Walking away is not an option... dialogue must prevail.

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
- Kenneth A. Wells

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

Friday, March 28, 2008

creature comforts

I've been ill most of the week with what seems to be the flu. My fever finally broke (and yes, I will be seeing my doctor next week). I fell into the routines that make me feel better... routines Mom started. I've carried them on with my daughter as well who has been an absolute peach this week.

I picked her up from school and when I asked her what she might like for dinner, she grinned and said: "Lipton chicken noodle soup... it always makes ME feel better when I'm sick, it'll make YOU feel better". She's a wise kid.

It got me to thinking about the extra special things Mom did for me when I was a kid.

My favourite? Apparently, there was no such thing as seedless grapes when I was growing up and Mom would cut each grape in half, remove the seeds. And when I was particularly puny, she even took the skin off. I still remember the feeling of cold and wet grape bits in the bowl.

I have no idea how or why this started, but it made me feel extra special when she did it.

One thing I love and never bother to do unless I'm sick is to have hot tea in a nice teacup. It makes me feel civilized and less icky.

Tonight's choice was Jasmine Tea complete with flower. The smell (it's nice to be able to smell!) is absolutely heavenly and the warmth soothes my throat.

"The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity"
-- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Thursday, March 27, 2008

with love and patience, it will grow

I was visiting Charles at The Razored Zen and this idea for a post hit me. Thank you Charles.

His description of the flowers blooming in his lovely corner of Louisiana brought back a most cherished memory, several of them actually.

My father loved to garden. He probably would still be doing it if his eyesight wasn't so bad. Dad has macular degeneration. It's a cruel disease that gradually robs you of your sight. He stuck with gardening a long time even though he couldn't see the finished product...

This is Dad with his buddy Walter (who passed about 10 years ago, wow... that long) planting flats in Walter's front yard

Mom and I always bought Dad flowers for his birthday (in May) and for Father's day.
Not cut flowers. Flats of flowers... and he would then plant them in the garden at the front of the house. Remember that cute picture of me about to head off to school for the first time? Dad's flowers are behind me.

The last years he planted some, he would have me tell him what kind and colour the flowers were in each flat and then he would arrange the flats side by side in the order he wanted them planted.

Not so I would do it... nope! He was going to do it himself (it sounded like my girl when she gets her mind on accomplishing some new and previously unrealized feat).

Dad supervising as Chicklet tries her hand at watering houseplants

Then with his hands (which seemed so big to me when I was a child), he would delicately feel his way around each plant and gently break them free... one at a time. He had patience. Frankly, he needed patience with me and Mom in the house.

He would start out early in the day, and my father never stopped until he was done. He had perseverance and an amazing work ethic. And I loved it when he would lift me up in his arms at the end of the day, and I could smell the earth, the sun and hard work on him.

In the backyard, he had a veggie garden... carrots, big juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, leafy curly lettuce (which I didn't like because it just "tasted green"), and whatever he wanted to try out that year.
Mmmm Juicy!

I remember the smell that lingers on your fingers when you pick a tomato under the bright sun. The burst of flavour as you sink your teeth into that tomato and the feel of sweet juices as they dribble down your chin.

He instilled in me a love of the earth, of it's smell. Of how it feels to have dirt under your nails and a drop of sweat that tickles you as it slowly meanders down the side of your face, onto your neck where it comes to rest on the cotton of your t-shirt.

I can't wait to start that garden again... now if only the snow would melt.

My turn to be patient... I'm trying Dad!

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it,
but what they become by it."

-- John Ruskin

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

who said you can never go home again

For a long time after Mom passed, it was excruciating to come back to her house. I don't really know how to explain it but I felt like I was trespassing. Even though it was the house I grew up in and Dad's home. In my eyes and heart, it was my mother's house... it was her home. Who was I to go through her things? To discard things she held dear?

I don't think everyone feels like this when they lose a parent, maybe they do, I don't know. And I don't ask anyone to understand it. I'm just telling you how it felt.

Finally, in the fall of last year, it started to feel like home again.

I spent a lot of time last summer seeing to Dad, making sure he had good meals, that things got done around the house.

I think that was when I started to ease back into it all. I came out of the grief induced fog.

Some days I felt like a lion tamer who goes into a cage of Bengal tigers for the first time... Now the only wild creatures in the house are the dogs.

The apple trees that blossomed every spring of my childhood have long been cut down, and somehow the backyard looks smaller to me now.

My perspective has changed.

I expect it's all a part of renewal, of new beginnings, of healing.

"What we see depends mainly on what we look for."
-- John Lubbock

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

in the spirit of spring

... and because it's the best news I got this week so far!

And it comes right on cue ;-)

Congratulations are in order for my big sis Dixie Mimi Sugarbaby Hoochie who became a Mimi (aka gammy) yesterday.

Welcome to the world Jordyn Alysse.

I did a little quick research and found that the root of the name Jordyn is Hebrew (Jordan) and it's meaning is 'down-flowing'... like the river.

Alysse is a variant of either Alice (I have a soft spot for that one), of Germanic roots meaning 'noble, exalted nature' or Alyssa, which comes from the Greek and means 'rational'. It's also the name of a bright yellow flower, the alyssum...

My wish for you is that you grow up to be just as kind as your beautiful Mimi Dixie and that you weather any turbulant waters with grace and strength. You truly are a little princess and I know you will bring life and joy, much like a bright flower does, to your surroundings.

You will be wrapped up in love, dear heart. And I look forward to watching you add pieces to your life quilt.

Don't forget to go and congratulate the extremely proud and beaming Mimi Dixie!

“Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything.”
-- William MacNeile Dixon

like the first day of school

I remember going to the store to get school supplies with my mother. Bringing home the new notebooks with blank pages, a brand new eraser, glue, new pencils...

Then there was the trip to get school clothes. We would spend a couple of weeks in Hampton Beach, NH during every summer vacation from the time I was a baby. My parents were brave. They packed up the car when I was about 10 months old for the first one of those vacations - have you travelled with a child that small? It's a wonder they had room for their own clothes! I'll share more memories of summers at the beach in future posts...

At some point during our vacation in Hampton Beach we would head to the nearest mall and I'd try on what felt like every piece of clothing in my size (and sometimes one size up) - editors note: this was before I developed a passion for shopping...

The high point for me? We'd stop at this "cigar store" that sold, among other things: comic books... and I'd get a Wonder Woman comic book. She was my hero and I too wanted to be an Amazon, dammit! A woman who'd wear boots and lasso you if you were being bad... and, wait... nevermind, I've kinda done that once! *giggle*

This new blog kind of feels like the first days of school.

Old friends are still there... your closest friend is at the bus stop with you. And some of your old friends you see on the schoolbus on that first trip back.

And you wonder:

Did anyone move over the summer?

Will there be any new kids?

But the one question I always looked forward to finding out the answer to was:

What will I learn this time around?

Yeah... this is just like the first days of school.

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning."
-- Louis L'Amour

Monday, March 24, 2008

let it be

Sometimes, the most beautiful things are flawed...

A few summers ago, I sprinkled a bunch of wildflower seeds in a barren patch of earth.
Nature took over.
The sun warmed the earth.
Rain showers made things seem clean and new again.
And a sunflower grew.
It wasn't perfect, but it was mine.
It made me smile.
I wonder what will grow in this new garden?

"We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves."
-- May Lamberton Becker

Sunday, March 23, 2008

what does it feel like

... to have new blogging digs?

It feels like home.


It feels like I have my own private island. Fortunately, there's decent ferry service and a not too scary bridge for folks who want to visit.

It feels like it's mine, all mine. Selfish huh? But you know what? It doesn't matter what anyone thinks, except me. This is the "love me or leave me" side of my personality - "qui m'aime me suive" as we say in French. This is the part of me that knows I can't be happy if I live my life based on what other people think of me.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't care. I do. But, (there always seems to be a but) I love myself enough to accept my faults and to assert who I am... to be true to myself. Only then can I grow. I'm not resistant to change, on the contrary... but it has to be for me. Not to please others. If someone doesn't like something, they are welcome to tell me. I then have to decide whether or not I see it as an opportunity to grow.

Too often, constraints are applied to people by invoking the "friendship" card. Not maliciously, mind you. Think about what you're doing when you ask someone to change who they are... are you doing it for them? Or so you can feel better?

A dear friend and I were having a chat late last night (wee hours actually...) about blogs, about how touchy people get about them. What I told her was this, my blog, is an outlet... but it isn't me. Yes it's a part of me. And it's a place where I'll try to bear my soul. A place where I'll be stark naked and raw. But it's one way I have chosen to pull from inside what I need to see out there. So I can grow. And those who come here will get to know me as I learn about myself.

Even if the blog was me... I'm wise enough to know I can't be liked by every single being in the universe.

It's funny, the conversation started after she sought me out to bounce something off of. She was having a hard time with something and I just told her how I viewed the situation from the outside, based on my own experiences. And as it turns out, being there for her actually was of great benefit to me. It allowed me to focus on something other than the hurt I've been drowning in.

Thank you my friend.

"It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word."
-- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Saturday, March 22, 2008




New beginnings and rebirth.

There comes a time when we decide to let go.

I walked away from a situation at the urging of a beloved friend. And now, I feel like a little girl in pigtails, holding tight to a spool. Eyes squinting. Trying to see the beloved kite flying further and further away. Hoping the delicate ties that link her to her kite don't snap.

"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."

-- Author Unknown

I wonder

...how I'm going to manage to keep this up.

No sillies, just thoughts.

I needed new and simpler digs.

I feel like my life is in a state of flux and I know that some things must be left behind. Clutter is my enemy.

Even the old blog needs a major overhaul.

I just need to get up the courage, store up enough energy and jump off the cliff so to speak.

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”

-- Earl Nightingale

first impressions

The "Spidey Sense"... you meet someone or get a glimpse of someone for the first time and you get a tingle.

The problem is, not all tingles are good. I should have listened to the bad tingle.

Why is it we (well me actually) often fail to pay attention to our intuition?

"Only the really plain people know about love - the very fascinating ones try so hard to create an impression that they soon exhaust their talents."
-- Katharine Hepburn

we shall see...