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day in the life

Highlighting the everyday life of a couple living well with cancer, and now a cancer widow living well on her own. Life isnt easy all the time, and there will certainly be sorrows and losses along the way. But being alive is good. It is very good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Photo ops

Hubby would have been proud of me. Sort of.

On my trip from Oregon into Northern California, I didn’t stop at the Paul-Bunyan-and-Babe-the-Blue-Ox tourist trap. And I didn’t pull off the road to Crater Lake (since it was snowed in). And I didn’t stop at Carson Mansion.

Although I did have to pay tribute to the last of the Oregon Cascades ...


... before saying hello to the California redwoods ...



... and the Pacific northern coast Ocean.


I also wasn’t planning to stop at any elk sightings, but I passed a green field with about fifty elk. I had no choice.

Note large rack at bottom left.



I’m spending a couple days in the beautiful land of Ferndale where Hubby’s youngest brother and his wife own an organic beef ranch, and where sis-in-law works on her father’s organic dairy ranch.


Apparently this is how cowgirls/dairywomen check on the pregnant and soon-to-be-pregnant cows (think souped-up golf cart with off-road tires).


Great-niece and I helped, as you can see.


I had assumed that being with Hubby’s family—at all the places where we were together and now I was there without him—would be hard. (Not that these people are hard to get along with, but you know, depressing.)

So far, that hasn’t been the case, and I’m not saying it won’t ever be the case.

But adapting to widowhood has involved quite the learning curve, and being with Hubby’s family without having to deal with depression has made the transition less curvy. For this I am extremely grateful.

Side note: The Porch Fairy. You may remember her from Gary’s declining days when she left gifts and gift cards and food and Chai tea and coffee and flowers on our front porch. Often. Daily.

Well, she made one last hit before I left town. Something for the road, she said.

This basket lined with a cool retro-50s embroidered tea cloth ...


... and stuffed with almonds and cashews, granola bars and banana chips, fresh fruits and dried fruits, dark chocolate, bottled waters and flavored beverages, a mug with tea bags, crackers and cookies. And more.

What am I going to do without the Porch Fairy? Wah.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Powerfully profound

The last time I was at Todd Lake was with Hubby, mom-in-law and the sibs-in-law. On a warm August day just five months ago.


A frozen Todd Lake with Broken Top to the north

Yesterday I snow-shoed out to Todd Lake from Mt. Bachelor. Packing Hubby’s ashes.


Mt. Bachelor to the southeast

I sat for the longest time. Looking out across the lake. Thinking about all the hikes and snow-shoe treks with Hubby in these majestic Cascades.

Remembering the family vacation in August and how timely that was.

Enticing the gray jays with toasted walnuts.


Enough with the procrastination.

I hiked up to a sheltered area beneath impossibly tall trees overlooking the lake.


I pried open the urn with long-nosed pliers, pulled out the sturdy plastic bag, instinctively cradling it to my chest. And started sobbing. Long and hard, I wailed.

Wow. Didn’t see that coming.

Hubby wasn’t in that bag—he is at home with the Father—but his remains represent his suffering. The cancer pain. The indignity of nephrostomy tubes sticking out of his kidneys. The hospitalizations from infections due to the tubes. The side effects of chemo. Of radiation. The loss of appetite. The loss of energy. The spread of disease to bones, to critical organs.

I sobbed for what he suffered. And all without complaint.

This from my journal this morning:

I plan to snowshoe out to Todd Lake with Gary’s ashes. And if I could say anything to my beloved on this day, it would be this: “Thank you for choosing me as your bride. For your gentleness, your would-do-anything-for-me kindness.

Thank you for having a strong work ethic. For holding good jobs that provided well so I could stay home full-time with the kids when they were younger.

For being faithful. I didnt take this for granted, but I also never once wondered if you were being unfaithful.

Im particularly grateful that you fought cancer well. You disciplined yourself with regular physical activity. You had incredible self-control when it came to sticking with healthy eating. You put up with my recipe experimentation (remember the creamed tuna on toast that didnt turn out quite like your mother used to make?).

Ive been saying good-by to the place where you and I lived and loved more fully than ever before, the place where you took your final breath. Central Oregon will forever be special to me.

Life isn’t the same without you. But it is good, and I want to make the most of the time I have left on earth before I see you again. I will always love you.

This is what I would say to him.

I wore the chain with the two burnished silver charms one that reads I love you and the other with Hubbys name, both in his handwriting.


