Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Save The Dad Cakes!

 I went shopping last night and couldn't help but notice these
poor orphaned Dad cakes. It was so sad!
If you notice, the cakes are even themed: 
Fishing Dad and Terrific Dad.
I wondered which Dads belonged to these cakes.

Maybe this was not a year for Fishing Dads or 
Generally Terrific Dads.

I thought about how they could be re-purposed. 
Like maybe you could turn the last "D" into an "N" and celebrate Terrific DAN.
(That is, if you know any Dans that are terrific. 
I don't know any Dans, terrific or otherwise.)
"DAR" is another possibility. Anyone know any Terrific Dars? (Darla, Darlene...Hey, I know: Darnell!)

But I don't think my dear friend Darnell is into fishing so we just have to celebrate her as generally terrific 
(with a cake that is 50 percent off.)

Or we  could take off the two "Ds" and add a plus sign for "A+"--  perfect for a graduation party.

Or maybe I have too much time on my hands.

Poor little Dad cakes. I wonder what will become of them. 
You know how I get. I worry about these things.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Solstice

solstice: an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole. The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun's path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction.

So many things to do. Such a finite amount of sunshine to do it in.

I’ve decided I am in a bit of a summer solstice. The past few weeks have been so terrific, I feel like I’ve lost a little of my characteristic angst which is, I think, the emotion that drives me to write. I have such a feeling of quiet and balance and hush in my life lately. There have been so many times in my life that I have plowed through the difficult, or maintained a fair degree of sanity in the midst of chaos that the hush in my life makes me want to say, “What’s that noise?” And the noise I am hearing is quiet. Maybe even some contentment sprinkled in around the edges.

Certainly, the past year or two has been tricky. And I am ready to just lay down that dead bird: Yes, I had breast cancer and now I don’t. Period. Still, I am always aware that I am like a new 5-year calendar with only the first two years’ worth of pages having been gently put away so as not to stir the others. But it’s more than that. With my knee fixed, and my jogging therapy about to start next month (Yes. Jogging therapy. Or at least a measured plan to get me back into jogging), I get a step or two closer to this life I have imagined for so long. The one where I am healthy and I can walk, occasionally jog. The one where I actually have a strong core, just like in the commercials.

My newly reconstructed knee – or as a friend characterizes it: the knee with “a piece of dead dude on it” – is back to doing long bike rides and enjoying summer – which doesn’t officially start until tomorrow. And the fact that I live in Minnesota, the land of the midnight sun where it doesn’t get dusky outside until about 9:30 or 10:00 really helps. I feel clearer. Things seem possible. I’m working out more and actually enjoying it. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m unstuck and I’m finding my way. It’s funny that I should think it’s a solstice: of reaching a height and standing still only to reverse direction. Like a car on a roller coaster gliding over the inevitable ups and downs of the track with grace and speed and not a small bit of rattling. I suppose it feels that way because of the quiet, in my head and in my heart.

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling so unsettled, a good friend sent me this:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” --Rainer Maria Rilke

I have this posted at my desk and for the first time, feel that I can think about loving the questions themselves. And if I’m lucky, I will figure out the rest of it while I am enjoying the sunshine, or the laughter of my son, or when I realize that we only, each of us, get so many summers and it's a shame not to enjoy each and every one. (Shhhhh, I’m listening to the hush.)

Life is good.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

One Lovely Little Opportunity to Appreciate

One of the early birthday gifts I received this year was from my dear blogger buddy, Jo. ( Jo awarded me a very cool One Lovely Blog award which is the very first honor I've received from fellow bloggers. What a nice idea.
Jo is originally from Cheshire, England, living in Canada, and has – for some reason – adopted me as one of my most consistent followers and commenters. So pardon me while I scream but, THANK YOU, JO! I appreciate and humbly accept the award (and apologize that between enjoying the MN summer way too much already AND then getting the flu, that I haven't had a chance to pay it forward.) Today is the day!

As part of the ceremonial festivities, my job is now to answer the following questions (heh heh heh – little does Jo know that I answer questions for a living.):

1. Name the blogger who awarded you this fantastic award 
“Jo awarded me the One Lovely Little Blog Award. Please refer to the paragraph above for further information.” OK, I’ll stop.

Random Fact #3.
2. List 7 random facts about yourself:
1. I am not a natural blond.
2. I am a retired triathlete, having completed approximately 25 triathlons of all shapes and sizes when I was in my mid-40’s.
3. I am attracted to soft spoken men. If they have a Southern accent, I’m a goner. 
Random Fact #5
4. I have a tattoo on my ankle that I got when I was 48. It says “Irongirl” in script over a blue and green hibiscus. 
5. I am addicted to Diet Peach Snapple. 
6. I spent six months in Florence, Italy when I was in my senior year in college.
7. In 1977, I left college nine credits short of my Bachelor's degree. I finished them up in 2004 and my diploma hangs upstairs in my walk-in closet.  

