Moving On

art-of-moving-onNot too many days ago,
my mind developed a mind of her own.
It happened almost the very second that my eyes read
that sappy online blog.

You can make a choice about moving on.

I, as usual, rejected the pop psychology blather.
Sure, I said in my best know-it-all sarcastic voice.
I’ve tried for six years, count ‘em, six years,
With help, without help,
praying, ranting, practicing the old fake it ‘til you make it.
All to no avail.
But, somewhere inside my head, I repeated the corny line
with the perfunctory obedience of a stubborn child.

Instantly, my mind,
which had spent a lifetime lurking unseen, unheard,
somewhere inside my left parietal lobe,
came to life and grabbed on to the new revolutionary idea.
In a flurry of celebration, my mind shouted,
We’re moving on? Awesome!
I’m so sick of thinking those same useless thoughts,
so bored with your futile wishing and hoping.
How many times are you going to make me plod through the same daydream,
the one with your version of a happy ending,
the one that gets rid of the wife and his bad habits,
the one that rights all the wrongs,
and vindicates six years of avoiding reality?

At the same time my mind seemed to have compassion for
the five year old me,
the child inside who still wonders why Daddy left,
why no one asked her to the prom,
why the years without love have far outdistanced
any moments of bliss, and
who still wants her fairy tale ending.

But now that my mind has finally spoken up
And has convinced me that torturing her
isn’t going to solve my problems,
I can’t seem to go back.
The fact that the very next day I had not one but two offers for
coffee and conversation, and a third close on their heels,
added a karmic underscore.

As with all things
life rummages about and finds
chinks in the armor of even our
best intentions and insights.
The cancelling of one offer,
a disappointing turn of events with the other,
and tears surged over the spillway of my cheeks,
creating deep gouges of despondency.
Thoughts of revenge clamored for my attention,
pounding on the door of my mind
with a battering ram of malevolence.
A full out assault demanding
justice for wrongs done.

My mind, without comment, declined to cooperate.
Once liberated,
out of patience with my lifetime of self-pity,
of conjuring up happiness in my head
instead of creating it in my real life,
my mind refused to send the emails that would
illuminate then destroy their lives.
Then, she sat with me on the edge of the bed
until the gush of tears turned to a drowsy drop or two,
coaxed me under the covers and
lullabied me to sleep.

Upon waking this morning,
she got me dressed and fed,
sat me down to write this poem,
put on my make up
and shuffled me out the door
for lunch with prospect number three.
No promises, she reminded me,
but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Oh, please!
But out the door I went.
Moving on.
Awesome!

A good whining day

img_2768I usually don’t whine on my blog but today is a good whining day. Have a terrible cold this week which isn’t fun to begin with. Then last night, there was a sudden drip, drip, drip from the ceiling in the living room of my new condo. Out went the buckets which held me until this morning when a crew of construction workers came, packed up the living room and proceeded to rip out one third of the ceiling. Don’t have a definitive diagnosis yet but they think it’s coming from the roof two floors up. Someone had the bright idea that a roof replacement on my condo building was a good idea in the rainy season!

Here’s the whiny part. My daughter and son-in-law are off at the Aulani in Oahu this week. Having just turned 73 and being alone doesn’t help. A bit of envy for those women who have life partners for just this kind of household emergency. All right, I know, I know. Some of those guys wouldn’t lift a finger to help even if they are around.

indexNow for the gratitudes. The cold is improving. My son and daughter and friends all texted their condolences. I can still watch the Cubbies in the den this evening. I have enough food in the house to last a couple of days. And I certainly am not in the position of those in this world who are really suffering from hunger, illness, and other deprivations. Thank you, God.

The nature of GOODBYE – a poem

good-byeGOODBYE starts as a word
shot from the lip
penetrating reluctant ears
ripping through soft tissues
creating internal wounds
more felt than seen
leaving a bloody splatter of rejection
upon the soul

GOODBYE registers in the brain
as an alien thought
a foreign invasion
a disruptor of dreams

GOODBYE leaves a residue of grief which
pollutes the present
sullies the past and
relegates the future to a
rubbish heap of
broken promises

GOODBYE repels all attempts to
breach its impregnable walls
with reason or
understanding or
new beginnings

GOODBYE remains dormant
a chronic infection
that lurks in every cell
waiting to break out into
tears and wailing

