Sunday, April 30, 2006

Momentum Continues

So, here are some views of my new exercise space and guest room. The treadmill is on the other side of the room and there is a television and VCR just to the right of the Health Rider. I can be on the equipment and watch a program or I can (and do) put in an exercise video (see the step just to the left of the rider) and do other aerobic workouts or use my weights for resistance training. Incorporating daily - committed - exercise has been of such great benefit on this journey - physically, mentally and emotionally.

This room used to be our master bedroom; the memories in that room would bring me to my knees - I have barely slept in our bed since Tom passed. Too many memories - flashes of hugs, heat, kisses, laughter, Sunday breakfast on a tray - in sickness, in health, in love and in sorrow. For so long, walking in there could bring me to my knees with breathless pain.

Transformed by paint, organizing and reconfiguration. It is a healthy new space. Oh, the wonders of the old energies that remain in the room - I feel them still. Now I look to creating a future forged from the past - as this new life is rebuilt.

BTW - Today is one week of being a nonsmoker and I feel wonderful. There are some annoying times but overall I am so committed and ready for this - I am free.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Just Chugging Right Along

First of all - Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your fantastic, supportive comments about my quit smoking program - you are all so dear and do make a difference in my life.

I am doing well and remain and will remain totally committed to this path. I can truly say, "I am a non smoker," and feel proud. I know there are challenges ahead but such is life. At 6:18 am, my Quit Net stats were: 4 days, 9 hours, 44 minutes and 28 seconds - smoke free - Wooooooo Hoooo.

So now to the pictures - I have not really been able to use our old master bedroom since Tom died. I don't know why but that is the fact - the room became the world's biggest hallway to my closet and the bed became a convenient storage space. The only thing I actively used the room for was to walk or run on the treadmill.

Last weekend, I finished cleaning out the storage room under the stairs (that little oak door in the corner) and even painted. I love the color - feels like a caribbean vacation. The room has been reconfigured to be a usable space with a healthy future focused intention. It is now my guest room and exercise space with a nice reading nook too. The room is about done now and I will post the finished pictures as soon as I download from my camera.

Moving on is a healthy pursuit that happens one baby step at a time. Namaste.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Quest - My Commitment

For the past four months, I have been preparing for something that is very important to me and to everyone who loves me. I have read many resources, incorporated a rigorous and regular exercise plan into my life and have strengthened my resolve and commitment to a new life in so many ways.

The reason my blog has been "silent" for the last few days is - I QUIT SMOKING - HOORAY FOR ME. I AM A JOYFUL NON-SMOKER - WHO IS FREE.

I had quit cigarettes before and then started again. Now, I KNOW that it doesn't matter what happens - stress, natural disasters, death, destruction - you name it. A cigarette does not solve any problem - it merely compounds them and kills you in the process.

My quit date: Sunday, April 23 at 9:35 pm - what a wonderful gift to give to the memory of husband on his birth date. I am feeling better this morning - not so antsy - as the nicotine, if not out, is just about out of my system.

If anyone is reading this and thinking about or ready to quit - there is a wonderful site with all the support, resources and links you could ever want, there are message boards that are particularly helpful and tons of articles to reinforce a nonsmoking life - just go to Quit Net .

Glory be - I am so happy and wanted to share my joyful news with everyone. Enjoy your day - I know I will mine.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

April 23, 1935

Remembering Tom today and all the joy he brought to us during his time on this earth. His legacy of love and caring live in my heart. Amazing that we found one another on this planet - we both learned and grew as a result of our union. Friends, lovers, confidants, silly together as little children, grateful to know unconditional love.

Thomas William Murray
April 23, 1935 - November 14, 2004

"Let us go forth into the sorrows of the world with joy"

Irish Blessing

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday Evening - Relaxing with a Cocktail

I tackled the bedroom that was "ours" today. I went through the storage room under the stairs - boxes and boxes of history, of memories. I worked hard, I cried, I laughed. I remembered.

