Friday, January 30, 2009

Perfect timing

I've known one of my colleagues since he was on the same ice hockey team as my high school boyfriend. In one of those small world twists in life, he married the daughter of one of my mother's long-time colleagues. And now he and I work for the same company.

He walked into my office a couple minutes ago and said, Hey, we had dinner with my Mother-in-Law last night and she was talking about your Mom and said how much she missed her.

I smiled at him and thanked him for sharing that with me.

He went on though, She was telling us that for as long as she knew your mother, that your mother was the most ethical person she'd ever met. She said that your mother practiced her ethics and integrity her entire life. Is that true?

Yes, yes it is.

Wow, I only met your mother at my wedding but I think that's a cool thing, and it's a cool thing to have someone remember you that way. I wish I'd had more opportunity to know her.

And his saying that to me? She'd not be too keen on my using the word but I think cool is right.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Walking in her foot steps

The year and the day are lost on me when it comes to pinpointing my first memory of my mother slipping elsewhere. I was at the cabin. I picked up the phone to her insistence that someone made a mistake. Why would they deliver the Sunday paper on a Monday? She was confused, distraught.

I have two memory segments of my mother: before the unraveling began, and after.

Before she unraveled. The crossword puzzles, her amazing composure, her strength, her sense of humor, the way she held a glass of Scotch, the way she dressed and encouraged me to dress, how she felt my forehead for a fever, her vocabulary, her math skills, her Chanel No. 5. Her energy and dedication. Her passion. The way she said my name out loud. The silly old bear we shared. The many times she told me, You can be anything you set your mind to be. Her incredible success as a business woman. My friend's father once said of her, She plays hard ball with the big boys.

But there is the other chapter, the pages upon pages in which she unraveled. Her sleepy, halo eyes, her grabbing hands, the way her skin turned to lace. The days of bathing her, feeding her strawberries. The days of her being my precious baby bird. The days of my reading Winnie the Pooh books to her.

Earlier tonight, I watched a Metro bus roll down the street, stirring bits of debris, a paper cup, pieces caught in the air and landing again on the sidewalk and street. It was a lonely sight and for a moment I was lost in it, but then I remembered you. I remembered the friends who called me today and I remembered how blessed I am.

It does not matter, the dates. The calendar is created by people, not the Lord. The truth is that time moves without a thought of us, on and on it rolls. And we, we assign dates to remember, that don't really exist. What I've learned is that when we lose someone, they are gone. Save for what we carry with us. What I've learned is that they DO live on, in our lives, our hearts, our behaviors and decisions.

Even tonight, when she's been gone a year, even now my heart is filled with love for her. I rejoice in that love. The love of my mother. The love of a chosen daughter.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Skipping over the obvious one

I got this challenge from Jane. The challenge is to list ten of your favorite things that begin with a certain letter that is assigned you by the blogger. Jane played this a couple weeks ago and offered a letter to any and all suckers willing to play. I volunteered to take a letter off her hands, but requested it not be V (because she did an outstanding job with V), nor did I want X or Z because while I'm fond of the zoo, I don't think I even know ten words that start with Z, or X.

Jane gave me O. Right now I'm thinking, oh how I wish I liked oranges.

Here I go:

Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, better known as OMD -- A British 80's band that I enjoyed at the time and with XM Radio and iTunes, I've been reacquainted with their entire library, a little synth and a lot of drums, a deep voice and some not-so-deep lyrics, and the volume knob goes up and up.

Oak trees - Water Oaks, Pin Oaks, River Oaks, Live Oaks. Especially Live Oaks. I like finding acorns on the ground, and I like the shade the trees provide. I like the spread of their branches and I like how so very often we use mighty to describe the Oak tree.

Oats - Oats take me back to the days when horses were all my activity before and after school, all the decoration in my life, all the content of my dreams, all the posters in my room. This was a time before boys and before Roger Daltry of the Who snuck his way into my sleeping thoughts. I love the smell of oats, and on very cold days, I used to pour warm molasses over oats and feed the mash to horses in the morning. And they came running.

