Sunday, June 26, 2016

There's Something About Me, But Mim's the Word!

June 26, 2016

Dear good friends,

There's something about me that I just can't figure out. Perhaps I never will, so there's no point in discussing the finer details here. I mention it now because I  can't seem to help wondering about it. Okay, and broadly hinting at what I mean.

It rained. I got wet. This gray cloud dried up all the rain like you cannot imagine. I held it to my breast, and I felt fine until I wondered if the sender meant send the card to someone I don't know well or . . . See? There's something about me . . . 

So. You know how I've been writing one letter to everyone here, instead of writing the same things too many times lately, seeing as how I cannot write as much as before--back when it used to be me simply blogging? Like now. Well, I like mim's idea so much I'm including 7 things I did today, since she wrote 6--a much better list than mine. No matter. I hope you will do the same with someone you don't know very well. Like me even. mim is clever-clever! And yes, I might be slow but I smarten up right quickly. Now here goes.

Seven things I did today:

1)  I'm shared this fun thing with all of y'all.

2)  I clipped this funny way back. See date. I only got it tonight. It went so far over my head I needed a butterfly net to catch it. How long did it take you

 3)  I shopped in a storm to find just the right piece for my tea party. JC drove. 

4)  I found the linen table cloth Aunty Stas gave me a couple of decades ago! I've never used it. 

5)  I shared this photo of my work space aka foot of the bed. 

6)  I made this postcard, discovered the images are meant for Valentine's Day, but what the heck. There's something about my brain . . .

7)  Out of the 15,830 photos currently saved in my iPhoto Library, I chose this one to share with you. I'm still making lemonade! My reward? Getting awesome unexpected shots like this. There's something about my brain!

See? I just shared seven somethings I did in my day. Your turn!

Sincerely sincere,


Monday, June 20, 2016

Life Happens

June 201, 2016

Dear good friends,

Anna's tea photo! Can you hear the background chatter? The click of silver against china? The rattle of cup against saucer? You can almost taste it, yes? Ah, tea! With fine linens, yums to eat, good company to keep . . . 

I wish we could all have a tea party. We'd write notes. One page letters? A letter-writing tea perhaps? No? Just tea? Tea for we? You and me. No. No tea for me just yet. Nope. Tea for me will have to wait. 'Cause life happens when you least expect it. 

No postal run today. I woke to repairmen in the attic, in-and-out, alongside the house. The a/c's working just fine now. A water heater repair person was scheduled for tomorrow. JC cancelled the appointment from his hospital room some minutes ago. I don't even know his room number. His phone needs recharging. I can't drive so . . . It's a long story. 

 Life happens. Mila almost made it through the fence. Her hips and the force from the water hose kept her from making it through the three slats she tore and chewed her way through before I made it to the back door. Life happens. It seems to be happening fast. Too fast for me to go on dual-minded when single-minded is best. This means I'm signing off for awhile. I need to stop while I'm ahead. 

Thanks for being my friends. All is well. I just know it.

So, you be well.



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Death & Afternoon Delights

June 19, 2016

Dear Friends,

Yesterday the phone rang just as I sat down to share my special invite to a tea in honor of QEII's 90th birthday. My uncle, Jack William passed. I've spoken of him in previous posts, and although he lives a few hours away, I have not seen him for several years. Not having visited him while he was in the hospital means I get to remember him as he was the last time I saw him. Suddenly, it's raining. From out of the blue. I was a girl when it started to rain just as we arrived at the cemetery after  my favorite grandmother Annie's funeral. There were two grandma Annies. I was so sad that day I just knew the angels were crying too. Some say, when it rains on the day a mean person dies, it's water from heaven trying to cool off hell long enough for the new resident to enter. All I know for sure today is this. I'm grateful for the rain. It's been hotter'n hell lately. Some say living in Texas is practice for those who are hell-bound.  So I laugh out loud every time I see that bumper sticker some think-they're-so-clever transplant puts on display that says, "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could." The dark side of me wonders about all the Texans who are "dying to get out of here." Oh, this is going way too dark.

But wait. The sun is shining! People say when the sun shines and it's raining, the devil's whipping his wife. Well dang. It's just storming over our house! Wow. What I can see of the eastern sky from my window is all blue sky and piles of white clouds though. There goes the thunder! Those same "they" say thunder means angels are bowling in heaven. From the sound of it, someone's making a whole lot of strikes. Lord, I hope there's no tournament tonight.

This just in! The first color in my after-the-storm rainbow! It's from Erin.

