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Happy 2012 New Year!! I'm grateful to start the new year off in a healthy way. No hangover to speak of. No alcohol was consumed and making that a commitment is a priority in my life. Last night I was around those who are following the same path. The laughter and humor was infectious. The sincere desire is there and I have no interest to live life any other way. On the way home we stopped by our neighbors to welcome in the new year. I am blessed to live where I do and have this community I call home.
With the start of the new year I spotted two different pairs of bald eagles yesterday while driving home. The first pair were perched on top of the fir tree just outside of town. I only noticed them because the couple out walking were standing on the sidewalk gazing up towards the tree. This is a pair that has been visible for the past few years, their territory, home.
The second pair I noticed were further down the road and were flying overhead. I took both as a good sign for the beginning of a guided new year.
The initially shock is over and the reality has set in for the parents. The memorial is scheduled for this coming Saturday. I can't imagine what the loss must be like to wake up every morning and your child is not there. No more driving them to school, helping them with their homework, celebrating their birthdays, tucking them in at night. The mother was interviewed on the local news saying "it was her daughter's time." Her daughter was laughing in the car and then next thing her mother was holding her in her arms while she took her last breath.
Her friend says "she is tired of all the vampires." The strangers or aquaintances coming out of the woodwork to empathize with her loss. They want to connect on some level, rub elbows with someone who has gone through such a tragedy. I've heard of similiar behaviors with people winnng the lottery or experiencing an unexpected windfall. Most of the intentions are sincere or rather want to help with bringing food, comfort or donations. The ones who show up at her doorstop unannounced and stand there crying. She shouldn't be the one to comfort those overcome by their own grief.
I'm comforted by the words of many great writers lately and some of my entries include their words. This is one quote that resonated with me.
“The lesson which life repeats and constantly reinforces is ‘look under foot.’ You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars. Every place is the center of the world.”
by John Burroughs
She's been asking "what is my identity?" With both kids older and off to college she doesn't have to mother them anymore. They are more or less self sufficient in the world and they don't even come home for the summers since they took on internships in the city. As she sits in the kitchen looking around at the same dishes, pots and pans and everything else that she's owned for the past twenty some years, the only thing she wants to do is scream. How could it be like this? She's not sure what to do with her feelings.
What has happened to them in their retirement years is something that they never expected. After the crash of 2008 almost everything in the mutual funds and IRA plan was lost. Nothing left. When they thought they would pay off their house the reality now, it won't be paid off. They'll be working well after they thought they would be. No hope in sight as they sit in their kitchen and go over the forms to refinance their house. It has come to this fact. They'll be turning sixty-eight this year and taking a second mortage to live on.
Sitting together and drinking coffee as they sit across from each other on the couch. They speak quietly in order not to wake the rest of the family. At this juncture what options are available? What course of action to get through this finanical mess. He's been in denial for years, not wanting to know the truth. She just trusted he was investing their hard earn money. But neither one would realize it would come crashing down. No one to point a finger at, no one to blame. It was a house of cards that had no foundation, except jokers.
He can't make up his mind and feels as though he should. Waffling back and forth between an electric guitar or a fifteen foot aluminum boat. Must be a mid life crisis he's going through. Owning the electric guitar will enable him to play more and he's thinking of joining that local band. He could be that good. Searching he found one with a walnut finish and comes with a hard case. The criteria for purchasing is sound research, no impluse buying here. On the other hand the boat offers relaxation, fishing and a sense of enjoyment. Tuff choice, huh?
In the winter of 1982 I moved in with him three months after we met. He was housesitting a friend's bungalow perched above Laurel Canyon Blvd. We'd walk to the Laurel Canyon country store and purchase a cheap bottle of wine, can of tuna, cheddar cheese and white rice. After climbing the staircase back to the bungalow he'd uncork the wine, light up a joint and proceed to cook and concoct a tuna casserole dish. Pulling it out of the oven he'd declare "the producer's special is served!" Stoned and drunk from cheap wine we ate till we were satiated.
What are the odds that two sisters who live 1,500 miles apart would be wearing the same winter coat from Macy's without telling either one of their purchase? Upon showing up for a long weekend, both realize they have the exact coat. The one says, "your coat looks familiar, I have one just like it that I bought at Macy's." The other not a bit suprised in the coincidence says, "I got mine there too and kinda makes sense that we'd have the same taste being just fourteen months apart, remember we did look like twins as little girls."
