Mind Candy



“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

-- Neil Gaiman


One Little Word

"Whatever you want to do, do it now.  There are only so many tomorrows."  -- Michael Landon


When I first finished up my chemo treatments and was tagged with the "remission" label, I was in a very fragile place:  I was at The Edge.  A lot relieved.  A little scared.  Suddenly. . . the colors were brighter.  The sky was bigger.  Things just tasted better.  Change had come.  I was learning to live with the uncomfortable certainty that . . . life really IS limited.  So make it count!  I threw open my arms.  I embraced the world around me.  I lived like time was precious.  I stepped away from The Edge.  But I was still close enough . . . to think about it all the time.

In that first year after chemo, I reached out to people and activities and dreams in a way I never had before.  I tended to say . . . "Why not?". . . "Let's do it!". . . "I want to". . . "YES!"  I didn't stop to overanalyze; I opened myself to possibilities; I didn't get bogged down with things.  I was really clear about what was important and what I wanted to do and who I wanted to do it with.  And that felt really good!

And now?   (Nearly) three years since?

Well.  Even though, from time to time,  I get close to The Edge again, for the most part, I'm finding my angle of repose -- that point where I've settled in to what's comfortable; to what seems "normal;" to-almost-but-not-quite where I was before I had cancer.

And, you know. . . this bothers me a little.

As I slide into a new angle of repose, I can feel myself losing that openness.  I'm starting to feel frozen by "oughts" and "shoulds"; I'm starting to say "yes" to things that aren't really important to me; I'm starting to feel like there is plenty of time.

I've learned that being a little close to The Edge. . . isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I mean, if your angle of repose lets you believe that there are plenty of tomorrows ahead of you. . . you may miss opportunities to seize today.  (And I actually like reaching out for those opportunities!)


This is the "anniversary-time" of the awful, dark days of my initial cancer diagnosis and the beginning of my treatment.  (Three years, now!)  It's become a time of reflection and remembering.  This year, I'm haunted by this new angle of repose; this feeling frozen; that, perhaps, I've actually stepped TOO far from The Edge.

And then, a week or so ago, I read one of Mary's posts. . . about the One Little Word project she was doing for 2011.  When I read her post, I was struck!  Like, in the words of Tom in Four Weddings and a Funeral. . . "lightning bolt city!"  Something about what she wrote resonated with me, and really got me thinking.

One little word (an actual word, not the project) has  been surfacing in my mind for a few weeks; a little voice that keeps getting louder.  I didn't realize there was actually a "program" designed to help you listen to that word -- but, WOW, was that an interesting concept!

After a quick pow-wow with Mary, I decided to join the One Little Word program myself.  Yeah, I'm quite late to the party.  Which is fine.  What it means is that I'll have to move through the one-month exercises at my own pace.  And I'm okay with that.  I'm ready!  I need this.

One Little Word. . . has been there for awhile.

One Little Word. . . is getting louder.

One Little Word. .  .is needing to be explored.

One Little Word. . .


New and Improved

Well.  New.  Improved is a bit of a stretch. . . 

As you can see, I've changed things around here at Stepping Away From the Edge.  I'll continue to "tweak" my new look for awhile, so don't be surprised if things change again.  What do you think?

Things are righting themselves in my world.  I am feeling fine.  Jenny is on the mend and back to her delightful self.  The sun is shining.  I haven't had to rip back any knitting in several rows.  I headed back to the gym today.  The weekend looks perfect for gardening.  Life is good.

Enjoy your weekend!


Friday RoundUp: Quick Edition

I'm flying out the door in a few minutes -- to a conference.  A gardening conference!  I can hardly wait to fill my brain with new information from Michigan State University on . . . integrated pest management, weather and plants, identifying woody ornamentals, and the latest on invasives here in Michigan! 

In the meantime, we can't open our front door for a while. . .

April 29 10 001 

A Mama Robin has decided to make my wreath. . . her new home!  Look what's inside. . .

April 29 10 002

In blooming news this week, we have trillium!

April 29 10 007 


April 29 10 014 

And my neighbor's lilac!

April 29 10 010 

The next best thing to having a lilac bush of your own. . . is having your neighbor's lilac spill over your fence!  You get the beauty and the scent --- but you don't feel right about cutting a bouquet to take inside. . .

I planted peas this morning (better late than never is my motto!).

Container veggies 002 

My yard is not at all cut out for a traditional vegetable garden, so I'm being creative in planning a container garden for edibles.  First in . . . peas!


Yesterday, Jenny and I went on some errands.  I take her in the car with me whenever I have quick errands to run.  She loves to ride in the car (LOVES) -- and I needed to go to some of her favorite spots. 

First up. . . the drive-up window at the bank. 

Jenny on errands apr 29 10 001

When Jenny was a little puppy, she discovered that the bank was The Place to Be --- because the drive-up tube comes back with dog treats for good puppies!  Now, Jenny sits in the front seat rather patiently -- but never taking her eyes off the place where the tube comes back. 

And then. . . when the Tube o' Treats arrives. . .

Jenny on errands apr 29 10 002

Oh, Happy Day!

Then, we went to Petco to pick up some food.

Jenny on errands apr 29 10 004 

This is a fun place, because Jenny can shop with me.  She usually comes home with a rawhide chew (or two) that she picks out herself!  (The friendly check-out people give out treats at the counter, too).  It was an exciting day for Jenny.


Have a great weekend!  It's a great time to play in the dirt. . .

Simple pleasures

Friday Round Up: Tech Edition

Earlier this week, Norma blogged about her laptop mishap.  Seems she had several things to load into her car, and forgot that her laptop was still . . . well, not packed.  She inadvertently drove over her computer, as it lay in the driveway - waiting to be loaded into the car.  It could happen to anyone. 

I wish it could happen to me.

Computer 001 

In fact, what I would like to do - Very Much - is to take my computer and throw it in the driveway.  No.  That is not strong enough.  I would like to hurl my computer with all of my strength into the pavement of my driveway.  (There.  Better.)  And then, I'd like to drive over it -- back and forth.  Many Times.  And I would laugh while doing it.  Maniacally.

Yes.  I'm having computer problems.  They've been . . . festering. . . for quite some time.  But now, I'm at that point where Something is Seriously Wrong.  The computer is old now -- probably 4 years -- so it is time to replace it.  Past time, actually.  But just the thought of setting up a new system is enough to make me queasy.  (iTunes alone makes me shudder in fear. . .)

I'm getting signals, though, that the end is near.   I'm taking drastic action.  I've already backed up my entire hard drive (wow -does THAT take a lot of time!), and this weekend I'll have Tom and Brian sync their iPods -- in case we're out of the music business for a while. 

And I've started to shop for a new computer.

I'm liking this one.  Any suggestions?  (Please don't suggest a Mac.  I know.  I know.  But at this stage, I'm just thinking it will be easier for me if I stick with the tried-and-true PC.)  I'm ready to make the switch to a laptop, but I'd actually prefer a desktop model with a big screen -- especially if it could double as an HDTV with DVR! (What I'd really like is such a desktop AND a small laptop. . .)

So.  If I disappear for a few days, send up a smoke signal.  It will mean that my computer died before I could replace it.  Either that. . . or I ran over it out in the driveway.


This comic appeared in our paper the other day.

Zits comic 

This is SO my life!  I haven't seen anything else that captures Life With an 18-Year-Old Son quite so well as this particular comic.


Last Friday I showed you a picture of what I was hoping was trillium, appearing in my garden.  Well.  Here's an update:

Trillium apr 16 001 

Definitely trillium!


Looking for a quick way to do some good? 

Stamp out hunger 

The US Postal Service is holding their annual Stamp Out Hunger canned food drive to benefit local food banks on Saturday, May 8.  All you need to do is set out a bag of healthy canned goods for letter carriers to pick up with your mail.  Click here for more information.


And, finally, some mind candy for Friday. 

Spring poem 

Enjoy the weekend!