Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No more "P's", please!

While yesterday was a day of paramedics, pomegranate popsicles, and peanut M & M' brings more "P's" to mind.

First of all, poison ivy. Remember when I worked on the neighbor's yard with the other volunteers? Well, that was when I got the initial outbreak of these ugly, red, itchy (did I mention "itchy"?!) bumps! I have been treating it with topical washes and solutions....but, have now found out that it is systemic...or, in my system. That means that a week and a half later I am still breaking out with brand new spots.

I phoned my doctor yesterday and she called in a prescription for Prednisone. You take a course of pills...four a day for four days, three a day for four days, two a day for.....etc. etc.

I took my first dosage today and I am finding that my pulse has gone sky high and I am having some heart palpitations. My hands are shaking so that is making it hard to paint my pottery!

Like I wasn't jittery enough before all of this.......! : O

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A day of paramedics, pomegranate popsicles, and peanut M & M's...

I awoke today to a slightly cool autumn morning. Ahhh....It was a welcome respite from the continual rain and muggy temperatures that we have had these past few weeks.

Suddenly, I heard sirens blasting and a huge fire truck pull up right in front of my house.

"Were they coming to get me?" I wondered. "Do they know something that I don't?!" : O

Well, they were actually heading to the house across the street from me so I wandered over to make sure that my neighbor was okay. It turns out that the grandma was taking care of her granddaughter while the mom was at work. The toddler had accidentally sprayed some household cleaner right into her eyes and was screaming, she called 911.

Luckily, all turned out well...and the red-eyed baby was fine after a little bit of TLC.


My dear friend, who just had surgery, went home from the hospital today so I began to enlist friends to help prepare meals for her and her hubby. Between the surgery recuperation and then several months of aggressive chemotherapy, I will be scheduling numerous meals as well as errand running etc... I decided to get one of those large dry erase calendar boards to help me keep track of it all...especially since I already have over 30 friends (angels) who have volunteered to help out.


Today, they needed groceries so I got the list of items from one of her sisters and headed out to fill it and then deliver it. When I saw that one of her requests was for pomegranate popsicles I knew that this might pose a bit of a challenge for me. I figured that certainly Whole Foods would have something unusual like, I headed there. Well, there was every fruit flavor imaginable in their freezer section...with the exception of Pomegranate! I headed to another store...again without luck. I finally made a phone call to my friend and found out that she gets this delicacy right down the street from me at the local Publix.

Who knew? : )


Oh yeah....the peanut M & M's...... The reason that I mentioned that in my title was because --by the time I answered all of the loving phone calls, read all of the heart-warming emails and managed to get and deliver the Pomegranate popsicles, I decided to treat myself to a little bag of peanut M & M's.

OK, maybe it wasn't that little....but managed to snorf those suckers down within a minute or two.

...nothing like a little chocolate to soothe the soul....


Monday, September 28, 2009

(apples and honey for a sweet new year)

A day of quiet....

Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest of days in the Jewish religion.

I will be back tomorrow...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another day....another sleepless night

I know that this will get better.

I know that there will be a time when my every thought isn't about my dear friend and her cancer diagnosis.

I know that the numerous phone calls and emails will eventually slow down to a normal amount.

I know that I will not always find myself awake at 3 in the morning with a mind full of thoughts.

I know that she will continue to get stronger each day as she recovers from her extensive surgery.

I know that this will get better....but, right now it is weighing heavily on my mind and heart.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mind spin

Upon waking up this morning, I relived the whole day yesterday and the distressing news about my friend's cancer. It feels like my mind is just spinning out of control as I can't get all of my thoughts, worries, and hopes out of my head.

I guess that I was hoping to wake up and find that yesterday never really happened.

But, it did.

My friends and I can't stop calling each other just to hear another voice beside the one in our heads. This is the first close friend of mine to be faced with a serious illness and it is tearing us all apart.

We know that we must stay strong. We know that we will be there for her every step of the way. We know that our own lives must go on as usual. We know the determination that our friend has and how that will help her face the upcoming challenges. We know that there are many cancer survivors out there.

And, we pray that she will be one of them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A tough day...

The waiting began early this morning as I anticipated hearing the results of one of my best friend's exploratory surgery.

Her positive energy had encouraged me to expect good results. She was determined to go into this with good thoughts and wouldn't allow any of us to worry or get anxious.

So, we tried not to.

