Monday, October 31, 2022

October 31--One Weed, Mostly Flowers

A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.  --James Russell Lowell

    As a lifelong gardener, I am at least slightly challenged by that one! But I get it. It all depends on how you look at things. 
    Yesterday's drive through "my old stomping grounds"... Big Valley is beautiful--mountains on both sides, perfectly-maintained farms, old houses and lovely gardens. I drove to Alan Seeger Natural Area and trekked the "Alan Seeger Loop." This is the equivalent of "died and gone to heaven" for me. I was tickled at the end to find this new sign: 

Now we know!
    Then it was moving on to check out, for sure, whether or not the home I grew up in was still there. On the second pass by, I stopped and knocked on the door of a completely different house on the property, hoping the new owners might know what happened to my childhood home. No answer. But at least now I know for sure that a huge landmark of my life is gone. 
    I met up with my BFF from middle school, and we had a great time catching up over lunch in State College. Then it was off to Ohio to visit my brother, niece and family. Lots more driving, lots more joy!
    Happy Halloween!

At Alan Seeger

Sunday, October 30, 2022

October 30--I See LOVE!

There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it. 
--L. M. Montgomery

    Let's be literal for a moment. When I was 20 months old, I had eye surgery to correct a crossed left eye. Fortunately my parents figured out that the reason I was having difficulty in school was because I couldn't see the board, seated as I was at the back of the room. So I have been wearing glasses for distance nearly my whole life. But even at age 67, I can see things up close without glasses. That's a huge blessing!
    The wedding and celebration was awesome fun!! Lots of dancing, cheering, great food and drink--quite the celebration! I feel extraordinarily blessed to be present for all of it!
    Today I drive through "my old stomping grounds," the area where I grew up. I get to go to Alan Seeger Natural Area in central PA--as far as I'm concerned, it is the most beautiful spot on the planet. I drink in the beauty of this area--the mountains, streams, fall colors, fresh air, bazillions of trees (I'd guess that one PA mountain has more trees than the entire state of Kansas). My "eyes to see" shall be filled to overflowing!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

October 29--Woohoo!! Good and Gooder!

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more.  --Oprah Winfrey

    I like the reminder to be thankful IN everything, because I have a hard time being thankful FOR everything. At this moment, I am very thankful for safe travels and arriving safely at the wedding venue, Bear Creek Resort in southeastern PA. There is still much color left in the PA mountains. It is beautiful! I love the feeling I have in my heart driving the winding back roads of my home state. 
    I feel like my life has proven Ms. Winfrey's quote, and even greater expansion of the idea is always possible, because Source is infinite. Potentials are infinite.  ANY attitude we live by will bring us more of the same. It applies to negativity and cynicism just the same. I would suggest that gratitude feels better and is the preferred way to go. 
    I'm so thankful for my new grandson!! I'll take more! 😉😉

Bear Creek (Ski) Resort, the view from our balcony.
Note the wedding site at the bottom of the photo.

Friday, October 28, 2022

October 28--Why Not?

A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.  --Allen Klein

    I'm in a Comfort Inn near Wheeling, West Virginia. Yesterday's 600-mile drive was fairly uneventful. I'm disappointed in that most of the brilliant fall color of this area is on the ground. Not many leaves left on the trees. But the weather is lovely, and I am grateful for that. 
    When I tell folks about taking off on a trip such as this one, the first response I usually get is "By yourself?!?!" I do sometimes reflect that my long driving trips are a little nuts, but a) family events are important to me; b) I can't accomplish what I want by flying; c) we bought a new vehicle to make these trips safer and more comfortable and most importantly, d) why not!?!!--I am perfectly capable, and up to 600 miles is doable because I've done it often going to/from Colorado to see our kids. 
    Here's a recommendation for an excellent 6-hour audiobook: Handling Your Fire...Passion, Burnout, Routines and Resilience by Rob Bell. I'm in the midst of figuring out what I want to do in life (after tax work), and this gave me some very different perspective on where I'm at and where I want to head. 
    Actually, I'm headed to southeastern PA today, only ~300 miles. Easy day with family fun at the end!

Ted Bear, my copilot.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

October 27--MY favorite colors

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.  --Marcus Aurelius

    Today my perspective travels along I-70 between Wentzville, Missouri and Wheeling, West Virginia. It's a long, nearly 600 mile trip. I had a lovely visit with my in-laws.
    This quote is a reminder to me to not take everything so seriously. My perspective colors everything in my favorite colors. Knowing your favorite colors are likely different from mine, and just as valid, I remember to be more curious than critical. I am reminded that the world does not revolve around me. 

Note the moon.
Around Lake Dowdy, Colorado
My opinion: beautiful!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

October 26--Sunshine

The greater part of life is sunshine.  --Thomas Jefferson

    Hopefully sunshine will bless my travels as today I head east toward PA for a family wedding and other assorted adventures. 
    Here is some light from Kryon to ponder. Kryon is a loving entity from the other side who speaks through Lee Carroll. Learn more here.
Pleasing God

The perceptions of humanity are that you must somehow please God with your goodness. I want to tell you, angels, you’ve already pleased God because you’re here!

You’ve already pleased God! You don’t have to think about being fearful or worry about what you might do to displease God because of some kind of a super reward and punishment system on the other side of the veil. There isn’t one.

It’s hard enough while you’re here, isn’t it? If you ever knew how much you were loved, you would never think for a moment there’d be punishment on the other side of the veil, even for the darkest among you.

Yet your major religions are all based around this feature. A billion of you feel that you arrived "dirty," already broken and carrying the burden of humanity’s darkest deeds.

Then, if you join and perform certain rituals and beliefs, you can overcome this horrible fate. In the process, those who never find out about how it works go to Hell! Does this make any spiritual sense to you?

It’s time to understand how Human this concept is.
There's some sunshine for you!
Another amazing Kansas sunrise

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

October 25--Flowering

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.  --Henri Matisse

    Yesterday when I was walking Barney in the neighborhood, I noticed a crack in the middle of a sidewalk section where there were blades of grass peeking through. We should all have the perseverance of the seeds that sprout through cracks in the most dismal of conditions! And yes, some of those "weeds" even produce flowers. 
    If you are a parent or grandparent, you have probably been gifted with a "flower" bouquet presented by little hands and a big smile of love. Praise life that little ones will always find flowers no matter how barren their surroundings may seem!
    For many decades as a gardener, I've noted in the description of some plants: "flowers insignificant." For example, one generally plants hostas for the foliage, and the flowers are not that impressive. However! Flowering to me indicates plant health, so whether the flowers are lovely or not really doesn't matter. Plants are meant to flower. 
    So are humans!

Monday, October 24, 2022

October 24--Simplicity

It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.  --Amelia Barr

    I used to work with a person whose philosophy of life could be summed up this way: why do anything simply when we can over-complicate it? The filing system this person used was maddening. 
    I think a lot about keeping things simple. I took on a golf league treasurer position two years ago. For that I was given a whole bunch of spreadsheets to maintain in order to keep track of income and expenses and create reports. Being the bookkeeper I am, I moved all the information into Quicken, and now the job is so simple and easy. Quicken does the work for me. 
    I like to keep things simple in terms of "stuff," too. Less is more! I've become ever more conscious of not bringing more stuff into the house that I will one day have to dispose of. I have to REALLY like something to want to add it to my stuff collection. I'm even reluctant to start any new hobbies because it would require more accessorizing with stuff. 
    Experiences--that is what I prefer to collect. Simple adventures are always marvelous!
    My mother used to say, "Give a lazy person a hard job, and he/she will find an easier way to do it." That's marvelous advice that I've taken to heart personally!

Wildflowers along an Ohio Hike-Bike Trail

Sunday, October 23, 2022

October 23--"In Living Color"

One should absorb the color of life, but one should never remember its details. 
--Oscar Wilde

    I've read that after one dies, there is a full life review. I certainly don't know if that's true, or even if it's a good thing, but I surely would be surprised to see the many things ("details") I have forgotten!
    I think of our recent hike around Dowdy Lake in Colorado. The nearly-cloudless sky was brilliant blue. The aspen leaves were vibrant yellow. The water was crystal clear, the huge rocks, gray, the fall vegetation, dusty brown, and we were surrounded by evergreen. 
    Imagine the picture below from that hike without color. The details would still be there, but it would be nothing without the color!

Dowdy Lake, Colorado

Saturday, October 22, 2022

October 22--Ebb and Flow

The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.  --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I'm in the midst of some deep, deep spiritual excavation to release stuck energy from a traumatic incident when I was four years old that has affected the rest of my life. Awareness of the potency of this energy has come as a by-product of the grief I feel relative to my sister-in-law's passing. I've passed through a lot of tears and sadness, and I expect there is more to come as I continue to process this. However, with plentiful prayer support, I am already feeling lighter. The "lowest ebb" is quite useful in helping to free me from some lifelong habits that don't serve me. 
    The tide is turning,

Friday, October 21, 2022

October 21--Let's Think Differently

A mistake is simply another way of doing things.  --E. B. White

    Comically, the photo accompanying this quote is of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 
    Wouldn't that significantly lighten our load in life if we adopt the sentiment of White's quote? We could simply say, "Well, that didn't work," and move on, rather than berating ourselves for the error? That is a much more self-loving approach to life. 
    On the topic of self-love, I offer these words by Civil Rights leader and activist Ruby Sales:
It’s hard to love yourself when you follow people who degrade your humanity and teach you to hate other people. It’s hard to love yourself when you’re being used by powerful people to carry out an agenda that buttresses their power but disempowers you. And so I think that the critical question that all of us must deal with in the 21st century, is how is it that we can love ourselves so that we might extend that love to others? Because I think that we have been taught to hate and despise ourselves...
    Self-appreciation leads to other-appreciation. We could use lots more of that.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

October 20--Big Truth

Life itself is a gift.  --Daphne Rose Kingma

    Amen! I don't know how much I can add to that. But I'll give it a shot...
    I had a lovely birthday this week. I was blessed with lots of cards, calls, texts, and well-wishes--I was even serenaded via voicemail. Both sons remembered. My longest-time friend since 7th grade in PA called. We have been friends for 55 years! I swam and had a pedicure and a haircut. I had ice cream AND carrot cake. (And I'm ready to return to my much healthier diet!) I feel far better at 67 than I would have ever thought possible. 
    One of my birthday treats was a new photo of my grandson. He is the perfect gift of life, and I get to watch that precious new human grow, explore and learn. I can't think of a greater gift. 
Huntingdon High School,
Class of 1973

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

October 19--A Very Influential Life

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. 
--William Shakespeare

It is time to offer my tribute to my recently-transitioned sister-in-law, Sue.

    Both my brothers had excellent taste in women. I'm not so sure about Sue's and Mary Ellen's taste in men, but I'm glad they both said YES! And both sets had many good years together. Maybe it was Sue's life-long sexy legs that attracted Arlie???
    Sue made the best spaghetti & meatballs on the planet. She was a great cook. Mealtimes with Sue were so much fun. Her infectious laughter was always present. 
    In preparation for the memorial service, we looked at lots of family photos. Though I have no recollection of it, I was the flower girl in her wedding to Arlie. What an honor! As it turns out, that was the only wedding I was ever in. 
    Sue was always willing to listen--we had many a good and meaningful conversation. We both had some pretty challenging family issues in our backgrounds, so that we had some experiences in common there. We also had common recovery experience.
    Sue and I shared a love for gardening and sewing. She served multiple causes with her sewing and knitting skills, determined to be useful and helpful even when she wasn't feeling well. We enjoyed many hours sitting in her garden by the lovely water feature she maintained.
    What a dog lover she was! I know it tore out a piece of her heart to part with Shadoe. I always enjoyed a good "doggie fix" when visiting.
    Beach trips were so much fun with Sue. I would not have the love of the beach that I do without Sue and her love for it.
    She stuck it out through what I know were some rough years with Arlie. She was a military wife. She went through Arlie's two tours in Viet Nam. Once I became a wife and mom myself, I had a new awe for her fortitude, both physical and emotional. She was a single parent with a husband in constant danger as an Army Ranger. She was one STRONG woman.
    Sue gave me a niece and two nephews whom I dearly love. She was a great mom and taught me a lot about mothering and grand-mothering. Since my mom died when I was 23, Sue and Mary Ellen (my other late s-i-l) were like mothers to me. She was so excited about me becoming "Grammie" for the first time this past August.
    My husband said, "It's so sad that she spent so many years in pain." Mercifully, that's over now. Sue, we miss you, love you, and know you are in bliss and at peace. 
    I can hear her joyful laugh right now.
    C. S. Lewis once said " To know the grief now is because we knew the love then."
    Sue, our love for you and your love for us will never die. Thank you!


The "girls" on a pedicure adventure...
Sue is on the left.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

October 18--🎉🎉🎉🥳🥳🥳

There are no facts, only interpretations.  --Friedrich Nietzsche

    You know what? It's my birthday, and I think that IS a fact. 
    My interpretation is I don't feel like thinking hard enough to write about Nietzsche's quote. 
    As the song by Rare Earth goes:
I just want to celebrate another day of livin'
I just want to celebrate another day of life 
    Party on, friends!

5-year-old me, the flower girl

Monday, October 17, 2022

October 17--I'll Take Open with a Clear View

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. 
--Helen Keller

    My faith is telling me that there are open doors awaiting me, but I feel that I can't see them at the moment. 
    One of my biggest challenges in life is letting go of my sons. This process has been going on for nearly two decades (yes, I said decades!!), and I expect it will continue till the day I die. Letting them go while still loving them intensely and wanting to be with them is no small challenge for me. On the Colorado visit just completed, we barely saw our younger son due to his work schedule. At the time he said he could meet us, he didn't show due to resting up for later work. So it was a legitimate excuse, but it hurts nonetheless. This is not uncommon behavior for him which I should be used to by now, and able to easily overlook. 
    Our older son now has a wife and a two-month old son (my grandson!!!) which has completely changed his focus in life, as it should. We are all figuring out this new arrangement, and what is a comfortable level of being together. The pessimist in me feels "doors closing"... will I ever get to golf with my son again? Will we be able to truly know our grandson living so far away? 
    Staying focused on "open,"

Sunday, October 16, 2022

October 16--Mountain Adventure

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.  --Henry Ford

    But alas, driving into the fierce wind lowers gas mileage! This happens often on our Wichita to Fort Collins drives. Today we leave our grandson and his parents and return home. It is literally downhill all the way. 
    On Friday we enjoyed a beautiful drive into the mountains to hike around Dowdy Lake in the Red Feather Lakes area of Colorado. My husband, son, grandson (strapped to his dad's chest), three dogs and I trekked the almost 3-mile trail around the lake. It was quite breezy, but the sky was bright blue, the air fresh, the sunshine brilliant, and the water crystal-clear. The return back to Wellington was a scary, winding, beautiful drive through the Poudre Canyon. We enjoyed "lupper" at the restaurant where my younger son works, and bought dessert at Mary's Mountain Cookies. Fort Collins is extra-hopping this weekend because of homecoming and family weekend at CSU. 
    Below are a few pics from the hike...

Saturday, October 15, 2022

October 15--What is Reality Anyway?

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality. 
--Nikos Kazantzakis

    I'm on my second visit to see my new grandson. During the first visit, at one week old, he was crying a lot. Coming from mama's womb into this monstrous strange world, who wouldn't cry a lot?!?! Now at almost two months old, he's a much happier baby. I've seen his smiles for the first time. Total heart meltdown!!! 
    Much has changed relative to babies since we had our sons 30+ years ago. The gadgets, procedures, even extensive immunizations among the family members--it's a new reality that I get to learn and adapt to. I think it is quite important to ask questions so that I can adjust my eyes and understanding to the new baby reality. 
    More cuddles ahead!

From yesterday's beautiful around-the-lake hike

Friday, October 14, 2022

October 14--Dance or Not

We can choose to hate the rain or dance in it.  --Joan Marques

    I live in an area where we rarely hate rain; mostly we badly need it. We are more inclined to dance in it unless there is lightning, which is often the case. 
    But that's not really the point of the quote. My parenting words are haunting me right now. I used to tell the sons that even though they had a must-do chore, they always had a choice--they could do the chore with a good attitude or a bad attitude. I recently had a must-do that I am very opposed to, and I did it with a bad attitude. I cannot muster any good feelings about the event. So I'm "hating the rain" on that one. 
    Control is the issue here. We can't control the weather, so we can enjoy it or not. We can't control other people, so we can accept them as they are or not. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do, so we can do so pleasantly or not. Being human, sometimes I'm into "not." 
    Today I feel like dancing,

My golf ball collection reminds me to "dance."

Thursday, October 13, 2022

October 13--Fulfillment

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.  --Epicurus

    I am in the midst of spoiling right now. I'm desiring considerably more time with my new grandson than I am experiencing, and yes, I remember that a grandchild has been a blessing long-hoped for. I am also in a quandary about what to do with myself this winter since I am no longer doing taxes. The end of that job has been a much hoped-for joy, but it has left me with a "what-do-I-do-with-my-life?" dilemma. One might reason that more time with my grandson would take care of both these items. We shall see. I am a firm believer that the answer shall come through me. I am considering options. And I am trying to stay focused on one day at a time and not wish my life away. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

October 12--Another Birthday Already?!!?

Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.   --Jean Paul

    I have an October birthday, and that feather is coming up in less than a week. Between grieving my sister-in-law and uncertainties about the future, my birthday feels kind of irrelevant this year. 
    Recently a friend said that her mother makes her father's favorite cake and takes it to the senior center to share in honor of her deceased husband. So I asked my husband where he'll be taking a carrot cake to celebrate after I'm gone. That got a big laugh. That is, however, an annual birthday treat for myself--a big slice of carrot cake. Note that I don't get a whole cake, because I would eat it all. One piece is enough. As fast as birthdays come around, I don't spend much time dreaming of my birthday treat. 
    Mmmmmmm...cream cheese frosting!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

October 11--The BEST!

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Best day yet!" Long ago I read a story somewhere that a 90-something gentleman responded with that exclamation whenever he was asked how he was doing. Clearly that stuck with me. 
    Is it the best day of the year when a beloved sister-in-law passes? I expect it was, in fact, for her, even though not so for those of us remaining. Is my birthday the best day of the year? Christmas? The 4th of July? The third Wednesday of May? I note that I tend to put a lot of judgment on a day before it even starts, based on what I see on my calendar--is it stuff I look forward to or dread? And why do I have those sentiments? "Best day yet" seems to be a much more promising attitude.

Monday, October 10, 2022

October 10--All Four Seasons

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.  --George Santayana

    I am hopelessly in love with spring, because it brings Opening Day of baseball season. 
    However, I've always lived where there are four distinct seasons, and I like it that way. I'm not very fond of extreme heat or cold, so the changing seasons here in Kansas give us a much needed break from the extremes. I am as in love with fall colors as I am with spring flowers. I love warm-weather golf as well as the "long winter's nap." (OK, I'm a year-round napper.) 
    Am I happier because of all this? I guess so!

The autumn colors of Colorado

Sunday, October 9, 2022

October 9--Astonishing!

