Saturday, April 25, 2009


This week the weather finally cooperated on a day I wasn't being held prisoner in the hospital so I stayed outside most of the day. I'm not a big tree hugger and didn't even realize it had even been Earth Day until yesterday so I thought it would be fun to post a few of my pictures along my walk.
We live next to green space which most of the time it is a blessing. The only downside is sometimes the wild life get too close and it sort of freaks me out.

We had buckets of snow and it's thankfully melted and left behind green grass and shoots of things threatening to bloom. We don't always have marsh behind the house. At first I thought it was beaver damage but then I realized it was flooding.

There is a wide paved path but I took the scenic route along the water. Kipper loved it, lots of good smells and interesting scat. The creek is very deep, usually you can hear it over the rocks from the back yard but it's a bit lazy because it's so full.

Once upon a time we lived in south Texas and it was a marvelous place to grow up. I loved playing in the forest and marshes. I especially loved wading in the creeks. As an adult, whenever there is a body of water, like a stream, I am drawn to it and have almost an obsession with crossing them just to see if I don't fall in. I was sorely tempted by this large branch but I weigh more than I did in 1968 and I had the dog with me. Besides, I tested the depth of the water with another stick and it wasn't deep enough to NOT touch the ooky bottom when the branch gave under my substantial weight.
It is actually wider than it appears in this photo. Here it looks like I could just jump across. After leaving temptation behind I crossed the real bridge, and watched the water for a few minutes. Ward was a fly fisherman and when he would fish I would rock hop (again with the obsession) to the middle of the stream and just watch the water. I never wanted to learn to fish, too much fiddly flicking of the wrist and pulling lines and worrying after hooks in my ass to be any fun; but I did want to wade the streams. I regret never having donned waders and just sloshing around.

The view from the path is especially breathtaking on clear days, too. At first the snow covered peaks appear to be clouds. No wonder Kipper likes to take walks along the canal path. Too bad his nose is always to the ground so he misses the view.

I came home to work, lay in the sun and finish reading a juicy Gothic novel which echoes Jane Eyre for creepy phantasmagorical elements. Imagine how happy I was to take the cover off my seedling tray and discover I have a miniature forest of cucumbers and radishes. I love this photo of the cucumber shoot, you can see evidence of it's recent history as a seed on the edge of the tiny leaf.

The plan was to start hardening them off today but alas the weather has turned again and it is damp and cold. An Irish day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I am teh Alpha Dog Byoch!

The Mom’s are working and I got the smart cat across the street to help me with the computer because I need some help here, and I’m hoping Mom’s internet friends can help justice be served.

Here’s the deal, before it was warm enough for me to stay outside I had to go to the bath place and then all the sudden, everyone is crying and I had to go the doctor’s office and they are all looking at my tail and putting shiny things on my chest because my heart sounded funny and Other Mom is crying and I’m trying to make her feel better but couldn’t. I hear Moms talking to each other Sea Ach Ef whatever that is and they are letting me sleep on the big white bed without me even having to sneak up there!. They are telling me I’m going to have a good life and we will make the best of it even if I only have two years.

Two years??? I’m a little upset about this. If I survived the garage door hitting my back, poison berries and a car hitting me; this old mutt can manage a little Sea Ach Eff. I get peanut butter in the morning before breakfast and peanut butter at night, too. Hey, this thing with my heart isn’t too bad. And no one makes fun of my big belly because it wasn’t from eating too many snacks and sneaking cookies from the pantry. I have a condition.

And that my friends is quality of life. Sort of. I have few complaints.

So what I want to know if I’m all sick and dying and stuff, why can’t I take myself for walks. I tried that and got yelled at: “Kipper get back in the house!”

I can’t help myself to food sitting at my eye level on the coffee table, its right there; I’m old and according to these people dying. But what do I hear? “Kipper, what do you think you are doing? That’s not your’s!”

A couple of days ago, Mom’s were sitting on the front porch and the front door was open, I had to investigate, make sure everything was ok, right? I walk out the front door and see a plate of food, on the ground. Must be for me, right? Especially seeing’ there was a bone on it, right? I pick it up and walk down to the mailbox where Mom was standing. Instead of her being all happy for the dying dog getting a bone this is what she says to me:

“Oh my god! That’s a chicken bone, give me that! Drop it! Now! And what are you doing outside? Get back in that house!”

