Monday, December 31, 2012

Golf Gypsy's 2012 Review in Photos.

Seasons of golf in the USA.
It was a warmer than average winter, so I was actually able to practice a few golf shots before flying out to Palm Springs with Peggy to play our spring golf at The Palms and The Classic Club. (We are troopers:  not even tornadoes, wall clouds, and pouring storming rains can keep us from our California destination, but it can make us a day or two late.)  I'd like to say that the golf was stellar but that would be a lie!  In May, we celebrated Peggy's two on hole 7 at MCC.  It helped us win but it cost me a dollar.   Mary Lee and I played in our first ever Triple Threat event and had the time of our lives, focused, diligent, talking golf, and laughing. Oh, I forgot to mention, feeling lucky.   I was mentally ready for golf and I thought physically, especially after  a year of Pilates, but again I was wrong.  A golf ball sized  hernia was cramping my style; once that was stitched up and six lazy weeks had passed I was really ready to test my skills.

In July the Walenz Explorer took four of us to Beaver Creek, Colorado and four days of golf at Red Sky Ranch, which tested our skills, our patients, our ability to focus in spite of the Black Angus cattle running across the fairway while being chased by a bear, and our enjoyment of taking the edge off!  August and September were filled with golf tournaments and travels with friends, as I tried to make up for missing June golf.  I will however, not complain about that rest.  I don't know when I've ever felt so refreshed.   October, November, and up until December 2 turned out to be so unseasonably warm that many friends visited Prairie Dunes to play where the pros have played, and  I took turns visiting their courses.  Along the way we each made some daring one putts, hit some memorable shots, trees, gunch, sand, and other unplayable lies.  For us amateurs that's about all we can ask for in a round of golf.  Cheers to memories of 2012.

Journeys, memories, and victories in 2012.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas on the Road

La Quinta view, but not in California

Here I sit looking out a south window at a motel pool  as snowy ice pellets hit the water's surface creating dazzling modern art forms. Today, December 25, this is my Norman Rockwell Christmas painting, and, like so many of my 64 Christmases, we are on the road.  Christmas on the road has taken me to New Orleans, Chicago, Pasadena, Miami, Florida (and my Miami, OK), Dallas, Wichita and many other tiny towns and truck stops of the old two lane highways and Route 66.  Very few Christmas's were ever spent in our home, as a child or now as an adult, but I'm oh so blessed to have celebrated uniquely.

There were years when Christmas was a struggle; when I forgot the true meaning of Christmas; when I worried that it wouldn't be perfect; when I compared our children's Christmas, divided with divorced parents and brought together in a combined family, to those of one happy home.  I'd gotten lost in maize of looking for the perfect painting.    One day in a silent prayer for guidance a gentle voice reminded me that Christmas lives in our hearts, and to open my heart to his love to his words.  Watching now as the ice pellets turn to snowflakes, the birds flutter in the trees, a cardinal perches on a bush in front of me, I am refreshed in the beauty of the moment, my heart is open and it is Christmas.  Merry Christmas World.

Monday, December 17, 2012

You're Never too Old....

The busy beaver stayed on task while we relaxed.
You're never to old to enjoy a lunch break at the Zoo, and to have a refreshing reprieve from the work a day world.  Jack and I took just such a break one warm winter day recently, and we were delightfully surprised.  The animals were as happy and relaxed with the weather as we were.  We wondered past the deer and the antelope as they lazily lay in the sun, and watched a wild turkey canvas his area.

The birds were sunning themselves on limbs high above and paid no attention to the tiny gallery.  The American Eagle perched out of camera lense but not out of my sight.  He has a striking pose worth viewing up close.  The barrier-free aviary is home to many other birds as well.

Great Horned Owl
Yuka's art over the aquarium.
 We wondered into the wild habitat building and were greeted by a colorful collage of paintings above the animal habitats.  Yuka Danshita designed these paintings and donated her time and energy to the Zoo, so we could all enjoy scenes.  Look for her rain forests and desert scenes, as well.   I must say the chirping monkeys were busy that day creating mayhem,    It sounded like a kindergarten room without a teacher to oversee them, while the lowly turtles were enjoying an afternoon delight.  We laughed.

 Burrowing Owl focused on us.
As we wondered about we were amazed at the number of animals living at the zoo and at the extend of activity and things to see and do.   A small Burrowing Owl stared me down as we were walking out.  He didn't move while I took his picture.

Why had we not visited it before?
A Wise Old Owl hooted that I should find gifts for kids here.
Christmas trees decorated by area children lined the walk way near the gift shop and entrance.  Then a distant "hoot" sent me a bright idea.  Since it was nearly Christmas would the gift shop have any unique items for me to buy for our family.  Indeed they did.

How many of you have taken a lunch break to visit the zoo or gone after work for a stroll around the park?  It is a peaceful place where one could relax and return to work refreshed.  In less than 10 minutes from downtown you could be opening a car door and stepping into another world.  The Zoo is open daily.  Call for hours: 620.694.2693 or check out <>

Tell me what zoos are in your area and when you last took a stroll through a park.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Torn Between my Loves

There's such a fine line to 24 hours, and just how much I can reasonably accomplish or enjoy.   Yet, I am torn everyday, even with lists giving me places, errands to run, and tasks to finish.  The list is never fully complete before I start another one.  The lists don't show my true loves, they only take time away from them.

My true loves are spending time with family and friends, playing golf with friends, writing, gardening, exercising and walking the dog.  The irony lies in this warm weather.  By November my golf clubs are usually dusty and my mind hasn't given a thought to playing golf or gardening, but this year nature is giving us a real fall and I'm making every effort to be outside and enjoy every minute of it.  Until December 6, I was still digging in my gardens.  Newly planted surprise lily bulbs will do just that, surprise me next summer.  A transplanted iris garden will shed purple, white, and golden colors for a few weeks this coming spring, and Jack and I will toast a glass of wine to their beauty.

The awesome Greensburg duo of Letty and Jayne playing golf in Kansas December 2.
We've traveled to OU football games and visited with friends and family;  toasted to childhood memories at our (Weaver) family's first reunion this Thanksgiving; and managed to play golf on November 30 and then again on December 2.  I've loved every minute of these memories, but still I'm torn.

