Thursday, February 28, 2013

the end of the beginning

This month has been a series of changes for me. It doesn't matter whether they were good or bad changes. What matters is that every day of this month I have lived in the moment, and experienced it fully.

This month ends, and another begins. Time goes on....

I posted on my blog every day this month. SCORE!
I started yoga...and can now do an inversion. SCORE!
My family finished the month in one piece...after Stevie Wonder taught us what strength really is.
I was taught the meaning of gratitude and wisdom by a seven year old.
I leave tomorrow to see my mother and sisters, and reconnect with the other half of my heart.
Can life be any sweeter?

I don't see how. And I have also learned not to question that too closely.

Namaste. is so very good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

a day of good karma and wonder

Simply put...

1. Today I found out my 35,000 photos were recovered (among other files...about 280 GB of data!).
2. Yesterday I was able to stand like a tree.  (Well, like half a tree...I fell on the second half of the tree pose.)

My yoga instructor was so impressed she stopped leading and applauded me.

Do I tell her that I spent hours trying to center myself and balance?

Noooo...let her think it was a sudden happening. is so very good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Monday, February 25, 2013

breakfast at epiphanys

Things I have realized lately:

1. My short term memory sucks.  I can put clothes in the dryer with the intent of tossing them a couple minutes and then hanging them to dry.  But I will forget that intention as soon as I walk away from the dryer. Which means most of my wardrobe is now Barbie doll sized, and faded.

2. I can eat an apple and a cup of cottage cheese all day, but as soon as nightfall hits I get a fiendish craving for Moo Bars and red wine.  Which leads to constipation.  Or diarrhea, depending on which food I eat the most of.

3. No matter how much my flexibility increases in yoga, I will never be able to touch my forehead to my knees while sitting on the mat.  To do that requires a flat stomach and flat chest.  Neither of which I possess.

4. Maddie is funnier at seven than I am at sixty.  This probably means I am in the early stages of dementia, and entering my second childhood.  Maddie and I will be equal in intellect in another 5 years or so. Two twelve year old minds, hanging out together. is so very good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Sunday, February 24, 2013

it's only a paper moon, dunc

I decided it was time to do something quality with the twins this weekend.  Jack was sick next door with strep throat, so they were going to be stuck with TV and video games on the iPad and iPhone.  I decided to be a better Grammy and offer something different.

We were going to make a paper zoo.  Yes, it was an app I found for the iPad, but perfect for us to use together, in a burst of creative genius.

The best laid plans of mice and men...and Grammies.

It wasn't too long into cutting out our first animals in the paper zoo that I realized two things.
1. It wasn't as easy as it said the easy level was going to be.
2. Dunc was totally not into it.

I cajoled as I struggled to cut out the pieces of the seal (there were 5 pieces), and he followed directions and cut them out, but became more and more withdrawn and appeared irritated, heaving several loud sighs along the way.

I played ignorant of his attempts to let me know how bored he was for two reasons.
1. I was determined to do something quality with the twins, even though Dunc had told me earlier that Maddie and I could make the seals and he would just watch TV.  (TV? NO WAY!)
2. I have been artistic all my life and couldn't believe any grandchild of mine would be so uninterested in creating something from a piece of paper.

Maddie was happily cutting away, and trying to engage Dunc too.  He got more and more morose as he realized that he couldn't squirm out of this, until he finally threw his paper and scissors down, and put his head in his hands in utter despair.

I realized then I could do one of two things.
1. Force him to participate, even if it killed him (and I think he was thinking it might).
2. Give up on my expectations and let him be who he was.

I chose the second, because I will never be a Grammy who forces fun on anyone.  This obviously wasn't fun to anyone but me and Mad anyway, so we forged happily on struggling to cut and paste together a zoo.

We finally got the seals finished, and even completed Dunc's for him.  Maddie's seal had blue eyes, she thinks because it was a special seal, even though I told her it was because I was running out of ink on the printer.

Maddie asked if we could do another one.  I had fingers full of glue, and was tired from sitting in a child's chair that was one foot off the floor.  So I candidly told her that there was no way I was doing another animal today, but we could plan what to do the next time she came back.

She chose the giraffe.  Which is way up the food chain.  I know this because it has about 35 pieces to cut and glue.

