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!!


To Momma.

Today is my mom’s birthday.  If she were alive she would be ninety-two years old.  She died three years ago just days shy of her eighty-ninth.  Mom loved pretty things, most of all flowering baskets to hang on her front porch.  One of the last gifts I bought for her while she was still living in her house was baskets for Mother’s Day.  She would love this one.

In Mom’s honor I went around the house and yard this afternoon looking for things I knew she would like.  It was a good exercise for me as it helped me to recall many of the sweet memories I have of her.

I think she would enjoy this colorful bookmark.  She loved to read, and her favorite color was blue.  I prefer to remember her when her vision was still good enough for reading and jigsaw puzzles.

The photo on the right is a beautiful wind chime my daughter gave me.  When I moved to this house four years ago it became a tangle of colors and glass and keys.  I guess I didn’t do a very good job of packing.  It’s waiting patiently for someone to untangle it and free its lovely song.  If Mom were here she would sit on the deck and carefully straighten every strand, restoring it to its intended artistic state.

I have a profusion of chives growing in my unkempt, weedy little garden.  She loved growing things so I know she would enjoy the flowering chives.  I don’t think she would be too pleased with the weeds but she wouldn’t scold.  She stopped that years ago.  I can imagine her saying, “Well, it’s just to hot to do much weeding down here, isn’t it, Honey.”  She and I are, after all, mountain women.  We don’t do very well in hot weather.

There’s a new little tree asserting itself in the back yard.  We’ve had “extra” rain this summer.  I’m sure it has achieved additional growth because of the rain forest conditions.  I’m rather proud of it.  I know Mom would be, too.

If I could, I would give this sweet jeweled box to Mom.  I think she would put her favorite earrings in it.  And maybe a ring or two.  When she was a young mother she couldn’t afford nice jewelry.  Hopefully we (her children and grandchildren) made up for that when we started to earn salaries of our own.

I especially like this afghan.  I made it with scraps of leftover yarn.  I think Mom would appreciate my attempt to be frugal by using what I had on hand.  I would like to give this to her, to keep her warm.  Of course, she would let her dog Odie sleep on it, too, but I’m finally mature enough to give with no strings attached.  Did I say strings?  Aren’t afghans made of strings?

This sentimental journey has made me cry a bit.  Okay, a lot.  I would like to leave you with a chuckle.  My caption for the photograph below is “Even my cat is voting for Obama!”  So would Momma if she were here.

A birthday on Bastille Day.

It’s Bastille Day in France.  In our family it is granddaughter A’s birthday.  She’s fifteen, the middle child of my nine grandchildren, and the middle girl of seven granddaughters.

Today I recall one of my favorite memories of A as a young child.  She was four or five years old when her family took her and her older brother and sister for about a month-long trip to Europe.  My ex-husband and I had the good fortune to meet them in Paris for the better part of a week.  A’s mom, my daughter, had rented a little apartment in Montmartre.  D and I found a hotel a few blocks away so we could be near them.

I don’t know if it was sheer good luck or good planning on my daughter’s part but they could see the Eiffel Tower from their living room.  Imagine her mom’s delight when an excited A exclaimed, “I know I’m in Paris because I can see the real Eiffel Tower!”  Her mom had probably told her in advance that she would see the Eiffel Tower but I know that she had recently seen a movie called “Rugrats in Paris.”  I’m guessing it was the movie that impressed her but I was glad she recognized what she was seeing.

So Happy, Happy Birthday Dear A.  I hope you will one day return to Paris.  It’s a magical place.

And FRANCE, as you put this day to bed, I’m hoping it was a happy celebration for all.

Birthday fun on April twenty-one.

April 21st is a special day in our family.  My eldest daughter whose birthday is that day gave birth to her son some 27 years later on the same day.  Double the reasons for a family party and this year was no exception.  We started with “Ronnie’s Chocolate Sheet Cake” which is our family’s favorite special occasion cake.  (One day I’ll tell you about Ronnie.)

As the younger generation grows up  these parties start to have more significance than ever before.  Two of our family had to drive some distance to be here for the festivities.  We very much appreciate their effort.

It’s fun to watch the gift-opening and to read the funny cards.  Often in our family we say “I love you” by finding the funniest card in the store and trying to make the celebrant laugh.  Does your family do that?

