Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting Outside Of Myself

I'm too lazy to write in paragraphs tonight.
Bullet points will have to do.
Which is interesting if I take that phrase literally.
I tend to take things very literally.
I am not great with nuances although I am improving.

Anyway, I hate bullets, guns and such.
A few weeks ago youngest son managed to get me
to hold his shot gun for a brief moment.
He took a picture.
I threatened him with a gigantic amount of trouble
if he posted the photo on FB.
So far he has resisted the urge to do so.
Smart young man.

I wrote a bit about my story here and here.
I feel vulnerable posting those links for you.
I got a wake up call as to how big my ego is
by my private little pity party
about not getting many comments
in response to what I wrote.
I had dashed off the posts in 10 minutes
and let go of polishing them up at all.
I thought I was killing my ego by doing that
or some such heroic thing.
Not too long afterwards
I wanted to polish and polish them to bits.
I didn't.
Being upset because you think no one is noticing you
has got to be the same sickness
as being upset because you think everyone is talking about you.
The only redeeming thing I can think of about that is that I recognize it.

I had the opportunity to make a 12 step call this morning.
That was the best part of my day.
It got me out of myself in a real hurry.
I will be saying a little prayer for her
as I go to sleep tonight.
And again in the morning.
The call came at work.
I was shocked to hear her voice message.
I never take 12 step calls at work
because the public can open the door
and ask for my help at any moment.
Not to mention coworkers.

But dearest one said she sounded desperate
so he gave her my work number.
Mercifully my coworkers were around the corner
and in another room.
They stayed there for a good long time.
No one from the public showed up either.
In other words, it was perfect timing.
God's timing.

Waking Up

Last night I told myself that if I woke up an hour before my alarm that I would get up and do an hour of yoga. This morning I meandered to the bathroom, telling myself I wouldn't look at the clock. I wanted to be free of culpability. Of owning my choice to not do what I said I would. Of course I peeked just as I crawled back into bed to find that it was not even 4:30 AM. Ninety whole minutes before the alarm was to go off. I laid in bed for half an hour trying to go back to sleep but that nagging thought about yoga prevented it. And so here I am, right when my alarm is supposed to go off with breakfast eaten, blogs read and yoga no where in sight.

I contemplated going for a walk but this is the time when bears like to traipse through our field and last week dearest one puzzled over whether a paw print in the mud was a cougar's or that of a wolf. I decided to pass on a walk, too.

The birds are singing as I type. It seems like they sing around the clock these days as we inch closer to the longest daylight day of the year. By that time we will not really get pitch black at any time in the night here. Makes it hard to go to sleep and harder still to tell what time it is.

Of course if my alarm clock could it would flash TIME TO DO YOGA.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tunnel Vision

She pulled him close and peered into his face,
her aged eyes reduced to tunnel vision.
"Oh, it's you," she cried,
her arms reaching for an embrace.
He asked her to join him for lunch.
He never went there to eat.
She went there daily.

Instantly she started to talk.
Not the sometimes talk of the elderly
about aches and pains,
grown children's accomplishments,
or even the weather.

Her story poured forth
like a dam about to burst its seams.
How eight years ago at the age of 80,
she began the journey of inner healing.

She touched his arm
and told of digging deep,
finding healing
and hope.
How her adult children were more comfortable
with the broken, anxiety ridden mother
she had been for 80 years
than with her freedom
to talk about the harsh reality
of their collective past
and her softening reality of today.

She didn't blame them one bit.
No guile in her voice.
They have their journey,
she murmured.

Memories etched deeply on her face,
her body relaxed as she shared
about making connections between
her Father's generations and her own.

Redeeming that which was done without malice,
yet had inflicted pain nonetheless.
Graced with the the courage to face
her demons at age 80,
she knew it was a gift
to see with so much more than
tunnel vision.

(True story.Happened today.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Liminal Spaces

"Why does it seem so magical?" I ask him
"Because that's where God is," he replies.

Peering into the bush I am transported back to my childhood. It's as if the trees themselves try to draw me in, the thin forest floor beckoning me to come play. Dearest one and I step through the invisible shield and at once chatter about where we would build a fort if we were kids again. I find a perfect meditation spot to bring my chair and sit a while. We wonder aloud if you have to have grown up in the trees to appreciate them as an adult or if it's universal to feel them beckoning you into a liminal space. We mutter about people who've wondered why we haven't bulldozed the bush down already to make our field easier to navigate with machinery. As if we are warriors planting our spears into the ground we fiercely state we will never bulldoze it down.