I plan to drink a big glass of wine before we take on the giraffe.  Or I might decide to go watch TV with Duncan. is very good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Saturday, February 23, 2013

the honest truth

Maddie:  Did you ever have strep throat, a fever and a headache all at the same time Grammy?
Me: Yes I did Maddie, when I was a little girl like you.
Maddie: Well I wanted to be sick so I could stay home from school, but when I got sick I felt so bad I wished I hadn't wished to be sick.
Me: Why did you want to stay home from school Maddie?  Don't you like school?
Maddie: Well yes I do, if all I had to do was recess and PE.
Me: Just recess and PE Maddie?  You don't like anything else?
Maddie: Well, yes, I like Art.  And Music.
Me: You are definitely my girl, Mad.

This from the child who makes top grades and reads at about a fifth grade level in the second grade.

Wondering if there are enough recesses to get her through high school at this point.

A child can speak the truth with blunt honesty and get away with it.
1. Because it is coming from a child.
2. Because if I said it, people would wonder why I was still in grade school. is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Friday, February 22, 2013

yada yada yada

This month we are prompted to write posts that relate to love for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month for those of you who don't understand the acronym).  I guess they thought that writing about love in the month that Valentine's Day falls would be an easier prompt to follow.

Except that as usual, I march to the beat of my own drum, which means I haven't followed a single prompt all month, but written and shared things that are important to me, or that hit me funny.

I kept up through days of surgery for Stevie Wonder and also for me...took photos and wrote haiku poetry. I got to a point in time that I became smug...announcing to Steve that I was going to MAKE IT through this month!

Until I got to tonight.  No ideas.  Fatigue so overwhelming that I am having trouble putting two sentences together that make any sense at all.  And I feared that tonight would be the night I failed.

Then I decided to write about just that.  This isn't award winning material I write after all, it is just a record for my children and grandchildren to have after I am gone that is part of me, so they can read it, understand me a bit better, and enjoy sharing my memories.

So for you, my family, I write about a typical day for me, a Friday on this twenty second day of March, 2013.  The day your mom and grammy decided to take the bull by the horns and write about her near defeat.

Near defeat because I made it through another day, but there are six more days to go in the month.

Just remember I love you all...(I added that to keep sort of on target with the theme for the month.)

And another photoless day today...because I am bereft of ideas to shoot. :D is good!! ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Thursday, February 21, 2013


In the midst of a lot of chaos and busyness this week, I took a moment to reflect on the important things in life...and feel grateful.

Gratitude that there is technology that can put a small disk of metal and two wires in my beloved's chest and keep him alive to be with those that love him most in the world.

Gratitude for the unique adults that I gave birth to many years ago, who, with not much help from me, grew into people of substance, that I am proud to know...and love.

Gratitude for a seven year old granddaughter who will put on a wig and sing to her Grammy in her best voice, just to make her Grammy smile.

Gratitude for three rough and tumble, game loving, full of energy grandsons who make me glad every day that this is the generation when boys are bountiful.  (This is a private family joke.)

Gratitude for every day I wake up and have another day to look at the sky, and share a bit of my life with YOU.

find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the path to truth (or why i love yoga)

I have always hated exercise.  Mostly because to me it felt like work.  I could stay focused and do it, with a goal in sight, but then I would inevitably and eventually come to a grinding halt.  I never really enjoyed anything about it.

Until yoga.  I loved it from the first leg-wobbling-like-jello pose that I did in the first class I went to.  I was a total mess at the end of the class, but I felt as though I had accomplished something.  At a speed I could keep up with.  I lost some weight as a by-product of getting some exercise, but I couldn't tell I was getting any more flexible with it.

Last weekend, on Sunday when I snapped these photos of Maddie I had my first "aha!" moment.  In order to get a good angle on a shot like this, you need to be on the same level as the subject.

Maddie is 7 years old.  Which means that even though I am short, Maddie is shorter.  That means if I squat down, I am stuck.  Because I don't have the strength to get back up without pushing myself up with my hands.

Until Sunday.  I squatted down.  And shot multiple photos.  When I got ready to stand back up, I did.

Without using my hands.  Using only the leg muscles I suddenly realized I had all along.  Without feeling one bit of strain doing it.  AHA!

My legs aren't made of jello now.  At least not until the end of each yoga class.  The instructor manages to find muscles I didn't know I had each week, and pummel them (gracefully on her part) into dust.  I am a quivering, sweating mass of gelatinous goo at the end of every class, dragging my sweating self home to collapse.

Then I go back the next time.  Because I enjoy the punishment?

No.  Because I feel stronger every time.  And at my age, exercise is more about strength and stamina than looks.  So I will keep doing the cat-cow pose, the downward dog, and the extended child until I can do them without a hitch, and without my muscles screaming at me to stop.

And because my teacher is so cool, she didn't blink an eye when I screamed "holy shit!" last night after a particularly toe wrenching, butt screaming, leg aching pose.

