sunshine by proxy

February seems to be humming along in my little corner of #Belhaven in Jackson, Mississippi. We’ve had a week of rainy, overcast weather but these daffodils offer a shot of sunshine by proxy.

When I think of daffodils, I think blooms in April–right around Easter. But in central Mississippi, these perennials started blooming last week. What an early treat.

Daffodils, like tulips, stand so tall, brightly, and confidently. It’s hard not to totally love them. In various cultures, daffodils represent good fortune, hope, rebirth, and new beginnings. Wishing all good things to readers near and far on this 21st day of February.

puzzling

One of my closest friends gave me a Pomegranate 1,000 Art Piece Puzzle for Christmas, and putting all the pieces together is both frustrating, at least initially, and then tremendously satisfying as you get closer to completing it.

I attempted the tried-and-true approach of finding the border pieces first but that threw me off somewhat. So switched gears and completed the puzzle by design/color area of this Charley Harper artwork. I was surprised how long it took me to complete. If I had to guess, I would say at least 12 hours. Hoping the next one might go a bit quicker.

the gestalt gardener

I’m a sucker for great public radio programming, and Mississippi Public Broadcasting does not disappoint. My favorite show, if I had to pick one, is The Gestalt Gardener–a 60-minute call-in show about plants, flowers, trees, landscaping, you name it–with Felder Rushing.

Each week, Felder fields questions from all over the state, with a few inquiries from neighboring states mixed in for good measure. And he always offers incisive, thoughtful feedback. I’ve learned oodles as a listener and newbie gardener. To listen to archives of this show, hop on over here. You and your garden can thank me later.

bimalleolar fracture: a user’s guide

Given the right conditions and correct stresses, bones–and sometimes spirits–wither and break. Earlier this month I had returned from visiting my sister who lives north of Atlanta to help her and my niece who had broken her elbow. En route to Georgia, my car experienced engine failure. The mechanic’s assessment: blown head gasket. What a not-so-great run of luck. My job-search efforts to that point weren’t successful; I recently replaced a couple tires; and I had no idea how I was going to find the $ to replace the engine (about $4,000). I am sure that I was stressed.

I could not have anticipated what was waiting for me when I got back home to Jackson. It was Sunday evening and, crossing my front lawn, I slipped and fell. It should have been an ordinary fall, but it wasn’t. My body fell right, and my left foot and ankle took a hard left. I felt a snap, saw my foot flop limply while an ankle bone popped out and bobbled around. I was in shock. I was in a world of physical pain but all I could think was, Holy buckets. I have neither any health insurance nor the foggiest clue on how I could pay for a broken ankle. The pain was stabbing and the ball of my foot was wobbling independently of my ankle bone, so I crawled on one knee to my house to call my neighbors for help. I knew my situation was serious enough to go to the E.R., which I did and where my ankle was temporarily reset.

Fast forward a week and a second visit to an orthopedic doctor and his assessment: bimalleolar fracture. Surgery was a must and was performed on the 18th. The surgeon plated and screwed the bits and pieces of the lateral malleolus (pictured at right) back together. Once that was complete, the medial malleolus popped back into place, and the surgeon secured that with two longer screws.

Fracture

And now for the user’s guide if you experience a similar fracture. The second day after surgery is kind of grim. Unpleasant. If you tolerate pain medication, this is the day to take it. If you have the financial means, consider getting or renting a knee scooter. The knee scooter vastly improves your ability to get around the house. I also recommend getting a pair of training gloves initially–these reduce the blisters you’ll experience from using crutch handles.

If you’re uninsured like me, prepare yourself for a small mountain of hospital bills. It’s a bit overwhelming to see what I owe. But hopefully if you’re like me, you live in an area of the country where the medical care is excellent but doesn’t cost what you might pay in a larger metropolitan area. I truly have to find any silver lining these days can afford me. My spirit kind of depends on it, for the moment.

And if my luck turns a corner, which I think it might, I’ll get fitted for a walking boot in a couple weeks, and I might be able to walk my dogs again, albeit slowly and extremely carefully. Fingers/toes crossed.

miranda konstantinidou

I don’t favor necklaces, but beautiful earrings, rings, and bracelets are jewelry catnip for me. Meandering my way through the Denver airport last month, I visited a small boutique and my eyes fastened on one of the display cases. The most magical, intricately designed jewelry. Bright colors, sparkly. “What is the price point of that one?” I asked the staff person, pointing at a beautiful ring. It was within budget (the earrings and bracelets weren’t). Smitten kitten, that was me.

Miranda Konstantinidou

The artist’s name is Miranda Konstantinidou. She’s a Greek designer who studied fashion illustration and fashion design in Italy and Germany. Her designs range from antique:

Miranda 3

To dark and brooding.

Miranda 4

To funky and abstract.

Miranda 2

To check out Miranda’s other work, visit here. Prepare to fall in love.

when tiny souls collide

Parsing what I experienced earlier this week and one thing lingers. I learned that one of my mom’s cousins passed away unexpectedly last week. This cousin I barely knew. I met her once–in 2015 at a family reunion in rural Wisconsin where our shared relatives from Norway built a life, family, and farm.

Trempeleau County

The time I met my mom’s cousin–I found her to be a lovely person. She had a bright way about her. Her eyes sparkled and she laughed easily. We hit it off the bat, as the English expression goes. The conversation was easy, fluid. She offered to give me a ride to the farmhouse where one of our relatives lived. She drove. We talked.

At some point our discussion turned to her mom and she began to cry. She shared that her relationship with her mom was difficult and her mom sometimes treated her poorly. I remember asking myself, Why is she sharing this with me? But I nodded and listened. There were decades of hurt feelings rushing to the surface, bursting perhaps, and in the tiny enclosed space of her car, our souls–tiny as they may be–collided.

A week later we traded emails and she wrote: I wish I could have talked to you more about what is going on in your life. Time was too short! Take care, sweet girl.

Take care, C. Rest easy.

sam and the goat

When I commuted by bicycle in #Chicago, my favorite part of my commute was wheeling into the loading dock area that sits directly behind one of Chicago’s most famous taverns–The Billy Goat. (I call it The Goat.) The Billy Goat of Cheezborger, Cheezborger fame.

The Goat was founded in 1934 by William Sianis, a Greek immigrant. This guy was a true publicity hound. In 1944, the Republican Convention came to Chicago so he posted a sign saying “No Republicans allowed.” The place was packed with Republicans, of course. What a crafty marketer.

The current owner is William’s nephew–Sam Sianis. I call him Sam. I would see him every Tuesday morning when I trekked in and out of the Goat to go to a yoga studio on Hubbard. Sam would see me and give me a wink. I would nod in return.

Sam

One time he was in the back parking deck where I was locking up my bike. In a very thick accent, he asked me, “What are you DOING?” I couldn’t help but laugh. I explained that I was locking up my bike and scooted on my way to work.