Musings and Amusings

Mothers day flowers

If we were having coffee, I’d say Congratulations and a Heartfelt Thank You to each of you Mothers undertaking the herculean task of raising children in today’s confusing and often contradictory societal norms.

Someday your children will thank you, too!

This I know because it took me years to understand and appreciate what my own Mother did for me. Not always what I wanted her to do, and I often wished I had someone else’s Mother for my own, but my Mother did her best and we all turned out ok in a relatively healthy and functionally, loving family.

Now I’m thankful she’s my Mom.

I’d also tell you this is why we don’t plant outdoors until after Mother’s Day.

Taken moments ago on Mother's Day

Taken moments ago on Mother’s Day

I’d tell you that my physical therapy sessions have ended successfully  … for now. I’m not all the way over the hump, and I fear a return to my ‘crippled, painful’ state, although the therapist assures me another 3-6 months of diligent effort on my part will be the most effective preventative.

It was time consuming to attend the sessions and do all the exercises multiple times per day at home, but my postural muscles have strengthened and realigned. My pain, although much diminished, returns if I stay in one position too long so I have to limit myself with seated activities or those like computer and reading that pull me forward. No more than 30 minutes without a readjustment. (Gravity, people. It’s not your friend!). Moving, stretching and changing positions frequently (as well as standing rather than sitting) are the key. In fact, I’m standing to write this with my laptop resting on a Swiffer Wets box to achieve proper level for arms and eyes. (I knew those Swiffer Wets would be good for something!)

The past few weeks, I’ve chosen playing keyboard and reading for my ‘lead to pain’ activities, rather than being on the computer, so my blogging frequency is still diminished. I hope to increase the frequency … time will tell. Usually it’s ‘you’re not good enough writer’s block’ that trips me up. Now I’m brimming with writing ideas and it’s my body dictating my productivity.

The ‘brimming with ideas’ synchs nicely with one of my 2015 Envisions – Mapping and Footsteps.

Not writing for so long, but continuing to read and mull has overloaded me with thoughts that are tangentially connected. If I’d been streaming all along, they wouldn’t be so jumbled. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

Today Hub left on a weeklong golf trip … the perfect time for me to immerse myself in sorting the jumble and experimenting with an organizational tool – Mapping. Many of you use various forms of manual or computer mapping. It’s new to me.

Visual mapping – not lists and outlines in notebooks where I can’t find what I’m looking for when I want it – but foam boards where I can pin or tape whatever seems to apply whenever I think of it. (Pinterest for Geriatrics …).

Where to start?

At the beginning!


Notes left to right – progression of posts ideas.

Notes top to bottom – details for specific ideas.

Post-its – questions on where/how to fit, insert or connect.

Photos, trinkets, and other visual stimulants to remind me that if I want to practice art, I need to consciously incorporate it into my writing plans.

I have a second foam board, or can quickly rearrange this one, as the posts sort themselves out.


These are all the books I am currently reading that support my Visual Mapping intentions or relate to my writing topics. I will write about specific books, topics and authors. I will pay tribute to a few of my blogging buddy authors as well as reflect impacts on my own life and values.

I hope this results in some worthwhile posts for you and me.

If not, we’ll commiserate over coffee.

Comments on: "Coffee on Mother’s Day" (80)

  1. Happy Mom’s day, darlin’ Glad to hear you are on the mend. Let me know if the standing up to compute works for you. At my last job, the boss gave it a go, but found the change less than satisfactory.

    “Gravity, people. It’s not your friend!” That’s another favourite saying of mine! Whether you are trying to haul yourself up a slope, or carefully descend the same, gravity must be respected!

    I see several E. Annie Proulx among your titles. Love her stuff.

    • Thanks, Maggie 😀. I wasn’t even thinking about the up and down hill gravity pulls which obviously I traverse every day!! Downhills were the diwnfall of my hiking days once my knees started barking (altho snowshoeing is painfree),

      Oh I can’t wait for my Annie posts ince I get them sorted out. Will enjoy hearing your thoughts 💖

  2. Snow?!! That’s awful. I’m so sorry for you.

    I did a lot of visual mapping when I was working on projects. My office walls would be covered with notes. I liked your description … Pinterest for Geriatrics 🙂

    • Thanks, Joanne. I was so limited in my approach – it was always outlines and lists. I think this is part of my desire to ‘left brain’ . So far fir this project I feel more satisfied today after filling that board than I have churning it in my mond’s outlines. Perhaps my brain is transitioning as desired.

      • I too always felt so much better when I got my thoughts out on paper as well … still do actually 🙂

      • Yup. That always worked for me. But – as weird as it sounds – something about the visual aspect of seeing so many photos and art in people’s written blogs has triggered a desire in me to find my own visual way of thinking. It keeps the synapses firing like any new paradigm!

  3. So nice to have coffee with you this morning. Missed your posts, but completely understand. My last (fingers crossed) kidney stone surgery is Tuesday. Looking forward to coming off pain killers; they mess with my body and ohmygoddess are a godsend!

    Wallace Stegner is one of my favorite writers. I discovered him months before his death, read all I coudl get my hands on, and cried when I read he had passed. An old friend.

    Including a good set of yoga moves for you — I now do several of them.

    Big Huggs.

    • Thanks for the yoga poses, Katie. I am now mixing up my workouts more often and find that beneficial. Also plan to schedule massages 2X per month with acupuncture as a ‘next step’ if massages aren’t sufficient.

      I know exactly what you mean about the painkillers – pros and cons. But studies do show that healing is quicker and fuller when you stay ahead of the pain so please do so, even if it means Fleet ir Miralax for constipation!!

      I can’t praise Wallace Stegner enough – there are several upcoming posts in which I will refer to his writings and I know my own words will not do him justice. I do wonder what he was like and how it would have been to have him as my father. His son writes – I haven’t yet checked out his works (post-it going on my Mapping Board right now!)

  4. Praying that you continue to improve the pain control/relief and that you can get to the stage where it is not affecting your day to day life.

    How’s the keyboard going? I’m learning the piano and for me it is a great way of relaxing.

    • Hi Eileen – thanks for the well wishes. I’m not great at stopping what I’m doing to ‘take care of myself’ and it will be harder without having to report to my therapist. But it’s mindset changes and I need to be accountable to myself!

      Still think of you as I slowly wean my closets and cupboards of unnecessary ‘goods’ – looking at items in a new light thanks to your inspiration!

    • Oh, and the keyboard – i’m having a blast – WHY did I wait so many years to do this?!? And Hub is enjoying listening almost more than I am playing. I can practically hear him purring! Next fall when ‘indoor season’ starts again, I’ll hire someone who can show me more of the keyboards expanded options ‘cuz I am clueless.

      I envy you having a real piano. The pure sound and pedals are missing, but I did order a pedal accessory to hold notes. What kind of music do you play? I have a very simplified book of classics and enjoy those the most; next the folk songs we learned as kids. And the Marine Hymn forHub 🎶🎶🌺

      • I’m just about at the standard where I can accompany the children I teach – a very basic accompaniment but it makes all the difference to their playing. Most of my practice is on that, so all sorts of simple versions of folk, classics, pop etc. For myself I also have a simplified book of classic and I like playing scales! I also have previous years exam books so that I can judge my standard. I don’t plan to take exams on the piano but want to assess how I’m getting on.

        Mine is a digital piano with pedals and weighted keys so it’s as near as possible to a proper acoustic piano. The dynamics are a bit harder to do but the ‘feel’ of the instrument is very good.

        Like you, I wish I’d taken it up years ago but so glad I’m doing it now.

      • I bet that makes a world of difference to your students – not just the facilitation of the rhythm and melody, but having you play WITH them has to feel more companionable. I’m glad you are able to accompany them for your own pleasure, too!

        There are about half of the classics in my book that I don’t recognize the melody by sight and, of course it’s harder to play to tempo, without being at all familiar. I can count the beats, etc. but they don’t flow like I want them to. I’m going to spend some time seeking them out on YouTube or find them on library CDs so I can their melodies.

        Just curious – in your lessons, do you play new material first for your students so they hear it? I don’t remember if my piano teacher did that.

