Friday, June 30, 2006

Tiara Chronicles

My good friend Photogirl - who is a professional photographer/artist and who took most of the birthday party pics (not this one - it is my crooked photo) gave me a tiara for my birthday. It is a shiny, star-studded, Miss America tiara. Photogirl presented it to me as a joke and we all enjoyed it immensely.

For the balance of the party - everyone tried it on and/or wore it. Photogirl took pictures of each person. Tiara's engender all kinds of vamping, posing and fun. Some guests looked like a princess, some like all they wanted was world peace, some looked sheepish and everyone just goofed off.

So, here is my best friend J - holding the birthday tiara on a pillow - my next posts will feature my beautiful friends in their tiara moment. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Birthday Party News - First Installment

The party was a huge success - table was gorgeous, food and wine absolutely perfect and company was divine. It rained off and on all day Saturday. My dream was to dine outside. Undaunted, J and I went and purchased a 12 x 12 foot canopy for the backyard - it rained while we dressed the table - it rained after it was set - we had our appetizers inside and still it rained. Fifteen minutes before dinner, it stopped raining and we ate outside - perfect. I have many more pictures to post and more to share. Thanks for your good wishes and kind thoughts on my birthday.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Happy Saturday

Today is the party - there will be plenty of pictures as Bonnie, our resident photographer, will be documenting this evening's festivities. I hope each of you has a happy Saturday and cross your fingers, no rain is allowed in St. Paul tonight.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Saturday Night

Chef Theo is doing a Grand Tasting Menu - we have worked to have just the right balance of colors, textures, tastes and courses. I am really excited - all that remains to be done is to select wine, purchase truffles and go over to the Roasterie for some really great coffee. We finalized menu this morning and it is:

- Arrival appetizer: Spinach and Goat Cheese Phyllo Cups

- Grilled Polenta with Spicy Tomato Relish

- Caesar Salad in Parmesan Cups

- Chilled Avocado Soup in Ancho Cream

- Ahi Tuna Cube with Sesame Seeds and Tobiko

- Watermelon Dice with Aged Balsamic Vinegar

- Baby Lamb Chop with Mustard Crust

- Lobster Corn Dogs with Hot Mustard and Plum Sauce

- Seared Scallop BLT

- Trio of Sorbets with Champagne

- Coffee, Truffles and Liqueurs

Each course is served on a perfect little plate wonderfully presented. This is the nicest birthday gift I could ever give myself - good friends, great food, wonderful wine - all done in my backyard. I don't sound too excited do I?

J arrives this afternoon. Tomorrow will be the last errands and a spa afternoon for us starting at 3:30! Friday morning the table and chairs for the backyard will be delivered and Friday night I am cooking dinner for a small gathering to celebrate J's 59th birthday, which was June 12.

It never occurred to me that Tom would not be here for my 60th Birthday - it has been a difficult few days.
I don't often go to the cemetary but for some reason I want to do so and J has never been to the grave. So somewhere in all the preparations, I want to toodle over there with some flowers.

I am filled with gratitude - the party begins soon.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Woo Hoo

Wow - today is the one year anniversary of my first post on this blog. So happy anniversary blog - it seems like a heartbeat and it seems like a million years. This has been a transformative year. A year of grief and growth. A year of meeting new people - of learning about myself, of gallons of tears and learning to laugh again. Thanks for being a companion on this journey to a new life.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Convergence

Wednesday comes the summer soltice and my bestest friend in the world arrives from Florida. The person who has known me through life's changes for nearly 40 years. We have spent many a Solstice together from San Francisco to New Mexico to the eastern seaboard. Then on Thursday, another friend, who I have known for 25 years, is arriving from New Orleans. We were business partners in the 80's and have had a bzillion crazy adventures together.

