[I only have this day and this moment.  It will never be again nor is it guaranteed that I will have an endless stream of them yet to come.]  

I tell myself that a lot some days.  It's a sort of a reminder-a Jack Handy moment-a bit of Matt Foley motivational self talk.  I say it because it is absolute truth.  But, I also say it because my menopausal mind doesn't feel as rational as I remember being previous to this metamorphic journey. 

If there are men reading this, you may be tempted to stop reading right now.  Maybe though there is a small part of you as a man that is curious as to what really goes on in the mind of a woman in menopause.  Maybe men want to know why their woman seems troubled or uptight at times with no apparent reason [ok, we as women want to know that too!].  If you don't want to know, you should!

My daughter and I were lamenting periods, menstrual cycles, Aunt Dot, menses or whatever you want to call it.  We were discussing how you just don't feel the greatest for a couple of days during your period.  It's as if some alien has come to dwell inside your body causing your back to scream in pain, your uterus to throb, your abdomen to appear puffy like a marshmallow, and your digestion to be totally disrupted.  Despite all that, womankind on a whole carry on with all the regular things in their lives despite this highly uncomfortable and inconvenient flow of menstruation.  Keep the she-ate-the-apple first thoughts to yourself men!

Recently that same daughter of mine was trying to articulate to her husband how uncomfortable those couple of days every month are.  How she physically and emotionally feels.  When it appeared she wasn't hitting a chord he could fully get, she explained it this way to him.  How do you think you would feel if every 28-30 days blood came pouring out of your penis?  Brilliant Hannah!  Bravo! Take a bow for that concise summary that nailed it!  He completely got the word picture.  No doubt compassion flooded his every cell.

Oh I have read those menopause books.  The ones that try to concisely tell aging women what is happening to their reproductive systems, how to combat this natural but uncomfortable progression of life, and how to recognize it as it is occurring.  It is merely words on a page.  It's like reading birthing books BEFORE your water breaks and you are 8 cm dilated - useless!

I don't like the changing morphiness of my body structure.  Despite the same extreme habits of diet and exercise, I can see the tides of change.  I don't like it is an understatement!  I don't like that my mind seems not as steady, not as level, not as clear as it once was.  I don't like freezing one moment and then wanting to risk being arrested for indecent exposure because I am so damn hot I want to take any clothes off that are blocking the air from hitting!  I don't like that I just feel off kilter.  I don't like that I wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.

Mostly I don't like that my monthly cycle, my regular 28 day visit from Aunt Dot is not steady, predictable, or normal any more.  All that does is make me feel even more hormonally dysfunctional.  It's 50 days, 40 days, 28 days, 4 days.  There is no rhyme or reason to its schedule nor can I anticipate its arrival or departure.  It seems to be this physically gray area. 

I am not mourning the passing of my child bearing years, but rather the steadiness of estrogen in my body.  I am angry that menopause comes and rearranges order and systems that make me feel more normal both mentally and physically.  I would gladly will my ovaries and uterus to a younger woman that wants children.  I am done with them for that purpose.  I am though not done with the workings of estrogen!

Hormones fluctuate as they attempt to realign themselves without Estrogen.  That clearly describes the yo-yo ness of menopause and why you are now an alien of sorts in the body you once knew so well.  I hate having a monthly period.  Most of the female population does.  But I think I hate the process of losing it even more.  I have made peace with the enemies before, I think I will have to do it yet again.  



There are just too many things in the English language that are too close in proximity to one another.  I am grateful that I am indignant to the English language by birth.  That allowed me to be absorbed from birth into a language of confusing duplication, homonyms, and synonyms.

We have words that sound the same, that are closely spelled the same as well, but have totally different meanings.  Those homonyms are conduits of confusion for even those natives of the English language.  Homonyms have to be the equivalent of Mount Kilimanjaro to those just learning English as a second language.  How do you explain that exception and interpretational guideline for using homonyms in language?

Our English language is not totally like a math equation - logical and concrete.  There are exceptions and variables.  There are subjective, creative, liberal, and interpretative uses.  I kind of like that wide open palette. It allows for a creative spin. That though no doubt drives the purists, the literature lovers and the English teachers crazy. 

