Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

It is a dark and peaceful night in the neighborhood, especially for Halloween. Not many children are stirring on my street. The new neighbors across the street are not home so adding their dark home with the remaining two on my side of the street it is pretty D-A-R-K! If I were walking my kids tonight I probably wouldn't turn down this part of the street, I would follow the light. Still, I have seen princesses, a cat and a super that was pretty darn tall. However, size is not always the measure one should determine for eligibility. I remember when I was 10 or 11 a lady decided I was too old would only give candy to my little brother and sister. I was polite but a little taken aback. I was tall but not too old. Alas, this young man, perhaps 13 or 14 was more child-like and his father looked on with thanks to me as I allowed him to take the last package of Skittles from the basket. The shiny red bag full of those colorful candies are always a favorite and he was excited to have that last bag. Too old? A matter of perspective.

Halloween is a night full of possibilities when a child dons a costume. Make believe fun and visions of all treats imaginable. I listened on as the big kids told us about some of the treats of years gone by. Big 5 cent candy bars and a whole popcorn ball from Mrs. So & So. Of course some people gave big red apples and others had wonderful decorated cookies.

When I went out I had some of those treats but as time goes, so does the treats of by gone years. Apples were tossed out when my kids were going out. The same for cookies or popcorn balls. Then came the days the fire stations x-rayed the candy for saftey.

The news would have stories of apples with razor blades or laced with poison like Snow White...yikes! But boy do I remember those nickel candy bars; they gave way to dime candy bars only to move ahead to a quarter and eventually they just got smaller and the price got bigger!

Mrs. Anderson, an elementary teacher in our neighborhood always had us come inside to sign a guest book and talked to each of us about our costume. Nowadays, we see neighbors we don't know except for the color and make of their cars. Nobody would think of asking the kids inside for an autograph either!

Times have changed, but one thing is the same...the little ghosts and goblins still love treats and I enjoy seeing each and every one of them.

I hope you all had a fun weekend celebrating Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

When I was 16, we studied Transcendentalism in English Literature. Thoreau and Emerson were our main focus of study. Many of the girls I went to high school with preferred Thoreau and Walden's Pond while I chose Emerson. Perhaps I wanted to be different but I really did like Ralph Waldo. I went to a parochial, all girl high school. It was strict but I enjoyed myself and I had some very good teachers.

I think that we liked the transendental writers because they were a bit unconventional. It was the late 60's and it was interesting to read about people from the "olden days" who were just a bit different than the norm. Our music was getting pretty deep with meanings and we liked to discuss the lyrics at length. So too did we discuss Emerson and Thoreau at length. Perhaps many of the deep discussions we had in class and also among friends are why I was attracted to Philosophy as one of my concentrations for my degree. I do like to ponder and discuss.

Today, I am thinking about what I want to do when I grow up, especially now that I have a college degree!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Between Bargains and Errands

I love a bargain; that is part of who I am. I have been feeling a new surge of creativity this fall and haven’t decided what to attribute it to. Is it the weather or those new vitamins? No matter, it is probably one of those mysteries that will present clues for me to see in the days or weeks ahead.
But getting back to bargains I got a great deal on an autumn wreath today. It was 60% off the original price so after hemming and hawing, I put it in the shopping cart. It was the right size and decorated in a pleasing manner. It was just a little thin but that’s an easy fix. This was very close to the wreaths I liked in the seasonal mail-order catalogs. I found my way to other autumn decorating treasures and I found a pick that matched the leaves on the wreath!
Knowing I had the rest of what I wanted at home, I took my turn in line. The clerk was one of the friendliest I have seen in that store in ages. She looked at the wreath and noticed it looked thin. Did I want a different one? No, I told her I would be fine with it as is. So she said she’d discount it further. She knocked an additional $3.00 off the sale price. I can’t remember the last time someone so willingly offered a discount like that to me. More interesting than the bargain though was how thoughtful this young lady was in providing me excellent service, something I didn’t expect! We will enjoy this wreath until the day after Thanksgiving when Christmas decorations come out at my house.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Changing of the Season

Watching the changing seasons is like watching the changing of the guard. It started out so gradually I was amazed to wake up to dark clouds and persistent rain. It has been hitting the area hard with a reminder that summer has been gone for a month and soon this lovely autumn will give way to winter.
The wind has been playing a tune on the wind chime; swinging it back and forth to play a fine tune and using all its chords. This is a delightful sound as rarely does the wind sweep past it in such a way, hitting all of the notes that intrigued me at the store enough to buy it!
Many of the trees that curtain our back yard lost their leaves today; the leaves are lying on the grass now; shiny, wet and ready for the rake to pile them onto the garden to make compost for the soil next spring. The branches are exposed, giving us eyes to our neighbors once more. How much has changed since the leaves were new. I can see a puppy at one house, a new slide for another; incidentals that have enriched the lives of the families on the other sides of our fence. From their kitchens they can see changes we’ve made to our back yard too.
Soon enough the snow will fall again and cover all the bare branches. As I think of the days ahead, I must remind myself to enjoy each day as it comes, wet, dry, sunny or cold. I want to find the beauty in each day as it unfolds its gifts. Today, the wind chime song, tomorrow something new will surprise me. For now, I think I will brew a cup of tea and listen intently to the music on this night.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Getting into Hibernation Season