My brain and my emotions love it when I just sit and write or read.  I don't handle interruptions well when I'm playing in my head, and so I need cold winter days that keep me inside and nothing else on my calendar.  My brain frequently replays a quote by Georgia O'Keefe, "In order to do one thing right you have to give up 12 other things."  My dad said something similar whenever I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer or tennis player, "Tizzie, learn to do ONE THING well, first, then you can enjoy the others."  Over the years, they were both right.  I learned to be a tenacious golfer; a well versed student; a creative teacher.  Along the way I learned to be a storyteller and puppeteer.    Now, I'm doing those twelve other things, with a tug...Write  Write   Write.  There are stories in my head nearly drowning trying to get out, get down on paper.

This afternoon the North winds blew cooler weather our way.  I turned off the outside faucets, rolled up the hoses, and came inside.  I've played with my blog drafts, filled in photos that were deleted when my blog went haywire, written short notes about Miami, called friends, toasted a glass of wine to a creative muse named Tizzie.  She's back.  She's happy, her twin Letty dislikes the cold north wind, but Tizzie is happy.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Miami Memories: MHS the Substitute

The phone rang early this morning jarring my cozy dream state.  Staying in my warm bed and ignoring the loud ring came to mind, but instead I crawled out of bed, politely answered in a most upbeat tone, and listened as the voice pleaded, "Letty, we need a sub today.  Could you please take this job?"

"No, I'm sorry," I replied, "but my calendar is full."  After hanging up, my guilt gene kicked in for a few moments.

The morning was still dark outside and the house was chilly.  My husband was eating breakfast and the dog was faithfully begging and drooling by his side, waiting on a tasty morsel to drop.   Before I had a chance to settle into the still warm sheets of bed, my brain buzzed with a flashback to my first substitute teaching job at Nichols Elementary in Miami, Oklahoma.

A picture would have read circa December 1967,  showing a bright eyed nineteen year old college student dressing for her first teaching job.  I was home from LSU on semester break and had plunged into the adult world immediately by filling out forms to be a substitute teacher.   I don't remember much about that day other than the fear in my eyes when I meet those fourth graders, and the pounding in my heart when I saw the teacher's lesson plans.   With the schedule seemingly changing every 20 or 40 minutes, I never really caught up with that first day.  Recess was a great relief to me, and the end of the day bell convinced me that I had chosen the right path, teaching high school English or History would be a breeze compared to elementary.

Spring Break 1968 I remained dedicated to making money by substituting at Miami High School, where I knew my way around, having just graduated from that stately red brick building in 1965.  I proudly accepted the job to sub for Mr. Lingo in French class, especially since I had taken two years of French from him and had continued on in college with French classes.  The morning was glorious:  my little sister Jonya, a sophomore, came by the room to see me; I drank a coke and set it on the desk as I had seen Mrs. Enderland and Mrs. Thompson do when they substituted;  other teachers recognized me and asked if I needed  help.  "No thank you, but I'm doing just fine," I replied. I spent time in the library at noon with Mrs. Watson chatting about books we had both been reading. The Confessions of Nat Turner was my favorite read that year.

The calming spirit of Miami High.
Springtime weather warmed the classroom and the janitor helped me open some of the stuck windows, leading to my first encounter with rowdy boys.  Shortly after taking role in the last class of the day, I looked up to see a boy leaping out of the window and two more on his heels.  I rushed to the window to stop them, and then I broke into a short jab of laughter followed by embarrassed anger.  The remaining students and I watched as the boys ran between two houses and on across main street to "E. C's" Drive-Inn.  A deep breath was in order, but then what to do?   Calming myself and my students came first, and when at last they were on task for the moment, I quietly stepped out and walked down the hallway to the principal's office.  Mr. Kelton looked up smiling,  "It's nice to have you in the building today.  How has your day gone?"  Humbly, I explained that I had lost control with the group of boys and described what had happened.  With no sympathy and a sheepish grin on his face he responded rather sarcastically   "Now skipping out of class isn't anything new to you, is it Letty?"  If I could have disappeared in a puff of smoke at that moment I would have, but instead I smiled, dropped my head and said, "I never jumped out the window!"

I don't remember what the course of action might have been that day.  My guess is that Mr. Kelton calmly walked over to E.C's and invited the boys back into the building.  I survived.  I never finished that degree to be a high school teacher, but I did stay in education, and am most grateful to every child who entered my life.  Forty-five years have passed since that first phone call.  Today, and perhaps for years to follow,  rather than substitute I have chosen to write, to exercise, to read, to relax and let someone else take charge.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Buhler on the Flip Side

Simply stated, "It's the time of year when shopping comes to mind."  The verbs want and need frequently are overused, then again need rhymes with greed and that worries me.  I enjoy the quiet but colorful atmosphere of  Buhler, KS.   Tasty bierocks from LaVonn's Bakery, on the East side of town,  started my afternoon.  Next I walked to Main street and started up the West side, all the time being lured by the aromas of Christmas coming from a row of stores.  Rich cinnamon is my favorite with apple spice as a close second.    Then again I'm always intrigued by snappy words that lure the mind, such as The Rustic Edge and Vintage Seasons.  Now, with names like that one must go inside to explore the hidden meanings.

Inside the Rustic Edge my eyes wondered from purses to jewelry, clothes to spices, and then my eyes focused on a favorite color, turquoise   The turquoise was not jewelry; it was a table and chairs and matching hutch, and "rustic" indeed.  It would look so colorful in our home.  I sat down at the table to ponder how and where, but then realized that day dreaming was part of shopping.

Christmas angels
One door leads to another, from The Rustic Edge I opened an old screen door and stepped into another store.  What I found was a hidden treasure: a canoe hanging from the ceiling, a row of church pews, quilts and glass ware.  After wandering around I just had to sit in the church pews.  Right there on the mantle, as my eyes wondered in childlike glee in Vintage Seasons, I saw three angels.  Not just any three angels, but three little girls that matched two larger ones that were given to my sister and me one Christmas a long time ago.  The three angels were not perfect with their wings glued back together, but they matched and took me back to a childhood time of fresh evergreen trees propped up in a coffee can filled with sand, to a time when Santa Claus delivered a few toys and a new pair of pajamas.  Angels can do that...they can take you most anywhere your heart desires.  This Christmas those angels will have a new home on our mantel.

How fun is this.
                                                                                                              On the flip side, little towns can offer the weary shopper delight, a place of rest, an imaginative journey, gifts for the soul, and gifts for friends.  Most of all shopping in small towns offers conversations with perfect strangers, who are then strangers no longer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Readings and Greetings: The Paris Wife

Our book club just read and enjoyed The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  My first response to the prologue was, "Oh, how can I possible read another sad story."  Even though the book is fiction, McLain has done her homework, much like Gwendolyn Brooks does with her great novels such as Caleb's Crossing and People of the Book.  The book is written in first person, and I honestly felt like Hadley, Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife, was vividly telling the story as if it were in the most recent past instead of nearly one hundred years ago.

Ernest and Hadley (
Perhaps I found sadness when others might not, because of heart ache and memory of a dreadful war called Vietnam, and it's lifelong effects on those who fought and the families who were touched by the tragedies around them.  Reflecting on the relationship Hadley and Ernest developed from the time they met and married in Chicago through the years in Paris, and the birth of their son, Bumby, she writes, "Why couldn't we stop drinking or talking or kissing the wrong people no matter what it ruined.  Some of us had looked into the faces of the dead and tried not to remember anything in particular.  Ernest was one of these.  He often said he'd died in the war, just for a moment; that his soul had left his body like a silk handkerchief, slipping out and levitating over his chest.  It had returned without being called back, and I often wondered if writing for him was a way of knowing his soul was there after all, back in its place."  

I'm not nor have ever been a Hemingway fan because his life was so bullish and brash;  he steals and shreds the life from Hadley and the friends who surround them.  I stayed mad at Ernest as I read Hadley's story, and I yearned for Hadley to stand her ground.  When they first met and she read some of Ernest's first works (as yet unpublished and unknown) she said, "You're very talented..."  Ernest listened and glowed with her response and then seemed to sum up his feelings for her immediately, "I like you, you know.  You're a good clear sort."  Forty years later, before he committed suicide he talked with Hadley (Tatie, as they lovingly called each other),  and it was good to know that he still cared and respected her, afterall.

McLain's writing was as powerful as the characters in the story.  "Ernest's mother, Grace, met us at the door herself, literally pushing the servants to the side to do it.  She was plump and plush, with a sheaf of graying hair piled on her head...I could see why Ernest fought against her.  She was bigger and louder than anything else around her, like my own mother.  She changed the gravity of the room; she made everything happen."  Of course, the story was a name dropping conversation in Paris with the lives of the famous; Gertrude Stein, Alice Tolkas,  Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald,  Sherwood Anderson, Chanel, even Benito Mussolini,  was interviewed by Ernest.  The description of Gertrude's salon showed the times, "The walls were covered with paintings by heroes of cubism and postimpressionism and the otherwise highly modern--Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, Paul Guaguin, Juan Gris, and Paul Cezanne.  One striking example was a portrait of Stein done by Picasso, who had long been in her social circle, and often attended her salon."  Aside from the flamboyant characters, the strong women with money and time, there were the trips or excursions to Lake Geneva, to Austria,  to Italy, to the French countryside, to the mountain streams in Spain, a summer home in Antibes where Hadley befriends the woman who would split their marriage, Pauline, and then to the blood and gore of the bullfights in Pamplona.

As Hadley finishes her story of the years they lived in Paris and of the time when Ernest wrote his first successful novel, The Sun Also Rises, she and I realize that those were good years; that she and Ernest shared their lives, and both of them became better stronger people because of their relationship.  Was it sad? Yes.   But did I feel a part of their lives and escape my world through their vastly explosive, yet romantic,  experiences? Yes.  Sometimes that is all I ask of a story.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Tangled Tongue and other Ticklish Tales

Sunrise in the writing room.
Today like so many other early mornings "sleep" left our house early.  I've often wondered why, when I'm finally retired,  sleep doesn't linger longer in the early mornings, like I dreamed it would.  Just now two cardinals perched on the bushes outside my pink sunfilled writing room, chirping an early morning recital.  Blessings from another world, I think.  Perhaps sleep knew what she was doing when she left, leaving me the time to enjoy the sunrise and Cardinal's songs.

If I don't take a short refreshing nap today, I may find that my brain and tongue don't work well together as the day progresses.  I like to blame those brain snaps on a weary mind or lack of sleep.  Over the years I've kept a list of tangled tongue remarks that I've made, but perhaps my most lasting memory, or even my first memory of a tangled tongue came from my dad.  He was suffering some severe should pain and rubbed it often hoping for some relief, but he also had bursitis in his elbow and shoulder joints.  One day in frustration and pain he turned to my mother and I and groaned, "Helen, my shoulder burts."  We never laughed at my dad unless it was a joke and this was not a joke, it just sounded funny.  He seriously attempted his sentence again, "My shoulder burts."  By then mother and I had lost our self control and rolled with laughter.  Dad relaxed and laughed with it.  Burts was added to our family vocabulary to describe real pain that comes from "bursitis and hurt" or any other reason to make light of joint pain.

Last weekend on the drive home from Norman Jack and I noticed a lot of cars heading north, like us, with KSU stickers and flags waving.  Those Wildcat fans had just watched another football victory and were driving home with hopes of a new BCS ranking of #1.  At a McDonald's stop in Perry, Oklahoma I was standing in line with four people dressed in purple and looking like they'd had as little sleep as I had from the football games the night before.  When the moment was right I turned to them smiling and said, "You look like a happy group of "Stay-Katers."  Their faces looked stunned and I felt numbed by my words so I tried again, "Stay-Katers" I blurted out only louder this time thinking I'd get it right.  One lady came to my rescue before laughing out loud, "I know what you're saying."  "Ok," I breathed deeply and said, "I mean you are happy Wildcat fans.  Congratulations on the wins!"

Carrots of the Piribean.
If that had been my only tongue tangler this week I might have forgotten about it, but I ran on fumes this week with fun events each evening and very little sleep.  I have a tee shirt that I wear sometimes to Pilates or Yoga, that says, "I Love Jack."  My Pilates instructor, Abby, noticed it this week and asked how I found a tee shirt with my husband's name on it.  I proudly smiled and pointed to a tiny copyright print, and then opened my mouth, "It's from 'Carrots of the Piribbean.'"  Once again that blank stillness filled that air, and I knew I would not be saying it right, so I just pointed hard and jabbed at the copyright, nearly grunting and laughing.  It read "Pirates of the Caribbean."

I'm fearful today of what might slide out of mouth, but at least I know it won't be the first time.   For those of you reading this, I'm guessing your tongue has tangled, too.  You are welcome to share your stories in the comment box below.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Ebb and Flow vs The Standard Shift

Normally I like to write, to reflect, and share stories when my body systems feel light and flowing.  I find it uplifting just to go through the process of writing.  Words, pictures and ideas come and go easily, like the ebb and flow of the waters.
No hurricane winds today.

