Thursday, February 26, 2009

....a lesson revealed......

My Niece and I grew these wonderful Morning Glories. We were mesmerized by the process. We planted seeds in a rectangular planter box and watched as they broke through the soil, emerging as tiny tentacles, reaching for the sky. As they became ungangly and started attaching themselves to the patio uprights, we transplanted them to the yard, near a chain link fence, so they would wrap themselves up there and grow at their leisure. It wasn't long before we realized they had surpassed all expectation and had wound their way up into the trees near the fence where we planted them and even more fascinating was that they grew all the way up the tree almost to the height of the nearby telephone poles. I could not believe it when I realized and called my Niece to point it out to her. She was so thrilled that OUR Morning Glories had really reached the sky! Neither of us knew it at the time, but, Mother Nature was teaching us another of Her lessons, that with love and care and room to grow, we can all reach the sky. And, Her lesson did not show itself until tonight when I selected the Morning Glories photograph as my inspiration. Further, there is an added element to the lesson, the Divine has perfect timing and revealed this lesson to me when I was ready to receive it, not before. I remember vividly the time frame when my Niece and I were growing these flowers and revelled in the joy it brought us both watching their progress and caring for them, however, what came to me tonight, did not strike me until now. There were other lessons being taught at that time.....I wonder if I can recall those lessons? Not so much, only that growing flowers from seeds was easy and often does that happen in life? Great return on simple investment, eh? Perhaps the lesson was communicated to both of us back when we grew these flowers and we intrinsically garnered from it at the time, however, as I am trowelling through my own personal growth spurt the lesson re-revealed itself in a way so as to show me I have only to give myself a little love and care and the sky is the limit. Again, my new favorite teacher, Mother Nature......reminding me, over and over again, that you can be reborn and live the life you deserve, want and dream about.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No post tonight......just cake

I have a friend who likes wedding's her birthday tomorrow and so, I made her a wedding cake for her skills are rusty, guess I should practice some more.....who wants cake?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Waiting for inspiration.......

I have this nagging desire to go to Ireland. Not really fair to call the desire nagging, as I believe it is a good desire....however, funds always seem to be my scapegoat for getting out of doing anything with any real adventure. My Mom and I talked about doing this together.....putting our money aside and really going to the Emerald Isle. I have a romanticized idea of what the trip might be like and that always seems to run on until I convince myself the actual trip would not live up to my expectations and again talk myself out of going. First of all the length of the journey itself is daunting.....while I like airplane rides....(I went to England as a kid, so, I'm familiar with the length of the flight), I'm not sure I have the patience to go that far in a soda can with wings. But, what an adventure. I fancy myself a decendant of a Celtic know, Zena-like, only my dreams always include chainmail and a shield. I sense what the battle might have been like and feel that the fight was always for a noble cause. I am Irish....Mom J was half Irish, half Russian.....her name says it all, Geraldine O'Connell, her sisters were Patricia and RoseMarie, her brother and father, both Patrick. She had flashing green eyes and red hair to save us all. So, maybe the Isle is calling me home.....maybe that is where I'll find myself, just tooling around a small Irish village and my heart's desire will envelope me and I will know who I am and what I was meant to do. Maybe that is where I belong, on the coast of Ireland in a little cottage over looking the ocean, on the cliffs. See, very romantic, however, once again, not practical. And, then I think, what if I go and the trip isn't all that great and I ruin all of my romantic notions about the beautiful green island. See why I've not realized my full potential, because I over think things, let my head talk my heart into chickening out. Just honoring my fear like a good little chicken..... :-) Maybe as an exercise in honoring my dreams I'll research what a trip to Ireland might cost and just where in Ireland I might like to visit. No promises on actually executing, but, research never hurt and it might just inspire me, eh?

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Live like you were dyin'".