As the mornings get crisper, I am thinking more of the projects that I want to start sewing or crocheting. I visited A Gathering of Thought just now and she has so many lovely things that my mind is in a whirl! Stop by Rebecca's blog and look around. She has an awesome giveaway of Pink Santa cards and tags. I collect Santas and I love pink so I am crossing my fingers that I can win!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Celebrating Survivorship

I am celebrating my seventh anniversary as a Breast Cancer Survivor. I do not have a particularly interesting story about my cancer, just my story. It began with my routine mammogram on October 2, 2003. The next day I had my routine six-month dental visit. The day after that, on Saturday, I participated in the Diabetes walk with my sisters. We walked along and I mentioned my two appointments and commented that I’d take a mammogram any day over a visit to the dentist!
The following week I got a call that I needed to come have another mammogram taken because there were spots that they wanted to take a closer look at. It would probably be routine they said, but they wanted to be sure. So back I went and afterward, the technician and the doctor showed me the mammogram and the area of concern. They told me it could be calcifications, or it could be cancer. They were not positive which it was, so they wanted me to go to have a stereotactic needle biopsy the following week.
So off I went to have the test done. First, I had to watch a video. If I wasn’t nervous before watching that video, it did the trick. I nervously went in and followed directions to a tee. I was to lay face down on a table that appeared to open near the top so my breast could go through the open space so the doctor could do her work. The worst part of the test was the shot for the anesthetic. The rest of the procedure was tedious at best, which was not as bad as the video at all!
The doctor and nurse were very compassionate and I felt comfortable with them both. They were using a very small camera, taking pictures of their journey inside my breast. There was a lot of technology going on below me, and perhaps one could liken it to having a car getting a lube job done where the mechanic does everything underneath. After they took the core biopsy, they inserted a chip into my breast, just in case I had surgery so the surgeon would know exactly where the spot was. Talk about targeted procedures! Then I had yet another mammogram before I could go home.
After I was dressed and ready to leave, the wonderful nurse, Patty, hugged me and pinned a very cute angel pin on me. I wore that pin for the rest of the day, along with my ice packs. You see they left that chip in my breast! What were they going to do if I didn’t need surgery? Leave it in or make me go back for another needle job? How inconvenient!
I went to work the next day wearing my angel pin, and the day after, I wore the pin too. That day, the 16th was when I was going to find out the results of the test and I was getting anxious. That day I was sitting in our employee wellness committee meeting and the pin broke and dropped onto my lap. I picked it up and was starting to feel a little numb. Was that an omen? I needed to find out so I called the doctor only to find out she was on vacation. I couldn’t reach anyone in the practice who could help me. I called the imaging center to see if they would tell me the outcome. I was transferred all around the place because they were not authorized to tell me the results of my own test. Finally I talked to someone who would call the results into the doctor covering for my provider. When he called and told me I had breast cancer I was pretty surprised. I didn’t expect it, not that anyone does really... do they? He assured me that I would have surgery, radiation and I would be fine. So, I hung up and trying to remain calm, I got up from my desk and helped a student who wanted to pay his parking fine! My boss took me in hand and had me use her office to call my husband; then I drove home and waited for him to come home. I tried to be as normal as possible. I would survive and I knew it; I really wanted to downplay it, which I did. I took things as they came along one by one to keep it from overwhelming me. Cancer takes over your schedule and your time is not your own for the duration of the treatment period.
Today I celebrate and look back at who I was then, and see the resilience I possessed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A on The News

I am filled with excitment and awe tonight. Miracles still happen and tonight I have been watching it live on TV! We have been watching for 69 days as 33 miners in Chile have been trapped 2,000 feet below the surface of the earth. What a joy to watch the first miner rise to the surface and greet his wife and young son. The world is watching as this young man emerged from a special capsule that is at this moment traveling back down below to take a third rescuer who will relinquish his seat in the capsule for the third miner to come home. I found myself holding my breath when the capsule emerged; it was only when I heard my own sigh that I recognized how tense I had become. God is so good!

As my husband and I watched this rescue, I rememebered another rescue we watched in 1972 on our little black and white TV...the Sunshine Mining Disaster in Kellogg Idaho. 91 men died in that disaster.

While the circumstances are very different I admire the courage of the men who work in mines. I also admire their families who every day say good bye to their husbands and fathers who go down below the earth to make a living.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Signs of the season!

Fall is coming quickly...the leaves are turning to beautiful crimsons and golds. The days are shorter and our weather is changing too. It was very warm just yesterday a glimpse again to summer, a teaser, a brief interlude with warm sunshine and a picnic on the deck.

Today the weather brought me back to reality. Rain, rain and a darker shade of blue. Indeed, we are falling to the cooler seasons.

Am I really ready? I love the fall colors and the fall recipes using squash or pumpkin; I am excited for the new crop of apples! I love sweaters and cords and wool! Yes, I am ready.