This is not the best picture in the world. It's as close as my camera on the longest zoom could get. I discovered, however, if you click on the actual picture you get a much clearer view of this singer who sounded like a bird version of Pavarotti.
I think I've seen this guy on the bird feeder. If I had to guess I'd say he's not very old. His head feathers stand up like a mohawk. Do birds use mousse?
Enjoying Spring, and hoping you are too.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
This is not the best picture in the world. It's as close as my camera on the longest zoom could get. I discovered, however, if you click on the actual picture you get a much clearer view of this singer who sounded like a bird version of Pavarotti.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Almost every day I drive by this pond. Usually there is this big grey goose sitting on the bank, or floating serenely soaking up the afternoon sun.
The pond is along side of the much traveled road. In order to take a picture I have to drive past, park in a nearby parking lot then walk back. I knew this is where I'd find a reflection picture, I just didn't want to go to the trouble.
As I drove by yesterday, I saw a turtle. A BIG turtle. Well, not tortoise size, but bigger than the ones I've seen in my neighborhood. Big enough to spy as I drove by at 30 mph. He was taking a dirt bath! Flipping dirt up over his back and getting it everywhere but his back!
That was all I needed to finally take action. I went to the Post Office then headed back to the pond with my camera. I wasn't gone 10 minutes, but there was no turtle in sight. And the goose wasn't there either. Just me and these glorious clouds reflected in the scummy water. The trees are so clear I had to look twice to see if they were reflection or the real thing.
Not a bad picture if I do say so myself!
I think I am nearing the end of the scavenger hunt. I still need to capture a "Delicious beverage" and then I'll be done. I had the perfect opportunity last week, but Sweetie had my camera. I was at Paneras and this lady ordered something that looked cold and frothy and layered with fruit. It came with a straw and a big domed lid so not to smash the whipped cream. Yup, that would have been the perfect picture with which to culminate the scavenger hunt.
Thanks to Susan Boyle, of recent British Idol fame, the word "gobsmacked" has become part of my vocabulary. It's not an every day word yet, but it's fun to say. I didn't really even know what it meant, so I looked it up. To be honest I was a little surprised to find it in the dictionary. But there it was right in between gobshite and gobstopper! Dictionary.com defines gobsmacked as "utterly astounded."
I was having a conversation the other day with one of my favorite people. She told me about meeting someone new. In her words, shortly after he "chatted me up" we exchanged "contact information." "I'm gobsmacked!" she said with a smile in her voice that's been a long time coming.
As I talked to her I realized that even though the language of romance has changed (chat me up?????) the feeling of connecting with someone on an intimate level must go back to the days of Adam and Eve in the Garden. There's nothing like those brand new moments of a relationship when the brain chemicals of boy and girl react to the sights and sounds and smells of something exciting and inticing.
Well, there is really. While love is intense in its newness, it can be just as powerful in its longevity. I love it when I see old people together who have been married for more years than I've even lived. Their familiarity is every bit as tangible as their original feelings once were.
I've seen pictures of my mom and dad on their honeymoon. The love that sparkled in their eyes was palpable. On the other hand I remember many years when that love seemed to have vanished and the hole that it left behind had to be navigated with precision. Life is hard and takes its toll on relationships. But the ones that last, that can weather the storms, leave those same two lovers looking into each others' eyes with something far more intense. When I look at the picture of my parents on their final anniversary before my mom passed away, I still get goosebumps at the way they looked at each other. There was more in the look that passed between them than words could ever say. But if I had to pick a word, I think "gobsmacked" would work.
I want to make it to that stage in my relationship with Sweetie. I want our shared hopes and dreams and trials to add to the brightness of the light that was lit when we first "exchanged contact information."
However, in all honesty, I kind of miss feeling "gobsmacked." I know its not a feeling that lasts. I know every new relationship will move beyond the everything-is-wonderful stage. It will move forward to something more permanent, or it will fall by the wayside. What makes astounding astounding is it's brevity is it not? After a while, astounding is will probably turn into a ho-hum kind of thing. That's not a bad thing, it's how love works.