Many friends are beginning their trek to St. Paul to help me celebrate my birthday. There is a big dinner in my backyard on Saturday night - Chef Theo has been hired to cook an amazing meal for us - he is bringing someone to serve, and fabulous wine will complement the delicious food. Saturday night there is a slumber party after the dinner for a handful of women friends - more laughter, more stories, more wine and toasting marshmallows over the outdoor fireplace. Much more ahead - I will post the menu as soon as we work out the final details. The party will be fun, the food incredible - and yet, the most important aspect of this party --- to have ten of my best women friends here all together in one place, at one time. Beautiful, dynamic, powerful women. We are going to rock St. Paul.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I am so happy to have found this community in the blogosphere - there are many people who regularly visit and comment and who I regularly visit and comment. Folks who I have never met in the three dimensional world and yet I care about them and consider them friends. I know there other bloggers who consider me a friend as well and I am humbled to be included in their lives in this way. It is wonderful to know that others think of me as I think of them. Blessed - that's all - thank you to each of you - you enrich my life.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Finally, we need it so much. I usually do not have to consistently water the garden and lawn as I have this year. Today is rain and probably a good old midwestern thunder storm somewhere in the mix.

After a personally stormy week, I am feeling better. These death anniversaries can be really difficult. During this second year, some have been much easier, a blessing. Some still slam me in the back of the head - like yesterday's - at nineteen months.

So while it is partly cloudy and rain is predicted here in St. Paul - I am feeling more like those peeks of sun shining through the clouds. Today, J and I are facilitating a meeting at Head Start - part of a really neat change effort we are doing with them. I am looking forward to the day. I am grateful to be on this planet. I am blessed. Namaste.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fifty Days

That's right - it is now 50 days of being a non smoker. It has been a bit of a tough time around my homestead - birthday reflections, life assessment, 19 months of widowhood tomorrow - and the non smoking adds another dimension of stress to the mix. The one thing I know for sure, I will not smoke. I choose to not smoke everyday and I will continue to do so. My spirit and intention are stronger than old habits. It's really simple - I am a nonsmoker. Brings a smile to my face.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dragonfly Legend

In the bottom of an old pond lived some grubs who could not understand why none of their groups ever came back after crawling up the stems of the lilies to the top of the water. They promised each other that the next one who was called to make the upward climb would return and tell what happened to him. Soon one of them felt an urgent impulse to seek the surface; he rested himself on the top of a lily pad and went through a glorious transformation, which made him a dragonfly with beautiful wings. In vain, he tried to keep his promise. Flying back and forth over the pond, he peered down at his friends below. Then he realized that even if they could see him they would not recognize such a radiant creature as one of their number.

The fact that we cannot see our friends or communicate with them after the transformation, which we call death, is no proof that they cease to exist.

- Walter Dudley Cavert

Friday, June 09, 2006

With a Wide Open Heart

This is a time of swirling emotions, deep reflection layered with potent longing and pierced with moments of acute sadness. June is always a time of contemplation and personal assessment. More so this year.

The second year of grief is complicated. It is intense in a way that the first year can't match. The horror has receded, the protective coat of numbness and disbelief is gone.

There are many ways I have moved on. Tom would not recognize this house. I am able to think again. I have regained my confidence in my professional and problem solving abilities. I am filled with gratitude that I was fortunate to know unconditional love.

Above is the tarot card - The Seven of Pentacles - one interpretation is -----

On the Seven of Pentacles we see a man who has labored long and hard in his garden. The foliage is full, the blossoms are out - it seems that his work has paid off. Now he's taking a break to admire his handiwork. How satisfying it is to see such fine results! How rewarding is sweet success!

The Seven of Pentacles is a time-out card. It represents those moments after a rush of activity when we stop to catch our breath and look around. The man in the picture has paused to contemplate the fruits of his own labors, but he could also pick that fruit. In readings, the Seven of Pentacles can indicate a reward that will come your way, particularly as a result of your own efforts. Take it and enjoy.

This card is also a call for assessment. When we're busy, we don't always have time to reflect on what we're doing and why. Are we still on course? Are we getting the results we want? Serious problems can develop if you don't take stock at key moments. In readings, this card suggests that you take the time to be sure you're meeting your goals.