Observing - I enjoy taking in my surroundings, listening to what is going on around me, watching changes over time in nature and people. I enjoy being quiet and being part of the scene only by my presence and taking it in.

Ocean - Although I'm not a beach person and much prefer a river to the beach any day, there is something about the ocean itself. Obviously it's powerful, sustains life, and is very seductive, but when it reflects the moon on a dark night, it's one of the loveliest sites in my world.

October - October is a quiet and reflective month for me. The air is crisp with change, Fall has arrived and the whole of nature seems to be readying for slumber. It's a pause between summer and the holidays and I like pauses.

Oaxaca - I am lucky enough to have traveled to all the states in Mexico and Oaxaca is hands down my favorite one. From its cuisine to its history (over 60 indigenous languages in the state), from its mountain ranges to its zocolos, Oaxaca is one beautiful place, filled with rugged flavors and people and a mountainous coastline with miles upon miles of empty beaches to stroll.

O.P.I. - Yes, fingernail polish. Not only is it good fingernail polish (a smooth finish that stays on without chipping or flaking) but O.P.I. offers a wide range of colors and adds to that range regularly with new collections. What makes O.P.I. a favorite though is the polish names. Oh they are clever at that company. Take, for instance, their new French collection with names like Louvre Me Louvre Me Not, You Don't Know Jacques!, Bastille My Heart, and A Oui Bit of Red. Names that don't reveal much about the color, mind you, be clever, oh so clever.

Olive trees - I enjoy the flavor of olive oils and of olives, but I'd never seen the trees until I went to Italy and Croatia a couple summers ago. Lovely and green, and field after field of the branches that are an ancient symbol of peace. What's not to love about this perfect tree?

Outdoors - Give me the grass and the trees and a river or a stream. Give me the sunshine or the rain. Give me the wind. With these things, I am happy.

Optimism - I'm a glass is half full kind of girl. I'm able to find the positive in most things because I believe in the positive. I'm a believer in hope and there's always something positive to find, even if you have to change where you stand or how you see, it's there.

Do you want to play the game? Are you up to a challenge? It's fun and it's a nice exercise to count ten things you enjoy and take a moment to explain why. Leave a note for me in the comments and I'll select a letter for you and assign that to you, also in the comments.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kindred spirits

What I'll remember about Wednesday, the first full day of President Obama's term, long into my years, is the brief and hopeful we did it conversations with strangers, and reading the paper and the many voices of the internet. So very many of us claim him as ours. Even, graciously, those who did not vote for him seemingly pause in this sea of promise.

For all of us, there's a new dawn breaking. It's been a very long time since the country's mood was this good.

Walking through this day has been like dancing with an enormous mood of moving, breathing, rhythmic promise.

Best dance ever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a day

It's an amazing time to be alive today, to watch the television this morning and all the preparation for the swearing in of our next President of the United States, Barrack Obama. I wonder what my parents would say, what so many who are no longer with us would say. It's a day of change and promise, a day that is filled with hope that rests so heavily on one man's shoulders. One man who so very many believe in to lead us. I have faith in that man and I have faith that though the challenges will be many, he will deliver.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just this

I'm the kind of person who hears a song, that song, and it will direct my mood... will change my mood. In an instant. I'm telling you I have no control of it, my mood can slip from one thing to another, in a note. It's a mood, understand, not the whole I'm talking about. The last 24 hours have reminded me of this. They've shown me that the friends I love and am so blessed to have are willing to hurdle my shortcomings in order to save my heart. And I'm so humbled and appreciative by their attention and presence. But I just heard this song by Stevie Nicks and have slipped into some other place and am unable to be greatful because my focus is elsewhere.

