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Showing posts from June, 2016

Year Two, Day 52: The Lump

So much good news to share!

First of all, I discover the bicycle/pedestrian path on I-205. I do not need to even use the Max to get to my gym!

There is a lovely little bridge that goes over the freeway, and deposits me right there!

I love these little discoveries!  I am probably more excited about this than I should see I am feeling very happy. Relieved too.

I had a doctor's appointment this morning.about a lump. A growing lump under my right mandible. I have been a little bit concerned. My dear grandmother had lymphoma. Back in the 70's. When chemo was much harsher.she was very strong and a woman of faith. She conquered her lump and lived 20 more years.

But I was a bit nervous. I put off the appointment because my last few visit to this clinic were somewhat annoying. First, a difficult blood draw resulting in huge, purple bruise and sore left elbow that is just now feeling better. Plus, the last Physician's Assistant was an arrogant man, who seemed to be mocking my…

Year Two, Day 51: The Peacefulness of a Good Day

Such a fabulous day! I took the Amtrak bus down to Salem. Had a lovely walk downtown through the capital mall.Even had time to sit and read for a bit.
Then I hopped on a bus and had lunch at Cafe Yumm. Barbecued Tofu Bento.Yum! :)
It was hot today, so the mom of my Salem family kindly offered me a ride to their house. Then while I taught her son and daughter, she made me an iced coffee

Feel like a queen, I do! :)
Then she drove me to .the city bus stop. Amazingly the bus got me to the Amtrak Salem station at 5:10, just in time to catch the 5:11 to Portland!!

And here I sit in my train office, blogging about my wonderful day!

Enjoying the view from my window, I am!!

When I get back to Portland, I am going to buy a new bicycle helmet and bike light. Tomorrow I plan on a long ride.

But today I am enjoying the peacefulness of a good day.

Happy Wednesday!!

Year Two, Day 50: Mindful Biking

More breaking ground today. I rode my bike to the Max, and then to my first student, who coincidentally lives close to my gym. 

I am starting to notice positive changes from my daily biking. 

First of all, I feel such a sense of freedom and exhiliration when I hop on and take off.  It reminds me of my childhood. My brother and I rode all over Vancouver, WA on summer break.  It was my first experience of independence from a rather harsh father.  Back then we didn't wear helmets. And there were many hills. I will never forget the joy of coasting down a hill with the wind in my hair.

I have hints of the feeling now.

I also have noticed my energy is higher. And although I am sore (cycling uses muscles that I have not worked in awhile), I am getting stronger.

Cycling is also good for my mind. I find myself going through routes in my head. I am hoping to add more routes to my day. It beats walking and busing. I wait for no one and shave many minutes off of my commute. Plus it is FREE!


Year Two, Day 49: "That Crazy Thing"

I jumped another hurdle today! 
Am I on a roll or what?!
I rode my bike up to the Max stop.
A gentle uphill incline. But uphill! And I made it! (In first gear.) We boarded the Max:
Then we reversed our trip back home. I made  a healthy lunch. Before we went to the gym, I cut up a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts and marinaded them in olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, oregon, and balsamic vinegar. When we got home, I sauteed the  chicken. I added a little cooking sherry and cornstarch at the end to the juices.  I put it over some brown rice mixed with jasmine rice, topped with black beans and Brussels sprouts. 
All with time to spare because of my dependable bike!

My mom left me a voicemail earlier. She calls daily with an update on my dad and a running commentary on her life. Especially since my father's stroke. She updates me on his condition, his doctor's appointments, his meds, his moods, where they had lunch and how many people complimented her on her h…

Year Two, Day 48: Meet Maggie!

I found a new office!

Maggie and I did 7.57 miles today!!

Oh, I didn't tell you about Maggie? I have named my bike.  I have become quite attached to her. She got me safely to church this morning with minutes to spare. No waiting for the bus. No paying $5 for a day pass.

Maggie is quite special. When I moved to Salem, I was surprised to discover the buses did not run on Sundays. And I had just accepted a church organist job! But a lovely woman, the wife of a pastor at the church my son and I went to rehomed her to me! I rode round trip 4 miles every Sunday while I was living in Salem.  But since I moved back to Portland, she has sat in the garage.  Lonely.  I was afraid to ride in Portland. One of the things I loved about Salem was less traffic and wider streets. 

I do ride mostly on the sidewalks. I am a chicken.  But Foster Road is a great street. The sidewalks are wide and very few pedestrians.

After church, we went up to Creston Park.  I sat in the shade with Maggie, a bottle …

Year Two, Day 47: Two Catholics, A One-Eyed Homeless Man, and a Hacksaw...

Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right?

I assure you it is not.  But before I tell you the story, let me toot my own horn a bit.

I rode 5.5 miles on my bike today!
I am woman, hear me roar!

It was  actually quite pleasant.

Well, aside from the incident after church this morning.  Involving my bike, two Catholics, a homeless man with a patch over his eye, a hacksaw and me.

Now that it is over and done with, it is quite amusing.

Although my feet are not so amused.

But I digress.

You probably want to hear the story, right?


Here goes:

So there I was this morning, outside the church. Preparing to lock up my bike  and start my day with 8:00 a.m. Mass as I usually do on Saturdays.  But today, I had ridden my bike instead of the bus. I was feeling quite proud!

I scouted out a good place to lock up my bike. I was a bit worried about my little white basket attached to the front.  I glanced nervously towards the door of the church.  There was a homeless person tightly rolled up in a …

Year Two, Day 46: Z-xit

I am in my library office. I just finished teaching a lovely family - two boys and a girl.  These are the "lazy days of summer" for me.  Just a few students a day.  I like the time to breathe. And the looser schedule allows me to spend a little time with my students.  I like breathing room.