Still, every now and then I watch Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond and I imagine my man saying, "you wanna suck face?"
I hope I don't respond with something stupid like, "not right now, I've got dishes to do." And that's what I think feeling gobsmacked is all about. Stopping what you're doing at any given moment to smile about something your Sweetie said or did, to send an e-mail, or text that lets the other person know you're thinking about them, to lose yourself in dreams and what ifs, to enjoy the chemistry. To believe in fairy tales and happy endings.
If it's true, as stated by Amanda Cross, that "romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze," my hope and prayer for all of us is that we'll feel gobsmacked today by love.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
She also told me she doesn't like to have her picture taken anymore because she's always surprised at how old she is! When I asked her if I could could take her picture she said, "I didn't shave this morning" but smiled right away.
I told her I was glad to know that people in their 90's still know how to smile. She said she's still pretty happy and finds things to smile about all the time. She's in a Corn Cob band and invited me to a concert. Said she plays the funnel! God bless her.
When I'm an old woman, I won't need to wear purple if I have a hat and a cane like these.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"Today we celebrate Earth Day.
When I think of Zubin, my mind goes immediately to his love of nature, of being surrounded by outdoorsy things. Kayaking, riding a bike down a coastal highway, photographing trees, playing soccer, driving through Mexico in a VW bus, gazing at the stars. All of those things have an earthy element to them, don't you think?
Zubin's body was confined to a wheelchair in the last ten years of his life, but I don't believe his mind or spirit were ever limited. Was that part of his tragedy or his legacy? Zub seemed to bloom where he was planted. Sure he would have loved for his life to be different. We all did. For years we prayed that we'd wake up and the nightmare would have a different ending. We all knew there was so much more he could have been and done. Yet, as if he was participating in the Mehta version of Extreme Hearts, Zub played the hand he was dealt and met his daily challenges head on.
It's a toss up whether I'm going to cry or laugh when I remember Zub. Losing him too soon still hurts. But thinking of his wry sense of humor, that twinkle in his dark brown eyes, and his ability to touch people on a soul level only serves to make me smile and to try harder to thrive in spite of the difficulties that come my way.
Knowing Zubin was like sitting at the foot of a master teacher. Listening and wanting to know more. He was an old soul too soon gone but long remembered.
Happy Earth Day.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
As you know I follow several different blogs. It's like a habit - once you get hooked, it's hard to break it! But there are so many cool people out there writing and posting pictures and sharing ideas. The blogosphere has become my little corner of the world. Sweetie commented recently that we had kind of stopped talking to one another and I had to ask myself if I'm turning away from the spoken word with people I know, or am turning to the Internet for relationships and the written word. When I told my love, "if you want to know what I'm feeling read my blog," I realized I might have crossed over a line. I'm going to have to watch myself.
---This morning something happened that really, really pissed me off. That dear sweet man who I wrote so lovingly about yesterday set my blood to boiling. It wasn't intentional, I know that. But it threw me into a snit that could only be cured by crawling back into bed, clenching my fists and counting to a million. Eventually I loosened my hands. I had an immediate vision of the "alien invasion" Molly wrote about in her blog last month. She took pictures of funny looking, indeed a bit alien-looking, buds as they gradually grew into something called a Cinnamon Fern.
The comparison, I'm trying to make here may be pretty far fetched. As I released my hands stiff from lack of blood - from squeezing so hard - I knew my anger was going to evaporate also. I realized I spend a lot of my life either holding my breath waiting for something bad to happen, or clenched in anger which in essence is fear. I've got to remember the alien ferns. That as they let themselves unfurl from the tight bud, they become green leaves that move with the wind. They are tolerant. They bend. Good lesson from the blog world don't you think?
There's another blog I found when jumping from one of my favorites to one of their favorites kind of like blog hopscotch. It is called The Soaring Impulse, written by a young Australian doctor who travels to Africa to treat what most would consider the un-treatable. His posts never fail to move me, either by his words or his photos. This morning he wrote about taking a small group of kids from the hospital out into the world to see the animals their country is known for - to not mention ice cream. One of the little ones hopes to see a giraffe.
