Friday, March 27, 2009

Woman Twalk

As some of you will remember from last Friday's fiasco, today was my actual smashergram appointment. It's always a tad nerve racking not only because it's a pain in the, well, you know, but there's always that little voice inside saying "what if . . . what if they do find something?" Of course, today was no different.

Both Friday drives into the city were rainy. That always adds to the enjoyment of the appointment. Then I arrived at the office, and there's a little sign by the front desk stating that they are an hour behind for some reason or another. Ya know? That doesn't bother me when I'm going for a mammogram. Of course, there will be circumstances when something really is found and extra time is needed with that patient. At this office, which I have found to be so wonderfully competent and amazingly caring (as it should be!), I understand why there could be an hour's wait. Not a biggy. But, of course, I did forget a book to read. Thank goodness there was a newspaper, albeit The Tennessean which basically sucks. Still, I got a few relevant and newsworthy articles out of it.

Once I changed into my lovely gown, I sat down in a little cubby with several women. I normally keep to myself unless I'm coaxed into a conversation or just feel the need to jump in (the latter hardly ever happens). There is usually one lady who has either been diagnosed with cancer or is in recovery which always just breaks my heart--although they are still there, which should bring hope. Today, there was just that. A lady sat down next to me and started a conversation with another lady there with us. She had noticed she was wearing all pink and started asking questions. Well, yes, she had been in remission for four years but they had found another lump in her other breasts. She had only had lumpectomies before and was sorry she hadn't had a bilateral mastectomy. Then the woman next to me began her story of finding several large lumps in her breast recently and was terrified. It's scary listening to these conversations. But today I was able to practice my Tonglen meditation to open the heart to others' with heartache.

"The tonglen practice is a method for connecting with suffering —ours and that which is all around us— everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem to be.

We begin the practice by taking on the suffering of a person we know to be hurting and who we wish to help. For instance, if you know of a child who is being hurt, you breathe in the wish to take away all the pain and fear of that child. Then, as you breathe out, you send the child happiness, joy or whatever would relieve their pain. This is the core of the practice: breathing in other's pain so they can be well and have more space to relax and open, and breathing out, sending them relaxation or whatever you feel would bring them relief and happiness. However, we often cannot do this practice because we come face to face with our own fear, our own resistance, anger, or whatever our personal pain, our personal stuckness happens to be at that moment.

At that point you can change the focus and begin to do tonglen for what you are feeling and for millions of others just like you who at that very moment of time are feeling exactly the same stuckness and misery. Maybe you are able to name your pain. You recognize it clearly as terror or revulsion or anger or wanting to get revenge. So you breathe in for all the people who are caught with that same emotion and you send out relief or whatever opens up the space for yourself and all those countless others. Maybe you can't name what you're feeling. But you can feel it —a tightness in the stomach, a heavy darkness or whatever. Just contact what you are feeling and breathe in, take it in —for all of us and send out relief to all of us. "
--Pema Chadron

And it indeed helped me and I hope, somehow, them also. I send them only good wishes. Of course, I was relieved for myself, after having to go back for a second round of mammograms (which is always a little unnerving), that everything looked fine and I am good for another year. But I can't stop thinking about those two who may not have had such good news.

I came home and visited The Susan G. Komen for the Cure site, one of my favorite charities, to see what I could do today. There is so much more that can be done. I feel, in one way or another, we all can help somehow whether it be with a donation of time or money. It's such an important cause for us women folk.

It's always an awakening when I speak with these women who's life ahead is so full of uncertainty. And I always thank the powers that be that so far, I'm good. I hope you all are too. A wonderful weekend ahead? You betchya.

Now go make your appointment for a smashergram if you haven't already!


Thursday, March 26, 2009


The day before yesterday, I took all my silver in to have it cleaned. Tiffany's, little did I know, cleans your Tiffany jewelry for free. Who knew? The hub had received an email stating just that. (I don't even want to be on that mailing list, thank you! DANGER WILL ROBINSON--DANGER!) And so I gathered all my presents over the years from my family.

I used to wear all these bracelets 24.7 until the day (or night) came when I had to begin wearing wrist guards to bed each night because of my carpal tunnel. Loverly. The poor hub had to sleep through all of my clanking all night for years! From the time I was a teen, I always was adorned with bracelets up and down my arm. My mom would always ask me how on earth I could stand them all! lol They were part of me. Oh the turquoise I've lost in those days here and there. I graduated to Tiffany way later in life only because my loved ones spoiled me with these gorgeous classics for a birthday or Christmas present. I don't always wear the charm bracelets, but I always have on my two "good luck" pieces each and every day. One is the colorful bracelet the hub found for me in Brisbane, details here. Each semi-precious stone takes care of different aspects of your life and body. Yay. The little blue topaz is part of a bracelet my friend Pam made for me. I adore it. It also includes yellow topaz (or citrine), my birthstone (top photo).

