When someone has done something terribly wrong to me, I do not feel like being kind. I will be angry or self-destructive instead. But eventually, you have to reach for kindness. Certain religions, philosophies or therapies say you need to forgive the person who caused you pain, so you can let go. I say to heck with that. Sometimes the person doesn’t deserve forgiveness or isn’t around to deal with the aftermath. (Of course, many years of therapy has taught me that usually the person Read More +


I love taking junk and turning it into something useable. I have no doubt that I inherited this characteristic from my father. Just this week, I walked into his garage and saw he had a shiny new trailer. “Where did you get that?” I asked. “I made it!” he said. Of course, he did. He had cobbled together parts: the steel sides of an old truck he had owned 30 years ago; the fenders he picked up at a flea market 10 years ago (“because Read More +

Ice cream fiend

A few months ago, I invested in a good blender to replaced my blender that moved out. About two years ago, my BFF introduced me to green smoothies that actually tasted good and I was ready to get back on that bandwagon. I love being able to drink a tasty shake, but actually be absorbing the healthy goodness of spinach, kale and other green stuff. When the blender arrived, there was a booklet inside that included a recipe for blender ice cream. Now, I have Read More +


About 15 months ago, my home was pulled out from under me. I have lived in this house that I call home since 2001. The house was built by my aunt, who called it home for 40 years and raised her family here. It is the only home my daughter remembers. And while it is too much property for me, too much space to tend, too old to keep up on repairs, too much house to clean, it has always felt like mine. Kind of Read More +

Grief gardening

I have to keep this post short, but I will explore this topic again soon. In recent years, I have had more than my fair share of grief. Losses and fears sometimes seemed to swallow me. At one point, I really just wanted the pain to stop. I was in a labyrinth of my brain and I could find no way to safety. After some intensive help and care, I start to make my most significant recovery from depression yet. One of my ways to Read More +


A few years ago, one of my best buds started experimenting with backyard farming. She took her small backyard and transformed it during less than one summer into this amazing farming landscape. It was both beautiful and edible! The produce she generated was not only enough for the family to eat, but also to have driveway markets every week. Her example – which she made look like no sweat – has been very inspiring to me. Just a year or two before that, I had Read More +


My grandmother had an obsession with elephants. I am fairly certain it was born of her life-long Republicanism. Grandma was a wonderful woman. She had seven children and I don’t know if anyone has counted the grandchildren in a few decades. She died in 1982 when I was 11 years old, but I still miss her and have dreams about her today. Her birthday is on Monday. She was born Victoria Jane Jones, a name I always thought was so perfectly her: regal and perfect Read More +


Dogs have always been a part of my family since birth. I got my first, VERY OWN dog when I was four. My dad let me pick a puppy from a litter of Schnauzers my grandma’s dog had. A little black puppy who liked to come out of the melee to see me was, of course, the only one for me. I chose her name – Henrietta – after Henrietta the Hippo on the New Zoo Revue. It was my favorite show at the time Read More +

Cell phones

I am not a person who has to have her cell phone constantly in her hand. I will often go days without checking email or social media. Somehow, life goes on without it. But I would be lying if I said I could live without it. I need it. I only have about 4 of the 125 phone numbers in it memorized. I turn to the calculator several times a day. I would be SUNK without my calendar – or, more accurately, calendars. I use it Read More +


In Cancerland, there is a lot of morbid humor and insider language. Our reconstructed breasts are foobs (fake + boobs). The dates of diagnosis, surgery or whatever sticks with us is a cancerversary. I found myself giggling just a little today when I read about someone’s nipple falling off. It wasn’t a funny story. But I have earned the right to laugh to keep from crying when it comes to breast cancer. When you have sat in a chemo chair with red fluid leaking all Read More +

‘A’ new blog

Has it been a year already?!?!? Oh, yeah, I crack myself up. Sorry, folks. I disappeared on ya. And it wasn’t really a good thing, either. You can see in my few posts from last year, things were in a downward spiral. I had to take a break … from almost everything. It was a long haul. But I am better now. A lot better. Not pretend better. Not “faking it” better. Not waiting-for-it-to-get-better better. Just better. I started thinking a few weeks ago that Read More +

Seven years

With my daughter, just after shestarted kindergarten. As of today, I’m a seven-year survivor of cancer. Lucky number seven. Luck of the Irish. Oh, sure, I recurred after five years and three months, but I am still here. And that is no small thing. Seven years ago at this time, I was completely terrified that I wouldn’t see my daughter start kindergarten. I did get to see her start kindergarten, and first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade and now sixth grade. Read More +

I wish I’d known Harry

My very first real job – after my high school career of tying tomatoes on a farm and making wreaths for a pittance for the farmer’s daughter’s not-so-thriving interior decorating business – was as an obituary writer for the local paper. It was a dream job for a journalism major who had only one college-level journalism class under her belt! The entry-level job was a way to learn AP Style and get acquainted with the workings of a newsroom. I was promoted pretty quickly to Read More +

If I had myself a monkey

Slightly out of focus and too red from being burned to death by the flash, but, trust me, it will have to do. “Never work with animals or children.” – W.C. Fields Last week, my 11-year-old dropped a new word on me that had me running for the Urban Dictionary. As is often the case with my very communicative kid, my brain was tuned only into the keywords of the conversation. My mom brain has that scanner thing you know the government uses on our phone calls and status posts Read More +

Roller coasters

Moo.Photo from the Indiana State Fair newsroom photos on Flickr. I love the Indiana State Fair. I love the crazy fried foods the vendors provide, even though I generally take one bite and pass it off to someone else or trash the rest because my old, gall-bladder-deprived body can’t handle the fat. I love the animals. There is nothing better than looking into the deep brown eyes of a gorgeous Jersey cow and saying thanks for the yummy and delicious ice cream she provides at Read More +

Good, scary stuff

Aphrodite startled, also known as Lely’s Venus.Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. Used undera Creative Commons license. I’m going to delve into something here that is really hard for me to share. In fact, as I write this opening paragraph, I’m not sure if this post will ever see the light of the internet. I’m writing it, though, for a few reasons. First, I am going to write daily. It’s an important intention of mine for reasons that would take a million years to explain, Read More +

Carry on

Blogger’s note: I wrote this blog post a few days ago, then almost immediately second-guessed it. I didn’t want to post something that felt false and within just a few hours of writing it, I had spun out of this moment of clarity and back to a darker, foggier side of my brain. It’s been several days of enormous suckitude since. Yesterday, a friend posted this video for me as a show of support. The lyrics of the whole song really sound like the band Read More +

For a better day

A year ago today, I had my ovaries removed. I had hoped this would be the end of my battle against a recurrence of cancer and the beginning of life anew. I knew better, of course. Medication was forever in my future. I just didn’t have any desire to be a cancer patient one day longer – not that I ever wanted to start. I wanted a clean break, a place to mark treatment as “done.” I wanted it over. It was the saddest of Read More +

Surviving this week: Aug. 6-10

I told you not to get too attached to my bright ideas. Two weeks, no surviving post. Get over it. I am still struggling with the flank pain I told you about a month ago. Don’t mind me. I’ve been struggling with it for years now. In the past month, I had a huge pain attack of the “can’t work” variety. It really stunk. Really, I couldn’t move. At all. Even prescription painkillers weren’t touching this pain. And just a side note about me, if Read More +

Surviving this week: July 15-21, 2012

Resistance is futile. I had this idea last week to do a weekly blog post about some issue related to being a cancer survivor. As someone trying to find something better to talk about than stupid cancer, the weekly post will give me a chance to share what’s new or what’s bugging me and frees up the rest of my week for more delightful pursuits, like refashioning and painting furniture! This is my second week! Yay! Don’t get too attached to these posts, though, I’m totally Read More +