I found Tom's drawings - from first grade to seventh grade - all lovingly preserved by his Mom. Photographs - from our life together, from our lives before, from our childhoods. children's weddings, our own, our children in every stage of life, grandchildren, the wine country, road trips, bike rides, our mothers and fathers.

The picnic basket, complete with carefully packed wine glasses, placemats, the "save the children plates" that Olivia sent us one year, and even champagne flutes carefully wrapped in linen napkins.

Journals - the constant force in my life. Forty years of journals - packed in boxes, under the stairs. Paging through one I found this:
September 11, 1995 - San Mateo, California - Early Morning

This is the second day of our marriage, it has been a whirlwind of emotion and excitement. Looking at Tom's wedding ring on his hand makes it more real for me than even my own.

I am happy, excited, terrified, anxiety-filled, and exhilerated - all at once, and in rotation.

We looked at our wedding video for the first time last night - "I look fat," she said, "I look old," he said. They looked at one another with love and laughed. On to the future.

The Future.

How fortunate we were to have found one another. How blessed we were to dance in the kitchen, spoon in bed, rake leaves, hold hands, drink wine looking at the Mississippi River, sleep on the futon on the floor looking at stars, dance at Gallivan's, argue, learn to live together, try to leave behind the hard experiences from our previous lives, feel the wind in our hair buzzing around in the Porsche, plant flowers, mulch the garden, hug everyday, adapt to life's (as we knew it) sudden destruction, have our own secrets, cook and eat amazing food, and always go to bed together with a kiss - challenges be damned.

Tomorrow is Tom's birth date - filled with memories tonight.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Intention and Action

I have made a gigantic leap forward in this journey. It is not "over" - I am not "healed" - however, I have moved to a different seat on the bus. On the plane ride home from Florida, I made a list in my little moleskine - projects, tasks, activities - big and small. Here is a portion of the list:
  • Rearrange and organize office
  • New desk
  • Make a decision on reconfiguration of our old master bedroom
  • Make my colonoscopy appointment
  • Make my bone density appointment
  • Determine date to go to home to Calfornia to see my mother
  • Do cardio and resistence training 6 days a week
  • Change my eating plan to include 5-6 small meals per day
  • Plan art projects
I have done and am doing all of the above.

Other things on the list remaining to be tackled:
  • Make mammogram appointment
  • Organize laundry room
  • Sort through and organize the downstairs storage room (memories to behold)
  • Finish organizing the garage (derailed with winter's cold)
  • Load mindfulness meditation CD's onto Powerbook
  • Apply for my passport
  • Make decisons about the remainder of Tom's clothing still hanging in his closet
Thoughts determine what you want - ACTION determines what you get. There is one more big thing on my list but that is for sharing on another day very soon. I am clear, confident, humbled, grateful and future focused.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Spring Cleaning Inside and Out

I just can't stop moving - that's good because it is one of my most recent new goals - no sitting around. I have cleaned and reorganized my office/sitting room - including a new desk! I had my old computer desk for at least 8 years and it was just too small for my new Apple Cinema display; this new desk is super, lots of room to work and to create.

I have now raked the yard twice - cut back all the old dead growth from last year and am in the process of re-staining the outdoor chairs, chaise lounge and side tables a muted shade of green. Lots of plans for the outdoors. Since Tom passed, I have kept up with lawn maintenance, mulching and of course the lovely container garden out front - but not much else. This is the year to redouble my efforts. I shall put in some new plantings, install a new patio off the deck and enjoy outdoor living.

Rejuvenation for me and my environment.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What a Difference

The first picture was taken at 10 am on March 20th out my back door. The second was taken at 2:30 pm today - April 15th - in the flower bed just to the right off the same porch. Spring has arrived in Minnesota and not moment too soon.

Oh the joy of rebirth - the beginning of a new season of growth and renewal. The transformation is dramatic --- 26 days. The sun is shining today - the breeze is soft with promise - the earth yields its treasures. Welcome Spring.

