Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 88

Today I noticed ...

  • Two new butterflies. John has rescued one that seems to have a bum leg.
  • New parents can read all the books they want, but it still comes down to trial and error.
  • The sun glistening on the river.
  • My friend Mary seemed more tired and confused than normal.
  • I could eat a whole bag of double-chocolate Milanos without even trying.

What did you notice?
Merry ME

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Change, Schmange.

The service technician from Apple convinced me it was better to pay $19.99 for a new version, and improved operating system, rather than paying the same amount to get him to walk me through downloading a new flash player.  Hey, he gets paid for knowing this kind of stuff, so I said okay, let's do it, knowing that even though the differences between Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion would be minimal, it would be annnoying like walking with a little pebble in my show.  Perhaps when I get use to it I'll say it's a win/win upgrade. Apple gets another twenty bucks in their coffers and I get a flash player, Moutain Lion, and three months worth of phone support.

I've noticed I have to scroll up to go down, and vice versa. Some might say I can't abide change, and trying new things is good for my psyche.  To that I'd respond, what the hell is wrong with people that they can't leave well enough alone?  Seriously, this is not a pebble in my show. I'm walking with a frikken boulder in there. Grrrr.

Struggling ME

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lost track of the days. It was only a matter of time.

Noticing how icky I feel today.
Not something I can put my finger on.
Just that shakey feeling in my gut.
And tired.
Bad dreams, maybe.
Or a dog that felt like getting up to check on things in the back yard every two hours.

Hope there is no ick in your day.
Merry Me

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Little Bit of WooWoo Going On??

After posting about the emergence of the butterfly I've been watching, I went to to listen to a story I only heard a bit of while driving this afternoon.  This is what I found. It is a snippet of the near death experience Dr. Eben Alexander had in 2008.

"And then there appeared this beautiful spinning kind of filamentous white light, and it was absolutely beautiful flowing harmonious melody.  And this melody spun in front of me and then the whole thing expanded and my awareness went right through it into this very steep valley, verdant beautiful valley.  I was a speck on a butterfly wing, a beautiful butterfly, and there were millions of other butterflies flying all around us in these lazy loops and swirls.  There were flowers blossoming and buds blooming on trees. They would blossom and bloom even as we were flying through them.  Beautiful waterfalls going into these crystal blue pools, and the mist coming up just sparkling.  And this bright light from these billowing, bubbling clouds was just coming right through those mist drops, and it was the most beautiful scene.  And beside me on the butterfly, was this beautiful girl.  She had the most beautiful face and she just looked at me and she never said a word, but her thoughts were very clear.  “You are loved.  You are cherished.  There is nothing you can do wrong.  You will never be thrown away.  You are infinitely cherished and loved forever.  You have nothing to fear.”  [ Eben Alexander is a Neurosurgeon in Charlottesville, Virginia.  If you want to hear more of his story, visit our website]

I mean, seriously, all the butterfly references on the same day my butterfly was born? 
And "you have nothing to fear" shortly after my fear-busting experience?
I think there's a message for me here. 
I'll have to spend some quiet time thinking about it.

What do you think?
Merry ME

Day 83 - We Have a Butterfly!

This afternoon around 5pm.
Johnson and I were looking at the pupas today. One of them was turning black.
J: It's gonna be soon.
ME: Look, you can see the wings.

Later, around 7pm.
I opened the door to let Suzi out.
I looked, expecting to see the black pupa.
 I noticed a butterfly!

ME: Johnson! Come quick! We have a baby!
Seriously, I don't think the ladies at the empty tomb of Jesus made as much noise as I did.
It is so beautiful.
And if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed this butterfly came out of the the pupa I've been watching for a month.

See the dark pupa hanging on the wall? It's only a couple days behind.

