Friday, December 31, 2010

What Goes Around Comes Back Around

Prompt for Dec. 31: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?  (Author: Molly O'Neil)

I don't know about a central story; that's just too hard to pinpoint today when I'm barely putting one foot or one thought ahead of the next owing to this miserable end-of-year cold/laryngitis/viral thing that started in on me yesterday. I can barely croak out words, called in sick (which I rarely do but I'm learning NOT to see patients when I'm infectious), and am lolling about in bed eating toast and sipping orange juice. No partying for me tonight. Sigh.

Core story...well, here's one that is embedded pretty deep in me, for decades, for as long as I can remember.....

The concept of
2.What Goes Around Comes Back Around,
3.You Reap What You Sow,
and my Mother's favorite phrase whenever the topic of misdeeds and mistreatment surfaced, 5."It's a long road that doesn't have a turn."

Said more succinctly and with a bit of bravado: Do some shit and expect  to pay up. That's why I don't throw red paint on private property. Conversely, if someone does me wrong, I take a wise woman's advice to sit back, wait and see what plays out. It's amazing how often the can of whoop ass opens up all by itself. You just have to be patient. Thanks, Nicole.

Happy New Year all!  Remember, according to Kate, be sweet to your neighbor because....what goes around comes back at ya! Eventually.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gifts: Tangible and Emotional

Prompt for Dec 30: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What's the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

Some of these prompts are quite easy; I just "pull" from earlier posts, pick a title and call it a response.  As for gifts, there were many this year.

The Wave Sculpture is that tangible gift to be treasured as a source of mystical beauty and inspiration as I move forward with my blog and other creative energies. Ever so tangible, a delight and a piece which makes me very happy. Thank you, Denny.

The emotional gift of the year would have to be that single crow's feather, underneath my sofa amidst the dust bunnies, waiting to be discovered; a message from beyond that says, "My darling; I am fine. I made my journey safely."  Thank you, Mom.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Defining Moment(s)

Prompt for Dec. 29: Defining moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

I may be sounding like a broken record but.... as I look back on 2010; I'm consistently drawn to the experience of my Mom's death The defining moments came during those weeks when I knew my Mom was going to die, our collective decision to engage hospice services, the 3 day vigil MM, Dad, and I kept at her bedside prior to her death, the memorial service 3 days later, and entrance into the grieving/healing phase after her passing. I wrote plenty about all of these experiences.

Losing a parent is a big deal no matter their age or situation. In this situation, supporting the one left behind--awash in his own grief, communing with my siblings, husband, and children and moving forward steadily was defining. I learned many (good) things about myself and for that experience alone, I am grateful.

I miss my Mom every day. I  often think of her and my eyes will well up with tears instantly; other times I'll remember something and feel her presence close by. The holidays were more difficult but when I think back to last Christmas and the one prior I realize that we lost Mom slowly. She slipped away, through our fingers long before her last breath. Dementia robs us of our loved ones early and we begin to grieve long before they die. But's big.

What I know is that she loved me dearly and that I loved her back.
What I know is that she made it to wherever she is and is "OK".
What I know is that I will feel her presence in subtle ways forever.
What I know is that she was, as my Dad said over and over in the days before she died, "a beautiful woman and a good woman".

What I know is that I will never forget.

Doris Bain Thompson

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Achieve in 2011

Prompt for Dec. 28: Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Mohr)

Well now, there are lots of things I'd like to achieve in 2011 but it would be hard to pinpoint what is most important so I'll pick one and go with it......I'd really like to make peace with my work schedule. I'll be ramping up the hours in 2011, at least for the first half of the year and perhaps longer, 80 percent rather than 60 percent time.That's at least a full time schedule in my world with the every fourth weekend on call duties thrown in the mix. I'm hoping I can:

1. keep from exhaustion and burnout (I've been there and done that),.
2. accept that the work is never done,
3. pick my battles,
4. reduce the piles of paper on my desk,
5. start a little earlier, finish a little earlier,
6. try NOT to take a ton of work home,
7. resist the urge to deal with every issue right now,
8. stop for lunch, walk around a bit, stretch, and breathe
9. drink more water, and
10. cultivate tolerance, forgiveness, and trust.

