Friday, December 13, 2013

Journal ~ A Quote

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I first came across this quote, it was love at first sight. Every time I re-read this quote it puts life into perspective. It reaffirms where I'm at and the many times that I am able to appreciate all the moments–not the things–but the moments, the experiences, and memories, that combine to make up this thing we call life. It reaffirms what I hold dear to my heart and makes me realize how grateful that I feel for being able to experience life in the simplest ways. It makes me happy that I've worked through my anger at different points in life, and that even when I'm frustrated and want to give up, I keep pushing forward with a smile on my face, trying to find light and balance within the darkness.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fog Bridge

Lost in the trail of my thoughts, in the center of the fog, walking freely and openly into the mist, taking it all in, being right in the middle of a beautiful, bright nothingness where everything makes sense and doesn't make sense; with one hand extended, as though I'm going to crash into a wall, I keep walking through the fog across the bridge, unable to get enough of this sensation of being enveloped in the thickness, soaking in every moment of this inability to see anything but white space and shadows and laughter and rainbows; the mist enters my parted lips. I'm on a tightrope that has no end, no beginning; where I can't fall and I am in utter bliss...

As the fog tiptoes back to where it came from, everything is in full view. Everything glistens and it feels as if I'm viewing the skyline, the buildings, the people–everything–for the first time. It's there, then it's not; then it's there again–the vision heightened by it's disappearance. 


Inspired by Fujiko Nakaya's Fog Bridge at the Exploratorium in San Francisco

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

At First They Didn't See the Need

She’s reading a book, cozy in her cocoon. He comes in to the room; she looks up, half an eye still on the fictional world inside those pages.

“Can we play the question game,” he asks.

“Right now?”

“Yeah, it’s been a while.”

They had been reading a book….and in it the author set aside time for the couples to get to know each other, to talk about other things besides work and the usual banter.

Then he gets a look on his face, and she sets her book down. “What is it,” she asks, “I thought we were playing the question game."

“Well, I wanted to talk to you. We’re not getting any younger...when we were in Carmel a few weeks back, I was going to propose to you on the beach.”

They had talked about marriage before and it was all over the map. They didn’t see a need. Then they thought, it’s possible. They already felt married in soul and spirit, in body and mind.

“I’m glad you didn’t she said. I mean, I would have felt self-conscious, put on the spot. Let’s do it, of course! But what changed your mind. Just the other day when we were at the wine bar, talking to that fellow, we agreed there wasn’t a need to be married.”

“I just know. It’s time.”

“Yes, It is time.”

She knew she didn’t want a big to do. She wanted to elope. She wanted to get married right away at City Hall and then let those that needed to know, know. Eventually they could have a celebration, but for now, this was their moment and she was happy that he was able to concede to having it a private ceremony with only his parents as witnesses. She thought it would have been romantic to have perfect strangers stand in because in some way they could feel special to witness a special moment. But, it would still be secret, except for his parents who would be the first to know anyway.

At first, she figured she would wear her normal clothes, but as they began talking, he said he would wear his suit and that he’d like her to wear a dress. She began planning and searching. What date? Let it fall to chance? Pick a date that had some symbolism, some significance?

It was ironic too that just recently she had gotten together with a friend and marriage came up and she said, no, we don’t see the need. It was only a week later that this change of events was upon her.

The first thing they decided to do was to find rings. He had told her that that was part of what held him back on the proposal—he didn’t know what ring she would like. She was happy that he waited. At first she thought they could both have silver bands; later she would learn about the different types of metal and why silver was not used. She saw a band with Celtic knots that she liked for both of them to wear. Then she saw some white-gold bands. She had never been drawn to yellow-gold. She didn’t want diamonds—at first. But at the second jewelry store they went to, she finally decided to look at the rings with diamonds. She didn’t want anything big. She pointed at a slender white-gold band with understated diamonds. He said to her that he was glad she was beginning to look at the diamond rings. He wanted her to have one, and he liked the ones she was looking at. She tried it on; it was perfect.

And so on this day, Monday, December 9, 2013, they sealed their commitment to each other and look forward to their new journey together as husband and wife. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Talk to the Plants at Work

I talk to the plants at work. Each morning I greet the short plant that I call Shorty. He's the first one I see. Sometimes I forget, and when I do, something feels off, which causes me to go back around from my desk to set my eyes upon him. There was a little while there when I would let him dry out until he looked like wilted spinach, but it wasn't to be cruel. It's that it was easier to water him that way, to be sure the water penetrated him well. And it was lovely to watch him go from a low droop to the perkiest, happiest, Shorty that he is. I stopped doing that though and thought it best to keep him looking his best in case a visitor came during one of his droopy moments. They wouldn't understand. Instead, shorty would look neglected.

Today when I was watering the rest of the plants, I was admiring and speaking to the tall palm. He doesn't have a name–just Tall Palm. His new leaves had unwrapped so beautifully. I took my hand after watering him and felt his new leaf, seeing how perfectly it had unwrapped from a tight frond, feeling the smoothness–the cool skin and veins. The light was shining through the window and I could see the silhouette of my fingers. I was seized by the moment. I set the watering can down, grabbed my phone, and snapped a photo. It was a simple wonderful moment where the palm and I connected on a different level. It was as though I was seeing the palm and myself for the first time; life beating through our veins, and it was lovely. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tonight ~ A Few Books

I've been recording my thoughts in bits and scraps, collecting a reel of moments as best I can.

My reading diet since August has mostly consisted of accounting and business. The end of classes are in sight, and I must say, it can't come soon enough. I've hardly read a work of fiction, except for blogs, since July. But, alas, yesterday marked the day I finished a novel that I started in September. It has taken me that long because I didn't want to deviate from school work. I've also dipped into a few other books, but not as many or as long as I'd like. 

The novel I finished is called The Ice Chorus by Sarah Stonich. I found this one while I was searching the library shelves one day back in September. Something about the dabs of orange and red watercolor squares on the book's spine caught my attention. After reading the inside flap, I had a good idea what the story would be about. In short: a happy marriage that leads to an affair and a woman finding herself. But there's so much more, so many details and stories. I was drawn to the story in part because it involved an artist and alternates between Mexico and Ireland. We are guided along on this woman's journey, learning how her story begins and the internal struggles she goes through along the way.  I grew to care about the characters, especially in Ireland. It's a story I will remember and will revisit in my mind, and the writing was gorgeous.

I also picked two non-fiction books from the library's shelves: 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman; and Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D. What little I've read so far of 59 Seconds has been inspirational. This seems like a gem of a book, packed with information, that can be read in small spurts. I've only read a few pages of Love 2.0. I'm thoroughly intrigued. There are quotes that head each chapter and this one is speaking to me tonight from the chapter titled "Loving Kindness": 

"Love Doesn't just sit there, like a stone;
it has to be made, like bread;
remade all the time, made new." 

–Ursula K. Le Guin

I've sufficiently deviated tonight, catching up on blogs and such. I'm tired, yet I keep staring at the page, knowing there is more, yet unable to spit it out at this time– I stare at the white space, feeling the heaviness in my eyes, and the heaviness from looking at a computer screen for too long, neck stooped over. The blank page has a way of casting a spell; and now, I must break that spell–

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Moon & Childhood Innocence

Last night as I was driving to class I was captivated by the moon. I couldn't take my eyes away. I've always been a moon gazer, and being ruled by the moon, I feel a special affinity with her. Sometimes the moon feels like a masculine being and other times, I feel her feminine presence. It's difficult for me to describe how beautiful she looked last night–a dainty slice curled into a translucent golden orb–framed, reflecting each other's light upon the space they shared–the whole and the part and the brightest star, a sweep away, held by the distant and dazzling moon.


On my way to class I started to re-listen to the audio book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I loved listening to the book the first time and felt that I was in the mood for a second go. Eventually, I will check the book out from the library because there are so many spots I'd like to re-read. Anyone that has any interest whatsoever in learning more about introverts and extroverts, will gain much from this well written and researched book. I don't like labels, but introvert is a label I am and can live with and am not at all ashamed of. 

My class was interesting partially because of the group activities we had, although, I was feeling overstimulated by the noise and didn't participate that much. When it was time for us to do one last thing, I decided I wanted to work alone, so everyone else was in groups, hurrying to copy each other's answers and trying to get done to get out of class. My partner asked me if I wanted to see his answers and I said that I would  pass and that it helped me to work through he material and search for the answers myself. 

I wasn't all alone though because one of the students brought her son with her and he was sitting in front of me. He had his lego figurines and book laid out of the table that he sat at. He had turned around earlier in the class and I smiled at him. At another occasion we were watching a video and when he turned and saw that I was writing notes, he flashed his light on my paper. I looked up at him. He said, "You shouldn't write in the dark." I told him thank you. He turned back around to his table. And and I was watching the movie, I was thinking what a sweet kid he was. I asked him later what grade he was in. He said 4th, so he must have been about 9 or 10. 

So while I sat there working through my glossary words alone, the boy turned around and started chatting with me. I gave him my attention. He said how he was looking forward to school tomorrow because he had band. I asked him what instrument he played and he said the chimes. I think it was the chimes, either the chimes or the bells. He asked I wanted him to show me the song he was working on and I said sure. It was short. He went through the motions with his hands, the first time calling out the notes, then he did it using his voice to make the sound of the bells/chimes. Anyway, I have to say I was more interested in hearing what he had to say than when I was working in the group and it was more my style: One-to-one communication. 

I can't remember the exact name of the song he was playing but it was French and it had to do with the moon. He said it in French and I tried to repeat it and he said, "That's right!" The last part of our conversation was priceless to me and brought me back to the simplicity and innocence of childhood:

"Did you see the moon?" I asked

"Yes, it was a quarter moon!"

"And did you see the sta..."

"The star! Yes! It was right across from it."

"It looked so beautiful."

My heart was so touched. Except for some children, writers, poets, nature lovers, how many students in the class would have truly seen the moon as this boy did? It was wonderful to share the moment with him and to know that he truly saw it and was just as touched.

We chatted some more and towards the end, he said to me, "You have a good attitude. I like you." I kept my eyes on his and said, "I like you too." There was a pause, then he said, "Friends?" And I affirmed his question and with the carefreeness and confidence of of childhood, I said, "Friends" and I smiled.

At some point in our conversation he told me I looked like I was about 12. I said, "Wow, really...Thanks."

I started packing up and we said our goodbyes. I wished him a fun band class and said good bye; he thanked me and said goodbye.

I walked to my car with a light step, and in some ways thinking, I've gotten to a point in my life, where children make more sense to me. I've always been in touch with my inner child, but there was just something that made me feel that I should be or belong amongst reality I don't think it's in my cards, but that doesn't mean I can't make the most of the experiences that bring me in contact with children.


Sliver of a moon
you are especially dazzling
tonight. Orb glows sending
messages across the gap to a shining
star. Crisp air. I step out of the car
and Jacaranda, your scent arrests
my senses. I inhale your spicy tangerine
aroma that fills me with the feeling that I
am at the entrance to a great hearth
in the kingdom of...I reach out,
my fingers touch the handle–
I turn, ready to enter.

Journal - Headaches - Getting it Out

This morning I sit with my cup of tea, listening to the whir of the heater warming this cozy space. The table is missing its vase of flowers. I have a headache that is medium at the moment. After a visit to the doctor, I decided to finally give in to taking a daily pill for my migraines. I really don't know if it's going to work. I think it's been about 20 years now that I've been taking Imitrex and then a generic form of it. The pill is meant to be taken right at the onset of a migraine and for the most part it works, but there have been many occasions where the headache won over and there was nothing to do except ride it out. In those moments, the nausea is unbearable; vomiting is exhausting, relieving the pain for those brief moments standing over the toilet and then the pain seems to intensify, throbbing and making me feel like creating some other type of pain, just to forget about the pain I already feel. There is also the feeling of wanting to smash your head open against a brick wall to break all the tension away. I've tried to go into the pain, become the pain, and quite honestly, it doesn't help and only intensifies. I try to sleep, holding a cool wash cloth over my forehead, but even sleeping is a chore. I can't do anything except ride it out. Sometimes, it goes away the next day, but other times, it can last days. I've had to call in sick to work, which I hate having to do. 

And so, I've only just begun taking this daily pill at a 10 mg dosage, which the doctor said that if I do get a headache, if I can bear it, don't take the Imitrex and increase my dosage of the daily pill to two pills, which will be 20 mg. I can take up to five pills per night–if it got to that point. Last night was my fifth night taking the daily and well, I've had to take an Imitrex, which I took this morning. I can't miss any more work this year. I've thought about acupuncture , but I don't think I could realistically afford the treatments. I try to stay away from my triggers, but one I can't avoid and that's my monthly cycle. Every month I'm guaranteed a bad headache that may last a few days. I used to see a Chiropractor, but that was when I had comprehensive health insurance through a different employer. I think it helped a little, but I don't know how much. I keep a headache calendar and write down every time I get one. I average about ten per month, most have been intercepted with Imitrex, but the doctor thinks that 10 to 12 pills of that pill is too much. 

I don't like getting my migraines. They make me feel unhealthy, weak, and sometimes embarrassed. It's not easy to talk to people about migraines who haven't experienced one for themselves. Even then, each migrainer feels the pain differently, but at least they know.

My mother got really bad ones. I remember seeing her in pain and in bed for days. I don't think she had medication, so she had to ride them out each time. What's interesting is that in looking back at my childhood, I remember sometimes feeling sick at home or at school and ending up in the nurse's office and then being sent home. Then I remember a span of my childhood where I wasn't sick. Then in my twenties I started getting the headaches. I remember trying to deal with one. A friend and I were going into town and I had a pounding headache and felt nauseas, but stubborn me didn't want it to get the best of me. As we got through the crosswalk, I went to the nearest bush and vomited. I decided I better turn back and go home. 

I will say this–I am grateful that I've at least found some form of medication that works. I've read stories of some people where nothing seems to help. It may not be the best solution and I still haven't given up on the daily pill. I'm trying not to get down about the fact that I may have to up my daily to 20 mgs. I have to accept the fact that this is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life and in the scheme of things it's not so bad. I've just never liked taking pills if I can avoid it and now I'm stuck with them, not to mention the potential toll they will take on my body in the long run.

I had to get that all out because it's been on my mind. Maybe I'll come back to my blog one day and read this and just maybe my future self will be off the pills or maybe the headaches will dwindle, decrease...who knows.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cat Prints: An October Tale

Chelsea had an interest in astrology and other subjects that dealt with the workings of the inner churnings of her mind and spirit. One memory in particular stood out in her mind: A Tarot reading she had while on vacation on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. She had been walking with a heavy weight upon her being about certain decisions that were out of her hands. She saw a woman sitting at a small table in an outdoor market and decided to get her cards read. The woman saw favorable conditions with regard to her situation and when the time came, the reading proved true. That moment had piqued Chelsea’s curiosity and down the road, over the years, she would learn more about the cards and find other ritualistic ways to work with them.

That evening before Chelsea went to bed, she thought about her day. She thought about how unhappy she was in her job, yet she didn’t know what else to do. She worked in an office and she liked office work, but this particular office was not in an area of knowledge that she wished to grow in. How could she bring more meaning into her life? How could she make the pieces fit together? She slowly drifted off to sleep and she began to dream.

She saw a dark figure. It was a man in a raggedy black raincoat. He wore a purple top hat, pointy black shoes, and carried a red umbrella. He came towards her using his red umbrella like a cane with his head held high. Chelsea asked, “Do I know you?”  He had been whistling a strange tune that she couldn’t make out. He stopped whistling when she asked the question. “My name is Milton and you must be…Chelsea.”

“Why am I here?”

“Somehow your path has crossed with someone else’s and it is the soul of that person that has brought you here. It is not important who that soul is. However, it is very important that you heed what I am about to tell you.”

“Is this your dream or is it my dream?”

“It is your dream, Chelsea, but it seems this soul has been trying to use your dreams because you both have something in common.”

“And what is that?”

Those were the last words she spoke that night.

The morning sunshine pushed itself through the window as the breeze caressed Chelsea’s cheek. She stretched, reached for her slippers and went down to make coffee. She sat at the small kitchen table waiting for the coffee to brew. She sat and rested her chin on her palms, in a daze, sensing that she had a strange dream but unable to remember. She stood up. The aroma of coffee filled the kitchen causing Chelsea to perk up. She poured a cup and got ready for her workday. But first, she would write.

At work, she settled into her desk; then noticing the calendar, as if for the first time, she began to daydream slightly. “Chelsea, Chelsea?, hey Chelsea!” She didn’t know how long she was sitting there before she heard her boss calling for her. It seems she was there an eternity, but only moments had gone by and she had entered into a waking dream state. She went into her boss’s office, received his instructions, and went back to her desk. Though her job wasn’t difficult, she often felt like a tired old car puttering along going through the same passionless motions each day.

That evening when Chelsea settled into bed, she began reading a book. She couldn’t focus, so she put the book away. She decided to pull a single tarot card from her deck. It had been a while since she had pulled a card. This was a ritual that she had done in the mornings for a time. She flipped the bed covers off, went to her bookshelf and picked up the tarot cards and a book that she liked to consult. With the cards and book in hand, she entered the kitchen, sat at the table and began to shuffle the cards. She closed her eyes, concentrated on the day and also concentrated on any sort of general guidance on her life that might accompany her in her dreams. She opened her eyes and fanned the cards out on the table. She closed her eyes again, passed her hands above the cards, going back and forth, until she had a feeling and chose a card.

There looking back at her: The Emperor. A powerful card, representing the “universal principle of power and leadership.” She held the card in her hand and gazed at the reds and yellows that were like a sunset ablaze; the Emperor exuded strength. It was a card she did not feel worthy of, yet she knew it had something to offer.

She read the full description from her tarot book and wrote in her journal. She flipped the pages of her journal and saw all the unfinished ideas: beginnings of essays, stories, and poems. What she didn’t see there was the children’s book in her mind’s eye. She had gone over the small bits, playing them over and over in her head, trying to visualize the words and how an illustrator would bring the images to life. Something was holding her back. She closed her journal and dragged herself off to bed.

Tap. Tap. Tap. It was the sound of the man’s cane. She approached him just as he was sitting down at a round table to have a cup of coffee.

“Well there you are,” he said. “Please do sit down.”

“I feel a little out of sorts.”

“Do you remember?”

“Remember what?”

“How you got here.”

She rubbed her eyes. “I know that I’m dreaming…I don’t want to wake up just yet. I know I can’t control it. I couldn’t remember when I woke up, but now—

“Try to concentrate. I want to know how you happened upon this same space.”

“Alright. I’ll try. Give me a moment…I see something…yes,  I’m at work. I’m standing in front of my calendar at work, gazing into the month of October. The image was of a white horse flying across the October sky with a champagne moon in the distance. I heard the phone ring; at the same time my boss was calling me. As I started to turn, I felt something touch my hand and a cool chill ran down my body. The last thing I heard was the pounding of a stapler from the far office. I looked up at the calendar and then I felt a pull and I fell through the page.

It wasn’t like swirling through a dark tunnel; it was more like sparkling leaves shimmering on a windy day, and the sun shining like a large crystal and then all went dark. I saw a familiar neighborhood. I looked around the rain-covered pavement of uneven cobbled shapes. I heard a voice, not your voice, a different voice. And then I saw you.”

“Ah, yes, the voice. That my dear, Chelsea, is the voice of a soul who has become entwined with your own, and that’s what I was beginning to tell you before you left. But this is your last visit to this particular dream world. I saw that you brought your tarot cards out before you went to sleep.”

“Bu—how did you know that!”

“Chelsea, we haven’t much time. I can only share with you the information that is relevant for your trip back. Now tell me what the voice says.”

He says, ‘In life, October has always been his favorite month. He feels like he’s locked in one of Dante's circles, in the sense that he would repeat and repeat some motion, some journey, each and every night in search of his soul.’ She stops.

“Go on,” he urges.

“And then he answers my thoughts and says, ‘ how is it that I am able to communicate this to you, you wonder? Well, I can't explain it completely myself, except to say that in your sleep, I enter your dream space at night. I know you’re a writer you see, and there is one other connection. As a little girl, you were surrounded by cats—lots and lots of cats. You understood them, and they understood you. The car you drive is your late grandfather’s car. It was left to you. That's the other connection. Every night I try to unlock my soul through you. You have become entwined with my You have become entwined with my connection to the world of the living. You hold my soul locked inside of you, as you also hold your own soul—locked away. The only way that I can be free is by your writing about me. And you must remember: My connection to you is a bit of a fluke, you see. It’s a connection where my soul became lost and locked onto your connection to your grandparent’s. It is a purely emotional connection.’

She has been speaking quickly and energetically, which is unlike her character.

Chelsea lets out a deep sigh and hunches over, looking into the man’s large eyes.
“His path has crossed yours for another common reason. He was a failed writer in life. Only it was not his writing—it was his own thoughts. It’s a sort of spell, a spell of self-infliction. It is the spell of self-doubt. He senses that in your own soul and before you leave this dream world, you must remember…and when you begin your day, you must take heed of the clue that “wakes” you up. In a way, you have become one with this other soul. If you strive for your potential, his soul, and yours for that matter, will be at peace.”
“I will try my best. I don’t want to leave here. And you say I won’t be back to this particular dream space?”
“That is correct. We may meet again in another dream, but you won’t recognize me as such. You will have a feeling, a feeling that you know me, but chances are, you will have forgotten. We can only remember what we need to at any given moment. It’s a cycle that continues and continues until we’ve moved through our life’s lessons.”
“Yes, I know that feeling all too well. Ah, another commonality. Sometimes the facts are bumping right up against our noses and still we don’t always see.”

“Farewell, my dear, Chelsea.” The man tipped his hat, got up from the chair and began walking down the dark cobbled streets into the darkness, whistling a strange tune.

When Chelsea woke that morning, she felt exhausted. She went through her morning routine. As she approached her car, she noticed little markings around the edges of the rooftop. It appeared as though someone took a flower stamp and stamped pollen flowers all over the car’s edge. She thought nothing of it, opened the door of the car, and plopped down on the seat. She looked ahead as she started the engine and she saw the same prints on her window.

Now she could clearly see they were cat prints. “So that’s what those markings are,” she said out loud. As she waited for the car to warm up, she felt a smile form on her face. She remembered how every morning she would run up to her grandmother’s house, two doors away, and the first place she would go after kissing her grandmother was the backyard to sit with all the kittens and cats. She was a child of nature. She sat in her pink nightgown and robe and placed as many kittens on her lap as she could. She would pet them and cuddle with them and speak to them and tell them all about the morning of adventure she had planned. Her grandparent’s home was her paradise.

Chelsea snapped out of her reverie. She started to have a vague remnant of a dream she had the previous night. It was fuzzy. She kept hearing a voice. Right now though, in this moment, the voice that she heard was of her grandmother telling her to study hard. Her grandmother had always believed in her. Though, Chelsea hadn’t finished college, she felt that she had gained something special in the many college courses that she took and from the people she had met along the way. She didn’t have a plan or focus. She always liked too many things to choose just one. The constants in her life were writing, learning, and reading. She sensed a strong presence from her dream but could not remember the dream itself. She had always struggled with self-doubt and she thought about this at this very moment and thinking of her journal pages. The veil of self-doubt must be moved. She felt a surge of energy. She released the brake and pulled out onto the road toward work thinking of the children’s book she would begin writing when she got home.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fire and Water

Yesterday was a perfectly fine day, and I went and let my mood buttons get the best of me. I've observed in myself these tendencies–they've been no secret to me for quite some time, too long, perhaps, since childhood, really. It doesn't make it any better. When my emotions are running rampant, more so during those particular times of the month–the feminine cycles, well, those are the times I know even better to bite my tongue, to let things roll off my back, but it never fails that something will push my button during those times, and it usually happens at work and it's usually the boss. I sometimes will speak my mind, unable to carefully think before I speak. If a button gets pushed–usually it's the "don't take it personal" button–I get caught up in the moment and before I know it, I'm letting the boss know how I feel. He doesn't really listen. He says "uh-huh" and looks down at what's he's doing, but he doesn't give the courtesy to act like he's interested, to at least acknowledge–something, anything. 

Yesterday, I was ready to come to the page, to my blog and get it out of my system–to vent. But I try...I have an unspoken rule...that if I must vent, it has to be while I'm not angry any longer or at least not as angry. The thing is, I'm mad at myself. I can't stand it when I let others get the best of me. I can't stand it that sometimes I'm too sensitive for my own good, and at the same time I can be a tough cookie. I'm a sensitive, soft, crisp cookie that will help you out, but if you speak to me in a way that pushes my buttons, if you think you're going to do something that I don't like or agree with and not think I'm going to speak up if it's important enough to me, well, those Cancer claws come out and the Aires moon in me charges forward before she can pull her words back and the Leo in me, that's an interesting balance, amongst my quiet, sensitive, reserved Cancer nature.

One thing I'll say in hindsight is that yesterday was absolutely partially "my stuff." It was something that I shouldn't have reacted to, but that's the thing...when you haven't worked through the anger that is beneath the surface, the big things are set off by the little, insignificant things. The issue itself is a philosophical difference and I have accepted it to an extent. It's a different way of managing, a different style. I have a choice of course. To leave or stay. But at the end of the day, I don't see the benefits of leaving over a few trifles. 

I feel better already...One thing that keeps ringing in my ears is when I asked my uncle about a month back if I was like my mother or how was I like my mother. I guess I wanted to hear his perspective. I know they were close. It's hard to get much out of my uncle. He doesn't believe in family history. He's a tough cookie too. I think it runs in the family. What he said in response to my question is this: "You know what I like about you? You don't take any crap from anyone–just like your mother. You don't let people walk all over you. You speak your mind."

That was his way of answering the question and that's all he had for me. I thought about it and nodded. Yes, I guess he's right. And I've had to take a stand with my uncle on a few occasions. In general, I'm a softy. You'd never know that I have occasion to lose my temper, and that if I must, I will defend myself verbally. I mean, I do try to find balance, but sometimes, the needle leans to the other side of balance.

I embrace myself with all of my emotions and expressions of self. Even if I annoy myself and get angry at myself for being me, I wouldn't change a thing about myself because these qualities are who I am. I can always try to be better at controlling my emotions, but without the mix of these often, contradictory emotions and feelings, the positive sides wouldn't be there either. In the end, there is balance.

I am fire and water, the moon and the sun–Yin and Yang. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Morning Drive ~ The Trees

My mind starts thinking about things as I'm driving along and then I ground myself in the trees that are especially animated this morning, stretching their arms, like dancers, swaying to the music of the heavy breeze. I take my mind from tree to tree wondering what questions I have for them today, what wisdom do I seek this morning? But then I realize that just being there, fully present with the tees in this moment, allowing myself to surrender, right before my drive to work comes to an end is enough. They will speak again; I will listen. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Evening Page ~ Music

A few months back I wondered what it would be like to keep a journal of remembrances: 365 days of Music--or something along those lines. What if I took a song and compiled a journal that included a strong memory for each song? I don't's just that songs have a way of evoking so much...memories, events, milestones. Music is a big part of my life. Each person that has meant something to me has left their mark in the form of music. I grew up listening to music played by my older brothers. They listened to rock, soul, R&B, country, classical. When I was a little girl and I was alone, I would put on my brother's Wham record and dance around the house. One of my other favorites that is still a favorite to this day is Jingo by Santana. I still dance around the house when I play that song. The drums speak to every bone in my body. 

I like just about every type of music there is. And just like with books, there will be countless artists that I never hear or learn about because it's impossible.

Evening Page ~ Deviating

I cooked dinner, cleaned dishes, and decided that I still needed some deviation time from studying and doing homework. I bought some fresh flowers today, a mix of white alstromeria and orange freesia kissed with yellow. Freesia is one of my favorite scented flowers. I can't even describe how it smells. What does it remind me's like the fairy princess of flowers. It's the sweetest note, the brightest nectar. I walk by the few stems that I put in the handsome water glass that sits on the kitchen counter and each time I walk by, the scent draws me down. I put my nose down and inhale the brightness. Goodness...if I could embed the scent here on this page, how magical would that be? I also have a few stems mixed in with the alstromeria that sit on the kitchen table where I'm typing right now and the scent is embracing me. 

My significant other is watching television while I'm typing here on this blank page and one of the many things I love about him is his sense of humor. I love laughing and he brings me plenty of laughter. I usually don't listen to music with headphones on, but since I'm in the same room with him, I do have my headphones on. Right now Donna Summer's "I will go with you" is playing. A wonderful disco version of the song. So, while I'm sitting here, losing myself in the page, I see and hear a text message come through and it's my significant other telling me to stop checking the web and drinking beer and to do my homework. I let out a good laugh and take a sip of my beer. He's joking, but he's also right. I text him back saying I'm just taking a mini break and will do my homework soon. I don't drink beer as much as I used to, mostly because I sometimes get headaches and today I already got a headache and took one of my migraine pills and the headache didn't escalate and went away. I figured what the hell, I want a beer. I already had a headache. What's the difference now. 

Being away from the page I feel rusty, not loose. That's what happens to me. I get unloose. I need to let that wild child out from time to time, but well, she mostly stays bottled up. I've had my wild days and I'm sure there will be more. I have a couple of short stories that I wanted to post. I wrote them last fall, but I haven't gotten around to it. I figure, I may as well post whatever to my blog, so that I can have some sort of a log and hopefully they won't get lost in space because it's getting more difficult to keep track of everything on my computers and devices and regular paper journals. 

Right now a classical piece started playing and I have to tell you this piece has brought me to tears when I have allowed my body to go with the movements that it evokes in me. It's Camille Saint-Saens, "Introduction and Rondo Capriciosso."  This is one of the most powerful classical pieces for me. There is so much going on and how it begins is somewhat subdued and then it goes into this intense...I don't have the musical vocabulary to describe's like a beautiful woman picking flowers in a most enchanted garden, violins going high and low and then the piano and the rhythm and beat changes and picks up, her pace goes faster and she is looking all around and she knows she is being watched. It's just one of those classical pieces that absolutely speaks to a primal part of me that I simply cannot describe....and it crescendos, rises and falls and continues to climax and then levels out again to a most sensitive and tender moment.

Morning Page ~ Class & Coming up for Air

My head has been filled with numbers, numbers, numbers. I knew this class would be demanding. What I didn't expect was for my other class to be just as much work. I have had one slight stress blow up so far with my significant other, but bless his heart,  he knows me well, understands, and goes with it. I turned into a nag a few days, which I detest. I don't like hearing the nag in me. I remember it well from my mother. I also realize that from my older brother, I may have just picked up his perfectionist ways, his need to have things in their right place; on the flip side, I also have tendencies to be sloppy and collect piles of stuff--a clutter bug--or as my signifiant said to me when we were moving, "you're a hoarder! Look at all this stuff." I told him that of course I'm not a hoarder. I mostly have books, even if I don't read them all and look, I need all of these little mementos. Each and every book stays for now. They can have a home inside these boxes in the garage. I will only bring a few into the house. Don't worry...I will keep the clutter under control. If he only saw my mother's home when I was growing up. Now, she was a hoarder, but I like to refer to her as a person who needed her clutter. The sickness is in my blood. I never really had a room of my own until she passed and I never knew which bed I would be sleeping in, always shared with her. She had to take clothes and whatever was piled on any given bed and move it to another spot, so that we could have a place to sleep. Why all this is coming out now, I do not know. I needed to come to the page, take a break from accounting. 

I did go the the last GIANTS baseball game on Sunday. It was awesome. They won and it was a great game. We also went to a local street fair last weekend, so I'm am taking my nose out of the text books, but have not had enough time to read books for pleasure. I feel guilty and also I don't want to fall behind and deviate from the class work. I'm struggling to understand the material enough to keep moving forward. I'm actually doing much better than I thought I would (knock-on-wood). I have to look back a lot, but other concepts I feel that I understand, even though I will probably never use most of this information. 

And so...that's that. I bought the small slate vase in the photo at the fair. I love the style and the naturalness of the vessel. Only thing is, I have to put water in it two times a day, since the space is so small. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Following the Wind

The way the wind swayed outside yesterday, an image came to mind...a barren place–no, not barren, a cemetery...I see a young girl walking, she's in a white flowing night dress trimmed at the edges with lace. She wanders through the cemetery of her thoughts, unable to get out of the cemetery.

She continues walking until she comes upon a tuft of wheat grass; as she continues, a whole field opens up to her and it's empty, except she doesn't feel alone. She feels a presence, only it's not any one presence, it's like a gust of love that surrounds her. The wheat grass starts to speak to her. He moves and sways in a gentle, but strong way, tickling her ears with his secrets. 

After a time, she waves, says goodbye, walks through the cemetery one more time, stopping slowly at each stone, observing an extra moment of silence. 

She takes the clump of wheat that the wind placed in her hands, ties it together and places it in the pocket of her nightdress. Just beyond the cemetery, she finds a ladder hanging, suspended in the night air. The ladder is fashioned from silk, the steps a shiny bone dusted with essence of the moon. She puts one foot on the ladder to steady herself, then pulls herself up and begins the climb. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Morning Jottings

The house is still, as I like it.
Crow caws outside trying to get someone's attention.
There's a faint breeze outside that I can hear ever so softly.
We have a full day planned; I wonder what surprises will sneak through.
I love the breeze, the wind, how all the trees and flowers dance and sway.
Yesterday, I noticed that the sky was different, the light is changing.
Fall is swiftly pushing itself through Mother Nature's doors. Right now the
flowers on the table are the brightest yellow miniature carnations with a
few deep colored carnations left over from the last batch. They are the 
perkiest yet. I take my last sip of coffee as I surrender into the day.


First class brought me back face-to-face with how little I like to speak up in class. I mean, I was actually the second to volunteer to speak from the group. I spoke. The teacher asked me to speak Louder. I stood on my toes and spoke again. Later I laughed at myself, as though my lifting myself on my toes would help. I just don't like hearing my voice project louder than at a conversational level. It sounds too loud.

I emailed my co-worker a couple of weeks ago at work. Occasionally, we exchange emails about random things. I was in an upbeat mood, and amongst other things I said or asked of him, I wrote him that it's so much easier to be LOUD on the page. His response was that he didn't understand what I was saying. I took for granted that he would understand, so I wrote him back what I meant and he said, yep, he knew what I meant and sometimes he felt that way too.


I visited my boxes of books in the garage yesterday. I was actually in search of the Pessoa book and I was happy to find it, after lifting the lids of a few boxes, I found it in a box labeled some philosophy and misc. fiction. I also lifted the lid with astrology that I thought I had stashed my Tarot books.  I took the Tarot books and box of cards into the house, and I also took a painting that did years ago. It is small and as I recall it started out as a flower but ended up being an exploration in color and texture. It's now hanging in our bathroom and it bursts with subdued color.

Beyond the First Glance

"Heat, like an invisible piece of clothing, makes one feel like taking it off."

"The search for truth–be it the subjective truth or belief, the objective truth of reality, or the social truth of money or power–always confers, on the searcher who merits a prize, the ultimate knowledge of its non-existence. The grand prize of life goes only to those who bought tickets by chance.
The value of art is that it takes us away from here."

–Fernando Pessoa - The Book of Disquiet

Fernando Pessoa has been on my mind, specifically The Book of Disquiet; more generally, how he had many pseudo-selves that he referred to as heteronyms, aspects of himself that he dreamed up with different backgrounds, personalities–complete extensions of himself to give voice to the different parts within his psyche: Self and not-Self

Where this idea resonates with me is how different aspects of my own personality come through in my writing depending on what, who, and why I'm writing; also my mood colors everything I do, think, and in turn, write. Though, I do not have different selves that I have created with their own backgrounds, etc., I do sense or feel different reflections of myself on the page at different times. It's hard to explain, which is why Pessoa makes sense to me.

Though I can't say that I have read much of Pessoa, parts of what I have read resonate with me. I first came across this book when fellow blogger, Vincent (, introduced me to him through one of his blogs a couple of years back. It was shortly after his recommendation of The Book of Disquiet that I ordered a copy of my own.    

Once I had my hands on the book, I was fascinated and at the same time felt a connection. How fascinating to read that this man–Fernando Pessoa–had created so many selves and to think that most of the work that would become The Book of Disquiet was found in his trunk in the form of prose, notes, plays, philosophy, and so much more. 

I'm drawn to Pessoa's seeming ability to consistently write in the moment. I've witnessed over the years in my own writing, mostly pre-blog times, and when I let loose. But, I've noticed that it's inevitable for me not to become self-conscious when it comes to my writing. I've noticed a shift. There are times in the past when I wrote–when I may have had more time, made more time, sometimes no time–when I found inspiration more easily, more readily.

And when I turn this on it's side, I've asked myself, what else has changed? I can't really say for sure, except that I simply need to keep my pen moving and stop looking back.

That's where it gets tricky, because there are several pieces that I have written or started in the past, yet never putting the pieces on my blog. I feel as though I'm in this constant state of looking back, being in the present, and peeking forward to the future. It's not a bad thing exactly–what I notice though that as time goes on, is that I change, my thoughts change, what I've written is from another period of time, another part of my history, and these parts of myself die off in a way and that feels strange. Some parts live and make it to somewhere and others never get a chance. 

And in some cases, I come across a piece of my writing where I can sense that I wasn't self-conscious, that I wasn't over-thinking–I was just writing, as I imagine Pessoa did, without a care, freely allowing his raw and refined thought to flow out.

I also have perfectionistic tendencies and I think that gets in my way too...but it's more. It's an awareness that now I've crossed over into the realm where writer of private and wild thoughts, writing for self alone, also enjoys sharing, and even though she writes for herself, she knows there are other eyes that will land on the page and that part is what she thinks, at times, causes a freeze and at the same time, she doesn't write as often as she used to in her private journals and she is because she has nothing more to say. That very thought is like a death sentence and she knows deep down it's not true; she mustn't utter those words.

No matter what, she knows that part of her process–and here she hears these words she tells herself when she re-enters this cycle: it's part of the process; she'll write herself out of the maze. She knows at the heart of it is a combination of inspiration and running wild into the night, to howl at the moon and allow herself to be in her skin in all of her guises, to allow the different aspects of her personality and moods to have a stage, to have a place to say, here I am. 

Sometimes she's serious, sometimes silly, sad,'s endless. Sometimes she can dive in and stay down in the deep waters for long periods; and other times she can only poke her toes around at the surface of the waters peering in from a safe distance.

Pessoa came back into my awareness when I was reading through a book that I checked out from the library weeks ago. It's also part of my process to read books on writing at various times. It's like having a conversation with an old friend. This book is called, Writing - The Sacred Art: Beyond the Page to Spiritual Practice by Rami Shapiro and Aaron Shapiro. The book has sat, read in bits. I had come across a small passage where the authors quote Pessoa: "Each moment I have changed. Feeling myself always as a stranger...That's why, like a stranger I read the pages of my being...I note at the margin of what I read what I thought I felt. Rereading I say: 'Was it I?' God knows, because he wrote it." I can relate to feeling like a stranger at times. Moreover, what Pessoa says here pierces through my being and all that I see is a beautiful white light.

The authors go on to say that, "Pessoa recognized that the individual self was a fiction and that, in fact, one's ultimate self could not be identified, and that it might only be experienced as a parade of pseudonyms, a succession of masks. And that behind the parade, beneath the masks, lay the ineffable, the unknowable. The no-thing or no-one or no-body he chose to call God" (pg. 6).

Whether it is our intention or not, it seems this something that writing allows us to get close to is always bigger than ourselves and it is ourselves; writing has a way of bringing us to some form of truth, even if we don't always recognize it at first glance.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Morning Beats

Feeling playful...Friday, September 13, 2013. Double 13 day! 

Last night I couldn't sleep. Thoughts
swirled around–this is how is started: stuck, stuck, stuck.
And this morning, this is how it finished.


Stuck, stuck, stuck
in a rut, a self-imposed
writing rut
reading is dry,
been distracted
thoughts pushed aside,
reading pushed aside,
writing in my head,
in bits and scraps
in between
something fully formed
comes flowing out.

Not always the case; can't
always be in the flow; otherwise,
I'll be late to work, stop cooking,
cleaning, eating–
gets pushed
to the back, to the way back.

accepting responsibility;
small rude awakening at work 
cut into "my time." Flexibility became a little 
too loose.

My juices start to flow when it's time to go.

Readjust, readjust, readjust...

Find a new rhythm, embrace it all–
the PAUSE will become a big GO!


No STOPping me now.

That's a wrap.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Short, Stout Vase

I've replaced the pink carnations that sat on the small dining room table. Without this short, stout vase and these flowers, that corner of the room, the wall, the table–it looks stark in a way that says something essential is missing. 

At that moment, I made a decision to keep the vase full.

Carnations are the hardiest. I bought the last bunch at Safeway. They lasted two weeks.  This past Friday, I went to the flower shop to buy flowers. I asked for hearty flowers that wouldn't spill their stamen. The florist mentioned a few options and I chose the deep pink asters; two pale pink carnations; a lone magenta carnation; a few sprigs of a dainty white filler flower that I've forgotten the name of that looks like a miniature daisy; and a few branches of lemon leaf to flesh the arrangement out. I asked for eucalyptus, but she was out. The scent and texture of eucalyptus invigorates my senses and there are memories...always memories.

Each morning, afternoon, evening–each time I pass the dining room table, the flowers poke out from their stout vase and brighten my moment. 

I've had this vase for at least two or three years and only brought it out now and again. 

Now, it has its place, a purpose, a reason.

Monday, September 2, 2013

She Smelled Like the Rain

Two nights ago on September 1, 2013 at 1:36 a.m., it rained for less than 60 seconds. 

I had just gotten out of bed to brush my teeth. When I laid back down, I heard pitter-pat pitter-pat. I kept listening in disbelief. Raining? It was so hot today. I listened for a few seconds more, then I rushed out to the living room to tell M. He was about to come wake me up to tell me the same, but he said he wasn't sure he should wake me. 

We looked outside together but couldn't see the rain. We couldn't even hear it. I told him it was a good thing we didn't paint the table and benches today–the old weathered table and benches we found at an estate sale two Sunday's ago. That table in its weathered state reminded me of my grandfather and of the outside tables and chairs that he used to make with his own two hands–the chairs I used to sit in. I wondered if they were still there or if my uncle had thrown them out.

Then–the rain was gone like it never happened. I went back to sleep with a smile on my face.  A few moments, right after I laid back down, I could smell the faint smell of wet earth. What a wonderful smell. My smile grew. 

Two nights ago, I dreamt of my mother. I rarely dream about her, which I told my uncle recently when he told me that he had dreamed of her. He said, "My sister looked really happy," as he choked back a small rise of emotion.

Her memory is entwined with my existence. 

For a great stretch of my life, I tried to live in a way that would give her spirit a second chance at life, to live in a way that would bring her the peace that she didn't seem to have for the short period of time I knew her. I still have that on my mind, but it has become more embedded within my soul, and in some ways I feel as though both of our spirits have come together in harmony, and now I don't focus on her peace any longer because I think we reached it together–her peace. 

When I look into the mirror, as the years have gone by, more and more, the reflection looking back has glimmers of her; when I see certain pictures of myself, I see her smile; when I cry after reading a short story, I think of her; when I witness certain acts of kindness, I remember the things my mother did for others; when I think of how sometimes it's easier to open up and reach out to strangers more so than family, I think of my mother; when my temper gets the best of me, I am my mother. The positive and the negative are within me. I accept that. I work on and nurture what I can.

It's comforting to know she's with me and within me–that I recognize her.

Two night's ago, I dreamt of my mother. I was in a hospital looking for her. In the dream I think she may have been in an accident. I don't remember. I went to one room–room 103. There was a sign in the hall leading to the rooms that said for staff only. I tried to go down the hall, but I was cutoff and somehow the nurse knew where I was going, who I was looking for. My mother had been moved into another room. She pointed to the next hall of rooms and told me I would find her in there. I was hoping she was alone. 

As I walked into the room, I saw her resting. She had a glow around her and her salt and pepper hair was mostly dark brown and glistened. She immediately sensed me, opened her eyes and gave me the warmest most peaceful smile.  I went to her, beaming with a smile of my own, I bent my head down to her and rested it in the crook of her neck in her nest of hair and breathed her in as though I hadn't seen her in forever. 

She smelled like the rain.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Feeling at Home in my Little Kitchen

My first destination when I enter Trader Joes is the little spot in the back corner that offers free samples of various items from the store. I recently tried a polenta casserole that was made with their prepared logs of polenta, salsa verde, shredded three cheese mix, and pork carnitas. I purchased all the items I would need except for the polenta. I knew I had a box at home and prefer making it myself. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the salsa verde was. The casserole was great, and now I have a new way to prepare polenta, jazzing it up a bit with the salsa verde. It's low budget, filling, and there are plenty of leftovers for two.

I also had a bunch of hot chiles that my significant other's mom gave to me. I can't recall what type they were, but she had cooked them up, not expecting them to be so hot and she wanted to share them with us. They sat in the refrigerator in their own juices for a couple of days before I decided that I would make a crustless quiche. I've never made a crustless quiche before, but I know that I like frittata and made that, so I searched for a recipe and made modifications. I eyeballed the amount of milk that I added until it looked about the right consistency. I had some leftover bell peppers and the remaining shredded three cheese mix; I added onion, sautéed all the peppers and onion together, let it cool while I tossed the cheese with some flour, mixed everything together. Then, into a greased pie pan. 30 to 35 minutes later, the crustless quiche had set. The aroma of peppers and cheese was wonderful, it tasted great, and had good heat from the chiles. 

At Trader Joes, I also sampled Red Leicester cheese with chili and red bell pepper. I tossed a chunk into the basket, even though I already had several other hunks of cheese in the refrigerator. On Sunday, I fixed a plate of pita crackers with the various cheeses that we had on hand, including this new Red Leicester, and a small slice of truffle mousse pate that we got at BevMo. I brought M. a beer, a water for me, and we enjoyed or plate of treats in our backyard on our weathered table that we found for a bargain at an estate sale over the weekend.   

I had a hankering to prepare navy bean soup on Sunday, but the day got away from me. I ended up making it on Monday instead. I love soups in general, and navy bean has always been high up on my list. The first and only place I had it was a small cafe that I haven't gone to in ages and don't go to any longer. The memory of going in on a day that navy bean was their featured soup was always a dilemma and a highlight. I would have to decide between my other favorite choices or the soup that they only made once a week.   

This is the second time I've made navy bean soup. I follow the recipe on the back of the navy bean package with modifications to suit my taste. It's not a soup that I will make often because I'm sure the sodium content in those scrumptious ham hocks would tilt the sodium meter into regions I shouldn't be in. I reheated a bowl of leftover soup yesterday and my taste buds were savoring the creaminess of the navy bean and potato together with the rich flavor of the ham hocks and the hint of thyme throughout that brought an earthy, green goodness to the soup.

Bread was in order for this soup. I was going to fall back on Jiffy corn muffins, but (a) I hadn't actually bought any and (b), I wanted to make something from scratch. I didn't have a whole lot of time. I thought about making baking power biscuits. No, too bland. Then I saw a recipe for cheese and beer bread. Perfect. I had all of the ingredients, except I didn't have regular cheddar cheese, so instead I used the rest of the Red Leicester. I did a Google search about the cheese so I could see if it was actually good to cook with, and I learned from Wikipedia that this is a British cheese, similar to cheddar with a crumblier texture, which is true. It's a cow's milk cheese, originally from Leicestershire, England. I'm glad that this cheddar beer bread recipe made me seek out and learn just a little bit more about this new cheese–new to me, anyway. 

The bread looked great. I thought it tasted good too, but it could have used a little something extra. M. agreed. The second day, though, when I took a slice to have at work with my lunch, I thought it tasted great. It gave me the sense that it was made with yeast from a package. I will definitely be making this bread again. I followed the recipe in my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. Simple, straightforward and low fat! 

Next time I want to try the Cheddar Spoon Bread recipe.

I don't do most of my shopping at Trader Joes; though, I do go there for certain items and they have a great selection of interesting cheeses at reasonable prices, and other interesting things, of course.  I think I'll make a habit of going to Trader Joes at least once a week. It provides inspiration and tasty snacks to satisfy me until dinner time.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Easing into Friday

The week has been long. Not a difficult week, but because work is slow, the hours–the minutes drag on. I have been handling the slow period much better, though, trying to still be productive during this lull before the new busy season arrives, which is a ways out. Soon, though, I expect other work to trickle in–the late birds. 

September will bring two new classes that will indirectly apply to work. I say indirectly because while they very much can apply to work, I'm doing it for myself. I'm doing it to pave a path that is out in the distant future, and I'm doing it because I have an excuse to continue to be back in school, to be back in the routine and structure.

I have already begun reading one of the books for class: managerial accounting. It is actually more interesting than I thought it would be; and I can see how it will challenge me. I'm also taking a business management course called Group Behavior and Leadership. I'm looking forward to this course and, although, our work group is small, I can imagine that I will be able to apply this course to my current job–at least it will offer interesting tidbits and the topic itself captures my interest.

I sit here at the kitchen table, look up from the computer screen, peek out the window, admiring the lipstick pink carnations that I bought for the table, listening to music, drinking decaffeinated coffee, easing into this Friday, looking forward to what the day brings.

Happy Day to All! : )

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Week of Firsts

It has been a week of firsts.

I've had it in my mind to make pumpkin bread for the longest time. Not until I had all my ingredients and reading through different recipes and comments, did I think to myself: what better time to bake pumpkin bread than the weeks leading up to Autumn. 

I decided to double the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, since it seemed a waste to bake one loaf for an hour. I also had to buy muffin tins.

The aroma of warm pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon filled the house. Autumn scents on a hot summer day mingled with the warm breeze pushing through our open windows. 

I think the bread was successful. It tasted delicious, but when I packed the slices in a plastic container, it began to sweat and get sticky. Next time, I may need to bake it an extra 5 minutes and keep it unsliced in its pan with a towel over the top.

On Tuesday, I made meatloaf. I had always loved it when my step-father made meatloaf with roasted potatoes. This was my first time making it. I laughed at myself as I molded the loaf in the roasting pan, realizing that these two first-time cooking experiences, in our new home, were loaves. Was it a coincidence? Was there some subconscious activity at play here? I surrounded the meatloaf with small red potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and carrots.

I also had my first experience pulling weeds. I'm sure I've pulled a weed or two here and there, but I haven't had a backyard since my childhood home. It's a yard with dried grass that looks like straw, dried dirt, rocks, leaves scattered here and there, two trees, and small patches of green that I cannot tell yet if they are weeds or ground cover. The yard is peaceful to me. It has potential. I have ideas, but I have to take it slow. Grass is not an option, with the cost of water, this being a rental, and being conscious of our budget, I have to be realistic. I bought three potted plants. The first flowering plant that I knew I would buy first was a geranium because geraniums remind me of my grandmother. We will get a piece of cactus and grow it in a section of the yard. I've checked out several books from the library to get ideas on low-water gardening. One that has potential is The Low-Water No-Water Garden: Gardening for Drought and Heat the Mediterranean Way. So many wonderful ideas! 

I've always loved succulents and I think they will do perfectly once I figure out where they might go.

It's a wonderful realization and mind-opening experience when you can come to something with fresh eyes and I'm glad to have that opportunity.  On car rides or walking, I always admire gardens, but now I'm looking at the gardens I pass with a new lens, with a focused lens. It reminds me of when I've taken art classes–coming away with a heightened perspective on how to view the world.

To firsts, new experiences, memories, change and being aware of the many lenses that either we choose or that choose us.    

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Two Days Juxtaposed: The Yin-Yang of 13 and 14

The 13th of August was an interesting day. A day where the crepe myrtle I passed looked especially lovely, her curved arms an embrace, comforting the invisible person by her side or perhaps it was the breeze being caressed by her and then as I approached behind a car, waiting for the light to turn, I saw a boy–well, a young man and he almost got pummeled by a car that wasn't watching for pedestrians. The boy's body curved into the car as the brakes screeched. His body moved with the quickest of reflexes. He ripped his ear buds from his ears, perhaps to fully take in the fact that his life just flashed before him. My hands came up to my head as I let our a little cry, as I was a witness to this almost horrific event.

On the 13th people seemed especially open and friendly and I too felt a lightness and openness in my being, a go with it feeling, rather than pushing against the current. Appointment times got mixed up; instead of being fussy, knowing I had an email that showed I was right, I took responsibility and apologized to put the other person at ease. It didn't matter. It was a trifle not worth fretting about. Just these little things added to the day–added to shedding the feeling, of the need for control and simply moving along with the course of events, however big or small.

I had purposely scheduled a certain appointment on the 13th related to my old apartment because the 13th is a day that feels positive, that feels filled with hope, balance, and goodness. 

The 14th turned out to be the other side of 13. It wasn't a bad day, exactly, but it felt as though all the wonderfulness of the 13th had been rubbed out, yet because the 13th had such an impression upon me, it was still a special day and 14 wasn't going to mess that up for me. I would have to put into practice all that 13 had to teach me about giving up control.

So on the 14th, the cable person showed up on the late side of the appointment window, which would mean I was probably going to be late to work. I had mentioned it to the boss and kept him posted. The cable person ran into a bit of a glitch with the second outlet. He proposed one solution that would involve a temporary solution and would require that he or another technician come back. Then he thought of another solution that was acceptable, but not perfect. In the course of checking and re-checking, he found a final solution, but all of this took time. I had already had a small bowl of cereal, but was quickly becoming famished and I felt a headache coming on. I knew that as soon as he left, and I left for work, I was going to stop for a quick snack somewhere.

At last, I'm out the door, everything working properly. Cable and internet ready.

Feeling my hunger grow, I know I will have one stop before work. I pull up to the stop sign and begin to go, then I stop because I see a truck coming. I could have made it. I prefer to take it slow and to always be careful to a fault. Well, what I did not see was the antsy woman behind me. She began to go as I went, then crash, she ran into me. I only felt the impact and didn't see her behind me. I'm always so careful. I swore to myself then I pulled over in annoyance. As soon as I got out of the car, and this was an older woman, maybe in her mid-sixties or later, she looks at me and says, "You look fine." I look at the back of my truck, nothing. It wasn't a huge impact, but my body jolted. I look at her and say, "You look fine too." 

"Yes, I'm fine, just a little shaken up."

I did the stupidest thing I think I've ever done in my life (and I don't even like using the word stupid and mostly never use the word), I failed to take her number, her registration, nothing. I just agreed that all seemed well and we both parted. 

I pulled into a fast food joint's drive thru and ordered onion rings and a coffee. Out of coffee. Fine. I'll take a Sprite. As I pulled out of the lot, I looked to the left and the sky looked rather hazy, then I started feeling faint and slightly anxious. I pulled over and tried to relax. I pulled over to call the boss to let him know that I was on my way, told him what happened, and said that I felt a little woozy. He asked if there was something I wanted him to do. I said no that mostly I wanted him to know that I was on my way and if I didn't make it, he'd know why and what happened. 

I made it to work fine and think that I was still just shaken up and that my body was in need of food.

What stood out for me in these two days is how on the 13th I felt so grand and how the 14th tested me. The 13th reminded me that even when everything is going along wonderfully, even then we must stop to appreciate those little moments, knowing how fleeting they can be, and it is good practice to stay in balance. It just felt like there was so much love and something magic in the air on the 13th. I can't even fully explain it. It was like walking around in a cloud of love.

We all have these days, with our ups and downs, and surprises.

I feel grateful...the days make me feel grateful to be alive, 13 or 14–no matter which day it is, they all have something to offer and they each have different elements within them to appreciate and to revere.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Been on a Whirlwind

Been on a whirlwind
since the Fourth of July. 
Searched neighborhoods for apartments, responded to endless ads--some too good to be true. We moved on, regrouped. Started again. 

Appointment after appointment, none that we were inspired to call home, except for one that was not available, but there were possibilities in the near future; we were put on a waiting list. 

Scanning and scanning, I saw one, passed it over in exhaustion. M asked me the next morning if I saw a certain one--the one I had looked at but for some reason hadn't pursued. I looked again. Should we call? It couldn't hurt. And so we made yet another appointment. 

There were several others viewing the apartment. As we walked through, it felt good, like a place we could call home. We were both in agreement. 

Throughout our search, we had taken applications; though this would be the first we submitted. Talk about putting one big egg in a single basket, rather than spreading the eggs around. 

We asked lots of questions, walked through the space once, twice, three times, maybe even a fourth. Opened cupboard doors, closet doors, trying to imagine where things would go if this were our new home. 

We submitted our application that night and waited to hear if we were approved and selected. 

One and a half days later, we, along with a few other applicants were in the running. We were the strongest so far...just a little bit longer until she checked a few things out. 

I wore one of my lucky necklaces that day. 

The decision came, and I'm happy to say that we now have a new place to call home. Soon we will move in. It's been a draining process. I've already started packing and am overwhelmed with how many boxes of books there are. I feel guilty. The move would be much easier without the books. I couldn't part with any this time. I'll take them all along. 

Change is scary and exciting. So many unknowns. But change is good. I'm looking forward to our fresh start together--our new adventure. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Dream ~ The Hunt

Ten nights ago, I dreamt that we were being chased by a lion. We were in the hills. I had a small sausage with me, like one of those Hickory Farms Summer Sausages. I started tearing off chunks when we saw the lion, tossing the pieces in the direction we were not going, hoping to confuse him. We started running down the hill. I didn't sense the lion behind us any longer. 

When we reached the bottom of the hill, there were others and a car, built like a deck of cards; it caved in on itself when we approached. There was no protection from the hungry beast. In the distance, I thought I heard growls and rustling, then I saw two gazelle. They were being hunted by the lion; the attention was lifted from us, at least for the time being.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Evening Page ~ The Mountain

The day started out slightly cool and grey–a break from the heat of summer from last week. The day itself was good. 

The mountain that I pass every day looked more stunning this morning as the low clouds embraced its peak; and the haze of yesterday lifted to reveal his true colors. This great mountain mostly speaks to me as an old wise man; occasionally, though, he shape-shifts into a mercurial woman.

Today's photo is a shot of an Iris that I took in the pond of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. The Iris is one of my favorite flowers.

Little Pot of Words: Life

I stir my little pot of words and they seem to be stuck or am I stuck? I feel that it's all too easy to be hard on ourselves, to come to expect great things from ourselves, that having these expectations leave us flat. 

Here I am, ebbing and flowing to some distant calling; at the same time I am quite still, so ECE summer class is almost done. It has been informative and interesting learning about childhood psychology and development. At moments I have felt little threads of myself being unravelled as I go back to different parts of my childhood with a different perspective for reflection. I think of my attachment relationships and wonder what my temperament was like. I feel that at times I regress--I think we all do, really. I think of how my mother tried to coax her girl out of her shell and how I wouldn't budge. I wanted to stay in the safety of my own quiet world. Not much has changed. I still enjoy spending time with myself doing quiet things, but I also have moments where I surprise myself and become somewhat outgoing--if I'm in a comfortable element, I suppose. 

I say what's on my mind, I express when something is bothering me, even when the best thing may be just to "go with it." 

I look back and for whatever reasons, I've has to do with finishing. I get started at something and I follow through to a point and then I stop or else I continue without a plan. I'm process oriented. That can be great; likewise, it can also create for a  long amorphous path. 

If I dig deep, I come back to those words that echo from a time long ago when my student-therapist asked if perhaps I was experiencing the fear of success. I think that fear is at the bottom--has been at the bottom of my dilly dallying nature. I'm focused and quite efficient and will do my best when it comes to my work, but somehow I seem to sabotage myself by only going so far. 

I've come to another familiar crossroads, only it's all too familiar. I go round and round as though I cannot seem to make the record stop spinning the same song. I have enjoyed both the ECE classes that I have taken. I feel that I have gained much, but after much reelection and thinking, I don't think the world of ECE will be materializing for me. 

I remember an old customer when I worked at the burger joint. He was sitting at the counter. I must have been in my early twenties. He knew I was taking classes at the time and he said he had racked up credits and wished that he at least would have completed his A.A.  That's where I am. I never completed my A.A. because I moved onto working on my B.A., only I never completed it. 

I decided that I need to complete my A.A. for myself, that it's time to at least take the last bit of required classes to complete it. I know it won't mean much in the real world nowadays, since it's not a higher degree, but it will mean something to me. 

I've had a love-hate relationship with accounting for many years and that's what it's going to be. I'm going to take the remaining accounting courses that I need, complete my science requirement, and if all goes well, by the end of 2014 or 2015, I should have completed that goal. 

Fear and lack of self-confidence: I think these are my enemies and my best friends. They are always there for me to navigate. 

The mind is a mysterious creature. Even when we think we've got it all figured out, what were left with is a big question mark. I don't mind. I don't know that I would change much about where I am in life. I think that I'm meant to be right where I am and that's just fine.