Then there are days, and weeks that pass by me when nothing creatively flows, and my body feels the jerks of a teenager learning to drive a standard shift automobile.  (Yes, I remember learning how to drive one, and I remember teaching two kids how to drive one.)  Today I dressed for yoga class with Letty Shaw  and looked forward to relaxing and relying on some of the group energy to get me going today.  With Lucy's cold nose and ears flapping out the back window, we took off for Genesis.  But time eclipsed us on the way, and we arrived in the parking lot at 8:25 with class having begun at 8:15.  Did I not know the time when I left the house?  I just sat and starred at the sunrise and frost on the cars never turning the engine off.  At last I drove home.

Sometimes I feel as knotted as this Jumping Cholla.
I realized that my internal energy is sometimes clogged.  Perhaps I've raced this engine too fast lately and have neglected the gentle flow of life that I've come to enjoy with retirement. I even wonder or worry that when, as my mother used to say, "You are burning the candle at both ends!" that perhaps those ends are meeting in the middle now.  Is that possible or do I just need to clean the engine again?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Birthday Bash in Buhler from A-Z

Jonya, Katy, Letty happily haunting Adrians for gifts.
Oh, what fun three women can have on a rainy Friday afternoon shopping in the uniquely stylish shops in Buhler, Kansas.  Two of these women, my daughter Katy and sister Jonya, drove from Oklahoma City just to celebrate Katy's birthday.   We began our escapade just after noon with a delicious meal at the Mustard Seed, on main street Buhler.  Soups, sandwiches  and salads nearly filled us up, but being women with taste we saved room for one chocolate brownie that could have fed four of us.  When I heard the fork slide on the empty plate as it tried to  scoop up the last of the chocolate icing, I knew it was time to go.

Mom and daughter, with Aunt Jonya taking photo.

We wondered through the art shop and admired the glass work, jewelry, and metal works, but we had clothes on our mind.  At the Main Street Style shop we found scarves and fall decor just perfect for our budget and taste.  With bags in hand we headed outside only to discover rain drops falling gently.  Just another treat for us as we had felt rain deprived this year, so we leaped into the rain skipping and laughing as we jumped puddles past the bank and on to Adrian's A-Z.

Aunt Jonya, Katy, and Mom taking photo,.
The style show began with scarves that could be folded and tied into a vest, we played at length with this new concept.  I scanned and opened purse after purse looking for just the right size and color, perhaps too many to choose from left me a bit overwhelmed.  Blingy bracelets and dazzling jewelry caught our attention, too.  (The result being a bling sound when I wear my new bracelets and type.)  We shared the dressing room off and on for more than two hours, as the three of us went in and out trying to decide which went with what or watt. One by one we handed over our clothing stash to the cashier until we felt like we'd left nothing untouched.  Since it was a birthday bash they gladly wrapped our gifts, so we could open them later.

I'm so blessed to have my sister and daughter in my life.  Thank you both for filling up my heart.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Miami Memories: Goulash and Old Wives Tales

On a Monday night, September 27, 1971 I was very pregnant and anxious to deliver a new baby into our world.  The dear "old" lady with white hair who lived next door suggested that I begin serving the greasiest food possible every meal,  in order to deliver this child, sooner rather than later.  I was desperate and heeded her advice.  That evening I fixed greasy hamburger goulash, with fatty hamburger, butter, canned tomatoes, onions, a touch of garlic, salt, seasoning, and elbow macaroni.  By midnight when I awoke with mild cramping, my husband awoke with his own problems, gas!  At last my pains out weighed his, and we made our way to St. John's Hospital, Joplin, Missouri by 4 am.  Within a few hours a ruddy red faced little girl with a head full of dark hair slipped into the world at 7:11 am, before her grandparents could even arrive.  Sometimes, the old wives know what they are talking about, and sometimes they don't, but isn't it funny when they do.
Gramps and little Katy (1972)

Now 41 years later on a Thursday night, September 27 I had planned to serve lasagna for Jack and I, but upon setting out the needed foods, I discovered that I had two lasagna noodles.  Now even I know that lasagna for two takes more than two flat noodles.  Once again in weary desperation, I looked for a way to use my hamburger (sirloin beef) and organic canned tomatoes (no salt please).  In my pasta drawer I found the ever faithful elbow macaroni, and began to stir up a more healthy meal for two.  Sipping on a glass of Chianti while eating a salad and goulash, my mind suddenly flash-backed to that night forty one years before when the goulash helped deliver a healthy beautiful baby girl name Kathryn Alexis Rains.  I smiled and my heart flooded proudly with memories and dreams.

Happy Birthday Katy
Just like it did in 1971, the goulash somehow delivered my daughter safely to my doorsteps on her birthday, though not at 7:11 in the morning.  It took her a few hours to drive to Hutchinson from Okc, but by 1:00 on September 28, 2012  we were celebrating her birthday over lunch. We toasted the evening off with my once famous Chocolate Mountain Slide cake, that was so moist we licked it off our fingers and lips.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Present

Between 4 am and 6 am this morning I worried and fretted about our future.  Perhaps the longest chapter of lives is coming to a close when Jack retires this year, and what does that mean for us, for our future, for our family, for our friends?  With "touch magic"  I'd like to peak through a little key hold, just to see what we'll be doing, where we will be living, and then I think, "No, just live now, live in the present."

The word "present" jogged a memory, and somewhere in my head I heard an exasperated kindergarten teacher say to one of her more energetic curious students, "Ramona, please sit here for the present."  Ramona followed the teacher's directions and began to dream of all the possible presents she would receive that day for sitting there.  When it was time for recess the teacher asked, "Ramona, please stand up and get in line," but the resolute kindergarten child replied, "No, I want to sit here for the present."  When the school day ended the teacher counted, "One, Two, Three.  Everyone in their seat."  Ramona smiled because she was already there.  As directions were given for lining up Ramona wiggled with glee.  When at last the day was over and she was in line, tears began to drip down her face. When the teacher walked by she smiled,  "Ramona, you have been really good today, but why do I see tears in your eyes?"

Ramona, looked at the teacher, "I've been waiting all day for my present."

The confused teacher asked, "What present?"

"You said, if  I sat here you would give me a present."

