Sunday, October 28, 2012

Silent Sermon Sunday

...when you are expansive,
no matter what the weather,
you are in an open, windy field
with friends.
~  Rumi

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is Praying for all in Hurricane Sandy's path
Image from my deck 2011

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Entire Year

 It's amazing how much can happen in the passing of 365 days.  Some of it good, some you wish you could avoid.  But on average, if we're really lucky, the passing of a year evens out into more good moments than not.

And, so here I am showing you that from that... this is how Argyle has changed in his first 365.

He is happy all the time.  Greets each day as if it is the best thing ever.  He's complicated and smart.  He's a challenge.  But mostly, he's just my dog.  More than the other two are mine.  Rory & Fiona belong to themselves, but this dog is more in relationship with me.

Argyle, well, he's in a class by himself.  Happy 1st birthday you crazy Scot.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Mommer

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Let's Call It What It Truly Is

Last night, viewing the "debate" left me disliking both of these men completely.  This morning I woke up realizing that I shouldn't be simply disliking these two, but instead really direct my mail to the correct address.  I should have the chance to bitch-slap the organization, The Commission on Presidential Debates.  They are morons...not that these two are off the hook for not refusing to participate in last night's forum the way it was set up.

What something is called matters!  Don't hand me a pig's ear and call it a purse!  I know the difference.  So should most people.  Let me be clear:

As defined by Webster's:

debate n a contention by word or arguments as the formal discussion of a motion...  b : a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides.

discussion n a consideration of a question in open and usually informal debate.

town hall meeting :  from Wikipedia : an American English term given to an informal public meeting derived from the traditional town meetings of New England. Everybody in a town community is invited to attend, voice their opinions, and hear the responses from public figures and elected officials about shared subjects of interest. Attendees rarely vote on an issue or propose an alternative to a situation. It is not used outside of this secular context.

Okay, now that we're clear, let's get back to the ridiculousness that was presented last night.  The second Presidential DEBATE was presented as using a TOWN HALL MEETING  format, where about 80 undecided registered voters were randomly chosen to be on the stage with Governor Romney and President Obama.  The intention was to have these voters ask questions that they wished answered; the questions were chosen in advance by the moderator.   With me so far?

It was supposed to lead to DISCUSSION between these two and the questioners who represent us, in terms of things we feel are important and would like to hear their ideas and notions.  It would give these two candidates the opportunity to more clearly define the differences between their view of the issues.

But, what we got was throw away moments of an American citizen honestly, and with commitment, asking their question only to have these two boobs use them as a springboard to go at each other.  There was no true better understanding of the people who were there, either of the people who asked the questions or these two who totally missed the point of the evening.

Shame on the Commission for setting this thing up for big failure in the eyes of any who watched this train wreck.  And, rather than thinking either one of the sparring partners came out the winner, as far as I'm concerned, they both lost.  And I lost an hour and a half of my life I'll never get back.

To my mind, the one who would have come out the winner, would have been the man who was smart enough to give a real rat's ass about, not only the question, but the questioner.  The winner would have been the one who momentarily connected to the man or woman standing there with major nerves jangling at the notion of asking a powerful person a question on national television.  The candidate who would have carried the night would have made that questioner feel important rather than a toss off.

The one who could have truly won the debate last night would have been the man who decided to stop fighting the guy standing next to him and concentrated, instead, on being in true COMMUNICATION with the individual who had asked the question.  The winning candidate would have stayed on the question instead of using it as a weasel hole to launch off into what else they wanted to say instead of answering what was courageously asked of them.

The winner would have demonstrated true care and commitment to being the leader of the free world by giving a damn about the citizens sitting in the circle around them instead of using them as fodder to spew their agenda.

But neither of them was smart enough to forgo their need to beat the other guy senseless and care more about the people.  Which, sadly, is the way most people running for political office at that level behave more times than not.  Especially in a public forum.  Does an individual give up their Human capacity to genuinely LISTEN, and thereby demonstrate the ability to truly care when they go into politics?!  Sadly, it seems they do.

Do I blame President Obama and Govenor Romney?  Not really.  After all, they are being constantly prepped for a DEBATE and this one was called The Second Presidential DEBATE.  No, I blame the Commission for calling it one thing, yet setting up as another thing by staging  it as a TOWN HALL MEETING.  Setting up the citizens on the stage as well as us in the viewing audience to hope against hope that these two men would rise to the occassion of being able to decern and give a damn about the difference.

Stop using the town hall format as a platform in a nation debate!  They are mutually exclusive concepts; set up this way they do not foster better understanding of the candidates.

Today, spokespeople of both parties will be on the news shows and talking head moments crowing about how their guy won last night.  They're all spinning it today.  I should know, I was part of the Spin Doctors as my career.

But the truth?  The real truth?  Both Romney and Obama failed because they were too determined to hammer their ideas and what they thought you should know rather than listen and connect to even one of the citizens who were part of the process with them.  They were too concerned about the smack-down between each other instead of taking the opportunity to show how they could and would genuinely care about the citizens they say they wish to serve.

Simply saying the questioner's name and thanking them for their 'important' question before you launch off on what you want to say instead of answering the question and connecting with them as a Human Being does not constitute truly caring!!!  Don't pander!  We know when you're doing it and we don't like it!!

So, shame on both of them.  Shame on the Commission on Presidential Debates, and shame on the moderator who allowed her bias to slip out too much.  I am, once again, totally disgusted with the political process.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Home Cooking

 Our recent family vacation to Florida to visit with Evan has ended up costing us a great deal more than we had budgeted.  It's left us expendable cash strapped until the end of the year.  That's all right; we needed to have some family time together before Evan is deployed again...probably at the end of November.  We had a wonderful time.

In order to stay within our means, Michael has asked that I really watch the household budget and one of the major chunks of cash out-flow is eating out.  So, I committed to making meals at home.  Not that it's a problem; I actually enjoy cooking.  What I don't enjoy is thinking up what to cook.  And, the notion of planning ahead still alludes me.  If someone came in each week with planned menus and had done all the ingredient securing, I'd be in hog heaven.  (I've never really understood that phrase....what exactly would hog heaven look like?!)

We ate dinner every day between 4:30 and 5:00 at Nanny's house.  She'd start cooking as soon as her afternoon 'stories' were over.  Around 4, Dad would make the walk across Howard Street from the restaurant where he'd spent the day, first in the office taking care of the bills, then in the print room running off the menus, and followed that by his turn at the register in the packaged goods part.  We ate this early to give Dad a chance to eat, relax, watch the evening news, change into a suit and go back to the restaurant to close up at night.  When I was a kid, I thought everyone ate dinner that early.

I was expected to be present at dinner each night; no excuses.  Occasionally, I was given permission to eat at a friend's house.  As I got older, high school events would be considered.  But, mostly, I was expected to work my social life around the constant of the kitchen table and time with my family. 

The tradition of family meals every night and Sunday Supper with even more family gathered around is part of my Mediterranean heritage.  It's a significant part of how I view myself.  But, over time of living alone for many years, a hectic life full of work demands and struggles, the ritual of the evening meal became less and less practiced.  Let's face it, it's so much less complicated to go out to eat.  And, I never have to clean up afterward, although I will admit that Michael is very good about that...most nights he does the clean up. 

This is my kitchen.  I try very hard to keep it looking like this, but I'd be lying if I said it always looks this way.  If we ate out all the time, it would be so much easier to keep it this clean!  Our meals are always at the kitchen table.  I have a very nice, intimate dining room but for some reason, even when we have company, meals are eaten here.  Especially if our company is Italian as we all seem more comfortable eating in the kitchen.

The 30 minutes or so that it generally takes Michael and me to eat our supper is time for the two of us to sit in each other's space and simply be with each other.  Many nights, the television is on while we dine.  I don't mind as it helps Michael to decompress.  We talk with each other about current events and small chat.  Dogs at our feet hoping that tonight might be the night they score food from the table.  It never happens but they always hope.  There's absolutely no magic to the time.  Or, maybe there is and it simply goes unnoticed.  Maybe we should be more aware of the what it really means.

I came across a quote by Chef Mario Batali about the topic of family meals. It stuck with me when I think about the dying art of the kitchen table supper and why it concerns me:  "For family meals, the schedule is as important as the discussion.  It's the little things like rhythm and ritual that bring the family around the table and trigger a shift in mentality away from the guarded thought processes developed during long and stressful days. and toward the relaxed state of mind found in the safety and comfort of the family supper." 

It confirms what we all know: what we eat isn't anywhere near as important as when and with whom we eat.  And, I suppose we could add, 'where' to the list of important ingredients.  Now days, a great deal more stressful things like figuring out the bills, or dealing with difficult  topics of  conversation, or work projects happen around our kitchen table rather than meals.  And, that seems a shame to me.

Eating in, being with our most important people in the relaxed and familiar atmosphere of our kitchens and homes is probably one of the best things we can do for ourselves.  It gives us a touch-stone of safe in a chaotic world.  Trust me, I understand that it's not easy or convenient what with working full time and multiple, often conflicting, family member schedules.  Combine that with the multiple choices available for carry-out and eating out.  But, it seems to me that most good things in life aren't easy or convenient.

