CANCER ADVENTURES

  

 

Become a

Facebook fan

  home    |     about us     |     blog     |     book     |     hiking     |     contact

 

reflection


day in the life

Highlighting the everyday life of a couple living well with a slow-growing cancer, and now a cancer widow living well on her own. There have been sorrows and losses along the way. But being alive is good. It is very good.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Day One and loving it

Managed to pick Lydia up from school ... drop Lilly by the orthodontist ... get Lilly to MMA practice ...

No, they’re not twins and their mother doesn’t dress them alike

 

... fix dinner ... take Titus to youth group ... pick Lilly up from MMA and drop her off at youth group ... make a pharmacy run ... tea party with Lydia ...

   
 

... and then fetch Lilly and Titus from youth group. All without losing a single child.

   
 

(Although the gas gauge on the mini-van may have gotten awfully close to the “E” ... don’t mention this to The Parents.)

And that’s just the Friday evening schedule.

Fell into bed exhausted last night.

This text at 5:58 this morning (2:58am for those of us still on west coast time): “In Amsterdam getting ready to board flight to Africa. Everything going smoothly so far. Give the kids hugs and kisses from us!”

The Parents are a world away. And yet, not.

Lots of hugs and kisses going out to the grandkidlets from their Parents this morning ... as soon as the kids wake up.

As for the Grandma – she’s wide awake.

 
 

Comment   


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Early arrival

This text message from Daughter Summer yesterday morning: “Just got off phone with adoption agency. They want to see us in court on Monday.”

In Africa.

Summer: “Wondering if you’re in a place to drop everything and fly here ... by tomorrow possibly?”

Of course. I’m retired. I have airline miles.

Love the sound of that. Let me say it again. Of course. I’m retired. I have airline miles.

That was yesterday.

Today = ordered an Uber car to the airport, got through security at LAX and am seated with a Chai tea. An hour and 22 minutes before my flight to Jersey is scheduled to depart.

This is not my fault. Remember, I was married to Hubby all those years.

   
 

Side note: In an effort to be efficient, I thought I’d order the Uber ride to the airport a day in advance. Uber doesn’t work that way. Uber arrives soon after the ride request. Like, very soon after.

Text from driver seven minutes later: “Hi. I am here.”

Oops. It obviously doesn’t pay to be efficient.

Comment   


Monday, March 23, 2015

Absolutely brilliant

You remember the *mom date* last Friday night? Drew’s mom, Mary, is visiting from Minnesota (where, by the way, it was snowing today in honor of her birthday).

   
 

Since we couldn’t replicate the snow to make her feel right at home, we did the next best thing and celebrated over lunch at Paradise Cove Beach Cafι in Malibu.

Wear your flip-flops, because if you prefer outdoor dining—and we always do—bare feet in the sand is an added bonus.

   

 

Jeremy ordered fish tacos, which arrived on a plate the size of a tray. Luckily my clam chowder in a bread bowl wasn’t the size of a watermelon. (Although we did see beverages served in round watermelons – tops cut off – displaying self-confident straws.)

   
 

A couple days ago I blogged about eating authentic Mexican food in Little Mexico.

If Mexican food can get any authentic-er, then that’s what we had for dinner last evening at Denise’s grandparent’s place.

Homemade beans simmering on the stove. Fideo, which is a sort of Mexican spaghetti with tomatoes and spices. Tortillas warmed on a hot skillet. Fresh cilantro. Avocados. Slices of Mexican cheese.

Come fill your plate and find a comfortable spot in the family room where the story-telling and laughter pick back up.

   
 

Denise’s grandparents raised her during her formative years. It was good to catch up with these lovely people who have made me feel like family.

   
 

Whether a birthday or an impromptu mini-family reunion—or any other reason for commemorating an important milestone—whoever came up with the idea of including food in celebrations ... this was absolutely brilliant.

Comment   


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Runyan Canyon

Since we’ve been eating our way through LA, today’s 600-ft-elevation-gain hike through Runyan Canyon provided some much-needed (for me) sweat therapy.