I stand my ground, if I’m dying and stuff then I can parade around in front of the house with a bone in my mouth. So what does she do? Humiliates me, leads me into the house and pries the bone out of my mouth.

Last week we had snow and it was so cool. I love snow. I had to wait HOURS before I could play in it and so I ran out of the backdoor and buried my nose in the snow and I rolled in the snow and I dove into the snow and sniffed. Mmmmmmm it smells so good in the snow. Moms were grouchy about the snow and fussed at me for being wet when I finally came in the house. But the best part of the snow? My new stuffed animal, THAT MOVED AND WAS ALIVE. I found it in the backyard. Too bad Moms saw it at the same time. I had just picked it up in my mouth, had a firm but friendly hold of it when ALL HELL BROKE LOSE!

They were screaming stuff at me like: “OH MY GOD, HE HAS THE GUINEA PIG IN HIS MOUTH!! KIPPER DROP IT! DROP. IT. NOW!!! Holy shit this is someone’s pet and he is going to kill it!”
“NOW Drop it now!!!

I can’t remember everything because they were so loud and screeching it hurt my ears so I dropped the soft toy to have a big howl. And they scared me, too. Two years ago, I found another real toy and was in even more trouble because I killed it. Which is why I made sure I used what Other Mom refers to as my “soft mouth” on this toy? Then the toy ran away from me and you guessed it. Mom escorted me into the house and upstairs to the room with the big bed, shutting me in. Probably to give the soft toy a special treat. I haven’t seen that special toy since the big snow last week. But I smelled it. It’s here somewhere.

You would think they would let a dying dog have his own REAL pet instead of the not real toys like my Pounce Baby and the “Saurs. Not these two, they are determined to make my last two years feel like fourteen.

But this dying thing isn’t all bad, I still like my walks and I can keep up, too just like before the doctor put the shiny thing on my chest and said I was murmuring or something like that. I love my food and I love my treats. I’ll miss my boys and Moms but I’ll see them again. And when I do: I’ll explain to them why I gather the bunny-in-a-hat, my moose, the ‘saurs, Pounce, baby rabbit, Shamu the whale, my sea cow and snake in the back yard, all in a circle around me.

Cuz you all are so nice to read my blog, I’ll let you in on a secret, don’t tell Moms: I’m telling them stories about the time I moved the woodpile, could jump high enough to grab an apple off the tree, and ate tomatoes straight from the vine.

In the meantime I’m chillin’ on the couch. I'm allowed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Sawdust Did It

There is a fussy German frau living inside this haphazard housewife. Some days I can let the dust and the mystery ick in weird places go, others not so much and today was one of those days. I found myself mentally shaking a fist at the people who live here because they splash dishwater down the front of the cabinets, leave finger prints on light switches and the ‘frig; allow dust to build up on bathroom counters and splashes accumulate on the mirror. How could they do this to me? I have a laundry room to decorate: with paint, tile and hardware to select and wall art to create. I clean on Tuesday’s and it didn’t go so well today because I would rather be looking for tile and paint. So I half-assed it because I’m sick of doing it. Which will piss me off next week when the house is doubly hard to clean because it was half-assed to begin with. The truth of the matter is I love to clean but lately it’s become a big fat ugly chore. A chore like cooking is a chore. A chore like balancing the checkbook is a chore. A chore like anything-I-should-do-but-I-don’t-care-to-do-in-the-moment is a chore.

I blame the sawdust.

For a couple of weeks The Girl has tirelessly been building cabinets for the laundry room. So there has been a lot of sawdust scattered through the house. It’s driving me crazy. Our house was a blank page when we moved in almost two years ago to the day. A foreclosure, the realtor/developer came through with a paint sprayer coating every vertical surface with white paint; "updating the floors with the crappiest carpet and vinyl flooring imaginable.

If we had only looked at this house a week earlier undoing what "Ladies Man" did in an effort to move the house from 1969 Suburban Chic to 1990’s Slum lord would have been one of those bad daydreams you brush away with a shudder. Every goddamned room in this house needs or needed work. (to clarify, we nicknamed Fannie Mae's realtor "Ladies Man" after this character)

I thought any minute he was going to invite us over to his place for some Courvoisier so we could “discuss further the ramifications of my highly esteemed organization replacing the furnace that may or may not be faulty.” To say this guy pissed me off is an understatement. Thinking about him still pisses me off and raises my feminista hackles . But I digress.

