Saturday, April 19, 2014

pre-holiday and mostly off the grid

I subbed a lot this week so had no access to the social media. I am behind...if the ordinary things I do everyday are of interest.

Today I am hustling to get ready for the Easter dinner tomorrow. I think I worked harder and enjoyed it less when I was working full time. I used to make everything from scratch. Now I buy frozen pie, I ask people to bring things, I have Regis prepare the meat, and I use paper plates and plastic forks.

Here are some pictures from the past week. Woodrow continues to relax well. It's his best talent. He is either on the dog bed on the floor or on the highest perch in his tree where he lounges with one leg and his tail hanging over the edge.

It does appear that we may get some spring-like weather soon. The forecast is for 60+ tomorrow but I am cautiously optimistic about that. We woke up Thursday to snow on the ground again. It didn't linger long but it's still disappointing.

It's the time of year when my neighbors only see me bent over peering into the garden. Yesterday I spotted this tiny poppy plant poking up through the leaves. Hardy little things they are.

I also spotted the chives around the bunny. This is so much better than being covered with three feet of snow. There are almost enough to use in the chipotle aioli .

The yard art is ready for placement but I have to see where the hostas emerge. I have a new colorful bird from Betty and a gorgeous windsock that I couldn't resist.

And this is my hammock chair. It's hanging from a giant contraption right now. We had to take out the spring and the swivel hook because my butt brushed the ground with them attached. This is better. The contraption will move to the patio today but the swing may have to wait a while.

Woodrow in his favorite spot. He likes to roll over for a belly scratch when you walk past him. He also like to chase a little white fur ball up and down and all around. He is quite entertaining.

I better get back to my preparations. I'm going to run the vacuum quickly and dust a little. Not my favorite tasks.

I hope some of my friends and family will consider walking the 8K (5 miles) Runstrong Superhero Race on May 17th. You don't have to run, in fact, many of us walk. We walk dogs, we walk with strollers, we walk and talk. It's great fun and a great fundraiser for the Livestrong program at the YMCA in Mankato.

Happy bunny day!

Monday, April 07, 2014

spring wind and shopping for dresses

Ella came over after school today and had an urgent need to shop. Somewhere in the midst of her busy day, she had developed the plan for shopping, worked on her Poppop on the way home, then came running in to ask me. For the past several years, we've gone shopping for Easter dresses in the spring. I was tired from a long walk in the sun and wind, but how could I say no? We had a fine time. She has a great sense of style and loves to combine colors. I love the socks.

My friend Deb and I have been on a walking mission lately, doing 4-5 miles a day, 29 miles in the last week. Yesterday was perfect, today the wind got to me. It's good to be active, though. I wish I could say it helps me sleep better but that is not the case. I was awake for about three hours in the middle of the night. I got my best sleep from 4-6 am. Holy hell.

Today I tackled a job I have been putting off for a long time. Regis likes to keep all his technology and paperwork right out on the top of his desk. I have resolved to keep a tidier desk and of course, I would like him to come along on that party. I offered to help him sort and organize and make a spot for a cup of coffee. His desktop is clean but we still have boxes to go through...but we're moving in the right direction.

I also spent some time getting organized for our trip to Mankato tomorrow. We have appointments at 11 and 1 so Gus is going to daycare, giving us time to buy groceries, go to the drug store, stop at the hobby store for the finishing touches on my superhero costume. I'd much rather be designing a superhero costume than cleaning out drawers...

Now I think I'll take my headache to bed. I can see a game of Scrabble in my future. Oh...forgot to report that I was playing Scrabble for two months using the British dictionary. It was an advantage because the list of allowable two-letter words is far longer than the American dictionary. I'm tempted to go back to the British one...sometimes in the middle of a game.

Off I go...

Sunday, April 06, 2014

what the

It's Sunday morning and my brain is tumbling around in a mixed up mess. I have projects all over the house in varying states of undone. Good ideas flit through my head repeatedly and don't even slow down.

I'm sitting here thinking I should organize the week. I will be working thirteen days this month and that will take some serious planning. Groceries, cooking, exercise, a couple birthdays, a holiday. Oh, my.

We went (very spontaneously) to dinner last night at Pappageorge in Mankato. We were seated next to a table of folks who were celebrating the 93rd birthday of their father. He was such a happy character that I had to go over and tell them how much I enjoyed listening to him. He was delighted with everything...his cold beer, the salad, his steak. I didn't hear him complain once. If the server suggested something, he was eager to try it.

I'm going for a walk. I'd like to make my superhero costume today so I can wear it on Friday!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


It's been a week already and it's only Wednesday. It started the first part of last week with sleepless nights and anxious days. Maybe a change in the weather? Forces in the universe? I slept great last night and feel better today.

We're going to do taxes today, which for the most part, I enjoy. I wish it ended at 2 o'clock instead of 4 but I realize AARP doesn't make their schedules according to my whims. Too bad.

Last night we did some of our post testing at the YMCA. I improved my balance by about 6 seconds and that still sucks but I improved my reach by several inches and my leg press by twenty pounds so I'm not complaining. We had a poignant group meeting, too. I'm going to miss those women.