Tall orders these. But, I shall try.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ordinary Joy: Dancing in a Red Dress (of course)

Prompt for Dec. 27: Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful, ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brene Brown)

Well, well. Although I wasn't able to find a red dress photograph for my 12/25/10 #Reverb10 post on the photo that most captured the "real me", I've been showered with a number of red dress shots from Carolyn's wedding (thanks, Maureen!). They'll work quite well for this post today on ordinary joy. It's not that weddings are ordinary or that donning a red dress is ordinary. But, dancing surely can be.

How can we not experience joy when cares are thrown aside, the music summons with a tantalizing, familiar beat, and it becomes all about being who we are in that moment without question, reserve, or worry? As today's author, Brene herself points out in her latest book, The Gifts of Imperfection, dancing along with laughter and song are powerful joyful forces.

So here is my ordinary joy.  How sweet it is.

Carolyn and Mitch's wedding Oct 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Soul Food in Ballard

Prompt for Dec. 26: Soul food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth and touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

This one's easy. Get thee to Cafe Besalu in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle and your mouth and soul shall become one. Seriously. The best pastry ever and an open kitchen where you can witness for yourself the magic as tender, flaky dough and a variety of savory and sweet renditions come to life.

Check out my two faves: the chocolate croissant and the strawberry cheese danish.

The tarts pose on the plate

The dark chocolate center teases
 The Gruyere-onion tart and almond croissant are faves of my husband at Cafe Besalu. With a double tall Americano, the morning is made. Perfection.
Savor the flakes of buttery wonder

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Photo of the Year

Prompt for Dec. 25: Photo - a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Author: the Shutter Sisters)

Another challenge. I looked hard to find a photo of me in a red dress dancing at Carolyn's wedding. The freedom of a red dress that drapes and flows on the dance floor when the music strikes the right chord is a moment when I am exactly who I am.

Lacking that  image, here's a more sedate, albeit happy me enjoying the shared celebration of a Thanksgiving meal with my Dad. I try my best to do well by him, to honor him with love and respect. He'll always be my one and only Dad. This, is also "me".

Dad and Me/Thanksgiving Dinner 2010

Christmas Simon


Friday, December 24, 2010

Hope for our Future

Prompt for Dec. 24: Everything's OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?
(Author: Kate Inglis)

It was a Sunday in late November, the first Sunday of Advent.

My Dad, daughter, brother and I  attended a church service together. I was surprised and spellbound to be a part of an Interfaith service and listened with hunger to the words of Rabbi Falcon, Pastor Mackenzie, and Imam Rahman. Our commonalities so much larger and stronger than any differences, gave me hope for the future....if only more people could hear these three share their messages of love, respect, and understanding and get the point, the very simple but powerful point that we are all one humankind.  Is this possible? If so, we could collectively change our world in staggeringly beautiful ways.

These so-called Three Amigos have it right on. Everything will be alright in a world where we trust in our brotherhood and sisterhood, our single source, our one true purpose on this earth.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Introduced by a New Name

Prompt for Dec. 23: New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

What a strange question.And why for just one day?

I love the name Sarah. Always have. I wanted to name a daughter Sarah but for various reasons (mostly biblical), the name was given a strong veto.

Call me Sarah for a day. OK? Or, maybe Sookie.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Travel, 2010 Style

Prompt for Dec. 22: Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

I'd love to say I visited the Galapagos Islands, South Africa, and Thailand this past year but, alas...that would not be the case.

I flew to four cities in 2010:  Austin,  Jacksonville, New York, and Chicago. All were great fun; have been to all 3 of the 4 before but these visits were in a new context so I saw the city with new eyes, if you will. Two trips were for weddings, one for pure fun (spring break) and one for the BlogHer Conference.

Where to in 2011? Nothing on the itinerary just yet. It'll be a matter of making time to dream up a trip, plan it, and go.

Whisper softly...."go". The new mantra for 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advice to Future Self

Prompt for Dec. 21: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?  (author: Jenny Blake)

I'd tell my older self...."It's not to late...if you want it bad enough, move on it. Go."

Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?

"Get off your butt! Wait until you feel what it's like to be 10 years older. Your body is young and able. Move it. Don't wait. Go."

Monday, December 20, 2010


Prompt for Dec. 20: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)
(author Jake Nickell) 

Gotta admit it; this was the year for generalized over-indulgence in food and drink. As for the "food", way too much was endorphin generating raw sugar; all sorts of cookies, chocolates, cake, ice cream. Many times a meal was skipped and several hours later the grinding gut drove me to a carbohydrate fest, all washed down with a cup of coffee or a diet soda.

How many bottles of sav blanc were opened and polished off this year?  I hate to think.

Why?  Because it all felt good at the time.

Will anything change in 2011?  I'm hoping so. Otherwise I'll be purchasing a new wardrobe and I really, really don't like that idea. Plus, I know on some level we are what we eat and I could seriously make better choices that would enhance my life down the line. So instead of living in this moment in front of the kitchen cabinet or fridge making my not-so-great selections, I need to STOP and  THINK.

Oh shit, but that will be hard.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Prompt for Dec. 19: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (author: Leoni Allan)
Healed to me implies that I'm somehow transformed into a flawless human. I know this is not the intent of the prompt. Leoni  likely intends to ask what experience provided healing forces this year? That's better, no?

I'd have to say, finding the crow's feather underneath my couch on a cold November morning and connecting with powers larger than myself provided a healing balm to my grieving heart. Understanding that things unexplainable provide our link to the beyond, to the comfort that comes from precious ones passed on, to the healing powers of love.

I am at peace. I miss her. I love her always. I feel her presence often. My heart is comforted and healing.

How would I like to be healed in 2011?

Let's say, I'd love to know more of my Mother's presence in my life, feel her love and take strength and wisdom from what she gives.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Something "New" You Say?

 Prompt for Dec.18: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn't go for it? 


Thinking back on 2010, can I find a single example of "trying something new"? I fear not. Predictable, unwavering, plodding on, doing the same things over and over and over again. How dull is that?

I've really got to get out of this rut of doing things the same way every day all day. Mix it up! Try something new! Make an idiot out of myself. Find out what new passions may lie in wait for me.

Easier said than done but I'm at least challenged by the idea.

No, I didn't try anything new in 2010, not a damn thing. What will it be in 2011?  I'd love to follow the advice in this classic from Blue Oyster Cult back in 1976, the year I graduated college, embarked on the next phase, met my future husband, and took on the world.

Baby don't fear the reaper....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lesson Learned

Prompt for Dec. 17:   Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? ( author: Tara Austin Weaver)

I learned that I could lose a parent and not disintegrate, that I had the strength to open my arms to the grief, feel it fully, accept the pain, and steadily move forward. I never thought this would be possible, even a few years ago. My Mother's death was something I tried not to think about even though its inevitability and proximity grew closer. I was terrified.

I learned that grieving is a process and that I would (will)  make my way through, even now as I remain on that path. This, I can do.

Now, then....what seems the impossible is living through the loss of a child. I have friends and acquaintances who have done so. They have not had a choice. But me? I pray daily that I won't experience the unnatural order of death. Our children are not meant to predecease us.This, I fear, I could not do.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nothing to Say to this #Reverb 10 Prompt

Prompt for Dec. 16: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

Pass, #Reverb10, I pass.
Few friends.
Most long distance.
It takes a lot to make me change.
I have no clue how to answer this prompt.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sweet Sleep and then, Coffee in Bed

Prompt for Dec. 14: Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)


I'm obviously getting tired. It's the end of a long, busy day and now I'm to write about something I appreciate. Right about now, I'd say...."a good night's sleep and the ability to sleep in as long as I want".

I express my gratitude by treating myself to a cup of coffee in bed, with the paper, and the computer.

How unimaginative and dull. I'm too tired to care. Good night.


Monday, December 13, 2010


Prompt for Dec 13: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

There are two things I'd like to see get off the ground, HAPPEN, come to pass, and/or launch in 2011 instead of just hanging out in the dusty corners of my brain as thoughts, desires, and hope-to-do feelings. It's time for ACTION..

Goal 1: Write that short story that I've been rolling around in my mind. There will be necessary research involved since this story takes place in the late 1930's and I've got to get my details as accurate as possible. This will be fiction but based on truth, my Mom's experience to be specific. So...research, and just get going. Start somewhere. Write. Even if what comes off the keyboard is crap, keep going. There will be nuggets of gold in there that will lead the way.

