Sunday, June 3, 2018

LEGS - quotes from Denise Bennett (and my own story)


By Denise Bennett
Nine years ago I had a total left knee replacement. I was 49 years old. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Here’s the reason why. Before my knee replacement, I thought about my knee all the time, and I do mean all the time. If I was awake, I was thinking about my knee. What time today would it become painful? Would those heels be comfortable to walk in all day? Would my day require me to walk further than would be comfortable? Could I ride my shopping cart across the grocery store parking lot to my car? Yes, I considered that.
When I first consulted with an orthopedic surgeon about my knee, he told me, “when your knee is making all of the decisions for you, you’ll let me know you are ready for surgery.” He was right. Finally, two years later, my knee was making all my decisions for me as to what I could and couldn’t do, what activities I could participate in, and even what shoes I could wear… and I love shoes.
Once I had the knee replacement, and was fully recovered, I realized one day that I no longer thought about my knee. I was whole again.
Since shortly after puberty, I have been thinking about my legs. My first recollections of being self-conscious of them came in high school gym class. We had to wear those totally unflattering one-piece jumpers, and believe me, there was no way to hide your legs in those things. I would strategically place myself in the back row during our exercise classes, hoping no one would notice that my legs were thick, and bumpy, my knees were bulging, and my arms were heavy.
As I got older, my hemline got longer, and finally I began to wear only long pants, never shorts, and stopped swimming in public pools. Hiding my legs was a daily part of my routine, not a part of my thoughts really, as I was living on autopilot. And then I learned about Lipedema. Legs suddenly became a part of my conscious thoughts. My daily thoughts were about my legs. When would I get a diagnosis? When would I find out if I could have surgery? Was it okay for me to spend money on getting my liposuction surgery? Then there was the countdown to my surgery dates. Legs. Legs. Legs.
before and after photos of legs | lipedema liposuction
After my surgeries, all I could think about was how good my legs felt. How small they looked. How they looked like someone else’s legs. How they were more swollen today. How they were skinny today. Did they look lumpy? Do they look ok? Is the Lipedema coming back? Is my compression garment tight enough? Do these jeans make my legs look thinner? Thicker? Longer? Legs. Legs. Legs.
So my answer to the questions, “Will I ever stop thinking about my legs?” is this. Perhaps not. I have been worried about them, I have hated them, for far too many years to be able to imagine that I will stop thinking about them. What I am hoping for is this. That I will be more grateful to them. More appreciative of them. Thank them for carrying a heavy burden for so many years. Caress them for holding me up, never failing me, allowing me to have the rich, wonderful life that I have lived. They are not perfect. They will never be perfect.
Here is my goal. I want to change “thinking” to “thanking”. Will I ever stop thanking my legs? No. Thank you, beautiful, healthy, sturdy, wonderful legs. Smile.

These are my legs. They have served me well for the past 57 years, and I am grateful. Despite that, I am happy to be on a journey that allows me to say goodbye to them.. at least to the way they look and the pain and shame they bring. In March 2017 I was diagnosed with lipedema, a genetic fat disorder that causes my legs to accumulate painful fat that it out of proportion with the rest of my body and causes complications as it progresses. I am having two surgeries in 45 and 48 days to get rid of it! I am thrilled, excited, and scared. Despite success in losing 80 lbs over the last 18 months, my legs remain the same. They do not respond to diet or exercise.
This disease is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, as was mine until this year. I have searched for answers for 25 years. No one knew what was wrong. Vascular specialists, general practitioners, dermatologists, endocrinologists, weight loss specialists… no one had answers as to why my legs were disproportionate, painful, bruised easily, impacted my gait, and the countless other symptoms I experienced. In March, finally a diagnosis of lipedema gave me the peace I needed to know that I was not alone! Since puberty, my legs had been the enemy, and now I understood why, and have a path to a solution.
After much self research, explaining to physicians who knew nothing about this disease, getting surgical approval, selecting a specialist in Atlanta, Georgia, and making lifestyle changes and getting conservative treatments, I am scheduled for surgery on November 7 and 10, 2017. I am writing this blog for those of you who are interested in following my journey, and so that you will learn more about this disorder that many women have and few know about. Thank you for your interest as I begin to share my story… a story that began more than 40 years ago!