Now, I always have on my two pieces each day. One is a gift from the hub purchased in Brisbane, details here. Each semi-precious stone takes care of different aspects of your life and body. Yay. Need that, for sure. The little blue topaz is part of a bracelet my friend Pam made for me. I adore it. It also includes yellow topaz (or citrine), my birthstone (top photo). I love the hook detail.

The hub.

And on the other side, me! Look at the wear and tear. Ooooooof.

The hub and the teenager, dually represented.

And flipped, the kid and I.

One of my favorite flowering trees is the dogwood, Virginia's state tree.

And of course, you need a watering can to water the tree, right?

Beautiful! When I worked at the little school in Virginia before we moved, the kid would say he could hear me coming down the hall with all my bracelets jingling. Once I walked into a classroom and a child said, "I thought you were a dog coming down the hall!" ha.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh Yes, Spring is Here

Not only did I see robins digging for worms today, but there was another BUNNY sighting! Oh, they are just so precious. I don't know if it's their little white cotton tail or that funny little nose of theirs, but I turn into a little child when I see a bunny. So much so that I must always squeal with joy and scream BUNNY! It's quite a site to behold, I'm sure. Some folks don't like bunnies around as they eat their veggies and such, I say, eat on my friends!

He stuck around so long, I told the kid to run in and get the bag carrots. Of course, once I started launching these little baby carrots in his direction, he took off. Oh well, perhaps the deer will eat them tonight. He was a big feller too, bet he could have eating several in a sitting.
"Little bunny Fru-fru, hoppin' though the forest,
Scoopin' up the field mice and bump 'em on the head."
I'll always remember the teenager singing this when he was but a wee little one. Aw.....

We also spied our first gold finches, one had completely turned already and some were in the midst of doing so, or this was just a female.

Today was a rainy day so I decided to finally go through all my papers and bills that had been collecting for several weeks on the kitchen table. Perfect day to do it and watch the birds feed and drink my coffee. Boom, all done! (Please note striped tail in chair.)

Oh my gosh, I am totally addicted to our "new" (Christmas present for the hub) coffee machine. The hub has been so goo-goo over it, I had to give it a try. Then, I found some Kona coffee and I just can't get enough! I know--not supposed to even be drinking coffee, but dang, I need a little bad, don't I?

And I'm sure the whole milk isn't that great either for what I'm trying to do, change 'my eating habits. But it's fresh off the farm. It HAS to be good for you, right? Yep, as you can see, I have a little coffee with my milk. Yummmmm. Hurt me so good.

While I was out yesterday, I had about a half an hour to kill and went to my favorite local book store in the Greenhill's area (ka-ching!) of Nashville, Davis Kidd. Oooh, and look what I found!

What is it about sticky notes that I find so much fun? Do you have the same fun with them as I do? Just knowing I have them, ready to pull out at any given moment, makes me happy. Wha?? You have to agree though that these are adorable. Look at all the different sizes and colors! I know you agree with me on this.

If spring is here, that only means that summer is around the corner. I am already collecting my reads for the warmer weather. In fact, I'll get a head start when we head to Riverside next week for spring break. Ooooh, we're all counting the days!!!

Vallen, of Queenly Things, had introduced me to Fannie Flagg. She has become my favorite summer-time read not only because she shares her days between California and my beloved Lower Alabama, but her books truly are wonderful. When I was at my lowest point last fall and was about to go mad, I went to the library and sat and read "A Redbird Christmas" in one sitting. It was so wonderful and had to take place on our little river down in Fairhope. Of course, I had to buy it to add to Riverside's collection. Thank you Val, my friend.

That's about it for today. The hub is OOT (out of town), up in NYC. He's going to check up on our new little nephew and I hope he brings some pics back to share. What a cutie. The kid and I have our agenda set for the night, "Ghost Hunters." lol Fun! Linder, are you watching????


Monday, March 23, 2009

Seedlings to Be

You know I have spring fever when I plant seeds. I never plant seeds!

But, I am finally planting the seeds that Monica, of M&Co., sent me from Norway two autumns ago. I have these tiny Vaseline glass pots that I like to keep in my kitchen windowsill. The last two plants had grown to their prime in these minuscule holders and I thought what a perfect starter pot for seeds. Her hand-made packets were delightful!

I used clothes pegs to mark the two. I can't wait for them to peek their little heads out of the soil! Isn't it nice to find new life?

Even my orchids seem to know it's spring time.

