Saturday, November 30, 2013

december is the month of letting go

I'm sitting here this morning with my sun lamp, my abundance bowl, my runes, and my gratitude journal. I drew the rune Othila. It means to ask yourself what is right for you and act according to the light you now possess in your life. I'm going to take a long walk today and ponder that. Maybe I'll go up to GAC and walk the labyrinth.
 I ordered a book today for a friend of mine who lost her husband suddenly yesterday. It can be terrifying to think how fast life can change. Be grateful for each moment.

Woodrow always gets up with me, then does some exploring. This morning he dragged a three foot long cat toy into bed with Regis. He was not welcome there with his purple feather toy. For such a sweet kitten, he has a cranky sounding meow.

I have to revise my exercise plan. I have been lifting weights and doing planks only to find out that those were not the right things to do with lymphedema which I didn't even know I had until yesterday. Hot tubs...also verboten. Holy crap. I wonder when they planned to tell me this stuff.

After more reading about lymphedema, I may have to only make slight adjustments. Probably no three-minute planks. Maybe back off a little on the weights. Do more stretching. Just love reading about cancer again.

Ah, well. The sun is coming up and I am drinking my first cup of coffee, thanks to my sweet Regis. Life is good.

Friday, November 29, 2013

no black friday shopping for me

Just my opinion, but I think Black Friday is a crime against humanity. That is craziness. I read that some people had been camped out for ten days so they could be the first into the store. There is nothing I want that badly.

We had a splendid day yesterday. I only felt insane for about an hour...right before we ate. So many things going on and so many things to do. I had a lot of help in the kitchen and that was wonderful. A couple things didn't work out...the reduction for the pig wings failed and the bottom of the apple pie was soggy, but everything else was good.

Zoey and Elliot had a good time playing together.

So good to have Tiffany and Elliot with us.

Gus likes to be involved in everything!

And I was's a good thing our people like dogs!

Here's the whole crew.

Pumpkin, peanut butter, and apple pie.

This is the month of letting go. Letting go of distractions, letting go of possessions, letting go of needs, and letting go of the way we wish things would be. Yesterday, I shut my computer off for the whole day and left my phone in the bedroom. As much as possible, I sat and talked to people. I walked outside from time to time and listened to the quiet. It was nice to come back  into the house and smell all the delicious autumn aromas.

Today...I am doing a whole lot of nothing. Puttering in the kitchen, going for a walk, and reading. I will not be shopping.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

we have so much for which to be grateful

Betty brought this kitty bed over for Woodrow yesterday. He has hardly left it since it arrived...only to eat and use the litter box. He peeks over the side once in a while with one eye open to check on the action but he has been very content there. Thanks, Betty!

Here I am in my pre-Thanksgiving mess!

Apple pie!

I'm writing a quick blog post early on Thanksgiving morning. I have been busy this week: cooking, walking, reading, and planning our feast. here is our menu:

Turkey breast
Andouille corn bread dressing
Traditional bread stuffing
Pig wings w/dipping sauces
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green bean casserole
Cranberry sauce
Apple sauce
Pickled Beets- Habanero Pickles- Green Beans
Pumpkin pie~Chocolate pie~Apple pie

There are usually last minute changes because I ran out of time or interest. Pumpkin truffles went by the wayside this year. I think I'm the only one who likes them anyway. 

Regis and I went to the Pulse this morning and walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes. As we left, the sky was bright blue, there was a lovely crescent moon, and a flock of Canadian geese flew over, honking their little hearts out. It was a good sign.

See you later. I hope everyone has a joy-filled day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

uneasy day

I finally did go back to sleep deeply until 9 am but then I felt foggy and lazy until 11. I went to lunch with Regis and Alex, took a nap, and have been staring into space ever since I woke up. This is no way to sleep.

Woodrow is sleeping on the chair next to me. He's got the right idea...sleep the day away.

I should be up and doing things for the holiday Thursday but I can't make myself move. I am slogging through jello today.

One step at a time. I'll tackle the kitchen first. Maybe put the big table up and start getting out my dishes. That will help me get in the mood.

damn wind

There is a lot of unrest at our house tonight. It's 4 am and we have been awake for hours. All of us: Gus, Woodrow, Regis, me. My hypothesis is that it's the wind. Even though the noise machine is on, I can hear the wind and it's unsettling.