As I headed toward surgery in Fall, 2017 had a lot of expectations; some were far fetched, but most were realistic. Recovery has had some minor surprises, such as the changes in leg shape from day to day, the surprising amount of time I spend looking at them and the deeply emotional aspect of the changes taking place in my body. If you’ve had surgery, you know what I’m talking about.
I am a swimmer. I have always been a swimmer. Athletically, once I started gaining wait after puberty, it was the activity that I was best at, and loved. We had a pool growing up, and I was practically a fish.
One year, our family was on a camping vacation in Ontario at Rushing River Provencial Park. I was around 11 years old. My dad was a good swimmer, and it was one of the few, fun activities that we did together when I was young girl. Rushing River had a huge boulder in the middle of the river, outside of the appropriately marked off swimming area. This boulder was 12 feet by 15 feet, and about 50 yards out. My two younger brothers, my dad and I, were swimming in the roped off area. My dad let me swim out with him to the boulder, making sure my brothers stayed behind the ropes. It was a huge moment for me, and one I often recall, and have heard my dad brag about. All this really to say that I have always been comfortable and confident in the water.
We have a pool at our home here in Texas. By early May, I was in. I had not been swimming since before my surgeries in November and March. After swimming laps one day, I decided to just relax, and float around the pool basking in the coolness of the water and the warmth of the Sun. I stretched out, relaxed my body and waited for my legs to float to the top.
Didn’t happen.
I tried again.
Nope. Legs keep sinking to about a 45 degree angle.
“Okay,” I thought. “This must have something to do with the loss of calf fat.”
Interesting. Hadn’t even considered this effect.
So, I tried sitting and laying in the bottom of the pool, in the deep end. Haven’t even tried doing this in decades.
Now, not a problem.
Unanticipated change after surgery: I am not a flotation device. I am not a bobber.
Byrd Legs Don’t Float!

My story is very similar to the one above. So much.... I recognize the camaraderie

Here are just a few pictures.

  ME BEFORE I KNEW & THE STATUS QUO - - kinda thin but tender an stumpy legs. I was in my 30s.

Knee surgery - I got one too My right knee which was entirely bone and bone and slipping off towards the outside of my leg - causing pain clear from hip to ankle.  I did not recover well, due to pulmonary embolisms and C-Diff infection.  They expected me to die.  Clearly - not.  After a significant amount of research and a trip to Beverly Hills, CA in 2017, I found an online group - RIFE with info and other patients.  Long-story short: I found a surgeon in Seattle, WA. That is only a 3 hour drive.  This physician suggested one leg at a time - 3 months apart, for maximum recovery.

I fully expected an insurance denial and a battle with appeals. TO MY SURPRISE - the insurance approved after my visit in February!  Due to wanting to be a part of a family birthday celebration in March, I scheduled right after and had my first surgery on April 3, 2018 - my age, 64.  Here is an initial surgery update pic.

 My son took me biking only twenty days after surgery. It is a big step to be able to try - to start to return to normal activity!  Look at how different it is from surgery and NO surgery yet.

This is my BAGGY PANT LEG Pic. I had to start pegging my clothes (only one pant leg at a time - initially). Why get a WHOLE new wardrobe?

Mother's Day. May dress. one leg - double (or one leg half) it is a matter of perspective. 

                                   Pegged those jeans - Yes, weight loss is happening!

Had to take pix. Last day of being lippy legged! June 24, 2018. Surgery 6/25/18

      Right after surgery, comparing two new legs. 6/24 looks so different from 6/25! ANKLES!

These are the boots that I WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WEAR; I ordered them online, and now that I have ankles and skinnier legs - well--- hot damn!

                                            Me on vacation - Santa Fe. Compression sox, but lil legs. This is only three weeks post op!

Me on vacation - Santa Fe; three weeks post op!

                                                             Me on vacation - Santa Fe; three weeks post op, dressed for a fancy banquet.                        
                                                           My arms have lipedema and the arm surgery (for both) will be Sept, 24.

I have to do a lot of zoom (on the pic)  to make the arms not be profound.

                                                                                                There ya go!

                                                                                            I like this pic of me.

                                         This pair of pj bottoms have been untouched for about 15 years.
                                           (In the hopes of skinny) - I never thought surgery would be the answer!
                                                      Thighs fit and the calves would bot fit into these pjs.

Boots I used to wear - LOOK AT THE LEG ROOM!

Bought a wrist-Fitbit. Getting out walking now.

Propped feet, little ankles half calf leggings.

