IMG_3006.JPGWhat a wonderful trip I had!  Yellowstone National Park is phenomenal – the real meaning of that word.  So many beautiful things to see and experience.  The above is the Grand Prismatic Spring.  I thought I was taking the trail to the place with an “arial” view, but I didn’t and didn’t have time to take the several mile hike to the other place.

fullsizeoutput_94a.jpegThe yarn store in West Yellowstone had this yarn which was exclusively hand dyed for them.  It is the Grand Prismatic Spring color way.  I cannot wait to knit a shawl out of this!

IMG_3071.JPGThere’s my tent in Yellowstone.  It was really an awesome experience for me.  I was so afraid of animals, and afraid of my body and how it would live through a night in a tent.   It is so good to have done this and realize that I CAN DO IT.  I was so worried and some of my worries were realized, but I lived through it and I can say I truly enjoyed myself.  I did wake up freezing the first night in spite of my sleeping bag, air mattress, and very good Smartwool long underwear.  I put on a hoodie and a hat, and covered the sleeping bag with everything else I had in the tent.  The next night, I wore more layers which may have helped.  My back was really bothering me, so I wrapped my back in one of the ThermaCare wraps I had packed, and was warm all night!

I got to see all four of my grandchildren.  The older two are teenagers and very difficult to get to see as they live with my ex-husband and are very busy with school and sports.  I would say the ex made it difficult.  I choose not to spend a lot of time on that.  Those girls are old enough that it won’t be long until we will be able to visit freely.  But that time is not now.

The little ones just make my heart sing.  To be able to spend three days with them was just heavenly.  When I got there, they were out in the driveway jumping up and down, they were so excited to see me.  When I left, they hung on my legs crying and begging me not to leave.  My son told them to knock it off because I was crying, but I told him it was a wonderful kind of crying.  What a loving, kind, peaceful family.  No sniping, no sarcasm, no yelling, no tension crackling in the air.  Just love and caring.  Amazing.  I have a bedroom there and I sleep better there than anywhere else.  I just feel so comfortable and safe – and loved.  It is sad to leave there, but I am oh, so grateful that I can go there.

I was feeling like my life was over before I went on this trip.  I felt that my body had betrayed me and was making me old.  I was truly expecting death in a few years.  That may truly happen, no one knows the hour, right?  But I feel alive now.  After a night at my son’s house, my back had stopped hurting so bad.  Many of my ailments have gone away.  I think that is because I stopped taking that terrible medication.  But it was so reaffirming to go do something kind of hard and kind of daring.  It was good for me to push the envelope if you will.  I feel strong and capable right now.  Not a feeble old woman.

And now I shall start to study the Latin textbooks that arrived in my absence.  When I look at them, I realize how little Latin I retained from high school.  But I am about to learn again.  So exciting!

Life feels good again.  God is so good.

Posted in Family, Fear, Gratitude, Health, Travel | 10 Comments

Heading Out

That’s a whole bed full of stuff I am taking on my trip. Believe me, there is a lot more than this!

I was so stressed about trying to get to Yellowstone in one day, I decided to book a room.  My young neighbor coached me through signing up on Airbnb, and helped me find a place to stay in Wyoming for tonight.  Someone’s basement for $45.  Sounds funky, but I didn’t want to spend over $100 for a room just so I could sleep for a few hours.  The reviews are all good for this lady, so it should be ok?  I’ll let you know what I think.

Yesterday I purchased a sketchpad and some fancy colored pencils that you can use with water if desired.  I did a little sketch/painting of a rose last night and I am super excited about trying some landscapes on my trip to YNP.

I am just super excited all the way around.  I will probably post a couple of times while I am gone because I will be alone a lot and I am thinking I might have some time on my hands.  To hike, pray, paint, knit, and blog!  When I am not hanging out with my grandchildren!!!!

Please say a pray that none of the bears find me particularly appealing.  Thanks!

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Nothing So Boring…


As listening to someone’s list of ailments.  So I will stop.   Or at least try to…

The end of summer roses are already in bloom.  It is too early for this.  The crickets started their lovely nighttime serenade about a week early this year.  I usually count on it beginning, like clockwork, on August 1.  I don’t think I would mind having an early autumn – at all.  It is my favorite season.

