Monday, April 30, 2007

Working Outside

That is how I spent my weekend - outside and working hard. I do believe that this is the first Spring since Tom died that I have been REALLY engaged in the gardening instead of doing it "because it needed to be done."

I sincerely enjoyed my weekend. I purchased 10 bags of mulch, hauled them up the hill and mulched the flower beds. I raked the lawn and fertilized. I scrubbed, scraped, sanded and re-stained the deck. I cleaned out the old pots and painted them sunny yellow and cornflower blue.

I did all that and I can still walk :) - I thought for sure I would be unable to move this morning. Good exercise, fresh air and all ready for the gardening season ahead.

The last picture is what the side garden looked like on Friday - the others were taken Sunday. The deck picture was taken in progress - it is now stained and ready to have the outdoor furniture replaced.

Summer is on its way. I am grateful to be here on this planet.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Comment Control

OK - I give. I have not wanted to inconvenience visitors to my blog by installing comment moderator but now it really makes sense. In the last few days I have been inundated with spam comments that are being posted at the rate of several an hour in all my old posts.

So, sorry for any extra trouble -- I love having you stop by and leave your messages.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Very Happy Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of my quitting smoking - hooray!!!! I am a joyful and healthy nonsmoker. I am very proud of myself to have taken the huge step to health and independence from nicotine addiction.

I feel good - I feel confident that I can achieve any goal I set for myself. I consciously began my quit smoking on Tom's birthdate as a gift to him and make this date have other meanings for me. It is a celebratory day - my quit date.

It is also has become a date to begin new things - life changes that I have either been struggling with or really want to put into being in my life. So, today - exercise, regular, enjoyable exercise is my challenge for this year. I do so well and then I "fall off the wagon" ----- this year, I will put exercise into my life as a routine - like brushing my teeth.

April 23 - a day of new beginnings. A day to celebrate, I did it!!!!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What Was Isn't

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Tom's birth - not his birthday. Hard to celebrate the birthday of a dead person - but tonight he and I (his picture anyway) are commemorating the date with a perfect, cold Sapphire Martini with bleu cheese olives and a lemon twist. The appetizer is a wedge of Rogue River Blue cheese, aged 12 months in grape leaves, spread on a warm multi-grain roll.

The asparagus, which is now roasting in the oven in extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt, will be dressed with a squeeze of lemon. The main course is roasted center cut of King Salmon with microgreens splashed with walnut oil and pear balsamic vinegar. The wine selection is yet to be made.

Making peace with what was and what isn't is a major task of the grief journey.

Today as I did Tom's favorite spring yard chores, I tried my best to recall what we did together on his last birthday, when he was still in his body. I could not remember. For a bit it made me crazy (rake those leaves, carry that mulch, muscle that hose reel up the hill) and then I just relaxed. Life is mysterious -- what was, isn't and what is - IS.

I am here, I am alive, I am walking my life's path for as long as I am to do so. Life is more meaningful since Tom died - coming to terms with death is enormous - we are all born to die - until then we get to have birthdays and until then one of our earth tasks is to live right here in this moment - it is the only one we really have.

I raise my glass - here's to you Tom - what a gift your life was to so many. Your love lives on right here!

ps I know I probably cooked steak that last birthday for you - but tonight salmon sounds perfect.

More to come tonight...........

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Spring Alarm Clock

Good Morning. What a delight to sleep with the window open and be awakened by nature's alarm clock - the choir of birds outside. There are many cardinals in my yard now. Flashes of red among the still- bare branches. I am filled with gratitude for all my blessings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


So difficult to watch my Mom begin this decline. It is becoming more apparent each month - her memory is getting faulty - her balance compromised - she sounds so vulnerable. I speak with her at least once if not twice a day and on the weekend sometimes more frequently. I am planning a trip home May 9-15.

I think she needs to leave California and move closer to me. She is talking about it more and more. There are wonderful age in place Independent Living facilities here. I worry that the winters will be too harsh - but aging alone, even with friends about, is taking its toll. Such a sobering experience.