        You music teachers bring so much enrichment to our lives (even if we wait 50 years to reap the benefits!!)

      • The lessons are for flute, clarinet, sax or brass and yes I sometimes play the melody for them, on the same instrument not the piano. I don’t add the accompaniment until they can play on time! As they get to understand about rhythm I encourage them to work out the melody themselves rather than being dependent on me to tell them what it is – work on small chunks of the music and work out the rhythm first (i.e. how they’ll count it) and then think about the fingering, and then play it, slowly to start with speeding up once they’ve got it right and can play accurately.

      • Right now I struggle with the fingering in a couple of my books. I’m ok with chords, of course, but on some of the pieces where both hands are non-chord multiple notes, I need to stop and mark out the fingering; otherwise I learn the notes but the flow is choppy.

        There is a metronome in the keyboard but I haven’t yet figured out how to slow-w-w it down to my tempo LOL

        gah-h-h. What are your rates, including travel expenses ?!?😀😅🎀

      • that should say ‘play in time’!

  5. Onward and upward, right? The alternatives (especially at our age) are not very palatable.

    • Definitely upward to counteract that gravity drag.

      How’re your spirits? I know it can’t be easy having energy to ‘live’ after strenuous labor each day.

      • Trying to keep a positive attitude while hoping that the situation is only temporary. I guess I should be happy…my physical therapy comes with a paycheck.

        Stay strong…

      • Taking the long view, all is temporary but that doesn’t help assuage the difficulties of the daily grind. Just remember you’re never alone. I think about all my blogging buddies, near and far, every day.

  6. Happy Mother’s Day,l dear friend. I am sitting here in the quiet between phone calls from children drinking my coffee with you. What is this “not good enough” thing? Didn’t I just get reminded that that was impossible? You go girl! I look forward to reading all your “bemuzin’s”. I have not done the mapping, but have just begun a journaling scrapbook that is almost the same idea and am doing the painting like a 5 year old journey as well. Was planning on posting first endeavor today or tomorrow. Glad to hear you are doing better. The keep changing position idea matches up with my can’t stay focused more than two hours. All I need to do is rearrange order of activities to coincide with sitting, standing, moving, gardening, sleeping, snoring…………..

    • Thanks, Linda. Happy Mother’s Day to you, too! I loved your post about helping your friend sort through her memorabilia; what a gift for her. I can’t imagine letting someone do that with me, but as I read about your genuine joy, I could see what a uniquely human opportunity to share intimacy that was. You are perfect for that. 💞

      • I know that it was hard for her, but circumstances brought her to the edge of accepting the help. She was so surprised that I would even offer, that I think she said yes before she thought too much about it. And it is working out so fine…..that is why I wanted to post it. You never know what opportunity might turn into something you don’t expect, and give you so much in return. I am sure there will be more stories to come, we aren’t done with the digging yet. The last day we worked, she uncovered a chest that came to Oregon with her family in a wagon train, which led to some really rich stories about her heritage. You just never know what might be uncovered when you listen.

      • Oh my gosh, a wagon train? That trail would be so interesting to backtrack in time. I look forward to more of your heartfelt posts. And I’m more convinced how precious it is to seek and understand moments of real intimacy ; as you’ve made me aware, they come with slowing down,vulnerability and accepting help. None of that us easy when we’ve built our crusty exteriors.

  7. Happy Mother’s Day, Sammy D! We can comiserate over coffee anyway! Happy to hear you’re doing better & have figured out what works to reduce the pain. I’m impressed with your organizational plan. My desk is a field of post-its & notes. I need to look into a mapping system! Enjoy your snow on the ground day. Spring IS coming to your part of the world soon. Christine

    • Thank you, Christine and Mother’s praises right back at ya!! Time will tell, but for some reason today’s mapping has felt like a burden lifted in a new way – i can look at that board ‘over there’ and SEE my thoughts knowing they are physically removed from my head, and there’s no pile involved (piles are my nemisis). It’s different than listing, but I can’t yet describe the difference😀

  8. You just had snow?! Ugh, that’s a terrible Mother’s Day Gift. Hopefully your spring will return quickly. And I wish you continued recovery. Sounds like it’s been a difficult road.