It could be forces in the universe, which is how my doctor explained it. It does seem like sometimes sleepless nights are universal.

I'm sitting here in the semi-dark with Woodrow on my lap purring. Woodrow is purring, not me, although if someone would clean up my kitchen and make me a cup of coffee, I would gladly purr.

I laid in bed for two hours, reading, trying to go back to sleep, trying one sleeping position after another...and finally gave up and got out of bed.

Gus has asked to go outside already, then waited by his dish. He thinks it's morning, too.

Of course, when it gets dark at 4:30, twelve hours later ought to be daylight. I get that.

Today will be a peaceful day if I can avoid the wind. I have holiday things to do which I mostly enjoy...and I especially enjoy them when I'm not working full-time. My appointment with Mary was mind-scrubbing yesterday, my walk up the hill was mind-cleansing, and my Mayo stuff was mind-relieving. Hurray for my happy mind!

Time to stop rambling. Woodrow is sitting in front of my monitor patting his paws at the cursor.

Woody finally decided to crawl down the neck of my giant, baggy turtleneck sweater and sleep on my lap in his little cocoon. So sweet.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I'm sitting at Tandem Bagels, eating a bagel and drinking coffee. Beautiful morning. I like to sit in the window and watch people go past. Regis will be here soon. After an appointment downtown, I'll walk up the hill to see my Mayo team for a follow-up appointment. I have no complaints or concerns except that I seem to be asymmetrical.

Yeah, that asymmetrical thing is lymphedema. I see a physical therapist for that. I was afraid I had caused the poofiness on that side with my exercise or my planks but it's a side effect of surgery and radiation on the lymph nodes. Not unusual for it to show up a year or more later.

Otherwise, the doc was happy with my exercise, my bloodwork, and my exam. It was good to see Judy and Dr. Cockerill but it was a little creepy to be there, watching the first-timers. I remember so clearly the first time I walked in there and saw the cancer posters. I thought holy hell, what am I doing here? The little light went on...

The bench in the photo is in Reconciliation Park. The message startled me for a moment.

I'm too tired tonight to have many original thoughts so I will say goodnight for now.

permission granted.

Permission Granted
by David Allen Sullivan

You do not have to choose the bruised peach
or misshapen pepper others pass over.
You don't have to bury
your grandmother's keys underneath
her camellia bush as the will states.

You don't need to write a poem about
your grandfather coughing up his lung
into that plastic tube—the machine's wheezing
almost masking the kvetching sisters
in their Brooklyn kitchen.

You can let the crows amaze your son
without your translation of their cries.
You can lie so long under this
summer shower your imprint
will be left when you rise.

You can be stupid and simple as a heifer.
Cook plum and apple turnovers in the nude.
Revel in the flight of birds without
dreaming of flight. Remember the taste of
raw dough in your mouth as you edged a pie.

Feel the skin on things vibrate. Attune
yourself. Close your eyes. Hum.
Each beat of the world's pulse demands
only that you feel it. No thoughts.
Just the single syllable: Yes ...

See the homeless woman following
the tunings of a dead composer?
She closes her eyes and sways
with the subways. Follow her down,
inside, where the singing resides.

"Permission Granted" by David Allen Sullivan, from Strong-Armed Angels. © Hummingbird Press, 2008.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

almost forty miles

Since we started walking together about a month ago, Deb and I have walked almost 40 miles together. It always goes fast. The only problem now is the wind. We can withstand some nasty cold temps but with the wind in your face, it's hard to get your mouth to move.

I'm moving slowly this morning. My rune today is the symbol for the wild ox. I imagine that is not an animal that moves quickly so I am in the zone.

Things have been disappearing around our house and I'm blaming Woodrow. Any shiny thing left about will be found behind a dresser or under the table. I have had to remove all decorative things that are breakable from high places. He's like having a 7 foot tall two-year old. Nothing is safe.

Today, I am baking squash, cookies, pumpkin muffins, and maybe an apple pie. Ella is coming to help. Here is the reason I love Thanksgiving Day...lots of family and friends who are family, good food, fun cooking, goofy photos, pets.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

don't poke the bear

Whenever I bend over to do something (checking the litter box here), Woodrow leaps onto my back and rides around as long as I will walk this way. It ain't easy being me. Eventually I just have to straighten up so he'll jump off. Crazy cat.