I was able to convince myself to go to the gym before I headed out. I've been pretty consistent about GOING to the gym daily. I don't always get as long of a workout as I should. But I go!

Today, I did a mile on the treadmill while watching the news of "Brexit".  This kind of took me by surprise, and much of the world it seems! I try to stay current with the news, but lately the political campaign has been such a circus, that I don't give it much thought. I sometimes hesitate to search for breaking news when I wake up. I am committed to being aware of, praying for and mourning the latest victims in the newest shooting. But it does drain one's soul.

So, the exit …

Year Two, Day 45: Summer Breeze

Ah, my favorite early morning sounds: Rain and chirping birds. As an added bonus, a crisp, cool breeze is wafting through my open window. At 5:00 a.m. And I am awake to enjoy it!

Since I started adding more strength training to my workouts, I seem to have more energy. More sore. But more energy.
I veered from my normal routine yesterday! Instead of my traditional Indian buffet, I went to Cafe Yumm and had a "Smoky Yumm" Bowl with a barbecued tofu skewer. And a glass of ice water. Yes, I do understand the meaning of the word Yumm! :)

It was delightful, and I'm certain I consumed fewer calories. But more than that, I broke an eating ritual.

And I did much walking!

On the ride down to Union Station yesterday I cried. Right there on the MAX. I cried, not tears of sadness. Tears of intense deep response to beauty.I was moved so deeply by a song I heard  on K-Love radio, that hot tears just started trickling down my face. Afterwards I felt quite cleansed and peaceful.

And I fe…

Year Two, Day 44: Thoughts Matter

"Fasting is a good practice to adopt as we start serious work in the spiritual life. Most people think of fasting as eating nothing for long periods of time. However, John Cassain's [a fourth century monk] teaching on fasting is that we should simply put food and our thoughts about food into proper balance, eating only at meals and not in between. If we fast in this way, we can get in touch with our thoughts, because when we feel the bodily need of food and drink, we begin to notice our thoughts about food and we know we must let them go without acting on them if we hope to progress in calming our mind. If all we think about are bodily needs, then conscious prayer remains a distant goal. If we can't tame the thought of food, there is no hope of getting control of the more difficult thoughts, such as sex and anger."  Thoughts Matter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life, Mary Margaret Funk, 1998.
I am on my way down to Salem to teach today.  I just read the above paragr…

Year Two, Day 43: Duck Therapy

Yesterday I took a nice one mile walk to Chrystal Springs Rhododendron Garden near Reed College after my last piano student of the day. It was the perfect day for a walk. A bit overcast, but warm.   I was pleased to find that I was one of the only people there, introvert that I am!   I walked around, admiring the gardens, before finding the perfect spot to sit and read. There were quite a few ducks swimming about in the pond. But when I stood to take a picture, they swam off. So I sat on my bench and got lost in a book.  Soon I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Two ducks had come up out of the pond and were busily pecking grain on the ground in front of me. Perhaps, since I had been so still, they didn't notice me. 

I ended up moving a bit when one duck came precariously close to my foot. I didn't want him to peck my toes!

I sat there for at least an hour. Drinking in the fresh air, the sounds of the birds, the sound of silence. But I was sure to wiggle my feet…

Year Two, Day 42: Love Attracts Love

I wrestled with my conscience last night.  Ultimately my conscience won. 

God helped.

I was distraught after visiting with the little choir who needed an accompanist.  It felt wrong to me.  The people were generally positive, but I was under the impression that the mission of the group was to bring music to people randomly, to spread love through music to people, like the homeless who were downtrodden.

I was thrilled. I have been very concerned about our homeless population in Portland. And although they are often judged harshly as a group, I have seen first hand that they each have their own story. And I work on the part of me deep inside that has been judgmental of those that are different than myself.

One of the first things I was told as we gathered was that we would not be singing for the homeless, because the choir had spoken amongst themselves and in as many words, they decided the homeless did not deserve their gift of free music, that there were others who had "no choice…

Year Two, Day 41: Watching the Sun Go Down with the Honey Dog

Do you know what is awkward about being an introvert? (Aside from all those social situations, that is...).  
The day when you finally have a whole day to yourself. Space! Freedom! No one to violate your personal space!
And you feel lonely!
My adult children are all at the coast.  I went to a lovely church service this morning and a long walk. Sat in with an a cappella choir who is looking for an accompanist.  Went to lunch.  Browsed my favorite used bookstore. Came home to a very quiet house.  And my anxiety. I started to worry about my adult children.  
Then I told myself to enjoy the peace and quiet. I made homemade falafel burgers. I ate leftover orange chicken, rice and hot and sour soup.
Then I noticed that I was not alone!
Honey Dog had come and put her head on my knee and was looking up at my with concern.
So I grabbed her ball and we went outside and played. She was ecstatic. Jumping around like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Then I remembered I was supposed to water the…

Year Two, Day 40: A Glimpse of Me

I am here in my office.  The library.  My home away from home.

Although lately, I have been craving nature.  And many trees. Like the trees in Leach Botanical Gardens. I can't wait to go back!

But there are dark clouds gathering and threats of thunder and rain.  So the library is my office for now. Tomorrow, I am going for a long nature walk.

And I may stop at the Franz Bakery Outlet. They have gluten free bread! :) (Sorry for the fuzzy picture. But there in the window, I saw a sign that said "Gluten-Free Bread" Yay!)

About that massage yesterday.  It had been a long time since I had received a good deep massage.  My last few massages were at "The Amazing Foot Spa" which has since gone out of business.

I am quite sad about that. I enjoyed the hot foot soak beforehand.  The gentle music. Dim lights. And the predictability. Always the same routine. Very comforting.

The masseur did not speak much English, but we communicated quite well.  He did not do really deep…