Showing posts with label Zen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zen. Show all posts

Thursday, September 20, 2012


What a busy vacation!  One whole week of beaching, snorkeling, eating at fancy and not-so-fancy restaurants, hiking, touring, going to festivals, swimming in the pool, shopping, and of course, photographing.  But in the very center of all the activity and in the physical center of the island itself I found my center and some restorative peace.  We visited the oldest church (rebuilt of course) and while I have mixed feelings about visiting churches on remote islands from outside religions by non-natives, the simplicity and honesty of this one calmed my spirit.  There were no bells, whistles, gold leaf or tragic icons to call to the attention of a distant god who might have forgotten them.

Inside was one lone soul praying quietly in the cool shade and whom I did not frame in the photograph.

Behind the church was something even more refreshing and inspiring.

I do not believe in traditional religions but I do believe in the power of prayer.  I slowly walked this maze and said to my self with each careful step "Peace on Earth. Goodwill Toward Men."  I held in my mind the embassies across the globe with their hardworking diplomatic corps wondering if they will be called home without warning on this day or if they might face a greater challenge through no fault of their own.

And then we took a tourist photo for remembrance.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The boot is off and I have been instructed to keep exercise and hiking at bay for another 3 weeks. But I feel free at last. So, to celebrate, I am gifting to my readers my corner in spring glory.  Have a nice week!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Enduring Waiting Without Anger

Well, I am guessing the evil spirits of Halloween or the good spirits of All Saints Day have worked their magic as I am almost back to normal today.  Just the rare achy night and not being able to run are my worst problems!  Still cannot see my inside ankle bone, but swelling is only a 10th of what it was.

I was totally fascinated by the gradual healing which I monitored daily.  I could not push it faster whether I rested more or exercised more.  Yet, every day, probably because I no longer work and can stay at home and have few distractions, I noticed a measurable improvement.  This slow healing reminded me of so many things in life that move forward at a snail's pace.  (Actually these last two days I have been able to noticed a faster improvement if I took two aspirin in the late afternoon and then put my foot under a heating pad...this blood rush did make things better more noticeably.)

  • The slow emergence and growth of a seed into a plant.  You can check it each day and see the growth, but there is nothing dramatic or surprising in its changes, unless some rodent eats it to the ground.
  • Losing weight requires endless patience and if you give up just one day you will not see measurable loss.
  • Babies change so slowly if you are able to study and watch them each day.  They look toward your sound, than at your face and finally are able over time to focus on your eyes and then respond to your smile.
  • Good poetry must be read slowly, then re-read (out loud for me) and then over time it grows on you and thickens with meaning.
  • Love, real love that goes beyond sex and eye candy, takes such a long time.  The melding of good and bad habits and trust happens over days, weeks, months and becomes a strong if not beautiful foundation only over decades after all of life's tests and challenges have been met.
  • Developing an expertise in something comes only with time.  Talent you may be born with, but honing that into an expert skill requires time.  Malcolm Gladwell ( a somewhat controversial author) in his book "Outliers" writes about how long it takes to really become an expert. "Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. He also notes that he himself took exactly 10 years to meet the 10,000-Hour Rule, during his brief tenure at The American Spectator and his more recent job at The Washington Post."

I do not think it will take me 20 hours of walking for 10 years to be an expert at walking, because clearly I never had the talent to begin with!  My point is that everything worthwhile seems to take a lot of time and therefore we all better learn patience.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Holding On to the Center

I think that the one thing I search for as I age and find I actually have time to think  and search is the "Center  aka Balance."  I look for that middle ground where everything can clearly be seen, where, if I stand straight and tall with my arms out wide, I feel in complete and peaceful balance.  That place, where, if I stare straight ahead, I can see into those loving eyes of my family and read their minds and accept what is revealed...changes and all.  That place where I know I am home and there is nothing hidden or unknown that can take me by surprise.  That place that is safe and pure and honest and where I am not looking over my shoulder at the mess that is catching up with me, or the old age that is catching up with me, or that bundle of guilt that I keep in a dark locked trunk behind the shed door...the bundle that shows how much time in my life I have wasted and all the mistakes I have made.  It is that place where the future is only obvious change and not unnecessary challenge.

