Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Morning

This might have been my Christmas card this year.
Had I bothered to get it printed out.

For years now, my intention has been to "do better next year."

I had an epiphany this morning:

"Next year" never really gets here.
All we really have is this year, actually only this moment.

Live wisely, my friends. 

Merriest of Christmases
and
Happy New Year.

May we all experience plenty of
joy,
love,
&
peace.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Four Years

It's not my son, but except for the man bun, it could be. He had a similar blue shirt he wore a lot and he was a skateboarder. This guy, he made me lonely for my son when I saw him.

That light. Those shadows. Memories. Vignettes from a dream. 

Every year, I buy a piece of pottery from the December Student Art Show. It's my way of remembering my son's life and honoring his memory.

12.08.15

Four years.

I was recovering from surgery. Weak and vulnerable.

Flashbacks.

I am rendered unable to write complete sentences.

So much shadow.

So much light.

Vignettes of loss.

Longing.

Joy.
 
Gratitude. 
 
Love.
 


 I've heard it said that the pain of grief is the price we pay for love.
There was a time when I would have said I'd just as soon not love or be loved
if I could escape the pain of loss. 
I know now that too would have been a sort of death,
and not at all the the life I would have wanted to live.

Yes, I had a son, and loved my son.
Yes, he is now gone from me.
I have lost.
But also, I have loved.
And it was a good strong love.
I'll carry his love forever in my heart.
And the memories will bring me comfort.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Moving Toward "Enough"

When I get to work of a morning (my grandparents used to say "of a morning" and I like the expression), I park in a large parking lot and then I have a short walk to get to the office. I have two paths I can choose to get to my office. Since I first started working there, my most favored path has been the outside path that follows a meandering brick walkway. There are huge oak trees stretching their branches above me and more often than not, squirrels are playing among the trees. Whether I am going in to work or leaving out from work, it is, for me, a time of grounding and centering, almost always the walk is a brief exercise in contemplation.

I could enter into the building and walk a couple of long hallways to get to our office. That too can be a grounding and centering experience. Any other job I've had, I've always been able to park very close to the entrance, so I've not had this experience of a slow walk into, or out of work. I'm kind of grateful for the longer path to get to work.

I'm still walking fairly regularly. I've even added short bursts of running (or jogging?) into my walk, mostly just because I can. I've never been a runner and I doubt I'll ever be much of one, ever (like never), but there's something freeing for me about the experience. As I do with so many important (and difficult) things, I "sneak up" on the run. I'll be walking along, enjoying myself and settling into a groove when the voices in my head start discussing whether or not now is the time to break into a run. I listen to the clamor for a bit and then I look around at my surroundings and find a marking spot to begin my run and very quickly, I decide on a spot where I will allow myself to stop running and resume walking. And then, suddenly, while the voices are still discussing the matter, my feet and I just take off running. Lately my feet and I have been marking our "stop running" spot just a little further out than either of us think I can go. Achieving that small stretch in going beyond what I think I can do feels so good.

Sometimes I feel almost like featherly when I break out into a run...


Almost. One picture I'm getting when I think of myself breaking out into a run (and imagine I am soaring into flight) is that of a chicken flapping its feathers to jump up on a fence. Not exactly graceful, not exactly flying, but still, extending an effort. And that is me, extending the effort. It's way better than just sitting on the ground saying "But I can't, I can't."

I read this recently, and I like it a lot...

"What is the fullest way that we can live our lives? If we tried to achieve that, then at the end, we'll have no regrets. Whatever the outcome, I tried. As one wise old leader suggested for his epitaph: He did what he could with what he had."

I have regrets. I don't think any of us get by without having regrets. But we can't let them beat us up or cripple us. And we can begin again, now, at this moment, again, to try and do the best we can.

This is a whole 'nother blog post, but what I'd add to the epitaph above, if I were to make it mine, would be "And it was enough."

Yes, mine would say this:

"She did what she could with what she had. And it was enough."


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Considerations

These posts are what I am coming to consider my "after the storm posts." Sometimes I think none of this is any kind of deal, because we all have limited days and we all have storms in our lives. Things come up in my head and this is my place to record them.