Friday, April 14, 2006

In Gratitude and Love

My Strength and My Guide
Forever in My Heart

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Big Push

During my recent vacation, I spent many hours reflecting on this journey I did not ask to take and on my future - the next steps.

The thought of moving on brings pangs of guilt and fear - isn't moving on a betrayal of our love, our life, our marriage, our plans, our dreams?

While in Florida, Tom came to me in many ways - with persistence and a big push - his message: "live, live, live - honor our life together and our love - embrace your new life, let your creativity blossom, let your spirit soar."

I returned with plans for a new future. I am wiser, more resilient and patient from being incinerated in the fire of grief and pain. I feel the vastness of spirit and have been touched by the unseen in profound ways.

Tomorrow is seventeen months since Tom's passing. The pain will never completely cease to exist. Yet, my guy continues to nudge me. To move forward I do have to let go of our dreams and plans. Our love remains intact through all time and eternity.

"For millions of years, before you arrived here, the dream of your individuality was carefully prepared. You were sent to a shape of destiny in which you would be able to express the special gift you bring to the world. Sometimes this gift may involve suffering and pain that can neither be accounted for nor explained. Each one of us has something to do here that can be done by no one else. It is in the depths of your life that you will discover the invisible necessity that has brought you here. When you begin to decipher this, your gift and giftedness comes alive. Your heart quickens and the urgency of living rekindles your creativity."

John O'Donohue, Anam Cara

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Happy to be Home

Arrived back in Minnesota last night and it was 72 degrees at 9 pm! No snow left anywhere - hooray. This morning I took my over-wintered pots of plants from the garage - hostas and others already quite big and very pale yellow-green. The lawn is green, the crocus beginning to push up from the ground. Spring - the grand pay-off we get for surviving each winter in this cold northern climate.

A wonderful vacation and a loving time with friends. I had lots of reflection time and now have a plan for the immediate and more long-term future - but more about those things later. I am just happy to be home.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I can't help but have Tom suddenly come striding through the door here - we visited so many times. This time I have been sleeping in the guest room and in the bed we always used - a couple of nights I have awakened slightly to roll over and put my arm around him and yes, it is just an empty place beside me.

Memories can haunt - memories can make you smile - memories can bring you to your knees. Today, I choose to smile. Forever in my heart -- my darling, Tom.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Happy, Happy, Happy

Happy Birthday Ronni - we might not be getting any younger but we're still making waves. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us - you make a difference to me and so many others.

Here's to you and to your new adventure. May all your dreams come true. You are blazing a trail for those of us just behind you - in deepest gratitude.

- Suzann

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tans and Toes

Just bragging I guess - this is last night after dinner on the deck. Newly pedicured toes and relaxation. Thought I knew how much I needed to have a break - only had a clue.

Today J and I had a quiet day at home. Me at 59 -she at 58 (and retired last June) - thinking about our futures - what lies ahead. What are our dreams and how will we realize those ambitions. Naming our values and acknowledging the places we are stuck right now.

How precious to have a friend of 40+ years - we have loved one another and stood witness to the joys and heartbreak of a lifetime - as we continue to do.

Next steps - hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Too Much Fun is Good for the Soul

Here I am with T - my little grand-nephew - four years old and full of that delightful spirit. I was there when his daddy was born, back in our days in Garberville, California. So much time has passed and yet it seems just a heart beat in time.

The days are bright and sunny - the pool is open and just plain fun. I am shedding my Minnesota "winter white."

Today is massages and pedicures, fresh fish for dinner and more lazing about. Ahhhhh - vacation and surrounded by love.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I've landed in Florida and by now have started a tan. Heaven.

As I was leaving my house - I couldn't resist taking this picture - proof that I was on the brink of vacation.

Here I am in full vacation mode - the green bag caught up with me about 24 hours after arrival. Cooked a fabulous meal for the gathering today. Tristen, my four-year-old nephew and I took a bunch of pics. Will post some tomorrow.