 The boots and dress and leggings look.

 This is a September 5 picture. The slippers are worn with compression (footed) sox and the second picture shows that more up close.  These legs. These legs look normal.  Will I ever focus on anything else? As mentioned above (from Denise Bennett), I think about them a lot and look at them in a mirror more than once daily.) What was once a cause of shame - is now just something looking normal.)  A lovely benefit, (and I have always BEEN a cautious eater.) is weight loss. Since before the first surgery, as of 9/6/18, I have lost 37 lbs.)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Where I am from

This initiated from BETH WOOLSEY'S BLOG.
I have take this to my family, and so far, me, my two granddaughters and my sister have written their own version.

Where I’m From

I am from the ocean,
from Europeans and Gypsies who traveled to work in the forests and make a better home. I am from a mail-order-bride grandmother who hitched her wagon to a logger & raised children in moveable camps.

I am from the whimsy,
the ridiculous, the redolent, the indefatigable.

I am from the gardens,
the rainbows.
I am from stick-to-it-ive-ness and fervor, from mom and her mom and her mom's mom, a legacy of COMPETENT (!) women.

I am from the tirelessness of an immigrant spirit,
from "be kind" and "it IS Spiritual!".

I am from a Catholic elementary school & a public high school; I am from that oil & water education.

I am from endurance and tears: tears of laughter & joy & the mixture of both, as the learning to love, while loving & living -parentage shaped the two siblings & I, as we grew.

I’m from Oregon, by way of Scotland & Yugoslavia, Pavatica & Scottish Shortbread.

I am from the
father & grandfather innately mechanically inclined,
the twin aunts,
the two half sisters I met when we were grown women,

I am from Oregon and valleys, coastal tide pools, Tillamook Bay, the Pacific Crest Trail, the shadow of Hood.

I am from encouragement towards dreams,
I am from follow your bliss and the happiness will trail: (taught to my children and their children.)

I am from biking, hiking, camping, skipping, exploring, mountainous & gorge, deserts & valleys that have planted the Pacific Northwest's nature's scent & desire.

I am from sleep under the stars, jump in the puddles, bike down hills with arms a-flap, gaze in awe & still be struck by the four glorious seasons.

I am from roots here, and a wanderlust to see, see, SEE all the other cultures, gardens, architectures, epicurean delights & witness their love-of-home.

I am from dip my toes, dip them in this and that and never ever, never ever tire of the new.
I am from let me smell that newborn's head, that newborn's feet, that honeysuckle, that jasmine, that daphne, that kiss.

I am from let me never tire of the next experience.

I am from...?

This from Helen:
age 10

Where I’m From:

I am from the ocean and I am from Chanel 5 and I am from Rice Krispie Treats.

I am from  the home of laughter and tickles.

I am from the daphne, and the tree house.

I am from gingerbread houses on Thanksgiving, and from Christmas presents early in the morning.

I am from joy and chaos,  from Whitesides and Haynes.

I am from silliness, and music, from sign language for “more cookie” and  constantly being told, “put the book down!”

I am from love and grace, from dance and sleep.

I’m from Albany and Scotland, from Yugoslavia and Ireland.

I am from tacos and brownies.
From my Dad in Modesto, and Mom in Oregon City.

I am from Legacy Ballet, and the Albany Community Pool.

I am from technology and from the sprinkler. I am from all the arts,
and I am from my family.

This from Alice:
age 12

Where I’m From:

I am from book, from Junior Mints and peanut butter.

I am from the home of caring, heart, and family.

I am from the daffodils, and from the swing.

I am from the Birthday Queen, from the tech whiz and the Spanish aficionado.

I am from love and loyalty.

From have book, will travel, and I love you.

I am from believing in myself and feminists and fighters.

I’m from Albany, Oregon and falafel and spaghetti.

From the Whitesides and the Haynes.

I am from Harry Potter and Keeper of the Lost Cities and drama.

I am from friends, teachers, and family.
I am from all of you!!!


Where I’m From:

I am from pen, the chocolate and peanut butter.

I am from the village, close to the city, accessible.

I am from the earth, the roses and the alstroemeria. I am from family gatherings, from Tomac and Haynes.

I am from the Yugoslavian and Scottish immigrants.

I am from the nickname Happy, and from hope, and from honesty. The letter H rules.

I am from Catholicism, but I walk my own path.