Look at words like; prostate and prostrate.  There is only one letter difference, a very slight pronunciation alteration between them but they mean totally different things.  If used incorrectly the communicator appears maybe not so intelligent.  Or, how about accept and except.  Two words that are spelled different but sound almost exactly the same because we as a culture typically and sloppily mispronounce accept.  They have though different definitions.  Accept means to receive something or come to realize.  The other word, except, means not including or other than.

Then there are the words, plane and plain.  Right now you are reading this and getting cocky.  [Hey lady! Those are simple words that though they sound the same mean totally different things.]  They both have multiple definitions and at least one of them has a crossover meaning to the other word.  If I were a Russian transplant learning English as a second language those two words might make me question English as a logical language.

Those words are both nouns and adjectives. Geez!!  Plain as a noun means a broad unbroken expanse of land or something free of ornate or extraneous matter.  As an adjective it means lacking specialness, being simplistic, being obvious or unobstructed.  My own head is spinning!

Plane you might think is an airplane.  That's probably the most common noun definition that pops in our heads.  It also can be used for a flat and level surface, a level of existence.  This word plane is noun, verb and adjective. I pretty much frustrated my 7th grade English teacher with my endless questions trying to grapple with the solids and the exceptions of the English language.

The English language is akin to jazz music - it is interpretative with some underlining absolutes.  There are definitely creative options in both.

I love the post my middle sister re-posted on Facebook recently.  It said something like, "I was thinking of a word I wanted to use, but when I couldn't think how to spell it, I picked another word."



There is without a doubt an art to finagling and finessing difficult and know-it-all-ish people.  Everyone has one or two in their individual spherical life.  I have several. They are irritating, taxing and exhaustive.  But, amazingly enough there is a measure of entertainment value that can be garnered from them as well.

With those difficult and know-it-all personality traits comes the inability to view self objectively, properly or even at all sometimes.  They truly are legally blind to self and their own personality.  That leaves the door wide open for a bit of play with them - some over compensated not totally sincere almost borderline condescending responses to their pompousness.  But because they have no sense of self, they also lack the intuitive sense to interpret others properly.  Instead of knowing there is a bit of passive/aggressive response in play, they view it as praise, a stroke, affirmation of their greatness. 

I think there are in fact various degrees and characteristics of narcissism.  Being a know-it-all is most assuredly a trait of some level of narcissism.  Much like a sugar coma must be a level in Candy Crush .  If not, it should be!

I make a game out of interactions with those several in my life that fit that category.  They would never know that they drive the crap right out of me.  First they wouldn't know because they are not observant about anything that isn't about themselves.  Second, I treat them overly kind and pander a bit to them.  It's like giving a screaming baby a bottle - calms them right down.

And, if those know-it-alls and difficult people can like someone because they pander to them they become a bit of putty in your hand.  It disarms them, helps them not have to plump up their peacock feathers and strut their stuff as much.  You are giving them a measure of the deep desire that causes them to act that way in the first place.  You are giving them affirmation.

It seems that all of humanity is designed to need affirmation.  Those in that know-it-all category need even more of it.  My initial response to them is disgust, irritation and the desire to have as few interactions with them as possible.  Then I realize they are a bit of a hot potato and I can play a game without them even knowing.

I baked a nail file in the cake and they haven't figured it out yet. 



I exited the off ramp with the light green making a left hand turn on the green arrow at the peak of its green-ness.  The opposite direction off ramp had a red light.  It didn't matter though to the woman sitting at the red light who pulled out, turning right on a red light, while I was already into that lane turning left on a green arrow.

I don't do much slow, driving and accelerating included.  She obviously either didn't care that I was there or totally misjudged my fast speed through the green arrow.  Either way, she pulled out from her red light into the right lane causing me to slam on my brakes and whip over to the left lane to avoid hitting her full force.  If there would have been someone in the left lane my choice would have been to hit them to avoid her or hit her to avoid them. 

I grew up on a farm in a home where the only swear word I really ever heard was shit.  I have theories on swear words but that is for another session.  More than shit flew out of my mouth in a repeating loop till my adrenaline lowered itself after nearly missing having a major accident due to her stupid driving.

My fury was majorly heightened and compounded to infinity and beyond by all the bumper stickers on her vehicle.  I don't get bumper stickers at all.  Evidently it is imperative to you that others be subjected to your views while trapped behind you in traffic.  Why not get a Ghost Busters mega phone attached to the top of your car to tout your propaganda as well.