I found an inspiring blog a few months ago and this was today's entry. Below are some suggestions to help motivate me.
Sleep late, and don’t feel guilty
Splurge on a chai tea latte with soy
Make kale chips
Take a night walk
Bake a gingerbread dessert
Finish a hand-quilting project
Plan a summer vacation
Make soup from scratch
Play a board game
Learn to use my MP3 player and listen to some music
I'm gearing up for another growing season in the garden and placed one seed order with another big one to be made this weekend. To switch gears while we're in the midst of winter and plan a garden is difficult for me. But also exciting thinking about real food growing in my back yard. After a few months of eating crap my body is craving real greens. At the store I noticed a bunch of kale cost $3.49 and was shocked. I grow so much of it during the summer months sometimes I can't give it away for free.
The big news story is we're expecting snow over the weekend. It always seems like such a big deal especially since our winters are pretty mild. With the recent snow hitting Alaska this past week a cold front is heading our way. No doubt by morning the tv news will be tagging the first storm of the winter with some ridiculous title. It might be a light dusting of snow or we'll get pounded. For now I'll stoke up the stove before heading to bed and enjoy a good night's sleep. I can't wait to see what the morning brings.
During college and throughout her 20's she kept a journal. She prefered the black, hardcover student notebooks which she poured out her thoughts, dreams and desires. Pages after page of late night ramblings written in pen for no one to see but her. If she moved, the notebooks got boxed up and sealed with cellophane tape and went with her to the new apartment, her new life in another city. If she traveled to other countries a notebook was always with her, archiving her experiences. Looking back she never imagined those years of writing were a discipline, a daily practice.
He was pressing her for answers. At times she felt he was badgering her with questions. She wondered to herself "why now is he bringing this up?" She just wanted to take a walk and get away from the kids. Without starting an argument she needed to answer his questions. These were concerns and he had every right to know.
He was giving her every opportunity to tell him the truth.
She stopped, turned and looked him in the eyes.
It was now or never.
He was waiting.
I was willing to take some direction, a suggestion made to look at a pattern in my life. What would it all mean? Who could figure it out but me? If I didn't address it now it would just continue along a slow decline into oblivion. No one would notice but who am I fooling? If I don't it would be just a mediocre existence of nothingness. For now I can be courageous and as honest as I have ever been. I know it will make a difference. I have been asleep for years, maybe my whole life. Wake up.
Since the weekend we got the snow that was predicted with the most fallen in the last 24 hours. I was out earlier walking the dog and measured up to a foot of snow in some areas of the yard. I stayed out taking photos and came across a pileated woodpecker working on a cedar tree. I was drawn to the sound and stood from a distance watching him peck away at a pretty large area. This was all a reminder to slow down, take in the beauty and enjoy it. I promised the dog another walk in the woods.
He only wanted to remember the good memories, the fun times they had in the first year of their relationship. That year was full of promise, the newness of companionship and love. They'd talk forever and dream of building a life together. Co-creating a world with the same vision of marriage, raising a family and having meaningful work. In his eyes that world was working but it slowly stopped for her. Little by little she stopped loving him and couldn't see the vision anymore. He tried to accept her decision, grieve the loss and move on. It hasn't worked.
The storm arrived like a force with temperatures dipping below freezing and within hours the landscape blanketed with snow. The branches of majestic fir and cedar trees bending from the heavy weight. Scurrying on the ground, tiny birds scavenging the earth for a morsel of food. The daily walk in the woods were filled with a symphony of sounds. The pileated woodpecker hard at work making his mark on the cedar tree. Slogging through the snow, gingerly making our way to the crest of the hill, nothing could be more peaceful than standing at the top overlooking the hillside below.
The week was kind of a blur, in a blink it was over. Monday was a holiday and Tuesday through Friday we got hit with snow which for us meant icy roads. No one was going or doing anything. Schools were closed all week and most businesses just shut down. We were lucky there were no power outages and could still cook, shower, be on the computer and watch tv. No inconveniences except missing work. I reveled in the time at home and spent hours catching up on paperwork and working on projects. This was a much needed mini vacation.