However, her symptoms were problematic and she had gone from doctor to doctor having test after test.... finally ending up at an oncologist's office.

The call came about three hours after the surgery had begun.

It was not good.

The surgeon found cancer.


I am still shaken from the results...and, my heart hurts for her as I know the challenges that lie ahead as she begins to take on the biggest fight of her life...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soggy, saturated, drenched....etc.

I haven't ever seen anything like this.

Rain, rain, and more rain, continues to fall in my area...and, as the headlines exclaimed in this morning's paper: "It's not over yet!"

Moss is growing, weeds are flourishing, animals are seeking shelter, and everything just feels totally soggy.

The very serious part of this system that is hovering over the Southeast is that flooding is occurring and some fatalities have been reported. Saturated roots are causing some trees to fall over...and traffic accidents on slippery roads have increased.

It's time to dry out!

Are you listening, Mother Nature?


Mah Jongg lesson number two was yesterday afternoon. I must admit, we are getting better and learning it at a pretty fast clip. There are still parts that confuse me...but, the more that we play, the more that I can understand.

It is a game of skill and luck. Kind of like "life"....


Gripe of the day....Why is it that when you bring your reusable grocery bags to the store the baggers fill them up so much that they are too heavy to lift? I always ask them to please fill them lightly so that I can get them up my two flights of stairs...but, no matter how many times I say that...they end up weighing more than I can handle. Aagh.


Even though my birthday has come and gone, I continue to get a few belated birthday cards. The senders are always apologetic...however, I kind of like receiving them after the fact. It prolongs the celebration for me...and, there's nothing better than that.


Dave makes fun of my love affair with my pillows. I have to admit that I am very attached to them. I have one pillow that I put between my knees when I sleep...two pillows under my head and one large pillow that I "hug" while I doze off.

My favorite pillow is getting on in years....but, I am not ready to let it go yet even though it is probably time to get rid of it. It is the one that I take with me on road trips in that the ones in the hotels are never as good as my trusty old pillow.

Am I the only one who has this pillow attachment?


After working in the neighbor's yard Sunday, I am finding that I have muscle soreness in places that I didn't even know I had muscles. It is taking a little more effort to walk up the stairs and, getting up from my chair is making me feel old and creaky.

I also noticed that the poison ivy bumps are developing so I am covering myself with "Ivy Dry" solution to keep it from spreading.

With all that being said, I wouldn't trade any of these minor issues from the goodwill that was accomplished that day. : )

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Neighbor's Yard

It was starting to look like an abandoned house.

Day by day I noticed that my next door neighbor's yard was growing more weeds than grass. Some of the weeds were several feet tall and seemed to be everywhere. The shrubs were overgrown and long vines were winding their way around everything. Even the walkway to the front door was disappearing in the maze of neglected yard.

We have a very friendly neighborhood, but this particular woman did not seem to be around much and hadn't really gotten to know the rest of us. Her husband had passed away 5 or 6 years earlier and her son was now grown, married, and living away from home.

So, the neighbors began to talk about "the yard" and how awful it was looking. We all surmised that maybe she was away for the summer...but, some had noticed her bedroom lights on late at night.

What to do?

I finally decided to try and contact her by leaving a short note in her mailbox merely asking if everything was okay with her....and, if there was anything that I could do to help.

Days went by and I never heard back until one late night when I received a phone call from my neighbor. We talked for over an hour as she caught me up with what was going on in her life. She was working full time and had come to the realization that she needed to put her house on the market...but wasn't able to do what was needed on her own. It was then that I realized that this ignored yard was really a "cry for help".

We talked back and forth until I felt comfortable asking her if she would mind if I got some of the neighbors together to work in her yard. She gratefully said, "That would be wonderful."

So, I got in touch with the four neighbors who lived closest and told them of my plan. The ones that could would show up on Sunday at 1:30 to help out.

Yesterday afternoon arrived hot and muggy....even though we had gotten accustomed to several days in a row of torrential rain...this day the sun was actually shining. Dave and I walked over to my neighbor's home to get started.

No one else was there.

As my neighbor and her son came out of her house, and before I could get too disheartened, a couple of people made their way over to her yard. As we got started pulling the huge weeds...I looked up and coming towards us were people from all over the neighborhood...

One couple came with their two 81 year old neighbor came with his weed-eater in hand ready to work. The neighbor on the other side walked over with his lawn mower. The couple across the street came with shrub hedgers. Suddenly I spotted a gentleman from way up the street coming down to see what he could do and what equipment was needed.

