Thursday, January 31, 2008



-by Lila of "Indigo Pears"

Last fall, after I wrote a post about Bittersweet and Chinese Lanterns, Lila at "Indigo Pears" was inspired to create a painting featuring those autumn lovelies. After she posted the painting on her blog, I begged her to let me buy it. That red, those oranges, those blues! (I didn't even know if it was for sale, but I had to have it!)

The painting arrived today, and look what Lila added to the package as a bonus!! What a wonderful Celtic warrior lady. I love that she is fierce. Check out the flowing red locks, the primitive animal drawing on her cloak, the beaded embellishments and the blue woad on her face.
Above, Front View - Sorry, I only got part of one earring in the photo.

Last year, trying to get more in touch with my Celtic side, I bought Lila's Celtic River Goddess Danu. (She also had other art dolls in her Etsy shop but other fortunate people scooped them up). Now I have this beautiful doll to stand by Danu's side. But she must have a name! Does anyone know of a Celtic Warrior Princess or Goddess with a name befitting my strong, independent, fiery beauty?

Back view: I parted the long red hair so you can see the animal drawing. Lila, I don't know how I got that flaky stuff on the cloak, but it's gone now!

Thank you so much Lila. I will treasure them forever.

Please check out Lila's blog at, as well as her "Arty Collages and Dolls" site and her Etsy shop.


Added Friday: As you will see by the comments, the doll was made by the Late Daisy Lupin. She made it as part of a Celtic art doll swap. I understand it was the last one she made before she died. I am so glad that Lila passed it on to me; doubly glad that I have something that Daisy once held in her own hands.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The Lone Cypress on the 17-Mile Drive
Between Carmel and Pacific Grove

"I’d be safe and warm, if I was in L.A.
California Dreaming, on such a winter’s day”

- “California Dreaming” by The Mamas and the Papas.

I AM safe and warm, as long as I stay inside. But outside, it’s a different story.

Our current bitterly cold temperatures, plus a recent visit to San Francisco by Lila of “Indigo Pears” and a meme challenge by Imelda at “Greenish Lady” have me doing some California Dreaming.

Part of Imelda’s challenge was to name five places I’d like to visit, or return to. So today let's go across the continent and back across the years, for a trip down memory lane - a lane that's covered with flowers and scented with warm breezes.

It’s been nearly 20 years since my one and only trip to Northern California. I left just one part of my heart in San Francisco. The other part stayed in the Monterey Peninsula – at the Green Gables Inn in Pacific Grove, the aquarium in Monterey, the quaint shops in Carmel By the Sea.

It meant so much to me, having sat in the Minneapolis airport watching them de-ice my plane just a day or two before, to walk around in a lightweight coat, see primroses and tulips blooming and visit Golden Gate Park on a warm sunny day in February.

To me, the booming surf on the beach at Carmel, the otter-watching rocks and the Lone Cypress on the 17-mile drive between Pacific Grove and Carmel are sacred places. The Monterey Peninsula felt like home to me and still calls to me all these years later.

Carmel, often called the most beautiful city in the United
States, is full of Storybook Style cottages like this one.

That's me in front of the Green Gables Inn in Pacific Grove.
We stayed in The Sea Lion Room in the carriage house.

My late brother, his wife and me

The courtyard at the Green Gables Inn.
Flowers!!! In February!!!
And blooming Magnolias! I am in heaven.

Here I am with the legendary Golden Gate Bridge in the
background, and what am I looking at? Flowers, of course!


Here are four other places I'd like to visit/re-visit:

1. Between my sophomore and junior years in college, I traveled and attended school in France. I’d like to return to Paris with more than just a few francs in my pocket. Then, I’d like to re-visit Pau, the semi-tropical paradise near the Spanish border where I went to school. Instead of a bedbug-ridden, curtains-for-doors and cold-water-showers teachers’ residence, I’d stay at a nice hotel.

2. I’d like to spend a week or two in Florence, seeing as many churches and museums as I could, then I’d rent a Tuscan villa for a month. (If you dream, you might as well dream big!)

3. After hearing a friend rave about Budapest and my daughter rave about Prague, I’d like to visit those two cities. They’re close enough to each other to be combined into one trip.

4. I’d like to go to Venice, and I’d like Britt-Arnhild ("Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods") to accompany me as my guide.