I don't want to sound like some kind religious fanatic, but you know what, I'm feeling pretty drawn to the awesomeness of God right now. I narrated the Passion Story in church today. Didn't get much past the crown of thorns before I choked up. It's a story I've heard over and over, yet it's always - always - too powerful for words. Then to come home and find a butterfly felt like a being far greater than me tapped my shoulder and said,
Look, my sweet girl. 
Look at what I can do. 
As you continue to notice things,
you will continue to see my handiwork in places you can't imagine.  
I'm in the breeze that blew today. 
The rain that fell. 
The palms and flowers. 
When you held Phil's hand, you held mine. 
When you listened to Mary's stories, you honored to me.  
This life can be hard. 
Do not be afraid. 
For every dark place there is butterfly waiting to be born. 

 Feeling like Easter came a week early,
Merry ME

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 79 - Conquering my fear

I woke up noticing how much excitement feels like fear, and together they feel like a big ball of spaghetti tangled up in my stomach. Kind of like anticipating Christmas morning as a kid, then finding out you had to get a shot before you could open your presents. You know there's something good on the other side of fear, but getting there takes big girl courage.

I'm 61 and wondering where to find my big girl courage.

Stay tuned ....

Later that same day:

Meeting Thunder

Going for a walk.
Note to self: Keep your feet away from Thunder's feet
I'm up! I'm on! 
Sweetie holding the reins
Dale Evans eat your heart out!
Theresa and Merry ME
If you're going to conquer your fears, make sure you have someone gentle and understanding to help you.
My friend, Amy, who made it all happen,
with Sassy
Still processing,
Merry ME

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 77 - Sharing

"For pleasure has no relish unless we share it."
Virginia Woolf
The Common Reader

I guess you know by now I love birthdays. Mostly other people's birthdays.  I like the idea of celebrating me for a day, but in practice it feels uncomfortable to be singled out. By their very nature, birthdays are ego-centric. I like being ego-centric in private. At 61 it's time I start practicing what I preach. 

Here's what I preach:
Birthdays are for celebrating the one and only you.
Birthdays are for making wishes, and eating cake.
Birthdays are for singing the birthday song and doing the happy dance.
Birthdays are for saying thank you.
Birthdays are for giving yourself permission.
Birthdays are for hugs and smiles.

Today I noticed birthdays are also for sharing. 
Like sharing your special day with others who a) love you or b) have your same birthday or
 c) both of the above. 

Along with me, today is also the birthday of Miss Lucy Schmidt. Her ver first, one-of-a-kind, wonderful, stupendous, gonna-have-a-grand-life birthday, to be exact. What's really exciting for Lucy and her family is that she will celebrate, not once but twice. You see last year, 8 days after she was born, Lucy underwent open heart surgery. Yes. I said surgery. A team of doctors at University of FL/Shands hospital operated on the teeny heart of a baby so new she was still red and wrinkly. That kind of surgery had never been done on a baby so young. And if that's not miracle enough, after just three weeks, Miss Lucy, announced to her mom and dad, the hospital staff and anyone else who would listen, that she wanted to go home - to get on with the busy-ness of living life to the fullest. I am honored to share my emotional, artistic, dream-filled Piscesean sea with a fighter like Lucy.

Lucy and her Grandma at the beach
Merry & Mary
Sweetie and I took my friend Miss Mary to the Red Lobster for a birthday lunch. Mary didn't feel so hot on her own birthday last month, I was happy to have her go with us.  The Red Lobster always reminds me of my mom and dad so sharing our seafood fest with an old person felt right. As we waited for our food  another couple sat down right behind our table. Sweetie overheard them telling the waiter they were celebrating her birthday.  What are the chances?

Two Birthday Girls
Andrea from Jamaica and Merry ME
(I must be holding my stomach because I ate so much.)

As the day draws to a close, I touch the gold maple leaf necklace and think about the love that continues to grow like the maple tree in the front yard. As I look at the cards lined up on the mantle, the Pendleton journal cover, the electric tea pot, tulips and irises, and not one but two chocolate cakes, I feel bountifully blessed. Thank you all for sharing a bit of yourselves with me.

Happy Birthday, Merry ME

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 76 -

Today I noticed that I, the person who is afraid of horses and has a date with a horse at 2pm on Thursday, was telling Miss Mary not to be worried, because the ride was going to be perfectly safe. By the end of our conversation I had her laughing and myself almost convinced that riding a horse is going to be like a trot in the park.

I also noticed the sweet smell of lavender as I vacuumed the living room. Boy Cat likes to knock things off dressers, book shelves, table tops or any place he can get to that he isn't supposed to be. Sometimes I think he's trying to tell me it's mealtime. Other times, I'm sure he's just evil and likes to see things spill, like a full glass of water or a jar full of lavender.  Once he's done his deed, he is off and running. He knows at least one of his lives is in jeopardy.


I've learned chasing him down the hall does little to help the situation. He hides under the bed until I clean up the mess. Then comes out and acts all lovey. Like right now. Like he thinks I don't realize he's checking out my glass of tea. Like I'm some kind of dumb human.  Hmmm. He may have a point, because who else but a big dumb human would continue to put the jar of lavender back on the shelf over and over again?

Tea all over the floor is one thing. Lavender, I've found, isn't so bad. I sweep it up and toss it into the carpet. When I vacuum, it's like being in Linda Lu's garden.  Maybe Boy is doing me a favor! Who can be scared when there's lavender in the air?

Merry ME

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 75 - Happy Anniversary, Sweetie

“i will be mindful of the act of loving you every day of my life. 
i will not take you for granted, 
but will keep my eyes open to the treasure that you are, 
allowing room for your individuality and your own uniqueness. 
i will not try to bend you to my ways, 
but rather open myself to your ways as being part of who you are. 
i will embrace all of you. 
the dark parts along with the light. 
because, together, those parts create the being that i love. 
i will accept you, respect you and admire you. 
and if something comes between us to make me stumble with this,
 i will go to you and ask your help with my struggle. 
i will bring my challenges to you, 
looking for your thoughts and support 
and i will return that support to you freely. 
when i'm hurt, i will believe in your love for me,
 i will bring you my hurt, 
and together we will grow from it and then put it aside. 
i will share all of myself with you, 
for i know to receive your entire heart, 
you must have mine. 
together, we will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will grieve, 
and we will find our way. 
together we will live gratitude 
together we will touch love.”
Terri St. Cloud

Last night, on the eve of my 3rd wedding anniversary, I noticed that my mind kept replaying the horrible scene(s) we endured back then. Not the wedding or the promises we made to each other, but the ugly fight I had with Dad a couple weeks before. I don't know why I revisit the times and places that hurt so much, but I do. Memories surrounding my father are the warp and weft of my life.  I can't have the whole cloth without weaving bits of good and bad, happy and sad, dark and light woven around each other.

I think it was Abraham Lincoln that said a person is only as happy as he chooses to be. I've taken issue with that statement since I first heard it.  People who are clinically depressed do not "choose" to be unhappy and cannot "choose" to be happy. On a good day, they can strive for that and if they succeed it is cause for gratitude.  What I can do today, however, when I think back at those days when I thought I was too broken to ever be put back together, is choose to remember the light in the cloth, not the shadow.

I remember trying to make a home in the Homestead Inn. My side of the efficiency suite looked like I felt. Sweetie's side was neat and orderly. His way of dealing with a crisis is to tackle the mess of it.

I remember feeling like the groundhog on Feb. 2. Whenever I peeked my head out from the covers I could feel the warmth of love surrounding me. And I remember that even as mad and hurt as I was, wanting to make sure Dad could feel the same thing.

I remember receiving the above bonesigh from my friend Terri, who knew what Sweetie and I wanted to say to each other, before we did.

I remember picking up a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers before driving to Welaka for our wedding. The ride was quiet, but the smell of roses took the edge off. "The light rain," said Sweetie, "is a sign that things will grow."

I remember Pastor Earl telling us, this is a "real" wedding. And his wife playing the only song she knew on the organ. On Eagle's Wings, traditionally a funeral song. It could have been a bad omen. Instead it was a confirmation of the Divine One's willingness to "lift us up" cause we sure couldn't get much further down.

On occasion I've wondered what life would have been like if things had gone the other way. It's impossible, however, to imagine my life without Sweetie in it.

