On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

So simple

I've been recovering from jet lag for the past several days and it seems to take forever. The rule of thumb, I understand, is one day per time zone, so more than a week would be right for me.

My Ireland travels were with a group, On Pilgrimage, (http://onpilgrimage.com) and their tours always have a spiritual focus. This one took us primarily to ancient Celtic sites. The leaders promise transformative experiences in traveling and much of my last week has been assimilating all that I took in. It's multi-leveled -- the history of the Celts and meaning of what they left behind, the actual journeying with a group on pilgrimage and the observances of the present day people and culture.

So far I've been thinking primarily of the most surface experiences -- the food I ate, all the walking I did, who I missed and what I yearned for during the two weeks I was gone.

We walked a fair amount, nothing at all grueling, but I was completely sedentary before we left so anything would have been a welcome more than I walked before. One goal is to keep that up. So far I have been. I was using a pedometer before we left home -- it barely registered -- and usually topped 6000 steps during the pilgrimage, sometimes more. I've maintained that since we returned. I missed our dogs terribly so I've been walking them faithfully and they are grateful.

I didn't want to gain weight while I was away and I didn't -- in spite of full Irish breakfasts and large meals in four-star hotels. But when we were on our own -- for lunch, some dinners -- I chose soup, soup, soup with wonderful Irish brown bread. Since I've been home I've been making a pot of soup almost every day -- carrot, fresh cream of tomato and cheddar cheese soup (full of pureed veggies). I could eat soup every day of the year and not get tired of it. Seasons don't matter to me, it's always the right time for soup!

I've gotten a late start on summer planting but I'm gradually developing a flower garden of simple summer annuals in half wine barrels which are readily available here (it's Wine Country). Now that I sort of know how to keep a travel journal I'm moving on to the next effort, a nature journal. I have several how-to books, mostly by Cathy (Kate) Johnson and Clare Walker Leslie. All I need is to develop the habit, the regular observation of what's around me in the natural world. This evening, after walking an hour with Brix and Demi, I sat on the back deck and made the simplest of drawings -- almost in the dark -- of marigolds I planted a few days ago.


  1. sounds like the kind of trip i would love to go on...you are off to a great start on the new journal and that new habit...walking...i know you will keep it up since you are one determined lady

  2. Your nature journal is off to a great start! I enjoyed looking through all of your travel sketches and photos - looks like a wonderful trip.

  3. The thing I've learned as the biggest lesson from our LTJ class is that I don't have to make a photo realism picture to have a nice journal. Your marigold will remind you of your garden planting years from now.

    I don't like leaving my dogs. I might go for a few days at the end of June to Calif. as my brother will be there from Hawaii and I will leave the dogs with my husband but they are my babies and I won't like it.

    I've tagged you! I hope you like to play. You can find the posting for how here


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