I’m from cabbage, shortbread, and venison.

I’m from the creative beautician and the mechanic. If only Etsy had been around during their time.

I am from black and white photos with wavy edges, camping in home-made trailers, and home brew.


The author writes about her son, shares a template, his version of WHERE I AM FROM and then hers:

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).


Where I’m From
by Cai Woolsey

I am from computer.
From Twix candy bars and XBox.
I am from chaos.
I am from madness.
From helpful
And dirty.
I am from the willow that weeps
And the pear that is sweet.
I am from eating snow
And joyfulness from Beth and Greg.
I’m from loudness
And ruff housing.
From peace
And love.
I’m from kindness
And giving.
I’m from my Papa’s Marines
And from cheese and steak.
I’m from the hospital.
I am from my home.


Still, I thought. Still, I’d like to try so I might see. You know? And I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I steal some lines from my son.
Where I’m From
by Me
I am from the wilderness.
The jungle.
The highlands.
The home.
I am from chaos.
From magic and mess.
From grace and grime.
From wonder in the wild of a life lived off course
from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
I am from the water;
the ocean which is dark and light
and full of life and danger.
I am from hot toddies made by fierce and friendly women.
From ancient Irish enemies — Kerr and McDonough —
and their Scottish Murray foes,
turned friends, then lovers, then strangers, then friends again.
I am from dramatic sighs
and doing things a better way
and blowing up
and quieting down
and trying and succeeding
and trying and failing
and trying
to love each other well.
I’m from Stop Baiting Your Brother, Beth
Someday You’ll Be Best Friends,
and she was right; we are.
^^^I’m from telling my kids the same thing.^^^
From Brainwashing for a Better Tomorrow.
I am from Love made real who walks among us.
From Love which still turns the whole world upside down.
I’m from the Celts and the Gaels
and the Viking pirates who sailed the sea.
I am from the Wild, Wild West
and an Asian jungle,
and so I’m made of rice and whiskey
and freckles
and things that taste free.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Three things from Hot Tub


Today after work, I went in my hot tub and opened up the umbrella to sit on the top of the gutters. (It provides an extra covering for me because part of the hot tub is under the eaves.) I also love the tip tap of the rain on the umbrella.

It is quite a Zen place for me. There was no wind at all; the spinner wasn't spinning the chimes were not singing and the WhirlyGig was not whirling.
Right near the WhirlyGig is a pottery plaque that has the sun and the moon kissing.

As the tip tap of the rain was on the umbrella, a dove landed by the "moon and sun kissing". I have never seen a dove in the neighborhood; I don't know if I've ever really seen a dove.

It made things even more Zen and shortly the bird flew away, followed by a fast thrumming overhead.

Hanging over the hot tub is a hummingbird feeder, and I had recently filled it up again.  The bird buzzed over my head multiple times before landing and staying, I bet, five minutes slaking it's thirst before it sped away.

I could hear ambient traffic, but it was mostly silent, the sun was going down and I had a very pleasant "three things."

                          le deuxième colibri jacuzzi

Which is French for second version of hot tubs and hummingbirds.

In tonight's hot tub chapter, the snow drifted lightly and the wind spun everything and all the chimes were singing.

The funniest part, is that, as I sat on the side of the hot tub (& unlike last night, when the hummingbird feeder was directly over my head,) I watched one hummingbird have its dinner... it also
 "had its bathroom."

Luckily it crossed my mind, that it might be a multitasking bird, so I had sat to the side of it in the hot tub tonight.
Later on, I saw two of them come to the feeder.

(You know, I gave up on my birdfeeders because I have ravenous and marauding squirrels. Knowing that the hummingbirds have found my feeder gives me joy.)

(The snow is beginning to be here, heavily, enjoy the snow fall. 

                                                                   and the hummingbird was very grateful.)

Monday, August 15, 2016

David Lincoln:

1/25/48 - 8/15/99

A man of great life, he explored with vigor, bicycled NOT with speed, but with MUST SMELL THE FLOWERS - curiosity; (cannot miss a thing, you know,) hiked with enthusiasm and loved deeply. He loved so deeply.

Dear Dave, I recall in you in SO many things. You have been gone 18+ years, and it feels like 6 minutes. It was Spring of 1993 and the internet didn’t exist. The local alternative paper (Willamette Week) had singles ads. I gave it a whirl. I immediately wanted you to get back to me, after I responded to your ad, and after one or two letters, I was really eager to meet you.