As I mentioned earlier, Imelda’s meme had three parts. The second part was to name five weird things about myself. Just five???

1. I hate fresh peas from the garden, and new potatoes. With the new potatoes, it’s because they’re boiled with the icky skins on. With the fresh peas, it’s just that I grew up on canned peas. My grandma and mom never gardened so I wasn't introduced to fresh veggies. Now I love things like fresh spinach - it’s nothing like that “moss from the cow tank” that is canned spinach.

2. I hate “The Wizard of Oz”. When I was a kid, I had to leave the room whenever it was on. I think it was because of those darned Munchkins and a vague memory of some screeching, flying things.

3. I don’t like to have a top sheet. We use a nice cozy comforter on our bed, and I find that to be all I need to cover me. The top sheet always gets tangled at the bottom of the bed anyway.

4. I didn’t have pizza until I was a freshman in college, or Mexican food until I was a sophomore. Lord knows when I first tried Chinese food.

5. I love to go to the movies and eat buttered popcorn and Junior Mints – together.

The third part of the meme is: Five things I never foresaw in my future when I was 25. I dutifully wrote my list and it made me so depressed I tore it up. Instead, let me tell you what I saw in my future:

1. My new husband would continue in the medical profession, perhaps even attend medical school.
2. I would be a newspaper reporter.
3. We wouldn't have children.
4. We'd be living in a medium-size city in the west or southwest, possibly Denver.
5. I'd stay slim and trim.

Nothing turned out that way, except for a six-year stint as a reporter (in Bismarck), and having a child, who is the greatest delight of our lives.
Added Thursday evening:
How could I have left Scotland, Ireland and England off my list?? I must see all those sights in England I have been reading about for 40 years, I must visit my Celtic homelands and I must go to Golspie, Scotland to see my newly-discovered relatives.

Friday, January 25, 2008


As you know, I celebrated my one-year blog anniversary on Sunday. I have rather gotten away from one of my main reasons in starting a blog, which was to preserve a record of myself and my family history for my daughter.

A poem by George Ella Lyons, called "Where I'm From”, is often used in writing classes as the basis of a writing exercise. Instead of Lyons’ descriptions, aspiring writers are asked to place their own words into a template using a series of prompts. I think it’s a legitimate exercise for someone who has trouble getting started writing. I certainly enjoyed doing it.

Here’s the “Where I’m From” Template:

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.
I am from the _______ (home description... adjective, adjective, sensory detail).
I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)
I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).
I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).
From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).
I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).
From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).
I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).


Here's my “Where I’m From” poem, or better, essay. It’s rather longer than the original – I guess I got carried away, I was having so much fun. But no apologies! (Kristen – this is for you.)

I’m from tennis shoes and one-speed bikes, from cherry Kool-Aid and Fizzies and Popsicles. I'm from reading books in the crook of a low-spreading elm tree. I'm from Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup and Franco American spaghetti. I’m from watching Captain Kangaroo and walking the train tracks and playing under street lights late into summer evenings. I’m from a one-room school, from games of “Red Rover, Red Rover” and “Pom Pom Pullaway.”

I’m from dry alkali “lakes” and sagebrush, from rolling hills with prairie potholes and land reclaimed from strip coal mining. I'm from lashing blizzards springing unsuspected from mild days. From crushing heat and sizzling thunderstorms spawning violent tornadoes.


I'm from lilacs against silvery weathered wood. I’m from purple prairie coneflowers and pasque flowers and loco weed, from the scent of yellow sweet clover wafting from the fields. I’m from mourning doves and red wing blackbirds and meadowlarks and squabbling king birds.

I’m from cotoneaster bushes and cottonwoods and Russian olives and messy box elders.

I’m from Highland shepherd “Willie Go Slow” and his adventurous, modern sons. I’m from Great-Grandmother Hughina, age 101. I’m from the Great Plains and immigrant trains. I from people of the Great Depression and the Greatest Generation.

I’m from Scots thriftiness and Norwegian self-effacement. I’m from oilcloth-covered tables and linoleum-covered floors and curtains, not drapes. I'm from full-length aprons and clothes drying on the line.

I’m from Grandma Julia’s and Grandpa Duncan’s sweet young romance; I’m also from the much later, not-so-secret “secret” of Viola, Grandpa’s mistress.

I’m from the Lutheran ladies’ aid, serving their church suppers of meat and cheese sandwiches, hotdishes, Jell-O with vegetables and good strong coffee. I’m from staunch, upright, no-nonsense Presbyterians on the other side.


I’m from “Uff-da” and “Ish-da” and “Cold (or hot) enough for ya?” I’m from Sunday drives, Sunday naps and Saturday nights in town.

I’m from Crosby, City of Northern Lights, and Larson, barely-there village. I’m from much-maligned Fargo on the banks of the Red River of the North.

I’m from the Munros and the Wangens, the Rockneys and the Codys. I am not from the Johnsons although that is my maiden name. I’m from a picturesque Scottish croft, a hardscrabble Norwegian farm, from icy blue fjords and emerald green hills. I’m from Celts and Vikings, fighting across the centuries, and fighting for ascendancy in me.


I’m related to football legend Knute Rockne and perhaps even to famed frontiersman Buffalo Bill Cody.

I’m from Grandma’s overwhelming love and Mom’s overwhelming shame. I’m from siblings following behind me like baby ducks trailing their mama.

I’m from little houses with big yards. I’m from sitting on the back steps at night to catch a cool breeze. I’m from farmers' caps and cowboy hats, from implement dealerships and rural electric cooperatives and the Soil Conservation Service.

I’m from wheat fields and combines and grain elevators. From county fairs, general stores cum post offices, yellow school buses.


I’m from fried chicken or roast beef and pork Sunday dinners. I’m from “good old meat and potatoes, nothing fancy for us”. I’m from peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate drop cookies and raisin brown bread and sugar lumps dipped in coffee.

I’m from running to the bakery to buy Long Johns for “lunch” or going to the store for Grandma’s Half and Half. I’m from going to the movies or for ice cream sodas with Aunt Mary. I’m from returning to Grandma’s house from the swimming pool with the smell of chlorine in my hair and on my skin, and newly-blossomed freckles on my face.

I’m from Great-Uncle Jack’s World War I heroism, I’m from Grandma Julia’s childhood days in the old country, I’m from Grandpa Duncan’s immigrant turned successful businessman.


I’m from leaving home and loved ones for long voyages to the other side of the world. I’m from the gaping hole left by unanswered questions about my biological father’s family, the Rockneys and the Codys, with whom I'm forever connected and from whom I'm forever separated.


I borrowed the template from Robyn’s blog, “Tales From Inglewood.” Be sure to read her delightful “Where I’m From” essay about Australia and her Cornish roots. (
If any of you tries this exercise, please let me know so I can read yours.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Georg Friedrich Kersting
Today, on my one-year blogiversary, I had planned to write a post mulling over the previous year's events. But instead, I found myself taking not one, but two naps. One must honor one's body's needs, and today, my body needed rest.
But I did want to come by here at least for a moment today, to announce the winner of my drawing in celebration of one year of blogging. The winner, drawn from the names of people who commented on my Book Club post, is Diana! Diana, you may choose a book from among the books - or the authors - listed in the post. Congratulations!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


If you have been disappointed by the motion pictures you have seen lately, or if you don't even attend the cinema because all they seem to offer are action flicks, lame "comedies" and slasher pix, please do yourself a favor and go to see "Atonement."

If you'd like to see a fine drama with actors instead of movie stars, go see it. If you are curious about other lives and other times, go see it. If you want to stimulate your brain with questions about guilt and responsibility and atonement, go see it. If you are a fan of any type of history other than your own, go see it.

If you think a slow set-up time in a movie is tedious, don't go see it. If you don't like to see the realities of war, don't go see it. If you can't stand the fact that there are no car chases, don't go see it. If you don't like it if there are no potty jokes or farting or frat boy antics, don't go see it.
If you think it's just a "Chick Flick" don't go see it.

If you can't be patient enough to listen and understand the English accents, don't go see it. If you have read the book and think the movie won't be up to par with the book, don't go see it. If you can't be awake and aware enough to catch the subtle clues, don't, by any means, don't BOTHER to go see it.

If you want to think about a movie for a long time after you leave the theater, go see it. If you want to rush out and buy the book afterwards, go see it. If you want a thoughtful, well crafted, beautifully-filmed movie that doesn't insult your intelligence, go see it.

The choice is up to you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


(Click on cartoon to enlarge)



I mentioned in a recent post that my blogging circle isn’t a closed circle - new participants are welcome anytime. The only closed circle I belong to is my book club! The eight of us don’t accept new members any more, even though we’ve had some people strongly hint that they might want to join.

It’s not that we’re snobs, or any great shakes as a book club, intellectually speaking. We’re just too old and set in our ways, and know each other too well, to bring a young pup into the picture. Although I've been a member for 16 years, I was the last to join. This club has been meeting for over 30 years!

Our previous limit was 12, a perfect number for each member to choose a book and host a meeting once a year. But like with any group, attrition took its toll. Former long-time members are now living in Idaho, Colorado and Florida.

One member dropped out because of overwhelming family problems. We would welcome her back with open arms. But other people have come and gone, neither staying very long nor making much of an impression.

I think the decision to not take new members happened at Susan’s last meeting. Knowing Susan was moving away, Kathy had invited a prospective member, who brought yet another person. Darned if Prospective Member didn’t stand up and proceed to take over the meeting. She thought she was the boss lady, the queen bee. I’m sure you know what the rest of us thought! We told Kathy to inform Miss Fancy Pants that she and her friend would NOT be joining the club (poor friend). Fancy Pants did not take the news well, and name calling ensued. Needless to say, Kathy decided she’d never invite a PM again!

So here we are, originally just members of a club and now fast friends. Judy, at 64, is our matriarch. Kathy, in her early 50s, is still a babe. We’re named CRS, for Can’t Remember S--- (or more politely, Stuff). Really, no new member could put up with our willy-nilly memory lapses, our dilly-dallying when shopping or our shilly-shallying when trying to make plans.

Over the years we’ve taken road trips for shopping and dining, to visit our long-distance member, Ginger, and to attend a Dickens Festival. For a couple of summers we had sleepovers at Barb N.’s cabin, a peaceful setting on a lake near Butte, ND. (For a bunch of old broads, they sure stay up late!)

Like any group that has been together so long, we have our "in" jokes. The most famous is probably, “Tiger, what tiger?” Barb N., unknowingly, had skipped not a few pages of Pat Conroy's "The Prince of Tides" and missed the tiger part. For anyone not familiar with the book, the tiger plays an integral role. So every now and then, when a person is not quite up to speed on a topic, we’ll say “Tiger, what tiger?”

Like elephants, we never forget and we never let anyone else forget either. We’ll never let Judy off the hook for the time when she was trying to explain Marilyn Monroe’s allure. “She had those, you know, they attract men, you know, those pair-o' -phones.” (Pheromones)

Or the time when I was hosting the summer picnic and a microburst ripped through Bismarck. Concerned about heating our food after the power went off, Judy asked me if my oven was gas or electric. “I don’t know!” I wailed. As an excuse for my mental block, you need to know that at the time I had a river of water running through my kitchen.

And woe to the person who accidentally erased the tape of Oprah’s interview with Diane Downs. Though it happened years ago, it is still fresh in everyone’s mind, including mine, and I wasn’t even in the club then! (If you don’t remember Diane Downs, read Ann Rule’s true crime book, “Small Sacrifices”).

And then there’s me, The Book Nazi. I acquired this hideous title just because I insist that everyone read every book, every month. Sheesh, give me a break already!

I once joked that since many members don’t always read the book, we should just become a social club like The Red Hat Society. I was certainly set straight. I was informed in no uncertain terms that there would be No Red Hatters in this club.

We read fiction and non-fiction, high-brow and low-brow stuff, bestsellers and classics, and lots of books about Mormons. For some reason, we are fascinated by Mormons.

We’re a diverse group that includes social workers, an artist, a librarian, a teacher and two former newspaper reporters. Some of us have kids, some don’t. Some of us still slog away at a job every day, some are retired. However, we are all post-menopausal mamas and we are all longstanding, grassroots Democrats. If there's a connection there, we're unaware of it!

We laugh a lot, sometimes to the point of not being able to catch our breath. Judy is a born oral storyteller and Mary Lee has a droll wit. We gossip a lot and eat scrumptious desserts and drink loads of coffee. But we always get around to talking about the book.

It’s not all been fun. Some of us have lost parents, or children, or siblings. We’ve had health problems, divorces, job losses and financial troubles. We are getting older. Some members are beginning to have vision problems, which does not bode well for book club. But through all these trials, we have loved and supported each other. I love these ladies and I will still love them when we're all wearing our old-lady plastic rain hats and knee-high nylons with dresses.
And for me, book club is the most anticipated item on my calendar every month.