As if my heart wasn't filled enough...I looked up to see an elderly man from several houses away making his way down the street on his riding lawn mover. Another neighbor came riding over on his and we were ready to take on this project together!

It was truly a labor of love as we all worked for a couple of hours cleaning, pruning, blowing, edging, mowing, etc. etc. The yard was beginning to look well taken care of...

Dripping wet (and itching from some possible poison ivy!)...we all smiled and chatted as we came together to help our neighbor.

It was a wonderful sight to see...and, one that I will never forget....

"There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up." (John Andrew Holmes)

Friday, September 18, 2009

ImageChef Word Mosaic -
Tonight starts Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

It is a time of great reflection and calm as we look ahead to new, and promising beginnings.

Each year brings us new well as new joys. This important holiday gives us the opportunity to apologize for any wrongs that we have done in the past year and move ahead onto the new chapters of our lives....filled with love and hope.

To any of my readers who will be celebrating this time, L'Shanah Tova....wishing you a year of good health, peace and joy.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Messy Face Audrey eats a pickle!

Oh, how I miss this messy faced angel!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Birthday time !!

Owen celebrated his third birthday with his friends at the local fire station...and here they all posed for a picture on the fire truck...

(Owen is third from the left)

While Audrey sat alone and wondered where everyone went!!!

And in her house in Maryland.....

Celia celebrated her 1st birthday with her friends and tried to figure out the best way to devour her birthday cupcake!

: )

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

While working on my pottery today, I watched a movie....

....called "INTO THE WILD"

It is "...a story about Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), a student who after graduating from Emory University, abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. "

For some reason I found myself profoundly affected by this true story of self-discovery. It really touched me deeply and I am sitting here trying to figure out exactly where these feelings are coming from.

As the character, Chris, tries to flee from the trappings of our modern world he finds himself also running away from his own personal pain. He is attempting to heal some wounds that he has from his past...from his parent's abusive relationship and his sometimes painful childhood. Even though he meets many interesting people along the way, most of his journey is spent in isolation. He voraciously reads books that he has gathered along the way...mostly philosophical...and, is also keeping a diary of his own experiences.

He does find out near the end that (his quote) "Happiness is only real when shared." It made me wonder about the idea that no matter how hard we try to run away from feelings, they are always a part of us. He had no contact at all with his family that he left behind...but, I did get the sense that the further away he got, the more loneliness and sadness he felt. He was running away from and to situations that he just couldn't deal with. (spoiler alert here-don't read further if you don't want to know the ending)

As he escaped society and relationships that he left behind, I don't believe that he really found the complete peace of mind that he had hoped for. Sadly, the very food that was sustaining him in the end turned out to be his that a batch of wild berries that he consumed were actually poisoness and led to his death by starvation. He died alone in the wilds of Alaska. Even if he could have left the area, the stream that would have taken him back to his old life had also swelled, making it impossible to cross. It had become a raging torrent when the snows melted.

Ironically, he touched several lives along the way as he met different people on his journey...but, probably never allowed himself that that he didn't allow any real relationships to form before he would run away again....always searching.....always leaving.....

I think that we all find ourselves on a journey of sorts...trying to find that elusive happiness. It is not always easy...and, certainly not always immediately attainable. The bumps along the road certainly can make things difficult and uncomfortable.

But, my feelings are, and have always been, that joy is actually right there within each and every one of us...just waiting to be tapped. It is our decision as to what we do with that valuable gift within us....

I hope that you find some of your own happiness every day....and, if you do, share it with those who touch your life...

Monday, September 14, 2009

...the day after

So, my birthday has come and gone for another year!

Dave made it very special as he cooked another delicious dinner for me on Saturday night: shrimp cocktail, pasta with artichoke hearts, fresh spinach w/raisins and almonds and lobster tails. As if that wasn't enough, he even baked a little homemade birthday cake.


How lucky am I? : )


I had to smile as I read through all of the wonderful birthday cards that I received from friends and family. Then there were all of the sweet messages that I received on Facebook (and a special one on my blog post!) as well as all of the phone calls throughout the day.

It doesn't really matter how old one gets....the day still has such a special feel to it...and, I am so grateful to all who participated in giving me that feeling...


This afternoon was my first Mah Jongg lession with the Girlies.