  9. yay…my virtual pen pal is feeling better. I’m so glad that you are getting results from physical therapy.
    Blog posts that are like conversations over coffee with a friend. I like that.

    • Thanks, Shelley!! I am grateful to be working out again even if i’s not as intense as a couple years ago. I hope you are doing well, too 🌷🌺🎶

  10. Good to see you! We don’t have snow, but it’s rainy and humid, so we’re staying indoors today. Love your mapping ideas – I should give that one a try myself sometime, as it seems like it would be very effective. Hope you have a great (and pain-free) week. 🙂

    • Humidity – the bain of my comfort in hot or cold weather!!

      I already started my 2nd foam board mapping another set of interconnected blogging topics. I’m nothing if not obsessive about adopting a new pursuit or method 😀

      Here, have one of my home-baked cookies, Laurel. You can share with Peter. 🍪

  11. Thanks for the coffee Sammy, and thank you for visiting my blogs. I really enjoy our ‘chats’. Glad that you are on the mend and I understand the frustrations. I have a damaged Achilles tendon that keeps flaring up and takes months to settle down again. Exercises and physio take time but at last I can go walking again – though not as far as I’d like. Mobility is so important though so I wish you all the best and a very happy Mother’s Day 🙂

    • Thanks, Jude. I truly appreciate the time and chats we share as well as your photography which has certainly broadened my horizons.

      I’m sorry to hear about your tendon; supposedly they heal but I think that’s doctor-speak for “What d’ya expect – miracles?”

      Frankly, yes. We expect miracles!! Right NOW!!

      The worst part is when babying or favoring one injury starts to negatively affect another posture or body part. Then it’s double trouble!

      Thankfully we have an understanding empathetic peer group to help us through the rough spots. (Dare I suggest you ring up Doc Martin ?!?)

      • That’s my problem. I finally went to the Doc (not Martin) as I noticed I was limping and my posture was changing! I now have insoles for my walking shoes which have helped and I am no longer limping, but yes, it does take far too much time!

  12. Thanks for the coffee break Sammy. I’m glad to hear that you are making progress on the pain. Pay heed to those exercise instructions and schedules. PT is great but the effort continues (in some cases) forever. I’m still doing exercises from last summer – the guy wants me to do one of them for the rest of my life 😦

    I for one am looking forward to you kicking the dust off your keyboard and smacking out a few posts. By the way, if you ever do develop in interest for an electronic organizer-gizmo-thingie, take a look at Trello. It won’t show the detail that the notes and stickies to but it’s very easy to rearrange. I am gradually moving most of my projects and much of my writing into Trello.

    Sorry about that snow. I think we hit 90 today. I had to walk the dog at 7:00am before it got to hot for her. Good luck on the PT and Happy Mother’s Day.

    • Thanks, Dan!! My fit ball, foam roller and stretchy bands will have to be my BFFs periodically through the day. I know it’s worth it even if it feels like I’m wasting time (like I don’t do that anyway). I hear on that “a year later, I’m still …”

      You guys hit the high temps in a hurry!! Our rain will either stick around through June or we’ll be fearing high fire danger in a week when everything dries out. Not much nuance to weather these days!

      Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy hearing from you!

      • The bands and the foam roller are my buds too. Yeah, for the past few years, we’ve been going form winter to summer here.

      • All those PT aids make me want to stick pretty close to home for now. Unless eating and entertainment locales start providing places for all of us ‘to roll’. ..

  13. I’m glad the PT is helpful, I hope your pain continues to lessen.
    I’ve taken you with herbal tea. It’s late. I hope you don’t mind. 🙂

  14. I’ve had Desert Solitaire on my bookshelf for awhile… unread so far. I will be very interested to read your impressions of it. So glad that you are feeling better!

  15. Visual mapping, how interesting. Glad the therapy was worth it and you’re stronger. Keep working those muscles – standing versus sitting.

  16. Thank you for this warm and inviting post. I love your visual mapping–and the accompanying images. Perhaps that’s what I need to get out of my own jumble of confused and circular thoughts. Here’s to writing, drawing, playing, and coffee (in my case, tea) with dear friends.

