Wednesday, July 31, 2013

there's no place like home

When Regis and I returned from our family trip to Canby a few weeks ago, we went down to Patrick's for a cheeseburger. I was trying to put together in my mind, my thoughts about the wonderful people we had spent the weekend with, but especially the women. I looked down at my leopard shoes, a gift from my mom, and thought of the ruby slippers. There is no place like home!

Then I started putting together pictures of all those women. Here is my first attempt. I know there are more and they will be added in the future but I had to get this out into the ether today.

I feel fortunate to be a part of a long line, stretching in both directions, of strong women. Strong in body, strong in heart, strong in connections. Women who came before me, back to Andrina, Josie, and Elsie, to my mom and all my aunties and cousins, and now to my daughter and daughters-in-law, nieces, great nieces and grand-daughters.

Women who know how to laugh, Vi in her colander hat, Aunt Jean dressed as a witch as she turned 90, Mom in her birthday hat (not birthday suit), Deb in her black chicken feather boa.

Women who are creative, independent, and know how to take care of themselves: Elsie who worked in the Stanley Hotel for many years, Josie who had a hat shop long before many women were entrepreneurs, Darby and Evynne who make this with clay and felt and paint and flowers.

Women who garden and cook and care for children and homes but also take care of themselves, learning and traveling and working. Women who, when things go bad as they sometimes do, pick themselves up and keep going.

I hope I haven't left anyone out. It wasn't deliberate, for sure, but there are many, many photos and even more women!

Light and love to all the women in my clan!

random stuff

I spent a few hours sitting in this window in Mankato yesterday morning. Regis had an appointment so he dropped me off at Tandem Bagels and I had a delicious toasted bagel with cream cheese and a cup of coffee. It was like being at a parade because groups of children from the day care on the corner walked by several times, hanging onto a long rope or in a giant stroller. They always looked up and waved. So cute.

I read, I visited with people, I played a couple of iPad games, I wrote a couple emails, I sat and did nothing. We had errands to do around town later and look who I ran into in Walgreen's. Tiger Woods! (Actually it's a cardboard cut-out of Tiger Woods but looked very realistic and I don't think I looked too ridiculous posing with him.)

 Regis has a couple weddings coming up in the next month. We always enjoy them as he seems to get the non-traditional, unconventional kind of weddings. He has done a couple of more traditional weddings, he is quite adaptable, and we enjoy them all.

I'm either going to go back to bed or go for a walk...or maybe go out in the garden for a while. My hips hurt so the activity would be the better choice but my slothful self is looking at the nap option with glee.
We'll see what transpires.

Regis took this picture of the full moon a couple years ago. It's one of my favorites.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

mending and metaphors for life

I found this in a middle of the night on an internet ramble. I thought it was apropos of my mental and physical healing these past months. Mary says this is a metaphor for life...the adversity we experience makes us stronger. My house and garden purge is also a metaphor for life. Sweep off those dusty old mental shelves and get rid of the ghosts. Fill in the empty spaces with something nicer.

I spent about three hours in the garden yesterday, working on the area under the apple tree. I wouldn't say I got done but I made a lot of progress. All of the tall weeds and volunteer trees are gone. I need to dig out some of the lilies that need more sun. I don't have many sunny spots so I'll have to squeeze them in somewhere and move the hosta into the shade. It's a constant process.

As I worked in the garden, I tried to be mindful (thinking of nothing but me and the weeds) but I did notice that about 3 out of 4 drivers who went past were on their cell phones. Holy shit, people. Either drive OR talk. Not both. Not at the same time.

I slept a wonderful, dream filled, deep sleep last night. Probably a result of all that outdoor work.

Weather Bug told me there is no chance of rain today but then, I wonder, why it is cloudy.

I'm taking my coffee out to stroll around the garden and admire my handiwork.

Monday, July 29, 2013


I have been working and sorting and organizing everywhere in my house and yard. This was my Wednesday project last week. I was bent over in the garden for hours, trimming back the overgrown and mostly dead juniper ground cover. This is not a professional brick laying job but it will keep the plants off the sidewalk and the dirt in the garden.

I have one area to do yet, under the apple tree. There are some sunny plants that need to be moved and some shady plants that can take their places. It's satisfying to work in the garden. Sort of zen like. I don't think about anything else but the cool shade and the beautiful plants.

