Monday, November 30, 2009

It's all I got

This is the eve of the dawn of my favorite month, the month of December, which brings Christmas trees and decorations and wishes prayed on Santa's lap, and candy hopes and sugary dreams, and garlands of green that fill my home with the smell of pine and make me think I'm outdoors in a forest filled with chirping birds and garlands of dried cranberries dusted by the falling snow, and around every Spruce tree is the reflection of the shadown that splices through the glow of a fingernail moon.

I am wondering if you're wondering whether you should wait for it, you know, the punch line to the joke of my happiness.  Or the kick to the gut.  As it where, or is.

It's coming.

This is late hour of the unbelievable day, the day in which I faced my waking memory that a friend died last night, the day that I shook my head and sank my heart when I screamed at the realization that he did die, and that he died suddenly and all too young (46) from a heart attack while alone in his house. And this is the day that is two weeks after my Aunt died. And this is the day that is one and a half weeks after my dear friend lost her son. 

And this is another day in the life of someone who is fighting for her life every day and every hour against a cancer that is, without mercy, stalking her.

And right now, one I love is hovering over her mother in ICU.

How does that register?  The answer is that it does not. 

But let me tell you this:  If you love someone, if you ever have loved that someone, if you are about to or even if you realize you never will but you do care that much, do me a favor.  Do yourself a favor.  Hold on to your kiss a moment longer, hold on to a hug a moment longer, go ahead and pick up the tab that makes you lopsided in your balanced payout to your friends. Laugh at the jokes, shoulder the wrongs.  In the end, it doesn't really matter.  Forgive that one who offended you, let go of that grudge that does no good beyond you're  being lonely at the top. Let go the weight, the issues, the positions.

I can promise you that the time you're not thinking about  is a dangerous illusion of your wishful imagination.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Snapshots of a Thanksgiving

A few scenes from a delightful and delicious Thanksgiving holiday spent just south of Houston in a charming beach house in Galveston.  Good people, good times, good food, good gratitude.






And now that I'm home, the holiday decorating has begun.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Look! It's a food blog

Finally, the Thanksgiving menu is complete:  Smoked turkey with gravy and stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, greenbean casserole, fresh corn with wild rice, apple-blackberry pie, pumpkin and cranberry bread, fresh cranbrerry dressing, and Veuve Cliquot champagne. Doesn't that sound fabulous?  Too bad for me that most of the ingredients are still sitting unpurchased on the grocery store shelves. 

The grocery store is scheduled for early tomorrow morning.  Today, I'm busying myself with making pumpkin bread and cranberry dressing for a few friends to have on their Thanksgiving tables. I love how the cranberries pop when they are cooking and I love how the sauce thickens right before my eyes.  The magic!

DSC01325  DSC01331  DSC01332

I enjoyed my morning in the kitchen but I believe my little helper enjoyed it all the more.


Monday, November 23, 2009


No doubt she's dreaming of all the food she can pull off the counter in just a few short days.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's the little things

Each morning when I wake up, I get out of bed, put my feet on the floor and I flinch as I physically remember that my right ankle is healing from a break three weeks ago.  Left on its own, my ankle does not hurt anymore so it's easy to forget.  When I put weight on it, however, it does hurt, and I limp on the ball of my foot to the chair where I sit and put on a contraption called an AirCast.  Although robotic looking and not at all attractive footwear, its interior air chambers have been tremendously helpful, allowing me to walk without crutches but with support to my broken bone, and giving me confidence that my ankle won't roll.

Yesterday when I got out of bed, for the first time in three weeks, I could stand on both feet, my right foot flat on the ground, without pain.  I was elated.  Painlessly, I walked to the chair and strapped on the boot.

This morning, when I got out of bed, I walked across the room without pain and in my normal gate.  Then I stopped and realized how wonderful it felt to be walking, to be able to walk.

It's a simple thing, isn't it?  Walking is something I take for granted every single day.  I have legs that work and I am able to get myself from here to there on my own two feet. I can take a stroll in the morning with my dog, I can walk through the grocery store, I can climb stairs or walk from the couch to the kitchen for a fresh cup of coffee. Such freedom I have. Not everyone can say that, and this morning I realized how much it means to me that I can walk, how very much I appreciate that I have that ability. When I look around this life of mine, I realize this morning that there is so much, so very much that I am thankful for.  It took an accident for me to have this realization, proving to me once again that many gifts are not initially obvious.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

While the candle flickers

It's time for me to go upstairs to bed. The lights are turned off, a candle burns, the clock in the kitchen ticks through the silence.  And I sit here at the dining table, look at the fan blades turning above, and I feel the solitude and the quiet seep into me, feel them like soothing words.  It's been different lately, this life of mine.  There are changes and peaks and valleys and it seems that so much is happening so fast. Life and death, healing and swelling.  I was at my best this weekend, and also was at my worst.  In such a short span of time, the two extremes.  How is that?  My tongue was sharp and burning this weekend, harsh words, ill-timed and poorly spoken.  And yet the same mouth spoke kindly and gently to a broken woman only hours later.  My heart was heavy this weekend, and yet flowers and a card delivered by hand gave me light and hope, and most importantly, love.  I laughed this weekend. And I cried, oh Lord how I cried.  I cried for others and I cried for myself.  I cried for pain and loss and fear, and I shouted out and lashed out for the very same.  And tonight, I take this person, this me, and I take her gently upstairs to rest beneath a God I know is there and prayers I know are heard.  And I ask of myself to slow down, and I ask of life to slow down, just slow down enough for me to adjust, enough for all of us to catch our breath.  And I pray for the weary to have rest, the broken to have healing, the hungry to be nourished, and the fearful to be soothed.  I pray for what we all need, for all of us to have and to give.  Love.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Found - Missing week stuffed into a single day