My doctor told me off on Thursday.  She said my ailments are all because I am 65 and my body isn’t working right.  It isn’t working right, says she, because of the toxic state of our environment.  She said it was hopeless, that even moving to Iceland wouldn’t help.  When I started crying, she asked if I was in therapy, and when I said no, she wrote a referral.  Holy crap.  I did make an appointment with a new psychologist – my beloved psychologist retired 2 days after I retired.  I will see the new one next week.  I did stop the fosamax, she wouldn’t tell me whether I should or not, but I feel I shouldn’t take it.  I feel like I was in great health until I found out I have osteoporosis and then started that medication, and it has been downhill since then…. a shockingly rapid downhill.   I also feel I need a new doctor, and that kind of breaks my heart.

So this morning I shall go to Mass, and then go on my rounds to take communion to the homebound.  This ministry has been a wonderful blessing to me.  I love these older people.  I am also developing some opinions on how I want to live as I age.  Almost invariably these houses are all sealed up like tombs and so hot it is nearly unbearable.  I know the older folks get cold easily, but it cannot be good for you to be cooped up like that 24/7.  One of them lives in a beautiful home on a hill with an incredibly gorgeous view of the front range of the Rocky Mountains.  There is a lovely deck that never gets used.  Can someone wheel her outside so she can watch a sunset?   I hope so.

I have been asked to be a teachers aide at an elementary school age Latin class at my church!  How awesome is that!  I am so excited!  I’ll be taking my “Safe Environment” training next week.

It’s Sunday, it looks like it is going to be a gorgeous day, and I am going to endeavor to enjoy every second of it.  And I hope you do too!



Posted in Aging, Health, Ministry, Roses, Weather | 9 Comments

Tuesday Morning


Little Ginger Kitty (Gigi) on the front porch

I am writing right now because my right hand hurts too much to knit. Seriously, this is ridiculous. I am beginning to feel like Job. But Job was gracious and faithful when he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” — Job 1:21

No, I am not gracious and faithful like Job, I am grumbling a bit.  I made an appointment to see my doctor and started making a list of things that are going awry with my body.  There are ten things on the list – so far.  Some are pretty huge, like chronic severe back pain.  Oh, and loss of use of my right hand?  I would call that major.  Some are not so major?  Just pain.  Dizziness.  Hair loss.

It is my belief that these problems are being caused by Fosamax.  I started it 14 weeks ago.  In that time, I feel like I have gone from being a healthy, energetic, active, fairly happy person – to being an old woman who isn’t able or willing to do a whole lot of the things I love.

It seems like rather a cruel irony that I happily anticipated retirement because then I would have time to do the simple things I love.  Nothing huge like traveling the world or jumping out of airplanes.  Just going to mass in the morning, being more present in my loved ones’ lives, knitting, sewing, cooking, gardening, and triathloning.   And the time is here and I don’t feel well enough to do most of these things most days.  In the last month some vague and nebulous aches have turned into big fat problems.  I just don’t feel good at all!

Tomorrow I shall see my doc.  My hope is that she will say “Gosh!  Most or all of this is being caused by Fosamax!  Just stop taking it right now!”   That’s my hope.  But I am a bit worried, and I need to get it checked out.

Now maybe if I stop taking Fosamax I will find out we don’t actually have a hateful lunatic in the White House?  You think that could happen?  OK, never mind.  But I am done being quiet about it.

Please, if you can, say a prayer for me?  I either need to get well or get OK with not being well.  Or get good with God’s will…. hummmmm, that has always worked before, maybe it will be again?

Thanks.  xoxox

Posted in Aging, Cat, Faith, Health, Knitting, Osteoporosis, Retirement, Truth | 4 Comments

Today she is 50

In 1967, I gave birth to a little girl.  I was 15 years old.  I went away to a home for unwed mothers.  They had those back in 1967.   Nuns ran the place, and I loved it.   It was a huge old building on North Lasalle Street in Chicago.  The student nurses were on the upper floors, I believe the UMs (that’s what they called us) were on the 2nd floor.  I remember running up a huge staircase to a large lobby on the second floor.  It was 50 years ago, so I am surprised I remember anything.  There was also an old Otis elevator, but even then I preferred the stairs.

In the hospital where I gave birth I believe I was severely mistreated.  I was left alone to labor – let me stress alone – for days.  From Saturday afternoon until Tuesday morning.  In the end, I was delirious from pain and lack of sleep.  And maybe lack of human contact.

