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 In fact, writing my very last blog has overshadowed and superseded the reality of turning 61.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. 

Hard Punches

World heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson, said: “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” Tyson is more known for his “punches as hard as iron” than his wise philosophy, but when he made that off-the-cuff statement, he was spot on.

That quote by Mike Tyson reminds me a bit of my year of blogging. Early August last year when the idea came to me to document my 60th year by writing a daily blog, I was enthusiastic. When the idea gelled and my friend, Marcelina, helped me create the website, it was like Christmas Eve. I could barely sleep with the anticipation of making this thing real and jumping in.

That was the plan and it worked, but there were certainly days I got punched in the mouth. Many a dark, late night I sat alone on my bedroom floor thinking of topics then tapping away at my keyboard until one or two in the morning, driven to stay true to my pledge. I have fallen asleep sitting straight up at my computer. However, not once did I get into bed without writing my blog. I’m not looking for kudos, I am simply stating the challenge of a commitment. 

It’s all fun and games until reality sinks in. We know, cognitively, that we are responsible for meeting our own goals. But for some reason, in the back of our minds, we think/want/need another person to help. At the end of the day, and on a grander scale, at the end of our lives, we are on your own, well, humanly speaking. Thankfully, we have a sovereign God who helps us daily and at the end, meets us.

I have never lived on my own. I went from my parents home to living with my husband and then children soon followed. When you are surrounded by those you love and who love you, it is easy to get into the mindset that someone is always there to help. That is 100% true except when it comes to personal goals. The support is there and it has been huge for me this year, for which I am grateful. 

However, the work, the grit, the sitting in the trenches, the end result, was on me, as it should be. I have learned many things this year. One of my biggest lessons was persistence.

When I was a personal trainer, I used to tell my clients that there is no secret formula. In fact, it is quite simple. Small choices over time add up to real change. Let the workouts pile up and soon you will see a difference.

Some changes are subtle. Some commitments are long. Some progresses are slow. But movement is key. It is where all things begin. 

A Silver Lining

I am writing from a place of frustration at the moment. By this evening when I have gone through my day and found joy and hit the reset button, I will possibly regret writing from this mindset. But I stated from the beginning that I want to be transparent in this endeavor. If we cannot write from a place of authenticity, what is the point?

I am 60 years old, five days away from being 61. I seemingly cannot consistently carve out one hour a week to go a local yoga class. It is offered twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but geez…let’s not get too crazy. I wouldn’t want to ask for the moon.

This morning I awakened early at Mama’s house. I browned a nice beef roast in olive oil and salt and pepper. I peeled potatoes then cut them into hearty little chunks and placed them in the bottom of a crock pot. I then put the nicely seared roast over the potatoes and sprinkled onion soup mix over the top. I set it to low so that it could cook for a solid eight to nine hours and be ready for Mama’s dinner. I told her she could smell it all day long and give her something to look forward to. She didn’t quite understand.

After that, I attempted to help Mama comprehend what the day would be like; the comings and goings. She shook her head (negatively) and asked why we were doing this to her. 

We found agreeable clothes to put on and headed to the kitchen for coffee. She sipped her morning brew, sweetened with French vanilla creamer and stared at me. “Were you here with me last night?” She asked. “Yes”, I said. “We made a good dinner and talked and even laughed a bit. Later we ate ice-cream on your balcony then came back inside to sing songs from the church hymnal until our voices gave out. Do you remember?” Her reply “Not really.” Sigh. 

Sometimes I wonder if it would make a difference if we sat and did nothing all evening. All efforts to fill her time and bring her joy seem to evaporate by morning. Although in my serene mindset I know that it is indeed worth it, if not for her, then for me.

Knowing I would need to leave her by 9:10 to make it to yoga, I quickly got myself dressed in yoga-appropriate clothing, side-braided my hair and packed up my overnight bag. 

As life goes, things happen. A bit of extended time comforting Mama. A washing of the searing skillet and cleanup. A conversation that was needed. And I’m not out the door till 9:20. I thought I could still make it, while maintaining road safety. About two miles from my destination was a lane closure with lined up traffic while two large cement trucks took their sweet time backing into a new housing development. That pushed the possibilities over the edge. 

I circled back around and headed for home, defeated. I walked into the house, finding Noah working on his school schedule and lamented to him about my morning. He understood, as much as he was able.

There are those pouting, toned-down temper tantrums we occasionally throw in an adult form. I tossed one right then and there. 

As the old adage goes when a young couple has a fight about who should take out the trash, it’s not really about the trash. And this morning, it wasn’t totally about yoga. It was more about being in a place where ‘things’ prevented a small staking of a claim for oneself. 

As stated in my first paragraph, by evening I will be fine. I will be smiling and grateful. 

I will realize that this extra hour in my morning allowed me to spend time at my desk, which perhaps was even more therapeutic.

World Emoji Day

As a general rule, I dislike emojis. I did not use them until about a year ago. They felt juvenile and silly and unnecessary. I still feel that, to a degree.

Emoji is a Japanese expression, which roughly means “picture world”. It was developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita. While working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, Kurita designed picture words as a feature on their pagers to make them more appealing to teens. 