“I love you” in Hubby’s declining handwriting

They were tucked under layers, but as the morning warmed up and I peeled off first the ski jacket, and then the fleece jacket, the charms made a soft clinking sound. As if we were snow-shoeing together.

I cried off and on, heading back up the hill to Mt. Bachelor. It was a sweetly sorrowful experience, one I will never forget.

I had no idea how powerfully profound this day in the snowy woods by a frozen lake would be.

Ceremony. Its not just something we humans make up to mark milestones in our lives. Its critically important for saying the things that need to be said upon closureor a new beginningof an important life event.

So grateful to have shared this life with Hubby.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

A mixed-emotions day

How many men does it take to load up forty-one years of marriage into a 10’ cargo trailer?

These three ...


... as long as these two women are directing traffic.


For a while there, we looked a little like the Beverly Hillbillies.

(In fact, when it was obvious my mattress and box springs weren’t going to fit, there was a brief discussion of attaching them to the top with the rocking chair, and one of us could ride up there.)


Hubby would have enjoyed the challenge – he who loved puzzles and Rubik’s cubes and whose life’s work was to solve problems for an entire company of computer users, and keep the large IBM 360 running.

It was hard getting the crew to stop for lunch – these friends who did such a fabulous job with hardly a square inch wasted.


Today ended up being one of those mixed-emotions days.

Relief to be finished with the paring down and packing up.

Anticipation of how the journey ahead will unfold.

Gratitude for these good friends—and so many others—who’ve shared the load of these past few months, including the load of today.

And a tug of heart-sadness. Because a ridiculously happy stage is coming to an end.

Leaving Bend is a setting aside of Hubby’s and my life together. Belonging to a fabulous community of cancer-kicking heroes. Serving alongside some of the best people I’ve ever worked with and for. Hiking and snow-shoeing in our beloved Cascade Mountains.

Full years. Proactive living. Not taking anything for granted. Counting blessings every day. Every day.

I don’t know how many times my first waking thought was of gratitude to God for one more day with Hubby; one more day in which he was able to propel himself out of bed – because who knew how many more there would be.

And yet in the mix of today’s emotions, absolutely no regret over making the decision to move forward.

And so this is my storage unit for the next four months—I got it at a highly discounted rate—while I temporarily head south to Marina del Rey before moving east permanently. 


Gary and Carolyn, I can’t thank you and Sam and Sam (not a typo) and Kattaryna and Lynn enough for your labor and support in this hard work of packing and fitting every puzzle piece together into the trailer and the backs of our vehicles.

You rock. As friends. As movers and packers. As Beverly Hillbillies.

I sent this photo to Daughter Summer a few minutes ago. “View from my little yellow chair by the fire,” I texted.


She responded: “I like what you’ve done with the place.”


Friday, January 23, 2015

Embracing change

A high school girlfriend sent a recent New York Times article entitled “Writing Your Way to Happiness” that confirmed what Ive suspected all along.


Apparently studies have shown that writing about personal experiences can improve mental, physical and emotional health.

“Dr. Timothy Wilson, a psychology professor and lead author of a Duke study, believes that while writing doesn’t solve every problem, it can definitely help people cope. ’Writing forces people to reconstrue [reinterpret] whatever is troubling them and find new meaning in it,’ he said.”

I’ve kept a journal for years. It was therapeutic to write through the ups and downs of cancer. Being completely honest. Capturing my fears and sorrows. My hopes. My hopes dashed.

This from the morning of November 17, not knowing Hubby would be leaving me later that evening:

It continues to be peaceful here [in Hospice House]. Part of me unrealistically doesn’t want this time to end. Because when it ends, it means I will go home to a husband-less house. Which I’m dreading more than anything.

Something as simple as acknowledging how Im feeling can de-intensify (un-intensify?) its power over me.

And now theres research to prove what Ive thought all along: My journaling has saved Hubby thousands of dollars in psychotherapy costs through the years.

We got a new refrigerator well over a year ago. Picked out and delivered courtesy of property management. I emptied the contents of the make-shift fridge (read: ice chest) into the new machine, arranged in a similar fashion as in the old fridge. After all, we are creatures of habit.

The only thing I didnt like was how the side door pockets had openings at the bottom, and the bottles of condiments seemed to lean forward rather precariously.


And then, not too long ago, I cleaned out the fridge. Pulled everything out. Wiped it down. Got rid of stuff that was growing moss.

