On my way to Idaho

On my way to Idaho
The Road Less Traveled . . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Up and 'running' with help from my friends

Well, three years ago I was told I would never get one of these. My doctor and the prosthetist I was working with at the time both seemed to think that the particular nuances of my age (hey!!) and stage (harrumph!) in life, together with the limitations of the knee dis-articulation didn't mean I qualified for nor did I need such a locomotive 'hot rod'   Fortunately, Lance, my magic leg guy, at J & K Orthopedics, Inc. and Dr. Goldman believed differently. (actually I think the words -"if you don't help me get a leg that can pretend to keep up with me, I will have to take *this* one off and beat you with it" - shared with them during consultations may have influenced them somehow).

This is a C Leg; a hydraulic prosthetic knee with a computer microprocessor chip.  His name is 'Sugar' (from C & H - pure cane sugar, from Hawaii . . . ) I had Sugar a week and Troy, my Physical Therapist all ready has me doing stairs. (eeek and ya-hoo at the same time)

Now - does any one have 10 grand they want to give me so I can get a running leg!!;-D

The Ronnie Dickson Project: Amputee Climbing

Amputee Climbing

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Alive Day

Ten years ago yesterday, there was a light bluster in the wind, throwing off spackles of sunshine and spitz of rain. The wind, rain, and sun felt magnificent against my cheeks as I sat in my pink flannel P.J.s wrapped in a couple of those thin loose excuses for a blanket ubiquitous to hospitals.

I was going home. I felt great.

Of course the generous amount of morphine I was on may have had something to do with that - but, no -  pain meds.  dull the mind and senses.(believe me, I know pain meds.),  and they decidedly do not have the side effect of making one feel alive down to every turn and twist of one's DNA.

I had been in the hospital, what, three weeks I think. Half my left shin was gone. I had a beauty of a surgical wound nearly 17 inches long from my knee to my ankle (I used to tell people it was a shark bite - kids loved that story). I weighed less then 115 pounds, had bad eyesight, no energy, no hair - thanks to the chemo.


No Cancer.

Well actually, the doctor had told me that morning that they can't say Cancer is ever completely dead; but 98% necrosis was the best pathology report he had ever seen in his nearly 30 years of researching and treating Ewing Sarcoma.  Treatment still held two more surgeries and five more months of Chemo in store for me; plus years of 'follow-up'.  -But, right this moment - here - now -  I was Alive - it was My New Day!

The nurses had parked me inside the sliding glass door to wait for my Dad to bring the car around. Pish, I've never been much of an indoor girl when the weather was good for adventure. When they weren't looking I wheeled myself outside to the very end and edge of the sidewalk of the patient pick up drive.

April 6th 2001 - a perfect Spring day to be alive.

Yesterday felt exactly the same. Ten Years!

I sat on the porch reading and watching the weather from the time I got home from class until it was to dark to read. Flitting sunshine, spritzing spring rain, a bouyant bluster in the wind dancing with the trees; smells of rain and earth and roses and daffodils and jasmine and orange blossoms; the sight of racing clouds (I miss the cloudscapes of England), my viola's spilling out of a half dozen pots about my feet on the porch, the Bonsai Juniper (a gift from Justin) sheltering the little ceramic shrine and fishing man, my Christmas cactus covered with tiny buds (Grandma Young is still watching over me), the neighbors tulips, another neighbor's stand of bird's of paradise and white lilies hemmed about with California poppies, even the Cati and succulents are in bloom; the street lined with palm trees growing next to oak trees growing next pine trees growing next to lemon trees,and peeking through the trees, a snow dusted Mt. Baldy; a warm tea, chocolate fudge pudding with black berries, a fat book (a novel, no research few a few hours I am celebrating!). A veritable cornucopia of sensations to revel in.

Celebrate my Alive Day with me. Your festivities must include chocolate, flowers, a favorite book, a warm beverage, a favorite food all to be shared with your favorite people!!  Tell me all about it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Home Made Falafel

My Master's Degree is centered around the use of art in religion. This is actually a pretty big subject. I could easily make a dissertation out of just trying to explain what is it is all about and why I am studying it.  Ready -

O.K. I'll spare you. (Believe me when I say the restraint I am imposing on myself right now is of legendary proportions.)

Any who - when I started my degree I choose to limit my research to the use of art in the Orthodox Copitc, Egyptian, Church (another paper in that - yes you just dodged another one).

I attend the closest Coptic Church every few weeks as part of my research and field study, and, because I find I am enjoying it. People are beginning to recognize me and I am made to feel quite welcome there.

