Saturday, June 25, 2016


This dear card--with its printed message inside of "Life's a journey.  'Glad we're in it together!"--will soon be sent to Aunt Laurie.  While I was finishing my last post, Mom called to tell me that my aunt was in the hospital with sepsis that had spread throughout her body, and even late that night when Mom called back to update me, Aunt Laurie's blood pressure was still only 80 over 40.  Terror.  I spent Thursday and most of yesterday dreading Mom's next phone call, choking up as I mailed another card to my sweet aunt from the post office yesterday afternoon, praying for more years and decades more with my faithful pen pal of an aunt.  

When I talked with Mom again last night, she said Aunt Laurie was doing much better and a Sunday hospital-discharge is even a possibility if she continues to improve this weekend.  Uncle Warren reported that when Aunt Laurie was at her sickest the other night, she said she could see angels standing around her hospital bed.   I don't know how close we just came to losing her, but I can imagine--all too vividly now--and it's been a few days that have felt like a hundred.  

Before she got sick, Aunt Laurie had been planning to visit in July, and I pray we can all make it happen still, although I'll likely be blubbering all over her as we hug hello.  Goodness, this life.   

Thursday, June 23, 2016

On First Runs and Feta Hearts

It was 2010 or maybe early 2011 the last time I found myself following the "Couch to 5k" learn-to-run-3-miles-in-9-weeks training plan.  Heeeeeeeere we are again, having just come in from a rain-soaked Day 1.  All my walking has not made my running any easier, and the many pounds I've gained since the last time running felt even remotely easy made me wonder if I was actually dragging bags of flour along with me with every step today.  Bah!  BAH! to how hard this is!  BAH! to this monkey--or bag of flour--on my back!  BAH!  But no one is making me do this, and I have big goals, and God knows I am too stubborn to give up, so indeed, here we are again.  The last time I used this training plan--and this is maybe the fourth time I've done it now (so ridiculous, but credit-to-self for persistence [Positive self-talk!])--I finished the second day of Week 5 and then stopped.  I don't even remember why, but I stopped that close to the end.  This time, with bigger goals in mind, I am beyond determined to finish this.  Bag-o-flour, be gone!  Day 2 will be Saturday, and I will finish Week 1 of 9 early Monday morning.  Val, Val, Val.  

This feta cheese heart crumble greeted me in my vegetable pasta lunch at work yesterday, and I will take it as encouragement for the journey. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lily of the Valley

Another favorite.  Lily of the Valley blooms in pink and white--and Mom tells me I was once tickled to have discovered the pink variety, although I don't remember that at all and find the white so charming--throughout my garden.  There is enough shade from the Maple tree just a few feet away to keep these beauties happy, although roses and other supposed sun-lovers have thrived in the spot too.  The Lily of the Valley would likely take over--as much as such a tiny plant could, anyway--if Mom let it, but she tends to transplant some from my garden to hers every year, so that hasn't happened yet.  What dear little flowers!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Three Near-Captures This June

I missed this year's opportunity to see some of my beloved roses in-bloom by about two days:  This is how Louise Odier looked as I was leaving my parents' home--where what remains of my dear old garden is, in a corner of their yard protected on one side by a wall of Dad's shed and on another by a wall of the deck--two weeks ago.  Below is a shot of her in-bloom two Junes ago--
--and every time I look at it, I wonder why I didn't take at least a dozen more photos of it during this little photo-shoot.  This one just makes me so happy, and it is so purely beautiful, that sometimes I look for other peoples' pictures of this rose just to satisfy that need to see something pretty.  Look at some of these photos!  ♫  Ooh, Heaven is a place on earth. . . .  ♪  I could weep at the beauty.  
I missed my white Iceberg rose too and confess to having been tempted to peel down its [sepals, it seems, if I have learned the new word correctly] in order to see more of the precious petals before leaving.  Last June's visit was timed to see at least one Iceberg open--
 --and it did my soul good.  Roses always do my soul good.  :)  And now I am remembering--and sounding like--Mary Ellen Walton proclaiming in The Homecoming, "I always feel better after I hug a cow."  :)  But. . .truly.  ♥  I know you know. 
Last night's Strawberry Moon was another I-was-kind-of-there-but-kind-of-missed-it this June.  I saw the (full) moon, and as you can see in this stunning capture from the bathroom window, NASA won't be clamoring to study my photo of it anytime soon.  :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016


We have been passing Bill Bryson books back and forth the past six months, Dad and I.  It began with A Walk in the Woods:  Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, and then I gave him The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid for Christmas.  We continued with Neither Here Nor There:  Travels in Europe, and Dad just finished armchair-traveling via Bryson's memoir of a trek through Australia, In a Sunburned Country, one of his Father's Day presents from me this year.  A Short History of Nearly Everything is on a shelf here too, waiting for my next trip home.  We have both loved the Appalachian Trail book the best--neither of us wanted it to end--and agree that hiking it would be amazing if one could stay safe while doing so.  (I keep it as a "someday" goal, along with hiking the Camino de Santiago.)  Today Dad is alternately reading Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling:  More Notes from a Small Island, baseball game-watching, and barbecuing with my mom, brothers, and my brothers' wives and kids.  I myself hope to manage to get home both next month and in August for the next two meetings of the Dad-and-Daughter Book Club. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

One Month Later

I've spent most of my free time this past month hard at work on my 80s memoir and rewarded myself this morning with a few roses snipped from a bush in our apartment building's yard.  
After two weeks of rain, the blooms that haven't blown are browning and just about done for the year, so I think my fellow tenants will forgive me for having cut three for this small bouquet.  Although a bit bedraggled, it is beautiful and does me good.