3. Award 15 other bloggers this award. Here are my 15 nominations for the One Lovely Blog award. And because I love these blog children equally, I have listed them in alpha-order. Just sayin':

  1. Amy McMunn Schindler at From The Mom Cave 
  2. Beautiful Dee at Beautiful Dees   
  3. Daphne Palmer Romero at My Distant Husband 
  4. Dawn Storey at Alphabet Salad 
  5. Emily Rose at Mommy of An Angel 
  6. FashionistaNYC at Out and About in New York City 
  7. Jenny at Choice City Native 
  8. Jessica at .a sort of mental squint.
  9. Laura Rodgers at Stoopin It In The Suburbs
  10. Linda Padilla Schulman at Beachlover
  11. Megan at MeganBlogs  
  12. Melissa Sugar Gold at Have You Heard? 
  13. Mikazuki at It's Raining Blue Umbrellas? 
  14. Ryan at 366 Random Acts of Kindness 
  15. Tara Adams at Faith in Ambiguity
Thanks for all the reading pleasure you've given me and congratulations!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Today Is My Birthday and...Yum!

So today is my birthday. The big day. As big days go, or even as little days go, it was a great day.

I always get weird on my birthday. It's just something I do. Having a birthday is so...public. That's the only word that comes to mind. And so I always end up feeling self-conscious in a weird way. Today was no exception except that everyone I work with handled my weirdness with grace and acceptance. I guess they are used to me, or way or another.

So my day went something like this: I snuck into the office and kept my head down and got to work. So far, so good. I was working on a noon deadline when my boss came over and asked me if there was anything I wanted to talk about that made today special. I laughed. "Noooooooooo," I said. She said, "Too late for that!" And she wished me a happy birthday.

From there I gratefully received a flurry of birthday wishes and text messages. My phone beeped and buzzed -- and then my team at work gave me some really healthy food covered in chocolate! Does it get any better than this? I don't think so!

The rest of the day was quiet and fun. I put the obligatory "eat me" post-it note next to the Edible Arrangement and everyone made sure to get a piece of the healthy food covered in chocolate. These are my people.

After work, I picked up My Best Guy and we had dinner at Red Robin where my Advanced Age Day qualified me for a free burger. I actually had a mushroom cheeseburger wrapped in iceberg lettuce which sounds awful, but which was wonderful (Yum!). I am hopeful that it was a caloric counter-balance to the chocolate-covered orange slices.

The remainder of the evening was spent goofing around with Sam. The sun was setting and the sky had a pinkish glow. The air was warm and breezy. We drove around Medicine Lake and talked about my dream of having a house on the water some day -- just a teensy-weensy place -- that we could both enjoy. Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Surely, there must be one lake that I can afford? If that won't work, having a house along the Luce Line Trail is my back-up plan. 

It's my birthday. I'm allowed to dream a little.

All in all the perfect birthday: the support of wonderful friends, a little high-test fruit, a few dreams and the company of the person I love most in the world. Not a bad birthday for an old gal. Happy 39 to me.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tomorrow Is My Birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 57 years old. I have never much liked the odd numbered years. They seem more unstable than the even numbered ones. Of course, 57 is still much better than 58. It's all relative.

I feel like I'm doing pretty good for 57. I still have most of my original parts and any new parts were the result of a temporary system failure (breast cancer) or a dumb sports injury (just call me "cadaver knee"). I still care very much about being active and involved in life and always make sure to dress in a manner that looks like I'm a woman who still has sex. The fact is that I really haven't had much of that lately, but it's not for lack of interest. What it is they say? I am a victim of circumstance. The circumstance that I just happen to not be dating anyone. Maybe I'll just have to start reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I hear it does wonders for your sex life.

In lieu of the sex life I don't have, I need to come up with other things to do. So today I hauled the bike rack onto the car and did my first Luce Line ride of the season -- about 12 miles. It was pretty awesome. It's amazing what you can do when you have two working knees. I was clipping along at 20 mph and thinking, "I don't think I've done this for a while." I guess I'm a convert to the joys of orthopedic surgery.

Cycling is about the only thing I'm allowed to do for a few more weeks. In July I can start running again. Not that I'll start going for 20-mile runs or anything, but at least my knee will be ready for more than just walking. It's funny -- in the days when I would do half-marathons (I probably did 2 or 3 in my life), I can remember those moments when I just didn't believe I could take another step -- and then I did. And when I finished and it was such a great feeling of accomplishment. So, what's funny is that I don't miss running as much as I miss those moments of surpassing what I thought I was capable of. And the joy of the finish line. I really hope that, even at this ripe old age, I can get back to doing those things. Things that challenge me and make me surprise myself.

So anyway, I guess it's in order to say, "Happy Birthday To Me." But not until tomorrow -- I need to savor the last few hours of being 56.