Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tuck Tail and Run!

cherry center
Sometimes you just have the urge to follow your animal instincts.

When a smaller dog knows she is outmatched against a much larger, much angrier animal, she wisely tucks her tail and heads for safer ground. It sounds like a good choice. After all, who wants to be torn to shreds by a vicious beast?

But sometimes she (the smaller dog) must stand her ground against that meanie. If she has pups, her first priority, instinctually, is to make sure they remain safe. She puts her safety and her life on the line for her family.

That is a mother with moxie.

However, we humans all too often would rather not exercise our moxie. Sometimes we would rather just tuck tail and run, even if it isn’t the wisest or most compassionate choice for the others involved. We would rather delegate our responsibilities, if at all possible, and continue on with our “easy” life.

Sometimes the stress of life becomes too much for even the most resolute among us mothers.

I have to laugh at myself at those moments. If I don’t, I wouldn’t make it very long in this life. In fact, I have to laugh at myself often. And I rather enjoy my closest friends helping me to see the humor in the predicaments I get myself into.

Over the past several months, I have mentioned that my son had reinjured his left shoulder at work. And more recently, I mentioned that my hubby injured his right shoulder and will need surgery. His surgery was postponed but should be rescheduled soon. That is what has ultimately postponed our departure date.

Now, here’s the kicker: My son needs surgery, too. Three dislocations within a year don’t make for a strong shoulder.

Imagine if you will, my husband’s right arm immobilized in a sling and my son’s left arm also immobilized in a sling—at roughly the same time. I joked they should have their surgeries on the same day, to save me the hassle of wasting two days in the OR waiting room.

While talking with a good friend the other day, we had great laughs about this. Could we put the two together to make a whole? In the end, she gave me a rather un-motherly piece of advice—Run for the hills!

This situation has given me plenty of stress, but also plenty of giggles. Picture me, a pain and fatigue riddled middle-aged woman, trying to help two normally big, strong men convalesce after surgery.

I’ve thought about throwing out my shingle: “Jen’s Convalescent Home for Shoulders Injuries” or “Weanie Arms R Us” or my favorite, “The Cherry Center for Recovering One-Armed Bandits.” I could even make it all legit and hire a care team. It could work, if only I had the greenies . . .

I just gotta laugh when life keeps throwing curve balls at my windows. What else can I do? If I couldn’t laugh, I would certainly go crazy.

May you find peace in your life. And please pray for a little to come our way as well.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Haven’t Got Time For The Pain

pain no

All those crazy nights when I cried myself to sleep
Now melodrama never makes me weep anymore
'Cause I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you
You showed me how, how to leave myself behind
How to turn down the noise in my mind
Now I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you
Suffering was the only thing that made me feel I was alive
Thought that's just how much it cost to survive in this world
'Til you showed me how, how to fill my heart with love
How to open up and drink in all that white love
Pouring down from the heaven
I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

Carly Simon


I really haven’t got time for all this pain. It needs to go away so I can get on with my life. It is exhausting, simply wears me out, body and soul.

Who needs it? Pain which warns of injury is one thing, but years and years of endless physical pain? I question why must I go through it? And the overwhelming mental anguish that the very real physical pain causes? There’s just not enough meditation in the world to deal with it. I can only say “ohm” so many times. And so far the medications I have tried don’t work, short of becoming hooked on narcotics and stoned the rest of my life.

There must be an answer out there somewhere. I just haven’t found it yet. Any suggestions?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy St. Pat’s

DSC00866I’m really too exhausted to share much more than a simple recipe today. I didn’t sleep much at all last night, and yet we were able to pull off a fabulous corned beef feast, including having three friends join us for dinner.


And so, the recipe:



  • one corned beef brisket
  • one large head of green cabbage, cored and quartered
  • four or five large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • ten carrots, peeled and “chunked”
  • brown sugar glaze (recipe to follow)


Place the brisket and the contents of the spice packet (which usually is included with the brisket) in a sufficiently large ovenproof kettle or roaster. Add enough water to almost cover the brisket (and any remaining juice from the bag the brisket came in) to the kettle. Bring to a boil first on the stovetop and then place the kettle in the oven at 350 degrees. Braise until the meat is done but not falling apart (several hours, depending on the size of the brisket). Turn the brisket over once in the broth about half way through baking.

Remove the brisket from the broth and place it in a shallow baking dish. Strain the pickling seeds out of the broth (or if they do not bother you, leave them in, as they do not hurt the vegetables any), but be sure to save all the broth to cook the vegetables.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Place one-half cup of butter and one-half cup of brown sugar in a microwave-safe dish and microwave, covered, at intervals until melted and bubbling, stirring often. Spoon this mixture over the brisket and then return it to the oven until the glaze is dark and bubbly and the kitchen begins to smell fabulously like candy. It could take up to half an hour. Do not try to rush this step by using the broiler. Patience is a virtue.

In the meantime, place the carrots and potatoes in the broth and bring to a boil on the stovetop. When the carrots and potatoes are almost done, add the cabbage and cook until the cabbage is al dente and the potatoes and carrots are tender.

Serve the vegetables and broth as a soup in wide, shallow bowls (for presentation purposes, of course). We have always added vinegar at the table, which brightens the flavor of any cabbage dish. As for the corned beef, some add it to their bowls, some eat it with mustard, but I like to eat it just the way it is.

And don’t forget the great sandwiches you can make from the leftovers. With a little melted Havarti on top, oh the pleasant dreams I will have tonight in anticipation of tomorrow’s lunch.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Day Late, Dollar Short, Lucky In Love

DSC00864Well, we finally managed to go shopping, and it was only a few days late. Migraines. Can’t live with them. Simply can’t function with them, most days. Yesterday I was feeling a little better so we went gangbusters—New Seasons Market for a fabulously large corned beef for Saturday’s dinner (I adore corned beef and cabbage); Salvation Army for those replacement coffee mugs; Goodwill for sheets (near new set of luxury sheets, dirt cheap); the Post Office; and, and, and. It was a busy day.

And then today, my migraine came back. I broke one of those replacement mugs. Is it any wonder? My nimble fingers just aren’t what they used to be. But that’s okay, because when we were at Goodwill yesterday we saw some brand new work boots that would be perfect for Trevor, only I didn’t want to buy them without him trying them on. So back to Goodwill we ventured, with Trevor in tow. He got the boots and I picked up yet another mug.

Even though I managed to get out today, it was a rather brutal day. My migraine and body pain were off the charts. Still, I managed to wander around Winco to finish the grocery shopping, my two men in tow again, after going to Goodwill. Oh, my was it brutal.

A little pity cuddle goes a long way, and it is a good thing my hubby is an angel in that department. When I lay my head on his shoulder and he strokes my hair and whispers prayers and apologies for all my pain, I cannot help but relax and start to feel better. At that moment, I know I am the luckiest girl in the world.

As a side note, maybe my migraine was partially caused by too many Scrabble games recently.


Please, say it isn’t so.☺


Monday, March 12, 2012

What’s On Your List Today?

DSC00854Here in the Northwest, we have a great little chain of one-stop stores—Fred Meyer. You can find just about anything there, from soup to nuts, and bicycles to bean bags. My only complaint is that they don’t always have the best prices in town. But I am getting away from my point. Their slogan for years has been “What’s on your list today? You’ll find it at Fred Meyer.”

I would like to be able to take care of all of today’s list in one stop, but more importantly,  I would like to get the best prices we can. Money’s tight, as always. So, it will be several stops for us today.

Costco promises to offer up some necessities, and they are even on coupon this month. Yea.

United Grocers has the best prices on onions and potatoes, and we can hit them on the way back from Ken’s  appointment. So it is not like we are wasting gas making an extra trip. Still semi-eco-responsible, so yea again.

