Sunday, January 31, 2010

Silent Sermon Sunday

We build tiny hearth fires, sometimes barely strong enough to give off warmth. But to the person lost in the darkness, our tiny flame may be the road to safety.

Kent Nerburn

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka, She Who Wishes This Was Her Living Room
Photo courtesy of the Internet

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Something Fishy With The Mail

I guess it's no surprise when you wonder what's up with the postal service these days. But, something is most definitely fishy with the package that came yesterday. See for yourself...

Yep, purple and blue fish arrived at my house. It cost a lot of money to send those fish! Who would do such a thing?

Along with the fish, a letter of explanation...

And, copies of photos I passingly said I admire...

And a wild heart with a bug of bling! Bugs and fish in the mail? Wow! The funny thing is, the one who sent it?

Couldn't have known how excited the critters and bugs who already swarm my house would act. How very pleased and excited to have a new member in their Bling Family. They immediately swarmed around in welcome. Landing on that cool paper heart in a matter of seconds! I love synchronicity!

And, the most warm and wonderful love note from a friend far away... reminding me yet again that the blog world is so wonderful because it brings people together who may never have met in 'real' time. Brings warmth, commraderie, friendship. Forms bonds of support and care.

It really goes above and beyond considering this was the second care package sent. The first one was destroyed in the mail and the broken pieces were returned to her weeks later.

Who could be that generous and kind?

Thank you Cinner, for your wonderful gifts and for sharing from you personal life. For giving me a sense of who you are by what you write and so freely give. Turns out fish can survive in the mail after all!

My Love & Thanks to my Canadian Friend!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is Grateful

Monday, January 25, 2010

How To Find Me When I'm Gone

The confluence of two random, recent events has caused this post today. Last night, as I was chopping veggies for home made chicken pot-pie, I was thinking about how much we just spent to have some of my jewelry appraised for insurance purposes. Yikes. It really costs a lot to find out how much you should spend to have it covered by insurance. Which also costs a lot! A real Catch-22.

By now you know I was a crow in my last life...if it's sparkly and bright, I love it. My jewelry is more important when considering what to wear than my clothes. It's not just because I weigh more than I'd like and so don't like clothes much. I've always been all about the jewelry.

So, I'm very lucky that over time I've acquired some wonderful, beautiful pieces. I love them very much, and I've actually taken a great deal of time considering who I want to leave them to when I'm gone. Some token of my affection so that someone I love will remember me when I'm no longer here with them.

Then while I was musing, I happened to look down at my trusty cutting board which has been in my kitchen since 1979. The first Michael and I bought it with some wedding money shortly after we set up our first home. I really examined it closely; I've used it pretty much every day. And, it struck me, that I hope someone would want to have my old board to remember me by because I've put a lot of love into my meals and preparations. And if I had to consider the energy invested....

...My cutting board has more of me in it than my jewelry.

I started hoping that someone would want my wooden utensils too, just as I wanted my grandmother's wooden spoon and a few of her pasta bowls. When I serve food in them, it feels as if I am part of a continuous connecting thread of love and care. But, without someone who cares about them after I'm gone, those vessels become, simply, old bowls.

Would anyone know how special my very first Scottie figurine is and be able to identify it as the genesis of my beloved collection? Would someone want that little piece of wood I've had for my entire life? The one I used to tie a piece of twine to and drag about telling everyone it was my dog. Would it hold the same value as my ruby ring might?

If someone really wanted a piece of me to hold close after I was gone, one of my bracelets would be a fine gift. But really, you'd find more of me in my Grandfather's eye glasses. I'm not sure how I ended up with them, but I love that they sit where I can see them and remember him. How he'd give me the change from his pocket when he saw me. How he smiled. How he wore a carnation on his lapel on the nights he was in our family restaurant. How the family nick named him "Scrappy," because he had an explosive, short-lived temper. What a character!

Most certainly I'd be found in my gorgeous diamond ring, the one that Michael surprised me with when he asked me to marry him. But if you look closely for remembering me as a little girl...'d want my father's watch. Because when I need to feel my Dad, I put his watch on and wind it up and listen to it tick.

If you want to remember how I sounded when I wrote, you could always read the cards, letters or blogs...

