Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Old Friends

This lazy or completely comfy, (depends on your point of view,) fellow is P.B. Biorn. Or, Peeb for short. Sometimes, Mr. Peeb. Often, simply Bear. Yes, that's a recent photo of him. Yes, that's my bed. Which begs the question, "Are you kidding me? A woman over 50 sleeps with a bear in her bed every night?! What's up with that?!"

To that I counter with this observation: A great many women sleep each night with a bear in her bed...only it's shaped like a cranky, monosyllabic man. And, tell me, does that seem better to you? More usual perhaps, but certainly not better.

But, I digress...

Michael does not mind that Peeb is there. He didn't even comment about it when we first started sleeping together. I'm not certain we even had much talk about it. And, that was probably one of those invisible threads that began to bind us together as a couple. Another reason why he is My Beloved...he understands these things.

What I do know is this...Peeb has traveled everywhere with me. I may forsake an extra pair of shoes when I go on a trip to make space for him in my luggage. Shoes I can do without, but I find it hard to sleep without him there. I'll explain in a bit.

Peeb is better traveled than Paddington Bear. Really. He's an international jet-setter. He's gone to England, Russia, Bermuda, Los Cabos, Arizona, Seattle, Ocean City, (being a very uncomplicated sort, he likes it there very much and has returned several times,) Duck, Topsail Island, Naples (not Italy sadly,) Philly, Chicago, Kiawah Island, Negril, San Antonio, and shortly he will be on a cruise through the Caribbean Islands.

Peeb, is a product of a huge marketing campaign in 1979. That was the year that Pot Bellied Bears hit the toy market. They were a hit; like Cabbage Patch Dolls, these came with an adoption certificate. You named your bear and it had a birth date...all that clever little stuff that's supposed to anneal a toy to your side.

Doog and I were married in 1979. In October. And, it was his goal to make our first Christmas together, echo the kinds of Christmas extravaganzas he was used to from him mother and father. Doog's mother used to make it look as though Macy's had blown up in their house on Christmas morning; I mean gifts EVERYWHERE. And, I'm not talking little things, either, we're talking major gifts.

At my home, Christmas morning was about one, maybe two in a good year, big gifts. Always a book or two of my choosing. And, some underwear, (Yippee,) and a stocking. The bulk of the stocking since Nanny, the world's meanest woman was from the Old Country, had an orange in the toe, and lots of nuts, (Yippee Again,) and some candy... a few things from Reed's Drug Store. For a kid, this was not the stuff to rush to your friend's house to show off.

But, Doog? Oh my, what a fan fare his Christmas mornings were. And, our first one together, he wanted to give that experience to his Bride. At the time, I was beginning to collect bears. Why a 24 year old woman wanted to start a stuffed animal collection, is beyond me now. One day, I'll show you the outcome of that notion, but for now just go with it...

In Stewart's Department Store there was a huge display of these Pot Bellied Bears simply begging to go home. He and I had great fun examining all their faces and seeing how each was different although they were mass manufactured. What I didn't know is that when we were out on these trips, he was secretly making notes of those things that really trapped my fancy.

On Christmas morning, for the first time in my life, there was a ton of gifts for me. Most turning out to be treasures I really thought wonderful. The last box I opened was Peeb stuffed down in tissue waiting to be liberated. I adored him and spent the day picking him up for a squeeze. I placed him on the bed, not in the bed, (please note the distinction here,) and there he sat as part of our-made-every morning-by-Doog bed. I love a man who will make a bed, don't you?! Just the best.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm having breast surgery. The doc suggested that I bring a small comfortable pillow from home. A pillow that I could tuck under my breasts when laying on my side which would be required throughout the healing process to keep tension off the massive amount of stitches. Something to keep my sore girls tucked quietly. Doog and I looked around and the only thing that seemed to fit the bill was Peeb. So that was the first trip he took with me. That's what started it all.

I don't remember much about the post op hours, but I do remember being rolled back to my room to see Peeb waiting, tucked in under the sheet. Someone on the nursing staff with a kind heart must have known that would bring a smile to start the healing. It worked. So did the bear. He's endured countless nights since tucked in under me so I can sleep. Which explains his squished appearance.

Now, it's a habit...not a requirement. But without him, I'm facing a night of tossing and turning.

When Doog was here a few weeks ago for a visit, he was delighted to see his old pal, Peeb. We were talking about the notion that sometimes we're caught off-guard in terms of how much time we've traveled in this life of ours. I still can't get my head around the notion that I'm past 50. Don't get me wrong- I'm delighted to still be here and expecting many more years of craziness, but I'm just surprised at how much has slipped past me.

Nothing brings that fact into focus more clearly than when you look around at stuff and realize how long you've had some of it. Like, when I consider that I've been sleeping with that bear for 30 years! Good God, how is that possible??? I was already an adult when that toy came into my life and I've been sleeping with it for decades?! Wow.

So, here's what I'd like to do....based on some of the heartfelt comments I got from my post the other day about Leo, both on and off the blog, I'd like to do a future post that contains pictures of all of our dear old friends.

If you have a treasure from your childhood, even if it is only a lunchbox, (Ms. Cam,) send me a picture. Give me a blurb about why this item is so very valuable in your eyes and I'll post them all for us to share in the love of old friends. Even you, Toni, I know how your bear is about autographs and photos, but maybe you could get him to acquiesce this one time. And, if you'd like to include your children or spouses in this mayhem, feel free!

Use the email address that I have posted on my profile. I'll give us all two weeks so as many as possible can participate. Come on, even if you weren't the sentimental sort, no matter how old you are, you know you have something from your younger days that you still treasure. Something that you won't part with...

Leo, Peeb, and I hope you'll participate in the fun. They're a little chagrined about being outed in public so they'll feel better when they see others that resemble them in the "loved too hard" department!

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

Wednesday brings this question: What do you wish to read?

I used to read. A lot. Over the past few years, I don't read as much as I used to, and that makes me wonder what's going on with me. I'm not certain. I know that I simply don't have the attention span that I used to have. I used to be able to stay lost between the cover of a book for hours and hours. Now? I'm lucky if I get a few pages done.

I've finished most books lately by short visits to my bathroom library. I know, probably TMI that fact, but we're friends. I figure that I need to keep attempting to read even if I'm not as voracious about it as I used to be. The venue is not as important as my continued effort to try.

There is a tower of books awaiting my dribs and drabs of reading time. All lovingly selected during trips to the book store. Or gifts. Or on permanent loan from reading friends who think I might enjoy the read. I love to look at the colors on the spines. I feel rich to have such treasures waiting at my finger tips. Once completed, most, I pass along to others so I can share my riches.

I no longer insist of finishing a book simply because I started it. I used to feel guilty if I didn't finish, even one I really wasn't enjoying. Not unlike the sticky feeling you get when you have to tell a perfectly nice guy, "It's not you, it's me...."

My dear friend, Al, an avid reader and one who has written and published two books, liberated me when he said, "Holly, you'll never live long enough to read all the things that you'd really find interesting. If you don't like the book, put it down. Use your time wisely by moving on to something you enjoy." Goodness, what a novel notion! (I can hear you groaning, you know!) Al, thank you for introducing me to guilt-free reading!

Friend, Jackie, is like a thrashing machine when it comes to books. She's never met a book she didn't like. I'm fairly certain she'll consume almost anything in print. She reads, reads, and reads. I sometimes wish I could be more like her. Jackie is a wonderful spirit who I know is made even more complex and fascinating because of all the books she ingests. You'd all love talking with her.

It's not like I gave up reading for something less mentally stimulating. I mean, I can't really sit through most television shows, either. So, I'm not sitting like a zombie in front of the flickering light of my hubby's dearest possession, his 62" flat screen. Although, I do love sitting with him on the sofa and cuddling. That's well worth doing and can make me sit still quite a long time.

