The Road Less Travelled

road-less-travelled3We’ve just returned from another road trip and, once again, so thoroughly enjoyed the option of taking the road less travelled.

Last February, we drove to Texas and chose the road less travelled because we wanted to avoid as many major metropolitan areas as possible – especially Dallas. So, in the process, we found ourselves on many back roads, most of which offer a variety of interesting areas missed when taking the faster, busier interstate routes. For example, we never would have discovered the mysterious “Forbidden Zone” I wrote about back then had we not taken that route.

We often choose to travel the Nebraska back roads on our way to Denver as well, in order to avoid some of the hectic semi activity on Interstate 80. And, this trip was no exception. We drove from home to Kearney, NE, travelling Nebraska highways rather than Interstate. We enjoy seeing the country churches and the family farmsteads and prefer the slower pace that these roads bring to life.

This year, on our return home from Denver, we decided to travel by way of the Black Hills. We wanted to visit Hot Springs, the southern Gateway to the Black Hills…mostly because we had never visited that area, but also because we had been told that it is in the Banana Belt of South Dakota. For whatever reason, that sounded intriguing. So we did. We spent just one night there but we did a lot of driving around exploring the scenery, soaking up the history and experiencing the small town lifestyle that the area had to offer. It was quiet and thoroughly enjoyable.

At dinner that night in Hot Springs, Ken asked me how I felt about doing a little exploring on our way back to Sioux City. Over the years, we have made numerous trips to the Black Hills, always via Interstate 29 and 90. This time, he wanted to do something different…to return home via Highway 20 across Nebraska…just to see what it was like. So we did!

Once again, The Road Less Travelled offered us a new adventure with lots of intriguing eye candy along the way. Beautiful farmsteads, old barns, small towns and loads of beautiful fall foliage. After so many years of always living our lives on fast forward, there is something so very enjoyable about slowing things down a bit. There is so much out there to see.

It was a fabulous week, ranging from visiting wonderful restaurants, the arts district, Botanic Gardens and various other adventures in downtown Denver to a step back in time in the hills of South Dakota and along the back roads of Nebraska. We’re home again now but the “high” of our just completed vacation remains. I had to smile, watching Ken out on the deck grilling last night…in the dark, now, as fall closes in on us, but still enjoying his Bluetooth music and his glass of wine. We will begin planning our next road trip soon, but, for now, our “staycation” is pretty enjoyable too. Life is good!

Later.

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Re-Inventing Pasta Sauce

Well, I have been working on re-inventing retirement for the better part of a year now, and a few weeks ago I talked about how we have been re-inventing one of our favs…pizza

This morning I woke up thinking about the bowls full of perfectly ripe grape tomatoes we have been picking almost daily and decided I wanted to try something different with them. There were way too many to just throw into salad, so I decided to make pasta sauce. But, I didn’t want to make just a juicy pan-cooked sauce. I wanted something different. Here is what I did.

I took out a large sheet pan and put as many grape tomatoes as I could fit in a single layer on that pan. I also had a handful of sweet, baby onions that Ken had dug a few weeks ago, so I washed and peeled those to add to the pan. Then, I smashed a half dozen cloves of garlic and threw those on…drizzled olive oil over all and seasoned with salt and pepper.

I popped the sheet pan in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes to get the mixture nicely carmelized. In the meantime, I went out and cut a bunch of nice fresh basil to throw into the sauce when I blended it.

I was so pleased with the results. It was nice and thick and absolutely delicious. Now, how to use the sauce. I had just picked a spaghetti squash as well so decided to make spaghetti squash casserole…another one of our favorites. That would allow me to also use some of our bounty of peppers. So, basically, a spaghetti squash casserole is cooked spaghetti squash with your choice of additional ingredients. This time I used Italian sausage, three kinds of chopped peppers, chopped onion, my freshly made sauce, a handful of grated Italian cheese, and some mozzarella to top it off, just because.

It was delicious…and pretty healthy too since you are eliminating all the carbs in the pasta. Another version of this that we love is Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole. There are plenty of sites where you can find these types of recipes, but one of our favorites is Paleomg.com

So…still loving the freedom of retirement, the time to do what makes us happy including working in the garden, and the fun of experimenting with different ways to enjoy the bounty that we have produced. If you happen to try this sauce, let me know what you think. In our house, it’s a keeper!