Goal 2: Get out there again. Swim, bike, run...with the goal of Danskin 2011 after a 4 year hiatus. My shoulders are a mess and I worry that they'll never go one over the other in the pool. I'm miserably out of shape and worry that the first lap will wear me out. But, I've got to start somewhere with whatever I've got. It can only get better from there.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mind/Body Union

Prompt for Dec. 12: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

Oh my but I'm bone weary tired. 6 days on call and down to the last few hours before turning over the pager to a colleague, I am so ready to be free for 2 days before starting back to work. Keeping up with #Reverb2010 this week challenged me, big time.

Integrated with my body, a mind-body union?  Hmmmm. Did that happen in 2010 to any significant degree, enough so for a  noteworthy post? I'm really beginning to feel like a bum not being able to tackle all these posts.

My mind always rules my body, except when I'm deathly sick and then it's the other way around.

As for the supreme balance, the union, the blissful integration of mind and body...perhaps when I dream the two join together in an intimate dance. Otherwise, no. Sorry #Reverb10.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Eleven Things

Prompt for Dec. 11:  11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

Eleven things????

1. Worry
2. Anxiety
3. Migraine headaches
4. Frozen shoulder
5. Sedentary living
6. Tight clothes
7. Dry skin
8. Junk mail
9. Clutter
10. Excessive multi-tasking (vague about what excessive might be...)
11. Olives

How to move forward to eliminate these things?
1. For 1-3: cut off head
2. For 4-6: train for the Danskin Tri in 2011
3. For 7: Lubriderm, faithfully
4. For 8-9: Throw it OUT!
5. for 10: cut off head
6. for 11: make olive oil

If I manage all this I'll be a headless, in-shape, kick ass woman, devoid of visual distractions and with butter soft skin owing to the combination of Lubriderm and olive oil.

Somehow, I don't think the proper spirit of this prompt sunk in.
This #Reverb10 is hard, people....way harder than last year with Best of 2009.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wisest Choice

Prompt for Dec. 10:  Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (by Susannah Conway)

I hope it was the wisest choice.
I hope I lived up to the trust she bestowed on me to make hard, end-of-life decisions on her behalf.
Most days I feel that I did the right thing by her.

No one who sat around the table at the hospital discussing plans for her discharge knew that sending her out on hospice services meant she would die within a week. Except for me. I knew. 

And still, I felt it was the best choice.

Sometimes I wonder, second guess, and get sad about the choice I made. But, it isn't long before I know from the deepest place of knowing that the choice was right. Wise. And, the choice she would have made if she could.

Medical Abbreviations:


I saw this nursing note on a patient today and, look at all these abbreviations. We all use them but .... This note is code for....

"Denies pain, nausea. Standby assist out of bed to bathroom. Good urine output. On heparin drip. Father at bedside. Incision clean, dry, intact. Tolerating clears (liquids). Positive bowel tones, passing minor gas (farts). Abdomen slightly distended. Will continue to monitor."

Good thing I know the code. There are still times that I find one that stumps me and I ask a colleague. But, not often. How about our favorites in Nephrology?

CKD: chronic kidney disease
LRT: living related transplant
DDT: deceased donor transplant
PKD: polycystic kidney disease

and the secret ones we never write....but occasionally speak

FOS: full of shit (literally)
PPP: piss poor protoplasm

My bad....


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Party On!

Prompt for Dec. 9: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Shauna Reid)

This is easy. The socks rockin' celebration of my year took place on the evening of October 2nd at the Chicago History Museum. My niece, Carolyn and the love of her life, Mitch tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony in front of family and friends.

The wedding photo collection was fabulous and....perfect timing;  my photo selections arrived in the mail yesterday, just in time for this blog post. Here we are in the "bride's family formal".

And then we have these great shots....

Need I say that I had a fabulous time? Need I admit that the magic swept me away from a period of intense sadness and gave me a respite from tough realities back home in Seattle?  Need I say that I love to dance in a red dress at weddings?


Thanks Carolyn and Mitch for my "event of the year"! Party on and much love to you both.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another Bust for #Reverb10

Prompt for Dec. 9: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful. (Karen Walrond)

Oh, Lord have's another prompt that makes me want to give up on my commitment to participate in #Reverb10.