   
 

And then the crazy kids decided they wanted to run back. “Just an easy jog,” they said. Which confirmed that I am not now—nor will I ever be—a jogger. Give me hiking boots on a mountain trail; snowshoes in deep powder; but don’t make me run. Wah.

So after all this sweat therapy, we rewarded ourselves with food at M Cafι. Of course. Where I had the best salad I’ve eaten in a long time – hearts of romaine and mesclun greens, avocado, cucumber, spicy black beans, roasted corn, tomato, crispy tortilla strips and chipotle dressing.

Which means we’re still eating our way through Los Angeles.

   
 

Sometimes a thing never enters your mind until someone tells you not to do it.

This sign at the end of the Runyan Canyon trail where it hits Mulholland Drive: “Please Do Not Use This Gate As An Exercise Apparatus.”

Which practically begs people to use the gate as an exercise apparatus. In this case, a chin-up bar.

 
 

Things I’ve learned since relocating temporarily to southern California:

1. Sometimes your adult children never really grow up.

2. If J&D stayed here year-round and we ate out three meals a day – every day – we’d never finish eating our way through the all the great food in the Los Angeles area.

3. Even though I’m a born-and-bred California girl, my preconceived ideas of southern California were pretty much off-base.

Consider exploring someplace you never thought you’d enjoy.

Comment   


Friday, March 20, 2015

Eating our way through LA

Son Jeremy and DIL Denise are home for five days. And all we’ve been doing is eating. At some fabulous places.

Kale chips and a delicious veggie-and-fruit power shake concocted from almond milk made on location at the little juice cafι, Kreation, in Venice.

   
 
 

Authentic Mexican food on a walking street in Little Mexico. As soon as you turn the corner onto Olvera Street ...

   
 

... you’re in a different country. Large, leafy trees. Sun-dappled brick buildings. Colorful bougainvillea.

   
 

We ate at La Golondrina where they serve up deliciously authentic Mexican food, including the best guacamole you’ve ever eaten.

   
 

And for dessert, beautiful romantic Spanish music.

   
 

And then two sushi dinner dates. Yes, two dinners the same day as the Mexican lunch.

The first with these friends of J&D’s—Clint and Dianna—who happen to be my three-blocks-away MDR neighbors. 

   
 

I am now a sushi fan. Seriously delicious offerings. No, seriously delicious offerings.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what I ate—some cooked, some not so cooked—because I let the experts order.

But I think I heard the word eel at least once last evening. I know what you’re thinking.

   
 

This first sushi dinner followed by a second one with more of J&D’s friends—Drew, Milton, and Barbara—and Drew’s mother, Mary. (What was referred to as the *mom date* because Mary and I are both visiting our sons from out of state. And we two moms hit it off.)

Here’s what I think: If you’ve never eaten raw fish, try it. Step outside your comfort zone. Hop on your bike with the pink rims. Visit historic places. Meet new people. Make new friends. And try the sushi.

Comment   


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Surviving in the city

Today’s plans included eating breakfast for lunch at The Griddle Cafι on Sunset Blvd ...

   
 

... and then on to the observatory in Griffith Park high in the hills ...

   
 

... across from the Hollywood sign ...

   
 

... with Los Angeles spread out below.

   
 

I had originally planned to hike the trail to the Hollywood sign, but instead, took my time wandering through the observatory, catching a show in the planetarium and weighing in on the moon (19 lbs).

   
 

Einstein and I shared an intellectual moment together.

   
 

And I was relieved to learn that the earth is still rotating—at least for today—as confirmed by this pendulum ...

   
 

... hanging from this ceiling.

   
 

And then my phone battery let me know it was losing juice. Fast. (I think it was trying too hard to find itself.)

First panicky thought: How am I supposed to get home without GPS? I can imagine my son getting the call from LAPD: “Are you missing a mother? We found her wandering on the 405, babbling.”

You’ll be pleased to know—after a hastily-whispered prayer—that I got a good visual of a map on my phone before it died, wrote on a scrap of paper: “Vermont to the 10 west to the 405 south to the 90 west.”