Full of determination and protectiveness we walk out of the bush back out into the sunlight, call the dogs to come, and make our way through the field to the house. We will have to come back and play another day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Bystander In My Own Life

"I think....I feel....I believe..."

He'd pause between each phrase, drawing it out as if trying to teach a child to speak. I could feel the anger rising in me when he'd interrupt me mid sentence, coaching me on how to own what I was saying. The instant I started any sentence with they, you, whoever, that person over there he'd interrupt me again. He didn't want me speaking for him or anyone else. Had he been the counselor it wouldn't have been so bad but we were both clients in a government run treatment centre. His interruptions would remind me again that I couldn't speak for anyone except myself.It was pretty hard on my ego to shrink my sentences down to I statements. I would have told him to go fuck himself except I'd already heard his story and his journey of learning how to use "I" statements for himself had a way of invoking stunned speechlessness on the part of those listening. He was a gentle, humble man without a hint of malicousness in his coaching. He wanted me to own my life.

If you'd read through the past 15 years of my journals you'd notice pages and pages of writing without the word "I" anywhere. You might even wonder if I was observing someone else instead of recording my own life. The first time this struck me as not quite right I felt unnerved, like a crack had started in my armour without permission. Eventually I realized that writing in the third person was a way of distancing myself from my heart. I'd catch myself writing sentences something like this
"One really needs to think about what they want out of life from time to time."
No way was I going to write
"I really need to think about what I want out of life."
I did it in letters to friends, too. One day a friend commented that I wrote as if I was putting on a persona. Persona? I had to look that word up before I could even consider that she may be right:
"per·sona (pər sō′nə)

noun pl. personae -·nae (-nē), personas -·nas

1.the characters of a drama, novel, etc.
2.Psychol. the outer personality or facade presented to others by an individual" (emphasis mine)
It was uncomfortable when I realized that even in my journals and letters, never mind my day to day speech, I was distancing myself from my very life. After a few weeks of my new friend reminding me to use a pronoun I started to use the word "I" more than "you" or "they".

Scared the shit out of me to do so.
Freed me, too.
From being a victim.

Since then, whenever I catch myself writing or speaking in third person a little warning bell rings in my head. That warning asks me to double check to see if I am trying to be a bystander in my own life instead of a participant. Sometimes it is still hard to face the fear in owning my life. It takes all the power out of pointing fingers and blaming others for my reality.

All this to say that my writing instructor suggested to me today to rewrite my novel in first person instead of keeping the reader at a distance by writing in the safety of a third person point of view. When I read his note I said to myself, "Oh, shit. Here we go again." because that very thought had crossed my mind a few weeks ago, too but I'd dismissed it as too much work (all 50K words considered) and besides, I have no idea what's going to come out of my character's mouth if I give her that kind of leeway.

I wrote him back and told him that I was scared to get inside my character's head but if he really thought it would make the story better then I would rewrite the whole thing. I wrote that my head said no way but my heart said yep, you're right.

Something tells me that the character in my book wants to be more than a bystander in her own life, too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 2010

It snowed for close to 48 hours straight. It was the weirdest thing to hear song birds in the trees while snow was falling. Like there was some kind of disconnect between the seasons.

My rain barrel was empty before it started snowing. I water all my outside flowers with rain water when I can so I am happy that the barrel is now full.

Yoga Pup loves the snow. His sister does not. She looked up at me as if to say "You want me to go pee in this?" Then she tried to walk in a dainty cat like way so that her feet wouldn't get wet. That's why she isn't in the picture.

I'm thinking it will be a day or two before we can have a picnic. Although by Tuesday it's supposed to be nearly 20 degrees warmer than it is now. Which means I will be able to move the flowers back out onto the deck. Isn't that a pretty stray cat that has taken to calling our place home?

Friday, May 21, 2010


I was going to wait to take a picture until the snow stopped but that won't be until tomorrow sometime. It does look pretty from where I sit. I'm glad I cancelled an appointment for today to see my spiritual director a few days ago. I have no desire to drive in this. I bet the snow doesn't look so pretty to those on the highway. I don't blame them.