You must not pity me because my sixtieth year finds me still astonished. To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.  --Colette

    Every photo I received of my new grandson astonishes me, even at 66. He's a perfect, growing, smiling, cooing, bright-eyed spiritual being in a sweet new body. He's a miracle creation, a whole new human from two cells in a mere nine months. If that process doesn't astonish you, maybe you are growing old?!!? 😉
    Another astonishment in my life is our dog, Barney. His goofiness is a continuous delight. Halloween decorations are starting to appear outside homes. Barney has been known to bark furiously at a pumpkin. We saw yesterday a yard decorated with random fake body parts and bloody dolls. Barney sniffed at a couple things and decided that giving them a wide berth was his best strategy. 
    Lastly I'll give a nod to the magnificent beauty of Mother Earth. There's no end to the astonishment our Mother can create, from the most serene sunrise to the most violent hurricane. She provides our every need, worth pondering and appreciating. 

Kansas sunrise

Saturday, October 8, 2022

October 8--Beauty

Life is beautiful.  --Leon Trotsky

    I noticed on my recent visit to Ohio that most of my family members were wearing some sort of "Life is good" clothing. I've been a fan of LIG for years--most of my tops come from that company. It turns out that my recently-transitioned s-i-l Sue was also a big fan, and has given LIG gifts for years. Sue's kids offered me something to remind me of her, so I selected one of her LIG shirts. That's much better than a knick-knack!
    Grief was strongly with me yesterday and lots of soul-rinsing happened. It's a beautiful thing to be able to hurt so much because we love so much. 
    Below is some of the beauty I've noticed lately.    

Friday, October 7, 2022

October 7--In the Garden

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. 
--Frances Hodgson Burnett

    Silly me. I read this as "you can see the whole world IN a garden." So I'm sticking with that...
    How about "the good, the bad, and the ugly?" The "good" is the plants we want there. The "bad" is the weeds. The "ugly" is trash (found after a long, windy winter) or storm damage or dead plants that didn't make it. 
    We see beauty in a garden. We see cooperation--bees pollinating flowers. We see competition for water and nutrients among plants. We see divine order--a tomato seed becomes a tomato plant and an acorn becomes an oak tree, and our Earth Mother nurtures it all. We see perfection--a perfect rose bloom. We see imperfection--rarely will you see a garden without some weeds. 
    Over, above and through it all is mystery, the infinite ways our glorious planet sustains all life on herself.
    My 2,000 mile journey is complete, and I'm so glad to be home!
    And yes, the whole world IS a garden!

My woman-cave window garden

Thursday, October 6, 2022

October 6--Home, Here I Come!

There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out. 
--Lou Reed

    Having just experienced a huge loss in our family, I'm having a hard time with it "evening things out." A magical woman has left us, and there is a gaping hole in our hearts. 
    Yesterday I completed the 600-mile part of my trek home. This section going west was, for some unknown reason, easier than it was going east. My in-laws graciously welcomed me. I took a two-mile walk to move my sitting-all-day-in-the-car body, then enjoyed a lovely supper prepared by my mother-in-law. After a hot shower, I enjoyed a much-needed nine hours of sleep.
    Homeward bound, only 400 miles today!

Along an Ohio Hike-Bike Trail

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

October 5--Celebrating Sue; Heading Home

Age does not protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age.  --Jeanne Moreau

    On Tuesday, our family gathered for lunch together before heading to the funeral home. There was a visitation with family in the late afternoon, where it was great fun to reunite with folks I had not seen in a while. The service at 6:00 pm was lovely and a fitting tribute to a dearly-loved and powerfully-loving woman. There was LOTS of soul-rinsing, and not just by me! 
    After the service a crowd went back to my brother's house to continue the joy of being together to celebrate Sue. 
    I am so glad I made this 1,000 mile trip. I could not have stood not being here. The time with family has been priceless. I am also so grateful for plans in place to move my brother to assisted living, where life will be much safer and easier for him.
    Today I head west toward home, destination Wentzville, Missouri. 