It must be the sawdust.

Today, after I finished damning my family to a level of hell where they see the menace of dust but aren’t allowed to do anything about it; I started ruminating over the latest neighborhood I discovered in our Next Town; the place we will probably move after Beav finishes high school. One of my time sucking hobbies is partaking in real estate porn cruising houses on The city we are looking at is considerably cheaper so it’s fun to do a dollar to dollar search. Next Town is in Bible Belt and people sort of freak out when I tell them where we are considering making a home. It's also my home town and a place I vowed never to return. I am choosing to egnore warnings it could be Redneckville and we won’t be greeted with open arms and a basket of muffins but something akin to: “Y’all sisters?…or what?…” cue ominous sound of a shotgun being cocked But really, who cares if Billy Bob and Dar Leene hate us because Jesus hates dirty homosexuals! We can afford a lovely house with a pool! Yeah! The pool will not only refresh us in the southern heat but will make a great place to extinguish the burning crosses. The unhealthiest part of the obsession with House Porn is when I dial down the price and discover the fixers in the same neighborhoods. I find myself swoony over the footprint and the bones of certain houses. Nightmares even more nightmarish than the one I live in. “Oh look at those cabinets they just need to be refinished. . .I bet that has hardwood underneath it. . .I could take that window out and put a door to the patio. . .a little paint would be perfect. . .and it’s so cheap we would be able to just pay cash and fix it up for next to nothing!” I found another one just the other day. It has an interior atrium to die for and a kitchen in such bad shape TG would jump off a cliff before she agreed to this house.

Oh. My. God. I need a twelve step program. Best friend Ms. A has a friend, Pilot, who came up with the idea of creating a Flippers Anonymous Program. Pilot has it bad, too. In the last three years he has done two houses. And he lives in them while he renovates. Sick, sick man. But I totally get it. I blame being a control freak. I have to make everything my own; put my mark on it. Like Kipper, only it’s paint not pee when I mark things. This also explains why (as hard as this is going to be for TG to hear) the idea of a turn key ready house is a terribly boring concept to me. I hate boring.

Which is probably why I’ve never had a proper laundry room (or adequate closets for that matter) because I am usually drawn to quaint little houses with big souls? The closest thing I have come to a laundry room was a designated area in the basement of Mrs. Ward Cleaver’s Fabulous House in the Suburbs. But it wasn’t a proper laundry room; it was where the hook ups were in the basement. A special room designated to cleaning clothes makes me feel terribly grown up. I think this grown up feeling is why, when we discussed redoing the laundry room one of my first questions was: “Can we have a chandelier in there? I think it would be a pleasant surprise to see a chandelier in the laundry room.” And wouldn't this fixture be adorable in a peach oned laundry room.

I wish I could blame the sawdust.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tales From The Treadmill

Once upon a few months ago, I seized upon any excuse possible to avoid going to the gym. Hell, I even went to work one morning in an effort to avoid the gym. I would almost even cook, as an excuse to not work out. I blame my behavior on being overwhelmed by the prospect of getting in shape, coupled with my gawky unathletic demeanor and embarrassment for evolving into a dumpy middle aged woman. I also wasn’t sure where to begin. So I signed up for a few sessions with a trainer. This process has also given light to my inner masochist. I spent hard earned money to allow a miniature drill sergeant to make me contort my flabby middle section and my sagging ass in an effort to reduce and firm them up. (The trainer I worked with was about a foot shorter than me and a fireball who was indeed a retired army drill sergeant.) Who knew the simple act of walking like John Cleese in the “School of Silly Walks” sketch while bending my knees, holding five measly pounds in each hand would result not in an immediately hard and flat abdomen, but a hobbling gait resembling one of my ninety year old patients? But now the pain is gone and I can actually do a lunge without paying for it the next day. I can even do ten lunges without feeling the adverse effects. The trainer taught me how to use the weights and the machines and gave me a little program to do. Too bad the program doesn’t include my favorite 16 ounce Lone Star curl or the put the cookie in your mouth bicep exercise. I have hurdled over the whining stage of: “I can’t eat what I want and need to go the gym” to the place of “Yeah! I’m going to the gym! “I even miss it on days I work too late or need to take The Beav somewhere and can’t go. I’m not to the point of getting up at 4 am and going before work because that is just crazy talk.

