Day 365


What a bittersweetness I am feeling. In fact, writing my very last blog has overshadowed and superseded the reality of turning 61. I truly nearly forgot.

When I am close to finishing a book that I have really enjoyed, I experience a homesick-thirsty feeling. If I have about 10 pages left, I dole them out carefully. I save those last few pages to read until I can sit quietly, not feel rushed, and not be interrupted. I want to cherish and be entrenched in the ending. Occasionally when I finish a book, I actually miss the characters for a period of time.

My heart is heavy as I write this blog. It feels similar to finishing a great book. 

A few of you have been with me from the beginning. You have been incredibly faithful. My gratitude is fathomless. I am deeply humbled by your kindness. 

I will miss speaking to you every day.

Though I am ready for a bit of a respite, this is not the end. My plan is to begin the tedious task of going back and reading through the nearly 138,000 words I have written and begin an editing process. A thought from the beginning was to compile this into a book. I will begin that journey. 

My website will remain the same and I will give periodic updates, so stay tuned. I have had many thoughts about if and how to continue. I may write a “Weekly Wednesday” blog to keep my connection.

To stay tethered to your hearts. 

What day is it?” asked Pooh.

It’s today,” squealed Piglet.

My favorite day,” said Pooh.

Losses and Gains

Today I feel like I am sending my kid off to college. I’m happy for them to have the experience and know it is part of their growth (as well as mine), but also feel a bit of a panic as I see that it is becoming real. 

Wrapping up this year of blogging feels pretty darn real and my emotions are mixed, for sure.

I want to write today of the losses and gains I have experienced over the last 364 days. As in every journey we begin, there are both. It is inevitable.

American politician, sociologist, and diplomat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, stated “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” And friends, losses and gains are facts.

What I lost:


Relationship. I missed many a night sitting in bed eating popcorn and watching Black List or St. Elsewhere or Sherlock with my husband. Thank you for your patience and support, dear Mike. I’m coming back so get the popcorn popping. 

Socialization. In a previous blog I have mentioned my annual cousins retreat. Last fall at our gathering, I had to slip away for a couple of hours to write my blog. I probably missed some very meaningful conversations, or at least some great laughs. Whatever travel has happened during this year has involved me disappearing for a period of time to write.

Workout routine. Well, something’s gotta go. There is only so much time in a day. Along with sleep deprivation, my previous steadfast workout routine suffered as well.

A little pride. In the beginning of a project, no matter what it is, you have a Pollyannish bent. I assumed that thousands would flock to my site and Kathie Lee and Hoda would be sending me airline tickets to appear on their show in New York. Though that has not happened, I’m still believing it may. 

What I gained:

Perspective. A true definition of perspective is this: The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point. In simple terms, the way we regard something; our viewpoint. I like the long version of the definition. “…the right impression of height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other…” Everything that comes into our lives has its own weightiness. It is in measuring and balancing those things that make or break us. 

Knowledge. I have done a lot of research and reading, which has been fun. Knowledge also includes new words. I hope you have learned a few new ones, too.

The “every day remarkable”, meaning I began to see, hear and observe every day things as blog posts. It opened my eyes to the extraordinary ordinary.

New conversations. When I met new people and they asked about my life, I told them about the blog. When I ran into old friends and they asked what I have been up to, I told them about the blog.

Discipline. That one is a given. If anyone ever asks me how I was able to keep up, my answer will be exactly the way we should approach life, one day at a time. 

More photographed time with Mama. I was mindful every time I was with her that I may write about her in my blog that day. Very often I would snap photos of us together. I didn’t use all of them, but I have them. And they will always be a treasure to me.

A larger heart (not literally) from the love and kindness and support of dear ones. You know who you are.

Eleven pounds. Yep, sadly that is true. It is quite possibly a combination of reasons; decreased sleep, a stressful year with Mama, the loss of consistent exercise, as noted in the “losses”, and perhaps too many late night chocolate milks and kettle chips at my desk. 

An important aspect of healthy living is embracing the good with the bad, the sickness and health, the gains and the losses. 

I embrace every moment and every day of the journey, and I am grateful. 

Blog Grogg

This morning I was running errands and decided to swing into my local coffee shop for a Highlander Grogg. This can caught my eye. It took me a nano second to get it. Then I really liked it. I quickly snapped a picture while the window girl was getting my coffee. I didn’t want her to think I was a demented stalker trying to get a photo of her. 

The saying reminded me a bit of yoga. At the beginning of every class, the instructor says “Whatever is on your mind this morning, leave it on the mat. Lay it down and take this hour to focus on your breathing. Rest your mind and strengthen your body for this one little chunk of time.” To which I say to myself “Yes, please.”

Why do we fear change? I’ve been addressing this a bit in my recent blogs. I ran across a few quotes about change and want to share them.

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending ~ C.S. Lewis

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change ~ Stephen Hawking

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails ~ William Arthur Ward

There is nothing so stable as change ~ Bob Dylan

I so love that last one. Change is indeed a sign of stability. And the opposite of that, no change ever, is definitely an indication of shaky instability. It’s an irony, of course, but many truths are. 

So do you want to complain about the wind, expect it to change, or adjust the sails? 

Yes, me too. I want to adjust the sails and leave my fear of change in the tip jar. 


As my one year anniversary date draws nearer, I find myself experiencing a touch of senioritis. Senioritis is a colloquial term used in the United States and Canada to describe the decreased motivation for studying by students who are nearing the end of their high school or college years. 

To some degree, that does not accurately define what I am feeling because I am 100% motivated to finish this project. I think where the term seniorities fits for me is in the sense of excitement about honoring my commitment, combined with a tinge of sadness. 

Seniors experiencing this malady want to skip school, blow off assignments, hang with friends, and party hearty. I believe there is another part of senioritis that is rarely discussed. A very real component of the ailment is uncertainty and unfamiliarity. There is a degree of fear when a senior realizes what they have known; their daily schedule, their safety net, even the seemingly-confining boundaries of home will soon be changing. 

I think that is where I am right now. I am ready to finish strong but a significant part of my day, my life, will change after August 21. Though we often balk at routines, we need them. We like them. We have an intimacy with them as our tethers to comfort and security. 

However, as in all things, time heals, smoothes, prepares, anticipates, presents, and acts. The wane is beautifully answered by the wax.

The Last Night in July

Every time July 31 rolls around I think of a song by Carole King. It was released on the album called Rhymes and Reasons in 1972. My older brothers had albums that I used to sneak and borrow so I could listen to them in my room on a small little thrift store turntable. I loved the James Taylor album Sweet Baby James, Jackson Browne’s For Every Man, and anything Carole King.

On King’s Rhymes and Reasons album, there were so many great songs; Feeling Sad Tonight, Goodbye Don’t Mean I’m Gone, the hugely popular Been to Canaan, and the one to which I am referring in this blog post, The First Day in August. 

There is something about the last day of July that brings a touch of sadness. I think, in part, it is because it marks the last full month of pure summer. Technically, we still have summer until the first day of fall, which is September 22. But we all know that by August, the back-to-school blues are beginning and things begin to feel different. All summer clothes go on sale. The days begin to darken noticeably sooner.  We start to hear about dates set for fall festivals and pumpkin runs. 

So this song. I do not 100% love all of the words, but there is something sweet and sad about the song that draws me in. I am going to share it so you can join me in the end of July blues. James Taylor crooned about calling on friends in winter, spring, summer, or fall.

Isn’t that what friends are for?

On the first day in August

I want to wake up at your side

After sleeping by you on the last night in July

In the morning

We’ll watch the sun rising

And we’ll chase it from the mountains

To the bottom of the sea

When the day is over

And the night air comes to chill us

You’ll build a fire

And we’ll watch the flames dancing

You’ll fall asleep

With your arm around my shoulder

And nothing will comes between us

On the first night in August

The first day in August

Happy last day of July. 

Bay at the Moon

This evening we were finishing up the daily crossword and came across a clue none of us knew. The clue was “Serenade the moon”. By process of elimination the word had to be “bay”. We googled it to check the meaning. The full explanation of this is the phrase “Bay at the moon”. If you bay at the moon (or howl at the moon), you waste your time and energy trying to do something which is impossible or trying to get something which you cannot have. 