GOODBYE has no antidote
nor immunization
to protect humanity
from its sting
but fade it can
and fade it will
as seconds tick away to
minutes
hours
days
weeks
years
until a new hello
seems possible

Good and Evil on my dresser top

14590405_10106873760480710_7791093641878332179_nFaces not so different
Both gnarled with age
My fairy godmother and my necromancer
Posed in uncomfortable juxtaposition on my dresser top

Meticulously carved expressions
Wide-eyed rosy-cheeked Good14657444_10106873760800070_322077144382564574_n
Dark-lipped deceptively malevolent Evil

14494784_10106873760685300_8403029407292149811_n

Both in exquisite garb
Good in pink paisley leggings
Evil with spangled bloomers tucked stylishly into ebony boots
Nevermore perched in a cage upon her arm14650664_10106873760590490_6177776904577473120_n
Good a flutter of diaphanous wings
Evil awash in a black veil with silvery spider clasp

Both reminding me that I have grown old with them
That this very day marks my seventy-third year of dancing between the two

At times inhabiting a world of pink froth—helping others, bringing children into the world, trying to be a loving mother and grandmother, a faithful friend

At other times donning a darker habit, thinking myself quite justified in self-centered pettiness, harboring hateful, revengeful thoughts over what I consider life’s injustices

And so, they sit in judgment upon my dresser, looking down on me
Reminding me that each moment of each day
I have a choice between good and evil

Chateaux of the Loire – Day Three: Chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire

This is the third of nine posts about our visits to Loire chateaux this summer. Chaumont was distinctive for its annual International Garden Festival and a lovely lunch at Le Grand Velum which features spices, vegetable species, rare and relevant plants  from eco-agriculture.

Less than 200 km south of Paris, nestling between the cities of Tours and Blois, is a haven of poetry stretching out 40 meters above the wild Loire,  Whatever the season, Chaumont-sur-Loire, once the home of Catherine de Medici, Diane de Poitiers and Princess de Broglie, beckons visitors indoors to admire its cozy and lavishly furnished interior. Installations by an array of contemporary artists in the château and along the footpaths of the park catch you by surprise. Every year, more than 400,000 visitors flock to its International Garden Festival, held since 1992.

Our photos include the chateau itself with all its elegance and grandeur on the banks of the Loire, its fabled stables, its unusual eco-friendly restaurant, and, of course, the Garden Festivalimg_2321

Catherine de Medici's bedroom in her usual somber hues

Catherine de Medici’s bedroom in her usual somber hues

Modern stained glass art installation in attic niches filled with restoration materials

Modern stained glass art installation in attic niches filled with restoration materials

Grand dining room

Grand dining room

Huge stables filled with carriages and harnesses

Huge stables filled with carriages and harnesses

The chateau's floral borders

The chateau’s floral borders

Garden Festival entry portraying top of home sunken by nature's forces in this future themed competeition

Garden Festival entry portraying top of home sunken by nature’s forces in this future themed competeition

All that is left is the attic with the survivor's few precious belongings

All that is left is the attic with the survivor’s few precious belongings

Parfumery entry.

Parfumery entry.

Another unusual entry

Another unusual entry

Look closely for Maggie popping up in this one

Look closely for Maggie popping up in this one

And on to lunch at Le Grand Velum

And on to lunch at Le Grand Velum

Cushion of veal cooked like a boiled ham, with grilled bacon from  the  same  meat,  seasoned  with  lovage.  Heads  of  broccoli  and  duxelles of finely sliced chard served on home-made wholegrain  bread roll

Cushion of veal cooked like a boiled ham, with grilled bacon from the same meat, seasoned with lovage. Heads of broccoli and duxelles of finely sliced chard served on home-made wholegrain bread roll

Beef eye-of-round and Carrots cooked in mild  " ices (Voatsiperifery  pepper, paprika and turmeric), cumin potato bubbles and sa % ron  yellow zucchini, beef gravy and cress shoots to

Beef eye-of-round and Carrots cooked in mild
“ices (Voatsiperifery pepper, paprika and turmeric), cumin potato bubbles and saffron
yellow zucchini, beef gravy and cress shoots

Milk  chocolate  and  pollen  flavoured   # reusel  biscuit,  organic  honey parfait, served with a smooth peach-apricot cream. Sorbet  comprising the

Milk chocolate and pollen flavoured
streusel biscuit, organic honey parfait, served with a smooth peach-apricot cream.

