The price of going off the trail

My daughter and I took a hike up Crowder Mountain this week-end. The weather report was all rain, so when it turned out to be nice instead, we took the advice of the guy at the Whole Foods deli counter and headed for the hills.


It was a spectacular day with only one minor hiccup.


When we picked up the trail map at the visitor’s center, I noticed they were selling these really awesome walking sticks. They ran about $20 each which I thought was outrageous  for a chunk of wood, so we decided we’d look for our own.

About 2/3rds of the way up the mountain, my daughter thought she spied a pile of potentially useful  sticks so she veered off the path to grab one and scratched her leg pretty good. Once we got back down to the car, we stopped at the ladies room and gave it a good wash.  It looked fine except for one little black piece that seemed stuck. We tried again at home to clean it out and then even more aggressively the next morning- no dice.  We had the flashlight and the tweezers out doing our level best, but it was a no go.  I began  to worry that it might be a tick…and a rather large one.  I went online..

big mistake. 😖

We reluctantly showed up at an Express Clinic a few hours later. The PA gave my daughter a shot to numb the area and removed what turned out to be a decent sized wood chunk that was embedded deep in her leg. The office co-pay was $20..I’m sure the actual bill will be a tad more.. 😐

So yeah, those $20 walking sticks?  What a deal.




The squeak is where it’s weak.

“What is that horrible noise??” I yelled up to my husband.

He was where he always is after work, in the construction zone that is our master bathroom. I’d say we are in the middle of the remodel, but (even though we’ve been at this for a few weeks) it feels like we are still at the beginning.


I was under the impression we would just demo the thing and then quickly fill it up with all the shiny, new stuff I’m picking out- but no, it’s been a lot more involved.  The big noise was coming from my husband’s super-dee-dooper, deafening drill that basically simultaneously twists and bangs screws into the surface of whatever you are working on. He loves that thing- I loathe it. 


He was in the bathroom on his hands and knees pounding a pack of screws into the floor boards.  You see our upstairs squeaks like a haunted mansion.  It’s really obnoxious, especially if you are downstairs- sounds like the jolly green giant is moving around and about to fall through and land on my head.


My husband is the most thorough man I have ever met. While I am willing to overlook certain things just so I can hurry a project along, he wants everything to be just right- including the floors. He’s not about to ignore these problem areas and build on top of (sq)weak spots.

Ah yes, those pesky, squeaky, weak spots..

I don’t know about you, but I have a few of those in my life right now and I will freely confess that I often just try to ignore and avoid them. The difficulty with these vulnerable areas is that small cracks and creaks have a tendency to grow, and before you know it a heretofore tiny problem is suddenly taking up a shocking amount of time and space in your life, creating all kinds of frustrating complications and making a lot of obvious and embarrassing “noise.”


Relationship difficulties, issues with food or substances, anxieties, fears (like of flying 😟) are just a few potential struggles. Hate to admit it, but unlike my hubby, I’m a carpet chick..I tend to toss pretty “throw rugs” over problem areas and just avoid dealing with them.  But have you ever been in a house with little rugs all over the floor?? (Like no one suspects there’s something bad going on under all of that.. who are we kidding here?- ha!)

And while this classic denial technique may make things  easier for a while, eventually our lives become severely diminished as we tip-toe around all of our self imposed limitations and restrictions in an effort to avoid “stepping in it.”

That’s no way to live.

I want my life to be like our floor in the bathroom..completely re-inforced- corner to corner- and ready to handle the weight of whatever I (or the Lord) choose to place on it.

Do you have some squeaky spots in your life that you’ve chosen to simply cover up and avoid? Why not rip-up the rugs, expose the truth, strengthen those weak areas and liberate yourself to enjoy every single square foot of the “life-space” you’ve been given? It may get a bit noisy and you may kick up some dust as you address and fix things head on, but it will be so, so worth the effort to ultimately live in all that freedom.





OOOPS… I did it again!



Yes…I did it again.

Not that I do it every day..

but even once in a blue moon

is one planet too many.

I made a beautiful roast in my crock pot

with red wine

 and garlic

and freshly cut oregano

and basil

cooked it for 6 hours

to serve another day

because I want to make my life easier

and be more organized

and plan ahead..


I left it to cool on the counter

 and then

watched some ice hockey on TV


washed my face


brushed my teeth


went to bed..

forgetting to put the roast in the fridge.

Sunrise over downtown Cincinnati

Went online immediately this morning

after discovering it

in its luke warm state

still sitting

on the counter

right where I left it.


Read about food poisoning..

 calculated the risk

and the cost


before sneaking it out to the trash

which thank God gets picked up today


At least I remembered that.






The Houseguest that never leaves.


My good friend and I used to joke about looking forward to moving into assisted living when we got old. Someone would cook our meals, we wouldn’t have a house to clean and there would probably be rocking chairs to sit on and while the hours away. “What’s not to love?” we’d say as we watched our 9 kids running like bats out of hell back and forth in between our houses .

But as I watch my mom and my step-dad age, the true magnitude of, and resistance to, the idea of leaving your home is becoming ever clearer and much more understandable. It’s actually a horrible, gut wrenching move- usually made with your back against the wall and no clear alternative in view. The other, more difficult, reality is that while one spouse is probably in  dire need of the extra care at a facility, the other is probably not.