Some of our favorite books:

“The Shell Seekers” by Rosamunde Pilcher
“I Capture The Castle” by Dodie Smith
“Peace Like A River” Leif Enger
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger
“The Birth of Venus” by Sarah Dunant
“Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett
“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen
“Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See
“Stones From the River” by Ursula Hegi
“Five Quarters of the Orange” by Joanne Harris
"The Prince of Tides" by Pat Conroy
"Girl With A Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier

Multiple books by the aforementioned Ann Rule, plus Sue Monk Kidd, Jodi Picoult, Barbara Kingsolver, Anna Quindlen, Minnesota's John Hassler and Amy Tan.


Are any of you in a book club? Do you have fun stories to share? What are some of the books your club has read? If you're not in a club, what good books have you read lately? Are there any books you are pining for?

In honor of my one-year blogiversary coming up very soon, I will give away a brand NEW book by drawing a random name from the commenters on this post.

ADDED THURSDAY: I will draw the name on Sunday.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Thanks to Pea, it has come to my attention that this is "National Delurking Week." For anyone who doesn't know, a lurker in blogland is a person who reads your blog but never leaves a comment.

This is amnesty week - your time to come out of the lurking closet and come clean about your lurking habit - without penalties.

Seriously, all kidding aside, I'd love to know who reads my blog. Since starting "Celtic Woman" almost exactly a year ago, I've found a circle of friends whose blogs I read and who read and comment on mine. If I've given the impression that it's a closed circle, I'm sorry. New friends are always welcome. Let me know who you are so I can read your blog.

The wonderful blogger Daisy Lupin became my friend when she challenged her lurkers to come out in the open. I confessed to being a lurker, and from then on she commented on my blog regularly. I was intimidated by Daisy because she was such a good blogger, but she made me feel important. I doubt very much that I intimidate anyone, but if you're feeling a bit timid about commenting on my blog or anyone else's, I say, "Go for it. What can you lose?" And you can gain some great new friends.


Lovely Janet of "The Lavender Loft" has given me the "You Make My Day Award". This award is for "people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland."
On behalf of myself and my doggies, I graciously and humbly accept this award. I am delighted to be in this great company of bloggers.
Now, I am to give the award to up to 10 people. So, on to my choices. Normally I would have an extremely difficult time selecting just a few names, being conscious of having left people out. But this time, I am going to choose the people who really made my day by agreeing to be in my "Pay It Forward" exchange. I was secretly a little scared I wouldn't get six names, but I did.
They not only made my day that day, but every day. I read their blogs faithfully and they have indeed brought me happiness and inspiration.
Leanne of "Somerset Seasons", for the beautiful photography, the poetry shared, and the lore and legends of her corner of England. (And her dogs and cats too!)
Lila, of "Indigo Pears," a wonderful artist and quilt maker, and a true friend. You were among my first commenters, and now we are good buds.
Nature Girl of "Nature Trail", whose photographic record of her garden, in both summer and winter, is truly amazing, as is her graciousness in trying times.
Noni (Nonizamboni) of "Peacock Blue", who lives the closest to me in the real world, and dwells very close to me in my heart. Thank you for your superb poems and photographs.
Annie Elf of "Scenes From a Slow Moving Train." You are a poet extraordinaire and someone who has caused me to reflect deeply on many subjects.
Annie ("Bimbimbie). Your captivating nature photos, videos and stories have made me a (willing) captive of your blog. You also have a captivating imagination, my dear!
There are links to all these blogs on my sidebar.
Congratulations, all of you. Please take the logo for your own blog. And I hope you pass the award on to others. Pay It Forward, remember?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Today, at work, I was thinking I need to do this until the first of April:

Because of my Seasonal Affective Disorder, all I want to do is this:

(But with a blanket or two.) I'd like a cozy little nest in a tree trunk somewhere, while January, February and March go on without me:

I was so tired I could hardly stay awake. Gosh, all I could do was yawn:

I have no ambition, no desire to do anything. I can barely drag myself out of bed in the morning and get myself to work. I'm just sleepwalking through my life. You could say I'm one conked-out kitty;

One droopy doggie:

Then, I had my first appointment with an acupuncturist/herbalist late this afternoon for my carpal tunnel syndrome. After an evaluation, I was also told I have spleen deficiency, according to traditional Chinese medicine. No wonder I'm so tired, have no energy and am cold all the time. So after my free consultation, I decided to go for it and have my first treatment for both problems.
My decision was based partly on my liking and trusting the acupuncturist/herbalist. A local guy who graduated from Bismarck High just four years ahead of my daughter, he studied Chinese medicine for three years in the Twin Cities. I especially liked the fact that he made no promises. He's helped some people a lot; some, not so much.
The insertion of the needles hurt not at all or very little. I had eight needles in each upper limb; not sure how many went in the legs and feet. I also had electrodes applied to the base of my fingers.
After the needles were all in, he turned on a warming lamp for my feet and turned off the lights. The darkness, the gently pulsing electrodes and the soothing music nearly put me to sleep. All in all, a very pleasant experience.
I'm going back on Friday and Monday, and by Monday I'll also get some herbal extracts or supplements.
A new staffer at the clinic also offers Tai Chi and Qui Gong to help get the chi flowing. I plan to have a consultation for that as well. Maybe I won't have to hibernate through the winter after all.

Friday, January 4, 2008


I've been noticing that some bloggers are already making homemade Valentines. Goodness, they certainly are organized. I still have my Christmas decorations out! I didn't create the picture above. I took the illustration from a Pay It Forward website.
This post is way more about Pay It Forward than it is about Valentines, but it could involve them too. I waited until after the holiday hustle and bustle to do this post. A few weeks ago, I agreed to participate in Pay It Forward "exchanges" offered by two bloggers, Michelle from Poland, and Janet from the Lavender Loft, both of whom are on my sidebar. They aren't really exchanges but I don't know what to call them. I agreed that if Janet and Michelle sent me a handmade item, I would create three items and send them on to three other people. I don't give back to Janet and Michelle, I Pay It Forward!
I really like the Pay It Forward concept. I knew of it as "Prime the Pump" when I was a kid. I grew up in a village with an honest-to-god town pump and sometimes it had to be primed. Prime the Pump meant reserving some water when you draw from the well, and saving it for the next person who comes along in case the pump needs to be primed to get it working.
Later, this was translated into the Paying It Forward concept and was made famous by a movie I really love, "Pay It Forward" with Haley Joel Osment, Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt.
I have already embraced the PIF concept this past year, by sending small packages to my blogging friends. If you're saying, "Hey, I haven't gotten one yet" - just wait. I live on a budget and can't treat everyone at once. But I will get around to you if you are a regular commenter on my site. I enjoy this immensely and I always tell my recipient - "Don't send me anything - just Pay It Forward."
Of course, one can Pay It Forward in much bigger ways, as attested to by the various websites you can google. But right now I am keeping it simple and pledging to send some sort of item handmade by me to the first six people who put a comment on this blog. All you have to do is promise to send a handmade item to three other people (I'm doing six because I am participating in two PIFs.)
The best part of this is that you don't have to PIF it right away - it can be anytime in the next 365 days! That gives a person with winter doldrums a lot of leeway! Janet and Michelle did not stipulate this, but I would like to ask that the people who'd like to receive a handcrafted item from me choose their favorite holiday or time of year in which to receive their gift. (So Valentine's Day did wend itself back into this post after all!)
I might as well tell you right now, you won't be receiving a batch of cookies from me! If you read my post regularly, you know I'm not a baker. I'll probably do something with paper, scissors, glue and other fripperies (as Robyn and Daisy would say). Your PIF gift can be anything you create with your own hands. And remember - you have a whole year to come up with something.
A couple of updates on my post "Oh My Aching Hands": In regard to a couple of new comments, I do wear splints (or braces with the hard metal strip) at night. I was wearing them during the day, as well, but my physical therapist believes that the hand muscles atrophy if the braces are worn all the time. I think I am going to go to the rehabilitation center here and see if there is a more flexible brace that I can wear at work. My hands are feeling better right now. Someone asked if CTS is aggravated by cold weather. I'm not sure, but it may be. We are experiencing a January Thaw right now. If that is the reason for the lessening of my symptoms, I am grateful.
Speaking of gratitude, so many of you commented on the Celtic Blessing that I am going to share the website with you, so that you can see the beautiful imagery and music that accompany it. Erm, I'm sure the music is beautiful but I can't hear it since my daughter could not fix my computer's audio while she was home. :{
Be patient - it takes a LOOOONG time to load.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008



