Tuesday, November 30, 2004

In Loving Memory...

To my Father on this day marking seven years since his passing.

To the sound of your laughter, and the silence of my tears, To the warm summer days, and the passing of these years, To every single rocket that fills an evening sky, and the reflection of the lights in every child's eyes, For all the special little things you used to say and do, I am eternally grateful for the time I shared with you.

I miss you horribly, Grehule  But I'm doing okay.



~~Hold sacred the enduring gifts of love.  Remember everything.~~  

No Act of Kindness...

No act of kindness is ever wasted.

This morning on the drive to work, a stranger made my day just a little bit...no, make that a WHOLE lot better, and showed me that courtesy is alive and well here on planet earth.  And all he did was put his car into reverse, back up a few feet, and allow me to make a left turn into a parking lot.  Simple.  Easy.  For his kindness I paid him with a smile and a wave.  He nodded back.  And for both of us, the day began on a positive note.  Regardless of what happened to me before that moment, today is a good day and life is good.

What goes around, comes back to you, ten fold.  I know, because my courtesy to others just came back to me.  And the timing was perfect.


~~Have faith in the human spirit and in each heart's capacity to make our world a better place.~~

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Signs, Part II

Back on November 17, I made an entry titled Signs.  In that entry I wrote about an experience I had while moving back to Idaho from California, involving the song 'Kyrie' by Mr. Mister.  At the end of the entry, I mentioned that I rarely hear that song anymore, but when I do, I stop whatever I'm doing, and just sit, and listen.

Well, at work last week, I heard that song!  I haven't heard it in years, and hearing it again for the first time in so long really lifted my spirits.  And it couldn't have come at a better time.  It was like a gift.  A sign, if you will.  And yes, as soon as it came on the radio, I stopped what I was doing, and just sat and listened.  It was good to hear 'Kyrie' again.  I guess it was just what I needed and it made the day a better one for me.

True or False?

1. A promise once made, is never forgotten.

2. If a man really wants you, nothing will keep him away.

3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

True or False?


Saturday, November 27, 2004

Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful....

It's snowing here in Idaho.  A little early, if memory serves me right.  Can't remember the last time it snowed right after Thanksgiving...I think it was back in the 70s...it seemed it always snowed the day after. 

It just started about twenty minutes ago, but it's not sticking, yet.  Too warm outside maybe.  I was going to do some shopping today, but I think I'll just stay home and work on a couple of projects.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Dogs on Pogo Sticks

Just finished feeding the dogs.  Always an experience with those two.  I know it is getting close to feeding time when Allie and Rum come up to me and just stare.  Regardless of what I'm doing, there are these four eyes, staring at me...intensely staring at me.  Boring a hole in the back of my head, so to speak.  If that doesn't work, they engage phase 2 of their feeding plan.  Allie begins to make this low moaning sound, almost a whine, but not quite.  More of a whimper.  I can ignore the four eyes staring at me, the noise she makes I can not.  Any movement I make is quickly interpreted as "Feeding Time!!!!!!" and off they run to the basement.  Sometimes I have fun with them, and hide.  They hate it.  No matter where I hide, I can hear them, bounding up and down the stairs, running into every room, sniffing, searching.  They always check the last place they found me, first.  This goes on for about five or ten minutes, then Allie begins to whimper again as she runs from one room to another, in desperation.  Problem is I'm running out of places to hide.  Rumbeau usually finds me anyways.  Allie comes close but she's too scatter-brained to stay on my trail long enough..but once in a while she does succeed.

Once hide-and-seek is over, they go barreling full speed down the stairs again, and begin their feeding dance.  I'm serious.  And it's hard to not pull one more hiding stunt on them, just because.  If I'm not down those stairs in three seconds, Allie flies back up to the top, with those intense eyes and that whimper.  I have to give in, and so I make my way down  while Allie flies down ahead of me.  I can hear her racing around the family room in a circle, while Rumbeau prances in front of his bowl and as soon as I appear at the bottom of the stairs, he bends over and touches his bowl with his nose.  Apparently after all these years, he doesn't trust my judgement enough to know where I'm supposed to put his food, he has to show me.  As I walk toward the bar where the desired doggy groceries are kept, the two of them turn into Mexican jumping beans, on pogo sticks.  Up and down they jump, non-stop.  Rumbeau gets some pretty serious air-time as he can just about clear the height of the bar with his back legs.

These two are chow hounds, literally.  Rumbeau, being the oldest, gets fed first (after he shows me one more time where the doggy groceries go), then Allie gets fed.  I have trained both of them to sit before I'll put the food in their bowl, out of necessity.  In case you haven't picked up on it yet, Allie is a little bit hyper.  Sometimes she can't stop the pogo stick routine.  She will jump just as I'm bending down, and she'll hit the food scoop with her head and knock the food all over. And she doesn't eat her food, she inhales it.  Rumbeau always has about a ten second head start on Allie, but somehow she finishes first; every time.  You can set your watch by it.  She may be hyper and a little strange, but she is consistent, I'll give her that.

And with their bellies full, they both collapse and slip away into doggy dream land, where they chase raccoons, squirrels, and an occasional skunk.  Now if I could just get them to quit drinking the water out of the toliet.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours the many blessings of Thanksgiving.  May your hearts and homes be filled with love!

And the Ultra sound says...

it's a girl!  Well, so far.  Came home from work to find the mom-to-be and her father watching the baby on video (technology today...it's mind boggling).  Baby is developing nicely at 16 weeks, has a healthy heart beat, and now, they can color in the umbilical cord so you can see the blood actually pumping.  Amazing.  Mom-to-be said at first she thought it was a girl, but changed her mind to a boy a few weeks ago...ironically, when she first told us (with a poem, how sweet is that?) my first inclination was toward a girl, but I changed my mind a couple of weeks ago too.  Weird.  Well, I've had friends who were told it was a boy, and delivered a baby girl...so, I'll wait until the next ultra sound.  Frankly, I know the techs are highly trained to spot these things, but I couldn't tell one way or the other on that screen.  At any rate, she's an active one!  Kicking and everything.  Feisty it would seem, just like her mother.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Someone to Watch Over Me

It's nice to know someone will always be there for you, watching over you.  I like having a "Big Brother."  Knowing that, makes things better.  It puts a new color into my world.  A calming color.  Sometimes I wish I could be at a certain place right now, but I know timing is everything.  For too long, the timing was always off, not right.  But now, that is changing.  Something is happening to make things right this time.  I feel it, every day.  And I welcome those thoughts and feelings, with open arms. 

Speaking of Big Brothers, I need to call mine.   