The reality is that couples rarely decline in tandem, and it has been sobering, and honestly deeply depressing, seeing the toll that deteriorating health exacts on relationships.

The unrelenting physical and psychological strain of caregiving among senior citizens has truly been a shocker for me.  It is impossible to overstate the round-the-clock demands of chronic illness once it becomes the houseguest that never leaves. And in the end it is this often overwhelming responsibility that will ultimately convince the healthier partner that it is indeed time to let go of most of their earthly possessions and live where assistance is offered.

But oh, that decision is so, so tough.












The absence of pain

Well, we finally got a new mattress.  I have been complaining of aches and pains and poor sleep for ages. I’ve tried melatonin, herbal teas, exercise, name it, all in an effort to secure a solid, comfortable night’s sleep.


A few weeks ago it struck me that maybe our mattress wasn’t the right one for us. I went to our local mattress store and plopped myself across every single bed they sell. I went a total of three (four, five?) times because I was so unsure and scared of making a mistake.  Mattresses cost a bloody fortune these days and I wanted to be certain I chose the right one. Wouldn’t surprise me if the guys at our store played rock, paper, scissors to decide who would assist old Goldilocks here each time I showed up at their door.

In all seriousness, the salesmen were very patient, knowledgeable and a great help.  We finally settled on a Tempurpedic hybrid and it was delivered yesterday. No doubt the Mattress Firm folks have to split the commission amongst their entire team.. probably popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate when we finally sealed the deal..haha.

And guess what?

I got out of bed this morning

and my hip







The Navigator

After a few days of non-stop rain and chilly temperatures, Sunday was shaping up to be a beauty. We decided to take a first time drive to Belmont to visit a botanical garden that I had Groupon tickets for that were about to expire.  Surprisingly, our daughter (who is staying with us in Charlotte over summer break) was pretty excited to go.

The drive was a bit longer, but the gardens much more beautiful, than we expected. After getting in our ten thousand steps we grabbed a bite to eat in the small town and strolled through an eclectic antique mall. Belmont is a sweet little place that feels as if it’s developing a second life with new shops, restaurants and craft beer places coming online. It was definitely a worthwhile way to spend a sunny afternoon…

and then we drove home.

As we were idling at a light just outside of the “city limits,” waiting to make a left turn, my husband suddenly insisted I take a right instead. “Why?” I asked,  the car’s navigation system was directing me to go left. “I trust my phone” he said, impatiently lifting it up for me to see, “I’m telling you what it says, make a right!”

So make a right I did, and sure enough it was a quicker route home- in theory.

You see as we approached a major intersection about ten minutes later near the airport, my husband told me to make another right onto blah blah street..(I can’t remember the name.) “This isn’t blah blah street” I quickly blurted out as soon as I saw the sign. “Take it anyway!” my husband insisted..and so once again- I did.

I have been married to my sweet lamb-chop for almost 33 years, and in that time we have had our share of traveling mishaps.  We have gotten lost in the “hood,” driven miles in the wrong direction, made U-turns in dark allies and argued like crazy people over directions- but what happened next  was truly a first.

As I made the right onto the street that wasn’t the street we were supposed to turn onto, I noticed right away that the signs ahead were all blue; not green. The second thing I noticed was that the first sign we drove past said “long term parking.” The third thing I noticed was that a major traffic jam was waiting for us further down the road.  A plane roared overhead, and then I saw them..the signs for arrivals and departures.

Yes, ohhh yes indeedy. We had driven right into the belly of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport on a busy late Sunday afternoon and yup..we had just passed the only exit outta there.

“Arrivals or departures??” I called out to my navigator.  He was staring out the window in stunned disbelief at the terrible mistake “we” had just made.. But there was no time for emotion, contemplation or regret, we were mere minutes away from one of two combat zones- “HEY NAVIGATOR! – Arrivals or departures???!!!”

airport parking

We chose departures, cause that just sounded better than arrivals, and spent about 15 solid minutes in stop and go hell as we inched our way through the drop off area. Whistles were blowing, cops were flailing their arms like windmills, drivers were beeping..and my goodness, were we and my daughter that is. My hubbie, the navigator, was too busy criticizing passenger drop off techniques, the traffic cops, the designers of the airport, hotel shuttle services, i-phones, goggle maps, people who take too long to say goodbye, people who travel with too much luggage.. you know, classic male blame transference- I think that’s an actual psychological term..I’m NOT even kidding.

“Good thing I’m not driving” he muttered, “I’d be blowing my horn like crazy.”

“Yeah” I thought to myself.. but if you were driving and I was in charge of directions, we wouldn’t have taken the scenic route….THROUGH THE AIRPORT!!!  But I couldn’t be too harsh with my man..after all..I may have had to muddle my way through multiple lanes of traffic because of him, but he had just muddled his way through multiple  displays of flowers because of me.





So which is it?



There are two ways to look at terrorism:

One is to view it like randomly occurring sink holes. They open up, swallow groups of people, and there really isn’t anything we can do to prevent it. We are told to “live our normal lives” and we do.

The other is to see it as a disease.  And if 66 people had died in the same spot-at the same time-of a virus yesterday, you can be sure we’d be demanding swift and urgent action.