Sunday, December 27, 2015

Time to Embrace My Inner Curmudgeon

Christmas in the rear view mirror is a beautiful sight.   To me, anyway.  These are the highlights I remember - a stopped up sink disposal and a darling fat mouse.  Dead mouse now.

My Christmas carrots can claim the credit for jamming the disposal. 

So, here's the family picture - Christmas eve, in the family homestead.  I in cap and scarf.  My siblings include one wife with husband, one husband with wife. A capped sister rounds it out.  That man in the middle, that patriarch I suppose, has a twinkle in his eyes, a twinkle we never thought we'd know.  It's thanks to a damsel at his new home, and not to family.  "Hey, Good lookin'.  What ya got cookin'?" she croons when she sees him coming.  "I got a hot rod Ford and a two dollar bill.  And I know a spot right over the hill. There's soda pop and the dancin's free.  So if you wanna have fun, come along with me."  he replies.

I could learn a thing or two from this man.

Hey good lookin! What ya got cookin?  I got a new set of shelves in my room downstairs.  They're pretty and white.   I know a spot in that corner for you and for me.  There's books, birds, dishes, and besides, it's free.  If you wanna have fun, come along with me.

But if you wanna come visit, you must turn around to see.   Besides my good lookin' corner, is the rest yet to be.  That mess is my basement; that mess is like me.  If you can call this visit fun, why then.  Please come along with me. 

Warning: In 2016 my curmudgeon comes out.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas is in My Heart

Eva Campbell
I feel the Peace On Earth thing this year.  For the most part I'm ditching the news.  And the drunken festivities.   And the pious rituals.  Truth be told, I prefer Christmas in my rear view mirror, with my new goodies on their way home.  But since love is one of the reasons for the season, here goes...

I feel drawn to this picture of Mary and Child.  I used to collect artwork of Mary and the babe, especially in my twenties.  I was trying to figure out 'mother love' from these pictures and figure out if I should have a baby of my own. Was she for real?  Maybe not. Did mothers really feel that tenderly toward their babies?  I didn't see a lot of mothers in Greenwich Village, doting or otherwise, and I wondered if my reaction to kids was normal. Let's just say my first instinct was to hit.  I knew any child of mine was better off staying just a spark in my lover's eye.

This has been some year.  The Year Of Unraveling.  I've just finished an online workshop with an awesome Psychologist, Dr. Jonice Webb.  (Her website is ).    Ha!  Readers!  I have found my tribe!  People suffer greatly from this malady (Childhood Emotional Neglect, or CEN).  We go through life being troopers.  Good people on the surface, but underneath trying frantically to figure how to behave normally, since our 'instincts' are way off.  Picture the duck moving placidly along.  Well, I have felt this out of sync my whole life. 

In this workshop, I saw myself in every single person who participated.  Newcomers must feel this way when they walk through the doors of an AA meeting and see others struggling with the same issues that have them by the nuts.  You can bet the people who know us well see how out of sync we are.  How empty we really feel inside.  Or maybe they don't look too closely, and so, think well of us?   Because really, how can they see deep inside us and still love us?  We hide our true feelings, and try to behave appropriately so as not to hurt people.  I mean, that's what we do - hurt people.  My mother and father thought so, and this is why they couldn't show affection for me.

For all wondering what the heck I'm writing about, here's a little test.  Below are two sets of Relationship Beliefs provided by the good Doctor.  Tell me which set you believe.

Relationship Beliefs #1:

• Sharing your feelings with others will make you look weak.
• It’s best not to fight if you want to have a good relationship.
• Sharing your feelings or troubles with another person burdens them.
• Talking about a problem isn’t helpful. Only action solves a problem.
• Sharing your feelings or troubles with another person will chase them away.
• Letting others see your weaknesses puts you at a disadvantage.
• If you let other people see how you feel, they will use it against you.

Relationship Beliefs #2:

• Letting people see your feelings usually makes them like you more. It also fosters intimacy.
• The hallmark of a strong, healthy relationship or friendship is the ability to have a conflict, process it together, and work through it together. In fact fighting is often a sign of closeness.
• Sharing your feelings or troubles with the right person at the right time does not burden them. It increases warmth and caring from the other person.
• Talking about a problem with a well-chosen person can help you get perspective, feel less burdened, sort out your feelings and thoughts, and sometimes even provide solutions
• Sharing your feelings or troubles with the right person will make him/her feel closer to you.
• Letting another person see your weakness does not put you at a disadvantage, unless the other person is the type of person to take advantage. Be aware of who you’re letting in. The huge majority of people will not take advantage.
• If you let someone see how you feel, they will know and understand you better, and that’s a good thing. The only exception to this is if they are actively trying to hurt you. Generally if there are people like this in your life, you know who they are. Do not share with them.
You believe the second list?  Bravo!  You had a great upbringing.  And you probably have an easier time making friends.  Feelings are the glue that binds two hearts. 

All this is to say, with all this introspective work I've been doing, this Christmas season I'm finally feeling how Mother Mary might have felt toward her baby.  And how her baby might have felt toward his Mom.

I'm a mess and I love you

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Flavor of the Week: Frolicking

Sometimes you meet someone who changes everything in an instant. 

Sometimes change dawns slowly, then pop!  First a red sliver.  Then a circle pops out blaring its brightness.  Inevitably its shadows come into play. 

I saw some magnificent sunrises on Kauai. 
I saw so many it's hard to pick one as the best.

There is no such thing as best.
Wherever the sun rises is magnificent.

I see now I was on a spiritual pilgrimage in Kauai.  There to lighten my outlook and support joy.  I got halfway there my first trip in April.

This time I got all the way there.  I know it might not seem that way given my last post, but the sun has to cast shadows.  Look how teeny that shadow is in my picture above.

So, what happened on this pilgrimage, this retreat called "Deep Within"? Well, here's one of the events I participated in.  A pyramid ceremony.  'Ceremony' isn't the right word, but I don't haven't a better one. 