Namaste. is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

girls' moment

 {this moment} - A weekly ritual.  A photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A moment in time I want to capture, to savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama.  Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

life is good...
Twitter @jonesbabie

Sunday, February 17, 2013

her grammy's girl

Two photos say it all...Maddie came to the house today and wouldn't leave until I got home from work and she got to see me.  She met me at the car and had to beat the dogs off to get to me for a hug.  I got these shots while she was going through some old clothes, and a couple tacky wigs that Wretch brought to be taken to Goodwill...although why anyone but Maddie would want those wigs is beyond me...

Ahh...she is my heart...and such a clown...
brocade angel wings

maddie channeling katie perry 

 is so very sweet. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Saturday, February 16, 2013

by any other name, it is still skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma.  Also known as skin cancer, it appeared on my left hand years ago, a tiny reddish spot near my wrist.  It was barely visible, and I hardly paid it any notice, until the past year or so when it started growing in size.  I'd look at it from time to time and think I needed to mention it to the doctor.  But since I rarely went to the doctor, I would always forget to mention it.

Until a few months ago when I finally did mention it and he looked at it.  Then pronounced the fateful words.

"I think it may be a basal cell carcinoma.  Let's send you to a dermatologist to have it taken off."

And so I found a dermatologist, who took a biopsy, and called me a few days later to tell me that it was indeed a BCC and that she was sending me upstairs in the clinic to the dermatology surgeon, so that I would have a linear scar instead of a big white flat scar.

What I didn't realize at the time is that one small skin cancer makes a very large incision scar.  Micrographic surgery will give me a 99% chance of cure and not having to go through this again.  The scar and its size doesn't bother me.  I am not a vain person after all.  I just wanted it gone and to stay gone.

What I do chafe about is the fact that I have to steri strip it for a month and not bend the wrist too far for a couple months at least, so that the incision has time to heal.  Otherwise it might dehisce and have to be resutured.  I don't like the fact that I have to stop and think when I do something to make sure I don't bend my wrist too far.  It slows me down and makes me have to pay attention to a part of my body I never pay any attention to, because I just expect it to do what I want it to do without fuss or muss.  I do not make a very patient patient, but I am trying to be.  To follow doctor's orders as I have urged so many people to do over the years is difficult when I want to just be done with this whole episode.

Two things I have learned from this experience.
1.  Tanning and overexposure to sun can take years to manifest itself as a skin cancer.
2.  The earlier you seek treatment, the less drastic the treatment will be.  Had I gone to the dermatologist years ago, the scar might not be an inch long now.

Early detection is the key to successful treatment.

Have you looked at your skin lately? is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Friday, February 15, 2013


When you have a load on your mind, and your body isn't cooperating, wine is the great equalizer in life...

TGIF! is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Thursday, February 14, 2013

valentine distraction

The best way to forget your problems is to find a distraction...

Happy Valentine's Day! is still good! ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

oh me oh my

This has been quite a week...full of surprise, frustration, humor, tears.  The gamut of emotions a human can experience.

Monday was Stevie Wonder's day of reckoning, when he got new electrical wiring for his heart.  Quite the day that was...but we muddled through, as families usually do when dealing with sudden crises.

basal cell carcinoma
Now it's my turn.  Not a crisis.  Just a minor surgery.  Planned for over a month.  And tomorrow is the day.

That's right.  Valentine's Day.  The day of romance, to remember that special someone in your life with some special gift.  I'll be spending it with a stranger.  A surgeon who will slice and section my skin layer by layer, and examine it under a microscope, until all traces of the basal cell carcinoma on my wrist are gone.

Skin cancer.  Ack.  I thought this would be a quick slice and suture kind of thing.

Nope.  Expect two to four hours the brochure says.

Gee.  For a little spot like this?  *Sigh*

It's going to be a long day tomorrow, and an even longer night tonight.  More to come.... is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the long road home

Yesterday Stevie Wonder had a potentially lethal dysryhthmia caused by a problem with the electrical conduction system in his heart.  In other words, he had a total heart block, and instead of the normal 60-100 beats per minute, his heart was beating at 30 beats or less every minute.

This had been gradually coming on for a long time, but had worsened in the past few days.  SW was lucky though, because his yearly stress test was scheduled for yesterday.  Scheduled a year ago after his last stress test.

He lasted 4 minutes on the treadmill.  He was ready to go on, but the cardiologist stopped it, and put an envelope in his hand and told him to go to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at the hospital next door.  We went straight over.

