Saturday, January 31, 2009

(More) Life is ...

Last Wednesday I had a hard time getting started. Wednesday mornings are devoted to Quilters (which I love), but I was fighting with myself to get out the door. I hadn't been to a meeting in over a month due to the holidays, the incredible 4+ foot snowfall, and car troubles. So why wasn't I chomping at the bit to go spend time with my old hags?

I finally talked myself into it, knowing that my spirit would be buoyed by being in the presence of the ladies.

When I arrived, I was pulled aside to get caught up on a few business matters. The signatures of the members that can write checks on the checking accounts for the group had been passed from two of the oldest gals in our group to two younger members.

On the surface, you'd think that wasn't a big deal, right? In most organizations, the "treasurer" position changes annually. But I've been in this group for about ten years, and the same two people had that position for the entire time.

The underlying reason for the change is what hit me like a ton of bricks. I scurried into the other room and burst into tears. We buried one of our members just two weeks ago — and she was one of the younger members, only in her sixties! The passing on of the checkbooks came because the two older members, both widows, have become increasingly sick over the last year. This checkbook passing was an unofficial and formal expression of our collective understanding that they will not be with us much longer.

The one gal, J, is in her late eighties. She has heart trouble. She had bypass surgery before I ever entered the Quilters group. She's cantankerous and generous. Over the past year, she had to go from doing one of the jobs that requires standing to one where she can sit. She's connected to an oxygen tank all the time now ... and not nearly as cantankerous as she used to be. I sort of miss that caustic tongue.

The other, R, is in her early eighties and has a myriad of health problems. She's the gal we laughingly call "Mother Superior." Every week, the parish priest stops by Quilters to say hello to all of us. Then he and R sit at the end of the room telling stories and laughing together. They've know each other for decades and are great friends.

R is ... like a mother to me. Really practical and pragmatic. Firm in her ideas of how life works, but has room for other opinions. She's fairly liberal in thought. Really kind. Really 'stout' of character. She's one of my closer friends in the gang. She helped me feel like part of the group early on.

R is really not well now. Over the last months, it's become apparent that she can no longer live on her own. The son that lived in town died a couple years ago. Another son is half way across the country. Her daughter is in California.

R landed in the hospital last week following a horrible fall. After a couple days, I finally found the courage to call her, then visit her. Wonderful visit. Now she's moved to a care center for further recovery. When released, she'll be moving to California to be closer to her daughter.

It's that knowledge that sent me into tears.
(And again, tears, as I write).

My friend Susan followed me into the other room, took me by the shoulders and looked me in the eye. "You know what the Buddhists say, don't you?" she asked me.

I shook my head. "No. I don't. But I'd like to."

"The only constant ..."

"... is change," I muttered.

"You do know." Susan squeezed my shoulders.

Sure. I know this. But watching R decline and knowing she is moving away is just a bit too much like watching my mom in her last year of life. I'm sorry for her pain. And I'm feeling sorry for myself that I won't have her confidence, her grumbling, her kindness, her naughty jokes, her being around me any more.

And because of that, I've been avoiding calling her or visiting her since she moved to the care facility.

I'm determined to swallow that discomfort today and contact her. It won't be long until my tomorrows with R will be quite different from my todays.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Life is ...

Sometimes, it's all you can do to put one foot in front of the other.

It's just walking, right? It's worth the payoff, right?

It's just ... sometimes you just have to talk yourself into doing it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shinin' Through

I like the limelight. I like attention from a big group of people. Always have.

When I was a kid, as I blew out the candles on my cake, my wish for years was "a birthday party with a hundred people." I thought it would be great to be the center of a crowd like that, drinking in the adulation and having a big pile of presents that I wasn't required to share.

In my teen years and in college, I spent time on stage. I like singing or acting in front of people. I like the attention I get from displaying my talents.

Oh, face it. I just like attention. I thrive on compliments, honors and adulation.

I haven't acted on stage in years. And these days, most of my singing is around the house. Once I gave up leading music in church, my performance days were pretty much over.

But, I still like the limelight. Only now, I focus on a different kind of light.

