Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One giant step for Womankind

AP Photo

"Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain.
An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind,
but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point."
Harold V Melchert

Today, Oh Eun-Sun, 44, became the first woman to climb all 14 of the world's tallest mountains.

Is it beyond the realm of possibility to think that if we set our minds to it, the women of the world will one day unite and "birth" this planet into peace?

May all your mountains be molehills,
Merry ME

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"For some years I have been aware of the importance of each day
and not projecting beyond that day
our spiritual awareness of ourselves and all that is around us,
contact with the natural world and its beauties
sensing the sounds and smells and colors of our world,
accepting the love of others and returning that love -
these are the things that are important
which I relearn I should relish each and every day."
Frank X. Friedman, Jr.*

Yesterday over at her blog Pam challenged her readers "to find something beautiful and write it on your heart."

Rather boldly and with way more moxie than the situation really called for, I commented with something like "bring it on!" I hoped to go to a plant store to get some pointers on making a small garden. And, I wanted to spend some together time with my Sweetie. If I couldn't find something to write on my heart at the garden store, then it was a given that Sweetie would say or do something heart writing worthy.

Our plans were nixed from the get-go. The lady across the street who usually sits with Dad was gone for most of the day which means we didn't go anywhere. By the time my sister arrived from work we were not in the mood for anything but putting some food in the cart and getting the task behind us. I went to bed vowing to write something on my heart tomorrow.

Tomorrow is today. Things were looking up. Church was amazing. After we got home I left Dad in his chair asleep and Sweetie at the kitchen table with a bowl of salsa, chips and his book. I was in the mood for some Merry ME and Mother Nature time. First stop the Treaty Oak.

I've lived in Jacksonville for years and I've never seen the Treaty Oak. In fact, as a kid I'd never even heard of the Treaty Oak. As I pulled out of the driveway, the black clouds opened up and started dripping. However, I was undeterred. I had my Honor Yourself hoodie, an umbrella, and my camera. A little rain (or a lot) wasn't going to stop me.

For some reason, maybe the rain, I was the only one at the park. I had the 250 year old tree to myself. I stood in front of the tree, took it all in, and yes, Pam, I wrote it's beauty on my heart.

I walked around, under, and through the branches. The acorn eating squirrels were pretty upset that their smorgasbord had been interrupted. There was an article in yesterday's paper about how the tree's acorns are harvested by prison inmates, cultivated until they are 5 feet tall, then donated to Greenscape. I decided to collect a few. They were a great metaphor for life - growing big things from something so small. It is really kind of hard to believe, but there it was right before my eyes.

From the Treaty Oak to Reddi Arts.

Reddi Arts is one of my very favorite places to hang out. It's got a little bit of everything - art supplies, spirituality books, a variety of pens to die for, pictures, custom framing, jewelry, toys, cards, cards and more cards. I didn't need another card. Won't need another card until Haley's comet comes around again. But, like the touch and feel and smell of books at Barnes and Noble, this selection of cards soothes my soul. I bought a couple but mostly I spent the time writing the way the serenity felt on my heart.

I had every intention to grab an iced tea at Paneras. I was pretty surprised to find it was closed up tight. As proof that I don't get out much it has been that way since January. It was a very nice afternoon topped off by homemade chocolate chip cookies for me and peanut butter for Sweetie. There was a discussion at dinner about my life's highlights, which led to the memory of when I was the queen of diagramming sentences in the 8th grade. Sweetie asked a few questions, gave me a sentence and bam! just like it was yesterday I broke that sentence down to subject, verb and direct object. "Dang, I'm good" I wrote on my heart as I popped another cookie into my mouth!

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wishing for you something beautiful to write on your heart,
Merry ME

*Friedman was a Jacksonville Environmental attorney and member of the St. John's River Water Management

Friday, April 23, 2010

Things I Learned from my Cat #2

When you are feeling in need of a little bit of love,
don't wait for it to come to you.
Grab it whenever/wherever you can.

I had a friend who often told the story of when her son was young how he would follow her around talking nonstop. As he grew older he would tell stories she really didn't want to here. Her only reprieve, or so she thought, was the bathroom. She'd take a book and lock herself into the room where there was only one seat and the promise of privacy.

Thing was, her son would sit right down on the other side of the door and continue talking.

I think about this every time I go into the bathroom and forget to shut the door til it clicks in place. Girl Cat has decided my bathroom time is "our" special time. It doesn't matter what the clock says, whether it is day, night, or the wee hours of the morning. If Girl Cat hears me lift the toilet lid, she's there beside me. Sometimes she's even there before I get there, jumping on the seat as I'm lowering myself without looking. One day soon she's going to get peed on. When it happens she can't say she hasn't been warned.

Some days she is content to perch herself on the edge of the sink and wait while I tinkle, shower, slather myself in body lotion or dry my hair. Other days, like this morning, it's all about stop-what-you-are-doing-because-I-need-some-loving-and-I-need-it-now. Or in other words, MEOW! MEOW! MEEEEEOOOOOWWWW!

I wrapped the towel around my dripping self, sat on the commode, pulled her into a rather wet but loving embrace. Nuzzling the toilet paper roll and the grab bar and the crossword puzzle book then circling around for the most comfortable spot, she settled in. This was my sign to scratch her head and stroke her back. The cat who rarely purrs, began to rev up her motor. Ahhh, cat bliss.

Once when I was complaining that a certain someone (not my Sweetie) rarely if ever hugged me, a very wise person asked me why I didn't trade places, becoming the hugger instead of the huggee. Or if that didn't work, why not ask for a hug if that is what I need. Huh? Does a hug count if you have to ask for it?

Well, yes, Virginia it does. A hug is a hug is a hug. What I didn't know at that time but have come to discover is a hug, asked for or not, undoubtedly feels good for both parties.

Stepping out of the shower this morning, I was tuned into getting dry, getting dressed and getting Dad's breakfast. However, after sitting with Girl Cat and having a few quiet moments of unexpected bonding, I felt much less hurried. A reminder that humans don't know everything.

Wishing for you something furry to hug and time to reflect,
Merry ME

Thursday, April 22, 2010


"You are always living a reflection of whatever you
are outputting. And so, if you get into a little pocket where a lot of people
are being rude, it's probably because you are being rude -- or because you have
been aware of people being rude. Nothing ever happens to you that is not part
of your vibration!"
Esther Abraham-Hicks*

I just had a thought.
A scary thought.

What if (Sorry Sweetie) when my father looks at me he sees a frowny old poot (with a pony tail).
And what if when he talks to me he hears nothing but arguments and sarcasm.

What if I am the egg and he is the chicken?
What I am the mirror and he is the reflection?

Suddenly not-so-merry

Oh Woe is ME!

"You are at this moment,
standing in the middle of your own 'acres of diamonds.'"
Earl Nightingale

No, actually, I am not. I'm sitting in the dinette area, staring at my computer knowing there are several things I should be doing as the clock moves into the one o'clock hour. Let's see, there is emptying Dad's commode, starting a load of laundry, vacuuming up the birdseed that continues to fall like Icelandic volcanic ash, and re-write some stories for my writing group. In other words move a little.

Trouble is I feel weighted down with thoughts. Thoughts that are zinging through my mind like one of those little silver balls in a pin ball machine. Can you hear them whizzing by the bells .. cling, clang ... coming down into the homestretch only to be shot back up to bells and whistles by the little batty things (Dang, what are they called? the bells are getting to me!). As soon as one thought falls into the point-of-no-return-hole another is shot back into the fray.

Yesterday I took a Merry Me day. Actually it was a Merry Me half day. Getting away with no cares except my list of things to do for ME was thrilling. I started off at writing group. Just sitting at that table of creative wordsmiths makes me feel like I've got something more to say. No matter that I have not written a story, essay, creative non-fiction piece, or memoir since the beginning of the year. This blog is my creative outlet and usually enough of a stretch to keep my writing muscles needing an ice pack. Still, I'd like to have the discipline to re-write the stories I've already composed. And I'd like to write more.

Trouble is, writing is work. Writing takes time. Writing isn't going to get the refrigerator cleaned or the bills paid. Or is it? Members of my group are actually published authors with books on Amazon. Others have been published in on-line e-zines, printed anthologies and magazines. The group facilitator says each of us is good enough to be published and get paid for it. Okay, so my bills will far surpass my ability to turn out manuscripts, but the point is just having one story published would be cool. So what's the problem?

Maybe it has to do with Mercury and Pluto being in reverse. Or maybe it is my Dad's fault (these days it is pretty easy to blame most anything on my Dad). Or could it be that even though I get rave reviews/comments from my blog buddies and my Sweetie and my "cards" are full of the #3 which "is the number of youthful exuberance. It's highly radiant, creative, outgoing, and usually symbolizes positive opportunity for happiness " the negative energy of 7 of spades is getting in my way, causing me to self-sabotage and crave flight.

Flight from what? The things I want to do? Like to do? Need to do?

What is it about having the freedom and time to pick out a new pair of glasses, then strolling around the Walmart garden center because it was there and I wasn't on a schedule, that lifted my spirits? And what was it about crossing the threshold to the back door and turned me right back into uptight, why-wasn't-it-done-me-way or you-mean-you-got-along-just-fine-without-me self?

And why have I just spent an hour whining about one thing when I'm really just put out and embarrassed at how my Dad talked to the man (kid) at the garage. Why don't I just give myself a swift kick in the butt and get moving. If there are things to do, do them. If there are things to write, write them. If there are diamonds to find, find them. None of it is going to happen as long as I sit here covered in bird seed and whine.

Wishing for you acres of diamonds,
Merry ME

* Acres of Diamonds story go to http://rhenion.com/acres_of_diamonds.htm

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

"To seek approval is to have no resting place, no sanctuary.

Like all judgement, approval encourages a constant striving.
It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value.
Approval cannot be trusted. It can be withdrawn at any time
no matter what our track record has been.
It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy.
Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it."
Rachel Naomi Remen

Sweetie has an office at home, and spends a good deal of time in there with the door closed. Behind the door it is a bit like another world. It's neat and quiet (unless the windows are open and the birds are singing). Sweetie has surrounded himself with pictures, sayings, reminder notes and books. It used to bother me that he had an inner sanctum and I had the rest of the house. In other words he has solitude and I have dogs barking, Dad buzzing around on his GoGo, bumping into walls as he goes, the TV set on Country Classics, the phone ringing and clutter. Sure, it's my own clutter, but clutter nonetheless. I was jealous that Sweetie had a place to go. Poor Me I was stuck on the outside.

Then one day, when the noise and fussing got to great for me to stand, I opened the door, stepped across the threshold and melted into the sanctuary. Instead of falling on my knees in an attitude of prayer, I stood with my back to the door, eyes straight ahead looking at the man I know I can trust who had already turned his head from the computer to give me his undivided attention. I let myself take a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Sweetie waited, patiently and quietly, for me to explain. I did, he listened, I calmed down, and found I was able to go back to my world a little less ruffled. I stopped being jealous of the sanctuary and began being grateful for a place to go when I need a bit of sanity and solace.

All that is a prelude to say, if Sweetie hadn't been at a GAL judicial review this morning when a weird thing happened I'd have gone to his room and asked for a hug.

So what happened, you ask? Well I was over at another blog where I read about Traci having a reading at Three Sister's. If you follow the blog you'll find that Traci has been out of work for awhile. She's in one of those transition states (mid-life?) where doing what she's always done no longer speaks to her soul. She's not just looking for a job, she's looking for soul-work. So she has this reading and apparently the cards pick right up on what's eating at her, pointing her straight to her own heart. I've often asked God/Spirit/Universe to speak to me hoping for lightening bolt letters across the sky - something totally unambiguous. It has happened that I've heard the "still, small voice," whispering my name, but never any skywriting. The five of hearts was Traci's take-notes-I'm-talking-to-you moment. I don't know Traci, but I know and trust Dani, so I am sure this card reading stuff is on the up and up. And who cares if it is all smoke and mirrors? What's important is that one listens for the messages that Universe puts out, then puts them to work in their life.

Ah, that's the kicker, isn't it? Not just hearing the words but putting them into action. In her post, Traci writes:
"Not sure how to do that??! How do I? How can I let go? How will my husband and children and father and mothers and sisters and friends and brother & sisters in laws and nieces and nephews and aunties and grandparents be proud of me if I do? Why does letting go feel like I failed? I'm overwhelmed by my feelings right now."

And that's when I started to cry. What the hell is that all about? Not having Sweetie to talk to, I did the next best thing. I cleaned the bird cages. As I scrubbed feathers and guano off the bars of the cage with tears running down my face, I had to ask myself what was going on. I heard a tiny, child like voice say, "I want to follow my heart but I'm too afraid. I want to do soul-work, but I always give up before I get started. I want to do/be something more than I am, but I don't know how. I'm a starter, not a finisher. I've never known how to follow through. I'm scared of how I'll look learning something new. I'm worried about what others will think. And like Traci, I want people to be proud of me. I want to be proud of me."