They don't want to lose their independence but at 80 and almost 83 years my parents are hanging by a thread. Due to numerous health issues my mother needs constant care which my dad has been the sole caregiver. He is stubborn and has too much pride to ask for help and with myself and siblings living across the country we are facing a decision that no one wants to make. Phone calls and emails are being made to discuss the next step. Everyone has an opinion on what is best. Right now we're trying to convince him the safest.
Glancing on the TV tonight I noticed yet another debate for the Republican candidates. This one is the 18th that has been held with not sure how many more to go. Every organization and TV network wants to hold one and the same things are being said over and over. The moderator asks the questions and the candidates refuse to answer them. Every candidate deflects answering the questions and points the finger at the other candidates. Nothing gets addressed and why should we vote for them? The debates offer very little that a well informed voter can't decide for themself.
As I'm wheeling my cart down the aisle I'm telling myself cooking is fun. I'm buying the necessary items for Lebanese red lentil soup that I'll be making for dinner. The weather's been so cold and gray and homemade soup sounds perfect. I need one pound of red lentils from the bulk section, an onion, cumin, chicken broth, cilantro, and a lemon. One of the easier soup recipes and takes about 45 minutes to prep and cook. As the soup was simmering I thought cooking food is an expression of love and I should do it every night. Well, maybe.
She was sitting across from me as I listened to her talk. Something that happened years ago but still brought tears to her eyes. She was a new mother with her son but wanted to give something special to her own mother. She decided to knit her a scarf and spent hours picking out the right yarn and worked on it giving it to her mother for Christmas. But her mother never wore the scarf, it stayed wrapped in tissue paper and sat in the bottom of the drawer. When her mother passed away she found the scarf, still unworn.
The first visit to the naturopath turned into a two hour appointment with some insight into my health. The decision to seek alternative medicine was a culmination of years in not agreeing with western medicine. I don't want to be subjected to a doctor prescribing the latest drug that supposedly will cure or fix the pain. Notice all the tv commericials for prescription drugs? At least with naturopathic medicine the belief the body can be healed by changing habits and using homeopathic remedies makes more sense. It seems natural to be proactive about one's own life and make healthier choices.
My book purchases are usually done on Amazon for inexpensive buys. One recent purchase for a used book cost $1.00 and with shipping total came to $4.00. While reading it the original receipt fell out and was amazed at how much information was on it. The book was bought on 5/18/2003, 12:27 pm at a Borders Book in Phoenix, Arizona. The name, Tiffany S. Erickson purchased the items and used her Visa card. She bought four things that day including two books, a magazine and three chocolate Lindor balls. I'm using it as a bookmark.
He was older than he looked for turning forty-one. The abuse of drinking and drugging had taken a toll on his body and when he looked in the mirror he could really see the damage. His hazel green eyes were blood shot and there was a murky film covering the cornea. His nose resembled that of W.C. Fields, purplish red in coloring and pulsating like Rudolph. He was not a man of forty-one he could be mistaken for late fifties and he needed to change something. Hell, if he looked like this now, what did he expect?
Steampunk hit our small community with a local art exhibit and big reception Saturday night with people showing up in costume. Some creative and outrageous outfits ranging from an authentic Victorian dress to some wacky, handmade ones. Various styles of goggles were worn, mainly across the brim of a hat. Men in top hats. The women had strange hats with flowers and feathers. The gallery was packed and never had a chance to look at the art. For a cold January evening this show was an expression of creativity in a way that I haven't seen in a long time.
The pencil thin alder trees are splintered in half from the recent snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow a few weeks ago. While walking in the woods today I scan the hillside and fallen trees either pulled up by the root system or broken in half are scattered everywhere. The combination of the heavy snow which turned into ice and high winds brought these trees down. Heavy boughs of cedar and fir spiraled to the ground with enough force to crush whatever was alive. I need these walks daily to remind me of the course of nature.
Next month we'll be heading to Gulf Shores, Alabama to visit my in-laws. A coastal town on the Gulf of Mexico which butts up against the Florida Panhandle. I'm hoping for sun, at least a change from the gray and rainly Northwest. My preference would be Hawaii or Mexico but we've promised to visit and need to honor that. What I think we'll see is a condo on the beach surrounded by a retirement community with plenty of golf courses. Snowbirds who planned their life savings for a break from the cold winter months. I'm ready to go today.
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