...but if you want to feel me as I wrote, you'd want to have my favorite fountain pen...the one that I had made for me.

Yes, I can leave behind my jewelry and I will because it's such an important part of how people see me and will remember me with fondness. But, if you want to feel me after I'm gone, you'd have to look in more mundane places and objects. Places that would be easily overlooked as they sat in plain sight.

I am in all the small, seemingly unimportant things as you walk through my space. Like most people, if you want to know us and remember us, don't look for the grand things. Look to find us in the small defining details of life.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Hopes To Be Remembered

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Silent Sermon Sunday

Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.

Gilbert Chesterton


Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is Attempting To Fly

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Winn Dixie Saved Christmas

"What the hell are we going to do," I asked Michael, "It's Christmas day and we have called every restaurant in the area! Who would think NOTHING would be open on Christmas day?!"

"We can go for a drive and see what's open, but I'm not sure what we'll do." Nice I thought, it's not only Christmas, it's Evan's birthday and I wanted to take him some place really nice.

Michael tried to reassure me, "You know Evan, he won't much care where we go or what we do; he's just glad we're here." Hmm, not good enough I think...but instead of arguing I answered, "Well come on let's at least go to the beach and let the dogs have a run."

So that's how we spent Christmas morning in Pensacola Beach...we went to the beach and watched the usually placid Gulf whipped into a frenzy by the tornado warnings that had just passed through the night before. And, it was the most different Christmas I've ever had in my life!

I've only seen the Gulf one time...and it was beautiful, but still not the Atlantic Ocean and its power. I've seen the Pacific Ocean and was humbled. But, on Christmas Day, while I didn't see Three Ships Come Sailing In, I found my eyes were filled with tears and not because the wind was blowing. No, I got emotional because I was yet again reminded how different and wonderful my life is now.

The beach was all ours. No one but Fiona and Rory, my Boychic, and my Beloved with me.

Not constrained by time with no obligations and places to visit, we split up and rambled at our own pace. And examined what the storm had belched up onto the white pillowy sand. Gifts of the Sea on a Yuletide...

And, I was mesmerized by things I've not seen the surf line leaving what whimsically seemed like sea lace...

But, by far the best Christmas gift I received that morning was watching Rory have the freedom for the very first time in his life to run without constraint, without a leash, without one of us shouting, "No Rory, that's far enough! Come Now!"

I watched with a huge smile on my face while my Boydog ran flat out for as far and as long as he wanted. And, was rewarded by catching him in a Butt Tuck Zoomie...doing his best Rocket Dog impression.

There are still some who do not think animals have emotions and I'm done arguing the point. I know what I know. And I just know that when I see this picture, I see an animal smiling with exhilaration and delight.

Happy to have the freedom that all dogs should have, but sadly so few do. Yeah, Rory sure did enjoy his Christmas morning.

He got to commune with his 'big brother,' who is one of his very favorite people in world.

And we watched the Gulf crash and roll in beautiful rare waves.

We stood alone and together and marveled at the open stretch of beauty that was ours for the day.

And, I dropped back and watched my family enjoy their time and sent a thought to Melissa and Zach who weren't able to join us to be with Evan.

I saw a young guy who was in high school when I first met him, turned into a man. Serving his country, crafting his life independently from ours. Yet still tied to us by love and affection.

And another gift I got is this picture... now my new favorite. Because it's four of my favorite spirits all together. I couldn't help but think, how different the world can be in one year's time. As on that day, last year, Evan was in basic training and sad and trying to adjust to difficult surroundings far from home. Now, he is settled at Hurlburt Field and making friends and a name for himself. I am so proud.

And, not to be out done, Fiona, who doesn't care for the dire warnings about how Scotties can't swim, took her bossy self repeatedly to the edge and got soaked by waves that caught her off guard. But, did she care?! Not a bit.

My wee girl taught me a lesson for Christmas as she proceeds undaunted and continues to stay open and curious about the big world around her.

Oh yeah, back to Winn Dixie. Turns out when we left the beach, the only thing that was open was a Winn Dixie food store. So in we went. And we shopped for a lasagna, garlic bread, salad and a cake. One of Evan's favs.

No, there are no pictures of that, because well, we've all seen lasagna before. But....

...thanks Winn Dixie. You saved Christmas. Hope yours was as magical and different as ours was.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Airman Frock's Mom

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Silent Sermon Sunday

"Oh God, My God what shall I do? And if every way is closed before you, The Secret One will show a secret path no other eyes have seen."

I am wishing for the people of Haiti...

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Picture of the grasses in my backyard, '09

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How I know I'm Not A Donkey

Once, when I was having a rough time and nothing in my life seemed as though it was going in my favor, I was pouring my troubles out to a very good friend. I remember saying, "Every time I turn around I feel like it's raining shit and I don't have an umbrella!!!" I find that my language can be particularly colorful when I am feeling put upon.

A few days later, she sent a story about The Donkey In The Well. You may already be familiar with it, but for those who aren't it goes something like this:

One day a poor farmer's donkey fell into a dry well. The trapped beast cried and brayed for hours while the farmer ran around trying to figure out what to do. (See, this is why men really shouldn't be allowed to baby sit...I mean, really, how the hell does one let their donkey fall into a well????)

At any rate, the farmer finally reached the conclusion that there was no way to get the donkey out of the well. And, as it was rather old, (sure, blame the donkey,) and the well was a hazard, (No! Really?!) it should be filled in. Finding no other solution to help retrieve the donkey, the farmer decided to bury his only donkey in the well. (Stellar plan Mr. Farmer!!!)

He called for his neighbors to help him shovel. (Umm, don't you think the neighbors could have been summoned to see if they couldn't collectively get the poor beast out of the hole???!!!) And, so more time passed as the neighbors began shoveling, raining more and more dirt down on the poor donkey.

At first, with each shovel full that hit, the donkey cried piteously louder and louder. Then, sadly after a time, all was silent in the well. The farmer decided to look to see if the Donkey was done for, (How very, very brave!)

He was amazed by what he saw, for instead of being buried under by each shovel of earth that went over the side, there the donkey stood blinking up at him. When the dirt hit its back, the donkey shook it off. As the dirt he shook off piled up, the donkey stepped up higher.

This happened repeatedly until finally the well was almost filled in and miraculously, the old donkey stepped up over the lip, shaking the dirt off its back as it trotted off.

Now, I happen to really like this story and my friend sent it at the right time. It reminded me that the world is going to dump on all of us at one time or another. No exceptions! And, there will be times in life when you really do feel like it's raining shit and you don't have an umbrella to hide under.

The question becomes, what are you going to do at those times? Are you going to stop, give in, and wait to be smothered? Or, are you going to take it as it comes and figure out the best way to move upward and through it by making the best of the situation? Either choice is yours. Either choice was the donkey's, but being a simple creature, it accepted things as they came at him and well, the rest is a good story, (No thanks to the really stupid farmer who doesn't deserve the old or any other donkey for that matter, but I digress...)

So, yeah I really like that story.

But, there's only one problem. It doesn't apply to me as I'm positive I've never been a donkey in any other life. Because if I had ever been a donkey, and most particularly that poor donkey, when I stepped over the lip of the well?

I'd have mule kicked the ever-living shit out of that Jackass farmer holding onto the other end of that shovel. And that would make for an entirely different parable.

The End.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Can Act Like A Mule, But Was Never A Donkey

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Silent Sermon Sunday

"Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into, the mind."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Namaste' Till Next Time,
This image is the world outside my back window

Friday, January 8, 2010


"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the Human face."
~ Victor Hugo

Dear Vic:
Sorry to inform you, we aren't laughing. Please tell your friend Al Gore that he's an ass and to stick what he knows. Whatever that may be.
With Respects,
Snowed In

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Lives In Western PA

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Many Happy Returns of This Day

Today is the feast of the Epiphany in the Christian calender; the day that marks the ultimate destination of three wise men who journeyed for months, perhaps years, following a new star in the heavens. Following it only on a hunch...not facts.

They followed through days not really knowing what they would find; who would be there at the end of the journey; how it would look. They simply set their eyes on the heavens and progressed step by step toward it.

I have always loved this story for the courage of conviction that it suggests. I love it more for knowing that we must often travel guided only by faith and hope. Most of all, I love the story because it teaches that many times, blind faith and willingness to follow a dream can pay off in huge ways you could not predict.

