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February 2016

Quick Change

Wasn't it just last week???

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Why, yes!  Yes it was.

Just last week, I was talking about Garden Buddha . . . and how it had been a rather mild winter.


As is so often the case . . . 


I spoke too soon.

Because we got plenty of this . . . 

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and maybe a bit more to come.

Ah, winter.  Gotta love ya . . . (because what else are we going to do?).



Best Picture nominees?

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Still hoping to catch some of the nominees in other major categories before the Academy Awards on February 28, but the pressure is off.  (My personal quest to see All The Movies only includes the Best Picture nominees.)

Do you have a favorite this year???


(The photo is a page from my Bullet Journal.)

Coming Together

Last fall, you may remember my sharing the story of our bathroom renovation.

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When what started as a leaky shower (leaking into my kitchen, by the way) . . . 


morphed into an entire bathroom/bedroom re-do.  (With some kitchen updates, too.)  (Because ceiling.)

I took advantage of the situation as an opportunity to get rid of the very dark and very dated wallpaper (you can see it in the first photo; I never did take "before" photos) and the very worn blue carpet.  We even decided to remove the jacuzzi tub (I thought it would be So Cool to Have when we bought the house, but in 13 years, I only used it once. . . ) and replace it with a little fitness spot.

It was a big project, and it ended up taking a couple of months to complete.  Tom and I have done quite a bit of renovating over the years (especially in our very first house, which was a complete fixer-upper and quite the canvas for young, enthusiastic homeowners), but we've never hired contractors to do a project for us.  It was quite a luxury to just . . . pick colors and carpet and shower doors . . . and have someone else do the hard work of arranging and installing.

Everything has been functional since Thanksgiving, and finished since Christmas.  Results?

The bedroom.

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The bathroom.

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The main culprit.

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And the surprise bonus. . .

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discovering that those stained glass windows (there all along) could put on such a fabulous light show whenever the sun shines!

It all really came together . . . and we love it now!

Still Working On It

Not yet finished, but getting close.

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Another inch to go (which is really only a few rows) and I'll be ready to join the sleeves with the body and bang out that yoke (which is really the fun part).

Maybe I'll finish this weekend???

Whatever.  Knitting this sweater has been a lot of fun.  I'm finding joy in my knitting (which hasn't been happening much for me lately).  I'm thinking the spark has been re-lit . . . and I'll be ready to bang out the sweater that's been languishing on my needles for far too long after I finish banging out this one.

(It could happen.)

Who You Gonna Call?

This week . . . we're pulling out the Big Guns for Ten on Tuesday.


Let's just say . . . you've been kidnapped.  Who you gonna call - from TV-Land - to help you?

Me?  I want the best investigators, cops, FBI agents, and general badasses I can find!  Who?

  1. Sherlock Holmes.  Because freaky good.  (Plus Benedict Cumberbatch.)
  2. FBI Agent Dale Cooper.  (Twin Peaks)  Because fire up that "damn fine cup of coffee."
  3. Detective Lieutenant Steve McGarrett.  (Hawaii Five-O)  Because "book'em Danno."
  4. Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey.  (Cagney & Lacey)  Because women cops.
  5. Detective Lenny Briscoe.  (Law & Order)  Because no bullshit.
  6. Jim Rockford.  (The Rockford Files)  Because heartwarming chess games with Dad.
  7. Cordell Walker.  (Walker, Texas Ranger)  Because badass with martial arts skills.
  8. Captain Kirk.  (Star Trek)  Because maybe aliens.
  9. Buffy Summers.  (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)  Because maybe vampires.
  10. Jack Bauer. (24)  Because clock is ticking.

How about YOU?  Who would you call . . . if you'd been kidnapped?


Read what everyone else has to say here!


Signs of Hope

A quick look at Garden Buddha, Harbinger of Weather, will show you . . . our winter has been a weird one, weather-wise.

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We've had a couple of big snow-dumps (up to Buddha's shoulders), but not so much as usual on the snow this year.  Lots of rain, though.  And plenty of ice.  A few super frigid days, but mostly fairly warmish (for a winter).