Monday, November 22, 2004

Monday Night Winding Down

Saw Ashley Judd in 'Someone Like You' on tv.  Funny how I just recently mentioned her in my Panty Raid journal entry.  Was thinking back to that entry, looked up at the tv, and lo and behold, there's Ashley; brought a big smile to my face.  She is so talented and such a beautiful person, inside and out.  I have always loved The Judds' music, since the first time I heard them.  And that, for me, is a rare thing.  But then again, their music IS very, very special music; so close to my heart.  No one writes or sings songs like that.  No one even comes close.

Travel Advisory

Taking a little break from the number crunching--budgets...which don't want to balance after I've spent the past two days entering a bazillion numbers into the accounting software (arrrgh!).

I know a lot of you will be traveling by plane this week, and just wanted to pass on a little something to think about.  Whenever I fly, as soon as I sit down on the plane, the first thing I do is close my eyes, and visualize the plane completely surrounded by a white ribbon of light.  With my eyes still closed, I mentally draw that ribbon up, so the plane is connected to the heavens above.  I keep that picture in my mind, and say a little prayer (hmmm, How Far is Heaven by Los Lonely Boys just came on the radio...interesting).   I ask the Divine One to hold this plane in his care throughout the flight, and I thank him.  Once the plane reaches the runway, as it begins the approach for take off, I close my eyes again, visualizing the plane with the white ribbon of light being pulled up into the sky.  And I hold that visual as long as I need to.  I find this has a calming affect on me.  If things get bumpy, I close my eyes again, inhale, and hold the visual of the plane and the ribbon of light always stretching upwards, in my mind (don't forget to exhale).  Stay focused on the vision as long as necessary.  Once the plane lands at the next airport, and reaches the terminal, I close my eyes, and thank him once again.  I do it everytime, and it works for me.

Safe traveling to everyone.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.


P. S.  Don't worry.  I'm not gonna start preachin'.  :)

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Why We Love Children

1. A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat, but it was dead.  "How do you know that the cat was dead?" she asked her pupil. "Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move," answered the child innocently. “You did WHAT ? ! ?" the teacher exclaimed in surprise.  "You know," explained the boy, "I leaned over and went 'Pssst!' and it didn't move."

2. A small boy is sent to bed by his father. Five minutes later....."Da-ad...." "What?" "I'm thirsty. Can you bring drink of water?" "No, You had your chance. Lights out." Five minutes later:  "Da-aaaad....." "WHAT?" "I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??"  "I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!" Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....." "WHAT!" "When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?"

 3. An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him "How do you expect to get into Heaven?"  The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, 'For Heaven's sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!" 

 4. One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?" The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. "I can't dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's room." A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice:  "The big sissy."

 5. It was that time, during the Sunday morning service, for the children's sermon. All the children were invited to come forward.  One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said, "That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter Dress?" The little girl replied, directly into the pastor's clip-on microphone, "Yes, and my Mom says it's a bitch to iron."

 6. When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower.  She said, "Mommy, you are getting fat!"  I replied, "Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy."  "I know," she replied, "but what's growing in your butt?"

 7. A little boy was doing his math homework. He said to himself,  "Two plus five, that son of a bitch is seven.  Three plus six, that son of a bitch is nine...."  His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, "What are you doing?"  The little boy answered, "I'm doing my math homework, Mom." "And this is how your teacher taught you to do it?" the mother asked. "Yes," he answered.  Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, "What are you teaching my son in math?"  The teacher replied, "Right now, we are learning addition."  The mother asked, "And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a bitch is four?"  After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, "What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four."

 8. One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer. She read, ".... and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!"  The teacher paused then asked the class, "And what do you think that farmer said?" One little girl raised her hand and said, "I think he said: 'Holy Shit! A talking chicken!'" The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.  **MY Favorite**

 9. A certain little girl, when asked her name, would reply,  "I'm Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter."  Her mother told her this was wrong, she must say, "I'm Jane Sugarbrown."  The Vicar spoke to her in Sunday School, and said,  "Aren't you Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter?" She replied, "I thought I was, but mother says I'm not."

10. A little girl asked her mother, "Can I go outside and play with the boys?"  Her mother replied, "No, you can't play with the boys, they're too rough."  The little girl thought about it for a few moments and asked,  "If I can find a smooth one, can I play with him?"  **I like her thinking**  
11. A little girl goes to the barber shop with her father.  She stands next to the barber chair, while her dad gets his hair cut, eating a snack cake.  The barber says to her, "Sweetheart, you're gonna get hair on your Twinkie." She says, "Yes, I know, and I'm gonna get boobs too."

Friday, November 19, 2004


Communication.  Funny how it can get so messed up sometimes.  Actually, it's not really funny.  Sometimes it can be just downright frustrating, and sad.

A long time ago I met someone.  That day is a very special day.  And even now, almost thirty years later, I can remember every vivid moment.  At the time I didn't realize it, but that day was a day of destiny.

On that day, a lot of things happened.  Unusual things, things I least expected.  It started out as a day like so many before, but evolved into something very special...magical.  And as the hours passed, I found myself holding on to each moment, making mental notes about little things that were said and done.  Somehow, I knew it would be important, later.

On that day, we went for a drive.  Up a long winding road, alongside a winding river.  We stopped, got out of the car, and sat on a rock.  This is not just any rock, it was a place I often found myself drawn to.  A place, along that river, where I could just sit, and think, and listen to the calming sound of the water flowing by.  A place where I felt safe.

On that day, we shared many things.  I talked about things I would never have spoken of to anyone else; but I knew it was safe to share these things with him.  I could trust him.  And he, seemed to feel the same way, because I know he opened up to me, as well.

On that day, we took a walk.  But we didn't get to finish it.  Instead, we raced back to the car (he won!), and drove back to town.  We spent a few more hours together, then he had to leave.  We promised to keep in touch, then said our farewells.  But he wasn't ready to leave me, because he came back.  We had a little more time.  Soon that time came to an end.  As I dropped him off at his door, we said our farewells again.  And he left me with a kiss.  Our first kiss.  To this day it lingers on my lips...it was, and still is, a kiss like no other.

A few days later, I went for a drive, back on that long winding road, along side thatwinding river, to that rock.  And as I sat there, thinking back, I was filled with hope.  And love.  I knew something special had happened here, just a few days before.  I knew that my life was changing.  I thought about the walk we started, and wondered when we would get to finish it.  In my head, a voice said to me, thirty years.  No!  That can't be!  Thirty years...we'll be...so old!  I pushed that thought out of my head, climbed down from that rock, and, as if to squelch that pesky little voice, I took that walk.  It was just me and my shadow that day.  With every step I took, I imagined him there, by my side, walking with me.  I walked down to a sandy beach, sat down, and thought about what had just happened.  I couldn't understand it.  Then I went back home.

Many years before, I had decided I wanted to write a book, about my life.  At the time, a teenager in high school, I thought I had a story to tell.  A story of separation, abuse, dysfunction, pain, survival, and love, a mother's love.  They say, be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it.  Today, I know just how true those words are.  Because, if I thought I had a story to tell back then, it was nothing compared to the chapters that were about to unfold in my life.  The underlying theme of the book remains the same, separtion, abuse, dysfunction, pain, survival, and love.  The healing power of love.