Happy Little Christmas to all of us! Let's walk through 2010 with hope and trust in the road ahead.

But, as much as I've always loved January 6, since I am Italian and growing up we celebrated it with a special meal and cookies the day means so very, very, very much more.

For today is the birthday of our beloved Olivia who turns one whole year! And, I look at this picture to see her standing under her own power and holding onto little treasures so securely. But, mostly I look at that smile and know what it means when a child abides in an atmosphere of joy, love, and affection.

I look at that picture and think back on the long, often difficult journey, Laura and Eric traveled to become pregnant and how they had to hold tight to their hopes and dreams when faced with set-backs and disappointments.

They held onto their hopes, fixed their eyes on the heavens and kept walking forward. To find Olivia at the end of their hard journey. To find that their Epiphany, their Little Christmas, is wrapped in a smile on a divine angel's face.

Happy Birthday dearest Olivia Grace! My Littlest Girl, I wish you many, many happy returns of your day.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Great Aunt Holly

Monday, January 4, 2010

Confession Tis Good For The Soul

I come from an age when good Catholic kids were expected to show up at their parish church every Saturday to make their confession. It was more or less required. You may not go every week, but it was almost mandatory that you go once a month.

So, Dad made sure I met the requirement. Even though he was a little less stringent with me in terms of weekly confession, I absolutely had to go to church every Sunday unless I was dead, or half dead. He also made sure I went once a month to Confession. He'd predictably say, "Better pack a lunch; you'll be in there awhile." Very funny, Daddy...

In retrospect, I have always found the notion of the Confessional with children as counter-intuitive. I mean, what does a child really have in the way of sin? I often found myself actually committing a sin while in the confessional, telling a lie, fabricating some small transgression, in order to make the session in the dark, incensed cloaked box with my favorite priest worth his time. Crazy. To that end, I've stolen thousands of phantom apples in my life, even though I'm not that fond of them. And, even though I've never stolen an apple or anything in my life.

No, check that; I just told you a lie. I stole fake fingernails from Woolworth's. Don't ask me why. I was so guilty and felt so bad about it, I tossed them in the trash bin on the street when I got out the door. So, maybe the whole Confessional thing works to develop a conscience more than do much good in terms of the actual visit.

"Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been a week/month since my last confession. I talked back to my father one time. I got mad at Nanny, The World's Meanest Woman (who could make a saint mad, but I digress,) five times. I stole an apple. I said a swear word. I took the Lord's name in vain, and Nanny washed out my mouth with soap so I don't know if it's still a sin...." and that was pretty much the extent of the week.

I still know the benefit of confession, or as it is called now, The Act of Reconciliation. It is good for the soul because it liberates you and sets you free. It's like a deep cleansing breath. So it's time for me to make a confession to you all. And, reconcile with myself. May as well start the New Year off in a good direction.

For some time now, you've noticed I haven't been posting much. Awhile back I made some cryptic comments about my thoughts about the direction of this blog and such. Then I remained silent. Why? I'm not really, truly, absolutely sure. Except that I've reached a cross roads of sorts.

"Bless me Father Blog, for I have sinned. It's been a long time since my last post. I've been less than forth-right in my sharing of thoughts. I've been evasive and uninspired."

Here's the thing: I don't know what to do with this thing I've created, or where to go, or how to manage it any more. In a nutshell, it's become a lot of mental work. And, most days, I don't have the energy to gather my thoughts that swirl around like dry leaves in a wind storm. Not only that, but honest to gawd, I just don't have a fascinating thought to share every day! No one is inspired every day.

But, the real reason I've been so dodgy lately is that I cannot give less than my best. And, what I wasn't prepared for is, not how much time it takes to make a post, since I'm gifted with writing and that comes very quickly when I decide to post. No, my problem is you; it's really your fault.

It's really a problem about giving all of you less than 100 per cent. I've become so close with many of you and your work. But it takes HOURS a day to read your postings. I don't have hours. Just don't. So I feel guilty. Who knew there could be so many fascinating blogs out there? I feel like a person who has 20 magazines coming in a month. I want them, but I don't have time to read them all! And they pile up taunting me and my inability to keep up.

What I didn't know about blogging is how it's very much like a high school clique. And, you have to work very hard to maintain your status; keep your readership numbers up, if you want to be seen as successful. I thought it would be a case of, "I'll write well, and of things that are interesting, and the comments will start and the readers will come."

Uumm, not really. In order to have followers, you have to cultivate them, and the only way to do that is by following their blogs, too. And commenting. Sharing. Letting them know what you think about what they had to say.

My problem? I can't phone it in. Just can't. I won't disrespect your energy and effort like that. So I can't just speed read through your post and leave some less than full comment just so you'll come and visit with me. In my humble opinion, that's what a lot of blog writers do. You can tell by the depth of the comment. However, I refuse to to that.

Also, I've lost some of my original blog friends who have packed it up and said, "adieu" to the whole thing. When you read why, it's basically because they realize they've allowed their real life to go on hold while they sit at the computer for hours making the rounds. I admire them for deciding that life is more interesting than blogging. But, I'm jealous of them too. Because I've not had the courage to let it go. I just want to let go of the hours of obligation to make the rounds.

I miss my friends who I first made who have gone on to other things. Kavindra, Mel, Tessa and Toni. Some of them are beginning to write again, so that's a good thing as I'm thrilled they're back, but it adds to the stress because now the blog reading list has gotten longer!! What's a girl to do?! I'm rambling because my thoughts just don't seem to want to cooperate on this topic.

I've decided: I will not post every day. And, on the days when I don't post, I will be reading the blogs that I find fascinating. I will continue to give myself the liberty of not commenting every time I stop by. However, you can bet I will comment when I have something to tell you about what you shared.

I promise you, I will not be speed reading through your post. I will not leave a comment just so you feel obligated to come to read my stuff. Come visit with me when you really want to, not because you're being polite about this whole thing. I'm going to give you the gift of some time, at least when it comes to Your Mother Knows.

I am not staying on the blog merry go round; I'm getting off.

I'm certain my decision will impact my numbers. I'm certain that many of the followers have decreased because I'm not playing the game anymore. But, the way I see it is...I really only want people who find my work, authentic, worthy, and interesting in its own right, not because I'm part of a fraternity.

I want my readers to get something worth their time. I want this to be worth my time and not feel like a thousand pound gorilla. I want to keep writing a blog that makes those readers say to those they care about, "Hey, you need to go read Your Mother Knows, because she's a good writer," and that's getting me back to my original intention.

And, having said all this out loud, I'm feeling much less conflicted about the whole blogging situation. I'm Human enough to worry that my confession here will make my followers dwindle to nothing. But, that will be as it will.

Meantime, I start the new year getting back to the original intention of blogging. For me, by me, with truth and a journey toward better understanding of the world around me. Oh, and one more thing; sorry I had to go back to word verification. I have been spammed by Butt Munches who insist on telling me how to get a bigger penis. Yeah, I'm very happy about that.

Father Blog says, "Your sins have been forgiven; go forth and write in the truth; sin no more."

Amen. I have to go do my penance now. Talk with you again soon!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka The Truth Teller

Friday, January 1, 2010

To Start

If I could give you everything you wanted, I'd try. If I could grant your every wish, I'd try. If I could make your world right, I'd try. If I could bring peace, love, joy, hope, faith, I'd try.

Yes, because I care, I would try. But, I am afraid I don't have the power to do all of that for all of you.

So for this new year, this new decade, I resolve that I will:

Love mySelf and love you.

Be your friend.

I will tell you the truth when you ask me.

I will hug you.

Kiss you.

Sit with you quietly when that's what you need.

Listen to you so completely that you know you've been heard.

Laugh with you, chat with you.

Be with you.

Share with you.

Be kind to you and more gentle with myself.

Be present to you.

Because you are wonderful, and I am blessed to have you as part of my life.

This year, I resolve to be the best friend, lover, family, fellow traveler, I can be.

I will stand with you as you make your way and hope you will do the same for me.

For we are all travelers on this road and will not pass this way again in the same form. So while we are here together, let us relish every second of it, and be positive about ourselves. With joy and expectation,

I resolve to face this new year and new decade with my best to myself, and to you.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Image courtesy of Sally on Flickr
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