Monthly Archives: February 2017

Good vibrations

I had a vague recollection that Jenny Rosen told me about a gluten-free lunch place on State Line Road.  I drove as slowly as the Saturday afternoon traffic allowed, thinking about the nicks and scrapes on the Prius and hoping that I wouldn’t have to make any sudden moves.  I wracked my brain to try to remember the name of the place.

Then I spied a sign:  Gluten-Free.  With a quick glance in the rear-view mirror I executed a sharp left-turn and circled back through the building’s lower parking lot.  tLoft.  Eureka!

I couldn’t decide among the few lunch options for vegetarian, no dairy. But the young lady settled on one foot and started telling me about the adjustments they could make.  No extra charge.  Music to my ears.

Lentil-bowl ordered, juice selected, I took a seat along the wall.  Light bathed the whole place from the high expanse of the west-facing windows.  I studied the other patrons:  Yoga pants, skinny blue-jeans, young people mostly — though a few women my age but with smooth skin, thin bodies, and shoulder-length shiny hair beneath those billed half-hats that suggest an athlete’s life.  I tucked my feet under the table and squared my shoulders, trying to look like one of them under my uncombed curls and two inches of grey roots.

I’m not sure which juice combination I selected but I felt its virtues seeping through my cells on impact.  The lentil combination kissed my chapped lips with a lemon twist and settled easy in my stomach, warm and nurturing.  I closed my eyes and contemplated the heavy feeling that my weeks of illness has left in my chest.  Had I been eating food like this for the last month, I don’t think I’d need the antibiotic that my doctor prescribed on Friday, I thought.

But the food did not comfort me on its own.  The wide wooden tables, the murmur of the other diners, the nearly imperceptible whir of the juicer, and the low pleasant music formed a symphony of soothing.  An hour later, when my tablet’s battery had reached 10%, I tossed the paper plate and plastic cup in the trash and exited the place, knowing that I’d return.

There’s something about a place with such definite good vibrations that calls to my soul.  I can make a decent lentil dish in my own kitchen.  Six bucks gets me an entire bottle of acceptable juice-veggie blend at the grocery store.  But there’s something about sitting in a sunny storefront eating food cooked by an earnest twenty-something that cannot be replicated on my own.  Maybe it’s just clever marketing.  But when I exited the place, I heard a staff member call out, Thank you for coming in today!  I felt genuinely appreciated in that moment.  I carried the sensation all the way home.

It’s the twelfth day of the thirty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.




From the depths of my cold and a low INR, I rise to say this — and only this:

My friends bless me every day with their lives.  I won’t embarrass them by naming them.  However, I ask myself:  How can I express any complaint, when I can just as easily name a dozen folks who reach their hands out to catch me every time I stumble in life?

That is the joy which I set out to find on this journey.  I might not always remember the wonder of the kind word, the soft smile, the quiet repose of a listening ear, and the comfort of a shoulder on which to rest my head.

However,  I am thinking of them now.  Gratitude flows through me.  You know who you are.  Each of you.    Thank you.

It’s the tenth day of the thirty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining.  My body craves rest; my heart flutters and sends the monitor racing; I cough and sneeze.  Every inch of me cries for sleep.

But I’m not complaining.

In the dark of morning

In the dark of morning everything looks the same.  The flat surfaces of the world give no warnings.  I inch across the room thinking Didn’t I drop a book last night?  My toe touches a hard, flat edge and I smile into the gloom.

No one understands how a crippled person can continue to have her bedroom upstairs.  But for some reason, the slope of these old pine stairs gives me no trouble.  I snap the light switch.  The flood from the new fixtures warms the air.  The trip down has become a morning ritual over the seven years that this has been my sanctuary, since my son went away to college and I claimed the upstairs for myself at long last.

The room sold this house.  Its cathedral ceiling, clad in the same knotty pine from which the stairs must have been hewn, rises above me.  The six windows let air flow into the room on cool fall nights and soft spring days.  I would not rest as well anywhere else, I’m sure; and that’s saying a lot for a woman with a sleeping disorder.

The alarm on my phone keeps bleating to remind me that I’ve places to appear and judges to appease.  I pay it no heed.   The kettle boils while  I press the switch on the grinder.  Its cheery buzzing beneath my hand signals the true start of the morning.  Dark grinds fall into the cone on my Bodum; boiling water over the Peet’s French Roast brings a heady aroma rising around me.  I close my eyes and breath deeply, enjoying the fragrance of my benign addiction.

