Friday, January 31, 2014

as I predicted...chicken erotica scores

Chicken erotica gleaned an amazing 43 hits on its first day in cyberspace as compared to a dainty 4 for the previous few posts. I knew it.

Also as predicted, I signed up to sub today and I am dragging my feet whilst kicking myself in the ass, not an easy task...requires great agility and strength. At least the wind chill is not as low as forecast. My luck would have been that it was cold enough to freeze your face in five minutes but not cold enough to close school.

I have not been as tired of this winter as I have been of winters passed. I'm not sure exactly why but I am giving partial credit to the light therapy. What I am weary of is wearing forty pounds of clothes and boots. Ah, winter in Minnesota.

Elliot is coming to spend the night so there will be lots of action around here for a while. We're having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, one of his favorites. Tomorrow morning, we are making pancakes. We're looking forward to his visit.

Pretty soon I better get into work gear and start doing something. Bummer. I'd rather sit here with my tea and look at silly stuff on the internet.

I loved comic books and Mad magazine. Last night I heard that Christie Brinkley turned 60...and she was the young one of the pair.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

chicken erotica

I bet that subject line will get some weird hits.

I was at the sink this morning when I thought I heard Regis say we should have chicken erotica this evening. What he really said was that we should have some chicken enchiladas. No chicken erotica. I didn't even dare put that in google. I'm sure the results would burn my retinas.

It's noon. We have had about 6 inches of snow. Yeah, what happened to the 1-2 inches, right? The wind is supposed to blow like crazy tonight so we'll see how that goes. Monday, even the trash haulers didn't work. Guess they have a different creed than UPS and the Epileptic Foundation! It's been a long, cold, windy tunnel of a month and I don't blame them a bit. I think the UPS should take a day off when it's that cold. I really don't need all that junk mail promptly.

I worked a lot in December so I said I was taking January off and I pretty much did. I am working tomorrow. Last chance. I think I have one day a week in February. That's enough. I am hoping for a snow day tomorrow and focusing on the thought that doing so does not make me a bad person...just a lazy one.

Here is proof that I have not gotten rid of everything in my house. Ella helped me wash and set out the china teacups the other day when she was here. One day, I am going to collect some of my special stuff on the dining table and take pictures of it.

On the theme of lacking gumption, I am not working up much enthusiasm for going to the exercise class tonight. I have been enjoying tea since my friends Deb, Betsy, and Michele have turned me on to spicy teas. I thought they all tasted like Earl Grey dishwater until I jazzed up to the cinnamon and spicy chai.

Karen, I was so happy to get your long email. I am composing a reply but you might read this before I finish it. And just for you, a few pics of Gus and Woody!

You can see we have not been successful at keeping Woody off the table. I like to keep the table set but the idea of him visiting the litter box then prancing around on the plates is not appealing.

If there is a box in the house, Woody has been in it. He loves boxes. He especially loves small boxes because then his tail comes around in front and he acts like it must belong to someone else. He is enchanted with his own tail.

Gus and Woody have a little row this morning!

Regis bought this little gadget for me. It tracks exercise, food, and sleep. So far, I have tried to remove the wrong end to charge it, I have forgotten to turn it to night mode, and I am embarrassed about how much time I spend inactively. Not really.

Regis is out blowing snow so I think I will retire to my boudoir and play some Scrabble. I bought myself a Scrabble dictionary so I could look up some of the non-words that Scrabble allows. EE? SUQ?

Monday, January 27, 2014

and then on to things more pleasant...or not

Somehow I discovered an interest in stone towers, or cairns. Now, my friend, Bob, is encouraging me by sending me pictures of stones he has balanced and books about cairns and poems about cairns. I am hooked although I have yet to make one myself. I have to find a few farmers with rock piles.

And David's (AKA Bob) beautiful poem. Used without his permission but I don't think he'll prosecute me for copyright infringement. I gave him a coffee mug, after all!

Stone Towers

Today I walked the yard in every direction
looking for stones large enough to stack and balance,
one on top of the other, to build a stone tower,

to say, I have been a guest in this house. I have left
this gift of gratitude. But there were no stones.
At Point Lookout, though, you’ll find, facing east,

three smooth-stoned sentinels, stones so carefully
balanced they could topple under the weight
of a gull’s foot or an unsuspecting hand.