On this spiritual quest of mine, I look to dust off the shade and muck that can cover me. I try to shed the hurts, disappointments, mistakes and grudges of the past. When I can do that, the glow I bask in doesn't have to come from a spotlight focused on me.

The light emanates from within me instead.

My Creative Space - Puddin'

Once again I'm joining Kirsty of Kootoyoo for her weekly photo meme
My Creative Space.

"How do I join?" you ask. It's simple! Every Thursday ...

"post an image of what's in progress either on my desk, in my spot, on the sofa, desktop, at the kitchen table...whatever."


I had a very nice day today.

It started by getting up at 5:30, hoppin' in the car, and meeting a friend down at the dog park along the Centennial Trail. We had a brisk 3 mile walk.

14 degrees. 2 dogs. 1 coyote. Lots o' rabbits. One good friend.

Later in the day, I used a gift certificate that I got for my birthday last November. I spent a couple hours at a day spa. Herbal wrap. Full hour full body massage.


I felt so good when I got home, that I decided to make a little something special for my sweet husband as a thank you for the birthday gift. One of his favorite desserts?

Vanilla pudding with fresh blueberries.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Mundane

Oh ... check it out.
I'm the master of something.
This is me ... on joy.
Oh, joy.

Oh! Joy!

Macro Monday - Bananas

Macro Monday is easy to play,
snap a macro (or close-up) photo,
post it on your blog
then go to Lisa's Chaos
and sign Mr Linky.


Today was a mundane day. My sweet husband was home sick. I cleaned up the house and did laundry. Took a nap.

In the afternoon, Jodie and I made cookies. The cookies flopped, but the time with Jodie was good. I gotta grab those rare good hours with my teenager when I can. She's one busy girl.

The highlight of the day? Turning in the documentation to get a passport.

Like I said, mundane.

These bananas were a smaller highlight. They are at the ideal level of ripeness. Yummy on cereal.

Like I said, mundane.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happiness is ...

I got mine cheap today.
Spent quality time with my sweet husband
Shopping for electronics and twine,
Unloading the dishwasher,
Dreaming our future,
Sharing e-mail jokes,
Folding clothes warm from the dryer,
Sucking on watermelon,
Watching The West Wing.

It's an excellent recipe for a happy Sunday. I recommend it.

But ... get your own mate. This one's taken.

Sunday Secrets: January 25, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

These three secrets today gave me pause.

Well, I don't want to escape to skeleton-land,
but I sure wouldn't mind getting out of these gray,
icy days for a while.

What is TRUTH comes in many surprising forms.
I go where I'm led, asking the tough questions along the way.

I have lots and lots of hobbies, all waiting in line.
I think they likely still hold some fun.
I feel sorry for all the supplies stored on my shelves,
waiting for me to let their creativity out into the world.
Time to pass some on ... and put others to work.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Take Some Time

One of my very favorite 'old hags' from St. George's Quilters is in the hospital. She's a pillar of our group. Some even refer to her as 'Mother Superior.' She's 81 years old, has a mind as sharp as a tack and a wit to match it. She's wonderfully faith-filled with equal measures of sarcasm and naughtiness. She is both kind and opinionated. I love her dearly.

But she's been in a bad way this week. Her heart was not behaving properly, and it weakened her. She's been in the hospital for several days, and is now stabilized. Another quilter, a nurse, has been keeping me appraised of her situation. Yesterday she ordered me, "Call her!"

So today, I did. And then I went for a visit.

Much as I love this woman, I still felt awkward going to visit her in the hospital. I know she isn't doing great. I know some of the embarrassing details of the signs of her illness. When I walk into a sick person's room, the one question I don't really want to ask is, "How are you?" My hesitation to visit friends in the hospital comes from my own desire to not feel foolish and helpless.

So I went anyway ... and we had a very, very nice visit. She has come a long way into accepting the reality of her situation. She still has good humor. She remains pragmatic about the next steps her life must take. She can no longer live alone.

I admire her courage and resolve. It will be much easier visiting her again tomorrow and later in the week when she moves to a interim care facility.

We visited for about an hour. Then I needed to get home to make dinner for my family. But a funny thing happened on the way to the elevator ...