Like Ramona, I sometimes live my days dreaming (worrying) of tomorrow and not living today.  So for today, I will live in the present and smile.

 Beverly Cleary wrote Ramona's story so much clearer than my retelling, so much better, in fact, that Ramona's story has stayed with me over thirty years.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Readings and Greetings: THE DOG STARS by Peter Heller

I'm gonna miss them.  Hig.  Bangley. Jasper, Hig's dog.  Miss them because I know them.  Erie, Colorado not far from Centennial on an airport where they have survived, killed others, buried  one, and eked out a life.  With only a small plane (1956 Cessna 182) named "Beast", guns, lots of guns, Glock's! and ammunition, grenades, and Bangley's strategies for fighting off thieves, they have lived nine years.  One ready to kill first rather than ask;  the other waiting ready to negotiate. They watched as the disease spread and the world died.  Pandemic.  Apocalyptic. 

Hig talks to himself:  No more geese.  A few.  Last October I heard the old bleating after duck and saw them, five against the cold bloodwashed blue over the ridge.  Five all fall, I think, next April none.

When Bangley killed in cold blood the first intruders, I gasped. Then I knew.  I had entered their world.  My world had been their's once.  Husbands, wives, families, jobs, cars, cell phones, luxuries, grocery stores, communications with the world.  I ached when Hig ached, I dug when they gardened, I ducked when they shot and  killed, I flew over the Colorado landscapes with an eye searching always for what?  I crossed the Continental Divide and met new characters, but then the pages ran out.  The story ended.  I left them, but for how long?  Will I meet them again?  In the pages of a new book or in person, in our not so distant future?

Not since "On the Beach" have I felt compelled to believe that what I just read could be real, in my lifetime.

Dear Readers, what are your thoughts, your reactions to this story?  For more information on this book go to Peter Heller's website .


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Biloxi Recalled


Sun 'n Sand Hotel Court on Hwy 90 c. 1959.
As I sit here today my mind drifts back to the many vacations I've enjoyed on the gulf coast.  My husband and I spent a week in Biloxi, Mississippi last spring refreshing our spirits and searching the landscape for our own childhood landmarks.  Sadly, most of those landmarks were blown away, if not by hurricane Camille then by Katrina.  And now my TV is blaring the news that hurricane Isaac is bearing down on my beloved gulf coast.

The Broadwater Beach Hotel c.1967
It was the trees and the broken cement piers that led us to our few remaining landmarks on that trip. It took me two days to finally get my bearings on where my childhood memories had once stood.  We began our Christmas golf vacations to Biloxi in the late 1950's and stayed at grand hotel called the Edgewater Beach.   We then returned for many more trips to a new luxury hotel called the Broadwater Beach.  There I discovered elegance in dining when the maitre d' unfolded the pink linen napkin and placed it in my lap.  For a moment I felt like Grace Kelley.

The Broadwater pier looking back at the hotel. c.1967

The sun was never brighter than in my childhood memories, even though I can tell stories about playing 36 holes on cool rainy days in December, but when I remember Biloxi, this is what I recall.

The Broadwater Beach pier looking back at misty memories. c. 2012.

The artist captures the essence of the gulf life in this broken tree.

My childhood Biloxi is gone, but the memories and stories will live forever to be shared with my friends and readers from time to time.  It will withstand Isaac and many more to come.  The people, the land populated with trees and critters will survive and new memories will be made.

Good luck Biloxi, my heart is with you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Golf Gypsy and the Lost All (oops the lost Ball)

I love to play golf with my pink Precept balls, that look like the ones Paula Creamer uses, even though I know they are not the same.  I like them for several reasons:  1) I like the color pink; 2) I like the way they feel when I hit them (they are made for those of us with a slower club head speed); and 3) I know which ball is mine when I look out at the balls in the fairway!  I take a lot of teasing about my "ladies pink ball," but most agree it does go straight down the middle, and sometimes it even goes a long ways.  Besides that it looks really special when I pick it up out of a pale white hole on the green.

Notice it even says "IQ 180."
It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone that I occasionally lose balls on the golf course, especially at Prairie Dunes.  When we first joined Prairie Dunes twelve years ago I actually went to Target and bought several dozen cheap balls to play.  That way I had no attachment to the ball, so that when it flew into the intimidating gunch (tall grass) I just let it go, dropped another ball and hit again.  Over and over I played the fairways, roughs, and gunch until I felt like I could keep the ball in play, more often then not.  Then a few years ago I discovered the pink balls.

I really didn't become attached to that "lost pink ball", I just became a little irritated that I couldn't find it when I knew exactly where in the gunch that it should be, just to the left of 15 green.  Even my playing partner, Kathy, agreed that "pinkie" shouldn't be lost.  Why couldn't we find her.  I had played a provisional and in just a few minutes I called off the search party, hit my provisional, took my penalty and life went on.  I never would have thought about "pinkie" again if Kathy hadn't told me that she and Jim were playing golf a few days later and she looked for "pinkie."  I laughed, but the next time I played I found myself glancing in the gunch on 15 for "pinkie".

Then one day Kathy, her husband Jim, along with Jack and I played a round of golf at Prairie Dunes.  When we came to hole 15 Kathy stepped over to the side after she putted and looked for "pinkie."  Jim and I both noticed and I laughed again, but sadly agreed that "pinkie" was gone.  Jim, in an attempt to console me or cajole me, said, "I bet someone who doesn't appreciate "pinkie" has found her and stuck her in a tub of lost balls, never to play again."

"Probably so," I agreed.  Then I laughed and suggested that I write up a "Lost and Found" notice and place it in the men's locker room and in the newsletter offering a good white ball in return for "pinkie."  I told this story to my friend, Linda who likes her pink Callaway ball and who confessed that she had bought a couple a dozen of them just  last week in Wichita.  She listened and then just smiled and said, "Remember Letty, you are not the only one who likes pink balls."  Mystery solved, or not?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Snake Face

Stonewall is on the left and leads to our nature paths.
The funniest picture I never took happened the moment I threw out some old tuna salad.  Now, you ask, why would throwing out tuna salad be a funny picture.  The answer is easy.  We lived in the country, and I often "juiced" our breakfast meal.  So I had left over pulp that I took outside for the critters that lived around our country home East of Norman, Oklahoma.  I had selected an area covered with low bushes and grasses very near the corner of our stonewall.  On a regular basis I would take the pulp, peelings, or other tasty morsels outside past the stone wall and toss them to critters that could hide under the bushes and eat them.