If the towers fall, maybe the Vietnamese fishermen
or the elderly couple from Ohio or the wounded soldier
home from “the sand” or my friends from St. Mary’s

will rebuild them, these poems of stone––
like us, temporary testaments
to balance and fragility.

David Bengtson
The Artist House
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
October 2004

Gus practices down dog on my yoga mat.

This right here is proof that I have been left behind. I can barely grasp the meaning of apps (much less how they get where they are) but an app that documents your memories without writing, by just collecting data from the moment, is beyond baffling. What. the. hell. Writers of the world, unite. Tell them to take this app back to the place from whence it came. What bullshit.
But your personal memories (sans editors and hashtags) are harder to recollect – which makes the new iPhone app Kennedy so darn intriguing. Kennedy – named for the iconic question "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" – isn’t a traditional diary; it’s a push-button moment immortalizer that automatically remembers contextual data surrounding an event.
So, you’re watching a sunset. You’re thinking, “This is nice.” You may not pull out a conventional journaling app and wax poetic about the sunset, but you might open Kennedy and press the screen. When you do that, the app instantly collects the current date and time, location, weather conditions, and news headlines, with options for a note or photo. Months later, you can scroll back and trigger that sunset memory based on the surrounding details.
It’s one diary you won’t get tired of writing.
I'm going to quit here for now. I went to the pulse and did 40 minutes of cardio exercise so I am feeling the need to lie deown and play a little Scrabble...or maybe read some of Saints of the Shadow Bible.

enjoying a little winter weather this weekend!

I should have gotten a screen shot of last night's Weather Bug. 50 mph gusts. But I guess 41 mph gusts are something to notice, too.

I was not the nut out taking pictures of this.

Regis doesn't think the sidewalks will drift over again. Ha!

Look at the bunny tracks around the bunny!

Cardinals have been frequent visitors to the feeder. The don't leave when we walk outside. They just go to the waiting area in the apple tree.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

cold winter...then spring

I think the Epileptic Foundation has the same creed as the USPS: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. I hesitated to haul this stuff to the curb in case they didn't come and I had to take special precautions to anchor it so it didn't blow away. I fell into a snow bank explanation for that. But here they are...gathering my valuable junk!

This was Wednesday. Extremely cold and windy. Same weather conditions on Thursday...about 30 degrees below zero. Then yesterday, up to 35 above zero. That is a 65 degree swing in 24 hours. Today we are back to below zero temps and high winds.

The sun dogs have been beautiful this year. I guess because we have had so many viciously cold days to observe them! They are like winter rainbows.

We don't have that much snow because it's been too damn cold to snow. We had a little bit of soggy stuff yesterday and there is some predicted for tomorrow.

The bunny has been able to keep his head above the snow all winter. The crow is back where the snow has drifted more and he is more apt to be covered by snow.

This is not Woody. Woody is not allowed to go outside...but if he were allowed to go outside, this is exactly what he would do...stand up as high as possible to see what's going on. There is not much that cat misses. Regis is perturbed with Woodrow this morning because Woody woke him up many times during the night. Not sure what's up with that.

Gus and Regis have not missed a day at the dog park this winter. They both come home like and snow hanging off them...but Gus loves it. He loves to run and chase balls even when it's 20 below. It's good to get out in the weather every day.

As I read back over this post, I realized that it is all about winter and cold and snow. So here is a little reminder that spring will come, the apple tree will blossom, the grosbeaks will return, and you will find us on the patio!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

comment update

Yesterday I decided to take the safeguards off of comments so it was easier to leave a comment, if a guy wanted to do that. Yup, two viagra ads overnight. WTF.


You can see the pile of stuff ready for the thrift store truck. Woodrow is nervous, as is Regis, that I have gotten rid of some of his things. Not to worry...everyone else's stuff is perfectly safe.

Michele and I went to our Livestrong class at the YMCA in Mankato last night. The roads going over were not so good...much better coming back. The snow was beautiful. Neither of us are night people, so until we get moving, we sit sort of quietly and think about naps. They have more equipment in that place than you can shake a stick at. A machine for everything, it seems.

I could do 50 pounds on the chest press and 190 pounds on the leg press. (By comparison, one woman who should be on the world's strongest man show, could press 410 pounds with her legs. Holy crap. My balance was awful. I was always the first one to go down. I had to come home and beat the Scrabble guy by a hundred points to make up for it.

