Some good news

The MRI went well today with the IV sedation. No panicking at all, just a little antsy from not being able to move for 45 minutes. The meeting with the doctor went well, too. The MRI showed a ‘normal’ brain (as if anything about me is ‘normal’! LOL) and the PET scan shows only tumors in lungs and liver – nothing in bones, lymph nodes, or anywhere else. We are both feeling quite relieved, to say the least.

The doc also prescribed a new cough medicine – the dry hacking has been horrible and keeps my awake at night and the inhaler wasn’t working quite as well.

I am feeling more optimistic at the moment. Not knowing how extensive the metastasis is has been a major source of anxiety for both of us. Tomorrow I’ll have the biopsy but won’t know the results until we meet with the doc again late on Monday afternoon.

The MRI was at Oro Valley Hospital; neither of us have been there before but were both quite impressed with everyone we met. The architecture inside the building is beautiful and there are niches containing artwork throughout the main areas. Very impressive. The only fly in the ointment today was the sticker shock when I learned the insurance wouldn’t pay for this test because I still have to meet my deductible, which is pretty high. Fortunately, paying that bill won’t break us.

So onward and upward, dear friends!!

Excellent blog post!!


I am going to lose it completely.

Some of you read Kristen Lamb, who writes a blog about writing. It’s extremely popular and usually very helpful. But her latest post was a digression — an extended piece about being a size 10/12 and why she feels fat:

I am healthy, have beautiful skin and hair. I have enough energy to power a small city and am never sick, but I am still a size 10-12 and 170 pounds.

Why is it no one looks like me?

When we look on TV, we are confronted with extremes–super skinny or clinically obese. We are calling anorexics “beautiful” and calling dangerously obese women “curvy.” We are an a country that is dying because of euphemisms. I hear parents call morbidly obese children “husky,” “big-boned” or “muscular.” We have retailers calling anorexics “curvy.”

I get it. I’ve written about this as well.

But, seriously…

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NaNo progress

So here it is Day 3 and I’m already behind on word count. But that’s okay because I know I’ll catch up before the end of the month. Several of my writing buddies are way ahead of me, and a few are way behind. But it is only Day 3. I didn’t write at all yesterday because of work, and appointments I had after work, and having to eat dinner. I planned to at least write a little, but after almost falling asleep over my keyboard I decided sleep would be more beneficial than writing junk because I was too tired to think.

I made my word count today and on Day 1. And tomorrow is another day…


I came home early today because I wasn’t feeling well. I took a long nap and feel much better. But I woke up with a Burl Ives song in my head, the one about the old lady who swallowed a fly. Do you remember that song? (You might if you’re a ‘certain age’)

Some earworms are funny, some are sad, but they’re all annoying. I don’t know where they come from or why we get them. I know that they come out of nowhere and can hang around for a long time. I’ve had many of them over the years – certainly too many to remember – but some were quite memorable. Like the Gilligan’s Island theme song, or some random pieces of a song from my youth that I used to know all the words for but now can’t remember more than maybe half of the words. Those are the most annoying because they stay, and eat at me, until I either remember the words or break down and Google the song – if I can remember the title!

What about you? Do you get earworms? What’s the most annoying song you hear as an earworm?

Favorite foods

Sometimes, being a vegetarian can be boring as there are so many things I don’t like. Well, I’m not a strict vegetarian I just don’t eat meat except fish, and fish is only once or twice a week. But there are some things that are probably sorta weird that I do eat. For example, my favorite sandwich is avocado with cream cheese and honey. When my partner first suggested it, I thought that sounded disgusting. But I tried it, and now I love it! There is something about the different textures, colors, and tastes that make this one great!

We also have discovered salmon burgers from Costco. They are made with wild-caught Alaska salmon, which is the only kind we will eat. Atlantic salmon is farmed, and has color (and who knows what else!) added. And I believe they have to throw in antibiotics because the fish are in such close quarters than any infection spreads like wildfire. But back to salmon burgers; these make for a wonderfully simple meal with salad or a few vegetables.

And sushi. I first tried sushi shortly after I moved in with my partner. It didn’t sound appealing, but I was willing to give it a try. So something else I love! I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food, but I love sushi. It’s a rare treat for us to go to our favorite little local sushi place, which is a storefront in a strip mall. But the sushi there is so much better than the big fancy places that have sprung up over the last few years. The place is smaller, too, and only seats about 25 people, so if you want sushi on a weekend, get there early!