I ran into another woman I know. Well, know slightly, but have admired for a long, long time.

This beautiful 75 year old woman was in the hospital to visit her 96 year old mother. We are acquaintances from church. She is very service-oriented, active in the women's guilds. I've seen her assist with weddings. She has a wonderful flair. She dresses beautifully and is always well-groomed ... put together. Her family is well-known for both hands-on and financial help when needed.

When we stopped to chat today, I started by telling her how much she touched my life 21 years ago. At that time, I was living in the women's shelter with my two babies aged 1 and 3. At Thanksgiving, this woman brought a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings to the shelter. She looked up, obviously surprised to see me there. But she was totally generous in spirit toward me, without an ounce of judgment.

As we chatted this evening, we learned a bit about each other's kids. She noted that she hasn't seen me at our parish in quite some time, and I alluded to why. We talked about getting older and learning about our changing bodies. We ended up talking about all sorts of things. It was easy to both talk and listen to her. After standing in the hall and talking for nearly another hour, we both felt like it would be nice to continue our conversation over lunch. So we exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

We'll see what happens from here.

This is SO very unlike me! Usually, those people that I admire, I stand back and watch. I can strike up a conversation. But rarely would I have the nerve to ask for follow-through. The old "I'm not worthy!" tapes start playing through my head.

But because I stopped and took the time for this conversation, and because I heeded the sage wisdom of my husband to 'make small investments' in people, I took a chance today. I faced a little dragon, and I didn't get burned. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

My little errand to the hospital was indeed an opportunity for adventure. I'm glad I took the time to make this connection instead of nodding and allowing the moment to pass by.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now

Adversity helps us define our YES and our NO.
Move toward YES.
That's your own North Star.
Let it be your guide.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's Your Priority?

Oh. My. Goodness.

This says so succinctly what my sweet husband and counselor have been trying to get through my thick skull for months.

They say it in other ways, that almost worked for me:
You're giving that other person
too much power over your life.

Just make little investments in people.
If the little investments pan out,
then make a little bit bigger investment.
or, one I thought up for myself ...
I put my energy into the people
that love me and want me.
These statements started getting me on the road to understanding that I have a habit of being distracted by a "shiny object," then turning my whole attention and energy toward that thing. The third gave me some conditions, some parameters. There are people that love me. There are people that want a piece of me. But I ought not pour my energy into folks unless both criteria are met.

But this. This is like the proverbial hammer hitting the nail right on the head. A true Ah-ha! moment for me. Great food for thought.

I need to thank Maureen for this quotation. She used it in her Facebook status today, and I lifted it. I did a search to see who the original author is, and couldn't find it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


If this is a queue, I'm in line right behind Sandy.

Visual Journals

Quite by accident ...

[ Accident? Is there such a thing?
Or was it serendipity?
Or The Law of Attraction? ]

Today, one blog leading to another, I found this post. It's from a gal in LA who teaches 2nd grade art class.

What was their project? Visual Journals. Of course.

If a second grader can do it and have fun with it ...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keep That Spark Burning

This quotation echoes President's Obama's speech today. Times may be tough, but we can weather the difficulties together. It may not be easy, but through sacrifice, service to one another and diligent work, we can live a life we want and deserve.

As true as this is for our country, it can also be realized within each one of us, within our families. We do have a hero living beneath our skin. We need only coax that hero out, perhaps with the help of a trusted friend, counselor or mentor. We can overcome our loneliness and frustration, for we do deserve the kind of life we dream of and have not -- yet -- been able to reach.

Let's not give up. Let's lean on each other. Let's help each other and cheer each other on.

It is possible.

Ten Min Tues: A Serene Bedroom

I'm joining Margie and Kath from soeurs du jour for their Ten Minute Tuesday meme. The premise?

Post something on Tuesdays that can be accomplished in ten minutes. That's it. Set the timer, choose something and do it. The only catch is it has to make YOU feel better.
Most of my attention today has been rooted to President Obama's inauguration, so I haven't managed to get my usual duties done. I wanted to participate in today's meme, though, so I set a timer and made myself go into the master bedroom.

