Weekly Photo Challenge – Enveloped

Enveloped

Enveloped

One of Cielo’s favorite weekly rituals (and cats seem to have several) is to cuddle in the blanket while we’re changing the sheets on the bed. Here he is enveloped on soft folds of polar fleece!

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Lunchtime

My favorite meal is dinner. I like to spend time with Peter, relaxing, enjoying a glass of wine and preparing a savory repast. Lunchtime for me is usually a fruit smoothie at my desk while returning phone calls or writing therapy notes. But on weekends, my favorite place for lunch looks something like this…

Lunch at Red Mountain

Lunch at Red Mountain

Peter and I love to hike on weekends. We stop at our favorite bagel establishment – Gibbs – and pick-up bagel sandwiches. My favorite is chicken salad on a jalapeño/cheddar bagel with a bag of kettle chips and a half-sour pickle. We lovingly pack these wax-paper wrapped delicacies in our Camelbaks and carry them several miles (along with my camera) until we reach an overlook such as this, somewhere around lunchtime. We look for a rock on which to perch, and quietly munch. Ahhh, the joys of living in Colorado.

The photo challenges for the month of March embrace phoneography, and I must confess I did not take this photo with my iPhone. Instead, I had my Olympus XZ-1 with me for this shot. Please forgive me.

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

To learn more about Red Mountain Open Space, click here.

Vanessa’s Gift

Orange Lily

Orange Lily

I got a call on Monday from a former client – and I guess you could also call her a friend – although not an intimate one.  “Hi Cathy, it’s Vanessa (not her real name). I know we haven’t talked in a long time. I have something I need to tell you, but I’d rather tell you in person rather than leave a message on your voice mail.”

I’ve known Vanessa for at least fifteen years. I met her when I was providing physical therapy services for her employer. Vanessa was my client’s caregiver and after she left that job, she sought me out to do some Rolfing. We did a series of sessions to treat her back pain and during that process, I got to know more about her.  A pretty woman with red hair and blue eyes, Vanessa was married to a farmer. She had three daughters in their teens, she worked cleaning houses and caregiving and she was a victim of severe childhood abuse. Vanessa spoke of her history matter-of-factly, but I always wondered about the impact her childhood had produced on her current life.

After we finished her Rolfing series, Vanessa would call from time-to-time. She might come in for a maintenance session, we might meet for lunch, and most years she would bring me a fifty pound bag of onions – produce from her husband’s farm. During our infrequent visits, Vanessa talked about her life – various challenges including estrangements with her family. One daughter had moved away and wasn’t speaking to her, another was in school in a different state and rarely called. Vanessa would share her stories, but not in great detail. She seemed philosophical about her lot and accepting of the situation. But, again, I often wondered about the dynamics that produced a family so distant and troubled.

When we finally connected this week, Vanessa said: “Cathy, I’ve been diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma. The doctors have given me two months. I have elected not to do any treatment. I just wanted you to know that I think the world of you and I so appreciate your kindness to me over the years.” She went on to say that her daughters had all come to see her when they learned the news. Everyone showed their love and support, and she planned to travel over the next month to see siblings, cousins, and aunts that she hadn’t seen in years. She seemed happy, content, at ease with her fate – looking forward spending time with family and friends.

As I hung up the phone, somehow I felt uplifted by our conversation. My sense is that Vanessa has finally let go of whatever was keeping her from connecting with her loved ones and they with her. She’s content to pass from this life knowing that they rallied around her in her final days.

Vanessa, thank you for this gift… All the things that have been bothering me recently seem trite. I vow to spend more time playing, less time worrying, and to tell those I love how I feel at every opportunity. And most of all, I hope that when the time comes, I will accept my own mortality with the same courage and grace that I now see in you.

With love,

Cathy

Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories by Cathy Ulrich

Christmas Memories by Cathy Ulrich

This tree in my home.
An odd tradition,
Yet one that continues
to bring pleasure and
Sweet memories.

Ornaments given and
received over many years.
Symbols of Christmases past.
Symbols of family, friends,
Places and times.

Like the reflection of light
Through crystal,
I pause to reflect on the light
of loved ones who share and
have shared this life with me
in gratitude and joy.

The Silk Scarf

TheSilkScarfA Christmas Gift for my new
daughter-in-law.
I don’t think she reads my blog
so it will still be a surprise.

I haven’t knitted in a long time
but after the tree went up,
I felt
 nostalgic.
Making gifts is so much better
than buying them.

The silk sat in my studio
for over six years.
Silk I bought
 for my mom
who died 
before
she could make it into something.
I took it back, knowing that I would find
a home for it someday.

Now scarves are so big.
Mom would love it.
And she would love Kim.

Half-made Bed

I love my husband and I love my cats. This is a common occurrence in our house: Peter (and I do appreciate it) makes the bed almost every day. But if there’s a cat either lying on the bed or the decorative pillows on the floor (which we had placed there the night before to remove them from the bed so we could get in it), he either won’t make the bed or he’ll only finish up to the point where he doesn’t have to move a cat.

Cielo loves to occupy the warm spot on the bed that has recently been vacated by me. And either Leo or Cielo will also lay on the pillows on the floor. I’m not in the office today and have been working at the computer this morning, catching up on emails and blog comments. So when I went into the bedroom to get dressed for my run, here’s what I saw.

This:

Leo on Pillows

And this:

Mostly made bed minus the pillows that are underneath Leo

What should I do?

1. Move Leo and finish making the bed?

2. Wait until he moves himself and finish making the bed?

3. Leave the job undone for the rest of the day?

What do you think?