But then, I got to thinking, I do spend a great deal of time with all of the bloggers I've come to admire. So, maybe I am reading but not with a book in my hands.

Like a lot of things in life, sometimes the form and function change without realizing that you're still accomplishing your hopes and goals. Sometimes we just don't read the signals correctly.

So, I suppose my wish for today is that I learn to correctly read my life.

Read my accomplishments with better understanding. Continue to read my friends so I can be a better friend. Read the great emotion that lives in the small gestures of romance my Beloved gives me daily. Read and understand the needs of my loved ones so I can respond correctly. Read the fun that my dogs share with me. Oh, and I wish to read down to the carpet, the many books in the tower by my chair. But, mostly I wish to...

Read the truth and wonder of my life as the best read of all; then pass it along to share with you.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Wishing Woman

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Old Friends

I wish I had deep complex thoughts to share with you every day. But, I don't. Sometimes to quote Pooh, "I'm a bear of very little brains."

Just fluff in this noggin of mine; nothing much in terms of depth. Perhaps such was the case for my favorite writer, E.B. White. Maybe on some days, he sat down to his typewriter and all that whispered back was, "Nope. I got nothing."

Hard for me to imagine since I have his books to read. Solid, complete, written. But then I stop and think, yeah but the books don't represent the spaces in between. The spaces when he was just a man, not a writer. When you consider even the most prolific writer, the pages they've produced still can't account for every day of their life...

On my Pooh Days, I still want to visit with you. I look forward to my visits to your pages to learn about you for today. I find I hope you'll still stop by to see me. I still want to let you in on what I'm experiencing, even when I all I have to share are little trivial bits and pieces of my life.

So that will continue lieu of big thoughts which honestly, I just don't have, I'll simply let you in a bit deeper into my life. With that- Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to, Leo; Leo, these are my blog land friends...

Leo is my very first plush toy. His mane is a rabbit pelt which has become brittle and dry. He's stuffed with excelsior, which was the preferred stuffing used for very high-end toys. It's a thread made of wood, so over the years, he's become quite crunchy when you touch him. His head has become wobbly and leans to the side; like mine when I'm feeling sick. To keep him safe, he's now perched on one of my closet shelves, just inside the door so we can visit each day. Spend a precious few minutes with each other. It's okay if he peeks while I undress...

Tucked somewhere in a drawer, is a picture of a tiny baby on her tummy smiling for the camera, and next to her is a very handsome lion fellow. With stiff whiskers, and a tiny pink tongue, and a feathery soft, luxuriant mane that really draws the eye. If I ever locate the photo, I'll share it with you. So you can see Leo in his salad days. When we were first becoming acquainted.

Over time, he's seen a lot of stuffed toys come and go. Moved on to other kids or charitable organizations. Ones that used to occupy space on my bed that seemed very important to me at the time. But, I grew and out-grew them. But, not my lion...not Leo. I've taken him with me through every change and venue. Who can say what is the magic that turns some Thing into a Necessary Part of your being?

Old friends, he and I. And, I often wonder how he sees me these days. Have I changed so very much in his orange eyes, or does he still see me as the sweet youngster who toted him about with her everywhere? When I was young and all things were possible.

I suppose I hope that he simply sees me each day with as much love as I still hold for him all these years later. Love me for being the kind of girl who would keep him so close and safe for all this time. Leo, my oldest friend.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Of Rolling Rock, Mr. Rogers, Prarie Dogs & Friends

It's been like I've been picked up and dropped in another state. Or world, even. Since Friday, we've had unbelievably wonderful weather. So sunny and hot, as a matter of fact, we had to turn on the AC. It was 80 degrees in the house on Saturday night, and for a woman like me going through the change, that's just too damned hot, even if it is momentary.

Yesterday at the home improvement store, it looked like they were having a fire sale or a riot where people simply crash in and steal stuff off the shelves then race off with their contraband. I can't remember the last time I saw that many people coming and going or milling about on a Sunday. Oh wait, it must have been last spring when the weather broke and life returned to the neighborhood!

I live just around a country corner from Latrobe, PA. Or, if you grew up in these parts, Lay-trobe. For those of you who don't know, that's the hometown of Arnold Palmer. And, Fred Rogers. If you don't recognize that name, how about, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood? Yeah, I thought you might. If you have kids or were one, that's a name you'll recognize and a question that was always asked, "Won't you be my neighbor?"

And, up until a year or so ago, Latrobe was also the loving home of Rolling Rock beer. A point of interest for those of you who hit the earth as a big kid, no growing up required.

Both Rolling Rock and Mr. Rogers are gone now. And the neighborhood is a little less important due to their passing. But, for most of the inhabitants, the legacy lives on, so it's still a pretty friendly spot on this earth, which is a good thing.

This busy weekend, at one point or another, I had the good fortune to chat with all of my immediate neighbors. Absolutely a sign that warmer weather has come creeping to the Laurel Highlands of Western PA. When the neighbors finally emerge from their houses after a long winter, on those first warm days, I can't help it...

They remind me of the prairie dogs popping in and out of their holes to have a look about and be social before retreating back in once the evenings get chilly.

I won't get my hopes up for this Neighbor Fest to continue because this week, the temps are supposed to drop back into the more usual for this time of years, 50s. All but the bravest of us will pop back in our holes until it warms up again.

But, for today it's still warm sun. I'm thinking about how amazing it is that it only takes a few hours to change the little green garden nubs, just visible in the earth, into rockets jetting up to the light. On Friday, I could barely tell where the hosta were living subterranean and today, several of the really intrepid ones are unfurling into the chartreuse banners of new plants.

There's an awful lot for me to get accomplished here at Casa de Frock...the back deck and patio need to be reclaimed from the winter detritus. I have to admit, they look a bit like unsavory squatters came and took up residence while we were hibernating inside. It's the same every year; in the bitter cold, you simply drop things outside near the door instead of making the effort to put things away.

I need to pull them into their artistical and welcoming state sooner than later. And the pressure is on because I heard from friend, Coke last night who says he and his gal-pal, Lou from Germany are coming this weekend for a visit. That will be a great deal of fun. We haven't seen Lou for over five years, so it will be her first visit with us here.

But, even in its current shabbiness, we did take the time to sit and enjoy some cold, cold beers on a hot afternoon with our neighbors. A break from all the doin' so we could just be a-bein'. A great way to celebrate the momentary climate change with two wonderful people Al & Cindy, who are the other half of our duplex.

And, last evening, another neighbor popped by for a chit chat while we were on the deck grilling our dinner. Later, Michael and I sat in the glow of evening and had our first al fresco meal of the season. Lovely. And simple. Nothing to get excited about; I mean, how exciting is chicken? But, a very rewarding way to end a weekend that was unusually gorgeous.

This weekend really was a gift in many ways. But, even more so for my neighbor/friend Judy who turned 60 on Saturday. And, her hubby and three girls worked like Trojans to surprise her with a party. Which actually turned out to be a surprise! The highlight of the night was a slide show of Judy and her life. We watched her get to 60 in 60 seconds! Well, not quite, but you get the idea. Very clever. What an act of love shared by a great family. Many happy returns of your day, girlfriend!

And, as this work week starts, I would be really remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to say to my pal, Opie- Happy, happy birthday to you, Dear One! You've been gifted another beautiful day in the neighborhood. I hope it brings you many moments of joy, just as we get from having you in our lives. You are a true gift to all of us!

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Silent Sermon Sunday

"My advise to anyone is to smile more, worry less and have faith that we are in good hands." - Cinner

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

There's Always Something

I always feel as though I rush the seasons...I'm so impatient. I go out in my sleepy gardens and hope to find things of beauty...but I think I need to be's still so early.

I poke about and sigh...

Because on immediate surveillance, I'm correct...too early...nothing much going on.

But, bending to clear some leaves, I am gifted with this...

A feather from one of the many doves that come to sit on the garden wall and coo their song...

Further along, in a protected corner that has gathered some blowing debris, I find this reminder of last summer...when the beauty of the gardens is so easy to spot...

Flowers from my English lavender...remarkably still purple enough to feel fresh and wonderful. To remind me that soon I will smell my favorite fragrance...I just need to be patient a bit longer.

And, then a treasure where none should be, in the grass near the beds I bend to find this jewel...

I hear the robins scolding close by and I ask, "You left this in the grass, mother bird? Are you sure?" "Just for you," she chirps back, "I'll make plenty more. Happy Spring."

It reminds me that in every situation and in every person, there's always something. Something worth considering. Something worth keeping. Something worth cherishing. Though, I may have to look very close to find it. Or dig deep to uncover it... there's always something.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Master Class In Real

Here at Your Mother Knows, I've made it my challenge and goal to form a clutch of spirits who are curious and intrepid enough to work toward being Real.

And, through my work and this community, I will learn more than I know right now. What follows in this post is a Master Class in being a Real Human Being. I hope it speaks to you as much as it moved me:

Ours is a young neighborhood. A small one by many standards. It's becoming a great neighborhood. Relationships are beginning to cement. Neighbors are becoming friends. It's young enough to still be full of construction trucks and hub-bub. Old enough, now, to have sadness mixed in.

On Wednesday our neighbor, Bob, finally gave up his heroic, honorable battle to live. His best friend and wife of 56 years, Kathy, and her family are doing remarkably well considering how much Bob, or as they call him, 'Poppie', means to them. And, how big a hole Bob's death leaves in their hearts.

Bob & Kathy are members of one of those remarkable tribes. You know what I mean, a family and extended group that really like each other and pretty much get along. There's always family coming and going from a visit, or to help with something, or simply rest for awhile in the embrace of Kathy & Bob. It's a nice thing. Sometimes a thing for the rest of us to wonder about and even envy. So few of us actually have that familial luxury.

What's been sad, is that almost from the moment of moving into our neighborhood, Bob has been in the battle of his life. It started out being something pretty straight-forward, the need for open heart surgery. While that's a pretty big deal, it's becoming blessedly usual and do-able in today's medical world.

However, the infection that he got from his hospital stay is the culprit that began this two and a half year struggle for survival. That infection and the attempts to stop it threw him into kidney failure. That's when the battle became a war. His downward spiral had momentary stops of hope, where we would see stabilization and rejoice. But, a spiral is a spiral after all.

The Master Class today is about the spots of hope. Because that's where the story of Bob actually rests. In those moments, when he was feeling himself...he'd be our good neighbor. Join us at functions; be a vital part of our parties. It was wonderful to see him, 'holding court' with all of us coming and going and sitting with him to share a joke and a chat. It was great to see his BF, Kathy enjoying moments of fun which momentarily erased the lines of concern that were growing. She worked so hard to care for her Fella. We loved having them both with us.

Bob loved hugs. Gave great ones. Had a sweet smile that he shared easily and quickly. Very affable; loved to talk. It was a good thing to sit with him. You felt his joy of life. He was able to infect you with it by being with him. A wonderful man. A wonderful woman. Still able to laugh and laugh often...even though life for both was becoming increasingly hard.

Each time Bob ended back in the hospital, those of us with houses close by would hold our breath. Others in the community always inquired, "How's Bob? Please let him know we're thinking of him." It's the best most of us can do in situations like this.

Yesterday, Michael and I had the sad task of going to the funeral home to say our goodbyes to our good neighbor and lend support to Kathy and her family. Neighbor, Marian, went with us. We expected that there'd be a great many people there. There were, even though the visitation was only minutes old by the time we arrived.

And, pictures...everywhere. Picture boards of Poppie and his beloved Foster clan. Pictures of a life well lived. Pictures of a young bride and groom; of a stiff young Marine in his dress uniform; countless pictures of Bob holding a baby bundle. Pictures of the most mundane things, but when viewed from that many angles, truly amazing.

We didn't stay long. We gave Kathy our open promise that we're just a few houses away and ready to help should she need us. We hugged. She moved on to the many, many others waiting to offer their faint hope of comfort. I say, faint, because really, what does one say or do? None of us can really comprehend how she must be hurting. Imagine being happily married for 56 years and wondering what life will be like going forward. The answer is, you can't really. So, you show up. You offer the support of your presence. That's all you can do.

On our way out, Michael signed the guest book. I picked up the memorial card. Sometimes I do, often I don't. But I was compelled because of a note that hung over them which read, "We hope you'll take one of these cards as it contains one of Bob's favorite quotes." When Michael and I read it in the car, it moved us to tears. So, I share it with you:

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melodie Beattie

And, on the other side of this inspirational card-

Dear Friend:
Thank you for inviting me into your life. It was fun, and my gratitude fits into Melodie Beattie's words.

I think mot of us strive for perfection but never attain it due to our human frailties. We can and must find a comfort zone within our own bodies to enjoy the peace that can be ours. I must tell you that, perhaps, peace and joy can be found by sharing your gratitude with all you encounter.

You enriched my life. Always dare to be yourself. Be grateful. Invite strangers into your life. Build happy memories with others. Laugh and share the joy that we knew together.

Thanks for the memories!

What a wondrously glorious Human Being. Imagine loving life so very much that in your leaving, you continue to express how wonderful it all is. Even your death. Even your end... Being grateful for it ALL. Wanting to help those of us who remain as you go. Taking the time to express your gratitude for all that we've meant, no matter how small or large the encounter. Thank us?

No sir, thank You! It's been an honor and privilege to know you. And, my quest to be a Real Human Being has been furthered by the grace and gift of your example. Thank you Bob Poppie Foster.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Your Neighbor & Student

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Tries Again

My post is brief today because my Beloved needs my help at an elder fair that he must attend as an exhibitor. I will be Vanna White to his interaction with the folks who stop by our table for information. I'm happy to smile and hand out brochures.

So, I'm leaving you to view a picture of the fountain that I designed in the corner of our patio garden. It's from last year...but when I came across it, I realized looking at it made me feel as calm as I feel when I sit and listen to the water splash...and it gave me hope to hang on a bit longer; I know the garden is short days from re-awakening. Well, if it doesn't fall back into winter for a third's a bit chilly here once again.

Also, with the encouragement of the fabu Beth who is a gifted photog, I'm going to become more brave and take more photos to share with you. I'm hoping Mother's Day might bring me a camera of my own that is easy enough to use! I saw Nikon makes a beautiful purple one which seems just perfect for me! Until then, I'll do just fine with the shots that Michael is always good enough to take when I ask, "Will you take a picture of this, please?"

Spend a minute or two with me at the fountain...let's sit and have a drink and talk about our day...our problems...our dreams...our lives.

Or, don't speak at all...just watch the grass grow and listen to the water flow.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

So Wednesday has arrived and brings with it the newest wishing work. Today, the question of wishes is, What Step Do You Wish To Take?

How about the notion of wishing to stop taking mis-steps? I often think I stumble more than I walk. And, I certainly can relate to the sensation that I take one teensy weensy step forward and fall two steps back.

Then I think, oh hell, I have to take steps in all personal stuff...professional Frau stuff...gardening stuff...spiritual stuff.... Who can step through all this stuff?? No wonder I stumble so much. Or, get so overwhelmed that I stop moving at all. Simply sit in the road in the inertia of overwhelmedness. Is that even a word?

Have you ever tried to walk in all directions all at the same time? Yeah, how's that working for ya? For me? Not so good. Like the Scarecrow said when Dorothy met him on the road to Oz, "And sometimes they go both ways..." Think me sitting here typing to you with my arms crossed over the keyboard.

She sits pondering...pondering...pondering...

And, shedding my excess weight keeps coming up to the surface even though more real pressing issues should be my causes for the wishing. But, the weight keeps coming up. So...

I wish to take one step toward my goal of feeling better...I wish each day to take one step toward that goal. Be it, remembering to pick better choices at my meals, or perhaps it would be to make myself eat breakfast every day, or insist that I carve out ten minutes, at least, to exercise daily.

I realize that I fall victim of all my lofty notions and the Internal Critic, (think Malificent from Sleeping Beauty,) comes out, folds her sinuous arms and sneers, "This effort is tiny and a waste of time. If you're not going to do it right and follow the rules, then just don't do it at all." So I give up...because I'm just a Human and I can't do it all right all the time. I end up doing nothing rather than not do it right.

Maybe I need to take a step to shut up that blister-on-my-butt and tape her mouth closed for a bit. Yeah, I know that 30 minutes a day is what is needed for exercise results, but I won't do that. And, that won't step me in the right direction. So, maybe 10 is a good step for me and this body of mine? Step to put the Internal Critic on notice, as the Good Witch chased the Bad Witch, "Be gone, be gone you have no power here!"

I wish to learn to love the small attempts, clap for the small steps, as much as I hope for the big successes. Because, lets face it- big successes don't come that often, but I step and mis-step about all day long.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Wishing Woman

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poopin' In The Rain

This fine chap is Rory aka BoyDog. He answers to either; sometimes I think he actually prefers the nickname to his real name. I don't much care as I gave him both and generally, he ignores them both when he doesn't wish to come when called. Much to The Queen's displeasure. Here you see him sporting his Steelers jersey. He's a huge fan. Well, not really; he simply feels the team's colors suit his complexion.

How do I describe his personality to you? He's Forrest Gump in a dog suit. He's the lead soul in The Simple Soul Society, (okay I just made that Society up, but I'm thinking I might be on to something...) If Southern women were talking to him, they'd say, "Well bless your heart," as they are want to do when talking to an odd individual. And, they would mean it! You get the drift I think.

He's a lot like Yoki in that the simple act of being is the most complicated work he has. He exists just to be my dog. He's content with things the way they come. And, contrary to the reputation that Scottish Terriers are aloof and stand-offish, Rory never got the memo, so has never met a Human Being he didn't find fascinating. Just like his Mommer.

Rory is a wheaten colored Scottie, not to be confused with a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier... Those of us obsessed with our Scottish Terriers call our dogs of this caramel color, Sweetie Wheatie. He is that for certain. Completely, simply sweet.

Just so you are chock-full of trivial information to share at your next social gathering, Scotties come in several colors, but most of us are only familiar with the classic black ones, such as our Fiona. There are no white Scotties. None. The only white terrier is the West Highland.

Coincidentally, there is a Westie in our neighborhood, Jack, who is Rory's very best friend in the whole world. When Jack comes to call, BoyDog makes a noise reserved for him alone. It's better than a doorbell announcing that Jack and his mother, Jill, (I know, isn't that a riot?) are waiting at the door.

I've never had a dog have a best friend. But, that's one of the things that makes Rory unique. Jack feels the same about him. When you watch them play, it truly is like watching four year old boys tussling together. Very sweet. Rory waits for Jack to come strolling by; he sits in the chair by the front window peering out on alert. Yes, our BoyDog has quite the cushy life.

However, yesterday in the driving rain, poor Rory would have argued my thinking as he was stuck forever due to difficulty completing his morning constitutional. Normally we're out and back in. But, not yesterday. Just like us on our off days, it took waaayyyy too long. His head bounced from the big drops splattering him on the noggin, ears back listening to the wind howl. He was giving me the rolling eyes completely flummoxed as to what to do.

He'd finish and run to the safety of the deck, only to give that, "Oops! Not done yet," look turning and racing back down into the yard for another try. Four times! And, me popping in and out getting soaked along with him. Acting like a deranged cheer leader, "Good boy, Rory! Good Boy!! It's all right, I'm here! You can do it! Good BoyDog!"

At last, completely soaked to the skin, (both of us,) Rory completed his morning mission. And, while both of us were wet, he had gone through so much, what does one do? You get a towel and get to work drying off the poor dog, first! You stand there wet and uncomfortable but the dog, the dog comes first.

And it seems completely normal. Hell, my wonderful dog was soaked because of attempts to poop in the rain! What choice does a good mother have?

Hugs and praise where administered freely because I recognized that he went through all of that because he didn't want to displease me by soiling in our house. Simple he may be, but he knows better and did better! What a good dog!

So, in my usual twisted fashion, this soggy episode got me to thinking: I've often said, "In my next life, I want to come back as my own pet!" Talk about the good life! And, I know it's the very same for yours. Yoki and Meggie barely lifted their heads to say, 'Goodbye, have a good day,' as I grabbed my keys and headed out to work each morning. And, I'd think as I started the car, "WTF is wrong with this picture!!? Man, I really picked the wrong part in this case!"

Then again things aren't always as they seem, are they? Very little is as wonderful as it appears. If you find yourself out in the cold dark, peering with longing through the window of someone's life, it may appear all bright and snug. But, from where you are, you can't know what hardship and discomfort also lurk in the dark corners inside out of your view. No matter what you observe in a glimpse, no one's life is as grand as it seems. No one's.

We all have those passing Discomforts- not unlike BoyDog having to poop outside in the howling wind and rain. And because today, I don't have that problem, I think I'll say my life is great and I am grateful. It is the small things that can really bring it into momentary clarity. The truth of things...not what we think of things. Discomfort comes and moves on...the key is to identify and latch on to the true parts that don't shift and stay with loving constancy...

As for today? It's a much better day for Rory out in the yard. For poopin', sniffin', and simply bein'! In typical Scottie fashion, he says, "Aroo! to you." Oh yeah, aroo? That's a signature Scottish Terrier sound. Only they make it. And, once you've heard it, you'll always know when a Scottie is gamboling about like a good Wild Highlander.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Mommer

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blog Treasures

photo by: My Dear Friend, Eileen

Oh! The wind this morning is a-blowin'! The rain is coming down sideways. I think I just saw a house with a girl wearing red shoes to die for and her dog fly by...maybe it was only a trash can...I'll check on that in a minute...

My three day garden fest with my back gardens is momentarily halted by Mother Nature who, in her infinite wisdom, has decided to lend her hand by watering everything that Michael and I planted. Blessings on you, Mother!

While I was outside wrestling leaves and other winter detritus out of the gardens...feeling like a member of a Special Ops unit liberating plants from weeds and crud, inside here in my growing blogging community, some wonderful things were blooming! And, while yes, they are about me, that's not what makes them so wonderful...what makes them so are the individuals who included me.

First were photo gifts from Eileen who runs a sweet blog about her new grandson, Simon Says. Her blog is short, sweet snippets about the wonders of being a first time Grammy aka MiMi and what that change means to her and those she loves. It'll be a good chronicle for her little guy when he's old enough to wonder about life before he could remember.

Eileen lives in Maryland and has supported me in my on-going struggle to manage my homesickness. Spring there is about three weeks ahead of us here, so she sends me pictures to remind me of the wonderful springs in The Land of Pleasant Living. She also knows that I adore she sends me purple fixes when she finds them. Hence my very first gift on today's entry.

Next gem is courtesy of Samantha, way across the pond in England. The keeper of the Goddess flame over at, the everyday witch who absolutely surprised me. Imagine going for a visit at someone's blog only to find you're being talked about and given an honor! Wow.

I'm further honored by what she had to say: "...there is only one person who I could choose to pass this award onto this week, and that is Holly. She is the type of Goddess I adore most: a proponent of the tough-love, tell-it-to-me-straight kinda wisdom, and her heart is most definitely golden. She is not afraid to tackle the thornier subjects in life, and I would pick her for my team in any fight (wars of words only, please). Holly, thanks for listening this week, and for teaching us all a bit more about it."

And, here it is...I will proudly display it, not because it is an award, but because of the reasons she wished to bestow it. Thank you, Sam, for expressing that I am all of that for you. And, I will always be listening to the things you share with me!

And now let's travel to India to meet a new acquaintance of mine, Sema, who is a textile designer and artist. Her blog, AffirmArt is full of colorful mandalas. I adore mandalas...they are complex and colorful and deeply meaningful. Her's are fresh and lovely.

A comment she left on my listening pieces read, "I was inspired by your post on listening to create this week's affirmart card. Thank you." Over I go for a visit with Sema to find this beautiful creation:

Isn't it cool?! She made that; I told you she was good! How many talented people are in this world! And, sometimes it's absolutely overwhelming when you start clicking from site to site and each time you find more people who are doing such wonderful things on their blogs.

To all of you who share your bounty and beauty, thanks is a small word to give in return. But, it's all that I have. Here at Your Mother Knows, I have only my words to share with you, although thanks to Beth, I am going to be more brave and post pictures that I take from time to time.

I think I will end now, sit with my cup of coffee and look at all these beautiful treasures that came my way this weekend. What a wonderful way to start a new week. Blessings on all of you for creating and giving so freely.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka The Listener

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Silent Sermon Sunday

Church of The Spilt Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia
photo by: Holly

This stunning beauty was destroyed by the Nazi's. It took six decades to refurbish, as the entire interior is intricate and delicate mosaic. Tiny piece by tiny piece, the glory of it was painstakingly recreated. Just as our dreams can be fashioned if we believe enough.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Creating Caveats

Now, before we get ourselves all worked up whilst reading this blog 'o mine, let me remind us...I may or may not be crazy. And if that's the case, you may find my writings crazy or not.

Like listening, (How's that for a segue?) you get to decide that- while I can only provide further proof of your stance by what I continue to write. Note To Self: Try to confirm sanity as much as possible, but only when you're feeling sane.

Okay, listen...(Get it? I've been talking about listening for the past two days, funny, huh? Not so much? fine...) listen up!

A couple of comments you made, and now that I think about it, Michael also said something after reading the blog... have suggested stereotypes are being bandied about.

"Unacceptable! The world is too vast to be made verbally small," bellows The Queen! Stereotypes for the sake of discussion, perhaps. Opinions based on personal experience and soft research, for certain. Generalities stated? Most definitely. So there you go thinking, "Ga, that woman over at Your Mother Knows! She's such a hair splitter when it comes to words- makes my ears weary!" Maybe I am and maybe I ain't; let's examine closer.

Would you agree with me, that most often when we use the word, stereotype, we are speaking of a negative opinion, or less than flattering view, held about a certain type of individual or group? I'm thinking, yeah, that's how we use the word.

Without an emotional charge placed on it, stereotype actually means: 1: a plate cast from a printing surface, 2: something conforming to a fixed or general pattern, esp; a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, affective attitude, or uncritical judgement (bolding mine)

Now, let's look at the word opinion which can still be an emotional landmine, but not as much as stereotype seems to be: 1: a view, judgement, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter, 2: a belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive (e.g. proven, my addition) knowledge, a generally held view.

And now, let's see what is over at generalities: 1: the quality or state of being general; total applicability.

Hmm, in this case like most, when it comes to words, our understanding is close enough, but not exact. Therein lies the problem. Close enough in our usage only to cause ruffled feathers and misunderstanding. And, that's why I attempt to be so exacting about my words. Most of the time I am, but I'm just a blog writer and sometimes I am not always as successful as I'd hope.

However, you don't really want me to be all that correct all the time. Really. What fun would that be? And, if I don't give you my thoughts on things from the perspective of what my life has larnt me, what fascination would it hold for you?

Not much at all.

When it comes to some of the really huge, large, ginormous topics I go at, a few generalized statements are bound to get made. And, you should be glad, or I'd never get to the good parts. Instead, it would have to be a dissertation with foot notes...BORING.

That said, I feel it should be occasionally re-stated, especially for new readers who don't know me personally, that you have a guarantee here at Your Mother Knows:

While there will be times when I am specifically droll and sarcastic about a topic, I will never talk about a Human Being in a negative or judging way. That's not my job as a blogger or as a spirit in development. I will absolutely give you my honest opinion and thoughts...but it will never be at the expense of another. That's just not my style. I do not believe women to be superior to men in life issues. I do not think men are superior to women in life issues. I believe both have skills and talents that are vitally necessary to any situation. I believe there is fun in examining the differences. I believe there's value in considering how we operate differently.

I can't promise that I won't go on a rant from time to time, hell I even have a label called, Rants! I most certainly will when something or someone tweaks my last living nerve. I don't say that I won't write things that are a bit flip and get you all charged up so that you simply MUST leave me a comment. That's Fab! I love that. I adore it when you challenge me...make me reconsider my vast storehouse of acquired wisdom! (Yes, that was sarcasm just then,) but really, this blog wouldn't be near as meaningful or fun without you there to share your views with me.

I learn new thoughts because of what I post and what you shoot back after you read it. Thank you!

So, if you hear stereotypes here at Your Mother Knows, well that's just fine by me, because as you can see, there's no negative charge to a stereotype unless you put it there.

It's a beautiful day; class dismissed!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Wordsmith

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hear Hear

I got some great comments back from yesterday's post. It seems that this mystery of the ears and what to do with them, is something that most of us have considered or been impacted by, mostly for the negative. Just as I thought...

Beth be yourself, everyone else is taken said, "...the one thing I know for sure is that after almost 25 years of marriage, my hubby and I suck at listening to each other...he is worse of course! No matter what I say or when or how, I always get a, 'huh?' or a 'what' from him and have to repeat myself. Then when I do, he listens (italics mine,) and still ends up clueless to what I'm saying....arrghhh !!! It's actually the one thing we fight about the most."

That sounds really familiar, doesn't it? Why is it that men and women seem so vastly different in terms of the ability to listen? It probably relates back to the species development and what men were responsible for vs. what women were built for...I discuss my view of the whole issue in my post Tigers And Berries if you want to chuckle over some of what makes us so different.

Opie may challenge me on what I'm about to say next, as he is one of the rare men who actually does seem good at listening, but it's my strong belief that the main difference between men and women in terms of listening is: Men aren't trained to's not required of them to learn to listen. Not a skill that is demanded of them.

But, women? Oh, we're trained from tiny, "Listen here, Missy...," and I think a woman's natural wish to please people, to be in relationship with others, activates an innate desire to listen to everything!!! Unfortunately, that need to listen to everything is what gives us the bad rap as being nebbie and gossipy. Well, look here World, you can't have it both ways! If you want women to be good listeners, then the shadow side is that we listen to all of it. Whether or not that is what you want.

Men are trained to Do. Women are trained to Wait. In the waiting space, one learns to be passive. In the passive part, one learns to become a witness, or observer, of life instead of an active participant. Now, don't get all up in my grill... I'm not saying that women aren't living life well...I'm suggesting how we got to this point of being able to listen better than males.

The only man I know who didn't fit this rule is The King. Because my father was so badly crippled by the time he was 16, he was effectively taken out as a player of the game and benched to spend the rest of his life as an observer. It made him a glorious listener. And, he was stellar at observing the Human condition. Amazing in his ability to catch the subtle 'tells' that the rest of us miss because we're so busy doing. I learned my ability to observe from Dad.

Men live in the moment. For the most part, that's where they spend their entire life. Right here...right now. They only focus on one thing at a time...go back and read about tigers...

Women on the other hand, live in the entire galactic space of infinite's a hard job, but somebody's gotta' do it. So, yeah, women can multi-task. They can be watching the stove top while fuming over a spat in the past and mentally ticking off where they have to be next week...all at the exact same time. Creepy, isn't it? The need for us to do that, is also the the thing that has made us better at listening. For most women, the challenge is to learn to NOT listen to everything.

Men, need to learn to translate hearing into focusing and taking it in...e.g. LISTEN. Women need to understand that when men are listening, it's for the express purpose of DOING something with that information; or fixing. So, if they listen awhile and don't hear things they can do something about- they mentally retreat into their man cave, "Nothing for me to fix here..."

As a female, you desire the mental and emotional hug that comes from being heard...being attended to. Listened to. We make the mistake of thinking that just because he's looking at you, he's listening. But, if you didn't give him something to fix in that barrage of info, guess what? He's not. Which leads to Beth's well stated frustration.

So, when it comes to a woman talking with a a fella out! He cares about you and will give you what you need. If all you want is to be heard, attended to, you need to tell him that. He loves you, but he ain't a mind reader. Let him know all he has to do is give you the air-time to tell your story. You're not asking him to fix it. Or do anything. I give Michael a preamble, "I just want you to listen to me. You don't need to do anything about what I'm saying because I don't think there's anything to do about it. Okay?" Once stated, easily provided.

The next part of this whole listening thing, is knowing what it is you really want. Do you want air-time? Or, do you need to be listened to? Be careful now...there's a difference. If you ask to be listened to, that means that the other person is going to respond with their thoughts on the issue. You may or may not like them. But, if every time you ask to be listened to, and you shoot the other between the eyes for telling you...umm, you can bet most people will not want to get caught in that game with you.

It hurts to be shot between the eyes...

Learn what it is you want, and develop the courage to ask for it. As Teachable said, "I have also learned to just say to the person that I don't think that they are listening to me." Now, that takes courage. It also means you must know what you need. What does that look like to you?

How do you know that you're being listened to? While it's easier to assume if the person is sitting and looking at you, I promise you, it's not required. I don't have to be looking at you, but you'll be absolutely certain that I am listening. I've learned to give clues to assure you and by feeding back what you're saying at the appropriate time. My Aunt Rose, was great at cooking and still making you feel listened to, maybe it runs in the family.

However, because I am such a great listener, even though I don't have to be looking right at you, if that's what you need, that's what I give you. I must accommodate if I am to be judged as effective by you.

Learn the clues that confirm listening. The body language is the mechanism...subtle but vital. Jen, My Pet requests, "Let's see another post about listening to body language." And, that's a great way to put it, because we do need to know how to listen to body interpret it.

Jen was talking about her toddler having a, as she so wonderfully put it, "melt down like chocolate on a dash board..." I love that! Can't you see it? And, she didn't see the body language...didn't listen to it. She was reacting, hearing the noise her little one was making. Turns out she had a fever...but Jen didn't know that until she decided the best thing she could give her baby was a hug and a kiss on the forehead. Ahh! Now you get it...

When we judge a situation before we open ourselves to listening, we run it through filters that keep us from understanding and seeing things for what they are.... We'll talk about listening in difficult situations another time. It's all part of the magic, the miracle of listening! What part is the hardest for you? What part do you feel you do well with and how did you develop your gift?

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Magic of Listening

I hear you. Really. Completely. And, I realize that's a rare thing for most of us. To be heard. To feel listened be attended I want you to know that I hear you.

I admit, that it's a natural gift of mine. I came with it. But, I deliberately worked to hone my skill in this regard. Not through hours of listening to those and things around me, but by taking courses in it. Reading about it. Working in industries that required it as part of being successful.

If you need a good listener, with all modesty I submit that, I am just who you need.

Is listening a skill that can be developed? Absolutely. So, why are there so many crappy listeners? Probably for the same reason there are so many crappy writers. Just because you own a piece of paper and a pen doesn't mean you know what to effectively do with them; just because you have two ears and can hear doesn't mean you can listen.

Hearing ain't listening.

In case you didn't hear me or weren't listening just then, let me repeat: Hearing isn't listening. Hearing is an autonomic response. Listening is a mental desire to connect. We get them confused. We need to be conscious of the differences.

The skill is in the listening. And, here's the really tricky thing...contrary to what you may think, you don't determine if you're listening; the other person decides if you're listening! You can confirm that you heard the sounds they made, but only they, by how they feel about the exchange, determine if you are successful; determine if you are, 'listening to me.'

Now that, my friends, is something you should sit with for awhile, because that's really powerful information to wrap your head around! A person determines whether you were listening because of how they 'feel' during the process. Listening engenders feelings. Hearing doesn't.

So why don't most of us really excel at listening? I think it's because there's an 'I' in listening. There shouldn't be. 'I' represents the ego. Looking at a situation from the inside out...driving the bus with what we know to be true. Interjecting our thoughts and feelings into the moment.

It's the 'I' that separates us from the magic of the moment. Instead of sitting openly and hearing every thing that is shared, we jump ahead to what we want to say in response...tell the other what we think...often finishing their sentences for them to get to the juicy part of sharing our fabulous wisdom and insights.

And often, we leap to conclusions that aren't correct. How many times have you done so in your, well to be kind- let's call it 'enthusiasm'- only to have the person say, "No, that wasn't what I was going to say." That's embarrassing. Or, if it isn't then you're really not listening. Not even hearing. Our ego stops our ability to be present to another. Ego is only concerned about the self...not anyone or anything outside of that. I wish there was no 'I' in listening. It would make it easier for us to be heard. To feel connected and cherished.

But, the 'I' is also the challenge to help us become real Human Beings. To develop this magic that is taken for granted by most. If you want to be perceived as one who really connects to people, start here.

To actively listen to someone is the best gift you can give, making them feel singularly important. You know what it feels like: You meet someone engaging in their openness. They connect using their eyes, which make you feel like you're the most important thing in their world. The environment recedes; you feel like it's just the two of you, nothing else around. Your listener nods and uses body language providing visual cues confirming that you are being heard. They wait patiently until you complete your thought, responding only after you're finished. Which fluidly sets up the next round of exchange.

Listening is magic. Truly.

So few of us feel cherished. Special. Necessary. One of the ways we can give that feeling to another is by listening to them.

Do not confuse listening with understanding!

It's not necessary for you to understand how the other is feeling. Or believe it necessary to change or correct their feelings. Feelings aren't facts...they're feelings. You can still listen to a person tell their story even if it's in another language. Listening transcends understanding. And listening transforms misunderstanding. I'm telling you, it's mundane magic.

The other day, when Doog and I were talking about what he has learned over his many years as a massage therapist, he shared that he really can't describe what happens to make his clients feel better. Like many things in life, you start out initially thinking you know what's going on with a process because you've been educated about it...

But, as you mature in your craft, you begin to realize that there's so much more that's happening that defies easy description. Complex things on levels unseen are occuring. I nodded in agreement because that's my experience in my Reiki sessions. As a Reiki Master Teacher, I can attune you to Reiki and give you the tools, but I can't technically explain the nuances of healing or how a person feels better. I don't 'do' anything, but I am completely, 100 per cent present to the client in a session. Perhaps that's where the magic resides, in the being present part.

So like most things, the more you know about it, the less you know about it. I love that part. But, getting back to Doog, he said, "The less I do and the more I listen, the more happens." Just as it always happens when Spirit is speaking through us, the hairs on my neck stood up. That's a very powerful statement.

Healing, being, love, support, compassion happen in listening; not doing. If we would stop all our doing, and sit with another in total open willingness...sit in active listening mode...we'd create a sacred space where all possibility resides. It's a miracle that we can give another.

There are lots of books about the art of listening. If you've never read one, consider investigating it. One that I like is entitled, The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication In The Age of Distraction, by Rebecca Z. Shafir. And, I'd like to continue this critical conversation if you'll help me by asking questions or leaving comments. Can you describe a moment when you felt truly listened to and how did it make you feel?

So now, I know you hear me but were you listening? Rest assured, I am listening to you!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka The Listener

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

What Do You Wish To Clear Out?

That's the wish prompt for this Wishcasting Wednesday. I thought, when I decided to join in on this time honored tradition of combining energies to make wishes more powerful, that it would be an easy thing to do...

But, not so much.

It's easier to feel something than define it. Defining a feeling can be really heavy lifting. But, you can't have what you can't name. And, if you want to wish, like the old adage says, "Be very careful what you wish for because you just might get it." And if you get it? Then what??

So, I'm sitting here on a soggy morning, tossing my thoughts this way and that...being afraid that I won't wish it right...avoiding the hard work of defining what I wish to have cleared out, put away, done with, rearranged, freshened, functioning...

Almost as though I'm back at the beginning of this year when I discovered there's a Buddha in my closet and the lesson to let things go and move out of my space. The physical act of cleaning out my closet, took me down the road of thinking about my emotional cubbyholes and what needed to be done there. So that caused a reflection on mentally clearing out for the new year.

And, now, here I am again trying to put into words my wish to further clear my space. Okay then, here goes nothing...take a leap of faith and JUMP:

I wish to clear out this sense of being disconnected from my life. I feel as if there is a gauze between me and living fully. As if I am a spectator of my day instead of a participant in the day. I keep feeling as if I am waiting for something to arrive. But, I go to bed each night feeling as though I waited in vain.

I wish to clear out this sense of being unimportant because I am unemployed. This notion that I'm not good enough because I'm not known here as a high powered professional. I wish to clear away my old Self-definitions that keep me from happily defining who I am NOW. I wish to clear out all false thinking; all thoughts that leave me feeling less-than. I wish to clear out all thinking that no longer serves and the feeling of sadness that follows me around some days.

I wish to clear out this inability to feel at home in this life of mine...shed these thoughts that wound even more because even thinking them leaves me feeling conflicted. I know better, yet I feel ungrateful. Without cause! I have so very much, am so very blessed, why can't I easily recognize it?

I wish to glory in my days. And, in my nights I wish to drift asleep grateful for all that has been brought to me and through me. I wish to walk in the truth. I wish to abide in love with me.

So mote it be. And as I wish it, please, won't you wish it for me?

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Wishing Woman

N.B. 6:30 PM: I am humbled and honored by all the comments that have been left on this entry. Truly. And, to wish for more without first acknowledging all that has been given would be very poor magick, indeed. So, thank you for all of it. Thank you for reminding me of my truth and worth. Thank you for being there with me and for me. My strongest desire is to do the very same for you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life Adjectives

If you were to stop
And consider your life,
How would you tell it?
What would you say?
What words would you use today?

If I were to stop
And consider my life,
I would say droll,
I would say wife,
Other words I would use today...

Friend, loyal, odd, thoughtful,
Complex, educated, healer,
Deep, motherless, round,
Hopeful, warrior, sparky, clever,
Organized, leader, follower.

If I were to stop
And consider my life,
I would say these things and more
I would also wonder further,
What words would you say define me today?

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Blessings of Expansion

Our house is very quiet now. Maybe a bit too quiet. Perhaps I don't find it as peaceful right now. Perhaps it feels a bit empty in place of the formerly perceived peace.

Rory and Fiona still seem a bit sleepy after three plus days of play. I know Michael and I are, but that's all right. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Michael, Jen, and Grace left yesterday morning. Our visit was a wonderful one. Full of a young girl's energy. Hours of catch-up conversation. Sharing new experiences. Walking down familiar roads. Furthering relationships that are years deep in the making.

On Saturday, sitting together at Barnes & Noble, Michael- (okay to be clear,) Doog and I chatted about 'stuff' that only he and I seem to share. Ideas about martial arts and body work...books that we've liked and think the other would enjoy...and for the briefest of moments, I felt my heart well-up with a burble of, "I'm so very glad that you are here so we can talk like this! I've missed our in-person talks together!!"

Our Starbucks coffee finished, Grace having located what she wished to purchase, Jen and Michael finished browsing, we headed back home again. Our trip the next day to the zoo and lunch afterward, gave this family of ours a shared new experience.

Seeing something so usual as a zoo, takes on a new layer of wonder when you experience it with a child. Their enthusiasm and comments make it new. Grace is no exception, and found it interesting, even though the mammoth National Zoo is her home zoo frequently visited. Children live completely in the moment; they don't often diminish an experience by comparing it to what they already know. Note to Self: Attempt to follow a child's example; I'll like my life better that way...

But, the true beauty of our visit were the moments filled with the mundane. The moments of Grace sitting with Michael in his chair and talking about things, and Jen reading, while Doog and I cooked a new recipe together. Sitting around the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking. Nothing so very exciting...but so completely rewarding.

And none the less binding.

Today, in the quiet of a visit's aftermath, I am grateful for the blessings of an expansive mind. The ability for all of us, except for Grace whose supple young mind only knows us as family, to be flexible in our thinking.

For me- to have been willing to consider what my former husband could be to me after our marriage of 14 years needed to end. To be willing to recognize that I can keep the good parts if I let go of what used to be...

For Doog- to have been willing to apologize for having to hurt me in order to do what was authentic for his life. And hold hope that what was still important between us could be redefined and newly invented.

For Jen- as Doog's wife & partner, to recognize the value in maintaining one's past while growing a new life together. For being the sort of woman who is comfortable in her own skin with a rare spirit of generosity; secure in her own worth and life enough to easily expand her definition of family to include a former wife.

For my husband, my beloved Michael- for recognizing that while it is not the usual for people who were once married to continue to mean so much to each other, it's pretty remarkable. And, to be expansive enough in his thinking to understand them as my family and now our family.

Here's what I know to be true: there will never be enough love in the world for any Human Being. And, if we hope to maximize our share, it takes the blessing of an expansive mind to consider all possibilities and say, "yes," when they are offered.

How unique and wonderful that all of us are blessed in this way. I hope the very same for you.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka The Former Mrs. Duggan, aka Shine, aka Aunt Holly, aka Blessed

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Silent Sermon Sunday

A colorful and blessed Easter to you and yours... Alleluia!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Great Aunt Holly

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Grace Notes

I'd love to stay and chat with you longer, but I have my hands full and my life even fuller at the moment because this fabulous creature and her entourage are at my home. They arrived on Thursday and life has been a whirlwind since! This is the fabulous Grace and her gang, The Mom & Dad!

We haven't seen each other since Christmas and this is their first visit here since we moved to the area a few years back. Michael and I are having a great time visiting with Jen and Doog, (err, Michael, yes I know...) And Grace is having a blast getting to know Rory and Fiona who think it's just the best having a little girl around to play.

Today, we're off to the Pittsburgh Zoo to take in the sites and show them around our fair city. I know we'll have lots of notes to share about our adventures.

Here's hoping your Saturday is filled with grace notes, just like ours.
Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Aunt Holly aka Shine

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Good In Friday

Is there a person who doesn't think that Friday is possibly the best day of any week? For most of us, it's the harbinger of time to ourselves. To do what we want. To sleep when we feel. To play. Have fun. Live life. Answer our own agenda; be the boss.

Of course, we waste most of each week hoping for Friday once Monday comes and we're back on the wheel working fo da man! We waste most of our lives hoping for two days out of any week...

Doesn't seem a good trade to me. But, I'll admit, there's nothing like a Friday to lift the spirits. There's a lot of good in any Friday.

Today, is the real deal. The actual Good Friday for those of the Christian faith. The day that marks the saddest of all days. The day that marks the death of The Christ.

Most Good Fridays I recall always seem gray and overcast. Much like the day we're having here in Western PA. It seems to fit the sombre mood of most as they consider the torment and death of their savior.

When I was a child, Good Fridays meant three hours at S.S. Philip & James sitting through the vigil. It was long. Sad. Silent. Full of expectation. And beautiful in a dark way.

Back in the day, during the 40 days of Lent, Catholic churches covered and cloaked the statues. Done to mark the seriousness of the Lenten season. To be a visual reminder of the sacrifices and consideration one should take on in the days leading to Easter.

At, our church, this meant that St. Joseph, St. Anthony, The Madonna, all were bundled into burgundy bags and remained covered until you came into the church on Easter Sunday. The church also had, in the left corner, the largest crucifix ever. The Christos was life-sized on the dark cross. And the face, eyes serenely closed, was beautiful. It suggested peace despite the horrors of the death you were witnessing.

I loved that crucifix. It wasn't tortured as many are depicted. It seemed regal. Kind. Gentle. Humanly frail. Victorious in seeming defeat. The bank of flickering candles that burned beneath it added a quiet beauty.

During Lent, this Crucifix turned into the biggest burgundy kite you're ever likely to find. We kids couldn't help it; it looked like a kite. Yep. We would sit through Mass and peer over wondering how it would look flying in the air. We felt it was wrong because we knew it was really Jesus on the cross hiding in its Lenten bag, but hey, doesn't it look like a kite?

Three hour Good Friday vigil was nothing to look forward to. Minutes in a church for a kid can be a lifetime. Hours? Yikes. Try not to fidget. Don't think of Jesus in the kite. Wonder if Mary and Joseph and Anthony have a hard time breathing in those sacks? Wonder who else is here? Do we have to stay the whole time? I forgot my rosary... Why aren't any candles lit....

I will never forget the Good Friday vigil when I saw part of a ceremony that made me aware of the true meaning of it all. Saw the reason Humans have rituals and traditions to help us understand big mysteries...

If you go into any Catholic church on any day, at any hour, even if you are the only soul there, you know that you are not alone. Because, in every church, in every tabernacle where the altar rests, you will see the Tabernacle Candle flickering. This light represents the living presence of The Christ. It's a grand mystery in a tiny flame. Mostly, these are red glass. I've also seen them flickering behind blue glass. Sometimes, they are clear and burn brightly. There's a constancy and familiarity the candle brings so that, even though the church might be unfamiliar to you, you still feel a sense of connection and understanding. A sense of belonging.

But, on Good Friday at 3 p.m, which is the hour traditionally marked as the hour The Christ died, the tabernacle light is put out. And, the altar remains dark until Easter morning. At my church, the Tabernacle Lamp was large, ornate and gold, suspened high above the altar from three chains. Beautiful. Elaborate.

There is a weight to witnessing the twinkling familiar light extinquished. The quiet and dark that follows feels deep and significant. Sad. A bit un-nerving. I'm not certain that Catholic churches even do this any longer. Like many of the traditions I grew up with, they've been eliminated. Viewed as no longer important to the practice. Which I find sad.

On that Friday, when the candle was snuffed out, I watched the wisp of smoke trail up. I remember becoming still; the desire to fidget evaborated. Suddenly, I had no wish to leave. I simply wanted to sit there in the darkened space and take it all in...

Yes, there is good in every Friday. But, this is Good Friday. And, I remember.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Onion Snow

"This is ridiculous," I huff.

"It's the Onion Snow," Michael replies, "Don't worry, it doesn't last long."

"Onion Snow, what the hell is that?!"

"That's what the late snow that comes in April is called, Onion Snow, because farmers have already put in the onion sets by now."

"I guess growing up in Emmitsburg and helping Mom in the vegetable garden is where you heard that, but that's a new one to me."

"Yep, when you have eight kids, you learn to do as much as you can to make a buck stretch."

"Well, you want to know what I call this crazy snow?"


"I call it the, Are You Fin' Kidding Me Snow!"

"Seems like a long title, but okay," Michael replies. Thus the conversation ends.

Yeah....snow. One day, okay maybe. But, I'm on day two of the White Death as my friend, Pete, calls it.

I like snow. Really. But, when you have to hunt for the scraper in April so you can clear off the car?! That's just stupid. If you saw our chaotic garage at the moment, you'd understand how stupid it actually is. But, who wants to leave a snow scraper in their car after March?! By the way, I wish to acknowledge the wonderful work done by Michael in clearing off both chariots this morning before he left. Thank you, My Husband!

I have birds out at the snowed feeder actually seeming a bit puzzled. Can birds wonder, "WTF?!" I'm certain that's what I hear them chirping as they hop about in its depths, making tiny powder puff explosions. Okay, that's kinda' cute...

Cheeky B., the chipmunk is bummed. All that white makes him very easy to spot while he opportunistically feeds at the bottom of the bird feeder. Easier for Rory to go ballistic at the door in an attempt to get at him. I've had to yell at him, "Okay, that's enough," about a million times already. No, not an exaggeration...well, maybe a little...

And, here's the biggest question about the snow in April: Why do we Humans insist on complaining or even making a topic of conversation about the weather?!

Is there one among us who has the power to do a damned thing about it, ever? Not even The Queen of The Universe can do more than regally, "Humph!" Which I will do immediately following this pointless missive. Discussing the weather is equally pointless. Does it ever do a thing to achieve a desired meteorological outcome?

We will go grab our second cup of coffee, stand at the palace window, (okay, it's just the kitchen window, but please don't ruin our illusions/delusions.) We will watch out over the kingdom, and all our woodland subjects out there in the white. We will pull Ourself together in our most commanding QoftheU voice and bellow, "Order! We insist on order in our Universe, immediately!"

And, in the returning silence we consider, if we insist on order, guess it's a good time to go and make the royal bed; it's the only order we're likely to conjure. For, We note the snow is still there. Verily, We are not amused.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka The Queen of The Universe

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mommy, Where Do I Come From?

It's too soon for our Livy to wonder the same thing all children eventually contemplate. I mean, look at her sign, she is only three glorious months old. But, I know that it's just a question of time before this child of ours wonders, "Where did I come from?"

I'm never certain what sparks that question. Is it a curious contemplation about the tactical parts of how any Human Being is created, born, and arrives on Earth? The parts that make us declare, "Icky!!," when we hear how it all happens. The mechanics of it sound horrifying when you're first told, don't they?

Or, is it the spirit beginning to become aware that it has arrived for another course of development in this Life Learning Lab?

Perhaps, a combination of both?

Or, maybe it's just the psyche's niggling need to know where it fits... to have confirmation that it 'belongs'. Is part of something. A member of the tribe. Singularly cared about and cherished.

However it comes about, our Olivia will most likely pose her questions, initially with Laura since we women seem to be the first source tapped for these deep questions. And, my Lar-Lar will consider carefully before she answers, "Well, you come from Mommy. You have my eyes. You have my pointy chin...the same chin you can see when you look at Grand Dad Glenn, and Great Aunt Holly."

She'll continue, "You have my same sunny disposition, but yours is different because you also come from Daddy. And, Daddy is after all Daddy...."

Yep, that's the answer. Olivia is a fabulous blend of the constant, sunny beauty, and depth of character of Laura. And she'll share the love of life, family, friends, value honor and loyalty, and the glory of simply being, thanks to Eric. Thanks to her Daddy.

This is Livy's fabu father. And, this picture gives you an idea why we all adore having him as part of our family. He's absolutely fun. But, in that quiet, unexpected way that really makes you hysterical when one of his pranks confirms that he's actually quite a character. Like a Scud missile....quiet, but always on target. He cracks me up!

The other reason I love Eric is that he adores both of his girls. Completely. His entire family is the center of his world. And, he's one of those men who has a magic heart. The kind that expands and expands to include more people in his love and care.

He's a cop. Sees a lot. Deals with even more. He could allow all the negative energy he deals with regularly to tarnish his view of this world. But, he doesn't allow it. Somehow, despite the daily evidence to the contrary, he realizes the beauty being alive holds. He is a gentle warrior who makes a difference every day. To all of us, certainly. But, also to the community he protects and serves.

My Dear Olivia, you come from very good energy, indeed.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Aunt Holly/Great Aunt Holly
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