Today I noticed that anniversaries are perfect times for reflecting. I look back on the nine years Sweetie and I have been together. I smile that the story of our meeting is soon to be published in Sasee Magazine. I see how far we've come, the obstacles we've overcome. I'm learning I don't need to try to control the future, when I'm holding my husband's hand.

I love you, Sweetie, more than all the sand in the Sahara Desert.
Merry ME

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 74 - Little Things

Today I noticed, out the corner of my eye, at 3am that Johnson had figured out a way to save a tiny green cocoon that had blown off it's sticky holder-on-er. He's got it clothes-pinned to the wall.  As mad as I get sometimes with that man-child, he never fails to show his big heart when it comes to animals of any kind.

I noticed that Miss Bella is losing some of her newborn-ness. At 12 weeks she smiles at me like it's the real thing, not gas. Today she wore the tiniest pair of jeans I've ever seen. The two inch zipper actually worked.

What have you noticed lately? Was it big or small?
Merry ME

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Watched Pot Doesn't Boil ... Or Does It?

Sometimes it's the little things in life that make one say, "Hot damn! How cool is that!"
Like an electric tea pot. Or, more specifically, my new Capresso H2O Plus, glass, cordless, safety kettle.
Gone are the days of going to the creek for water, building up the fire and waiting for the pot to boil.
Okay, I never had to go to a creek or even prime a well. And, while as a Girl Scout I built a pretty good fire, the flames were better suited for making S'mores than boiling water.  In all honesty the only water I boil is for tea. It's not that big a deal. What is a big deal, is the fact that I often turn on the wrong burner.   I've been known to turn the back burner up to high, under the empty tea kettle. Maybe others have done  have done something similar ... once. Let me just say I've done it more than that.

Out with the old and in with the new.
Even though it wasn't my birthday when the postman delivered a box from Amazon, I couldn't wait to rip into it. Anything from Amazon is a treat. You know I did the happy dance when I saw what was in the box. Thank you Weneki. And then I turned it on. OMG. I swear it boiled water in just a couple minutes.  Check this out.

Today, I noticed that how quickly I can go from ho hum to woohoo.
Merry ME

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 72ish

I was rinsing out a bottle of shower spray. Filling it up and pouring the water out. Not paying a whole lot of attention to anything except the filling and pouring rhythm. For some reason, my eye caught the teeny, tiny writing "ish." As in refill 2.5ish X.

That cracked me up. I thought manufacturers had to be a bit more precise than ish-y.
Ish is when a mom wants her kid to eat her vegetables. She knows it's way more than 2 bites, butwhen asked, she says, "two-ish."
Or when a teen tries to sneak in past the curfew and the sleeping parents, opens one eye but can't see the clock, and the teen says, "I'm home early. It's only 12-ish."

I wonder what the FDA thinks about this kind of labeling?

Have a stupendous day. Or fine-ish if you prefer.
Merry ME

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 71

I noticed tonight that sitting at a table, talking about love and marriage and having babies, puts women all at the same playing level. I didn't feel so much like a "servant."
Merry ME

Control? Me?

Me: Sweetie, I think I have a few control issues.
Sweetie: Yeh.
Me: Hey! Are you agreeing with me. I thought you'd say, "no Dear, you don't need to hold on to life's reins so hard that you make it go in the direction you want."
Sweetie: Well see, I think you just gave your own example. Control is holding on to the reins. No control is floating through life like a just released helium balloon, riding the air currents, and enjoying the view.
Me: You mean people do that? Hmmm.

Me: I was telling Sweetie the other night I think I have some control issues.
Weneki: I think so too.
Me: Hmmm.

I remember the first time I ever heard of control issues. I was in a 12-step meeting. Someone brought up the subject and the rest of the circle nodded in agreement. I thought control was my father, or my husband, or my son, always being in charge. You know, being the boss. Since I've never considered myself the boss of anything, I never thought control issues were my problem. I had other issues to deal with. Like fear. Anger. Depression.

For example I don't like flying. Okay, if you call squeezing my eyes shut, grabbing the armrest so tight my knuckles turn white, and repeating Hail Mary full of grace over and over even though I'm not Catholic, I'm downright afraid of flying. Take offs and landings are the worse. But I sit in my tiny space with my seat belt securely fastened. I don't try to tell the pilot how to fly the plane. That's what I would call controlling.