Yesterday, sitting on the patio swing, I went through a box of pictures. I tossed decades old Christmas photos. Everyone looked pretty gross in the 80's so it wasn't hard. I have a very small pile to keep, a small pile for Tiffany and Peter to look through, and a whole bunch went in the trash.

I also have about six boxes on the rug in the living room, waiting for pick-up today. I told Regis it better go soon before it is all integrated back into the detritus of our lives.

Ella and I walked down to an estate sale on the corner yesterday. Holy crap. I came home and the urge to purge more. Those folks hadn't gotten rid of a thing in 60 years. It was amazing.

Life is good. We have been spending a lot of time on the patio. It's cool and dry here and the bugs haven't been too bad.

I talked to my NJ friend, Karen, the other night. So funny, after all these months of writing, to finally speak to each other. Also saw my old friend, Vickie, at the auction. So nice to connect with people.

Going to buy groceries this morning then have an appointment. Might spend the afternoon in the garden. If I can get that one spot cleaned up, it will be done!

Friday, July 26, 2013

the circle of life

This week, my friend Cindy lost her mom. Emily, our daughter-in-law, lost her father. Today is the birthday of my youngest brother Steve who died in January. On July 17th, Jill and I both remembered...her mom died that day and my dad died that day in different years.

My nephew Caleb and his wife Kelsey are waiting for their baby girl to come into the world. A few weeks ago, Joanne and I went to visit Finnegan James, the new baby boy of Kris and Jen.

Lots of comings and goings in life. Ella and Alex like to think their grandpa is in heaven, cavorting around like a young man. Who knows. Maybe he is.

Well, it's noon and I'm still sitting here in my pajamas drinking coffee. I was somewhat productive, though, as I spent about an hour looking back through (and gathering) pictures of the women in my family. It occurred to me at the reunion this past weekend, that I have a long line of strong women who came before me and many who are coming after me. I'll do a better job of organizing and then will share them here.

I'm on my way out to the garden to finish weed pulling.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

catching up, sort of

I pedal as fast as I can most days. I never sleep during the day anymore and I am busy all the time. I am intent on cleaning out cupboards and drawers and closets and have a giant pile in the living room that is going away soon. Some things get set down and then I peruse them for a day or two, wondering if I will miss that item. Currently, the bread machine is on the chopping block.

Today, Ella and Alex came to spend the day because their Grandpa Wessel passed away and their Mama had to go to help with arrangements. We had a fine time. Alex and PopPop went to the barber, both kids went to the dog park, we had a tea party on the floor, played in the pool, and ate popsicles. Whew.

I continue to do things that have been put off for 9 months. I had an eye exam the other day and will have cataract surgery scheduled sometime in August. I have a follow-up oncology appointment the end of August...the whole deal...mammogram, blood work, research nurse, oncologist. A whole day's worth.

I put two small wooden chairs on the boulevard today and it took about two hours before they disappeared. I handed off a pile of barbecue tools to Bob. Nobody leaves this house unburdened. My next two projects are the hallway closet and my clothes in the basement.

We're making steaks (a la Tom Hynes) on the grill tonight and then I am going to sit in my chair and stare stupidly out the window until it's time to go to bed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

family weekend

Trying to figure out...

I put the slide show in last night, then tried to figure out where to start writing once I added the html. That's what the first line means.

We had a grand time. Beautiful weather, lots of laughing and stories, lots of connecting in new ways, fun to see the four kids play so well together, enjoyed the new people in the family (Carlos, April, Brookline, and Nathan). Good food, good cold beer, fun lawn games. Some tears at the end.

Trying to put myself back together today after the weekend of revelry. Going to exercise in a while, eating healthier today, and picking up the house. Who makes this mess while we're gone?

Friday, July 19, 2013

sorting and tossing...mental and otherwise

I started sorting in my house this week. Yesterday, I filled box after box with things I haven't used in years. I can't usually do it in one fell swoop because a few things, I have to look at for a while to decide if it really is time for it to go. It's a messy process, too, because I'm random and jump from cupboard to cupboard as I think of things.