When I had the little baby, I remember they told me she had a head full of black hair that stood up straight on her little baby head.  I named her Mary Catherine.  Because I knew I would never want to use that name for one of the children I planned to have and keep in the future.   Also because there was a beautiful young nun at the home named Sister Mary Catherine.  She was so kind and so beautiful.

Part of the deal was that I was supposed to be allowed to hold her – just once.  Just once.  But the nurses didn’t have time to bring her to me.  I had to leave that hospital without ever holding my daughter.  I never got to touch her.  And I knew I would never see her again.  I left that hospital lobby absolutely devastated.  Crying like I had never cried before and probably have never cried since.

I did “the right thing” back in 1967.  You went away quietly, you had the baby, and gave it to “a good home,” and then lost the weight as quickly as humanly possible and came back home to resume your life.  As if nothing happened.  The day after Mary was born, my mother came to visit at the hospital and brought me a very stiff and tight girdle.

When I came home I weighed a lot more than I had when I left.  I suddenly had breasts where I had been flat chested.  I was a completely different person.  And I missed the home and the nuns.   I did not feel like keeping this massive upheaval in my life a secret!

At home I was just expected to carry on as if nothing happened.  I discovered that my boyfriend cheated on me all the time I was gone.  And the world had completely changed.  Seriously.

1967, the Summer of Love.  I sat on a hospital bed in an unwed mothers’ home and knit and listened to the radio all summer.  I heard the Beatles radical Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and on and on and on.  Things had changed between April and August.  When I left high school, girls were wearing little plaid pleated skirts with big pins (yeah, I know, they are called kilts) and little cardigans.  Knee socks.  When I got home, girls were wearing bell bottoms and tunics.  Seed beads around their necks, and indian scarves in their hair.   Suede fringed jackets.  Suede fringed boots.

I started smoking cigarettes and lost the weight extremely rapidly.  I ditched the boyfriend.  I started using marijuana and LSD within a couple of months, and was drinking heavily.  I had a world class case of postpartum depression.  I wasn’t treated for that until the next summer.  And then barely at all.  My parents sent me away to Boston.  As if that would help?  It was awful.  They tried to find a boarding school for me.  Luckily, they couldn’t get me into one because they were already full of girls like me.

Life happened.  Obviously.

Every year on August 15, I would remember.  I started counting the years until she was 18 so I could meet her.  When she turned 18, I wrote to Catholic Charities to let them know where I was so they could find me if she wanted to meet me.  They sent letters to my daughter.  Her adoptive mother hid those letters because she felt terribly threatened by the idea of me popping up.  I don’t blame her at all.

And then in 1987, I got a letter from Catholic Charities saying that she wanted to meet me!  They cautioned against moving too fast to meet.  They tried to warn based on years and years of experience – why would anyone listen to that?  We exchanged photos.  My daughter is beautiful.  She looks like my mother.  She looks like one of my aunts.  Her adoptive parents also named her Mary!  I found out I was a grandmother.  I found her father for her and she met him before she met me.

We did meet in 1988.  The big dramatic moment that gets covered on TV these days.  Waiting at the airport to meet my 20 year old daughter I had never even touched before! We hugged.  We stared at each other.  She stayed at my house.  My kids met her.  She was very snotty.  She said some very cruel things to me.  She didn’t much approve of the fact that I still smoked back then.  She thought the whole AA thing was just kinda shady.  It went on and on.  It was terribly hurtful.  After she left, we stayed in touch for a few years, but then she vanished out of my life.  She did stay in touch with her father though. She met his family and ended up having an affair with her newly found aunt’s husband.  It was really sordid.   She ended up drinking and smoking…

I could not find her for maybe 20 years.  I assumed she had married (again) and had a different last name.  I was right.

Maybe 10 years ago she sent me an e-mail.  I was easy to find.  I was so happy to hear from her.  We were spending time on the phone and were making very preliminary plans to meet again.  But then she started pushing me about my kids.  She wanted to talk to them.  I tried to explain that they were adults and were not mine to give her (my kids didn’t want to have anything to do with her).  She told me she and her daughter were coming to visit me and they were going to stay with me.  I was completely freaked out.  She started sending me very offensive e-mails and when confronted, she told me that’s just how she is.  Then she stopped answering my phone calls and e-mails.  I told her I found her inconsistency very difficult to deal with, and she told me she was “consistently inconsistent.”

