Monthly Archives: November 2015



A couple of people on my FB feed are now wondering, WHAT’S ELDON UP TO?

Well, he and Joanie were gone the other day so Eldon could play golf with their grandson, something he enjoys IMMENSELY.

Yesterday, he came over and brought us a late lunch, some pasta thing Joanie had made, which was so filling we didn’t have to bother with dinner.

He’s such a dear man. It’s always good to see him. JS


I am thankful…


I am thankful that the person I love the most is also the best person I know.

I am thankful that we have a dog who is still grateful to have been rescued from doom and dropped into paradise.

I am thankful that I have friends who make me laugh and make me think.

I am thankful that I have been able to be a rolfer for over 35 years, and for my clients who are more spectacular than they yet know.

I am thankful that I have been given a gift of being able to write and tell stories that, hopefully, mean something to someone besides me alone.

I am thankful that our mean cat is no longer a kitten.

And, horses, of course, I am always grateful for horses. Their power and beauty make my soul flutter.




Eldon on Thanksgiving


Our 84 yr. old neighbor, Eldon, is a very active man, always working on his house or yard, and plays golf like I think we all wish we could. He loves it that we keep our yard nice and that we don’t back down from big tasks.

When he first met Stef, she had just moved into this house and was taking down a dying GIGANTIC oak tree in the front yard, pulling the rotting roots out with ropes attached to the bumper of her Volvo. “I’ve never seen a woman take on the projects that Stef has,” he told me. Of course, necessity is the mother of invention, and, when you’re raising 3 kids on your own, there’s very little money left over to hire someone to fall a tree for you so, with the help of friends, she took that big thing down without professional help. Eldon was impressed.

He and I are buddies. It distresses him, I think, to know that I am sick or hurt. When he came over the other day, my new knee still had the price tag on it, it was so new. Eldon looked at me. “So, how long you think you’ll be down?” he asked, “a week, maybe?”

I shook my ahead. “Not sure, Eldon,” I said, “It’s a whole new knee.”

He looked down at my leg all covered in bandages and ice packs. “Okay,” he said, “ten days, then.” I think it makes his world feel safer to know that we are on the road to recovery and not getting out of his sight for too long. He is a very dear man.

So, on this Thanksgiving, as I think back through all the memories of the Thanksgivings of my life and remember who and what I am thankful for, I want to say that I am also thankful for the older friends in my life – people like Eldon and Joanie, like my friend Marjorie who just left us – people who are kind enough to lend their wisdom and experience to me as I bumble and hobble along on this journey.

If you have older people still in your life, give thanks for them on this Thanksgiving Day, and give them a hug for me, too. JS


Goodness in my life all afternoon


Goodness in my life all afternoon. Stef came home and made me some lunch, then Bob Jarrett came over to figure out what was wrong with my laptop. We spent the afternoon yapping about music, performers, families, communities and other things important to us all. As we were talking, Eldon arrived with some pieces of cake Joanie had made to share, kissing me on the forehead before he headed out.

With the computer fixed, Bob rearranged me on the sofa with all my ice machines and various accoutrements for healing, then headed home. Stef has one more night to work until 8pm so they can have Wed. off, and she won’t be home until later, so I’m sitting here typing, watching Toby watch for Stef out the front window. All of us who love her watch for her with this same dedication, knowing our lives are always better when Stef shows up. JS


The book, “WILD”, and then there was me


Cheryl Strayed walked a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Her new hiking boots, which were too small, ripped most of her toenails off. After her mother’s death, she had taken a look at her life, didn’t like what she saw, and said, “I’m going to walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.” So, she did. Her book about this journey is called WILD and it is FABULOUS. They made it into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, which is also EXCELLENT – as raw and real as Cheryl’s life must have felt during that whole time.

Last Friday, I had my right knee replaced, which has been needing to happen for many years. At home now, EVERYTHING I try to do seems to take YEARS for me to do, and, then, I am exhausted. Parts of my body other than my knee now hurt, too – aching and throbbing from being called upon to get to work doing jobs I’ve never asked of them before, or, just from simply lying in bed for hours in weird positions just to get comfortable.

I emptied the dishwasher earlier, which seemed to take hours. Of course, then I was exhausted and grumpy. My leg was throbbing like a sump pump. I thought, as I often do, I’M SCREWED. Sometimes, I am right; other times, I am wrong about that. Then, without preamble, Cheryl Strayed and her journey wafted across my mind and then I thought: WELL, AT LEAST, YOU’VE STILL GOT ALL YOUR TOENAILS.

I hobbled in here to the living room, clicked on the TV, and there was Reese Witherspoon starring in WILD, right there for me to see. Again. Writers have a way of saving each other, even when they don’t know it; ESPECIALLY when they don’t know it. I hope words I have written over the years have offered hope or comfort or insight to someone right at a time when they were needed most, even if it just allows someone to think: WELL, AT LEAST MY LIFE ISN’T AS BIG A MESS AS HERS.

It is important, especially for those of us who tend to “awfulize,” to realize that pain, even in all its rawness and thrashing about, doesn’t last forever. Wounds heal. Movement returns. Things change, shift, and life goes on. Sometimes, Life, with arms spread wide and grinning at us like we just won the decathlon, even forgives us. Today, I needed reminding of that and Cheryl Strayed showed up. Right when I needed her most. Thanks, Cheryl. JS


Knee Surgery Tomorrow


Surgery is @ 7:30am, Portland time, tomorrow.

Met with my handsome and brilliant surgeon today, Dr.Dub (Dr. Weintraub) and I came away feeling very taken care of, as is always my experience with him and his office staff.

Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers, everyone. It really means a lot to me – HONEST. Stef will post on FB tomorrow, so you’ll know if the power of prayer and collective intention is, as I’ve always said, a vibrant and mighty force, or if it was actually my time to graduate early. That way, you’ll know whether to cheer or to begin searching for a dark suit to wear. Just kidding. I’m not anticipating anything going wrong. I think everything will be just fine.

We are staying in Portland tonight @ the lovely and beautifully comfortable home of my friend, Mary Vander Linden and are being entertained by her funny cat, Manni. In a little while, we are going to grab a bite to eat at a place down by the river called The Muddy Rudder.

I am blessed by being partnered with the best person I know and by the golden glow of your support and friendship. Hugs. JS


Chopp’n out my knee – oh my!


Heading to Portland today for my pre-game warm-up with Dr. Dub @ 1:45 (or so…they are always running late.)

We will spend the night at a friend’s house tonight (thanks, Mary!) then my knee will be chopped out of me tomorrow and replaced with something smooth and dynamic, although they have not yet told me the time. If all goes well, they will discharge me on Sat. and we will drive back down to Roseburg.

Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes. I am feeling stronger today, ready to git-r-done and get busy with my rehab. I ain’t afraid of stationary bikes, big rubber bands or mean Physical Therapists. I am still afraid of snakes, but they won’t be entering into this equation. JS


Dang wrestling match with stockings


I really don’t want to wear those stupid stockings they make you wear after knee replacement. I used to have to wrestle those things onto my mother’s skinny legs and, still, it felt like torture.

They didn’t make me wear them when I had the other knee done, but they kept you in the hospital longer then, too. I understand why – to keep from throwing a blood clot – and I understand the difference between the 20% chance of throwing a clot if you don’t wear them and the less than 4% chance if you do wear them, but I still don’t like it.

I was talking to my friend Beth, a nurse, and bitching about that. She said, “So, what would you rather have – a wrestling match with those stockings, or a sword shoved through your lung? You choose. Idiot.” JS


Like Chester’s on GUNSMOKE?


Going through my fears this morning. I have had many, many knee surgeries over the years, mostly cartilage repairs, debridements, stuff like that, after the first major knee surgery in 1975 which left me crippled. However, in searching for the golden nugget in it all one time, I realized that, without having had my entire leg lock up like Chester’s on GUNSMOKE from that rebuilding of my right knee, I might never have discovered Rolfing which not only changed my leg, but my life, as well. Given that, it’s difficult to be anything other than grateful for however it all worked out.

My left knee was replaced 12 yrs. ago. It was an intense process, although not as painful as I’d anticipated, which was weeks and weeks of unending, tooth-grinding, gut-wrenching pain. It just wasn’t that at all, so I’m not really sure what it is I’m so afraid of today, except being incapacitated, something I can’t stand being. I’m not afraid of the pain; there is medicine to help with all of that, if I need it. Oh. I just figured it out. Nothing like doing therapy with all your FB friends and acquaintances early in the day.

I’m afraid I’m not strong enough anymore to do the rehab I will need to do to make it work the best that it can. THAT’S my big, fat fear this morning. In 2003, I rehabbed the daylights out of my left leg. I had a great PT who knew I was an old jock and would challenge me, really push me, making me do stuff with my new knee I don’t think I would ever have done, even if my knees had ever been good (which they weren’t.) Well, thanks, everybody for the therapy session. Clearly, I have to go now and do some exercises. Hugs. JS


Eldon to the rescue (again)


Eldon, our 84 yr. old neighbor, always manages to yank my large ass out of the fire at least once a year. He just did it again while ago.

The city sends a big truck around through the neighborhoods in the fall to suck up the leaves we have raked to the curb. This usually happens the week of Thanksgiving and again the week of Christmas, so I certainly didn’t expect to see it today but, THERE IT WAS, just a couple of houses down from us, sucking and grinding away. I grabbed a rake and was furiously raking piles and piles and PILES of leaves toward the curb, trying to talk myself into being moderately satisfied if they only managed to pick up half of the four tons of leaves covering the yard today.

Beneath the growling noise of their machinery, suddenly, there was another noise. I looked up and here came Eldon across the street with his leaf blower blasting into action. Between the two of us and, adding to what Stef had raked to the curb the other day, we managed to get it all out into the street before the truck drove up. Of course, a strong wind or rain storm will coat the yard again with more leaves but, for the moment, we are feeling under control.

Eldon is such a dear man. I love this guy. And, he loves being the hero, I’m sure of it. Sometimes, I think he stands at their picture window just watching for an opportunity to race out and save me with some sort of equipment he loves to use. I’ve not spent a lot of time in my life being a damsel in distress, but rescuing me from havoc and doom seems to bring Eldon quite a bit of joy. Luckily, I don’t ever disappoint him. And, then, I get to hug his neck. JS