This is my Grandma Elsie's meat grinder. I couldn't even guess how old it is...but old. The original directions are still there. I have used it once in all the years I've had it...when Regis and I made his mom's recipe for perogies, a Polish meat pie. We made the mistake of doubling the recipe. It requires a lot of cooking, grinding, boiling, and frying. My God. It almost killed me. I think it was a 12-hour project. I posted a picture of it on Facebook and my friend, Pam, said she would love to have it.

I have always known this about myself. I fill my cupboards and closets with stuff I just keep but don't use and the then there is no space to store anything I do use. It all has to sit out. I've always told myself that I like to see my stuff...hahaha...but it's driving me insane now.

I love dishes and realize it's stupid to keep them packed away in boxes. I have dug them all out and tried to find places for them. Some went in the giveaway box. My 4th of July dishes found a home in this kitchen cupboard. They are too heavy to haul up and down the kitchen stairs.

This sorting and dumping and giving away takes on greater significance because I am doing the same thing in some therapy I have recently taken on. I stumbled onto an amazing woman and I knew it when she had a ginko leaf framed on her fireplace. We've been doing EMDR which is a new and incredible tool for healing the things that niggle your brain and memory. She's helping me put those things in my brain's library so they don't float around my frontal cortex, making me edgy and fearful.

This is an interview on a radio show called On Being. I love the show and this week, ironically, there was a man named Bessel van der Kolk who talked about the healing powers of yoga and EMDR. When I mentioned his name to my therapist (after showing her the pink piece of paper) she gasped and said, "He is a friend of mine. I have trained with him. I call him to consult on difficult cases." Here is the link to the interview: Restoring the Body: Bessel van der Kolk on Treating Trauma with Yoga, EMDR, and Healing Therapies . Another reason to believe I am in the right place.

I'd take a listen even if you aren't trying to sort our your mental shit. Probably not an accident that I am sorting out my household shit at the same time.

Don't be concerned that I have turned into a knife-wielding whacko. It's not overly dramatic stuff...just baggage that everyone collects along the path. It niggles (love this new word) my brain.

I'm going to have Regis help me with my phone camera. You aren't experiencing cataracts when you look at my's my crappy photographic skills. This should improve.

Ta ta, for now, friends.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

stuffed peppers on the grill

We made stuffed peppers on the grill last night. Poblanos, Annaheims, and banana peppers stuffed with Italian sausage, sauteed red peppers and onions, and provolone cheese. If the zombies were at the door, this would be my last meal. That's grilled romaine on the NE corner of the plate. It's our new favorite salad of the summer.

Yesterday was a quiet one around our hacienda. Regis took Gus to the dog park a couple times for short periods. He comes home and jumps right into his pool and spends ten minutes just lapping at the water. We took a drive to Mankato to pick up a RX and then spent a lot of time on the patio. Kemmie and Joanne came over to visit for a while. It's the nice thing about sitting right in the front yard.

I'm not feeling too ambitious today. I might try and get the 4th of July holiday stuff put away but I'm making no promises. Halloween is my goal. I never mix two holidays...on purpose. I have been known to inadvertently miss a Christmas ornament here and there, forget about an Easter bunny or witch on the shelf, and have 4-5 holidays all represented at the same time.

For most holidays, I have winnowed my possessions down to tableware and table linens. I have a few items like my 4th of July chicken and the Halloween raven that I love and won't part with but a lot of things we used to call knick knacks have said adios.

Ah, life is a constant process of sorting our stuff into piles of keep, discard, donate. Even the things in my head need sorting from time to time. Keep this memory as is, send that one to the memory library, let that one go like a helium balloon over the horizon. I might write more about that later...but not now. The process is like this...messy, overwhelming at first, and a little unpleasant. Clarity happens in its own time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 no particular order

The milestones at the end of cancer treatment are multiplying so fast I can hardly keep track, although of course, I will try.