Communication.  It can get messed up sometimes.  By the interference of others, or circumstance.  Sometimes we have no power over it, and sometimes we do.  As a child I had no power over the interference and circumstances.  As an adult, I do.  If there is one thing I have learned in my life, it is that I hold the power to change things, to undo the past, to heal the hurts, and to set things right.

Now I understand.  I think it's time...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

To Believe

I hear you
Every minute
Every day
I hear you

I know you
Always there
No matter where
I know you

I feel you
Deep inside
Places only you know
I feel you

I believe you
More than before
With every breath
I believe you

I see you
In my heart
In my soul
I see you

I touch you
Beneath the stars
Within my dreams
I touch you

I believe you
Do and die
Faith is alive
I believe you

You have always been there
You will always be here
As days go by
The time draws near

So close
The wait
Is almost

11/18/04 DLL

I Have This Friend Who...

She calls herself a cloudy day kind of girl.

But to me, she is a ray of sunshine.  She makes me laugh.  And she attracts some of the funniest people to her.  I know when I visit her journal, something special will happen.  Whether it's in her entry, or one of the comments left by her many friends, I'll find myself in side-spliting laughter (but we'll get back to that in a minute).  Every morning when I get up, her journal is the first one I go to.  I have to see just what she is up too.  And today, oh Lordy, my oh my.  Quite the imagination, that one has.

I found her journal because a couple of weeks ago she was selected as an Editor's Top 5 Pick.  You go girl!  And as the days have gone by, I can see why.  She's got a heart of gold, and she's always giving, while asking very little in return.  Not too long ago, she was "pimpin" another journal.  And that seems to have paid off, because I noticed that journal is now on the Editor's Pick list as well.

So, Robin, in tribute to you and your never ending wit, I've selected some of my favorite entries from your journal.

I Swallow   (Listening to Jimmy Neuron = coming up with this?) :::scratching my head:::

Something Light Hearted  (this was one of her quiet moments)

One Bad Apple  (Jose....come out, come out where ever you are)

Oh, The Drama  (cat fights and storage bags....interesting)

Hello Robin?  (what's the fascination with getting some bush in the oval office...thanks Remo)

Why Do Kids Love Poop?  (You Never Let Me Do Anything Mom!...Priceless)

And last, but certainly not least, today's entry  I've Been Naughty Santa

Okay, that being said, I think you should know that before I started this entry, I had developed what can only be described as a laughing hernia.  My stomach hurts, my face hurts, and now that I'm done with this entry, I'm going to collapse into a state of complete and total exhaustion.  I'm done.


Besides, you knew this was coming, cuz I warned you my pretty.


Your Friend,



P. S.  She has this thing about cucumbers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Having survived today, full of many wonderful, healthy surprises, I'm sitting here trying to calm down.  :::Breathe, in and out.  Deeeeep, breaths:::
Okay, I feel better now.
Problem is, I can't seem to concentrate right now.  My mind is a flurry of activity (hope I can sleep tonight).  At any rate I am sitting here with a huge smile on my face, and lovin' it.
A little while ago I was chatting with my friend, Robin.  And the topic of faith and agnostic's came up.  One of her journal entries today is about signs...you know, the ones that to one person may be just a advertisement, but to another become so much more.  She asked me if I understood what she meant.  And I told her I do, and I shared a little story with her.  I was going to put a joke I received today in here about children, but that can wait for another day.  This is more important.
I was raised in a baptist home, and attended Sunday School and church with my family each and every Sunday throughout my childhood.  I always believed in God, and angels, after all I was born in the City of Angels.  As a very small child I had experiences, profound experiences, that showed me the good and bad in people.  I knew the pendulum of human nature could swing either way.  Yet, I always looked for the good, because I believed it was there.  And I always believed there was a God.  But in 1978, I abandoned my faith in him, and turned my back to everything I had held true all my life.  All because he didn't answer one, simple prayer.  If you read any of my prior posts, you know I lost my mother, and it was a prayer for her life that caused the 180 degree in my beliefs.
Then two events, nothing short of a miracle, happened to me.  This entry is about the second one.  The first is amazing, but it is the second event that means the most to me.  Because it involves music.
It's December 21, 1985.  I am living in Sacramento, California, and have just walked away from a very unhealthy relationship.  Emotionally, I was a mess...a pathetic mess.  And I wanted to go home.  Home, back to Idaho, where I knew people who loved me were waiting for my return.  So, I quit my job, packed everything I owned in my car and hit the road.  Two of my tires had patches on them, and the car was so heavy that the wheels were almost touching the ground.  I filled the tires with air, and started praying I would make the 900+ mile journey without any problems.
It's now a little past midnight and I've passed the Oregon state line on I-5.  Just outside of Grant's Pass, I run into a total white out.  The wind is blowing, visability is zero...I can't see the edge of the road, any of the white lines, the mountains, or even the end of the car hood.  I slow my speed down to about 15 miles per hour, and continue to crawl up along the highway.  There is no traffic in either direction, it's just me on that lonely mountain road.  And I'm getting scared.  My hands are clamped on the wheel so tight my knuckles are white and my fingers hurt.  The entire trip I have a cassette by a very popular English band playing, over and over, on the stereo.  The music keeps me going.  But my mind is racing...what if one of the tires blows?  What if I get stuck?  What if I hit ice, and slide off the road?  Fear has me so engulfed in my worries I don't even see the semi-truck coming up behind me, until he flies by, blowing a whirlwind of snow behind him, as he narrowly misses me.  I need to pull over and take a break, but I can't tell where the edge of the road stops, so I continue driving.
And I start praying, "Please God, give me a sign that everything will be all right.  Please."  Moments later I pushed the cassette out of the player, and search through the radio stations to get a road report.  This storm has got to end sometime.  Finding none, I leave the radio on a Top 40 station.  A song is just finishing, then there is a commercial break.  And then I hear the sounds of "Kyrie" by Mr. Mister begin to play.  Right then, I knew he had heard me, and answered my prayer.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Confirmation?  Yes, absolutely.  I started to sing along, my grip on the wheel relaxed, and so did I.  The song ended, and within a very short time, the snow storm stopped.  By the time I hit Portland I was flying along at 70 miles an hour; I was almost home.
Around noon, I pulled in front of my Dad's house in Lewiston, tired and relieved.  I walked into the house and just flopped on a bed in the spare bedroom.  I drove all night, all alone, and I made it without a single problem (but, I did have to stick my head out the window a couple of times to keep awake...it is a looooooong drive). 
Dad woke me up when he got home later that afternoon.  And he told me another story, involving a car.  When I decided to move to Sacramento in September 1981, Dad didn't want me to go, and tried to talk me out of it, several times.  But, I can be very stubborn (it's the Taurus in me).  Dad drove me to the airport in his 1936 Plymouth sedan, and saw me off on the plane.  As he pulled out of the airport parking lot, the engine died.  And it refused to start.  He knows a lot about engines, and he checked under the hood, but couldn't find anything wrong.  So, he tried the ignition, several times.  Nothing.  He had to call a tow truck to get it back home.  The next day, he went out to work on the car, but before he did anything, he wanted to try the engine one more time.  He put the key in the ignition, and the engine turned over.  He shut it off.  He tried it two more times, and each time the engine roared to life.  And that's when he knew, regardless of how he felt about my leaving, that I was supposed to go on that journey to California.
Now, each time I hear "Kyrie" on the radio, I think about my journey that dark night, on that mountain road.  I don't hear it very often these days, but when I do, I stop whatever I'm doing, and sit, and just listen.
Kyrie - Mr. Mister