One day I found a young deer sitting there, as if it were waiting on a treat.  I sat quietly at the wall and just watched in silence.  It was a quiet moment that I reflect on often to still my heart, but then that is not the funny picture.  One energetic morning I decided to clean out the refrigerator, and that's when I found the stale tuna salad bowl in the back of the shelf.  It only smelled slightly of aging fish, so why would I waste it, knowing that some raccoon or opossum would delight in the aroma and taste.

With the refrigerator cleaned, I stepped out passed our stonewall to the bushes and tossed the aromatic bowl of tuna.  Usually, the food hit the leaves of the bushes and settle down to the ground.  On that day, at that moment it hit a snake squarely in the face as the snake lay resting on the bush.  The snake reared his head first, in shock I'm sure.  I yelped in surprise and jumped back hitting the stonewall that stopped  my retreat.  The two of us then starred at each other in wonder until I absolutely broke into laughter. I must have been the only person in the world to have ever laughed at a snake face covered in smelly tuna.  The snake sent his fangs out, as if licking the tuna, then shook its head much like a dog shaking off water.  Silently he slithered away humiliated, leaving me laughing out loud as I sat on the wall alone with nature at my side.

I miss those moments of country life, but I have the memories, and they restore my soul.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Old Friends Lost and Found

One blazing hot Saturday afternoon while relaxing and watching golf on TV, I checked my facebook account, probably during commercial, and found a message asking, "Are you Letty Stapp from Miami, OK who played golf?"  I glanced at her name and immediately responded, "Yes, Yes, Yes!" I screamed excitedly through the Internet, "And you are my long lost friend Vickie Bell from Blackwell."

In a matter of seconds we were chatting back and forth.  At last my fingers were tired of talking and I sent her my phone number.  I had last seen Vickie when she lived in Dodge City and I lived in Greensburg.  We had young children and new lives. I moved to Norman, Ok and now live in Hutchinson, Ks.  She moved to Wichita, then to Phoenix, and is now back in Wichita.   Our children our older than we were when we last met.  Nearly forty minutes passed as we played catch-up with our lives.  At last I asked, "What are your plans for Sunday?  Can we meet in Wichita for lunch?"

Just like the old days, smiling and laughing.
During lunch at YaYa's Bistro she confirmed, in front of my husband, one of my many golf stories.  Yes, she indeed had been hit (indirectly) by lightning on the golf course at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO.  We chatted until the noon buffet was closed that Sunday and still have hours of our lives to share.  Even now I'm thinking of all of the stories I can tell about us and our teenage travels as young promising women golfers.

Our connection on facebook?  She's from England!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Golf Gypsy: Rebuilding Confidence

It seems like year after year I push myself to the limits and find ways to injure myself while having fun;  like falling while walking the dog, like straining the piriformis muscle while hitting a shot out of the pond and smashing my club into the bank, like pulling the rotary cuff muscles while swinging hard when my muscles were cold, etc, etc, etc.  This year I outdid myself with surprise "hernia" surgery.  As a result, eight weeks later, I am rested and healthier, but my golf game I've noticed is lacking confidence.  Sure wish I knew where that confidence went while I was recuperating from surgery because the rest of me feels fine.

After six weeks and with the doctor's blessings I headed out to the golf course to play golf and take it easy.  To simplify the instructions I played with my 8 iron, wedges and putter.  Not bad, it was just a lot of shots, and certainly more than I was used to.  The next time when I used the bigger clubs--woods, I discovered that the heel (not heal) and toe method was another problem.  Worst of all my touch and feel around the greens, my strength, my favorite shot in golf, my putting had left me.  Having played several rounds of golf now, I have decided that "my confidence in putting" is lacking.

Nothing has ever stopped me before, so with my brain focused on putting I headed out to the golf course.  After several holes, I discovered that it wasn't only my putting stroke that was on hiatus, so was my focus.  My mind wondered like a piece of paper caught in a wind storm. (I even thought about writing a story about it!)  With a few deep breaths, I was able to figure out my weakness and still enjoy the time.  At one point I was totally swept away with my love of nature as a mother "Eastern King bird" landed on the fairway, and her two babies landed right behind her.  I savored the moment, and knew why I was alone on the golf course.  In the quiet of the fresh air nature can be enjoyed and the spirit refreshed.

Focus and relax those hands, then swing smoothly.  
After nine holes I stopped, put up my clubs, and walked to the putting green to practice; to relax my shoulders, to sing a song, and to let my body relearn the simple stroke. I think I can, I think I can, I know I can.

Footnote:  This story was supposed to automatically post 7/17/12, but it didn't.  So I can now write that I am gaining focus and confidence.  We spent four days playing Red Sky Ranch Golf Course in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and I putted well.  Then over the weekend I played in the Challenge Cup series held at Wichita Country Club and recorded only 27 putts.  I'm back in my groove and am even using my old Ping putter.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rightly Fear the Unknown (sequel)

Golly life certainly tests our creativity, our patience, and our intelligence when it comes to technology.  The good news is that my blog does not have a virus, or a disease.  The bad news is that I have lost all of my photos that I added with my first "admin" account when I began using Blogger over two years ago and 79 stories later!  Since I did have "ugly unwanted spam" showing up on my blog weekly, the only way to delete it was to delete my first and main account.  Little did we know that by deleting that account ALL of my photos would disappear, too.  So IF you scroll down and around my blog you will notice black spaces where photos should be.

The good news now is that I can reload those pictures;  the bad news is that I have to go back to each and every story, delete the black photos and add ONE by ONE the photos that were there.  My goal is to have my Blog up and colorful once again by Christmas.  I honestly have no idea how long it will take, but I want to do it right.

Please be patient with me as I learn and practice another step in writing, editing, and enjoying life as a creative writer (sounds better than blogger).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fear of the Unknown--computer savvy I'm not

Looks like I'm going to have to make a computer decision that really scares me.  Wish me luck.  Actually, this is just a test to see if I can post this way, and then be able to delete it.  LinkedIn has been attaching myself to my blog every week and driving me crazy.  The people who have worked with me can't stop it, so it looks like I have to delete my main email address and use a different email address as my main one.  Sure hope this works.  If not, this may be my last post!!!! for literally letty.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mountain Magic

Last year this time we were all basking like lizards on a desert rock with temperatures raging in the hundreds.  Some might prefer that I say,  "baking like steaming hot biscuits or sizzling like hot grease in the scalding temperatures."  Either way we each remember the heat wave of last summer and of the last few weeks.  My body and soul like the heat, and I will not complain when the temperatures soar.   However, even I will admit that a week long golfing trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado last July soothed my soul and calmed the spirits.  The first photo I took and posted on facebook was of the temperature near a ski lift.  My hope is that by sharing this story and posting these pictures we may all refresh ourselves when we think of cooler temperatures and memorable vacations.