It ended nicely, my day yesterday did.  It started nicely as well.  It started with a yawn and a stretch and rubbing Cheyenne's belly while her tail thump thump thumped with glee. It wrapped up with an outdoor fireplace and champagne, watching my nephew pop his first Champagne cork under the guidance of a friend who's been a friend to me, to him, to my family for a long, long time.  I told her earlier in the evening that she is the bravest person that I know.  She said back to me, We both are.

The space between the beginning and end of Thursday, however, was filled with enough activity and emotion to swell the single day into appearing to be a full week.

I attended the memorial service of a woman I'd known my entire life, a graceful and kind woman who was one of my mother's dearest lifelong friends and whom I always knew as Aunt Suzie. I sat in the same church my family attended, the same church where my parents' memorial services took place, and I watched her three sons shoulder an incredible grief for the matriarch of their family. Each son wore one of her brooches on his suit lapel, a little something that I found delightful and tender.  I remembered those brooches.  The eldest son wore a silver dragonfly.  My mother had the same one, and it sits in my jewelry box. After the service we marveled at that. Did they give them to each other?  Did one of our mothers buy it for herself and gift the other with one?  Did they buy them together during one of their trips?  We sighed.  We will never know.

Later in the afternoon, I got my splint removed from my right ankle and in its place an aircast that makes walking a possibility for me now.  I thought I'd skip right out of the appointment, only to find that it doesn't quite work that quickly, and I still need at least one crutch.

Still later, I went to friends' house for dinner and a visit.  While she cooked, I sat with her sick partner and felt completely helpless when she took a deep breath and told me that she hurts all over, even her skin. Among other things, Cancer is a ruthless stalker.

Dinner was interrupted by a desperate phone call from my nephew.  His dog got out of his yard and was hit by a truck. The driver kept going, he said, and Chico was limping and confused, blood was coming from his nose.  My heart sank.  I gave him directions to the nearest emergency vet and told him I'd meet him there. 

When we left the vet, assured that Chico would be fine but they were keeping him for the night to watch him, my nephew and I returned to my friends' house.  He hungrily finished the leftovers from our earlier dinner and then the three of us sat outside by the fire, each of us together at the end of three very different days, each of us talking, remembering, loving. 

When I got home this morning, this silliness was waiting for me:


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Missing - One week

It's funny how a single misstep can change your path, can take what you thought you were going to be doing or were planning to do and wad those particular pages in your daily planner into a big fat paper ball and chunk it out the window of your life. 

So, yeah, I was less than 12 hours away from boarding a plane to St. Thomas, where I was going to spend a week's vacation, a week of much needed time off.  And then I tripped.  And the next thing I knew, I was in the emergency room looking at a doctor holding up my x-rays and saying the words, broken ankle. And on my discharge papers were the words, See orthopedic surgeon within 24 hours, and, sadly, No travel by air. And I was in pain, a lot of pain. But the pain pills did nothing except make me scratch at mysterious itches all over my body. The next day I was at an orthopedic surgeon's office. He confirmed what the docors in ER said, and then he said three words that thrilled me:  No surgery necessary.  He gave me new pain pills, which also did nothing except make me scratch at new mysterious itches. And then it became obvious that I had to move out of my house since stairs and crutches don't go together like a horse and carriage. And then I was at another orthopedic surgeon's office because my ankle would not cease hurting and the first orthopedic surgeon's office said they could not prescribe anything stronger. The new pain pills worked, and so did the anti-inflammatories and the muscle relaxers. And then I spent the weekend resting and medicated, with my leg elevated and my ankle iced.  Yesterday I moved home and...

Hello?  Can anyone tell me where the last week went?  I swear it was just a minute ago that I was heading downstairs on the eve before my flight to St. Thomas and suddenly it's a week later. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What happens when I'm not paying attention

Right about now, I should be strolling along the beach in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.  Or perhaps reading a book poolside, or maybe walking through the historic area and learning about the Danish culture from the 1800's.

My flight out was at 6:00 in the morning Tuesday, but the plane left without me.  Why?  Because a funny thing happened on my way downstairs Monday evening. 

My mother always used to tell me not to wear flip flops in the house.  They are dangerous, she'd tell me.  I never understood why until Monday night when I was racing down the stairs, excited to be picking up my friend who'd I'd be happily spending the next week with, when my foot slipped from my flip flop at the landing and my ankle went hard to the right off the stair and my body followed.  Before I could feel it, I heard the bone break.  That?  That's not a pleasant sound.