My daughter sent me an email card with this beautiful Celtic Blessing today:

(author unknown - translated by Charles Mitchell)

"I wish you not a path devoid of clouds,
Nor a life on a bed of roses,
not that you might never need regret,
nor that you should never feel pain.
No, that is not my wish for you.
My wish for you is:
That you might be brave in times of trial,
when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed,
and chasms are to be crossed.
When hope can scarce shine through.
That your gift God gave you
Might grow along with you
and let you give the gift of joy
to all who care for you.
That you may always have a friend
who is worth that name.
Whom you can trust, and who helps
you in times of sadness.
Who will defy the storms
of daily life at your side.
One more wish I have for you
that in every hour of joy and pain
you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you,
and all who care for you.
This is my hope for you,
Now and forever."

I really like this Celtic Blessing, for three main reasons:

1. It came from my daughter, who is not particularly religious, in the traditional sense of the word.
2. It is not one of the more common Irish Blessings ("May the road rise to meet you"; "May you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows you're dead.")
3. It really speaks to where I am right now.

I want to thank everyone who posted a comment on my blog under the post "Oh, My Aching Hands." Thank you for allowing me to have my little pity party regarding the pain in my hands from carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes it is necessary to have a pity party, as long as one doesn't wallow in it too long, and it is conducted in front of a sympathetic audience!

To answer some of your questions and comments: Yes, it it carpal tunnel syndrome. I had needles plunged into my arms and had shocks applied in order to diagnose CTS. Yes, I do type on my job, all day long. As far as I can determine, there are no qualified herbalists in all of North Dakota. However, my daughter has given me the name of the herbalist who cured her boyfriend's Lyme Disease and his mom's irritable bowel syndrome. Maybe he can help me online.

Yes, Mari-Nanci, you are right. I will have to curtail my computer use. Of course, since I cannot do this at work, I will, sadly, have to cut down on my blogging.

Dear Gemma, would that I could consider medical marijuana, but I need my mind as well as my hands in the workaday world! (P. S. I know your suggestion wasn't serious!)

Today, I finally got an appointment to see a doctor at the Bone and Joint Center for possible cortisone shots (but he is busy until February 5!). Several of you have told me that the shots have been helpful for problems in other joints.

Annie (Bimbimbie), if I do have to have surgery, I will take your advice about having one hand done at a time. In fact, my fellow abstractor has had CTS surgery in both hands. When she asked why she couldn't have both hands done at once, her surgeon replied, "Well, do you have someone lined up to wipe your (butt) for you?

Isn't it great that we can manage to see humor in the worst situations?

In a comment, Britt-Arnhild, who has similar problems, wrote that her solution is to "count her blessings." My dear, you are so right, I need to count my blessings. And my dear Kristen, you are so right to send me this blessing. Rather than request that our lives be free of pain and suffering, we should ask for bravery, friendship, and the ability to give "the gift of joy" back to the friends who have given us so much. We also need to feel that God close to us, NO MATTER HOW YOU DEFINE GOD.

My blessings:

In spite of our various aches and pains, we had a wonderful holiday season. Hardly any of my voluminous decorations were set out, the Christmas cards didn't get written, and the "high up" places didn't get dusted, but we had good food and great family time, and we all got presents
"sufficient unto our needs (or wants)."

Our wonderful daughter was able to be here for nine days (too much for this metropolitan gal). She and I went to a couple of movies and had several lunches out. Kristen, who definitely had no interest in housekeeping when she was a teenager, was a godsend to me in cleaning house and decluttering while she was home. I tell her she could go into the home organization business, but she is sticking with library science for now.

One of my presents from Kristen was the "Naturally Speaking" software, which turns the spoken word into print. I have promised Kristen that I will learn this software, which she so lovingly gave me in order to help me save my hands.

We will be having a January thaw, starting tomorrow and lasting for a few days. The January Thaw usually happens at the end of the month, but I will accept it whenever it occurs!

The days are getting longer!

We are clothed, and sheltered, and fed, and gainfully employed, and loved! We are so fortunate that we do have "friends who are worthy of the name". And I count you, my blogging friends, as paramount in the order of friends so worthy. YOU are my blessings.


Celtic Angel