Has anyone ever written anything for you ?
In all your darkest hours
Have you ever heard me sing?
Listen to me now
You know I'd rather be alone
Than be without you
Don't you know?

Has anyone ever given anything to you?
In your darkest hours
Did you ever give it back?
Well, I have
I have given that to you
If it's all I ever do
This is your song

And the rain comes down
There's no pain and there's no doubt
It was easy to say
I believed in you everyday
If not for me
Then do it for the world

Has anyone ever written anything for you?
In your darkest sorrow
Did you ever hear me sing?
Listen to me now
You know I'd rather be alone
Than be without you
Don't you know?

So, if not for me, then
Do it for yourself
If not for me then
Do it for the world

Someone needs me right now, right this minute as I type these words. Someone needs me and I can't reach him. My friends, bless them, they can and have reached me but I can't hang on to that until I hold on to him again. My arms ache and this heart of mine, it's feeling both blessed and shredded.

Time out

One significant moment this weekend was this: Sunday morning, 7:00 o’ clock. Me just out of bed and hot hazlenut coffee steaming in my cup. The dogs dancing and tail-wagging with their excitement. Our morning walk. Sunlight all over everything. Clarity, in so many senses.

Dec 08 and Jan 09 059 Dec 08 and Jan 09 092 Dec 08 and Jan 09 083 Dec 08 and Jan 09 098

I think the dogs would place the significance on the times spent chasing the tennis ball or rolling in the grass. All the rolling in the grass!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crazy cold

Watching the Today Show this morning. Al Roker just went over the weather and said, The only places in the country that are above 60 this morning are Brownsville, Texas, and Miami.

I shivered and then thought, Well, we're all in this together.

I'm sure that my friend in Vermont who is awaking to -24F and will face a balmy zero for the high today would have a few choice words for my kumbaya attitude.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


She has seven brothers and sisters, spread out over Louisiana and Texas. She is a widow and has been for a long time. She visits her husband's grave but says she's afraid of the scarecrow there. She has framed photos of her family all over her walls from floor to ceiling. Photos of weddings, graduations, dances, birthdays, school days. Photos tucked into the frames of other photos. She birthed one son, adopted one daughter and provided foster care for over 20 other children.

She tells me, But you are my baby.

She taught me how to braid. She loves to talk and she'll tell you stories about anything you want to hear that she knows, but God and family are closest to her heart. She laughs often and smiles regularly. She wakes every morning at 3:00 to pray the rosary. In the 1960s, at the advice of my maternal Grandmother, she saved seventy-five cents a day until she had $300.00 to put down on a house, for which she paid off the mortgage in 16 years. She carries a picture of my Grandmother in her bible, and the obituaries of my father and my mother. She's tired, her health isn't very good. She takes a breath in the middle of one of her stories, says I've had a hard life, I suppose, but God has also been real good to me. And she chuckles.

She is a constant inspiration to me and has brought joy to me in one form or another since I was two years of age.

November 16 2008 003

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I can't help but share it...

A master art thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre.

Putting his plan in motion, he got past security, grabbed the paintings and made it safely to his van. However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and yet make such an obvious error, he replied, Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings. I had no Monet to buy Degas to make Van Gogh.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Home Improvement Fun

Until this afternoon, every time I did a load of laundry over the past couple of years, I would cringe. Not because I had to do laundry, though I'm not at all fond of that chore, but because my laundry area was such a mess. The lone shelf was too high for me to easily reach and the washing machine shakes so much that inevitably the detergent or softener or whatever I had put on top of it would fall off, and usually land in that oh-so-difficult to reach area behind the machine. Except for the liquid laundry detergent that fell off the front that one time and broke open when it hit the tile floor, leaving an oozing soapy mess all over the floor and under the washer and dryer, an oozing soapy mess that took me over an hour to clean. For a while, I put everything on top of the dryer but that was getting too crowded and cluttered for my liking.

