Just Life

Ending the Week on A Good (paid off) Note

I had planned a Friday Fish Wrap post for today, but my week has been rather discombobulated (nothing bad, just . . . life) and I don't have the time or energy for that kind of post today.


I do have some good news to share.

Earlier this week, Tom and I got a letter in the mail . . . 


with this . . . 


so we did this . . . 


Good news in a discombobulated week.

Now . . . let the weekend begin.



Finding the Space

Today . . . looks to be a hard day.  After a rough week.  (My heart aches that we can't - at this stage of history - come up with solutions that make life better for ALL of us; that we can't listen and hear; that it always has to be a power grab.  That we can't seem to ever get it right.)  (And I'm done now.)


I thought we could all do with . . . something beyond ourselves.  Something lovely.  And meaningful.  And purposeful.  To lighten our load -- and to find the space in our souls . . . to maybe relax for a moment.  And breathe.


This art installation piece is called Intersections, by artist Anila Quayyum Agha.  It was the grand prize winner in both the juried and public vote categories back in Art Prize 2014.  I didn't see it then -- because the lines to see it were just too long at the time.  I always regretted it, because I kept hearing how powerful it was -- how peace-filled and magical.

I was thrilled to discover that it is back on exhibit in Grand Rapids (at the Grand Rapids Art Museum) right now -- during Art Prize 2018.  (It is not part of Art Prize.  It is simply on exhibit at the same time.)

Tom and I popped in to see it when we were in town on Tuesday . . . and - unbelievably - we were the only people in the space at that moment!


It was such a treat . . . to be able to experience Intersections . . . privately.  Absolutely on our own.  Which made it even more amazing than it already is!




On this heart-wrenching day . . . after a heart-breaking week . . . may you find some space, some magic, some peace . . . within yourself.

Intersections, indeed.


If you click in to the link above (about the exhibit in Grand Rapids), you'll be able to learn more about the piece itself.  There are a few video links as well.  But to really get a feel for the story behind the piece, watch this video:

Anila Quayyum Agha: Intersections from Walley Films on Vimeo.







Ms. CrankyPants

There are many things that are currently making me cranky.  Most of them are not really suitable for a blog post.  (For one reason or another.)  And some of them are already making most of you cranky, too.  (So . . . why go there.)

But this one?


Oh, yes.  MAJOR culprit in the cranky department.

I don't blog about this, but I have rheumatoid arthritis.  Have had for . . . nearly 30 years now.  While it causes some problems for me now and again, it's mainly under control.  Which means it rarely stops me from doing what I want to be doing.  (Better living through chemistry.  And all that.)


Every once in a while, some joint will flare up in a major way.  Usually, it's my knee.  Occasionally, it's my jaw.  And, most annoyingly, sometimes it's my wrist.

And you know what that means, don't you?  Yeah.  No knitting.  No stitching.  No working out.  No walking the dogs.  Minimal gardening.  Typing with one hand.  And lots of grumbling. . . 

But I can still lift my cup of coffee.  
And hold a book.  
And sit in the car while Tom drives me up to Grand Rapids for Art Prize later today.  

So life is very good, really.

(I'm just wearing my CrankyPants.)


PS - JoJo is feeling cranky today, too.  She has an ear infection, but is on the mend.  (We're partners-in-crank.)



Digging Deep

Y'know, there are just times when the Overwhelm comes for a little visit.  When life just feel a little . . . heavy.  When friends are struggling, or life's realities just kind of swamp you, or you have to do this-or-that that you'd really prefer not to.  (When not being signed in when you really ARE signed in and can't leave comments on friends' blogs is your Last Straw  . . . )

That's when I know I need to dig a little deeper.  
Turn things around.
Listen to what's already there . . .  in my heart.


A gratitude list is usually a good place to start . . .

  • the smell of rain in the morning
  • a cool breeze through the open window
  • a cup of coffee
  • dogs at my side
  • an old pair of flip flops that perfectly conform to the shape of my feet

And, suddenly, the day seems brighter.  
It's those simple things, really, that turn away the Overwhelm.  
Digging deeper . . .  opens the path for a fresh new day.  
(Because, really.  How can old flip flops not turn the tide?)

Happy Friday, my friends.  It's going to be a good day.

The Cat's Away. . .

I dropped Tom off at the airport yesterday.  It's just me and the dogs for a few days!


You know what they say?  While the cat's away, the mouse will play!

Not that I change my routine all that much when Tom is away.  (We really don't get in each other's way.)  But there are some noteable differences when I'm at home for a few days on my own.

  1. I let the dogs sleep with me on the bed.  (No room when Tom's home.)
  2. I spread projects all over the kitchen island and leave them there.  (As my kids would be quick to tell you, this is taboo in our house!)
  3. I don't cook.  (I have a batch of leftover carbonara that I will eat for every meal until it runs out.  Then?  Take-out sushi!)

How about you?  Do your routines change when you're at home on your own?


Head over to Carole's today to read other Three on Thursday posts.


Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Thirty-seven years ago today . . . 


these two kiddos (my god we were young) walked down the aisle and said, "I do."

Today . . . we'll be walking down a different kind of aisle.  This time, we'll be looking for our seats at Hamilton in Chicago.  (Because you can't just see it once.)

Enjoy the rest of your week.  (I'll be back on Monday!)

Just Live Your Life

So.  This week was to be a Momentous Week for me.

But it didn't quite turn out that way.

You see, on Tuesday I was scheduled for my once-a-year check up appointment with my oncologist.  It would mark my ten-year-cancer-free-anniversary, and top on our agenda to discuss . . . was whether I really needed to continue coming in for my annual check-ups.


These appointments always fill me with a little dread.  (Because cancer is creepy, y'know?)  But I also was really looking forward to this appointment.  (Because graduation!)  I also just really adore my oncologist!  She is laser-focused and super smart, compassionate while being totally no-nonsense, pragmatic -- and funny when you need humor most.  I was looking forward to celebrating with her, sharing a high-five, and thanking her for, well . . . saving my life.

A few years ago, my oncologist had her own brush with cancer when her husband become ill and died (just after my mom).  She drastically cut her patient load and moved her office closer to her home when he first got sick -- about a 45-minute drive from Kalamazoo.  She allowed me to continue on as her patient, because I was on the once-a-year schedule by then, and it made sense . . . if I was willing to make the drive.  (I was.)

On Monday, I got what I thought was going to be a reminder message from her office about my appointment the next day.  Only . . . it wasn't. Not really.  The message said, "When you come in for your appointment tomorrow, you won't be seeing Dr. L; you'll be seeing another oncologist from the Kalamazoo office."


I called right back to reschedule.  But.  It turns out that my doctor had . . . retired at the end of June!  Just like that.  With no fanfare or communication or letter or anything. *

It was shocking to me.  Very distressing.  Suddenly, I had no oncologist!

I canceled my appointment.  (Because, really, who needs to drive an hour and a half to see a randomly-assigned oncologist who normally practices a couple of miles from my home?  And . . . who doesn't know me at all.)

And I've set up an appointment with my rather fabulous internist in a couple of weeks.  He'll go over my most recent blood work (which is reassuringly normal and very consistent with every other lab workup I've had in the last 9 years!) and help me decide how (and whether) to monitor things going forward.  

So. . . it's all good.

But also a bit discombobulating.  Because I was so looking forward to this appointment . . . as closure . . . for a very disturbing time in my life.  This should have been a celebratory week for me.  And, well.  It just doesn't quite feel celebratory yet.

I'm trying to just move forward.  And I will.

I remember how lost I felt . . . back when I finished my chemo treatments and felt so raw and exposed and vulnerable.  I asked my oncologist, "So, now what do I do?"  She smiled at me and said, "You get out there and you just live your life!"

I think that's what she would have told me to do - again - on Tuesday.  So . . . that's just what I'm going to do!


* I knew she was planning to retire soon.  I just didn't expect it before I had a chance to see her again.

Really . . . What Are the Chances?

So.  Yesterday I wrote that my afternoon had opened up due to a change in plans.  And I rejoiced a little.  Because I really did want to get some paperwork completed.  (Mission accomplished.)

I never expected a similar situation to happen today.  Two days in a row.  Another cancellation -- and a suddenly open afternoon. Again.  (Really . . . what are the chances?)

Only . . . well.  I'm not rejoicing about today's change in plans.  It doesn't feel like a gift, this one.  In fact, it's requiring a little bit of brain-space today; some pondering.  (Not all cancellations are equal.  Y'know?)

So, here.  Have a distraction.  Enjoy this little flower arrangement -- a random collection of what's blooming in my garden right now. . .


and I'll catch up with you tomorrow.  (Where there is no chance of an afternoon cancellation.)


Little Changes Everywhere

Like I said yesterday . . .

Change.  It would do you good.

Now, I wasn't talking about big changes.  Just little changes.  
(And I'm not just talking about a new air conditioner.  Although there is that, too.)

Like . . . we've been digging up whole garden beds at home and renovating them.


And Tom got new glasses.
(Two pair, actually.)  (Costco is a great place to go for new frames.  Just in case you're in the market.  Quick, great prices, good service.  So much less spendy than at our opthalmologist's office.)


The weather certainly has changed!  Last week?  Super hot.  This week?  Super cool.  (So cool that I'm currently wearing two sweatshirts with a shawl.)  (Fashion forward, that's me.)


But probably the best change for me right now . . . is a change in location.


We're up north this week - and it's so nice!  Quiet.  Slow.  Relaxed.


Little changes everywhere . . . add up to big changes in your heart and soul.

How Hot Is It???

As I mentioned earlier this week, we've had this sudden and unwelcome heat wave for the last several days here in my corner of the world.  Super hot and really muggy for this time of year.  For days.

Although neither Tom or I are fans of air conditioning (much preferring open windows and fresh air), we were mighty glad to have it last Friday.  We turned it on, held our breath for a minute or two (because our air conditioning is a bit . . . temperamental), and celebrated when the cool air flowed from the vents in our house.

Until it didn't.

Over the weekend, the air went from cold . . . to cool . . . to cool-ish.  And the temperature outside kept rising.

It was then we noticed all the water in the basement.  (Did you know that a broken air conditioner coil coupled with a refrigerant leak makes for the creation of an ice block in your vent system?)  (We do now.)

So. . . 


We're now in line for a new air conditioning system.  To be installed next week.  (Yeah.  Next week when the temperatures are back in the 60s and low 70s.)  (Because of course.)

Tom has been up north this week, setting up the docks and getting the pontoon back in the water.  (Also fishing.  A lot.)  I stayed home.  Because the air conditioner needed to be dealt with.  (And someone had to do it.)

I made a conscious decision to . . . adjust my attitude and Make the Best of Things.  To not complain.  (Except to Tom.  Because he's up north.  Fishing.)  (And I am trapped in a hot, stuffy house with two panting dogs.)  (Just sayin.)  To get through this with grace and dignity.  To not yell at repair people who can't repair.  Or at my "Comfort Consultant" (that's his job title) (I'm not even kidding) who is giving me so many options for new air conditioning units (when I just want one that works).

And you know what?  I've done okay with it.

  • I've created "cool spots" for myself in the house, and I just hang out there.
  • I'm drinking lots of water.
  • I'm avoiding housework.  (Like I need an excuse for that. . . )
  • I'm grateful for our many ceiling fans.
  • And our old oscillating fan.  (The one with residual blue Silly String remnants from one of Brian's youthful "experiments.")  (Oh, man.  The mess that made. . . )

I consider myself pretty lucky for the most part.  I mean . . . I live in a house with central air conditioning, and I can afford to replace it when it needs to be replaced.  It doesn't get much better than that, you know?

So . . . how hot is it?  Really damn hot, thankyouverymuch.

But it's cooling down outside this weekend.

And I'm just fine.  Almost comfortable, even.

Have a great weekend!  (Stay cool.)