There are a lot of little things to learn...a lot of rules.......making it quite complex and confusing, at times...but, I do think that it will be a lot of fun once we get a little more practice.

The teacher said that she would be honest with any of us who just can't seem to get it...and maybe suggest "Bingo" as a better game choice.

Midway through the lesson I felt like calling out "Bingo"....!

Next lesson, next Monday. I hope that I remember what I learned today.


I feel like I am living down in the dungeon (studio) these days as I continue to create new pieces for my upcoming art show. It is a slow process...but, I am trying to be patient as I hand-build and hand-paint each piece. I am a "detail person" when it comes to my that certainly makes each piece slow going. But, it is also what makes my work uniquely mine and I am not ready to change that anytime soon...


Oh, to have more hours in a day...

Sunday, September 13, 2009


OK. So I am 61 today and trying to deal with it.

It's just a number, right?

A very, very high number though.... : O

Happy Birthday to me!


a little bit "cranky"...but, very blessed,


Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Room With a View?

As Dave dropped me off at the check in desk at Tunica, he said that he had read an online review of the casino that recommended asking for a room on a higher floor because of "...the beautiful view".

So, when I checked in, that is exactly what I did. We ended up on the 29th floor out of 32. I figured that would be high enough to see it all.

Upon entering the room I went right to the window full of anticipation...opened the curtain....and here is what I saw:

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, I guess. : )

Actually, in all could get a quick look at the Mississippi River if you scrunched up to the window and looked sideways.

That being said, I must say that the room was really lovely...and, the people at the casino could not have been any more friendly, kind, or upbeat. From the people cleaning up the rooms to the higher end were always greeted with a smile and a kind word. It was very pleasant!

I guess that is why I like the South so much...


Eating our way through the (award winning) buffet on Saturday night, I was delighted to open up my fortune cookie and read the following: "An unexpected payment is coming your way!".

Now that is what one wants to hear when visiting a casino.

Unfortunately, not all fortune cookies speak the truth, in that I left a little more money there than I came home with!

I guess that as long as there isn't a statue of limitations on this particular fortune, I might still have time to receive that "unexpected payment".

One can only hope....


Until that payment comes my way....I am off to walk and then start my day creating pottery... : )

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I'm ONE today!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday, my dear Celia!

9-9-09... Today is a lucky day and full of promise for great things ahead. You have so many new discoveries to much to learn as you begin your journey as a one year old.

Today is a magical day...just like you, Celia!

I miss you so very much. Please tell your Mommy and Daddy to give you a huge Grammie hug and smother you in kisses for me.

I love you,


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Calling all Baby Boomer "Hippies"!

As we got settled in at the Moody Blues concert, I couldn't help but notice the numerous old geezers middle-aged fans. One gentleman that caught my eye was sweet enough to pose in this picture for me. He was totally decked out in his tie-dye all the way down to his multi-colored Crocs.

An elderly couple in front of us professed to having gone to 75 Moody Blues concerts...and, they still got moved by several of the old songs as shown by their gazing at each other lovingly...and holding hands across their lawn chairs. Sigh.

The gentleman from this couple was able to match Dave song by song to old albums of the Blues and the memories that they held. I know that Dave enjoyed talking with this guy and going down a memory lane of his own...

The concert was great....the crowd was relaxed, but enthusiastic when appropriate....we ate our picnic dinner while sipping on our drinks...and, all the while, a beautiful full moon was shining down on the park.

For a couple of hours we were back in a time when we were young again...and, it felt so good.

The moon.......
...and, Dave, caught up in his memories..

Monday, September 07, 2009

Eating our way through Memphis....

First stop----Neely's where we took pictures like two star-obsessed stalkers. Because the Neely's are on the Food Network Channel....we felt like this was the place to order our take-out dinner. The girl behind the counter ran and hid when we took a picture inside near the order desk. I'm sure that they are still talking about us...

We ended up getting the sampler plate which included a huge helping of: ribs, bar-b-que pork, smoked turkey (yummy), bar-b-que beef, beans and bar-b-que spaghetti! (?). I had packed homemade cole slaw, potato salad, pita chips, dip, popcorn, oatmeal cookies, beer, wine and scotch (for Dave) we were pretty much set!


(our heroes...)
(click to enlarge)

Friday, September 04, 2009













Food packing.

Not forgetting.





Smiling..... : )

Off to Memphis for the weekend. Will post again upon my return. Happy Labor Day Weekend all!