Regis woke up early this morning with a stomach bug of some kind. I gave him the last two pills we have for that kind of digestive issue and I am sure I will be making a trip to the store for more. Then...I can buy another jar of Vicks.

I have had a jar of Vicks on my night stand my whole life. A few weeks ago, I must have had it on the bed and I heard it hit the floor...blaming Woody, of course. I searched high and low and it cannot be found so I went into the drug store the other day and bought another jar. When I brought it home...oh, no...yellow cap on jar. Open it up to take a whiff...lemon. Lemon scented Vicks. I was appalled. Lemon Vicks? Seriously?

Don't buy this!
My mom taught me that Vicks is the cure for many ills. If you have a cough or cold, rub Vicks on your feet before bed and cover with socks. For congestion, rub liberally on your chest before bed. If you are just sad and lonesome, rub a little under your nose. Just make sure you get the original scent. Lemon Vicks. Harrumph. An abomination.

I decided to snatch one thing back out of the thrift store bag. It's a big, nubby sweater that I bought at the consignment store but it's my favorite for wearing on cold mornings. I'll work harder at getting the nubs off it, I promise.

I mailed holiday cards yesterday. I am surprised at the number of people who confessed that they also were mailing cards late. I think it's a tradition I will change. Maybe mid-summer cards or vernal equinox cards.

I gave myself a hair cut yesterday and it did not go well. I have a big chunk out of the back that looks pretty bad. Regis caught on when he saw the clipper thing in the bathroom and realized I had worn a hat all day. I might have to consider a real hair dresser next time.

Hair concerns were one of the things I gave up when I was diagnosed with cancer. I could not deal with making appointments, being somewhere at a certain time, or having an opinion about my hair. There were other things but this is one.

I am finally becoming more interested in the details of my cancer. For a long time, I could not retain the details and even now when a health professional asks me how many lymph nodes I had removed, I am not sure. I say somewhere between 4 and 16 which is quite a spread. I threw all the papers away and my pathology report is not available online. I'll call Judy today and ask her to send it so I can be prepared with questions next time I go.

I got out the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer book which I bought this summer, thinking I was ready to read some of it. Nope. Couldn't do it. Now...I think I can.

I did find this in an online report: Today we spent 20 minutes talking about her pathology report, which shows a grade 3 of 3 infiltrating ductal carcinoma within the lumpectomy specimen. Margins are clear with the closest margin at 2 mm. Two out of her 4 sentinel lymph nodes were positive and one out of 12 additional lymph nodes were positive. You can see where I get 4 and 16, right. Four sentinel nodes, two positive, and 12 additional...makes 16. I know, I know. This is my math dyslexia.

I have been awake since before 4 am so I think it's time to go back to bed for a while.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

the passage

Ah, the runes that signify the end of my journey, although Mary would caution me to not move too quickly, to be patient. I told her yesterday, the process has been like wading into a slow moving river and being swept gently to another place.

I heard this morning that Winston Borden, my Facebook friend, passed away last night. I remember him from Almanac and when a friend of mine suggested following his cancer journey on Facebook, I did. His was not an easy life but he was quite a philosopher and gentleman. He will be missed by those who knew him personally and by those who knew him through his cyber community.

I have been at my desk for a long time this morning. There are book reviews to read: Ian Rankin (one of my favorite mystery authors) has a new book out, Saints of the Shadow Bible, and will be in Minneapolis Saturday night. Too bad it's at night and too bad it's so far away. Ah, well.

I have a wonderful plan for the week. Things to bake, things to write, things to mail, things to pack up for the thrift store. It occurred to me yesterday that I should gather some of my favorite things on the table and take a picture so those of you who worry about my minimalistic tendencies will know that I still have favorite things.

And so, my day begins. Just like this.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

sunday thoughts

My friends are amazed that I continue to purge. Someone at dinner last night asked if I had anything left in my house because it looks like I am even getting rid of storage tubs. And yes, I am. I have been a life long keeper of stuff. Stuff was memories and things I might need some day or things that someone else might need some day. Stuff comforted me. Now stuff is starting to strangle me. I feel like I am drowning in stuff. I have a children's book in the basement that belonged to a former brother-in-law (now almost 70) and I have kept it because his son might want it someday. What the hell.

