day in the life
the everyday life of a couple living well with a slow-growing
always easy, and there will certainly be sorrows and losses
along the way. But being alive is good. It is very good.
Wednesday, May 16,
twenty-two greener thumbs in central Oregon than there were
Today we threw a
couple of planting parties for our cancer community. We provided
a plethora of herb starts, potting soil, pots and seeds—“Bring
your garden gloves ... optional, if you like the feel of soil”—and two
co-workers, whose side businesses involve gardening, provided
the professional instruction.
As luck would have
it, central Oregon decided to rain today, starting about the
time our first garden party was kicking off. And picking up by
the time our second party was scheduled to begin.
these cancer survivors. They’ve been through surgeries, chemo, radiation. A little rain at a garden party?
Are you kidding?
survivor herb container planting party
This is my job.
Brainstorming with co-workers to provide classes, events and
programs for cancer survivors and caregivers
programs that allow them
to expand their horizons, laugh out loud and connect with one
And they actually pay me to do
Sunday, May 12,
for a lovely Mother’s Day weekend,”
I say to hubby.
let me do everything I wanted to do.”
And then a light
bulb clicked on.
wait. You let me do everything I want to do every day.”
He just grins, this
very wise man I married.
The weekend began
Friday evening with Pizza Mondo slices in Drake Park listening
to the distant thunder and hoping we weren’t going to get
On Saturday, we
hiked with our cancer posse along the Metolius River. Icy blue
waters frequented by fly fishermen ...
... families of
geese swimming their young, a circling osprey, bright yellow
wildflowers, a blue-dotted butterfly.
And today, a
Mother’s Day picnic along the north shore of a melting Sparks
Lake. Homemade chicken salad studded with chunks of apples, red
grapes, celery and green onion. Warm, crusty bread. Fresh fruit.
Lake with Mt. Bachelor standing by
Grateful for Gary
who has been the best father and husband a girl could ask for.
Grateful to be mom
to four terrific children – two that I actually birthed and two
that married into the fam.
Grateful to be
called grandma by three exceptionally bright and
Glad for the
remembrance of the importance of family this lovely Mother’s
My cup overflows.
Tuesday, May 7,
Crunchy, sweet and
Hungry for a good
salad when I got home from work and with some leftover roasted
chicken in the fridge, we decided to commemorate National Salad
Month for dinner this evening.
My favorite kind of
salad is combining as many items on hand that might go together.
The more differing textures, the better.
red beets, green Anjou pears, red onion, toasted pecans and bleu
cheese over spring greens. You noticed the color palette.
Hubby gave it two
thumbs up, this combination of crunchy and soft, savory and
sweet served with a homemade vinaigrette and some crusty artisan
And really, two
thumbs up from hubby is all that matters, isn’t it? Happy
National Salad Month to one and all.
Friday, May 3, 2013
For further proof
that spring has arrived in central Oregon—even
though temperatures are still dipping into the 30s overnight—hubby
and I have begun our two-dates-a-week ritual.
This is where the
weather warms up enough for the wife to talk the husband into
dinner out on Thursday evening, and then a second date at Drake
Park on Friday
setting up in front of the river, shooting photos, some general
people/geese/duck watching and playing Words with Friends.
evening Drake Park date
For those of you
who don’t know, one of our dating rules is to save up something
interesting to tell each other.
I have slowly
trained myself to not tell hubby all the interesting things as
they happen, to save at least one thing. In fact, I keep an
abbreviated list on my smart phone. (The only challenge I run
into from time to time is trying to decipher what some of my
Hubby, on the other
hand, grasps for anything on the fly when I ask what he’s saved
up to tell me.
hear it’s supposed to get up into the 70s next week.”
Really? That’s the best you can do?
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Spring has finally
arrived in central Oregon, but locals here are smart enough not
to let down their guard.
I remember one
Easter Sunday, temps in the 70s, barbecue and Easter egg hunt in
the backyard for family and friends ... and the next day we woke
up to three inches of freshly-fallen snow (much to my secret
delight, but don’t tell anyone).
At any rate,
residents were out in force today. Hubby and I walked the
Deschutes River Trail with friends where we discovered that
swimming lessons were in full session, Papa and Mama Goose
sharing the water with kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders.
