Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just Do It!


Follow this example.
(metaphorically)

Tell about it.

I dare you.

love kj

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Too Early To Cry


attribution to my friend Susan,
from whom I take far too many of her Facebook gems

I have not had an easy time of it. 

I've been pushing through it.

Until today.

Today, I say

A clear X Ray

&

Mom's Okay.


How the heck long does it take to finally GET IT that life is unpredictable? That what is so one day may not be so the next? Maybe I like predictability and maybe a boat in harbor is safe. But what do I lose when I accept that I know nothing beyond the moment I live in?And that means if I can only trust myself in the moments I live, I might as well trust what will be and trust too that I will handle what will be.

Three days ago my Mother woke up with her trademark humor. After a solid month of sleeping twenty three plus hours a day and eating next to nothing, yesterday she was dressed and today she gaining strength. Now I'm not saying I know about tomorrow, and that's my point. But earlier this week I was preparing to say goodbye and tonight I am saying, "Mom eat your pizza." 

And pneumonia. I have not been sick for an extended time like this for many years. I've worried and I've dragged myself through one day and then another. This morning I had a chest x-ray and saw a doctor who confirmed that I will not relapse if I push myself. Good. I'm ready to push. But guess what? In the last three miserable weeks I have written the two most pivotal chapters of my book. It is coming together: three years of angst and juggling and it is now coming together. 

The thing about a ship in harbor being safe. Yes. But it doesn't see anything....

With so much love to my friends and visitors here. Thank you.
kj



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Dream I Had Last Night & A Little Girl Named Refrigerator




I am in a dormitory like room. There are other adults I don't know and I am sitting on a thin bunk style bed with crisp white sheets and a think pink blanket.

A little girl approaches me. She looks to be around seven. 

What is your name?" I ask her.

"Refrigerator," she says. She does a silly happy twirl and asks me, "Do you want to play?"

"No, Refrigerator. I have to find my passport and plane ticket because I'm already late to catch the train to the airport." I hear myself and I panic. Do I even know where anything is? 

I see a large canvas suitcase at the end of my bed and find my passport and paperwork in the first pouch I look in.

I head for the door and Refrigerator waves goodbye to me. I wave back.

When I wake up, I realize that in the thirty plus years I have had this familiar recurring anxious dream that I am  lost and I have no idea where to  find my tickets or passport, for the first fricking time EVER, I've found them on the first try. Right there in my suitcase pouch. 

Is it possible I'm no longer lost? 

Or maybe that's what happens if you meet a little twirly girl named Refrigerator. 

Hee hee
love kj

Stories

 I want you to see these words before you read mine...)

This is my story: I keep seeing my Mother's eyes. They are green and soft and it has become harder for her to keep them open. She looks at me and thanks me for being such a good daughter and occasionally  she says 'good sister' by mistake and I chide her that she'd best remember ME and then we laugh together. I can't say for sure that my Mother is slipping away and if I asked her she would say no. But I have become prepared for that possibility and I've found that the deepest kindest part of me is present with her in that small room of hers. I am pleasantly thrilled and also reassured that I know how to act in the presence of love when time may be short. There was a time a few years ago when  the love I felt for someone blew up and  flew wild and became sharp bitter pieces beyond hope or restoration. I don't think I will let that happen again in my life. It's not because I will hold back love, but because I know about good grief and necessary goodbyes and I know better how to live through that. I realized this week that I have finally, and I emphasize finally, learned how to stop my ever conscious emotions from overflow. Am I heartbroken that my Mother's body may soon carry her to another home? Yes, I am heartbroken. But not so much that I am not able, so willingly, to sit with her and be astonished by how absolutely and incredibly precious a human being she is. And by example, it seems, I too.

I would like to hear your story. Not about Mothers or love or heartbreak unless that is the story you want to tell, but about anything that moves you to appreciate your deepest truest self. Do you mind? Will you tell me?

love
kj

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Home Alone Mish Mash


I wrote this post and I have a couple of comments but I don't much like the post so I'm deleting most of it. :^)

I'm condensing this miss mash into:

 here I am with four books on love and I am breathing each one in. I am taking note of simple phrases: "My voice broke," "a miserable memory,""when yes confronts no." I am so excited that I get to write. I am so lucky that I get to write.

 i had a scare two nights ago: not just exhaustion from my &^%$##@ pneumonia but I began to feel very very sick. I wasn't sure if I was over reacting and I also wondered if I could even drive myself to the emergency room. I thought about calling my friend Marsha but I knew she would drop everything and panic. I wanted to wait it out, though I was scared. But I called JB, in Colorado, and told her if I sent her a text that said 'help' to call an ambulance. I needed to know I had that backup plan. I'm comforted by backup plans. Poor JB. Not the best way to enjoy her time with her sister.

