Updates, discoveries and funnies.

I used the weather as an excuse to skip my walk this morning.  It rained all night–hard.photo-18 I know this because I woke up several times. That’s another excuse for not walking. Too little sleep.

I dreamed between spurts of wakefulness. I can recall this morning what I think was a brief encounter with my ex. Simpler times.  We were together, doing mundane tasks, together. Talking. Smiling. There was no anger, no angst. I would like to think my level of acceptance has risen to higher ground. I’m at peace.

I must say, though, that I am not quite so peaceful about my eye. Excited but not quite settled. I still wear a guard over my eye at night. That’s probably one reason for the wakefulness.  I’m still putting drops in my eye three times a day.  That’s down from four times.  And it’s one medication instead of the three this time last week.

The most important aspect of this scenario–my vision–is a work in progress.  The cataract surgery has achieved the desired goal. Increased clarity of color became evident after a few days.  It’s a miracle!

The cornea transplant benefits are more gradual. I have a very skilled doctor, and the surgery went well. He tells me that I will notice maximum visual benefits at about two months, or possibly three. I smile as I write this because I’m imagining how I would have been climbing the walls if I’d had this surgery in my middle age. I have much more patience now. I see differences almost daily and am confident I will reach the desired peak in a timely fashion. And in the end the result should be a major improvement.

I’m happy that I’ve been able to take care of myself the entire time except for needing a driver the first few days. I have discovered anew how generous and kind family and friends are. They have brought me food and sent cards.  Some have texted or emailed.  Some have called. Four different people took me for  birthday lunches, to all my favorite places. I am a lucky woman.

Moving along to the funnies part of this post. I love jamiedouglasillustration.com.  Many months ago I was searching the net for a bluebird of happiness. I came upon the illustration below.  It’s aptly named The Disillusioned Bluebird of Happiness. At the time, I contacted Jamie and asked if I could include it in one of my posts. He said I could as long as I gave him credit. In the meantime I lost my train of thought as to the bluebird and went on to other posts. But I saved this picture and I look at it from time to time because  it always makes me giggle. Thank you, Jamie, for entertaining me. Your illustrations remind me to hone my sense of humor and not to take life too seriously.  Other readers, check out Jamie’s blog.  You’ll be glad you did.Disillusioned-Bluebird-of-Happiness-38

One last thing to my favorite bloggers.  For some reason many of your email blog reminders have been sent to my Spam folder.  I don’t know why but am correcting those errors. Apparently it’s been going on for a while–maybe since I got my new computer. Aaaaargh!!


I’ll do my crying in the rain (while mowing the lawn!?)

Sometimes we must make our own light.  This fixture resides in a local restaurant.  It’s made of items that would ordinarily be thrown in the trash.  I like that. ~ Pat

I don’t know why, but lately as I’ve mowed the lawn, I’ve had tears streaming down my face.  Yesterday it started to rain while I was mowing.  The irony made me grin.  There I was mowing in the rain, smiling and  crying at the same time.  I could imagine my neighbor talking to me over the fence and not realizing I was crying because the tears would mix with the raindrops.

Maybe I was crying because the recent afternoon showers have made my weedy lawn grow at an alarming rate and I’m having to mow more often.  Maybe the tears aren’t tears at all, but beads of perspiration.  (It’s that hot and humid.)  Maybe those bald spots in my yard where even weeds don’t grow are depressing me.  Maybe I’m longing for the help of the lawn boy (teenager) who mowed for me last year, and lamenting the notion that I can’t afford him this year.

Or maybe the tears are not for me at all.  Maybe they are tears of love and support for family and friends who need support right now.  What better time to shed them than while my mind is free as I pace back and forth, trying physically to make order and neatness in my surroundings, at the same time trying mentally to make order for my friends and family who feel as if they are living in chaos where nothing makes sense.

This post and my tears and prayers are for P whose father died yesterday after a tragic accident.  For my blogger friend U whose beloved daughter recently died unexpectedly.  For A whose darling boy died, the result of a seizure, at age eighteen.  For my cyber-friend J whose mother was recently diagnosed with cancer.  For my friend C whose dear son is fighting demons that none of us can understand.  For my precious daughter who is ill but not yet diagnosed.

God gave us unlimited tears because She knew these sorrows would sometimes come at us in bunches and we would need them.

This song kept nudging me as I mowed.  It’s written by Carole King and sung by the Everly Brothers.  Listen if you like.