And made it home safely. Which is a huge accomplishment for this mountain-lake-log-cabin-strap-on-snowshoes girl.

And so, a couple of travel tips:

1) Venture off the couch. Often.

2) Travel with eyes and heart wide open – we live in a damaged world, but there is amazing beauty here, and there are some pretty incredible people along the way.

3) Discover. Learn.

4) Look at your gas gauge once in a while.

5) Take your phone power cord.

Comment   


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Stadium to Sea

Once upon a time, Son Jeremy, DIL Denise, and Hubby and I were frighteningly close to the Boston marathon bombs when they went off. Jeremy had just finished the race, and we were threading our way through the crowd and snapping a few last photos, having given up on finding a place to eat.

I love that America’s response to these types of horrific events is to rebuild. Commemorate the dead and honor the heroes, but continue hosting marathons.

Today the 30th annual LA Marathon, dubbed “Stadium to Sea,” began at Dodger Stadium and ended in Santa Monica.

   
 
   
 

More than 25,000 participants. Thousands of volunteers. Hundreds of thousands of spectators.

My pink-rimmed bike and I added to the number of spectators near the Santa Monica pier. But today wasn’t just another ride-my-bike-to-the-beach day. I had a vested interest in this particular event.

   
 

My adopted church, Dream Center, put together a team of 183 runners that included Pastor Matthew Barnett. Each participated in one of four distances today – 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.

Total funds raised by these incredible people for Dream Center’s PROJECT HOPE = $211,445. Wow, huh?

   
 

Apparently there are 31 locations in Los Angeles that take in stray animals. But only one emergency shelter for trafficked women. At the Dream Center. And PROJECT HOPE will go far in providing funds for shelter and food, and restoring these women with life skills.

Kudos to Pastor Matthew Barnett and the other 182 participants – not only for running in today’s heat, but for the hours of fundraising and training that led up to this day.

As for the miles I’m putting on my Denise’s bike – I’m hoping she won’t look at the odometer when she and Jeremy return from the east coast this week.

Comment   


Friday, March 13, 2015

Changing the world

In a previous life, I escorted teenagers on educational tours of Europe. On two different occasions, the trip included Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp.

It wasn’t until the second year that we got to tour beyond the museum building. It was much more impacting to have a full hour to walk the somber grounds and envision what went on in these barracks, this crematorium.

No matter that you’ve seen a professional basketball game, or a mountain climber summiting Mt. Everest, or what the Nazi concentration camps looked like – it’s never quite the same as being there in person. Seeing the ballplayers, the mountain, the brick ovens up close and personal.

Today I visited the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, named after the famed Nazi hunter and a Nazi death camp survivor.

   
 

At the beginning of the tour, each visitor is given a photo passport card with a child’s name and picture. My child was Helena Weissblatt of Warsaw, Poland. In 1940, at age 12, Helena and her family were rounded up with nearly half a million Jews and forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto.

At the end of the tour, I would find out if Helena survived.

The tour is a series of exhibits, guided by light and sound, that begins in 1920 and includes the history of how Hitler came to power.

One scene depicts an outdoor cafι. A light shines on each table as a conversation takes place - some Berliners worried, others not so much. And then as the light goes off the table, a narrator tells what happened to this Jewish banker, that newspaper reporter, that doctor.

The tour takes you into one of the death camps where there are two brick archways with signs over the doors. If you were under age 14 or over 60, or a mother carrying a baby, you went through one door. And you were exterminated within 4-6 hours.

Also on exhibit is Simon Wiesenthal’s Vienna office, which includes his original documents, artifacts, furniture and books. Because of Wiesenthal’s efforts over the years, nearly 1,100 Nazi war criminals were rounded up and brought to justice.

   

Photo credit: www.museumoftolerance.com

The tour ends with a wall of stories of how one person can make a difference. No names on the plaques, but here was a woman who hid her Jewish employer in her home; here was a man who smuggled food to Jews in hiding; here was a government official who provided his stamp and signature to documents allowing hundreds of Jews to escape Poland before he was found out.