A beautiful fall day for an ice cream adventure!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

October 4--A Multi-Colored Life

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. 
--Dolly Parton

    Yesterday the family members who were available met with the minister who is officiating at Sue's memorial service. He wanted to get a "picture" of Sue before the event. Present were Sue's husband of 61+ years, daughter, sons, sister-in-law (me), and daughter-in-law. Being the writer I am, I had jotted down a few of my special memories of Sue. I'll share those here sometime soon.
    I went out and purchased daisies, Sue's favorite flowers, to create an arrangement for the service. Then my niece and I went for a walk on the nearby trail where I cut wildflowers and greenery to mix with the daisies. Below is the result, my creativity a tribute to Sue's, which was awesome.     
    Other family events of the day included a Handel's ice cream adventure and a pizza party and gab session in the evening. I had the joy of driving to the Cleveland Airport to retrieve a great-nephew away on a business trip. I hadn't seen him in quite some time, so it was fun to catch up. He's out of college and a working man now. 
    A friend gave me this C. S. Lewis quote: To know the grief now is because we knew the love then.
    We have known great love!

Monday, October 3, 2022

October 3--Imagination

Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships. 
--Zora Neale Hurston

    I started yesterday (Sunday) with a two-mile walk on the Hike-Bike Trail near my niece's home. After walking a quarter-mile on the lovely wooded trail, I realized that all I was seeing was the paved path. Grief has a way of hunching me over and narrowing my view. In reference to the quote, I was in the mud. "Look up!" I told myself. Below are some photos of the beauty I saw once I entered "ocean with ships" mode. 
    Family gathered at my brother's house for the Browns-Falcons football game. It was so fun to reunite with some relatives that I had not seen in a few years. Alas, the Browns lost, and although we all ate a lot, it seems we barely made a dent in the generous food donations. After the game, it was naptime (though my brother got to that earlier). 😉 My niece and I enjoyed a late afternoon walk, then gabbed for hours over snacks and cocktails. Words cannot express how much I love her and love being with her! So while we are all grieving, the ocean is full of ships!
    Look up!

Sunday, October 2, 2022

October 2--Normal Day

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  --Mary Jean Irion

    This is HUGE for me now, being in Ohio with my brother's family for my s-i-l's memorial service. 
    Yesterday's "normal" day included taking my brother to a 12-Step meeting. Since it was an open meeting, I stayed, and it was excellent. There is nothing quite like a recovery story to make one grateful. Talk about perspective! My brother's good friends at the meeting were lined up to offer condolences. 
    I hung out with my brother at his house after the meeting. Family friends brought over enough food to feed a small army, so I organized the fridge and fixed lunch and did dishes. Being Saturday, college football was on TV. Knowing this would put my brother into nap mode, I headed back to my niece's house for a nap. My niece and I went out for a long walk on the trail near her house, a much-needed movement, outside, in-the-woods, fresh air time. We enjoyed a simple salad supper and a movie. 
    It was a "normal day." It was, for me, an emotional roller coaster. I have become during this visit much more informed relative to my brother's health issues. Right at this moment, I am more aggrieved about his condition than I am over Sue's passing. It's all grief. And it brings up my own fears of aging and poor health. 
    More family members continue to arrive in the area--today we gather to watch the Cleveland Browns game and eat a lot of food!
    Appreciating the treasure of this day, 

Barney demonstrates that any "normal day"
includes a nap.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

October 1--Perspective

Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.  --Nora Ephron

    October's theme is perspective. We all see things differently. Mostly that's a good thing, except for maybe religion and politics. 
    I'll let you do as you will with Ms. Ephron's quote. I'm thinking I might replace "worn a bikini" with "traveled around Europe" or something similar. 
    I had an excellent day with my brother yesterday. We went golfing. I played, and he rode in the cart with me. Being the sweetie he is, he did not laugh at me much. His health prevents him from golfing, and it's one of the things he misses the most. I miss golfing with him, and so it was a treat to have him with me. After we squeezed in a short nap, we paid a visit to the assisted living center where he will be moving. I could write many paragraphs on that adventure. Suffice it to say that it is a great place, the people were super, and I believe he will adapt quite well. Most important, he will be much safer there. 
    Then my niece and I met friends at a local brew pub and spent the evening over beers, pizza and cards. I was reminded how to play Euchre, which I really enjoy. It was an outstanding mental break from grief to catch up with these folks and laugh a LOT. 
    Below is a sign in my niece's bathroom. Let's live by it.