Chasing the sunset.

When the weather is very hot I stay inside more than I like because I don’t tolerate high temperatures and humidity well.  Toward the end of the day I start to get antsy, even agitated.  When that happens I make up an errand of some sort and head out.  I trumped up a  need for a gadget at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  I was driving in a southwesterly direction when I realized I was staring at a magnificent sunset.  I took the shot above with my cell phone in the parking lot.  The store didn’t have the item I was seeking so I left the store fairly soon.  Wow!  The sunset was getting better.  I decided it would be even more beautiful over the lake in a nearby park so I hopped in my car and sped off.

Here’s what I saw when I got to the park.  I had to balump balump over the speed bumps in order to get there before the sun disappeared.  Whew!  Just made it.  I’ll probably need a new front-end alignment for my trouble and haste.

In addition to the fabulous sunset, some goofy geese posed for me at water’s edge.

Happy Easter aka Holidays are more fun with children.

It takes a laundry basket to hold all the eggs.  Inside each egg is one piece of candy, one small toy or one quarter.  Something for everyone.  It’s really fun to watch the children, large and small, barter for something another child has. 

Little S and I love reading about Peter Cottontail, Easter or not, so it’s a special treat to unwrap him at Easter and display him in a prominent spot.  When she’s older, I should give this to her. 

I love the pattern the pergola makes on my Easter tablecloth .

This colorful bunny basket from days-gone-by makes a cheerful statement on the mantel.  I love her cheery smile.

On the left is a basket of “special” treats which all children present have to divvy up.  They must have done it fairly because I didn’t hear one iota of bickering.  Have I mentioned how sweet my grandchildren were this year? 🙂

Notice here that Little S has found lots of eggs.  I think she had quite a bit of help because she’s the youngest.  We had to get her a back-up basket so she could start over.

This last image is my latest “project” which I did for the Spanish service at church.  I posted a photo of it in progress a while back.  Here  is the finished version.   It’s now hanging in the church.  It makes me smile.



I’ve had a lovely day!  I hope you have, too.  Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.

Feeling lucky.

Luck is believing you’re lucky.                              ~ Tennessee Williams

As I was walking yesterday morning, this four-leaf clover jumped right off the ground and into my line of vision.  Of course I had to pick it and bring it home.  This four-leaf version of the three-leaf shamrock is considered by many cultures to be a sign of good luck.  And so for most of the day, the idea of it added a bit of a spring to my step.  Usually, if it’s the real thing, one leaf will be somewhat smaller than the other three.  I’m not typically a superstitious person, but isn’t it fun sometimes to take it and run with it?

Speaking of running with it, I ran with my precious five-year-old yesterday afternoon.  I picked her up from school and off we went.  One of her favorite things to do is to visit the best toy store in town.  It’s set up for children to come and play.  Little S knows she can’t always buy something so she’s almost always happy to play with whatever the establishment has set out for her and the many little visitors who bring their parents or grandparents along for moral (and sometimes financial) support.  At one point S asked me, “Can we buy something today?”  And so we did.  If you could have heard her sweet inquiry, you would have, too.  Here she is with her massive blond curls scrunched into a pony tail, holding her new baby with bunny ears (Rosie), and licking whipped cream off her Dairy Queen mini-blizzard.  Yum.  Next we headed for Gramma’s house, S’s choice, and Gramma still has a spring in her step, though maybe not quite as springy as it was earlier.  Need I say that the spring was mostly gone by 7:00 pm?  Physically, that is.  Mentally and emotionally,  it’s always strong and quite springy whenever there’s a grandchild involved. 🙂

I am now going to try to transition from grandchildren to blog awards.  It may not be as weird as it sounds because, in part, I blame the grandchildren for my not acting on blog awards.  Nine grandchildren require a great deal of thought and time and shopping, etc. Most recently, Sevenleggedexpressjourney nominated me for The Versatile Blog Award.  This is not the same award that has been around for a while.  This one is unique and adorable with its two kitty cats, one black and one white.  (See it here.)  Most of you, when you accept awards, zip through it very quickly, I imagine.  You are computer savvy and the amount of time it takes you to follow through and post the award on your blog is minimal.  For un-savvy me, by the time I would figure out how to display it, I could have written two or three posts.  So…I would like to thank SLEJ for the vote of confidence, and I encourage readers to check out their clever, and often profound, cartoons.