When I started working out regularly a few weeks ago, twenty minutes of cardio almost killed me--heart throbbing out of my chest--now I can go forty minutes before I feel like I’m about to die. I don’t think it’s the endomorphines that make people go and go and GO on treadmills, stair climbers (oh there’s fresh Hell, no thanks, I‘ll save my Syphian punishment for after death) and the elliptical. No, it’s the satisfaction of knowing you just walked, ran, climbed or cross country skied at full speed for forty minutes and didn’t die. Like walking away from a plane crash.

I would also like to thank Steve Jobs for the Ipod. I can listen uninterrupted to This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and All Songs Considered. Without my little green pod, working out is hell. I am almost forced to watch CNN and the red ticker tape parade of bad economic news; or men’s basketball, or stupid fuckhead Rush Limbaugh or one of the other dumbass conservative pundits. On the days I have forgotten the pod, I close my eyes and chant positive affirmations to myself or I write in my head. I assure you, the stuff I’ve “written” while I’m on the treadmill is better than any of Anne Lamott's lovely musings. This genius also occurs while I’m singing in the shower and sound better than anyone on Broadway. Such a shame such genius isn’t…you know…real.

I am a voyeur and I like to watch people at the gym. Such a variety and different times of the day give me different sorts to watch. Of course, I make up stories for them. In the mornings--my preferred time to work out--the gym is filled with the retired and the unemployed. I love that these old folks are at the gym, doing “Silver Sneaker” classes and water aerobics because it keeps them out of my hospital and away from over prescribing doctors who often do more harm than good towards the end of life. I want to stand at the window just outside the group class room during the Silver Sneakers classes and cheer them on; especially the ones who are obviously modifying because they have joint replacements.

One lady reminds me of Linda Richardson. She wears the most outlandish outfits to the gym, like it’s too much trouble to change before going out to lunch with the grandchildren so she will just slip around to the gym and work out in her bedazzled cowboy hat and sequin trimmed sweater. I almost ran into a pole staring at his woman as she sat on an exercise ball, doing a sort of core strengthening bounce in her festive outfit. Imagine my disappointment when I saw she wasn't wearing high heels.

Another regular is a Russian woman who is maybe 3 feet tall and at least ninety. Every morning I am there I see her and she never fails to speak to me in her lovely Russian tinged English. The first day she spoke to me, I was standing on the scale and sighing over the big number that won’t get smaller. She tapped my arm and said: “Don’t forget to subtract your shoes, they must weigh twenty pounds! And if you have on pink underwear, that’s good for another five. Just a little game I play with myself, dahlink” I loved her immediately.

The gym seems littered with the young and unemployed, too. This gym is part of a big chain and it isn’t too expensive so I can understand how they manage a membership. It’s something to do and it’s cheap. But the neighborhood is hardly a “hip” place. One of the guys is definitely out of place at this gym. He has the “I wash my hair once a week” hipster hair style, wears indie band tee-shirts and retro high tops, tall and skinny, not too hard on the eye but certainly not the type of guy you would see who lives at the gym. A coffee shop downtown? Yeah. Gym in inner tier suburbia? No. I'm guessing he is a 20 something IT geek, graduated in the top of his second tier east coast university class, downsized on one of the coasts and now lives with his grandmother and grandfather because he hates his parents and they still live in Westchester. It would be too painful to be at the grocery store with his mom when his tenth grade English teacher stops and says something like: “Zack! Lovely to see you, visiting? What? Oh you live here now, with your parents in their basement…they had such hopes for you, too.“ it probably makes him shudder and he can hear her tongue clicking as she pushes the cart away from them. No, he is better off in Flyover land with Bubbe and Zayde for now. . .

The evening crew at the gym is totally different. Cube farmers who work Monday through Friday at some sort of soul-less job but they love it because they have the luxury of working. They look sort of boring and white bread. They think Josh Groban is hot, hope Brad and Angelina work it out and can deconstruct The Bachelor like Prime Time Derridas. One of the evening regulars is a women edging close to her sixties. She needs “I am a cougar and I want you boy!” tattooed across her forehead. Rather than a silly outfit, she has a silly body and is afflicted with the new malady I call “Madonna Arms”

Now I like women’s bodies. A lot. But I gotta say, I would trade the well defined grisly guns for soft not so defined arms on a woman. She also made a terrible mistake and didn’t wear her glasses when she went to the plastic surgeon for her boobs. They are almost under her chin and give her the appearance of someone about to topple over any minute. Besides that, they are way way too perky. No one’s boobs are naturally that perky. And she is proud of them too. She has this way of strutting around the gym that makes me want to either laugh out loud or kick her; depending on the kind of day I’ve had.