If you can, toss skepticism aside.  And believe that God, Spirit, Divine Energy, Air, whatever you call it, wants to reach you with a magnificent message tailored just for you.  To do so, 'Air' starts you off with a silent retreat camping on the beach for three nights.  Then takes you high into Her mountains, 4000 feet above the sea, for another experience of Her energy.  There, next to cabins used by the locals hunting wild Boar, a spiritual man sets up a four sided copper pyramid.  A Lemurian crystal dangles from the pyramid's apex.  In this energetic portal, in Divine Message Central, messages come.

Realize this explanation and wording is mine, not his.   He's far more delightful and eloquent. You see him inside it in this photo.

Once sitting inside, you silence your mind's chatter and open your heart to.... a message, while he blows tones with a didgeridoo.

Yes!   The message!  It pops into mind, settles in the heart, and fills the body with ease.  What would your message be?   My message was oh so brief.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Frolics and Fumbles in Kauai

WooHoo!  Back from my second trip to Kauai this year.  Pardon the title.  I'm really going to write about Fumbles today and not frolics.  Frolicking comes next post!

To pick up where I left off in May, my summer and fall have been yummy - busy and wonderful.   I've been working my little patutty off in the garden, and delving deep and deeper into my psyche.  I felt this would have made boring copy, not to mention offend certain people as I went through my blaming stage.  I am still on my journey to make women friends.   Most women gravitate toward women!  WHY do I have such difficulty?   There is a perfectly good reason. I've been turning every key I have found in my inner psyche to uncover what seminal experience could have instilled such prejudice about women in me.  Most of the keys have opened vaults with insight goodies inside.  I got lucky.  A new key fell into my hands.  I turned this key on the enchanted Island of Kauai, and, oh-oh... it opened to a very real flashback. 

I felt, from no safe distance, the recoil of an animal struck, then pinned down, as someone who was supposed to protect me violated me instead.  Every cell in my body recoiled.  This wasn't about a man. Violations happen sometimes between little girls and their Dad.  This was between a little girl and a woman, or maybe little girls.  Maybe it wasn't my Mom.  It sure as heck was female.  This happened before my little brain could create meaning or memories, so how sexual could it have been? Yet, with that bodily certainty that flashbacks offer, I knew that safe feelings of protection were ripped from me.  I was violated by a woman.  Not a man.  A woman. 

"Otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?".  I promise, I'll get to cheerier subjects about my enchanting trip to Kauai and my summer.  This is my blog, so bear with me.  This flashback was my personal pivot point.  Woohoo!  My power is in the telling. 

So, what triggered my flashback?

A tribal ceremony. 

The other women and man really got into it.  Empowerment! Play! Giggles!

ARGH! Not me!  It's not because I don't like playing with mud and painting bodies.  I love that; I'm a gardener and artist.  If the man had painted me, I would have relaxed and giggled along with the rest of them. But women were touching and painting me.  I was freaking out with my flashback.  Feeling like an animal cornered and pinned, marked and painted for slaughter.  I didn't stop it, because I gently told myself "That was then, and this is now.  There is nothing to be afraid of."

The marks two women put on me, independent of each other, were the symbols you see here.

LOL. The life script gets a rewrite.  My mother, or whatever woman violated me, doesn't have the last word now, does she?

Monday, June 8, 2015

It's Been So Long Since I Posted...

Yes, it's me.  I've neglected you.  I'm sorry I haven't been in touch recently.  I have felt the urge to 'remove the screen' these past several weeks, so this poor blog has been my casualty.   I've only sat down to write absolutely necessary e-mails - about legal and financial stuff for my Dad.  Doing the best job I can, there.  So, even though it's me here, it's my 'new' me, the 'even more' me.  But how do I describe my new me? 

Two months ago - has it been two months? -  I traveled to Kauai.  As you all know, I was 'celebrating' ten years of my husband's passing.  Yeah, the grief was spent, but my heart was pretty much closed for all but a few people - my family and friends.  So in Kauai, my quest was to open my heart fully, to let go of all my old pain.   I mean, really, really, really old pain -  trust me, my husband's death was the mere cherry on top of that.

So.. it happened.  My heart opened.  Now I'm practicing keeping it open.  I made this journey, the 16" journey from my head to my heart.  If I'm on autopilot, my outlook might boomerang back to my head, full of why's and why not's.  Hey.  Memo to head: My heart's already won.  Nice try.

In the absence of descriptive words, I'd like to quote Jill Taylor, PhD. The author of My Stroke of Insight.  This brain scientist had a stroke that took out her left hemisphere's reasoning function, leaving only her right hemisphere intact.  Guess what's in our right hemisphere?  Abiding love, joy and peace.  We have a whole half of our brains which knows a different truth, the real truth,  about our life and purpose: To love in our own unique way.   So I am tuning into my right hemisphere as much as I can.  I highly  recommend Jill Taylor's book.  Referring to it helps me understand that love is already here  Inside me.  I am aware of it on some level.  I just have to amplify it. 

Possibly my shift hasn't been 16" from my head to my heart.  Maybe it's been mere millimeters, from my left hemisphere to my right.  My point is, my beliefs of 'Better than', 'Less than', "Survival of the fittest' simply don't exist in my right hemisphere, or in my heart.  In my head, my left hemisphere, that is, are the constructed explanations of life, made by a well intentioned young lady. Look! She's comparing herself to others.  That pretty much locks out faith in the power of love.  Ridiculous, isn't it?

My Stroke of Insight
"I view the garden in my mind as a sacred patch of cosmic real estate that the universe has entrusted me to tend over the years of my lifetime.  As an independent agent, I and I alone, in conjunction with the molecular genius of my DNA and the environmental factors I am exposed to, will decorate this space within my cranium.  In the early years, I may have minimal input into what circuits grow inside my brain, because I am the product of the dirt and seeds I have inherited.  But to our good fortune, the genius of our DNA is not a dictator, and thanks to our neurons' plasticity, the power of thought, and the wonders of modern medicine, very few outcomes are absolute.

Regardless of the garden I have inherited, once I consciously take over responsibility of tending my mind, I choose to nurture those circuits that I want to grow, and consciously prune back those circuits I prefer to live without.  Although it is easier for me to nip a weed when it is just a sprouting bud, with determination and perseverance, even the gnarliest of vines, when deprived of fuel, will eventually lose its strength and fall to the side."

Now I practice this heartful engagement:

Be here now
So I am available
Be in my body
So I am available
Open my heart
So I am available
To love

This is a mother making herself available to her own child.   This is me, providing the space within my own heart, to listen and learn from my soul so as to increase my soul's joy.  I am amazing, awesome, beautiful, no more than you, no less than you.  This is an incredible way to live.

Thanks for popping over to read.   I know your time is valuable, and I am thrilled you are reading this.  Do let me know, so I can return the favor, and pop over to visit you.

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Want to Live As If The World Already Loves Me

strolling out Hanalei Pier
I'm almost there.  I certainly feel loved and cherished inside.

I traveled 5,025 miles to Kauai with two healing intentions: to open my heart, and let the circle come round one decade later.  Reset.  Claim my freedom.  The whole experience taught me to wake up, really notice, marvel and love who I am, where I am, here, now.  I've wondered sometimes why I'm still here.  'Now' isn't an afterthought, some experience tacked on to a happy former life .  It's actually rich with meaning and purpose.  Kauai was rich with healing.   I want to tell you about one key transformation I had.  Just a few days in, my spirit willing, my head spinning with new viewpoints, I confessed my own viewpoint to a healer.  She helpfully noted that I wasn't inhabiting my own body.  Now how can someone possibly see this?  (This is where an open mind comes in handy.)  Evidently, we have energy 'auras' in and around our bodies.  Each person I worked with on Kauai could sense a person's energy aura.  I mean, we all can sense when a person's pleasant to be with, or unpleasant.  It's the energy they're putting out.  O.K. This woman said that I, my aura, appeared to be floating about a foot above my body. 

"I understand. I am!" I exclaimed when she told me.  "That's how I feel!"  Outside my body, not in it.  I describe it as being stuck outside a window, and inside people are tuning in to each other and loving each other.  "How do I get inside?".  Well, she had me lie on a waterfilled massage table.  Opening to 'whatever',  I floated gently while she did her thing.  I left that session inhabiting my body and, and let me tell you, it felt like psychic surgery had taken place.  It took a few days to feel natural staying inside my body.

Now, psychologists have long had another name for this displacement phenomenon: Dissociation.  Ha!  I've known I dissociate, but how to NOT dissociate?  I can clearly remember training myself as a kid to be outside what my body was experiencing.  I would clench my fists, choke back my tears, and resolve NOT to feel.  I trained myself to wipe out my experience, and sure enough, I recall very little of my childhood.  I lived in a home without emotional or physical safety.  I finally joined my brother in zoning out on drugs.  He took me under his wing.  He taught me that sneakiness and cunning were the tools to manage life.  I could do that!  And what of love?  Another tool in the arsenal.  At age 29, after a particularly cunning, heartless move on a hapless man, I reached my waterloo.  I prayed earnestly to learn how to love, really truly love.    Well, God loves the prayer of an earnest seeker.  My hubby entered my life within a month.   I now realize he's never left.  Not really.  He is loving me from afar.  He had everything to do with what happened next on Kauai.

This particular woman healer on was about halfway through my two week experience.  She could sense a loving male presence with me.  Now, this woman heals by transmitting love through her touch.  Pure, unconditional love.  I'd never felt it.  I'd never nestled safely in a woman's arms.  While I didn't nestle in this woman's arms on the beach in Kauai, I did lay on a beach towel, first on my back, then on my stomach, her kneeling beside me. For three hours this woman said nothing, just laid her hands on me.  She gently stroked me, transmitting love.  At first, I had trouble receiving.  Then, a sob.  Then another.  At last, after two and a half hours, I heard in the depths of my being "I want the world for you, and all the wonderful things in it.  I want you to be happy, joyous and free".  I realized this message was for me.  As all the love came rushing in, I sobbed freely.

Well, in case this sounds weird, I've included two photos.  Cropped, one taken before and one after my session with her.  Touch.  Loving touch reached me.

Tell me, do you see the difference. I see?  I've been very gentle, very careful about my activities since I returned home.  Much gardening. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hovering At The Edges. Or Is It The Center?

Mermaid café, next to Java Kai, in Kapa'a, Kauai
Have you ever said "Just hold this moment.  I want it to last." ?  This is where I find myself, first morning back, one foot in Hawaii and one foot in Connecticut.  Bags half unpacked, I simply note the conviction I returned with ~ that the unalterable basis of life is loving kindness. 

This mindset isn't something I will relinquish.  Ever.  I suppose it's something some babies feel in the arms of their moms and dads, this comfort I felt in Kauai.  Now I'm not going to pack my bags and move there, but a lot of people visit, then stay.  There's a balm in Kauai. There's something about the way the ocean wraps its arms around the tiny island that's quite comforting.

Art Café Hemingway
Each day began with breakfast in one of the   café's in Kapa'a.  One of my favorites was Art Café Hemingway's, a simple two story blue clapboard house with ample elegance inside.  Another was Java Kai, a tiny café with counter service, few tables, and lines out the door. Locals mostly.

Kauai is the first time I've ever attached to the conviction, that the basis of all life is loving kindness. Sure, I knew this comfort with my late husband, but this is the first time I've experienced it  on my own.  It's not some ephemeral feeling made up of island breezes and indulgence.  It's deeply spiritual, like my being is secure in the arms of divine love.  Now, every morning I set my intention toward this grace and ease.  From this loving attachment, all blessings flow.  It's like I can be what I've always been, a dependable warrior type, but now I am blessed with love.  Pretty cool!

  Many blessings to you! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Greetings from Hawaii

Kalalau Beach on left
Hello, dear friends!  I'm so very glad to be back with you and didn't mean to be away so long!  Sometimes, when life is in session, well, you know the story.  For two glorious weeks, I've been living on Kauai, Hawaii's magical garden isle.  Did a little hiking and a whole lot of healing.  A few days ago I was on Kalalau Trail, 4,000 feet above the Pacific.  Awesome view!  Helicopters hovered over waterfalls in the valley below.  The beach on the lower left is accessible by boat or on foot, eleven miles through the jungle and along razor thin ridges.  For the hardy and the brave.  It appears to be a rite of passage to make it there and back. 

As I'm sure you know, I travelled here to celebrate my tenth anniversary of my husband's death.  The choice made sense.  Hawaii was the last place my husband and I visited as a carefree couple.  I wanted closure, so how good to return.  Still, I was as bewildered as anybody, in calling this tenth anniversary a celebration.

Wanda and me
I decided to come with a woman I hadn't even met, based on one telephone conversation. Nothing unusual here.  Intuition's my strong suit!  I trusted that going off line, and completely immersing myself in Hawaiian healing practices, would open my heart wide again.  I signed up for it all ~ Lomilomi, the ancient traditional Hawaiian massage, aqua cranial therapy in the sea, aided by dolphins and whales, loving touch Hawaiian massage and dance,  'mamma' Kauai spirit and ancestral healing at ancient Hawaiian sacred sites, native steam room and salt scrub, didgeridoo playing, and prayer at Kauai's Stupa (Buddhist dharma center).  Central to this the transformative process is Chaka clearing (which I knew little about), as well as energy and vibrational healing (chi energy, for one).  Wow!  It is really cool to leap outside the box. 

I got a number of inner spirit messages during my time here, every one of them waking me up to the fact, that I am already all I'm supposed to be, and where I am supposed to be.  All good.  During one particular healing session, I got this very clear message, as my heart burst with love.  This is a message we all know.  Lovers feel it.  Parents.  God.

Following the salt scrub massage
I want to give you the world, & all the wonderful things in it.
I want you to be happy, joyous and free.

Kauai has blessed me.  I stand on my own two feet, grounded, safe and secure. I feel launched.  I am celebrated, and so are you.  My love from Kauai to you!  I'll be home in a few days.  Three magnificent harmonic crystal bowls are coming home with me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

When Love is In The Air...or Not

I've been unhappy these last few days.  You know I'm taking a Relationships Course online.  To discover how I am contributing to my loneliness.  I'm embarrassed about how little I understand about this 'girl friendship' thing.   Did you know, it's been proven that most women respond to stress with a 'tend and befriend' impulse?  Connecting with other women releases a soothing hormone, oxytocin.  I guess women call it hashing out their feelings and stories.  One such night happened just before Christmas at my sister's house, and I headed for bed instead.  The male gender typically doesn't head out with a gaggle of men to talk out their feelings.  No wonder I prefer men!

The Loving Relationships Course is wonderful. I'm the only single person taking it and odd, I suppose, but it's invaluable.  This is what I'm learning (besides that fact that loneliness is a human condition we all try to address):

If we try to feel good about ourselves THROUGH others, we're setting ourselves up to be lonely.  Meaning, DO NOT assign others the task of taking care of our feelings or our loneliness.  They didn't cause either.  We can believe that they do.  Who doesn't know someone who dumps her feelings on us so we will take care of them?  It's like someone is thrusting themselves into our arms, asking us to be their mommy.   We can feel the pull and our energy drain from her (or him).  It's yucky.  Well, in some ways, I'm a puller.   I want to thrust myself into someone's arms, asking them to be take care of my feelings and make it better.   And sometimes I'm the person who wants to feel powerful, like I can take care of someone else's feelings.  Dumb...

The key to happy, healthy relationships is to adore ourselves, to have an inner loop of love within ourselves, and not pull it out of others.  Emotional support pulled out of someone isn't love, it's compliance.  Emotional support freely offered is love.  Love is a gift we can only invite.

    good    day
  Learning how to deal with   

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pendants and Patience


This is a story about a pendant. Two of them, actually. Everybody must have a "What was once lost is found" story.   This is mine.

The story of this pendant really began on 9/11/2001.   I live not 50 miles from World Trade Center.   What I remember that day was the eerie silence of the sky.  The shock, the realization that the future is promised to no one.  My husband and I looked at each other and said,
"If not now, when?"

For the next two months I poured over travel guides, countries, flights, hotels, resorts.  And on January 22, 2002, we set off for Paris, then Beijing, then Australia, then Hawaii.  Around the world from west to east. We'd spend the bulk of our time in Australia - six weeks.  I asked an Australian acquaintance for recommendations.  "You must visit the opal mines!"  Wonderful idea, but easier said than done, actually.  So she referred us to a miner, and he invited us to his home in Adelaide.  In March of 2002, we learned all about opals.  Did you know that the finest opals have a flash of red deep within?  The Japanese are the biggest collectors?   We bought two with deep flashes of red.   We planned to have them set when we returned home.  Instead when we returned, we learned the future was not to be, for one of us.

In 2007, still numb from grief, and thinking about the legacy of the opals, I met a jeweler at a craft show.  She could do justice to the opals.  Together we designed two pendants, and I left her with my money and my opals. 

I had the sales slip.  I knew she lived in California.  In 2009, the first opal arrived set in gold.  It was stunning.  The jeweler also informed me she'd burned her hand badly and the second pendant could take some time.  Did I want her to return the opal? 

Now think of the stupidest answer one can give.  The worst outcome.  "No.  Keep the opal,  I can wait until you're well enough to set it".  Except that...She vanished into thin air.  No reference to her on google.  Phone out of service in 2011.  No e-mail address.  It gnawed at me.   I resolved to hunt her down in California next month, if she was even alive.  Two months ago I googled her.  The friggin woman had moved to Pennsylvania!  In 2014 she had resumed marketing her jewelry in crafts shows throughout the northeast.  There she was.  Facebook.  Website.  E-mail contact.  Still no phone number.  I blanketed her with messages.  Remember me?  Weeks went by. Now I know where she lives. 

One week ago I heard from her.
"Sorry for the delay in replying to your recent inquiry. 
I am not a frequent Facebook person so I  saw your message a few days ago.
After reading your email, I searched & searched through my studio looking for your second piece.
I recalled having completed it, and thought it had been sent to you a longtime ago.
I have found the pendant, completed per one of the sketches we had drawn.
I do have an old email I found from you in my archives, but do not have your current address.
Please send your address and I will sent the opal pendant on Monday."
This morning, finally, the opal was in my hands.  All I had to do was sign for it at my post office. 
Can you blame me for going a little ape****  on the photos?
   Good evening   
      May the stars dance in your eyes  

 Model from Tasmania, souvenir from the same trip 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Time Now!

When you've taken a siesta from posting, is it difficult for you to get back into it?  Is it for me, but I missed you so much!

Back now, caught up enough to put my feet up and chat.  And check out your blogs!

My brother had his hernia surgery.  I got to look after him for five days, a real treat for me because I adore the lad.  Dear grumpy old Dad?  Well, he was there, too.  This time his youngest daughter arrived prepared.  Soup enough for all.  Coursework to continue.  Snowshoes to try out.  Road bike and its trainer stuffed in her car and lugged upstairs into his house, beyond his prying eyes.  I got some great riding in.  In three weeks, I have not missed a day of my alternate day training schedule, and I wasn't about to miss one up there.  Snow outside, oodles of it of course, but in front of the TV upstairs I rode around the hills of Maui.  Sweet.  I tried out my new snowshoes in the serene Berkshire Hills, too.  Magical!

Dad I pretty much steered clear of.  He was wrapped up in preparations for his month long stay in a respite care facility, starting tomorrow.  He'd carefully put black tape round the hands of a small clock, so he can know the time.  He'd assembled his collections of bolo ties.  I think he should bring one, don't you?  And a sports coat, too.  This facility is full of sweet old ladies, and he may take a shining to one.  It is hard to picture him out of the house he's occupied for 70 years, but I'd like the chance.  I know every one of dad's four kids will breath a sigh of relief once he's settled in somewhere he can't get into trouble.  Rather, when he does get into trouble, it's they who will have to clean up.  The last week or so grumpy old dad has been putting us on alert.  He may just stay there more than the month we have paid for, because his house is so cluttered (NOT) he can't even find the comb he uses anymore!  I secretly hope he chooses to never leave the lap of luxury he's moving into, but as of now he's scheduled to return home before I've returned from Hawaii next month.

Oh, dear.  I started writing with the intention to catch you all up on my coursework on Loving relationships.  I will save this for another day.  Just want to say now, I'm happy to be back.

   Good Sun ny day
  After noo
  Wishing you 
What your heart desires    

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Few Days Off

I'm back at the family homestead taking care of my brother after surgery.  Will be back in a few days. 

  Have a super week, with much love 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Magnets, One End or the Other

Nothing terribly earth shattering in this weekend's topic in my Loving Relationships course.  We've probably read this stuff in some magazine or other.  However, as I'm the one who needs a checklist, I'm the one who has trouble making new friends, I'm the one who may not even want to make new friends, it is timely.

Day Four: Controlling behavior - How do You try to Control?

Do you try to control by 
  • Criticizing, judging
  • Hitting
  • Blaming
  • Being sneaky and deceptive
  • Analyzing
  • Denying
  • Debating
  • Explaining
  • Making jokes all the time
  • Giving advice
  • tsk-tsking others
  • Deflecting
  • Keeping it light and agreeable
  • Using sarcasm
  • Interrupting
  • Whining
  • Withdrawing
  • Being enlightened, a know-it-all
  • Being 'overly nice'
  • Being indispensable
  • Being invisible, blending in
  • Teaching, pointing things out without being asked
  • Hogging the conversation
  • Putting yourself, or others, down
  • Using threats
  • Sexually assaulting
  • Sexually seducing
  • Making yourself helpless
  • Needing rescue
I can't say I do ANY of these (liar, liar, pants on fire!) I mean, really, some of these behaviors can be appropriate ways to share love. It all depends on our intention.  If it's all about me, my wants, my fear, even a baby will pick up on it.  Makes me the wrong end of the magnet.

I love the way the teacher writes 'TRY to control'.   Sure, you can influence how someone behaves, but ever had any luck trying to control how someone feels about you?

The teacher goes on (I paraphrase):

1.-Some people feel loved and safe when the other person behaves the way we want them to behave.  Love means someone trying to please you.  Love means getting someone to do what you want.  Enter control

2.-Some people feel loved and safe when the other person is warm, accepting, and understanding. Love means getting people to be compassionate toward you, warts and all.  Enter control
  geesh.  I'm exhausted trying to be nice.

   Have a 

Friday, February 27, 2015


Today was as valuable as yesterday was disappointing, in my 30 day Course on Loving Relationships. 

Day 3: Fear of Intimacy

Imagine yourself in a warren with wicked female rabbits nibbling your fingers off.  You'd probably tuck your sensitive digits up your sleeve.  Now let's assume the wicked rabbits have been sewn into scarves overseas.  You're still tucking your sensitive fingers up your sleeves.  hmmm

That's what fear of intimacy is.  I admit.  The teacher didn't word it quite this way.  This course is basically psychotherapy online, so it uses phrases like Fear of Abandonment and Fear of Engulfment.  Today we got to look at our fears of intimacy.  We were asked to peel back the layers of our built-in assumptions about how the world works. Assumptions we swallowed wholesale before we even toddled our way across the warren.

If you grew up with those finger nibbling female rabbits, you lived in terror.  Today, our teacher essentially said "Hey, baby - What are you doing in that warren?  Pick up your hammer and smash our way out of it!"

So, earlier today, I spent a couple hours shattering those assumptions.  One such assumption - brown nosing.  Once absolutely necessary, to placate those females in my warren.  Now, brown nosing is not good for the soul.  By my late 20's brown nosing felt like a vortex I was disappearing into.  This vortex very much wanted me to kill myself.  I resisted, deciding not to put distance between me and me, but between my family and me.  I reached out for help. 

Enough about me.  Let's see...  What can I share about today's lesson.  "A strong, spiritually connected adult is  capable of....". Let me stop here.  Spiritually connected means not with organized religion, but with a power wiser than you, who (or which) has no agenda other than supporting your wellbeing.
... is capable of
  • Defining your own sense of worth rather than needing others' approval to feel worthy.
  • Not taking rejection, resistance and emotional distance personally.
  • Filling the inner child with love so that the child is not needy for another's time and attention.
  • Speaking the truth about not wanting responsibility for another's feelings, without resisting, attacking or distancing.
  • Taking loving care of yourself without anger or distance.
  • Taking loving action in your own behalf to ensure against engulfment.
  • Sharing love instead of trying to get love or avoid pain.
Here's an example the teacher provided of someone who is not acting from love, but from defensiveness, trying to avoid rejection.

"Jim is a very kind-hearted man and enjoys giving, but invariably he finds himself giving too much - giving himself up. In time he feels controlled, engulfed and smothered in the relationship. He starts to feel resentful about giving more than he receives and then ends the relationship. This same pattern happens over and over."

This is what happens for me with women.  I aim to not offend and end up brown nosing.  Well, no more.  This kid is speaking her truth.
    Good evening   
       Many happy      
   Dreams. Tonight   
    and every night   
P.S.  Judy's Kraut Brot was delicious. The portion I added sauerkraut to was delicious, as well.  Thank you Judy!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Kraut Brot and Love

Day Two In my Course on Loving Relationships

Not nearly as interesting as Day One's lesson.  Here's today's: We unconsciously choose people we have something in common with.  As is common emotional health.  "Like attracts Like".

O.K.  I get that.  So?

Today's lesson focuses on primary partnerships.  I get that, but feel a bit ticked off.  Please, let's get to  platonic love!  With our own gender!  What is it with me?  I love men, but I'm here to learn about friendship.  With my own gender.  Where's the confidence?  It's like I have this prejudice about women.  Like we're the version of humanity called 'men lite'.  

Women as 'Men lite'.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about THAT.  

In the meantime, I'm cooking up a wonderful recipe I learned from Judy at .  Something called Kraut Brot, cabbage and ground beef mixture tucked into a bread pocket.   Only I'm not doing the bread pocket part.  And I'm going to experiment - add sauerkraut to a small portion.  Off now, to eat!

   Good evening. 
  Eat well  
   Love well  
    Sweet dreams!   

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Needy or Not?

Today I began another 30 day Intensive Online Course about loving relationships.  If you don't mind, may I share a little of it with you?  Perhaps you may find its coursework interesting.  If not, I'll pick up on that : -). You'll see pretty pictures for a month. 

Day One of the course, is about needing each other versus being needy.  I quote:

Humans, like many other animals, need each other. We are social beings and we are not meant to be alone. We need each other for many things, such as:
  • Caring, tenderness, hugs, touch and emotional support
  • Connection, sharing love
  • Learning and growing emotionally and spiritually
  • Companionship - sharing fun and laughter, play, adventure and everyday life
  • Love making
  • Physical help when needed
  • Having our back - creating a sense of safety through support

  • We thrive when we feel connected and supported by each other, and we suffer when connection and support are not available. We have these needs as babies and we never lose them.

    When we abandon ourselves by not taking responsibility for our own feelings of self-worth and well-being, we become needy. We are needy when:
  • We don't take physical care of ourselves - eating badly, not exercising, and not getting enough sleep - and then become sick and dependent on others.
  • We avoid attending to our own feelings with various substance and process addictions - alcohol, drugs, food, TV, sex, spending and so on.
  • We choose not to learn and grow emotionally and spiritually, not to pursue our passions, and not to help others, therefore becoming empty inside. When we are empty within, we might expect others to fill us with their attention, love and approval.
  • We see ourselves as victims, blaming others or God for our current circumstances.
  • We judge ourselves harshly, which is the opposite of loving ourselves. Self-judgment creates the inner emptiness that leads to neediness.
  • End of quote. This quote will set destruct in 24 hours, to maintain the privacy of its source.

    The question for all students " Why do you want to be in relationship?"

    My answer:

    "I want to be in a relationship, because I want to feel that circle of love, where each person responds to the other with compassion in all sorts of ways, from helping out, to playing, to being attuned emotionally, laughing, comforting, speaking our truths.  After reading today's topic, I recognize myself as being needy and insecure nowadays, like I don't fit in.   I'm a widow, and I feel like the flapping loose end of a cord that once circled round.  I've had a deeply satisfying marriage and I am not interested in another partner, but I do want to replicate this comfortable intimacy with women friends.  Yet I find making friends with women  so very challenging.  I have made authentic connection online in forums, and in blogs. Yet in 'real life'  I've met either women with little need or time for establishing new friendship, or else very needy women who cling to me.  I am neither someone's fallback, nor last resort, nor rescuer, nor wingman in a mating quest. The question "Why be in a relationship?" is a good one.  My answer:  for comfortable and joyful intimacy.  But, and this is a big BUT, it appears I have mommy issues (eye roll)"

        Good evening  
         to all     

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    Daily Dose of Goodwill

    I figured my new habit - breakfast at the Diner first thing every day - would take some getting used to.  Skipped a beat posting here, yesterday.  After breakfast, my plumber came to look at my broken kitchen heaters.  The first stopped working in December, the second last week.  Both need replacing.  However, the underground water supply for my boiler would surely freeze when the water's turned off to do the work.  So we wait for spring.  In the meantime, one heater does its best to keep that half of the house warm.

    Paperwork filled the rest of my day.  I sat down to write last night, but...

    Yesterday was awkward. 

    Today, I altered my new routine a smidge.  I had my first cup of coffee at home.

    Breakfast report
    6:15 a.m.  Up.  -5 degrees out.
    6:45 a.m.  Pause for jogger before turning out my driveway.  Beet red face, he has.
    7:00 a.m.  Diner.  I recognize three patrons from yesterday.   I wish all hello, settle in with coffee and my New York Times. I try the special - 2 eggs, French toast, home fries, bacon, without the toast that comes with it.  With tip it's under $10.   Chats for free.  I pass along my newspaper as I leave.

    A daily dose with good will first thing.  Stay warm, my friends. 

                   Good  morning!                 
     Wishing you much happiness today  

    Sunday, February 22, 2015

    Switching it up


    I'm one happy pup. 

    6" of snow last night.  We were only supposed to get 3".  When I awoke, I decided to be sensible.  Eat breakfast here.  Blow the driveway clean.  Sit down, enjoy the coffee, take a few pictures for today's post, play with color, read a few blog posts.  Wail on one of them: "With him gone, it's like someone hit my mute button.....    Thank God for the internet!  At least I can un-mute myself here."

    Hello there... the Un-mute button!  My little spirit of adventure can be un-muted.  Let's drive over 6" of snow to the diner! 

        All of us have wonders hidden in our breasts,            only needing circumstances to evoke them.    
    (Charles Dickens)
    - from The Painter's Keys Resource of Art Quotations. Free at

    I returned from breakfast totally invigorated. And played with my cool snow blower.  Memo to all: This kiddo's routine is switching.  Diner breakfast: 6:30 a.m.  Then sit here, write, or get on my bike, or, or, or. 

      G oo  D  
        m oo n I N g
      Have an
      Un u s u A l
       DD A !!  

    Friday, February 20, 2015


    There's only one word to sum up my feelings today.  Grateful.  Grateful.  Grateful. 

    My Dad has begun packing for his month long stay at the nice respite home, even though it's two weeks off.  My brother is asking people to drop in on him while he's there.  Most of Dad's kids are in the doghouse for abandoning him, but luckily the one who's not lives close by.

    My brother's wife bears the brunt of Dad's ire, and she is entering her reward today. Flying off to sunny California to be wrapped in the arms of her son and bride to be.  Only five weeks to W day, the reason for this tempest in the teapot!  Oh!   The bruises....

    Yesterday was wonderful.  I installed a second cable box for the TV in front of my treadmill.  I've been staring at that blank screen for years.  Sure, I can watch DVDs, but I cannot wrap my head around a plot line and huff at the same time.  Give me CNN!  The weather channel!  My little project took two trips to the cable store, one telephone call with tech, and four hours to set up.  I'm looking forward to running today!

    Off I go now to breakfast and errands.  My brother is visiting tonight, after he drops his wife off at JFK.  Hooray!  Hooray!  Hooray!

       Good morning sunshine! 
     Those of us in minus temps  
      heart  warming day  
         And the rest of you -      

    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    Who Can Predict?

    1994 - proud parents of a new camper and truck
    Miracle of miracles, my father did an about face yesterday, and 'came up' with the idea of staying at the nicer respite facility for a month.  Oh man!  It takes a village to help someone age with dignity.  As  his visit there gets closer, we're lining up phone calls and visits from people he respects, to reassure him.

    I'd penned this post before I learned this  good news. It's my little story about the folly of planning and predicting...

    When I was first widowed, a man, a friend of my husband, helped me out.  How this all came about was ass backward.

    This man was a hot shot in the mergers and acquisitions world of New York.   My late husband and he had met 24 years ago, in a basement room where folks who have messed up bad meet.  This man had arranged a daily morning meeting with the local church because weekly meetings elsewhere were just too, well, weekly.  The church was close, ultra convenient for my husband.  He went daily until three days before he died.

    This man annoyed the heck out of my husband.  Full of advice, which is a complete no-no at these meetings. While my husband didn't share the confidences of attendees, I did hear plenty about the personalities.  Would you believe, years later, I would learn that my husband had annoyed the heck out of him, too?

    I didn't know the guy.  About a year before my husband died, he lent this guy our truck.  He needed it to move something.  Oh, it was O.K. our camper was strapped in, like you see in the picture.  He borrowed it for a few days.  Then he decided to park it in a parking garage for cars only.

    I was livid. At my husband for lending the truck to this idiot!  Livid because he didn't call the insurance company to replace the crushed camper.  Instead he made an arrangement with the guy - his counseling services in lieu of payment.  His what??? From this guy?  Yes, whether I liked it or not.  This is the deal my husband struck - this fellow would meet weekly with his soon-to-be widow for a year.  After that, she could decide when she no longer needed his counseling.

    My husband knew something I didn't.  In the fifteen years he and my husband had irritated the heck out of each other, they had also helped transform each other from self-seeking, self-centered addicts into loving husbands and friends.  This man had transitioned out of the dog-eat-dog world of Mergers & Acquisitions, into the dog-feed-dog world of counselling.  He was now chaplain at a local hospital.

    By the end of our first counseling session, I'd forgiven this man for weaseling out of payment for a new camper.  We met weekly.  He listened and bound my wounds.  His imprint remains.  I am indebted to him.

    Who can predict?

       Good morning!  
       Every day something 

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Too Little Time

    Busy day today.  Want you to know I wish you a good day, bright sky and warmth in your heart.

      G o o D
    M O R   N g

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    When Parents Know Less and Less

    You know when we're kids and our parents know everything?  We wake up to the fact they don't, say about age 11.  What about when dear old dad never wakes up to the fact he doesn't?

    I rallied my first conscious thoughts this morning to step into that mind of his and walk around a little.  Of course this is all hypothetical, but if the profilers on detective TV shows can do it, maybe I can too.

    Dear old dad is resisting a temporary move - temporary!!! - into a respite care facility while his live-in caregiver, his son, attends his own son's wedding in California.  We're all going, that is, everyone except Dad.  He doesn't want to go.  He doesn't want his son to go, either.  Considering Dad will have no live-in caregiver during our absence, that is, live-in caregiver he can't fire, we're giving him the choice between two really nice assisted living homes, one 20 years old, the other 150 years old, give or take a decade.

    Sound good?  You know his answer.  I'm fine.  I can take care of himself.  Uh, huh.  We're well past the option of making him believe the nice short term stay is his grand idea. His trust in our love and motives is just about shot.  Besides, we're his children.   Parents always know more than their children.  So he flip flops. We've got our team slowly circling, all shepherding him into Place A or Place B, not Place C - home.  Eldercare services, his lawyer, his doctor, his financial manager, is eldest daughter, his youngest - me, another daughter, his son, his daughter-in-law, all of us.  The fact is, he cannot be trusted by himself in his own home.   Yet we very much want to stop short of forcing him to take this vacation. 

    So this morning I took my hypothetical walk through his mind to understand him.  Dad knows himself to be a repair man.  Only he hasn't successfully repaired anything by himself in years.  Don't tell him that.  He is repairman extraordinaire.  Truth is, the eyesight, the coordination, the strength, the keenness of mind isn't there.  But he won't talk and he won't listen.  He blames the hot water for being too hot, when he could simply turn on the cold water tap and mix the two.  He ditches his walker the minute he's alone to climb the stairs to take a shower. He falls sometimes, typically doing just that.  He 'repairs' his catheter's attachments because all of them are poorly designed, and regularly spills urine on his bed.  He tried to repair the refrigerator by flipping it over.  He tried to repair a broken dial on the electric stove without turning the electricity off.

    Goodness, I'm way past my 15 minute time limit for posting, going on an hour.  (I've been doing that a LOT lately.)

    To conclude... I've been thinking lately about the Fixed mindset and Growth mindset.  This morning I applied them to his situation.  Fixed mindset, when we know ourselves as an unalterable blueprint, wonderful, wretched, whatever.  Growth mindset, when we know ourselves to be potter's clay and we the potter, with input, of course.  We and we alone get to transform ourselves into the next grander version of ourselves.  That's fine, but what about when the next version of ourselves cannot possibly be grander?  This is where my little walk through my Father's mind leaves me.  My Dad is lost in his grand version of himself.

       Good morning!  
      And who are you this fine day?   

    Monday, February 16, 2015

    Shades of Vulnerability

    A balmy -3 here.   So very grateful for my warm house and oil delivery just now.  As I watch squirrels nibble their nuts and birds flock to my feeders, I marvel that God designed we humans naked, totally vulnerable to such cold. 

    It's not my body that's shivering; it's the interior of my heart that is.  It's like a grenade went off inside after reading another blogger's post about the movie and book '50 Shades of Gray'.  Oh, No!  Bondage appears to be going mainstream.  Of course this sane person is a little concerned.   So far I've stayed far far away from the book and only read one review of the movie.  I took heart that people laughed at the movie's end, when the lights were turned on.  You think people might be embarrassed about being seen watching this movie?  I do hope so!  God forbid there be gaggles of giggling girls running off to the nearest *** shop to buy those cute little pink fur-lined hand cuffs.  Memo to them: Life offers lots of ways to degrade our humanity without being handcuffed to a bed post.

    My heart is scared and angry some idiot - a woman! - moved the goal post to smutland and the mainstream worldwide is following.  Okay, okay, smutland's been around for centuries - ever since men's little guy got bored.   Nowadays, boredom may be part of it, but it's not only boredom that's moving the goalpost nowadays.  It seems to be our increasing difficulty with emotional vulnerability.  Naked *** has always offered circumstances too tender, too vulnerable for some hearts to tolerate, whether love or recreation is involved.  So it's little surprise that the recreational *** movement, inside and out of marriage, is pushing the envelope to produce fireworks.  Is it safer?? Easier?? for physical vulnerability to titillate than emotional vulnerability?

    When did our impulse to connect get so scary that we choose to divert it toward dehumanizing  intimate connections?  And what role has our increasing texting and online life had?  I wonder if acclimating ourselves to self revelation online feeds our fear of face to face connection.  I see online sharing as a necessary bridge, but it is mighty tempting to make it our only venue for sharing emotionally vulnerable stuff.  And then using face to face contact for the kinks, to divert us from taking each other to heart, then weeding out what hurts.  Give me Heart!

      Good Morning! 
     Wishing you a heartwarming day 

    Sunday, February 15, 2015

    What's In Your Mind today?

    Life is good.  My very own snow globe has come to life the other side of my glass door.  I am doing the sensible thing and not going on my merry adventure to my favorite Diner. 

    Thank you so much for your comments yesterday to my question "How do you do this platonic love?".  One answer - It's the most natural thing in the world.  Second - I don't know.

    I'm signing up for both courses LOL.

    I'm 40 pages into this great book "Mindset".  I never would have ordered it, since it's a self-help book, but my journey has benefitted from words wiser than my own.  So when my teacher recommended it, I opened its cover and started reading.  Its author, Carol S. Dwerk, Ph.D., is a psychologist and researcher at Stanford University, and her prose is pithy and accessible.  First, she notes that the way we approach anything is key to our satisfaction.  No matter our age or circumstances or goals, when we approach them believing our endowments, intelligence, personality, abilities, and circumstances are a given, we are coming from our fixed mindset.  So the gal who believes she has two left feet will stay off the dance floor.  When we believe our endowments and circumstances are quite malleable and just require that delicious thing called 'effort' to alter, we head to the dance floor to learn how to dance.

    Each of the answers above came from the growth mindset. It's perfectly natural to make it up as you go along.  It's perfectly O.K. to not know how.  I love you guys!

    If life were a river, and the mind our abode, a fixed mindset would be the house on the riverbank with its curtains drawn and the TV on.  The growth mindset would be the boat with oars.

      Have an interesting day!