They both look nice and healthy. Let's see if they ever bloom again. The one time I had an orchid re-bloom was way back when. The family and I went out of town and my brother stayed at my house and watched all the animals. When I left, I had two tiny buds on an orchid and when I returned they were all shriveled up! Can you believe the timing in that! Oy.

Bella continues to sneak out each time I open a door. Here she is tempting fate. Frankie, the cat-eating dog, lives down below (mom's place). Frankie is the one who tried to eat Abby and probably would have succeeded if someone hadn't noticed the fur flying! Geesh.

Frankie is the same dog that mom feeds more than herself. If I don't stay right with her during lunch (her largest meal), she will feed the dog all her food. I've told you about the time I got mom a big box of those individually wrapped pastries from Costco? You remember. When she fed half the box to the dog in one night? Now I have to ration everything. The picture above is several years ago before mom started losing it. I would say that dog is twice the weight now and looks just like a little black pig, I kid you not! Today, I couldn't believe it. I got up for one minute to clear the table while mom was taking her pills. I come back to the table and looked at the dog; and he's eating something! I go to grab it and it's all of mom's vitamins!! OMG!! I grabbed them and showed mom. She is so cute and acts just like a child. "I didn't" is all that she could come up with. As much as I want to get mad, I just can't. (Well, I can a little until she reminds me she really is a child at this stage who really doesn't know any better.) I try and tell her that this is her medicine--it could kill the dog, even though all it was only her vitamins. But still. I try and get through to her but it's no use. She just pretends like she doesn't know what I'm talking about, won't even look at me--just like a kid. lol Like I've said, rather giggle than cry. So, who knows what Frankie is all hopped on today. At least I know mom got her real meds in her tummy!

I didn't even put makeup on today. These mole removals are just about healed (EW, thank goodness!!) and I wanted to give them a free day to really clear up. I just kept my sunglasses on while I was running errands. I'm sure everyone wondered who I was. lol. Yea, right.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring has Sprung

It definitely felt like spring today. Absolutely perfect. It's been a tad on the cold side these past few first days of spring, so today was welcomed.

The lilac from mom's yard that we transplanted is bursting with buds. They look like bunches of tiny grapes, don't they? Lilacs are some of my favorite flowers. My wedding bouquet was made from them. Who knew the white ones didn't smell? Oh well. Live and learn. They were pretty just the same.

The hub and I planted the forsythia that I found at Whole Foods the other day. We put it on the outside of mom's fence, on the other side of her butterfly bushes. I hope this one survives my neglect.

I took this from our deck. Mom's yard is in a little need of some TLC, for sure. The spot of dead grass on the other side of the fence is where we had our fire pit before I moved it down to Riverside. It'll grow back. ;-)

And a view from the garage towards the back. We lost a river birch last year which hopefully will be replaced this spring. We'll see. (Oh, and btw, this is not all our yard! We go to the willow, the rest is common area. Yea, I wish! lol)

More grape hyacinths and daffodils are smiling at the warm weather today. SO pretty.

I found Bella walking around the front yard this morning. She's not supposed to be out there, little brat. Of course, it was a game of tag trying to catch her.

Then later this afternoon, she went from the top deck to the roof! Bad little kitty. She thinks she tough stuff. Miss Priss.

The teenager made it home safely from his spring break at Riverside. He's now on his way back to UT. I always have a little pang in my tummy when he drives off. Sniffle. But they all had a wonderful time, and that's what it's all about. Next thing you know, he'll be home for the summer. Then I'll be ready for school to start again! lol


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Monochromatic Peace

The weekend is here which means I'm perusing Apartment Therapy with a vengeance. I came across this bedroom shot which I just adored. When it comes to our bedroom, the hub's and mine, I've always preferred the scheme to be light and airy with some nice color pieces thrown about. The bedroom is such a personal space that I fill with with all of my nostalgic pieces that really mean something to either myself or the hub--my grandmother's quilt hanging over the bed, my baby clothes hung on peg boards, the boys' pottery made in preschool, and the like. I enjoy being awoken softly in a gentle-to-the eyes sloom.

While the rest of the house is quite the mishmosh of color that peaks the curiosity of the child within me, the bedroom, I feel, should be soothing to the soul. Most all of our wood pieces throughout the house are a very heavy wood, a lot of antiques and just plain dark. After we were married, I got so tired of all the old dark art deco bedroom furniture we had collected that we finally moved it to other rooms of the house. I first worked with the iron bed that we purchased on a trip to Atlanta visiting my mom's sister, Aunt Mary. It now proudly slumbers guests in the downstairs bedroom. (We upped to a king this past year!)