Later.

CONSIDER THE FLOWERS…

It seems like I know so many people who are on their own cancer journey right now, and I couldn’t help but think of them when I came across this blog post I wrote back in April of 2010. It had been a particularly long and harsh winter that year. Snow, cold and then more of the same…over and over. But when it ended…this. IMG_2042

I felt I wanted to share it again in hopes that it might bring comfort to some who are going through trials of their own right now.

THURSDAY, APRIL 8, 2010

Shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer, someone said to me that, as hard as it was to imagine at that moment, I would come through this experience a stronger and better person. I thanked them but assumed it was another one of the things that people say to try to make you feel better when there really is nothing much they can say. However…

Ken and I were outside looking at all of the spring-flowering bulbs coming up the other day and I couldn’t help but think about how ironic it is that, in spite of an unusually rough hard winter, the bulbs weathered it well, and, in fact, appeared stronger than ever. There are more of them…more of them are blooming…and the tulips seem to have more buds than ever before. In spite of being buried under 3 feet of snow for months on end, they are now making their presence known in a way they never have before. Could this be what that person was referring to?

I too have gone through some long, trying months but have managed to weather the storm so to speak. I am dealing with things I never imagined I could deal with and, as difficult as it is some days, I am holding up. In retrospect, I think maybe I am a stronger person than I was before my diagnosis.

Last week, while waiting in the blood draw area at the Cancer Center, I met a lady who must be the epitome of “strong”. She has breast cancer as well and she told me that she had been in remission for 11 years but her cancer had recently returned and she was back on chemo. I almost cried for her. I said that I couldn’t imagine how disheartening that must be. She said, you just do what you gotta do. Funny, because whenever people ask me how I can manage to be so strong in the midst of all this, that is pretty much what I say. It is what it is. I’ve often wondered how I would react to finally making it through all of this…to finally reach the end of that tunnel and then have it come back. I’m not sure I would be able to handle it. But, this lady is. And, so do many others. I think they, and I, just draw on a strength that we have within us when the time comes that we need it. That is what my flowers did over the winter. And, that is what I have to do now to get through the final 8 treatments in chemo round 2 and then the subsequent 9 months of chemo round 3 and radiation.

I don’t want to spend the better part of my day at the Cancer Center tomorrow…but I will. And, I will do OK. And, whatever side effects come my way this week, well, I’ll handle those too. Because I have no choice, obviously, but also because I am becoming a stronger person all the time. Just like someone told me I would. I see that now.

Later.

Fast forward to six years later. I am healthy, a much stronger person and living life reimagined. 🙂 To all of you just hanging on and putting one foot in front of the other to make it through each day, hang in there.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD

When I set out to do my best to reinvent retirement, it never occurred to me that one of the things this would involve would be our eating habits. I mean, ever since I was diagnosed with cancer I have focused on healthy eating. But, over the last several months, we have entered a new adventure of experimenting with the Paleo lifestyle. We are not fanatics by any means, but lean toward this lifestyle whenever possible. And what is fun is that both Kelli and Matt are doing the same thing so we are constantly texting and sharing recipes. The last couple of nights have been phenomenal.

First Kelli shared a recipe she made that sounded so good it turned out that we and Matt and Sara both tried it on the same night…Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Zucchini Noodles. IMG_2034It was unbelievably good and we will definitely make it again. It is Zoodles with a sweet red pepper and goat cheese sauce to which we added broiled garlic shrimp.  What’s not to like…right?

Tonight we experimented with a recipe that Matt sent…Buffalo Chicken Casserole. Crazy good and unlike anything we have tried before. It is spaghetti squash with chicken, veggies and eggs plus HOT SAUCE.IMG_2037

It is so uplifting to have the time to research and experiment with new cooking venues. I love to cook. I love knowing exactly what is going into my body. I love that Ken is getting into not only experimenting with new healthy lifestyles but also is getting into assisting with the process. It is healthy and it is social. It is FUN!! I may, from time to time, share additional recipes that we experiment with. It is a NEW twist on life. It is another example of Reinventing Retirement.

Later.