[An aside: I embarrass myself when I admit I assume that little kids who live in Africa have seen all the animals we go to the zoo to get a good look at. That's a little like assuming everyone in America lives in the promised land. ]
Anyway, as you will read if you go to The Soaring Impulse for April 14, the chances of seeing a giraffe are pretty slim. I wasn't on the trip but as I looked at the pictures I found myself feeling as excited as those beautiful children. The ending is something that can only be described as God Winking. It's a bit like watching that U-Tube video of the English lady singing the Dream song from Les Miserables. I just want to start clapping!
Which leads me to one last Random Thought. Sweetie was regaling me with the first few pages of his birthday book. As it turns out, the title is When God WINKS - not blinks as previously stated.
When I went to the bookstore, a veritable candy store to this bibliophile, I also treated myself to a new book - Anam Cara by John O'Donohue. It was an unneeded purchase to say the least, as I already have a precariously tilted stack of books next to my bed, but I was curious because of another blogger's post. Let's face it when it comes to books and chocolate I have no willpower.
I must go talk to the humans and the dog. It's looking Springy outside so I may even opt to talk to the birds and plants.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Today is my Sweetie's birthday. I'm learning that even men who profess to be too old for celebrations, too grown-up for presents, and too worldly for songs sung in their honor love to be treated to all the pomp and circumstance that a birthday brings with it.
Last night we celebrated with Father/Brother Georges whose birthday was on the 13th. [Photo L: Can a priest have too many bottles of Ouzo?] We split the difference and went out together for the traditional gorging of ourselves. Good food, good company, not so good birthday pie. What's that song, 2 out of three ain't bad? The boys said the pie (which I made, not the restaurant) had just the right amount of tartness, but I translate that into it was way too sour. An hour after I ate a piece my mouth was still puckered. As far as I'm concerned, it was a good thing we were so stuffed on roast beast and not so hungry for dessert.
[Photo: Apple pie looking a lot better than it tasted!]
Sweetie asked for two things in particular - a black out sleep mask and a book. The mask is to wear, not when he's sleeping, but when he's talking on the phone with a client. He says it will help him envision the person he's talking to, thus being able to coach with no outside interference. Sweetie is much more focused than I am. Once I put on that mask, I'd be in sleep city for sure. [ Photo R: Sweetie practicing deep concentration. Or is that sleep? Definitely not the best angle! In reality Sweetie is NOT as broad as the desk behind him.]
[Photo L: This is also not the best photo of Sweetie - he has a bit of a deer in the headlights look. With his beard and tropical shirt, I think he is channeling Ernest Hemingway. This picture might be similar to those taken of E.H. after a good night's toot.]
When God Blinks, by Squire Rushnell, is a book recommended by another coach. I think it is along the lines that there are no coincidences in our lives. Sweetie is excited about reading it. I'm sure I'll hear more about it as he reads. Stay tuned. I'll share.
Sweetie gets a morning greeting from tut.com. This morning he got a personalized birthday note that I wish I'd written first. It says so well what I believe about birthdays - that it is a day set aside for each of us to stop and take note of our unique place in this universe. All of us are pretty caught up in the busy-ness of living and working and coping. I believe on at least one day a year, we should stop, celebrate ourselves (and let other celebrate us too) and take stock of all that we are and all that we are yet to be. Like Spring cleaning, we can chuck our old fears, resentments, "shouda, woulda, coulda's" so we're better able to move forward, in gratitude and love, to the place we want to be.
Here's a part of Sweetie's Tut blessing:
"A few years back ... not so long ago, heaven and earth erupted into a major celebration with the news of your impending adventure into this very times and space. You see, someone like you doesn't come along all that often ... in fact, there's never been a single one like you, nor is there ever ANY possibility that another will come again. You're an Angel among us. Someone, whose eyes see what no others will EVER see, whose ears hear what no others will EVER hear, and whose perspective and feelings will NEVER, ever be duplicated. Without YOU, the Universe, and ALL THAT IS, would be sadly less than it is. "
It ends with a P.S. "This is going to be YOUR year!"
Good Golly Miss Molly, that just makes me want to get up and do the happy dance!
When Sweetie was born he weighed just barely over 4 pounds. His father was almost 60 years old and his mother fighting demons that took most of her strength. Sweetie had two older brothers who were mostly grown and out of the house during his childhood. He pretty much raised himself. As a young boy, when he should have been playing ball, he watched as his mother was carted off to mental hospitals with no explanation. He watched as his father struggled with a burden that seemed to heavy to carry. He watched and internalized. There were aunts and uncles and cousins to fill in a few of the gaps, but mostly he was left alone to try to make sense in a world that seemed out of control.
One of his brothers died way too young from TB. Another committed suicide. It's no surprise that my Sweetie has had difficulties forming and maintaining relationships. But it may be a surprise that he's come to a time and place in his life where he's opened his heart to other people. He shares what hasn't worked for him and what might work for others. When he's standing in front of a group of people talking about relationships he is, in my opinion, in his glory. Lately he's been working with middle and high school students - "losers" as they've been labeled. I think Sweetie is very brave to stand up in front of kids who act like they aren't even listening, smart ass kids like he used to be, and say something similar to the birthday blessing above.
Sweetie has a pretty hard exterior, but inside he's all soft and squishy. He loves like there's no tomorrow because he's learned some tomorrows never come. Oh, he's made mistakes along the way. Who hasn't? But he hasn't quit trying to find a better way.
I met this man I call Sweetie at a time in my life when I was ready to start living again. My mom had died, my dad recovered from hip surgery. I had been divorced a long time, I wanted to love and be loved in that special way. I opted for the Internet and was on my way to closing even that door when I got a great note from a guy who left me asking for more. One thing led to another and here we are. Coincidence? I don't think so. I'm guessing it was more like God blinked.
Happy Birthday, Sweetie. I love you to infinity and beyond. May God bless you with abundance, and joy and His perfect peace.
1. It's Sweetie's birthday. More later.
2. It's tax day. I got mine done at the last minute and send off a hefty check. It will be nice if it is returned to me in the form of some kind of stimulus package. My sister, Judy, is a hard-working CPA. We rarely see her from the beginning of the year til today. She is overworked and tired. Let's all heave a collective sigh that at midnight tonight she'll be able to go home and get a little rest. Not much because people who play with numbers for a living, have a constant supply of late returns to file and deadlines to meet.
3. It's sheep shearing day at Bedlam Farms. If you go to http://blog.bedlamfarm.com/ and click on Farm Journal you will get a photo log of the day's happenings. The father/daughter team of shearers arrives around 2pm to start the de-wooling process. But from what photos that have already come across my computer the Jon and the dogs have been up early in preparation for the fun. Oh how I wish I could be there to watch. But following the blog is the next best thing!
May the day bring you glorious moments of pure joy,
P.S. I have discovered that sheep are always smiling. Look at some of the close ups of Katz's sheep and see what I mean. It makes me smile to see them smile!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
I had a friend who was always telling me, "it's a matter of perspective." At the time I thought it was pure wisdom, but now, for the life of me, I can't even remember what he was talking about!
In a recent blog, Terri St. Cloud wrote about making lemonade from lemons. In regards to a slight screw up with an order she'd made, Terri wrote:
I'm reminded of a really dark time in my life. I coped as best I could, but eventually downed a couple bottles of OTC sleep aids. My thought was not so much to kill myself as to have the freedom to lie down and go to sleep til my pain was over. I know, it doesn't make much sense and it didn't make sense then either, but I was hurting and was oh so tired.
A peaceful sleep is not exactly what happened. I did not get to take a 20 year nap and wake up like Rip Van Winkle. Instead I ended up in a hospital throwing up in a bucket, scared and embarrassed. Then I had to face my husband and try to explain. I don't think we said anything to my kids. I learned well from my family of origin how to side-step, forget to mention, and/or ignore the elephant in the living room.
A day or so after this incident I was still feeling pretty wounded, but there was an official-must-attend function my husband and I got dressed up and went to. Yup, I bucked up. I presented a happy face. I played my part. In the course of a conversation with a guy with lots of gold stars on his shoulder, the subject of my husband's next tour of duty - I think it was a ship on the other side of the country that was readying for a long deployment - came up. I might have complained but I doubt it. Regardless, the Admiral, looked me in the eye and told me "sometimes, Mary, you have to make lemonade out of lemons."
Depression is often defined as anger turned inward. For weeks after that tete-a-tete I saw red at the very mention of lemons. (I did, however, make a lemon merange pie for said Admiral. I've often wondered if he ever got the dig.)I quit contemplating suicide and enjoyed plotting murder. It took years for me to get over it.
I'm glad to say that I've made friends with most of my demons, and lemons. (I just noticed there is only one letter difference between demon and lemon! Ha!) Today I was even able to agree with and really "get" what Terri was saying. Plus, with lots of hindsight, even what the Admiral was saying, even though I still think he said it with little tact or compassion.
Aren't most things easier to swallow with a little bit of sugar? Or put another way, perspective?
Sorrow commented on a recent post, "I love the quote "perspective, USE it or lose it"! I agree, I like it pretty well too. But mostly I like being in a place where there is perspective, rather than a big black cloud hanging overhead making everything look bleak.
Here's one more quote for those who can handle it. I don't know if it was before or after she went to prison, but I actually heard Martha Stewart say on her TV show, "When life gives you lemons, make Lemon Mint Risotto." I guess she's done that and more with her share of life's lemons.
My prayer for you today: if you should find yourself surrounded with lemons, enjoy their sunny yellow color, their fresh smell and tangy taste and while you're at it, try teaching yourself to juggle.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I went to writing group, Dad got breakfast, the nurse came 10 minutes after I got home. It was rather good timing if I do say so myself.
I do have to admit that halfway through my stinging writing critique the thought crossed my mind that I didn't need to leave the house for this! But don't get me wrong. The women in my group are really, really good writers, and way smarter than I am. That's the truth not a put down to me. What I had thrown together as a fluff piece was read much more seriously than I imagined. What I learned, and thats the whole point isn't it, is that writing isn't just about putting words together so they sound good. If it's not coming from my own experience, then I better have a well-defined point of view and do some research to back me up. Writing about a marketing boardroom is so far out of my league that the joke seemed obvious to me. Oh well, live and learn.
Hopefully next time Dad throws his hook out with a big fat juicy worm on it, I'll be so full of chocolate chip cookies that I won't even want the bait, let alone go after it.
Learning - slowly,
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I can't say I was as much of a Seals follower, as say my man John Denver, but there are two or three of his songs that make my toes tap when they come on the Country Classics Radio station my father listens to when he's napping. Trisha Yearwood sings, "the song remembers when."
When I hear "I want to bop with you baby," I am transported in time. I am immediately in my living room in San Diego, dancing with my daughter, trying hard to remember the dance steps I learned in a line dance class (I don't think Im telling tales out of school if I say we are both a little rythmically challenged). We turned the music up loud and let ourselves become one with the music. We were in sync not just with the music, but with each other. We even got to where we could turn right or left at the same time.
There are a couple other songs, from the same album I think - The Best. Meet me in Montana is a duet sung with Marie Osmond. Let's face it, it's a corny song. Pretending you're Marie Osmond is not something most people would admit to. But when you are driving down the freeway, all by yourself and singing a song about long lost love, well just about anything goes. There is also a song on the album - One Friend - that I remember singing with longing. Funny, I don't recall who I was longing for! These are the words that used to make me long for more, but now I know I can count on Sweetie to be that someone...
I wonder why it is that then and now, I still look to others to cheer me on, even if I've just moved a mountain. Is that an "it takes a village" mentality or just me being needy?
I know this may be little bit weird, but I have started a list of my favorite songs. That's not weird, but what is is that I'd like the songs to be played at my funeral. I want people to listen to the songs and hear the "soundtrack of my life." Here's one. It says what I'd like to say to the people I love, but says it so much better than I ever could:
I know I spend way to much time thinking about not being here when I should be making a mark on the world instead of leaving songs. Still, you never know.
