Living proof that the Universe has a sense of humor.

Walking on the edge of the weather.

Posted June 23, 2015 | Beloved Friend, Clouds & Sunsets, Photos & Photo Galleries, Skies | 2 Comments

Beloved friend Buffy and I went out for a walk this evening. The sunset was to our backs on the way out, but on the way back only half the sunset was visible. The other half was covered by one of those “isolated showers” we’ve been having so many of lately.


Look! Weather!


And it’s coming closer…


…and closer….


We just made it to the breezeway of the building across the parking lot from mine before the big drops fell.

And two minutes later the pavement was very wet, and it had quit raining.

Welcome to summer weather in the Roanoke Valley!
(And it’s just June. * sigh * )

Category: Beloved Friend, Clouds & Sunsets, Photos & Photo Galleries, Skies

I didn’t have to lift my arms up.

Posted June 13, 2015 | Hiking, Kayaking, Photos & Photo Galleries | One Comment

I can’t lift my arms up.

After kayaking: Day 1

Kayaking Day 1:
I can still lift my arms.

I set a new record this week: three consecutive days of kayaking.

The first day I went in happy solitude, paddling at my own pace. The second day I went with beloved friend Buffy, and I paddled at his pace. On day three I got an unexpected invitation to kayak from my outdoor excursion buddy Dan, and I paddled at his pace.

Kayaking Day 3: The arms are limp.

Kayaking Day 3: My arms are limp.
Pic by Photogaphr Dan, who takes me along to take pix of him.

At the end of day three, I felt like Randy in the movie A Christmas Story, except that it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t put my arms down as I couldn’t lift them up.

An excursion involving legs.


The legs still work! Look at that stretch!

With arms muscles worn out by upper body activity, I was happy that today’s excursion involved a hike on North Mountain in Rockbridge County.

Intrepid Photographr Dan took me along as assistant camera wrangler, amateur photographer trainee, and disheveled model. Credit for photo composition and editing go to him. I take credit for the dishevelment.

There are pix on his blog post about the hike. I’ll post the other ones he sent me, but there is one I have to duplicate because I’m so impressed with myself (photo right).

At the top of the rock.

Made it to the top!

Me trying to look "sultry."

Me trying to look “sultry.” #modelfail

After comin’ down the mountain (with stops to pick up litter along the way), a stop at KFC for lunch and a bit of shopping at the Goodwill in Lexington completed a lovely afternoon.

My arms are a bit more rested and my legs feeling less neglected, and all is right with the world – with one exception.

Litter. Just don’t.

Beer can on tree

No. This is not appropriate tree decor.
(Pic by Dan.)

To the people who like to decorate the lovely trails with cigarette butts and empty cigarette packs, the trees with empty beer cans, and the road with empty 12-pack boxes, I have a suggestion:

If you think those things look good in the forest, just think how much more attractive they’d look in your living rooms.


Category: Hiking, Kayaking, Photos & Photo Galleries

Janeson ‘yaks alone, the mental gerbil wheel quiets, and a vanilla cone.

Posted May 31, 2015 | Kayaking, Lessons I've Learned, Photos & Photo Galleries, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life | Leave a Comment

This past week my mind has been running a mile a minute, chasing a rabbit down a hole while trying to whack a mole with one hand and keep forty-leven plates in the air with the other.

Well, you get the idea.

So today I decided to go on a solo kayaking expedition. Yes, it’s often fun to have someone to chat with while paddling, but sometimes my brain needs the quiet that only solitude can bring. Today was one of those days.


Zippy and ‘Yak, all packed up and ready to go.

Because it’s usually quieter there earlier than later, I was packing Zippy up at 9:15 this morning. That’s much earlier than my usual kayaking time, but the temperature was pleasant, and the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds before the rains came in the afternoon.

Carvins Cove early-ish on a Sunday morning

When we got there, it was blissfully quiet – just what the doctor ordered.

I don’t take my camera out on the cove often and most especially not when I want to quiet the voices in my head. You know the ones: “You aren’t good enough….”, “You don’t have good enough….”, “You’ll never….” And the worst: “You’re alone; all alone in the world.” Blah, blah, blah.

So I put ‘Yak in the water, me in the seat, and paddled out where I could see the clouds reflected in the water. I smelled the moist soil and the green grass. I felt the soft breeze and the occasional droplets of water blown back off my paddles. I listened to the birds chirping and the water splashing against ‘Yak’s hull. I felt my muscles become energized instead of tense.

I paddled farther than I usually do – left from the dock up the dam side of the cove all the way to the end and back down the other side to the dock. By then my muscles were well and truly tired but no longer tense, and my mind was clear.

Driving home, feeling infinitely better than when I left.

On the way home, feeling infinitely better than I had when I left.

As I was driving home, I felt at peace. My solo Sunday morning expedition has reminded that even when I feel very alone in the world, I’m never, ever truly alone.