Our first date was a breakfast at Sharri’s restaurant, followed by a bicycle ride up in Oxbow Park, mostly along the Sandy River. It was an immediate revelation of who you were and your personality and I fell; you fell, and we fell hard for each other. Years went by with terrific vacations, many weekends on a shoe string budget (often $20 limit; boy you were so frugal!), and an inventive way to get out there and have a good time. Oregon is so diverse, it was easy to fill our weekends with The Gorge or mountain, coastal, local hikes, bikes and constant other adventures.

You had the best nickname for me and I can still hear what you called me, I can still call up (my brain can STILL hear your voice), that name: ANNIEDEAR, like it was one word.

You were pretty tidy, lived clean, not a slob bachelor, but you were not too great about random hazards: i.e. fish hooks. Once, when I lay on your carpet, in front of the wood-stove, I found the back of my hand attached to a hook that was stuck in the carpet. That was not too fun, extracting my hand from a barbed fish hook, but the second time was worse, when the fishhook was in your van’s passenger seat, and I hoisted myself up, in, and attached to a butt fish hook. Seriously, I don’t know how you managed to extract me from either hook. I was not angry and you were always so funny; you invented a new Native American name for me after that: Hook-In-The-Heinie. Not to be outdone, I named you Whiz-in the-Woods. (Yes you did, why use a bathroom? If we were outdoorsing it, you would pee on a tree. Granted, most men do.)

It was a great love. A fantastic love. An ill- fated, cut off early, not a rocking-chair-retirement future, but it was a Rocking Chair love.

You were only 51. Too young to leave.

I Still See You!

I still hear you.

Te amare por siempre.

(I love you forever.)

****David Lincoln (Jones) RIP, 1/25/48 - 8/15/99****

It's such a colossal effort not to be haunted by what's lost, but to be ENCHANTED by what was.
I don't know how the heart WITHSTANDS it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

3 things... 8/2/16

My three things:

My lovely deck requires lots of tree detritus maintenance.

Currently, it's nuts to sweep off the deck.

Lots & lots of nuts.

My peaceful deck is #1

I decided to clean the deck and throw some nuts away from near my rock stack.

My peaceful stack is #2

Something moved near my rock stack.

The view from above:

Right where this arrow was, was the tiniest frog.

To be honest - that's a stock photo.

I ran in, got my camera, tried to find & capture him on film, there, resting in my rock stack - & he blissfully hopped away.


While I was liberating nuts from my deck and trying to "capture" the frog on film, I kept hearing a young female "cry out" a few doors down. "Mike. pLeAsE! Pleeeeeeez! Don't." over and over and over. Mike. Please. (I know there are good "Mikes" in life. Lucky-them. Me, not so much; I had a relative, Mike, who was a merciless teaser. This felt reminiscent of child hood or other times, where I was "not heard".)

I could not tell what it was I was hearing, for sure. I remember recently reading a little thing on Facebook, where a father heard a sibling teasing the other, there was many times that stop was said and stop did not happen. The father got all up in the event and made it very clear that the word stop means stop and you have to listen and you have to listen and you have to STOP.

Mike. Clearly. Ignoring. Her. Pleas.

It felt like that thing from Facebook. The plea was loud enough and continuous enough, I was emotionally disturbed. I did not know exactly where it was coming from, and I was ready to go confront them.

Instead. I yelled in their general direction. I yelled: "Listen to what she is saying! Listen to her!"

It stopped.

Whatever had been going on, stopped.

Don't we all have to interfere?

Message in a bottle (nod to Sparks)

messaged in a bottle

I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because the ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together. I can almost feel you beside me as I write this letter, and I can smell the scent that always reminds me of you. But at this moment, these things give me no pleasure. Your visits have been coming less often, and I feel sometimes as if the greatest part of who I am is slowly slipping away.

I am trying, though. At night when I am alone, I call for you, and whenever my ache seems to be the greatest, you still seem to find a way to return to me. Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier in Garibaldi. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. I am struck as I see you leaning against the marina rail. You are stunning; I am stunned, I think, as I see you, a vision that I can never find in anyone else. I slowly begin to walk toward you, and when I think you’ll turn to me, you begin to fade. I think to myself... "Do you know him?" It’s a simple truth. "Better than my own heart."