One step at a time.

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Yesterday I drove to Daughter # 1’s house to pick up my granddaughter.  We had a dinner date.  I got there a little early so I got out of the car and walked around the yard snapping photos while I waited for her to get home.  My daughter and her family have a most marvelous yard–a Garden of Eden, if you will.  Except there’s no apple tree as far as I know.  Of course that apple notion we’ve been fed all these years is probably wrong.  I read somewhere that it would more likely have been a pomegranate in that part of the world.  I tell you all this in order to say that the photos in this post were all taken in the aforementioned beautiful yard.  There are all manner of little treasures peeking through the leaves.

As I drove to get my granddaughter A, I passed a man walking up the sidewalk.  He walked at a snail’s pace because he required a walker with wheels.  Needless to say the going was slow.  I remember thinking how much I admired his grit–the busy street must have been a bit daunting.  As I was retracing my route and heading toward our favorite restaurant, I saw the same man still walking.  I said to A, “Holy cow!  Look at that guy!  He’s walked a couple of miles or more since I last saw him.”  Then we talked about what might have incapacitated him– a stroke, a heart attack ???–and how brave he was to keep going, determined to get strong again.

I have thought about that gentleman a great deal in the past twenty-four hours.  He reminds me of the many wounded people (including me) who are trying, one step at a time, to heal.  Some wounds are physical, some are emotional.  All are serious to the one who is suffering.  Some heal quickly, some not so much; all of us heal a step at a time, a day at a time.

Sometimes my little cell phone camera seems to have a mind of its own.  I inadvertently took this picture of my foot stepping firmly toward the next colorful exhibit that caught my eye.  I started to delete it and thought better of it.  I shall keep it to remind me to keep on stepping.  It also reminds me of how far I’ve come since D-Day.  (I read a  number of blogs by people, male and female, who are recovering from separation, divorce, infidelity, etc., and many of them refer to it as D-Day.  It’s appropriate, I guess.)  We’re all recovering at different rates, but the good news is that we’re all recovering.  Each day gets a little better.

Random thoughts and silly questions.

A man has every season while a woman only has the right to spring.   ~ Jane Fonda

I took this picture this morning from my front porch.  The sky looks like April.  It’s an early spring for sure.  See the Bradford pear tree in full bloom on the left.  If this is early spring can late winter be far behind?  Suffice to say that our heaviest, deepest snows have fallen in March in this part of the country.  Beautiful, hard-to-navigate snows.  Time will tell.

I don’t like American football for a number of reasons, the biggest one being the damage it does to the bodies of the players.  But sometimes a football story catches my eye and my heart.  The Colts have dumped Peyton Manning after years of dedication to the team and the extended team family in Indianapolis.  He cried as he met the press.  Bless you Peyton.  I know exactly how you feel.

Andy Borowitz is an American political satirist.  I love this quote about the Republican primary:  “The only thing that is scarier than Mitt Romney not believing anything he says is Rick Santorum believing everything he says.”  All I can say is “amen,” Andy, and is this the best they can do?

Chely Wright is the first openly gay country music star.  I saw a clip of her appearance on the Ellen show.  She’s a charming young woman.  She has written a book called Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer.  She also has a recording entitled “Like Me” which is a love song to another woman, her partner I think.  You can listen to it here.  The decidedly not silly question, then, is:  Won’t it be nice when gays can be who they are and will no longer have to feel different and ashamed and think there’s something wrong with them?

Somewhere in the New Testament it says we must forgive someone seven times seventy.  (Forgive me if this is not correct. 🙂  I’m relying on memory.)  I’m wondering what that means.  Do we have to forgive one incident that many times?  Or do we have to forgive that many incidents?  Do you forgive easily or is it like pulling teeth?

One last question–What does the Jane Fonda quote at the top of this piece mean?

Birthdays are not for sissies.

I had a birthday recently.  I’ve also been a little sad of late.  Are the two connected?  I don’t really know.  Maybe.  My mom did not age gracefully.  She fought it like a tiger.  I asked her once if she had thought of having a “friend” or another husband.  Her answer was classic Mom:  “I’ve thought of it but the way I see it I’m too old to get a younger man and I don’t want an older one.  I DON’T LIKE OLD MEN!”  I decided to rib her a little and told her that she was, in fact, an old woman.  She stood her ground as she told me she knew that but “I STILL DON’T LIKE OLD MEN!”  I conceded and I don’t think I ever mentioned it again.