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Moody Blues - Your Wildest Dreams

Memphis (Moody) Blues

Tomorrow Dave and I will be heading west to Memphis, Tennessee!

One of our favorite musical groups, The Moody Blues, will be performing an outdoor concert there. We love to hear this group as many of the originals are still up there singing. This will be our third concert in 6 1/2 yrs. together.....I guess that makes us "groupies"!

We plan on stopping at Neely's Bar-B-Que enroute and pick up our dinner there. The Neely's are a now-famous couple who appear on the Food Network's cooking show every day. They make everything sound so mouth watering...can't wait to try some of it out.

We got a great rate on a room at one of the Tunica, Saturday will be the day that we both win a huge jackpot and never have to worry about money again....



I am about to learn how to play Mah Jong with the girlies. It is apparently a bit terribly complicated, so we are set for four-- three hour lessons starting the 14th of this month.

I had to laugh at one of the girls who decided to try and find a book titled: Mah Jong for Dummies. When she found out that there wasn't such a thing, she then asked for Mah Jong for Idiots! Still no luck.

Should be an interesting experience and may have to involve copious amounts of wine drinking...


I began to think that I was losing my mind the other day when I was quickly visiting some of my favorite blogs. Suddenly I began to hear this eery music in my head. I muted the tv thinking that it might have been from that. I finally decided that I had inhaled too much clay dust down in the dungeon (studio) and it had caused me to hear things.

Luckily, my sanity was saved as I realized that the sounds were background music coming from the blog that I was reading.



I worked late into the night on my pottery last night...but, I was determined to get this one bowl finished up. By the time I got to bed, I crashed and hardly remember putting my head on the pillow.

Hard work and concentration=the best sleeping pill around.


Much to do...make the most of your day today!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Now, that will wake you up....!

Working in the backyard the other day, I suddenly heard a crunch, swish, and crash as a large limb from one of my trees came tumbling down.

Now it doesn't look that big in the picture, but, I promise you that it was too heavy for me to even move away. Maybe I should put a disclaimer under the photo: "Objects are actually larger than they appear.." : )

The scary part was that I had just been standing in the area where it fell.

Thank you, Guardian Angel wherever you are...


My pool is now officially closed for the fall and winter. I usually wait until some time after Labor Day, but, with no one using it...the leaves falling....and the time-consuming clean-ups and chemicalizing....I decided to cover it up earlier this year.

It is usually takes an inordinate amount of time doing this....but, Dave, being the smart man that he is, suggested last year that we mark the ends of this massive pool cover--thus making the whole process easier the next time. This laborious chore was finished in 1/3 of the time.



Adam and Jenny have officially moved into their new, and roomier, home! I am so excited for them as they start this new chapter in their lives. I will be able to see it in person when I head back up to MN in October.

With both of them working full-time I know that this transition has been exhausting...moving always is....but, it seems as if they have pulled it off.

I like the sounds of this new neighborhood already...lots of young families. Their doorbell rang as they were moving in and three little girls were standing there already checking out the "new kids on the block"!

They are still having to decide on a new daycare for Owen and Audrey in that the one they are presently in is quite far away. Big decisions ahead...


Well, Owen is now 3 years and one day old! He got his new birthday bike (from the grandparents) yesterday and word is that he loves it! They took him out on the trail behind their new home and he tried it out!

...makes me smile.


It is 8:30 here and the morning is still cool enough to take my walk without I am going to go and get my day started before the temps rise!


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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Somebody's THREE today!!!!!!

(strawberry picking this summer)

I can't believe that three years have passed since this little bundle of joy came into the world.

My life has never been the same since Owen's arrival...his birth made me a first time grandma and was the reason that I started this blog...

Owen, there are so many joyous adventures ahead for you. Last night you slept in your new bedroom in your new home...soon you will be making new friends in your neighborhood...going to a new daycare...riding your shiny new red birthday bike on the trail behind our house...putting on your chef's hat and cooking with Mommy and Daddy in your new kitchen, etc. etc....Three years old and the world is yours, Owen...and, you make it a better place just by being you!

Oh, how I wish that I could be there to tell you this in person, my sweet Owen...but, Grammie loves you sooooooooooooo much and is sending a gazillion Happy Birthday wishes your way...

Have a wonderfully special day, Owen!!!!!!!!!!!


(you and Audrey, Summer, 2009)