I sat in a room with about sixty middle school students. All of us enthralled by Holocaust survivor Dorothy, now 84 years old, who tells her story with good humor and wit.

   
 

The middle school students asked questions afterward, and Dorothy’s parting words to them, in her lovely eastern European accent, were these: “We live in the greatest country in the world. You can be anything you want to be.”

Oh, and my little girl – Helena Weissblatt, age 12 of Warsaw, Poland? I inserted my passport card into the machine at the end of the tour and this page churned off the printer. Helena and her family did not survive the Holocaust.

   
 

It was Anne Frank who wrote, “How wonderful it is that no one has to wait but can start right now to gradually change the world.”

And Mother Teresa tells us how: “If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed one.”

I think Mother Teresa and Anne Frank would have been good friends.

I have friends and family who are going about the business of changing the world. A friend who is starting a non-profit to stave off human trafficking and aid women in Africa with education and micro-loans. A couple of families that are adopting sibling groups. A former student who just moved her two young sons to Ethiopia where her husband will serve as a hospital administrator. Friends who are raising funds for the digging of wells in third world countries.

Which begs the question, What can you and I do to gradually change the world?

Comment   


Monday, March 9, 2015

Enjoy the ride

Hubby’s favorite music was from his high school and college days. Think “North to Alaska” by Johnny Horton. And Marvin Gaye in “How Sweet it is to be Loved by You

There was no sleeping in on Saturday mornings for Daughter Summer in her teen years. Hubby would slip in an Everly Brothers CD, quietly open Summer’s bedroom door, slide the CD player into the room and hit the play button. “Wake Up, Little Susie.” On full volume.

Summer usually jumped out of bed.

I’m writing in my neighborhood Starbux Cafι and the first strains of “Unchained Melody” begin playing on the overhead speaker.

I stop and hold my breath. Because it was one of our favorites. Because we had once attended a Righteous Brothers concert. Because, oh how I’ve hungered for Hubby’s touch.

Oh, my love, my darling,

I’ve hungered for your touch.

I need your love, I need your love,

God speed your love to me.

Yesterday I went to see an afternoon matinee of McFarland, USA. It’s based on the true story of a high school football coach, played by Kevin Costner, who started a cross country team in an unlikely place.

   

Photo credit: ncronline.org

Hubby would have enjoyed it. Because he ran cross country in high school. And because it’s our favorite type of movie: a true-to-life David and Goliath story.

I snuggle with the lap quilt that was sewn together from Hubby’s shirts, and inhale deeply because it still smells deliciously of him. (Impulsively I kissed the quilt two days ago. Who kisses quilts?)

Even though I’m doing well—truly am—I long for Hubby’s touch. For the discussion following a good movie. The snuggling up to a real man wearing a shirt instead of a quilt made of his shirts.

I received an unexpected package in the mail last week. A beautiful soft-bound journal with a bike on the front cover that looks an awful lot like mine. And the most perfect title: Enjoy The Ride.

   
 

The thoughtful note inside the card read, in part:

“My niece and I were shopping when I ran across this little journal, I immediately thought of you and the feeling was so strong that I just had to get it for you. There are times when writing words are more personal than working with your laptop.”

True, what she said. I will cherish this beautiful little book, and fill it with hand-written words. First entry: “Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.”

   
 

These breath-holding strains of music from Hubby’s era, movies I know he’d like, reading back through the adventures we created together – these things don’t hurt my heart.

Instead, they remind me of how I had a really good thing. And how cancer was the wake-up call to not take that really good thing for granted.

Remembering Hubby with sweetness; enjoying the ride.

Comment   


Saturday, March 6, 2015

At the beach. Again.

For those of you still shoveling snow, I’m trying to be sensitive by not blogging too frequently about hopping on my pink ride and heading for the beach.

But it’s time for another bike-to-the-beach blog. Because every time I go, there’s something new to show you.

