tug-o-wars 100% of the time...but what I SHOULD have tried was to simply get as low in the boat as possible and try to ride it like a surf board...I'll try that next year when we return for more adventure)...My futile act of trying to brute-strength-out-of-this predicament...failed.  surprise.  My boat flipped, my feet went straight into the air, my head went under water, I get tossed around under water by the force of this wave and then I shoot out and get caught up in the current flowing downstream.  

Here was my first reaction...Look for a rope to be thrown at you.  But when I got my bearings and looked around...there WERE NO helpful whitewater crises professional workers anywhere in site??  I floated through the next rapid and started looking around for where my boat was...my paddle was still tightly gripped in my right hand.  A few seconds passed then I realized...well...guess I'm going to have to save myself.  (there's some sort of life-message wrapped up in that)  So I did what NO experienced whitewater rafter should ever do...I tried to drag my feet on the bottom of this channel to slow myself down...for the mere reason that my boat was floating down stream behind me.  (This was when I learned that being man-made...there were NO under-water hazards to cause foot-entrapment, just slimy concrete on which I was sliding because of the force of the current. Note here also that the water level was shallow enough that I could stand up and my head would be out of water no problem.  This was when my boat caught up to me and after 2 tries I jumped in...and continued on down that course like a champ-who-could-save-herself would!!

I was a bit shaken by my little swim the ERW experience...but always always one learns a lot about oneself after crossing through life's little challenging pathways like these.  I suppose this is EXACTLY why I seek out such experiences...because in the end...I come out a better person for it.  Not to mention have really fun stories to tell!!

GO BE DO!!! Adventure!

If you're looking for something super fun and definitely out-of-the-ordinary to do with your friends or family...head to downtown South Bend, Indiana for this fantastical fun adventure!!

for more info see https://eastracewaterway.gr8.com/

 

 

 

 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Winter hiking...because sometimes you just gotta bundle up and get outside!

I've been perusing through some photos today and came across this one from last year (at least I think this was like last January or something).

Chris and I went for a mini-retreat to Hocking Hills, Ohio, rented a cabin and hiked our buns off.  (we took both dogs with us too, but Reese general is the better hiker of the two.  Willy was enjoying some R&R back at the cabin).  This photo was taken at the Upper Falls in the Old Man's Cave area of Hocking Hills along a rim trail that runs along Old Man's Creek.  There was a ton of ice along many of the overlook trails so we opted to stick to dirt covered forest trails this day.  (We now have spikes for our hiking boots so this won't stop us next time).

If you'll look in the upper right hand corner of this photo you can see our little toy Fox Terrier, Reese, standing and well who knows what she's doing really other than standing, hah!  You can also see Chris' legs in the faint distance in the same upper right hand corner.  I guess they were both patiently waiting while I was screwing around snapping this photo.  I have no idea who the folks are at the waters edge of this photo down below.  Guess we weren't the only ones this day that needed to get outside.

If you've never visited Hocking Hills, Ohio it's a hikers paradise!  But we did discovered that the crowds are nada in the winter months and the cabin rates are MUCHO cheaper.

Peace out.



yearning for warmer, sunny days



Oh for the warmer temps to arrive sooner than later!  Sitting here sipping hot coffee this afternoon looking through some pictures and came across this one of me kayaking on a local reservoir this past fall.

There's a little bit of snow left on the ground from last week's winter storms...although it's beginning to melt of as daily temps are eeking up just above freezing during the day.

Hopefully in just a few short weeks I can be throwing my kayak in some local water and be back at it again.  Until then...just gonna bundle up and head to the woods for a hike I guess.

Peace out.





Sunday, November 10, 2019

Spooktacular Delta, Ohio Halloween Homes awarded!


I came up with this crazy idea last year...and finally got around to acting upon it this Halloween.  Thanks to www.trophydepot.com and a little bit of effort a crazy idea turned into a whole lot of fun!
Here's a copy of what I sent to the local newspaper outlets (even though neither of them opted to publish...which was kind of a bummer...but we still had tons of fun doing this anyway).


Delta, Ohio, October 29, 2019:  If you enjoy Halloween then you probably enjoy driving around looking at your community homes to view the extravagantly lavish displays of ghoulishness and witchery.

Two Fulton County citizens have been doing just that for the past few years, driving around the Village of Delta admiring Halloween home décor.  They decided that the most FAB-BOO-LOUS displays summoned an award! 

This year, Rachel Dickson and Christina Summers of Delta had trophies made to bequeath upon the appropriate winners.  “We thought it would be grand fun to walk up to some strangers door in our community in honor of their creativeness and effort and hand them a trophy for having such lavish Halloween décor displayed,” Rachel said.  “Our communities deserve simple acts of good will. Just because.”

The categories selected were, “Most Creative”, “Most Elaborate” and “Most Creeptastic.” Thursday evening Dickson and Summers drove the streets of Delta deciding which homes would be pronounced winners of the 2019 Halloween Homes Décor contest.

The 2019 winners are:

Most Creative: 202 Adrian, Delta. Thom Gorman and Bonnie Weimer-Gorman




Most Elaborate: 406 Palmwood, Delta. Paul and Ashley Todd










Most Creeptastic: 308 N. Madison, Delta. Allen and Sheila Naiber





“We were glad folks were home when we knocked on the door. It was absolutely fantastic to see the elated reactions of everyone we presented trophies to,” Christina Summers said.  “Congratulations to this year’s winners and we’re excited to see what next year will bring.”


 And if you're wondering...yes, the choices for some of the categories were a bit difficult to choose. There are some SERIOUS Halloween decorators who live in Delta, Ohio.  It was tons of fun to walk up to each winners front door and present their award.  All were very thrilled and excited to be awarded our fun trophies!

SEE, artistic, creative ability comes in all shapes and sizes.  I'll always tip my hat to anyone who chooses to express their creativity in whatever form its presented.  Here here!!

Who knows what next year will bring!!  Halloween Home decorators beware!  You might just be the 2020 award recipients. 



Thursday, September 26, 2019

Where is your art for *&^$!@ sake you may ask?

I picked up the pen again...and have started dabbling in some small projects.  I'm not sure why but I enjoy drawing on business sized envelopes.  Makes new art very portable.  All I have to do to move it around the world is address said envelope to someone and poof...art on the move!

Here's some samples of things I've drawn recently and not so recently.

Enjoy.














Next up....abstract paintings!!!!!  Get ready....I have 2 in the works as we speak.