Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Looking forward to things in May!

  1. Seeing Grace, the spring dance recital, at Gustavus with Betsy and Cheryl.
  2. Volunteering at the gorilla run in Mankato with Tiffany on Saturday.
  3. Going to body pump at the YMCA on Sunday morning.
  4. Starting the new Livestrong class at the YMCA on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
  5. Working out with Lucas.
  6.  Going to yoga on Monday nights.
  7. RunStrong 8K on the 17th of May.
  8. A weekend with Elliot when his mom and dad take a trip.
  9. May Basket Day!
  10. Having a birthday lunch with Betty.
  11. Having coffee with Jill.
  12. Meeting Kris for coffee or lunch at the coop.
  13. Coffee with Joanne on Friday afternoon.
  14. Emails from Karen.
  15. Visiting Mom.
  16. Gardening! Can't wait to see the new hosta assortment.
  17. Wearing my new red boots.
  18. Cooking on the grill.
  19. Seeing Dr. Cockerill and Judy on the 20th.
  20. Outdoor walking. So much nicer than treadmill walking!
  21. Evenings on the patio with Regis.
That's enough. Here's a selfie Regis took at the dog park. I love it. He looks like the happy wanderer. Maybe it's because the evergreen behind him looks like feathers in his hat!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

view from my window

These are tiny animals that watch over my garden. There's a bunny and a porcupine from my mom and a pair of bunnies from my friend, Kemmie.

It's been a week since I wrote a blog post and when I checked my stats, I saw I had only written five in April. An all-time low. I wrote a gratitude list this morning and hadn't done that since April 5th. This morning, the salt lamp is lit, the aroma therapy is on, and my desk is clean. All good signs.

The last month has been full of good and bad. I have said several times that I feel like the clouds are parting but this time I feel like it might really be true, for good. I know this is cryptic but as open as I can be about most things, I want to cloak this journey is some mystery. Just know the end is in sight and I feel healed.

I have many things to write about: going to visit mom in Canby on a whim (I am not known for traveling on whims), going to the Grand Opening of Gilda's Club in Minneapolis, the start of grilling season, the Easter gathering, long walks, my garden, Gus and Woodrow. Life is full and good.

Another reason for my being off the grid so much is that I have been subbing and the schools are like a dead zone for the internet. I tried to read an article in the Atlantic online and was halted by the Great and Mighty Cyber Cop. I am usually tired when I get home and don't have the gumption to do much. And I'm lazy.

I have four more work days this week. I agreed to help with the MCA tests and then wondered WTF I was thinking. I am opposed to those stupid tests on principle and here I am, collecting money to participate. Ugh. After this week, I may take some time off. My rules for subbing:

  1. Always agree to jobs in the future so I have time to change my mind.
  2. Rarely agree to jobs at the last minute.
  3. Never take a job in math or PE.
  4. Variety is good. Never take a long-term job.
I'd like to find a little something to do this summer. Not much. Just a little.

So, here I am. Back at the keyboard. Because I have experienced much grace in my life, I'll end with this quote by Anne Lamott.

Grace is that extra bit of help when you think you are really doomed; also, not coincidentally, when you have finally run out of good ideas on how to proceed, and on how better to control the people or circumstances that are frustrating or defeating you. I experience Grace as a cool ribbon of fresh air when I feel spiritually claustrophobic. Sometimes I experience it as water-wings, something holding me up when I am afraid that I'm going down, or the tide is carrying me away. I know that Grace meets us whereever we are, but does not leave us where it found us. Sometimes it is so small--a couple of seconds relief here, several extra inches there. I wish it were big and obvious, like sky-writing. Oh, well. Grace is not something I DO, or can chase down; but it is something I can receive, when I stop trying to be in charge. 
We communicate grace to one another by holding space for people when they are hurt or terrified, instead of trying to fix them, or manage their emotions for them. We offer ourselves as silent companionship, or gentle listening when someone feels very alone. We get people glasses of water when they are thirsty.

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.