So, you’ve already seen sailboats, and beach volleyball. And skateboarders. And street acrobats.

But I forgot to include surfers.

   
 

And multiple ways to experience the pleasures of bike-riding. (Not sure who’s having more fun on a bike – me or this little cutie pie.)

   
 

Best music on the boardwalk today came from a group that calls themselves the Venice Beach Drum Symphony – an eclectic mix of instruments and drums. Quite talented.

   
 

The band’s groovy ride to the beach. This van.

   
 

Sometime around 3:45, shiny trucks and big horses carrying big men showed up. The people clicking away on their cameras had ‘tourist’ written all over them.

Me, I wasn’t the tourist, but the blog reporter. So you’ll know when you visit Venice Beach on a weekend evening, you won’t have to worry about your safety because LAFD and LAPD will be there. You can thank me later for this little tidbit of information.

   
 

The funky, the fun, the tasty, the good tunes. All within a bike-riding distance to the beach on this sunny, Saturday afternoon.

The question is, where should you explore this week?

Comment   


Friday, March 6, 2015

Nicole and Edward

I’ve been writing from my apartment in the mornings (notice how it’s not only my bike, by also my apartment now).

As after-lunch drowsiness creeps in, I pack up my laptop and head to my second living room – the neighborhood Starbucks. Because no one at Starbucks will let me get away with falling asleep and drooling on the table.

   
 

I recently had a conversation with my two favorite baristas and learned that we have a couple things in common.

Holding large dreams, for one – large dreams shaped by cancer.

Nicole is a dancer, attends Santa Monica College, and works as a supervisor at Starbucks. At age 15, she became her mom’s nurse – bathing her, dispensing meds, managing the frequent seizures.

   
 

Edward was born in Vietnam and, along with his sister, was adopted by an American family. At age 18, he watched his dad go from being a relatively healthy man to a walking zombie.

Nicole and Edward both lost someone important in their lives to cancer.

   
 

Nicole had younger siblings at home, which meant she became the mom when her mother died. A week after the funeral, Nicole started her sophomore year of high school. She struggled, making frequent trips to the counselor’s office in tears. Her GPA fell to 2.8, but by the time she graduated, she had brought it back up to a 3.5. “It was a really tough time for me,” says Nicole. “A make-or-break experience.”

Edward said his father worked hard at a job he didn’t like, pinched pennies, and saved for the future. But he never got to his future. Edward said it taught him to work hard, but to pursue something he loves, and to enjoy the journey. He had his own marketing business—it’s what his dad wanted for him—but turns out, screenwriting is really Edward’s passion. He recently sold one of his screenplays and is scheduled to fly to Thailand and China next month to begin filming. 

Nicole says she gets a lot of her personality from her mom. “She would walk into a room and light it up.” Nicole originally wanted to be an actress or newscaster: “Because I love talking!” She pauses reflectively and adds, “But nursing called me. My mom was next to me when I took my first breath, and I got to be next to her when she took her last. I wouldn’t change that honor for anything.”

Nicole is planning to transfer to the UCLA nursing program and hopes to work at Cedars Sinai Medical Center after earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She is also in training to try out for the Clipper girls.

My two favorite baristas—at the Starbucks Cafι on the corner of Lincoln and Maxella in Marina del Rey—are pursuing large dreams. And cancer played a significant role in their choices.

   
 

This from Marianne Williamson, quoted by Nelson Mandela in his inauguration speech:

“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Here’s to the success of the brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous Nicole and Edward.

Comment   


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Horticulture and history lessons

You’ve probably heard that the swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano from their wintering grounds 2,000 miles away every year on March 19, right?

And so you may be wondering why I visited the mission today. (You just glanced up at the date, didn’t you?)

   
 

The answer is at the end of this blog. (You’re thinking about scrolling down to the end of the blog, aren’t you?)

You may remember the excessive number of sunrise photos on my last pre-dawn road trip to Boise?

Well, today I took an excessive number of archway photos at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Brick and timber arches with cobblestoned walkways are prominent on all four sides of a large, open green. Each more beautiful than the previous.