I don't know what to say about my Mom. She is very weak and sleeping most of the time, but she is asking what she needs to do to feel better. I am humbled by how much I mean to her, how happy my presence makes her. I am glad to be able to love her so purely. She is teaching me so very much.

Love kj





Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bittersweet


The little guy in my header turned three this month. Almost simultaneously, he stopped wearing diapers and moved from his crib into a big boy bed.

He can charm the socks off an eskimo. And he'll sit in time out until the cows come dancing home before he'll offer up an apology he doesn't think is warranted.

I used to call him Baby Drew and then Not-so-baby Drew and now he is Drew. This weekend he arrived with his baby brother and his Mother to visit his great grandmother, who he calls Gumma.

This was not an easy visit because his Gumma, his mother's beloved grandmother, and my beloved Mother, is not doing well. It was important especially that my daughter Jessica be able to spend some time with her grandmother, who she dearly loves.

Jessica prepped Drew in advance: he was not allowed to run, to yell, or to jump. He was to give Gamma a gentle hug and say "I love you Gamma.'

Unlike when he is his wild comfortable self, Drew is shy in new situations. I thought he might be overwhelmed once we we stepped in the rest home and many elderly people would be excited to see a three year old child. So I told him he should just wave each time someone wanted to see him. That's what he did: he raised his little hand, folded over his fingers, smiled, and waved.

Our visit was bitter sweet. My mom is not herself. She is too tired to be vibrant. But even so, it was oh so precious. I love seeing my Mother and my daughter together. Their love for one another is visible.

Drew was an angel. He hugged, he kissed, he learned how to put ice in a cup using ice tongs, he played with the rest home bird, Chippy. And with great affection and enthusiasm he flung my Mother's large yellow stuffed duck directly at her head, intercepted by Jessica one second before impact.

And when we left, he remembered to wave. He waved at each person we passed in the kitchen and in the corridor and in the lobby. When we got outside there were three elderly women sitting on the porch and he waved at them too.

And then, as we started down the steps, he ran back to one of them, steadied himself, and proudly told her:

I'M WEARING UNDERPANTS!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Weekend Mish Mash

I've had an interesting day. For starts, I connected with four friends, including my friend Marsha who, along with her carry-a-tune-not-necessary singing group, rocked and stomped at the opening of the Senior Day Care program where she works. I went to be sure that there was sufficient clapping. If my video skills have improved at all, you can hear Marsha for a few notes of Over the Rainbow. Made me smile just watching her have fun. Made me feel good to tell her it was fun.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! THIS IS HILARIOUS. Read the small print. HAHAHAHA!


The guitarist's name is Sally Ally Muffin Stuffin. For REAL! Officially!

video

And here you have it. Marsha is the furthest on the right.

I am recovering nicely from my bout with pneumonia. I have been writing substantially. Last night I ordered four books from Amazon, all of which I expect to use as "research" for the love and relationship aspects of my novel. I heard three of the books recommended on NPR's 'three books' series: Geography of the Heart, We Love Each other But...., and Mating in Captivity. The last one looks at why the closer and safer a couple feels toward one another, the less erotic they are in their relationship. Anyone who wants to comment on that hypothesis is welcomed to. :^)

Here's wishing you a happy weekend. If this video of Marsha singing actually comes out, I am going to dance around my couch.

Love kj

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thoughts on a New Day


Whoa!


I wrote the following post on my blog in 2007. I am startled by how little has changed for me, despite some pretty significant best and worse events. I'm happy to share this because I believe it's a true part of who I am, who I've become.


Love

kj


Blog Entry Thoughts on a New Day

This weekend I had a reason and opportunity to look back my first twleve months of blog posts. I was reviewing the poems I've written to choose one for an upcoming and wonderful collaborative project. It's been just about a year since I began this blog and just about a year since I took my first writing workshop. It's been just about a year that I became aware of deep love and starting living that way.


I am surprised at the change in me. In one form or another, I've always been a glass-half-full optimist. I can remember sitting in first grade smiling at my secret knowledge that the world was a friendly place and I would be able to find my way in it.


I remember being slightly surprised that I was voted "personality plus" in my high school graduating class of 660 kids.


I remember moving to Germany and landing the one coveted job I had no business applying for.


I remember when I started my counseling and consulting business. I knew I would succeed and I never doubted it was just about the best job in the world.


I remember how cool I was when I married this handsome guy with a college degree and together we bought this sweet small house on a half acre of land in a beautiful coastal community.