Home Improvement 001

On Friday, I decided that enough was enough. I needed laundry organization, darnit, and that would start with a shelf. I was not going to wait another day. I took my ideas and a rough diagram of the area and measurements to Home Depot and a nice man named Elton helped me get all the things I'd need to turn my idea into reality.

This morning, with my new stud sensor Elton convinced me I should get and the laser level thingy my friend brought over along with breakfast tacos when she came to help me out, that shelf became a reality. And an organized laundry area has entered my life. Happy days!

Home Improvement 007

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Heads up

What a day! This day has been a dryer tumbling my life like weightless cotton tumbling around and around with no control of the path. There's a very special birthday today (not mine) and there is an enormous challenge at work today (so very mine). There's a photo I took that I just received a request to be published in a book. There's concerns over more than one friend's health and there are a couple conversations I need to digest before I can comprehend how I feel much less think.

I want to pick up the phone and call you. I want to hear your voice. I want to write it out and ask you what you think.

I want to tell you about these things, I do. But I have a stalker here. A stalker who I know and, through a deeply personal decision last year, chose to sever my relationship with, as well as severing my relationship with this person's partner. By the number of times they access this site a day, I can only guess they don't know I can track my readers through my stats history. I'm not at all sure why they are interested in my life when I've removed my life from theirs, but I am sure that they take information from here and use it elsewhere. Which, let's be honest, is odd. At best.

Until I can figure out how to block that stalker's IP address from accessing this site, there's going to be a lot less of me here. I have help on that front (hats off to my friend Jim) but Blogger is a difficult beast with this particular issue. Until we get it sorted, expect me at my vague best.

One more item in the tumbling dryer.

You know I love you. XOXO

Monday, January 05, 2009

As compared to what?

Two coworkers in the kitchen area, one with her lunch in the microwave, going on and on about her holiday, something about a new puppy and the way her dog was reacting and the way her family reacted when she brought both dog and puppy home for the holidays. The other coworker is focusing on the directions on her frozen lunch carton, waiting for her turn at the microwave. I am at the copy machine.

Coworker 1: ... anyway, the puppy isn't house trained and so he kept peeing in the house the whole time. My parents weren't very happy.

Coworker 2 [with not an ounce of sarcasm]: That's so nice, it sounds like you had a good holiday.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Out with the old...

Last week, after more than a year of thinking it over and looking here and there and perusing many many catalogs, I finally acted on my decision to purchase a new couch, a new coffee table and a new bookshelf. These were to replace a 12-year old couch that was going to cost me upwards of $2,000.00 to have re-covered and re-stuffed; a coffee table I've had for 15 years that's an old door with a metal base created by a friend (the table now resides in my guest room); and the bookshelf I've had since 1987 and while it's in good condition, it's still a bookshelf given to me by an ex-boyfriend, and every time I look at it, I remember painting it green in my friend's driveway (it was gold!) and besides, it's too short and too narrow to accommodate my books. It was time for me to retire these things.


Cheyenne rested on the couch Saturday morning, unaware that I was waiting for her to get up so that I could haul the cushions downstairs to be picked up by the person to whom I gave the couch.

After the old couch was hauled downstairs by the movers, and I vacuumed the crazy amount of dog hair and other stray bits of this and that, that had been residing in the darkness there, the movers brought in the new couch and the new coffee table and I sprinted straight to living room decor nirvana.


The new bookshelf will be delivered mid-January and then this little living room of mine will be complete.


Cheyenne waited until today to acquaint herself with the new furniture. When I returned from church this morning, she'd knocked the pillows to the floor and was happily snoring away. Which makes me think that all I've really done is buy her a new dog bed.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

One one zero nine

Just stepping up to wish each of you a very Happy New Year! I wish you all the best, and thats not only receiving the best but doing your best. Lend a hand, lend an ear, smile at a stranger. Let's make 2009 a good year for you and a better year for others.

And now I going back to the couch.

You know I love you. XOXO