This is my third juicing experiment. I used less lemon, no apple, and added a carrot, mint, ginger, and kale. I liked it much better. I might look a little creepy but once you get past the pond scum aesthetic, it's very good.

I read some place that you can grow vegetables from the roots that come on them. When I bought spinach last time, it had those little roots on it so after I removed the part I was going to eat, I stuck the root down into the soil of my shamrock plant. I have the nicest crop of baby spinach growing on the back porch! Maybe I'll grow vegetables on the patio this summer!

Well, that's it for today. Off to juice and do taxes and walk and stretch. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

cat house

This first photo is not the best quality but it captures well Woodrow's complete state of bliss on the highest perch of his new cat house. I think they call these cat condos but being a house kind of person rather than a condo kind of person, I prefer cat house. He hangs over three sides, well maybe four, but he doesn't mind. He's right at eye level when he's up there which probably means he'll be reaching out to swat us on the head as we pass.

Gus seemed to sense that this project would not benefit him so he was right underfoot, looking morose, the whole time. The instructions were in English and Chinese. It looks like he would prefer the Chinese. Now that I think about it, the English was much like Chinese.

Being the kitty that he is, Woodrow preferred the box and the yellow packaging ties at first. He loves boxes and cardboard rolls much better than any of the cat toys we're purchased.

Woodrow, curious cat that he is, cannot stay out of the construction area. He has inspected every nook and cranny before assembly. He thinks he is the crew chief or something.

Gus is giving us his most morose look. "What??? The cat gets a new place to sleep??? Half the time the damn cat is on MY bed!"

Woodrow on his highest perch.

It's quite the cat house. It has four levels: a hammock, a second floor with a cabana and a chute into the hammock, a third floor covered in soft faux fur and a tube, and the pent house perch for good measure. I'd like to have one of these in human dimensions. I think Woody and I will take over the north wall of the living room. I already have a hammock chair that can be incorporated.

I'm going to the YMCA tonight. This is our last week of Livestrong classes and we start our post-testing tonight. We're having our end-of-class potluck on Thursday night if we aren't buried in snow.

The horrible weather man is predicting copious amounts of snow for Thursday and Friday. Copious amounts of snow. I don't think I have ever seen a weather forecast that used the word copious before this one. Snow at the rate of 1-2 inches per hour. That could be ugly. Regis says we're on the line and we may just get rain. Or an icy mix. I'd rather have snow than ice, frankly.

Onward and upward.

Monday, March 31, 2014

my livestrong family

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I didn't want any part of a support group. I imagined it to be a bunch of strangers sitting around on folding chairs, talking morosely about their disease. I couldn't even say the word cancer so a support group sounded like some kind of fresh hell. I was wrong.

In January, with Michele's help, I stumbled onto the Livestrong at the YMCA program in Mankato. It's part of the Livestrong Foundation but it's the only program in Minnesota (Yay, Joy!) I hadn't heard of it, no surprise, but Michele alerted me to its existence and I acted immediately, big surprise, and got myself enrolled pronto.

Michele and I drove to Mankato every night for twelve weeks. Well, she drove because I suck at driving. We missed two nights due to weather but otherwise we were faithful attenders! Sometimes we commiserated in the car all the way to Mankato about how we had trouble sleeping, didn't have any energy, didn't want to go. But we forged ahead and after a short time with this group of wonderful folks and our RAH RAH Twins, we felt better. 

I would never have imagined that by the end of twelve weeks, I would feel so strongly about this program, the instructors, the volunteers, the other members. Slowly, by talking and building strength and endurance together, we forged a strong bond of friendship. I am sad to see it end but happy there is talk of staying in touch and getting together in the future.

The YMCA is sponsoring the RUNSTRONG series of 5K-10K run/walks. I convinced Regis and Gus to join us so they registered and here they are on the first day. We walked 3.2 miles on this beautiful early spring day.

I've done some 5K races but mostly the Halloween Fun Run so I might have expected some costumes but I didn't expect costumes. Probably a good thing. Ha! (I'm not in costume here.) The next race has a superhero theme and I am already working on my costume.

When I say race, I use the term loosely. Regis and I walked with Mary and Laurie and we were at the very tail end of the pack, one step in front of the sweepers. Sweepers are the folks who come at the end to make sure nobody is left behind.

These ladies, Chris and Kristi, have been our inspiration. Regis affectionately calls them the Rah Rah Twins. They must have put 10 miles on in that 3.2 mile race. They were back and forth encouraging, dancing, singing, and grabbing your arms for a few steps. We love Chris and Kristi.

I know. I look like I am busting through the finish line as a winner...and I guess I am. Just not in the time category! The fastest person ran 3.2 miles in about 18 minutes. Whoa. Regis and I finished in about 58 minutes with a 20 minute pace. Hurray for old farts!

This is most of my Livestrong family. Joyce and Andrea are missing and there are a couple of strays from the last class who we learned to know and love in a few short times together. They have amazing stories. Such resilience and such strength.

So, that's my livestrong story. If you know someone with cancer, encourage them to check this out Livestrong at the YMCA and if you know someone who might be willing to support this wonderful cause, tell them to check out the Runstrong Series right here. Run like a superhero! Run like a Livestrong Warrior!