Much to my amazement, when I started reloading the fridge, I discovered that the side door was designed to hold a gallon jug. Pure genius. A woman must have designed this.


The moral of the story has to do with mental health. Its about not missing out on a good thing, a genius thing, an adventure, simply because we tend to be creatures of habit.

Ive blogged about my theory on why Ive had so much contentment and peace at a time of such unspeakable loss. I suspect part of my current mental health has to do with journaling. 

And with deciding to sit up and pay attention to the new design, to new opportunities.

Keeping an open heart and open mind so I’m not necessarily doing things like I’ve always done them ... simply because that’s how I’ve always done them.

All my earthly possessions are being loaded into a ten-foot cargo trailer tomorrow morning. I’m hitting the road next week to a new chapter.

Not the chapter I wanted. But unafraid to try things a different way.

Because this is what Hubby would have wanted for me.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Unearthing treasures

I’ve made a sizeable dent in paring down and packing up the place for my move toward a new adventure. Came across some fun things tucked away in file folders.

A letter from SIL Josh (before he was SIL) thanking me for the assortment of homemade goodies that Daughter Summer pilfered from the home kitchen upon returning to college after winter break. With Josh in mind.

And a collection of Grandparents’ Newsletters written regularly by Summer when the grandkidlets were young, young.


This from Newsletter #41 dated November 24, 2003:

“Lilly [age three] has such an imagination. On Tuesday, Titus was Nemo. She would go to her room, count to ten and then come out yelling, ’Nemo!’

“I asked, ’What are you doing?’ and she answered, ’Finding Nemo.’

“She would then go to Titus and say, ’Nemo, there you are!’ and tackle him. ’I’m so glad to see you again, Nemo! You’re so special to me.’

“He loved it.”


Nemo found

And this 1950s photo. Apparently I was in a baby show, which I remember nothing about, although I do remember seeing these photos ages ago.


Junior Queen in the 5- and 6-year-old division, far right

And apparently I won first place in the Red Head Division (more than likely I was the only red head in the division).


Photo was not color enhanced

What I do remember clearly about my bright red hair and equally bright freckles was that I was teased. Relentlessly. By brothers. By kids at school. Frequently. Freckle-Faced Time Bomb was one particularly charming nickname. 

By junior high, the hair and freckles had faded somewhat, but not enough. I begged my mother to let me use Sun In, a popular spray product in the 60s that would have lightened my hair to blonde.

She didn’t buy into it.

And now that my hair has naturally lightened to a strawberry blonde, I find myself wishing I had sassy red hair again.

We women are never satisfied, are we?

More treasures found in the files. Artwork. The grandparents, as perceived by Lilly. (Notice the red hair. Although it appears that Grandpa has been given red hair, as well.)


The grandparents - that would be me and Hubby

With this message: “Hap Valtiz Da (translation, Happy Valentines Day).

This is way more fun than a person whose life has just been disrupted should be having.

Back to packing. To see what other treasures I can unearth.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Cancer-kicking community

These gorgeous blooms. Going-away gift at this week’s DEFEAT Cancer dinner meeting.


The flowers remind me that Hubby and I were part of an incredibly courageous, active, audacious, loving community of super-heroes here in central Oregon.

So many memories with them – Soaring Spirits Camp, the monthly DEFEAT Cancer meetings, hula hooping, walking, hiking, snow-shoeing, knitting. And so much more.

And while it was my job at the Cancer Center to facilitate a number of these programs, Hubby and I also participated in them (well, not Hubby and knitting).

What these people maybe don’t know is, they were part of Hubby’s and my cancer team. They spurred us on. Simply by being.

And I will forever hold them close in my heart.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

In my defense

A 3:53am flash of revelation today. For those of you who think I’m sinking into senility (read: my kids), I have a perfect defense for my recent lapses of forgetfulness when it comes to greeting cards and maybe a few other things.

The first time I bought a card for Hubby and couldn’t find it was when we were going away for the weekend. I purchased the card early and placed it in my overnight bag—a perfectly logical location—so I wouldn’t forget it. And of course couldn’t find it before we left town, which means I had to purchase another card.

Yesterday’s discovery of a second undelivered card wasn’t so much a matter of couldn’t find it—and this is where my brainflash came in—but a result of purchasing the perfect anniversary card a few months too early. And then forgetting about it. Which of course means I purchased a second card for the same occasion.