Much of what I do these days helps to build the foundation for my own 70's and 80's, should I live that long. So much of my mother's life and identity was taken with her beauty (and she was one) and the things that go with that. She also was always on the go - seeing and doing - very social.

She remains a beautiful woman at 80 years old - but she resists, she wants to be 60. Her macular degeneration robbed her of so much of her independence - her ability to drive and to get out and about on her terms. That was a turning point and the beginning of a new phase of life. It takes such grace and spirit to age.

It is my honor to be here with my mother for this part of her life's journey. There is much to pay attention to in the process.

The beginning of a new season of growth

Out of the depths of the dark garages emerge the pots of perennials that V and I enjoy all summer. She has been my guide and inspiration in growing these beautiful everlasting flowers. Each year I used to buy annuals and while they looked gorgeous, they were expensive. Now there is a real pride in nurturing the pots all summer and lovingly tucking them away in our respective garages to bring them out for another year in the sun.

Yes, it appears Spring has arrived in Minnesota. Birds and warm breezes - the sweet promise of bare feet and barbeques. Gardening is such a relaxing and rewarding pastime. It is good for the soul - being a part of nature and the changing seasons. Everything looks a bit anemic right now but just wait a week or two - green and flourishing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

There are no words today

Who knows how you walk this widowed road for so long - rebuilding brick by brick - and then you have a weekend with a huge hole right in the middle of it. I have been alone for these past 30+ months but rarely lonely in the last year. This weekend, I have been lonely - just lonely. Lonely for the person who is no longer here.

Cleaning the garage and putting the pots out front for another wonderful summer growing season. Struck by the wonder of nature = we put those pots away months ago and even in the dark the plants know when to begin the miracle of rebirth and growth.

Struck by the wonder of nature, sweeping the garage, crying - longing for a life that is forever gone. We walk the path and heal - it is a very long journey

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Snow - Can you believe it?

My sister friend J has been here from Florida - it has been such a lovely few days. We went to see the Race exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. We shopped, cooked, talked, had a couple of martinis, drank some awfully good wine and just caught up. We had not seen one another since last June.

The precious time - the value of lifelong friendship - the love - the comfort - the knowing that extends back into time and shines for this day. We are blessed.

These pictures are the beautiful tulips on the dining table. Today it is snowing. Spring is JUST around the corner. I know it, I know it, I know it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

After changes upon changes

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

- W.S. Merwin

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hey - I'm still here.......

Wow, I just realized that it has been a week since I have posted. I spent the weekend before last on a body detox fast, drinking fresh juice and eating only raw fruit and veggies. I took the past week to slowly introduce my usual diet - which is to say I continued to eat lots of raw fruit and added salads with oil and vinegar dressing for the beginning of the week and then added some fish and then chicken. I do not really eat beef or pork - or rarely. The liver tonic, "Fontana Cleanse" is an herbal liquid that I drank three times a day for a week - it tasted terrible - but I think it helped to eliminate toxins from my body.

I feel really good - very light and energetic. This weekend, I did more spring house cleaning and began to get ready for my bestest sister friend, J to arrive this Thursday evening. I am very excited. Since I did not go to Florida this winter, we have not seen one another since my birthday.

J will be 60 in June so we will have an early birthday celebration, hang out and have a lot of fun. It is a blessing to have a friend of nearly 40 years duration. We have seen one another through life's joys and sorrows. The challenges, the lessons, and all the changes of a lifetime.

So much has been going on ----- we moved our office into a much larger space in the same old historic building in St. Paul we have occupied for the last 3 years. We are in the Blair Arcade, a beautiful old brownstone in Cathedral Hill. Garrison Keillor's new bookstore is in the lower level. The building and our new office are beautiful. We picked the configuration, the carpet, the wall colors, the lighting - wow. It is really comfortable and very calm and inviting.

I will take some pictures of the new office to post in the next few days.

During the winter, I posted that I am working on a new project that will be initiated in early 2007. We are about to launch, "The Grief Project" in the next month. It is the project of my heart and spirit. I will devote a post to it very soon.

Life is good.