Second chances. I've been thinking about them alot since the beginning of this year. Last year was spent dwelling on the past; mine, my family's, even the World's past.....things aren't like they used to be. There are so many times I've wished for a do over, thought to myself, "I would have done that differenlty if I'd have known this was how it was going to be". In fact, I feel like I spend alot of time living with regret. That is no way to live a life, right? Regrets really started to chase me very shortly after my Grandmother died, literally. Living in her house, while I had her as a captive audience, I had the perfect opportunity to talk to her.....pull out the old family photos and dig up old stories about the characters who permeate my DNA, but, I was paralyzed by the thought of actually acknowledging, outloud, that Mom J was going. She and I danced around the subject of her departure, but, neither of us dealt with it straight on, it was just an elephant in the room. So many things live like an elephant in the room in my family. This is just one of many regrets I am chewing on. But, my biggest regret so far is getting to the age that I am and not living up to my potential, it is a waste of life. I believe there is greatness in each of us and some of us just take longer than the others to discover it. My committment to this blog is my promise to myself to erase that regret and begin to live my life fully. But, backing up to second chances......There are four big events, or rather, examples of why second chances are staring me in the face....almost like I'd have to be stupid to waste one more minute living in fear of LIVING. I have survived open heart surgery 3 times......pretty soon I'm going to give a cat a run for the money......I've had my fair share of 2nd chances, right? Then, 3 important people in my life have had 2nd chances, first, my step-sister survives breast cancer, Her step-father, Arnie, survives prostate cancer, My dear friend survives a near fatal motorcycle wreck, they live....they promise to do things differently, even I have.....especially after my last surgery in 2005, the year I turned 40......the reason regret is chasing me.....Arnie died January 5th from a relapse of the the cancer, he spent most of last year doing the things he swore he would do after he survived the first battle.......only scratching the surface of the life he really wanted to step sister, the cancer is back, in her bones......she found out days before her step fathers' wake. I feel so shameful, how could I be lolly gagging along in this life, letting myself just survive....letting fear hold me back, cutting myself slack, "you'll have tomorrow, relax today"....who am I kidding, who are any of us kidding. You can take nothing for granted, not even tomorrow. I swear it's like I'm in a ship that is sinking and the cabin is almost full of water and the air is running out. Everyday I race through the day wishing it was over (mostly because I hate my job, but, that's why I'm here writing, to right that wrong), so that I can get home to 'live' instead of 'just survive', 'cause what the hell is just surviving about? Do you see now why I have this overwhelming sense of time running out, maybe I'm not going to get another 'do over'? I've had three, right? So, do I get anymore.....Arnie didn't, Candace might friend, she lived and changed some big things in her life, but, she's not really living, she's not even sure she's happy. Second chances don't always come along and I've been wasting all of mine. After the surgery in 2005 I thought to myself I should really make the effort to change things, to step everything up in my life, really committ to my work or figure out what I'd rather do and do it, instead of just dreaming about it, but, life (not living, just life) got in the way and I never seemed to "find the time to make changes". What the hell is that? "find the time"? Time is the currency, it is all we have to bank on, some of us less than others. So, like my horrible money management skills, I feel like I am frittering my potential away, waiting (wasting time) for my life to just HAPPEN. More regret. Ah, it's just a vicious cycle, and I'm circling the drain. Here is my real second chance, in these words, in this blog, in this risk I take everytime I write, everytime I open myself up just a little more. Showing myself, braving the possibility of being known, shedding these regrets. Since I began the blog and allowed myself this small outlet, truly I have felt a small change in myself, if nothing else, but a subtle shift in my outlook, the perspective with which I see the future, more rosey than blue, more like a real second chance than a regret.

"Like tomorrow was the end

And ya got eternity to think about what to do with it

What should you do with it

What can I do with it

What would I do with it

And I loved deeper

And I spoke sweeter

And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin'

And he said some day I hope you get the chance

To live like you were dyin' "

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spring's First Blush.......oh, she's so lovely......