My birthday grandson gave these lovely cut flowers to his birthday mom because he knew they would make her smile.  They fit right in with the quirky colors on the cake and we didn’t even compare notes.  ( You probably noticed in the top photo that I’m not a decorator of cakes, just a baker.  To make it look festive I find candles and ribbons to fake it for me.)

Here you see the honored birthday folk with smiles on their faces right after blowing out the candles.  (They are deliberately in shadow because I failed to get permission to publish them.)  May all their wishes come true.

Meanwhile I’ll pack up the 9 x 13 cake pan and look forward to June when we will have another cake that will look eerily similar to the one pictured here.  But more important than the sameness of the cake will be the sameness of the faces and the laughter and the silliness and the dogs and the children–our family!  How lucky we are.

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.

Happy birthday, Tom Petty and little S.

Most things I worry about never happen anyway. ~ Tom Petty

I stumbled upon the fact that today is Tom Petty’s birthday.  It also happens to be little S’s birthday.  She’s five.  I think Tom’s about sixty-one.  It seems a little strange, even to me, to put the two of them together in the  same post.  I started to wonder whether there’s anything on earth they could have in common other than their birthday.

They’re both blond.  I think they both have a certain disregard for other people’s opinions.  I base that on this photo of little S and on the lyrics of some of Tom’s songs.  They both seem pretty obstinate once they’ve made up their minds about something. “I Won’t Back Down”  The most important thing, though, is the way they both entertain me.  Some days I listen all day to Tom Petty CDs and never grow tired of his music.  Other days I spend all day with S and her dollies and her wonderful five-year-old wit and I never ever get tired of her.  Two totally different types of entertainment, both of them wonderful.  But if I had to choose–I don’t even need to say it; grandchildren always win, hands down.

So…even though today is her real birthday, we will celebrate the occasion on Sunday with a party of family and friends.  She will come to my house on Saturday so we can bake and decorate her birthday cake.  It will probably be the best and prettiest cake ever.  🙂  And the family parties are getting easier.  Well, for me they are.  I think I’m finally reaching that stage where I’m pretty indifferent neutral toward the OW.   I’m striving for harmony these days, in all situations, so why would this one be different from any other?  I have no hate or anger for anyone.  Takes too much energy.  Energy that’s better used for other things like loving on grandchildren.  And art projects.  And friends.  And daughters.

Things have started to pop in “medical-land.”  I have an appointment on Tuesday.  I’ll be glad to get that one under my belt, so to speak.  Life is good.

Here’s another Tom Petty song if you care to listen.  “Learning to Fly”   This is really beautiful.  I dedicate this to you, Caroline!

Birthday fun.

Birthday flowers.

“Birthdays are good for you.  Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” ~ Father Larry Lorenzoni

It was a good birthday.  I don’t know why but it seems to me the older I get the more people remember the day.  I had phone calls, cards and emails from just about everyone I know, even D.  It’s very nice to know that so many care enough to take the time to acknowledge my special day.

I think maybe having one’s own party may be the way to go.  But in the future I need to figure out a way to convince people, that when I say I don’t want gifts, I really mean it.  That’s the one thing that would keep me from having a party for myself again.  Any suggestions?

This is my fifth birthday without my ex-husband and I have to say it’s getting easier.  Time is truly a healer.  The first one was in 2007 when D was still living (in a manner of speaking) in the same house with me.  He, of course, was out-of-town.  He didn’t call.  He sent a brief email message which said “Hope you have a good birthday.”  Or something equally trite.  I was crushed.  He hadn’t even moved out yet and already he was ignoring my birthday.  He who had given such lavish gifts in the past and always made sure he was home in time to celebrate with me.  And I didn’t even rate a phone call!  I remember, too, that I had just learned about his OW because I found a receipt that described an expensive ring he had bought for her.  Not nearly as expensive as some he had bought me, but even so, a twist of the knife.  And by the way I still take some pleasure in knowing that hers was “slim pickings” compared to some of mine.  Okay.  Okay.  I know how childish that sounds.  Fortunately I get less and less snide and childish as I gain a distance from the “main event.”  I’m grateful for the healing and I forgive myself for the lapses.

Oh, and another benefit of giving a party:  My house is clean!  I am a happy soul.