At 5PM yesterday, the cardiac surgeon spent an hour putting in a pacemaker.  Stevie Wonder came to on the operating table and told him he felt better already.  While the surgeon was closing the incision.  When Steve told me this, I felt like I had married Ironman for sure.

After bringing him home today, I feel like I am married to the Energizer Bunny.
We headed home around 1PM, and intended to stop and drop off some paperwork at my workplace, and get his prescriptions filled.  (He had not taken anything for pain since the surgery, because he said he wasn't hurting.)

On the way he decided he HAD to have a cup of coffee from Starbucks.  Of course he didn't say it like that.  In fact, our whole conversation home was a little bit tense on the weird side.  Driven by the fact that he was wired like a jackrabbit on speed.  (At this point, after two nights with little sleep, I felt like a walking zombie straight out of Night of the Living Dead.  And I looked like one too.)  Our trip home went something like this:

SW: You need a Starbucks Tazo Chai.  Go to Target and I will get you one.  And get a coffee for me.
Me: Ok.  There is a McDonald's too.  I can stop and get something to eat.
SW: I'm not hungry since I ate lunch before we left the hospital.
Me: I KNOW you AREN'T, but since I HAVEN'T EATEN since YESTERDAY, is there any reason I can't stop?
SW: Well no, I didn't mean it that way.  I didn't mean you couldn't eat.
Me: It sure sounded like it to me
Me: I thought I was! (I was in the middle lane.)
SW: Your driving scares the s**t out of me!
Me: I haven't wrecked us yet!  (I was ready to throw him out of the car at this point and drive across the pacemaker in his chest.)
SW: Ok I am sorry I hollered.  Turn here.
Me: I am.  I know where I am now.

He went in to Target and came back with the largest hot chai and coffee they make.  Which was probably a mistake.  We went through the drive through at McDonald's and I got something to eat.

A few minutes later he said:
I am sweating.  I'm hot.
Me: I'm not.  My feet are cold.
SW: Well I am hot.  Do you think it is the pacemaker?
Me: (I was thinking it might be frying his chest, but didn't say that.  I made concerned wife noises.)  No, that's not it.  Take your jacket off.
SW: I can't.  Because I can't lift my left arm.
Me: Then tough it out.  (My sympathy was fading fast at this point.)

A few minutes later, he said:
"Well I think it was the caffeine rush from the coffee.  Now that my heart is beating right I think it circulated faster through my system than it used to.  I must have been bad off for a long time and didn't realize it."

Me: Better cut that caffeine intake in half then, or you'll be sweating a lot.

The trip home took forever.  We stopped several times, because he would think of something that we HAD to have.  We finally made it home, and I dragged myself to the shower and put my pajamas on.  It was 4 PM.  By the time I got out of the shower, he had washed off, shaved, and fixed a full dinner for himself.  I dragged to the couch and collapsed.

He is still going strong as I write this.  I told him I was going to ask the doctor where the switch was on the pacemaker, so I could flip it off once in a while to slow him down. is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Monday, February 11, 2013

ironman moment

 {this moment} - A weekly ritual.  A few photos - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A moment in time I want to capture, to savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama.  Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

life is good...
Twitter @jonesbabie

Sunday, February 10, 2013

gabriel and caesar

Ten years ago they came into our lives...those little bundles of brown sweetness we fell in love with at first sight.  One came from Tennessee, the other from California, and our lives have never been the same.

They were so cute and cuddly, for about two minutes.  Then they entered the chewing stage and that lasted about as long as my furniture held out.  They chewed every corner on everything.  Gabe was the worst.  We thought buying rawhide chews would make them stop chewing furniture.

Wrong.  They finished those in seconds and went back to the furniture.  Then Gabe changed tactics.  He started chewing the cedar siding on the house.  The high point came the day I heard a noise and found him stripping the phone cables and wiring off the side of the house.  After that, they became thieves, and stole so many things from the neighbors yard we had to incarcerate them in a dog pen with limited and supervised exercise times.  This meant Stevie Wonder turned them out into the yard and they ran for about 5 miles through the woods while he spent the whole time whistling and calling, trying to get them to come home.  They always did, eventually.  As for the stolen goods, which included clothing, hoses, and even some PVC plumbing (I don't want to even contemplate how they got that), Stevie did the right thing.  He made a pile of the stuff at the end of our road a quarter mile away and put a sign up with a big question mark on it.  We couldn't look our neighbors in the eye for a long time after that spell.

The boys finally grew into adult doghood, but are still high energy. I could tell many more stories of things that have happened...but instead I will share a few photos, and let those speak for me.