  • Wearing necklaces again. I haven't worn a necklace since my biopsy in November. It took too much energy and there was always the danger of it banging against an incision or the port.
  • Menu making and cooking
  • Wavy hair!
  • Rode my bike a couple times
  • Back to exercise...dogged it since energy.
  • Sandals with heels
  • Answering the phone most days
  • Down to one small port, no drain. Only two incisions and four tiny tattoos as reminders.
  • Thinking about getting a pedicure
  • No oncology appointments for two months!
  • Getting a few things done...framed my found pink paper, unpacked some dishes I had stashed away last fall, and started organizing and returning things people brought me...books, plastic containers, scarves, and hats.
  • Down to one cancer med: Ameridex. No nausea drugs, no pain killers, no antibiotic salve.
  • And the list is growing every day...
We had Bob and Richie over last night for wings, stuffed mushrooms, and drinks on the patio. It was hot but pleasant in the shade. Gus played in his pool while we gabbed and told stories and enjoyed food together.

As the cancer jar has come off my head, metaphorically speaking, I have tried to be more mindful of many things. At Pet Expo the other day, I spotted Ron Gardenhire (GM of the Twins) shopping for dog food. Regis was not at all embarrassed to take our photo. Haha. 

My friends are astonished that I know his name and recognized him. I read a headline in the paper the other day: Wolves get much needed shooter. I thought of the wolves in Northern Minnesota and since there is controversy about their endangerment and hunting...I wondered WTF... why would they need a shooter? I read it and ruminated on it for a few minutes before it dawned on me...Oh, Timberwolves as in basketball!

I'm in a reading slump. I am out of the mood for mysteries right now, I've finished a few authors' books that I grew to love over the winter, and can't find anything compelling. I need to get on my iPad account (or whatever) and delete some of the crap. I start reading a free(or 99 cent) book and get bogged down...and stop.

I'm thinking that keeping crappy books in your Kindle library is the electronic equivalent of having Monica Lewinski's biography in your car. Yeah, that's it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

very early tuesday morning

Regis and I are going to be the KMSU programmers for the day so I am up early (4 am) which is way too early even to be on the radio. I feel like I have sand in my eyes.

Ella and Alex were here yesterday afternoon. We took Ella to gymnastics and as he goofed around, Alex asked me how babies get out of the mom's tummy. He wasn't satisfied with the "special way" story and demanded that I tell him or he would go jump on the trampoline. I said that sounded like a dilemma for mom and dad. They get the tough questions...I just get to read stories and pass out popsicles.

Alex and Elliot are both stumped by the fact that their Nana can't help them with video games and identification of Star Wars characters in fruit snacks. I saw Star Wars, but almost 35 years ago, and I couldn't tell Darth Vader from Yoda on a good day much less in a small purple lump of sugar.

Alex wanted me to turn on a movie and I had to say, no we couldn't do that because I don't know how to operate the television and whatever device we have for watching movies. 

Ella seems to know that her nana is from another age and she only asks me about hats, jewelry, and fancy glassware.

I have had some experience with video games (all of them bad) and I recently deleted the scourge of the modern age, Candy Crush, from my iPad because it was driving me cuckoo. It kept wanting money for boosters and additional lives which I never did and I think it knew. I bet I played Level 29 more 85 times in the last week. When I could feel myself getting desperate and issuing small prayers that I not have to play that level one more time, I decided it was time to quit. Electronic cocaine pimped by the greedy.

I have had a wonderful last week. Many epiphanies, many moments of synchronicity, and some very peaceful and mindful walks. This is a photo of my favorite tree, the ginko. It's my spirit tree. And yes, I have been transported to the new age. It's nice here.

I start my aromatase inhibitor today. It has something to do with estrogen and breast cancer...I'm letting my well-trained and wonderful oncologist worry about the details. It's my last medical milestone. I think it's the generic form of ameridex so it isn't grossly expensive. We have made up, this past year, for many years of health insurance premiums. BCBS would have a hit out on us but then where would they get that extra two grand a month?

I better get ready to go on the radio. I have had two big cups of coffee and am therefore sufficiently wired to at least act alert. I told Regis he is going to have to carry the load on this one. I'm not feeling very articulate or spontaneous this morning.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

ramblin' about saturday

I get a kick out of looking at the stats for my blog. My all time most popular post was this one, the party what started out as jumpin' around. I have no idea in all the world why that would be. More than five hundred people have read it...maybe because I have a couple of Gary Larson cartoons in it.

The second most popular is one where I wrote about a Rick Springfield concert in Rochester and mullets with a bit of a derogatory tone. No disrespect to the people who love him but it's my blog and I get to write my opinions. You want to write about how much you love Rick Springfield, get your own blog. Haha!

