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Christmas tree in April?

I was feeling a bit down on myself for only putting out about a fourth of my Easter decorations. and Yes I have some cute ones. I just wasn’t feeling quite up to all the walking and rearranging and set up and take down. I’m a dork.

I thought, gee, it wouldn’t take that much to put up more than a few baskets of colored and glittered eggs that I made. I do love the bunnies that I scattered around. The two Easter trees always make me smile. How hard would that be?

Well, time slipped away this month. I didn’t do more than iron a couple of table cloths and put a few touches here and there.

Yes, I was feeling lame and lazy.

Then IT happened! On Saturday, like the miricle I was needing or looking for, it was dropped by heaven in my lap. While out and about doing weekend errands we saw it. Yep, a van drove by us. A top the roof of the van was tied on a FLOCKED CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It had the wooden stand and the rope flapping in the wind. It made me smile and laugh and point and giggle.

Apparently, someone was just getting around to bringing home the tree to trim.

And I was worried about not getting all my Easter decor out for display?

Life is indeed good again.

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Spring Break in the 60’s and 70’s

If I remember correctly, it was the Spring Break of my third grade year. Spring break for us Washington girls always coincided with Easter. My maternal Grandparents were building their retirement home at Point Whitehorn, WA. That is the very tip top point of Washington state. My family still lives there today. The frame of the house was built. There was a very large (now I know, very fancy schmancy) trailer my Grandparents would “live” in on the weekends to oversee the building. The Easter bunny did indeed find us at this new local. There were eggs to find, we each got huge Easter baskets and one evening our Grandpa gave each of us girls a flash light to go “find” one more surprise hidden in the new house. We each found a brand new hula hoop! Yeah, I still love hula hooping today. Makes me happy to stand in the sunshine on the deck and hula hoop away.

It was the one and only year (I have photograph proof) that we did not have to wear frilly fluffy Easter dresses with new hats, gloves, purses, shoes, and undergarments. We each got to have pastel plaid peddle pusher PANTS!!! With matching solid shirts and new white sneakers. Did you read that last sentence? Okay, go back and re-read, I will wait for you, it is that important…. PANTS!

Some years Easter would be at the end of Spring break. As my grandmother drove and my mother sat in the front seat, I remember sitting in the back seat with my two sisters driving to a farm. They would buy a flat or two of “peewee” eggs. Those somehow would end up cooked and colored in our baskets and hidden. We did not have
hand held anything to “play” with in the “olden” days. During the drive, I would fog up my window (of course I got a window seat, because I was the oldest, rules man, rules) and draw flowers and boats and trees and “erase” the window and fog it up and start again. My Grandmother and mother would end up talking for 20 or 30 minutes with the farm lady. Us girls would not go out of their sight, but always, always played with a big dog. We petted the dog and kissed the dog and laughed and hugged and kissed the dog some more. All three of us knew that my mother would not stop her visit to tell us not to kiss the dog in the face. I think she was happy that we were occupied.

My Grandparents along with eleven other families had built homes that were summer homes that would eventually evolve into permanent homes when they retired. My sisters and I always got to have our bikes with us. We were allowed to ride down “the” street and back. Now, years later I know that all the families knew we were coming for a visit and were prepared with cookies and milk for us. Only one other family, the Dews, had grandchildren, three girls our age at that! Every couple of years Canadian schools would have break at the same time and they would be visiting, too. Otherwise, us three girls were the only children. We would look for wild bunnies in the fields and people yards. We were allowed to ride our bikes in the paved circle driveways and knock politely to say hello. As I type this, I am thinking we never gave a thought to sneaking behind their gates. We would always, always call out for their dogs. We loved visiting with the big dogs. We always had poodles and cocker spaniels, so big dogs were great. We were not allowed to go to the front of their homes that faced the water. That was not proper. We could go up to the formal front door and ring the bell to say hello. They would always invite us in. We had to take our shoes off by the front door. Everyone of those people would greet us warmly and let us look at pieces of art, TOUCH pieces of fancy glass, show us rocks or shells that had recently found on the beach, ask us about school, always let us look through their telescopes and tell us about any whales they had seen and offer us cookies. We were allowed to take one. My mother would somehow know if we took more than that. That was just understood. Mr. & Mrs. McMillian, had a great big dog and always were so nice to us. They remembered us and called us by name. Dr. and Ma’am (retired veterinarian & wife) that is what we called them, their last name was too hard for us they said. They always had quite a few dogs and one huge Rhodesian Ridge back. Always so gentle and happy to see us. A bird in a cage, they even had a pet bird! They had lots and lots of art and would answer every single one of our questions and never be frustrated. Mr.& Mrs. McGuffin and Grandmother McGuffin lived next door. They were the kindest of all the neighbors. The ladies always wore dresses. They never wore make up or jewelry. They did not go to church. Imagine that? They had “prayer meetings” once a week and people came to their home every Saturday. Mrs. McGuffin told us what a prayer meeting was and explained that it wasn’t spooky, just church in their home. Their home was spotless. The wood floors gleamed. They did not have a lot of pictures or knic knacks, but a huge wall of windows that looked out at the water. They didn’t even have a television. They had a huge garden and always had homemade goodies for us. We always used our best manners when we went “calling”. On the shelf that followed along the window was the latest, greatest shell or rock found recently on the beach. Always a basket of sea glass for us to look through.

Come to find out, those twelve homes had a twelve party telephone line. So yep, they knew when the three grandchildren were coming to visit. One year Easter must have been early, as it snowed and we had to stay for three extra days. One year, my sisters and I got the chicken pox and could not go bike riding. One year the Easter bunny left us baskets made out of feathers! The morning after Easter our dogs had gotten to them and ripped them apart and there were feathers everywhere. I remember being sad, but we couldn’t stop laughing.

I honestly like looking back and realizing that I, nor did my sisters know that all of those people had money. I had no idea that those homes were special and cost lots and lots of money. We did not know those pictues or vases were “art”. We just thought those nice people were sharing and showing us their things.

I want to be that kind of neighbor or Grandparent. I want to welcome kids into our home and teach them to be kind and gracious, just by how I act. I want our sweet grandgirlie to learn good manners, by being treated with good manners. I want her to grow up with really good, safe, lovely memories.

This Easter will be her first. I am guessing that she might not remember this one. However, she will be treated with kindness and grace. I hope every year all of our grandchildren will get to spend Spring Break with us. I want to surprise them with colored eggs and let them touch and see beautiful art. Most of all I want to hula hoop with them and laugh and laugh and laugh. Oh, and eat cookies, lots and lots of cookies.

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jumping on a fancy hotel bed

This is the first Good Friday in years that I have not passed out Hot Crossed Buns to all our friends and neighbors. I just wasn’t up to it this year.
So instead, I am baking them and will have them on Easter morning. Change is okay sometimes. I still get to bake, just a different day.

Before I go on, the picture you see to the right of this story was borrowed from
http://theletteredcottage.net/ I “heart” that site. I love learning and reading almost daily from Layla. Nope, another person I have never met. Just someone I follow online. She seems kind, and loving and smart and creative and quirky and joy filled and gosh darn it, someone you would instantly be friends with. Now, she would be the perfect person who would say, want to go bike riding and get a frozen yogurt? I would reply, race you there!

Been a tough week for me. Actually son number 2 came up with a couple of topics to discuss on the way to several medical appointments. I printed them and when I got to the point of being a “bit to difficult to deal with” we read them and discussed.

– the lion used in the original MGM movie logo killed its trainer and two assistants the day after the logo was filmed
– a lab at a university in Texas received a $6 million federal grant to breed radioactive armadillos for possible use in warfare
– Johnny Cash was an avid quilter
– The face of Uncle Sam, the fictional personification of the United States, was modeled after a door-to-door salesman from Canada.

Everyone has different ways of helping me on this journey. I appreciate the diversity.

Not everyone is helpful. I learned rather quickly that when some medical people or well meaning friends ask questions, it’s best to tell a fib. When asked what you would like to do when you are all fixed and you come up with 17 things you want to do. Some folks are very quick to point out that “well I am hear to tell you that you won’t be able to do that”. Nope not that either. You will have to make some adjustments to your wishes and dreams. I am sort of shocked by the number of folks who are quick to point out what I shouldn’t do or won’t be able to do.

It reminds me (well a day or two later, after I am done being grumpy and mad at them for saying mean things) to be overly kind to folks who are walking through fire. I want to uplift people and encourage all their wishes. If someone says, I want to play the piano and use the peddles without pain. I want to be the friend who says, could you please invite me over so I can listen to you play? When someone says, I want to go kayaking again and get in and out on my own and use the directional peddles, I want to be the friend that says, can I come and take pictures when you land? I want to be the friend who believes in dreams and wishes and says whatever it takes to help that person reach their goals. In my mind, I can see myself walking my sweet dog three miles everyday again. Outwardly, I just say, oh I sure hope I can walk my dog a couple of blocks on a flat sidewalk. Everyone is positive and so encouraging. Sure you will be able to walk a couple of blocks. Good for you, thinking positively.

I guess I am in the middle of learning yet another life lesson. I want to be a kind and grace filled friend that encourages always. Never puts down my friends dreams.

Here in blog land, I can be honest and list my wishes. I want to swim again, using both legs. I want to jump rope again for fun on my deck. I want to park at the far end of the parking lot and walk up to the store. (I don’t want to be dropped off again, ever at the door.) I want to walk on an uneven rocky beach again. I want to walk up and down stairs again. (no more elevators). I want to go on a cruise and walk the deck every single day, maybe twice. I am going on a zip line for my 50th birthday. Sure it will be one that gently glides at the end, but I am going. I want to kneel down to take communion at church again. I want to ride my red bike with the flowers in the basket. I want to go back to 22 minutes of yoga every morning. I want to stand in the kitchen for 6 hours straight and bake and bake and bake. I want to put my canes away in the very dark, back of the closet and not use them for at least 35 years.

I want to jump on the bed before Mr. Right and I leave a lovely hotel room.
(bet you didn’t know that about me?)

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Fertilizer Princesses

I came up with this blog title as it was happening.

We have a new big box hardware store with a huge garden center.
Saturday, late afternoon, we went exploring.
Mr. Right and I were roaming around and picking up some flowers
to somehow make our home seem more Spring like. (It just so
happens one of the nearby towns got SNOW this morning.)

I just love the atmosphere and feelings of garden nurseries.
That clean fresh smell after all the watering, the warmth of
the greenhouses sort of make the dirt even smell warm and
clean and promising. Couples are chatting and figuring and
coming up with plans. Everyone is in the moment. Everyone
is trying to guess just how much dirt and fertilizers and
peat moss they are going to need. Couple are talking about
colors and what flowers are going to go where. As humans I think
we are all drawn to the gorgeous pictures on all those seed
packets lined up so nicely. We dream. Somehow with the
clear and precise and short easy to read directions those
companies magically make us feel like we can grow anything!
The atmosphere is ripe for dreaming. “dwell in possibility”.

Last year our deck was a riot of PINK flowers. Lots and lots
of pink. All to celebrate a new Grandgirlie! This year,
I am telling you purple is eye popping and is grabbing my
attention. I might be leaning towards lavenders and purples.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a Dad pulling a big
garden center wagon behind him. It is stacked high with
those humongous bags of dirt and a few 50 pound bags of fertilizer.
It looks heavy by the way his forearm is straining. The wagon is
so heavy it is rolling smoothly along. The Dad is talking
to the Mom about square footage, dates on the calendar, when
to plant what, looking at a list written on lined school
notebook paper. Surprise of surprises, sitting atop said
dirt and fertilizer are two little girls maybe age 4 and 5.
They are dressed for a Saturday at the garden center. Colorful
plain t-shirts and brightly colored peddle pusher jeans.
Each has on ankle socks and scuffed sneakers. One has a
small tiara in her brown hair. The other has on a pearl and
glittery headband. They are sitting side by side, nicely,
not saying a word. They are waving. Actually “parade waving”.
You know, “wrist, wrist, hand, hand….” They have
perfect smiles plastered on their little faces. Their
right hands are in continuous motion. “wrist, wrist, hand,
hand..” It seems very serious and very real. While we
were there, they never once broke character. Mr. Right
just waved like it was the right thing to do. I waved.
I noticed every adult around us waved. They continued on
through the isles up and down and all around. The little
princesses waved. The adult shoppers waved. I saw a
sullen teenager, ear phones in, dressed in black, pants
hanging, walking behind his parents. He smiled and waved!
We were all in the moment. It didn’t feel silly or pretend
or make believe. Somehow these two little girls had created
a very serious and special moment on a Saturday. They graciously
waved to each patron. They had no judgement for anyone. Each
person who happened along their “route” was waved to and
offered a perfect smile.

Imagine, we found grace and good manners in a
hardware store on a Saturday afternoon. We got to see
two real princesses treating everyone with kindness
and grace. Right before our very eyes we felt
honored to be in their line of sight.

“Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you
are, you aren’t.” ~Margaret Thatcher~

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A cape of strength

With the exception of Christmas day, our family rule is this: no playing, eating, using, listening, reading ANY gift before a proper thank you note is written. This goes for kids and parents alike.

Yesterday, I broke the rule. Nope the police did not make an unscheduled stop at our home. One of Emily Post’s grandchildren did not stop by to inquire if everything was okay. I did not hear of any strange scientific happenings of the world stopping it’s spinning motion. Nothing happened as punishment that is.