Sweetie, on the other hand, seems to think that I'm over the top in the controlling department when he's driving. All right, sometimes I do tell him where to turn. What's wrong with that? I often know a shorter way. Sometimes I do scream, "lookout!" and come close to putting my foot through the floorboard by pressing on a break pedal that isn't there.  What's wrong with that? He's been know to slip in between two Mack trucks without ever slowing down.  It's not that I don't trust him to drive safely. He's the man, after all, and I do believe men are better able to make split-second decisions than me. I happen to like being the one with my foot on the pedal.  Kind of like a back up quarterback keeping his throwing arm warmed up.  No one would call that guy controlling?

According to 
Control issues are characterized by a person’s need to micromanage and orchestrate the actions and behaviors of others. Control is most often a reaction to fear. People who struggle with the need to be in control often fear being at the mercy of others. Control issues can develop from traumatic events that created a feeling of helplessness and chaos, thus causing a person to crave control in a disproportionate and unhealthy manner.

It's true, I don't like being at the mercy of others. But it's also true, I don't like being Charles in charge. Maybe that's where the anxiety and chaos enter the picture. 

All this is to say, as I approach my 61st birthday, I think I should have better "control" over my own fears.  If fear is the cause of control issues, than controlling that fear should fix things right? So I've picked a couple of fears and decided, for my birthday, I want to conquer one of them.  The theory being if I show myself there's nothing to be afraid of, next time I'm afraid I'll be more confident and less controlling, right? 

I've picked horseback riding.  I have had a couple horse traumas in my life. There's a picture somewhere of my sister Jo riding a horse through some woods, by herself. There's also a picture of me bringing up the rear, but I'm sharing the saddle with a park ranger. I remember nothing of the ride. What I remember is being mercilessly teased that I needed to have help. I was just a little kid - maybe 5 or 6. I should have been grateful for someone else guiding me down the trail. I wasn't. I hated teasing then. I hate it today. 

 The real trauma occurred when I was around 11 or 12. I was visiting a friend at the Naval Air Station. Back then kids could roam around without fear of being kidnapped, especially on a military installation.  My friend suggested we go horseback riding. It is beyond me why I ever said yes. But I did. So we walked over to the stables and I soon found myself on top of a rather sluggish looking nag.  With no instructions other than what I saw on Saturday cowboy shows, I had no idea what to do once I was in the saddle.  Looking like a red-headed Elizabeth Taylor who knew her way around horses, my friend, Vickie Brooks, took hold of her reins and trotted off. I only recall standing there. Maybe the horse was eating some grass, or maybe he was waiting for me to say giddy up. Whatever - we didn't move. Then for no reason I knew then, and still can't fathom now, the nag I was on turned into the Lone Ranger's stallion chasing bad guys across the plains. I heard nothing. But the horse who suddenly doubled in size, must have heard someone say "Hi Ho Silver Away." All of a sudden the dang thing was tearing down the road, through the brush and into some nearby woods. I'm sure I was screaming. I'm equally sure screaming did nothing to help the situation. In my mind the ride rivaled Paul Revere's midnight race through the Massachusetts countryside. A sever case of situational amnesia followed, and maybe a little PTSD. I don't remember ever getting off the horse, getting back to my friend's house, what happened to that horse or how I regained my ability to breathe. To this day, the whole incident remains a blur, unless/until I get within six feet of any kind of equine.  

I've decided for my birthday I'm going to get up close and personal with a horse. A kind, gentle, preferably, old horse.   One that is too tired to do more than walk in a circle connected to a wagon wheel.  It's not the ride I'm going for. It's the conversation I want to have with myself about the horse. I want to stand next to it. Touch it. Pat it.  Sit astride it. And tell myself I don't have to be afraid anymore.  

Chances are Sweetie will still think I'm a control freak. But who knows. Maybe I'll take up flying next.
Merry ME

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 70 - Colors of Spring

Today I noticed the colors of Spring.
I'm always amazed how, as the seasons change from winter to spring, the world turns green. Not just green. But GREEN, in every shade imaginable. While waiting in line at the bank I counted six different greens. Like the Divine One opened up his big box of crayons and colored leaves on bare trees.

When I looked out my kitchen window I noticed a magnificent make cardinal. All decked out in his red suit like he was going to help pick the new pope.

When I walked through the flower section of Winn Dixie I spied some pink tulips and yellow daffodils just starting to open up.

I noticed the sky was a pretty shade of blue in the morning, then turned cloudy and a little gray before the sun went down. Rain is forecast for tonight.

A man walked by me carrying a pillow, blanket and pink tinkerbell bag as I waited for a friend in front of the hospital. When he drove back around I noticed he was picking up his wife and obviously brand new baby. Tiny little bald headed thing, dressed in white.

Sweet Jesus, there's nothing like new beginnings.

Merry ME

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 68: Am I Blue? Day 69: Sidetracked

I noticed I didn't post this yesterday. I got sidetracked changing all the clocks.

I noticed how sweet it is to talk to Weneki on the phone. We don't do it as much as I'd like.  She tells me I need to learn how to text, that it's inevitable. I want to be connected, just not that connected. I think I'd rather hear her voice than see her words.  But, I can see how, in an emergency, a quick, "I'm okay" would calm a lot of fears.

I noticed how spending time with Miss Mary feels like having a girl friend and a mom rolled into one.

Merry ME


I've noticed today a cloud of blue hanging over me.

Then I noticed no one can be blue when holding a baby, or when said baby smiles at you, or when said baby lies sound asleep looking like an angel.

Merry ME

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 67 - Longing

 Katie's topic for today is the plight of women around the world. Need for education. Safe childbirth. Safe everything, I remark to myself.  Wishing.

I turned on the computer. Saw a picture of Reid, the newest member of our family. Everyone agrees he looks a lot like my dad.  Thinking of faraway family. The tears begin to fall.

Answered an email question about my mom. Missing her. More tears.

Went to FB. Watched a hilarious video of an older woman dancing. I never saw my Grandmother dance. Not sure if she ever did.  I looked at the dancing woman's body. Smiled about the "crone" conversation we had at writing group this week. About embracing my curves and gray hair hair.  My feet and hips moved to the music. I smiled. Remembering good times.  More tears.

Was reminded that it is International Woman's Day.  Read this Chinese proverb:
"When sleeping women wake. Mountains move." 
Thinking about woman around the world. When will we gather together in love to change things? Can love really change anything? Wondering. More tears.

Read about Random Acts of Kindness. Yes. I think love can change things. I hold your hand. You hold hers. She holds another's. ..... One hand at a time.  Wishing. Still the tears.

Read a blog. Where would you be if you could be anywhere in the world, right this second?  At my sister's house, I write.
In the kitchen.3 generations. John Denver singing. Someone singing along. Dancing. Various ages, talking over each other. Laughing. Catching up. Remembering. Eating nuts and bolts. Cooking to please - pasta, meat, tofu. Crying. Laughing some more.Wanting the day to last forever.
Longing for connection, I notice, brings up a lot of emotion. Emotion = tears. Guess it's just going to be one of those boohoo days.  I think I'll dance and let the tears flow.
Merry ME

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 65 - Feelings. Nothing more than Feelings ...

Today I noticed how fickle my emotions can be are. How easily I can doubt who I am, what my abilities are, how worthy I am.

I hadn't heard anything definite about the nanny position I've been working/interview for.  When I  spoke to the agency and learned the family was doing other interviews, I immediately felt like I was being judged (which, of course, I was because that is, after all, what a trial period is all about right?). But not in a good way. Of if was in a good way, I didn't know how I was stacking up against someone else. I felt less than, without even knowing. I felt unworthy, even though I've had a few of my own doubts.   I understand that those feelings reside deep in my gut. That they are easily triggered. But I'm always surprised at the speed in which they lay me low.

At the other end of the emotional spectrum, I also had a moment of feeling quite good about myself. Someone whose opinion I greatly appreciate told me she's enjoyed reading my "Year of Noticing" blog posts. The icky feeling in my stomach transformed into a happy feeling in my heart.  Snap your fingers. It was that fast.

