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  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

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Kay Olson

Very frustrating about the pain and your beloved eyeglasses. I hope for miracles on both accounts. Not a new leg or anything silly, you understand, just quick healing and adjustment so as to spend more time out amongst the blooms. And better eyesight in the very near future (3 weeks at Lenscrafters!!!), however you wrangle that.

Yes, she does look out of the Bloomsbury group.

No lilacs here yet, but the magnolia tree in the backyard has white blooms all over it. The squirrels crawl precariously along the branches to eat them. No lilacs for more than a week here yet, I think. It's still dipping down into the low 40s in temperature each night here.

Lilacs and peonies are my favorites. I anticipate both happily.


OMG! Lilac. Beautiful. Haven't seen lilac in years.




Oh dear. Sorry to hear you were in pain. You looked so cheerful at Java Jo's (but then, you were sitting down and eating, not mention having avoided the Morris dancers, so what's not to enjoy about that?). Hope your glasses turn up. So cool that I ran into you there!!


OK. Next year you HAVE to come to the Canadian Tulip Festival which takes place in early May (this year it's May 2-19). The main flower site is a five minute walk from my house and the flowers are GORGEOUS. Seriously.

Jen of a2eatwrite

What beautiful photos! I'm glad the morning gave you joy as well as pain. Does your new leg need to be adjusted? Will your glasses maybe still turn up? I'm so sorry on both scores.


I feel the same way about cherry blossoms that you do about lilacs :)


So before I reply to these, I must point out two things:

1. I am back in my leg and walking around again today, so the damage wasn't permanent, just part of the "breaking in" process (with me being the one who gets broken in). After the swelling had gone down, I was able to see that I mostly just have a 6"-long cut following the shape of my buttcheek, so I slapped a high-tech plastic bandage on it and got back into the socket, and I've been on it all day -- not as actively as yesterday, mind.

2. Someone found my glasses and turned them in to the Arnold Arboretum's lost and found!!! For real!!! BLC lives nearby and was kind enough to offer to pick them up if they were found and mail them to me. Isn't that nice of her? So once again, it seems that I am the luckiest woman alive, and that's a good thing because apparently I am also very stupid. Not only did I lose my eyeglasses yesterday, but I almost left the house today -- would have left the house today if my true love hadn't noticed -- in radically mismatched shoes.

Okay, that said --

Kay: Oh, gad, the Lenscrafters saga. Holy crap. My true love bought me two pairs of frames, identical save for color, on eBay to save money (slightly less than a hundred dollars a pair, even with shipping). We got them in a couple of days. I brought them with my prescription to the local Lenscrafters because I'd never had a bad experience with them, nor had my true love. I have a complicated prescription -- two actually -- because I have a very pronounced astigmatism in one eye, so they always have to send out for the lenses; no one-hour wait for me. It usually takes a week; this time I was told it would take two. When I didn't hear from them in two weeks, I called up and found out that they had sent my glasses to the wrong place or something, blah, blah, blah...and while I ended up with the walking-around glasses by the end of that week, the reading glasses actually had to be redone three times because of various F-ups. So you can see how the prospect of going back there for a replacement pair of the walking-around glasses held little charm for me.

I love the idea of magnolia-nibbling squirrels. That just seems like such a delightful life, to dance through the trees and eat flowers. And I'm with you on the peonies -- oh. Talk about your lush, voluptuous scents. And the flowers themselves are so magnificent.

Yay, something to look forward to. Minnesota really makes you wait for your springtime, but it sounds like it might be worth it when it finally gets there.

WCD: My pleasure!

Leslee: That was so great running into you -- or, er, sitting into you I guess. ;) I don't believe I was in pain yet when we saw you. I did well and truly get my ass kicked just walking through the park and back, but I have been on said ass for most of the last three weeks, so it was bound to happen. All those fantastic flowers, though, and that beautiful blue sky, and everyone around being so nice and cheerful -- I tell you, even when I was in pain finally, even though I was bumming hard about my glasses, I was still very, very happy overall. I hope your day was at least as good after that!

Laurie: You're on! Clear the couch, 'cause I'm coming to crash! Fortunately you have quite a bit of time between now and then to prepare. ;)

Jen: I'm so glad you enjoyed the photos. It's kind of too soon to know whether the leg needs adjusting. I doubt it will, though; it's actually a really great fit. There's just a significant difference between the new limb and what I've been walking on -- lurching along on -- for quite some time, and there is a breaking-in/toughening up period that goes with these things. My prosthetist will assess in a week how I'm doing with that, and meanwhile I am totally overdoing it because life is short and the springtime is beautiful and who knows what my situation will be next month?

Amorette: OH! You simply must read esteemed correspondent (and honorary niece) Elizabeth McClung's account of her visit last month to Japan, right during the sakura festival, or at least look at the pictures. When/if you feel up to it, go ahead and load the entire month of April on her blog, go do something else for a few minutes while the 8,000 photos load, and then start at the bottom and work your way up the page.

The blooming of the cherry trees, which you probably already know is the focus of a major national holiday in Japan but which I was enchanted to discover because of Elizabeth's account, really does look like a transcendent event. Even without the holiday aspect, there is the loveliness of the trees, the petal clouds and petal snow, the overall grace. Absolutely exquisite, I agree.