VIENNA WAITS

My initial post on this blog almost a year ago now, announced my impending retirement. blog quote smallA friend commented by welcoming me to Vienna with the lyrics to the entire Billy Joel song. It’s a great song about slowing down and taking time to live….hence retirement…and my favorite part of the song is

And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old”

I bring this up now because that friend, Howard Jones, released his second book today…”Searching for Dunderhead” and that is an inspiration to me to push forward on my own project. It has long been my dream to write a book. In Howard’s case, retirement has allowed him to climb mountains, sail the seas, go on safaris, become an accomplished photographer and write two books. (I think it’s two) He personifies the lyrics, “You can get what you want or you can just get old.”

I follow numerous blogs on the subject of reinventing retirement and, regardless of the names…Encore Voyage, One Mom’s Journey, Out of the Frying Pan, they all seem to have one common thread…the quest to live this new life we’ve been given to its fullest. For many people, that means travel. For others, a second career path, adventure, or following a dream. Regardless, it seems we’re all searching for Vienna via our own path. And that’s pretty exciting.

“And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
… Vienna waits for you”

Later.

Christmas, 2009

ChristmasStorm1225halfblockeastl-1164215_lgA major Christmas blizzard spanning 4 – 5 days back in 2009,  dropped approximately 21 inches of snow, blown around by wind gusts approaching 50 miles per hour. This massive storm punctuated the beginning of my cancer treatment, pointing out to me, in no uncertain terms, that, not I, but a much greater force was to be in control of my destiny.

The snow was just beginning to fall as I walked into the Cancer Center on December 22, 2009, to receive my first chemo treatment following surgery for Breast Cancer. This on the heals of just finding out that a PET scan had shown a possible abnormality in my thyroid as well. I would have a biopsy in early January to determine the status of that.  These storms of both nature and my personal life at the time, were reflected in my Christmas Day post back then. In re-reading it while working on my book, I decided that this might be an appropriate time to share that post from six years ago.  Hopefully it will act as a reminder to us to always hold onto hope in the midst of life’s biggest storms.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25,2009

Merry Christmas, all! What a different Christmas it has been. The weather…what about that? It certainly has thrown a monkey wrench into lots of people’s plans. We were fortunate. Kelli and Brett had originally planned to drive home right before Christmas but decided to come a couple of days early to be with me for my first chemo treatment. That meant they were here safe and sound before the first snowflakes fell. Michelle and the kids, of course, live here in town so they headed over early yesterday bringing all of their stuff with them and just moved in. So, we had a big slumber party last night for Christmas Eve.

It was the first time in many, many years that I was unable to host the big Christmas Eve bash for Marilyn, Russ, Jen and the kids and anyone else who happened to be in town. That made me sad. But there will be others.

We missed Matt and Sara, too, but are happy knowing they are safe and sound and enjoying Christmas with their Denver family. They will begin a new adventure on Sunday as they load up a moving truck and move to their new home in the mountains.

This morning, I woke up a little after five with a really raspy cough. Got up for a bit but then was able to go back to bed and sleep for a couple of hours before getting up feeling much better. Only minor nausea. We were just getting a late start on opening gifts when the power went off…what a strangely old fashioned feeling that brought an unexpected peace to our Christmas morning.

Unfortunately, at some point, my mind strayed back briefly, to Christmas 15 years ago when my Dad had just received his cancer diagnosis. The day after Christmas,we took off for Denver to help them prepare to move back to Iowa to begin treatments. As we took down their beautiful Christmas decorations, we had no idea that it would be for the last time. That was Dad’s last Christmas. And, given the uncertainty of my diagnosis right now, I realize I could be in that same position, though, every part of my being refuses to believe that. When Christmas, 2010 rolls around, I plan to be approaching the end of my chemo treatments and preparing to begin radiation. Still, just in case, my plan was to enjoy this Christmas to the fullest, and I have. I’m trying to not focus on the upcoming thyroid biopsy and how that result might change the course of my life.

As far as I’m concerned, if it turns out to be cancer, that will just be another bend in this tunnel. I will deal with that when and if it happens. For now, I cannot yet see that light at the end of the tunnel, just as we’ve been unable to see across the street due to the heavy snow, but I can see the lights of Christmas all around me, reflecting off the huge drifts of snow and sending a comforting reminder of the Christmas miracle. It has been a different Christmas, to be sure, but a wonderful one in its own way.