Perhaps because my lifelong "habit" of feeling negative thoughts about myself, the icky feeling lasts longer than the happy heart feeling. However, I noticed, that it didn't send me to bed. I looked at the situation, expressed it to Sweetie, worked it through, and began to let it go. This is progress, folks.

Merry ME

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 64 - A Silver Lining?

There is probably nothing better than running down the hall and jumping back into my warm bed after letting the dog out in the morning.  Well, okay, that's an exaggeration. There are lots of things better, most of them having to do with chocolate. Still a warm bed and another hour of sleep are pretty near the top of my list.

Sweetie has trouble with his back so most nights he wanders out to his chair and sleeps there, covered from nose to ankle. It makes me cold just to look at his bare feet sticking out from the blanket turning blue. Not so blue that they need a tag on the toe, but they do look sort of cadaverous. When I open the door behind him, I usually check to make sure he's still breathing. I'm sorry Sweetie doesn't sleep well in the bed. However, I have gotten used to crawling into the middle of a bed, now made for one, and surrounding myself with pillows and covers.

This is often the time Boy Cat will jump off his perch above the TV and join me, or knock something off a table causing a noise loud enough to re-awaken me. This may be his way of telling me he's hungry, or he may just be a brat cat. I think he waits til I've just dozed off. On the mornings he likes to cuddle, he is quite the lover. Lots of rubbing and purring going on. Less than graceful Girl Cat, on the other hand, jumps on the bed and proceeds with what Sweetie calls the Kitty Cat Flop. She likes to do this either at my feet so I'm pinned and can't move. Or on my pillow which is dangerously close to my head. It might take awhile, especially if Suzi is crying at the door like a newborn baby, but I eventually drift off into deep sleep.

This morning, I rolled over and felt something kind of wet, and kind of lumpy. Huh? Who's been sleeping in my bed? More to the point. Who's been puking in my bed? Cat puke to be exact. Since we own two cats it's sometimes hard to point the finger at a specific puker. However, with Boy Cat asleep on the cable box, and the fact that Girl is a bit of a glutton, all signs pointed to her, who was suspiciously no where to been seen.

I noticed that cat puke in your warm bed, makes it hard to get back to sleep. Grrrrr. So I got up, and headed for a shower. While I stood under hot water, I tried to find something positive in this disruption of my morning's slumber. I noticed it's hard to find anything positive about vomit. And unlike an owl's casting, cat vomit does not contain any interesting pieces half eaten detritus left over from last meal. Girl Cat tends to leave uneaten pieces of cat kibble with just enough bile to make it really gross to clean up or lie in.  Good god, I'm grossing myself out, which is exactly why I did a second go round with the soap.

Then it hit me. A blessing. A silver lining. A reason to be grateful.  Girl Cat had not thrown up ON me. Instead she'd picked Sweetie's side of the bed. So, in a court of law, she could get off with a just stern warning, because there actually wasn't supposed to be anyone on that side of the bed. She couldn't be charged with pre-meditation. I just happened to be on the wrong side of the bed.  Turth be told I'm grateful I was the one who found the surprise under the covers. Had Sweetie discovered it when he crawled into bed, there would have been a lot of 'splaining to do.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 63 - Trust

I noticed today that even if it was over 50 years ago, a deep wound from your childhood still hurts.
I noticed how talking about it with someone you trust can ease some of the pain.
I [re]noticed that trust is one of the most important aspects of my relationship with Sweetie.
We trust each other enough to venture, hand in hand, into those dark places we both like to avoid.

Feeling grateful,
Merry ME

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 62 - The Ministry of Presence

I noticed today that when I go into my friend's house, she is often stiff, in pain, unhappy or any combination of the three. After talking awhile, she begins to smile. She moves a little easier.  Before I leave I've heard her laugh at least once.  Tonight I helped her fix a "real" dinner. Fish, sweet potatoes and broccoli - as opposed to a frozen entree.

"Hey, this is good," she said. I noticed that it made me smile.