The moral of the story: It doesn’t pay to be efficient.

The inside of the card reads, You made our life exactly what I’d hoped it would be one filled with happiness and love.


Anyone in the market for a free, never-used, anniversary card for the most perfect husband?

Well, actually, it would have to be the second-most perfect husband because the first-most is already spoken for.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Doing good

This is another one of those blogs that jumps all over the place. You’ve been warned. (And yes, I’m aware that proper grammar would be, Doing well.)

Coming out of a mammogram appointment, I fumble through my purse for the keys and point them at my car.

The doors won’t unlock. Which was exactly what happened at the snowshoe trailhead a couple weeks ago when the battery died.

Oh great, I’m thinking, another drained battery.

The brother-in-law who lectured me about not letting my gas tank drop below half, is now going to lecture about dead batteries.

And Hubby is probably knocking his head against a wall in heaven somewhere.

And then I discovered my car. One parking space ahead. (Hubby is still hitting his head.)


That was the start of the day that took me next to the local Social Security office—you’d think I’d be finished with all the business of becoming a widow by now—where I had to prove I was married to Hubby by showing them our original marriage certificate.

Really? The SSA couldn’t collaborate with some other government agency—like maybe the IRS—to get that information?

A couple more errands, and then on the way home, this billboard --which I’ve seen numerous times, but still it caused my heart to flutter ever so slightly.


Because these are the women who lovingly cared for Hubby in his final days. And if I had to put a name to the heart flutter, I’d say it was a mixture of gratitude and sorrow and gladness.

Which sounds a bit oxymoronic, but those last days were sweet and sorrowful, and mostly my heart was grateful for Hospice House and the team of doctors and nurses.

I came across this anniversary card today in my paring down and packing. I love living life with you.



I can’t imagine anyone who would’ve been a better companion and friend for me along the way, the front reads.

And even though Hubby never received this card—because I hid it too well in my sock drawer and then forgot about it—he knew I felt this way. He knew I loved living life with him.

He knew his days were numbered when he enrolled in hospice care, and he still teased the field nurse and grumbled good naturedly if she showed up at the house a few minutes later than expected.

The only thing he wasn’t sure of, though, was if I would be OK on my own. He fretted over that until the day he died.

But I’m doing my best to prove he had nothing to worry about.

Well, except for the forgetting-to-check-the-gas-gauge thing.

And the killing-the-car-battery thing.

Oh, and then there’s the trying-to-break-into-someone-else’s-car thing.

Other than that, I’m good.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Surrounded by love

My intent was to stay until mid-day. But I was up early. And packed. And eager to get on the road and home safely. It was such a ’Hubby’ thing to do.

I spent this weekend in Boise. First time visiting mom-in-law without Hubby. First time sitting in front of a snow-covered fire pit. But more about that later.

I’ve thanked mom-in-law several times through the years for doing such a great job of raising Hubby for me. She usually declines to take much credit. “He came that way,” she says.

(Can’t remember a time she’s ever said that about any of her other sons.)


Sweet mom-in-law

Take the pyro-maniac son, for example. Apparently you light the snow.


And flame appears magically.


So the girls can enjoy breakfast by the fire.


This is how it’s done in Idaho.

Hubby’s cousin’s son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first child. Which meant food, and girl talk, and much laughter at a baby shower on Saturday.

The expectant mommy, third from right, with Hubby’s aunt, cousin, cousin’s daughters and granddaughter. Four generations of beautiful women.


One of these beautiful young cousins (her initials are Mindy Tristan) gave me the gift of WillowTree art.

When I unwrapped the gift, I was delighted to note it’s the same figurine I received just last week from a high school girlfriend.


The name of this particular piece is ’Surrounded by Love.’

It’s as if God is saying, “You are surrounded by love. No, really. Pay attention. You are surrounded by love.”

As I continue paring down and packing this week toward stepping out in a new direction—risky, exciting, uncertain thing, this stepping out—I am reminded that I don’t go alone.

I am surrounded.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Heading into the sun

There have been so many lasts and firsts lately. And today a new one.

My first time driving across the high desert to visit family in Idaho. On my own.

Leaving Bend under cover of dark. Driving toward the lighting of a new day. I had to stop at least five or six times to shoot the sunrise because it kept getting more spectacular.

What do you mean they all look alike?