Truly retired means there are no longer any excuses for not being in the Center of your life.  Even if you are fighting a serious disease or supporting the fight of a medical challenge of a loved finally have some time for concentrating on the Center.  Actually you must dedicate time to remain in the Center or you are of no use to anyone off-center.  In retirement there is no longer a career or children to pull me off-Center.  I always admire those people who find the gift in everything that happens to them.  Not the sugary frosting top bow...but the solid center gift of what happens to them and with a gentle sigh they can see and accept that it happened and realize it is there to make them pause and to grow to become more solid and able to fit in between it all.

On a graph sent to me by my financial adviser (yep, I do have one of those) the Center is that place in the middle of the graph where the Y and X meet.  This magic happens between the far flung four corners on this graph which are labeled Lower Risk-Higher Return, Higher Risk-Higher Return, Lower Risk-Lower Return and finally Higher Risk/Lower Return.  The only honest place and sure thing on this graph is Lower Risk-Lower Return.  The most attractive place is Higher Risk-Higher Return but there is not much air in this corner of the graph whether representing financial life or daily living and it is a place you cannot stay long but probably should visit briefly for the thrill every once in a while.  (It is funny how this graph replicates life.)

I live in a culture of excess with lots of glittery lights and magnificent smells, and addictive sounds and therefore, trying to find the Center with the coals warm glow and to remain balanced as I am made stronger by fire is a daily challenge.  It is like yoga and meditation...a most peaceful and rewarding place that allows you to forget about all the corners of your world, past and present, but it takes lots of work to get there and to remain there and most of all to just let go of the idea that you must be on a path to somewhere else.  The only place I must be is right here and right now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It is said that one goal in life is to grow old gracefully...

On short stubby legs the goal in life was to learn to walk and not fall, to cover as much of the huge world's surface before nap-time and then the next day to learn to run.
On longer, coordinated, energetic legs the goal was to make the goal, to beat the boys, to win the races, to get there first.
On shapely legs the goal was to walk on red stilted shoes without twisting an ankle and with studied grace, and to ignore the cold drafts as the skirts were kept short and the legs were kept bare throughout the long winter.
On efficient nylon-covered legs and librarian style heels the goal was to meet the deadlines and hurry home to feed the short stubby legs without a stumble in the same day.
On varicose and freckled and not-yet-shaved legs the goal was to keep them hidden from critical eyes and be thankful you didn't need a walker or cane like your Aunt.
On arthritic legs the goal was to push through the pain and stiffness and to dance every single dance on through the long wedding evening.
Now the goal is to rise out of bed each morning and learn to walk once again and cover as much of the huge world's surface before nap-time and to be thankful you don't want to run.

Those were the days...!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

War With the Cardinal, Himself

It seems to be a moist gray morning that has come too soon.  I am awake and do not know why, but push off the light quilt and head into my dark kitchen to make coffee.  Soon the water is hot and the smell of liquid amber fills my nostrils.  I take my cup and sit on the front porch trying to shake away the fog from my mind as the rising sun begins to silhouette the tree tops.  I am wondering why I woke up so suddenly out of a restorative sleep as I sip my caffeine and enjoy the pink and blue sky in early dawn.  In a short time my reverie is interrupted.

Crows are in the right side ravine making a brass band's worth of noise in the high poplar trees.  I cannot see them, but their cawing is most annoying and unusually angry.  They are probably ganging up on an owl or hawk that has landed in the woods.  The band of crows will give him no peace until he leaves this area completely.  These home boys own the block and do not give way to anyone without regard for claws and sharp bills.  The crows' weapons are confusion and backstabbing.

I finish my coffee and head back inside.  As I reach across the coffee table to get my paperback, the morning sleep disturbance mystery is solved.  First I hear a tap, followed by tap, tap, followed by tap, tap, tap.  There, at the dining room window, is that newly grown male cardinal.  He is small but has all his adult red coloring.  He bangs at the dining room window flying up to the top until my appearance startles him and he rounds the house away from me and continues banging at the kitchen window above the sink.  He has been doing this tapping at the window for several weeks, and I have been trying to ignore him.  Except now he starts his communication before dawn!

And now there is a new twist as I see the mess on the window he has left.