What on earth am I going to say about how I'm different and how those things "light people up" without this post sounding dumb, trite and/or nauseatingly self centered? Whatever I think makes me "different" could be said by jillions of other people and therefore is nothing unique. I'm totally missing the point of this prompt, I guess.

I'm bagging out again; strike 2. If tomorrow's prompt is another dog, I may have to re-think my participation in #Reverb10.  My time is better spent reading how fellow bloggers have tackled Karen's prompt rather than inventing some drivel not worth reading about my inner beauty. Barf.

Apparently I'm not the only one feeling weird about this prompt. Check out this blogger's response.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Prompted into Negativity

Prompt for Dec. 7: Community.  Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Cali Harris)

Oh God. This sort of prompt makes me groan and feel totally inadequate. I can't think of a single decent response except to acknowledge the faithful few bloggers who read my posts, comment, write their own posts and (hopefully) enjoy my comments. We grow closer through our connections on-line. Does this a community make?  I guess so although the word sounds a bit too contrived for my taste.

As for 2011, I've no pressing desires to forge any new communities. Maybe it's the word that turns me off.

Dear readers: no disrespect intended. Keep reading!  I love you all.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making Things

The #Reverb10 prompt for today comes from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, an absolutely great book with wonderful week by week tips for living mindfully. MM gifted me the book earlier this year with Gretchen's inscription inside the cover. Very nice.

Here is her prompt for Dec. 6, '10:

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

As I've done for the last 3-4 years, I waxed fall leaves in time for Thanksgiving and used them to decorate the table.  Mom taught me the technique the year she and Dad moved out of their home and in to a retirement facility. I had always wanted to learn and she, figuring that she couldn't be gathering and waxing fall leaves as easily in her tiny kitchen, passed along her knowledge.

This year I dipped lots of leaves, small and large, yellow, red, and orange, into the melted paraffin wax. They were lovely on the Thanksgiving table.

What's needed are fall leaves: flattened and dry
A sturdy, large pot to melt the wax on the stovetop
Paraffin wax (buy in the grocery store), one package is plenty
A large bowl of cold water

Pick a sizable sturdy pot (something you can use year after year for this purpose), preferably something you won't need to clean of all the wax (it sticks like glue to the bottom of the pan!). I use the same pot over and over each year and for no other purpose. You can pick up a pot for a few bucks at a thrift shop and devote it to this purpose.

Melt the paraffin wax over low heat. When melted completely, turn heat OFF or to lowest heat setting. If the wax is too hot, the leaves burn and curl up on the edges. Using the stem of the leaf, DIP the leaf into the melted wax, covering completely. Let the leaf drip excess wax back into the pot. Then, transfer the leaf immediately into the bowl of cold water. This seals the wax on to the leaf. Then, place the dipped leaf on spread newspaper to dry off.

Repeat until finished. The leaves last one season. I usually pitch mine out around Christmas and wait until the following November to start in again.

As for the second part of this prompt....I'd love to learn how to make a quilt. When my Mom died, my friend Paula suggested that I make a quilt out of certain of Mom's sweaters and other special clothing (she had so many beautiful jackets). This is a great idea; thanks Paula.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Letting Go of Something or Someone

Prompt for Dec. 5:   Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author Alice Bradley)

This is a tough one. There are so many things I would love to release into the universe and never let bother me again but did any of that actually happen in 2010? 'fraid not. There are also a few folks who get under my skin consistently that I'd like to forgive and move on (equivalent in my mind to letting go) but did that actually happen in 2010? Again, 'fraid not. Those thorns continue to poke at me.

The only positive "letting go" step after lengthy consideration is something I've posted in "Things about me" on my Blog Home Page:  "I overcame my fear of the fast lane."


The gripping terror associated with the freeway on-ramp when I'm at the wheel is largely GONE. I don't think twice about driving on I-5, I-90 and the like unless the weather is God-awful (snow, ice). Rain, even a downpour, won't stop me now. The images of horrendous accidents, mangled bodies, and fire banished themselves from my brain after almost twenty years of freeway abstinence (except under the most dire of situations where I HAD to drive the GD freeway). 

What's responsible for the change? This and that. The need to get to Federal Way once a week for clinic, the car trip to and from Spokane, and practice, practice, practice in a car with great visibility. I don't actually drive in the far left lane....but anything's an improvement compared to taking secondary roads on the 55 mile round trip to Federal Way each Thursday.