I went out the second the rain stopped. We need more color for this rainbow. The grapes add more than I imagined. 

These beauties bloom only after Houston floods. Enough said. 

Figs are purpling. And I've a little bit of a story to tell. Queen Elizabeth II recently celebrated her 90th birthday, as we all know. But did you know she surpassed her grandmother, Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch? Wow. I thought QEI held the title. She was my favorite bad ass female ruler. Poor Mary Queen of Scots. 

But, did you also know that the English ate boiled tea leaves from a plate, with butter? Once they got it right there was no stopping them though. And Happy Birth Day Queen Elizabeth II. May you reign until, as MJ said it, "Don't stop 'til you've had enough!" This goes for tea, too.

Here's a link if you interested in reading about the history of afternoon tea. I like the idea that our Anna invites us to tea, and the woman credited with having come up with the idea is named Anna also. "Tea consumption increased dramatically during the early nineteenth century and it is around this time that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of "having that sinking feeling" during the late afternoon. At the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o'clock in the evening. The solution for the Duchess was a pot a tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon."

"Afternoon tea, that most quintessential of English customs is, perhaps surprisingly, a relatively new tradition.  Whilst the custom of drinking tea dates back to the third millennium BC in China and was popularised in England during the 1660s by King Charles II and his wife the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza, it was not until the mid 17th century that the concept of ‘afternoon tea’ first appeared. 

Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o'clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.

My social graces are rather skimpy, so pardon my ignorance. I want to share this experience with you. We will begin with the invite. Clever-clever, yes? Pay attention to the corners. Attention is in the details. A great hostess pays attention to the details.

This is the beginning. Inside smells like fun. I'll share everything after tomorrow. I need to shop and do a little baking to finish this birthday-tea-in-the-making. The a/c repair people come tomorrow. The job requires an estimated two hours without a/c, during which time I am obliged to seek safety in one of the coolest place I know, Barnes & Noble. 

There's another letter in the out box. A three page typed and printed letter mind you. A letter nonetheless. I will spend most of my summer catching up on my backlog of correspondence. Be warned, all will not be handwritten. I need to work on living a summer worth sharing. Here's hoping we all live to tell our tales. 

Happy mail to you, until we write again . . .

Yours truly,



Friday, June 17, 2016

This Is Not Paul Revere's Mama's Boston Tea Party!

Fact is, this tea party's got nothing to do with Boston or Paul Revere and the Raiders! It's all about Anna's Tea Party. Goodness knows I'm giddy! She actually asked if I'd like to participate this year. Would I? Is pig pork? Are grits groceries? I'm honored to have even been considered seeing as how I've been MIA. So, thank you, Anna. And you know I have a story that coincides with the event. Right? I'll keep it short. Here goes.

I didn't buy this magazine the first time I saw it. By the time I decided to go for it they'd sold out. I had to order it. It arrived last week. JC's diabetic. Cake for two is too much. It's too hot for baking. So why on Earth . . . ? 

The a/c went out again. First there was another brown-out. It was 97ยบ F in Katy today. I lost my temper with the repairman. That's two strikes against me, but in my favor, I don't perspire like most people; when my thermostat fails, I fail. In the end he made amends, we shook hands and I thanked him. He charged the unit with freezer fluid, and JC and I headed to the Black Walnut for a meal. But, and this is the best part aside from having cool air again: JC checked the mail and guess what. 

There was mail from across the pond! Scre-e-e-a-m! There was good news from the post office box before that too. Dodson, D. sent a fun postcard that bore good news. My day just kept getting better. The Black Walnut was crowded but there was a parking space right in front. JC said they knew I was coming. I got one of the last slices of red velvet cake for dessert. In a recent post Susan reminded me of The Velveteen Rabbit, which is a book that got me through some difficult times back in Colorado. You get where I'm going with this, right?

Fast forward to being back home with a full stomach, some red velvet cake, and a lipstick red package. Oh, oh, oh! The joy that jumped out and hugged my neck! I gotta tell you, when I finally got that box open I was happier than Cinderella when she finally got those glass slippers off her feet.  I've been invited to another tea party!

The only thing I removed from my box is the awesome invitation! I can hardly stand it! The box is chock full of goodness and awesome things to share. So stay tuned!

Oh, Anna. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hot Mail

June 16, 2016

Dear Friends,

Mail is piling up. No mail run is why. Even junk mail gets delivered. Only one new envelope was added to the short stack. Another one down---dozens to go. It's so hot here we've had rolling brown-outs. They are frustrating and dangerous. There have been heat casualties. How can you forget that  you have a child, and that you must never ever let a toddler out of your sight? Still, life goes on. I couldn't wear my mail-writing rings today. Heat and humidity makes my fingers swell. Oh well. No matter; they're great at helping disguise addresses.

I'm going to share with you what I call "Hot Mail." That's mail you can't handle right away because it's hot, as in a hot topic. It's mail you cannot deal with right away, but must, sooner or later. My most recent piece is from the first hospital I worked for. Because of this institution I learned medical terminology and how to transcribe doctors' orders. I learned that even I could help make patients feel better. When I left I took with me job skills that insured employment if all else failed, no matter where I went. There will always be sick people.

I have not worked for the good Methodist Hospital in decades. I've been a surgical patient at a satellite facility twice, so imagine my surprise when I received Methodist Mail mail several years after my last surgery--a thyroidectomy. I was grateful for the surgeon's response after his initial examination. I needed the masses removed from my neck. Unlike the ex-primary care physician, who made me feel foolish when she scolded me for not knowing the bulge in the right side of my neck was nothing but the fat from my cheek. It was magically sliding down my cheek, past my jaw, and chose to settle in my neck. Forget that it was sliding down past my collar bone and spreading to the front of my neck. Pain and difficulty breathing were "normal."

It's a given that I was stunned to see the mail was from the Cancer & Tumor Registry. Really? I never registered as a bride so wow, I registered with these guys? When? Nobody told me. (Laughed!) Thoughts of Henrietta Lacks were sobering. I never finished reading the book of her amazing story. No, I don't want to be a martyr. All martyrs die. Surely "Health Status Update" meant someone cared enough to wonder if I lived or . . . not? Couldn't they have called? No. A mail inquiry would give me time to absorb the shock. Right?

They know the questions patients must ask themselves before they open the enclosures. Or did someone read my mind? Information must be collected and reported by law in the state of Texas? Really? Why didn't someone tell me? Education? What education? Follow-up? There was never any follow-up! No one ever told me I was in the registry, dang it! See? The research bit takes me back to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Ironically, Oprah Winfrey is doing a movie about Henrietta. One of the nurses in our family was surprised by the lack of information on my part. She, too, has had a thyroidectomy. We talked about Henrietta. How serendipitous that I caught the end of her interview with one of the talk show hosts I care nothing for. See? Everything happens for reasons. Or am I looking for fairy dust? Follow-up appointments are as natural to my second cousin as getting flu shots.  I don't get flu shots. I don't get flu either. Did I mention the only way I knew the word cancer was attached to me and the tissue removed from my neck was because a young woman in medical records sent a copy of the lab results to me by mail? See? Divine providence at work!

Ah, the magic of mail. Contents can elucidate, intimidate, and educate. Liberate?

The envelope sat in my desk drawer until I sat down to write this evening's post. It's been there since four days before my birthdate. It cost just thirty-nine cents to tell me a whole story, from start to . . . No. Not finish. I still do not know what to will do. My initial instinct was to write a letter of inquiry. The left part of my brain whispered, "Just be thankful. You followed you initial instincts and changed doctors. You asked for a referral to an endocrinologist." 

Have you ever had a single dose of chemo? I have. No matter how much you fight it, you succumb to nausea. No, I do not take chemo. I don't want to either. Ever. I no longer blindly trust my doctors. Writing to pen friends as often as good as sessions with a talk therapist. Our one family doctor is an anesthesiologist. Ha-ha. 

It doesn't help that I'm finishing up one of the most depressing but motivating books I've ever read, Atul Gawande's, Being Mortal. I started reading it last year. It's not ecommended reading for the weak and fainthearted. It is for the strong and the realists. Forewarned is forearmed. I almost wrote "four-armed" but humor can stretch only so far. This is funny though. Not ha-ha funny though! Gawande's father is diagnosed with spinal cord cancer. Frightened Jokingly, I asked JC "What if I have it too? I have the same symptoms." He did not laugh at me. Instead he told me of the time his back hurt for so long and unrelentingly that he asked his doctor is he had spinal cancer. JC was in his twenties then. We laughed about it last night, and tonight I feel foolish for having wavered, but hey, it makes for a better post. If this one is too depressing for you; if you only want light and humorous fare online . . . Well, I write about my life, what comes and goes in the mail, and stuff. Stuff is a wide umbrella and sometimes it rains on my head. (grin)

But, even in the darkest parts of a day, there is always light. It comes and goes in the mail with other stuff.

Please know that if things were dark and dire, I'd never mention it until after the light. There is nothing so depressing as hopeless mail. My road to recovery is often filled with the musings I dance with in the night. 

Ah, the beauty of mail.

Be well.

Peace and wellness,


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Catching Up

Catching up is as easy as creating a new habit. I read once that a habit is . . . Well, you can look up the definition. And here's an interesting place to learn about habits and how to make them stick. I'm making a habit of catching up by blogging something everyday. I spend equal amounts of time reading all the posts I missed. You won't believe the time I've spent commenting on the blogs I follow. It's done in sessions. It's easy if you set a timer. Your neck and back won't spasm out if you time yourself. Speaking of necks and backs . . . My new chair with special lumbar support arrived today. JC put it together for me. Well, he tried. Parts C, D and the headrest are missing! Parts C and D attach the seat to the base. 

A call to Amazon support showed me how grumpy and intolerant I am when I'm in pain, and the person on the other end of the line does not speak English well. I'm sensitive when dealing with others who have language barriers, seeing as how people often have problems with my own accent. I try to speak succinctly and slowly, but even the cats avoid me when I'm in pain, and I have to do something I don't want to do anyway. Feeling put out because most of the parts to the chair I need are missing, felt like a license to be rude when "Alan" had me repeat "parts C, D, and the headrest are missing" three times, and he wanted me to say it a fourth. I lose my temper maybe three times a year. I'm trying to break the habit because it's just wrong, I always feel awful after, and it's just not right. Practice still makes perfect. The more I write the stronger my muscles become. 

I hope you aren't as tired of looking at these postcards as I am. There are lessons to be learned here, right? Boy, will I be glad when the lesson learned becomes a habit. Three finished postcards are in the Out Box. 

This Charley Harper postcard is as graphic as it gets. It's one of my favorite. I like everything about it, down to the poop on the pilings. 

All the postage I ordered came today! I used the first space themed stamp on a letter I wrote last year. I have a habit of writing letters and misplacing them; there are "wait until the next day" or "letters that require a cooling off period" before sending too, so I opened this one just to be sure. I've lost enough pen pals. Turns out it's a Christmasy letter. Oh! Maybe I should wait and send it as part of my "Christmas in July?" 

I bought this for a pen friend last year then decided the message was meant for me all along. I tend to let the yesterdays of losing pen pals use up enough of my postal todays. May I never mention the losses again, and cherish the pen friends that remain. Most of you know about the recent floods our area has been plagued with, so allow me to tell you this: A woman's home was flooded. Everything was lost. She didn't wast time letting yesterday take up too much of her today; the family got busy cleaning up and preparing to rebuild. She told a news reporter, "The next thing I knew, a group of Mormons showed up and started working." We're making a lot of lemonade in Texas lately.

Thank you.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Felix Doolittle Did a Lot

I am fond of watercolor. One of my favorite watercolorists is Virginia Fouche. Another favorite is George Simmons. Their styles are dramatically different yet both are masters of the medium. I'm not. That doesn't stop me from buying copies or even originals of what I cannot do. 

I often try my hand at making stationery. In an attempt to be clever I printed my own postage to match my postcards. The ranunculi are from my own back yard. The pens are mine as well. Just a Note was the name of my little Etsy store. Ha. Ha. 

I believe in supporting artists; no artist should ever starve! They are replicators of the world around them and deserve support. I also believe most art looks good as notecards, so that might explain why I have boxes and boxes of pretty stationery that will never see the inside of a post office. I buy singles too. This one was of many I bought last year when they were on sale at Whole Foods Mkt, of all places. The warmth of the earth tones got to me. Felix Doolittle is just that good. He encourages us to "write often." As if we need encouragement, huh? Still and all, I like that he said it. 

I like knowing that the artist, Felix Doolittle did a lot. He taught me something. Truth is, I bought this card thinking the image was an old fashioned stapler. Seriously. Imagine my dismay when I discovered the messed up type at the bottom. What? Why didn't I see that last year? No wonder they were on sale!!! See me jerk Felix's lovely little cardfrom the clear envelope, flip the back to front, scan-scan-scan. . . See my shamefaced grin? (GRIN) Does "dot dot dash"really mean "I miss you?" 

It's time to release this one.

Find Felix Doolittle here:  felix doolittle. If I were as good as Mr. Doolittle I would charge less to sell more. 

Sincerely sincere dash dash dot dot dash dash


P.S. The pocket mirrors are just right for lipstick-red-red-lipstick-wearing letter writers!