It’s morning on the eighth day of the thirty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining.  I’m mostly fine.  A few parts of me twinge now and then; and the cardiac monitor weighs heavily around my neck.  But you’ll hear no belly-aching from these quarters.  Life continues.


At day’s end

Over the last five days, I remembered some of the goodness  which I often overlook.

I  haven’t slept well or eaten much since last Thursday.  I didn’t do any laundry.   I skipped my yoga stretches, blogged very rarely, and ventured outside only when absolutely necessary.

I laid around on the couch, sneezing, coughing, reading novels, and wishing I felt better.

But a few truths emerged about my life which I forget from time to time.  Many of the folks who care about me reached out in one way or another to check on me.  A doctor visit underscored how lucky I am to have a fantastic primary care doc who understands the complexity of my health issues.  From my vantage point on the couch, I watched the flags on my house rippling in Sunday’s wind.  The lovely sight prompted me to get out my thank-you notes to write to my next-door-neighbor Scott who installed the new brackets for me.  I’m grateful to have such considerate folks around me.

Being sick has been taxing.  But as Scarlet said, Tomorrow is another day.  Tonight my ears have the hollow echo of a low-grade fever, but I plan to suit up and show up at the office tomorrow.  Coughs still wrack my body periodically but I’m not complaining.  It could always be worse.  It has been worse.  Never mind that yesterday I hacked so hard that I fell backwards and lay on the kitchen floor a bit dazed for ten minutes.  I broke nothing.  I survived.  At day’s end, in the stillness of the house, a quiet comfort settles over me.

It’s the sixth day of the thirty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.



The senseless pursuits of a person with a cold

At 3:00 a..m. I quit trying to sleep and started reading yet another moderately well-written police procedural.

At 6:00 a.m. I got out of bed, threw away the cough-drop wrappers from the last hour, and went downstairs to let the dog outside.

At 7:00 a.m. I made a pot of coffee and heated a gluten-free muffin.

At 8:00 a.m. I discovered my entire webhost to be nonfunctional, and cruised over to my substitute political blog to express my concern about #45’s latest insistence that women toe the line.

At 9:00 a.m. I threw my back out and started to whimper, clutching the kitchen counter and cursing  everybody who had ever failed to keep their promises to me, along with every single inadequate inanimate object in my home, including some cheap toothbrushes that keep shedding bristles into my mouth.

By 11:00 a.m. I had taken four extra-strength Tylenol; chewed 4000 mgs. of Vitamin C; drunk three 8-oz glasses of water; and systematically dismantled the logic of every major decision that I made in my entire miserable life.

I fell asleep at noon and woke up 33 minutes later coughing so hard that I think the neighbors might have called 911.

In the five hours since then, I’ve finished a third crime novel; gotten into a spitting match with a Republican friend of my oldest sister; had a text-to-text conversation with no less than two people worried about me; read ten e-mails praising my most recent blog post; and polished off a half-carton of left-over gluten-free pasta with dairy-free sauce.

Along the way, I decided that I did the stages of grief backwards; that I own too many clothes; that my dog needs a bath; and that I’m not as good of a lawyer as I had thought but I’m not as bad as I feared.

I also discovered that a lot of people read my blogs and some of them even like what I write.

I’ve got a bag full of Vitamin C lozenges and a cup full of ice next to me.  It’s evening on the fifth day of the thirty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Getting my humor back

I’ve reached the point in a cold at which I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  I actually found myself researching the inventor of Kleenex, which apparently had their origins in 17th Century Japan.  Who knew?

My mother raised her daughters to use handkerchiefs but this cold has surpassed my willingness to launder even my extensive supply.  I’m carrying a tissue box from room to room.  I’ve taken a hot shower, read a decent but unchallenging police procedural, consumed crackers and hot tea multiple times, and slept on the world’s least comfortable couch under the soft blanket that Jennie Taggart Wandfluh gave me for Christmas.

The dog doesn’t know what to make of my constant hacking.  She casts a baleful eye in my direction when I sneeze.  I’m out of juice and discovered that I have no idea what vegetarians do instead of chicken noodle soup.