We'd driven from Hutchinson to Colorado in two hour shifts.   Even with air conditioning in the Explorer we were four toasty companions driving along waiting like children to see who might catch the first glimpse of the mountain peaks.  My shift was the last drive of the day up the winding mountains, but first we needed to stop for gas and check out the outlet mall near Silverthorne.  Suddenly, the clouds dropped over the mountains and misty cold rains spilled down our dry hot backs.  We ran and giggled from the rain, jumping puddles unsuccessfully, until we were under an awning.  At that moment I knew we were on vacation, the worries and the weight of everyday life were washed away with one brief cold mountain rain.

Even if we hadn't played golf I think I would have been content to sit and absorb the calmness of the village atmosphere or read and look up at the mountains.  

But it was friendship with Tony and Lora and the delight of golf that had brought us to Colorado, plus the fact that Red Sky Ranch offers two outstanding golf courses just 10 miles West of Beaver Creek.  We were up early in the brisk morning air eating a light breakfast and jumping in the car with energized  bodies to greet the challenges of the golf course and the mountains.

Tony and Jack up mountain or down?

Golfers have their own language when it comes to making decisions about where to play the ball and line up a putt.  Suddenly, flat was not not in our vocabulary, but words like side hill uphill, side hill downhill, up mountain, down mountain, off rocks, over trees, along with the binging sounds when our golf balls crashed into the rocks and boulders all came into play and our vocabulary.  However, I must admit there were a few times when just plain exasperation could be heard in our voices with such phrases as, "Am I putting up mountain or down mountain?"  or "No, it can't break that way."  "Would you look at that!"

The golf course designers, Greg Norman and Tom Fazio, must have been devilish in their delight to stump golfers as they carved the golf courses through the mountains.  Lora and I found ourselves gazing at the surrounding beauty from time to time, and laughing at ourselves or our shots.  What else can you do?

Up here "Mountain Magic" really exist, not just in folktales and children's books.   Long tee shots found the fairway and rolled to our next challenge, and then just like magic the next shot went it's errant way off the mountain, never to be found again.  Trees and bushes would reach out and grab our balls in flight like the reach of the mighty gnomes of old--where did they go?    When we'd finally reach a green we were either already humbled and just happy to be there.  Pride and greed took their strokes, a corner cut to short the price was paid or a putt lined up and not struck with authority often taught us that we were lucky that we didn't five putt!  My imagination wondered as often as my golf shots, and I'd catch myself gazing at the formations in the clouds and not focusing on the shot.  Oops! 

At the end of the day we'd return to our loft "to take the edge off" as Tony and Jack called it.  When we were once again mellowed and refreshed, we'd wonder through the village atmosphere of Beaver Creek.  One evening while walking we witnessed this charming scene.  Observing the young girl daring to pull the arrow out of the bear's bottom touched my heart:  for her innocence, her concern, her spirit and boldness;  for the imagination of the artist; and for the pure "magic" of the vacation.  I think God was chuckling when she reached for the arrow, I'm sure I heard his belly laugh as the mountains rumbled above.

Statue near the St. James Hotel in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Greensburg: a Story of Place Marks

This week I made a pilgrimage to Greensburg, Kansas.  It wasn't religious but it was a personal journey.  It represents one of the many markers in my life where there were arrows on the road, and I picked the one that went West, so Chaucer and Cervantes look out!   

Donn Crites, KD teacher and Halloween Hoot.
Luetta Neelly (Hayes) working in the library.
It was a time to say thank you and to acknowledge with friends what I'd always known. Greensburg marks a time and place in my life where the building blocks for my career as a storyteller, puppetry, author, and dedicated follower of children's authors and illustrators were grounded.

Luckily, for me I had an audience at home.  My daughter, Katy, listened for hours to stories, and who, with a little help from her friends, played out our lives through the antics of simple puppets.  We were well versed in Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss by the time Katy was three.  I read Dr. Spock's book on raising children, but no where did I find the help I needed as a single parent of a lively daring little girl, so we read and played together.  Books became a bridge connecting  us.  They gave us a quiet time where no one intruded, a time and place away from our lives where we could live happily ever after, if only for a little while.  

Sharon Koehn (Sutto) and Delmer Day.
Providence was on my side in the form of my first principal, Delmer Day, who accepted me (who hired me! a single woman with a child in 1975), and allowed me the time and place to learn and grow as an adult.  The library became our second home.  Then overtime our own library grew like a giant beanstalk that took us to places never dreamed.  In 1977 I read that a real live author, Richard Peck,  would be speaking at the Hutchinson Public Library, nearly two hours from Greensburg.  I realized the only way to open doors for our district to host authors was to invite my principal to go with me, and meet this writer. 

I was enthralled with Peck's words and dedication to writing.  He'd once been a librarian himself, and after the girls at the private school where he worked burned the card catalog he decided that writing might be a better profession.  I must say that Delmer's eyes were as focused as mine on this event.  That day I bought my first book Ghosts I Have Been, a novel by Richard Peck.  The inscription reads:  For Letty Rains, an encouraging friend -- From a grateful author, Richard Peck, 1977.  I will keep this book and let those who come after me find a home for it.  For inside those covers was someone I came to identify with, and Delmer even remarked after reading the book, "Letty, it sounds like he based his character, Blossom, on you."  I thought that was a compliment: one, because Delmer took the time to read the book; two, he journeyed with me to meet this author; and three, he knew me well.   

First autographed book.
The flap of the books reads, "Blossom Culp, spunky, devious, a bit of a female chauvinist is the outspoken  outcast of Bluff City....Always resourceful, Blossom manages to foil Letty's (ha, my name in print) plan for revenge, by suddenly developing a spurious gift for second sight...Blossom goes on to put herself and her town on the map."  I asked Richard Peck that day why my namesake, Letty, had to be the mean revengeful character in the book.  His answer was simple, "When I was in school I had a very mean wicked 8th grade teacher who's name was Letty.  For me, it was the perfect name for the character in this book.  I got my revenge."  For three years, I worked tirelessly to put our elementary library on the map, but it took a devastating tornado in 2007 to mark it's place for eternity.