As I get rid of the stuff that doesn't mean so much to me, the stuff I really love is there! I can find it!

Here is the post I wrote in November. It's mostly pictures but it's called evidence of my purging.

I like to write about this because then I think about it and think about how important it has become to me. Mary says that ridding one's self of physical possessions often accompanies ridding one's self of emotional crap. I guess that sounds true. I can't completely explain it for myself...hence the obsession with the pictures and the blog posts.

At this time last year, I couldn't even see the top of my desk. There were random piles of paper all over the house. It was over-whelming. When I finally gathered it all and looked at it...most of it had no meaning and could go in the recycler.

Regis said Garrison Keillor said on his show today that the full moon in January is called the restless moon because women gather armloads of stuff and give it away. Ha!

We had a wonderful time last night at Lone Star for dinner, then to the comedy show at 2nd Story Comedy. It is good medicine for the soul to eat and drink and laugh with good friends. Mike Lester, Tom Leonhardt (local) and Tim Harmston...and as always Michael Callahan. Riotously funny.

I have been doing the big sleep this weekend and it feels so good. Getting organized and ready for the week tonight!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

the doldrums of winter

This is not me. It's Regis at the dog park, but it could be me because I dress like this, too. It gets restrictive by the end of winter to wear so many layers of clothes so you don't freeze either to death or freeze at least enough to be miserable. I don't usually mind the cold but this year, the temps have been consistently brutal. And the wind. I won't even get started on the wind.

Napping is good medicine in this weather. Monday, after being in Mankato all morning and getting home with ice chunks where my feet should be, I wrote this, then forgot to publish it.

It was so complicated I had to write down the agenda so things worked out. We dropped Gus at the Paw, I dropped Regis at the clinic, I went to pick something up at the Silhouette Shop, I got coffee at the Java Hut, I met Regis at the cardiologist's office (all good news!), Regis dropped me at the YMCA for an intake appointment for the LiveStrong program, I walked to Mary's office while Regis went to the HyVee and bought our groceries, Regis picked up Gus, then came to get me, and blessedly, the agenda was complete and we came home.

I retreated to my blanket fort for a time in the afternoon, then got up and made soup.

I'm being very quiet this morning because I know the minute Regis opens his eyes he will want to blast off to the gym. I'm not feeling it right at the moment. A walk outside in the sunshine this afternoon is more appealing to me. Sometimes the atmosphere of a place that smells like spandex and sweat is oppressive.

I've lost my list notebook. A disaster.

No wait. I found it. I have been very disorganized this week and losing my list notebook is a bad sign. I still have the box of "holiday" cards sitting on the table, too. They have been on my list to finish for two weeks. What the hell.

The thrift store truck comes this week on Wednesday. I'll have a few boxes for them and Regis is going through his clothes.

I have been playing Scrabble on my iPad like a mad person. Mad as in crazy. I played the beginner level for a while but when I started beating "it" (I think of it as "him".) I went to the intermediate. For a while, I had the upper hand. Now he is on to me and I am luck to win by a few points. I am out for revenge today. We had two close games last night and he beat me once. I usually love a good play more than the points but I have been obsessive about points. It's a phase and I will be back to playing the beginner level soon!

I subbed at the high school yesterday which makes two work days this week. That is my limit. Honestly, work is way over-rated and if we didn't have to do it to pay the bills, we probably wouldn't. I know some people crow about how they love their work but I think it's a cognitive distortion. Or blowing smoke up your own ass. Haha!

I'm thinking about contacting an organization called Imerman Angels.
Imerman Angels was created on the belief that no one should have to fight cancer alone and without the necessary support. At 26 years old, Jonny Imerman was diagnosed with testicular cancer and began his fight against the disease. Throughout his experience, Jonny was lucky enough to have loving support from his family and friends but had never met anyone his age who was a cancer survivor. He wanted to talk to someone just like him, someone who truly understood, and was intimately familiar with his experience. In short, he was looking for someone who had already beaten the same type of cancer. This was the beginning of Jonny’s vision and in 2003, it became a reality when he founded Imerman Angels.
In the beginning, I had no interest in support like this. I could hardly bring myself to say the word cancer. And I thought once I was done with treatment, I would be done with cancer. Not true. It's not like a dark cloud over my head all the time, but like a shadow on the horizon. Something I notice out of the corner of my eye when I'm I'm looking for something else.

