The New Year, Family, Friends, and Cats – Spiritual Growth, Reflection, Personal Growth, Cats

Today, the very last day of the year is foggy and frozen. Later on this afternoon a much-loved friend is coming over. We’ll work on our knitting projects, talk, and eat throughout the day. It’s what we do when we get together. We rarely complete a project, it’s all about the time we spend together. That’s what matters most.

Time is a funny thing. Time after time I’ve subjected myself to personality tests, and where I see I have grown (yes, you can grow your personality!) – I am more outgoing now than I was before – I spend a lot of time in my head creating alternate worlds and fantastical realities.

This is, in part, what makes me write. To tell those stories, those alternate narratives is thrilling and fills me in ways that nothing else can.

It’s 10 a.m. and the sun is barely cresting our neighbor’s trees to the south. My pork roast is in the crockpot and black-eyed peas and greens are on standby. The last day of the year is a time when we eat these things to bring good luck into our futures. I’ve been doing it so long, sometimes I forget that I’m lucky. That I’m blessed. But today is a day that engenders such reflections.

I am blessed.

If not with vast amounts of resources ~ with a wealth of family and friends.

If not with all household repairs completed ~ with a solid home that is comfortable and warm.


If not with a dent-free car ~ with a vehicle that keeps me safe when chaos happens.

I am blessed with memories, too.

During this holiday season, those who have gone before me, have been in my thoughts and present in my dreams. Their courage, strength, and grace have reminded me of just how much I need to grow. It is a humbling and a curious thing to realize how certain people act as the binding force within a group of people. Take one away and the rest may flounder. Make one mistake and you risk unraveling the already delicate threads that others have so carefully woven.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in moving away from toxic individuals – wherever they lurk. But – this is a big one – some people act as salve between others, making it easier to be together, warmer, friendlier. When those people are gone, well, even a family will inevitably take on a new shape.

The sun has now crested my neighbor’s house. The blanket of frost is gone where the golden rays have kissed the grass. In the border garden, bare limbs of the cherry tree glisten with melted ice. There is beauty in winter.

I strive to take in my surroundings, to be present, to let it sink in.

Recently my cat, Tig, has been acting strange – like he’s been trying to tell me something. He fell ill. We spent money – lots of money – and finally discovered a growth invading his stomach lining. He lost five pounds, had a hard time walking, and seemed as if he was on the way out. Now, on steroids, he seems to have perked up a bit. He’s eating, he’s sociable. He’s basking in the sun. It’s strange how connected I am with Tig. He’s even taking his medicine like a good boy and hardly ever complains. I suppose he knows this is helping him feel better. Or, more likely, he will put up with anything I ask him to endure. He’s a good little friend.

I’m sharing this part with you because Tig could use all the healing thoughts you have to spare. And because, well, cats! We all need them, whether we think so or not.

I’m wishing you all good things that enrich and bring joy to your lives.
Shiny bright linings when dark clouds breach the horizon.
Love and justice.
Enough work to make you yearn for a day off and enough days off to yearn for work.
And success at whatever your deepest heart desires.

Let’s chat soon.




HELLO, BEACH! GOODBYE HARRY & LARRY! – Health, Lifestyle, Podiatry, Life of a Writer

My favorite thing to do in the summer – the thing I look forward to the most – is going to the ocean with my family. We’ve been doing it for years. I used to think the cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents – everyone – would pack up and go to Washington’s Long Beach for my birthday. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I discovered it was for the salmon. I just happened to be born at the same time the family all went fishing.

Anyway, I look forward to strolling on the beach, exploring the shops, gazing into the shriveled up eyes of Jake the Aligator Man… more famous in death than he ever was in life.

(At this point, I have to wonder who thought this gaff was a good idea? And who is this poor soul – really? And if it isn’t a gaff, then are there more of Jake’s family swimming out in the sea? Should concerned citizens band together and create a sanctuary for the alligator peoples of the world? Should we post images on social media – oh, never mind… back to the story…)

Last year while strolling along on the beach, I soon realized that strolling had become painful. My ankle wasn’t working right, in fact, it would collapse under me making walking on sand nearly impossible.

I thought back to a year before – to the time I fell down the stairs. Now I wondered why I hadn’t gone to see my podiatrist. I made the appointment as soon as I got home.

After the MRI, my surgeon, Dr. Cindy, was elated. Not only was I missing a ligament on my lateral thing-a-ma-jig, there was a massive ganglion cyst that needed to be extracted. Oh, the joy! Dr. Cindy loves what she does and she’s very good at it.

Unbeknownst to me, the cyst that had resided on the top of my left foot had a twin on my right foot. They had been living with me for a very long time, two matching lumps of whatever, innocuous and nearly exotic, having everyone who looked at them believing they belonged.

But when Dr. Cindy extracted the one on my left foot – the one on my right foot stuck out like a sore thumb – on my foot. Painfully obvious with no place to hide. It was then I decided to name it Larry, and posthumously name the other one, Harry.

I’m looking forward to walking on the beach – actually walking – no hobbling. Spending time contemplating the endless cycle of the universe, the turn of the earth, the pull of the ocean. It’s really what helps to center me. Thanks to Dr. Cindy, this year I can do it without pain.

I suppose the point of this blog post is to encourage people who have perhaps hit a hurdle in their lives to find a way around it – or through it. The fact is that life will throw all sorts of interesting things at us. That’s what life does best. It’s how we receive it that matters.

I am very good at denial. It’s my super power. But denial led me to a place I didn’t want to go. Now, after two successful surgeries, cyst removals and ligament repair, I’m looking forward to walking on the beach and enjoying my family. Life is amazing!

My friends, don’t live in denial! Life’s short, living is important. Love what you do and learn how to jump over those hurdles in life – or go around them – or find a ladder. Hey, I’m not an American Ninja Warrior, though I do like the show.

Things I’ve learned since Harry and Larry have left:

  • Feet are important – take care of them.
  • If you see something weird – go to the doctor!
  • Moving is important.
  • Pain may just become a part of your life. Learn how to manage it.
  • Alternating heat and cold can be very helpful.
  • Take a darn Tylenol, for crying out loud.
  • Sometimes it’s okay to sit back and put your feet up.
  • Find your passion and follow it, because when you don’t, everything hurts more.


I want to hear from you! Please comment on my post – and share it if you want. Oh, if you need a good foot surgeon, I know one!

Until the next time –


For those of you interested in a good summer read, my novel Curse of the Seven 70’s is on sale through Smashwords right now. No kidding! Just a buck fifty through the end of July!

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