From our vantage point, all eight goslings appeared to have
passed Tadpole and Minnow swim classes.
Friday, April 26,
I am not now
nor will I ever be
a rock climber. Too attached to the feeling of solid earth
beneath my feet. I get dizzy just looking over the edge of a
cliff or skyscraper ... in fact, at even the thought of
looking over the edge.
Today, several guys
from Shepherd’s House,
the local rescue mission where hubby volunteers, went rock
climbing at Smith Rock. Hubby went along to capture the action
What is it about
conquering the unconquerable that draws people to risk life and
limb by dangling off steep rock ledges?
Maybe the thing
that’s unconquerable in one’s mind isn’t the rock wall. Maybe
Rock climber Mike
can grunt and heave, sweat and strain, wear yourself out, and
unless you simply forget about it and step up, you won’t even
get off the ground.”
Granddaughter Lilly, far right, getting off the
I found myself
wondering about the unconquerable things that hang around where
Facing the fear.
Accepting the risk. Taking the first step off the ground
I’m thinking that’s the key.
How about you? Are
you planning to get off the ground sometime soon?
Tuesday, April 23,
Now that we’re back
on Oregon soil, a thought about east coast tolls. If we had to
do it over, we just might opt for the E-Z Pass when renting the
Six states last
week. We landed at Newark; drove north to Boston; speaking
engagements in Concord, Mass and Portland, Maine; then south
through New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and back to Jersey.
– pay toll
Bridge and turnpike
tolls ranged from fifty cents to five dollars for a total of
thirty dollars, plus change.
And that doesn’t
count the fine that we’re expecting because we inadvertently
went through an E-Z Pass lane. Without an E-Z Pass. A big
no-no. In fact, a local resident said to expect a $25-45 fine, depending on
the particular toll location.
The way I see it, hubby and I now own a large chunk of asphalt
in the Atlantic Seaboard area.
Sunday, April 21,
Raise your hand if
you experienced the luxury of lazing away a couple hours in the
spring sunshine at a Little League game this weekend.
Hubby’s and my
hands are raised. Talk about your stress-free zone.
And then there’s
browsing the aisles of a Barnes & Noble bookstore with grandkids
in tow, shooting hoops and getting caught in a game of tag on
late night conversations with The Parents
– they all
served to banish
stressful thoughts of returning to work tomorrow.
I suppose most jobs
carry their own levels of stress. The strain of mine comes from
juggling several bowling pins at once. On any given day.
It doesn’t help
that a co-worker’s last day is this Wednesday; hence, throw a
few more bowling pins into my juggling act.
So you can imagine
how lovely this stress-free zone has been these past few days.
at grandpa the photographer
into the moment. Relishing life’s
simple pleasures. Counting my blessings – wonderful,
not-to-be-taken-for-granted blessings, three of which happen to
appear in the photo above.
Thursday, April 18,
It’s a challenge to
write a light-hearted blog about our quick trip to Portland,
Maine, yesterday because my heart is still heavy from the events
in Boston on Monday.
Flags are flying
half-mast everywhere. We watched the crowd at the Bruins game
join in loud and strong in the singing of the national anthem. A
fund has been set up to help the victims of the bombings. We’ve
chatted with people on the streets, in restaurants, and before
and after our presentations.
northeasterners are resilient and compassionate, and they’re
talking about the kindness and heroism that has come from this
This is one of the
things I love about America.
So here goes ...
Last month when we
were in Portland, Oregon, I wondered out loud in a blog how the
west coast city might compare to Portland, Maine.
Well, we’ve been to
Maine and now have all the answers. The two cities do compare.
And they don’t.
Both cities sport
marinas with expensive yachts parked out front.
Portland in the
west is known for its salmon, while Portland in the east for its
lobsta (not a typo).
Lobster stew at J’s
Oyster Shack - a hole-in-the-wall restaurant
on the marina (my favorite
type of restaurant)
I don’t think
Portland, Oregon, has cobblestone streets that date back to
pre-Revolutionary days. And while we did find a Starbux in
Portland, Maine, there wasn’t a coffee shop on every corner as
you are likely to find in her Oregon counterpart. (This may or
may not be a slight exaggeration.)
Oregon may have won
in the category of quantity of impossibly-tall-trees (we
did find two at a nice park on the tip of a peninsula here in
... but there are a
couple features here that the Oregon Portland can’t boast of.
For starters, there’s a nearby lighthouse.
And then there’s
the Berlin Wall. To my knowledge, Portland, Oregon, does not
have a large chunk of the Berlin Wall on public display.
poem on this piece of the Berlin Wall
unforgettable was a generous alligator in downtown Portland,
Maine, who willingly shared his ice cream. Such hospitality.
So there you have
it. My official report on two fabulous towns that share the same
name, but on opposite ends of this great country.
Monday, April 15,
We are in Boston to
watch son Jeremy run the marathon. It’s the perfect day. Cool
breezes and occasional sunshine peeking out from under cloud
his wife Denise at the 13-mile marker
Jeremy says he
didn’t get the time he wanted, but it was the most fun he’s had
of the marathons he’s run.
The route took the
runners past Wellesley and Boston College. Crazy fans, faces
painted, decked out in marathon blue and gold, cheering on the
runners as if they were the home team.
We caught Jeremy at
the 13-mile and 21-mile markers, and then waited for him as
close to the finish line as we could get.
Denise near finish line
A few minutes after
this happy photo is snapped, we wander down Boyleston Street.
Daughter-in-law Denise takes a couple of photos, we turn to walk
away and a sound like a cannon shot goes off. It stops us in our
And then a second
explosion, just across the street from where we stood a minute
earlier. People screaming and running toward us, away from the
race route. Hearts pounding, looking for smoke or tumbling
buildings, we hurry toward our car, praying for people nearer
the explosions, not sure what is happening.
We’re now back at
the rented beach condo, the muted roar of the waves just beyond
the windows, a fire burning in the fireplace.
We were here
yesterday. Safe. With no indication that today would be anything
but a fun celebration of a challenging event completed by our
Being so close to
this incident serves as a fresh reminder of what we already know
to cherish the priceless people we call family. To gather
together with them as often as possible.
It’s a reminder that we live in a crazy world, that life is
And that it ought to be lived well.
Which gives me
pause. What is it I want to do that would be living my life
well? There’s the dream, of course. To speak full-time, to
write, to host cancer retreats or be host parents in a cancer
And there’s today.
A vacation on the east coast that takes in kids and grands,
along with a couple of speaking opportunities. And a rewarding
job in the cancer center is waiting for me back at home.
blessings this unforgettable Boston Marathon day.
Saturday, April 13,
I won’t tell you
what ungodly hour hubby rolled me out of bed this morning (hint:
begins with 3) ...
earlier than the TSA
... but suffice it
to say that we beat the TSA personnel here.
On the bright side,
we’re on our way east toward kids and grandkidlets. For that,
I’ll continue to put up with hubby’s irrational fears of not
making it through security on time.
Friday, April 5,
What husband says,
you buy a new outfit, you get a Chai tea”?
It’s not that I
don’t like new clothes (or new thrift store clothes); it’s that
I dread shopping. Really dread shopping.
much do you think a personal shopper would cost?”
I ask hubby. Someone who could buy say, ten outfits ... and then
she could return the eight I don’t want.
Seems like a
probably not appropriate for the office
returning clothes, hubby gets frustrated with me when I do this
(probably fifty percent of the time).
Which means he
threatened me with no Chai tea for a long time to come if I
returned anything I bought today.
OK, so maybe I
didn’t find a whole outfit, but I did find a cute yellow top.
And I did score a Chai.
Getting off the ground
Chunk of asphalt
Two Portlands - part 2
This Boston Marathon
Earlier than the TSA
Half birthday ... again
With each passing year
Keep the old
Not the hardest thing
How hard can it be?
Just what the doc ordered
Mini family reunion
There is today
Doing it up right
Happy Valentine's Day
Speaking of beans
Simple winter fare
Flat Stanley on snow-shoes
Flat Stanley visits again
Take that, cancer
Bringing in the New Year
Random acts of kindness
The good, bad and
Peace on earth
Those darn numbers
Back to reality
Favorite things, part IV
Even more favorite things
More favorite things
Swans in pairs
A great fall
Back in the groove
Reconnaissance in Jackson
The power of tenacity
Winnie the Pooh wisdom
Five dollar bill
Out in public
Guest blogger, Steffany
Camp this weekend
Living in a wonderland
Locks of Love
Average, ordinary weekend
Close of birthday week
Night sky display
Journey with a mission
In our possession
Over the hills
In search of wildflowers
Building a cancer center
Reason to celebrate
The Space Noodle
Powered by oimism
Heart tug moment
Happiest place on earth
Baby geese season
Not found out west
Guess what state we’re
Bean soup day
Sharing the experience
Second day of spring
Simple pleasures are best
Best to live your own life
Words With Friends
Got your back
The entire snow-shoe team
Arizona in February
Super Bowl Sunday
Something in common
In such a community
Headed for OHSU
Checklist for the coast
Snow in town
Filling Christmas weekend
Coolest date night ever
Dressed in pink
Butternut squash day
Beauty from junk
Taking nothing for granted
Gratitude - part 4
Gratitude - part 3
The child in all of us
Gratitude - part 2
Gratitude - part 1
My orthidontical twin
Last wilderness hike?
The view from 7,800 feet
Colonoscopies and fall colors
To make a life count
On our way to the Poconos
Autumn day in the city
A few numbers
Country girl signing off
Off the grid
What are sisters for?!
Try something new
For a limited time only
On the NCI web site
make this stuff up
Not as it appears
On my list of heroes
The more you have
Happy birthday, America
Have a nice trip
Turtle and Maple Nut
Celebrating Father’s Day
Walking the butte
Notorious list maker
The happiness project
Rain or shine
Pink tennis shoes
I am an orphan
Playing it safe is risky
Skid marks on the runway
Nothing could be finer
Tough day at the office
Snowy April day
Thai food and amazing grace
Cabin in the woods
Any excuse to celebrate
Drum roll, please
Ordinary blessed weekend
Mean guys like Mike
Texas = What a country
Just to be on the safe side
Mudpies and lullabies
Getting plugged in
Blurring the lines
What goes around
Might as well dance
For the birds
Off to a great start
Sharing your story
The night before Christmas
A year’s span
Another black eye
Feeling healthier already
Heart wide open
Private marathon tour guide
Choosing quality of life
Geese and GPS units
Knitting up a snow storm
not a charm
The verdict is in
High school audience
Pepsi ... or not
Hundreds of quilts later
Teach a girl to fish
Rainy day chili
No drop in the bucket
Family of elk
Red rocks and blue falcons
A big little life
Once in a lifetime
Twenty years from now
Beauty in the high desert
Another shot at life
Enjoying the journey
Birthday week kick-off
I’ve become my mother
Bobby McFerrin + OBF
50 things to do
Like what you do
Rocky Mountain high
My kind of town
Please don’t feed the bears
Heaven Can Wait
Because nice matters
Don’t get to pick your
It’s in the bag
Only in Hawaii
Gearing up for Hawaii
Hitting a rock wall
Extraordinary ordinary life
Technology and pedicures
Idaho ranch hands
Being in community
Florida in April
Welcome to spring
Most romantic bridge
Upgrading into the 21st
Uncles and nieces
Blue skies in Portland
The subject of
Caliber of our friends
Only in Southern California
Cream of the crop
End of the tunnel
Disturbing the snow
Good things come to
American mobile family
Any excuse for a date
Much more than a sports flick
All the facts are true
Going to Hawaii
Finding our own way
It's just a number
Seasons of Christmas
Civil War in the CTC
My life in France
Empty cafeteria trays
A few of my favorite things
America’s best and brightest
Large amounts of hope
Married to a patient man
Trail to nowhere
Above the fray
Hot date spot
Red sock day
I got all my sisters with me
Tenacious like a bulldog
Best years of my life
Now we should live
Across the high desert
50 things to do
Running to win
Canned chili &
Knight in shining armor
Roller coaster rides
Dan in Real Life
Gift of life
In the moment
Extended birthday present
Munch & Music
Dealing with the paparazzi
Behind red doors
Happy kind of exhausted
Benefits of cancer
Calm before the storm
Big picture thinking
Back to the real world
Quick trip to the EC
Flat Stanley in Ory-gun
Soaring on wings
Real men wear pink
Fun in the CTC
Live like you were dying
The power of one
Fun with the
To my valentine
Moments in Jersey
Leaving on a
Welcome to life
Back in high school
Out of the mouths of babes