Then there was a closing sale at the then Woodward & Lothrop's where we found this perfectly cheap armoir in a pickled oak. I loved it. (The upholstered off-white chairs came from the same going-out-of-business sale.) Perfect for that light bedroom feel I was looking for. From there came different sales, piecemeal, that somehow fit in with the scheme over the past 20 years. While nothing truly matches, it works for us quite pleasurably.

I feel the same about the kitchen space. It, being the heart of the house, should feel open and airy and inviting. Over the past ten years, I planned almost every aspect of the kitchen I desired. For it to come to fruition (well, almost) is a dream come true. I clipped pictures and articles of everything I liked--again the monochromatic cleanness came into play. I hadn't even realized it until I took all my folders, ideas and clippings to the kitchen remodeler (the idiots that they are) and spread it all out on the table.

I'm pretty darn happy with it overall. I'm trying to release the negativity that came with it because it is such a darn gorgeous kitchen, if I do say so myself.

Which brings me to my latest endeavour. I am truly trying to teach myself how to meditate. I have never been able to! I remember in Lamaze class, I would giggle when the teacher would ask us to find a peaceful spot in our minds. It was ridiculous! Breathing, I'm ok with. Trying to get thoughts out of my head? Not so easy. My niece Madeleine is enamoured with Buddhism which thrills me to no end. I purchased this book, really, for both of us. I will be passing it on to her this week in the hopes that she too will enjoy learning to meditate. Perhaps if I had started out when I was a wee teen, that would have helped. lol I so want to get this Tonglen practice down.

If we all could breathe in the darkness and exhale with only light and goodwill, what a wonderful place it would be. I'm trying.

Happy weekend everyone!


Friday, March 20, 2009

A Good Day

It all started good enough. This morning I called the smashergram office to make sure I was going to the right place to have my mammogram done today at one. K. Set. Drove into town, parked, walked into the above-mentioned smashergram office to check in. "Hmmmm, seems your appointment is for next Friday, Ms. Rosa." Wha??? I called this morning to confirm and they said it was today. "So solly." K. No prob. I didn't want to have it done anyway. So there. :-P

I then called the hub who works up the street; and he just so happened to be heading out for lunch., So we met. :-) See, not so bad after all. I never make a trip in vain. Never. It was a gorgeous day to beat! A day-time date with the hub. Perfecto.

After I got home, Sherrie arrived with mom's lunch and then we had our little 20-minutes in-the-sun-vitamin-D thing. The kid arrived home and started snapping photos.

I love his eye for composition!

He captures the strangest things.

After Sherrie left, I went looking in the basement for a pot to put my new-sprouting orchard in. One thing lead to another and I started looking through boxes. I have been corresponding with an old friend, Paula, way back from school days and remembered finding some old notes we had written to one another when I cleaned out mom's attic. Not only did I find the notes, but I found some pictures, circa 1977 when I was 16. That's my dad. LOVE that handle-bar mustache!! (We were playing with the new passport camera!) And you won't believe this, but in an old high school wallet, tucked away behind some pictures, was a $50 bill! I kid you not! Now I am notorious for putting large bills away in odd places to find at a date when they are a totally unexpected surprise. But, there is no way I would have thought I had put a $50 dollar bill away in high school! We're talking mid to late 70s! Geesh! I'm rolling in it baby!

Here's my brother Johnny and mom (on the right) with a friend of our parents on the left. I think this is at Tom Sarris' Orleans House in Arlington where I got all that auction stuff when it closed down (St. Bea at Riverside for one).

I found Paula's high school graduation photo (in that $50 bill wallet) and sent it to her on Facebook. (PS She looks even better now--makes me sick. lol) She happened to be on and sent me her phone number and I called her! OMG. I don't think we have seen each other since my wedding! We talked forever about what's been going on and it was as if we had never been apart!
Paula had posted this on Facebook and I had to crack up! This is us in jr. high school, probably 1973-74ish when we were about 13 or 14. That's Paula on the left sitting, then Pam, above Pam is ME! and then Laura. Obviously we were in gym class, probably running the 600. Yuk. Check out Paula's knee socks! Too cute! Of course, I never showed my legs but would roll my sweat pants down to hip huggers to show off the curves, ya know. LOL! Check out the pig tails! Laura's aunt ran a beauty shop so she was always ahead of the curve. Look at the shag with the bleached front! Woohooo. You can barely see it here, but I had two 1/4-inch blond streaks in the front too. I wasn't quite as bold as Laura. But, we were too cool for school.

Anyhoo, I gave Paula my blog site and if she's reading this! OMG girl! It was so much fun talking to you!! Cant' wait to catch up more!

Gotta run, the hub is waiting for us to head out to dinner. But, can you tell I'm just a little excited????




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