.

 

 

Chateaux of the Loire – Day One: Chateau Villesavin

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This gallery contains 18 photos.

This summer I spent three lovely weeks in Orléans with my daughter and granddaughters, ages four and six. During the week, the little girls, who are bilingual in French, attended a Centre Loisirs pour les enfants (see news photos here) … Continue reading

An invitation to share your thoughts

writing meditationI do a daily writing meditation each morning. First I chose a passage or two from one of my daily readers or other 12-step literature and re-type the passages so that they sink in. Then I write my own responses. I have done this over many years and sometimes I like to go back and read what I wrote about the passages in prior years.

This year I’ve decided to start afresh and just write in the present without plowing through the past, thinking of it only as the compost that allows me to grow and bloom in the present and not feeling it necessary to stick my hands back into the muck.

In the tradition of anonymity I will not cite which 12-step program the following passages are drawn from, yet fully acknowledge that they are the published words of others and not mine.

I share them today because they have special meaning to me and so encapsulate the struggles I have had since childhood adjusting to this imperfect world we all live in. I’ve highlighted the thought in each that most struck a chord with me.

share thoughtsPerhaps you would care to share your thoughts if one of these passages has special meaning for you.

Passage One
choicesLive and Let Live reminds us that we cannot control the actions or decisions of other people. If someone chooses to end a relationship with us, that is their right. If we’ve ascribed to the belief that the success or failure of our relationships is solely our responsibility, we may blame ourselves when a relationship ends. We can remind ourselves that each person played a part in the relationship. If a relationship ends, that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily at fault. Whether or not someone wants to be around us, we are still worthy of love and respect. Just because we don’t choose to end a relationship doesn’t mean we don’t have any choices. We still have the power to choose how we will respond. In the past, we have punished ourselves or assumed our role as victims. We don’t have to see ourselves as victims anymore. Today we can choose to be around healthy people who want to be around us.

Passage Two
pain teachesDo not consider painful what is good for you. My reaction to things that were “good for me” was one of pain. Today I know that pain puts me in touch with what I need—something from which I have cut myself off in blind obedience to habit. What pain tells me today is that I have to change. I am willing to examine old ways of thinking.

Passage Three
maturity-is-the-ability-to-joyfully-live-in-an-imperfect-world-quote-1People have disappointed you, hurt you, and let you down by being imperfect. Can you let go of the idea of perfection and accept reality, loving people just the way they are? Love the imperfect people around you. Love your imperfect self and your imperfect world. For if you cannot love life the way it is, you will suffer from eternal loneliness. We all live in an imperfect world, surrounded by imperfect people. The ability to love yourself and those around you is a gift from God that enables you to live fully, bravely, and meaningfully in an imperfect world.

Practice patience

Patience-allows-life-time-to-fall-in-place.8x10unexpected pain
a moment of inattention
the fall that only “old” people have
forcing me to face my age
my vulnerability

thrust instantly into
helplessness
incapacity
realizing I can’t just
pick up a fork
wash that other arm
reach for the remote
open the fridge
searing pain stops me short

cracked eggforcing my brain to remember
I will heal
others won’t
I can use the other arm
others can’t
I can work from home
others have lost their jobs to illness
I can count my successes
others will cave to failure
I can ask for help
others feel too defeated
I have family who have stepped up graciously
others are truly alone

I can see the benefits—
mindfulness in abundance
a window into aging
full evidence of being loved
acceptance of life as it is

attitudes and habits to carry
into wellness
when it comes
and it will come

just for today
practice patience

Asking for prayers

  • Last night up in Oregon to see grandson’s musical tripped and fell on gym floor and broke my right shoulder. All night in ED for X-rays and sling. Back to son’s at 4 am then passed out from trauma meds etc and 911 again. But checked out okay by son’s firefighter buddies. Today dealing with pain and not sure how I’ll get back to California. Or how this will affect my planned move in 2 weeks or summer travel to France. But one day at a time. If God led me to it, He’ll lead me thru it. And, yes, it was Friday the 13th!

Memories of France 2009

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This gallery contains 17 photos.

Getting in the mood–as if one had to work at getting excited to visit France! As I prepare for my lucky 13th trip to France this summer and a 3 week stay in Orleans with my daughter and granddaughters, I’ve … Continue reading