Another woman is terribly odd and eccentric. Her outfit looks something like this
and is accentuated with Uggs. Her workout consists of standing in front of the mirror dancing with jazz hands. She is probably a few years older than I am and about thirty pounds underweight. The bizarre is made of awesome. I’m not sure what the point of this workout is but everyone around her is immune to it, except me of course and I probably made an ass out of myself blatantly staring at her.

I’m plagued with jealousy as I watch women my age effortless run for what seems to be hours at top speed on the treadmill. Last night one woman, a Mediterranean beauty with the body of a goddess, made me want to weep. It just wasn’t fair that I not be blessed with effortless beauty and a fabulous well-toned body. To make matters worse, she had intelligent looking eyes and was very kind to an elderly gentleman having trouble with his treadmill. Beautiful, fit kind and smart? I don’t even want to know she is the only person in America who didn’t lose substantial value in her stock portfolio because odds are, she is that person. My first impulse was to kidnap her, take away her moisturizer, keep her from the gym and force feed her Little Debbie snacks until she looks like me. Fortunately, I quelled that impulse and am not typing this from an undisclosed location. Chances are, I wouldn’t share the Little Debbie’s and she would become even more svelte and a hero for withstanding the torture of being held hostage by a crazy premenapausal woman obsessed by her weight and midsection. “Please be kind to my captor, she really just wants to be a size eight and weigh what she did before her youngest son was born. She didn’t mean to harm me.”

I’m in awe of the women I see who are struggling with obesity as they work towards a healthy weight. A few of them have become noticeably smaller these last few months. It humbles me, the work they are doing: I’m bitching about single digit inches and double digits pounds I want to lose and these women are probably trying to lose the equivalent of a person. I wish I could think of a way to say: “You Go Girl!” without sounding smug and I want to hug them so some of their discipline and resolve rubs off on me. These women deserve much more respect than the cougars who have invested too much money and too much time into their bodies.

Today when I’m at the gym I hope I see my Russian lady and I might get the courage to speak to Hipster boy--I really want to get his story--we usually row next to one another and will mumble hello to one another. And maybe just maybe that scale will budge below a certain number.

Friday, April 3, 2009

An Honest Day's Labor

Today I did real work.

I did exactly what I went to nursing school for: taking care of people. Lately, I’ve been feeling more like a facilitator than a nurse. Sometimes I am the “resource nurse” which simply means for 2 extra bucks an hour I oversee the care of about 20 patients and make sure nothing Bad happens. Juggling five balls in the air while typing on the computer and talking on the phone. I’m also in charge of making sure we meet the budget and don’t have too many staff members working if our patient census is low. Just looking at the description of it makes me want to simultaneously yawn and scream with boredom. Most days, when I am working as a bedside nurse I am in charge of five patients, their medications and their treatments; making sure the doctor’s orders are carried out; following up on lab and test results; following up on status changes. Referring to myself as a bedside nurse is laughable. Lots of computer time. A few months ago I guaged how much time I spent each shift charting at the computer and it was six hours. I spent a total of six hours documenting what I had done for the patient in twelve hours. But really, I had only worked with the patients for six hours. That’s terribly sad, isn’t it? I’m supposed to be a nurse not an administrative assistant. Oldest Friend tells me frequently: “you do real work, so few people can say that about their work life. “ Her words make me feel like a fraud because most days my work is rushed and I’m always always on a strict time based schedule. It’s rare--with administrative duties--I have time to do hands on work delegated to the nurse’s aid (aside from toileting and walks to the bathroom).

Today I worked as an aide on our unit. This sort of work is often thankless and always hard but I relished the difficulty. I had ten patients in varying degrees of healing and illness; a mixed bag of elderly, psychotic, young, brain injured and two living beyond the odds of survival. I have mentioned beforeI find the aid’s duties meditative and calming. My only time limits are making sure I complete blood sugars, vital signs and meals at the ordered times. Usually, everything I do is time sensitive. Without all of the charting, I eased through my day; no need to rush down the hall nor was I interrupted six times an hour with phone calls or requests for help or opinions or complaints. I worked my way down the hall; helping each of the patients with their baths or showers. Bathing someone is particularly intimate and I, being very shy about my own body, try to ease my own tension by talking to the patients’ about their lives.

