Jetzt langt Es.

That’s German for “that’s enough”. Or in current Portland speak, enough with this ice and snow and crazy cold temps already.

Wow – it has been over a year since I last posted. Because I got caught up in the shiny, can’t stay away, sound byte world of Facebook. Aber – jetzt langt Es! I want to write complete sentences – and not keep up with pop news,  or learn which baby figured out how to use the potty (which would be poop news) or see what people ate for lunch. As gripping as all that is, it’s time I got on with my school program and crafts business.

More on that soon. But for now – it is enough.




Knit A Square

Now that we are past the shortest day of the year, I finally need to post again about hope, opportunities, more daylight (well – it’s been super soggy in Oregon, but July 5th is right around the corner!! 🙂

Watch this video and join me if you so desire. I crochet – don’t knit – but here’s to something awesome!! I would adopt every child if I was there where this video was shot.



After 9 days of kidney stones and a bad fall onto a concrete sidewalk, and all this by myself – and after today’s challenges – sometimes life just becomes too much. I’m not one for wanting the spotlight; some people love it.

But after venting and crying and getting it out – things are much better.

Ahhh. Alrighty then. Let’s try this again. Life – at ease, soldier!

How to help someone who is having a super bad day

For lack of a better identifier, I will lump any big upset or transition into a SPD – a super bad day. This may be a new diagnosis, a recent break up, pain or illness, a car accident etc. Our trained inclination is to say 2 or 3 standard phrases. “Are you ok? Let me know if there is something I can do for you. I had the same thing happen a while back”. Please – as kindly as that is intended, don’t ever say those things.

In milder cases, the person doesn’t need you to DO anything. They need your reassurance!! Phrases such as, “I’m thinking of you. I love you. I care about you. I will be here with you through this. Do you want to tell me what happened?”, goes a million miles towards truly supporting the person. By definition, the person is not “ok”.

For more intense situations, especially if the person is sobbing heavily and/or hard to understand – ask specific questions such as, “Are you in danger? Are you in a lot of pain? Are you bleeding? Do you just need someone to listen right now?”. They will let you know. If they seem confused or don’t know what they need – see the next paragraph.

Let’s talk about SHOCK, FEAR AND PAIN. People become disoriented and often cannot make decisions. They may need some guidance. “Do you need me to drive you to the ER? Is your car out of the road?”. Concrete questions are good.

Know that everyone handles shock, fear and pain differently. Some people become stoic. Some joke. Some are very confused. Some lash out. Their response is NOT ABOUT YOU!!!! It is about them and their descent into an altered state that is scary and confusing.

Do not take it personally if the person rejects your help. When they are more settled, offer concrete things. “I’m happy to sit with you. I can bring you some groceries. I can wait with you for the tow truck”. MOST often, people need reassurance and company.

Lastly, as tempting as it is to find common ground – and I’ve been guilty of this even knowing better by having been on the other side – do NOT bring up your situation. The person with the SPD can barely keep it together themselves. It really doesn’t help, in the crisis moment, to hear you went through the same thing. Maybe down the road they might want to hear about your accident, miscarriage, chemo etc. Now is NOT the time.

And above all – even if you stumble all over yourself and say every wrong thing in the book – presence by a genuinely caring person beats isolation ANY day of the week. So many people have disappeared during my worst times because they didn’t know what to say or they didn’t want to remind me, for example, that my brother was gone. Just “I care” solves all that. No clever words needed. And trust me – no one forgets that they’ve lost a loved one, or that they have cancer, or that they are suddenly single. It is ALL consuming at times.

Remember the Golden Rule and you can’t go wrong.

Provisions for my Super Bad Week!!!

Provisions for my Super Bad Week!!!

Cat Scanned

Got my “cat scanned”  (CT scan) just a while ago. It’s a mixed blessing when one of the techs in the hospital imaging dept. recognized me from all my trips to see him in the past.

One of the male techs (I had 3 of them) asked if I was wearing an underwire bra. It interferes with the imaging and frankly, so many things in life. “Not any more”, as I took it off with my shirt still on and flung it aside. Don’t expect modesty and proper protocol from a former massage school student. 🙂

Now I wait. If I have to do this alone, at least it’s not the “scream your head off and hope to keel over” kind of pain. But those kind tend to move faster. Mine is more “let’s keep poking you and making you feel nauseous as we enjoy this slow drive through the countryside”. Whee.

Addendum: Scan came back clear although the report talked about my right flank (thanks for making me sound like a race horse 🙂 even though the stone(s) were on the LEFT side. Right, left, what’s the difference? As I started feeling crazy for having made all this up, the doc assured me there was a positive “dip test” that I could not have faked. And Houston – we have “gravel”. The last time I had this kind of pain, I got a 9 lb baby out of it. 🙂

Hopefully, all this is over and I can get on with life.

Breakfast of Champions

For breakfast, I had chocolate, coffee and my prostate medication.


