Ode to a Robinson Crabapple Tree

Oh wavy tree, your trunk meandering nigh
Belies descriptions I so often read.
In catalogs, desirable symmetry…
Yet in my yard, Van Gogh not Klimt doth tread.

Your flowers - bright magenta - turn to pink,
Each spring I wait, anticipate the show.
But they emerge, and barely do I blink,
So short the time before away they go.

Now purple leaves turn bronze-green in their place.
Unruly branches sprout red fruits in fall,
Our christmas globes, the season to embrace,
But oh, I can’t get past your crooked sprawl!

Extoll your merits I may, but still can’t bear
This Dr. Seuss tree swerving here and there.

In 2017, I replaced a dying but lovely Zelkova. Extensive research landed me at a Robinson Crabapple, which offered flowers, attractive bark, berries, a generally symmetrical form, and appropriate root formation (it’s near a water pipe), while still being disease and pest resistant. Based on what I’d read, the Robinson Crabapple ticked all the boxes.

I enlisted my boys and husband to help plant it, convinced that as the tree grew over the years I’d not only love it, but love the memory of all of us working together to nurture what was sure to be a glorious defining feature of my front yard. A few things have happened in the five years since, though.

While I used to love planting and yard work as a child, my sons do not. This isn’t, therefore, the tree that we all look at with fond memories of togetherness. Hearing them tell it, they were conscripted for hard labor that day, toiling in the mud against unreasonable expectations of their ability to dig a hole and hold the tree straight while we filled it in. They have no affinity for the tree, and really wish we’d just have paid someone to put it in.

That’s sad, but I could get over it. The big issue: I don’t like the profile of the tree. Erratic is a good word for it. Unruly. Unkempt. While many stock photos appear as if the branches and trunk of Robinsons are straighter, they’re really not. And while I appreciate it in others’ landscapes having spotted them more since having my own, I just really don’t think it’s my style. I had a classic structure in mind, and this just doesn’t have it.

So I enjoyed its flowers again this spring. I marveled at its shiny burgundy bark as I walked the big dog last night. And I admitted this morning that it may be time to eulogize my Robinson Crabapple after all.

Will the allure of theme dining ever get old?

I’ve dined at my fair share of upscale restaurants. Still, some of my favorite dining memories involve theme dining, even at home. My love of theme dining started in San Francisco, when I was about seven years old. The first restaurant we chose when we arrived had a different theme at every table. A cable car. A stage coach. It was so glorious to my seven-year-old self. I tried alligator nuggets for the first time. Yum! You’d think it would be hard to top.

Next we went to a Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant. It was a Polynesian restaurant located on a boat, and I believed the decor and mini-umbrella-bearing Shirley Temples were the height of cool. Good thing, because it literally took HOURS to get our food. By the time it arrived, I had fallen asleep, head on the table. I breathed in the delicious aroma of Polynesian chicken in its creamy sauce, marveled at its elaborate chafing dish. It was outstanding. But I, and my by-now-livid parents, were too tired to eat. They do not share my happy memories, but I just thought it was the coolest place EVER.

We had more success at the Hyatt Regency’s Ponte d’Oro, where everything was gold or some facsimile thereof. Celebrity George Peppard waived off the Maitre d’s attempt to seat him before us, although we would have been fine with the preferential treatment. Then the food was awesome, the service impeccable, and we sat in a booth that was fashioned as a “gold” cage. We are memorialized in a slightly faded photo of the night, forever tanned and beaming in our golden booth, my mom’s and my own trendy 70’s floor-length dresses beside my dad’s groovy lapels.

While San Francisco may have introduced me to theme dining, we had just as much fun with it at home. It came back to me on a recent night when we ordered Chinese food from a wonderful restaurant in Great Falls.

I arrived home with our takeout to find one son still mid-X-Box game, and the other about to start on the PlayStation, asking to take his meal upstairs. I, too, had just 20 minutes to eat before running outside to a neighborhood s’mores toasting. Fortunately it was taking place right outside my home, so I didn’t have far to go.

I settled in by myself to enjoy Kung Pao chicken, asking my fine frequent dining partner, “Alexa, play Chinese music”. She began to play something that sounded like a traditional tune, and I smiled, recalling childhood theme nights.

My mom would make an Italian meal and I’d put out a red table cloth, grab a bottle of Chianti bearing a well-melted candle and throw an Italian record on the turntable. Sometimes she’d make sukiyaki, and we’d play a Japanese record, and I’d wear a kimono. My dad was a good sport about it, too. It was so much fun, like taking a mini-vacation. When I think of those nights, I smile a deep smile, from the depth of me, grateful for the nights, and the memories that still stay with me.

I’m not an expert, but I suspect it takes three things to build these memories. First, we need to make the memories – do things out of the ordinary, out of our ordinary, out of the routine. It doesn’t take a lot of money or a lot of time to do this. I don’t think the Japanese record we had was exceptionally expensive, and it probably only took about an extra 15 minutes to throw on the red table cloth, the candlestick, and the Italian record. But it was novel. It wasn’t everyday, so it stood out.

Next, we have to be present in the moment of experience, to truly have the experience. We can’t have our phones out playing games, or reading through something for work. Our minds can’t be wandering around wondering when we’ll be done and able to move to the next thing. It’s not an experience if you’re working around it, squeezing it into things you’ve allowed to take priority for better or for worse.

And last, we have to be present in the moment now, to enjoy what we’re doing and to let our mind connect it more deeply to our past. It’s a rewarding cycle. We can always be making new memories, and if we are open to it, have some old ones at the same time.

I’m in love with my air fryer

I’m unabashedly in love with my air fryer. If I had to choose between the dishwasher and the air fryer, I’d be buying rubber gloves, sponges, and dish soap in bulk. Its plethora of settings actually work instead of frustrate. It has a classic retro look, like a 1950’s toaster oven you’d use to heat hors d’oeuvres, but souped-up. Smart and good-looking, too.

I own the Emeril 360 XL Air Fryer. This is not a paid advertisement, but if Emeril put me on camera I would be one of those testimonial-spouting fans. Right now, I’m toasting a chubby frozen bagel, and I don’t have to worry about whether it will fit in the slots of my toaster. Why? Because I gave that thing away when I got the air fryer. Ditto for the crock pot. Gone. My air fryer toasts, slow cooks, does convection, warms, air fries, and generally cooks better and in less time than the oven, toaster, or crock pot. It’s the single most versatile appliance in my kitchen, so everyone uses it, and it delivers every time.

The only thing it can’t make – I’m told – is cake. I got this information from the seasoned food critics who occupy my sons’ bodies from time to time. The texture is a little different, and I suspect it’s similar to an Easy-Bake Oven. I “suspect” because, as much as I wanted an Easy-Bake Oven, I did not have one. My mom thought the idea of cooking with a lightbulb was ridiculous when we had a full-size oven in the kitchen. And since she was willing to teach me to cook with the “big oven” instead, I didn’t have an arguing leg to stand on. Also, she controlled the purse strings. I’ll give it to her, though – it was a good alternative and served me well.

I’ve had some great appliances over the years, so the air fryer had competition. A Philips pasta maker transported me to heaven in its earlier days. The fondue maker gives me smiles whenever I use it. A Nespresso coffee maker almost lost its luster after about 10 loyal years when the difficulty of getting pods in the pandemic made it too stressful. It was clutched from the jaws of Goodwill when Amazon began offering the pods with one day delivery. Phew! But then, like a dark horse, that air fryer came out of nowhere and pushed that baby out of my heart and practically off the counter. Indeed, it’s pushed as far over as it can get to make room for the air fryer.

The air fryer wasn’t my idea. My older son lobbied for about a year and a half before I cut the only-if-we-ditch-two-other-appliances deal. As when my kids told me they would lavish care on a new puppy if we got him, there were promises of cooked dinners that have yet to materialize. Still, credit where credit is due: If he hadn’t been so persistent, I would never have found my true kitchen love. And believe me, this one is a keeper!

You don’t have to go far to make a memory.

Travel advertisements seem to always promise that you’ll make memories if you simply join them on this cruise or at that resort. I have made such memories, and would never trade them. But I’ve also noticed that many of my fondest memories come from everyday experiences. The slightest objects, smells, or sounds can bring us right back to a moment past. Here’s what I mean.

Sometime in the early 1970s, on a hot summer night, my dad introduced me to plums. We were huddled in our TV room – which we called the Blue Room because it was – you guessed it – blue. He sat down with plums and asked me if I wanted any. I said I didn’t think I would like them. He responded, as he did many times, “You don’t know unless you try.” So I tried. They were black plums, deep purple on the outside and deep red inside. They were juicy and they were delicious! They were so refreshing in the summer heat.

Over this past summer, that night came back to me, as if I were a small child in that blue room, talking to my dad. I’d bought a variety of plums and to my delight found that some were exactly the same as those I remembered. The second I cut into the first, saw the inside and smelled it’s sweetness, it all came back. It tasted like our smiles in the light of the television.

Cherries reminded me of my mom for many years, and still do. It’s because one summer she’d put a bunch of washed cherries in a big metal bowl, we took them out on the very green grass of our front yard, and she taught me how to eat them while we picnicked. Now they also remind me of my son, who also enjoys them.

Grape Kool-Aid reminds me of childhood days at the beach with my mom. She’d fill up a Tropicana glass gallon jar full of ice and grape Kool-Aid, and I would help mix in the sugar. The cold jar beaded condensation by the time we got to the water’s edge and spread our towels. It was too heavy for me to lift, but she would pour it into the cup for me. I loved the sound of the ice rattling against the glass jar, and how it tasted when the ice was melting, watering it down. I still love watering down flavored drinks, like Gatorade, and even orange juice.

Kiwi reminds me of my college friends. I had never had a kiwi before college. My friends got one or two to cut up and try. We all decided we liked them, even though they looked pretty gross. Because I was extremely opinionated and largely unfiltered in college, I am sure I said exactly that upon trying it. But when I eat kiwi now, I always think of the girls we were and the women we were becoming on that day.

Touching fresh mint springs brings me back to a tender scene with my grandfather. He would make iced tea and add fresh mint from his garden. I remember him bending down and asking me sweetly in his Italian accent if I’d like some. Sometimes when I drink something with fresh mint, I’m back at his summer home by the bay, the breeze blowing through the house from front to back, the hydrangeas on either side of the front door, and the pea gravel back yard where we sat enjoying those summer days.

Anything made of Mother of pearl reminds me of my grandparents in New Jersey, and of being at their home as a child. My grandfather had a business that made buttons. They mixed shell scraps into the cement for the sidewalk at their home. I thought the sidewalk, which ran along the house and next to a big apple tree, was beautiful. I would crouch down to trace the shell scraps with my fingers, little half-moon cut-outs where buttons had been successfully punched out at the factory. Other pieces were broken buttons damaged in the process. They were shiny and reflected light unlike the chalky-feeling outer shells. I marveled at the layers of shell that could be seen in some pieces. When my mom told me that they were scraps that weren’t needed after the buttons came out, I couldn’t fathom how anything so beautiful and interesting could be unwanted. I don’t have mother of pearl in my sidewalk, but I do have some picture frames that bring me joyful memories of those days.

Creeping phlox in my garden remind me of another grandparent. I think of her when their flowers emerge in my garden each spring. My grandmother planted long borders of them along one side of her sand-colored brick house. We would sometimes visit the home in Pennsylvania for Easter, and would be met by a long row of neat, mounded pink and purple blossoms visible as we approached over the hill. Everything about my grandmother’s house was very neat. Yes, even the creeping phlox.

Her husband – my grandfather – was just as neat. His garage was literally as clean as the inside of the house. Every tool shined and had a place on peg boards or in drawers. The floor was a shiny gray. Though the house and garage were relatively small, there was space around everything, and no clutter to speak of. Having lived through the Depression, they lived out the “waste not, want not” principle. Sometimes when I look at my own garage I have an urge to get everything out, wash it, paint the floor a shiny gray, and find homes for all that remains. Alas, I came of age with the saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins,” and my garage reflects that. So it’s a little easier said than done. But a girl can dream!

Music transports me to many places and experiences from years passed, but in a different way than objects. I don’t think there’s anything else that can move me across a variety of decades in the way music can. And there are both special days and every-days that surface for me. If I give in to the memory as the music plays, I find that my mind moves rapidly on to related memories. It’s as if I’m at a buffet, and there’s just one table after another of deliciousness to choose from.

Hearing Styx’s “The Best of Times” through the car radio, with its own nostalgic quality, I was immediately back at my cousin’s wedding as he married his high school sweetheart. I was in that room dancing and watching them dance, surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles and other relatives that I loved then, and love still though some have passed on. As I gave in to the memory, it shifted. I was at my own wedding many years later when that groom was a guest watching me get married. Then I was at a pool in Las Vegas celebrating my aunt’s birthday with our families, yet another wonderful experience.

We have so many precious gifts locked away in our brains, just waiting to be brought back to life. We can miss them on days when we move too quickly through the logistics of just getting things done. We should give ourselves the time to pause in the present, and to enjoy our experiences. Then we not only make new memories, but we are sometimes rewarded by moments of unique beauty past.

Memories behind the lenses and brush strokes.

I love taking pictures…of people taking pictures. Not just anyone. People I know. It’s exciting to capture the moment of experience, the moment when someone finds something so interesting they’d like to keep it. I remember being there with them, and sneaking the pic. My family is used to it by now, so they usually wave me off when they catch me. I remain undeterred. There’s no winning without trying.

This picture taken at Big Fork in Montana is only precious to me now because I remember the people in it, and being part of that group and experiencing it together. The view attracted us to the spot, but the memories aren’t about the water, the trees, the sun, or the rocks. They’re about the people.

Big Fork, Montana.

I also don’t need entire bodies in my pictures, as you can see from the Hollywood Star in this post. Seeing our sneakers instantly reminds me of huddling together to get our feet in the pic, the giggles, jostling, and c’mon’s that accompanied our “star” photos that day. Remembering where we were, how we felt, and what we were doing, is the best part of photos.

It’s rare, but every so often, even if we’re not in the picture I remember and appreciate it. Like when we’d spent a few days trying – and failing – to see the Hollywood sign through the fog and smog from every go-to lookout point known to man. Then my husband had the now-legendary idea of just getting in a cab and asking the driver to take us to a spot to see it, and did that ever work! We were ecstatic when it came into view. It was the hard-won victory, as much as the breathtaking scene.

One great idea and $22 or $32 later…We saw Hollywood despite the fog!

I’ve had the reverse emotional experience with artwork, where I’ve arrived at a place I’d seen only in pictures. It seems surreal to be there, in it, to smell and hear and feel the wind, and know the place better. The Square of Saint Mark’s, Venice, by Canaletto was a popular work in the 1970’s. I grew up seeing reproductions of it. Standing in St. Mark’s Square on our honeymoon years later, I welled with tears, realizing that I now knew what was on the other side of that pink building if you walked to the water, knew what was on the other sides of the square, and knew how it felt to walk on the stones and dance there with a man I loved.

Canaletto’s The Square of St. Mark’s

The pandemic offered opportunities for many amazing photographers to take pictures of what the New York Times called “The Great Empty”, allowing us to see normally crowded but now empty spaces. The pictures are at once beautiful and heartbreaking, as we see a new view of the bones of the places, but we also know the fear, grief, and anguish that forced people to stay away long enough for photographers to capture these photos.

Monastiraki Square, Athens, Greece (photo by Savvas Karmaniolas)

I wonder what people will think of these empty scenes when they look back years from now. Though we are all changed forever as a result of what’s behind the photos, I hope that many will recall finding the strength they didn’t know they had, finding community in unexpected places, and helping each other through to better times. And eventually, I hope they make and remember new memories of dancing in the many squares of our world.

Paris, France, May 2021. Dancing Argentine couples tango at Tracadero square (photo by Krzysztof Pazdalski)

Holding on to hugs and little hands.

I love seeing parents holding small children, guiding them across a parking lot with a hand on a shoulder or back, or holding a soft, tiny hand. My “boys”, while still teenagers, now look less like boys than men. As many moms warned, the years went quickly. Witnessing these families reminds me of the best everyday pleasures I used to experience with my own some years ago.

One of the best rituals was the greeting I’d get from my older son when I picked him up from daycare. He’d had a great time there, but would run from wherever he was in the room, arms wide to give a huge hug. He was so joyful, and his hugs so heartfelt. It was the best end to every work day. Even now, he gives the best hugs. Several months ago, he hugged me goodbye as I left for surgery. There was so much love and strength in it. You couldn’t mistake how he felt with a hug like that.

When he moved to elementary school, I found another favorite ritual, this time at the beginning of the day with my younger son. Taking him alone to daycare was one of the rare times in a day when I did not have both boys with me, and could focus entirely on one. Each day, as we held hands from car to building door to keep him safe, I would embrace how grateful I was to be holding that little hand. I knew that someday his hand would be bigger than mine. I felt honored to have this time to guide him. His hands are bigger than mine now, and he uses them to help me in all sorts of wonderful ways. But I will never forget how it felt to be there – for him and with him – in those early years.

When I talk to mothers who have small children, they say the days are so long. I remember that. They wonder if they’ll ever make it to the teenage years with their sanity intact. I remember that, too. It is true that the days are long, but the years are so short. My wish for all parents is that we appreciate the precious gems hidden in our everyday actions. Their comfort never goes away.

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project (2009)
https://gretchenrubin.com/books/the-happiness-project/about-the-book/

We put great efforts into holidays and big celebrations, as if those special days hold something more meaningful than others. Still, if I could go back in time to any day, I would pick an ordinary day. There would be no department store Santa or wee St. Patrick’s Day celebration, no graduation or birthday. It would be an Everyday.

Instead of sweat beading on my upper lip as I raced to get everyone ready, I would cherish picking out clothes for the day, and putting a sock gently on a tiny foot unlined by miles of walking and years of running. I would trace my finger along toes and smile at the tickled giggles. We would play with bath toys and bubbles until the water turned cold.

I wouldn’t be so worried about getting to work on time. The worrying never got me there quicker. I would be slow about breakfast, unconcerned with whether someone ate everything. I would cut apples sitting at the table with my children and hand them out as I sliced, instead of taking them out of packages and frantically plating them like a short-order cook. It would take the same amount of time, but we would experience it together. And my cellphone wouldn’t be on the table.

I would not pretend that I could work an 11-hour day during work hours, come home and take care of my family, and then return to checking emails and working for another few hours without giving up something. There’s actually not enough time in the day for that. I would make more informed choices. From experience I can say that my kids and my husband didn’t get the best of me, and neither did I.

When I started my own business in 2019, I realized that I lived my best life if I guarded against distractions equally in work and personal activities. We all won when I focused my time and spent less of it on work, not more. Clients got more value from me, I was far less stressed, and I was able to have a conversation with my kids when they came home from school. My quality of life soared. Better late than never, I guess!

We sacrifice so much in an effort to “get” time, and to “spend” it efficiently. The only way to get time is to pay attention to it in moments, instead of letting it slip away.

Half-way Day is Here!

I began this blog because so many words and thoughts spinning in my head wanted to come out. Life had become more precious after my brush with cancer. I relished realizations, cherished memories, and felt closer to family and friends than I had in years. I didn’t know who would read or care about my stories, but I knew they needed a home outside of me. Unlike journals that I’d kept to myself for many years, I believed these thoughts should be shared. That’s how 190 Days came to be.

My first post went live on July 1, the day I began chemotherapy. Why “190 Days”? Those of you who read my first blog post likely guessed that my 190 day journey is about my road to preventing a recurrence of a cancer my surgeon successfully removed. My treatment is expected to take place over 6 months, and it was preceded by a port placement surgery about a week before. Altogether, about 190 days.

I have learned so much on this journey, which has reached its half-way point. I have completed 6 of the 12 cycles, and 95 days. The best lesson was how kind and supportive people can be, and what a difference that can make. I was unexpectedly surprised by the compassion and generosity of family, friends, and neighbors who learned of my surgery and path forward. They were all especially creative in the ways they supported me, offering things I never would have considered asking. That safety net was a great comfort. Just knowing made me stronger, and gave me more confidence to be there for myself.

Below are some of the (many) highlights, which I’m sharing in the hope that they help others be creative in supporting their own family and friends.

