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Hello! It’s been a while! Thank you so very much for all of your kind words of support and love about my surgery. I am one lucky gal, surrounded by the most marvelous and caring people, including the hubster’s mom, Martha, here for the week to help out. I’ve gotten flowers, a lovely plant, spectacular meals, texts, sweets, and every manner of treat, in person and from afar. Boy howdy, does it make my recovery a little less difficult to be bouyed by so much love! A million thanks!

As for the surgery, it went swimmingly. So much so that I was released from the hospital that day! Compared to my last surgery, this is a piece of cake. I have spent the majority of the last six days incredibly sore and in bed, and for the first couple of days only able to get out with much help from the hubster. Now, I am fully mobile, and as of yesterday, without pain medication, able to get dressed by myself, go up stairs, and leave the house without complications, though not without major fatigue. Errands are hard work, peeps!

And so is blogging! So forgive me for my brevity while I take a s l o w stroll around the block to clear my head.

My care giver extraordinaire, taken while I was in bed, of course. He is truly the best!

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How to Be Happy

I was recently asked if I was for real. At first I didn’t know what the question meant. Flesh? Blood? And thought, just to be cheeky, “Nope, I am the best fucking hologram you’ve ever seen. I’m just missing the tell-tale H.” Then I realized it was a matter of my personality, my happiness, my positivity that was being questioned. How do I do it? The world is so wretched and filled with inequity, cruelty, horror. There’s hardly reason to be so blithe. I beg to differ, from the depths of my being, with all I’ve got. I do. I do. I do.

So, much like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I’ve been counting the ways and whys, my modus operandi to happy.

1. Dance – Every single day. Around the house and yard. In the produce section. Naked, after a bath, laughing at the jiggly bits. In the car, radio at full volume. With a child, your sweetheart, best friend, a cat, ferret, or bunny. On tip toe. Do it, and be glad!

2. Be grateful. For every morning. I get to do it again! For every kindness and breath. For love. For friends. For hugs. For dust motes swirling in slanting beams of light. For bold type on crisp paper. For the truth (it is out there!). For lies. For barking dogs. For music. For food, water, and whiskey, a cup of steaming tea. For faded photographs and crystal clear memories.

3. Love your body. Love its failings, the throbbing temples, squinting eyes, fat thighs and bottom, the ache of neck and back. Love its beauty, the silken hair, the soft lips, the arced brows, the rosy, freckled cheeks. Love its strengths, to hold a soul, a pencil, a thought on the tip of the tongue.

4. Make friends with pain, of war, smashed fingers, murderous rampages, heartache, cruelty, never-ending endometriosis and ovaries that have failed. Treat it with affection and reverence.

5. Acknowledge feelings. Kindly sit with them. All of them, in still patience, no need for gestures or words. Let them BE – fiery, heavy, soft, and sweet, then watch them fly.

6. Be yourself. Do what you like and love. Examine, write, curse, ride, race, guffaw!

7. Listen. To others (wholeheartedly). To birds. To children. To Thom, Ella, or Jim belting out a song. To the rush of the earth spinning.

8. Look up and out. Flowers, insects, a universe await your wide and wondrous eyes.

9. Be kind and generous, to creatures great and small. Extend a hand. Say hello. Compliment.

10. Laugh. At farts, dumb jokes, and old-fashioned silliness. Most especially at yourself, when times are rough and good and grand.

11. Let go of all you don’t truly need. Treasures, knickknacks, humiliation, the unkind, the selfish, the drama queens. Send them away with love, if you can.

12. Surround yourself with happy. Books, movies, people, and thoughts. Happiness, everywhere happiness, and so it will be!

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It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.

Theodore Roosevelt

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thursday morning and afternoon. My goodness, it was beautiful, the kind of day that sends the soul aloft. I spotted a Red Breasted Sap Sucker in the dogwood, a new find for our yard. Later, when walking through the living room, a flurry of wings caught my eye, Robins, a half dozen of them, rooting, scattering leaves, and running alongside Golden Crowned Sparrows, two squawking Scrub Jays, and one Northern Flicker fluffed and delicately sipping water from the bath. I reveled at all the life on a mere 5300 square feet of land.

My friend Kristin came over, and we shared our stories, mine nearly finished, despite procrastinating, and hers just emerging from its shell. I am grateful for our time together, time to be encouraged and laugh, be dazzled by a thought caught mid-flight and gorgeous, to drop the bullshit and write, write, write. Cast fear aside and hop into the cocoon is the order of the day. It might get messy and loud, all those voices and threads inside, but they are nothing, really, and worth the butterfly.

I drove to the west side for Indian (dot, not feather) groceries and ankle boots. As often happens in that part of town, I got turned around thinking I knew where I was going and traversed the TV highway twice. All worked out fine in the end, spicy bhujia, candied fennel seeds, and tea, though the boots had to be ordered instead of procured for immediate gratification. First world problems.

I came home happy, ebullient even, got on the web, and learned my cousin’s girlfriend had died. Crash went my heart. Though I never met her, by all accounts she was a person I would like, determined, strong, talented, and beautiful, the type who radiated kindness and positivity. She was killed while doing what she loved, and, at a mere twenty-six, what she would have liked to do for some time. Oh, how nature reminds us to be grateful and present, and say, “I love you.”

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Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.

Nora Ephron

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