I stop before I can reach you to take you in my arms. I long for this moment more than any other. It is what I live for, you cannot return my embrace, yet I give myself over to this moment, at peace once again.

I am here to love you, to hold you in my arms, miss how you protect me. I am here to learn from you and to receive your love in return. I am here because there is no other place to be. But then, as always, the mist starts to form as we stand close to one another. It is a distant fog that rises from the horizon, and I find that I grow fearful as it approaches. It slowly creeps in, enveloping the world around us, fencing us in as if to prevent escape. Like a rolling cloud, it blankets everything, closing, until there is nothing left but the two of us.

I feel my throat begin to close and my eyes well up with tears because I know it is time for you to go. The look you give me at that moment haunts me. I feel your sadness and my own loneliness, and the ache in my heart that had been silent for only a short time grows stronger as you release me. And then you spread your arms and step back into the fog because it is your place and not mine. I long to go with you, but your only response is to shake your head because we both know that is impossible.

And I watch with breaking heart as you slowly fade away. I find myself straining to remember everything about this moment, everything about you. Your voice echoes in my ears and the gulls cry, the briny scent of the marina, the wind in my hair... these never fade.

Where are you? And why, I wonder as I sit alone in my darkened house, have we been forced apart?

I don't know the answer to these questions, no matter how hard I try to understand. The reason is plain, but my mind forces me to dismiss it and I am torn by anxiety in all my waking hours. I am lost without you. I am soulless, a drifter without a home, a solitary bird in a flight to nowhere. I am all these things, and I am nothing at all. This, my darling, is my life without you. I long for you to show me how to live again.

This bottle, it was the right thing to do, write this note, seal it, travel to the Tillamook Spit and send these last wishes off to you. I could not be here when they scattered your ashes. My daughter got married. You would have LOVED the ceremony. The same day your ashes became one with this bay, she said her I-do’s to a wonderful man. I believe my son-in-law will care for her as well as you have cared for me. The cycle goes on. One of these days, I might be a grandmother. Today, though, I send these wishes to you, bottled up and hoping that by some delightful chance, your ashes and this bottle meet, and you smile that goofy smile with that "Mr. Ed" hat, and all is well in the “fishing place in the sky.”

My life began when l found you. And l thought it had ended when you passed. l thought that hanging on to your memory was keeping us both alive. But l was wrong. I am hoping to be brave enough to open my heart & love again, no matter how terrible my grief. lt will scare me and hurt. l know you'll bless me. And bless us all. lf l can't, then l'm still blessed because l've had the privilege of loving in my life. YOU gave me that.

Loving you always and always and always and always.



Monday, March 7, 2016

"The Chains" (DLJ)

The Hardest Part of having the chains that we forged, that bound us together, is that they are figurative and who am I, if I am not bound to the love of my life?

Dancing: Dave and I

Hiking: Mt. Hood

The letter he wrote to me when he sent the bird nest to my house.

After over a dozen years the bird-nest deteriorated. Ah, molecules...


"In your dream one night, I knelt beside the bed we shared, to press my cheek against your naked breast and listen to your heart. Whispering, I am the ghost of Christmas past ~ I am your history. I wear the chains that bind our hearts ~ do you remember me?"


I don't regret a moment spent looking in your eyes. I hear your "whoop" echoing a thousand times across the snowy forest in the night. And when I walk the beach at night, I will remember when – when our passion burned like a beach fire blowing in the wind. I am the Dipper in the North Sky. I'm a midnight bicycle ride. I'm a river float, warm hands, gentle touches. I'm fire light on the river with it's awesome midnight afterglow – I am The Chains.

When you sit beside your Christmas tree, I wonder if you'll think of me, so I give to you a link of chain – forged in adventure, tempered in love, and paid for with passion and pain. Please accept this gift – I think you'll agree – this nest belongs upon your Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas,

"The Chains"



Biking: Bridge Pedal (the first one ever) and beach biking

Boating: Garibaldi, Clackamas River, Tillamook Spit

Hiking: Angels Rest, Columbia Gorge

If you ever find yourself empty from something you cannot know or name, find a stretch of ocean, a field, a mountainside, or even clouds or trees. Because there are a thousand simple ways to fill your tired soul, so you can remember how to be, how to see, and most importantly --- how to BREATHE.

~ Victoria Erikson

THE BEACH: Ft. Stevens, the wreck of the Peter Iredale --- always nostalgic for us