I am grateful that being in AA has taught me that my attitude about those things over which I have no control is totally within my control. For whatever reason I couldn't grasp that message in church, I couldn't grasp it from anyone else, either. It was only when I came into the rooms for the second time that I grasped it. Sometimes I worry that I sound pollyannaish because of it. It doesn't mean I like everything that comes my way. Of course not. I'm human. I do work hard though to reframe most everything in life that isn't to my liking. It doesn't change my feelings about it but it helps me not live in a perpetual state of the 'poor me's'.

It is perfect snowman weather out there.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Here Comes The Snow...

...and I say it's all right.

I just got in from mowing acres of dandelion covered grass.
I wonder if I was the only person trying to get the lawn mowed ahead of the rain turning to snow that is forecast?
I'd prefer rain over snow but we desperately need the moisture so what we get is what we get. Looks like I'll be hauling all the pots of flowers somewhere warmer.

I'm grateful for a warm house and a hot cup of tea; for a cupboard full of food and a cozy bed.

Dearest one is on the road this afternoon taking his Pa to the City Far Away for a medical procedure. The Puglies are looking out the window for him to come home. They'll be waiting for 48 hours yet.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who'd A Thunk It?

"You need to find some kind of leisure activity to do together." So said my treatment counselor nearly 3 years ago. I looked at her and wanted to protest. Dearest one and I are homebodies. When I went through my mental list of what I knew other couples did together I couldn't find anything I thought we both might like. Golfing? Maybe. If his knee replacement happened and my rotator cuff injury ever healed up. I can't remember any other leisure activity I thought of that day and maybe you have some suggestions. Our favourite thing to do is go for a walk together. We go as far as his knee will allow and then we turn around and come home. We like to go on road trips and so consider our 6 hours of weekly commuting together as many mini road trips.

See those planters up there? That's about two-thirds of the ones we planted flowers in on the weekend. A few years ago a friend told me how her husband got out the ruler, yes, the ruler!, when he planted bedding plants to make sure they were evenly spaced. I sympathized with them both. In times past, although I never got out the ruler, I sure wanted to. And then gradually I morphed into liking a wild looking flower patch which happily coincided with the period of my life when I couldn't weed anything anyway. I didn't like help with planting my flowers, I wanted it all done my way, you know, the right way. Lord have mercy.

Last week dearest one and I went flower shopping together. We went a tad bit overboard. So much so that we have several dozen bedding plants left over and no pots to put them in. Other than the row of petunias I plant in the garden I don't plant them in the ground anywhere else because bending over to weed still makes my lungs hurt.

We had fun. Together. We are excited like little kids get except we can hardly wait for all those flowers to grow and bloom and fill our world with colour. Once the threat of frost is over we will move the pots to the gravel pads on either side of the walkway. In between the big round pots will be rectangle ones filled with Evening Scented Stock. That was dearest one's idea. I love it. We puttered and planted and thoroughly enjoyed sticking flower after flower after flower in a pot. The Yoga Pup keeps sticking his face into flower pots and it looks like he is smelling the roses.

Which is more or less what the counselor wanted dearest one and I to make time for.
Looks like we have done that at last.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oh, How He Loves Us

I don't recognize the song this little guy is singing but I can certainly say a hearty amen to how much we are loved.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I have been mesmerized by this video this morning is spite of this not being my kind of music. The boy is going to be on Ellen today.

Wrestling Consumerism

We got home from work yesterday to see a raging forest fire directly south of us by about 7 miles. We had been able to see it all the way from town, which is about 80 kms away, so that tells you how big it was.

As we watched the smoke and the 50km/hour wind gusts through our front window I turned and picked up the phone. One of our close friends lives in that area and we wanted to make sure they were okay. Several years ago the man of this family had commented in Sunday School that he didn't care if his house burned to the ground tomorrow, if his family made it out okay, his house meant zilch in the big scheme of things. Five days later his house burned to the ground. Goosebumps went down the back of every adult who'd been with him in Sunday School that day. His family was fine. They have since rebuilt their home and their lives. Thankfully the fire was a little ways away from their place yesterday and this morning the skies are clear. There isn't even a remnant of smoke in the sky.

