Thursday, March 31, 2011

wild thoughts and memories

Buttercups make me think back to my childhood.  Every young child in northwest New Jersey knows that you could tell if someone liked butter by holding a buttercup under their chin. If you put the flower of the buttercup up to your chin and it reflected yellow onto your skin it was a fact!  I think you were also supposed to become rich!  We’d find buttercups and put them under one another’s chins and say “yup, you like butter!”  I wonder who the first one to tell me that was.  A friend?  My mom?  My grandmother?  I  hope I get the opportunity to be the first one to tell my grandkids!

Buttercups are one of my favorite flowers because they are so bright and cheerful… they grow wild.  I love flowers that don’t need to be replanted year after year… but are beautiful AND hardy and strong.  Resilient.  They bloom where they are planted.  They fade in later seasons but come back in the spring time.
There is something beautiful about perennial plants because they endure or persist from the same root part year to year.  They come back to bloom again even when you think they are gone forever.  Annuals have to be replanted because they die when the harsher weather arrives… although they do produce seeds that have potential to grow again.
I want to plant more perennial plants.  They make me feel hopeful!
My husband is in the habit of calling me buttercup too, so that’s another reason I like them.   If I call him on the phone I might hear… “What’s up Buttercup?”   If he needs a ride… “Come pick me up Buttercup!”  If I ask him if he wants a refill on coffee or wine… “Fill me up Buttercup!”

Another favorite flower of my youth is the Lilly of the Valley.  It brings back many nice childhood memories.  My grandmother had them planted all around her house in Little Falls, New Jersey.  They were so fragrant and spread like little weeds.  One year she dug some up from her own yard and we replanted them an hour's drive away to our home in the country.  They also spread and would come up every year after that.   I like to think they are still there giving joy to the new owners.  They look like little bells and smell delicious!  I would pick bouquets of them and put them all around the house! Mmmm…..

Sunday, March 27, 2011

mulling over a day gone by...

It wasn't the greatest day. I know I've had much worse but today my emotions were up and down and I had little patience and just felt like crying. I bought a sewing machine and sat down to use it and found a part was missing. Can't sew without the foot that holds the material in place. Grrr.... A little part, but a major one.

My second iPad died. Got the first one for Christmas. That one died the first week. This one lasted almost three months but conked out today. Sniff...

My neck hurts. Still. Very tired of that.

My hot flashes have returned. Ferociously. Getting (very) tired of that too.

As I prepare to go to sleep after an emotional day, I think through the previous hours and I'm aware that there were many good things in my day too. I don't want to define the day by the negative thoughts and feelings because there were also many good moments.

I took a long walk this morning. The air was cool and refreshing. It gave me joy. I spent the time as I walked talking to my mom on the phone. We had a nice "visit".

My old dog is behaving puppy-like. The medicine from the vet for his allergies and infection has worked so well he has been behaving like a young dog again. Energetic when I walked him (twice today!) and even chewing on his "brush-a-teeth"! He hasn't wanted to do that in a long time because it hurt to chew. It's nice to see him so happy and playful!

I went out and did some shopping... getting some new pillows and household items, a new (cool) nightgown, and a new (pink) purse! It was good to get out on a nice day. I also made a wonderful lunch when I got home. Tacos made with fresh ingredients in warm corn tortillas. Edd loved them.

Watched an interesting movie called Powder. Kind of weird. But still made me think. I like movies that make me think.

Edd and I had nice talks. Sometimes we see funny things here and around Austin. Today we saw a guy apparently hired on as a human signpost advertising something or another for a local business. He held his sign with as little effort as possible, even having his head resting on the sign as he tried to nap. Edd said wryly, "that guy could actually get fired due to lack of performance!" Made me laugh.

I want to focus on the good as much as I can even though I have my moments of feeling defeated and discouraged. So I am thankful... and today wasn't really so bad afterall.

If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again. ~Flavia Weedn, Flavia and the Dream Maker

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears. ~John Vance Cheney

I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. ~Agatha Christie


Saturday, March 12, 2011


Today I cried.

Words have been popping into my head.  Words like courage.  And resiliency. Humility.
Today Edd lost his hair.  Oh, he has a little bit left but a significant amount has fallen out now so as to be able to honestly say he is balding.  It happened exactly when we were told it would.  Into the third week of his three-week radiation treatment.  I thought we were ready and prepared but when I saw him after his shower I saw a man who was putting on a face of courage.  I also knew he needed acceptance.  I kissed him and told him I see way past his lack of hair.  I see deep into the man who gives me so much.  Who has so much strength and selflessness.
I wasn’t saddened that he lost his hair.  Hair is just… well, hair… but I saw a  man who has had to adjust over and over again.  Truth be told I have had to adjust too.  Over and over.  Cancer has moves.  Powerful moves and unexpected moves
I’m in a place I can’t just pop out of.  I have to live it.  I can’t pretend I’m not here and try to change my life.  I feel as though it’s a dormant season and there is a reason for it.  There is a purpose in it.  I don’t know what it is, but I have to be open and just allow life, LIFE, to unfold.  It’s  not that unusual  for my tears to flow, but I was able to isolate one of the reasons.

I cried because I met courage.  I cried because of the horribleness of cancer and yet how it causes people to reach into the best part of themselves.  Deep places that you never even knew were there.  I met courage in the face of my husband.  I met it also in myself.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.  ~Ambrose Redmoon

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I love when mornings begin in a peaceful way. For years now my day has begun with a cup of coffee with Edd ...and quiet conversation. Sometimes deep conversation and sometimes silly and care free. Usually about our kids or the plans of the day, current events, the weather... anything. Often there is laughter over something or another. Today it involved our dreams.

I woke and began chattering about knowing I had many dreams but couldn't quite reach back into my head far enough to pluck them out again...but I did remember one. I was going to an appointment but needed to polish my nails first. I borrowed polish from someone who had a color that matched my outfit beautifully. It was a light pale green! It was perfect and I quickly polished my nails. They were taking too long to dry though and I was late for my appointment... Huh? Weird.

When I told Edd he laughed and said, "I think it's funny that you have girl dreams and I have boy dreams". Then he told me he had dreams last night about cars and beer and work! That made me laugh. He wasn't drinking beer but calculating how much was needed for a party that was being organized. Even in his dreams Edd is solving problems. Me? I'm just polishing my nails!

I do tend to be listening and observing more than I used to though. I find it more fun to be engaged and "present" with the people around me. I listened to an old couple today as the wife filled out a questionnaire for her husband in the waiting room. She asked him questions loudly as everyone had no choice but to listen. "Do you feel tired? No. Are you constipated? No. Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Well I take them sleepin' pills remember?" Another old man shuffled in with his bossy wife who commandingly but kindly said, "Sit over there." He obeyed but his smirk made me chuckle and he teasingly commented, "Don't you laugh!" I responded, "Sometimes you just have to do what you're told." Nice ordinary people.

Many of the people around me each day are facing some awful scary and life-changing events. It's actually a privilege to just offer a smile or kind word along their journey.

Ordinary days can be extra-ordinary days if we just look around and see the potential for interaction with others and have the courage to see more than our own problems. Today was an extra-ordinary day.


Monday, March 7, 2011

more to-dos... and such...

Top things I want to do instead of spending my time on other things that are not bad things but are getting in the way of things I need to do that may be more important than.... yeah... here are some of them... sheesh!

Read. Something interesting... something more calculating than just surfing the net. I have GREAT books I've bought in the last year laying around that I haven't read yet! I need to! I want to! Don't I? Yeah, I do.

Exercise. I will feel sooo much better about myself.

Eat more healthy... and lighter. See above.

Spend more time connecting with people I love... and miss... and appreciate.

Learn something new. Could I learn one new thing every day... and remember it? That's the key. I forget things easily... I need to make a conscious effort to remember .... hmm... maybe I'll start a "Here's what I learned new today" list. Dorky... but so... ME.

Stop putting off the projects I need to do... redo the shower, clean the closet, get rid of the clothes we NEVER wear, buy that new front door we need, get lawn service to pull some bushes and dump some dirt, get some painting done... yeah, that would feel good.

What a nice day... nice that I can sit down and think happy thoughts and enjoy life. Nice that I can sit here drinkinig my coffee and meditate on what it means to be content.... Nice that right this very moment all seems well in the world. Nice that inspite of all the challenges we face in life God still gives days full of peace and hope. I am very blessed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

end of the day thoughts...

Today while we were at the oncologist's office a nurse said to Edd. "It's nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you." We looked at each other as if to say, "oh boy, what have you heard and yes, of course you've heard about me, I've been coming here for 2 1/2 years now"... but she then said, "You are a favorite around here!"

That I can understand.

Even in the middle of the harshest realities of life laughing sure can feel good. Though I know he doesn't always see it or understand it, Edd has the most amazing positive and unselfish attitude out of anyone I know. Not that he thinks everything will always be wonderful, but he CHOOSES to be happy. He CHOOSES to live his life in a positive way. He feels that the alternative is just unacceptable to a good life. "Who wants to live a life being sad all the time?" is what I've heard him say.

When Dr. Chadha entered the room and talked to Edd asking him this question or that, he also commented on his attitude and how upbeat he always is. Edd told him he used to be an angry person and weened himself off of that type of behavior saying it just does no good.

I enjoy spending time with Edd. I've actually learned so much from him. I've witnessed someone in pain and yet does not crumble and give up. I just don't think I'd be that strong. I wonder if I would have REALLY gotten to know him and seen what he is made of had it not been for this cancer.

As we sat in the various rooms today awaiting treatment we found things to laugh about. Dr. Chadha is always (way) late for his appointments and we laughed about how we might still be waiting in this room tomorrow morning... or maybe the cleaning crew will find us later tonight and let us out the locked front door to go home... or instead of peeing in the cup couldn't he just SPIT in it this time! Edd has such a fun dry sense of humor that has ALWAYS kept me laughing....

On the drive home he said something he's said before ... that if giving up the cancer meant giving up me, he'd keep the cancer and keep me. That I am the best thing that has happened to him. I told him I'd find it hard to give him up but would... if it meant his cancer would be gone too. Not sure why we have these talks, but they reflect a depth of love that we consider very special.

I'm finding peace in asking questions of God... finding peace even in my doubt and somehow finding faith and hope there. True faith. I read recently that "if you never questioned your beliefs, - you are just a puppet dancing to somebody's strings. If God had wanted your mindless obedience, you would've been created without mind and without free will. But you have both so you can come to God of your own accord. Just look at the lives of saints, - most of them had gone through a dark night of the soul, and that's why their faith was so strong. The path to true faith always goes through doubt. So ask those questions you've always been afraid to ask, and find the answers, and then your faith will become unshakable."

I don't know if my faith will ever be unshakable, but I know what a dark night of the soul feels like... and I hope God will help me to trust and rest even when I don't understand....