Thursday, December 18, 2014

ah, well again

Regis sent me this beautiful photo of the sunrise yesterday when he took Gus for a walk. It was a bitterly cold morning and I bet there were sun dogs later. Such a sun shiny day and I was stuck inside.

I worked three days this week and ugh, I might have made a mistake. I am behind at home, I am cranky from all the mental stimulation, and I haven't seen the sun. Did I mention that I haven't seen the sun?

We went to Pet Expo last night for emergency dog food. We usually are stocked up but somehow, we used the last cup at lunch time yesterday. Gus seemed to know because at 5:00, he stood staring morosely at the empty bin. If you look in the back of this picture, Santa is in the check-out line. I waved when we came in but he was a customer and not an event so I didn't intrude to ask for a photo. I was amazed that most people just went about their business and ignored him.

I spent the day at my volunteer job. Here is evidence that I do, in fact, do this. I love the way the sun comes in the ceiling panels/sky lights, whatever you call them.

I am off to a Captain Livestrong event this evening...the graduation of the current class. They are always very moving and lovely.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

a dark time of the year

I have a day light. I try to get out in the sunshine when we have some. I try to do the things the people who know, recommend. But it descends...the dark of winter.

Even in making plans for a Christmas celebration. I send an email, I get impatient and cranky, nobody understands. I cry.

There is not an explanation.

My cousin calls to tell me she had a life-changing event yesterday; she was struck by a car as she crossed a street. She could easily have died. One head knock away from the other side. We both cry as we talk about the trauma from rape or cancer. She could have died.

They make fun of me. Say I have a bad memory because they told me they were coming. And what's the big deal?

Maybe there is not a big deal. Maybe I am a little crazy and controlling.

I am sorry.

Ah, well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

woody has the right idea

Nap away the gray days. I had decided to come to terms with winter and darkness this year. My plan included walks in the moonlight, snow shoeing, snow men and snow angels, candles in the evenings. Somehow none of that works very well when it's 40 degrees, all the snow is gone, and it's rainy and foggy. New plan needed desperately.

I just searched for "winter" in my blog posts. Now, that is a depressing list of rants. You can find it here. One of the subject lines has to do with all the people I knew who fell down that winter. Good grief.

I am subbing for the media guy at the high school today. I enjoy being in the library...lots of books and kids reading books. It makes for a nice day.

I have not been exercising much lately and I can feel it. I walk with Regis occasionally and keep having the idea that I will get back to the gym but so far, it hasn't happened. Maybe I need a new thing...belly dancing or something. Oh, good grief.

I just had a molasses cookie for breakfast. Now I'm going to add up the signs that I might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Craving sun. Sleeping. No interest in usual activities. Lack of movement. Yup...adds up to that. Turning on the day light, going to the gym this evening, thinking happy thoughts.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I love the holidays. Really, I do. But it's so easy to get overwhelmed with busy-ness and shoulds. This year, I may not do cards or a letter. We're trying to be guided by what feels right in the moment. Being in a hurry does not feel right.

Things I do love: Santa, shopping for surprise gifts, baking, sharing food with friends, mailing things to small children, holiday music (I have a new playlist with more than six hours of music!), and some version of decorating. I remember seeing in a magazine once, pictures of a family in a huge log home decorated by professionals, they wore matching pinafores, and even the men and the dogs matched. There wasn't a thing out of place. Yeah, that's not what it looks like here, but we've decided to be happy with our imperfection.

Last night we went to see some great music at the Wine Cafe in Mankato. The venue was a little small for the large sound but it was fun. Today, I'm taking a friend to Mankato to a shop in Old Town. Regis thinks he has to drive the Gus bus tonight but it isn't on the calendar so he might be imagining that. I have more baking to do....bread, cut-out cookies for the kids to frost tomorrow, and my grandma's molasses cookies with white frosting and sprinkles. 

Yesterday I mailed a bag full of packages. I sent a package to Mom, to our friends in Iowa, to the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, to a woman in Louisiana, and little packages of knitted finger puppets to the small children of nieces and nephews. I have a few yet to to my cousin in Denver, my cousin in Arizona, to Karen in New Jersey, and to three little girls in Ohio.

This week will be busy. Haha! I ran into a woman I know who works at the elementary school in town. She asked if I would be interested in subbing for the nurse. First, I said yes, that might be fun. But...I asked, "Will there be puke involved?" Oh, yes, she said, lots of puke. Nope, can't do it.

Well, off to commence my busy-ness again.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

the captains make a road trip

This is me with Kristi, my Livestrong instructor. She is amazing because she believes love always wins.

We heard this week about another member of my group, Mary Reichel, who has had a nasty recurrence of her cancer. Mary was diagnosed with cervical cancer two years ago but had a brain aneurysm before she could complete her treatment. Now, the cervical cancer has come back with a vengeance in her abdomen. She is a single mom of two kids and she had a job with no benefits and no sick time.

First of all, it makes me so angry that in our wealthy country where baseball players make millions of dollars per game, THIS kind of shit can happen to people. No sick time? No benefits? Heartless bastards.