I remember the depths of love raising my spunky daughter and the first time I knew without question that I would willingly and easily die for her.


Over the years I have been extremely fortunate. I am surrounded by good decent creative talented people. I have a good good life. I am loved.


When I started this blog, I wanted to achieve some blend of wisdom, optimism, and inspiration. Who better than me, the beneficiary of so many good breaks and opportunities, to talk about life and love?


But, as I re-read my posts this weekend, I can see that something has changed. It is still me. I still laugh and appreciate and look and hope for the best. I still walk my dog and write my books and poems and relish the chance to eat a pizza by myself. But within me something new has taken root. It is deep and real and it makes me the same way. I am a more authentic person. My ego doesn't do battle so often anymore, and when I give my word I know I can keep it. There are now a handful of people I love so much I am standing in front of a moving train to protect them.


All this sounds good--all the positive growth I've hoped for when I think of the person I want to be. But my transformation is not what I expected.


For one thing, I cry more often. I can tell straight off that deep love is not all it's cracked up to be. The more I love, the more it depletes me. I can more easily give of myself, but sometimes I need to plan for the aftershock , when I will be wiped, or sad, or afraid in a way I haven't known before. Sometimes I have to digest that my needs are secondary because the needs of someone I love matters more. The worse change is that I now love at a distance and that means I have to live without the benefit of proximity and spontaneity.


Sometimes I cry because I know I will spend too many days adjusting to what is nothing short of longing. Sometimes I cry because I know and accept that while there are no limits to love, there are limits to when and where and how it can be shared. There are limits to the way the world is and the way the world works.


For another thing, I see misfortune around me and as always I am mobilized to want to act against it. I have been in the helping profession most of my adult life. I have been able to reach out and help out without internalizing the pain I see. I'm particularly good in a crisis. I'm a good counselor. But lately I've come to know that, every day, I know less and less--not more and more. And ask me how to deal with the sorrow and threat that has befallen the planet these days and I am at a loss.


I've noticed my recent posts lack the hopeful exuberance of my early ones. In some ways I am weightier, not lighter. And in other ways I am more serious, not sillier. I did not expect this.


This is not a final chapter. I am not feeling sorry for myself, and I would not change one thing. I still believe that most of us are good people doing our best. I believe our best is enough. It's just that I have begun to live differently. I am just now understanding that people and circumstance have changed me and the change is now part of who I am. It will affect who I become. I hope I become a better writer because of it. But most of all I hope I become a better person. That means, unfortunately, that I still have a long way to go and alot left to learn. It means I have become vulnerable. I can be hurt, because I've knowingly forfeited some of my protection.


And it means that at least a chunk of my learning is loving in a way that I willingly accept what is possible and what is not. Acceptance. There's my word of the year so far. Acceptance. If I really get what it means to live from a place of acceptance, how then shall I live?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Leaning Backwards

Damn pneumonia has given me some time on my hands. It's unlikely I'll work this week and I know I need to take it easy and let my lungs clear. This has given me time to look back. I can't remember when I made this poster, or why, but I was happy to see it again.

Which led me to an older blog of mine. I visited it last night after months and years of dormancy. You may know that I am currently knee deep into writing my second novel. I am plugging along at a rate that I have no idea when it might be finished. I'm not even sure how it might end. When I write I am consumed in a way I totally love. I could write 12, 14 hours a day if I were able to. I know I will finish this book, but that is not the case for some other 'projects' I've begun....

....Which includes my older blog. I titled it Careers and based it on excerpts from a manuscript I put aside after the publisher I was working with was bought out by another publisher who decided that my book would not be in the cards that year.

That is not the only manuscript I've put aside. There is another: my very first. It is a bit of a scientific book, on happiness; who is, who isn't, and why and why not. I had an agent for this book and I had high hopes. But she wanted it to be a "10 easy steps' sing song kind of self help book and I didn't want that. We couldn't agree and after a half dozen revisions of the proposal she would submit to publishers, I withdrew and put it aside.

I keep thinking I will find the time to return to my career book and my happiness book but I haven't. And until this current novel is done, I won't.

But there is the career blog. I looked at it last night and I was surprised that I liked it so much. Still. I'm tempted to start adding to it again. I am not available for career counseling but I may resume posting exercises and chapters from my manuscript. I just may.

Would you have any interest in checking that blog out and giving me your opinion about it?

Here's the link: Careers

Thank you in advance and always, whether you mosey over to this other blog or not. I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful friends and visitors from blogging. How many times have I said that? At least a thousand. :^)

love
kj

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Green Jelly Bean Warning from Emily Rabbit

compliments of Wrobin

This is Easter
A day to feaster
On Jelly Beans,
Red, Blue and Green
But if you eat
Too many Green
You might end up
With quite a scene.