I'm busy this morning working on my list of three habits to focus on in December. I'm keeping exercise on the list and changing the other two. I'm revising my loving kindness meditation. So much work to do on the spirit level.

We went to exercise this morning. I have done a plank for three minutes two times but it's a killer and I was wrecked for anything else. I think I'll stick to shorter times.

I'm headed out for a walk with Deb. It's colder than a well digger's ass as my dad used to say. But we'll bundle up and give it a whirl. We're taking the upper route today where it is usually windier. The treaty site trail is nice but there may be hunters in the woods and I don't want to be mistaken for a deer.

Friday, November 22, 2013

la dee da it's friday

I have had a peaceful week. I start the day with my morning routine, I plan a time to exercise, I walk with Deb when we are both available, I read, I write. All very healing.

One of my favorite things about retirement is that I don't feel the need to be busy all the time. I like to say no to lots of things. I enjoy having time to sit at the window with my coffee, to meet friends, to watch birds, and to do nothing. Next week, I am planning to think mostly about Thanksgiving. We thought it would be a small group but it has grown a bit and I am glad for that.

Last night, Woodrow decided he liked sitting on Regis's shoulder while he walks around the house. At least Regis gets to be upright. When Woodrow wants a ride from me, I have to bend over so he can sit on my back.

I'm subbing this afternoon in one of my favorite classrooms. It will be a nice way to end the week. Then Regis and I will motor to Mankato for his appointment. We'll stop somewhere for dinner on our way out of town. I love a Friday like this.

Have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the bright blue skies of November and the brisk breeze. It's good for cleaning those cobwebs out of your head!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

random stuff...runes and tattoos and gym ettiquette

My tattoo. Othila: radical separation. Wunjo: The term of travail has ended. Ehwaz: Enough progress has been made to feel safe and sure. Berkana: Rebirth and growth.

The font is more like this. More runic.

I'll have Regis take a picture of it when it heals more and doesn't look so much like a prison tattoo. And Gerry is right...I am already thinking of another one. This is Perth...the one I wrote about yesterday. I love ginko leaves and would probably just do one in black outline.

So, there you go. My spiritual quest. The renewal of my self. I wonder sometimes how I made it through the last year. Not only the breast cancer, but all the other crap thrown into the vortex made it very hard to see clearly. Dark side and light side...always conflicting. So good to feel peaceful and content now.

Regis and I went to the gym today. There is a strange woman who comes in, turns the television on blaringly loud even before she takes her coat off. She goes to the back row of bikes and then yells at CNN. It's hard not to get annoyed so I just go in the other room where the lights are low and it's quiet. I have an aversion to the news. There is not much going on our there that I need to know about that early in the morning.

I just got back from a lovely visit with a friend. She sent me home with CDs, pickled blueberries, pickled green beans, and bourbon peaches. How sweet is that?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

eagles and assorted photos

In the past two days, I have seen four eagles soaring over the Minnesota River Valley. (Clearly I did not take this photo out the window of a moving car with my phone.) One, I saw on a walk at the treaty site and three yesterday on a drive home from Mankato.

This morning, this is the rune I drew from the bag. It's Perth and indicates that deep inner transformational forces are at work. Becoming whole is not easily achieved or readily shared. This rune is symbolized by the eagle's soaring flight, free from entanglement, lifting the self above the endless ebb and flow of ordinary life to acquire a broader vision. How's that for some irony?

I am continuing my mission to sort and move and organize. These tubs are all empty! The porch will be civilized by Thanksgiving Day so we don't have to be embarrassed to have people sit there.

Betty, look at the red cabinet by the front door. I see the pictures are a little crooked. Ah, well. This is a tv cabinet we bought right before tv cabinets became obsolete. I ordered a shelving unit to fit in the top part so it's more usable. Little shelves and drawers for things like mittens and hats.

Woodrow is interested in taking a nap right now and not in hopping in and out of drawers.

Betty helped me pick out these things for the table in front of the window. That's Woody's bed which he rarely sleeps in since he got the king size bed from Gus.

