It’s the Season for Physicals

Today I am grateful for the comfort in signs the Universe sends in its mysterious ways. I am also grateful for my friend Sheila and our phone conversations.

Summer is the season for physicals around our house. Working in schools and having more time in the summer, Sam and I have typically gotten ours in the summer. And now Oliver is thrown in there as well. Sam's was just this Wednesday, yesterday was Oliver's, and mine is in a few weeks. So far so good, no surprises.

Some suggestions and things to keep an eye on, but shouldn't we be doing that anyway, vigilant to changes in our own health, or that of our children and pets?

Sam's is called a well-child check. Oliver's is called a senior wellness exam. Such nice names. I was looking at a chart on the wall at the vet's office and based on Oliver's weight and age he is 60 in dog years and considered a senior. Three years from now he will enter the geriatric category.

He's a little less hyper than he used …


Today I am grateful for my eyesight and hearing and how they allow me to take in the world around me, and I am grateful for the family and friends in my world, near and far.

Yesterday I noticed some less obvious beauties:
*Insects making their way in the world...buzzing around in the sun or crawling on the ground or my arm...there are way more of them than us. (An estimated 10 quintillion alive at this moment).
*Running with my shadow leading the way. It is often there, but I often miss it.
*Hearing our dog Oliver's collar and tags clink on his food bowl as he eats, signaling a typical day and a healthy dog.

Today's post title is the word progression. It is one of those words that can be the bearer of good news. "The progression of your pregnancy is normal." "Your child's progression in the area of math is outstanding. " "Her progression to CEO is deserved."

Or it can be the bearer of bad news. "The progression of fear in an area hit by a…

Beauty Sought, Beauty Found

Today I am grateful for the power of writing and the strength of muscles after training them.

I ended yesterday's post with these words: "Perhaps each of us can only hope for this; some beauty in today. Cancer or no cancer, today is all any of us get. Live it fully, whatever that may mean to you."

Looking for beauty since I wrote those words, I found it in:

-cooler and drier air delivered on a gentle breeze
-my son's warm smile as I shared a memory from ten years ago
-a work-related phone call that went just the way the parties on each end hoped it would
-the fun of windows down and radio cranked, driving down the road
-a good morning kiss shared with my husband, even after thousands have preceded this one
-a phone conversation and connecting with my sister Mary Jo
-the sunshine playing across the grass in our yard

Beauty is found when searched for with open heart and mind, and with the appreciation of all five of my working senses.

Let's see what beauty we can e…

First Surgery, First Parentheses

Today I am grateful for some moments of curiosity, like wondering how one plant can have so many different colors in it. I am also grateful for recovery and the people who support me in it.

I am thinking about my sister Mary Jo today and every day. My worst fear is her reality-metastatic breast cancer (MBC). There is a heaviness to any cancer diagnosis, but the weight of MBC seems a crushing one. There is no fairness here, but there is continued hope for peace and comfort, both physically and emotionally, for Mary Jo and all with MBC.

Mary Jo's diagnosis earlier this year, nearly 12 years after her initial early-stage BC diagnosis, has put my own BC experience on my mind more as well.

Ten years ago today, on a Thursday morning, Darcy and I headed to United Hospital in St. Paul for the first of what would end up being three surgeries to address cancer in my right breast. It brought  an end to a tough stretch and marked the beginning of another.

Though less sharp in my memory, I st…

Boundless Curiosity

Today I am grateful for safe travels and family time this weekend. I am also grateful for cooler and less humid air to enjoy.

It’s a joy to spend time with each of our grandsons. Aaron and his parents Arthur and Alyssa live over four hours away, so weeks go by between visits. We see videos and FaceTime with them, but you can’t beat being together. He is almost 11 months old and at what I consider a very fun age. He is crawling, pulling himself up, full of energy and boundless curiosity.

There is never a dull moment in Aaron's world. He can be having good fun with plastic cups and cardboard tubes, enjoying his meal, making faces, listening to a book, taking off at a fast crawl for the next thing that has grabbed his attention. He loves going for walks too, and Darcy and I appreciated taking him for several this weekend.

Boundless curiosity. A smile for the cat. Surprise at the noise he just made himself. A reminder to the sometimes cynical and jaded adults blessed to be around him.…

Graham Crackers on Hand

Today I am grateful for my hair and the way the gray blends in. I am also grateful for the simple things in life.

Sending birthday greetings today to my sister Aileen! Happy Birthday!

Sometimes it is refreshing to just write about a simple topic. Take graham crackers for instance. I wrote about them in this post earlier this year. My boys and I are still on a roll, we pretty much always have some on hand. Our grandson Leo has taken a liking to them as well. Milk and crackers for a quick and less caloric dessert works for me when needed.

They also remind me of my mom. She has a temperamental stomach these days and always has a stash of graham crackers in one of her drawers in her room at the nursing home. When I sit down to have some crackers and milk, I often think of Mom and wonder how she is doing in this moment.

Acknowledging and appreciating the simple gifts in life. From graham crackers to morning coffee to pens and paper to write with. It can bring a needed break from the more c…

An Intriguing Read

Today I am grateful for a good tempo run this morning and for sweat. It feels good to sweat when exercising hard and dressed accordingly.

Happy Anniversary today to my stepson Arthur and his wife Alyssa! Have a special day! Five years goes fast. Grateful to have both of you in my life.

Summer usually means more time for me to read. I appreciate books that are informative and also provoke me a little. Provoking some disagreement can be a good thing when it stems from words on a page.

Getting new information, or learning about people's views that are different from mine actually affirm my own stance, or give me a broader perspective than I would have otherwise had. I recently read Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, by Johann Hari and published in 2015.

His approach in this book was compelling and kept me reading. He wove historical data with the very human stories of people caught up in this war on drugs over the last 100 years or so.

I agree with the a…