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.
Tuesday, May 21,
A friend recently
asked how hubby was doing on his new med, Zytiga. I wrote back:
Of course this
answer was based on the fact that hubby is still moving full speed
ahead and is experiencing very few of the long list of side
But there’s that
darn every-three-months PSA test that seems to not be working in
our favor lately.
Up five points to
15.1 at this week’s check-in with the oncologist. This, after
it hovered around *one* for so many years. Bummer.
look like a man with metastatic disease?
You want to know my
take? Hubby’s last PSA test was done three months ago. He didn’t get
approval to begin Zytiga until six or seven weeks after that.
The PSA could
easily have climbed during the time before the new meds kicked
Either way, we all know there
are no guarantees on how long each of us has on this planet. With every
rising PSA count, we are reminded of this truth.
Which makes me
think of a quote from a John & Stasi Eldredge book:
Now we should live while the pulse of life is strong.
Emphasis on now.
Sunday, May 19,
Not one to pass up
a date with hubby, we threw snowshoe gear into the back of our
vehicle and headed for the snowy mountains.
We knew Cascade
Lakes Hwy had been plowed past Mt. Bachelor, but the roads into
some of the lakes weren’t open yet.
No worries when you
have your own snowshoes, right?
snowshoes, will travel
Turns out, we
needed only lightweight jackets, a camera, our lunch and a picnic
The road into the
Elk Lake campground was still closed, but it was a short walk
from the gate. On
dry pavement, much to my disappointment.
picnic at 5,000 feet
And so, on a cool
spring day at 5,000 ft elevation—puffy
clouds hiding the nearby peaks, chipmunks scurrying by, Sunday
fishermen on the lake—egg
salad sandwiches and watermelon never tasted better.
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.