friendship, humor, life lessons, love, marriage, sisters, Uncategorized

Who’s Stewart?

Hi,

There are many stories in here, so forgive the multiple parentheticals – recognizing of course, that really talented writers don’t use them often.  Ah well, I’ve never claimed to be a really talented writer.

Anyway, I was speaking with my builder last week.  A few years ago, her birthday gift from her husband was a girls’ weekend at an exclusive hotel.  These women have been friends for years; there are no secrets.  Well, with an abundance of alcohol there are no secrets.  And they imbibed – a lot.  One of her friends has been happily married for many years.  Great guy – sweet, attentive, doting – the kind of guy everyone else in the group holds up as the example when they’re arguing with their spouses.

After many drinks, her friend acknowledged that as much as she loved him, he wasn’t her ‘Stewart’.  Stewart was the one who got away.  Her college sweetheart – part dog, part romantic fool.  She was besotted, he was hormonal.  But she held out a fantasy, wondering for years, ‘what if’.

To abbreviate the tale, over the years her feelings for her husband have replaced that wonder.  She adores him – even though he wasn’t her ‘Stewart’.

I’ve never had a Stewart.  Perhaps it’s because I married often enough that by the time I hit 30, the prospect of a fantasy romance would have just enervated me.  I was a single mom with two boys under the age of five.  And honestly, being a mom was pretty much the only fantasy I ever really had that I insisted on making a reality (but that’s another story).

So let’s move on.

Have I told you that my sister is flippin’ brilliant?  On so many levels, this woman amazes me constantly (Debbie, I know you are shaking your head, telling me that this is same-sex, birth order bullshit – and even if you’re right, so what?  It is what it is.  Truth for sure – and some residual younger-sister-will-never-be-as-good neurosis for good measure).  She is beautiful, scary smart, talented beyond measure – and she is a writer – the legitimate kind.  In one of her recent stories she wrote “you fall in love with the way someone falls in love with you”.  Brilliant.

And true.

I fell in love with the way Andy fell in love with me.  He made himself fit into my life with such an abundance of heart, romance, delight – he introduced me to his magic and I was ultimately mesmerized.  He is my Stewart, but he isn’t the one who got away.  He’s the one who stayed.

We may fall in love with the vision of love that we see, but we stay in love with the person who orchestrated the imagery.  The person who may not be who we first saw (and are we the person they first saw?), but who’s in it with you.  The person who can be your best friend and some weird extra-terrestrial at the same time and still be cute.  The one who drives you crazy in every conceivable way.  I’m a kite;  Andy is an anchor.  He’s judgmental;  I’m not (but for my expectations of sub-contractors working on our house, but they’re not reading this).  We are opposite sides of the same coin – and that is the kind of love that can’t be fabricated by fantasy.

We fall in love with the way someone falls in love with us.  True enough.  We love the person who knew how to make that happen.  Perhaps I never had a Stewart because I have an Andy.  And even though this has absolutely nothing to do with what I intended to pen today, it is what’s been on my mind all morning.  So, I guess therein is another story.

photo

humor, inspiration, life lessons, love, Uncategorized

Suddenly Sixty

So here I sit, on the eve of celebrating my 20th anniversary of being 40 – or as most people would say – turning 60.  6-0.  S-i-x-t-y.

– Hello, how are you?

– Fine thanks, I’m 60.

How the hell did I get here already?  Even my sister acknowledges that it’s a big number.  She also assures me I’ll get over it.  I’m sure she’s right, even if I can’t fully articulate what it is I’ve got.  I understand that the alternative is untenable – so untenable in fact, that perhaps that’s my issue.  I’ve lost my sense of infallibility.  I’ve exited that period of my life (which lasted a very long time) where it feels that everything goes on forever – and I’m a part of that everything.  Tom Stoppard writes that one should “[l]ook at every exit as being an entrance somewhere else”.  Sounds right – I am just a little uncertain about opening that door.

Of course, if we’re fortunate and healthy and inexplicably blessed, we all enter phase after phase.  And no beginning is without its challenges; it takes an effort to move from childhood to adolescence, adolescence to young adulthood, young adulthood to middle age, and so on.  It’s that ‘so on’ part…

I still dance with an abandon that embarrasses my children.  I still cry at romantic comedies, clap for Tinkerbell and keep my playlists relatively current.  I was never known for being a night owl, so there’s been no concession there.  Perhaps it takes a bit longer to heal if I’m unwell, but I have much more confidence that I know how to take care of myself.  I don’t do ‘mom’ jeans.  I’m still in search of the perfect lipstick, blush and the eye cream that really does wonders.

Perhaps that’s it – I still believe in wonders.  In fact I think I notice them more than ever before.  Wonder in the breath of the wind, the intangible, unbreakable connections that tie me to those I love.  Wonder at how much more meaning my days have now that they have fewer requirements to dilute the attention I might give to the sun on my face.  And while I marvel, I also realize how tightly I am holding onto this life.  How much I love the moments as well as the spaces in between, when I breathe in the absolute sweetness of being a part of it all.

I guess I’m going to charge right into sixty, because that’s the door that is open to me.  “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer” (Zora Neale Hurston).  Whatever this year turns out to be, I know it will hold its own wonders.  And I’ll be clinging just as tightly as I always have.

aging, anxiety, friendship, humor, life lessons, mindfulness, Uncategorized

Passing By A Window

Have you ever had one of those moments when you pass by a window and catch a glimpse of your reflection without recognizing yourself – albeit briefly? Please nod your head affirmatively, or I’m going to seriously wonder if my crazy level just escalated.

Is there any greater dissonance than not recognizing who you are? Who you have become? Accepting that none of us perceive ourselves as we are perceived by others, at least our self-perception should align with what we see. And I have to admit, that there are moments when they just don’t line up.

When my head insists that I can rock an outfit which a) I clearly can’t and b) is arguably no longer in style; when I sit in meetings where people moan about millenials and I wonder why they’ve skipped two generations in the dialogue (including my own – hello???); when I dance around my house (full disclosure – only the dogs witness this activity) and find myself hoping the next song is a slow one.

The moments when I realize that my children are now men. Awesome men. No longer in need of that overpowering, all encompassing love that arrived in utero. In my head I am still able to carry them on my hips, pudgy fingers around my neck, little boy sweat and kisses that smacked. And always sensing that if I hold on too hard they will have to wrest themselves from me painfully. I tried to keep my grasp loose-ish. Do they even have these reflections in their mirrors? Perhaps somewhere. Certainly not something they consider when defining themselves at this point in their lives. Nor should they. It isn’t time.

Am I the woman in the little black dress meeting Andy for the first time 23 years ago this week? That curiosity and humor and hint of possibility filling the Georgetown harbor with something unrecognizable yet familiar? I could probably fit into the dress (there was some lycra involved I’m sure), but would I recognize the woman? Sometimes, perhaps…when we dance in the kitchen to a song of Andy’s creation (don’t ask).

So many passages that define this reflection, so many exhilarating moments and sad lessons, an awful lot of pain and kindnesses of indescribable magnitude. To look in the mirror and see that I’m still evolving, the image isn’t static even though there’s something to be said for thinking one is frozen in time. The reflection is the reality – no longer eligible for the ingenue roles, juggling mom, menopausal manic, or driven senior executive. Now? Good question.

The reflection is still blurry, morphing into something gentler, arguably a little easier on the image staring back. Perhaps a little less intrepid and sensing something that haunts my thoughts in ways that are unfamiliar – the limits of time maybe?

The eyes though – the eyes I recognize – they crinkle from laughter, they well too easily, they look to the sky with such gratitude. Sometimes I don’t recognize the face in toto – I just recognize the heart. And sometimes that’s enough.
Photo on 5-25-14 at 5.33 PM

humor, life lessons, love

On The Occasion Of Master Bogart’s 1st Birthday

Well, the Boge-meister turned a year old this week.  We’ve been looking forward to this day for about ten months now, confident that with each passing month, Bogey would mature a little, learn a bit more and begin to show signs of the amazing young guy he is destined to be.  By his first birthday we were sure he would be knighted as the third “Sir” of the Round Table.

IMG_0170

Let’s just say some puppies advance more quickly than others.

His Aunt Lori calls him ‘her little nugget’ – her love for him is one of his redeeming qualities.    The truth is that there are nuggets rolling around in Bogey’s brain, like the numbered orbs in a power ball machine.  Very few thoughts translate into a logical sequence of actions with this little guy.  Jo has offered to put together a behavior management program for him.  I’m thinking of taking her up on it.

He occasionally knows his name, although this is a variable occurrence unless treats are involved.

We think he hears voices.

None of them are ours.

There is something under the bed (the carpet) that inspires low growls and threats.  The ripple created by the pool filter is reason enough to howl menacingly into the darkness (from behind my legs – one mustn’t take unnecessary risks after all).  He debates with golems in his sleep; the golems win.

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He has finally potty-trained us – as long as Andy remembers the 9:00PM walk.  Should he forget, all bets are off.

I will say that Bogey is highly verbal, engaging in various conversations with real and/or imagined characters whether awake or asleep.  He has learned that if he whines incessantly (and it really is a whine), the Sirs will forego any toy with which they are playing, and let him have it, so that they may enjoy a little peace.  He may be a little short of brain cells, but he knows how to manipulate a crowd.

He is ridiculously cute – despite his apparent lack of smarts.  And he adores Andy.  In truth, wherever Andy goes, Bogey is right there.  Andy is besotted and looks at Bogey adoringly while often commenting, “he’s going to be a terrific dog when he grows up a bit”.  Um…ok sweetie, whatever you say.

When we drive up to the mountains, Master Bogey sits up front with Andy.  I sit in the back with the Sirs.  Never looking out the side window, or sticking his little head out to catch a breeze, he sits straight and looks at the road ahead, focused on…well, nothing probably.  Occasionally he checks in with those of us in coach, sniffing with a certain snobbery I don’t find all that becoming.

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Earlier this week, we sang “Happy Birthday” to our baby dog, and as he began jumping up and down, I felt this urge to break into “You’ve Got To Fight For The Right To Party”.  He is definitely a party dude.  I’ve always been a James Taylor kinda girl.  Sigh…

And yet, as I write this he’s asleep on my foot.  He leaps and pounces with a complete lack of grace.  He loves everyone he meets – arguably more than they may want to be loved.  Teddy cleans Bogey’s face with affection and Bogey in turn licks Archie’s face diligently.  They’re a pack.  They’re my fur-guys.  And I guess we were due for a little crazy.

with one of our grand-dogs Henry...
with one of our grand-dogs Henry…
anxiety, friendship, humor, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

Pick A Card, Any Card…

I always wonder how magicians do it.  Being quite naive and slow to track a sleight of hand, I’m one of those excellent candidates that others shake their heads at, wondering how I could have missed it.  I miss it every time.  So when in the audience, I never volunteer.  I’m too easy.  Andy figures out all of these tricks – it’s part of that male mystique of his that requires the provision of an acceptable answer.

Lately I feel like I’m the one trying to figure out the scheme.  And as usual, I’m not exactly blinding anyone with my brilliance.  Rather, I’m letting each moment happen and have surrendered to the limits of my intellect.

In the past few weeks, there has been a health scare with my son (he’s totally fine – but if you think I could string two coherent words together at the time, you’d be giving me way too much credit).  I stayed awake – certain that if my vigilance failed for a moment, something awful might happen.  I’m not sure I was breathing, yet I must have been, ’cause I’m writing to you now.  As soon as I heard he was ok I saw myself as a puddle on the floor.  No longer with any form or substantive thought.  It doesn’t matter whether or not he understood my reaction for it wasn’t/isn’t about me – he’s the child (even though he’s an adult), I’m the mom.

One of my sons completed his MBA.  This is his second Master’s degree – both completed while working full-time at one of the most unforgiving consulting companies when it comes to time and billing (let me take that back – all professional service firms are unforgiving when it comes to time and billing).  Yes, I whooped when they called his name (but at his request, I didn’t yell “Go baby!”).  These men o’ mine are no longer men o’ mine – they are husbands first.  And I wanted my mama lion role back (with no disrespect to either one of my lovely daughters-in-law), mourned the loss of the role I know well.  Chuffing at the opening of my lair…

Andy’s parents are moving to CA to be closer to their daughter and her family.  The weather will be kinder. the opportunities greater for my father-in-law to golf, my mother-in-law to get involved in some activities.  Andy’s up there helping them get organized until he makes it home today.  We’ll go back up together on Wednesday.  I’ve been here before; there’s nothing about it that’s easy.

My cherished friend going through the ebbs and flows of possible transitions – not knowing from one moment to the next whether she’s going-along-to-get-along or passionately caring about the life choices ahead.

So I wake each day with a hint of worry attached to my coffee cup.  My shoulders a bit more bent.  Roles change all the time, relationships morph because that’s what relationships do.  The earth always moving beneath our feet and relying on our sense of balance to remain upright.

And yet…I am acutely aware that everything is ok.  I caught two blue jays yakking it up yesterday afternoon (wow are they loud).  The early morning stars shone with such clarity I wept at their beauty.  I gratefully accept the morning’s invitation.  Somewhere inside I am as full and fortunate as any one person can be.

I am going to take a page from some of my fellow bloggers and take a bit of a hiatus.  It’s not good-bye of course, just some time to fiddle with the idea of blogging, maybe change the paint on the karma truck, rotate the tires, shift gears so to speak.  It’s time – we’ve been on this road together for a long time and rather than lose the company, I’d prefer to pull over and park this baby for awhile.  Get outside, renew, re-think, restore.

And maybe, just maybe when I get back, I’ll be able to tell you just how the magicians do it.  See you soon.  Much love…m

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humor, life lessons, mindfulness

From The Top Of The World

“Well, there is narcissism in all of us, of course.  I mean we are the protagonists of our own lives, so naturally it feels like we’re at the wheel.  But we’re not at the wheel.  That just happens to be where the window is located” — Jean Marie Korelitz

I’ve been up at the mountain house since Sunday.  It’s good to be back, though the first few days without any connectivity to the outside world was a little daunting.  No phone service, no Internet.  I thought that would be fine – and it was, except when the night encroached and I was reminded that I am a very little, inconsequential person in the great big scheme of things – and the mountains are a fairly imposing backdrop from which to consider this.  What serendipity has brought me to this place in time.  And yeah, there were occasionally shout-outs imploring the universe to keep me safe.  So far, so good.

On some level it appalls me that silence can be unrequited, when it is so necessary and valuable.  I’ve been struggling a lot of late with the outline of this next story line in my life (made even more difficult by the fact that I have yet to figure out what I want to be when I grow up).  Itchy, out-of-sync, closing off more parts of me to see if I could get to the essence of what I want.  The reality is I need this silence right now (though it is good to be able to converse with you again).  With all the noise going on in my head, something had to force me to be still.

I have not arrived at any great conclusions, though I feel like I’m on the cusp of…something.  And I’m feeling a bit less anxious about not being able to touch it.  When you can’t avoid yourself, you have to figure out a way through the mild panic and self-deriding thoughts that circle around as a cyclone.  Stepping outside myself to look inside and provide the reassurance that it’s ok.  Let life carry me – for that is what it’s going to do anyway.   What hubris to think that because I want answers now that I’m supposed to have them.  They’re en route – like the spring.

I marvel that the buds on the trees, the flowers, etc are so insistent on blooming regardless of the temperature.  They’re straining to burst forth, determined to honor their rightful time in the sun.  A part of me wants them to be a bit more self-protective and wait until the temperature proves more accommodating.  Another part of me is cheering them on, encouraging them to claim their rightful place.  They’re going to bloom, in their time and on their schedule.  I am learning a lot from them.  The hide-and-seek exercise that transitions us from one season to the next, and the incoming season is always ‘it’.  And always wins.  So with this thought, I toy with a new season in my soul.

It’s all good.  Learning to give myself a break, give myself permission to stare at the clouds, read a book in one sitting, make some tea and just savor.  Savor my husband, my children (when they allow me), the cocoon I am ensconced in on top of this very large and imposing mountain.  Make music in the silence and write a verse that has yet to be sung.

 

discretion, humor, life lessons, love

Sex And The Single Bird

th-14

I lay no claim to being an ornithologist – but I’m telling you, spring is most definitely in the air in the bird kingdom.  You should see and hear what’s going on in the trees around our house.  It’s a veritable conclave for coming together (so to speak).

Apparently cardinals are monogamous, but the guys still go through a very touching courtship routine each season.  They ask their prospective baby-mamas out for a date.  I gather this tryst is always about food – no ice-skating or movies involved.  But if the meal is good and the guy is cute, he can seal the deal if he sings well.  Personally, I have heard some very impressive trilling lately.  And my hunch is that he’s got to bring something more than a McDonald’s Happy Meal if he’s hoping for a long-term relationship.  It’s good to be discerning I think – regardless of your species.  And I think it’s good for the kids to see their parents being nice to each other.

Now, the male robins show up a few weeks ahead of the girls, to scope out neighborhoods, do a little house-hunting, and sing threateningly to establish property rights (I guess this is analogous to going to a closing on one’s house).  Far be it for me to let them know that what they perceive as threatening sounds pretty damn glorious to me.  When the ladies arrive, things move into a mode similar to “The Dating Game” (yes, this dates me significantly).  The female has her choice, gets to ask a lot of questions (do you believe that parenting responsibilities should be shared; would you describe yourself as a romantic; if you were a human, what kind of human would you be, etc) and once she chooses her mate they head off for a brief honeymoon at some undisclosed location up the street.

We have a lot of different birds around here – I’m just mentioning these two types because they’re the least intimidating.  And because this topic could get a little tedious.  Let’s just say that turkey vultures courting other turkey vultures is nightmare-worthy and so frightening to Bogey that he barked at the sky for twenty minutes after witnessing their efforts at seduction.  There’s just nothing romantic to be said about turkey vultures.  Unless of course you’re a turkey vulture.

So as the buds begin to wink suggestively, promising more beauty yet to come, there’s even more salacious activity going on within their branches.  Listen up, it’s the music of love.

 

friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness

Ciao Winter!

Yes, it’s a ridiculous minus-something with windchill.  Yes, the driveway is a skating rink and it has been pretty amusing to watch Bogey try to run from one side to the other without looking like a cartoon character.  Oh and the cold is the kind of cold that settles in your skeleton, intent on staying indefinitely.  I think I forgot to mention that we were the recipients of another 7-8″ of snow yesterday.  Let’s not even talk about the stomach flu that Andy felt compelled to share with me.  And yet…

This is what I saw this morning…

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We all know I’m no photographer – I have absolutely no eye or aesthetic.  But you know what I saw?  I saw the subtle hint of spring, despite shivering so hard, my iPad kept jiggling.  I noticed that the buds are beginning to swell slightly, the birds are starting to flirt with each other in that musically suggestive way that they may consider subtle (but we all know what’s going on).  I saw a sun that delights in its insistence that it will defy the reality.  How can you not gaze at that brightness and not feel its intention?   Images of hope and promise and warmth.  Somehow this morning it all seems far less complicated, far less encumbered with doubts and ‘what ifs’.  It really is simple – life moves forward.  Indomitably.  With or without us.  Might as well let it go and go with the plan.  My hunch is that it’s going to be awesome.

 

anxiety, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness

It’s All About The Plot

“Become major…Live like a hero.  That’s what the classics teach us.  Be a main character.  Otherwise what is life for?” — J.M. Coetzee

I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions lately.  My friends who are encountering detours and re-routes that they hadn’t anticipated.  Bumps that feel like moguls on one of the Olympic ski runs.  The kinds of change that can leave your posture skewed and your jaw clenched to the point of pain.  Jo told me that she thought transitions were easier when we were younger.  Perhaps.  Perhaps we just weren’t aware of what part of our story we were in the middle of – innocence is a wonderful thing.  But when you get a bit older, when the time comes that you realize that this is in fact the story line in which you are the focal character, perspective changes a bit.  We spend so much of our life planning our next chapters – even when they don’t turn out the way we thought they would.

As a child, I remember feeling that I just couldn’t wait for life to start – I couldn’t wait to be able to ride with the experienced riders; couldn’t wait to be double digits.  As a newly-minted teen, I couldn’t wait until I could wear Yardley’s cake eyeliner.  Then I couldn’t wait until I was legal.  Anticipation in my twenties – to be a mom, be seen as an adult (and be forgiven for transgressions that were a result of not knowing what I was doing as an adult), have my own home.  The thirties brought confirmation that though I no longer had the excuse of being a novice grown-up, I had fertile years to dig into this life I was creating without boundaries or barriers.  Perhaps in my forties it began to wear a little thin, but not so much so that my mind was reluctant to keep moving ahead, anticipating next steps with energy and spirit.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that looking forward no longer held the same thrill.  And despite the gratitude (which accompanies most things for me), there lingers questions about legacy and lasting impressions, an awareness that looking forward diminishes the present and quite frankly, too much future-thinking just makes me anxious.  I can write a chapter, but I’m not prepared for the story to end.

And perhaps that is why these transitions get so damn tricky.  Our emotional muscles aren’t as supple; we have seen enough to hesitate – able now to determine the degree of difficulty associated with our next move.

There is a certain grace in such awareness though.  To be able to be engaged with life and observe it simultaneously.  Moving thoughtfully enough that you don’t miss a cardinal on a snow filled branch or the sound the wind makes right before it blows through your hair.  Arriving at a point where you know what matters more often than not, and staying that course.  Transitions may not get easier as we get older, the choices may change in scope and size, but we are each, still the author.  And I for one, think my story is damn good.

anxiety, friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

Living In The Bubble

courtesy of flickr.com
courtesy of flickr.com

I’ve decided to live in my awesome bubble today, so if you feel like fomenting trouble, please move along.  I’m occupied with silliness.

It’s been a long time since I woke up feeling the need to be silly.  It started when I took the pups out and saw that the only thing the moon was revealing was a smile.  Which made me smile too.  Bogey began to chuff at … nothing.  His bravery is impressive when there’s nothing to challenge it.  My hero.  It wasn’t one of those banner sleep nights, so you can toss this up to that slightly frantic goofiness caused by too much caffeine over too short a period of time.  No matter – I’m in the bubble.  At least until I crawl back into bed.

“Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life” — Omar Khayyam

Smart guy, that Omar.  He got me thinking.  For reasons one could ascribe to astrology, biorhythms, synchronized moments in time, etc – some of my friends are struggling at the moment.  Feeling overwhelmed, too lonely, disappointed, histories that they want to get over yet keep repeating, selective memory retrieval that prohibits touching grace.

Join me in here for a minute.  Seriously.  I am thinking that it’s never too late to create the relationships you always wanted; the ones that hint at why you’re dissatisfied with the ones that you currently have.  What is the unrealized fantasy that pulls on your shirt sleeve as you struggle to move forward?  What does it look like?  Create it.  Live it.  Remember the kid that lives inside us all is waiting for you to rectify history.  Fix it.  Be the parent that you didn’t have.  Speak to yourself as if you were speaking to your most loved friend.  Get silly, get loving, get over these hurdles that others may have put there, but you have allowed to remain.  Risk being happy.  No one will hold you accountable for that state of mind every moment of every day.  The onus isn’t as great as the weight of being an indifferent bystander in your own life.

My intent is not to make any of this sound easy or trite.  My intent is to dilute the ‘buts’ and ‘can’t work’ to a manageable trickle instead of a waterfall.  To engage the muscles that stretch most when moving in joy.  To help you find your ‘tickle’ spot and wake it up.  And if all of this is just too much for a Sunday morning – I hope at least that you smile, that you savor one moment in your morning.  Catch yourself grinning.

anxiety, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

I Want To Be A Cowgirl

“I want to be a cowboy, but only long enough to barge into a saloon and bellow ‘Where’s the yellow belly that stole my happy trail?'” — Jared Kintz

courtesy of wikipedia
courtesy of wikipedia

I used to occasionally catch a western with my dad (typically while he was changing channels and got hooked by something John Wayne or Lee Marvin or Clint Eastwood was doing).  My love of horses made it impossible to watch any of the scenes which intimated that they were uncomfortable or angry in anyway.  But galloping through an open field?  I’d watch and put myself in that saddle.  Slamming one’s body into the swinging door of a bar and with one look rendering a crowded room silent?  Oh yeah.   There’s a new sheriff in town and her name is Mimi (ok, I have to change that).

I also wanted to be the next Barbra Streisand, but that’s a story for another day.

And come up with the formula for world peace – I’m still working on that one.

“Where’s the yellow belly who stole my happy trail?”  How awesome it would be if one could point a gloved finger at that varmint.

You know where I’m going with this – who would you point your finger at?  Ain’t no one there, darn it, unless one is looking in the mirror.