Until viewed on my laptop where they all basically look the same.

   
 

   
   
 

You see what I’m saying.

I took my time browsing through the ten-acre grounds – peeking inside the chapel ...

   
 

... strolling past the herb and vegetable garden, past the place where they made their adobe bricks years ago, stomped their own grapes into wine.

The grounds boast quite a few plants from outer space.

   
 

Alien plants.

   
 

In the large open grassy area is a koi pond surrounding a fountain overgrown with more alien plants.

   

That was your horticulture lesson. And now for the history lesson.

The mission was founded in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra as part of Spain’s territorial expansion. By 1806, it had a population of more than 1,000 people, 10,000 head of cattle, and the Great Stone Church was completed.

Six years later, the church collapsed in an earthquake, but this is what has been preserved:

   
 

By 1812, Mexico had won its independence from Spain. The mission was sold and became part of a private ranch.

And then the US won the Mexican American war in 1848.

With the start of the Gold Rush and millions of Americans moving west, California became a state in 1850.

President Abraham Lincoln was the one who returned the run-down missions and land to the Catholic Church where preservation work was started and continues to this day.

And that’s the short version.

So, the answer to why I visited San Juan Capistrano today instead of March 19 has to do with being married to Hubby for too many years. He instilled in me a love for *no-crowd zones.*

Which made for a lovely, lazy stroll through the sunny grounds of Mission San Juan Capistrano with very little traffic.

That is, until I got back on the 405.

   
 

Oh, and I did get a photo of swallows nests as they await this year’s residents.

   
 

If you had told me a year ago that today I’d be widowed, temporarily living in my son and DIL’s apartment before moving east, and navigating the SoCal freeways like a regular tourist, I would have said, Not likely.

But here’s what I think: If you find yourself detoured off the road to where you thought you were going ... well then, get out your Google Maps app and do some exploring.

Comment   


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Apocalypse now

There was quite a bit of excitement at my neighborhood Starbux Cafι this afternoon when this hard white stuff started falling from the sky.

The locals weren’t quite sure what to make of it. I actually heard someone say something about the Apocalypse. Seriously.

   
 

Seems we’ve been having not-your-normal weather here in southern California. It rained good and hard a couple evenings ago and it’s pouring down even as we speak.

I actually saw a bit of snow on the mountains on my way to church this morning. Mountains and snow in SoCal. Who knew?

By mid-afternoon, a cool 55 degrees and some awesome-looking clouds toward the ocean. So I hopped on my pink ride and headed west. In between showers.

   
 

One lone sailboat out on the Pacific. And one lone cyclist (me) for a long stretch of the bike path that spreads across the sand.

   
 

Enjoying a ferocious winter in Marina del Rey. You people out east don’t know what winter is. Yes, I’m talking to you, Jersey.

Side note: I was at the bike rack outside a store when someone approached me on his bike.

“Nice rims,” he said.

   
 

Pretty sure he was talking about my bike.

Comment   


March 2015

Day one and loving it

Early arrival

Absolutely brilliant

Runyan Canyon

Eating our way through LA

Surviving in the city

Stadium to Sea

Changing the world

Enjoy the ride

At the beach. Again

Nicole and Edward

Horticulture & history lessons

Apocalypse now

February 2015

Sharing the beauty

Memorial quilt

Forgetfulness

Finding the positive

Accumulate experiences

Happy Sweetheart's Day

Venice canals

Another day at the beach

Foreign country

All kinds of advice

Welcome to SoCal

January 2015

Pedicures, cowgirl style

Photo ops

Powerfully profound

A mixed-emotions day

Embracing change

Unearthing treasures

Cancer-kicking community

In my defense

Doing good

Surrounded by love

Heading into the sun

Retirement

Be

Starting the year off right

December 2014

Revving up for the chase

Welcome home

Most excellent NYC adventure

Christmas gifts

Jersey horn-blowing

Sleeping well

It’s not the Pacific Northwest

Pass it on

Cold beauty on the Deschutes

Top Ten Game

How to quit your day job

Unexpected. Lovely. Inspiring.

Angels of mercy, male version

Gifting creatively

Hubby may have been right

Christmas trees

Something patch-worked

Instructions for widowhood

Waiting to see what unfolds

November 2014

Celebrating a life well lived

What if

Starbux Fairy

List-making

Homegoing

Heated tile floors

Bottom line D

Life’s too short

Something to teach us

Everything most important

Trade-off

Wearing gloves

Leaving nothing unsaid

Breaking out

October 2014

Randomness

Hospice House

The cake and the frosting

Reflections on a rainy day

Slow leaks

Counting blessings. Still.

Amazing

Feeding us

Looking for the perfect beverage

Thirsty, anyone?

Feeling loved

A wild life

SunRiver all over again

Photo shoot

September 2014

Ready for some football

Kid in a candy store

Actual birthday

German Chocolate Cake

Celebrating milestones

New recipes

More pep

One of my mothers

Thoughts from a hospital

August 2014

Down a lazy river

Em-barrassing

Siblings retreat

Creamed tuna on toast? Really?

Creating the life you want

Johnson women unite

Every sandwich

Cancer camp

Frequent flyer

Tenacious

July 2014

Short, but sweet

Walking Hubby

This cancer community

Return to the real world

Rah-rahs in town

Counting gifts

Differences

June 2014

Japanese daughter

Who’s counting

Overwhelming evidence

Guest blogger: Lilly

True love’s kiss

Father’s Day fun

Stuffed shells

About town

Dinner guests

Minutes ticking away

Move over, Walter Mitty

Heaven Can Wait for sure

May 2014

 Survival classes

Slinging ink

Theory on hospital stays

Baseball and BBQ

This is my job

Thoughts on this date night

Cranberry peonies

This Mother’s Day

We will remember

Unwanted news

Celebrating Matt

Me without you

April 2014

 One sick puppy

Quern

Invisible well wishes

Easter color

Walking 4 Wellness - part 6

For the birds

Wilderness therapy

And we believed her

Clinical trial round three

The home crowd

Beautiful tree

Best Bran Muffin recipe

Best April Fool's joke

March 2014

 That’s just swell

Welcome back celebration

Succinct conversational skills

Walking for Wellness

First clinical trial treatment

Popcorn Lovers Day

Pacific Ocean ambience

Clinical trial prep

In the eyes of the beholder

February 2014

Green scrubs

Hometown tourists

Not exactly as planned

Lost and found

Get outdoors

Early Valentine’s Day gift

Popcorn stitch

January 2014

Three-part date

Weekend forecast

Winter’s art

Spa Chemo day

Seeing beauty

Pilot Butte challenge

Award rescinded

Ambition restored

Annual award

Meet the team

Must be present to win

December 2013

New Year’s Eve news

Thoughts on gift receiving

Secret cure-all

Guest blog by Hubby

Non-compliant patient

Caught. Red-handed.

Tree-hugging

November 2013

A little trim

Giving thanks

A few of my favorite things

First in a series

Focus

The years are short

Travel

Cabin in the woods

October 2013

Leaving on a jet plane

Color

Knitting season

Pumpkin season

Things that matter

Fallin' and flying'

September 2013

Return to civilization

Another day in paradise

Happy birthday and anniversary

Love of barns

Leaving Wyoming

The Tour Guide

This nice big thing

Celebrating a lot of stuff

Fishing expedition

August 2013

Worst fears multiplied

This Friday night date

Mountains to climb

Hiking & oncology news

Out on the range

Cancer camp

Instead

July 2013

The boy who asks questions

Ten-year-old in tow

Tourists

A happy birthday

Music by the river

Mondays off

June 2013

Splash for Pink

Kids at Disney World

Male designed

Happy Father's Day

Pacific Coast thoughts

On track

May 2013

Aware. Appreciative.