Besides how tacky bumper stickers look on a vehicle, I think if you can't live up to the slogans on your vehicle you shouldn't be able to have them visible to others.   I don't have an ichtus [Jesus fish] on my car because I drive like a bat out of hell.  I don't want to give Jesus a bad name.  I probably can do that at times WITHOUT a bumper sticker anyway.

Then there are bumper stickers that make no sense at all.  They cannot be figured out and must only be posted for 2 other people in the universe who get the inside story of your ambiguous bumper sticker.  If your bumper sticker cannot be understood or interpreted by the reader, then don't put it on your car. I might not care what you post on your window or bumper anyway but if I can't decipher it then it just pisses me off more!  And if you absolutely need to have a bumper sticker on your vehicle could you please please please make it humorous.  Humor removes all road rage!

This near accident causing bumper sticker woman did not hold to my train of thought obviously.  Her vehicle was the poster board for anything green, granola-ish, and hippie humanistic. 

As I nearly slammed into the rear of her vehicle this is what I read....

We are here to awaken to the separateness
of our thinking.
[I get the meaning of the phrase in the big sense, but really!
Is that the best way to get the message across.  It's like a saying on a church sign -
is that really going to get someone to walk in the door?]
Respect the earth.
[Um, yeah.  Isn't that a given.  Do you think that those that aren't will be changed
by reading it.  That they will have an epiphany while swearing at you for your bad
driving and then reading your bumper sticker that says that!  You obviously didn't respect that I was
a car in full motion.]
Peace for all species.
[..."I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company."  You'd be an idiot not to want that.  Does that
qualify for a bumper sticker - the obvious desire of most of all humanity except for
those of evil hearts.  Lady, you are preaching to the choir!]
There were actually several more bumper stickers, but after nearly causing a major accident she accelerated so fast that I had a hard time reading them all.  Maybe that was her way of acknowledging she was in the wrong.  Maybe she was awakened to the fact that to exhibit a modicum of respect for me and keep the peace between our vehicles she best high tail it out of there.  Or, she heard the profanity coming from my vehicle.
Did I say I hate bumper stickers?



One of our granddaughters texted me while I was at work today.  She is 11.  When you are 11 you are just you no matter what.  You haven't crossed that gotta-be-fully-immersed-in-current-culture quite yet.  She hasn't crossed that line and I hope she never does.

We took pictures of ourselves; her laying in her bed and me at work.  She had that beautiful smile I love and her eyes were sparkling with Hailie-ness.  There wasn't a big point to our texting conversation though we covered school, the test she had tomorrow, how tired she was, going to her Aunt's wedding over the weekend, that we were coming to see her the end of the month.  She asked how gramps was which made me laugh out loud at my desk.  She told me she missed living closer to me.  I totally agreed with that statement and found myself willing tears away as I read what she wrote.

Blended families are an interesting dynamic.  I gained this beautiful girl as a granddaughter when I married Doug almost 3 years ago.  You have to find your footing upon entering a family that is already in place.  Hailie and her sister don't call me grandma or memaw or anything grandma-ish.  It's not that I don't think I am old enough or am not ready to be a grandmother. They already have two biological grandmas.  I don't need to compete, take their place or force myself on her.

I can love her from the place of just being Nancy, or Aunt Nancy as her younger sister calls me.  Whether I am Grandma, Aunt Nancy or just Nancy, I can give a piece of myself to invest in her life.  I don't need a title to love or to be loved as is proof with most relationships.  I love my friends not because they have the title of friends, but because of who they are and what I feel about them.  Love is a title all its own.

I loved that she had texted me from her bed after a long day at school.  I loved the picture of her smiling.  I loved that she called Doug gramps.  I loved that she said she missed me living closer to her.  I loved that she was 11 and just was who she was.  I loved in the basket of good things God gave me through Doug that Hailie was one of them.


Left Hand
I have very ugly hands.  Seriously.  Never could I have been a hand model.  Hands are most definitely one of those heredity things.  I didn't fair well in the gene pool of hands like my sister Diane did.  She had great hands and big boobs growing up.  I, had neither!

It's not that my hands are big like man hands, nor are they tiny and don't match the rest of my body size.  They are the right size to sit just past my somewhat prominently bony wrists.  They are though old looking.  I do realize that at 47 my hands have weathered a lot, but they looked old long before their time.  I thank my Great Grandma Lodema for that.

I hate fingernail polish.  I just don't get it for the most part.  Why would I want to highlight attention to my old looking hands with some sort of unnatural looking color.  I don't even like to wear colors in my clothing, so I am NOT going to paint it on my fingernails. I am far too careless and much too reckless with my hands to wear fingernail polish.  I don't want to constantly be having to have my nails re-done.  Whether they are real nails or artificial nails I will not partake in nail polish.  I've asked my husband from time to time about painted nails.  He dislikes them too.  He claims he prefers old looking hands.  Doubtful, but sweet.

My hands are snaked by large veins along the same line that you might see on a weightlifter.  I don't think my reps with 10-12 pound weights created that!  My middle knuckles seem overly lined and wrinkly.  My nails are short and if you didn't know better, you'd swear I was a blue collar worker.  My right hand is a bit mangled from a home improvement accident and several hand surgeries to correct it.  It left me with not much feeling in my ring and little finger, massive scar tissue in my hand which constricts it inward and two knuckles that are raised up.  That in turn has caused me not to be able to lay my hand flat or bend my wrist to the right angle to do regular push ups without altering greatly my form.  It also has taken away the ability to play a full octave on the piano with my right hand.

Yucky Right Hand

To add to the ugliness of my hands, in particular my right hand, last winter I tripped up the wooden basement stairs with a laundry basement in my hand.  I landed my full body weight against my right ring finger's top joint.  It broke instantly.  That finger was not fully functioning to begin with, but now it is turned inward at the top joint.  To me it wasn't worth a surgery as it wasn't totally usable anyway.  I'm told that hand will have some arthritis in it from all the injuries it has incurred.  Battle scars from living I think.

Forget what my hands look like.  I suppose that really isn't the purpose of them anyway.  They are vessels of use, of purpose.  I thought about all things my hands have done.  They deserve to look old, to look weathered, to look used like a good book.

My hands have played piano, gripped bicycle handlebars, pushed mowers, held paintbrushes, tools, peeled apples, cut vegetables, rolled out pie dough, scrubbed floors, toilets, dug out bushes, planted seeds and trees, shingled a roof, held and turned the pages of books, washed cars, carried furniture, held children, combed hair, rubbed sore shoulders, wrote and typed lots of words, patted an arm or shoulder, hugged people, held Doug's hand.  They have been cut and bled, been broken, operated on, had a ring put on them, burned on the oven, and over worked to the point where they have been swollen and stiff.  My hands have gripped the steering wheel of cars, opened jars, clapped for joy, hoisted kids on my shoulders, supported my body weight to climb ropes, do push-ups and lift weights.  They too have held my own face in them when sobs have over taken me.

I suppose my hands do both noble and ignoble things.  They are both the concrete conduits of tasks and the expression and extension of emotions.  Despite how mine look, I am so grateful for their use.



I am pretty sure I like some strange things.  For instance, I like the show "Bonanza".  Google it if you're too young to know about Hoss, Little Joe and the Cartwright family.  It's what I watch much of the time while putting in the miles on the treadmill at the gym.  I've wondered if people around me are giggling.  I really don't care because the Cartwright family helps me forget that I am running on a belt while staring straight ahead without the scenery changing around me.

I like quiet too.  Now I'm not talking about monk vow of silence sort of quiet or even library shhhh quiet.  I do though recharge by quiet times.  That's really funny when I think about it because I am far far from shy or introverted.  Just the opposite.  Chaos, crowds, and noise bog me down.  Quiet brings calm, time to think, to breath, to be.  Possibly strange to you.

Pushing myself past comfortable to a bit of pain is a bit of a strange like of mine.  I want to feel what I have done.  That means whether it's exercise, projects, workload, intensity of living..... I want to feel the abs burn, the legs ache a bit, the mind be stretched, and the heart get enlarged.  A bit of pain is a reminder of being alive.  I like having the choice to push myself to that point.

I like fast.  I drive fast because I think the space between point A and B is meant to covered in the shortest amount of time possible.  I think fast so I love when books, movies and people do too.  Maybe it's a bit of a conquering spirit, but to be fast is just a huge adrenaline rush.  Would that mean I am my own drug?

I like raw things to eat.  My husband asked me today why I eat salad everyday. I had to think about why I like crunchy in raw form things.  It speaks to my minimalistic, clean freak, unadorned ways I suppose.  Some like big butts [as the song says].  I, like crunchy rawish things.  To several readers out there, this is way strange. 

I like clean.  I once told an interviewer, who hired me later, in response to his question about whether I liked a clean work environment, that I was at that moment fighting the urge to jump across the desk and scrub him down with bleach!  Good thing he didn't take that in a kinky and sexual way!!  It was my humorous and outrageous approach to that question that I'm sure got me hired!  I do though like bleach, spic and span, vinegar, soap, dust rags and Windex. 

I like water.  I mean I really like to drink water.  It's my drink of choice and pretty much always has been.  Nothing like a glass of ice cold water.  It quenches my thirst and hits the spot more than anything else.  Strange, huh?

I like that this year I saw there is a National No-Bra day.  It's about time one of my likes becomes a national thing.



After our 8 mile 1200 foot vertical climb up and 1200 foot vertical hike back down and church Saturday night, I woke up early Sunday.  My body was a bit stiff.  I decided a run couldn't possibly make it worse.  Even if it did, I had to go out in nature yet again.  The pull to the outdoors was bigger than me like usual.  My restlessness is always quelled by the unboundaried bigness of creation.

Fall has hit Arizona.  Though the once  5:00 a.m. sunrises now happen around 6:00 a.m., fall has ushered in cool nights and mornings.  Temps have been as low as 35 degrees in the early morning hours before the sun peeks from beyond the mountains to the east.  Sunday morning was cold as I checked Accuweather before heading out the door to run - 34 degrees.  

34 degrees here is not the same as 34 degrees back home in Indiana.  There is a vast difference in humidity and moisture in the air.  I will spare you the cliché of it's a dry heat (or cold).  Here one can easily go out in 34 degrees to run in shorts and a long sleeved shirt because the air is just not as damp.  I decided on shorts, a micro thin long sleeved shirt, shoes with no socks and gloves.

It seemed a bit strange to wear gloves in Arizona on October 6th with my legs exposed, but I was about warmth not looks at 6:00 a.m.  My hands have problems with cold and I wasn't up to having them hurt so bad I would writhe in pain upon re-entering the warmth of the house.  Off I went out of our housing development to the north towards Nipple Mountain and past the church that sits out in the middle of nowhere.  I had the outdoors all to myself that time of day on a Sunday morning.  How could others be inside missing this majesty of beauty and quietness!

There it was again - this magnificent backdrop of nature all around me.  It was not lost on me.  As I ran I thought about how God must be massively in to nature because He made so much of it.  He must love to create, to paint, to sculpt, to write music that lies in the sights and sounds of the outdoors.  I thanked Him for giving me glimpses of pieces of Himself through the voice that I hear the loudest - creation.

When anyone of us gets to operate in our love zone we are like an engine that hums.  Whether that is in relationships with others, in our careers, in our endeavors, or simply in our pleasures, it is a sweet spot.  I think it's the place where God intended for us to be all along.

I had been in my sweet spot all weekend.  I had gotten lost in nature Saturday and Sunday.  I had pushed my body physically which makes me feel alive.  I had gotten to be with the man I love.  I had heard some great music and a new slant on a principle of God at church, took time to just be and felt my engine hum.

Never mind my legs were sore.  It was worth it.



There are unique things about where I live.  Some are grand and speak to that deep place of wildness that is a big part of who I am.  Nature, breathtaking beauty and harsh ruggedness, big blue skies by day, night skies full of stars, and the untamed wind are just some of things that are unique and grand here.  They don't seem to get old to me.

There are though some frustrating parts of living in this area.  It exasperates and exhausts me sometimes. One is the availability of things.  There is not a lot of choice for shopping, for purchasing things.  Stores have what appears to be a more scaled back variety of offerings of products.  Things I have come to love from back home you just can't get here. 

I suppose in all reality none of us need that many choices.  We all still have far more than most people in other parts of the world will ever have.  I do though sometimes say to my husband when embarking on a shopping trip, "Honey, let's go to town for supplies - a 50 gallon drum of laundry detergent, a 50 pound bag of flour, and a side of beef!"  It's a drive to "town"!

