Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Photo day!

Having spent a few days in Madison and enjoying my time with family and the city itself I have decided to make todays post a photo post. Here is what I saw and how I spent some of my time.


Farmers' Market

Farmers' Market
Farmers' Market

Farmers' Market

Farmers' Market

State Street

Speaks for itself!

Something about this bench spoke to me!

Monday, May 21, 2012

All Things Pretty!

Wow! Been nearly a week since I lasted posted, I blame the nice weather and traveling for my lack of posting. The blogs I read I get disappointed when there hasn't been a post for days so I should really avoid the same pitfalls and make it part of my daily activities.

So what have I been up to lately? Good question, maybe a better is what haven't I been up to? In the last week I have painted, planted (or rather supervised), photographed, traveled, cooked, visited friends, family and Marco, shopped, and napped (only occasionally). I haven't however seen a doctor in over two weeks - that is unreal. I haven't gone a week without seeing a doctor in nearly a year - huge. I do however see the doctor on Wed. but that was scheduled, not an emergency.

Anyway, back to what I have been up to. For the last few weeks I have been working on a very special painting, and though I can't say much about it at this point I will say that I chose to work in watercolor for this particular project. From the day I decided on this project I knew that watercolor was the media of choice and I am so tickled by it that I can hardly contain my joy some days. I have, since starting that painting, done a couple other watercolors as exercises and am really enjoying it. While at a shop this last weekend there were watercolors a plenty and they just speak so differently than acrylic paints, don't' get me wrong I still love the thick and denser feel of acrylic on my brush but the subtlety of watercolor and the range of light and dark is unmatched.

Last week my husband handed me the camera, one I haven't hardly used as it is new to us this last year, and told me to go take 20 photos in the yard. I was wondering how I was going to find that many things to photograph and by the time I was done I had way more than 20. This camera allowed me to capture nature in a way no other camera has allowed me to do, with up close focusing it was breathtaking to see what turned out. I now can combine my two new loves, photos and watercolor. Stay tuned!

The real highlight of the week, if it wasn't great enough as it was, my husband and I went to Duluth. We haven't been back up there since our honeymoon nearly seven years ago this summer. The first day was cold and rainy, could have worn long underwear but day two was hot, hot, hot. Welcome to Minnesota right, always be prepared for any type of weather. I got a lovely new hat, which I love! Thanks to my husbands persistence. This is also the furthest I have been from home in, I think, five years.
Duluth May 2012
It was a great week. I can't expect them all to be as fantastic, or maybe I can, I guess it all depends on perspective. Today is more planting aka supervising, exercise, hopefully some painting and maybe a Marco visit. With the weather so nice it's great to spend time outside with him. He has four dog siblings at his new home and he is happy as can be. I love watching him play in Liz's back yard he just is full of joy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


When I was a kid and mowed the lawn, a big lawn, I remember when I was done how my fingers would tingle from pushing or riding the lawnmower. All that vibrating and jiggling around, I rather found it odd and funny at the same time. So today as I got back from my walking tour of Elton Hills, and I see why they say 'Hills' once again I find my feet are tingling like my hands used to.

Just like riding the bike, stationary riding doesn't translate well into actually outdoor riding and neither does walking. The treadmill is certainly doing it's job, or rather helping me do mine but when it comes to going outside to walk it is a whole different story. Wasn't sure today how far I would get, I have an appointment this afternoon and though I was on a time crunch I felt I would just head out and get a walk in. I might even pull my bike out later this evening, I know overachiever. We'll see how tired I am after dinner.

In any case it was a great walk, I ended up behind my old school Hoover elementary (and yes Karen I should have stopped but I was in a hurry, next time I promise). I haven't been at Hoover since I left there after sixth grade, so that would be 20+  years ago. My big question is, did I forget there is a park behind the school yard or is that part of the school yard or am I missing something, even a ball field. I had a nice time walking around it though.

I stood looking over the school yard remembering when we would run the mile around and around the stupid laps wishing the world would end so I didn't have to run another step as you know it took like 300 laps to make a mile (or so it felt). I also remember beating out the erasers at that back door on the wall and the cement and those bars outside the back door that stopped the doors from banging open too far. We used to hang on those bars and do flips over them. I also recall that Mr. WIllis' room was right in that corner. I really liked that school. So many memories, so long ago.

Funny how this area of town has so many memories for me, friends who lived here, three years at the school during those all important young years. I do have fond memories of elementary school, it was junior high when all hell broke loose and people divided and conquered based on the brand of jeans they wore. Let's just say I didn't land in the Esprit crowd I was the Levi or worse the Lee crowd. Ironically one of my favorite pair of jeans today is Lee. Talk about a crazy tangent.

So, today has been great and it's still early. I am off to get my car fixed, sounds like I am driving the biggest piece of junk with a rattly muffler. I pretty much want to pull up my mask and pull down my hat so no one can see me, the driver, in this ear hurting metal box.

Hope you have beautiful weather where you are. If you do, get out and soak up some sun.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oh, the month of May

It was a year ago this week that the nightmare started of what would become my new reality. It was the Tuesday after the CF walk of 2011 that I came down with a head cold, who knows where it came from and why I had to pick it up but it did and that is how life rolls.