The wind blows hard against this mountainside
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old it holds my memories
My body burns a gemlike flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kyrie Eleison
Down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison
Through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison
Where I'm going will you follow
Kyrie Eleison
On a highway in the light

When I was young I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Two Injections? I'll Have (THE) Gas

Okay, so three weeks ago I went to the dentist.  Now, it's been a while since my last visit, and I have a composite filling that cracked, so I know this will involve more than just routine cleaning.  X-rays confirm that yes, indeed, the composite (lower right) is cracked and I also have a cavity (lower left) that needs filled.  So the question is on the table.  Do I want to have both sides done at once, or split into two visits?  This seems like a no brainer (to me anyway...I will live to regret this); let's just do it all at once.

The receptionist looks over her glasses at me and asks, "Are you sure?"

"Yes.  I don't want to have to make two trips." 

Great...appointment is made, I leave.  All is well and good.

Today was the day.  Let me just get this out in the open, right now.  If you go to the dentist, and need to have work done on both sides of your lower jaw, split the appointment into two visits.  Apparently the part of my brain that supposed to remind me what it's like to have your jaw numbed went on vacation three weeks ago.

They asked me if I wanted gas, which I've never had before; I've always just taken the injection straight.  Today, all things considered, I opted for the gas.  After a brief explanation of the effects of the gas and what to expect, they begin.  The dentist gets the left cavity filled and begins on the right side.  He leaves momentarily, and while I'm laying there I feel like I have a small swimming pool forming in my mouth.  The dental assistant asks me how I'm doing.  I respond as best as I can, under the circumstances.

"I feel like I have a pool in my mouth."  Sounded good to me.

There is a slight pause, and she asks, "You feel like you have a fool in your mouth?"

Now I know why they call it laughing gas.  I looked at her, she looked at me and here come the giggles, immediately followed by an eruption of laughter, complete with a couple a snorts mixed in.  Now, I'm one of those people who, once I start giggling, I can't stop.  I really tried....honestly, I did.  But everytime she'd bend over to work on me, I'd start again.  Finally the dentist comes back in, and naturally wants to know what is so funny.  He could hear us all the way down the hall.  In fact, everyone in the office can hear us.

He sits down, and gives me that, 'Well? Are you going to tell me?' look.

I shake my head and give him the 'Don't look at me...I can't talk right now,' look. 

And his assistant is not talking either, she has turned away from us and is busily mixing up the next filling material.  Judging by the way her shoulders are shaking, I'm guessing that material got mixed together quite well.  A moment or two passes, and the dentist comments that maybe I'm getting too much gas and they should turn it down a bit.

"She's fine," his assistant smiles as she turns back to us and sets down the filling mixture.   He waits for a further explanation, but receives none, so decides to continue with the procedure.

So now, here I sit.  My jaw is still completely numb (the appointment was three hours ago), and I'm waiting for some feeling to return.  I'm hungry, but whatever I eat will have to be either soft, or consumed by way of a straw.  Maybe I'll have some ice cream, or a vanilla shake.  I just hope no one decides to call me on the telephone tonight, because there is no one else here to translate for me.


Monday, November 15, 2004

Monday's Gone Mild (or should that be "Mellow")

Today work was...interesting.  This time of year is always a crunch time for me, between the fiscal year-end process, the annual audit, and the day to day stuff, I'm working in overdrive.  Especially since I just started an accounting system conversion on top of it all.  This is the fourth one I've done in my career, and running dual systems equates to twice the work load.  Everything done on the old system has to be duplicated on the new system...that is...after the new system is set-up.   Somedays, I'm just amazed that I get anything done.  But so far the auditor is happy, and when the auditor is happy, everybody is happy (me, my boss, the Board members, and all the granting agencies).  However, it's not time to dance yet, and it won't be until the auditor presents his report at the annual Board meeting in mid-January.  So for the next two months I'll have my nose to the grind stone every day.  Call it...job security.

Didn't get much sleep last night.  I think I finally dozed off around 2:30 a.m.  Seems my mind was not ready to call it a day...too much going on inside.  But, I'm not complaining, and I'm really not all that tired, either, for some reason.  This time of year I'm ususally pretty stressed out, but right now, I feel relaxed...comfortable.  I like this feeling, and I'm really enjoying it.  Every minute of it. :)

A Prayer

Once in a while, when I look at you

I know that you will always care.

Once in a while, when you look at me

I can feel it in the air.

For love may grow or love may die

It just can't stay the same.

But once in a while

I can find myself praying

That your love will always remain.

1977 DLL

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Dogs, Cats and Dancing on the Deck

It's been a very quiet Sunday.  I have the house all to myself this week.  Sam left at 5 a.m. this morning, bound for Montana on another hunting trip.  Being alone in this big house ain't all that bad, really.  Call me weird, but sometimes I enjoy it.  Except late at night, when it is time to retire.  I have to sleep with a light on, somewhere...the hallway, night stand.  Anywhere.  As long as there is a light on, I can close my eyes and sleep.  Until the dogs hear something and start barking, at 2 a.m.  We have two black labs, Rumbeau (from the movie 'Fluke') and Allie (from the TV series 'Allie McBeal'), and they get to stay inside the house at night.  Frankly, I'd rather have them in the house, than outside, at night.  They are my security team, and with the exception of the false alarms, they do a great job of keeping me company.  But I prefer cats...always have, always will.  Here Kitty Kitty.  Cats are by far the best of the two.  A cat can crawl up in your lap, curl up, and keep you warm on cold nights.  Put a 79 pound Lab in your lap, and pretty soon your leg is going to sleep, their "elbow" is digging into your ribs, or stomach, and you are soon in pagony (pain+agony).

