Saturday, October 15, 2016

Every Day Is Special

This week has been cold and dark in more ways than one. This morning the skies are gray as a gun barrel; it is chilly and windy, but the afternoon is to be warm and sunny. The weather jumps around like my deteriorating body, good and bad mixed like a bracing cocktail. This is also the Maple Leaf Parade Day and it looks to be big crowd as cars are lining my street bumper to bumper finding parking, and this is three blocks from the end of the parade! The mailman has run his route about three hours early to try and beat some of the congestion on this autumn Saturday.

The mailman has brought me a load of birthday cards for two days. Thank you all who have sent them! Today is my birthday which often falls on Maple Leaf weekend so it has been hard to celebrate when the town celebrates first. Of course this year I can’t do the parade and that is okay. I sent DH on to son’s house to continue siding. They work hard trying to beat winter with this project and to work between chemo chaos.

On Thursday we called it my birthday early and worked hard to make it some kind of different day. We so miss our countryside jaunts and tours. The rainy weather dampened our plans but we worked in a short ride to Arkansas border on a cold but dry day between rains. Biscuit rode along and we went to Crystal Bridges to see the Bachman-Wilson house built by Frank Lloyd Wright. We have longed to it for months. It was a hard press and we did not do other art, only the house. We have seen other FLW houses but this one was smallest. Moved from New Jersey and set in an Ozark hollow packed with oaks and walnuts, the setting is beautiful.

We have always thought the man’s designs both beautiful and uncomfortable looking. This small home was typical of his concrete, wood, and glass designs. The house used rich, dark mahogany; the wall of glass made you feel like you were sitting among the trees from the inside.
Then we went to lunch in a tea room where we were disappointed. Now you will know me for the tea snob I am! Years ago we went to lovely tea room in downtown Rogers, Arkansas. They opened a branch in Bentonville and eventually moved the main tea room to a strip mall out near a big shopping center. They lost their ambiance. We had never been to Bentonville one so we gave it a shot. It too lacked ambiance.

Ordering at a cash register, getting your own tea in a plastic glass, silverware, and small paper napkin does not speak tea room language. The food was decent but not extraordinary. However, the tea room has lasted and they had a decent business. Once known for outstanding and special orange rolls that were light and airy, they still have them on the menu. But alas, they are not the same. These rolls were heavy, had no orange taste, and now used some kind of crystallized sugar instead of the orangey glaze that once made them scrumptious.

We were back home in the early afternoon and as tired as if we had taken a longer trip. We got quilts, found a good western and called the day special anyway.

I return to chemo on Tuesday again so will probably be quiet for a while. I have anti-nausea meds on counter and convenience foods stocked up. Hopefully, there will be more special days to work in after the worst is over! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Autumn Perks

When we drove in on Friday afternoon coming from DH's medical labs,  we were greeted by this lovely mum on our front porch. So kind of a person to start our weekend this way. DH spent the weekend helping side the son's house, but I got some deck time which I appreciated.

A friend came and took me to a tea room for lunch which was lovely. It is about a half hour drive and Saturday was one gorgeous day! Then we picked up an iced coffee for her and retired to my deck where the air was perfect. While the deck is not as decorated for autumn as it once was, there is still touches of fall beauty to sit among. I love the shape and colors on this pumpkin.

Sunday was somewhat of a repeat in that I got some time outside on the deck. I still have one nice pot of Black Mambas left in this season. Petunias don't thrive well in the heat, but these have stayed with me! But neighbors mowing in the afternoon drove dog and woman inside. Then we had to prepare to watch that second debate!

The sunshine was such a perk after four days of rain. Today is to be pretty but three days of this coming week are to be rain. BooHoo. The flowers might enjoy it, but not me.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


It is no secret our life is full of season, not just Mother Nature’s seasons. While all seasons have some down sides, I do appreciate living in an area that clearly experiences four distinct season changes. Our trees are beginning to turn here; there is autumn rain. There is also some tornado watches nearby. Also this week, the doctor news was not good, a winter warning type of news. I have always tried to remember that you can’t see the rainbow without having the thunderstorm first. I just hope I still have a few rainbows left to see.

As we age and then when we are seriously ill, we begin to relive the past, to remember special things. It is amazing how fast life has gone by! I have my Granny’s mink stole which I am going to pass on to my niece who is a vintage dress type girl-my kind of gal! In the 50s and 60s women would kill for mink or even lesser furs. Now you can’t give them away. The story behind this one is that Grandpa got it for Gran for Christmas. For weeks he talked about his special gift and how happy she would be. For weeks she pictured getting a new sewing machine that she needed badly. A gifted seamstress, her machine was a clunker and she was so excited. But on Christmas Gramps handed her a small box with a beautiful mink that made him look good!

Well, she wore it to church but where else? She did not live a mink lifestyle! She loaned it to me to wear to two proms. I was downtown in 1967! There I was in a $29.95 Mode o Day dress and hundreds of dollars of mink on my shoulders!

Seasons also mean Gus changes his dew rag. The mascot of PSU is a gorilla named Gus. Oh I love gorillas!!!! I bought this piece of concrete years ago where the shop had some red, some yellow dew rags on Gus. I have used red in summer and yellow in the fall. Alas, I can’t find my dew rag fabric, but his head gear was faded to white! So I tied on a teal colored ovarian cancer support dew rag. Gus, it will have to do this autumn!!!!

I voted this morning. Not knowing how I will be in 30 days and knowing I can’t stand in a long line for long while for anything, DH and I went to the poles early. Just getting into our huge Victorian courthouse was a trial for me. But we did it and I know I’ve done my civic duty for this election season.

I hope you have bright autumn days where you are, the seasons of your life treat you well!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dull Days but a Big Surprise

This has been a tough week. Usually this third week after chemo has about five good days that remind me I am a functioning human.  This week felt too much chemo still and lots of other issues piled up. I get very frustrated having no energy. I sit, think I am fine, consider doing something, stand up and then feel like someone pushed me over a cliff again. Regular readers know how I hate to whine but right now there is very little I can share that is bright and positive, but I still long to blog.

The one household chore I still try to do is fixing a meal, an abbreviated or somewhat prefab meal. Today I made onions and apples which sounds yucky right? Well, I bought cooking apples at the farm stand, got them home and found I was too tired for making a pie and wanted to avoid the sugar anyway. This recipe is onions, apples, Splenda and vinegar cooked 15 minutes in a skillet. Very good and somewhat different.

Then I did get a really BRIGHT spot in an email! An editor asked my permission for her to nominate me and my poem for the 2017 Pushcart Prize! Never saw that coming one bit and so appreciate it. Even if I don’t win a place, just to be nominated is enough. It feels good that someone in publishing saw my work as worthy of more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Chair Happiness

"Happiness is a thing you cannot cut off in chunks or yard lengths," wrote Gladys Taber. For me, happiness can be a real good chair, one that holds a body like a safe cocoon.

In early spring we planned to replace my family room chair. Then disaster hit and I was too sick to do it. While at my sickest and sitting so much, the chair was actually uncomfortable. So while I was up and before Tuesday’s chemo again, we ran to our favorite chair store where I have bought the last five chairs in this house.

I go there because the store is family-owned and the wife fits chairs like salesmen used to fit shoes! When I bought my office chair she asked me to trust her with a chair where my feet don’t quit touch the floor. It is a recliner and she said I might sleep in it (and I did while sick!) and it was a perfect fit for my short legs and wide behind. Best chair I have ever sat in (slept in) and wanted exact same chair for family room now.

Once again she Vicki guided me well. I was close to choosing a recliner with a slight rock. She said the rock thrust me forward in the sitting position and warned me against any movement while battling with chemo. She was right of course, my insides needed stillness not any shifting or motion. I brought home the chair she picked and it was a perfect fit!

Do you have a favorite chair?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Chatter

It rained hard yesterday dumping four inches with some thunder and darkness. DH and I both were down physically so the day seemed very gloomy. This morning the dog and I opened the door to the deck where everything was soaking still. A chorus of crickets crooned songs in the wet grasses from every corner of the yard. A slight fog hung in the air like a mountain mist making the back yard feel like a highland valley, beautiful but not inviting for sitting with a tea cup.

The forecast is for returning sun and the 90’s again this week, but we know Yellowstone has had its first snow, the Tetons have four inches already, and our in-laws in Montana have had three nights of hard freeze ruining their garden.  There are many reminders that winter’s wrath hangs in the wings waiting for a chance to wallop us one day soon!

                                                       Picture of a Deck Past

My flowers are mostly dead, but a friend has brought mums. I have a few pumpkins, but nothing is like it used to be here. I looked up a picture of my deck years ago and was floored by the beauty then. Maybe someday I will have the energy and health to do it again. Meanwhile, I am overjoyed at any orange or yellow of the season I can manage.

I also found one of my all-time favorite pictures from New Mexico. This old truck sitting in a purple field cheers me every time I look at it. I have it on a bulletin board above my desk. It captures a life lived and the life bursting in the flowers. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Another Week After

Here I am a week out from chemo again. While technically it went better, my body has suffered and is taking a long time recovering. I am hoping today is better. Yesterday was week mark for doctor visit and blood work. Red blood and white blood cells were both down. I got a shot for red blood cells which meant signing a paper agreeing to serious side effects. Is there nothing in my fight that isn’t multi-thorned like a fresh cocklebur sticking to my sock.

If at all possible, we try to eat out on these days. We do not eat much beef so a steak is a special occasion. We went to the Longhorn Steakhouse. I know it is just a chain but I love their flat iron steak! I also love their d├ęcor. Since I won’t be traveling West this autumn (oh such longing for the prairie and plains when the air begins to cool and I know the aspens are starting to turn!), it was like a little mini-visit to cowboy country!

Hubby played with his lathe this week. He took a chunk of cedar and turned it to a lidded bowl. He thinks it looks Southwest. It does…the red clay colors are reminiscent of New Mexico mesas. Also the bowl is so fragrant! No, it can capture sage and pinion, but the cedar smell is close enough to make me shut my eyes and “travel”.