When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, an emoji keyboard was embedded to grab the Japanese market. It was not intended for the U.S. users to find. However, they did and quickly figured out how to use it. 

Every year new emojis (by the way, both emoji and emojis are acceptable plurals of the word), are developed. The keeps tracks of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. There are over 1800 emojis and they cover much more than just emotions. Transportation, food, wild and domesticated animals, weather, bodily functions, and many more virtually speak for themselves. 

Though I do not want admit it, there are a couple of emojis that I use often because the facial expression is so incredibly fitting. One is the ‘laughing so hard tears are coming out of my eyes’ face. The other one is the face that emotes a humble, sweet smile. It is a fitting complete answer to many text messages. Another few favorites are a smiling face with a blue halo, a fuchsia heart, and a cup of steaming coffee.

I distinctly remember my small cell phone of 2004-05. I believe it was a  LG TU500 flip phone. I wasn’t texting much then but I did occasionally send a message that required a smile, to ensure ‘just kidding’ or ‘sorry I was a stinker’ or various other statements that require an extra amount of emotion. Early on, I actually typed out the word and put it in parenthesis, like this (smile). Then I learned that I could use a colon and one side of the parenthesis which worked beautifully for a long time. 

Emojis have come a long way since then. I still dislike symbols because it feels lazy, but I have come to appreciate them. 

I will, however, never understand the fascination with the poop emoji. If we are going to be that invasive, why don’t we just go ahead and make different colored poop emojis; mahogany, burnt sienna, sepia, raw sienna, burnt umber, desert sand, tumbleweed, and van dyke brown. I borrowed these color names from the Binney & Smith crayola chart. 

If we are going to keep advancing emojis, we may as well go all out. It seems a bit narrow-minded to have one plain brown poop. 

National Clerihew Day

I am a tad disappointed in myself. I am a writer and did not know the word clerihew. Shameful!

Perhaps I was out sick the day of school when my creative writing class teacher taught about clerihews. Or maybe I was distracted by trying to impress the handsome poet that sat three seats behind me. Either way, I missed the lesson.

A clerihew is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem’s subject, usually a famous person put in an absurd light, or revealing something unknown or misleading about them. The rhyme sequence is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced. The line length and metre are irregular. Bentley invented the clerihew in school and then popularized it in books. One of his best known is this, written in 1905:

Sir Christoper Wren

Said, “I am going to dine with some men.

If anyone calls

Say I am designing St. Paul’s”

Not earth-shattering. Not soul-search provoking. Not heart-crushing or heart-lifting. But cute, clever, and obviously it “took” since I am here, 113 years later, writing about National Clerihew Day. Go figure. 

I decided to give it a shot.

Rebecca, nearing sixty-one

believes that she may still be cool and fun

But little does she know

It may all be quite a big show

These clerihews are for the birds! I’m going back to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Doctor of Letters

Most universities grant honorary degrees. This morning Yale granted 10. One of them was presented to Marilynne Robinson, novelist and essayist.

Professor Robinson earned her bachelor of arts in 1966 from Pembroke College, the women’s college that merged into Brown University five years later.

She was encouraged by her parents and her older brother, art historian David Summers, to complete a Ph.D. in English at the University of Washington and began to establish her career as a writer.

During her writing career Robinson has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005, the 2012 National Humanities Medal, and the 2016 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. In 2016 Robinson was named in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people. 

Robinson is best known for her novels Housekeeping, published in 1980, and Gilead, published in 2004. Her novels are known for thematic depiction of rural life and faith. 

President Obama stated that Robinson is known for her “grace and intelligence in writing.”

For the commencement ceremony today, each honorary degree recipient was asked for a quote, which was printed in the program. Here was Robinson’s:

This is the best advice I was ever given: Be sure to make your mind an interesting companion, because it will be with you every minute of your life.”

Today was the last day of a wonderful long weekend in New Haven. It was full of celebration, commemoration, expectation and incitation.

My mind became more interesting by simply participating, partaking and engaging. It is my companion for life and I definitely want to treat it well. 

Thank you, Marilynne, for the reminder. And congratulations on your honorary degree. You have most certainly earned it.

A poem lovely as a Tree

Along with National Soft Pretzel Month, another of April’s assigned titles is “National Poetry Month”. I have always loved poetry. One of my early favorites was in junior high school when I read the haunting and beautiful “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe. It was originally published in 1849 and was the last complete poem composed by Poe.

I still remember some of the lines –

But we loved with a love that was more than love
I and my Annabel Lee
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me

Of course early on, I loved all of the great American poets; Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay…

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light!

My son, Andrew, referenced in my April 1 blog, has introduced more contemporary poets to me; Kay Ryan, Christian Wiman, Robert Bringhurst…

Love means love of the thing sung, not of the song or the singing.
These poems, she said…
You are, he said,
That is not love, she said rightly.

One of the first poems I remember recording (hand-written) in a book is entitled “Sweet Anticipation”. It is composed from a 20 year old woman-girl’s perspective of being pregnant and anticipating seeing, holding, smelling, loving her firstborn baby.

