Bruised and broken

Sad Di awaiting her turn in the E.R. We got away to Chico in December. It’s an annual tradition to celebrate John’s birthday and have an extended weekend to enjoy Chico State basketball. We knew there would be no basketball this year (merci, COVID-19), but little did we know what was ahead. We headed out to play pickle ball first thing Friday morning, and five minutes into our warm-ups I tripped and fell on my right wrist, breaking a bone for the first time in my life. I instantly felt myself going into this weird clear-thinking mode: No, we don’t need urgent care, we need the hospital. This is broken. How did I know? When our daughter Claire was seven, she broke her tibia and fibula. She announced to John that her leg felt “jellyish.” That is precisely how my wrist felt.   No extra persons are allowed in the E.R., so I sat alone in serious pain. When they called me back and asked what my pain level was, I answered, “More than labor, less than a kidney stone.” Pretty bad then, eh? Ye

COVID Strategy: Shizzazz

COVID:226 That number signifies that we have been marking our days since March 13. That was when we came home to work remotely. That was when the Division II Basketball Tournament in San Diego, featuring our beloved Chico State Wildcats, was canceled We have children in Chicago, New York and France, and they had already starting living the new normal, but for those of us in California, March 13 was Day 1.  When our Chico son finally made his way home on Saturday, we settled in to four of us zooming away from various corners of the house.  Some of us are more change averse than others, but it is not an exaggeration to say that it was not a great week for any of us. By Saturday, our oldest and youngest kids, fellow COVID Pod Dwellers that they had become, took matters into their own hands. They planned the weekend down to the last detail. A picnic to the mountains to enjoy the snow in solitude, watching Hawaii 5-0, playing speed scrabble, to name a few. But the real inspiration hit on Su


  My word for 2020 is CLEAR. It seems a bit ironic now, but I am confident it was the right word. At the end of 2019 I had zero idea of what 2020's word would be. I was sitting in the car one day in December, wondering what to choose, when...and I kid you not...I literally HEARD, "The word for the year is CLEAR." I am not a "I heard the voice of God" person, I don't use language like "I was led" or "I was told." Not saying that is good, just saying that is me. And I am very serious when I tell you I heard a voice tell me the word was CLEAR. I was a little shaken, but I went with it. Not really any choice in the matter at that point, right? And now it is October and 2020 has been a wild ride. Or is that too much of an understatement? It seems that murky would have been a great word. Chaos. How about Confusion? Or dissention? Cacophony?  Why Clear? Maybe I needed to remember that some things are not conditional. Even in the midst of all the

Mama and Claire

My beautiful mother Ready to ride, but lipstick on point. Movie star beauty with a no-nonsense expression. She was a mother to be proud of.  I wish I could have seen her ride. I know it gave her so much joy, but she left that part of her life behind when she moved to California and started a family. Every now and then, these pictures would surface and she would get that far away smile that told me she was reliving memories of freedom, of dusty Colorado trails, of the wind in her auburn curls. It is now seven years since Mom's death. I usually do very well with the day-to-day missing, but right now we are preparing for Claire to head out on another adventure, and I cannot help but think how much she would love to watch the flurry of leaving and to be here to cheer her on. They really understood each other, Mom and Claire.   Claire lives in the granny flat now, and she has made it her own version of beautiful. But now her eyes are looking elsewhere, as she leav

Confessions of a hover mother

It was the end of a lovely five-week visit from our college freshman. He was home during basketball season because he is red-shirting this year and also recovering from a knee injury. It was great to have him here, especially because chances are we won't have long stretches of time with him during the holidays for the next few years. I hear they get "a few hours to go home for Thanksgiving dinner, and a few days for Christmas."  So we soaked in the five weeks.  He worked hard on our property, and the clean hillsides, the absence of dump piles and the rearranged bookcases are evidence that it was not all Netflix and parties over break. But suddenly he was confronted with something he missed: a scholarship deadline. Bren's athletic scholarship covers tuition and fees at this point, so he is in need of housing/food/personal expense funding. His generous Nana set up a college account for each of her grandchildren, and that is helping. But it will not last long at this ra


For the last few years, I have chosen a word to focus on. 2015's word was mercy, 2017's was hope, and no one remembers if 2016 even had a word. It was kind of a tough year. 2018's word is COURAGE. I have realized more and more over the last year how many things frighten me. That is hard for me to admit, but there you have it. I was a very fearful child. Afraid of the dark. Afraid of being alone. Afraid of roller coasters, name it.  I thought that was not true of me anymore, but I think what is more accurate is that I had stopped doing things that frighten me. I had started playing life safe. Another realization I have had is that fear is the driving force behind my battle with procrastination. It is so much easier to not do something if it scares me.  But the sad fact is that as I put off things that scare me, those fears sit in the back of my mind for much longer than they need to. If I can face my fears instead of putting them off, I anticipate it

Well, here we go...

My inspiration, on her way back to Halifax on New Year's Eve Over Christmas break, my daughter Madelaine talked to me about blogging...why I stopped blogging, would I be open to starting again, how about a weekly post? You see, she lives in Nova Scotia now, and not only does it FEEL really far away, it IS really far away. We stay in touch with calls and texts, the occasional silly FB messenger video, but she suggested that a weekly blog post would add something of substance. Plus, we both love words, we both like to write, but writing for pleasure doesn't happen for us without some sort of external motivation.   So, here we go. Weekly posts.  HI MADELAINE!!!    *Waving madly across the country to the frozen world of the Maritimes.*