There are not that many stores here either and the big named stores; JCPenney's, Bed/Bath/Beyond, Home Depot, Target, Pier One and Kohls are small mini versions of what you might find in a more non-western part of the country.  Seriously I think the JCPenney [not a shopper there really even living back in the Midwest] has literally 4 men's shirt styles and colors available.  I have only ventured in there out of sheer clothing desperation since there is really no other options.

Most definitely the most frustrating part of living in this part of Arizona is the customer service.  There is absolutely none.  It really doesn't matter what sector you are needing customer service in, it just doesn't exist.  I've yet to figure out why this area is horrible at any kind of customer service.  Thinking it was just me that has had some negative experiences in the customer service arena, I asked others who have lived here a long time about it.  They concur what I have experienced is the norm.  My dander has gotten raised on a regular basis from everything to my regular interactions with the Pharmacy employees at CVS, to contractors, to lab phlebotomists, to a great many restaurants and store clerks.

Case in point; when living back in Elkhart, Indiana the CVS pharmacist would call my name out loud as I walked up to the counter.  He always claimed he knew my name because I was one of his favorite clients.  I think he knew my name because he cared.  I knew he cared about my health.  Those prescriptions that keep me alive were not transactions to him but connected to a live person who mattered. 

My first experience with the CVS here was horrible. They didn't have the medication I needed, sent us on a wild goose chase to another CVS 30 minutes away (there are only two in a region with a population of about 52,000) that was closed by the time we drove the 30 minutes.  They have filled things wrong consistently, not had the medication I need monthly or have billed my insurance incorrectly literally EVERY time I go in.  Last week I spent an hour picking up a prescription I had reordered the day before for pick up the next day.  They had once again not filled it correctly, billed my insurance wrong and then debited my HSA card with the wrong amount, re-credited it and then were unable to access the funds because of the stall of the re-credit. 

It's a bit disheartening at times, and frightening, for someone who has some chronic health issues that require medication to stay on this side of the crematory [my wishes are cremation!].  In exasperation one day, after yet another life-sucking experience with CVS, I declared to my husband, "A sick person could easily die out here in the wild west!" 

I do so miss my pharmacist from CVS in Elkhart, Indiana who cared about my health, good customer service that is just that-all about the customer, the availability of products, and  choices on somewhere else to go if you want to escape poor customer service!

Yesterday I went to have some labs drawn from an order my doctor back in Elkhart, Indiana had written for me.  There was not a sole in the lab - waiting room or behind the counter.  I stood patiently at the counter.  Eventually (about 5 minutes later) the phlebotomist appeared looking disgusted and asking if I had signed in.  I replied that I had not because there was no one in the lab when I walked in (while standing there waiting a couple came in).  She proceeded to scold me for not signing in several times and said she did not like to take people who "say" they were here before someone else.

Oh my ire flew into full swing.  [Really lady, I am going to make up a story about standing here for 5 minutes with no one else in the lab JUST to budge in front of someone!] I explained which labs I wanted to have drawn then (the non-fasting ones) and that I would come back after I had called my doctor to get an order for a cholesterol test (a fasting lab draw) I needed for my insurance health screening.  She looked at me with irritation and responded with terseness, "Well why don't you just wait and come back and do them all at once then?"  I explained again that based on the emptiness of the lab, how busy they are in the mornings when I need to be at work, I was choosing to do the non-fasting labs today and come back another day blah, blah, blah, blah - repeating again the reasons including the fact that I did not have the one test order yet.  She got short and ill-tempered about it again stating again what she thought I should do.  I told her that is not what I needed to do and could she do the labs now that I needed or not?  There was absolutely no reason she could not do them other than she was just a disagreeable person.

Now those that know something about me know I just don't put up with shit like that.  I will give you grace till the cows come home to a point, then I am just done.  It's a simple interaction.  It's not rocket science.  You are there to draw blood from people who either have insurance or the ability to pay cash.  People come there with an order for labs because of some sort of health reason or other. Do your damn job!  Do it well and not half-assed will you! 

I will not go back to that lab ever again.  When you have health issues you sure as hell don't need flack and bad customer service to further solidify the fact that you HAVE to rely on these systems due to chronic health issues.  It just digs the knife in even deeper.  I have since found out that many have had the same experience with that lab as did I. 

Why are service based industries so horrible out here?  I have yet to figure that out.  Neither have those that have lived here a lot longer than me.  It sends me over the edge and is a point of great aggravation in daily life here.  It could be that they are holding you captive - the supply is very limited but the demand is great.  Where else are you going to go to get what you need.  They have you over a barrel!