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I'm really ready to just . . . move on to spring.  Without the snow, winter is really just bare and quite bleak.  So brown and crispy.

I got out in the garden - just to walk around and take stock - over the weekend.  Mostly brown stalks and stems, needing to be cut back come spring.  But there are some of these.

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They look like green clumps of tired foliage . . . BUT.  If you look closer . . . 

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those are buds in there!  Getting ready to bloom . . . buried in snow and unafraid of the cold.

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Signs of hope.

Spring . . . is coming.


Heard in the Locker Room

I go to a Very Nice Gym.  We have a Very Nice Locker Room.  Still . . . things get a little rough in there.

I have long considered a Blog Theme . . . Heard in the Locker Room.  (Because truly unbelievable.)  But I've long decided against it.  (Because trying to do no harm.)  

But, well . . . sometimes you run into something that is just Too Good NOT to Share.

Like . . . 


Okay.  So here goes.

The Set-up:  The women's locker room at my gym is really top-notch.  Almost like a spa.  We have plenty of locker bays, deluxe showers, towel service, multiple mirrors and sinks, permanent hair dryers, pretty much . . . you name it, we got it.  (We also have some issues with "inappropriate nudity.")  (Don't ask.)

Still:  There are some club members (mostly little girls and awkward adolescents) who are uncomfortable with their bodies, and who choose to (1) dress/undress in the bathroom stalls (which makes me crazy . . . Because, Girls!  I need to pee!), and (2) have their mothers and/or grandmothers (heavy emphasis on the grandmothers) build impromptu "towel cabanas" around them while they change in/out of their swimsuits before lessons.

In short:  Very ANNOYING.

So.  I was especially heartened to hear THIS conversation in the locker room last week:

Mother:  Get you suit on.

Little Girl:  But I don't want anyone to see my hoohaw.

Mother:  No one CARES about your hoohaw.  Get your suit on.

Little Girl:  Hold up a towel.

Mother:  No.

Little Girl:  But I don't want them looking at my hoohaw.

Mother:  No one CARES about your hoohaw.

Little Girl:  Moooooom!!!!!

Mother:  Look.  Everyone in here has a hoohaw of her own.  No one cares about YOURS.

Bless you, Mother-of-Hoohaw-Girl!  I wish there were more of you.  
(Because, really.  Your towel-cabanas are silly.  No one cares about your hoohaw.  And I need to pee.)

Happy Friday, everybody.



February 4: Not Quite Just Another Day

While there are many "anniversaries" to mark a cancer journey (diagnosis, treatment, NED*, etc.), I have chosen to mark the end of chemo as the anniversary I celebrate.

That's today.  
February 4. 
Seven years.

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In some ways, it seems like it was a long, long time ago.
And in others, I think . . . only 7???

Whatever.  It was a lifetime ago.

I really don't think about cancer or chemo or "survival" or any of it every day anymore.  I used to.  (Although I can conjure it all up in the blink of an eye.  Trust me on that.)  Seven years ago, I couldn't have imagined a day when I DIDN'T think about it.  Worry about it.  Freak a little.

So now, I guess it's "normalized" for me.  I suppose I've fully returned to my life-in-progress.  And that's a good thing.  My cancer experience . . . seems to be kind of a little "blip" on the radar screen of my life.

Except.  That's not quite it.

Because I didn't actually return to my life-in-progress.  That life . . . ended.  It wasn't just an interruption.  I emerged . . . a whole new person.

And this new person (that would be me) understands life just a bit differently.  This new person, 7 years on, understands that life is finite.  That every day really does count.  And that we shouldn't waste a moment.

So celebrate with me today.  Smile at everyone you meet.  Tell your friends and your family how much they mean to you. Color outside the lines.  Have dessert.  Take a risk and try something you've been dreaming of.  And, by golly, let people take pictures of you, even if they're goofy.

Because life is good.  
(But it is finite.)  (So don't wait.)



*NED is "cancer-speak" for No Evidence of Disease.

A Silent Poetry Reading


Starlings in Winter

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

They are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one strippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, than can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

                                    ---Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays