birthday blues

This Sunday is my birthday and it’s going to be a rather bittersweet one. Our first grandchild was due last Sunday, on Grandparents Day, so I was hoping to be holding my first grandchild on my birthday this year. But during a routine ultrasound this past spring my daughter-in-law’s doctor discovered that the baby had Bilateral Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney Disease and because her tiny kidney’s were failing, she was unable to make enough amniotic fluid to sustain the pregnancy. Our son and daughter-in-law named the baby Kylie Nicole and we are walking in the PKD walk to help raise money for kidney disease on Septmeber 20th. Our granddaughter’s kidney disease was similar to Polycystic Kidney Disease which is one of the most common life threatening, genetic, diseases affecting an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide. In fact, PKD is more common than Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia – combined. If you would like to learn more about PKD, or support Meagan and Andy, please click on this link or on the PKD Foundation logo at the top of this post.

… joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. ~Kahlil Gibran

My Photo Friday shot for the theme Relationship is of Andy and Meagan and their puppy Tonka, who is now much bigger but is still just as cute!

photo friday

Today’s word on Photo Friday is Exercise, something I should do more often. Still, the little yoga and stretching I do works wonders on keeping the aches and pains of Fibromyalgia and old(er) age from taking over. My birthday is in two weeks and this one will herald my final year in my forties. The idea of aging has never really bothered me since there’s really only one alternative! I think having lived a good part of my life dealing with health problems has given me a different perspective than some of my friends, I know first hand that how old you are in years doesn’t really matter, it’s how you feel. My mom seems to be a bit better as she settles into the nursing home for some rehab. The goal is to get her strong enough to go home. If she rallies that’s the plan, if not, we may have to begin hospice care 😦

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. ~Albert Schweitzer

(almost) wordless thursday

I was going to post for Wordless Wednesday and then I realized it was Thursday. It’s been one of those weeks. Took my mom to the hospital yesterday. She had a spill over the weekend and used her head to break the fall, looks like someone hit her in the forehead with a baseball bat! Her head is actually the least of her problems though, so we’re hoping they can straighten a few issues out and make her more comfortable before they ship her back home. Anyhoo, that’s one on my latest iStock photos, my lovely daughter Lizzi volunteered to model for some “spa” pictures 🙂

let it snow

How did we spend our Easter weekend? Why shoveling the driveway of course. That’s my backyard, not last month, this morning! We had family over Friday night for an early holiday dinner and that’s what they had to contend with getting here, 8 inches of snow and rush hour traffic. We are nothing else if not stubborn here in Michigan and they came anyway. When my sister-in-law from Louisville was getting her son Evan’s winter coat out for the trip he complained, “No, it’s spring!” And she answered, “Not in Michigan!” Little did they know what was really in store for them. Joann was just considering the cold, she left their boots at home and the kids ended up trudging through the snow in their tennis shoes last night.

It was good to see everyone, although my mom wasn’t up to coming and that bummed us out. Like most moms she is the Queen Bee of our family and we missed her terribly last night. I would take all the bad weather Michigan can dish out and never complain again if I could just have my mom healthy again. Joann’s sister Jackie is also very sick and has been in our thoughts and prayers lately. So come to think of it, who cares about the stupid weather. From now on each time I start to whine about the weather I’m going to stop myself, dig up something to add to my “blessing list”, and say a prayer for family members who are dealing with serious illness right now.

Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year.
~Franklin Pierce Adams

i dream of pizza

So it was one of those good-news/bad-news moments when I found out that I would feel better by not eating food containing gluten. And most of the time I don’t miss all those carbs, mainly because I began to look at them differently. When I see a slice of chocolate birthday cake, a mound of spaghetti, or a basket of hot rolls I see poison. But the one thing I still missed after being wheat-free for many years was pizza. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that I didn’t care, that it was gooey and fattening and no big loss, the truth is, I still longed to bite into a hot cheesy, crusty slice of yummy pizza! Last week, while standing in front of the gluten-free product freezer at my local market, the woman next to me asked if I’d tried the Kinnikinnick Pizza Crusts. She went on (and on and on) telling me how she prepared them and how great they were while I stood there nodding and thinking that she must be totally deluding herself. There was no way they could be as good as the “real” thing, but I threw a bag in my cart and figured I’d give them a try. I made two individual pizzas that night and she was right, they were fabulous! My husband even loved them and he can eat wheat. So thank you gabby grocery store lady, you were right, I was wrong, and now because of you I’m eating pizza again and I’m going to have to ramp-up my meager workouts on the outside chance that winter will eventually end here in Michigan and I’ll have to put on a bathing suit someday (4-8 inches of snow predicted tonight!).

Did you know that when man first began eating wheat it contained only 1-2% gluten, while today’s wheat contains 55% gluten? No wonder more and more people are feeling the effects. If you have chronic digestive problems, skin rashes, or autoimmune health issues, consider talking to your doctor about a screening and perhaps giving the gluten-free diet a try. It’s really not so bad, really, you can even eat pizza:)

winter reading list

“What do you want to do this weekend?”
“I want to sit here in the sun and read my book.”
“That’s something.”
“Yeah, it is isn’t it?”

Last week a friend asked me what I had been reading this winter. Maybe it’s age (or lack of sunlight) but I could only think of a couple of titles. So I went and took a peek at my booksheves to refresh my memory. My book club read The Known World (didn’t like it, too many characters and timeline flip-flops for my currently ADDish brain), Middlesex (a family epic deftly written and based here in the Detroit area), Eat, Pray, Love (a joy) and next up for us is The Pillars of the Earth. Hmm, I think those are all Oprah books, we don’t always read off her list but lately that seems to be the case. On my personal reading list was I Love You Beth Cooper (very funny writer, but the high school setting got old, or maybe I’m just old), Those Who Save Us (good mother/daughter relationship read), The Alchemist (a lovely little spiritual fable), The Painted Drum (if you appreciate lyrical writing like I do you’ll like this one). In the photo I’m reading The Camino (fascinating if you have an open mind), I enjoyed They Did It with Love (a lightweight murder mystery about a mystery book club) and the short stories in Alice Munro’s Runaway were wonderful. I read a couple from Jackie Mitchard recently, Cage of Stars (my fave of the two) and Still Summer (a high seas adventure that explores the nature of friendship). Jackie not only seamlessly weaves stories laced with heartbreaking characters and suspenseful plots, but she is an author who has always been generous and gracious to her fans. Click on her name and check out her fabulous website!

The holidays always slow down my page turning ways, plus I’m making an effort to finish my third book which means less time reading and more time writing. Those of you who voted for my #2 novel excerpt on Amazon, thank you, thank you, thank you! I didn’t make the final cut but it was encouraging to enter my first contest and garner a few of my own fans along the way:)

monday moanin’

Last week my doc told me that I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. It wasn’t a big surprise because I’ve had symptoms for a long time; numbness, tingling, and pain in my hands when I get cold along with fingers that are always so naturally chilly I can dip them quickly into boiling water and nab a hot noodle to check it for doneness. I have to strap on two lovely wrist splints every night now (very sexy) and I’ll visit my massage therapist and see if she can open up the carpal tunnel and relieve some of the nerve compression. I’ve been doing more writing and photography in the past few months, and even though I try to use good posture and support my wrists, I think that the added time at the computer has made things worse.

And here’s where the moanin’ part comes in. My body has disappointed me plenty over the years and I’m more than a little annoyed that it’s up to its old tricks again. I’ve dealt with chronic illness on and off since I was in my twenties and I’ve had to rearrange my dreams and goals many times to accommodate and care for the whims of this rather needy little body that I was born into. Living with chronic health problems has forced me to lead a more balanced life (which is a good thing), it has taken me on a journey that has taught me the value of self-acceptance, hope, and resilience (also good), but enough is enough already! So take note body, this is war, I absolutely positively refuse to give up any more territory to illness!

Oh, and that photo up yonder was taken just this morning, the sun actually came out today! The wind chill is 10 below zero but that’s okay, we are sooo sun starved here in Michigan this winter we’ll take it any way we can get it:)

My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass. ~Leslie Grimutter

book heavens


The Guardian Unlimited did a story recently about the top ten bookshops around the world. These are not your corner Barnes & Noble’s. One is in an 800 year old church, another provides books to British Royals and has been around since 1796, and the shop pictured above is a converted theater. Below is a photo from my own much more humble home office/library. When we first bought the house my husband wanted to call it “the library”. I think he had visions of retiring there in the evenings, sinking into a well worn leather chair, sipping his favorite red cab and smoking a fine, hand rolled cigar. Well I crushed that dream before the perfect shade of taupe paint on those walls was even dry! I mean, he doesn’t even like smoking cigars, he only does it when he’s with his friends after golf, it’s sooo totally a peer pressure thing (and it’s sooo not good for him). We do have lots of books in there though (my books) and a leather desk chair (my chair) at the computer (my computer) and we ended up calling it “the office”, sorry Mr. bookbabie. That darling collage on the spare chair of me and the mister and our two pets (who are now in pet heaven) was done by artist Claudine Hellmuth. After our dog Nikki died, it made me too sad to look at it, but now I’m trying to find the perfect place to hang it. I just snapped the photo this morning and as you can see the living room is flooded with sunlight. I hope it holds, I plan to go for a walk later (Melynn), even though it’s cold, cold, cold!