Now the school and the city have brand new libraries, buildings, homes, and tiny trees growing and showing the world the strength and character that real folks are made of.  That day I delivered four boxes of books (many autographed memories), and a bag of puppets to the Kiowa Country Library.  I hope those books and puppets find loving hands whether they are used in the library, or whether they are sold into the hands of children who want to read a good story.  Books need to be read and handed off, not kept on shelves to collect dust.  

Librarian, storyteller, Letty Rains (Watt) begins her journey. (1975-78 Greensburg Elementary School)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bench Walking

I cannot remember a time in my life when walking wasn't a saving grace for me.  There were years when the bicycle was the primary mode of transportation and then along came the cars, but none every reached the freshness and beauty found in a simple walk.  During the last few decades I've spent some down days with knee aliments, back aliments, tumbles and bruises, and now surgery, but like my mother said, "This too will pass."  She was right.  I just wish mom were here to hear those words spoken from her ornery know-it-all oldest daughter, who has learned many  lessons, the hard way.  
A much needed bench for resting and reflecting.

My recent walks have been slightly slower and shorter than our dog, Lucy, would like to take, but I have assured her that the cooler early morning walks and longer walks are coming.  I tell her to be patient and enjoy the short walk around the block, but I'm really telling that to myself.  Two weeks ago I pushed myself walking and reached the edge of our flat land views in Kansas.       (I can do that where I live and still be in the city limits!)   I stood there in awe watching as storm clouds rolled by south of us.  I turned to walk home and thought, "Oh my goodness, I'm tired.  I hurt.  Why didn't I bring my cell phone.  What was I thinking wandering this far from home."  As panic set in thinking the worst, that I could hurt myself and have a set back in the healing stages of this "surgery" journey, I spied a bench hidden in the shadows of the trees.  A much needed cool breeze whispered across the prairie sending me to the comforts of the bench.  There I sat, relaxing, reflecting, and smiling.  Who knew how comforting a wooden bench could feel.

Sitting on the edge of the prairie.
I was greatly relieved to find that I recovered while sitting on the bench.  At last I attempted the walk home and along the way I stopped at another then another bench to rest.  So now I've learned to bench walk.  Yes, I walk from block to block and sometimes bench to bench, depending on the distance, the wind, or my mood.  Today I took a new step in bench walking.   I actually "bench pressed".  I put my foot on the bench, stretched, and pressed.  Then I put both arms on the back of the bench and pressed like a push up.  Ha, my body laughed at me, "You're healthier than you think."  I wanted to tell someone how light my worries became when I discovered that I could turn my bench walking into bench pressing.  What relief to feel healthier.  So to my Yoga friends at Genesis, to Abby at Core Connections,  to my golfing friends out playing golf today, I miss you all, but I'll be back this summer energized and healthy.

Now if I could just convince Lucy that bench walking and bench pressing are fun.

Friday, June 15, 2012


On my third week celebration since hernia surgery, I spent my first waking minutes in our hot tub.  Oh, what luxury lightly bubbled around me, and lifted my stiff and humbled body.  The moisture from the warm water soaked through my senses and helped to invigorate my soul.  Within minutes the birds that had fluttered away when I opened the lid, returned to their nests and feeders,chirping and squeaking at the intruder, as I secretly smiled at their flutter and concerns.  From my vantage point in the hot tub I watched the orioles line up for the "orange marmalade" that we had so generously plopped down on our wind break fence.  Before turning up the bubbling water I simply sat quietly listening to the newness of the day; to the baby birds squawking for food; to the squirrels chattering at Lucy as she slowly paced the fence line protecting her land and owner from dangerous predators; and I said, "Thank you Lord."  Thank you Lord for all that you have provided and for my good health.

Then like a child in the pool for the her first summer outing I turned up the "jets" and bounded from corner to corner, rolling like a fish in a pond and laughing at my own playfulness.  Water has always comforted me, and given my body a feeling of lightness and freedom.  No longer were my legs stiff and back sore; I was agile and youthful in the bubbling springs.  Lucy often jumps up to check on me, wondering if I'm safe?  I laugh and tell her to get a ball or her many chews and to play, play, play.

From one corner of the hot tub I could see a lonely cushioned chair out in the tree line.  I have three places in my yard where I have spent many hours the last three weeks, sitting, reflecting, reading, and sometimes napping.  I saw myself slowly shuffling on my husband's arm just to reach a nearby chair, the I saw myself walking around enjoying my yard, and now here I am feeling healthy.  But something inside of me clicks, "Warning, Warning, Warning--Take it Easy, Don't Overdo, One Good Day can cause Two Down Days."  At last I crawl out of the hot tub, dry off, and saunter in to shower and ponder another day at home.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Golf Gypsy Goes Down

Time is a strange bird that flies by in its own special pattern.  Many times in my life I've chased the clock, counting and running at light speed, like only working moms can do.  Some habits don't quickly change, and so events and journeys enter our lives to show us new avenues to wonder down.  A few days out of surgery I walked around the back yard, heal and toe pattern and holding my husband's hand, which is a dramatic improvement over the previous shuffle while holding my husband's arm.
Recovery view of our yard.

Surgery, although minor can be dramatic.  Better than so many options, I had time to prepare myself, my home, my yard, and my garden for the hernia surgery, which the doctor explained would keep me down for two weeks and then I'd follow a slow, but healthy road to recovery.

Time raced like the roadrunner before my very eyes.  For nine days I acted with total committed energy to every weed, every limb, every flower than needed attention; to every piece of laundry and ironing; to every room that needed cleaning and didn't need cleaning; to every calendar commitment and golf tournament than had to be cancelled; and to all my friends I might not see for awhile.  And then I cried.  I cried because I was scared and tired.  Then I felt better.

Feast your eyes on Green and Heal.
Time heals oh, so very slowly indeed.  One day I felt good enough to walk a mile, and the next day I was down and out.  One day I was bored and frustrated and began cleaning off book shelves and thinking garage sale! and the next day I was down and out.  Sit, Letty, Sit instead of Go, Stretch, Run, Pull, Swing.  I'm now two weeks out from surgery and a check up this afternoon.  Hope the doctor says, "go," but I'm not betting on it.