I have a little Spring ritual that I practice every year, I make sure to snap shots of various blossoms. There is nothing like the beauty of a tree or shrub loaded with flowers at their first blush. And, the best part (or worst, depending on your perspective) is that there is only a small window of time when you can take advantage of the 'first blush', therefore, making the shots, exclusive. I have a folder on my computer labeled, Spring Blossoms and while to the naked eye they may look like the same flowers over and over again, to me they are each like a dfferent child. I carry my little handy, dandy, powershot with me and when I am blessed with an opportunity, I take my shot and add the NEW blossom to my folder. Today's blossoms are from the Walnut tree right out my front door. The tree is very old, I say very old because it's probably 25 years old, however, I think that I have to suppose in tree years thas is very young, right? Anyway, the tree appears old, as in my Grandmother's later years she could not care for the exterior of the property as in the days when my Papa tended to the grounds, but, I suspect the Walnut tree has many years left in her and would be happy to produce a fresh batch of fruit for us, if given the loving care she needs.....of which we did begin late last year. Ms. Walnut was pruned last fall and I believe she is looking just a bit brighter this year in comparison to last Spring. As you can see, her blossoms are quite captivating at their first blush. I know that in only a week or so's time, all of her blossoms will have reached their potential and fall to the ground, but, today, I have captured their loveliness, a blessing bestowed upon me by my dear friend Mother Nature.

"Into each life some rain must fall". Theresa Brewer

It has been raining where I live off and on for the last couple of weeks. This is good, as we are in need of the rainfall and because I like the rain. This photo was taken about a week ago just as a major storm was rolling in. I live at the base of the foothills in Northern California.....NO, it's not always sunny in California....and thank God, because how boring would that be? Anyway, I am looking to the east, towards the Sierra Nevadas....well, the foothills of them, anyway and the sky was almost black, very ominous, foreboding and dangerous. For me, there was excitement in the air, you could feel the energy, the power and force of the storm on it's way. I am fortunate enough to live here at the base of the foothills, out in the country, so as to enjoy nature at it's most honest. You know, without city lights dulling the stars and city noise camaflauging the sounds of the birds and weather. The beauty of it all is very captivating. The seasons remind us how to live. And, spring is, I believe the loveliest of the seasons....renewal, new beginnings, rebirth, cleansing and growth. Within just a few days of the beginning of the rainy season, with just a day or two of sunshine between storms, the Earth begins to rejuvinate and Mother Nature begins her lessons, showing us how to begin as well. Small buds on the trees begin to open up, blossoming into this year's fruition, be it leaves, flowers or fruit, they are the rebirth of nature. The pasture becomes green again after a long summer, fall and winter of dull, taupe, not really brown and not really gray, just taupe. The trees begin to stand taller, I know this is only a perception on my part, but, I swear the Oaks on our property change their stance as Mother Nature begins to heal them from the drought of the other seasons. The local 'weeds' start to take over the garden and flower with their special gifts. And, even in the storms that provide the much needed percipitation, I hear the birds singing their songs of hope and inspiration for the coming year. When the vegatation here on the old Ranch is green, it does not matter that it has taken over and is out of control, only that it appears like a beautiful emerald green reminder of hope.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"I'll stand by you, take me into your darkest hour, won't let nobody hurt you, I'll stand by you, and I'll never dessert you". The Pretenders

In your darkest you know who will be there by your side? Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt who you can call in the middle of the night, during the ugliest storm of your life? When the chips are down I know where I stand and who is standing with me. I am blessed. And, the older I get, the more I realize how blessed I am. I cannot imagine my life without my 'Sisters". The women who I call my friends are simply the most amazing women I have ever known. Their lights shine like beacons in the dark. With each passing year and each life altering event, their lights glow brighter and warmer. I know that I am alive today because of their love and strength. They fortify me, prop me up, believe in me when the 'shoulds' take over and kick my ass, call me out when I'm being a jerk, chicken, cat or victim. They show me how to be courageous, smart, funny, brave, beautiful, heroic, assertive, forgiving, compassionate and stubborn. They know me like they know their own image in a mirror and love me anyway. They inspire me, guide me, teach me and hold me up when I'm faltering, always giving to me what I need even when I don't know myself. I am constantly amazed at the gifts they bestow on me....if not directly, surely by proximity to them. As life unfolds, things out of our control happen and this is when we discover who is going to be there holding us up when we cannot hold ourselves up. These defining moments seem to be happening at a staggering pace lately and I have been honored to see just how friendships show up. You won't always know who is going to step up and show you how much you mean to them, or rather, how much they will come to mean to you. As I am writing I'm finding it hard to really put into words what I'm feeling right now. The words, while they are coming in spurts just aren't really conveying the depth of what I want to share. My circle of friends have shown up in the last 18 months in ways that have inspired me and given me strength when I thought I had none left and no resevior to fill from. To them, I give my heart, a debt of gratitude, for all that they have given me, each lesson of love a tribute to their own beautiful hearts. XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Friday, February 20, 2009