Three of my patients were six to eight short years away from the century mark and each one of them had a unique story to tell. One grew up on a ranch and has entertained me for years with stories about the horses her father raised; another lived on a reservation and her grandparents had walked the trail of tears; and another was a hairdresser during the 1930’s. She explained the big Marcel wave device while I washed her body. I was rapt. Her memory was absolutely razor sharp and she could recall yesterday as well as an afternoon in 1930. This patient is particularly special to me because a few years ago I was privileged to help ease one of her beloved family members towards death. Attending someone at death is even more intimate than seeing to their most private bodily functions.

I’m sure the other nurses thought I was an extremely inefficient aid and out of my element because it took me at least 45 minutes to wash each of my bedridden patients. But one of these baths went quickly because she doesn’t speak. Diagnosed with schizoid-affective disorder for many years and living on her own until a month ago something snapped in her mind and she just sort of left this plain of existence and lives somewhere deep inside her own psyche.

She has been with us for a few weeks and slowly coming out of her catatonic place. She will follow you with her eyes and answer yes and no questions. It has been necessary for us to do everything for her because she wouldn’t move or couldn’t move. She doesn’t resist these ministrations; she is placid but she does look at us with huge round eyes and it is hard to interpret if she is frightened or confused. Today, her face was more relaxed and she did speak the word yes rather nod her head. Thankfully, the staff keeps her television off so her room has a monastic silence to it and only the ambient sounds from the hallway filter in. Usually mute patients make me feel a helpless and out of control but I feel a great sense of peace when I am in her room.

At lunch, I sat next to her bed, explaining to her what was on her tray and arranged bites. Her catatonic state is so extensive it is necessary for us to not only feed her but to cue her to chew and swallow. I had a container of high protein shake in my hand and she reached out for it. Deliberately. This woman has not spoken anything beyond one word and has not moved on her own for weeks. Finally, she made a need known. She was thirsty. I smiled at her and handed her the container and she drank deep droughts without being reminded to swallow. I looked at the spoon I was about to place on her tongue and returned it to the plate. Making eye contact with her, I asked: “Would you like to do this yourself?” She didn’t nod or speak but looked at the spoon for a few seconds, contemplating it, sussing out exactly what it was for and then she grasped it with a fist, like a toddler, raised it to her mouth and tentatively fed herself a few bites before she drifted away again.

I’m glad she drifted away because it would have embarrassed me if she had seen me wipe tears from my cheeks as I gave her those last few bites.

At last, an honest day's labor.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Best. Day. Off. Ever.

"JuneJuneJuneJune have you lost your mind?" my readers are muttering to themselves. "You hate snow and you especially hate snow when the rest of the country is enjoying spring flowers and warm temperatures, maybe a soft rain. Wait a minute! This is a wacky April Fools post, isn't it? . . ."

Despite the weather, I count this as my best day off ever spent at home. The real best day off better is a tie between Ephesus and January 21, 2009 when the sea was so calm it was like heaven. Anyhow, why such a great day? Because it was perfect.

1. I actually got The Beav to school on time without having to break the sound barrier. As an added bonus he was awake and getting ready for school when I went to awaken him (!)

2. The gym. I love going to the gym now. My body hurts but it feels good to move. Perhaps I'll see some results in a few months. (I was going to write about the gym this week but I got distracted)

3. I listened to podcasts rather than disco music while I worked out so I fed my brain

4. I pampered my soul today. I had an inspiration to make a friend's baby gift and I finished it. (why yes, I have friends young enough to have babies with all of their chromosomes intact!)

Isn't the cover pretty? It's actually for a baby girl. What a joy it was to make scrapbook pages with flowers and butterflies and bunnies and girly things! I've hit a wall with my own scrapbooks because I'm sick of boy stuff.

This is my desk before it was completely out of control. At one point it looked like my crack dealer's sticker and paper sections had puked on my desk.

5. My heart was nourished when an old friend called just to say "I was thinking about you and thought I would call." What a beautiful gift to know someone faraway is thinking of you. Our conversation lightened the bleak snowy afternoon.

6. I have time to take a bath and soak in the tub with a historical romance I received (in a round about way) from Lisa.

7. I took the time to create my own pages in my art journal. Sometimes I forget it's OK to create something for myself.

Next week, I promise to tell you about the Characters at my gym.