There are foods I ate in my younger years that I loved, and would probably still eat if they weren’t meat, like roast beef and yorkshire pudding, pork cracklins, blood pudding, hot pastrami sandwiches. Some I still eat like mashed potatoes and gravy (vegetarian gravy, of course), and banana sandwiches.

What about you? Do you have favorite or weird things (or both!) you like to eat?

More Sonoran Desert

There is so much life here in the desert! Our rivers used to run year round. But then more people moved in and began depleting the ground water, which left the riverbeds dry most of the time.


After a good monsoon rain, water in the river is An Event!

Most of the plants and animals have adapted their habits and/or appearance to the dry heat here. Others stay hidden during the heat of a hot summer day. But there are always interesting things to see.

I like the starkness and the shape of this twisted tree.

And winter brings it’s own beauty.

As one of our local radio commentators says, “The Desert Is Beautiful. Yes, it is.”

The Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert is beautiful. I don’t remember what I expected when I first moved here in 1993 to go to Grad School, but it’s even more amazing than I thought back then.ImageI have since learned so much more about the desert and love it more as I learn about the adaptations of the plants and animals.

My first view of the desert was similar to the one above. The mountains surround Tucson, so no matter where you are, you can see one of the mountain ranges, if not more. The Catalina mountains are to the North, the Rincons to the East, the Tucson Mountains to the West, and the Santa Ritas to the South.

I made it a point to learn all I could about this beautiful place. And I took a lot of pictures then and still do. The closest mountains, and the biggest, are the Catalinas. A drive to Mount Lemmon at around 10,000 feet is heaven in the summer when the temperatures in the valley routinely reach 100 or more. Mount Lemmon might get into the low 80s on a hot summer day but a walk into the pine forest is cooling and soothing.

There are so many different plants and animals here that there is no way to list them all, but here are a few of the ones I captured in pictures:

ImageThese are Saguaros (pronounced sawaro) , perhaps the cactus best known for being here in the desert. They grow mostly on the southern slopes, bloom in May, and fruit in June. Arms appear when the cactus has reached at least 50 years of age, so the one in the middle with many huge arms is much, much, older than that.

ImageThe Gila (pronounced Hila) woodpecker is one of the many birds here.

ImageAnd there is nothing more beautiful than the desert when the wildflowers are in bloom.

Perspective, Knowledge, Wisdom

When I was young, I would look at older women with their round bodies and flabby upper arms and think how ‘grandmotherly’ they looked and swore I would never look like that. Now I know that there isn’t a whole lot I can do about my body shape; the flabby arms; and no way am I ‘grandmotherly’ even though I have three grandchildren.

When I was a young woman, I thought getting married, settling down, having kids, was the be-all and end-all of my existence. It wasn’t. During the marriage, having to support the family, going through living with an addicted personality and the pathological lying, I wondered what I had been thinking. I was raised in the time when women weren’t supposed to have a career, be good at math and science, or be anything other than a nurse or a teacher while waiting for a proposal. Now I know how wrong that all was for me.

When I was around forty, I decided to go to college for the first time. My counselor at the Junior College told me there was no way I could go to school full-time, work full-time, and get decent grades. He was a young 20-something who looked like he was still in school himself. And he was wrong. After I graduated from Junior College, I went on to University, and earned a BA and an MA.

Perspective changes depending on where you are. As a young child, I couldn’t imagine being the age of my grandmother. But here I am. I couldn’t imagine not being married and having a family, because that’s what was expected of me. Looking back, I know I was good at math and science and sometimes wish I had had the fortitude to do what I wanted to do instead of what was expected of me. I don’t regret my marriage; it gave me my two sons and eventually their children. And it taught me about who I am and how much I can endure. During that time, I began to grow and emerge from the shell I had built around myself as protection. I opened myself up to new knowledge, new experiences.

After my divorce, I didn’t know how to redefine myself. I was in grad school at the time, and all my classmates were the same age as my sons. There wasn’t anyone my age to talk to who would understand. But I made it through. In the years since then, with a lot of reflection, reading, listening, I like who I have become. I don’t live my life the way I’m expected to live it by those around me. I live my life for me. I do what I like to do because it makes me happy. I learn what I want to learn and will share my knowledge and wisdom with anyone who wants it.

I am not perfect and probably never will be. I continue to grow and change and learn. And that’s all any of us can ask for.