We had an ornamental cherry tree in the front yard of the last house we lived in, and when it reached its peak bloom, I would often be late for engagements away from home because I was transfixed by its beauty, even though it was an old tree, split, diseased, and dying with a stray pine seedling growing out of its crotch. I watched doves raise their young in that tree, and cared for it like a beloved friend (it was). When we moved, even though we were only renters, I made the people who bought the house promise to care for that tree the same way, even protecting that seedling whose taproot could be clearly seen snaking deep down through the split in the cherry's trunk. I didn't have to push at all hard; the old lady had already fallen under this tree's spell long ago, seedling and all.

Sending you more good wishes for many happy cherry blossom-related events to come.

kathy a.

such beautiful photos, and it sounds like a totally lovely day! [right up until it sucked.]

so glad you are getting your glasses back! and i hope the rest of the "breaking in" goes easier, because ouchie ooochie oww. not fair. extrapolating from sore spots with new shoes, i think you need a medal, the best bandages on the market, and the indulgance of choice. every day until it stops hurting.


I have today off, and am off to the Arboretum in a bit. It will be good impetus to take a shower on my day off. Sorry you were uncomfortable-- but still so glad we were able to meet up. And yes, I think S looks bloomsbury-ian too. Something about her wavy hair. I so enjoyed meeting you and S and D and Leslee... let's do it again soon.


I can smell those lilacs!

Glad you got your glasses back.


Kathy A: I am so glad you liked the photos! And seriously, as painful as the adjustment process sometimes must be, it is nothing compared to what many other people go through. And I'll tell you something else: As much pain as I was in suddenly when I got home, it's still a big improvement over what my last leg had been doing to me toward the end.

Save the medals for people who actually sacrifice and accomplish things, especially things that benefit other people. I'm just pleasing myself walking among the flowers and other pretty things. :)

BLC: Yay! I am always happy to be an excuse for other people to go outside. I also really appreciate the help; thank you again.

As for the discomfort, you know, it goes with the territory, something I think you understand very well in your own life. In order to make progress from the point I was at, I needed to test the limits of my strength and my new equipment, and then of course I also desperately wanted to be outside playing with all of you in the beautiful garden. So I overdid it a little bit, sort of on purpose, and there was a little price for that.

I don't think I was in actual pain until I got home, but I will confess that I was never more grateful for my handicapped parking permit than when we got back to the car. I was well and truly tired, having not been able to do much of this sort of thing for awhile.

Yes, we must frolic more in the future. S. has suggested World's End (I think that's the name), another Olmstead lovely but apparently of an entirely different nature. I will keep you apprised of plans as they develop and hope you will join us.

Magpie: Thank you!

Sugared Harpy

Oh yes, definitely of the Bloomsbury!

Oh my lands, your poor skin!

For the record, I don't lose glasses but I drop them and throw them around carelessly. All the time.

Ron Sullivan

Bloomsbury, OK. Nice jacket too, and silver hair. I am impatiently awaiting my own full complement of silver.

Glad the glasses were found. I was about to burn a pinch of incense to Saint Anthony, and there's a serious Diablo (sirocco, harmattan, Santa Ana) wind blowing right now which would make burning anything a bad idea indeed.

Man, that's one odd place to have to grow calluses.


Ha, I'm glad you ladies can see the Bloomsbury in S., too.

Melissa (SH): I am not too careless with my glasses, because they are always so violently expensive and I am always soooooo broke. However, I did sit on my last pair. I was still using my wheelchair when not out of the house, and there was some crisis in the middle of the night with our last cat that caused me to vault myself from a deep sleep into my wheelchair in the pitch dark. I had cleverly left my last violently expensive pair of eyeglasses on the seat, and I weighed over 200 lbs. at the time. They never fit the same after that.

Ron: Actually, the "problem" is that people typically do not develop callouses in these areas. This makes it very difficult, even impossible, for many people to wear prosthetics; they find they never can adjust.

I have found some techniques which help me adjust. I use this stuff called Body Glide (developed for athletes; good luck finding a tube of it anywhere in the greater Boston area within three weeks of the Marathon each year) to condition my skin in this area (make it stronger and more resilient, more supple) and to lessen friction against the plastic socket liner. I also use very thin hydrocolloid burn bandages over the friction tears I suffer, and these heal and protect the major boo-boos without adding thickness. When it's cold enough outside, I also wear a "boy-leg" girdle made of tougher-than-lycra synthetic stretchy stuff to separate my skin from the plastic altogether.

I'm lucky I've found things that work for me, and naturally I recommend them to everyone in similar straits. However, they do not work for everyone. Luck of the draw, and also it has to do with how much one is willing to go through just to walk on two feet. Some strategies, such as crutches and wheelchairs, work better for other people. Esteemed correspondent Ms. AmpuT, for example, tells me she has even learned to carry a full champagne glass while on crutches and one leg. Girl's got skills, mad skills. And while I can take having my inner thigh ripped up periodically -- not my favorite, but I get over it you understand -- I couldn't stand what crutches and a walker did to my hands and wrists, which I need more than my inner thighs.

patry francis

I'm convinced there is nothing more glorious than the lilac. Your photos are wonderful.


Oh, thank you Patry. As always, it is wonderful to see you here.

Hasn't it just been the most beautiful month of May? If only the lilacs were blooming, I would still feel rich, but look how many other things are in full, colorful, and often sweet-scented regalia right now. I can be completely exhausted, but if I will just go outside into a garden somewhere for an hour or so, I find myself refreshed, truly, without having rested.

I hope you and yours are also having a delicious time among all the blossoms.

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