I’m not sure why I brought this up or where I’m going with it but I will tell you that I don’t dislike old men as long as they don’t act old.  I think that order gets taller the more birthdays I have.  Now I shall return to this most recent birthday celebration.

Through and throughout the malaise of depression sadness I never lose sight of the fact that I’m very fortunate to have family and friends who are kind and giving and supportive.  Witness the beautiful rose bouquet pictured above or the chocolate-covered strawberries (right) which were delivered to my front door.  Yum!  Equally important are the thoughts and wishes that aren’t or can’t be pictured here.  Lunch out AND dinner cooked in by my best buddy who loves me no matter what dumb thing I might say or do.  All-girl family dinner with two daughters and two granddaughters where we named the worst and best things about our day and some of us couldn’t think of a worst.  How great is that!  A Barnes and Noble gift card to cover my nook-book purchases for quite some time.  Hugs and kisses from my Latino friends and a loud “Happy Birthday to You” sung in Spanish.  The Face Book greetings, the phone calls and the snail mail printed cards.  The handmade cards made by the grandchildren.  My favorite birthday quote comes from a card my grandson F made:  “I hope you have a great birthday but I know that it will be great because you are with the people who love you.”  My second favorite comes from a card his little sister S made:  “On your birthday, can you take me to the toy store?”

Life is good.  As I wind down this little essay I leave you with what I consider to be my funniest card.

We shall overcome…

We are not afraid, we are not afraid,     We are not afraid today;                       Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,       We are not afraid today.  ~ One of many verses from “We Shall Overcome”

For a number of years I have been gathering with a small group of womenfolk on Martin Luther King weekend.  We chose this weekend because we were all teachers and we were looking for an extended weekend when we didn’t have to work.  Only one of us is still teaching and the rest of us have either retired or moved on to better-paying jobs.  Statistically we are in step with the general American population in that three of our six are divorced.  That’s actually the reason the one is still teaching.  What she thought her retirement would be was not to be.  The three of us who are divorced were “let go” in almost identical circumstances–our husbands were in their fifties and thought the grass was greener elsewhere.

This year we went to Carolina Beach where we were wined and dined and gently cared for by our gracious and talented host T.  Some people are naturally generous and giving and T is one of those.  Thank you, T.

There were only five of us this year.  One of us was unable to attend because of a tragic loss in her family.  We missed her and discussed her and tried to send her strength with our thoughts.  It’s what we do with each other and for each other.  We try to overcome together the obstacles life deals us, both large and small.

We shall overcome.

Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr.  And thank you, Joan Baez, for expressing the message so beautifully.

Who’s in charge here?

Take charge of your attitude.  Don’t let someone else choose it for you.

I don’t know who said that.  Probably a lot of people under many circumstances.  It’s simple enough.  And valid for almost any difficult situation one might be trying to maneuver at any given time.  I remember when I was teaching, the school system reassigned our principal and another one came to the school.  The one who left was decisive and in charge and had a vision for the direction we should be taking educationally.  I didn’t particularly like her until she left.  The new guy seemed lost and unsure of himself even though he had some years of experience as a principal.  I remember looking at my friend the French teacher and saying, “I don’t really care who’s in charge, but I certainly feel better when someone is.”  Poor fellow.  The ability to take charge eluded him.

in charge:  having control or custody of something                                                   control:  to have power over

I’ve come to realize these past few years that the notion of being in charge or in control of a situation is usually nothing more than an illusion.  The fact is that we have no control over what happens to us as we live our lives.  The only thing we can control, or take charge of, is our attitude toward life’s gifts, disappointments, and tragedies.  Despite the fact that I start every morning with an eye on my attitude, I still find myself later in the day, and especially in the evening, in desperate need of an attitude adjustment.  It would be nice if I could blame this stubborn attitude on someone or something, so I’m blaming genetics.  🙂  I wish it were that simple.  Bottom line is I have to take the responsibility for it regardless of its origin.

You may be wondering about my introductory picture above.  Those are dust bunnies.  I have been cleaning today in preparation for a long weekend out-of-town with “the girlfriends” and I couldn’t help noticing how seriously outnumbered I am by those little fluff balls.  The way I see it, the dust bunnies are in charge.  I’m sure they’ll hold down the fort  while I’m gone and will greet me with a wicked grin when I return.  (If I kill their leader, will the rest of them retreat?)