So, Kristi and I texted a few times yesterday morning. I said Captain Livestrong might need to make a trip to Rochester. You don't mention anything on a whim to better just get in the car if you do. Two hours later, we are going down the road, Captain Livestrong and Captain Lovestrong.

We got some funny looks in the hospital corridors but they are trained professionals and try to maintain their composure. A couple of maintenance men in the elevator wanted to hear the story and a couple other people laughed and clapped and said more people should dress like this. We agreed.

Mary was tickled to see us and I'm glad we were there. She had gone down Tuesday for a routine exam and even though she had not been well for a couple months, did not know it was this serious. She had been alone for two days waiting for family to come from far away places to help with treatment decisions.

I am fairly worthless in situations like this, staring dumbly like a deer in the headlights, but Kristi is a take charge kind of woman and had questions for the oncologist and the radiology consultant. By the time we left, Mary's cousin was there and her brother was expected any minute. We left her in good hands.

It felt like sacred moments we spent with her. I am not sure why.

P.S. Don't be concerned about my violation of her privacy. All of this information is on her fund-raising page which is very public and going around Facebook like wildfire. You can't be in straits like this and not be willing to ask people for help. You can't sit back in the shadows being private. Say a prayer for Mary and if you are able, make a donation. She is a sweet person and doesn't need to be worried about money at a time like this.

Friday, December 05, 2014

no pics...just words

I had an infusion of Zometa the other day to stave off the effects of osteoporosis. I think if it had only been the O, I would have passed but I always have this lingering fear of cancer traveling to my bones and setting up a recon camp. That would be pretty shitty. So, even though my doctor doesn't say this will help that, it makes sense in my head. And yes, I got my MD on the internet.

The first 12 hours were fine, then I woke up at midnight feeling like I had been stuffed in a gunny sack and beaten with a rubber hose. Every inch of my body, inside and out, hurt like a bitch. There are no other words. When I moved my head it bonged like Big Ben. Nothing helped because I avoid NSAID drugs. My nurse, who said these nasty symptoms have been known to last a month, convinced me to try it. So, tear up my stomach...just make the headache go away.

I spent 36 hours in bed, whining, demanding, sleeping, and trying to roll over from time to time. I feel better so far this morning so I am hoping that the worst is past.

I found out last night that my friend, Mary, who had cervical cancer, then a brain aneurysm, has now been diagnosed with cancer in her stomach area. Sweet Jesus. It puts my 36 hours of misery into a different perspective.

I woke up at 4 and have been writing on blogs, reading blogs, and reworking a poem for my writing group. I also started doing some research on cabins or resorts for a family gathering next summer. Boy, they don't give those things away. The last one I priced was $1,500 for four days and they have a limit of 8 people. Guess we'll have a lottery to see who has to stay home.

I have a giant mess to clean up today. We bought groceries before my appointment the other day and we got them into the kitchen, but now there are piles of chocolate chip bags, evaporated milk, flour, and other assorted sundries everywhere. Regis would put them away but if that happens, I might not know where they are in the end.

I have had a terrible time finding a book I like to read lately. I read Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See this fall and it was one of my all-time favorite books. One of those books you want to start over as soon as you finish. I started another book by him and I love his writing but the pace is so absolutely glacial that I am not sure I can make it.

I wrote a long letter to my friend, Brenda, this week then a long letter to my niece, Rachel in Hawaii. Rachel sent me the sweetest hand-written note and I loved it so much I carried it around for weeks. I've decided instead of factory Christmas cards (address labels, printed letter, envelope stuffing) I will try to write a real card. I like to get cards with some writing in them...not just names.

I'm off to yoga, writing group, and a massage today. There might be a short nap in there somewhere since my sleep has been sporadic in the past few days...lots of it just not lots of it in a row.

Going to see my friends Betsy, Melissa, Vickie, Michele, Cheryl, and maybe Joanne and Richie today. That's a great day!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

winding up November

November flew by me. Not sure how that happened but here it is, December tomorrow. I think in my efforts to add some structure to my days and weeks, I have over-scheduled myself. I should be more like Woodrow: Stay calm. Watch over the crowd from on high. Eat. Drink. Sleep. Repeat.

We had a very nice time on Thanksgiving Day. I cooked and cooked and baked and baked leading up to it so the food was in abundance. So much abundance that I forgot to serve three dishes. Ah, well.

Today is the day all the detritus gets dismantled and put away...all the dishes, holiday napkins, decorations, music, and table linens. Time to bring out the winter decor.

My friend, Michele, and I went to Mankato yesterday for the Livestrong 10k. We didn't run 10k and only walked a little ore than 2 miles but it waas a nice walk and we got in a long visit. Over coffee, we talked bout how cancer and Livestrong have changed us. We wondered where we would be in life without those two experiences. We would nver say cancer has been a blessing but Michele said it right, many of the changes have been for the better. We've both gotten much better at caring for ourselves.

It was inspiring, even in this small way, to be a part of Kristi and Kerri's grass roots effort to make money for Livestrong.

I have many things to do today. December is going to be my month of peace and tranquility so I have to get the busy work done before it starts. Light and love to you, my friends.