Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


 Winter is definitely here.  Today, they predicted 1/2 inch of snow after 4 p.m.  We got 6 inches before lunchtime.

All the more reason to GO GREEN.

Mile Marker 1453:

I am on the floor, glittering the edges of pine-cones from my parents' sidewalk.

In white ceramic flowerpots, I plant 2 Christmas Cacti rich with red blooms.   Next, I burrow two more reddish-green leafy stems -- clippings donated by friends Ruth and Asa.  I don't know what they're called, but they go great with the arrangement!

Then there are the chalkboard pots -- sent all the way from Florida by my sister's in-laws, Consuelo and Alan.  I place an assortment of spider plants inside them, green and white like spearmint gum.  But the real decision becomes what to write on the outside.   Here's what I come up with:

A message for the season...
Jen, Mary, and Mom
helped with the installation!

I started the Healing Garden at Jefferson Hospital in May this year to celebrate the completion of Mile Marker 1000.   I wanted a way to give back to the hospital.  To thank the people who nurtured me for so long.

If you've ever been in the hospital, or have had a loved one there, you know how the days blend into each other.  How -- between those walls -- the weekends, and holidays, and even winter storms lose their meaning.  I thought a garden would give the families there a place for peace and healing during their own tough times.

Since the garden's first planting, I return to Jefferson every few days to pour water -- and heart -- into it.   I clip dead leaves and neaten the soil.   I make friends with Crystal and Tanya, and the many volunteers in the waiting area.

Sometimes, while I'm watering, people tell me their stories.  Sometimes I tell them mine.

The fairy garden gets
a dusting of snow!
When the seasons change, I redecorate with new plants and a new theme.  Friend (and former nurse) Deb helps me find patients who need cheering up.  We use the extra plants to brighten their hospital rooms.

On the surface, the Healing Garden is just a tiny counter space in the Surgical Waiting Room.   But really, it's a place that keeps growing -- an ongoing harvest.

A little green goes a long way!

The Healing Garden's new winter look :)

Mile Marker 1459:  

Two days after I set up the winter garden at Jefferson, my friend Jen and I are wandering the green aisles of Home Depot.

We love it, but
we can't lift it!
This one’s too big, that one’s too small; this one’s too skinny, that one’s too heavy…. This is unfamiliar territory for me and my Genium.  Who knew Christmas Tree shopping could be so complicated??

I trail along behind Jen, stepping over power cords and dodging fallen branches.  I'm a novice tree shopper, but I notice the trees are arranged by height.  I notice three different types of Firs:  Douglas, Balsam, and Fraser.   I notice how NICE everyone is.

Finally, Jen and I find the one we’re looking for.  She's forest green and nearly 6 feet tall.  Sturdy and full, with a dense coat of needles.  She smells like the woods.

We name her Queen La-Tree-fah!

Jen hauls our treasure to the check-out area.  I'm great at snapping photos, but not much help with carrying!

A guy named Neal lifts our tree onto a long table.  He saws off the bottom of her stump.  (Ouch!  Hate that word...)  I wince, and watch as he feeds her through a wide red tube that looks something like a holiday-colored MRI machine.

She comes out dressed in orange plastic netting.  Neal asks us if we’d like twine to tie her to the roof of our car.

“Yes,” we answer.  "And someone to do the tying for us, please!"

We get our wish.  Neal signals to a buddy who joins us on the freezing sidewalk outside.   Jen and I shove our hands in our pockets while this guy secures the tree to the roof.  He winds the twine like ribbon on a present.

I’m amazed at this whole production, as streamlined as Santa’s workshop.  Choosing, buying, and tying down a Christmas tree are foreign concepts to me.  But Hanukkah passed by in a flurry this year, and it's good to share Jen's celebration.  

Besides, I'm into GREEN.

With Queen La-Tree-fah on the roof, we hit up Wawa for some celebratory peppermint hot chocolate.

When we get home, Jen lugs the Queen up the steep cement stairs.  I play the part of cheerleader and door holder.  Inside, we set her firmly in the tree stand.  She waits patiently while we unwrap 2 boxes of ornaments.  

Finally, we free her branches from the net, and adorn her with lights and snowflakes, nutcrackers and sparkles.  By the time we're finished, the house smells like a forest and feels warm like the holidays.

I'm in love with winter's newest trend in greenery!

Ok, so winter really is here.

Gone are the days of snow shoveling and scraping ice off the car... for me, anyway.  But I can live with that.  This year, I'm armed with an indoor parking space and a winter agenda that'll keep me active and dry.

Yet as the forecast turns to WHITE, I know I'll keep turning to GREEN.  After all, it's the color of nature.  It reminds us that spring's just around the corner.

And it definitely beats the winter BLUES!

What's on your winter agenda??
To see my "Winter Warm-Up" planclick here.


  1. I remember Christmas Tree shopping and ornament shopping with you in Nashville. My boys still love the ornaments you've given them.

  2. Oh, thank you for this wonderful post. I struggle to get into the holiday spirit, and this totally gets me hyped up! The 5-year-old nephew, who can always get me in the spirit, left yesterday (with my brother and sister-in-law) to spend the rest of the month and New Year's with my sister-in-law's family in Vietnam.....so while I'm excited for them on their trip, my go-to instant holiday cheer-maker is now on the other side of the planet....time to call on the reserves! And your post hit the spot.
    I LOVE the idea of having a list for the cabin-fever months ahead. I always do so much better with a plan. Yay pie! I've never been able to make a good pie crust....perhaps that will be the first thing on my winter list. :-)

  3. Very nicely written...as your blogs always are.