I watch closely and see him hanging at the base of the window and notice that his mouth is full of some green juicy caterpillar thing.  It is so disgusting I can barely watch on my coffee stomach as it oozes insect life from his bill.  My husband mentioned he had seen a similar meal in the bird's bill yesterday  So, is this cardinal now spreading this mess across my window attempting to feed his reflection?  Is he gay and thinking this is his mate to which he offers a gift of fresh breakfast?  Is he a childless father driven by an instinct to feed that he cannot understand or control?  Or is he a pacifist and thinking this male antagonist (reflection) can be won over by an offer to break bread (bug) rather than fight?  Is he in love with me and wants to bring me gifts so that I will fill the bird's water bowl on time?  My guess is that he is just crazy!  We have that crazy cardinal gene pool thing going in our woods which you can read about here and here.

He is driving me crazy; well, crazier as well!  My windows are now covered in streaks of bug guts.  I had planned on cleaning them a few weeks past and I now pat myself on the back for my wise procrastination in the heat of summer.  Sun-baked bug protein is just what any of my few dinner guests want to see while eating a meal and observing our sunsets through the windows.

OK.  Clearly the day has started with a thrown gauntlet.  I rinse my coffee cup and begin planning a battle strategy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Can You Spare a Dime?

The saying that 'life can change on a dime' is familiar to many of us.  I searched the Internet to see where this expression came from.  A dime is thin.  A dime is not much money.  A dime is the smallest in size of American coins.  What does this expression mean?  Does anyone know the origin?

My life almost changed on a dime a few days ago.  After a casual running of errands and some successful plant purchases which I carefully wedged into the trunk of the car to keep them upright, I was heading down the county road toward the bridge that provides access to my side of the river.  Traffic was steady but not crowded with everyone doing 45 and keeping the correct distance.

A nasty storm was building on the distant horizon so people were probably a little eager to get to their destination.

I was following a construction truck full of equipment with three large aluminum ladders tied to the top bars above the truck bed.

Suddenly and without warning the middle ladder flew into the air and tumbled toward my car.  I hit the brakes (not too hard but steady) and pulled to the right side of the road toward the easement worrying about the cars behind me not being able to slow down and hitting my rear.  The ladder hit the pavement on one leg and did a pirouette before falling to the ground.  It then started sliding toward my front tires following me to the right even as I swerved.  Luck was on my side as the ladder came to rest just beside my car as I continued to move by it and came to a stop several yards in front of the now stationary aluminum missile which I saw in my rear view mirror.  It lay at an angle just inside the lane.  

I quickly looked in my rear view and side mirrors.  All of the cars behind me slowed suddenly and began to creep by.  The truck driver in front pulled to the side of the road and then ran back to see me.  He was a big black fellow with a heavy Southern accent.  He was so excited that I had trouble understanding him at first.  He was far more excited than I, clearly worried he might have seriously hurt me.

I reassured him that I was OK as he repeatedly apologized for not tying off the ladder more securely.  

Oddly enough I was not frightened or even concerned, just relieved that it had all happened without great incident and it wasn't until I got home that I remembered my plants were still in the trunk.  I hurried to open the trunk and was amazed to see they had remained tucked upright belying the near accident.

Yes, indeed, life can change on a dime.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Run a Volunteer Program

Volunteers are like full blown roses.  They arrive with energy and expectations (perhaps inaccurate), but expectations none the less, that their time donated to you is valuable.  They are somewhat overwhelming in their eagerness to help.  They may only last a short time in this full bloom of volunteering if they get bored or realize they are only doing something tedious.  Here are just a few basic rules that will keep your relationship with your volunteers running smoothly.

1) Have a consistent and clear schedule but be flexible because you are getting free help.  Pretend that you think their time is valuable even if they are old retired farts.

2) Provide a tour of the facility and make sure you introduce and re-introduce staff over time.  Us older folks cannot remember a name to save our life.

3) It might be a good idea to assign the volunteer to a specific staff person (and a back-up) so that they know who to go to when they get there each time.  It is not courteous to have them stand around grinning at people until they catch someone's eye.

4) Be cheerful and start a small conversation each time they arrive so that they feel welcome.  Don't act distracted even though you are busy, just two to three minutes of cheerful exchange should suffice.  Whatever you do, do not give them the deer in the headlights look when they show up and then look around for someone else to help.

5) Always have something for them to work on.  Try to fit the activity to their expertise and interests if at all possible.  Do not waste their time by going around to other staff asking if they have anything to give the volunteer to do.

6)  And the absolutely most important tip is if you do not need volunteers be honest about that.  Take their name and phone number and tell them you may call them in the future.  Do not feel guilty in turning them away.  Women are particularly bad about this!

The advantages of volunteering in a library is you get to see all the new stuff first, you get to peruse the collection when you read shelves and it is amazing what libraries have today.  You had forgotten, perhaps, that videos, CDs, DVDs, books, magazines, etc. are all for the checking and free!  You have access to dozens of libraries via the interlibrary loan system, so chances are you will be able to get anything you want if you are patient.

Needless to say, my decision to help out at the local library which I began to do this winter is not working out as well as I had hoped.  I encountered some of the issues I mentioned above.  I also overlooked the fact that most of my work would involve moving books and re-shelving books and reading shelves for misplaced or lost books and other media.  I told myself that this re-enforced my Dewey and alphabetical skills and strengthened my biceps and laterals.  I tried to remember some yoga stretches and moves when I got up off the floor after reading the lowest shelves with my trifocals tilted for an extended time .  I was somewhat limited in this yoga moves partnering as I did not want to scare the customers.  I also found it necessary to stifle my groans as I tried to get up with books in hand.  Most days I pretend that they really are happy to see me and a few of them are.  But I if I do not like this as much as I hoped I guess I will be looking for a new volunteer activity in the future.
As a post script when a volunteer leaves you might want to ask them a few questions such as: 1) Will they be volunteering elsewhere? 2) What did they like about this volunteer experience?  3)What didn't they like?  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Savouries of Life, Repetition on a Theme

When I was a child I remember how rare candy was at my house.  It was rare because of cost, not so much the enforcement toward healthy eating, but I am sure that was part of it.  I can remember squirreling away my Halloween candy (admittedly a large bag of it) in my dresser drawer and stingily eating little pieces of it all winter and into the spring until Easter candy took its place.  I can remember the rare bag of M and Ms being parceled out piece by piece to all three (long before the birth of my two younger siblilngs) of us kids making sure we all had the exact same number of pieces.

New clothes were also a big deal.  I remember one Christmas getting a pink sweater with golden new-moon shaped beads around the neck that I wore and wore until the moons were tarnished, it had become tight under my arms, and it had developed too many holes to wear anymore.

We never had any magazines at our house and I remember devouring them in the reception area of the doctor's office, always hoping that we had to wait a long time before the nurse called us into the examination room.

There were no distractions of children's television, video games, computer activities or phone texts.  I could savour the lilacs blooming each spring in the back yard right after breakfast and I did.  A good book and my imagination took me on wonderful journeys more detailed than any Avatar movie whose scenes were designed through another's vision.  A trip to the city was an exciting adventure, even though we didn't do anything more fun there than shop in a few stores.  It was the change of scene and sound that I savored.

If you are allowed every distraction, adventure and luxury as a child, do you ever really savour it.  It will be there tomorrow or next season surely once again, why bother to savour it?  Do your learn the technique of savouring something or does your life consist of hurrying on to the next best thing?  Must the skill of savoring be learned?  Does a chocolate cupcake crammed into one's mouth or with just the frosting eaten first taste as good as that one that you eat ever so slowly and think about each bite as it coats your taste buds knowing that it will be a long time before you get to savor another?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Time is Such a Moving Thing.

I somehow missed the headline in the Science section of the newspaper about how the earth is ever so subtly speeding its rotation.  I failed to learn that the earth is on a new scary speed.  I guess that is why I had the conversation below:

Tabor:  Is today Wednesday?
Hubby:  Nope.
Tabor:  Thursday?
Hubby:  Nope.
Tabor:  FRIDAY??
Hubby:  Yep.
Tabor:  Oh s**t...!  (I only swear like a sailor when it is truly important and it appears that someone or something stole my whole week.)

Not too long ago my week was composed of 5 long days and two very short ones.  Now my week is composed of three very short days.  I am still trying to figure out how this happened and to adjust.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lifting Fog

The best time of the day for me is when I get up around 6:00 AM. The house is very quiet since hubby sleeps in until 7:30 or 8:00.  The house is also still dark because it is winter.  I make my coffee and open blogs as the sun slowly climbs up into the cold sky. In winter I hear the geese flapping and honking their way out of my side of the river into their bigger world of abandoned corn fields or sometimes escaping the hunters when I hear the pop of guns on the other side of the field. Today, I saw them high above the fog over my house looking as if they were ghosts of geese heading out to some mystical retreat.  I hear the crows distant cawing ordering the rest of the birds around.

Yet, it is still relatively quiet here in my little corner of the world. I am surprised that I still need a little corner of time in retirement that I treasure. Time to be alone with my waking thoughts and time to write and create with my photography. Time to think about what lies ahead in my non-activity filled day.  Time to hear my breath.  Time to wait for the fog to lift.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fine, Just Fine, Thanks

The sun is getting cooler every day, you know? I mean, over the long term, it is burning out. The spin of the earth is slowing down by about one second every ten years as well. So much for the old phrase, "Stop the world, I want to get off." Perhaps someday it will stop and you will fall off. There are times when I get overwhelmed by the fact that everything is evolving slowly but dramatically over time. The history that I know is very different from the history that my grandchildren will know. The picture that I paint is coded with time. I now realize that I have actually lived through history.

I hate the passage of time when I think how I am away from my son and my youngest brother, both very different in age and activities but similar in some ways. I know that you must love someone with open arms so that they can fly free. You must let them go but leave your arms open so that you can catch them if they fall. Both my youngest brother and my son need to be free. They fill their days with the busyness of living. I will always be here with my arms open, but the earth is spinning so fast that I can barely see them at times and I know they are not looking for me. They are staring at another planet.

Today I feel much smaller than that grain of sand because after I disappear, it will still be here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Autumnal Reverie

I am back in my quiet and familiar home but still feeling a bit disoriented. Both of these recent trips, the one to Colorado and the one to North Carolina, sort of came about like a haphazard fall of dominoes being back to back. They were planned but somehow took place like rushing river falls...both of which I saw on each of my journeys. My visit with my family was sweetly sad as we gathered together one afternoon to distribute the ashes of both of my parents and part of the ashes of my sweet younger sister who passed away a number of years ago. There was both laughter and tears and not much formal ceremony. We are not a formally religious family and calmly accepting of the way our lives have gone. The ashes now rest on the side of a mountain with a view of the fall valley, facing a regal mountain in an area that we all love, and in the evening the ceremony was blessed over a couple of bottles of Malbec.

I feel the closeness of the impermanence of time which hangs like a damp cloth about my shoulders when I return from unfamiliar territory. This bittersweet feeling is stronger because my husband left today for Indonesia and will be gone for many weeks. It is a small project from which he will make no money, but a project that he believes will help their government move into networking ecological projects. I love him enough to let him fly far away when he needs that. We put our heads together before he left to see what house errands could be completed before his departure.

I now move alone through the rooms unpacking and making piles of laundry and sorting piles of unread mail, which will help fill the coming days. The weather is sublimely misty and cold and seems in sync with my feelings.

House plants in pots, just a few this year, have been moved inside and back to their space by the breakfast corner windows and if the weather clears I will load some of the split wood into the wheelbarrow and move it to a rack by the porch. Then I will pull out the zinnias and other vines that need to be cleared. While I was gone I received a box of 50 new narcissus bulbs and a few allium bulbs that need to find homes in the yard and that will take another afternoon.

For the cool evenings that are to come I will fill by sorting and working with my many photos of the fall colors in the Blue Ridge and Great Smokies that filled me with joy as I took them. I also will smile as I review the photos of the animals, large and small, that let us visit their neck of the woods. I also have a grandchildren sitting job next week and that will make the week seem much less lonely and briefly crazy full.

My life is rich and made richer by the thoughtful comments on my blog while I was away.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Working for the Soul

I have posted elsewhere (FB and emails) about my days of work recently. The cool fall weather, the dormancy of ticks, and the necessity of the size of weeds at summers end have motivated us to clear parts of the forest on either side of the long drive to the house. The wooded view as we drove in was no longer enticing and welcoming, but more like spooky and scary, and while appropriate for the Halloween season, it seems out of place when welcoming guests at other times of the year.

We have now cleared the leaning and/or dead trees that rested against each other and formed a sheltered structure for the wild roses that in turn learned to climb to the tops of the lovely and healthy maples, dogwood, and holly trees and shaded them from sun. I pruned limbs and prickly vines and then piled them beside the road in the clearing. We had piles of dead wood and piles of scratchy brush all of which was later gathered in our arms and placed in the old wooden trailer we use for hauling large amounts of 'stuff'. Hubby bravely climbed on top and did the elephant dance to smash it all down so that we could grab more armfuls and put on top once again.

Frequently the angry roses would grab our butts and legs refusing to be dumped. I still have a tiny thorn in my arm that will have to fester its way to the surface.

Hubby and I argued about what wood to take to the dump and what to cut into firewood. We have enough firewood to last through the winter of 2012, so I was inclined to get rid of much of the wood. (This will ensure that global climate cha
nge really will be global warming.) This photo is just one of the long piles we have waiting for the first cold weather. The problem is that some of this wood is old and some still too new for burning and in our dedicated rhythm we were not as careful in stacking as we should have been.

The wrens and the flickers were not happy that we took away so much dead wood, but eventually forgave us when they saw how may broken tree stumps we left behind for them to poke through. They will have a rich larder of wood insects through the coming snows. We also left enough small bush areas for the mice and other small animals to find shelter.

The free crepe myrtle that was planted at the end of my flower bed two years ago got moved with the help of Pedro. He works for a landscape company and knows exactly how to dig and move small trees. The shape of the crepe was not long and lean but more like an umbrella-shaped weeping willow, and therefore, taking up too much flower bed space. We (actually Pedro and hubby did the work) also joined the two flower beds and I now have a good sunny place to transplant my scattered roses this fall. (More work!)

This is the crepe myrtle shape I had hoped for!

My new rose bed.

After these past three days, the old joints ache with fatigue and overuse and my arms are scratched as if I had wrestled with a mountain cat, but soaking in my jacuzzi in the late afternoon before starting dinner was a reward enjoyed so much more because of my hard work. I am thankful that I do not hate hard work. I am thankful that the goal is its own reward for me. Besides, now I don't have to do any exercises this week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dancing with Moonbeams

Most houses have ghosts. I am sure that one has heard those whispered conversations heard in the late evening when you are sitting by the fire or curled up in your favorite chair with a good book and sitting all alone. You look up and wonder if that was a laugh you just heard or was it just the blinds moving in the breeze. You hear a footfall in the empty hallway and you freeze with the bookmark in hand and turn your head ever so slightly to the left. It is just the bones of this old house creaking, you tell yourself and return to the poem. Someones' laughter and someones' tears are hidden deep within the shadows of the corners of those rooms. Important lives passed this way. Sometimes they feel safe and come forward, but you don't know this, or you deny it. On a lazy sunny afternoon as your eyes close and you begin to drift off to sleep, they gather together and dance around the floor with the moving sunbeams that drift across your favorite carpet.

My house is new. No ghosts have set up residence just yet. Thus when I hear creaking and groaning, I know that it is the spirit of the house settling into these woods planning for the many years to come and making room for the ghosts. My hubby and I will be the first spirits to linger in the shadows some winter evening. Will we be too shy to laugh and will we still have the same arguments? Will the click of my camera shutter startle some late night reader? Will we be willing to make room for other spirits? Will the sound of my grandchildren's footfalls skip down the hallway and interrupted by the sound of their giggle before they hide? Will we dance with the moonbeams in the late evening as the new owner falls asleep before the fireplace? I hope so.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Lessons Learned as Summer Comes to an End

Grandchildren are loaned to us so that we can pass on our well-earned wisdom to their generation and make the world a better, more evolved place...ummm, well... not exactly. I've learned so much from this little soul this past summer that I often wonder if I have been sleepwalking through most of my life. Maybe I learned this stuff a long time ago and just forgot it as I grew up to battle adulthood?

Sometimes on a hot summer day at the pool you need to stop skipping and sliding and swimming and splashing your grandpa and just think about how the day is going thus far. You need to stop and think about all that you are enjoying so that you can remember it or focus on your next attack.

You need to Captain your Ship of Life if you want to end up in the best place for you. Don't be afraid to take the wheel, even if it seems bigger than you and you have to stand on your toes to see where you are going. Remember that those you love are still behind you to support your decisions and to help you on your journey.

Set your boundaries really wide. Your sand castles need moats that cover all the room that you can find on whatever beach you choose. This photo is 1/3 of the final sand castle that was created. It eventually included a mountain with trees and a volcano spewing lava red rocks collected from the beach. No project is too small for a creative soul.

It takes a lot of patience to wait for a fire to die down so that you can roast marshmallows and it is OK to wiggle and squirm when you are trying to be patient about something important. You don't have to look like a saint!

When you finally reach to top of the mountain (airplane, whatevah) remember all the loved ones and friends that helped you get there and be sure to help them all you can by sending your best as well as giving them a hand.

And, finally, throw out your arms in total abandon and don't forget to ENJOY the ride. It certainly goes by really, really, really fast.

(As I explained in an earlier post this is computer is in the shop and actually I am packing tomorrow for the trip.)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


A lovely sunset last night on the river

I have been thinking much more lately of my parents. I try not to miss that they are gone and that I no longer have time to build a closer relationship with them. Perhaps it is the pictures of my childhood that I have retrieved that is pushing me on this backward journey. In several photos my mother is younger than I am today...that grabs my mind and heart and makes me a little dizzy. She looks fresh and happy. I do not remember her that way. I know that if she was in front of me right now we would get off on one of those stilted conversations where she makes me feel less than I am. One of those conversations where she is the grand martyr and I am the self-centered daughter. I love(d) her, but she could be an energy sump to be with. I am trying to accept the flow of the river of time. If I dwell too long I make myself sad and that doesn't accomplish anything.

There is a common idea that if we could go back in time we might better appreciate the moments with the wisdom we have since gained. Well, I realize that is a fallacy. I am watching my grandchildren grow and change like cornstalks in the field after a rain. I am aware of the moments when I am with them and I appreciate every second, but time still rushes on by and they still are growing and changing faster than I can deeply grasp. It is not about wisdom gained with experience. It is about realizing that we cannot slow down time. We cannot pace our lives as we wish. Having time to reflect and understand only helps a little. We still will make mistakes and have regrets no matter how wise we have become.

Life is like a river. It rushes dangerously fast in some places, then goes slowly and peacefully (or dully) in others. We are just along for the ride and try though we might, we miss much stuff in communication and relationships and understanding how others are truly feeling. We try to put ourselves in their place, but the river quickly pushes us on to somewhere else and we must process all over again that new color in the water and that new ripple.

I guess that there are people who know this truth most of their life. They do not waste time second guessing a decision or a relationship. But, I think for most of us, it is a crazy journey and we cannot really see the destination as well as we would like. It is a far way ahead and it will be whatever it is when we get there. We hope that we will understand it and recognize its meaning, and find it is something we can accept but hope is all we get at this turn in the river.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Junk in the Trunk---Part II

Finding some uninterrupted afternoon time I sat and opened the scrapbooks and as requested took some photos for the many, many readers and lurkers of my blog. Hang in there, this should be really, REALLY interesting...!

I so 'fondly' remember putting together this 'comprehensive' manual for our basketball coach which was ultimately for the team that year. He 'contracted' with our Business Education teacher to have me and my best friend be his personal secretaries. He corrected every period and we worked for days changing many details! I can guarantee that he probably had to take remedial English in college and was trying to get even in some weird way. This would have had questionable shades of sexual discrimination today. At least they should have admitted that no one on the basketball team knew English and therefore, could not read it (How's that for discrimination?).

It appears from this memento that, during High School, I went to the State Convention for the Future Homemakers of America. This conference did not appear to have made any impression as I cannot remember much of it at all! I also do not think I am an exceptional homemaker as a result, either.

This is our hometown newspaper with an article on the newest members of National Honor Society. Wow...were we a little dorky, or what? Here we stand waiting to be served tea by our club faculty sponsor. She was like a little Ms. Marple. (Names have been redacted to protect those still serving jail sentences.)

While in High School I was in a fashion show. I DO remember this because I am such a nut for parading around in new clothes. We got to wear clothes borrowed from the dress stores in the nearby larger town. As you may recall, I came from a family that watched money closely and I rarely got to wear new clothes. This was a treat for a poor farm girl.

This is the important notice of my college tuition waiver, which had I not received, I may not have gone to college.

This is my Freshman Beanie...Yes we actually wore them for one whole day. What a crock!

This is a homemade record of something...what I don't know. Now I have to find a turntable! Maybe it was something from debate club?

When I turned 21 during my senior of year of college, one of the my former High School upper classmen friends, a really nice guy that I had no interest in, invited me to the Playboy club in Denver for drinks to celebrate. (I hope he didn't pay for membership just for me!) It was an awkward and cool and weird experience. I was so naive that I didn't question why someone would be serving me drinks in a rabbit costume with overflowing mammary glands. I cannot tell you how absolutely sophisticated I felt, as if I was in some Doris Day movie. I am sure that I looked like a 14-year-old Doris Day as well! ( And, no, I didn't do anything non-Doris Day at the end of the evening.)

Next on my memory journey is a bunch of letters that I continue to pour over! Enough about me, now, what about all of you?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Treasure Chest

I left my childhood home heading to Hawaii first and then on across the Pacific years later, so many years ago, that many of the memories sadly have faded to misty gray. It was a farmhouse at the edge of town on the 'other' side of the railroad tracks. I could walk to school but lived just far enough to catch the school bus which stopped at the turn by my driveway. The only kid that owned a car was the Doctor's son. In those days it was not an uncool thing to ride the school bus. That was the time you had to visit and gossip and I luckily got on the bus at the beginning of the route. My friend from the farm nearby would put on all her make-up on the bus because her father was a very religious conservative. The population of the town was under 2000 which did not seem at all small to me when I lived there because my experiences were also small and I knew almost everyone in town.

My parents have since passed and the farm was sold a few years ago. I probably will not go back that way again as the few friends I have stayed in touch with have moved far away or to nearby towns. A very sad thought, something that probably happens to most of us if we are blessed to live past our usefulness.

I had moved 99% of my 'things' (invaluable stuff ya' know) from my parents' home except for an old camel-back trunk that I had purchased at the Salvation Army store for $5 when I was about 13. I always had BIG plans to restore it, restoration which was needed as can be seen from the photo above, but I never did. (Admittedly it did not have all that white paint on it when I bought it...I think since my brother is in construction he can take credit for that.) I kept it at the back of my closet in the old farmhouse and put inside school annuals, record albums, letters, prom dresses, scrapbooks, etc. For years after I returned to the States I kept forgetting to make the arrangements to have it shipped to where I lived. The trunk was moved to my brother's house when the farm was sold.

Last week it came via UPS wrapped in plain plastic and had been left outside next to the deer fence gate as we had gone shopping for the day. I had been planning on getting it crated, but I find that it weighed more than 70 pounds with all the junk inside. I have not asked my brother how much it cost to send, so I will find that out and send him a nice fat check. We struggled to load the monster into the back of the car and got it as far as the garage floor where it has sat since. I am finally going to open it up today (although I am fighting a sore throat from germs generously shared by my grandson) and see what treasures are tucked inside.

After grabbing another tissue and pouring a glass of wine, I will begin this good memory trip or maybe it will be just an emotional one or maybe a surprising bore. After all, we are so much in love with our own history. My treasures, my junk, who knows...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

My World on Wednesday #1 --- Looking at the Moon

Tabor decides to eat the leftover pancakes and remaining strawberries with honey for breakfast.
(Tushar has only a dollar for food today so he is skipping breakfast.)
Tabor kisses her husband goodbye at the gate in the beautiful early morning.
(TalAyeh kisses the air that still smells of rose water from the funeral of her husband.)

Tabor polishes the oak end table that was purchased when her children were first born.
(Talia goes through the ashes of the fire and finds the brass drawer pull from her best end table.)
Tabor turns on her fancy computer to check her email correspondence from one and all.
(Tanya unfolds a yellowed and creased letter from the priest who had abused her so many years ago and then touches a corner to the flame.)
Tabor decides to walk in the flower garden before the day gets too warm.
(On an abandoned hillside in Berlin, Tabbert find his community garden destroyed by the land owner.)
Tabor washes the garden dirt from her hands in the lovely patterned sink of the powder room.
(Tu bin washes the blood from her hands at edge of the river reflected in the glow of an explosion.)
Tabor decides it is time for tea and reading her new bestselling book.
(Tierra pushes aside the layout for the morning edition and flees from her newspaper office as the soldiers break down the door.)
Tabor answers the phone and is overjoyed to find the call is from her laughing grandson.
(Tamira answers the phone and is overjoyed to find the call is from her father fighting in Iraq.)
Tabor decides not to cook dinner and persuades her husband to try that new restaurant in town.
(Tae-Hyun quietly closes the metal gate to his tiny restaurant and locks it tight as he puts out all the lights.)
Tabor slips between the fresh clean sheets and snuggles into her bed with pleasure at the ending day.
(Tawson shifts carefully in the hospital bed trying not to pull out the intravenous tubes or increase his pain.)

Tabor reviews her day and is thankful for its abundance.
(The nameless gray-haired woman in the homeless shelter reviews her day and is thankful for its abundance.)