The photos remind me of a road trip Hubby and I took in the fall of our early-married years. I shot pictures of the Colorado aspens. And around every bend in the road was another even-more-beautiful cluster of yellow-gold.

We had a cute little camera – the kind where you take the cartridge to a photo center and wait a week to see if your photos turn out. You may have seen one in a museum once.

When I picked up my photos, every single picture of leaves turning golden looked like ... every single picture of leaves turning golden.

Hubby wouldn’t have wanted to stop five or six times to shoot the same sunrise photo over and over this morning.

He would have been on a mission, and that would have been to get his family safely to the destination.

I will say, though, that Hubby changed in his cancer years. For example, although he didn’t stop at every tumble-down barn on our way to Jackson Hole on our last road trip, he at least slowed down.

This was progress.


Monday, January 5, 2015


My first day of retirement, defined as the first work day I didn’t have to work for the rest of my life.

I’m going to love being retired, but I didn’t exactly spend this day with my feet up, reading to my heart’s content and eating popcorn (although eating popcorn will come later this evening).


Instead, I had my annual well women’s check-up, including blood work, which is always fun.

The next fun thing was revisiting DMV, this time with the correct paperwork completed and notarized. (You will remember my previous visit to DMV where the correct paperwork was behind the counter, which one couldn’t have until one’s number was called, which didn’t happen until one had sat there for well over an hour.)

I provided the DMV clerk with some valuable feedback. “You should have FASTPASSes for people who have to leave to get their forms notarized. When they come back, they should be able to use a FASTPASS. Good idea, right?”

She looked at me rather strangely.

Next fun outing was to my cell phone carrier. The same people who said I would be able to lease a new iPhone6 at $5 a month—instead of $20—because Hubby and I were loyal ten-year customers. The first invoice of the new contract, however, charged me $20.

“What happened to the $5 monthly lease fee?” I want to know. The rep explained to me that that offer was only good on our previous contract.

“Well that’s the contract I want, then.”

“No, that was the contract that had your husband on it.”

“But my son and I were told because of the loyalty thing, I got a break on the iPhone lease.”

“But that was only good on your previous contract,” all the while smiling at me like I’m some sort of idiot who can’t recognize a good deal when I hear it.

From there, the fun continued. Marathon on-hold phone times with North American Van Lines, U-Haul, State Farm Insurance, and Insurance Marketplace.

This was my first day of retirement.

And I loved every minute of it. Because I’m a retired girl.

Because all work going forward will be play, which means I’ll never work another day in my life.

(Well, except for the occasional toilet scrubbing.)


Sunday, January 4, 2015


The gifts keep coming. And while I know I wasn’t going to post any more blogs about gifts, I am intrigued by so many creative ones.

This spring color, for example, arrived as a dead bulb barely sticking it’s brown head out of brown dirt. Not what you would call pretty. Yet.

But look at it, standing tall on its sturdy green stem. A touch of spring in winter.


Coming home from work to driveway and sidewalks shoveled on a day when the snow was much deeper than shown here. Thoughtful anonymous gift. (I had my suspicions.)



You remember the gift of mismatched socks while Daughter Summer and I were holed away at Hospice House with Hubby?

And you remember the tagline, “Life’s too short to wear matching socks”? Well, more mismatched socks in the mail. Love.


And then all the way from Hawaii, flowered and Farmers-Market-themed stamps that promise winter won’t last forever.

Creative, practical, perfect gift. Because who can’t use stamps?


This bracelet that I pair with my “Half my heart is in heaven” bracelet also showed up in the mail.

A reminder to embrace the journey. The journey might not take you where you wanted to go. But surely there is something in each turn of the road that can provide opportunity to speak gratitude.


The tiny heart has a cursive “B” engraved on it. It may stand for the name of the jewelry company for all I know.

But I interpret it as the word, “Be.”

As in, be joyful. Be grateful.

Be a friend. Be available. Be a source of wisdom, of hope.

The word be suggests choice. I get to choose whether I want to be thankful or complaining. Kind or not-so-kind. Loving or selfish.

I sent a farewell letter to the full survivorship e-mail list at work on Friday, my last day in the Cancer Center. A friend wrote back, sharing the words that became his mantra during the process of losing his young daughter to cancer:

Define your purpose; live your reason.

I have an idea of what my purpose is for this next season. I believe God gave me a love for writing, an ability to write, stories to tell. And so I’m placing all my eggs in one basket and giving it my full-time effort.