    • Thank you, Josna! It has been interesting to try to find ways to corral and organize the amount of mind matter I (and others) accumulate! Now to see if I can produce some decent writing from it!

      Have a great week yourself!

  17. cardamone5 said:

    Happy Mother’s Day (belated)!

    I am sorry for your injury, and hope you recover soon.

    I love the mapping idea. Never heard of it before. i am a stay in my mind type of person, boundaries and all that, but the chance to open up and see what’s in my head, that’s very tempting.


    • Hi Elizabeth! I’ve been thinking about you and sending hopeful vibes during your job hunt.

      If nothing else, using the foam boards gets a couple of my paper piles off the counter !! I have more to say about maps; I just need to figure out my direction 😋

  18. SO exciting, Sammy!! Goodness knows, we could all use Hub on a week-long golf trip 😉

    I hope this week gives you renewed heart and vision.

    With heart,

    • LOL, Dani !! I wondered if anyone would pick up on my week of ‘alone bliss’. 😘🌺🎀

      Just long enough to make me miss him terribly.

      Love and strength, Sammy

      • I generally love the first 48 hours, then I’m like, “you can come back now…”. It’s hard to miss someone if we never have time apart though, isn’t it?!?!?

      • So true. It’s odd, though, how it’s changed. When I was frazzled working, I relished every time he left and didn’t want him to come home. (how little I understood my introversion needs back then). Now that we’re retired, time together is not only less stressful, having him here is like having my comfey slippers. I do really miss him after 48 hours (we’re lucky we cherish them that much, eh?).

        I hope this is a sunny-vibe week fir you, Dani 🍎

      • Yes, Sammy, truly blessed ❤

  19. Oh, Sammy – I did have to laugh at the Swiffer Wets box! I’m glad you are recovering. Take your time. We’ll all be here. I stand a lot while at the computer and make myself take lots of just-walk-away breaks. I admit. I had to look away from that snow pic. I love mapping! Cheers.

    • Thanks, Elen. It’s a challenge to figure out eyes, keyboard and standing – we’d all have been better off if chairs hadn’t been invented!! The Swiffer box needs to be FULL of Wet Wipes to be useful. What a shame, eh? 🍷

  20. Sammy, I love your fun and visual organization for creativity! Very very cool! I knew you had some “weather” over the weekend LOL. It’s beyond what I can even imagine at this point, out here in the desert! I hope you had a Happy Mother’s Day. My mom’s wasn’t very good as my father is really slipping right now :(.

    • This has to be so difficult for your Mom, Luanne. Our neighbor’s wife endured a similar slow decline, and by the time she peacefully passed, he was so physically crippled up by the stress, he couldn’t even walk to the mailbox. I ached for both of them.

      Please tell your Mom even people she’s never met are thinking of them both and they are in our prayers.

      Snow is gone; it was a one-night stand 😝. Are you already in high heat?? The older I get the more I like heat but there is a limit!

      Thanks for swinging by. My little mapping forage is leading several directions, and I’m having fun with it. I can see why designers and fashionistas develop such creativity with their fabric and swatch boards. I thought it would be mostly visual but am discovering it is tactile as well.

      Have a great week!

  21. Belated Mother’s Day to you Sammy! My husband was away on a golfing trip so it was tout sole for me … but most pleasant, I went shopping and bought myself a lovely top! And had breakfast and a steaming cup of Chai Lattte (already had had 3 cups coffee before I set out!) Although here in SA the top is too cold to wear right now – the winter chill has set in.

    Sorry to hear that the body is still painful … and painkillers are no bad thing to break the cycle of pain, and rest is always the best thing.

    Acupuncture is a great idea, and maybe reflexology?

    Be patient, do exercises, be kind to yourself – and here’s a virtual hug from me to you … 🙂

    • Thank you, Susan for your warming hug and healthy advice. I believe “pamper myself” is what you are suggesting 😘. I’m glad you did exactly that while your Hub was on his golf spree. That’s why we encourage them to go, right ?!?

  22. Glad to see you back at it. My, how organized you are! I never understood that “look before you leap” thing. I like to thrash around in chaos too much.

