Monday, November 29, 2010

Elements of a happy holiday weekend

Cat and her dog


Dog and her goose


The season and my decorations


Friday, November 26, 2010

The day after

As I write this, my niece is sound asleep upstairs, there's a fire burning in the fireplace and outside it's cold, windy and rainy. I'm in heaven!

Yesterday morning, I sat at the table outside, newspaper before me, coffee in hand, and listened to a flock of geese fly unseen overhead, their distant honking such a delight to my hears.  I smiled and thought, Good morning, Dad. 

When Catherine woke up, we took our dogs for a long walk through the neighborhood, chatting, laughing, talking about her impending graduation and her future. I marveled at the simple joy of walking and talking with my niece on Thanksgiving morning. Such a delight.

Later we made cranberry pies to bring to the two homes that we were visiting for the holiday.



When it was time to chop the pecans for the pie, I handed her a knife and then said, Wait! I have that thing that Mom always used.  I pulled it out and of course Catherine recognized it.  We smiled at how many times we saw Mom put this thing to use, and Catherine set about chopping the pecans in the nut chopper thing that was my mother's.  Good morning, Mom!


Between the long walk and the smell of sugar, vanilla extract and cranberries wafting through the house, Cheyenne's excitedment wore her out.


With the cold and wet weather and the fire in the fireplace, I am pretty sure that the world outside of my house is not going to see me today.  The world inside of my house, however, that world will be getting decorated for Christmas.  Happy days!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 10 - The true truth

Day 10 - I'm inserting my own truth here, because soon it will be Thanksgiving, and I have so much gratitude, so much to be thankful for.  I want to say it out loud, or write it out loud.  I want to pour out my heart in no particular order... just love... and I want you to receive it.

Here goes:  For this and these I am so thankful to have had, to have known, to have experienced, lived, to embrace today.

The Lord, my parents, my adoption, my nieces and nephew (my children, my loves), my sister, my heart, my home, Ajax, Diablo, Always Wonder, AUGUSTA, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, True, Alimony, Park Avenue, Govenor Wendell, JC and Tee, Lollipop. Painted wings and giant's rings.  Simplicity I, II and III. Faith, Velvet Sacks, Sandy, Holly, My precious and dark Ghost, Donald, Dee, Pam, Jennifer, Lance, Marianne, Mary Beth, The Carol of Lights, that magic dragon, Puff, Cheyenne, Sean Patrick Trimble, Dakota, Maggie, Thunder, George, Rap, Isaac, Mindy, Piedmont, Joe, Michael (Love!) Shannon, Ursula and Allan, Donna McBrien, Ginny, Donnette, Ali, Paulie, Aunt Mary, Uncle Peter, Uncle Les, Mary, Mindy, Dorothy, Edward, Christine, Sharon, Jan, Carol, Jacqui, Jackie, Carrie, Cassie, Jessie, Catherine, Caroline, Dale, Diane, Calvin, Cindy, Vicky, Joe, Debi, Pete-Linda-Pete, Russell, Sharon, Steve, noble kings and princes, Troy, Linda, Carmon, Llego, looking in the mirror and seeing little Jackie Paper, Brillo, Dorothy, the Polo Club, the Racquet Club, my last job, Suzy, Cleo, Bob, and Bill. My next job, my mind, my feet, my fingers and toes.  This wind on my shoulder and this strand of hair from my head that will not stay in the hairband.  The rustling leaves behind me, the dog bed beside me.  A roof over my head. My beating heart, my polished toes, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eyore. The wise old Owl. Growing ivy, River Burch, Magnolia, Zach, Zoe and Preston. Croatia, Stavanger, London, the Hill Country, Brighton, Bricktown, Matagorda. All those memories. Mary Ann, Marianne, MaryAnn. My bed, your bed, international flights, Veuve Cliquot, cold bottled Dos XX.  My country, my right to vote.  Fresh citrus, sharp cheese, crisp lettuce. Football, friends and the two together.  Elton John, Santana, Chris Isaac, Fleetwood Mac, The Mavericks, Mazzy Star. Shelly (sigh). The life-long friend who made me brave. Long drives, blue skies, gray skies, buoys, the horizon, the land called Honalee, the blue and white stripes of a sailboat I've loved, Norah Jones, fresh cut grass and fresh baled hay, garage sales, sunburn, freckles, blue lights, sunlight, dappled light, fading light.

George, Paul, John and Ringo.

For these people and these things, and so much more, I am thankful, grateful, humbled to have experienced, to have known in my life, to have heard, to have touched, to have loved.  In ways connected and not so connected, I have appreciated. And I have loved, so deeply, those whose hearts for at least a moment in time, beated in harmony with my own.

Oh, the gratitude I feel. How very blessed I am.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Truth - Day 9

Day 9 - Why I am quitting the 30 days of truth

Yesterday's drove me to madness, as in anger.  I wrote and wrote and wrote.  I answered the question and then kept going.  I was fuming.  Pulling all that from me and putting it onto paper (or screen) was not fun.  It also was not beneficial -- I've already regurgitated my experience with my bully to a therapist.

I can't stand quitting but when I look at the rest of the truths, I realize that the list is extreme and leaning a bit to the negative.  Worst experience, someone who broke my trust, a hero who let me down, etc.  Jeez, Thanksgiving is this week and I prefer to be thankful and happy and focusing on the good and the gratitude. 

So, I quit.  That feels good!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Truth - Day 8

Day 8 - Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like sh*t

I grew up with a bully. I was teased, thrown, tossed, dunked, pushed, pinched, tricked, threatened, bruised, abused, forced to do drugs and ridiculed by a bully.

What a bully does is steal. A bully steals your innocense, your comfort, your sleep. A bully brings fear into your life, while simultaneously bringing doubt into the minds of the adults you trust. (As it was in my case.) Bullies rarely leave a trail. The damage is
internal, mental, psychological. That damage is long-lasting.

I removed my bully from my life years ago, although on occasion I must still deal with him. And that's because he still bullies, and some of those he bullies are people I love.  And protect. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Truth - Day 7

Day 7  - Someone who has made your life worth living

Ooh, I don't like that question at all.  I don't hinge the value of my life onto a person.  I don't believe anyone should. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Truth - Day 6

Day 6 - Somthing you hope you never have to do.

I've already done it.  Twice.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Truth - Day 5

Day 5 - Something you hope to do in your life

I hope to see both my nieces and my nephew grow into successful and happy adults as defined by their standards and their goals.  I know, I'm not original in hoping something for the next generation of family.  Love makes us do that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Truth - Day 4

Day 4:  Something you have to forgive someone else for

I forgive the person or people who brought the reality show into my, your, and our lives. The result is heroes made of fools, false role models and dangerous goals... you know, all of tv-watching mankind being sucked backwards in an enormous slide.

Still, I forgive that person because of Survivor.  If it weren't for Survivor, well I would not have Elizabeth Hasselbeck.  Without her, who would I scream my liberal profanities to every day between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning?

So, yes, priorities.  And yes, forgiveness.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Truth - Day 3

Day 3:  Something you have to forgive yourself for

This is still so raw, and sad.  A year ago today, the woman who worked for my grandmother and, later, my mother, the woman who held me in her arms when I was just weeks old, the woman who I have always known and who has always referred to me as her beautiful angel baby, lost her only son.  I was devastated for my friend, holding her in my arms as her body rocked and struggled beneath the weight of her grief, driving her to take flowers to his grave and supporting her as she walked.

At the time I was focused with purpose, so focused on where I belonged.  And that was with my friend and her partner, Maria. Maria had Ovarian Cancer and it was brutally advancing its attack.  In October, she learned that the last effort treatment was not working. There were no more trials available to her, no more options.  She accepted the news with brave heart. As the days progressed into weeks, Maria's body (though never her mind or sense of humor) began to weaken and her basic needs increased.  I spent many days with Maria, many nights with her visiting family, many hours by the firepit outside with my friend.

During this time, a dear friend of my family, my Aunt Suzie, passed away.  Aunt Suzie was the last of a magnificent group of four couples, including my parents, who were lifelong friends. I was shattered to lose this last of the greats ladies from that group of eight I had known all of my life.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, Maria needed a wheelchair to get around her house.  She was becoming weaker, sleeping more, experiencing more discomfort and pain. It was excruciating to witness.  But it was deeply rewarding to be able to provide for her, to cook an egg when she was hungry or to place a blanket on her lap and take her out for a walk through her neighborhood.  Or to read to her from her favorite childood books.

I went out of town for Thanksgiving weekend.  With my nephew, my friend and room mate, and the person I was dating.  The weekend was wonderful, blissful, filled with walks on the beach, a little too much wine, warm fires in the fireplace, an over-the-top Thanksgiving dinner, and lots of laughter and comfort.  

Two things happened when I returned: On Sunday night, a good friend of mine and former colleague, died at too young an age of a heart attack. He was alone in his apartment.  His family came into town from out of state and were literally so shattered with their grief and so unfamiliar with Houston, that they had no idea where to begin for a service.  So, I planned a Memorial Service, from music to slide presentation, to program.  It was the last gift I could give to him, by helping his parents who meant so much to him.  

The second thing that happened is the person I was seeing took her mother to the doctor for a routine test on the Monday morning after Thanksgiving.  The test was botched and her mother was moved to the hospital, suddenly gravely ill.  Her daughter and son sat in bedside vigil, trading places while the other would return home, feed the dogs, change clothese and, if possible, grab a bit of sleep before returning. This went on for weeks and weeks.

But Maria's life was also weakening, and her needs increasing. I was starting to spend nights there. Although the person I was seeing and I would talk on the phone daily, giving and receiving updates on her mother and Maria, I only saw her a couple of times, once for lunch, once at Maria's memorial service and once in January when we not too joyfully exchanged Christmas gifts. 

If you've managed to read this far down in the post, then right here is where I'm going to get to the point.  I have had to forgive myself for not being there for my friend while her mother was in the hospital fighting for her life, and when her mother passed away.  It cannot be argued because the reasons don't matter. I simply was not there.  It wasn't a decision that I consciously made, choosing one over another, but something inside me told me where I needed to be, where I could make the most difference. I knew where I belonged, and that was by Maria's side, by my friend's side. I wasn't conflicted but I did feel terrible, to have two people who meant so much to me need me at the same time, and to only be there for one. 

I tell myself that I was exhausted, that I'd had too much death and witnessed too much pain and suffering.  And that is true but not reason. When Maria passed in December, there was relief that she was no longer in pain but mixed with the grief and relief, there was heated a rise of anger than she was so young at the time of her death. And that anger opened up the doors to a flood of grief that I had pushed deep down in me in order to function, from losing Paul, Aunt Suzy and Randy, from watching the bright light of Maria's life fade out. And then I discovered something. I was empty, exhausted, completely filled with sadness, loss and helplessness, and I needed to heal, I needed to retreat. 

Can you be in two places in one time?  No.  Can you wish to be in two places? Yes.

For the first time in my life, I felt that I had nothing else to give. And in giving nothing, I deeply hurt someone I cared for very much.  And that is what I've had to forgive of myself.  I won't be so trite as to say that I had to forgive myself for being human, but in my forgiveness what I learned was to accept that I have limits, that we all do.  And sometimes those limits keep us from doing what we want to do, what we should do, but we simply can not do. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Truth - Day 2

Day 2: Something you love about yourself.

This one is easy.  I don't know where I got if from, if it was my Father or my Mother or something environmental along the way but what I love about me is my eyes and ears.  They allow me to see the slightest of things and pick up on the most miniscule of changes. They allow me to be the observer that I am.  And combined, they seep into my heart.  And my heart?  It's a very positive place.

Friday, November 12, 2010


November is National Blog Posting Month and I wanted to participate, but I never signed up, and I am 12 days late anyway.  So, you know, there's that.  I do like the idea of being prompted to write, so am going with the Thirty Days of Truth that I see flying all over the internet lately.

Beginning with Day 1:  Something you hate about yourself.

When I first read this first prompt, my thought was Why start out with something so negative? And then I thought of all the hours I've spent in therapy to get through this very thing.  Because self-loathing used to have a strong hold on me. For years, I had a mental tape of negative messages that played non-stop in my mind.  In therapy I learned some of the reason for that, and I learned a great deal about self-esteem and behavior patterns developed to protect oneself, even when those patterns make no sense and actually can do more harm than good.  After comprehension came the work, and let me tell you that it is so very hard to re-wire your own way of thinking.  So. Very. Hard.  But the hard word eventually began to pay off and so in the long run, it was also very rewarding work. 

So, in answer to that question, I don't hate anything about myself.  I'm a work in progress, as are we all.  I do dislike something though and I dislike it very much.  In fact, I dislike two things.  Alas, my feet.  My very, very wide feet.  But they do get me where I need to go, and they're the only two I have.  So, like them or not, I am happy to have them.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Welcome to the world, baby girl

My nephew and his fiancee Cassie are the proud parents of Faith Nicole, born November 5, 2010 at 8:07 p.m., weighing in at 6 lbs, 15 oz., and measuring 19-1/4 inches.  She is beautiful and perfect, an awesome blessing, and oh-so-loved.


p.s.  Check out that hair!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Something wonderful this way comes

Good morning November!  Not that I enjoy leaving my beloved October, but this year, this year, I've been waiting for your arrival for months and months.  Nine to be exact.  Because you are the month that will escort the birth of my nephew and his lovely fiancĂ©e's first child.  Excited does not do justice to the feeling around here.

Yesterday, my nephew and I assembled a dresser that now stands in the baby's nursery.  While I periodically left him to do the boring parts of the assembly, I snapped some photos of my soon to be niece-in-law's ever expanding belly.  We invited him to join in some of the photos.

Look!  There's a baby in that beautiful belly!

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