"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)....e.e. cummings

I had a draft prepared for a different post tonight....but, my evening drafted a new one. I've mentioned before that I am moving out of my Grandparent's home, so, I suspect there will be more posts about the move and the Grands before the move finally happens. The amount of memories for me in this house is astounding. After Mom J died, I made this house my home. We made a pretty good effort of purging old outdated items that had no real sentimental value, early on, but, there were items we just weren't sure what to do with and so, we boxed them up and stashed them. Well, for obvious reasons, we can't just leave them stashed anymore.....someone has to take ownership of them and move them. While I'm happy to be that person, it still means I have to move these items. Therefore, since I live alone and am doing most of this packing alone, I find myself steeped in memories. I miss my Grandmother. You cannot know how much. I spent most of last year mourning her and working through my grief, however, occaisionally I cannot help myself, but, I am overcome by a sense of loss I cannot describe. We were very close and I cared for her as she died, so, my connection to her is very deep and spiritual and sometimes, I just cave. Sometimes, I feel like a part of my soul left with her. I feel her presence here. Sometimes, I even smell her. She wasn't one of those women who wore fragrance, in fact, she hated perfumes, they bothered her hayfever, but, she had her own scent, something I will never forget. When she died, we discussed cleaning out her room and getting rid of her things, but, I stopped everyone and asked if we could wait for awhile, I wasn't ready to just pack her up and whisk away her essence. Of course they respected my wishes and we waited. There were personal things in her room that I knew others might want, so, when I was ready, we went through her room and those who wanted things took what they wanted and what was left I decided to hold onto for a little longer. Sometimes, well, lot's of times, I take my younger sister for granted and tonight I was reminded of this. Because I was moving things around and emptying closets for the move, I had to empty out the closet in what once was my Grandmother's bedroom. There in the bottom of the closet were three boxes, labeled in my sister's handwriting, personal items of my Grandmother's that I was not ready to let go of. My Sister had lovingly packed and labeled these boxes and stashed them away for me, so that I did not have to make decisions about their disposition at a time when I was so close to my grief. Each box had an assortment of items, related to each other, or rather, similar in possible sentimental value, framed photos that were on the dresser in her room, empty jewelry gift boxes, from ages past, some old prescription eye glasses, small notes, photographs my Grandmother had slipped under a piece of glass on top of her dresser or nightstand....of us kids at various ages, music boxes she displayed around her room, these items have true historical value and will be properly stored for a time when we or I will want to reminisce. But, the box that I could not get past was the box with just a few items, which again, my dear Sister, packed with great love, it was the box that contained my Grandmothers pocket book and her night gowns. Just those items, the gowns freshly washed and folded and the pocket book as it was the day my Grandmother last used it. I miss her. I miss her laugh when something really tickled her. Her voice when she was whispering, which was never really a whisper because she wasn't the type of woman who much cared about what others thought and would just say what SHE thought, anywhere, anytime (much to my Mother's chagrin and embarrassment). I miss her arrival at family parties. She would pull up in her Burgundy Monte Carlo, pristine in it's condition, and all the kids would call out, "Mom Jerrye is here" and several of us would fall out the front door and go out to help her haul in all the stuff she always brought with her.....usually a six pack of every type of soda everyone of her grandkids drank, ice, usually paper products appropriate to the event we were celebrating, maybe her own chair, depending on where we were and the ever popular Hostess gift. I miss the Hostess gift. I miss her hugs and the way she stuck out her chin so you would kiss her on the cheek....eventually she put less effort into that and I began kissing her on the forehead. I miss her ascerbic wit and dry humor and curiosity. I miss her intuitive eyes, keen and sharp. Even as her red hair faded and grayed and her face weathered and wrinkled, her eyes remained piercing and inquisitive. Yes, I believe there will be more mourning, more grief and more memories to sift through. I did not remember that my Sister had tucked away those boxes and while I am sad tonight after their discovery, I am grateful to her for her foresight to pack them as she did and for the love she imparted in her efforts to honor our Grandmother and respect my grief. I will remember to thank her for her gift.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet". Edith Wharton

My goal in life is to become as wonderful as my dog thinks I am. Texas is a state unto his own. He is mighty and proud. He is sweet and sensitive. This little dog is a king in his jungle. He strutts, he strides, he parades, he patrols, and whoofs and growls and hollers. He embraces his enormous ego and brandishes his courage. Oh, to be as self confident as my dog. I know that when I come home at night this little creature will be so overwhelmed with happiness that his whole body is taken over by his enthusiasm. He squirms, wriggles, squeals and squeeks his happiness, tail wagging, body twisting with delight. Oh, but to be that excited to see someone, to love so freely, energetically and with complete abandon. We should all take a page out of his book, do as he does, love freely, energetically and with complete abandon. I wish that I be so honest with myself, so forgiving that I can be free to love without judgement or cynicism. If I could but love with a dog's heart, I would be free. I cannot tell you how many lessons my little dog has taught me. I know, there is a poem written about the lessons dogs teach us all, but, what Texas has taught me, has been about myself, or rather, what I should examine about myself. My first lesson was about weariness, little Texas is always, first cautious about strangers, as am I and with that lesson I learned that maybe I could be just a little less closed off and more accessible. So many more, like, making my own fun....Texas is an "only dog", so, oftentimes he has to entertain himself, and therefore, he's become pretty good at creating situations where he can either manipulate me into retreiving his chewie or relocating it with a flip from his long snout, so that he can scamper after it. He is also quite good at hiding the chewie so as to have something to play hide and seek with. This would be a standard type of game a dog might play, however, poor Texas grew up in an apartment and believes that if a chewie is placed 'out of the way', but, not necessarily 'buried' it is hidden - often times the chewie is quite literally in plain sight, yet my little hero believes with all of his hiding prowess I should not be able to see his treasure. He will sit adjacent to it, usually with his back to it, watching me or whomever is in the room with narrowed eyes and stance at the ready, should the hiding spot of his chewie be discovered. Much to my family's delight, we have all enjoyed Texas making his own fun. One of our favorites is when he 'buries' a chewie in the couch.....any ol' couch will do, so long as you don't expect to sit on it where he has buried his treasure. It is poetically obvious Texas was bread to 'go to ground' when he 'digs' at the couch or carpet when he wants to bury or cover something up, as he did not grow up digging in real dirt. However, since we moved to the country he has had the pleasure of digging in real dirt.....again, in a messed up kind of poetic way, when he's digging in the real dirt, he has no idea why, because it would never occur to him to bury a chewie in dirt....because then how awful would that taste, eh? He has discovered in the limited little garden I grew last year that small frogs live there and they are fun to scout out, but, alas, he has not figured out that they are, to some species, edible. He can be found in the garden, under the massive zucchini leaves, sniffing and snorting around, with his long snout, burrowing into the soft dirt, on the hunt for more of the hopping, skipping little critters. Again, he does not know that he is a dog and that dogs most likely eat frogs, when they can catch one. Then, there it is, the crux of the matter.....Texas has not been able to catch a frog.....(Thank you God). I do have to give him props though for the Mole he dug up. We were having a serious Mole problem in the front and back yards, mind you that we have a 'landscaped' front and back yard, aside from the two additional acres of dirt and greenery, but, the Moles only wanted to hang out in the newly sodded front and back yards, so, we were having a pest control company come out to deal with the little varmints..............I'm not a big fan of actually killing little animals in inhumane ways, (ie; chemicals), however, the sod cost a large amount of money and the Moles were really working it over. And, honestly, the pest company assured me that they were only using a vibration device to motivate the moles into leaving.....but, my Dad is another element I could not control, nor could the Moles have seen coming.....he believed in drowning the little s.o.b', hoses were run into various Mole holes and alas, Texas found one, not so alive, as he was digging in the flower bed, where a previous Mole hole cave in had occured. Boy, was he proud...."look Mom, I finally caught something that I did not flip into the air myself", I'm sure he was saying to me with his ever expressive eyes, as I took the dead Mole from his mouth and threw it in the dumpster. Poor Texas sat vigil at the dumpster for quite some time that afternoon, until he saw Kitty from next door and his attention was diverted long enough to forget why he was there. I am to blame for his truncated abilities in the wild, but, I am okay with that, as I fear he would be hard pressed to make a go of it in the wild, he is far too comfortable in His castle and in his bed to be tempted to venture beyond his ability to see or hear me. So, I am quite happy to have him as the heartbeat at my feet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Let me remember that each life must follow its own course, and that what happens to other people has absolutely nothing to do with what happens to me

(Marjorie Holmes)
I am tired tonight. Spent. I am not sure why, only that I can barely keep my eyes open and yet I am drawn to my computer if only to mark some space and time in the ether so that there is evidence that I was here. I had lunch with a friend today. We hadn't spent any time together in awhile and we covered some serious ground. She seems to be going through a similar growth spurt as I am. We are the same age, in the same field and have lots of similar theories on life, you could say we get each other. She and I have pondered many mysteries together, some quite deep, like "Is there a God?" And if there is, why is there pain in the world. We've also pondered Fairies and magic and Mother Earth. And some of the more mundane mysteries, like, why am I here? What's in this life for me? And, is this my first life and if I don't like the way this one is going can I have a do over?

Today we talked about some of the even more mundane mysteries, like what the hell am I supposed to be doing with my lfie and do I deserve to be happy? Of course we would tell each other "of course you deserve to be happy", only believing that the other deserved the happiness, because surely I have done something that justifies denial of my happiness.

Because we have set off on one path, does that mean we cannot change course and venture out onto another trail? Do we have to hold ourselves back because a previous committment that may no longer apply to our current lives weighs us down? Can we rightfully claim our desire to be happy and act on it, now, in the later part of our life, when we have begun to learn who we truly are? Is denying our happiness either a form of punishment or committment? Loyalty? We are all struggling to figure out who we are and where we fit in this world and sometimes it takes awhile to get to a place where the wonder of who we truly are begins to dawn on us. It is when this happens that we are faced with the hardest decisions of our we stay stuck in the past, dragging along the baggage that we kept near us like a security blanket, or do we shed it and grow, allowing ourselves the acknowledgement that we deserve to be happy. Are we obligated to hold ourselves back at the presipice of discovery because we do not want to be considered cruel for moving on. Accusing ourselves of abandonment.....

I say we are not obligated, no one has the power to deny us our happiness but ourselves. We can give that power away by looking for a reason to stay in the past out of fear. Really it's only fear. Fear that if we venture out and finally release ourselves to be happy, we will be.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Weave a thread of blood through time, Ladders of lives we all have climbed. Grandmother sail on summerland seas. I honor you who live in me".

So, weekend before last my Mom says to me that she feels she should come and get my Grandparents and take them home with her. Not such an odd statement, accept that my Grandparents have passed on and are probably running white lightning in Summerland. As I mentioned before, I live in my Grandparent's house and am moving out, therefore, time for my Grandparents to move on as well.

My Grandfather, Papa, passed on more than 19 years ago and my Grandmother, Mom J, kept his ashes here at the Ranch with her. They wanted to be 'sprinkled' together after she died. Yes, I said DIED.....I keep trying to make it 'less' than it is, like it was just a small little event, 'passing' on, however, I'm trying to be real, so, let's call a spade a spade, she died, there I said it again, SHE DIED, whew, that kind of feels good. I might say it some more before I'm done tonight.

Okay, back to my Mom, well, actually just the leaving of my Grandparents' remains. So, my Mom makes arrangements with me to come out around lunchtime on Sunday to collect my Grandparents, but, before she heads out, I run in to town to get some errands done, as I'm pulling out of our little neighborhood out in the sticks, I come to a small intersection on our dirt road and there in the middle of the interseciton is the biggest black bird I've ever seen, it stops me dead. Oops, there I go again using the D word (hehehehe). I kid you not the bird is staring me right in the eyes, he/she does not move, just stands there in the road, staring back at me. I let the car roll a little and bird stands it's ground, holding me in it's stare, I roll the car a little more, the bird hops sideways a bit, still holding my gaze, I roll some more, another hop and I cannot stop staring back at this huge black bird and I have this amazing feeling that this bird is here for me, a gift from Summerland, telling me someone is paying attention. This goes on for a good 5 minutes or more before the bird makes a small flight to the fence on the property fronting our little road, still watching me, following my car as it passes on the road. I wonder about this bird all the way into town, but, only for a short while and by the time I return and my Mom has arrived, I've all but forgotten about my friend.

My Mom and I discuss where she might 'put' Mom J and Papa, she tells me that she will probably put them on the hearth, in the living room. I ask her to promise me that she won't put them behind the bar, My Papa drank and Mom J hated it, so, I elicited a promise from my Mom and she kindly agrees and leaves with my Grandparents' small boxes of ashes. She needs them at her house for some other reasons, which, at some point I might share with you, when we get to know each other better.

So, again, I have no other thoughts about this black bird, until I go to leave for work on Monday morning and the same scene is played out again, at the intersection, there, as if waiting for me, is the black bird, same place, same stance, same stubbon stare. I freeze in my tracks, or rather, I freeze the rolling of the car, in it's tracks....and I stare and as I stare, realization hits, this is a gift from Summerland, my Grandmother is telling me she knows things are changing, moving and growing, She knows that 'WE' are leaving the property She and my Papa lived in for more than 30 years, their Summerland, so to speak. I have watched and hoped to see the black bird again, but, I have not been blessed with another visit, perhaps the black bird is at my Mom's house, making it's presence known, protecting my Grandparents as they journey through Summerland on the way to their next destination.

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful then the risk it took to blossom". Anais Nin

So, at some point, hiding from the inevitable was far more painful than I could stand, anymore. I spent most of last year in therapy. We were able to label what caused my reluctance to grow.....I didn't like the label and was afraid to give it any credibility, however, nonetheless, the label fit. I made some progress and while I was growing, my loved ones, stagnant in their own 'reluctance to grow' circled about me wondering what was happening. I did not know for sure that it was growth, because while we are in a growth spurt, we almost surely have to be on the other side of it to know that it was in fact a growth spurt. I know that it was uncomfortable and once I began recognizing it for what it was, I realized that my loved ones were not growing with me and probably would not grow with me. It was hard to move on without them and in some instances, I allowed myself to fall back to their pace in order to hold onto the old feelings of "safety" our dance created for me. I had hoped they would join me, so that I would not be alone on the journey, but, alas, it is my journey, not theirs and I realized that we would all be uncomfortable for a time, while we all adjusted to my growth. Some of my loved ones are having a harder time with my growth than others. I don't think they have seen it for what it is, moving forward, growing, changing, evolving, blossoming. They are afraid. What they don't realize is that I am more araid than they are. Scared to death that everything I have ever known is really very small and narrow and limited. Rather, knowing that beyond our collective comfort zone is a world that is vast and if I chose to embrace it, I might leave here and them. Ultimately, I have allowed myself to believe that blossoming would be a betrayal to them, instead of a tribute to their love for me. Perhaps, I use their struggle with my growth as a crutch to keep me in the struggle, straining against the bud, only to realize I am the one embracing the risk to stay within the bud and forgoing the blossom.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Do not go where the path may lead- Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Emerson