Well, that came out of nowhere. Or did it? Hasn't it just been sitting there down in the hidden recesses of my gut since I was 12 years old and I heard someone say, "your sister is the smartest one" instead of acknowledging A's on my report card? That sure goes back a long way. Even I know it's time to let go of crappy negative messages and replace them with positive "I" statements. Funny, I knew exactly what to say in the comment section on Traci's blog to encourage her. I love pumping other people up. Even more, I expect that they will believe me and take my words to heart. Strange then, that the same words, but beginning with "I" would fall on my deaf ears. Why does letting go feel like I failed?

Wow, too much information for a Monday morning. Actually, the morning has disappeared and we are well into the afternoon. The dryer has been buzzing for an hour. I guess I better get busy.

Wishing for you a place to go when you get all undone,
Merry ME

P.S. I have no idea what's up with the font size or line spacing on this post. It keeps changing. See, it did it again. Hope it's not too much of a distraction. me

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Marlboro Man

Yesterday after spending some serious time in the blogosphere I ended up at a site called Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. The title alone was enough to draw me in, but what kept me there until around 2 am and again for most of this afternoon was this statement on a sidebar: "The Night I met the Marlboro Man or Harlequin Romance meets Green Acres meets the Godfather in our wild tale of romance and cow manure." If you mosey on over to the site don't say I didn't warn you. Once you read the first installment, you'll be hooked. I've been reading off and on all day and I've only gotten to Chapter 28. So far there has been steamy, rolling around in a pick-up truck under a starry night sky making out. Actually, there's been steamy making out in lots of places. Mix that with some Lucille Ball goofiness and you'll be entertained.

Maybe it's just me. I've kind of had a secret thing for cowboys. Tall, muscular, boot-wearing, hat-dipping, Howdy Mam fellows that smell of hay and leather and Sassperilla. That fantasy flew out the window when I met my Sweetie. Let's face it, even though he walks with a John Wayne swagger, and wears a denim shirt that may have seen one too many rodeos, the man I love looks a lot more like big ol' huggable Santa than the Marlboro Man.

I'm not sure when my desire for cowboys began. And, truth be told, it's a bit odd because I'm afraid of horses, and have never been close to a cow that didn't wreak of manure - not one of my favorite smells. I may be a sucker for the advertising, but the other thing about the Marlboro Man that would turn me off today would be the cigarette smoking. The very thing that did the cardboard cowboy in.

There was a time, however, that my little heart would go pitty pat at the sight of a man who looked like he stepped out of the Marlboro ad. Back in the 80's when I was going through a delayed adolescence, we hung out a local honky tonk called the Bonita Store. At the time Bonita (a suburb of San Diego) was known for having the highest number of horses per capita in the U.S. A little known fact to everyone but the horse owners who actually had a place to bed their horse next to the 2 car garage. The town was full of cowboy wanna-bes. Sure there were horses in Bonita, but I don't recall seeing one cow except when the Holstein Exposition set up camp inside the newly renovated million dollar Convention Center.

Needless to say, there were a lot of denim wearing boys saddling up to the Bonita Store bar. At the time I was married to a man from Texas, i.e. God's country. A man who made me promise to bury him with his boots on. A man who wasn't overly impressed with the California version of a cowboy. A man who didn't really care for his wife throwing down shots of Tequila and ogling the bar boys.

It was about that same time that I went to my first (and only) cowboy poetry reading and attempted to line dance. Cowboy poems are full of campfire and roping rhymes. Line dancing, I quickly learned, has more to do with coordination and rhythm than looking good in a ruffled skirt and tasseled boots. Without fail when the line in front of me was facing forward, I was facing backwards; when the rest of the dancers were stomping their heels, I was still clapping my hands. For me it was much more fun to suck on my Cuervo soaked lime than risk being trampled by the urban cowboys.

But time marches on. The Marlboro Man, like the cigarettes he advertised, lost his allure. I wear JMS (Just My Size) "mom" jeans instead of low cut Riders. I prefer the comfort of Birkenstock sandals to narrow toed boots that looked better than they felt. I've traded honky tonk bars and tequila for Micky D's iced tea. In fact, until yesterday I had pretty much forgotten about cowboys.

That said, I admit to being older and wiser, but I'm not dead yet. Reading Pioneer Woman's blog has rekindled my desire for the look and feel of denim, not to mention the leathery smell of a man who just spent quality time in his recliner sipping root beer out of an ice cold mug. Step aside Marlboro Man, I think I hear my Sweetie calling.

Wishing for you fantasies that make you smile,
Merry ME

Public Service Announcement


If by any chance you find yourself caring for someone who is old and on the edge of being obsessive compulsive about having (or not having) regular (daily) bowel movements and your medical advisor says it's okay to give two stool softeners plus a dose of Miralax on top of the one half dosage of softener already consumed it could be considered deleterious to both the patient and the caregiver (who is in charge of cleaning the beside commode) to add four prunes to the patient's breakfast because the patient is likely to spend the next twenty-four hours intermittently rushing to the bathroom because he is no longer constipated, in fact he is experiencing no problem at all with said movements, and sleeping because making so many trips to the bathroom has worn him out and perhaps dehydrated him. It would be considered highly advisable to leave the prunes in the back of the refrigerator where they have resided for the past six months getting a little bit fuzzy.

Follow this advise or not at your own risk,
Merry ME

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nothing Ordinary about this ...

"Music was my joy, my home,
the one place I felt happy and secure."
Lawrence Welk

Saturday night TV leaves a little to be desired. With no Oprah to sleep through, Dad had me channel surf until we landed on a PBS music show. OMG, I just sat through an hour of Lawrence Welk "Memories and Milestones." I think it was filmed in Branson, MO so it is a toss up as to whom was older - the musical family on stage or the audience. Like a lot of the fund raising PBS shows this one was not brand new. There were lots of glittery dresses with big shoulder pads, big hair and darkly lined lips. The men sported comb overs and polyester pants. I'm guessing it had a little something for everyone over the age of 80.

While my dad mosied down a musical memory lane, his toes tapping the beat against his sheets, I watched the clock slowly tick off the seconds. Just when I thought I was on my way to going completely bonkers there she was ... Janet Lennon. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but I can remember a time before all the plastic surgery, when I wanted to be Janet Lennon. Not because I can sing, or dance, or have any kind of stage presence. But dang, Janet was so darn cute. And perky. Two things I longed to be.

At the end of the 4th act (but who's counting) the whole group of singers joined in to sing America the Beautiful. A giant flag dropped down behind the orchestra, the audience rose to their feet and my dad joined in... America! America! God shed His light on thee. I didn't know whether to sit and listen and hope the moment was burned into my fading memory, or sing along. I did a little of both.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before my dad is a creature of habit. I don't know if our nightly visits have a lot of meaning for him other than it is another routine that has been established to help him maneuver through his day. Most nights I get antsy way before the news comes on. I've seen one too many Ask Gary commercials. But then, something like tonight happens. Holding my Dad's hand, listening to him sing a patriotic song. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I hope after this part of our journey together is over, this is what I'm going to remember. Not how many laxatives he had to take, or how picky he can be about how I say "orange" (I say ORange, he says ARNge - go figure), but how something as obnoxious as champagne music can turn a grumpy old man into someone I'm going to miss a lot.

Wishing you memories and milestones,
Merry ME

Just an Ordinary Saturday

I must have writer's block. Every time I try to write something, I end up staring at the blank screen as if my computer has channeled a Magic 8 ball an idea is going to appear. In an attempt to break the block I'm going to try the just-write-what-comes-to-your-mind technique and see what happens.

1. First of all, I can pretty much guarantee I'm not going to have a good day when my father calls me from the bathroom to tell me he thinks I should call the Hospice nurse because he is having trouble going #2. This is a side of growing older that I frankly do want to deal with. I'm not sure when it happens that our bodily functions begin to take priority over everything else. In my mind some things should remain private. I am relatively sure that when my Dad was a younger man, he did not need assistance in determining how many stool softeners to take. In fact, I'm guessing he took whatever he needed to take without so much as a glance at the directions on the bottle. Now, he seems to need approval for everything. The person who is quick to remind me I am his medical surrogate, is also quick to point out I have no medical background thus making my suggestions not worth much so I should call the nurse and quit fussing at him.

Dear Lord, please give me patience.

2. There is a news story in the headlines where I live about a little girl who has been missing for over a year. There is still no sign of her, but the Sheriff has changed the status of the case from missing to homicide. This comes as no big surprise to those of us who have smelled a skunk since day one. After 14 months I don't know what they think they'll find by searching a muddy river and personally I hope they don't find anything. My heart actually hurts to think that this child lost her life at the hands of people high on drugs or anger or just plain stupidity. Is there ever going to be a time when the children of this world can live without fear?

Dear Lord, may your light shine in the darkness of fear, pain and injustice.

3. My Sweetie just celebrated his 65th birthday. In the days leading up to the BIG day he downplayed the whole idea of a celebration. "It's just another day. What's the big deal?
I don't understand why men (I'm going to generalize here) seem to think it's expected of them to say birthdays are for kids, not manly men. Then, when the birthday is ignored the manly man's inner child feels all sad and neglected. Women (okay, ME) on the other hand know that the birthday is not so much about the added year. It's all about the celebration. The cake! The cards! The total focus on celebrating the birthday girl. To me, birthdays are all about setting aside the routine for the happy-to-you. It would be great if every day could be a happy to you but then birthdays wouldn't be special would they?

Dear Lord, thank you for all the days we have to celebrate life.

4. File under "Things I Learned from My Cat": Just because something looks too small (last year's shorts?) it doesn't mean you can't fit in.

Dear Lord, bless all creatures great and small.

5. It looks like a beautiful day outside and for some reason I'm inside watching TV crime shows. What is wrong with this picture?

Wishing for you a day to enjoy,
Merry ME

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Do You See what I see? Part II

Did you see the way Phil Mickelson hugged his wife after winning the Masters? In my humble opinion, that is the way a man is supposed to hug the person he loves. When he hugged his caddy, it was a "woohoo" or "we did it" kind of hug. The way he embraced his wife was way more than "did you see me win?" I don't know what he whispered to her as the cameras that had been focused on the green were all of a sudden in his face, but I'm guessing it was pretty special.

I wonder what it would be like if each of us put our whole being into the hugs we give to our loved ones. Like seeing beyond the normal it would be like feeling beyond the normal. How cool would that be?

Wishing for you someone special to hug,
Merry ME

Do you see what I see?

"Nature will bear the closest inspection.
She invites us to lay our eye level
with her smallest leaf,
and take an insect view of its plain."
Henry David Thoreau

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. There is nothing like being alone on a Saturday afternoon with time stretching in front of you and a good book that takes you away to place where you have no worries or concerns. Unless, that is, you are reading a scary who dunnit. Then being alone and hearing creaking noises in the hall can be kind of unnerving. But mostly, reading is an enjoyable past time.

That said, I don't usually read much during the day. I'm in the habit of climbing into bed, burrowing under the covers, making a spot for my Sweetie to lay his head, then reading a few pages while I scratch his head. It doesn't take long before my eyelids
grow heavy, or the Girl Cat decides it's her time for a little extra loving and plops herself down right in front of the book. Basically, I only read a few pages a night; especially if I'm reading a non-fiction book. Since my comprehension has never been all that great, it takes more than one session to grasp what the author is saying.

For the past few weeks I've been trudging through Anam Cara by John O'Donohue. It's slow going mostly because it is a little heavy for my night time reading. It was highly praised by two of my favorite people so I'm sticking with it. I'm only on page 63 (of 231) and already I've dog-eared several pages to go back and re-read.

Last night I got to the part called: The Senses as Thresholds of the Soul. "Your senses link you intimately with the divine within you and around you," says O'Donohue. The first sense he addresses is the sight. It is through the eyes that we can "take in the mystery of everything outside of us and bring it inside us." However our "world is so familiar that we do not see it anymore."

I decided I would pay attention to the world around me today. I wanted to walk through my day as if I was looking through the macro lens of my camera. Like some of Johnny's photos, I don't want to see just a flower, but its amazingly beautiful center. The thing is I've plopped
myself in front of this computer and I'm having trouble seeing beyond where I sit.

However, if I look closer, I might begin to see more than modern Apple technology of which I have barely scratched the "user-friendly" surface. I can forget about Google and Yahoo and Wikipedia and focus on the blogs that have come to be a special part of my day. In each of the blogs that I follow there is wisdom, truth, beauty, and love. Sometimes
there's pain, and sometimes there is laughing out loud - both shared from the authors' hearts.

I don't think I could pick one favorite over another. But there is one blog that I go to first every day. 365,000 words. It's an interesting concept "if a picture is worth 1000 words, just think what a whole year could bring..... For me, it is more than a calendar. It's like getting the prize from the Cracker Jack's box. I know there is going to be a picture to take my breath away, but I'm never sure what it is going to be. I'm always surprised. And I'm always wowed.

Pam Jones, like Terri St. Cloud, is what I consider an enigma. Why anyone would get up before the dawn breaks is beyond me! These ladies not only rise, they shine! They start the day, that to me still includes 3 or more hours of sleep, by lacing up their walking shoes and welcoming the sun as it come up. Obviously they do more than just walk because when they get back to their computers they are fired up and ready to post pictures and thoughts for the day.

O'Donohue writes, "it is a startling truth that how you see and what you see determine how and who you will be," and asks the question, what way do you behold the world? I'm reminded that my daughter, Weneki, includes a list of things that moved her during the year when she sends out Christmas cards. If you were to combine those lists you'd have a pretty good idea of who she is without ever actually meeting her. I doubt very seriously if I'm going to start getting up while it's still dark outside, but I am going to start paying attention to what I see, what moves me.

For today, I've got to say my new bedspread is such a delicious shade of sea blue green that it makes me smile every time I see it.

What about you? What way do you behold the world?

Wishing for you a clear vision to see a multitude of things that move you,
Merry ME

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Snake in the Grass


Yesterday my hunter gatherer in the faded blue shirt asked for help getting a snake out of the pool drain. For some reason that I cannot really explain, I jumped up to the ready. At the time I didn't know it was going to be a little tiny thing. I'm usually a little squeamish, i.e girly, when it comes to things that slither in the grass. I surprised even myself by my willingness to look at the snake, let alone help release it from its chlorinated captivity.

Upon removal of the drain cover, I found myself cooing at "the cute little thing". I was almost willing to stick my hand into the mushy oak blossoms and pick the little cutie up with bare hands.

"Stand back," said Sweetie, with real concern in his voice." "We don't know what we're dealing with here." He was right. We didn't know. And I'm aware that the tiny little thing could have potentially packed a big venomous wallop. Still, "stand back" seemed a little over the top. I looked at the snake, then at snake getter. Wondering if I was missing something, I looked around for a big old mama snake lying in wait somewhere close by.

Sweetie reached into the drain with his weapon of choice - a pasta strainer from the kitchen. The snake, being of small stature but large brain, dove straight for the bottom of the drain and performed a great impersonation of a dead snake. Even though I thought the little slithering thing was cute and definitely not very scary, I did not want to try to perform reptilian CPR on it. Grabbing the strainer I stuck the pointy end that rests on a pot into the water and flipped the drowned beast into the grass along with several leaves and a bunch of oak gunk that at this time of the year clogs the pool filter.

I watched closely to see if the snake was going to move. Proud of our good deed, I turned to high five my Sweetie. When I turned back the object of our attention was gone. Gone, as in vanished, as in nowhere around, as in magic. I swear the seemingly dead as a doornail, not moving a snaky muscle had literally disappeared before our very eyes.

I know what you are thinking. You're saying to yourself that it undoubtedly had chameleon-like characteristics and in the instant it was grabbing a fresh breath of life saving air, it changed its color to blend in with the grass, or the leaves, or the pool's cool deck because it didn't realize we were its saviors not its exterminators. That is a perfectly logical explanation but I stood there (okay so I was a little concerned about getting too close to the snake that was now out of the water and could potentially hit me with as yet unseen fangs so I didn't actually get on my hands and knees and look) training my vision on the spot where I'd dropped the thing. He was not there, or anywhere within a 3 foot radius. There is only one explanation for how he could have vanished so quickly. Magic.

I've always kind of wondered about that whole Adam and Eve and snake story. Why did Eve have to take all the blame when it was the snake that did all the charming? I believe I now know the rest of the story. When God came looking for the apple eaters and they turned around and pointed at the snake, it had obviously applied its snake like magic and disappeared leaving Adam and Eve looking like big fat liars. Satiated and knowledgeable, but liars nonetheless.

Wishing for you a day filled with magic,
Merry ME

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Old vs New

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leave your arms too full to embrace the present."

Jan Glidewell

Sweetie has one particular shirt that falls into "you'd better not" category. As in you'd better not even consider throwing it away. Once upon a time it was the color and texture of stone-washed jeans. Now it is more white than blue, threadbare in places, and spotted with food stains that Oxy clean can't penetrate. Because of its age, the fabric has softened to a thin but deliciously comfortable cotton. Every time I take it out of the washing machine I think it is going to be in pieces, a sleeve here, the collar there, yet, like the Energizer Bunny or a Timex watch, it has a life that won't end.

The last time I ironed it (for unknown reasons, ironing is a past time I seem to enjoy) I made the mistake of suggesting to Sweetie that he start looking for another shirt to take its place. The shocked expression on my love's face told me I was seriously close to crossing an unseen line, that perhaps our honeymoon was about to be over. You'd have thought I was talking about his first born child not a shirt that has obviously seen better days.

What looks to me like something that would make a nice dust cloth, is something close to clothing nirvana to my mate. I look at it and see a ragged shirt with little life left in it. He looks at it and sees what? A security blanket? A connection to the life he led before entering the witness protection program? I must confess, that try as I might, I just don't see what the attraction is. It's a shirt for God's sake, not the Mona Lisa, I mutter under my breath as the iron hisses steam to the sleeve's jagged edge.

While I don't see what Sweetie sees in this shirt, I do know what it's like to hold on to things way past the point where the white knuckle grip does much good. I've noticed this is a re-curring theme that the Universe has been showering me with lately.

My Dad and I have developed a bedtime ritual includes putting drops in his eyes, rubbing his elbows with Lubriderm and watching Oprah while we wait for the 10 o'clock news. Of late, I watch and Dad listens as he rests his eyes! Last week Rosie O'Donnell was on. I hadn't seen her since the blow up on the View so I was curious what she had to say. None of it was of great importance. Mostly typical Rosie stuff. However, I have repeated one thing I heard over and over in my head. Regarding her mother's death when Rosie was just a child, someone asked her when she was going to stop using that as the focus of her life. That's my paraphrase. In essence she was being challenged to acknowledge that yes her mom had died and she'd had a crappy childhood after that but she'd also had many more positive things happen in her life (i.e. her show, her children, he philanthropy) and it would be good to focus on them. She was a lot more than just her mother's death.

I'm sure words of that same ilk have been said to me. I've probably even said them to myself, but they really rang true for me that night. I sat by my father's bed, listening to his shallow breathing, and wondered what events in my life continue to define who I am and where I'm going. What would it mean for me to let them go? To stop brooding about the fact that I didn't get loved the way I needed it. Or that my Dad has a knack for accenting the negative instead of the positive. Or the fact that I made some mistakes that caused me great pain at the time. Or I live with a great big FEAR necklace around my neck that sometimes paralyzes me. All those things are true, but are they still MY truth?

Hmmm? If I say yes, I get to hang on to them and have an excuse not to move forward. If I say no, then I'm going to have to let them go, as if releasing a bunch of helium balloons and watch them float up and away from my life. Then what? Try something new? Yikes! Let me grab that fear balloon back!

I just finished reading a memoir (Silent Echos) by one of the ladies in my writing group. I'd read bits and pieces of the book in our group so I knew the story was going to be one of hardship. Indeed it was. There was lots of what we call dysfunction these days, but what people experienced as reality during the Depression years. What was cool about the story was seeing how the author came to a fork in her l life's path and made the decision to take the high road, to put a stop to the past and embrace a new and better future. It took real guts and I was so proud of her as I read the last page and closed the book. I thought about her challenges, and mine, different yet similar at the same time. I thought about the hard times I've come through and wonder why I still feel so much like a scared little girl when in fact I'm a grown up woman, on the verge of "cronedom"! I'm old enough for young girls to ask me life questions and expect deep answers. What would I say to my granddaughter that I don't say to my inner child?

Over at Terri's blog today she wrote about being a woman who can cry for her wounds and smile at her growth. Dani piggy backed onto that theme and wrote that in the fairy tale of her life she has learned to rescue herself. Pam wrote of having the courage to sing one's own song. I feel like I'm being asked to check my fears and negative memories at the door and begin to embrace the strong woman I can be. I wonder what that will feel like?

One of the messages I got from Silent Echos is that each of us must move at our own pace. We cannot grow or change at someone else's pace. We must follow the rhythm of our heart. Only then can we let go of what doesn't work and reach for the brass ring. Or new denim shirt as the case may be.

Merry ME