As a rule the Copts take the injunction of caring for the poor and needy very seriously (Matt 25:35 - 40). Every service I have attended at the Coptic Church to date has included a discussion from the pulpit about the subject. What with the - ah-hem - in-ter-es-ting things happening in Egypt recently there is a significant number of poor and needy in the local Coptic community; people who are fleeing the turmoil in Egypt with little more then the clothes on their backs for the safety of the Coptic diaspora.  I have come to observe that the Copts understand that just giving people handouts does not equal caring for the poor and needy. The Coptic community finds creative ways to provide the care these people need with out taking their dignity.   (Ummm, waxing political here - could certain of our government agencies learn something useful here - would they?).


Food. Great home made Mediterranean dishes. The supplies needed to make this great food is purchased and given to the 'poor and needy' who make all kinds of home made dishes, frozen take-away style - pastries, cookies, entrees, pickled stuffs, pints of sauces, and so on.  After services on Sunday and at other activities throughout the week the dishes are sold. Proceeds go to buy things people need, and supplies to make more prepared dishes to sell. A few people I talked to who were buying the food did so not because they really needed it but because they knew they were providing care and service to people in need. Many others commented on the service these prepared dishes provided to them. Busy mothers bought plates of sweets and cookies for their children's school lunches; dual income families bought prepared dinners so they could come home from a long day's work to a quickly reheated home cooked meal; college students stocked up on enough food to see them through a week of long days spent in class and at study.

I bought a plate of samosa style pastries; I don't read Arabic so I don't know what they are called nor do I have any idea what is in them; although it is Lent this week so I was inform they are vegetarian. I also got a quart of frozen falafel batter. As soon as I got home I set about fixing myself a lovely Egyptian lunch. While I heated up a pastry and fried spoonfuls of falalel batter in some healthy coconut oil, I pondered upon the thought that I would have paid at least $30 plus tip for this amount of the exact same food at the local Mediterranean Restaurant. I have enough for three maybe four meals. Even as I watched my falafel balls fall apart I was pleased to think that the measly $6 I paid was helping another fellow being in need, as I enjoyed the food they prepared to serve my needs - I think I received the greater gift.

So, I drained the excess oil from the crumpled falafel, then, tossed in some diced carrots, celery and zucchini, some cilantro, cooked rice, and spinach  - - -

Falafel stir fry?  Anyone?

Saturday, March 19, 2011


So, I just got home from the two day conference on War and Peace (see previous post); as I turn into my driveway I see my neighbors have a big sign nailed to the tree in their front yard loudly exclaiming-

"The most violent element in society is Ignorance"

Are they trying to tell me something? Should I have taken better notes at the conference? Asked more questions of the presenters?Paid better attention to their Power Point slides? Not eaten that second brownie for lunch?

Oh, I see; while I spent the day huddled up in a windowless room listening to panels of National Security advisers, Military strategists, conscientious objectors, soldiers, veterans, returned Peace Corp volunteers, students, philosophers, academics and religious leaders discussing things like Just-War doctrine, non-violent conflict resolution, historical perspectives regarding role of religion in conflict, Peace studies, and more, all towards the end of getting the hawks and the doves to fly together a neo-nazi rally was parading up and down the streets of my town protesting against - -

Well do I really have to go in to that?  But, it is certainly ironic and I do like the stand my neighbors made on behave of my side of the street. Thank You!

Now. I am very tired. My head is full of theory and possibilities and I am starving.

"Sad World"a picture my son drew some years ago of the World crying because people were not being nice to each other
Oh, and the 'wave' of white curling up around the World are Flocks of Angels coming to give it a hug.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Yes, I live!  It is a beautiful Spring day, about time I came out of hibernation - social media hibernation that is.

How am I spending this fine Spring day you ask? Weeding and feeding my tulips; taking a walk through the local botanical garden, chillin' with a novel over a lovely salad and Roobois tea at the local outdoor cafe - - - ?

At the moment I am sitting in Albrecht Auditorium - a windowless theater seating conference room on the Claremont Graduate University campus. "War and Peace in our times: Mormon Perspectives" a two day acdemic conference sponsored by CGU's Mormon Studies Program.    War and Peace - Mormon Perspectives

Courious place to come out of my social media cocoon, I know - but not really. I love to study and learn, I love people, I love adventure, I love sharing the beautiful things of the world. 

Sooo -  - - Carpe Deim

A scholarly confab with soldiers, natinal security personel, ivory tower academics, interesting religious prespectives etc -

In this day and age. If I want to pursue and share the things I love, learning about the priciples that goven the movements of war and peace is a "Must Know."

Still - this room really needs a couple windows . . .. sorry dear presenter your spiffy Power Point just can't compare with one of my favorite peaceful vistas!