After spending this morning chatting and laughing with my friend, Robin (owner of the journal These Are The Days Of Our Lives...check it out; you are the Queen of Journal Land, Bo), I spent the afternoon watching and recording old home movies.  I have all my Dad's videos and am in the process of making copies for myself and my siblings.  I love watching them, and hearing the sound of his giggle and laughter, which is a constant in his movies.  My favorite is from a friend's wedding and reception at Dad & Rita's home in June 1994.  After the wedding, Dad set up his video camera on a tripod outside on the deck, and put the Motown Sound on his stereo.  It didn't take long for me and several other gals to get up and start dancing...line dancing...singing...and just having fun.  For five straight hours, into thewee hours of the morning (12:30 a.m to be precise), that camera captured every hilarious moment.  During all the Diana Ross & the Supremes songs, somehow I got pushed into the spotlight as the lead singer.  But then, I know all the words to the songs, and the other gals (ranging in ages from 16 to 24) didn't.  Watching it, I probably should be embarrassed, but I'm not.  We were having way too much fun.  Laughing, dancing, being goofy, silly, not a care in the world.  That's what enjoying life is all about.  We were just being ourselves.  Most of the time it was just me and Rita's nieces Cheri, Robin, and Deah out there singing and dancing.  But when 'Dancin In The Streets' by Martha and the Vandellas played, we dragged everyone on to the "stage."  It was fun-tastic!  That video camera of Dad's was money well spent.  Actually, you can't put a price on memories like that.  It's just all good.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Panty Raids

I was just reading someone's journal, and after watching Animal House, he was wondering "why don't women wear underwear like that anymore?"  It's been a while since I've seen that movie, but I knew quite well what he was referring to.  And I am proud to say that this woman still does wear underwear like that.  Sorry my fellow females, but wearing thongs is not my thing...at all.  I know lots of you prefer them, and you can have 'em, thank you very much.  After all, who wants to go around wearing a wedgie all the time, especially since I've spent too many years avoiding them.  Yes, I tried a thong...once.  Went to Victoria's Secret, found a couple of pretty ones and brought them home.  Why not, I thought, I'll try almost anything, once.  And once was all it took.  That was enough, I didn't even make it out of the house, before I pulled everything off to put on a pair of real underwear.  Whew!  Never again!

I know I'm not the only one who refuses to be a slave to fashion.  Ashley Judd refuses to wear them, and on several occasions I have seen her speak out about the long term effects of wearing them.  And it isn't pretty.


Faith Hill is one of my favorite female singers.  Since I heard her first CD, Take Me As I Am (1993), she continues to impress me with the quality of the lyrics she selects/writes.

Last night I got out Breathe, and the first track I wanted to hear was the last track.  I don't think it was released as a single (sometimes the best ones aren't), but it stands out as one of my favorites.  This song works on many levels for me, especially right now, for many reasons.  Because I Believe,

There Will Come A Day  (Bill Luther, Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey)

It's not easy trying to understand
How the world can be so cold, stealing the souls of man
Cloudy skies rain down on all your dreams
You wrestle with the fear and doubt
Sometimes it's hard but you gotta believe

There's a better place, where our Father waits
And every tear He'll wipe away
The darkness will be gone, the weak shall be strong
Hold on to your faith

There will come a day, there will come a day 
Wars are raging, lives are scattered
Innocence is lost, and hopes are shattered
The old are forgotten, the children are forsaken
In this world we're living in
Is there anything sacred?

There will come a day, there will come a day
The song will ring out, down those golden streets
The voices of earth with the angels will sing "Hallelujah"
Every knee will bow, sin will have no trace
In the glory of His amazing grace
Every knee will bow, sin will have no trace
In the glory of His amazing grace
There will come a day, there will come a day
Oooh there will come a day
I know there's coming a day, coming a day

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Music Appreciation 101

You know how some songs always make you think of one particular person?  Or, one particular moment in your life?  A little while ago I started to prepare dinner.  I grabbed a CD from my oldies collection, popped it in the player and turned back to the stove.  In the background, The Temptations played, then Stevie Wonder as I busied myself at the stove.  As the elk steaks (not one of my favorites, but I have a freezer full of it) simmered in Stubb's marinade, and the water for the pasta began to boil, my father's all time favorite song came on.  Everytime I hear it, I just can't stand there, it gets me moving...all over.  It's that powerful of a song.  No one's home, so naturally I have to crank it UP!  Good thing dinner was on cruise control at that point, otherwise, there wouldn't be any.  I kind of got carried away.  Yep, that's me be-boping all over the kitchen, slotted spoon and all.  :) 

So, what was the song that just took over my senses.  None other than one of the classics from the master himself, Got to Give It Up (Part 1) by Marvin Gaye.  Everytime I hear that song, I think of my Dad, dancing on the deck, at a reception, at his car lot, camping...doesn't matter.  That will always be Dad's song.  Always.

Now I know where I got my appreciation for good music.  ;)

Merlot and the Kennewick Man

Last night I went to a going away party for a co-worker.  She's moving on...leaving the big city of Lewiston and moving to small town USA, Elk River.  The bar was crowded, noisy and the waitress was in a bad mood.  Everyone from the office was there.  All eight of us.  Also in attendance was another former co-worker, Rachel (brat!) and her husband, Steve.

Having finished one glass of Merlot (on an empty stomach), I could feel the tension of the day slowly easing away. As I started on a second glass (thank you Rachel...if you are reading this), Rachel turned to me and asked me if I have ever heard of the Kennewick Man. 

Yes, I have.  Recently discovered in Kennewick, Washington.  Believed to be millions of years old (that was the Merlot talking).  Claimed by the local Native American Tribe to be one of their own.  Why? 

Do you know why the Tribe wants him so bad? 

Because they believe he's one of their ancestors.

No.  They want him because they want to hide him, to lock him away.  He's white.

Oh, really?  Hmmm.  Makes sense.  After all Alaska and Russia once formed a land bridge eons ago.  So, how do you know all this?

Long story short, rumor has it in the world of archaeology that Kennewick Man is indeed white.  If this is proven true, then American history, as we know it, will be turned upside down.  Those who are currently believed to be the first Americans, may not be.  Boy oh boy, I can just see all the text book publisher's wringing their hands in anticipation.  Not that they have ever relied on new developments to republish text books.  In my college days it seemed every text book I had to purchase was a new edition; there were rarely used ones available to save me a few bucks.

And so, it makes me wonder. What do we really know about ourselves...about our past?  Is history really etched in stone, or is it all arbitrary?  Is it fixed knowledge, or an unknown variable?  Constantly subject to change with every discovery.  I don't know.  Does it really matter?  Yes, I think so.  History, it is said, repeats itself.  And those who do not learn from the past, are destined to repeat it.

Maybe I need to switch to white wine.



Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Do You See My Inner Child?

She hesitates.  Wondering...knowing...wondering.  Is this real?

Deep inside a part of her knows the answer is yes!  While another part tells her, "Get real!"

