July 14, 2018

Bottle of Wine, fruit of the vine....

Today is would be my mom's 90th birthday. She missed it by 62 days.

I think she would have preferred it that way. Mom never told anyone how old she was, and she wouldn't have been able to handle anyone, absolutely anyone, wishing her "Happy 90th Birthday"!

Spent the day at Mom's and Dad's old house. Alone on the river felt good. Cleaned out her bathroom and all her personal items; 70+ bobby pins, several of her lipsticks, and shampoo and all that stuff. Two bags in front of me; one for tossing stuff out and one to save...tough call, TOUGH CALL.

Moved on to the table next to her chair. Discovered some of her stories, more cards saved that we kids sent her for Mother's Day, birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day. My sister was really good about sending cards, so was my daughter, Nicole.

My brother called me while I was there to see if I was okay, knowing it was Mom's birthday. We both kind of felt we were doing okay, just okay.

Our family never really seemed to have time to grieve Mom's passing because Dad seemed to take a downward spiral, keeping our hands and days full.

Dad shared so many stories in the two months since Mom's death. He suffered survivor's guilt in a major way but also recognized that he was hanging on to life prior to Mom passing because he had made a promise to take care of her for the rest of her life. Dad did not make promises he couldn't keep.

He discussed with me several things he wanted to do prior to passing. First was to go to Lake Tahoe...we didn't make it. Next he wanted my oldest grandson and youngest granddaughter to be given a check that would help them 'get established'. I promised him I would make sure it happened, in fact we wrote out the checks and put them in the Trust to make sure. Then he said he wanted his 4-wheel drive vehicle to go to my oldest granddaughter who is moving to Colorado. Moving from LA to Colorado, she would need a 4-wheel drive and he wanted his 'pride and joy' to join her in the snow.

He was so proud of all his grand-kids and great grand-kids and great-great grand-daughters. His last two months, he fell in love with his great-grandchildren all over again. Their dedication to music, to education, to knowledge, their work ethic, their spirit of adventure and wanderlust, their creativity and honestly, their resistance to be squeezed into a box and be 'one of the crowd'!

He respected and honored their dedication to be authentic to who they were, just like him.

Lots of sharing here. Can you tell I finished off a bottle of Riesling all by myself. Good stuff, and guilt free high! I asked my guardian angel if I should and she said, "Hell yeah!"  Seemed to go fast, I really hope she wasn't sneaking sips. I know The Guy wasn't, the only time he drinks is when he asks me for a sip when I try a new wine...can't even make the man take an aspirin!

So, hard day. Tomorrow will be a new day. The Guy lost his dad 50 years ago and says it will hurt forever. I agree. Both parents gone with two months of each other changes all our lives, children, grandchildren and siblings.

Okay...got to let this go. Seems to be stream of consciousness or stream of Riesling or just stream.

Tomorrow will be another day. Let's see what that brings.

Mom. Dad. I miss you.  I love you.

p.s What were you doing with all this shit?
p.p.s. Mom, love your stories, say hi to Grandma and tell her I miss her, though I am sure she knows.


July 07, 2018

What can I say?


My daughter cried as she told me, "The world lost a super hero today and they don't even know it!"

Dad passed early on July 4. After 68 years of marriage, I guess he couldn't live without Mom.

Hearts are broken and there is a huge void in the world. Can you feel it?


June 06, 2018

Change of Pace

Sorry!

I lied!

Remember you can't believe everything you read on the internet!

Sister and I took Dad to a new doctor yesterday. OMG, a physician who asks questions and responds and asks more.

He literally checked Dad for injuries from falls, talked about Parkinson's symptoms, increased medications, discontinued a medication that could have been part of the fall problem, and prescribed an anti-depressant (short term). He is also going to start physical therapy three times a week.

As we left the office and during the ride home, I could see the hope rising in my dad's spirit. He actually said he had been afraid the new doctor was just going to shake him head and tell dad that he would be joining Mom any day now. (Not that that can't still happen but at least Dad is aware that he has choices).

The Guy and I are headed to the old house today. Still preparing kitchen and bathroom cabinets for painting, pulling down wallpaper and patching nail holes in walls to paint.

Dad's old house on the river is a ranch style; white with brown trim. He has two long window boxes and entry door that need some freshening up. I suggested a pretty apple-green color. You should have seen the look on his face. When I tried to explain how the door needs to be inviting and intriguing he suggested turquoise 'if it's really necessary'! 

He is such a Dude! He thinks that being on the river is enough of an incentive to buy the house. I say let's sweeten the pot and make the house inviting. He says, once people sit in the peaceful yard, listening to the hundreds of bird and the flowing water of the river, they won't care what the house looks like!

DADS!

So what do you think? Apple Green or Turquoise?

June 04, 2018

As Promised...My Life in Spurts

It's June! What the hell happened to May?

Yesterday the Guy and I took a drive to Weed, north of Mt. Shasta, for a retirement dinner. Sat with old friends who we haven't spent much time with in the last couple of years. Great drive, great company and great wine.

The mountain was glorious as usual. She's my favorite volcano because she quietly sits in her elegance and doesn't act up! Well, accept for frequent sighting of Bigfoot, Lemurians, UFO's and Aliens! No reports of lava and that's a good thing!

On the way home, I texted my son to check on how his afternoon with my dad went. Not Good. My dad took a whopper of a fall, his 4th or 5th fall in 10 days. Thankfully, John was there as well as my sister, and they got Dad up on his feet.

Dad is struggling with his grief over Mom's passing. Survivor's guilt is plaguing him, as well as, all the could-have's and should have's of losing a loved one.

Sister, The Guy and I have decided that Dad should not be alone at night (fell out of bed twice). We're taking turns hanging out with him. I think he is happy to have us there but feels uncomfortable with the idea that we are "taking care of him"! We try to reassure him that we are just spending time with him, enjoying his company during the day. We do give him a couple of hours (on the good days) to give him a little dude-time and solitude. Must be a difficult transition for the most self-reliant man I have ever known.

The shock of Mom's death is wreaking havoc on his Parkinson's. Add that to moving out of his home for the past 40 years to move closer to us makes lots of changes for an 89 year old man.

As we pack things from old house to new house, we discover bits and pieces of history. Mom kept a collection of newspaper clippings and headlines. There are 4 or 5 front sections of local newspapers from 9/11, first walk on the moon and other historical events all folded into envelopes with family news clippings.

She even saved an invitation from 1994 that I put together for one of the Lost Weekends our group of women friends used to hold annually.


Would love to be planning another Lost Weekend right now. Would love if someone else planned a Lost Weekend and I was on my way with tent, sleeping bag and 72 hour supply of adult beverages!

Well, my friends. I don't know when I will have the opportunity to sit at the keyboard again. I think of you all often and check out your blogs every chance I get.

Welcome to my life in spurts!

May 25, 2018

Nice

Slept with the bedroom window open last night. Our headboard is right under the window, so the breeze passes over us all night (yes, I know, bad feng shui, I don't care).

Woke up this morning to the sound of rain, a bit of a cool breeze. Pulled the sheets up to my chin and just laid there for 20 minutes enjoying the peacefulness of Spring rain.

Have you ever noticed the difference in the way rain presents itself. Sometimes it slams to the ground with all the speed of a speeding train (Superman Rain). There are times it just falls and times the clouds just bucket rain.

This morning's rain was like Capitola Village rain, coming to earth with incredible gentleness as if it didn't want to bruise any spring flowers or damage new growth on the trees and bushes.

The scent of the earth was magnificent. Yes, I am a fan of petrichor. Can there be a better odor in the world than rain on dry earth? It is almost as if petrichor, itself, is a key to personal memories and ancient memories. One's whole body responds!

I think I'll get a sweatshirt on and take the dogs for a walk in the rain to enjoy the freshness of the day.

Then we can return to the house and relish in the scent of wet dog!

May 23, 2018

D - NOT A to Z Challenge

Category: Religion and Spirituality
Theme: World Spiritual Practices A to Z

"D"

Dia de los Muertos! Day of the Dead!

Scary? No!

Mourning? No!

Halloween? Absolutely not!

Dia de los Muertos is a day to celebrate the lives of friends and family who have passed.

Ancient Aztecs believed in a Lady of the Dead or Queen of the Dead, who ruled over the underworld. It was her duty to protect the bones of our loved ones. She also had the honor of presiding over the parties and fiestas the Dead would hold. Her name (try and pronounce it without spraining your tongue), Mictecacihuatl. Her husband was Mictlantecuhtli. If I was a dead Aztec, I would probably just call them Mrs and Mr. M!

Because Mrs. M loved Marigolds, Marigolds are now known as the flower of the dead. You will find these beautiful orange flowers used in Dia de los Muertos art. 
Art Courtesy of Deviant Art

When the Spanish invaded the western hemisphere, they brought All Souls Day (October 31) and All Saints Day(Nov 1) with them. Holy days to honor the dead, the regular ones and the really good ones!

The Mexicans, being creative indigenous people, blended the two ideologies together to make them their own. They renamed Mrs. M.  Her new, 'Catholic' name is Santa Muerto. She is a saint who protects the dead and guarantees their safe passage to the afterlife.

Ofrendas or Altars are constructed in homes. The favorite foods of the dead being honored on the Ofrenda are spread out, lots of it! Lots of candles are present to help guide the spirits from the darkness. Also on the altar are reminders of favorite pastimes and hobbies, toys of the young who have passed. The idea is to make the ancestors and family who are in the afterlife extremely happy. Happy spirits will provide protection and good luck to the living.

What about the skulls?

I knew you were gonna ask that!

In the words of Jeff Probst from Survivor, "I got nothing for you!"

I searched for the firsts and the why's. Apparently it began in the 1700's as a decoration for the altars and because there was lots of sugar and it was cheap, the celebrants used it. The skulls apparently developed over a period of time, ending up with the name of a dead loved one on the forehead or top of the skull. The skulls are then decorated to make them beautiful and festive, to celebrate the life once lived. The decorated sugar-skulls are called Calavera.

Sugar skulls developed into face-painting. Apparently the purpose of painting yourself to look like the dead is that you can now go out and misbehave! Everyone will think it is the dead who are being the pranksters. (Believe me, it might fool some people but not your Abuela!)

Google Dia de los Muertos Face Paint for some of the beautiful ideas on how to decorate yourself.

Let's paint ourselves up and get into some mischief this coming Dia de los Muertos!















C - NOT A to Z Challenge

Category: Religion and Spirituality
Theme: World Spiritual Practices A to Z

"C"

Oh, C, you have so many spiritual practices to choose from Caballah, Celibacy, Chakras,  Circumcision, Commandments! What to do? What to do?

Let's go with Channeling as a dedication to Jane Roberts, who channeled Seth, Ester Hicks, who channeled Abraham, Helen Schuman, who channeled "A Course of Miracles" and Edgar Cayce, who, well, just channeled!

If you look up Channel or Channeling @ Dictionary.com you will find 15+ definitions, none of them actually defining the type of Channeling that our Honorees practiced. I probably should have perused a metaphysical dictionary.

Mystical Blaze states "Channeling  can basically be defined as the process of receiving and relaying information from an outside entity while in an altered state of consciousness. The consciousness level varies from individual to individual, from deep trance to a very light meditation-like state."

 As in the case of Jane Roberts, her whole being seemed to be taken over by Seth. Her voice lowered and took on a gravely tone, her body took on the stature of an older person.

Edgar Cayce, probably the most known Channeler, thought that he was communicating with his higher self or our super conscious and subconscious minds. I can relate to his way of thinking. There is so much of our brain that we don't use. Is there a chance that we have memories that are not ours in our heads, could knowledge be passed down through our DNA? Does some of our knowledge run along the Hundred Monkey (Critical Mass) philosophy? Do we know stuff we don't know we know because our great-great grandmothers experienced it?

I read a couple of books in the 90's written by a man named Lee and Kryon. I'm not sure if Kryon was the entity that talked through Lee or what 'they' the entire entourage of entities who Kryon said were present at any particular channeling session. I believe it was Kyron who suggested to meditate imagining yourself in the middle of a star-of-david shape. He/They suggested placing crystals at each point of the two triangles; the crystals pointing in the direction the triangle is pointing. (Experimented with this! Another story for another time but I would suggest trying it).

Channeling has, as far as I can find, not been verified by science. It appears that information channeled differs between cultures and countries. Some say they are connecting with spirit guides, some say "off-world" beings, maybe angels, even those who have passed from this earth (the dead).

There is a major difference between a Medium/Psychic and a person who Channels. Mediums communicate with external energies/entities and pass the information on. To Channel is to let the entity/energies/entourage merge with your body and mind.

Honestly speaking, I have no problem with Mediums and Psychics. I've had some wonderful readings that were detailed and spot-on-personal. Channeling, on the other hand, scares the boogers out of me. I can't imagine inviting an external sentient force to come take the reigns! Call me a control freak, but "Homey don't play that game."

There are YouTube videos that tutor the art of channeling. Started to listen to one as part of the research for this post. A minute into the video I heard the phrase "subdue that which is you"!

Left Click!  Stop!

I do not want to subdue that which is me. There are parts of me that I need to control, impatient driver, procrastinator, stress-eater, but to subdue all that is me is not going to happen, at least not while I'm in this body; not until the coroner says, "Call it!"

Do You Channel or know someone who does? How do you feel about Channeling? Does it give you the heebie-jeebies or are you chomping at the bit to get started?

Kind of wished I'd picked Circumcision or Commandments?



May 22, 2018

B ~ NOT A to Z Challenge 2018

Category: Religion and Spirituality
Theme: World Spiritual Practices A to Z

Besom. Most of us have at least one in our homes. Some of us have several, though I wonder if many know the full use of this Pagan tool, usually associated with witches, good and bad, and, of course, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

A Besom is a broom; a primitive broom made of natural resources: The best would be a merging of Willow, Hawthorne and Birch. I have four Besoms. Two are not made of natural fiber, and probably completely synthetic, one for outside, one for inside. The third besom I purchased in Salem, Massachusetts at a wonderful metaphysical shop nearly 20 years ago. The fourth besom sits on my hearth, to brush away ashes, stray bark and negative energy.

Besom's are considered a witch's preferred method of transportation, many believe that a broom will assist one in astral travel!  Folklore tells us that flying with one's broom was a hallucination brought on by the use of Belladonna, a hallucinogenic.

Witches would 'fly' around on their Besom, blessing crops, encouraging growth and high yield. Pagan practice really was to run and leap through the fields while straddling a broom. It was probably the non-pagan observers, sipping their whiskey, who thought there was flying happening.

Warlocks, male witches, apparently frowned on Besoms (brooms) and rode on pitchforks! Even Pagans had their idiosyncratic tendencies  about tools (broom being a woman's tool, a pitchfork being more macho). Kind of like a Toyota Corolla or MiniVan being a good car for a woman and an obnoxiously loud diesel pick-up truck being a real-man's means of transportation.

Besoms are often hung above a doorway to prevent negative energy from entering a home or a room. My family places a broom in front of the house's entry to keep evil away. They are also used in hand-fasting ceremonies, jumping the broom in African-American weddings, left under the bed for protection, and sweeping away negative energies.

Warning: If you are trying to attract fairies into your home, do not hang the broom above your door.  Hmm, makes one wonder about fairies intentions!

The Besom is used to clear an area of lingering energies, lurking entities and, yes, dust and crumbs,  cleaning an area prior to performing a ceremony or ritual. Often, the broom is swept above the floor a couple of inches.

I would imagine that creating one's own besom is the best. It should, also, for strongest abilities be  assembled on a new moon. After one gathers the wood for handle, twigs from birch (best), mugwort or thyme for bristles and lengths of willow for securing the bristles, the broom should be assembled with reverence and positive energy. Once complete, the besom is blessed.


A besom should be treated with respect. Some say a consecrated or blessed broom should not be used for everyday sweeping of floors, others say, use it! The more you use it and handle it, the more is added to it's positive energy and magic!

Sidenote: Never sweep dirt out your front door (what ever broom you use). It is believed that sweeping dirt out the front door sweeps out families prosperity with it! (Now they tell me!)

 Le Befana, the Christmas Witch, also flies around the world on her broom delivering gifts to good children (ages before big guy in red suit wrangled reindeer into a harness).


“Sweep out evil, sweep out ill,
Where I do the Lady’s will.
Besom, besom, Lady’s Broom
Sweep out darkness, sweep out doom.”




May 21, 2018

A ~ Not the A to Z Challenge 2018

Ayahuasca!

How is that for a word?

From the jungles of the Amazon, the shamans bring us our first 'spiritual' subject in our (NOT) A to Z Challenge.

There is a consensus on most websites about the Ayahuasa vine, the Ayahuasca tea and the Ayahuasca trip. They say 'Ayahuasca takes you, you don't take it!"

The tea itself is a mixture of the vine and Chacruna, a shrub that contains a strong (to put it lightly) hallucinogenic. Ayahuasca is called the 'Wisdom' or 'Teacher' plant and surely, it is not consumed for a recreational high. The physical consequences are gut wrenching, if you know what I mean.

So why take it? Why participate in this shaman-led ritual?

Some declare it is a successful treatment for PTSD. Some say they have met with the great Jaguar spirit and gone on spiritually enriching journeys without leaving their mattress or the campfire. Others report sleeping, dreaming of wonderful memories of childhood, or finding lost parts of their soul.

The ability to understand the meaning and richness of those experiences is agreed by most to be a huge part of consuming the concoction.

Ayahuasca is also said to be the doorway to the Divine Feminine, often referred to as Mother Ayahuasca.

Researching, asking questions, diving into the shaman writings, I've discovered the profound truth is that partaking in Ayahuasca does not change you, does not cause you to be happy. The Wisdom tea gives you hints, shows you flashes of what you are and what you could be. It helps you to see, if you look close, to what is real about you and what is not.

As Always, it is up to us to make the choice to be authentic, to be true to our own values, to be honest. Ayahuasca just nudges our conscience and our consciousness with glimpses into our soul.

Art Courtesy of http://www.thesacredvoyage.com


Would I try it? Could be! Truthfully though, the Amazon has never been even remotely close to my Bucket List. I really, really, really don't like bugs that bite or snakes that drop onto unsuspecting hikers from a canopy of trees. As for Ayahuasca, I'm truly opposed to projectile vomiting, but the Jaguar is my spirit animal...hmm!

Uh, no, unless, of course, a really enticing spiritual practice comes up in the next 25 letters,
I'll stick to my Sandalwood incense  and meditation.


A to Z Challenge...uh, did I miss it?


Apparently, I missed the A to Z Challenge this year, as Susan so clearly states, Plan B took over and the Challenge went on without me! Can you imagine?  

I was several preparatory-posts into the challenge when all hell broke loose. I thought I would post anyway. I could save posts for next year...but what if there isn't a next year?

So, here goes.


In the name of Truth, Transparency and Trust, I confess that I am writing this on February 13!

Yes, I did just read Marquessa's post on "How To Do The A to Z Challenge"! Ignoring my habitual tendencies to reject or rebel against authority figures, I'm applying a couple of her suggestions.

She advises to choose a theme that readers would be interested in, especially if the goal is to attract readers to your blog. I'm not sure that is my primary goal. My intention is to challenge myself to keep up and post every day, to write about what interests me (and possibly a couple of people who already visit my blog) and to have fun.

Sidenote: The word "fun" seems juvenile but I refuse to change it to merry, amusing, enjoyable or entertaining just to prove that I am a mature adult!  

What interests me that I can write on every day for a month?
 
Wine? No, I only know about eight days worth about wine!
Cooking? No, I like to cook, not to write about it so much!
Politics? Hell, no!

Today is Fat Tuesday, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday; both cultural and spiritual practices. Now those subjects sound fun stimulating and interesting!

My theme for the 2018 A to Z Challenge is The A to Z of Cultural and Spiritual Practices of the World.  Hmm, too long. (flow of consciousness happening here), what if I just delete Cultural from the theme title but if the spiritual subject of the day crosses over to cultural traditions, I might include it. Yeah, okay, that works for me.

My theme is The A to Z of Spiritual Practices!

What better than to start with than Ash Wednesday...or Astrology...or Ayahuasca!




May 20, 2018

And now...

We had a short, private service for Mom at the Veteran's Cemetery. Dad fell in love with the place and was very happy that Mom was in such a beautiful area with mountain views and Mt. Lassen plainly in view. The inscription on the niche place will be "Forever Young" since that is their last name.

We got Dad moved from the boonies to town. He now lives across the street from my sister and we see him everyday without the 45 minute drive to and from.

We had a Memorial Service for Mom on Mother's Day. It was beautiful. (Thank you Robin and Diane, for your incredible help and eye for beauty). Dad loved seeing everyone, had a couple of good cries (who didn't) and went home feeling sad but that the 'business' of death was complete. Time to get on with grieving.

We still have to prepare his house on the river for sale. Paint the kitchen cabinets, paint some trim on the exterior and trim up some of the trees to clear the view to the river.  Of course, our summer heat is barreling down on us, so we need to get a move on it.

It's incredible how consuming the business of death is. Of course, there is a lot of second guessing because how does one decide on the big stuff when you're too confused to make a decision on what you want in the McDonald's drive-thru!  One afternoon after and especially grueling couple of days, The Guy pulls into McD's and asks me what I want.

"I don't know! I can't make another decision!" I whined back to him.

When the loudspeaker voice asked what they should get started he requested "two McDoubles-no cheese and a large diet coke with two inches of rum!"

The morning after the Memorial I woke up completely relaxed BUT every muscle in my body was screaming in pain! Apparently, I must have unconsciously been carrying myself as rigid as I could due to the stress. The same for Sister and The Guy.

We got Dad to see a doctor and the doctor gave my dad some hope about his fatigue and lethargy. It's been difficult convincing an 89 year old hard working man that lethargy and weakness are a part of grieving.

I woke up this morning with the desire to read some of your blogs, post more than a sentence or two and I might even (might) take a shower before 2 p.m.!

I think it's going to be a good day!

Thank you all for the support! You're the best!

May 12, 2018

Squirrel!

 
This meme describes our lives right now. I feel like we've all been walking through a thick gel.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I can almost see it. I miss you all!