They are the lights in our life, and warm our hearts every time they look up at us and grin.  We can't imagine our life without them...


 is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I was in another room today and heard this conversation between Jack and Gramps.  There was no way I was going to add my two cents worth to this particular chat between my guys.

Gramps: If I'd known you were here today you could have gone down to Vernon with me Jack.
Jack: What's Vernon?
Gramps: That's where Mr. Bud and I hunt.  I saw lots of turkey struts today.
Jack: Turkey struts?
Gramps: Yep, you know this time of year turkeys start strutting.  They fluff up and drag their wings on the ground.
Jack: They do?
Gramps: Yep, they fluff up and drag their wings for the lady turkeys.

I was holding my breath, knowing where this was probably going to lead.  Animal husbandry 101.  Silence.  Jack said nothing.

Then I remembered Jack was just 8 in December.  I figure we have another year before the conversation progresses to the mating habits of animals.

I let my breath out slowly.  Safe.  For now. is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Thursday, February 7, 2013

woman, a haiku

whispering deeply, 
woman to future woman...
our thoughts, life, love.

 is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

the ups and downs of life...

Life is full of ups and downs.  Everyone knows this.  Some have more than their share of downs, so I am not complaining too much.  But this week has been a bit o' the down for me.  Not enough to affect my mood, just enough to make me more ruminative about life in general.

Among other things:
My trapezius muscle on my left shoulder has been so tight that it makes my neck pop and hurt.  I tried muscle relaxants (I have had the bottle for over two years) and they helped.  Started getting back massages and that helped, and began yoga classes three weeks ago that also help.  But a few days ago the pain became an agony.  And being the proactive person I am, I did the next thing...I went to my doc and got a trigger point injection, then came home and took more meds.  And finally it is easy...

I found out the little spot I have had on my hand that has bothered me for the past few months is a basal cell carcinoma.  So it is scheduled to be removed by a get this next part...this is the irony that is my life.  The appointment is for Valentine's Day.  So Stevie Wonder is going to get to spend it driving me to and from Birmingham...I think I might moan after I get out of surgery and maybe cry a little too...then I just might get lucky and score....chocolate.  I'm really going to miss this spot...I'm kind of attached to my own skin...and hate to lose any of it.

All the things I have dealt with are nothing really...just blips on the radar of my life...the thing that really concerns me and is causing a bit of anxiety is the fact that the hard drive I stored all the photos I had taken, on all my computers, cameras and iPhone...are trapped.  The hard drive went down and I can't get the photos off. I have several projects waiting on those photos.  The drive holds several thousand photos...all the way back to when I first started taking photos.

We took the hard drive to Best Buy the other day.  They are sending it off to a lab for a level one recovery.  That cost us $250.  If it goes to level 2, that will be about $600.  It could go as high as $1000 for recovery.  When the tech told us that, Steve looked at me and said "it's not worth that much."

I felt like my heart had been hammered when he said that.  Yes, it is expensive, but those photos are my passion, and a record of my life and my family for years....all our travels, the birth of the grands, holidays, vacations, and just everyday stuff.  To me there is no price on that.  If those are lost, a big piece of my soul goes with them.  (If you think your files are safe on an external hard drive, in case your computer crashes...just realize as I did, too late, that those crash too.  I am looking into Carbonite now, an online storage back up system for your files.)

Sooo, my karma sucks right now...which is nothing cycles, and the year of the dragon is about over, so I was kind of expecting it.  When bad karma strikes, I do what I always do.

I turn to music and my camera.  I've been listening to I Will by Matchbox 20.  (I bought it on iTunes.)  Here is 4 minutes of my life...all photos have been taken by me, (unless I was in the photo with other people).

This, too, shall pass... is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

til the cows come home

Every time the neighbors gets a batch of new cows, we get all excited.  The pasture is right across the road from our front yard.  Even though we know those poor little critters are destined for someone's table, we put that out of our mind and just enjoy watching the babies...also known as calves.

This past weekend, Stevie Wonder came in with a cabbage from the garden, and told us the calves were at the fence begging for something to eat.  Wretch and I got all excited and got Stevie to pull some leaves so we could feed them to the calves.  Well, so Wretch could feed them to the calves.  I was taking photos.

We hadn't reckoned on Gabe, one of our Labs, deciding to growl at the calves (he thinks they are big dogs).  Off the calves went loping back to momma.  No amount of waving cabbage leaves could entice them.  They stopped, looked at us, eyed Gabe, turned around and kept going.
cows, going home

Some days there just aren't enough cabbage leaves. is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter