March 31, 2013

Can I Say Something?

I play on Facebook pretty regularly. I check to see what my family is up to; how grandchildren are doing in softball, soccer, school, work. I visit with cousins who are states away, some cousins I've never even met but tickles me to know that they are there.

Each day there are some pretty informative posts on lots of negative things going on in the world today, but some posts are ugly and some posts are just mean. There is a general concensus that "the other guys" are evil and stupid and "gonna get us!"

At least daily one of my "friends" either posts or "likes" a post that talks about the kids today. It's a little like Socrates statement about kids, "They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders.......they contradict their parents....tyrants to their teachers...." and on and on.

Guess what people? Kids don't raise themselves! The kids learned all that bad behavior from their parents teaching or lack of teaching. They learn it from observations or just from feeling in the way or unwanted.

Sometimes, you, yes, youm the adult, can make a difference in a kid's life. You can set an example. You can be kind, you can be honest, you can put your book or your Iphone or your video game down and talk, or better yet, you can listen.  You can read them a story...and don't skip any pages or paragraphs. You can just take them for walks and talk about birds and trees and clouds or whatever they want to talk about.

When another adult walks into the room you can stand and acknowledge them and then introduce them to your kids. You can tell your kid or a kid how proud you are of them. You can ask them a question about themselves and actually listen to the response.

I am reading a book, The Gift of Fear. The author states that out of some miscellaneous number of fatherless boys or boys who are abused by their dads over 47% find themselves in prison within 10 years of study!  Do you know how much a boy or young man needs to be recognized, to be treated with kindness and honor.

The other thing most of those FB posts say is that the teenagers today don't treat adults with respect. Guess what adults? Kids today recognize people who don't deserve respect and sometimes, act on it.

Maybe instead of complaining about the kids nowadays you could take one under your wing and help them be one of those kids that is invisible to complaining, negative adults!

Gratitude Journal, March 31, 2013
I am thankful for rain.
I am thankful for cherry slices and a man who will drive all over town to find them for you!
I am thankful for the Eucharist.
I am thankful for green, all the new shades of green outside my windows today.

March 29, 2013


The kitchen cabinet didn't even see it coming. I snuck up on it with garbage bags, storage bag and box. I sat on the floor in front of the sink and slowly, slyly inched my way over and casually opened the door. Then I POUNCED!

I pulled things out of there that I haven't seen since we moved in 10 years ago.  It's a corner cabinet so very difficult to reach the "way back".  I wanted a lazy susan or whatever those swingy things are called so I could reach the stuff in back but we were remodeling the whole kitchen, everything including ceiling, walls, gas lines, pantry and lights.  The swingy things were not in the budget!
(I will post a little story about budgets at our house one day. My husband spells it capital B, capital U, capital D,G,E,T and genuflects when he says it, I spell it Butt-Jet and try not to ever think of it, let alone say it!)

Our youngest grandchild is going to be 9 in December, I found three baby bottles and two bottle warmers. I found 12 tops to sippy cups and 32 different Glad disposable containers, mostly the red-top ones but several blue top ones and 1 purple top.

I found a Wok, I've always wanted one of those! I found enough empty jars that my canning mother-in-law will love me forever!

My citrus juicer was back there, I bought that about 40 years ago to make fresh orange juice and lemonade. Before you assume that I am a really good-earth-mother healthy person to make our orange juice and lemonade fresh everyday, I need to inform you that we had our own profusely bountiful orange tree and I really, really, really loved Harvey Wallbangers back then!

I found two coffee grinders. One for herbs and spices and one for coffee!  What a score! I am bringing them out and putting them in the pantry where they will be accessible!

Hiding in that cabinet was one lone thermos and 11 water or coffee traveling mugs, some give-aways at fund raisers, some from far away exotic places (yeah, right) and one was my very favorite Dutch Bros travel mug.  We were very excited to be reunited!

Years ago I gave all my orphan tupperware lids away but found two that had avoided the great plastic-lid crusade. I applaud their courage and tenacity and have declared them both Knights Templar of Petroleum Byproducts and have granted them safe haven

I found an electric sandwich maker! Not a modern and highly coveted Panini maker but a little machine that looks like a waffle maker but when you open it the griddle irons are square shaped with a bar cutting the square into a triangle.  Intriguing! I can't remember who gave it to me or when I got it but I am definitely picking up some pastrami and provolone and seeing if it works for a different shaped panini! I would do it today but its Good Friday and my husband would be very irritated if I made meat for dinner. I wonder if Panini's can be made with Talupia and how does talupia taste with longhorn cheddar?

So, jars to mom-in-law, baby bottles (without nipples) to garage sale box.  Do I save a couple of sippy cup lids for visitors who bring little ones or for friends who are so drunk they keep spilling their martinis. 

What do I do with all that room? The Mixer will go back in, the wok (but up front so I remember I have it), maybe the steamer can be moved from the pantry to make room for more Dr. Pepper!

A couple of more cabinets to clean and then on to the laundry room (see me shiver).

Therapy is not only doing wonders for me mentally and emotionally but as I clear out the garbage in my head I find myself de-cluttering my home!  Stay tuned for Garage Sale!!!

Gratitude Journal: March 29, 2013
I am thankful for the little babies who were in my home that made those bottles, bottle warmers and sippy cups necessary.
I am thankful for the scent of lilacs in my bedroom from the bushes outside.
I am thankful for watermelon flavored gum.
I am thankful that C.S.B. is out of the picture, dodged a bullet there!!!
I am thankful for validation.

March 28, 2013


I just read a prior post, Christmas Blues!

I can't believe the changes in my mental health in just 3 months! I can't argue that they haven't been the longest 3 months in my life but I can actually see, feel, smell, hear and taste the change.

Welbutrin is good.

Therapy is better!

Healing is the best!

Start With Ten

Jacqueline, my world-traveler, big-city, sister-in-law started a group on FaceBook a couple of months ago. She entitled it something like "Begin with 10" or "Start with 10".

She invited us to do something new and do it at least 10 times each day. 10 sit ups. 10 jumping jacks, walk for 10 minutes. The choices were endless, just start something.

My goal was to write 10 paragraphs a day.  I love to write and I have been working on two books for years. One book was with a dear friend, a man who I met when I was 20 and really considered him one of my closest friends. The book was about how our thoughts and beliefs help define our reality.  The book is actually finished as far as the first draft, but my friend was of eastern European descent so the sentence structure is a little difficult for the average American reader, even the woowoo ones!

We were diligently working on the book when my friend had a stroke. Pretty devasting for him. He was 80 but more robust than most men in the 50's. He celebrated each moment of life. When he had the stroke the Dr.'s informed him that their was another something in his brain that could go anytime or could go away.  He killed himself before a second stroke could prevent him from being in charge of his own life.  My heart broke and I haven't been able to touch the manuscript, let alone edit it. Maybe it's time.

The other book I have been working on my own. It is a "sort of" owner's manual for girls from the age of 9 to 15 or so.  My intent is to let girls know that they are the Captain of their ship. Ship being the key word for body, thoughts, life, etc.

Jacqueline made the proposal of "start with 10" while I was staying with my sister Sherree for a week or two of R&R. I made the goal of 10 paragraphs per day and have found myself sometimes exceeding 10 pages a day, sometimes only a page or two but never just 10 paragraphs.

So that has been a couple of months and now I am ready to add a new 10 to my daily agenda.  I was thinking I might make a goal of spending 10 more minutes in bed every morning but since retiring I find that I already spend an extra hour or so in bed reading every morning. Ten more minutes in bed is out!

Eleanor Roosevelt once said (or so, they say she did), "Do something everyday that scares you!"

I am 62 and I have just recently come to the discovery that everyday of my life I have done something that scared me...breathing, living, walking out the front door, etc.  I am done doing things that scare me (sorry Mrs. Roosevelt) but I am excited to do something every day that excites me or pleases me or just makes me smile.

Today I add to my daily start-with-ten to call or visit with a friend or family member or neighbor at least 10 minutes a day.  I have been a little detached from the world-at-large lately and have a lot of catching up to do. I am making a promise to myself that the hour I spend with my therapist one day a week will not count. I will still seek someone out to share a little of myself and find out a little about them.

Now, (tapping my fingers on the mouse pad) who is first?

Gratitude Journal March 28, 2013
I am thankful for cool cloudy days.
I am thankful for my lilacs and the wonderful scent that fills my yard and bedroom.
I am thankful for music and that the soul can dance while the body sits at a desk and types.
I am thankful for the kids at Dutch Bros that let Rex know they are excited to see him and give him a doggie bone (or two).
I am thankful for the man my grandson Cole is becoming. He is amazing in so many ways.

March 27, 2013


Wednesday. Not a bad day, all in all.

I feel like my life has been like a really long convoluted novel, twists, turns and drama. In the past couple of weeks some of the story lines are finally making sense. I'm discovering that the protagonist in the story (that would be me) rose above some pretty big obstacles, has developed some serious, some comical and some down-right psycho defenses and coping mechanisms. Stumbling was a big part of the action, but I always got back up and I never stumbled without learning something from the fall, the scrapes and regaining my footing.

Funny, in discovering my vulnerability, I have discovered my strengths.  In discovering my weaknesses I have discovered my backbone.

This week people have impacted me in ways I would never have been open to just months ago, the walls are down and without the barriers my sight and hearing are highly attuned.

Gratitude Journal, March 27, 2013
I am thankful for my daughter Nicole. For her intelligence, her humor, her wisdom and her honesty.
I am so thankful that she is my daughter and for the last two conversations we have shared.
I am thankful for my son Adam. For his intelligence, his humor, his in site and his wisdom.
I am thankful that he is my son and for the conversation we had this week.
I am thankful for my son John. For his intelligence, his humor, his wisdom.
I am looking forward to a good conversation in the near future. oh, and happy birthday, my first born child, I am thankful you are my son.
I am thankful for the truth my brother shared with me this week and the validation of that truth from Nicole.
I am thankful that God did not give up on me or let me give up on myself.

I am thankful for the back bone and vulnerability that gives me the strength to own my truth.

March 26, 2013

Gratitude Journal Intermission

I can't remember feeling this whole and wonderful in a really long time. It appears psycho-therapy really is a powerful exercise in well-being.

Notice the hyphen on psycho-therapy. It is purposeful. I really did feel psycho.

A couple months of sitting across from this loving, powerful, intelligent woman has done wonders for me.  My insurance isn't going to pay for it and I couldn't care less. ( Screw you, Blue Shield, you are pretty worthless anyway.)

Talking and sharing with my wonderful shrink has been priceless.  She has helped me recognize my strength, my gifts, my value and values. She has helped me recognize my boundaries and, in some cases, my lack of boundaries.

We met this afternoon and I feel as if I just climbed Mt. Shasta and launched myself off the summit with a wonderfully colorful hangglider and I am soaring the mountain tops and valleys.  I've done the work....I'm doing the work.

Remember that bottle of toxic yuck filled to the top and corked?  Well, it is uncorked and there is a clear space at the top for coping. Coping space! Yay for me.

Funny thing about clearing the bottle out a little, recognizing some of the toxins and shrugging off some of the unnecessary tension is that my knee is even better! Again....Yay for me!

I can look in a mirror at this moment and see more than I have ever seen. There is a depth to the reflection that was missing for years. The reflection has some missing pieces, some missing people, some missing beliefs and some new pieces, new beliefs and a couple of vacancies for new experiences, new people, new adventures.  I am ready.

As a result, I am going to restart my gratitude journal. Each day I will make a list at the bottom of each post of the things I am thankful for. My gratitude will be drawn from the mundane, for it is the things of everyday life that make life so precious. One of my Archetypes is the Magician and there will be days that will be filled with magic and numinous events but those days will be mine and, quite possibly too precious or filled with wonderment to share, we will see.

Today, March 26, 2013 I am filled with gratitude for Dr. Patricia Bay, Dr. Brene Brown and petri dishes.
I am thankful for music, each drop of rain, and dancing.
I am thankful for light and truth, for boundaries and Alice.

March 25, 2013

Synchronicity, Vulnerability and Shame

SYNCHRONICITY according to Mirriam-Webster is a noun. It is 
1 :the quality or fact of being synchronous (hmm, thank you M-W, glad I am not an alien)
2.:the coincidental occurrence of events blahblahblahblahblahblahblah. agrees that synchronicity is a noun but fills in some of the cracks.
1. coincidence in time; contemporaneousness; simultaneousness,
2. the arrangement or....                     
3.  a tabular ....                
4. physics, electricity ....             
5, Psychoanalysis. the simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief  that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence.

I love synchronicity. I experience "simultaneous occurrences of causally unrelated events' on a daily basis and believe that the "simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence".

A lot of it has to do with my guardian angels (or whatever one wants to call them), as they confirm my awareness of the synchronicities and at other times, they kick me in the ass because I failed to notice said synchronicities.

I turned 62 in January which made me eligible for retirement. I promised myself not to carry some baggage I had been carrying around with me for years into my retirement. I gathered a few things for a  clearing ritual, a few candles, some patchouli and sandlewood incense, not the smokey kind but the "essential oils" after all, I have learned something in these long years! I have a great collection of crystals, minerals and globes and a (shh, don't tell my Christian friends) several beautiful goddesses, so I gathered them 'round too.

I did a wonderful ritual. Some of my more sophisticated friends would say I released some old baggage, my woo-woo friends would say I performed a cleansing. Having decided to be more "authentic" in my third phase of life I basically just got rid of some shit!

Oh, but not all of it. Some of it has roots and the roots are intertwined with some of my beliefs, real visceral stuff. Called a therapist and decided to do the work to rid myself of the extra ballast ( that can be taken in many ways, so think what you will, dear Reader).

Lots of stuff coming up, just in time too, because apparently the visceral stuff literally attacked my viscera. I have lost my appendix, my uterus, my gallbladder, suffer incredible stomach aches when anxious or around my mother,  had a hernia with surgical repair and a heart attack.  I am getting the toxins out just in time because I am running short of disposable organs.

My therapist agrees that its mostly third chakra issues ( for my less woowoo readers this just means I 
have anxiety issues, hyper-vigilance issues, stuck in fight or flight mode, never felt protected so stuck in self-defense mode, basically some serious PTSD).

Once a week I sit with said-therapist, wonderfully intuitive and perceptive woman. We discuss issues such as vulnerability, shame, uncertainty, risks.  There are moments where my tears flow and other moments where glorious fireworks shoot around my head as I "get it"! 

Shame is a big one. Back to definitions, SHAME, also a noun; the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, etc.

Synchronicity, as I've said, is a constant in my life but in the past couple of weeks I have become like  gravity; extracting every tid bit of coincidence from the universe that has to do with Vulnerability, Shame, Uncertainty and getting out there and taking risks.

Dr. Brene Brown, researcher and sociologist, has done several TED Talks and TEDx presentations.

About what, you may ask!

Shame and Vulnerability!

I ran across one of her presentations while surfing TED and, of course, checked out the rest.  Then, the last two consecutive Sundays, Oprah Winfrey interviews Dr. Brown on the Super Soul Sunday program.

What do they discuss?

Shame, Guilt, Vulnerability.

Several of the blogs that I follow on Blogger and WordPress, yup, Shame, Guilt and Vulnerability!

Everything the universe is throwing at me about those subjects is validation of my "aha's" during therapy and those quiet moments of contemplation when I discover stuff about myself, my light side and my dark side.  

Dr. Brown states that if you put shame in a petri dish and feed it secrecy, silence and judgement it will thrive and abound. When I was raped, my mother wrapped the event and, of course, me, in a steady diet of secrecy, silence and judgement, for years. Years!  The visceral monster in my gut has snared my organs and my self-esteem and my life in mutant ninja shame! 

The Good News? Yes, there is good news. Light, truth, awareness dries up Shame like a sponge on asphalt in a Redding August.  

'Bye Shame...not gonna miss you. 

Vulnerability, what say you and I get together this week and talk! 

March 21, 2013


I've written before about my love for words and the root of words. And, while I love words and where they come from, I always keep in mind Dennis Leary's statement, "The trouble with words is that you never know whose mouth they've been in."

A word that comes in mind this fine evening is Nostalgia. When we are nostalgic we are remembering fondly something of our past. The root of "nostalgia" comes from "homecoming" and "ache".

So what makes you ache for "coming home"?

The smell of all-things bread remind me of my mother's mom, Grandma Rose. The scent of the yeast as the dough rises and as we took turns kneading it, the smell of it baking and the mouth-watering smell of a pat of butter melting on a freshly cut slice of our own warm loaf. Polka dots, black flat ballet-style shoes, a woman holding her hand in front of her mouth when she smiles, sitting under the dining room table (don't ask), these things make me ache for Grandma. Grandma died when she was 56 years old. I miss her and really do ache for her.

The smell of the first rain of the autumn. The smell of roasting dust the first time I turn the furnace on each winter. Steam rising off the peppermint tea in my heavy, hand-thrown mug with stars and a goddess on it makes my heart ache for the days when my kids were little and wanted to build tents in every room because it was too wet or cold to play outside. Those kids betrayed me and grew up and have families of there own, but we still build tents on rainy cold days.

Stars on a dark, crystal clear night, Orion's Belt, Cassiopeia's W make me ache for differing memories.  Standing next to our car in the Rocky Mountains in the middle of the night and being frightened because there were more stars in the sky than there was empty spaces, I was about 8 and in a state of wonderment and fear! Or walking down to the pond to turn on the irrigation for the orchard and hoping a mountain lion, bear and/or skunk, smelled me coming and left the area so I didn't surprise them. I ache for laying on the trampoline watching the stars with my grandson or my granddaughters or my niece and watching the stars and the moon.

The sounds of running water, as in brooks, creeks or small rivers, makes me ache for those camping trips in the Rockies, the Trinities, the Cascade and Sunset Beach! Sleeping under the stars, drinking 50/50 coffee and Emmetts on a cold morning with the smell of campfire smoke and pines.

John Denver songs make me ache for nights of sitting around with friends, playing guitars, singing and laughing.  Reading stories to my kids while Janis Ian or Joni Mitchell played in the background. Pillow fights, orchards, oysters, driving the truck full of hang gliders and pilots and my black lab, Paco, up to launch. Skinny dipping right next to the highway in the middle of the day in Whiskeytown Lake.

Snow skiing in Mammoth or drinking a good red wine as we watch the surf from our window and the logs crackle and pop in the fireplace at Ireland's Rustic Cabins in Gold Beach.

Does it sound like I am just aching for yesterdays? Don't assume, dear reader! I look forward to making new memories with all the vigor I can muster so that I will remember tomorrow and next week and next month and next year with all the warmth and love and ache that I have for yesterdays.

Life is good.

"The Gift Of Fear"

Before I was raped, as I was walking down the sidewalk to hell, something told me to go back to the car. Something warned me that there was danger ahead.

I was 9 years old and didn't know that I had free will. I thought that when an adult tells you to do something, especially an aunt or uncle that you sure as hell better do it. Even though my family is very intuitive, even psychic, we were never taught to trust our intuition and to stand our ground as children.

My therapist told me to read a book, The Gift of Fear.  This book should be a gift to every young woman who is about to leave home and live on her own. Parts of it should be read to every girl (and boy) who leaves the house alone, or takes out the trash or just answers the door.

It talks about not only trusting your intuition but reassures you that you are aware of the "signs" of violence. It reminds you to be aware of your surroundings, the actions of the people around you.  It teaches a women that when some nice man comes up to offer help and you say "no thank you' but he insists, the book teaches you how to say "NO" with a strength and power that tells him he doesn't want to mess with you.

It also teaches you, that when you say no and that "nice, friendly man" insists, he is usually up to no good.

Get the Book. Read it. Depending on the age of your daughters buy it for them or read parts of it to them.

Do It Now!

March 20, 2013

My Warrior Is Out Of Balance!

Saw my therapist today. She really is the best.

I've got this big giant throbbing toxic anger deep, deep in my gut. She's helping me define it. Helping me untangle it from the good parts of me so I can ditch it.

She drew a couple of pictures for me that really helped. First, she showed me a picture of what most patients who seek her out look like (emotional/mental-speak). The drawing was a jagged, off-balance sunburst. Then she drew me or at least a semblance of my emotional/mental state. It was a perfect circle.

She says I am pretty solid, grounded, and some other nice adjectives that made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

So why am I a toxic maniac?

She showed me a couple of archetypes that I could really relate to. The Archetypes, the light side and the dark side of each. I was the circle in the middle. One archetype to the left, the right, above and below.

The Archetype to the left is The Warrior.  Warrior's don't have two sides, they have three. The weeney warrior, hides in the corner, kind of wimpy or cowardly, maybe just really scared. Then there is the well-balanced warrior, kind of the Saint Martha of Warrior's. She sees the crisis or the threat and gently, compassionately tries to talk it down.  Instead of hiding from the dragon or killing the dragon, she sits with it, finds out what the problem is and helps the dragon resolve the issue.

Then there is the At-the-Ready Warrior, shield up, sword drawn. That's me! My warrior is out of balance. In this moment of my life, I am more likely to lop off your head if you mess with me, anyone I love and even those people, puppies or kittens I don't love but feel that they are being unfairly threatened or mistreated.

Slowly, through the years, totally unaware of my St-Martha-side being swept away, I have become the Black Knight from Monty Python's Quest For the Holy Grail. You know him! "None shall pass!"

Chop of my legs, slice off my arms and I am still gonna bite your ass if you try to pass.

I can't tell you how "OFF" this is for me.  My personal motto has always been "At No One's
Expense!"  For years I have made it a general rule that I do not say or do something that will hurt another. I have really tried, come up short at times, but my intentions are there.

It seems that years of not having a "six" (marine-speak), especially during childhood has built up. Not just being raped, but being raised in a state of "hyper vigilance" to make sure that craziness didn't break out and when it did break out, I was prepared to "get small" or become invisible.

How incredible it is to have someone place their hand on your shoulder and tell you it's okay to let it drop from under your ear and rest gently where it belongs.  How refreshing it is to know that I am not a hateful, toxic old woman but a warrior who can ask my husband to be my Six, let the shield rest and sheath my sword.

Fair warning:  Beware, I am still working on it. I have not let go of the shield and though my sword is in the sheath, the sheath is still hanging on my side.  I know it is not my job to slay the dragons but until a couple of more visits to my therapist I am not making any promises.

March 07, 2013

The Birds and the Bees.

(This is kind of part II of The Beginning of a Long Journey, so if you don't understand the post you might refer back to my last post.)

When I was 9 years old, I was violently raped and hospitalized.

One evening, after I was discharged from the hospital, my family had just finished dinner.  My dad suggested to my brother and little sister that they might want to go in the living room and watch some television. He asked me to stay at the table with him.

My mother was not very happy about it. He was about to tell me about the "birds and bees" and Mom was either against him telling me (and therefore explaining what had happened during the rape) or she just didn't want to hear what he had to say.

We had a large eat-in kitchen, so whatever was going on at the sink was definitely heard by all. The whole time my dad talked to me my mother slammed pots and pans around. She was "supposedly" doing dishes but I am pretty sure that she was just slamming stuff around.  Made it pretty hard to hear everything Dad said, but what I heard was beautiful.

He told me that what had happened to me was one of the worst things that could happen to a child. That children were precious and should be protected not used. Then he told me about making love. He told me about love and what a beautiful gift sex was between and man and woman who loved each other. That conversation made me love my dad so much.  He taught me about love, about compassion and passion.  The best talk I ever had with him. Thank you, Dad, for giving me hope that one day in the future, I would be able to find someone who would love me for me.