  23. Happy Mother’s Day, Sammy, albeit a little late. I fell flat on my face after April, even if I limited my participation.

    Such a nice story about wanting your mom to be your mom. I understand the sentiment as if it originated from my very heart. All the teaching my mom did sounded like lecturing, forcing, etc., and not until later in life did I realize how, despite all her tough times, she did so well as a mother. No substitute for life experience, is there? I hope you continue to be on the mend (ouch, careful out there) and read — so sweet to see my book in the image, thank you!! And my goodness, look at that snow. Stay warm and safe, and take advantage of every single minute you have to yourself. 🙂

    • Thank you, Silvia for all your sweet sentiments and taking time to visit after a couple whirlwind months! I wonder if you’ve even had time to savor your accomplishments completing final revisions and publication. I also wonder if that’s a double whammy to have that and the A to Z Challenge completed in the same timeframe – that’s a lot of adreneline (sp?) to move beyond without a big letdown.

      Take all the time you need to bounce back – I remember being conflicted about blogging for several months last year after April. That’s partly why I didn’t participate this year. We’ll be here whenever you get re-energized. 💖

      • Thanks, Sammy. It’s been wild, but it’s over — or at least a big part of it is. Now, I’m savoring the big moment more and cleaning up promotional issues as per publisher’s instructions, even though I should probably do more on my own accord. 🙂 You’re right about not wanting to do this again. Unless my outlook drastically changes, as of now my thought is no way again for next year. I would much rather set something up with a group of blogger friends, like a intimate event — blog hop — and visit and meet a few quality folks that way. But … we’ll see. 🙂

      • I’ll let you know when I write a little ‘shout out’ post on your book ( which I really enjoyed). It’s part of my current posting projects; hence the photo of all those books. Just will take me awhile to get my thoughts sorted 🍹💐

  24. Such a busy lifestyle, and an even busier mind, Sammy! Puts me to shame. I have a vision of you walking along with the laptop suspended by straps from your shoulders (like the icecream lady at the cinema), not wasting a precious second. So glad you’re on that road to health 🙂

    • LOL, Jo, you made me *snort* with that vision !!

      Remember those cigarette ladies in posh restaurants in old movies? Yeah, I am WAY past looking like them 😘

  25. So glad to hear you’re still progressing along the road to full recovery!

    I’ve had similar issues as you where I can’t stay immobile for too long (my back plays up), and one thing I’ve started to do is read and pace: I grab a book/ my kindle / read blog posts on my phone and as I do, I pace about the apartment so it keeps me moving. It’s not ideal but it does help 🙂

    The mind mapping is something I’ve always wanted to try but haven’t gotten around to. Let me know if you’re particularly recommend any of the books you’re reading at the moment as I’d love to give it a go!
    And you’re a great writer, I always enjoy your posts, so don’t let pesky writer’s block get in your way!

    Happy (belated) Mother’s day, lovely 🙂

    • Thank you, darling. I have taken to pacing and sitting on my fit ball as a change from chairs. I appreciate your suggestions!

      I have a few posts planned about mapping and the books – just have to read the books first 😀🍪💐

      • Oh, how is the fit ball working out? I’ve been thinking of investing in one, but I’m worried my back would get tired without any support all day. Do you alternate between chair and fit ball, or do you do all fit ball?

        Oooh, looking forward to those mind map posts!!

      • Fit balls are great. I used my full time when I was working; now I alternate. They put you firward on your sitbines and if you use cire abdominal muscles, you don’t need the back support. Plus you can roll backwards or on your tummy anytime to do different stretches. They aren’t expensive – you need the size that allows you , when sitting, to keep legs (bent knees) at 90 degree angle with floor. Probably 45cm -that’s what I use and I’m 5’5″

      • Hmm, you’re convincing me. I’ll give one a try — I’m 5’6″ so 45 cm will probably do me too. I’ll report back once I’ve given it a whirl 🙂

  26. Pinterest for Geriatrics….that made me laugh out loud! I’m currently learning all about Pinterest so that really did give me a good chuckle. Glad to hear you are on the mend.

    • Thank you, Sue! I don’t dare learn Pinterest or I’ll never get away from the computer!!

      So nice of you to visit 😀

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