And then the bummer stop for the day, though I could look at it positively and try to enjoy getting new mugs. I am only feigning disdain for a chance to go shopping, anyway. What girl doesn’t like shopping, even if it is for housewares?

My silly hands have trouble holding onto things. I have a chronic case of the dropsies and oopsies. Over the past several months, I have broken almost all of our coffee mugs, a few bowls, and probably a plate or two if I think about it, but most disappointing, I have broken all of our favorite mugs, even the Goofy mug I got for Ken when we were at Disneyland a dozen years ago.


At least my weak hands have taught my hubby and I to lighten up. He used to pitch fits when dishes got broken. But now that I have broken so many, and for reasons I cannot control, he humors me so that I don’t feel bad about it. He simply says that it’s one less dish to wash. No wonder I love him so.

Oh, and we must go by the post office because my birthday present should be waiting . . . and my new CPAP mask should arrive today too. I am such a lucky girl, all this love and understanding—and presents too!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oh, Happy Day

DSC00827Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. The sun was shining brightly and it worked wonders to lift my otherwise dismal mood. You see, I have been in a lot of pain again. I know, what else is new. But the day was so bright and cheery, who could resist being cheery herself? Not I.

Ken had a few errands to run this morning, and I decided not to go with him. So off he tootled to New Seasons Market and the Post Office without me. When he returned an hour and a half later, he said, “Get ready. We are going out. It is too nice a day to waste.”

Having already noticed the sun streaming through the windows, I said that I couldn’t agree more, but I needed five minutes to shower first. So off I scooted to the bathroom, singing, “Hit the road Jack” at the top of my lungs.

Just as I was stepping into the warm shower, there was a knock at the door. Oh, no. Ken was yelling for me. Oh, no again. He said it was for me. I said I was naked and drippy. He said it was only Chrissy. Well that is a fine how do you do, but I was still naked and drippy no matter who it was. I grabbed my towel and asked for something to put on, which I did not get. So wrapped in my towel, Chrissy gave me my first birthday present—and just in time, seeing as I was just getting into the shower—Oatmeal and Lavender soaps from Vermont Soap Organics. How wonderful! I just love oatmeal soap, and calming lavender is the icing on the cake. My shower was all the more enjoyable with my new body products, thanks to a good friend/neighbor and thin walls! (She evidently heard me singing as I was prepping the shower, thus her sudden and insistent appearance.)


After such a treat, what more could a girl want?

Well, a lovely day with my hubby, of course!

First, we headed up to Mount Tabor Park and we got some great shots of Mount Hood.

We also found the tennis courts. They called to me. I used to enjoy a rousing game of tennis, but I haven’t played in years. Maybe I will again, someday.


Then the plan was to head up to Hoyt Arboretum, near the Oregon Zoo. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn and never made it to Hoyt Arboretum. Bummer. There will always be another opportunity, maybe even tomorrow, especially since tomorrow is suppose to be the warmest day of the year so far. I think God planned that special just for my birthday. I can always thank God for that blessing, anyway.

As we were heading home across the Morrison Bridge, I asked about making another stop. Ken was in such a great mood, and I love days when he is in a great mood, because I can ask and receive just about anything. Yes, I am THAT spoiled. Of course he obliged my request to stop at the Habitat for Humanity Restore store, and we had a great time browsing. We found several things we need for the RV and we only spent $7.75. I love thrift and reuse stores. I love doing my part to save this little planet of ours.

All in all, we had an awesome day. Enjoy the pictures, taken up at Mount Tabor Park.





Do you see the grub wriggling in his beak?

Mmmm lunch.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday!


Just a quickie. March is a busy month for birthdays in our family. Today is Tinker Belle’s fourth. My birthday is Thursday. And Suzie’s ninth birthday will be on the 30th. Enjoy a little video we put together.

Have a happy day!