As I left CVS, after an hour of waiting to correct the error yet again this month, I drove toward Mingus Mountain and my heart began to calm down.  I had wanted to eat the Pharmacist for dinner, but held my appetite for fury at bay.  I was saving it for next month's prescription refill debacle that I have come to know will be there!  I've got at least enough of my life-sustaining medicine till next month.  It's a gamble after that!



There are certain things I love that don't love me back; cheese, garlic, wheat, milk, bean soup, sesame seeds, meat.  They cause havoc of some sort or another inside my system.  Havoc can escalate to near crippling proportions sometimes over them.  I love them, but to do so I pay a big price if I indulge.

I thought about loving things that don't love me back.  It's empty, hollow, not fulfilling, not soul satisfying, ultimately painful.  I eat those things very seldom and in very small portions if I do eat them at all.  Though I sometimes crave them, unless I am up for the pain, I choose to steer clear of them most of the time. 

A lot of wonderful things have happened in my world lately.  Those things are connected to people I love deeply and who love me back.  That loving combination makes them so much more enjoyable.

Sunday was the 14th birthday of my Mare Bear. I met her when she was four and lived across the street from me.  Nearly daily, for the 6 years I lived there, Mary would come over for chocolate and a cup of hot chocolate.  She was that grand kid I didn't have back then.  I love her frankness, her ability to just state the obvious.  And, she loves me right back. 

Yesterday was the birthdays of two people I love too.  Heather is my daughter gained through the magnificent love of remarriage with Doug.  She is, of our combined three daughters, the eldest at 32.  Life has taught her lots of stuff which has made her smarter than she might have been without those things.  She has beautiful thick long dark hair and can get up out of bed in that natural beauty sort of way.  When she smiles and laughs it is pure joy because she is truly in that moment.  I love her and I have come to know she loves me too.

Jill is my oldest sister's youngest child.  She is one of my five nieces and is mixed right smack dab in the middle of the lot.  She might, probably is, definitely the most like me of all of them.  What she thinks she says.  She is usually smiling, laughing and singing.  She's got a great voice and has always just been her own person.  I love Jilly.  She brings joy to wherever she is.  She loves me back.

Today was my twin niece's birthdays.  Tess and Chloe, now juniors in college, are very different from each other, yet a strand of familiarity cuts through them both.  Tess, from the time she was born, was obstinate, stubborn and strong willed.  She balanced that intensity with this big wild laugh.  As a toddler she would laugh so hard the big vein in her neck would pop out.  I used to love to get her to laugh just to get caught up in the joy of watching her lose it.  She is beautiful with flashy white teeth and long flowing blonde hair.  Her smile catches your attention.  She hugs me hard and I love her buckets full.  She loves me back as well.

Chloe is Tess' twin sister.  She is strikingly beautiful with a smile and eyes that give you a window into her heart and soul.  Pictures of her as a little kid show the same grin that she wears today.  Her desire to please has pushed her to the limits at times, but she has learned that being who you really are is the best place to be no matter what you think others want.  Every time she sees me she hugs me hard and picks me up off the floor.  Her sweet tender spirit and humility make me love her deeply.  She loves me back too.

Last Thursday we had our fourth grandchild - Mason.  His mom, Nicki, is my other daughter gained by marrying Doug.  Ben is married to Nicki and I also got lucky enough to get him as a son-in-law as well.  Their pregnancy was peppered with bed rest, early contractions and the hope that they would at least make it to 34 weeks.  Thursday was week 34 and Mason made his appearance 6 weeks early.  He's a little peanut, but doing great.

Ben and Nicki have been through a lot in the past couple of months.  They handled it with grace and more patience than I think most would have had in those circumstances.  Ben has this great sweet spirit and easy way about him.  Nicki is all of about 4'10", long dark wavy hair and the cutest smile you'd ever want to see.  They are going to be great parents.  They made me feel loved and part of the family from the first time we sat down with them to tell them we were getting married after 30 days.  I love all three of them.  They love me back too.  [I cannot wait to hold little Mason in a few weeks and hug both Nicki and Ben!]

When the things we love love us back it is powerful.  That is how God must feel when we choose to acknowledge how much He loves us and then love Him back.