As you can tell by the date, I have not posted on this blog for a few days. I am afraid to admit it, however, medical drama has taken hold of me like a static cling filled sock hangs onto a synthetic sweater in the dryer. A couple of days ago, I had a melt down of epic proportions. The ride has been so bumpy and wild I sort of feel like I should be taking some kind of medicine for motion sickness. dang it.

When Mr. Right arrived home from work last night, he brought in a big gift bag with a tag. My curiosity was peeked. He said he found it by the front door. It was for me. The tag read, “May this bring you warmth and comfort”. I moved the tissue hiding the surprise. I think I let out a sigh. It was/is so nice. It was the most lovely of plaid blankets wrapped up with a big fat gorgeous brown ribbon with pink spring flowers tucked in. The colors of the plaid reminded me instantly of when I was a kid. I would always want Neapolitan ice cream. However, once I started eating it, I didn’t really like it. I just loved to swirl the melted ice cream in my bowl. The chocolate brown would twist and swirl into the soft Strawberry pink and then the cream of the Vanilla would make everything soft and pastel looking. It was totally more fun to let it melt and swirl and turn and make figure eights with the spoon. I fell in love with that combination of colors from early on.

Dinner was all ready to go. The beans were snapped and ready to cook. The Ahi tuna was marinated, the vegetables and fruits were cut ready to make juice and on and on……

This is where I broke the rule. I took the blanket and unwrapped the sumptuous chocolate brown ribbon. I went and crumpled on the bed and wrapped myself in the
soft warmth and promptly fell asleep. I was cozy and wrapped in the kindness from a friend. Yes siree, I took a late afternoon nap. I used the gift before writing a thank you note. The world did not stop turning. I just hide from the world for a bit. Somehow dinner got finished and when I was gently woken up, it was time to sit down to a nicely set table.

Actually I have my new blanket wrapped around my legs this morning as I type. It somehow has a “power” if you will. It makes me feel like it will be okay. Sort of my version of the Superman cape. I want to somehow attach the ribbon to the corners and tie the blanket around my shoulders. I want to wear it like a cape during the times I am not safely tucked under it.

The dear friend who thought of me, is just that. She thinks of me and is standing silently in my corner, all the time. Even when she is wearing her bright red rain coat, or soaking up her favorite sunshine, or using her knitting needles to create breathtaking pieces, I have a funny feeling she is there for me.

I must say it feels quite lovely to be covered in the warmth and grace of my very own security blanket. I am one lucky girl to have such a generous and thoughtful friend helping me handle the rough parts of life. My guess is I will have another meltdown before the next couple of months is done. I will most likely act like a toad a million more times. One of the nicest things about having a girlfriend in your corner, no matter how badly you misbehave, girls don’t waver. They don’t go runnin’ for the hills. They are pillars of strength, standing silently in your corner helping you tackle monster after monster.

and yes, I did enjoy my dinner then quick as a bunny after the table was cleared I wrote a gracious, heartfelt and sincere thank you note.

True Friends are there for you in sunshine and shade.
Over 32 years of friendship, I am guessing there will be plenty more of
both. It sure feels nice to be in the corner with someone who thinks
you are as strong as superman. Albeit wrapped in a “cape” of pink and
brown girlie goodness.

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sassy purse

When medical issues, pain, stress, worry, fear and just plain old ickiness (yes, that is a word) get a hold of me, I find that if I take a few hours and set up camp in my sewing room, I can wrap myself in the feeling of calm & safety by sewing.
The rhythmic hum of my sewing machine, the sound of the presser foot going up or being snapped down. The sound of my Gingher Scissors slicing through fabric and then being set down. These days, I can hear different computer beeps coming from my sewing machine. One tells of this stitch or that, one beep reminds me to change the presser foot, one beep even says “ALERT” there “could” be a problem. I feel comfortable there. I am in complete control. It is my own little “secret garden” if you will. There is no stress, no worry, nothing to be nervous about, no pain (okay, maybe once years ago, when I sewed over my pointer finger then had to use the fly wheel to lift up and remove the needle, okay, ouch). When I am sewing and ironing open seams or cutting out a pattern or quilt pieces, no one tells me what to do. Nobody judges me or sternly tells me I should have done this sooner or that needs to be tested or you are just being silly, this is no big deal.

A couple weeks ago, a girlfriend’s daughter had “misplaced” her purse. Oh, you know that feeling. How much money did I have in there? Do I have to get a new drivers license? Oh dang, my lucky (now unlucky) $2.00 bill was in there. Oh no, my “You will travel to an exotic place” fortune is now gone! She is not quite of the age to go have a mojito with a girlfriend and put it behind her. Frustration, being mad and upset take hold and just eat away your heart and soul. Us gals have to stick together. A cute purse once chosen and then used daily because a part of us. Most of the time, a cute purse makes us happy!