A little autumn color. No candles will be lit while we have company...or probably not ever since Woodrow is so curious. I have the candle in the front window that runs on a battery and a timer. That's my kind of candle.

Sunflower photo taken by Cousin Deb. Wine sign was a birthday gift from Jill. Flower arrangement was a gift from Mom.

My serenity corner in the office. I didn't put the atomic clock there....Regis did.

My Himalayan salt lamp on my desktop. My clean desktop, I must add.

Monday, November 18, 2013

full moon and new beginnings

The moon was full last night. I'm not sure if the sky was clear enough to see it because I was sleeping, a deep and dreamless sleep. Woodrow tucked in the crook of my arm, Gus stretched out on the end of the bed, Regis sleeping silently beside me. Everyone should have such peace and contentment.

I'm reading a book called The Goldfinch. I wasn't sure I would like it and almost quit about three chapters into it. I like it better now and have grown attached to the main character which is what it takes for me. No action...just good characters.

We had a busy day yesterday but it included a nap so how busy can that be? I made my full of fruit and bran and nuts muffins. No sugar. Not to everyone's taste so don't expect to come here and be served one. They kind of taste like something you might crumble into the bird feeder.

I've been working on my Thanksgiving menu and grocery list. We avoid the grocery store the week of Thanksgiving because people are fucking insane. We'll go tomorrow morning when it's senior day and still busy but not AS bad. I got out my Thanksgiving binder and was amazed that last year, fresh out of surgery and mind blown, I actually managed to make a nice menu complete with a graphic.

I had to do some surveying of the family to see what the favorite side dishes are and what kind of pies to make. I didn't need to ask Young Regis...I know. Mashed potatoes and peanut butter pie. Tiffany always makes the gravy and she does a great job. She is the family gravy maker.

We're having a small group for Thanksgiving this year. I think we have had as many as 25 but this year only 7 adults and 2 kids. We could use a few more people so if you know of someone who needs a happy place to hang out...let me know.

Ella and her family won't be with us this holiday but she's coming the Sunday prior to do some cooking. I better come up with a plan because the girl likes to cook! Tiffany and Peter both plan to come early to cook, as well. Peter likes to make the cornbread Andouille sausage stuffing. I like to sit on the couch and give advice. Ha!

I'm looking forward to this week with optimism and with joy. Leaves are mostly raked and taken to the compost, bird feeders are filled, house is clean and decluttered, exercise plans are made, good food in the refrigerator to eat, friends to see.

Woodrow is sleeping in front of my monitor, purring, once in a while opening his eyes a slit to watch the cursor move across the screen. His eyes are closed now. He must have decided this wasn't very interesting.

Moving on into the day. Be sure to have fun and let your heart be light.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

a rune tattoo

These are the runes I would like to have tattooed on my wrist. Just the symbol...not the stone.

And maybe one of these. Just the leaf...not the whole shebang.

And I am thinking of putting it on my right wrist...just at the top of my hand. Like this.

I have enlisted the assistance and advice of an artist I know and I have asked many friends who have tattoos. I don't want something that looks like I did it myself in prison. Something subtle and tasteful.

If you are reading this and have advice, I would be interested in hearing it as long as it isn't don't do it. I have heard the arguments about sagging old lady tattoos and I don't care about that. At this point in my life, I want a visible symbol of my journey.

At one time I had a vision of a tattoo of a naked man riding a dragon. I'm not sure where that came from but I'm glad it drifted out of my consciousness.

I have a quiet day planned. We're going to drink coffee, exercise, drink coffee, have lunch, do some writing, read and take a nap, maybe suck some leaves, and make pork chops for dinner. Sounds like a blissful day, no?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

celebration at the end of the week

Ehwaz. A rune of transition and movement. There is about this rune a sense of gradual development and steady progress, with the accompanying notion of slow growth through numerous shifts and changes. A relationship also needs to undergo changes and transformation if it is to maintain growth and life. I have progressed far enough to feel a measure of safety, of surety in my position. It is time to turn again and face the future.

I went to Mankato with Regis late yesterday afternoon. As I sat in the car, I noticed, on the rooftop of a parking ramp, three people with cameras. I got out to see what they were taking pictures of and there was the most glorious sunset. I took this picture with my phone so it doesn't do it justice.