We all like the phrase and decided that we are going to begin to integrate it into our everyday conversations. Though, truly, to bay at the moon has a rather negative and sarcastic tone. It feels that to work it into conversation, would mean someone wants something that is most likely not going to happen, or desires something that probably cannot be attained.

Well, that certainly is a downer, which is unfortunate because the mix of words in the phrase is so great. I love the word ‘bay’ and I, of course, love anything to do with the moon or the word moon. For example, the moonlit bay or moonlight bay. That reminds me of the old Doris Day song: 

We were sailing along on Moonlight Bay 

We could hear the voices ringing

They seemed to say

“You have stolen her heart

Now don’t go ‘way”

As we sang love’s old sweet song on Moonlight Bay

But this time, the combination of the words bay and moon mean someone is hurting, someone is disappointed.

In my 60 years of living, I have sure been there. Hurt, disappointed, hopeful and then see those hopes dashed. 

But I am not alone. Whether we are 90 or 10 and every age between, we are going to face those tough days. 

If you think that is not true, well…you may as well bay at the moon. 

A Whiff of Smoke

Today I had lunch with a few cousins. It was nice to see them. I sat across from one and she and I pretty much chatted the entire time. It was good to hear about her life; her joys, her sorrows, her interests. I did not know that she loves dancing. 

She told me about a friend who was her dance partner for many years. She said they went through a period of dancing every evening, every evening! That is a lot of dancing. When she spoke of it, her eyes sparkled. She looked happy. She said it indeed made her happy. That dance partner endured a stroke about 18 months ago. The complications of it, however, ended his life a year ago.

This cousin has had some bumps in the road, as have we all. But she found something she loved and she did it. She actually did it. 

How many of us, myself included and maybe especially, do not do the extra things we want to do. Situations or attitudes or stuff become obstacles that we think are too difficult to work around, so we concede. 

I don’t want to continue to concede. I am caring for my 90 year-old mother who can now do very little about any of her missed opportunities. Perhaps she wanted to dance or sing or play the piano or skydive. 

There are not burning drives to do anything specific, but there may be small, innocent simmers. I’m not sure at the moment I can name one.

But I do want to be open to the whiff of campfire and see where the blue-orange flames and smoke may lead me. 


On this rainy, blustery, atypically cool July evening we went out to hear my brother’s band. They were playing at a great coffee shop called College Hill Coffee, a cozy, eclectic restaurant/coffee shop/wine bar. We had eaten dinner so I ordered only coffee and enjoyed it delivered in a white glass cup and saucer set with a sweet little white glass cream pitcher of cream. 

My brother’s band is called Rosewood. They have been playing together for 44 years. Amazing. That sounds as if they have weekly rehearsals and play gigs every month. That is not the case. Life happened; marriages, divorce, kids, grandkids, jobs, illnesses. There were big pockets of time that they did not get together. But they always knew they had something special from the first time they sang harmony to James Taylor’s Close Your Eyes in Laura’s basement. 

For my brother, playing out in a genre is okay. It’s not his favorite thing. His favorite thing is rehearsal. He loves the time the three of them spend playing music together, working out the harmony of the song, seeing it all come together. That is the heart-sign of a passionate musician. It doesn’t matter where you are, it doesn’t matter if there is a crowd. What matters is closing your eyes and feeling the music. 

They were feeling the music tonight and so was the crowd, a subdued smattering of 30somethings to 70 somethings. And the songs fit the age range.

We heard Peaceful Easy Feeling, Sandbar, Chains, Your Song, Close Your Eyes (a personal favorite of mine), If I Fell, Norwegian Wood, and many more. 

The only downside to the evening was that I was not up there with them. One of the “What I would liked to have done” things on my list is singing with a band. I never dreamed about being the ‘star’. I truly would rather have been a backup singer. You are in the band and loving it, but without the pressure of being the lead. It’s win-win.

So, one of these days before I get too old, maybe I’ll get the opportunity to be a part of a band, if for only one song on one night. I can look the part. I will wear my faded jeans and white peasant blouse and put my hair in a messy side braid and on my ears, place dangling, silver earrings.