In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us everyone.

Stephen King

IMG_1698I have just finished reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing, and found it to be very interesting. Some of his better insights I have shared through my professional Facebook page over the past several weeks. Another, that I read yesterday is the basis for this blog post.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” – Stephen King, On Writing

This is so true. I had a terrible time getting started, in spite of the fact that I have been kicking around the idea of one day telling this story ever since I began my first blog in December of 2009. It is unbelievable how many things can surface to hold you back. For years, it was just that I was working full-time so did not have the time to focus like I would need to if I were to write a book. But, once I retired and, seemingly had the time, it still took me months before I was able to actually get started.

I think that a lot of it was self-doubt. I had great difficulty believing that I could ever have the ability to do this. That is one reason why I have so enjoyed reading books on the writing experience itself, written by several successful authors. They validated all of those doubts I was having and, in a sense, gave their permission to have them…just not to let them stop you.

At the end of his book, Stephen King summarized what he had hoped to get across to readers – to me. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Some of this book – perhaps too much – has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it – and perhaps the best of it – is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”

I am so excited to share that, as of this morning, I am now working on Chapter Four of my book. The hardest part was definitely just getting started. The second hardest part was writing Chapters One, Two and Three, because they deal with events that happened prior to the time that I began my blog. From here on out, I have something to refer to and to fall back on rather than having to rely on gut-wrenching attempts to recall events and emotions that happened six years ago. Most of what happened from that point on is documented. It will be interesting because I am still working on coming up with a format that will allow me to incorporate those posts and comments into the book. And, most interesting, will be re-reading it. I have not gone back and read any of it since it was written. But, piece by piece, it will now be re-read, re-written and transformed into book format. “Onward and upward” as one of the classiest ladies I know always says. Onward and upward!!

Later.

Chapter Two

I’ve been working on some research this morning for Chapter Two, but find my thoughts wandering to the enormity of the project itself and how it all came about.

One day you’re supposedly healthy and the next day you’re diagnosed with cancer. That is a tough thing to wrap your head around – not only for you but for those around you. You’re the same person you were the day before, but you suddenly feel like you are defined by cancer, People are concerned, but most feel awkward. It is hard to know what to say, so many resort to platitudes…you have to stay strong…you are going to be fine…God doesn’t give you more than you can handle…you don’t look sick…etc, etc., You reach a point where you want to talk about anything but the cancer…not because you don’t want to share your journey, but because it is exhausting to feel like you have to be strong for the rest of the world so they will feel more comfortable.

When I began treatment, I began my first blog. That was my way of giving myself an outlet where I was free to express myself and also a means of sharing with family and friends without having to retell my story over and over. I’ve been a quiet person all of my life. I never sought to be the center of attention – never liked to get up in front of the class…never wanted to feel like all eyes were on me. But the strangest thing happened as I made my way along this journey.

While I never believed that cancer defined me, it somehow gave me a voice. In May of 2011, I was named the first honorary chair of the Komen Siouxland Race For the Cure. honorary chair I was also named the Komen Siouxland representative on the New Balance Breast Cancer team, I was later selected to drop the puck and ride the Zamboni at the Sioux City Musketeers annual Pink in the Rink. I was interviewed numerous times on local television and was the subject of a feature article in the Sioux City Journal. To this day, I have no idea how all of that happened, but the even better thing that happened is that I found myself being placed in situations and crossing paths with friends and acquaintances who were themselves now touched by cancer and were in need of someone to talk to. I was able to give them a voice in an atmosphere where they could feel comfortable to talk freely and to express their feelings. This continues to this day.

That is why I am determined to pursue the writing of this book. I believe that if you’re given a song, you should sing it. If you’re given a story, you should tell it. And, if you’re given a voice, you should use it. I’ll leave the singing to my talented husband, but I do have a story to tell and a voice with which to tell it. And, I now have the time, so that is what I hope to do, no matter how long it may take.