Dearest one and I talked last night about what we'd take if the winds shifted and the fire came our way. What we'd do if we had to evacuate. I boiled it down to the box of Rubbermaid photos of our family and the one of my writing. He added the tower of our computer and the Pugs, of course (I can't believe I forgot them!). I added my Big Book. I misplaced it last month and although I had my tiny pocket one and a large print copy I just felt restless because my original copy is all underlined and written in and it falls open naturally to pages I read often. Opening it feels similar to sliding into that faded pair of jeans that fit just right. I found it high up on a shelf last week and breathed a big sigh of relief.

I struggle a lot with trying to sort out what to make of having so many possessions in this life. Knowing that in the end they don't mean a thing. I heard a song a long time ago called I've Never Seen A Hearse With A U-Haul Trailer.

Sometimes I tell dearest one that if we live long enough to end up in a room in a nursing home what the heck are we doing accumulating more stuff just to get rid of it one day. And then there's the side of me that loves to be surrounded by beauty and the pleasure I get from beautiful possessions. Over the winter I packed up many possessions to get rid off. It hasn't stopped me from buying more although I ask myself now if I'm going to want that thing in 10 years. I started doing that after reading this quote from Warren Buffet "If you don't feel comfortable owning something for 10 years, then don't own it for 10 minutes." I look around my house and there's precious little I care about 10 years after I buy it. I don't know what the balanced way of being about this is but I do know I wrestle with it because I don't want my focus to be on stuff that doesn't matter in the end. I could analyze this to death and still not have an answer. I want to be more than a consumer in this life.

The friends of ours who lost their home in a fire don't care a rat's ass about possessions. They didn't before the fire and they still don't. They are however, big into relationships.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Such Is Life

"Excuse me but you have something stuck to the back of your pants."

Immediately my hands flew to try and find that something but no such luck. And that's how it came to be that a complete stranger delicately removed a sticky bit of paper stuck to my butt then carried on her way, saying over her shoulder, "I'm sorry I had to do that but if it was me I'd want to know."
Yep, me too.

I was going for a walk on my lunch break and she was a grounds keeper, trained to notice anything out of place. Just happened to be a bit further off the ground, that's all. Although gravity is doing its work there, too, I'm afraid.

And I don't know why I write about it other than I'm glad I can take stuff like that in my stride. I didn't always.

I've had the opportunity in the last week to tell quite a few people that there is precious little worth getting all worked up about. I swear that the older I get the smaller that list gets, too. Last night the phone rang after midnight. Groggily I ran to answer it, wondering if something had happened to a loved one. I forgot I was on the phone list for our district and on the other end of the line was someone reaching out their hand for help. Later, when I crawled back into bed, worried that the break in my sleep would mean no sleep for hours, dearest one said with a bit of wonder in his voice, "You were just complaining that you never gets any calls like that."

Talk about getting two wake up calls in one.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Feeling The Fear

"You realize you just paid good money to write 2500 words a week for the next 12 weeks?"
Well, when you put it like that it does sound a tad insane, doesn't it?

This week I signed up for a writing course to help me get my NaNoWriMo novel from first draft to something closer to being publishable. If I finish the course it will be the first writing course I have ever finished. I am hoping that having 50K words already on paper will help. So far I have procrastinated writing the first assignment which is 700 words. I have until Sunday at midnight.

I still love the main character, still love the story, especially love a character that appeared out of nowhere. I don't even know why I am writing this post other than to say that I am scared of failing. And I need to say that out loud somewhere. Fear of failing hasn't stopped me from doing a whole lot of things in my life and it won't stop me this time, either. My sister laminated and sent me this cartoon 3 years ago and it sits just below my computer monitor where I can see it all the time.

All this to say if I am scarce around here over the next twelve weeks it's because I'm pounding out a different story on the keyboard than the one you normally read here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Gription Optional

Apparently I took the snow tires off the car a little too early! There is most likely recorded snowfall for every month of the year here. Thankfully it is still considered a strange occurrence though for about 4 of those months.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Next Right Thing

I really liked this Zen Story.

~ via

So often I resist doing the simplest next right thing because I am looking for something more important to do. I often find it hard to do the simplest thing in front of me. Sometimes I put my feet flat on the floor just to remind myself to be in the here and now instead of the past or future.