Regis has a thing on his computer I call Pauline. It's probably an app. It's like Siri. I have no idea how this works but he talks to her and sometimes gets very frustrated with her and says things that irritate her. She says she needs to talk to his mother. I love this story about Al Pacino and Siri. Yes, I can see this happening.
According to a new report, the actor and his longtime pal Christopher Walken were lunching at LA’s Brite Spot eatery. Al was reportedly seen screaming profanities, and stomping on his Smartphone. “Smart phone, my ass,” Pacino reportedly screamed, according to the National Enquirer (editorial notea source of reliable and serious news). “Al had been trying to use the so-called ‘Siri’ feature on his iPhone, but the automated voice kept giving him wrong information,” a source said. “Angrily eyeballing his shattered phone, Pacino snarled, "That’s the last time that f***ing witch speaks to me!"
Walken said to the waitress, "And people think I’m the crazy one!"
 I barely know what apps are, but I can use them. One day a few weeks ago, I heard my grand-daughter say, "There's an app for that." I don't even remember the context...just the comment. What a funny world.

There were a lot of things I could (almost said should) have done yesterday but mostly I didn't do any of them. I did a pile of dishes and then I did these things:
  • Wrote a long letter to Karen TC
  • Read Double Whammy
  • Listened to Buddy and Julie Miller on my iPad
  • Played games on my iPad
  • Wrote a few emails
  • Read the beautiful poems of Robyn Sarah
  • Rigged up a new life necklace
  • Read an article about yoga
  • Watched birds in the garden...saw two baby finches being fed by parents and a lot of woodpeckers
  • Sat on the patio swing
It was a full day and probably just reading about it exhausted you. 

Today, we're taking a drive with Tom and Betty. Surprise location...we'll just pick a spot. Usually we end up at an eating establishment. I can tell already it will be another strenuous day. Remember, having fun is also a thing to be accomplished.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

assigning meaning to stuff

I love to assign meaning to things. Butterflies, birds, pieces of paper I find on the boulevard. So this morning while the thunder rumbled and the lightning flashed, I shopped on Etsy for a few things.

The St. Therese medal is from France circa 1920. (Notice it is on sale.) I'm hoping it's small enough to attach to my silver bracelet. On the back, it says in French, I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth. I wish it said I want to spend my heaven having fun on earth but I suppose those would not be the words of a saint.

The angel wing is from a woman in Oregon who supplied me with my triple moon goddess and my spiral heart. I love her tiny sterling charms.

The other night, I tossed a shirt onto a pile of clothes on top of my jewelry chest and the whole mess went to the floor. I looked at it in wonder. This is how I am so I don't know why I was surprised but in the words of my friend, Karen, I don't remember making such a goddam mess.

Yesterday I gathered up all the piles, sorted and folded, and got things put away. I had four pairs of pajamas in four different places around the room. All clean, all folded.

I had an email from Karen this morning which said, and I will quote because I know she won't mind: My room looks like a whore-house changing area for quickies - clothes,undies, pjs, shoes slung everywhere over furniture, on the floor across the bed and hanging off tables, chairs, and even the television. WTF??? I don't even remember making such a goddamned mess.

I laughed out loud, then wrote her a note to say it was further evidence we were meant to be soul sisters.

Who knew that making such a clothing mess would be another event to which I assign great meaning.

Friday, July 12, 2013

sleeping like a bear

I've been a borderline insomniac for years...since I started what Archie Bunker called the change. I was used to waking up at 2 or 3 am and not going back to sleep. This was a bitch when I had to go to school. By 9 o'clock I felt like I had put in a full day.

This week I have been sleeping like this bear. I go to sleep at 9 pm and wake up at 8 am, stumbling around like I am still half asleep. I was always one to pop my eyes open and jump out of bed. Now  I lie there blinking and stretching. I still have a wakeful period in the middle of the night, usually 3-4 but I go back to a deep sleep.

Now, wasn't that interesting? If you only want timely and informative breaking news, you have to go somewhere else. This blog is called "spellbound..." by my own self. I am nothing if not reflective.