Chapter One

I PROMISE that I won’t bore you by force feeding every chapter of this book as I write it through this blog or through my Facebook page, but just had to share this today for two reasons…that milestone moment when the first draft of Chapter One was actually in writing and two – to hopefully garner feedback and suggestions for what I have done and what I should do.

I shared this quote on my Facebook business page a few weeks ago. “For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.” – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

So, once she completes a first draft, she shares it with her trusted advisors in order to get their feedback. I figure if an acclaimed writer like Anne Lamott does that, perhaps I should too. At least today. SO, here goes. Chapter One.

The Tunnel Re-visited

Chapter One – Diagnosis

Is it irony, the hand of God, or mere coincidence that I am sitting at my computer this morning, Thursday, October 22, 2015, to finally begin the book I have talked about for the past six years?

The story actually unfolds back in the fall of 2009. Blessed with good health, I had not visited a doctor’s office in more than five years. However, I was feeling myself being pulled in the direction of finding a physician I could feel comfortable with as I aged, someone I could establish a medical relationship with, prior to it becoming some sort of emergency. My husband, Ken, had been forced into making that same decision the year before, following a serious health issue. He was very comfortable with the physician he had selected so, I decided to follow his lead.

I called to schedule an appointment and was told that the doctor required all new patients to undergo a complete physical. I didn’t know it then, or even suspect it, but I now know that call may have saved my life.

I went in for a consult, exam, and the entire battery of tests that could be done in-office. He then scheduled me for additional tests at the hospital….x-rays, DEXA Scan, colonoscopy and a mammogram. That appointment would be later that same week, on Thursday, October 22, 2009.

I reported to Radiology first thing in the morning.  Things moved quickly and went relatively smoothly, and before I knew it, we were in the elevator headed to 6th floor for the dreaded colonoscopy. Once upstairs, we were told that the doctor was running late so we would have some time to relax in the room before someone came in to set up the IV. It was shortly thereafter that a bizarre chain of events began…a chain of events that leaves me shaking my head even today.  How did I not suspect something?

A nurse knocked on the door and came in to tell me that I had been requested to return to radiology for one more picture. I do admit to finding that somewhat odd, but, not once did it cross my mind that there might be a problem. I just went back downstairs and followed their instructions.

Later, there was another knock on the door. This time the nurse told Ken that someone was there to see him. I might have found that even more bizarre than I did had they not been on the third attempt to get an IV going at the time and that was occupying most of my attention. Who would be stopping by to see my husband in the colonoscopy prep area at Mercy Medical Center? Seriously? I asked him that when he came back into the room and he just shrugged it off. He said the nurse from the doctor’s office (which is there at the hospital) had just stopped by to remind him he was past due for a blood test. Seemed odd, but I took him at his word.

Finally, they came to wheel me in for the exam. I heard the tech say to the doctor, oh, this is the mammogram. Apparently word was spreading quickly – to everyone but me. The gastroenterologist then asked me if I get mammograms. Seems pretty random, but I told him that, as a matter of fact, I had just gotten one that morning. He dropped the subject. I was given the anesthesia at that point and remember very little from then until late afternoon.

……….

I was still very groggy when we got home and Ken had to get to class, so I laid down and went to sleep. Next thing I knew, he was waking me up with the news that I had breast cancer. They wanted to meet with us at the doctor’s office at 4:00. Apparently, when he had gotten called out of the room, it was, indeed, to talk to the nurse from the doctor’s office, but, it was not about his blood test. It was to tell him that the mammogram had revealed breast cancer and they didn’t want to tell me personally since I was just getting ready to go in for a procedure. They set up an appointment for us to return later that afternoon, and he was forced to keep that information to himself until he came home and woke me up.

In retrospect, I don’t know if it was the fact that I was still feeling the anesthesia or if I was already disengaging from all that I was about to go through, but, I had almost no reaction to what he had just told me.

We went to the office and were shown the photos of the unmistakably cancerous tumor. She asked if we had a preference for surgeon and then scheduled an appointment with him for the following Monday. That would be the beginning of a total whirlwind of events that would wind up with me fighting to find my way through a very dark, long and winding tunnel.fight

We had made plans to take a week-end trip to Omaha for Ken’s birthday and I saw no reason to cancel. I know that Ken spent the week-end thinking about cancer. I thought very little about it. I was already putting up the walls that would shelter me from an emotional rollercoaster that I was apparently unequipped to handle at the time.