So, before I get going on my dreams, probably ought to move on.....I've lived for the last, almost, two years in my grandmother's home. In July of '07 I moved in with her to care for her at the end of her life. Talk about an amazing experience and I will as this blog grows. Lots of lessons learned from that experience, in fact I'd have to say it was the 'obvious' catalyst for the growing pains I've been experiencing. As for moving out of her house, it is sad for me to leave, but, a necessary step in the journey. Fortunately, we were able to keep it in the family and I will get to visit. The energy here in the old ranch is, well, old. I love the memories, the landscape, the neighbors, and the possibilities it holds, however, it is far too much for me to handle on my own, so, time to move on. I will be moving to a new home with just as many possibiblities and am planning big things. The landlord and I are great friends and we've decided we'll build a huge garden in the back yard. I love to grow a garden. I have a garden journal that I have kept over the years and I find myself consulting and adding to it every new year. I even have photos from my previous gardens. Tomatoes and Lemon Cucumbers are my favorite and fortunately they are easy to grow. I always grow zucchini squash, aslo easy to grow, HUGE, if you let them get away from you. But, this year, the possibilities are endless, because I'll have some back up and a much larger space to grow in. Rick, the landlord, owns some heavy equipment, so, rototilling will look like skating......quick, slick and fast! I'm going to grow LOTS more veggies. onions, peppers, pumpkins, melons, sunflowers, of course tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini and flowers, many, many flowers. OH, and herbs.....basil, oregano, dill, mustard, rosemary, lavendar, echinacea, chamomile, lemon balm, spearmint and sage! Wow, it sounds pretty amazing when you write it all down! So, the move represents growth for me, more growth. It will be a new place for a new beginning. Moving is always traumatic, even if it is something you want or need, packing your whole life up in boxes and in most cases trusting that 'stuff' to other people to transport, can be a 'moving' experience.....ha ha......But, I am starting to look forward. As I lovingly box up my prized possessions and ponder their relevance in my life I am forced to look at why they are relevant. What has been happening while I've been packing is that I have also been purging, which, is also part of a new beginning, shedding the old to make room for the new. I am empowered by my new view, the feeling that shedding is a good thing, not a betrayal of the past. I see my 'prized possessions' with clearer sight, what possessed me to buy this? Does it serve a purpose, besides accumulating dust? Can it be used or loved by someone else? Does it's sentimental value outweigh my need to purge? Can I justify holding onto it for one more move? And the kicker, why do I STILL have this silly thing? I have a growing pile of prized possessions heading for the Good Will, I hope that my loves will find good homes. Well, I better quit procrastinating and start the day's packing.......stay tuned.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined" Thoreau

Go confidently. Yes I believe confidently is the way I want to go, but, where to find the confidently part......searching, endlessly for that confidence to live the life I've always imagined. I have been a long time observer of how to LIVE, yet, never actually a participant. I am a photographer, a documentor of livng, yet, somehow always hiding behind that lens. I know, just a cop out, right? Seriously, though, I see life as a photo op most of the time. I find beauty in things from that angle. When I'm not behind the lens, so to speak, it seems I can't make my life appear beautiful. Don't get me wrong, I have many, many, things to be grateful for. And, I voice that gratitude every chance I get....but, I find that it is easier to complain, to gripe and that holds me back. It holds us all back. I've recently gone to work with a friend, who I love dearly, but, I never realized how much negativity she puts out. My photo lens of her was obvioulsy skewing my perception of her. From my original perspective of her, she is an extremely accomplished individual, who could and has done just about anything she wanted, including traveling the world from a young age to mastering many types of jobs to stunning people into awed silence by her beauty...yet, she is unhappy, not living the life she has always imagined.....this has been a revelation to me, becuase I could not figure out for the life of me how she could be unhappy and then it hit me....she doesn't know what would make her happy, therefore, cannot make the changes she needs to make in order to be happy. And that is when the real lightning bolt struck....this is why it is easier for me to gripe and complain and stay in a job I hate and do only what I must in order to survive, I don't know what would make me truly happy. However, I have an inkling of what would make me happy, I've been feeling these growing pains for about 3 years now, really struggling to live with my choices, forcing myself to do things that I think I should (you know the "shoulds" will actually kill you), because that is what I have always done. Be a good girl, take care of everyone but yourself, don't cross against the light, don't rock the boat, make sure to wear underwear, don't drink, don't smoke, eat right, take your medicine, let them install an electrical shock unit in your chest so you don't die of possible know just mundane crap like that. As these growing pains have, well, grown, I have grown, too, and I made a serious effort in exploring the origins of these pains and what I discovered is that you can't unlearn 43 years of conditioning in 8 months, no matter how hard you try. Yeah, I know, silly me, thought I could just speed through it and get on with my life, but, alas, that is not how the universe works, right? So, back to the inkling, I need to feel like I am giving cliche here, the truth, helping someone, helping a cause, being the solution, not the problem. I am not the tree hugger type, one of the people who live in a tree to save it, however, there are things I am passionate about and experiences that I have lived that make me uniquely qualified to give back in a big way and that my friends is what I am going to do. I am here, blogging, as a way to keep me honest with myself, a committment of sorts, if you will, to SHOW UP, every single day and GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF MY DREAMS AND LIVE THE LIFE I HAVE IMAGINED.