And McDonald’s did have its $0.99 vanilla cones on sale, so….

Zippy gets a McDonald's $0.59 cone for me.

Zippy decided we needed to celebrate and took me through the drive-thru to get a $0.59 vanilla cone. Yum!

Today was a good day. I can’t say I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow, but I’m certainly better prepared for it, with my freshly cleared head and a full heart.

And for those things, I am truly grateful.

Category: Kayaking, Lessons I've Learned, Photos & Photo Galleries, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life

Why I love evening walks.

Posted May 28, 2015 | Photos & Photo Galleries, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life | One Comment

Two words: 

Sunsets & Clouds

(An ampersand isn’t a word, right?)
May 28, 2015 Sunset Pic #1

May 28, 2015 Sunset Pic #2

May 28, 2015 Sunset Pic #3

Category: Photos & Photo Galleries, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life

The older I get, the younger I become.

Posted May 25, 2015 | Lessons I've Learned, Products Mentions & Reviews, Today I'm Grateful for..., Web Wisdom, Welcome to My Life, Writing | One Comment

Several months ago, I ran across a Facebook page by Evelyn Kalinosky about a new book she had coming out: [R]evolution: A Soulful & Practical Guide to Creating the Life You Want.

I ordered it in hardback, which is quite a commitment for me, but it looked like exactly what I’d been needing.

I hate being called “middle‑aged.”

Woman DancingOnce a woman hits middle-age, going to the doctor becomes an exercise in convincing him that you actually have a physical problem and aren’t just making shit up. It took me two years to convince my doctor that my aches and pains were not in my head (“Grief? Really?”) or from fibromyalgia. (Fibromyalgia is a very real condition, but it didn’t account for all my symptoms, and it’s used all too often by doctors as a catch-all diagnosis for middle-aged women.)
But that’s another story »


Up until recently, I participated in a monthly writer’s reading. Each month there is a topic. In March it was “Change.” I wrote the facilitator that I couldn’t come because I had so many changes going on that I didn’t have time to write about them.

New Beginnings

In April, when the topic was “New Beginnings,” I wrote that as a result of all the changes, I was so busy with my new beginnings that I didn’t have time to write about those, either.

If you’re feeling the need for change, in the middle of change, anticipating a new beginning or hoping for one, this is the book for you.

Us “Middle-Aged” Women”

The book is aimed a “middle-aged” women who want more than what their current lives are offering them. Perhaps the children have left home, or a relationship has gone bad, or there’s just a niggling but persistent feeling of something missing. No matter what the cause, [R]evolution can help.

Why I Like This Book

Evelyn has, as they say, “been there and done that.” She writes about the path that leads you toward the door to changing your life and holds the door open when you want to crawl back into your old life. Because change is hard work, [R]evolution is a workbook. There are questions to answer, exercises to do, and rituals to help you leave your old life behind and embrace your authentic self.

ButterflyEvelyn’s book helping me to deal with all the changes I’ve experienced recently – getting divorced after a 30 year marriage being the biggest.

But even more than that, it’s helping me challenge the beliefs about myself that have kept me stuck. I feel like a giant weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

I feel younger at 55 than I did at 20, and I’m learning how to treat myself with love.

I Discover Fun

And, perhaps most important, there is fun in my life. I haven’t had this much fun in, well, ever.

I’m grateful that the Universe pointed me in the direction of Evelyn and her book. If you’re a “middle-aged” woman ready to face the past, honor it, leave the part of it behind that no longer serves you well, and find the best parts of who you are, this is the book for you.

Category: Lessons I've Learned, Products Mentions & Reviews, Today I'm Grateful for..., Web Wisdom, Welcome to My Life, Writing

35 years ago today, I got married for the first time.

Posted May 17, 2015 | Lessons I've Learned, Welcome to My Life | One Comment

I was 20. He was 18. My family hated him.

Jesu, Joy of Man's DesiringWe had a church wedding. I wore a long white wedding dress. He wore a god-awful 1980’s blue tuxedo. I had a maid of honor and two bridesmaids. He had a best man.

The organist played the two songs I requested as preludes: Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

My father had a car wreck on the way to the church. While we were waiting for him to arrive, my “little” brother, then 6’1″, walked up to me, put his arm around my shoulders, and said, “If Dad isn’t here in 15 minutes, I’ll give you away.” It was one of the sweetest things I’d ever heard.

Much to my dismay, my father arrived before then.

I walked down the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March (Marcia nuziale from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”).

After the reception in the church’s Fellowship Hall, we drove to Glen Burnie, Maryland, for a one night, one day honeymoon.

While waiting for the procession to begin, I wondered how long it would take before I got up the strength to divorce him.

The answer:

It took seven hundred and three days, one 21 day voluntary stay in a psychiatric hospital for depression, four broken glasses lenses, three separations, three facial scars, and two black eyes before I was done with him for good.