In ten minutes I put fresh clean sheets on the bed, straightened up the headboard, nightstands and dresser top. Then I lit some candles.

One of my favorite guiltless pleasures is slipping in between fresh bedding at night. It helps me sleep soundly and encourages sweet dreams.

So how 'bout it? Can I challenge you? Go strip your bed and remake it with crisp, clean sheets. Treat your mate and yourself to a good night's sleep.

Photo Phacts

  1. I love lists
  2. I make several lists every day
  3. I like to read lists written by other people
  4. I subscribe to several blogs for oddballs like me that also like lists
  5. You can learn quite interesting things from other folks' lists, for example:


New Day

New President!

It's a New Day!
[ click link for music video ]

Monday, January 19, 2009

Macro Monday - Gingerbread

Macro Monday is easy to play,
snap a macro (or close-up) photo,
post it on your blog
then go to Lisa's Chaos
and sign Mr Linky.

Gingerbread Cookies

Did I mention I'm still not quite done with Christmas?
I'm hopeless, I know.

I made about five varieties of cookies before the big holiday. And a friend gave us some gingerbread. So that I didn't make them at the time, no big deal. But I had a batch of gingerbread fixin's in a jar and didn't want another year to go by before baking them. Besides, my sweet husband loves gingerbread.

So I got out the recipe.

Added the 'wet' ingredients to make the dough.
Refrigerated it.

Decided on a cookie shape.
A bear will do!
Not as Christmas-y as a gingerbread boy.
And bears are brown ... so ... no icing needed.

Rolled out the dough on my new silicone baking mat.
Dipped the cutter in flour.
Pressed the cutter into the dough.

Happy baked gingerbread bears.
I don't think they'll last long in the house.

Paint the Future

When I awoke this morning, I still had my personal time line on my mind. I remembered the names of four more men that had an impact on me.

When I opened the file to add the names, I started getting a little bit discouraged. My sweet husband took a look at the expression on my face and asked what was wrong.

I told him that I look at this document, I look at my past, and I feel pretty discouraged. I made so many mistakes. I allowed so many people, especially men, leave their mark on me.

He looked at me with so much love and said, "You know. The phrase that comes to mind is Foolishness of Youth. So you shopped around a lot. That's what you do when you're young. That's what you sort of expect our daughters to do. That is not who you were when we met. By then, we were both fairly responsible."

I was still quibbing.

He resumed, "Were you foolish yesterday?"

I shook my head no.

"Were you foolish today?"

I shook my head no again.

"That's what counts."

Then Dale, my idea guy, my man who sees into the future, challenged me. "I want you to try something. I'd like you to spend an equal amount of time picturing your future as you spent making your time line."

I balked. "I don't know how to do that. I wrote another document about what I believe and what is important to me. Is that what you mean?"

"No. That's about the present. I want you to spend some time thinking about the future. About our future together."

"How? I don't know how to do that."

He looked at me kindly. "You've done it before. You have that poster you made, the collage of pictures and words that shows what you want to be like."

"Oh ... yeah."

I've actually done that exercise a couple times. The first time when I worked through Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The second time, I was on a retreat led my my sister Eleanore, who was then working toward her master's degree so she could work as a spiritual director. In that retreat, we used simple blank books / journals that she purchased at a dollar store.

In both cases, you sit down with a bunch of magazines and a pair of scissors. You flip quickly through the pages of the magazine and cut out any pictures, words or phrases that seem to pop out at you. This works especially well if you're not distracted by anything else (like TV) and, perhaps, have soft instrumental music playing in the background. Then you take these images and words and arrange them as a collage.

The idea is to keep these images within your line of sight to help remind you of what is possible, what the secret desires of your heart are for your life.

These kinds of collages are called vision boards. It seems that there are now software products available for those who want to try a digital version of the exercise! That's interesting, I suppose. I guess it might work for some people. There are a number of books explaining the process, too. I wonder if they're really needed, though.

Anyway, it looks like getting out my crystal ball and checking into my future is now on my radar. I'll likely let the idea stew for a while before I jump into that exercise. I'll need a bit of time to dig up some magazines.

