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Playing with Asparagus

asparagus in panI went into the kitchen to do a 5-minute job. Five hours later I was still in there. One thing leads to another.

I recently watched a movie in which a publisher calls one of his writers to find out when a manuscript will be done. He hears the sound of an oven door opening and pans being slid in.

“What are you doing? Are you baking?!” he yells.

He knows if she is cooking, she isn’t writing.

The writer hangs up, shoves the phone in the refrigerator.

I miss my writer friends, but I’ll see a bunch of them in May and maybe we’ll talk about this very thing, how one creative outlet keeps the juices flowing for another, BUT you have to be careful it’s not being used to procrastinate. In other words, you aren’t cooking to avoid writing. I certainly wasn’t. But people do.

A rainy spring day is the perfect time to try out Mark Bittmann’s Roasted Asparagus with Crunchy Parmesan Topping recipe.

asparagus with topping

Bathroom Update

We purposely downsized.

Six months ago, we changed homes (and states) for a job relocation. We decided to downsize to force us to part with things we no longer needed. The new place is cute as a button. We bought it from the original owner, who lived here 56 years and took meticulous care. But, you know, it’s always nice to have a little project going.

Here’s the before-and-aft of a bathroom we just redid.Bathroom before and aft

It started because I fell in love with the floor.
bathroom floor

Here’s another view. Sorry, my dog is always trying to horn in.
bathroom floor with dog

We painted the mirror frame white and I had a chance to hang some of my favorite photos. I especially love the watering can. It resembles a shower.
watering can photo

In Honduras a few years ago, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the string of team t-shirts hung on the clothesline early in the morning so they’d have all day to dry in the humid air and hopefully we could bring them in before the late afternoon rains. I matted and framed it, then hung it on the wall by the switch so people could see it when turning off the light to leave. A bit of whimsy.
t-shirts on clothesline

I love that some of my best blog photos are getting a second life. A third, if you count this blog post about it! :-)

click to see Ibrutinib article

Several of you wrote to inquire about Wally’s CLL and I wrote back to you. More may be wondering but didn’t want to ask, so here’s the update:

HE’s DOING GREAT! The clinical trial he qualified for in 2012 turned out to be a winner. I referred to it early on as ‘the PCI trial.’ It was later given its grown-up name, Ibrutinib. The Daily Mail has an article about it, “Doctors Hail Drug that Can Turn Off Cancer.” What a great title!

I know this isn’t the story for every cancer. Not yet. But here’s the thing: When Wally was diagnosed in 2008, CLL was a cancer for which there was no remission. THAT is changing. What was once impossible is now possible. 

I hope that helps you with your ‘impossibles’ today. It does mine.

Wally continues in a study of the long-term effects of this drug.

***

To read more about our cancer journey:

The CLL Posts

The CLL Posts

tangled mess
THE THREADS of the tangled mess that was my thoughts have been sorted and combed through, and now lie separate by a window in the light. I see them now in a way I couldn’t before.

Two-and-a-half years it’s taken! Yes, it can take that long. Sometimes longer, just depending. But that’s okay. We are not in a rush, right?

I’m a patient person by nature (except when I spot the perfect parking space). I believe in giving people all the time it takes, all the time they need. We are not in a rush. We are not. But, if you have a choice, be intentional about pursuing stuff. Health, reconciiation, peace. Go after it. It can take a long time, yes, but you don’t want to be found sitting still, waiting for it to fall on you. It probably won’t happen like that. You likely need to be moving in the direction of it, to begin with.

Christie Purifoy writes about being willing to look at the broken things. Most of us would rather be doing something else, but the willingness to look squarely at what’s broken is a key starting point. I’ve done a lot of it in recent years and it’s been worthwhile. Christie’s words resonated with me today. I’m glad she wrote them.

signature
p.s. This is my first post in over a year.

Dumping My Blog

pencils at the ready

I’M THINKING OF DUMPING MY BLOG –
been thinking it a while –
but is it one more step away from writing?
Or toward it?
Unsure.

I admitted to these very thoughts
while riding to church a few weeks ago
and wouldn’t you know it?
The morning’s passage included
immediately they left their nets.”
I like that.
(Long before Nike’s “just do it”
were the first disciples.
They were more cutting-edge than me.)

So what’s the hold-up?

I will miss the friends I’ve met in cyberspace,
not that I won’t be in cyberspace,
but I think I’ll feel only half-in.
Now that I see that in print,
I realize my thinking on that is wrong.
This hadn’t struck me before.
(This is one reason writers write, says Joan Didion,
to find out what they are thinking.)

I’ve been blogging over a decade, so it’s a hard break,
like parting with a old sweater,
too tattery to be seen in
but there are so many memories attached.
Okay, my blog isn’t that tattered.
Still, sentimentality is often the obstacle to the uncluttered life, is it not?

But mostly the hold-up
is the cry of the platform-builders,
“You must blog.”
Must I?
Did anyone actually say that
or is that how it got twisted in my mind?

I wish to say something fabulously acceptable,
such as,
I’m working on my doctorate
or going to do third-world orphanage work
or donating all my writing parts to a needy person
and so – apologies, apologies – I no longer can blog.

But I don’t have a noble cause to give as excuse.
And my faithful readers do not require it of me.

It is enough to say
I have nothing to say,
OR,
that what I have to say,
the topic closest to me right now,
the one I dedicate my peak writing time to,
which is as it should be,
doesn’t belong here,
and I belong where it is.

You are nodding. I know it.

A few times in my life I wondered how to explain to a friend a decision I made, only to discover no explanation was necessary.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 5.29.29 PM
ICICLES THAW in the afternoon sun.
A squirrel watches me take a picture.

That’s the way it is with these late-season storms,
the dripping comes fast on their tails.

The incessant dripping,
it drives some people nuts,
even when it signals the very thing they’ve been waiting for.

I hear the drip
before I see it.
I turn my head to look,
then, as always, jump to take a picture.
There’s just something there.

I want to be like that,
a person who thaws quickly,
who does not hold on to anger.

I wonder if I will be.
I wonder if I am.

21 Days until Spring

The day before another storm is due, we go to the art museum. 

RIGHT AT THE CORNER
of the state highway
and the turn into the neighborhood,
there’s a sign.
Someone goes out every day
and changes the number!
A spreader of hope, that person.

(I think it might be my next door neighbor.
I’ll text her and ask.)

Another storm is coming
and we’re not sure we’re up to it,
but we’ve no cause to complain,
not compared to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey kin,
so we won’t,
but we will agree on the countdown,
that it makes us smile when we drive by.

(My neighbor says yes, she’s the one,
and today she’s taking down her winter decorations in the house,
hoping to advance the cause.)
:-)

Today again the roads have been brined –
but we shake our fists at tomorrow’s storm
and drive an hour
to the Art Museum
to see watercolors
and dream of Spring.

Crocus poked through the soil in last week’s thaw.

SPRING

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