Her love, so far away, and yet always there, sings in her heart.  Gently holding her, guiding her, caressing her, always there.  His emotions take her, wake her, shake her, back to life.  She's been dead inside...like autumn leaves.

They come and go, the tears and smiles.  The agony and ecstacy.  The memories and dreams.  And yet she holds on, knowing.  It is real, very real.  She must believe.  Just believe.  Always believe.  In love.

In the beginning...

From the moment of her birth, the odds were stacked against her.  Conceived in lust, she was born into a world on the verge of stumbling down from grace.  Her parents, young and uncomprehending of the dark side of human nature, welcomed her into their arms that night.  They held her, hopeful for the tomorrows that lay ahead, and vowed to give her a life filled with love and trust.  She was a clean slate on which they could right all the wrongs of their past—a fresh start on their new life.  In their daughters eyes shined the promise of the future.  It was a new day, in a new city, and they were ready to take it on, together.  They had everything they needed now.  Neither was prepared for the hand of fate that would change everything during their daughters first year of life.

It's a Love/Hate Thang


Surprises…occasional surprises.



Reality TV (enough already)



Watching/hearing a well-prepared debate



Watching/hearing people stuck in diss-ey land



My country – America






Animals (mammals, birds, fish…)



Spiders...and mosquitoes



Good red wines



Getting too drunk on good red wines



Giving and receiving {{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}






Feeling secure and comfortable…balanced



The doubts that creep into my mind



Children and babies



The pain of being unable to have a child



Listening to music...



Screaming and yelling



Meeting people and getting to know them









The dark


Monday, November 8, 2004

At Night


At night I find myself awake
About you, about me, about us
And all the great times we shared.
I just sit there till morning breaks
Losing my sleep and gaining nothing
But those sweet beautiful recollections.
Yet there was a time when we both cried
Over a love we had once shared
With someone very special;
Only to find they had left us
Crying in the cold and dark;
When we really needed the light of a hand,
The warmth of an embrace.

And when the morning breaks;
I find myself praying
There will be more times we can share.
The way I feel we both need each other;
But if you feel that I'm not right,
Just reach out your hand
And you will find
That I will be the one who takes it.
For we live in a time
When the ones who once cared,
Just walk out our door.

DLL 1975

Sunday, November 7, 2004

The Energy of Youth...or Can We Say GOODNIGHT!

I was just reading another journal and I had to laugh.  Seems the writer had just survived her daughters sleepover.  Reading about her experience brought back many memories of a certain birthday party/sleep over my step-daughter Kari had when she was 14.  I swore off Tequila a long time ago, but after that night, I was searching for the bottle. LOL.

Besides, its time to lighten this journal with some good old humor, about parenting...or step-parenting in my case.

I first knew the idea was a bad one when Sam, her father, told me about it.  The second tip off was when he said she'd be having it the weekend he was leaving on his annual week long hunting trip at a friends cabin (Lord, give me strength).  Then he set the ground rules:

#1 He firmly told Kari she could have both boys and girls over for just the party, but he expected her to be on her best behavior. (Sure Dad, no prob)

#2 Guest list was limited to 20 of her closest friends (I saw the guest list--how about 62)

#3 The boys had to leave by 11:00 p.m  (uh-huh)

Picture if you will, me doing my level best to be positive and supportive, all the while knowing that H*ll Night was about to walk into my front door.  Party day arrives, and Sam leaves.  I have called in reinforcements (aka grandparents) because there is no way I am doing this alone.  Oh, and Amy, my 16 year old step-daughter (the morality monitor), is conveniently going to a high school dance that night.

Party central will take place in the family room, in our basement.  Unfortunately, that is also where our bedroom is.  But hey, they are only 14 years old...right?  Why worry?  The bar is also down there, but all alcoholic beverages have been quickly removed from the scene and stashed in an unknown location.  They will also have access to my new Kenwood stereo.  Fine, it is just a piece of equipment that can be easilyreplaced.  Myself and the grandparents will be stationed upstairs, in the kitchen, playing cards...biting our nails...whatever.

So the guests begin to arrive.  One mother actually came to the door to meet me and make sure mature supervision will be present (bless her).  One look at the gparents in the kitchen, a bit of meet and greet, and she left fully satisfied that she had nothing to worry about.  A half an hour later all h*ll broke loose.

It was the sound of the basement door leading outside, repeatedly opening and closing, that got me and my Dad off our chairs to have a peek downstairs.  We opened the door to find not 20, not 30...but over 60 kids in the basement!  Don't cha just hate it when you know somethings going to happen, but your trying your darnest to give the other person the benefit of the doubt?  Exit about 30 kids, stage left.  But, don't worry, they'll be back.

When we heard the strains of music? containing words like...well, it was colorful language...coming from below, Dad and I went down to put a stop to it.  But the door is locked (surprise!).  After threatening to remove said door with a few tools, the door opens.  Guess who's back?  Dad launches into a lecture about the offensive language with ladies in the house, while I waltz over to the CD player to confiscate the evidence.  This is immediately followed by moans and groans, with a few well placed adolescent retorts.  Call your attorney...I don't care.  This is my home.  Deal with it.

Now, I'll just summarize the remaining events.  Kids are coming and going.  I have no idea who is here and who isn't.  My neighbor from down the street shows up because someone has been throwing rocks at his house and now he has a broken window.  Kari comes upstairs, scared because some older boys she doesn't know are hanging around in the back yard.  Dad and I are dispatched outside to deal with the perbs, who fade into the darkness after jumping over the fence.  Kari disappears when one of the father's arrives to take all theboys home at 11:00 (he had limo cuz he's a used car dealer...like my Dad).  I spend the next 45 minutes searching for her.  One of her friends tells me she left.  Seems she wanted to go for a ride in the limo with the boys.  She shows back up and swears she told me she was leaving.  Grandparents chime in with a resounding "No, you did not."    Grandparents hang around until 12:30 a.m. as a security measure, and leave only when I am ready to let them go.

Sleep over, I have decided, is an oxymoron.  There is no sleep when you have more than one teenage girl under one roof.  They are camped out in the basement (remember, that's where my room is).  I have an 8 a.m. appointment with my finite math professor the next morning (she works on Saturday) and I need sleep.  Before retiring to my room, I chatted with my young house guests; yes, I have been to a few sleep overs and I know what they are.  I can deal with the giggling, after all I've slept through an earthquake once, just try to keep it down to a w-h-i-s-p-e-r.   I see a room of heads nodding, and several "we will" and "goodnights" so I pad off to the bedroom.

It's now 2:30 a.m. and after several trips from the bedroom to the family room to repeat my simple request, I have convinced all but 4 of them to go nighty-nite.  But someone, who shall remain nameless, is wide-awake and fanning the flames. 

I hear voices in the night.

"Are you guys asleep?"           (Go to sleep girls...pleeeeeeze)


"Don't shush me!"                    (Did I just hear a door open?)

"Please be quiet."                              

"I don't have to."                 

"You heard what she said."     (Finally!)

"She's not my mother!"        

And on and on.

By 4 a.m. my patience is gone.  I decide to pull out the heavy artillery.  I walk back in the family room, with telephone in hand, and announce that if I'm not going to get any sleep tonight, then neither are the parents of the late shift.  I know your names and I will start making phone calls.  This is met with wide-eyed stares and several "Please don't call my parents.  They're sleeping!"  Gee, what a novel idea.  At which point I am then reminded that I am not someone's mother and therefore can't tell her what to do.  True, perhaps, but I'm in no mood to be trifled with.  After a brief, but lively exchange of words and pleasantries, I return to bed...drifting off to a restless slumber.

Wake up at 7 a.m.  The phone rings.  Turns out my professor is now sick, so the meeting is off.  Fine.  The basement looks like a war zone.  Pop is spilled everywhere.  Cheetos (and God only knows what else) have been ground into the carpet.  Out comes the vacuum and towels cuz I'm certainly not cleaning up their mess, and no one is going home until the room is back in order.  Put the cleaning detail to work, which wasn't too difficult since some of the girls are feeling really guilty and are all too eager to get back on my good side.

By 10:30 a.m. my home is mine again and Kari is now catching up on her sleep.  At noon there is a knock at the door.  I open it to find my new next door neighbor standing on my porch, with steam coming out of his ears.  He knows there was a party here last night.  And he has called the police because someone kicked in the front door of his new house (he hasn't even moved in yet).  Wonderful!  So nice to finally meet you.  Kari is then summoned to the door to hear the story too.  But she is still in la-la land and doesn't get it.  I do my best to calm him down.  He finally leaves.  Now I'm steaming. 

Fast forward to Monday night.  I've dropped Kari, Amy and her friend off at dance class and returned home to find Sam waiting for me.  I give him a run down on the lovely party (believe me, I did not enjoy it...there is nothing worse for a step-parent than the task of having to tell the other parent about this kind of stuff).  He goes off to shower while I pick up the girls.  The entire drive home I'm listening to the constant chatter of three teenagers.  Amy is siding with her sister (for once) and lecturing me about how I should just "chill out" about what happened the other night.  It wasn't that bad, she says.  The new house next door is just a tow-house (manufactured home) and the guy is a sleeze bag.  I listen calmly and nod my head at the appropriate times.  She's still pointing out the falacies of my thinking as we near our home.  Suddenly, our driveway comes into view.  And the three voices are silenced at the sight of the Dodge pick-up now parked there.  This is followed by several furtive glances, capped off by Amy's friend who asked, "What's your Dad doing home?  I thought he was still hunting."  You could actually feel the energy in my car drop...no...plummet, as I pulled into the driveway.  Uh-oh.  No one spoke a word as we got out of the car and walked to the front door.

I have it on very good authority that in over 20 years Sam has never had to come home from a hunting trip.  Ever.  To this day, neither Amy nor Kari know how I got the message to him.  After all, I was home all day Saturday and Sunday, taking mid-terms all day Monday, and there are no telehone lines to the cabin.  But, I can be very resourceful, if need be.  Where there is a will...there is a way.

And I am very good at keeping secrets.

These are the days

I was just standing in the kitchen, fixing coffee, looking out the window, thinking.  Outside the leaves on the neighbor's tree, yellow and fading, were moving softly, dancing in a gentle breeze.  Swaying, swirling, in the sun light as they clung to limbs gracefully arching over the yard.  I just stood there, waiting for them to begin their slow descent from the heights and safety of the tree.  But the leaves held fast, never letting go.  I walked away with my coffee, returned to my room, sat down at my computer, and thought about those leaves.

Fall is in the air, the days and nights are getting colder here in Idaho.  Squirrels are scampering about in the yard, preparing for the winter.  Every now and then I hear the sound of a walnut, heavy with its fruit, hit the roof above my head with a THUD just before it rolls down to the cold earth below.  Cushioned by a bed of yellow leaves, the walnut rests, its life cycle almost complete.  Rich in fat, soon it will be discovered by one of those squirrels, who will carry it off to a secret place, where it will lay until the time is right for it's purpose to be served.  The day will come when that solitary walnut provides the nourishment to sustain another of God's creatures through the cold harshness of the winter season.  The cycle will be complete, yet never ending.

Sitting in my room, through the window the sky is blue, and were it not for the warmth of the sweater I have wrapped around me, I could almost believe it was summer again.  Here, in this room, I can not see the leaves of the walnut tree slowly fading away.  What I see is the evergreen of several aborvitae, standing tall and straight along the fence line, always reaching up.  From my room, the view is very different than the view in the kitchen.  Through one window, the scenery is changing, and through another, it remains the same.  Life, it seems, is like that.

Through the window of our eyes, and hearts, we see the landscape of our life.  We can touch it, smell it, hear it, know it, live it.  It's just there.  And as we travel on our journey we meet people, and sometimes they become a part of our landscape.  We hear them, see them, feel them, know them, love them.  And we can touch them, both physically and in many other ways. 

The other day, I posted a poem I wrote many years ago to an AOL poetry group.  For years it has laid in an old spiral bound notebook from my high school days.  I have shared that poem with only one person before.  Someone very special to me.  And it touched him.  But the other day, I thought it was time that poem saw the light of day.  They are simple words, written long ago as I struggled to understand my life's purpose.  When I posted it, I had no expectations.  I just wanted to awaken the poem from it's long, silent slumber.  To bring it back to life.  On that day it took on a life all its own.  It's words touched another person in ways I never thought of.  Rising to another gloomy day, they too had been looking out the window, feeling...lost, yet hopeful.  Then they read my poem, and saw the gift I had given.  In one simple act, I gave another person something special, a different view.  So moved by my words, this individual was inspired to honor my feelings in their own poem about that moment in their life.  They too, posted it to the poetry board.  And I have shared my poem with you, as well.  Scroll down a couple of entries and you'll find "A Tear and A Smile" living in this journal.

I'm looking out the window again.  Gone is the blue sky, replaced by the heaviness of thick, grey clouds moving in from the west.  It would be easy for me to let those clouds darken the life of this day, but I won't.  They are, after all, just clouds that come and go, here one minute, gone the next.  Like the landscape of life, with its vibrant colors living each day in the moment, soft and subtle, yet strong and bold, we humans have within ourselves a wonderful power.  The power to live, to grow, to love, and to touch another.  Our strength lies in our numbers, and  together we can create simple miracles in the landscape of another's life.  It happens every day, whether we see it ornot. 

Look around you because it is there.  Sometimes it just depends on your view.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Mom aka Millie

Okay, so it's time for me to write about the one person in my life who opened me up and blocked me out.  My Mom.  Where do I begin?

No journal will ever have enough pages to hold all my feelings, thoughts...memories of her.  She was something else.  Complicated...that basically describes her.  She was a walking, talking contradiction in many ways.  And maybe that's why I've never been able to write a poem about her.  God knows I've tried--for years--to express my innermost heartsong for Mom.  It's just too complicated.  I can't.  At least, not yet.  But I feel the day coming...
In the beginning she was a very beautiful person, radiating with life, love and hope.  My childhood memories of her are always tender.  I can remember how she could wipe away my tears and fears with just the simple stroke of her finger across my cheek.  Whenever I was feeling low, she would tell me the story of the trip her and Dad made from Idaho to California before I was born.  She was about three months pregnant with me at the time.  Their car ran out of gas, and they were pushing it up a small hill, Dad in back, and Mom at the driver's side, steering.  Somehow she lost her footing, slipped and rolled down the hill, head over heels.  When she came to a stop, she was cussin' because her knees and hands were skinned up.  That night she started bleeding so Dad took her to the hospital, where she was told she had miscarried, yet six months later I was born.  She had been carrying twins, the doctor told her, but I survived the fall.  "You are a survivor," she'd tell me in a tender voice.  "You fought to stay alive inside me.  You were meant to be.  Don't ever give up.  God has something very special planned for you."  "What?" I would ask.  She'd wrap her arms around me and rest her head on mine.  "I don't know, honey.  That's for you to find out when you grow up."  Then she'd pull away from me, cup my chin in her hand and say,"And when it happens, you'll know."  That moment lives forever in my heart.
And so the years rolled by, and time, as it often does, changed everything.  Including Mom.  Too many things went wrong...terribly wrong...for her.  To isolate the change in her and contribute it to any one thing would be a a fruitless effort.  The cause and effect of time on my mother's life is like the crafting of a raw chunk of rock into a precious gem.  She was a diamond in the rough waiting to shine.  But somehow in the process of shaping and polishing her, the grip loosened, the gem shifted and the crafter's tool struck too deep, shattering everything.  The pieces flew in many directions, scattered and fragmented, never to be whole again.
How do I tell the story of the person who inspired hope in my life, who always told me to never give up, no matter what, when that same person lost all hope, and just gave up?  It saddens me when I think of how love and hope wasn't enough to keep her going.  So many times Mom thought she found love in a man, and through some strange twist of fate, she lost it.  Twice in violence, once in frustration, and the last time, in death.  Maybe she lost too much, too many times.  And the last time was just that...the last time.  It's like she was dancing on a cliff, so enthralled with the music she didn't notice how her movements were bringing her closer to the edge.  But there was still love in her life...family love...her children's love.  Never ending love, given unconditionally.  I was there, pulling her away from the edge, doing everything in my power to get her attention, to bring her focus back to her family.  But she just pushed me away...from the edge...and she let go.  That's what hurt the most, was the feeling that her family's love wasn't enough to keep her holding on.
She always had so much fight in her...a quality I admired and feared.  God help the poor soul who crossed my mother, she could be hell on wheels.  If you sparked her anger, your best defense was to turn and run, cos if she got a hold of you, you were going down!  
One particular incident tells it all.  I can't recall what year it happened, mid-70s I think.  Mom was dating a traveling salesman (yeah, I know...) and one day she was telling her sister, Joan, about him.  They compared notes, and the conversation revealed that they were both dating the same guy.  Of course, he had told each of them they were the only one he was seeing when he came to town.  So, Mom devised a plan to teach him a lesson.  The next time he came to town, he called and she invited him over for dinner.  He arrived on time, and Mom put the plan into action.  They were relaxing with a cocktail while waiting for dinner to cook (lasagne, I think) and he was settling in for a good time.  There was a knock at the back door, and a few moments later my aunt Joan casually walked into the dining room.  The guy froze, his jaw dropped and his face turned a shocking hue of white.  "I believe you know my sister, Joan," Mom said, as she turned to him, her blue eyes flaming.  He studdered something, dropped his drink, and ran for the front door, never to be seen again.  I don't know who got the most satisfaction from it, but both Mom and Aunt Joan sniggered about it for weeks after.  They both delighted in retelling the story of their sweet revenge on the lying, two-timing, luckless SOB who made the mistake of dating two women in the same town, who just happened to be sisters.  I think they both made a significant impact on his life, or at the very least, his dating philosophy.
In conversations with my two younger sister's, who were 14 and 12 when Mom died 26 years ago, I have learned they remember very little about her.  To fill the void in their memory, I have shared my stories, like the ones above, about our mother.  The good stuff, the laughter, and all the fun we used to have together.  The only thing they remember is that she was either always working, tired, asleep or angry.  They don't remember those magical times we shared...those defining moments that bond a child to a parent.  All they remember is that I was always there for them.  I was the one who wiped away their tears, calmed their fears, and spoke the soothing words of love and hope.  Many times Chris (the oldest) has told me "To us, you were Mom."  Those are bittersweet words to hear, a double edged sword that just cuts through me...but it is the truth.  Hearing her speak those words fills my heart with joy and sadness, at the same time.  Yet, it is the joy that rings the loudest and lingers deep inside; and gently reminds me that I made a positive impression on them.  All those times I got frustrated with their endless bickering and fighting, when I felt like I was talking to a "brick wall," my words and actions really did sink in...in time.  Like all good things, it just took time.  They remember the love I gave.  And they held on to it through all those years, carrying it in their hearts and in turn, passing it on to their children.
There is a saying "A hundred years from now it will not matter how much money I made, what kind of car I drove, or the size of the house I lived in.  The only thing that will matter is that I was important in the life of a child."  Okay, maybe that's not the exact wording, but you know the one.  As we go through our lives, whether we walk with grace, even if we stumble sometimes, the only thing that really matters is how we treat each other, and ourselves.  
For years I have carried the burden of despair because I felt that I should have done more for my mother, and if I had, maybe she would have lived longer.  Now, through this entry I realize I did everything I could, but it was out of my hands.  All this time I've been unable to see that all my love was not in vain, my direction and my focus was true, set on the course of two young children who needed me...to just be there.  With my heart, I gave them all I had to give.  I see it now, in their eyes, and in their children's eyes, I see the truth.  All is not lost, for I was important in the life of two children.  And those two children have lived on, and grown up to become mother's themselves, who fill their children's hearts with warmth, hope, and love.  What more could I ask than to have the love I put out there so long ago, returned to me in the heart another child, knowing that the source of that love, was after all, my mother's love for her child.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

A Tear and A Smile

I give to you a tear and a smile

These are my gifts, please keep them for awhile.

A tear to open your eyes,

And teach you to be a stronger person,

When the world can be so cold.

A smile to open your heart

Like you opened mine.

A smile in hopes

It might open the hearts

Of those who can be so cold.

(c) 1976 D. L. Lannon