——————————————————————————————————-

So, there you have it. Chapter One. I welcome any and all constructive criticism. And, oddly enough, just as I completed the first draft of Chapter One, I received a call from the Cancer Center, wanting to schedule me for a mammogram. Hmmmm.

Later.

Cathy’s Tunnel Re-Visited

As I looked down at the dashboard on my treadmill last night, I noticed that without even realizing it I had just broken the two mile mark, arms pumping and my head reeling with thoughts and emotions. Usually I am checking every little bit to see how far I’ve gone and calculating how long it will be before I am finished. Also, I never walk on a treadmill without holding on. My balance, especially since chemo, is not that great and I have never been comfortable with the idea of face planting myself onto the belt before slamming into the concrete wall behind me. But, last night, the adrenaline was so powerful that, without even thinking, I walked the entire two miles without grabbing the rails.  l had just completed Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and it was as if the fog had suddenly lifted. The uncertainty had been replaced by a manic enthusiasm. It feels as if I now have a clear picture of what I need to do and why I need to do it.

In one of the closing paragraphs of the book she said, “No matter what happens in terms of fame and fortune, dedication to writing is a marching-step forward from where you were before, when you didn’t care about reaching out to the world, when you weren’t hoping to contribute, when you were just standing there doing some job into which you had fallen.” Those of you who follow my Facebook business page may also recall this quote. “I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do – the actual act of writing – turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.” **

I realized that I had become paralyzed by the pressure to get published. I have long wanted to write this story. I have talked about it for years. But, it was much easier to talk about when I was not really in a position to do so…when I was “standing there doing some job into which I had fallen.” But, once I left that job – once retirement made this challenge a real possibility, I found myself silenced by insecurity, laden with excuses and totally unable to shake that “deer in the headlights” feeling.

What I have now come to grips with, though, is that I have never said that I want to publish a book (though it would be nice). I have always said that I want to WRITE a book. And, I need to write this particular book for ME. If it would turn out that, once completed, I felt it might be worthy of publication and that ended up happening, it would be great. But, I have given myself permission to remove that pressure.  And, this is why.

Cathys TunnelTwo weeks from today, on October 22, it will be six years since I received my cancer diagnosis. And, I am just now admitting to myself that from the moment Ken told me of the diagnosis (yes, he was the one who gave me the news) through the entire 2+ years of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, diagnostic procedure after diagnostic procedure, the emotions, the terror, the uncertainties, I never allowed myself to truly feel. I never allowed myself to grieve. I put up a brick wall between myself and what was happening to me. I woke up every morning and just put one foot in front of the other, doing whatever I needed to do that day. I never questioned God, never blamed God, but never turned to God either. I was totally removed from the experience in my mind. I was playing a role. I documented everything in a blog – Cathy’s Tunnel. It was a means of keeping family and friends informed of all that was going on. But, I realize now, that it was also a way to record what was happening to me without having to actually experience all of the raw emotion. It was something I could go back to later when the fear had diminished, to remind myself of the journey and to thank God for bringing me through it. It is time now for me to face the demons that I didn’t face during those years and, I believe that re-writing my story in book format will allow me to do that.  It’s funny, but I have never gone back and re-read that blog. It’s still out there in bloggerspace, but I have never gone back except to grab the above photo. It was taken in California on a family trip to celebrate my birthday in 2007 and subsequently became the face, so to speak, of Cathy’s Tunnel

When setting up my new office space, I selected that same photo, different view, for my wall. revised tunnel photoIt allows me to stay focused on just how far I’ve come in the past six years. I’m a different person now, I know that. So many people have told me how strong I am. Of course – a brick wall is very strong. But, the wall is coming down and it is with that manic enthusiasm mentioned earlier that I will now re-visit Cathy’s Tunnel. I have no idea where that visit will lead. And, I have no idea whether or not I will someday write other books. But, I do know that starting now, I WILL write this book. Who knows, maybe portions of this very blog post will become the “shitty first draft” (see the October 3 post on my Facebook business page) of the Introduction or Forward to that book. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Later.

** Bird to Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lamott 1994