Wednesday, February 29, 2012


It was 6:15am.  I had recently divorced my first husband and thus was alone in a new apartment, hours from any family and rather isolated from friends.  My youngest had his tonsils and adenoids removed a week earlier at the tender sweet age of three, he'd done so well.  Opening that bedroom door to crimson blankets and his terrified face nearly stilled my heart.  "Mama," he said, blood pouring from his mouth, I think I stopped breathing...

I'd just begun to see the man that would become my husband years later; but at that time we hadn't even officially been on a date.  My fingers shook as I dialed his number....there was no one else to call.  He canceled his day and was there in minutes, reassuring my other son that everything would be fine, he held his hand as they watched us leave for the hospital.  For the next three days I lay in single railed bed, my body curled around my little boy's as he struggled to accept new blood and remake his own....and for three days a near stranger took care of everything else. 

There have been moments in my life when such compassion has left me speechless.  "Thank you" is the most inadequate phrase on the planet when your heart is awash with relief and gratitude.  In every sense of the word, an angel touched my life.

Fast forward nearly a decade and having just moved into a new neighborhood.  Last summer had me banging on my neighbor's door in my bathrobe at dawn, sobbing.  I begged them to come watch the boys as the ambulance was on its way and I shook with fear at the thought of losing the love of my life.  Twelve hours later I returned....and again, "thank you" wasn't nearly enough.  I don't know what I would have done if it weren't for their kindness and that of another who came and took the boys to her home so I could return to my husband's side.

Yesterday I was the one that was honored to sit in the curtained cubicle as they took the vital signs of a woman I'd only met twice.  Her husband has just finished his time with the marines and they moved here a few months ago to begin a new life.  New job, new city.  He arrived at the ER, having rushed from work and collected their eldest from school; we were told she would be taken by ambulance to another hospital.

As I set my purse on the table next to their front door, I assured him I'd find the peanut butter to make lunch.  He quickly showed me the baby's room and set up the game system for the 7 yr-old.  He thanked me with the same look I know had been on my face more than once, and left to to meet the ambulance holding his wife inside. 

I didn't get my errands done, or the shopping--and I have never been so grateful for that.  I made sandwiches and sliced bananas and played pattycake that left 'nana moosh on my fingers.  After I laid the little guy down for a nap, I learned all about Lightening McQueen's race track and new paint job in the x-box game....even got handed the controller when I brought up a bowl of goldfish crackers for snack and was told to "accelerate more!" 

In this world of unexpected agony, when a phone call can shift the axis of your earth....we need each other to be the hand of God.  We have been trusted with this beautiful planet full of hearts and lives, each woven together to make the glorious tapestry that is humanity--and yet it seems daily we hear the stories of how we tear at one another.  Murder and plunder and abuse.  Perhaps almost the greater evil, indifference.  It's not me.  It happens. 

When it is will need your angel.  Please seek out to be what you will one day need. 

Together, we can change the world.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Drink Me


I suppose if you've been reading my rambling reflections as of late, you may have noticed a trend.  Reassessment.  This year wasn't a "big" birthday year, but I'm getting closer to one....and farther from another.  The boys are becoming young men who now set their own alarm clocks and get up before me for school. (simply amazing, that)  And I've had some earthquakes as well as aftershocks in my personal relationships. ("unfriending" forty people on fb, including your sister, will do that)  I sense that youthful phase of believing one is invincible has passed.  Mortality has introduced herself.  She's lovelier than I expected. 

Simply put, I think I've arrived at something of a crossroads.  A point where every moment of my waking hours will no longer be spent in constant supervision of three bumbling little ones that schemed to ride big wheels off the garage roof.  I'm not quite demand as I once was.  For so long I've been "his wife" and "their mother" that I've lost touch a bit  This is such a natural part of motherhood, sometimes I think my very heart beat in time with my boys.  And falling in love again swept me into that world of devotion where it gets a little blurry, the lines between he and I.  However, there is a hint of a new wind in the air...