Excuse me .... this is about remembering Dan Seals not me.
I'd like everyone reading this to STOP !!! Click on this site, turn up the volume and enjoy this tribute to a man and a dance. If you are able to sit there without your feet doing a two-step of their own making, I suggest you are working to hard.
Here's to memories and blessings,
Monday, April 6, 2009
I said: I won't be here. I've got my writing group.
He said: Call her back and reschedule it.
I said: Why? I don't think I need to be here. We discussed this when she was here last week. We all agreed I didn't need to be here.
He said: Well, I thought you wanted to be involved.
I said (rather incredulously): That was below the belt.
He said: I don't know what you're talking about.
He said: Call her back and schedule for 9:30.
I said: I will, but why does it have to be a problem.
He said: You were pretty short with me.
I said: You were pretty short with me. Why would you say I don't want to be involved?
I'll call. I'll reschedule. If Tonya can't change the time, I won't go to the meeting.
He said: Well that sounds okay then.
Is it just me, or did I just get hoodwinked? The man fights dirty. Uses words to wound then acts all hurt if they boomerang. Why do I always forget? Why is it such a big deal? Guess I'll find out when I'm the one who's dying.
Thanks for listening,
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Sweetie and I went to a new Art fair/farmer's market on Sunday. There were way to many people for this clautrophobe. But it was a beautiful day and nice to get out by ourselves. I say this photo opportunity and decided to take it. I think the bottom that belongs to the guy in blue jeans was engrossed in conversation and thus did not realize a strange woman was taking a picture of his bottom. Actually I was not zeroing in on his bottom at all. It was all about the black labber.
I have to say I don't really understand the new phenomenon of taking your dog to crowded art shows. Do dogs enjoy art? Do they enjoy being dragged along on a pink sequined studded leash, in and out and around all the people, where there are few good places to smell or pee? Actually I don't get the whole doggy day care, take your dog to work day or treat your dog like a person thing. Maybe I've been reading too many Bedlam Farm posts. Katz loves his dogs but keeps them in their canine place.
Speaking of dogs, I think we might be getting a new dog. Not new, but new to us. My sister who is not what you'd call a dog-person, has fallen for her son's dog who is the sad result of a divorce. Instead of staying a crate all day, she thinks, and I have to agree, he'd (the dog, not the husband) would be happier with us! I've never been very good at saying no. And I'm still carrying around a whole satchel full of guilt that weighs heavy on my shoulders from when I got divorced and had to give two delightful puppies to an animal adoption agency. How might all of our lives have been different if I'd made different choices.
Whoa. I'm not going there.
If the dog want to come stay with us and will behave himself with the 3 animals who already live here, well then come on down! The more the merrier.
Is that hysterical laughter I hear?
Friday, April 3, 2009
So I'm standing there waiting for the frozen links to cook and I read this headline: "Afghan president signs law to allow marital rape." I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. How is it that something that happens on the other side of the world from me has the power to make my stomach ache?
No, here's the real question. How is it that in the year of our Lord 2009, there is even one women left on this planet who is " bound to preen for her husband as and when he desires"? Shouldn't this kind of ruling have gone out with writing on cave walls?
And as if that isn't enough I read an online article about a Pakistani woman being flogged - flogged as in whipped a dozen or more times with her Burka pulled up exposing her pants. That punishment was for alleged misconduct with her father-in-law whom I'm guessing didn't get so much as his wrists slapped. Good God Almighty, what's wrong with people?
It may be just coincidence but I also went to a new website this morning. www.humanityhealing.net. It's all about global spiritual healing. How each of us are connected on a physical level tinier than atoms. I don't get the physics of it, but wonder if I am feeling icky today because of someone feeling beyond icky in another part of the world. Is it possible that as long as one woman is abused, one child starved, one man forced to work for another, one mother who cries for a dead child, one father who can't support his family, one more dolphin captured in a tuna net, and one more ice flow melted all living creatures are going to feel a mysterious pain in their gut?
Who knows, maybe I just got up on the wrong side of the bed.
Praying for a world at peace,