This is how I felt about it then.

It is scary as shit to go back and read the posts from that time. Whoa. I thought I was fine but I was definitely messed up. Way messed up.

So, now that I can say the word cancer, now that I can talk about my experience, now that I am letting go of some of the fear and the dread, maybe now I am ready for another person to support me.

I've been awake since 5 am so now I'm ready to go back to bed for a while. Maybe read some Moth stories, maybe play a game of Scrabble with the beginner he instead of the intermediate he. Beginner he is friendlier and doesn't block me on the triple word scores.

We'll survive the doldrums of winter and the cancer blues and the getting older funk. Some days suq (Scrabble word) but most days are glorious and our life is good in our little house with our goofy pets.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I have been absent from the social media most of the week. I think I descended into a mild funk on Monday and it took until yesterday to climb out of it. Yeah, that's life.

One day last week, we took the elder son to Lone Star for the prime rib special. Because it was his birthday soon, they brought him a brownie Sunday. It was a whopper.

I saw this license plate downtown St. Peter the other day. Only in Minnesota...well, and maybe Wisconsin. If you are unfamiliar with it, look it up on the google. It's fish preserved in lye and it looks like fish jello. I haven't ever tasted it so I can't speak to that but the smell is off-putting to say the least. It takes a lot of butter to mask that smell.

I'm subbing at the high school today and it's cold enough in here to hang a side of beef. I worked a lot in December so I intended to take January off but I changed my mind. I have very busy days, contrary to what some of you must think about retired persons. It's not just sitting idly in a rocking chair...yesterday I took a two-hour nap. So there.

This was my rune for the day. It signifies the end of a journey and it is the last rune of my tattoo series.

I am trying to write this on my iPad which is a pain in the neck and the ass. I should be back in communication from here on.

Tonight we're going to Dino's for pizza. What a way to start the weekend!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


This was my rune for today. When I read about it in my book, I decided it is very meaningful for me. Here is what I found on this website:
Inguz a Viking rune is what you see in the picture. Pronunciation: Ing-gooz, ING-wahz. Runes come from the Nordic area where the ancient Vikings once lived, worked, and fought. Though they were relatively savage in their outings, the Vikings were people in touch with Earth and the many forces that coexisted with them. They have a whole lore that includes many popular god figures such as Thor, the son of Odin. Thor carried a mighty hammer and many of us know him from comic books. The father of Thor, Odin, was the creator of the Runes and is the most important holy figure of the Viking people. Odin hung upside down from a tree limb for a chance of higher knowledge and right before he came down from the tree limb, he was bestowed with the new system called the Runes. These symbols were used for writing and magic by the high priests. Inguz is the Rune of fertility and new beginnings. This seems to hit the nail right on the head! So far this year has been a lot about big life shifts. Here is a little of what it says…
Drawing this Rune may mark a time of joyful deliverance, of new life, a new path. A Rune of great power, receiving it means that you now have the strength to achieve completion, resolution, from which comes a new beginning. As you resolve and clear away the old, you will experience a release from tension and uncertainty. You may be required to free yourself from a rut, habit or relationship; from some deep cultural or behavioral pattern. The time of birth is always a critical one. Movement can involve danger, and yet movement that is timely leads out of danger.-Ralph H. Blum

deep breathing

I wanted some post-cancer photos where I didn't look so corpse-like so we set up a photo shoot last night. I took some of Regis, he took some of me, and we took some together with the tripod. And of course, we took some of the pets.

I have new profile photos on all my social media sites. Oh, boy. I am now an integrated person.

It's been a grand weekend. We are taking Gus for a walk this afternoon on Nicollet Avenue which means he can off the leash and running into the fields. We have heard vicious dog stories (in a neighborhood and at the dog park) so we are taking a walking stick and a can of mace. Regis ought to wield both because I am worthless in an emergency.

I meant to go to yoga today but I was moving a little slowly and thought, hey it's Sunday. I am not rushing out the door in the light of dawn. I need a more relaxed pace today.

I only need to do two things today...finish my Christmas cards and finish the grocery list. Neither of those should be long tasks so I have time to read and play Scrabble. And take a nap.

I have a real hankering for Mexican food so I either have to go to the store and buy the fixin's or visit an establishment here in town.

Happy Sunday and start of the new week. Make it a good one.