When I was last at MD Anderson, a couple of weeks ago, I realized I hadn’t packed anything to bring with me to read while I drank the contrast material. They have paperbacks scattered out everywhere to pick up and read and you can keep them as long as you want. When you’re done with the book, you can leave it in any waiting room for someone else to read. I wanted to read something outside of my normal genre. I was looking for a mystery and would have settled for a romance, provided it wasn’t too cheesy.

But the first book that got my attention was one called “The Girl With All The Gifts,” by MR Carey. It was billed as “the most original thriller you will read this year.” I thought it was a mystery. Once I started reading it, I looked on the spine and saw that it was classified as science fiction, which is a genre I have not had much experience in reading. I got sucked in and it served its purpose which was to help the time pass while I waited. The story was good enough.

But I was reading an interview with the author in the back of the book and saw that they called it a post apocalyptic thriller, which, having come through a colon cancer ordeal, seemed oddly appropriate and appealing to me. Because, here's the thing—They asked him why he thought post apocalyptic thrillers are so popular. His answer was this, "...a lot of post apocalyptic fiction uses the sweeping away of the here-and-now to explore the question of what endures. What defines us. In a new world, born in flames or plague or zombie holocaust, what would we be and how would we change? Would we change at all, or would the same framework resurface and continue to control us?"

And now, nearly a year after my surgery, this is where I find myself, exploring the questions of what endures, and what will I be, and how will I change? And of all the books in the library and waiting rooms of MDA, how is it that I picked this one single book, something I'd probably never have read had I not been desperate for something to read, that has this one little nugget in the back that further affirms and defines my current life task?


After a storm, we assess the damage, and we clean up. That in itself is sometimes a messy task. So I'll extend grace and patience to myself as I work my way through the aftermath of the storm. As I work, I will remember, I will tell stories, I will gather up what can be gathered and I will let go of what has been damaged beyond repair.

This passage certainly has had its price, and it took its toll on me. But mostly, when I look back and consider the aftermath and what is left, I am grateful.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Still Here...

One weekend not so long ago, I worked on cleaning my desk in my bedroom. I haven't used it in YEARS. I decided that since it looks like I'm going to live a little longer, I needed to clear out a few corners of my life. I found all manner of bittersweet stuff.

(Would any of you keep the now deflated Mylar sock monkey balloon given to you to celebrate your last chemo treatment? Ha! I didn't think so--it's in my "undecided" pile! UPDATE: I threw it away).

And then there were cryptic written directions to the place at the point of "where you can't go anymore." I wondered where it was that I was going and looked in the envelope. It was from when my son was in the Youth Challenge Program. 

(What does one do when one gets to the place where it seems one can't go anymore?)

I found a distinctly unflattering photo of myself from 2008, looking heavy and uncomfortable. I hardly recognize that woman. In the past I would have torn the photo to shreds, but I'm hanging onto it to remind myself of how far I have come.  

(That was "before," before the cancer the first time, before the death of my son, before the cancer the second time. Before, a whole other life. Yes, how far I have come.)

I've started back to walking, and tracking my food intake. Through a totally serendipitous set of circumstances I started playing tennis again after over 20 years of not picking up a racket. I'm loving that. Moving in my body feels so good. 

(And I'm not even tired!)


I showed up for my first three month cat scan and checkup. It was all good. And now I don't have to go back until January. 

I know I have plenty of people who could tell me exactly how I ought to live. But not a single one of those people have walked in my shoes. 

(Living life in three month increments is not so bad, after all. I have a few plans.) 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Awareness of, and Patience With, the Cost Factor of Choosing

This is old news now, but I went for my latest appointment with the liver doctor last week, where I received the most excellent news that I do not have fatty liver disease. There is one other thing he wants to check my blood for, but he doesn't think I have that. I will have to see him again in six months and get an ultrasound.

When I saw him, the doctor said my diet was very important in taking care of myself in this matter. He talked about awareness when eating, saying I needed to say to myself something like "I'm eating this cupcake or this piece of meat, I know I'm eating this cupcake or this piece of meat, I'm choosing to eat this cupcake or this piece of meat."

Everything, from the things we choose to eat, to the ways we spend our money and time, comes with a cost. This is one of my new ways of living in the world, to keep myself consciously aware of what my choices are costing me. To remember how often it is true, "if I choose this, I can't also choose that."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Today

 Today, he would have been 28.

While doing some cleaning and reorganizing
I found a couple of his long-sleeved t-shirts
and held them to my face,
searching for his scent.
It was not there.
And I came across a pair of plaid shorts,
plaid like a country kitchen table cloth.
I smiled and took them from the drawer
to hang in my closet,
a tangible reminder of my grief
and life too soon gone.

Today, I'd get myself to the store
and I'd buy the cheesecake and the Pepsi
(as I did on that day).

Today, I wear my invisible badge
of grief,
invisible in that
it's not a badge everyone can see-
it is a badge that some do not want to see.
But for all who do see,
for those who speak words of kindness over me,
and sit with me,
even after all this time,
I am ever grateful.

For you who do not have to wear
this badge,
who have not been thrown unwillingly and with no gentleness
into this rough club,
whose sons and daughters still walk this earth,
I exhort you to
savor their days.
Do not take lightly the privilege of witnessing the unfolding
 of their lives,
 for there are no guarantees,
even to the young.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Dear September

Okay, September, you know what you gotta do. Bring on the wow. Just don't let it be the kind of wow that has to say, "Wow, can you believe she fell flat on her face like that and skint the hide plumb off her nose, and then it got infected and now it looks like she's wearing a clown nose!" Not that kind of wow.

I bought a pair of (blah) Docker's khaki pants at the Goodwill store and this was printed on the waistband of the pants. Every time I went to potty I giggled at the message on the waistband of my pants! I'm not great at hand lettering but there is something very meditative about doing it and I wanted to remember this admonishment, so I played.

The pants were in great shape, and only cost fifty cents so that was a bit of "wow" right there. I always feel so smug when I can get a great bargain.

I'll be going back to see the liver specialist this month to check on my fatty liver situation (fatty liver is real, and can be serious, but I feel so guilty calling my liver fatty!). One "wow" I'd like to hear is my doctor saying, "Wow, your liver looks great, go on home and keep doing what you're doing!"

I have some more pictures I hope to post sometime soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

RIP, Charlie

I went yesterday to Houston to have my port flushed. I was a little annoyed that they were not able to set it up so I could have this done at home. It is, as you probably know, about a five minute procedure. But I determined to make the best of it and to treat it as an adventure. We had a good trip. Afterwards we met my aunt for lunch at Pappasito's. On the way home, we stopped at the new Buccee's in Baytown, where I had my picture taken with Buccee. Go me! Adults in costumes make me a tiny bit nervous. The thought occurs to me now how it makes some people more comfortable to be in costume, and suddenly I am thinking of all the masks we humans tend to wear. In looking at it that way, costumes don't make me as nervous. I am familiar with, and somewhat accustomed to, masks. Though I am working hard to strip most of mine away. But that is not at all what I came here to write about.

I had a friend years ago. We worked and lived together for two summers, part of a young staff at a church camp. We kept in touch a few years after the summers ended. I spent some weekends at her house in-between working at the camp but we eventually lost touch and didn't even send Christmas cards. This was before widespread internet. When we got a computer and internet, and I learned you could find people on the internet, I searched for her. But I couldn't remember her married name. Finally I found that out and looked again. After a few tries over a few years, what I found was her obituary. And I was saddened by the fact that I'd kind of just missed being in contact with her again. She was a good friend with a dry, sassy wit, a delight to know. Why do we allow ourselves to lose touch with people we love?

When I found her obituary, I was more savvy on the internet and I located her older brother. We'd met a few times when I was staying at her house and we'd talk a bit about poetry writing, as each of us was dabbling in that at the time. For a short while, we'd connected on that level and we shared our poetry with each other. I'd written my friend a letter after she died and I sent it on to him. He seemed to have enjoyed that and shared it with his family. We might have emailed a couple of times more after that. He was an intelligent guy with a lot of different interests and after the poetry discussions, I'd always wished I could have connected with him on a more consistent level but he was way older and I never had much opportunity for interaction with him.

So, yesterday, my husband showed me the picture of the sister I'd been looking for. She is a friend of a friend on Facebook and I was glad to find her. She was only a couple of years younger than my friend and I. Her brother must have been about fifteen years older than we were. Anyway, as I was looking on the sister's Facebook page, I saw that her brother had died last December. I hadn't actually seen him in years so it was a shock to me to realize he was 73 years old. In my mind, I saw him as young as he was when we first met. I was saddened again. 

My friend, her brother, her younger sister--these were people who occupied very short spaces in the time frame of my life, but they left warm memories and indelible marks on my heart. 

RIP, Charlie. Tell Ruth hello for me. . .


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Yellow

Yellow was another of the prompts from August Break 2015.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Last Year


The picture here is part of a reflection photo that I took with my phone. It was actually taken about a year ago. I may have already posted the photo without the words, which I only added today.

I've been participating in August Break 2015 (Susannah Conway, http://www.susannahconway.com/2015/07/the-august-break-is-back-2/). I've only missed two days so far, which is kind of amazing for me. I haven't been posting all my prompts here, but many of my posts lately have been partially inspired by the work I've been doing on these prompts (and perhaps the result of some of the things that have been going on in my life in the last year or so).

Something has caused me to wax poetical! I kind of like it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Something Different


Perhaps I should have used the word "boundaries" instead of "barriers"? I don't know. I was just playing around and worked rather quickly.


This is a collage of three different photos. Mostly I was experimenting and seeing what would happen if I...

This is what happened!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Enjoy the Ice Cream, or Life, Whatever The Case Might Be

Going in to the labyrinth, when I was in San Antonio with my friends, was also an enlightening experience.

In the week after I was told I had no evidence of cancer, a classmate of my sister's died. I assume from cancer. My cousin died after a routine gall bladder surgery. Both were far too young. I was left wondering how things worked the way they did--why am I still here and others are not? What does this mean?

One of my wise friends mentioned to me that she had decided I'd been forced to join a club to which most folks don't want to belong. I'd always been aware of being in that "club" of parents who had lost a child, another club to which no one wants to belong, but I hadn't thought of having "the cancer" as being forced to join that club no one really wants to join.

And because she is a statistical type of thinker, she also mentioned that not only was I in the "cancer club," I was also in the subset of "survivors," where of course, we all want to be. But that brings it's own set of stresses and not everyone gets that privilege.

These things were on my mind as I was walking into the labyrinth, that I didn't know why I was blessed to have made it into the survivors club, that I was extremely grateful for the privilege, even while I was filled with sorrow for those I knew whose lives had ended way too soon. Life just isn't fair and I can't explain or understand why these things worked out the way they did.

I decided that day that "why" is a useless question, at least where things like life and death and the number of days we are allotted is concerned. I wanted to go back and ask my friends what they thought about the value of why as a question, but we got off on other things and I forgot all about it.

Fast forward to today, while I was reading backwards in a "daily book" that I read, looking for quotes to put in my calendar, in an attempt to add color and depth to the pages.

On July 15th, I was told there was no evidence of cancer. I was also told they would see me again in October. So, occasionally, when I pass on the news that "I am all clear," I whisper silently to myself words like, "at this moment," or "as far as I know now." The prospects of having to go back in October, and again, every three months for three years, and then every six months for two more years before I could be really declared "cured" weighed heavily on me. I joked that I was now that I was declared "clean," that I could now go out and start living again. In three month increments. Of such things are the stresses of the survivors (but I'll take that stress, I'm not complaining, just trying to figure things out in my head).

Anyway, somehow, during that walk into the center of the labyrinth, the weight of those three month increments was lifted and I came to realize how I just need to take my life one day at a time, and not waste a minute of it worrying about what might be. We all get what we get in terms of days to live.

Okay, I'm rambling here! Today, on the July 15th page of this "daily book," there was this quote. I don't know how it didn't scream "I'm significant!" on July 15th when I first read it. Maybe I hadn't heard the good news yet, I don't know.

But it seems to be a good philosophy for me to employ any time I let the "three month increment" blues take over.

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it's on your plate--that's my philosophy." Thornton Wilder 


Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Convoluted Prayer of Thanksgiving


For all the people in my life who remind me
(who gently admonish me?)
to "Breathe!"

I must really need the reminder because it is a common thing for me to hear.
Or maybe it's just a good thing to say 
when there is nothing else to do.

Still, I am grateful 
for friends who can be present
with me
and breathe with me
when there truly is not much else
that can be done.

To sit in that rather helpless place
with another
is not an easy thing to do. 

Those who can do it well
are a balm to the soul.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Note to Self: Before I Die: Live


I've spent my whole life trying to stay out of trouble with people, some people more than others.

I have scurried around trying to guess what I should be doing, or should have done, so that I am not in trouble with anyone. And sometimes, there are precious few clues as to how to avoid being in trouble.

It is a pitiful way to live.


On the "before I die" board I wrote "live."


I walked an outdoor labyrinth when I was visiting my friends this weekend. I'd only previously walked the canvas labyrinth laid out in the gym of a local church. While walking the labyrinth I was given, among other things, the word "freedom." I felt guilty because I'd told my friend I'd come to the kitchen to visit while she did her thing. She didn't need any help. That's what she said, and I trusted her enough to have meant what she said--there was no need for me to try and find some hidden message in her communication (and that's a related blog post for another day). But the labyrinth called me. My mind was quieted as I walked to the center. Still, on the way out, I fretted because I was being gone so long. Thirty, forty minutes, what is that in the whole grand scheme of life?

And yet, that is how we waste our lives, a minute here, and a minute there.

But I digress.

While walking out from the center of the labyrinth I discussed with myself the option of skipping the path laid to complete the labyrinth and to just stop the walk and go to my friend, like I said I would.

And my spirit told me I, and I alone, held the freedom to choose. Feeling the tautness of freedom placed like a graft in hopes of creating new skin, I breathed a sigh of gratitude and chose to continue the walk.

(And I was in no trouble at all with my friend.)

Today I bless myself with the hope that I will feel the weight of my own (hard earned) freedom and may I truly live before I die.


Thinking about this right now, I know my thoughts are partially influenced by a sermon I had not yet heard when I walked the labyrinth on Friday. The pastor was speaking of troublesome times and referred to the strength of trees, admonishing us to "feel the weight of your trunk" in times of struggle. She also said to "trust your roots." Those two phrases will remain with me for a while. And will eventually show up in one of my thangs, I imagine.


One of the things I loved about the idea of "feeling the weight of your trunk" is that we talk all the time about feeling the weight of negative things (depression, loss, grief, cancer), so why not focus on feeling and being aware of, and grateful for, the weight of more positive things (strength, growth, healing, love)?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hope and Redemption

I've been neglecting my blogging and I don't like that.

My six week checkup was a bit of a fiasco, but I suppose all's well that ends well. The Ct scan showed a spot on the liver> They wanted a closer look at it and so I had to do an MRI. In the words of one of our professors at work, "let me just say this about that"--I was well conditioned to fear MRIs. But I went to have it done, after talking to several people about the thing, and gathering various tips on how to cope while "in the tube." The machine was not open air, but it allegedly had a larger opening than most. I would love eventually to write in more detail about that experience. For now, I'll just say it went far better than I ever expected. And, the spot they say turned out to be a benign mass of "tangled blood vessels" (hemangioma). So everything is clear and I report back to the oncologist in October for my next check up. 
 
Needless to say, I am beyond excited to have this positive report. I am currently absorbing this information and perhaps inexplicably, I am asking myself the question, "What shall I do now?" Cause, you know, I don't want to waste my privilege. And when one is faced with the possibility of their own demise being way sooner than one expected, one does tend to think about things, perhaps overly so.
 
The words on this photo are lyrics from an older song. I don't do well at keeping up with current music so I'd never heard of the song or the group but the words do appeal to me. The background is from a photo I'd taken of partially assembled prayer flags I was working on, edited in a "Tiny World" app on my phone.


I'll not be around much for the next several days. I am off to gather again with my camp out tribe sisters from blogland, for our second annual retreat. I'll be seeing old friends again and meeting two friends in person for the very first time!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

When Things Don't Go As Planned

I made six more prayer flags last weekend! These are my five hanging on the end of my porch on my room in the country.


"Be well" and "breathe" are particularly relevant to me right now. I had a mixed up two days when I went for my six week check up. We got there and they informed me they couldn't do the cat scan because they didn't have the pre-certification paperwork. With it being Sunday of a holiday weekend, there was no way for them to communicate with the insurance company (never mind that this appointment had been set for six weeks). We had to leave and come back Monday morning for them to expedite my cat scan. As it turned out, the expediting did no good. They still needed 24 hours to have the scan read, and by the time the scan was done, it was time for my oncologist appointment. But they had called to say there was no use to come to that appointment as they had no results for me. So we came on home, very disappointed. It's hard when you gear yourself up for one thing and something entirely different happens. I'm usually pretty good at adjusting and going with the flow, but this situation took the wind out of my happy little sails. I'm still not quite over it!

I received word yesterday that they see something on my liver and they want to take a closer look. So now I have to go back Tuesday to have an MRI. And return on Friday to see the oncologist and hear the results. The physician assistant started out telling me she didn't want me to worry, that this could be any number of things other than cancer. Let's hope it's just normal for my liver. For right now, I am trying to concentrate on surviving the MRI and trying hard not to think too much about what they might find as a result of the MRI.

These two I made to give away.
And this is one more that is hanging on my porch. I have room for two more at the end of my porch and had already decided I'm make one with hope on it and another one with joy. I may work on them this coming weekend.

And I will remember that I am loved and will work on bathing myself with that awareness so that I can carry it with me into that hulking noisy machine with whom I have a date on Tuesday morning! I'd appreciate any prayers, good thoughts and light you have to offer on my behalf.

I wish I had some strong words of wisdom to offer but I'm not quite over the assault this has been on my hopes that I'd get a definitive word on a clean bill of health. I'll come around, though. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

An Instrument of Grace

I checked out several (five) books about and by May Sarton when I took my longish weekend in the country. One of the perks of my job at the local university is that I can check out library books and can keep them for the whole semester! So I generally (mostly, ahem) don't have to worry about missing the return deadline!

I just finished reading Endgame, a journal of her 79th year. In that year she struggled with a lung that kept filling with fluid, a fibrillating heart and irritable bowel syndrome. Of course, she had my sympathies with the last problem! But she didn't want the journal to be all about her illnesses. In the end, it really wasn't. She wrote a lot about the support of friends and about having to learn to ask for and accept help, things I am somewhat acquainted with myself.

There were several quotes I gleaned from my reading. This was one of them I particularly liked...



Monday, June 29, 2015

Show and Tell

For the last two weekends, I have been spending much of my time sewing in my room in the country. I made this prayer flag weekend before last and hung it on a rope across my porch this past weekend. I had the hand print squares left over from a project that never quite got off the ground. I think I'd made the squares to do a lap quilt for one of my children's teachers back when they were in elementary school (many years ago). I don't have a square for any of my children, so I'm not sure whose teacher this project was going to go to! I also had the hearts cut out for yet another project, and used one of them here to cover up the student's name.

I want to make some more flags to hang on my line and flutter in the breeze. While working on this one I thought about the nature of impermanence, and how it felt to work on creating something only to put it out in the environment to let it wear down and eventually rot to nothing.

And I thought about grief and mourning, about the families of the victims of the church shootings in South Carolina, and about the winding journey they will now have to travel. Grief does that to a person, it changes the landscape of the ground you walk on, and you then have to somehow manage to figure out how to walk that new ground.

In the meantime, between me making the prayer flag and now, a certain preacher has come under fire for intimating that some people are stuck in their grief, or desire attention, as though grief has a certain and predictable time table. Also in that time, I picked up my journal to write a bit, and I came upon a prompt I'd written down on a Post-it note. I'd been thinking about it, but hadn't written anything.

The prompt asked the question "What do your hands dream of?" I wrote a bit about my hands dreaming of creating things and being steady enough to have nice handwriting again, and then my mind (and my heart) went a whole new direction, and there was this--

And no, Mr. Feel Good Pastor, I'm not seeking attention, nor am I stuck in my grief. I'm living my life and I am acknowledging and paying attention when my grief seems to want my attention. It is a part of my life now, and I can't turn it on and off at will, nor would I want to. Thank God I don't have to look to you for support in this matter because you'd be about as useless as a side saddle on a jackass.

In other news, the other part of what I wanted to share was that I also worked the last two weekends on sewing together this quilt top. The inner strips were all leftovers from that teacher project I did not do (her loss has been my gain). I wasn't quite satisfied with how the strips came together and with a little inspiration from Pinterest, I decided to add the batik flower insert for a little extra interest. When I did that, my top was too long and skinny, so I added the borders on the side. I debated on whether or not to add matching borders at the top and bottom but have decided not to. My mother asked me about it and I told her I kind of liked quirky the unbalanced look, that it seemed to fit for me. I have no idea why, but both my parents laughed when I said that!



Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Life Is Too Short For....





Lately, I’ve been thinking of my friend Denise, who often said that life is too short to drink the morning’s leftover coffee in the afternoon, so make a fresh pot (I’m sure she still says that, though now she says it from a distance, and I sure do miss her)!  Our current coffee pot does not have automatic shut off and so it will cheerfully boil the coffee all day long if we don’t remember to turn it off. 

I hear Denise’s sentiment in my head as I serve myself the charred remains of the morning coffee in the afternoon. And I’ve been wondering: What else is life too short for? What is my post-cancer life too short for?

Everyone’s list would be different, I suppose. I have a lot to be grateful for. But still, I’ve let so many things crawl in through the years and settle down that I would not have allowed if I truly believed I was entitled to choose based on my values, and not on the basis of the many “shoulds” I have allowed to consume my life.

I spent time working in my flower beds in the country this past weekend. Honestly, they are flower beds by default. We had to do something with the area because it had an old stump in it with roots all around and they would get caught up in the lawn mower blades. They were hard to mow over. The stump and the roots are hard to remove. So we dug up what ground we could in that area and started planting flowers. My parents came several weekends ago and weeded many of the weeds and planted new plants. There was a rose bush that could not be planted in the first location we chose because of the roots so we adjusted our plans and moved it to the other side of the bed (where it now seems very happy and is blooming its little heart out).

Anyway, this past weekend, I pulled weeds and a couple of small trees out by the roots in an effort to further define the bed and to make room for more plants. It seems to me the flower bed and my life have a lot in common—many things have happened by default, with no real firm plan in place. I guess one could argue that it worked out okay for both of us. Okay in a raw and organic and occasionally a little wild and beautiful way?

But still, I am left to wonder, what are the things that my life is too short to tolerate? What are the things that need to be pulled out by the roots? What are the things I want to make space for in my life?

There is something else I want to say, but my sense of "should," or maybe, "should not" makes me hesitant to say it.

(Clean up is a bitch, but it is an important part of our life's work.)

Note to self: Life also just seems to work better when clean up is done in a regular and timely fashion.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Understated Announcement

I don't know that I ever actually "announced" on my blog that I opened an online shop quite a while back. I have several of my "thangs" listed for sale online as cards. I have not done much with the shop lately but I hope to add more some time in the future. And if there is ever anything you are interested in, you can always ask me about it and I can list it in the shop. I am also considering offering larger prints. I have a couple of friends who encouraged me to print some of the "thangs" in a larger size and they do look quite nice.

I'm not real good at self-promotion but the tab is at the top of my blog header if you are interested.

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback to offer. I'd certainly appreciate it!