It was the head cold from hell that three weeks later put me in the hospital and, which come June 1st I will likely be blogging about that day as well - it's been an interesting year.

In any case, as of late I have been spending some time on some old internet stomping grounds, I guess you could say, the cystic fibrosis forums. I used to spend a lot of time reading through questions, posting questions, learning about all things related to CF and others who have CF. It's been a long time since I have been on there, I don't think I visited it but once while was on the vent and not since then. But I realized something strange or different - I have a whole different perspective now of what having CF meant/s, and how drastically life is different, and yet in someways the transition was way easier than I would have expected pre transplant.

I guess I didn't realize how much CF lungs are vial, filthy creatures. Not their fault, genetics made them that way and yes they gave me the 34 years I have had - so I don't hate them as much as I see how difficult they made my life. I see videos of other CFers, hear them talk, watch them cough, try to catch there breathe and think, wow, that was me. How did I do that and how difficult it is to watch that, how painful and utterly heartbreaking. I feel such compassion for those who continue to fight this battle daily, those you find themselves in the hospital once again to try to get some sort of comfort and care so they can go back to living a 'regular' life, even though their regular is much different than everyone else's.

It's really little things that make the difference, just having a good nights sleep, or being able to eat a meal and not feel stuffed and breathless. It's walking up stairs without having to drag a plastic tube behind that gives you the only comfort when the stairs feel like trying to reach the mountain peek. Those are things that we just accept and deal with having CF and lungs that degenerate in a fashion that we adjust and don't realize that we are heading down a slippery slope. No one wants to have a transplant, and no one wants to admit that their lungs are failing, because even though these CF lungs are going to give out they somehow make us think that they are giving us a better chance at living a life then having someone else's lungs inside of us because God only knows there is no guarantee, transplant is fickle. But the true reality doesn't hit until the deed is done, transplant is over and it has become your new life.

I have been on this roller coaster, I have had many ups and downs with these lungs and still some days I am caught off guard when my brain processes the fact that I am breathing because someone else once breathed with these lungs inside of me. It is a mental exercise is acceptance and emotion. Whatever time I am given, whatever direction this all goes these last few months have been better months than the last five or more years of my life. I may have some pain, but it is not chronic and daily pulling me down mentally and physically. I may not breath perfectly but I breath the best I have in over 10 years, and I am not breathing through muck. I am enjoying doing things that I can do and not sacrificing myself for doing them.

Daily I feel the strength returning, weekly I find something new and bewildering about this new world I am living in. Monthly I look back to think where I have come and as my brother said, what transpired six months to a year ago seems like a decade ago. How utterly touched and honored that I am still here on this day to walk the earth. Whatever capacity, in however I chose to spend my day I have been given the greatest of gifts. Until your life is nearly snatched from you is it hard to truly grasp how special each and every day is, and how trivial some things in life really are.

This day is always the only day we have, and even though I have my days where I forget this blessing and let the unimportant things in life bother me, we need to realize that it is a special day no matter what we are doing, working or playing. This day will be the best day of our life, everyday has that chance.

I pray for all the CFers out there tonight struggling to breath, fighting another day to beat the big bad beast that is CF. I may no longer fight the nasty lungs but my heart aches for others and prays that one day CF will no longer be the vial creature that it has a tendency to become.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tour de Elton Hills

That is a misleading title post but I needed something different. In reality my bike ride today was about an eight to ten block ride, which is way better than the one block ride I took the day I got my bike. It was a gorgeous day today and I spent all of it inside until about an hour ago. Why you ask, would one waste a day like today being inside after such a nasty weekend? That my friends is a good question. Mostly because I had things I wanted to do inside, and since I am really not to enjoy the sun too much for fear of you know cancer, I opted to wait until this evening to take my bike ride. Which in the end was quite nice, it reminded me a lot of growing up rural as a kid and going for bike rides in the evening with our dad. I remember how we would go up and down the hills and always in the bottom of the one hill, just below below Emrick's driveway , the dip would have that cool evening air. I can still feel it when I think about it.

In those days we didn't wear helmets, and considering we were always riding on gravel or around the yard we never even gave such a thought to anything like a helmet, and mostly because there wasn't such thing when we were kids. We just rode to enjoy and didn't worry about getting injured. So, tonight as I rode my bike, again sans helmet, I thought how crazy I probably look to the world riding without my safety net. I will get a helmet and after having had one on this weekend while riding the Segway, I decided I don't actually hate having one on.

In reference to the Segway, the CF walk on saturday was good as usual. I don't have final numbers for what the Rochester site raised, but I know Chris and I raised over $1,600 thanks to all our great family and friends. We had a little smaller turnout as far as walkers this year, but the weather wasn't exactly inviting. It was cloudy, chilly, and damp.

To prove that I actually wore a helmet and rode the Segway here is a picture. And no I didn't run anyone over, however I did try a couple times, those things really need horns. Thankfully I learned quickly how to stop and avoid hurting the innocent.

CF Walk 2012-Segway (Me and Chris)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And the Winner is!

Thank you to all who took part in donating to the CF walk and a chance on winning the painting. As promised the winner was randomly selected and the winner of the painting is, Michael A. Siebenaler.

I am so thankful for all of you that participated. You helped me raise more money than my goal. We raised over $1,000 in this last month because of all of you.

May God Bless you all!