I spent the afternoon yesterday creating. Yep, I sewed the cutest darn purse and coin purse you ever did see. Smart, sassy, some might even say the purse had an actual saucy attitude about it. I filled it with lip potions and floss and gum and coins and paper money and a good luck charm. I even embroidered her name on it. That was so if someone “borrows” this new purse, they will have to live with the shame and guilt of using a purse with someone else’s name sewn on it. This new purse has “purse”anality! It is adorned with polka dot ribbon and glitter buttons and a hidden pocket. This turned out to be a girlie girl purse only to be drooled over by other girls.

The little piece of fashion is flying it’s way via UPS as I type. What I wanted to do was exchange a horrid, stupid feeling, ball in your stomach mad about her purse being gone with a surprise moment that she will tell over and over and over again. Hey, one day, out of the blue, I got this really cool, sassy purse in the mail for no reason! It is so great. It makes me happy and feel super special. Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I got a purse in the mail with glitter buttons?

That’s what I really was trying to do, however in the middle of making something sweet for a young person to get a kick out of, something else happened. I spent a couple of care free hours snipping and ironing and cutting and sewing and creating and forgetting the outside world of nasty medical stuff.

While trying to shed some Grace on someone else, somehow I got a bit of it on me.
Who knew that would happen? I must say it felt lovely.

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toxic laughter

When our plates are overflowing with “life”, sometimes we forget to pay extra, extra attention to our Sweet Liberty, the dog. She gets her big, hairy, nose bent out of shape and then retreats to her bed or worse, jumps up on the sofa and turns her head away from us and stares at a flying pig we have decorating the wall. sigh.

I hate to admit it here in blog land, however, when Mr. Right is overly busy with work and overtime and “life”, sometimes I get my nose bent out of shape, too. Not the most becoming trait a gal could portray.

Friday, was not a good day. Too much medical and depressing news. Just tough all around. So while walking through the mess of the day, I was gently reminded of all the other people having appointments, x-rays, consults, tests………..alone.

I am a lucky girl. Mr. Right, goes through every single appointment, test, consult right beside me. Here is the part that he is going to heaven for………he stays calm and nice and always speaks with kindness even when I am a TOAD. A WORM. A CREEP to be around. Yes, even when I say nasty things to him about others or the situation. Even when I swear behind my hand to him and yes, even when I cry…he is the calm, thoughtful insightful person in my corner. Get this, he even is tracking his (extremely perfect bp & low pulse) blood pressure along with me, since I have to do that.

So we had to take Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday “over easy”. We ate out and goofed off and read and goofed off some more. We took in a movie Lincoln Lawyer (totally worth your time, pretty darn tootin’ good)… Mr. Right folded laundry and vacuumed and made a great breakfast or two.

Once in a while we make our own grown up fun. Sort of like when you were a little kid and you played “shadow puppets”? This is our grown up version. I will say it has been about 8 or 9 months since last we played. Here’s what you do: you go to the dollar store and purchase a few glow in the dark bracelets and necklaces and wands etc… don’t spend more than five bucks. It is suppose to be fun not expensive. These are the glow in the dark things that work once you bend and break free the toxic chemicals inside the tubes. Mr. Right surprised me with five bracelets on Saturday night after we got into bed. Oh yeah. We love those. We laugh and giggle and “write our names” in the air and twist and turn to make our own Spirograph shapes. We made fan shapes and mix colors. This time ours were hot pink, lime green, fluorescent yellow, shocking orange and brilliant blue. It is always a hoot and totally takes your mind off of the stupid stuff in life. We usually end up playing for 30 minutes or more. (When the kids were little they would put the glow sticks in the freezer over night to save them for one more day.) Anyhoo, good clean fun and laughter……………………..wait What is that? Oh no! Oh my goodness………..okay we have spots of glowing orange on the wall, on our pillows, on our faces and hands and comforters, and pajamas and on the ceiling………………….OH MY GOSH……….the orange one broke and we are flipping it everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!! Toxic for sure…….can’t catch our breath, laughing too hard…….trying to get up and wash hands and faces and linens and the wall and the lampshade and the nightstand………….. Okay, we are gasping for air, nope not from the highly toxic and most likely radio active chemicals….from good old fashioned belly laughter! yep, toxic laughter.

Nothing graceful about that mess. Just a restful night sleep after side hurting laughter. Laughter is pretty good medicine. Who knew?