We did not know the sex of our first child. However, I must have known because I wrote out this poem in just a few minutes when I was about five months pregnant.

I saw some shiny roller skates I’d like to buy you, Andy
And a little shovel with a pail
To make my carpet sandy.

Your daddy found a short golf club he said would suit you fine
And a baseball cap for your sweet head
To block the bright sunshine.

Maybe it seems we’re rushing things, impending the event
Cause you’re still up in heaven
Waiting to be sent.

Sweet, simple, straightforward, but oh, so very gushing from my heart.

Isn’t that what poetry is ~ a cutting open of the heart and spilling its contents onto paper?

60 1/2

Today is my half birthday. Today I am 60 and a half years old. Today I am half done with the commitment to my year of writing every day about being 60 years old.

We all have good ideas.The challenge is making them happen.

Ben Wicks, the British-born Canadian cartoonist, illustrator, journalist and author said: “In golf as in life, it’s the follow through that makes the difference.”

Oh, how true that is.

Several years ago I heard from a medical professional that occasionally in the inner city emergency rooms, they see people come in with ear pain from bugs (icky cockroaches) finding their way into their ears during sleep. Oh my goodness. As I write this, I am gagging.

I had the idea to create a solution for this. I even wanted one for myself, just in case. Once in a while we get a less than pretty critter inside our house. And it only takes one. Lord help me.

The thought ran through my mind to describe my idea on this blog post. I even gave my idea a catchy name. I started typing about it but then my (somewhat) good sense kicked in. Hey, do I want to give away my great idea and have someone else execute it and make millions of dollars, and oh yeah, help keep bugs out of ears, too? I think not.

If my great idea only stays in my head (no pun intended), then it will die there. As Mr. Wicks stated, the follow through is what makes all the difference.

I am full of catchy phrases and clever thoughts and good ideas, but my follow through is not always quite as good. And to that point, neither is my golf swing.

When you begin to get older, you realize that no one is going to do it for you. You face the truth that if an idea or goal is inside of you, that YOU have to take steps to make that happen.

That almost always comes down to one ugly word: Discipline.

Discipline is defined as: The practice of training to obey rules or a code of behavior. Order maintained by training and control. A regimen that develops or improves a skill.

Yep, that about sums it up. Those words aptly describe the reason most of us do not do what we want/need to do ~ rules, a code of behavior, order, training. We bristle against those words.

However, we do love a few of the words in the definition: develops or improves a skill.

Now we are getting to the good stuff.

I want to develop or improve a skill. I want to develop or improve quite a few skills. Don’t you? Who would possibly answer no to that question?

I have a little bucket list for sure. But for now, I am going to discipline (ugly word) myself in order to develop or improve a skill (pretty words).

Happy Half Birthday to me and to my quest for blogging!




This is Marcelina Robledo. She is the wizard who helped me set up my blog. This is Marcelina helping me fix some things on my blog. This is Marcelina helping me fix things on my blog, drinking Crossroads coffee. Crossroads Church is a great place to meet. There is free coffee, tea, soda and Wi-Fi. You are welcome for the shout-out, Crossroads.

My friend, Marcelina (Marcy), tweaked my blog site so that readers can make comments. There is also now a way to send me a private email. Additionally, she helped me set up my “About Me” information. Kudos to Marcy, seriously. She is good. She also has a beautiful smile but at this moment, she is focused.

I love writing. I always have. When I was a little girl, I remember playing “school”. One of my favorite parts was creating fictitious names for the children in my class and calling out their names for the attendance list.

In high school I remember loving my creative writing class and being excited about a writing assignment, rather than dreading it. I wish I could say the same for algebra.

In my early adult years, I worked in the typing pool for Emery Industries, headquartered in the Carew Tower. A part of my duties was delivering mail and often filling in at the desks of the secretaries to the executives of the company. The executive offices were on floor number 41. As long as I can remember, I have struggled a bit with claustrophobia. Therefore, I do not love elevators. I got stuck in one once and it gave me a scare. I really am making a point here.

The typing pool was on the 13th floor, so often I had to get to floor number 41 and sometimes in a hurry. I was forced to ride the elevator. I remember that I always made sure I had a blank legal pad and a pen with me. If I got stuck, I could at least write. I know. I’m a dork.

Through my busy years of being a young mother and working full time and keeping up with life, writing often took a back seat.

I am thrilled and honored to be able to work on this daily blog. It brings me joy to be able to submit a piece of work that I have created. I realize that even if very few follow my blog, I am victorious in doing it.

Some goals take a very long time to achieve.

A huge part of my reason to write is to create community; to reach out to others who may be able to relate to some of my joys and struggles. I am looking for camaraderie in this endeavor.

I would love to hear from you. Send a comment. Let me know what you think. Let me know how you are feeling. Let me know if you have a suggestion for a writing topic. I will listen. And will do my best to be accountable on this journey. Thank you for being my listeners and my comrades.

And a big thank you to Marcelina who patiently tells me which buttons to push on my keyboard and pretends that my questions are not dumb. Much love.