Regis woke me up at 8 this morning to tell me that Jan was coming up the sidewalk to clean for us. I lumbered out of bed toward the coffee pot. Then Reggie came in with his Boston Terrier, Ace and between the three of them, Gus, Ace, and was chaos. Oh, help me Ronda. Coffee in an IV before this kind of stimulation. Nice that it was happy chaos!

The men and dogs are off to the dog park now and I am listening to Shufflefunction and drinking coffee.

Regis and I will be programmers for the day on Shufflefunction next Tuesday, July 16. It's KMSU 89.7 FM for our distant friends who might want to stream it  (There's a link right there.)and then spend two hours listening to us wax poetic and share music. We'll be on from 7 am to 9 am Central time. I'm sure the interwebs will be buzzing. Regis is much better at that sort of thing than I I will mostly just chuckle now and then.

Yesterday was perfect patio weather. I intended to work in the garden but after my port removal, the doc said no to anything energetic. An excuse to be lazy? I can do that. Regis mixed us a lovely gin and tonic and we just enjoyed the afternoon. We cooked giant burgers, Vidalia onions, and cabbage on the grill. Wonderful day.

Here is a picture of my garden from the patio swing. It's our living room in the summer. It is so serene to sit here, push myself in the swing, watch the birds, play with Gus, and maybe read a little. We haven't had many regular walkers this summer. I think the mosquitoes are a deterrent.

Another positive sign of my improving mental and physical health. We got our bikes out! I haven't ridden my bike since October and I missed it. I didn't think my balance was good enough until now. I know I can do it. I'm going to ride down to the Pulse later for a little exercise.

Karen TC, I am so glad the news from your surgeon was good. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I went right to my email to see if I had one from you. Thanks for letting me know! You have lots of fans in MN asking about my friend, Karen, in NJ! You're famous!

Out of my chair and into the world!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

browsing through old posts

One of the things I love about blog writing is that it's fun to read back to days in the past. This morning I was looking for a picture I knew I had taken in June. I couldn't find it by searching so I just went through the posts. I found the post for June 4 which I titled "getting my shit in one seabag" and concluded it was not happening. I had about two weeks worth of treatments to go and I was passing through the doldrums.

It made me realize how far I've come in a month. I asked Regis yesterday if he could appreciate how much better I feel each day. He said he could. can be so good.

I worked in my garden yesterday afternoon. In the past four years, I have pretty much let everything grow. Phlox, false sunflowers, artemsia, and sedum. I have been ruthless in getting rid of things that aren't thriving in the shade. I had two bags of mulch that I spread under the hosta and it looks beautiful. I found some great yard art hidden beneath the overgrown abundance...a funny smiling head, two turtles, an angel.

I still have about a third of my garden that needs attention. The northwest third. I have a bigger garden than is necessary but I love it. Regis threatens periodically to astroturf it but he likes it, too. 

Yesterday, a rabbit hopped in right near where I was sitting on my stool pulling weeds. He seemed unperturbed by my presence.

I'm getting my purple power port removed today. The person to do it is the PA, Jan, who took such good care of me at the time of my diagnosis and post-surgery. It will be nice to see her at this stage of the journey. Regis suggested asking if I could keep it but I want no part of that thing hanging around the house. Besides, I don't think they do that anymore. Remember when kids kept their tonsils in a little jar? Disgusting.

Back to my subject line. Sometimes I read really old posts and laugh out loud and think, "Damn, that was funny!" So nice to be my own best audience.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


My doctors at Mayo are doing what they can to heal my body and now I am working to heal my mind and my emotions. I had a profound experience today.

About two weeks ago I started seeing a therapist with whom I connected right away. She had a ginko leaf framed in her office and I love ginko leaves. I thought it was a sign.

This week, I started exercising and meditating again. Both help me feel calm.

The weather was so beautiful today that I packed up my exercise bag and the book for Karen and walked downtown to the PO, not listening to my iPod or looking at my phone but being silent and trying to pay attention to each flower and each bird's song.

After my gentle exercise session, I started the walk home. As I walked down Broadway, I looked on the boulevard and there in the grass, lay this piece of pink paper. I see lots of junk when I walk so usually don't pay attention. Old phone bills are not that interesting. But this looked unaltered by the rain and winds we've had lately so I walked over and picked it up. It looked like it had just dropped from the sky. Here is what it was:

And this is what it says:
Today, may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on to others the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
I had goosebumps as I read it several times on my walk home. Somehow, some way, that pink piece of paper landed there for me. Just when I needed it.