MS Office 2010

Family get-togethers

It's just a number

Last trek, part two

Hardy gardeners

Mother's Day

Crunchy, sweet and savory

That time of year

April 2013

Swimming lessons

Getting off the ground

Chunk of asphalt

Stress-free zone

Two Portlands - part 2

This Boston Marathon

Earlier than the TSA

Shopping woes

March 2013

Half birthday ... again

Last trek

With each passing year

Keep the old

Tech nerd

Not the hardest thing

How hard can it be?

Just what the doc ordered

Two Portlands

Mini family reunion

February 2013

Shout out

Marvelous

There is today

Doing it up right

Happy Valentine's Day

Speaking of beans

Snow angel

Simple winter fare

Moving west

January 2013

Flat Stanley on snow-shoes

Water colors

Happy chatter

Flat Stanley visits again

Extended hope

Take that, cancer

Compromise

The commonplace

Bringing in the New Year

December 2012

Making investments

Winter wonderland

Random acts of kindness

Gift giving

The good, the bad and the ugly

Peace on earth

Cancer Club

Mission accomplished

Culture

Fantasy football

November 2012

Those darn numbers

Dreaming of a white Christmas

Back to reality

Favorite things, part IV

Complaint department

Even more favorite things

More favorite things

Favorite things

October 2012

Happy Halloween

Baking weather

Graduation day

First snow

Swans in pairs

A great fall

Date night(s)

DEFEAT Cancer

Country girl

’Tis the season

September 2012

Back in the groove

Last hurrah

Teton hiking

Wow, Yellowstone

Reconnaissance in Jackson

Barn sightings

The power of tenacity

Winnie the Pooh wisdom

Long-time survivor

Perfect marriage

August 2012

Five dollar bill

Out in public

Guest blogger, Steffany

Think outside

Survivor camp

Camp this weekend

Living in a wonderland

Sacred space

High country

July 2012

High country

Simple cooking

Locks of Love

Attitude

Average, ordinary weekend

Close of birthday week

Day before

Get outdoors

Human beans

Mission: Accomplished

Night sky display

Journey with a mission

June 2012

Ain’t no sunshine

Favorite thing

In our possession

Over the hills

Camp Sherman on Father’s Day

In search of wildflowers

Building a cancer center

Southwestern surprises

Irrational fears

Reason to celebrate

Intention

The Space Noodle

May 2012

Reunions

Hiking posse

Powered by optimism

Mother’s Day weekend

Heart tug moment

Vermont hospitality

Happiest place on earth

Supermoon

Unlikely source

Baby geese season

April 2012

Not found out west

The rules

Guess what state we’re in

New Englanders

Jersey weekend

Beantown

Easter blessings

Milestones

Bean soup day

March 2012

Fashion statement

Sharing the experience

Second day of spring

Half-broke horses

Simple pleasures are the best

Best to live your own life

Words With Friends

February 2012

Got your back

The entire snow-shoe team

Grand Canyon

Perfect day

Arizona in February

Springtime?

Super Bowl Sunday

Favorite audience

January 2012

Something in common

Some system

In such a community

Coming home

Headed for OHSU

Checklist for the coast

Welcoming Twenty-Twelve

December 2011

Snow in town

Filling Christmas weekend

Socks

Coolest date night ever

Dressed in pink

Butternut squash day

Making connections

Painted hills

November 2011

Beauty from junk

Taking nothing for granted

Grateful for - part 4

Grateful for - part 3

The child in all of us

Shepherd's House

Grateful for - part 2

Marathon epidemic

Unconquered

Grateful for - part 1

October 2011

My orthidontical twin

Last wilderness hike?

The view from 7,800 feet

Colonoscopies and fall colors

Welcome back

To make a life count

On our way to the Poconos

The Parents

Autumn day in the city

A few numbers

September 2011

Country girl signing off

Off the grid

What are sisters for?!

Try something new

For a limited time only

On the NCI web site

August 2011

I don’t make this stuff up

Brothers

Addictions

A lifetime

Club membership

Detours

Date night can’t get much better

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009

December 2008

November 2008

October 2008

September 2008

August 2008

July 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008