In an odd way, I'm glad our vacation has caused me to have to get creative and consistent once again.  It means that I have to opportunity to invest in the magick of the every day for Michael and me.  Even if that magick comes in a Spam can occasionally.  There is nothing wrong with mac' and cheese coming from a box with your embellishments!  Not all meals need to be the caliber of the Cordon Bleu or worthy of a magazine spread.  They simply need to bring you all into a quiet moment of conversation and being at the table.

If your table is buried under everything and anything but food, including projects, papers, beading, knitting, laptops, glue, pens, unidentified about clearing it off and using it for what it was intended?  A flat surface, an alter if you will, where you have the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the gift of the close another day and the company of those who mean the most to You.

Mangia Bene,
Holly aka Louisa Dituri's Granddaughter
At The Kitchen Table artwork by Michael DeBrito courtesy of the Internet

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Can Do This

I am sitting here in front of this screen and key board.  Sitting.  Looking out the window at a day that refuses to come gray that lights should really be on in the room so I can see.  I won't put the lights on.  It's day for heaven's sake.  Or should be.

I look at the screen which presents me a blank page waiting.  Full of possibility.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.

Instead of fingers drumming on the computer keys, typing out big ideas, my fingers sit and drum the desk...while the paper screen simply waits.

I can do this.  I said I was going to do this.  I always do what I say...or attempt it at a bare minimum.  I.  Can.  Do.  This.

I take a drink from my bright red mug now half full of rich brown coffee.  It's getting cold.  I don't mind.  If I'll drink iced coffee, what diff does it make if it's no longer piping hot?  Waste not, want not.

I rub my hands together, like a piano player warming up for the playing of the first few notes.  I sigh.   I stop.  Okay, I'm letting my fingers drum rapidly on the keys just to hear the plastic sound they make as if it might kick start my typing actual thoughts worth reading.

I look over at Fiona laying sprawled out on the floor and am struck once again that dogs do not allow angst into their lives.  Well, maybe if a chipmunk is outside the door taunting them and they can't get out fast enough to attempt its death.  Otherwise, no angst.

And I think that's how I'm feeling while I'm staring at this blank page, like it's a post chipmunk just taunting me.  Because I. Got. Nothing.

The grandfather clock ticks...when it's the sound I can hear the loudest, it's truly empty in my head.  More rapid drumming on the keys...  now Rory is here stretched out quietly.  Argyle goes sprinting by at a sound somewhere else in the house.  In constant motion and exploration, this dog not yet a year old, finds every thing to do with nothing. 

But I can't find one good thing to do with a blank piece of  paper today.  The phone rings; a momentary reprieve!!!

Damn, short conversation means I'm back at it again.  More drumming on the keys.  I spell-check a word, it comes up nothing....what?  Sigh...get out the Webster's.  I'm struck yet again at how many words are not in spell check and so don't get exercised.  I worry we'll lose our rich and deep language as we go.  Okay, now you're just chasing your tail; get back on point.

Laundry waits; the bed needs to be made; powder room needs a wipe-down.  Dinner needs to be decided.  Meatloaf or chicken?  What are you going to post today?!

Come on, is it going to rain or not?!  Do I have everything I need to make meatloaf?  Meatloaf it is, then.

Obviously, I can do this...maybe tomorrow.

Namaste' Till Next,
Holly aka The Non-Blogger

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Silent Sermon Sunday

May you feel showered with blessings.
Namaste' Till Next Time,

Friday, October 12, 2012

No, I Don't Believe I Will

Not too long ago, My Lion had occasion to say to me, "Be the bigger person."  It was a situation where he sympathized with me completely and knew that I was really struggling.  Out of my deep love for him, I accepted his advise.  Because, there was so much I could have said, and done; up to and including cutting the other person's head off and handing it to them before they fell to the ground.

The natural warrior instinct in me was raging to be let loose!  And, the part of me who is the peace keeper just wanted to throw up her hands and say, "Let the pieces fall where they may."  But, for the sake of all of the others who were in the situation with us, I couldn't. So I shut my pie-hole and ate all the things I wanted to say.

But here's the thing, unlike usual, the passage of time hasn't cooled my temper.  I'm still angry. I don't want to be the bigger person any longer.  Not as it relates to this individual.  I'm not able to do it any more.  I'm tired of doing it.  There's no pay-off; nothing in it for me to keep doing it.

No, I don't believe I will be the bigger person any longer.  I don't think anyone should constantly be asked to take the high road in a relationship.  It's not equitable or reasonable.  It's not even a relationship; it's a time bomb.

So, I wonder, does it make me a bad person?  Have you ever come to the point when there was nothing left to say except, "I'm done.  I can't be the bigger person all the time.  I don't want to do it anymore with you.  You'll just have to go find other people who are willing to tolerate you and always be the bigger person when it comes to the way you treat people.  I'm out."

Is it all right for me to admit I'm a failure when it comes to being the bigger person?

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Think I Get It

This problem I'm having with my blog?  The bit about having nothing to say?  Having told all the deep thoughts I've ever had?  Being uninspired to continue to try?  I think I get it now.

I'm one of those people who stays stuck in the notion that my life was better 'then' than 'now'.  I'm constantly having to resist the urge to spend all my time looking backward.  Like I've said before, thinking like this is as deadly as attempting to drive a car by looking constantly at the rear view mirror.  It can't be done.

So as it relates to my blog, I possibly have exhausted most of my great stories or memories in the four years I've been at this.  Now comes the hard part of finding the fodder de jour.  Finding the interesting in the here and now.  Finding the courage to be creative in the mundane.

If I really think I'm such a good writer, well, it's time to step up.  It's harder to be a writer when you're not on assignment; when you don't have an editor giving you the big idea.

If I'm really such a crack reporter, I'll find the nugget of worthwhile to commit to the written word.

Most importantly though, I'll continue to invest the energy in mySelf.  I'll take this process on as a form of prayer; an active acknowledgement of a gift given to me by Spirit.  A use of that skill simply for me as if there is no one else in the world who might listen or care.

Because the fact is, when I pray, I don't pray for anyone else to acknowledge, or comment, or even know.  The only One who matters is me and Spirit.  Ego has not a thing to do with it.  Go sit down in the corner and keep quiet, Ego.  This is not your time.  It's mySelf's.

If I pray every day, and I do, then clearly I can or could blog every day.  It's not necessary, though. (The writing bit; the prayer?  Most definitely a daily need.) But, when I sit down to pray out loud which is how I will now think of this blog, it has to be pure.  It has to be real.  It has to be simply by me, for me.  Not for an audience; not for approval.  Prayer is not whiny or needy.  Well, I suppose it can be, but I'd prefer that mine isn't.  So, this blog needs to reflect the same.

And, should another soul hear the prayer or find they can respond or relate to my public prayer, well, that's superlative!  But, it's also simply a by-product and not the thrust of my endeavor.

If someone ventures here, they should do so with the understanding that they've walked into a practice session.  They're hearing my efforts to acknowledge the gift that has been given. They'll witness me doing the harder job of being in the now instead of venerating my past.

I think I get it's not about you reading or not reading.  It's about me writing.  Or not writing.  It's about me looking at the now and dreaming about the future; not just recounting my stories and feeling my best days are somehow behind me.  It's not about writing for you so much as it is the polishing of me.

It's about me making the effort to invest in my creative voice.  It's not a perfect voice, it can sound off-key, but it surely won't get better unless I use it and invest.  So, for today, this is the investment.  And, for today, that is enough.

I Think I Get It; Amen.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is A Writer

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Wonder

worry n, 1 a : mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually something impending or anticipated.

Do you suppose it is simply Human nature to worry?  No way to really avoid it, but simply to control it at times better than others?

Do you think that it is our nature and that we are here to learn to first control it, and then to shed it?  Do you think we are alive to learn to let go of it and then learn to be who we truly are?

Or is it just the way it is and just suck it up and deal?

Interestingly enough, when you look up the word in Webster's, (yes, I still use a paper dictionary; I'm old school like that,) that definition isn't the first one.  Nope, the first one is this:

worry vb, 1 a :   CHOKE, STRANGLE to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat.

I've seen that behavior when my three terriers are going after a vole.  It isn't pretty.

Know what's even less pretty?  The notion that I, we, do this to ourselves, freely.  All the time.

I need to rethink this whole thing.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Really Needs To Stop Worrying

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blogging Sucked My Brain Dry

It's happened.  Blogging has sucked my brain dry.  It's the only answer there can be.  It's blogging that did it.  I don't have any thoughts left in my brain.  None.

Well, that's not really true.  I have thoughts...about changing the next load of clothes from the washer to the drier.  About the need to clean the stove top.  Wash the kitchen floor....sit and doter through Pinterest.  Look at my Facebook page, yet again.

Do I really need to make the bed again today?  I just did that yesterday.  Who's here to see it if I don't make it?  Who even cares if I do or don't.  I wonder what that stupid dog of mine is barking at now; I don't see a thing.

When I vacuum, do the marks made in the rug have to be even?  When was the last time I had the Orek in for service?  Is there gas in my car?

Should I just break down and put the heat on?  It's only early October for heaven's sake!  Maybe just put on another sweater or something...quit being a wimp.

The clock needs winding. Crap, the dust bunnies are back big time.  So are the Stink Bugs.  I hate these stink bugs!  Wonder why I'm not interested in music lately?

I wonder why I have nothing new or in-depth to write about?  I wonder when I lost my enthusiasm for blogging?  Did I lose it or did I just run out of things to say?  How the hell can someone like me run out of things to say?

How do you avoid running out of things to say?  Was anyone listening anyway?  Did it serve a purpose?  If I stopped, would anyone care?

I wonder what Laura did with that box of all my formal journals I left for her to keep?  They represent hours of my life as I wrote them and I suppose I was hopeful that some of my journey may assist her with hers.  I hope it does.  If she even reads them.

Why do we journal any way?  It's actually the same with blogging.  Why do we blog?  It starts out as a need to connect; it starts out as a portal and conduit for the creative energy built up in all of us.  It starts as a need to share.  To be seen.  To be heard.  To be recognized.

I look back on some of my earlier postings and have to admit that I'm proud of the breadth and depth of the topics I covered.  I'm proud of the writing; it's good and solid.  My writing is directed and sometimes rich and deep.  Now?

Not so much.  And, because I took my eyes off the creative horizon, the travel to my page has dropped off and few new readers find their way to the site.  If I did it for myself, does it really matter if anyone ever comes to read it?  Was that the real reason I started the blog?  However and whatever, it's my fault if readership has dropped off.  Wait.  No it's's Blogger's fault; it has sucked my brain dry.

I intended to blog regularly.  To use it as a creative exercise and a way to keep my skills sharp.  But, days have gone by and I haven't written anything.  NOTHING!  Where did my enthusiasm go?  Where did my ideas go?  I still go to various blogs to see what's being posted there and to check in with writers that I've grown to love and I very rarely even write a comment.  Oh crap...I've become a lurker instead of a participant!!  What the hell has happened to me?!

And then, I stop thinking a fleeting thought of blogging when the next snippet of stupid pops into my brain...

The price of food!  Sweet Jumpin' Baby Jesus!!  The cost of food?!  INCREDIBLE!  Trust me, I'm like most Americans...I'm price sensitive and not price conscious.  And, if I can SEE the cost of food increasing, it's not just a small increase!  It's an increase that is enough to be noticed and it's not just occasionally, it's pretty much all the time!

What the hell are we supposed to do?  How are we supposed to make ends meet?  What can I do better to be more fiscally responsible to my household budget?!  How do I become a better domestic engineer?

Because I may as well embrace that role since my professional life has come to a stand still.  I may as well establish myself as proficient in that capacity as I worked so hard to establish it in my professional life.

Is this the way most people feel?  Does it all seem as momentarily chaotic and fruitless as my thoughts would suggest?  Niggling.  Small.  Inconsequential.  Meaningless to the wide audience.  Tiny.  Silly.  Gnats...thought gnats.  I used to have big thoughts and ideas and now in the space that has been vacated, I've only a swarm of tiny thought gnats. 

I used to have giant thoughts...deep thoughts and ideas worth writing about.  But, maybe we have only a finite amount of those big ideas and notions.  And, maybe, thanks to blogging, I've shot my wad and there's nothing else to consider or share.

Yep...blogging has sucked my brain dry, it seems.  And now the biggest question...

What now?

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Wonders If This Is Sustainable

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Silent Sermon Sunday

May your week to come feel like
the supportive embrace
of a loving mother.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
My image dedicated to Miss Robyn of Apple Tree & Avalon fame!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Talking To Be Heard

Just because you've decided that now is the best time to talk, doesn't mean that now is the best time for the other to listen.

If you really want to be heard, you need to fight the impulse to spew and pick your moment carefully. 

That is, if your goal is to be heard.  Otherwise, if you just want to give into your every impulse, say what you want to say regardless of whether it has any meaning to another, well go ahead and let fly.

You might think you feel better because you got that off your chest but, don't be angry if you don't get anything meaningful back.  And, please, don't whine, "No one ever listens to me!"

Running off at the mouth is not the same as communicating.  And, timing is everything.

'Nuff said.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Always Wishes To Communicate

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