We steal our happiness all the time.  That interlude between moments that is so easily sabotaged by our confusion or displeasure, asserting that we are the victims of circumstance, a person, a poor choice.  The thought that I am that yellow belly is anathema to me.  And yet.  Once again the duality of our humanity makes itself known.  We are both fearless and petrified;  hell-bent and heaven seeking.  Bartender, just leave me the bottle.

The older I get, the more I realize that this is the town I rode into.  The trail is far more littered with wildflowers than dead bodies (figuratively speaking – I am a cowboy without a gun).  I have undermined my sense of self-worth far more than anybody else, the amount I have gambled reflects my own fear and ambivalence, my delights have been incredible, my pain has been fierce.  And they’ve all been mine.

Every cowtown I’ve ever lived in has offered food, shelter, employment, sunshine.  So I’ve had the ridiculous luxury of feeling lousy over things that are dreams for many in this world.  So why would I self-sabotage my happy trail?  Because sometimes it’s the easier choice.  Sometimes, it’s far easier to think “yeah, but…”.  The problem of course is that there is no happy ending with that script.  One rides off into a barren field, head down – defeated by one’s self.  And that just isn’t the way any movie should end.

So I get up on my horse, settle my butt into a well-worn saddle and look at the horizon with a delicious sense of the possible.   I nicker to my horse and we ride..while I sing “People”.  Must be the reason why I never made it in show business.

friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

A Gentle Goodbye To 2013

We had all the kids at home yesterday, and the house was resonant with laughter and teasing, generous gift-giving and a love I can only reference as palpable.  My heart beats more deeply, echoing in my chest, snippets of serious conversation that stay in the forefront of my thoughts as I process and hold them as gently as feathers.  “You really are my only mom” (a figurative comment that was so full of history and stories and trust and love that I will never ever forget its intent); “Remember when Grammy would give us shit for playing ball in the playroom and I asked her why it was called a playroom then?”  “I used to think it was so ridiculous that you would treat me like a child when I was over; of course now I realize it was because I was a child”.  Lessons in wine tasting, a book titled “The Story Of A Lifetime” which offers prompts and questions to facilitate the telling of one’s tale in a way that may be at least salient if not interesting.  Laughter that included some good snorts, bad fart jokes and hugs good-bye for which I am never fully prepared.

And so it is as one year ends and another waits in the wings.  I guess I’m not fully prepared.  Certainly for some of the people I love, it has been a challenging year with losses that re-shape the heart.  For most though, it has been relatively gentle.  Our lives are intact, marriages seem happy though not without their requisite effort, young adults are realizing that the operative word has changed from ‘young’ to ‘adult’.  We’re still close and I am forgiven my maternal neuroses that at least can be shared among three.  I consciously tried to be kinder, cared less about judging and more about accepting, placed the notion of acquisitiveness somewhere down on the list where it belongs.  I learned this year, perhaps more than the one before, how deeply I can be touched by the candor and stories of people I have come to know in this little universe.  I have been gobsmacked when I received comments insisting that I have inspired, or tickled, or pleased, or echoed a thought that had been unspoken in someone else’s thoughts.  I’ve been brought to tears and moments of spontaneous delight by David and Bill, Russ and Andrea, Bonnie and Liz, LouAnn and TIna and Ivon, Kizzy, Rhonda.  Of course there are more and I do not intentionally omit anyone – you are in this circle with me and I believe you know it.  People who comment with thoughtfulness and generosity and love.  My friendships have been enhanced and allowed to flourish (for Lori wouldn’t have it any other way).

We found a house to hide in and stand outside of in that mystic fog of the morning when the world demands stillness.  Memories have begun to be made, new places to claim as one’s own.  And we got Bogey – our juvenile delinquent puppy, who should be wearing a leather jacket with a skull and crossbones instead of his snappy little tartan plaid.  Except of course when he’s just so laughably adorable that he is forgiven everything.

I will turn 60 this coming year, a number of some sobriety.  I know that at this point I’d be aged-out of employment in many cases (if I was looking), considered truly senior in the eyes of people with younger eyes and minds.  And yet, I’m so far from done, I don’t swallow too hard at the number.  There is abundant time to try and do better, be kinder, live in moments that should not be ignored, celebrate that which others often miss.  Read more, give more, dance in the driveway and maybe even get up and sing.  Who knows?  There is so much yet to be.  Thank you for sharing this part of the trip with me.  And Happy Happy New Year.