It's not my fault
That I turned green
I'll just pretend
I'm a lima bean.

By Emily V.V. Rabbit

Friday, April 06, 2012

Mish Mash: some things I've learned along the way

I have pneumonia. The physician assistant who diagnosed my returning cough told me I needed to slow down. I told her I don't think I overdo. When I asked her if I could work today, she smiled knowingly before she advised no. Okay, so far slowing down is not hard because I'm tired and dragging on the couch and happy to be here and not somewhere else. No work until next Tuesday, no traveling, and (maybe) no gardening.

So I started thinking of some things I've learned, some that will serve me well to remember.

1. Cherish small spaces. I've known this since I was a little kid. If I can create a sanctuary for myself by hanging a poem or painting in a corner of a room, I know I can go there for contemplation and comfort. In the same way, I have a tree. A park bench. A bay. A new round rug in the den where I read the morning paper.

2. And who else might I be, anyway? I am no saint and my ego rules sometimes. But I try to be kind, I am honest, I'm fun on vacation, and I know to pay my way. I had a conflict with a coworker last week because I asked her for an update on a matter of mutual concern, one that affected my clients, and she told me to talk to her boss if I didn't like the way she did her job. Whoa. I tried to tell her why I wanted the update and that I meant no offense and she told me I was 'frankly demeaning.' Whoa. I left a phone message apologizing if I came across that way and no response. Okay. I tried times three. I can blame myself and feel awkward but I'm not inclined to. In the past I probably would have. But don't even know what bothered her and she's not talking, so I'm okay with that.

3. Making bread is curative. Not just the kneading and the shaping and the rising and the buttering, but the baking and the sniffing. When I take the time to make bread, every part of me slows down. Often while the loaves are cooling, I make a fist and knock on them. Why such a ritual would soothe me, I don't know, but I've found the whole process calms me down.

4. There is no need to apologize for liking glitz. This shot is from Las Vegas. I have been there three times and I am obsessed playing those quarter slot machines. Someday I expect to win
$ 1600. I just expect that. :^) It would play better for me to say I spent this time hiking in the Smoky Mountains or doing volunteer work in South America, but I'm past the point of diminishing my enjoyment of a fancy hotel or a smoky casino. Another thing: I love nature and oceans and open skies. No doubt. But isn't there something beautiful about this huge glitz building too?
5. I believe in miracles. I say this without doubt. My father died fifteen years ago but he still brings me flowers in unexpected places and JB and I still stumble into the best roadside restaurants in the middle of nowhere and I have dreams that tell me what I have to know. It's only been in recent years that I can say life is hard, too often too hard: maybe I've come to recognize that because of the state of an unstately world--but I know too that the universe provides. I'm better off having faith in myself and being willing to believe what cannot be understood.
6. Some people are precious. One time a long time ago my friend and business partner Nancy called to say she was reclassifying me. She told me I wasn't putting enough time or attention into our friendship and if I didn't want to be reclassified, I'd better change that. She was so direct that even now I think back on that and laugh. But I got the message and I straightened up. Some people you just gotta hold on to. Some people take residence in your heart and that's that.

7. Many objects are happy to do double duty. I'm no longer rigid about protocol or following the obvious.

8. There are people who truly lack a conscience. It is not possible for them to ascribe fault to themselves and often (for a time) they come across as so charming and strident in their positions that even when they are clearly offensive, they fool people into apologizing to them instead of the other way around. These folks are often sociopaths. I saw this play out on the blogs this week. These folks don't charm indefinitely, however. True colors emerge sooner or later because without a conscience they usually go too far in their mean spiritedness. I've learned the hard way that the best thing to do with a person like this is to run fast.

9. And finally, many of those greeting cards and posters featuring cats and dogs, often in weird positions or dressed up in silly costumes, involve animals who are mistreated or used only for commercial purposes. I suggest taking a moment to look into the animal's eyes and to picture what was required to take that photo of a dancing dog or a dangling cat. This is an industry that should not be supported.

10. Oh one more thing: an update on my Mother. There are encouraging signs. But until yesterday she had been in bed for more than two weeks and she had not eaten. I have been prepared that she may be too tired to continue. Nurse Debbi told me, "Sometimes when it's time they just stop eating. There is no pain in that. We can keep her comfortable." My Mom has looked like a sleeping angel. But today, she is dressed and eager to play cards. My final lesson today: you never know. What may seem like a final chapter may not be.....

happy weekend, my friends. Thanks always for coming by.

love
kj