And I will sing my little heart out:

Well, the sun is surely sinking down

And the moon is slowly rising

And this old world must still be spinning round

And I still love you

So close your eyes, you can close your eyes

It’s alright

Cause I don’t know no love songs

And I can’t sing the blues anymore

But I can sing this song

And you can sing this song when I’m gone

Addled and Befuddled

My middle son, Christopher, and I are in a crossword puzzle season. It began when my family traveled to New Haven, Connecticut to attend the graduation of my oldest son, Andrew, from Yale.

At the hotel stop somewhere in Pennsylvania, we picked up a USA TODAY and spent part of the car ride working on the daily crossword puzzle. It was fun and a challenge. We did not complete it before we arrived in New Haven, so took it into the apartment for Andrew and his wife, Lindsey, to help us finish. 

Since then, we have been daily printing out the USA TODAY crossword puzzle. Occasionally in the morning I will be sipping my coffee and checking through my work emails, when I am momentarily startled by noises in the patio room, off of the kitchen. I quickly realize that it is the printer and Christopher has, from somewhere in the house, been at a computer, gone to the website and hit “print” to deliver the daily crossword puzzle. He quickly appears after that to lift it off of the floor, where it has fallen from the printer, and find the blue mechanical pencil we now keep on the kitchen island. 

Christopher works on it for a bit and then I meander closer to take a look over his shoulder. He/we have become quite deft at completing the puzzle in a very efficient manner, sometimes too efficient. It has been fun to discover new words and also get amusingly frustrated at the simple answer we cannot at first produce. 

Occasionally when we are stuck on a couple of clues, leaving it lie on the island and walking away to do a task for a little while, produces a freshness when we return. 

Often, the teamwork approach finishes the puzzle. It has become a fun routine. Sometimes, my youngest son, Noah, will wander past it on the island throughout the day and fill in a few words. 

That little exercise is so true of life. If I zero in on an issue for too long or too pertinaciously, my vision is skewed. I can see nothing else but the problem and it appears to grow beyond its actual size. 

When I have the strength and discipline to avert my unrelenting gaze and switch my focus to another person or another situation or simply practice gratitude, the issue weakens and loses it power over me. 

The problem will come back, or another one dressed similarly. Perhaps with a bit of experience, fresher eyes, and even a buddy to come alongside, I can finish the puzzle and even discover a new thing or two along the way.


A few of my favorite humans. I have more, lots more, but here are a few that gathered this morning as one sweet newlywed couple began the long trek cross-country to Seattle. That is a lot of miles to put between us. It is a lot of pavement and trees and mountains and plains. It is a lot of road signs and trucks and hotels and McDonalds. It is a lot of coffee and granola bars and trail mix and apples. It is a lot of nights and days and nights. 

We held on to them tightly and then put them into their car and truck with reminders of safety and promises to check in and some spontaneous tears. All weekend I had been biting my lip to keep them away but it all got real this morning and the hot water in my eyes, piped in from my heart, could not be contained. 

These two make us better. Not that, as a family, we are not pretty great in our separateness, because we are. But when they are with us and we are all together, the pieces fit and we make a beautiful puzzle of love. 

My hope is continued abundance for my family. Abundance in numbers, in depth and gratitude, in emotional, mental, and spiritual wholeness, and abundance relationally. 

Tonight you are in Kansas City. You have crossed one time zone. By tomorrow night you will be in another. And then another. 

When you awaken next week at 7:00 a.m., I will be on my second cup of coffee at 10, having had my morning devotions, perhaps yoga and well into my work day. By 11:00 p.m., I will be fading as I try to stay awake to catch the weather on the local news. You may be finishing up a work day or chatting around the dinner table, or on a bike ride at the park. I will miss being ‘together’ with you at lunch time and early morning and Friday night pizza.

But love is bigger and love is stronger than time zones and mountains and plains. And the miles between us are lovely ribbons that bind us and keep us and tether our hearts.

It is nearly 10:30. I must floss and brush and wash my face and apply hopeful, youthful night cream. You two are probably finishing up your evening coffees, having picked them up from a local KC coffee shop, and checking into your Airbnb, tired from a day of travel.

Rest well, my darlings. Tomorrow is another day of hitting the pavement and adding up the miles, every rotation of the tires sealing and smoothing that lovely ribbon.