The Seven of Pentacles can also indicate a crossroads. In life, there's a tendency to continue with familiar routines. To go in a new direction isn't easy. The Seven of Pentacles may be telling you to figure out if you need a course correction, or even a complete about-face. You're not yet committed to a certain path, but you could be soon. Change is still possible.

The Seven of Pentacles is not a card of endings or final decisions. The game is not over, but only on hold for a moment. Once you've gotten your breath back and checked your strategy, be ready to jump back in and work even harder than before.

Here is one of my favorite poems - it resonates deep in my soul. The journey continues.

The Seven of Pentacles

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure; make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting.
After the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

Marge Piercy

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Summer Beckons

What a wonderful time of year. It is especially precious when you live as far north as us Minnesotans. These are the days that make the long, dark, cold days of winter worth it.

Summer is just beginning - there are many more flowers to come. This is just the first taste. Pure enjoyment.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fine Tuesday Morning

It is a beautiful morning in St. Paul after a really spectacular thunder storm last night. The roses are beginning to bloom and I will take some pics to post soon. My test was normal yesterday and I don't have to do that for another five years.

So, it's off to work for me today. Flower and garden pictures to come.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


is my colonoscopy and so I am doing the prep for the test today - yuck. I have tried to keep busy this morning as the prep includes no solid food today and I have been a bit hungry. Chicken broth and popsicles only go so far. :)

I have been working in the backyard and visiting over the fence with my neighbor V. We both love to garden. In addition to the backyards, she and I have a really nice front container garden that we collaborate on every year. I'll take some pictures and post them in a few days --- we have been working on this joint project for the last four years and it is fun.

This has been a weekend of unremitting longing for you know who - it is amazing how the grief can still sneak right up on you and grab you by the throat with little warning. The real tip-off is crying in the car - every widow I know drives and weeps. I don't do it much anymore - but it is still there lurking in the background. Driving and crying popped up a few times Friday and Saturday.

Here is a quote that says it quite succinctly:

"See there's this place in me where your fingerprints still rest, your kisses still linger, and your whispers softly echo. It's the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me." Gretchen Kemp, Mizpah

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Self Portrait with a Digital Camera

Don't ask me why - here I am on some kind of countdown to my birthday, which is June 25th.

I took these photos yesterday in my dining room - they are a bit overexposed, but oh well.

It is really exciting to have such a significant birthday on the horizon. Sixty is definitely a transformational time - it feels to me like I am embarking on a new journey. I never thought that I would have this birthday without Tom here to celebrate with me. I remember my 50th so clearly and how excited he was to throw a big party and laugh and hug and.............

This birthday, I am having a very small, very special, very intimate dinner party on my patio. In attendance, 9 of the women who are and have been closest to me over the years. My friend Missy, who I have not physically seen since 1987 is coming from New Orleans - Joan is flying in from Florida. I have retained a personal chef to come to the house to cook a wonderful meal for us - good food, fabulous wine, magnificent company of beautiful women. This will be a birthday to savor and remember.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Six to Sixty

This is the picture on my birthday party invitation. It is my sixth birthday.

I have a little caligraphy that I have hung in every home since 1980 -

We really never grow old it seems
We keep in our hearts our fancies and dreams

And in a corner all tucked away
Is the child we all were yesterday

Thursday, June 01, 2006

UPDATE - St. Paul Quit Project

One of my blog buddies asked that I give a periodic update on the nonsmoking project. The wonderful thing is that I am getting to the point where I hardly think of smoking and if so, just a fleeting moment. Because - I am a joyful (and healthy) nonsmoker who is still the same weight as when I quit - so here's my statistics from quitnet:

38 days, 10 hours, 6 minutes and 23 seconds smoke free.

576 cigarettes not smoked.

$131.62 and 4 days, 9 hours of your life saved.

Feeling great - thanks for your encouragement and support.