On April 30, 2010, she sent me a text asking me to do her a favor and “forget I’d ever existed.”  That she would thank me for giving her life but she realized abortion wasn’t legal in 1967, so I really didn’t have a choice.  It went on and on, and I opted not to respond.  I am sure it came out of deep pain of hers.  But it wasn’t very honest, it wasn’t very nice, and I just opted to opt out.   Or you could say, I decided to respect her wishes for me leave her alone.

Within the last year she sent a Facebook friend requested to my sober daughter.  My daughter accepted it.  Since sober girl comments and likes almost everything I post on FB, my “other” daughter now can see it.  She hit my daughter up on messenger recently and they had a long conversation.  Mary admitted she is very jealous of the relationship daughter and I have.  Sober daughter also told me this girl is very unstable and probably mentally ill.  And on drugs.  She understands that she may have to unfriend her so that she doesn’t have access to me and all my relatives.

This all feels horrible.  I wish I could make it be a different way.  I SO wish I could wish her a happy 50th birthday.  I am afraid it would just cause more trouble.  I don’t know what you do with a person like that.

This hurts my heart almost daily.  It feels like a big gaping hole in my life.

I have from time to time convinced myself that I fulfilled my obligation to her when I gave birth and relinquished her to a “good family.”  She did have a good family, and a good upbringing.   I was fifteen freaking years old!

But now I am older and I am retired and I have found that the old hurts kind of refresh themselves if given enough time to ponder.

What an indulgence to write this all out.  But probably cathartic.  Thank you for indulging me if you have read it.


Posted in Family, History, Truth | 4 Comments

Rainy Days and Mondays


Today is a rainy day and a Monday. And that’s all fine by me, though I had planned to take a walk this morning.  I will get on my treadmill instead.  Which I love.

Later on I will meet my former boss for lunch.  I am so grateful we can be friends.  I am so grateful to be friends with every single one of my former bosses.  I should specify:  those who are still alive and live in the area.

Last week was a rough one for me.  It came home to me over and over again that my plans for retirement are just not working out the way I thought they would.  I listed a few  of these disappointments (grievances) in my last post.  It sounds whiney.  But I am profoundly disappointed about some of this.

I must have alternate plans now.  I must find other ways.  I think some will require a bit of effort, but I believe some will just fall into place.

Yesterday at Mass, the pastor announced a new initiative at our church.  Creating culture.  I am interested in almost every activity coming up.  Imagine a Latin class!  For free!  Sign me up!!!  A book club – the first book is the Confessions of St. Augustine.  Yes!!  A Saturday hike with a Mass.  I am so very excited about these things.  I do love my church and I think that might be the only retirement plan that is actually working out.

After Mass yesterday, I took communion to the homebound.  This is such a wonderful ministry for me to be involved in. It absolutely terrified me to start doing this, but I find it so rewarding.   I had expected the people to say “Who are you to be bringing me communion? Who do you think you are?”  Instead I am greeted by people who are mostly trapped in their homes (and they are the lucky ones, the ones who either have family to care for them or can afford to hire caregivers), they are so happy to see me.  They are so grateful to be able to receive communion.   No one has ever doubted my “qualifications” to do this.  That is a real blessing to me.

The only thing that is a bit scary is saying the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) with these folks.  I am so used to the AA version – the Lord’s Prayer said at our meetings.  The cadence is different and the ending is different.  I have slipped from time to time at Mass and instead of saying “Amen,” have said “for thine….”  I just have to be mindful.

I’m grateful.  Last week was sad, but I am moving on.  Learning to “play the ball where it lays” has been a blessing.  I cannot force things to be the way I wanted.  Instead I believe I may be looking at things falling into place that are infinitely better.


Posted in Friends, Gratitude, Retirement, Surrender | 4 Comments

Festivus in August

I purchased this yarn yesterday, it will be used to make hats (in school colors) for my older granddaughters. I love this yarn. It is called Knerd String, and is just luscious, soft, and squishy wool. I have made 6 other hats of this yarn and have enjoyed every stitch.
This is the hat I knit for my daughter. Well, actually I made two because when I finished this one, I tried it on and said “Sorry Laura, this one’s for me.” I made another one for her, which I finished last night.
This is my son and his daughter – my precious granddaughter – in the hats I made last year.  His is light brown and darker brown – I also made a matching one for his son.  And his wife and daughter got the lavender and purple ones.  I love these reversible hats!  It takes twice as long to knit, but so worth it!