I feel confident out there and that's a huge positive step.
Now, if I could just tackle the thorns of a different nature and let them go as well....

I guess I've made a teeny step. I no longer take offense when I whine to hubbie, "I'm sad." and he invariably responds with "Get your head out of your ass."  Gotta love it. He's right.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cultivating Wonder

Prompt for December 4: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I've a new interest in birds, feathered friends who take to the sky, who make noises, who appear solo or in groups everywhere if I bother to pay attention.

The crow, in particular, carries me to a contemplative place, opening the door to wonder and amazement. After all, she sent me a message in the form of a crow's feather, the color of midnight. Who am I not to be in a state of wonder when the crows caw from my rooftop?

Three Days Behind on the December 2010 "Reverb 10"

Last year, during the month of December I participated in Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 challenge, blogging all 31 days of the month in response to a prompt...the best of this or the best of that.  This year I'm a bit late on the draw having located an even bigger challenge this December 2010 called #Reverb10. Gwen has been joined by a number of others to offer fellow bloggers the opportunity to participate in what is now an annual event....

"an inspired response to (and evolution of) #best09. It’s an open online initiative that encourages participants to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next. It’s an opportunity to retreat and consider the reverberations of your year past, and those that you’d like to create in the year ahead. We’re connected by the belief that sharing our stories has the power to change us."

Hmmmmm. I had best get started. I'm 3 days behind.

1. Prompt for Dec. 1: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

OK, my word for 2010 is cautious. Not much to say except I've been held back by cautious reaction to almost everything in my life. Not saying that's good or bad. It just is.

My choice of word for next year when 2011 draws to a close is go. This is the word I told myself over and over and over again as I trained for the triathlon.

2. Prompt for Dec 2: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

What I do is procrastinate; unless I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to say, I don't even try. The laundry, the trash, the computer; all pull me away from writing. Can I fix it? I certainly hope so.

3. Prompt for Dec 3: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

This is a rather literal reply to the prompt,'s true. I never felt so alive as the morning of October 12 when I stood by my mother's bedside with my sister and Dad in the hour after she passed away. There is nothing quite like witnessing death up close that makes one feel every beat of their own heart and to know on the deepest level that the one who has passed on has lost the vital force.

And on to today's prompt in the next post....

Struggling Towards the New Normal

My Dad is lonely. Mom has been gone for 8 weeks. The reality settles in like a bad dream that sticks. What to do? Just what I'm doing; visiting as often as I can, letting my (and his) emotions flow as they will, and reminding him that he is loved.

Earlier this week I worried over him; he was under the weather with some kind viral thing, so weak he had to be pushed about in a wheelchair, eating and drinking little and running a low grade fever. He got better and is pretty much back to normal now although his appetite is way down. I worry about that. 

Last evening I stopped by to see him, a surprise as I had told him I wouldn't be there until Saturday. He was so glad to see me and even though I don't stay long, he's appreciative.

"What can I bring you, Dad?"

"I can't think of a thing.", he responds.

"What about some cashews?  You used to really like those, Dad."

"That sounds good. Cashews. Yes, cashews; you could bring those."

And so, today I'll drop off the can of cashews (salty to encourage him to push back the liquid too) as well as a bag of cookies and some paperwork about an upcoming Christmas Concert at church and some of the AFH's holiday events. I'll encourage him to attend these, even without the love of his life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How I'm Feeling Right About Now

Why so tired? Why the crazy dreams? Why the irregular heartbeats?

I feel like this (almost) melted snowman, reduced to a plop of frozen water crystals.  Sigh.

I've the weekend off but next week am ON CALL for 6 days in a row. On the firing line, open to all that's possible from the archives of illness. Sometimes I'm flat out weary of renal disease.  Sigh.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Looking Back on Thanksgiving Weekend

Those five special days (Wednesday through Sunday) that cradle the greatest holiday of all lived up to expectation. Replete with gratitude, joy, family togetherness, great food, laughs, wine, and balanced by the bittersweet made for memories that stick.