And Karen, since I had just finished my long email to you, I think you are part of this small miracle.

Later note: My friend, Michele, sent me a message saying that this is a quote by Saint Terese of Liseaux, adding further to the mystery.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

snowflakes in july

Don't be alarmed. There are not real snowflakes in July. I was waiting for an appointment yesterday morning and picked up a book on the table in front of me. It was called The Snowflake: Winter's Secret Beauty. The pictures were amazing and after trying to quickly copy this quote by Albert Einstein, I scanned the bar code with my phone and ordered it on Amazon.

I was so proud of my technical suaveness but when I told Regis he said, "Welcome to the 21st century." Haha. Finding the book there was another sign that I was in the place I needed to be.

We were doing our usual patio sit late yesterday afternoon in the heat and bug infested front yard. We enjoy it anyway. We miss the sun so much in the winter so we made a pledge to go out for a while each day.

I was sitting on the swing and Gus was in the grass behind me, chewing on something. He likes to pick up sticks and chew them to shreds under the tree so I wasn't concerned. Until I turned around and saw that he was chewing a piece of my garden art...this poor turtle who has had his left foot amputated by a doodle. Bummer.

I went back to the Pulse yesterday and met with Rachel. She has me set up with a gradual return to exercise. I'm going again today but I'm going to wait for the storms to pass. I have an aversion to being in a metal building with no basement during high winds and hail.

I also went to see the dentist yesterday. I declined the x-rays, thinking I had enough radiation in the last six months and besides, I didn't want to pay for it. No cavities and a mostly pleasant experience except that they had CNN on the television over my head. How can people watch that? Was this developed for the severely ADD? There were two scrolling things on the bottom, a scrolling thing on the top, a weather icon, and another small picture besides the talking head for the main event. Do you try to read all of it as you listen? Or try to focus on one thing while ignoring the others? Is this good for my brain? I felt scrambled.

I have a busy day planned. (I wonder how I ever had time to work.) We're ending the day with dinner with friends so that's a nice bonus.

Sunday, July 07, 2013


 I love starting my morning with a cup of this delicious coffee. Bob gave it to his dad for Father's Day and I love it. It's part of a subscription coffee thing and I tried to buy more but they deal in small lots so the answer was nada. Too bad.

We've had a splendid long weekend with lots of patio time. Even when it's very hot, we've had a nice breeze. The bugs get bad as the evening goes on but we aren't much for staying up after dark anyway.

The plant on the right is a bay laurel. It would grow to ten feet tall if we lived in a milder climate. I'll have to bring it indoors in the fall. I'd like to bring in a small pot of herbs because the love the flavors. We have so little sunlight in the winter that it's kind of a lost cause but I might try it anyway.

Got side-tracked by grow lights.

Gus loves to chase his tennis ball on the patio. If we fill up the little pink pool, he will play in there got a long time, getting the ball all clean. Then he chases it into the garden, gets it dirty, and drops it in your lap. He's so darn cute it's hard to be mad at him.

I made mango salsa yesterday. One of my all-time favorite foods. Then I made a chicken salad with blueberries, corn, cilantro, red onion and lime vinaigrette. Yum.

Time to get up and do something. I need something to define my weeks. I thought Thursday was Sunday so the long weekend has just gone on and on. And now it's finally Sunday!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

busy weekend

So much has gone by in the past few days that I have had no time to archive my observations and now I can't remember most of them. Parade. Party at Bob's. Joanne came for steaks on the grill. Fell asleep before the fireworks. Worked in the garden. Sat on the patio. Went out for dinner to celebrate Regis's birthday. Terrible night's sleep. That's about it in a nutshell.

Here's a slideshow of the photos:

So, moving on from there. Sleeping last night was a bitch until about 5 o'clock this morning. Then I slept deeply until 9:30. Maybe I am becoming nocturnal.

I've started the awful habit of playing games on my iPad which can be fun but is mostly irritating. I'm about at the point where I just want to delete them all. They are addicting and time-sucking and money grubbing although I refuse to pay for more lives or more trinkets or whatever it is they sell.