For a while, Dale and I sat side-by-side, each doing our own thing on our laptops. In the course of my surfing, I came across this poem by Antonio Machado:

Last night as I was sleeping
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

I read it aloud to Dale. He quipped, "I don't know that I like the idea of a bunch of bees buzzin' around in my chest."
:: snort ::

On further refection he noted, "But that's kinda cool ... the idea that your heart is chugging away there repairing the damage of the past."

Yeah. That really is the underlying reason for doing these kinds of exercises. To recall where I've been. To realize that those episodes really are my past. To realize I've grown a lot, healed a lot. To acknowledge that I'm not making the same mistakes over and over in my present. And then to take that wisdom and knowledge forward to paint a picture of the future.

Isn't my sweet husband smart? See why I love to hang around this guy?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Secrets: January 18, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

These three secrets were published online today. Their sentiments echo my own.

Definitely party time in my home in two days!

When I look at the faces of other drivers,
I wonder what makes their life tick.
Do they deal with some of the same challenges I do?

From Post Secret Germany
To all the Sweet Friends I've loved ...
Who shared a Season of their life with me ...
Know that this is true.

Jump In!

When I found this phrase in an e-mail from Pam Young this morning, it seemed to encourage me to go ahead and share my time line with my friend today after all.

The Midnight Editor (that little voice in my head that reminds me of other bits and pieces, encourages me to write my thoughts down in the wee hours of the morning) was busy at work. At 4am I was awake and writing more notes to myself. Things to add to my time line. Life Lessons learned that I want to share. Names of influential people in my life. Snippets of phrases that point me toward my future.

As I opened my browser to post this blog entry, this horoscope popped off my home page:
Your backbone is positively made of steel today, so it's the right time to try something that you'd normally be too shy or cautious to attempt. Be bold and brash today, because the word risk means nothing! Wake up your sense of adventure and let it guide you through the day, exposing you to new opportunities and thrills. If you do this, you are sure to meet interesting people with interesting ideas that turn you on to a whole new path in your life.
It looks like the Universe is conspiring in my favor.

I think I'll jump in this cart and go for a ride.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Times of Your Life

I spent the majority of the day working on a very engaging exercise.

I wrote out a time line of my life from graduation from high school to the present day.

"Why?" you ask?

I've re-met a gal I knew slightly in high school. It turns out that we have some things in common. We both are raising three girls, we each have one with nearly identical names. We both love counted cross-stitch. We enjoy each other's sense of fun.

Recently, we've started talking about a few subjects on a deeper level. But because we haven't been in touch for nearly 35 years and because when we were in school together, we were friendly but not friends, there's a lot of 'splaining to do.

So, I offered to write up a simple time line to shine some light on some of the peaks and valleys of my personal story. And because the topic of conversation is turning to relationship issues, I added to that time line the men who have made an impact on my thoughts and actions over the years.


Well, that's where the above quotation rings so true. I know that I am not alone in having made relationship faux pas. We all have. It's just, you know, mine are so personal! Am I sure I want to air all these errors?

I think so. I think I'll take that risk with this gal. For my stories are what made me the person I am today. It's these significant relationships that have helped me form my conscience and my life outlook. It's this journey and these mistakes that have taught me how to relate to others now, given me the life lessons that light my path into the future.

There is nothing perfect. Nothing ideal.

There is only life.

If I dare to share the stories of my life, perhaps this gal can learn from me. If she can share her stories with me, my life will be informed.

Best, I may gain a deeper friendship.

There is only life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Creative Space - Christmas Gift Tags

Once again I'm joining Kirsty of Kootoyoo for her weekly photo meme
My Creative Space.

"How do I join?" you ask. It's simple! Every Thursday ...

"post an image of what's in progress either on my desk, in my spot, on the sofa, desktop, at the kitchen table...whatever."

OK, so I'm a day late and a dollar short. And since this meme originates in Australia, it looks like I'm two days late. What can I say? It's been one of those weeks.

But today, I actually got around to doing something a little bit creative, so I have something to show for myself.

I took the 2008 Christmas cards and cut them down into 2009 Christmas gift tags:

The space? Our dining room table. Thus, the weird lighting from the chandelier on a dimmer switch.

The materials? Some templates, the old Christmas cards, some scissors that cut fun edges, a pencil, a hole punch, some crochet cotton .

The entertainment? I'm watching an Oprah webcast on my laptop.

This process took about an hour and a half for 30 gift tags, which included stopping to eat some soup along the way.

Now I'm off to bake some cookies. Gingerbread. See? I'm really not done with Christmas yet.

:: sigh ::


I learned about this site from Maureen.


Let's all get ready to celebrate on Tuesday.

Small Acts; Strong Power

I've had an emotionally challenging week.

I need some of this.

Today, I'm taking a "Starburst Day." A day to give myself permission to follow creative pursuits and not feel guilty if I don't get other more mundane stuff done. I need to recharge my batteries.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Want Something From You

Just a little bit of your time.

Because if you give that to me, and follow my request, you'll get something in return.

Read my following blog entry. Click on the link to The Small Things Challenge. Donate five cents.

What do you get in return?

The excellent feeling that comes when you give something away, knowing you're helping another human being.

How about we make 2009 the year of giving of a bit of ourselves ... in teeny tiny ways.

Click a Button, Give a Little, Change the World

Kiva - loans that change lives
At Christmas, I was given a gift certificate for Kiva. If you don't already know about Kiva, it's time to find out!

Kiva facilitates giving micro loans to people in distant lands who really need the money to build their businesses and change their lives. Loans are as small as $25.00 per investor.

As an investor, you get to decide who you give the loans to. Your investment is pooled with the investment of other small lenders through banks in developing countries. Then the loans are given to small business owners living near these banks.

The owners grow their businesses, and pay back the loans in small increments over a few months. When the loan is repaid, you can take your money back, or reinvest in another small company.

In a world where 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day, these micro loans can make a huge difference to families and communities in less fortunate parts of the world.

To get a better sense of how Kiva works, check out this video:

A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story of a Loan
from Kieran Ball on Vimeo.

My Five Cent Challenge

If you're not quite ready to make a $25.00 investment, can you spare a few moments to donate five cents? Kiva, Save the Children and Intel have partnered in a program called
"The Small Things Challenge."

It’s a campaign based on the premise that every small action can make a big difference to ensure quality education and economic opportunity for all.

What's your part? Click through to the Small Things website and click a button or two. That's it. Intel will donate five cents for each click, up to $75,000 per quarter this year to be split equally between Kiva and Save the Children.

For so little energy, you can give your nickel's worth!

Please join me in changing lives.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Give a Little, Get a Little

Today did not work out like I'd planned.

When I crawled into bed last night, I thought I'd get up early.
Start making the apple pie at 7am.
Bake it from 8 to 9am.
Let it cool from 9 to 10am while I took my shower and got ready for the day.
Get to the church around 10:45, deliver the pie.
Go to the funeral mass for one of my fellow Quilters, Kathleen.
Spend the rest of the afternoon working on a time line for a friend of mine.
Take Jodie to the orthodontist.
Have dinner plans ready for Dale, then spend a quiet evening reading.

Instead ...

I got a phone call at 6:30am. I wasn't out of bed yet and barely made it to the phone before the answering machine started taking a message.
"Margaret? Can you take me to the ER?"
"I'll be right there."

This call from my friend Susan, also from Quilters. She hasn't been feeling well for several days. I helped get her some meds yesterday, so knew she was in pain. But I've never heard her this bad. She lives a ways away, in a teeny tiny country town about a half hour north of here. I get lost almost every time I try to find her house.

So I threw on some clothes. Grabbed a protein bar. Put a hat over my bedhead hairdoo. Picked up a book (I figured there'd be a lot of 'hurry up and wait' today). And ran out the door.

Fog. Thick, thick fog. Frozen fog on the car windows. So I started the engine, dug out the ice scraper, and attacked the windows. All the time, I'm praying that I can be the help Susan needs me to be today.

The fog did not let up. I could only see about a half block in front of the car. Tricky on the freeway. And those 2-lane country roads where the center line is barely visible, the lines on the shoulders of the roads obscured by snow and ice ... scary. On the prairie, I had to wait for a freight train to pass. I slowed my speed on the curvy, icy lake road. Got to her house without getting lost, for a change. She was surprised and pleased I'd made such good time.

Poor gal was really hurting. I just tried to be calm and steady for her. Got her to the hospital (they have valet parking for emergency room guests now!) Helped her check in, change into a hospital gown, settle onto the gurney.

Mostly, I hung out as moral support. I can't even watch as she gets shots. I'm that squeamish. So I cracked jokes. Helped her feel as normal as possible. Told stories. Listened when she wanted to talk. Sat silently when she needed quiet. Covered her when she was cold. Steadied her when she stood. Learned how to operate a wheel chair. Learned about her allergies to medications.

When she was released, I helped her get her prescriptions. Let her read my book to pass time. Picked up a dessert at my house and dropped it off at the funeral, letting the rest of the Quilters know why we missed the mass and that Susan will be OK. Drove back up to her tiny town. The fog never did lift. Treated myself to some take-out on the way home. Ate for the first time someplace around 1:30pm.

I totally forgot about Jodie's orthodontist appointment until she called me from school. Back out into the fog. We were only 4 minutes late. A fast stop at the grocery store. A quick trip to the bathroom.

And then I collapsed.

Yeah. Not exactly the day I'd planned. Much more emotionally exhausting -- even more exhausting than going to a funeral!

But you know what?

As tiring as it was, there was also an element of peace to it. For a nice change of pace, I was offered the chance to help out one of my friends at a time when the help really counted. I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone to do it. I drove in the fog. I drove to a place where I usually get lost. I dealt with the medical community. I picked up prescriptions at a pharmacy I don't usually use.

That was a very 'Plan B' kind of day for this 'I like a List' kind of gal!

And within that go-with-the-flow motion, I offered Susan a little peace.

Driving through the fog on the way home, I experienced a bit of peace, too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ten Min Tues: Christmas Cards

I'm joining Margie and Kath from soeurs du jour for their Ten Minute Tuesday meme. The premise?

Post something on Tuesdays that can be accomplished in ten minutes. That's it. Set the timer, choose something and do it. The only catch is it has to make YOU feel better.

I'm very tardy in cleaning up the Christmas decorations, so my ten minutes today was spent taking down the Christmas cards, rolling up the ribbons, and putting the bell pull hardware away.


Two of the five ribbons of cards hanging in our entrance way.


Ribbon is rolled
Cards are stacked
Hardware bagged

Maybe later this week I'll get around to cutting the cards into gift tags. That will take w-a-y more than ten minutes and is the kind of project to do while watching TV.

Today ...

Today I would like to ...
  • have steady energy throughout the day ... not too many highs or lows.

  • do some niggly things on my To Do list so that I feel a sense of accomplishment.

  • keep my To Do list at a reasonable length instead of expecting too much of myself.
  • bake some cookies. I love the aroma of something good cooking in the kitchen.

  • put away some more Christmas decorations. That's been slow going this year.

  • take some time writing to a friend.

  • simplify my life a little more.

  • take time to read and study.

  • spend some quality time with my sweet husband tonight.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday Secrets: January 11, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment. These two secrets pulled at my heartstrings this week.

Ah, but I do give it a hell of an effort!
As an English major,
I stuffed as many books into my head as possible in college.

Now, I stuff my shelves with books until they overflow.
In my old age, I'll sit in a wing back chair,
feet propped on an ottoman,

Read ... and doze ... dreaming of all I've read.

Yeah. That would have been handy.
It would have answered so many questions
that have been hanging around all these years.

But I have my sweet husband. And we managed to do it ...
to love each other at the same time.

Days of Ice

Macro Monday is easy to play,
snap a macro (or close-up) photo,
post it on your blog
then go to Lisa's Chaos
and sign Mr Linky.


Here in the northwest, we had days and days of snow and cold weather. At one point, the snow on the roof was about three feet thick. Then we had a warm day, and things started to melt. Icicles formed around the whole house.

Along the top of the garage,
where the Christmas lights
had them glowing in soft colors.

Some looked like the tusks of a mammoth.

And they dripped.
And they dripped.
Leaving sheets of ice for us to slip on.