Here’s something I never thought I would say:  Adjusting to retirement is a bit harder than I anticipated.  Somedays are just heavenly.  Then there was yesterday.   And so far today.  I have found that I need to have at least one or two things planned every day.  In addition to daily Mass (one hour), and my workouts (~90 minutes).  Then I have nutritious eating, which takes an inordinate amount of time between shopping, preparation, cooking, and even eating!

I am a bit heartbroken about a couple of things that are not what I expected in retirement.  The meeting I used to attend daily has grown intolerably uncomfortable.  I went there yesterday because one of my sponsees was celebrating a birthday, and it was just awful.  Warring factions and people trying to control everything that happens in the meeting.  Like how long people can share, and what they can talk about.  But they start the meeting with this weird format – before the chair comes up with a topic, s/he asks if anyone has a problem, anything they need to “say out loud” …or if anyone is “sitting on a drink.”  Yesterday a new guy raised his hand and said he had a problem.  He needs a car. Seriously.  Everyone sort of rolled their eyes at him, but he was just responding to a question that WE asked him.  He has a problem.  He thought he would throw it out there. He’s brand new, who can blame him?  So, I thought I would go to that meeting everyday, but that is absolutely OUT.

I thought I could take all these lovely hikes.  Have you noticed that I am very seldom posting photos of trails?  Yes, that is another thing that is out.  Denver is gaining population at an alarming rate – every single month thousands of people flock here.  High density housing is going up in places that used to be landfills, golf courses, farms, and fields.  There are TOO MANY people here.  Of course, they want the Colorado lifestyle – who doesn’t?  And for most of the new folks, they are paying an exhorbitant price to just live here, of course they want to take advantage of the beauty of nearby nature.  The trails are not just crowded, but they have become dangerous.  There are mountain bikes on single track with little old ladies (me) trying to take a peaceful hike.  Although pedestrians have the right-of-way, bikers do not behave that way.  My favorite place to hike is full of rattlesnakes.  I usually decide that is an acceptable risk.  But when you are stepping off the trail into the brush every two minutes to let a bicycle pass, the risk is no longer acceptable.   I took a hike last week and realized it was my last one there – at least until late fall or winter when the faint hearted stay home.

Thank God for the park nearby that charges $10 per car to get in.  I have an annual pass and go down there for my hikes, swims, and bike rides.  Much more peaceful, but it is not a mountain hike, it is a walk or ride around a park.

I drove to my favorite yarn shop yesterday.  I used to think it was an acceptable drive – 30 minutes through town in high traffic.  Then parking on a downtown street or tiny parking lot with maybe 10 spaces.  You see, I wasn’t planning on having a car accident that totaled my car just 5 weeks into retirement.  And then when that “worked out” ok, I thought I was good…. but I am terrified of driving in traffic.  I don’t think I am going to my favorite yarn shop anymore.  I think I am going to drive to the mountains to a shop there.  It is farther, but takes about the same amount of time to get there.  Next time I buy yarn or fabric, that is where I am going.

The class on Saturday?  It was the first time they did that quilt in a class, and we all only finished a quarter of the top – in the 6 hour class.  I really needed the hand-holding to get it done.  When I visited the store yesterday (to get yarn), the manager (who I absolutely love) asked me how the quilt was, and I told her I don’t think I can finish it on my own.  She told me I could hire a tutor for $40 an hour.  Yeah, when hell freezes over I will do that.  I hope to God this quilt doesn’t end up in my closet along with two other quilts I never finished.  And yes, I thought I would finish them in retirement.  I will somehow get the courage to get out my mat, rotary cutter, and sewing machine and get this thing done so I don’t feel like a quitter.  Funny how similar the words quitter and quilter are, no?


Because I am sure you all are dying to see this thing – above is a photo of the quarter quilt.  Maybe if I tell you all I will finish it, I actually will finish it.

And now that I have written all of this, I will stop.  I have a feeling I could write all day and just come up with one grievance after another.  Not a good thing to do.  I better instead try to focus on what’s good….

Like that beautiful red & white yarn that needs to be wound into balls.  And hats are waiting to be knit!

Life is good.  It truly is.  I am so blessed to have these kind of problems, I do know that!

Thank you God.

Posted in Crafts, Fear, Junk-blogging, Knitting, Retirement | 6 Comments