The blessings – Because everything contains blessings:

There was lovely music at the wedding; I had a marriage that included a honeymoon; and, I have absolutely no pictures of any of it.

Category: Lessons I've Learned, Welcome to My Life

Better living through chemistry: Possum part prevention.

Posted May 7, 2015 | Lessons I've Learned, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life | Leave a Comment


This is a live possum. It is the state animal of Virginia.

Possums are nocturnal and not very bright. They are usually seen belly up on or beside the road, having been sent to the Great Hereafter because they don’t know enough to stay off the road when there are cars on it.

I hear they’re edible. I’ll pass on the possum roadkill pizza, thanks.

Possum Part

This is the part in my hair five weeks after it was last colored. It looks suspiciously possum-like to me.

Mind you, I don’t have anything against possums except that they tend to be mean, not very bright, and end up dead on the side of the road. And frankly, I don’t think they’re all that cute.

No possums here.

This is the result of the ministrations of my friend and hair stylist Jennifer Hare. Note the lack of anything resembling a possum.

Jennifer first cut and colored my hair in February, 2006 during a snowstorm. It (my hair, not the snowstorm) was long and about half gray. I asked her to “fix it.” By the time she was done, there was a pile of hair on the floor about the size and color of a possum, and the hair that remained on my head was a nice auburn color with highlights and an actual style.

I have gone more than nine years now without looking like I have a possum on my head. Jennifer takes care of the “possum part” every five weeks or so.

I am very grateful to Jennifer for that.

If you have a possum on your head that you’d like her to find another home for it, here’s her card:

Jennifer Hare, Body & Sole Therapy Salon & Spa

As an extra benefit, if Jennifer styles your hair, you can always tell people you just got a Hare cut :-)


Category: Lessons I've Learned, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life

An uncomfortable truth.

Posted May 6, 2015 | Lessons I've Learned, My Family - Past & Present, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life, What Someone Else Said | One Comment

I ran across this on Facebook this morning. It was not what I wanted to see before I’d finished my first cup of coffee, but I couldn’t ignore it. It contained far too important a truth to skip over and try to replace in my head with cute kitten pictures.

Break the chain.“Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future.”

Raised by people who confused abuse and criticism with love and guidance, I was hurt. My shame was believing I deserved it.

My deeper shame was that I treated the people I loved the same way I had been treated.

For many years I did this in ignorance. I’d never experienced a different way of being loved, so I didn’t think of my criticizing, berating, and ignoring as unloving. It was what I knew.

It took me too long to learn that those are not expressions of love, but ways to hide the shame of feeling “not good enough” and deserving of the abuse with which I was raised.

It took even longer to learn to treat myself with the empathy, compassion, and encouragement that is true love. Only then could I could treat others the same way.

No, I don’t always remember this lesson. Sometimes an event, a word, or a tone of voice will trigger my old feelings of shame, and I’ll lash out, even though I know better. But I know the difference now, and I can stop it.

For the many opportunities the Universe has given – and continues to give – me to learn what love really is, I am truly grateful.

Category: Lessons I've Learned, My Family - Past & Present, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life, What Someone Else Said

Photo gallery: A westward walk at sunset.

Posted May 3, 2015 | Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Life | 3 Comments

After my lovely weekend walk, I think I’m ready for the week to come.

Walking West

I was lucky that my evening walk had me heading west at sunset.

Profile of a Tree

Profile of a tree with sunset.

The Tree Takes Over

The tree takes over.

Between the Trees

The mothership hovers between the trees.

Sunset Panorama

Sunset panorama over Park Towne.

The Colors Deepen

The colors deepen as the Mother Ship descends.

Best wishes for a week as lovely as these photos.

Category: Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Life

Six years ago tonight.

Posted April 29, 2015 | Caring for Elderly Parents, Welcome to My Life, What Someone Else Said | 5 Comments

Open WindowSix years ago tonight, I got a call from my mother’s caregiver that Mom was having trouble breathing. I went to the house, and as soon as I walked in I heard Mom say (over the baby monitor we used to hear her from her bedroom), “The Golden Girls is over!”

She’d watched show after show, season after season, on DVD, and that’s how she’d let us know it was time to change the disk. The funny thing was, the TV wasn’t on.

I called the physician on call. He told me what I could give her of the medications we had to make her comfortable. I gave them to her, and she went to sleep. All night she’d breathe seven or eight breaths and then skip two or three.

In the morning, when the day caregivers came in, I ran home to take a shower and change clothes. As I put my hand on the doorknob to go back, my cell phone rang.

“Your mother isn’t breathing,” said the caregiver.

I went to the house, saw her at peace, finally free of the pain and discomfort she had endured for so long, and called the rescue squad.

Her last words were the ones I heard six years ago when I walked into the house.

The last thing I did for her was to put her to sleep.

I love you {{{ t-h-I-s }}} much, Mom. And a little bit more.

Category: Caring for Elderly Parents, Welcome to My Life, What Someone Else Said

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