I’m about a week into a possible kidney stone, and keeping my prostate happy is part of the medical regimen. Before juicy rumors start, it’s standard protocol to help a person visit the restroom more often. Well, drinking water usually works, but hey – whatever helps.

The pain alternates from “I must be making this up” to “Find me my friggin vicodin right NOW”. Funny I should put that in quotes because there is no one to utter such lovely things to. Teresa was here for a few days (and so helpful – it’s wonderful what just having company does for a person). Pete is out of the country. I think his leaving the country is like trailer parks causing tornadoes. 🙂

So I wait – and I drink water – and I eat crap because I feel like crap. I’m in a holding pattern waiting for the CT scan to get approved. The CT is waiting for a CT scan. My terpy friends will understand that.

Have a groovy day y’all.

Love, The Kidney Stoner

(This too shall pass – ar ar ar)

Play Dough Pallooza

Auspicious beginnings. Making play dough for 20+ kids and 15+ adults

Auspicious beginnings. Making play dough for 20+ kids and 15+ adults for today’s volunteer gig

After a few hours. Let's just step it up and double batch the double batches

After a few hours. Let’s just step it up and double batch the double batches

Food color! Taste the rainbow.

Food color! Taste the rainbow.

Become one with the rainbow!

Become one with the rainbow!

Making play dough is a good metaphor for life. What looks like a sticky mess...

Making play dough is a good metaphor for life. What looks like a sticky mess…

...becomes this!

…becomes this!

Play dough requires MUCH salt. After going through 2.5 store bought containers, I resorted to the double secret Hawaiian rock salt

Play dough requires MUCH salt. After going through 2.5 store bought containers, I resorted to the double secret Hawaiian rock salt

25 pounds of homemade play dough and a

25 pounds of homemade play dough and a “perspective pig” salt shaker. Lunch is served!!

Today, I am volunteering again with the “Get Artsy with Multi Cultural Kids” program under the auspices of “Hands On Greater Portland” volunteer organization. They, Hands On, offer long term as well as one time volunteer opportunities. Last week, I waltzed in to the Get Artsy program for the first time. This week, I am leading the activity. With my background in Special Ed and All Things Children and Crafts (my title, not an official group), this is a perfect match. Hope everyone today has fun. I am excited!!!!

What’s today and Which party are we on?

Was in Hawaii two weeks ago, where temps were warm and life was slow.

And then things got crazy. I’m usually one to lie around in slug mode during December, but not this time, apparently. Tomorrow – Saturday – 25 folks will be here for a house concert. Sunday, 25 different folks will be here for a baby shower. I’m going at it solo because 31 hours after coming back from Hawaii, KAH (kick ass husband) took off for a biz trip to Germany – with a 50 degree temp difference!

I’m dreaming of Tiny Bubbles…Tiny Bubbles…with a ukulele and a palm tree. Ahhh. (No matter how grateful I am to have a house and friends and these activities…that uke and palm tree are looking good!)

In 8 days, KAD (kick ass daughter) with KAB (kick ass boyfriend) will be here. And we shall slug and eat and slug some more. But we shall not eat slugs – ewww. Woop woop!!!

Instant happiness

Instant happiness

Grateful (Pen Pal Project update)

First, I am grateful for laughing with friends. Thanks for making my day, Christine, with sparkly energy and lovely sincerity. Don’t you feel as if a new door has opened? 🙂 And thanks, Annie, for being awesome.

Wowee – when I started the Pen Pal Project, I was hoping for people who needed some cheering up and who might just scribble a note to me on a used pub napkin. It turns out that I have been cheered tremendously by what has come in so far and I have been blown away by the creativity and thoughtfulness. I don’t want this to sound like some competition though because it is definitely *not* that. (I’m still waiting for a scrawled on piece of a grocery bag – grins). I cherish everything that is sent this way.

If you want your contributions shown and names/blogs listed, I am happy to do that. Likewise, if you would like to correspond without any internet hoop-de-doo, I would like to honor that as well. Once we really get going, I can connect my Pen Pals with each other, if you’d like. Check the tab in the menu bar for an update on the countries of origin for correspondence. Be well, be blessed.

Nuvofelt asked that I post this "naked art". It is exquisite and had virtually no postal abuse. Everyone go check out Nuvofelt on wordpress!

Here is the “naked art” that made it from the UK to the US with nary a scratch. Exquisite paper. I want to learn how to create this. Feel free to identify yourself and your blog in the comments. THANK YOU!!!


A photo on cotton with stitching and 3D charms from Australia.

A photo on cotton with stitching and 3D charms from Australia. Wow! Feel free to identify yourself in the comments if you so wish. THANK YOU!!


Pen Pal Letters

Yippee, the pen pal letters are starting to arrive. They totally made my day after a tough week, which included the unexpected loss of someone. Bless you and thank you. You know who you are. A reply will be on the way Monday. *Doing a happy dance*

See the tab in the menu for an explanation about the Pen Pal Project.

Handwritten letters and even origami. Woo hoo!!!

Handwritten letters and even origami. Woo hoo!!!