It seemed that loved ones were coming and going very quickly; arriving to hugs and welcomes and leaving for home long before I was ready to bid goodbye.  We were 9 for the Thanksgiving meal and this year privileged to be joined by Heather's parents and brother. Plus, my 93 year old Dad who has not been in my home for a number of years was able to brave the weather and make it up the 12 steps into the house.

How could we have imagined a few years ago that we would sit around the Thanksgiving table with our son's wife and her family? Amazing how our lives change and grow to include wonderful new people. Heather and her family are a blessing to ours. We had to say goodbye to Wayne, Tina, and Tim on Friday morning but were thankful they could join us for the big meal and some extra together-time.

Although Chris and I had to work on Friday, Heather and Laura were able to hit the stores at Northgate Mall for the Black Friday sales. We all hung out together Friday night, heating a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers, watching TV and playing Catch Phrase.

By Saturday it was time for the "changing of the guard" as J.T. arrived from Houston (a whirlwind trip of less than 48 hours) and Heather and Chris headed back to Gig Harbor.

J.T. was in town largely to spend time with Dad. The highlight was getting Dad out for the church service on Sunday morning.  He was thrilled to have his son, daughter, and granddaughter sitting with him for the First Sunday of Advent. After church we took in Taco Time (was always a favorite of my Mom). I took a few pictures which tell the story. We must have been hungry, even for food that was.....well, Taco Time.

By Sunday night it was time to get Miss Laura to the airport for her flight back to snowy Spokane. By 4:30 AM Monday morning, J.T. was on his way back to Houston. The house which had been full of activity was suddenly very quiet. I'm left with wonderful memories.

I found myself missing Mom at odd moments through the weekend. I could tell Dad was missing her as well although he didn't say much. On Thursday morning as the cooking turkey filled the house with wonderful aromas, my ears were tuned  to the songs of tiny birds, dozens of them, twittering about in the crab-apple tree outside our front door.My Mom, lover of  all birds, was there. I know she was.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Seattle's Better Weather

This is how we know the weather has improved in these parts....back to the usual: rain, gray, and chill but NO freeze.





Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snow for Thanksgiving; (enough for a snowman)

The "kids" were able to make an impressive snowman in the backyard just before we sat down to the Thanksgiving feast on Thursday afternoon. The weather had just started to warm up with a forecast calling for grey clouds, rain and 40 degrees.After the snow and ice earlier this week, this was wonderful and welcome.

Snowman is looking a bit lean two days later but still holding up despite the balmy weather, as you can see....


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Day Before Thanksgiving

I love the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, almost as much as Thanksgiving Day. Today has been a bit different with worries ongoing about how Laura will get (safely) from Spokane to Seattle. She has a flight out this evening but the weather there is in the single digits and in the twenties here. Plus, it's the busiest day of the year for travelers taking to the skies as their choice for transportation. Laura forgot to put her suitcase in her car this morning when she left for work (at the airport) and now is depending on someone to bring her bag to her in time for the flight later today. I wonder how this is all going to work out. Denny says I spend way too much time worrying about stuff that doesn't "belong" to me. "But....but, but," I say.

Denny and I've been cooking up a storm today; getting many of the side dishes prepared for the feast tomorrow. About the only thing that is actually made on Thanksgiving Day is the turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes. Good thing we've got plenty of newly acquired oven space to heat up all the side dishes come tomorrow afternoon. The house is full of wonderful smells; onions, corn, cheese, sweet potato. Ahhh.

Our Thanksgiving has turned in to a tradition of blended family dishes (his and mine) over the years. This year with Heather's family joining us, we'll be introduced to a new dish, an old favorite in their family: yellow squash casserole. The line up looks something like this:

Turkey, old fashioned stuffing (no giblets), gravy and mashed potatoes
Holiday potatoes (made with cheese and hashbrowns); sinfully wonderful
Sweet potatoes
Squash casserole
Green bean casserole
Peas (plain and simple)
Old fashioned baked beans (Virginia's recipe)
Creamed corn casserole (made especially for my Dad; his favorite)
Turnip (may be rutabaga since they look very white and taste very mild)
Rolls (irrelevant with all the above)

Our favorite Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Mud House 2010 will bring out all the flavors. And then, the pies. Tina's bringing pumpkin and Denny made a pecan pie. Coffee anyone?

We are blessed to have this bounty to share with family tomorrow.  The table is set. We're ready.....

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!