Perchance it is the whisper of spring.  You can almost feel the roots beneath the soil awakening, stretching out the knots after a winter's slumber.  The early bulbs have pushed their tiny green noses from the dirt, sniffing to see if the sun awaits.  The rain feels different, less angry.  And thus the world sets the stage for rebirth.  The annual re carpeting of forest floors with blades of emerald green, crimson poppies stain the hills, daffodils spin their waltz among shards of turquoise shells fallen from nests-a-peeping.  The surge of life sweeps a cloak of color across the world....and the planet breathes.

I adore this idea of rebirth.  The notion that one can emerge new...transformed.  I fell in love with Alice when I was eleven, her Wonderland held my heart and my dreams.  Oh, how I longed for labeled bottles with sweet potions that might take my awkward klutzy six feet of knocking elbows and knees and morph me into a petite and graceful swan. *sigh*  This obviously was not to be and in time I made peace with my frame, but I never lost the fascination. 

I feel a change coming.  A shifting of the gravity in my life.  I think I'd like to dance more this summer.  And wear less clothing.  I'm one those planners and watchers and make-up-for-other's-mistakers....and while one never really can spurn the responsibility gene if you've had it implanted before you could walk (thank you mum and dad),  I hope it is possible to find more balance. 

You really do only get one round on this ferris wheel, make it count.

Embrace your Alice... 

Drink me.


Friday, February 17, 2012

In Pursuit Of.....

Some days I feel the world is spinning faster than others. Perhaps it's the clouds or the clocks...or the strength of the coffee. All around me are people moving. Some are walking, some jogging, some dancing. A few are bolting as if chased by the hounds of Hades itself. I wish I could step outside of my life and see it from ten feet away...evaluate my pace. Am I racing? Meandering? Lately I feel as if I'm stumbling. We're all headed somewhere, gathering pieces along the way. A smattering of our baskets are nearly empty, while others so heavy as to strain the sinews and tear at the tendons of our spines.

All in glorious pursuit.

The happiness cake. The ingredients of this confection we're attempting to bake span the skies. Careers, family, food, church....pets and vacations. Pedicures. What makes you happy? How much of it do you need? Do your ingredients change with the holidays? The day of the week? The season of life? In my early twenties I thought that laughter and oodles of noodles were enough. Then along came children and now I need responsibility and security and effort.

I feel that at times we are groping our way, peering into the murkiness as we attempt to locate what we need. Sometimes we just grab what is directly before us, and at others we search and search; inspecting each item before discarding it, scouring the mist for something else. One love....and then another. One career....and then another and another. Hobbies and children, friends and supper groups. We sift and prioritize, seeking just the right combination.

And sometimes...just when you think it's perfect. The cake implodes. You realize that what was ideal ten years ago has grown tiresome. It's tarnished....or broken. So we replace. We improve. We bolster the center and shore up the edges....and begin again.

Recently I've been simplifying my ingredient list. Those things I've designated "imperative" are getting a reassessment. I think I'm mostly struck by how shockingly different my needs are now than a decade ago. My second husband is unequivocally the opposite of my first. (seriously, the first was 5'11", blond and going bald--oh, and he's a convicted felon. The second is 6'4", long dark hair and was Naval Intelligence....hah!) And that is only the surface. There is so much I no longer care about....and more I cherish dearly. How did my ingredient list change so drastically? Is the maturation of a human soul such an evolution that it resembles nothing of what it began as? How do I choose today knowing my heart may desire differently tomorrow?

Is peace found living only in the moment? That disturbs me a bit. I feel it is within our genetic code to plan. To imagine and orchestrate and devise. But oh, how my plans have been altered! Some by elements beyond my control...but mostly by my self. In a world where I constantly seek to understand and categorize, it is my own soul that is the enigma.

And so we traverse. The path before us lined with opportunities and possibilities. We choose, we assimilate, we relinquish. We live.

"Oh, pray that what we want is worth this running,
pray that what we're running toward is what we want."
                                                          -Lucille Clifton

Thursday, February 9, 2012


After we'd tucked the boys in for the night, I settled in to ice my feet and watch....something. (lol--I'm a bit lost when it comes to what's on these days)  So what did I watch? I have that magic fios remote with the "last" button so you can flip back and forth between two shows easily; I watched the movie Juno simultaneously with Alien 3. Um....yeah. My husband came downstairs after a bit and sat with me. He lasted 7 minutes before laughing and shaking his head, he left. Cozy soft cuddly "coming of age" teen love alternates with bloody science fiction alien battle.

But that's me.

I've come to suspect that we are defined more by our contradictions than our similarities. I love wine....and whiskey. Munster cheese as well as gorgonzola. Summer and Christmas. Experience, variety, and multiplicity make life--like sex.....make for magnificent rather than mediocre. I believe this is such a large part of relationships--yet an unbelievably difficult thing at the same time. The world's greatest love stories, the romances that ring in your heart and echo in your mind--are most often the passionate ones filled with fire and conflict. Of course there is sweetness and tenderness, but it is the friction that makes them splendid! I have lived through too many warm milk relationships; they were so...easy. I suppose that's why I got into them. Friends that always agreed with me, a first husband that generally did as I asked....warm white milk. Milk will only sustain you so long. There's just not enough in it. Your muscles atrophy, your hair falls out, your skin fades to paste--milk is fantastic for babies...

But we've all grown up.

Now I have a pomegranate and ginger martini of a marriage, served in a stiletto glass rimmed with crystallized hot chili sugar! (heh heh)  Sometimes I worry that our neighbors are scandalized. Between the arguments and the heated nights...(and mornings and....ahem) We are both equally strong-willed and fully armed. It's funny, I've encountered more than a few people in my life that have a drastic aversion to anything resembling disagreement or contridiction.  I'm not talking about character assignation or actual "fights" (which is when a simple difference of opinion escalates emotionally until both parties are swinging sabers with no regard for collateral damage) but that space where two similarly astute and perceptive minds sharpen one another.  For a lifetime of beliefs, assumptions and judgements should regularly be taken to task.  How else does one evolve?

Finding my "match" has not exactly been the e-harmony vision that permeates evening television with bashful smiles and hand-holding. However, it has been more challenging, more fulfilling, and more life changing as we have confronted, battled over and are in the process of embracing our contradictions.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Within Your Grasp

"Your hair always looks so nice." she sighed, her voice slightly peevish with envy. "Well, it doesn't look this way when I wake up!" I joked, attempting to shrug off the situation. She sighed again, touching her own dry brittle curls. "It's just not fair!" So I began to cautiously explain that I use a ten minute conditioner on my hair twice a week and a balm in the morning to tame any frizz. Then I generally toss it up in a few hot rollers while I sip coffee and... "That's too much work!" she exclaimed, shaking her head. "I don't have time for that!"

Perhaps it was the day....stress....frustration....but I squinted a bit as I replied, "Well, then you don't deserve great hair." Her mouth dropped a little as I turned and walked away.

I admit, I was a bit harsh that day, but I am shocked and dismayed at how many people I encounter in a week that seem caught in a sticky web of immobilized frustration. They're baffled that the world isn't working out quite the way they'd hoped....but in that same moment, don't know who to blame!  And there, my friends, is the goop of the matter.  For blame indeed, is a viscous thing.  As you fling it about, it spatters the room and leaves you covered as much as your targets.....rather maddening, really.

I've blamed.  Lost years a ways back attempting to ferret out who was at fault for the left turn my life had taken.  Alas, the quest ended with me standing in front of a mirror.  The frame chipped, the glass cracked...but truth is truth.  The choices had been mine.  There were other actors on that stage, but I was there as well.  If I wanted something different, something greater--it was up to me.   In that sentence, in accepting that reality, thus enters the magic...


The aspiration, the application, the battle. The discipline, intention and push.  Resolution, struggle.....and triumph.  They are all ours.  It's in the effort where we discover how strong we are. Our capability, our cleverness, and our power.  Within each of us is a life to be lived.  Not endured or tolerated....we were meant for more than that.   

Dreams, desires and goals + effort = success, fulfillment and joy.

Dreams, desires and goals + more dreams = wishes. And if wishes were fishes, we'd walk upon the sea.

Dreams, desires and goals + whining & complaining = will likely cost you the relationship you have with anyone who actually is on the road to success, fulfillment and joy.

I have one thing I tell anyone who is "always late" or "doesn't have enough time" to get something done.  Watch less TV and get up earlier.  Period.  Our nation is in the midst of an epidemic of lethargy.  Yes, you can see it in our physical health--but it's also there in our divorce rates, our juvenile centers, and our alcohol consumption.  I feel like we have taken what is supposed to be simple, and crammed a zillion other things into that equation.  All of the "what ifs" and "buts" that we can imagine; excuses and reasons for our lack of success....when the monster in the room is seated dead center in the rejection of our own potential.

YOU were meant to be amazing.  But amazing doesn't happen by accident!  It doesn't fall from the sky and rarely mails itself to your door.  Opportunity may do that....but then, the amazing part is in your hands.   In mine. 

You want a deeper marriage?  A better sex life?  Respectful kids and an obedient dog, a cleaner house?  Great hair??  Then research, come up with a plan, and begin.

My dreams are certainly different than many, the content isn't ever up for debate. (I once met a woman whose heart's desire it was to dye her hair purple and ride elephants...I smile every time I think of her and hope she is a lovely shade of violet)  Wrapping your mind, your time, and your muscles around the reality that is the dream? That is the beginning.

And the within your grasp.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I have been.  This week has drug on...and on.  Confined to bed, off your feet, sit the hell down, couch po-taaaay-toe.  Remember that last post about my spectacular ability to mess my butt up?  Well, this time I have succeeded in award-winning fashion.  Plantar fasciitis.  No, it's not a fungus and you can't catch it off a water fountain, (my first thoughts)  however, it makes one quite suddenly aware of the gift of just....standing. 

The basic run-down is that I have jacked up the arches of my feet as a "recreational athlete" by working out without proper support--for my FEET! (good grief)  The fun part is that recovering from this includes stretches, anti-inflam drugs, wearing shoes with arch supports, and wait--here's the best--icing your feet.  Can you imagine a more enjoyable way to spend the afternoon on a cold February day than ICING YOUR FEET?!?  Yep.  Joyous.  And when we got to this part:

"Most patients find relief within about three months, and over 90% within one year."

I had a heart-attack. 

Threeeeeee months?  Most?  Aaaaaak.  I am the shoeless wonder!  I got married barefoot.  I believe I own....seriously, FIVE pairs of shoes. (I swear, I am female)  One brown pair of sexy sandals, one black, one pair of converse one stars, a brown something or other, and black goes-with-black-slacks-that-I-wear-at-the-office shoes.  And that's it.  Honestly, the shoe-gene skipped me completely  (made up for in the height department, I think) and the thought of having to wear klunky supports in the summer??


And so, I sit.  And for those of you that truly know me, This. Is. Killing. Me.  See, the reason that I am a bruised and bandaged walking commercial for Johnson & Johnson on a regular basis, is that I never sit down!  I suppose it was the whole "raised on a ranch with three hundred animals and walked a mile to the bus stop" schtick that caused this, but I am utterly incapable of watching daytime tv.  From drywalling to painting to cooking--with three boys under the age of 12, there isn't a day I don't do laundry.  Nerf gun wars need reffed, bandaids applied (just like their mama, them boys) and the crazy dog is still a puppy--sitting down just isn't an option!  Only now? 

It's an order.

And this week.....I have sat.  I have read more.  I have listened more.  One day I after I finished a novel, I sat and just watched out my living room window...for like an hour.  I sketched out a plan for a possible book.  I wrote letters--REAL in-an-envelope letters to several of my friends I haven't seen in years and began the Rosetta Stone program to learn Italian.  The boys waited on me a bit, and helped out with the dog waaaay more.  And Lord help me, I served Tuna Helper for dinner one night. (cringe) 

You know...I had time to really think.  Some time to reflect.  In-between fits of swearing at ice-packs, I noticed that the light in my house--even on cloudy days--is lovely.  And the sweetest old lady I've never seen before walks her very old dog past my house every day about noon.

I still don't like it.  Not. One. Bit.  But I think it might be a good idea to be hobbled every now and again.  Just to spend time with....myself.