Here's a better one, taken by Ben Leonard at the Nicollet County Historical Society. Unbelievable the sky was on fire. I've been lucky to see several sunsets this week. If you ever want to get a sense of your place in the universe, watch the sun set. It's very humbling.

Regis and I decided to go to Pappageorge for dinner after his appointment. Seared tuna was the special with red pepper sauce and black bean and mango salsa. A feast for the senses.

Yesterday as I was raking leaves and mulching them up with the blower/sucker thing, I thought how healthy and strong I feel and how grateful I am to be able to do these things. Last year, I was in my blanket fort, sleeping all day, depressed, in pain, and desperate. Such a long journey to this point.

Woody is curled up on my rune book, paws tucked underneath his little cat self, purring like mad. He likes to watch the cursor on the computer as I write. He cocks his head like he's reading what appears there.

This will be a quiet week since I wrote on the calendar: DO NOT SCHEDULE ANYTHING THIS WEEK. Of course, there are appointments and tasks that are essential (Thanksgiving shopping and exercise and friends) but non-essentials are getting the boot. 

Was there a full moon last night? I feel like I woke up once an hour. Just looked it up...not until Sunday. If the sky is clear, I think I'll ask Regis to take some pictures.

Well, off to start the day.

Friday, November 15, 2013

last pile and letting go

This is my last pile of stuff for a while. I have earned the admiration of my Facebook friends with my purging. They ask if I would come to their homes and do it. Of course, and it would be easier because I am not attached to their crap. Ha!

Several really important spiritual things have happened to me this week. My two sessions with Mary, my walks and talks with friends, my meditative exercise, my runes.

Today, my rune was Wunjo, the rune of joy and light. It means that the term of travail has ended and I have come into myself. The shift that was due has occurred and now I can freely receive it's blessing, whether it be in my emotional life or in a heightened sense of my own well-being. Joyousness accompanies new energy, energy blocked before now. Light pierces the clouds and touches the water just as something lovely emerges from the depths.

To me, that last sentence refers to my walk yesterday with Deb. As we watched the last sun's rays of the day and the sky turn opal, a flock of cardinals flew over. Neither of us had seen this phenomenon before and we were stunned. We knew it had meaning for both of us. 

We keep Gus's treats on the stove and have started keeping Woody's there, too. When I say sit, Woodrow sits up and begs, too. Gus doesn't sit up because he's too big but he gives me a high five. It is the cutest thing ever. I'll get Regis to take a video of it today because I know you all want to see our latest pet tricks.

I slept a deep and restorative sleep last night. I had a dream, with a plot, but it wasn't disturbing and I can't remember it now.

Thank you, Mom, for the beautiful butterfly card and the letter. You have been a part of my healing.

I woke up this morning to see a small lump moving between the covers. Woody was exploring between the blankets. How can you not love a cat who wakes you up like that?

Have a grace-filled day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

cardinal flock sighting

 No, not this kind of cardinal.

This kind of cardinal.

Deb and I, old friends and neighbors, were on a walk on Nicollet Avenue (not the Minneapolis one, the rural St. Peter one) and we saw a flock of cardinals. They were so bright red in the late afternoon sunshine, that's all they could be. They settled into some trees we had passed about ten minutes before so we crossed some field area to get closer. They startled and fled.

I did some googling and discovered that cardinals do indeed flock. Not during mating season when they pair off but other parts of the year they are quite social.

Deb and I are strong believers in signs. One day we saw an eagle soaring over the tree tops. Today, a flock of cardinals. An opal sky. A friend on a bicycle. A good day to be alive.

a powerful rune today


Separating paths
Attachment and
Radical severance
Using the light I now possess and
Total honesty
in my own time.

It's been a very good week. A week of sorrow and joy and healing. I told my friend, Deb, on our walk yesterday, it's like a vortex and things get tossed in over the years and finally it turns into a full-blown storm. I am more peaceful now. The wind is dissipating. I am calm.

Well, that's enough of that shit, eh?

I'm making plans for Thanksgiving. We decided a couple years ago that we really don't like turkey no matter how hard we worked to prepare it. We will have a turkey breast for the purists and as a way to serve the side dishes but it won't be the center of the table.

I'm going to exercise today and then I'll sub at HLC from 10:30-3:00. Deb and I will take our walk at 4:00. It will be a good day.