Mary calls me Angel Girl. I'm flattered. But I don't want my head to get too big for my halo.  I learned a lot from taking care of Dad.  I also feel like there were a few lessens that didn't quite sink in.  By helping Mary I'm kind of getting a do-over.  That makes checking on her, making sure she eats, helping her bathe and seeing that she laughs a little every day a two-way street.

We all need an angel girl. We all gave angelic qualities to share. All it takes is a few minutes to connect with another person. You can't shine light in another's life without some of it shining on you as well.
Maybe tomorrow you can pick up the phone and call a shut in, or say thank you to a grocery clerk, smile at someone you don't know, send a card to someone you haven't seen in awhile. Being an angel isn't so hard. It just takes a willingness to share yourself with another traveler on the same road.

Merry ME

Day 61 - Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
He gave us the fishes,
Of red and of blue.
He told us of Horton
Who heard a small Who,
And the very good zoo
Of young Gerald McGrew.
He sent us the hat-cat,
And Things one and two.
I was reminded by my blog friend, Pam, that today is Dr. Seuss's birthday. Not to mention that Pam is a pretty poet herself. Hop on over there and read the rest of her tribute to the man who invented Green Eggs and Ham.

Shortly after reading that I happened to notice that it is also Lacey's birthday. She's 12 today. I wouldn't have known without driving down the street and seeing this really fun indication that a party was in order. I don't know Lacey, but I'm guessing waking up to a yard full of cupcakes made for the start of a wonderful birthday. Here's hoping all her wishes come true.

Merry ME

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 60 - Noticing

I have begun to realize that all this "noticing" is making me more observant. The more I notice, the more I see. I'm paying more attention to things I might not have bothered with before. Is that they mean when they say be in the moment? Dad used to tell me to slow down, that I went to fast. He reasoned that is why I forget so much.  I have noticed noticing things has slowed me down, if only for that  moment of seeing what's in front of me.

Today I noticed:

1. A new chrysalis. Yesterday when I checked on the progress of pupa A, I noticed all the other caterpillars that had been on the bush the day before were gone. I looked around the bush and on the ground to no avail. Then I noticed that there was one caterpillar hanging on the wall. I tried to move him to the bush thinking he'd like that better. He was stuck by the tiniest of black sticky spots. He sort of curled himself into the letter "j," looking like he was settling in for a long winter's nap. This morning, there it was. A tiny green chrysalis. I can't believe how fast it happened. It looks like a thimble with a top on it.

I also noticed that it is a lighter green than the first one. I wonder if it gets darker with age. Both have a line of gold where the thimble top meets the bottom, as if adorned for the afterlife like a pharoh's sarcophagus.

Here's the bad news. The temperature is supposed to drop below freezing tonight. Do you think I should let Mother Nature take care of things, maybe those little cocoons are nice and warm? Or should I tape a sheet around the bush as protection against the chill?

Mary the Fair Hartmeyer
Circa 1955
2. Letting the dog out this morning with my eyes, still half-way closed, I noticed a picture of Little Me, aka Mary the Fairy Hartmeyer. I probably pass the pictures 15 times a day. This morning, for whatever reason, it caught my attention.  I looked at the little girl and felt a bucket-full of love for her. I felt her sweet, gentle countenance, and smiled at her smile. Is that haircut a precursor of styles to come?

My almost 62 year old self wants to sit beside the picture taking hassock and soak up the nearness of her. I want to look into her green eyes and talk to her. Holding her little hand in mine I'd say:

"I hope you know how pretty you are, how wise, how good. I know.
You are here for a reason. Trust your heart. Hold on to your dreams.
Believe in yourself when you think no one else cares.
Kindness and love are your special gifts. Always share them with others.
I'm sorry you were scared. I'm sorry you felt abandoned. I'm sorry for all the tears you've cried. 
I'm here now. We're going to be okay. Come with me. Don't you worry about a thing."

There is something magical about today noticings. The little green package all wrapped up awaiting the butterfly to come, and the little girl with her plaid topped socks and striped umbrella, probably on her third birthday, on her way to becoming me. 

Merry ME