  • Offering Rides to Appointments: Neighbors offered to take me to and from surgery, to and from appointments, or other places I needed to go. I took two neighbors up on a ride to and from the hospital, and was touched by how much it lifted me to see their faces on either side of my surgery.
  • Dog Walks: Neighbors offered to walk my dog. My 80 lb. bundle of love can be a handful so I went a different route. But had he been a small guy I would have said yes. My dog seemed confused about me not walking him and playing the way I used to, so getting to spend time with a neighbor would have been a treat for him.
  • Picking Up Groceries and Prescriptions: Although I had grocery delivery down pat thanks to the pandemic, the offer to pick up groceries or take me grocery shopping could have been a make or break if I’d lived in an area without good delivery, or if I needed something quick. Picking up prescriptions after surgery is huge. If you can’t drive or you don’t feel up to it, having someone drive you there to get them is priceless.
  • Watering Gardens: Some neighbors offered to water my garden. It’s no small offer. I have a modest townhome without much yard. Still, I’d been a stop on a local garden tour earlier this year, and I had lovingly planned and planted annuals and pruned and nurtured more perennials than you could shake a stick at around all three detached sides of my home. The offer to water, even from those who weren’t gardeners, was so touching because I felt like they “saw” me. They knew it was something I cared about, and they cared enough about me to try to help me keep it.
  • Small Kindnesses: Things like offering to meet me anywhere I wanted for lunch made staying in touch easier. Another friend met me for walks, which was good for me physically and just a good way to catch up and have fun. And she let me set the pace. My dental hygienist knew of my condition because she did my pre-chemo checkup and cleaning. She saw me in the lobby twice since when I took my sons for routine visits. Each time she came over and asked me how I was doing – and not just a cursory ask. She met my eyes with hers and I could see she cared, and was there for me if I had issues to ask about or share. These small kindnesses really made me feel cared about.
  • Being There With You and For You: Family and friends local and distant offered to be there for me at the hospital or during recovery, or to take care of my family. It was such a comfort knowing that I could launch a Plan B if needed! One friend offered to stay in a nearby hotel and come and play scrabble with me during my hospital stay. Another offered that I could call at any time and they’d fly in that day. Cousins I love but rarely see offered to fly or drive in from other states to be there for us. If you are able to offer this kind of support, offer it and repeat the offer a few times, so they know you mean it. Those offers made me feel like Popeye eating a can of spinach. It instantly pumped me up.
  • Treating You Like a Person…Instead of a Sick Person: What was most impressive about the offers and goodwill was that they weren’t accompanied by a “poor you”, “you can’t do this without me”, “I feel so sorry for you”, “you better lean on me”. It was more like, “Hey, I’m here, I’m on your team – just let me know when to get off the bench and start playing – I’m ready!” That’s empowering. That’s the best kind of help you can give.
  • Caring Conversations: I spent hours texting and talking to caring friends and family after my diagnosis, and in the early cycles of chemo. Those who had been through cancer and/or chemo, or had helped someone close to them were uniquely helpful. Hearing their journeys, advice, and tips helped me make good decisions, and helped me take more control over my journey. “Gratefulness” is too small a word for how I feel about these people. I know that recounting their stories involved revisiting difficult experiences and emotions. Some were distant scars, others fresh wounds. They dug deep into their hearts past their own pain, took my hand in theirs, and put their great wisdom into my small palm. They were courageous and inspiring, and continue to be so.
  • Respecting Wishes: I am generally a woman who knows what she wants. So I really appreciated family and friends who respected my boundaries in words and in practice. The words were just as important as the practice because of the comfort they brought and connection they maintained. Some of the best articulations:
    • “I understand you don’t need anything…, but if that changes just let me know”. Well, it did change, and that “just let me know” made all the difference.
    • “Whatever you decide, I’ll be there for you.” We don’t always make the choices that others would make. It’s huge to know someone will be there for you 100% without judgement despite that, and that you won’t lose the relationship along the way.
    • “I’ll respect your wishes”. When someone wishes the answer was yes, but it’s no, acknowledging that they hear your “No” and will do as you asked alleviates anxiety.
  • Prayers and Healing Thoughts: Even if you aren’t very religious or don’t subscribe to the idea of healing energy in the universe, the power of spending time with positive thoughts does make a difference. I loved when people said they were praying for me. I really didn’t feel like I could do it effectively for myself, so it was a boon to have someone else pulling for me with the Big Man Upstairs. Sometimes people shared the prayers they said, and they were beautiful. Like this one: “May the angels surround you and go before you, with you, and after you, and protect you and divert any harm away from you and your family.” If you don’t want prayers (or even if you do) there are plenty of other healing options. Laughter is the best medicine, and it’s easy to come by and to share in the form of funny gifs, jokes, hilarious conversations, or comedic movies. Reiki and other methods of healing energy can help physically and mentally, and have worked for me.

The mentions above really helped me with the big “C”. But one of the special surprises for me was about another “C” – connections. It happened in a new way for me when I began to blog regularly. I enjoy not only the creative process but also the connections I’ve made with those whose blogs I read and with those who read what I write. I’ve also found that I’m reconnecting with my past, and connecting my past with my present more gracefully. I was helped along by the fact that when I told friends and family I was going to blog they were supportive instead of telling me to pay attention to other things or worrying about what I would write.

Connections come in many forms. For some it may be art, or music, or a book group, or zooms or lunches or walks with friends. But it’s important to feel that connection to something that stirs your soul, and I’m grateful to those who have encouraged me to and supported me in doing so.

And now, continuing on this road, let’s see what the next 95 days will bring. Thank you for being part of the journey this far!