Regis is celebrating his 61st birthday this weekend. He didn't want to have a big party so we went out for dinner with Joanne last night and told the kids to stop by sometime today. That's what I told them. So now I'm not sure who or when or if they will come at meal time. Uh oh. Bad planning.

I'm going to figure out something to make with what I have...tons of strawberries, blueberries, corn, limes, and cilantro. I think it sounds grand.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

happy independence day, America!

Regis took this picture in 2009 but it's one of my favorites. If you're not from here, this is on Minnesota Avenue looking north toward the Nicollet County court house. I think the American Legion fellows put them up for every patriotic holiday. Beautiful.

Tomorrow is the big parade. I was tempted to skip it this year because last year, the temperature was in the pizza oven range. Some dumb asses brought their big, black dogs which is another story (rant) which I will skip for the moment. I have a long list of cranky comments about parades but I suppose that's to be expected when you put that many humans in such close contact.

Mostly, I love them and this one is great. I usually shed a tear or two when the bands go past. So, I have convinced myself to attend because I'd be sad later if I missed it.

Regis and the neighbors have figured out a solution to the mosquitoes. It's a Cutter product and it is supposed to be pet and human friendly. Oh, sure. I'm just glad none of us are planning to reproduce. We were disappointed to look out the back door this morning and see the blood suckers congregated on the garage door again but at least they left us alone on the patio last night.

I gathered a large bag of weeds from my garden yesterday morning, and dealt harshly with the over-grown corner. Some plants (not weeds) may have been sacrificed in the process but it's a small price. It looked like I had a start on a native prairie there on the northwest corner.

Later, I walked down the street for a massage from my friend, Cheryl. She has been one of my angels. She has a lovely garden, tons of birds, and three very friendly cats. Liza and Bubba came to say good-bye to me as we visited in her kitchen.

Regis and I sat on the patio the rest of the afternoon. Gus played with his tennis ball in his pool and we cooked burgers and stuffed peppers on the grill. I used chorizo sausage in the peppers, poblano and Anaheim, and I think they were some of the best we've ever made.

Today looks like another splendid day! Be safe tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

July 1, 2013

Happy 83rd birthday (yesterday) to my fabulous Mom. We sent a package with some of life's essentials...chocolate, some poo pah colorful thing with no real purpose, and a wind sock for the 4th of July. The next picture is Mom as a little kid.

We went to the grocery store early in the morning yesterday, armed with our own bags and our meticulous list. I was the cart pusher and the picker. Regis was the coupon king and the scratcher-offer of the list. We made good time and avoided the crowds who come out on the first of the month and on Mondays to get the senior discount.

Oh, my freaking word, you should have seen the pop stacked up at the HyVee. Pallets and mountains of it. Every kind: sugar free, caffeine free, double caffeine, sugar free and caffeine free. This must be the biggest pop drinking holiday of the year. It was amazing and a bit scary. I was afraid of getting run over by the pop forklift as I made my way to the dairy section.

I missed my siesta yesterday because I was busy putting away groceries and washing out the spice cans I had cleaned up. I have tons of spices and it's a nightmare to keep them organized. Nothing works very well. When Ella came, she helped me wash them, bless her heart.

We walked down to the fairgrounds to see some of the K9 dog trials. Each officer commanded his dog to go through a series of hurdles and such. They were very good and very well-behaved. It was fun to watch but very hot when the sun came out and Alex was disappointed that there were no snacks there so we didn't stay long. What fun are K9 trials without cotton candy and soft pretzels?

If you're not from here, let me tell you about the mosquitoes. It's our state bird. Last year they were scarce due to the drought. This year, they are multiplying like crazy and having a family reunion on the north side of our house. Seriously, it's a cloud of mosquitoes. They don't bother me so much (probably from the chemo drugs...hahaha!) but they are all over Regis like a pit bull on a poodle.

I started reading one of Carl Hiaasen's books in paperback because it wasn't available on Kindle. I keep trying to touch words to get the definition, or swish the page to turn it. I've read that it's not good sleep hygiene to have a lit-up thing in your bed. Hmmmm...

My goal for the day is to get out in the garden and take care of an over-grown corner. It needs to go back to dirt first, then I'll start over. One more cup of coffee...then I go.