I’ve watched ten Beat Bobby Flay re-runs and hit the “like” button on all of my friends’ posts on Facebook.  I stood outside for ten minutes breathing cold winter air, huddled in a purple robe, my feet encased in the slippers that my son bought me for Christmas last year.  I videographed the flags that my neighbor installed for me, replacing the broken brackets.  I talked to my sister on the phone for a hot second, between coughs and sneezes.

The day draws to a close.  I tell myself, It’s only a cold.  Sunday looms; and afterwards, another brutal work-week.  But I’m not complaining.  I saw the sunrise.  I got no bad news today.  I survived.  I even found the energy to make fun of myself over a few little foibles that I had forgotten I had, like not being able to drink tea that isn’t scalding hot and preferring to be alone in my misery when I’m sick.

But thank you, Angie, Jenny, and, via Jenny, Kurt for the offers of help.  It’s nice to know you’d be there if I need anything.  To be honest with you, what I need is the ability to reclaim my sense of humor on a permanent basis, and that healing I have to do for myself.  A couple of days of forced solitude might give me a long overdue boost.

It’s the fourth day of the thirty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.



MYWOC: Redux

It’s been a long week for the old gal.

The drama started almost exactly seven days ago. Friday evening, when I went to blog about my journey to joy, I found that I could not. I figured, Oh well, I’m kind of tired anyway, I’ll just Muse in the morning.

Unfortunately whatever technical malady had beset MYWOC also infected the new Saturday Musings blogsite, Frantic, having blogged as the Missouri Mugwump since 2008, I reached out to Quinn Whipple — not to be confused with Dean Whipple — at my webhost, I hoisted a virtual SOS distress signal. Thence began the oddyssey which would eventually determine that a Russian splogger had hacked all four of my WordPress-based sites: this one, the Musings, my new social/political blog, and the Art @ Suite 100 website,

Though I feel fairly cool to have been hacked by the Russians, an honor that I share with the DNC and Secretary Clinton, in reality I have gone crazy all week. I established a blogspot for the political stuff,, to keep pace with the insanity in Washington. But in this wild week, I have sorely missed my daily and weekly chronicles.

So here’s a condensation of what you’ve missed.

Day 1: Saturday, 28 January 2017. Jennifer Rosen’s KICK-ASS birthday party at The Well — Trump-pinata and all. I might have been the oldest person to attend, but I brought the baseball bat that sent old 45 crashing to the party-room floor.

Day 2: Sunday, 29 January 2017. From Kansas City, with Love: Happy Birthday to my first-niece, Lisa Michele Corley Davis. My dear: Did you know that I recorded the hour and date of your birth on a mural wall in my shared apartment at 27 South Street, Brighton, Mass.? You are so loved.

Day 3: Brutal trial. Judge engaging in eye-rolls during my client’s testimony. Opposing counsel throwing legal pad down on the table, giggling, and gasping. Do. Not. Complain.

Day 4: Tuesday might have been the day that I crashed down and bruised my ribs. Or was that Wednesday?

Day 5: Two calls to the cardiologist later, I’ve got an appointment to get hard-wired on Thursday. Fortunately, an evening with the Waldo Brookside Rotary Club kept me sane.

Day 6: You have no idea how loved you are until you check-in on Facebook from a hospital. Tears. Just tears. Thank you. Then the lovely Mary Pettet and her funny husband Tim graced my table to brainstorm marketing for “Kris Roller & Friends: A Winter Wonderland of Women”, the March 3rd opening at Art @ Suite 100 at which we will also launch Tim’s first full-fledged volume of poetry, “Accidental Dancer”. The Accidental Project will also perform. Sweet stuff.

And today — Day 7 — I did not go to work today. I trust my clients to understand. I woke with a cold, sore throat, and a bad attitude. But I spent a few hours at Crow’s Coffee — Waldo.  I got a huge hug from owner Zach Moores, and I ran into Melissa Mann Saubers, owner of Co-Work Waldo.  Melissa’s sparkling attitude could make a donkey cheerful. I hit a thrift store, visited yet another doctor, and arrived home at 5 to a clean-smelling house courtesy of Angela Garrett-Carmack (half of the original Accidental Project, with her husband Jake Carmack).

So here I am. Tired but grateful. My house sparkles, the dog has curled into a ball in her orthopedic bed under the table, and, thanks to my neighbor Scott Vaughan, both my flags fly from the porch posts again.

It’s the third day of the thirty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.