The “B” on the bracelet speaks to me in this endeavor. Be unafraid; be a risk-taker; be creative, it says.

Be about finding your purpose and living it.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Starting the year off right

Temps in the single digits and I’m wearing extra layers. Celebrating the start of a New Year by snow-shoeing.


Not forgetting anything important. The Camelbak for hydration. Snowshoes. Trekking poles. Homemade toasted nuts to feed the birds. And me.

Glorious powdery snow. Beauty and creativity along the trail. Here, a fallen log tucked in tightly with fleecy blanket.


Snow shelter on mountainside. Beggar birds willing to perform for their supper.


A family of snowmen created by fellow show-shoers.


Much fun. Great exercise. Natural beauty. Four and a half miles round trip with plenty of uphill and down.

I was, however, not able to get any water out of the Camelbak bladder. Hubby was always the bladder-filler-upper while I was the packer of lunches. I never paid close attention to how he did it.

And then back at the trailhead, my vehicle wouldn’t start. Because someone had left the lights on. Hubby was always the driver to wilderness trails. He never left the lights on.

Luckily I ran into a friend and her family in the parking lot. Alas, the jumper cables wouldn’t reach from her vehicle to mine. (We even tried to connect two sets of cables together. Which almost worked. Not quite.)



To the tow truck driver working on New Year’s Day who happened along just then and who, out of the goodness of your heart, jumpstarted my vehicle – here’s wishing you the happiest of New Years.


With a sigh of relief, I’m headed back down the mountain. Glancing at the gas gauge—which I’m not in the habit of doing because Hubby always kept my vehicle filled—the needle is awfully close to the little red “E.”

Made it to a gas station in town. Pulled into my driveway. The garage door opens exactly ten inches. Not nearly enough to drive my car through. Not nearly enough for me to slide under.

The door into the house from the garage was my only way in. I hadn’t brought my full set of keys because who wants to pack extra stuff into the wilderness.

This is all Hubby’s fault. He took too good care of me.


December 2014

Revving up for the chase

Welcome home

Most excellent NYC adventure

Christmas gifts

Jersey horn-blowing

Sleeping well

Its 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



Heated tile floors

Bottom line

Lifes too short

Something to teach us

Everything most important


Wearing gloves

Leaving nothing unsaid

Breaking out

October 2014


Hospice House

The cake and the frosting

Reflections on a rainy day

Slow leaks

Counting blessings. Still.


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


Siblings retreat

Creamed tuna on toast? Really?

Creating the life you want

Johnson women unite

Every sandwich

Cancer camp

Frequent flyer


July 2014

Short, but sweet

Walking Hubby

This cancer community

Return to the real world

Rah-rahs in town

Counting gifts


June 2014

Japanese daughter

Whos counting

Overwhelming evidence

Guest blogger: Lilly

True loves 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 Mothers Day

We will remember

Unwanted news

Celebrating Matt

Me without you

April 2014

One sick puppy


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 Fools joke

March 2014

Thats 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 Valentines Day gift

Popcorn stitch

January 2014

Three-part date

Weekend forecast

Winters 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.


November 2013

A little trim

Giving thanks

A few of my favorite things

First in a series


The years are short


Cabin in the woods

October 2013

Leaving on a jet plane


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


July 2013

The boy who asks questions

Ten-year-old in tow


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


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


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


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)


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


Average, ordinary weekend

Close of birthday week

Day before

Get outdoors

Human beans

Mission: Accomplished

Night sky display

Journey with a mission

June 2012

Aint 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


The Space Noodle

May 2012


Hiking posse

Powered by optimism

Mothers Day weekend

Heart tug moment

Vermont hospitality

Happiest place on earth


Unlikely source

Baby geese season

April 2012

Not found out west

The rules

Guess what state were in

New Englanders

Jersey weekend


Easter blessings


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


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


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


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 dont make this stuff up



A lifetime

Club membership


Date night can’t get much better

July 2010

Beauty in the high desert

Another shot at life

Happy Hour

Almost perfect

Enjoying the journey

Birthday week kick-off

Ive become my mother

Bobby McFerrin + OBF

50 things to do Part II

June 2010

Like what you do

Colorado wildlife

Life is good wisdom

Sad day

Rocky Mountain high

Cowboy sing-along

My kind of town

Please dont feed the bears

Naming buildings

Low expectations

Heaven Can Wait

Because nice matters

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




A frozen Todd Lake with Broken Top to the north

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