Mississippi Moments

Monday, December 31, 2007

Erma meets Dear Abby meets Chicken Soup meets A Course in Miracles meets....ah, let's just call it "Glass Half-FULL"
So, a few minutes ago I'm outside with Himself while he takes care of business and I'm thinking about the queer mood I'm in and have been in all day today and most of yesteday, thankful that I have the tankful of dirty dishes all washed (clean this time, I might add-been having a little trouble lately with attention to detail), thankful for the Christmas tunes coming off of the outdoor twinkle lights from my neighbors behind and to the right, thankful that I have someplace to go tonight if I want (and I do), thankful that some of today and yesterday was spent outdoors puttering and clearing, composting and splitting, cleaning and just noticing, walking and talking...hold on a minute, gotta take some cookies out of the oven. Berightback.
Okay, I'm back. So I was thinking about how much I really dislike New Year's and why I gravitate toward Celtic New Year instead. I hate phony. I hate talk and no action. I hate cacophony. I hate...maybe I will relanguage that word to "can't/won't/choose not to tolerate"..so do your own substitutions....It's all about the "resolutions" and about how people make 'em and don't keep 'em. And it brings me back to choices, vows, chains, boxes, and resolutions I have made for myself, put myself into and how that all worked so well (NOT!!)...and how through God's amazing Grace, the power of Love, the power of Trust, the power of Laughter, the power of Hope, the power of Right Relationship, the Power of Friends, the power of Sacred Space and Quiet Place, the power of Therapy, the power of Good Food Made with Love, the power of Prayer, the power of Home, the power of Dance, the power of Music heard, shared, and yet to be Created, the power of Family, the power of Spirit and all Spirit-Beings, the power of Memories, the power of Words, the power of Forgiveness, the power of Hard Work. the power of Sweat and Purposeful Exercise, the power of Good Coffee, the power of Gratitude Journals, the power of Get Out of Bed One More Day and Get On With It, and of course, the power of "It's a Snow Day!?!"...my new name is Dances with Glass Half-Full. And it's full of all those things I jsut listed and a few thousand more that I haven't.
So here's my Erma moment, written entirely for myself, because sometimes I am the only one that understands my humor.
How it truly is HALF-FULL when:
* I am outside at o'dark thirty with my miner's light on waiting to pick up dog shit from Mr. I can't find the exact spot I want" and all I'm thinking is "Thank you, Lord, for this healthy dog and all the good food that he eats." And this is BEFORE coffee.
*My friend, Turi, leaves my car looking like her ass has been substituted for a yeti's covered in white dog hair, and while I was embarrassed, I was thinking, "How annoying for her" and it means Squishy and I took a long trip together and returned home safely.
*Boxes of old bills, investments records, articles about retiring with a nest egg-all needing to be dealt with and just taking up space---I'm thinking, well, adequately shredded and mixed, this will make enough to add to the bamboo I hacked back this summer and early fall for kindling and fire starter for the entire winter.
*Being triggered with reminders of Neil and that difficult part of my life--stepping up to the plate with truth to bring an old friend into the whole picture not because I hate Neil (sort of, far from it, if I'm going to be honest) rather to be clearly, concisely honest--and to think later that it was me, and not Neil, that this person has remained friends with. And to have a great therapist and the means to access healing times with her.
*Filling the vacuum cleaner bag in two seconds flat when attempting to clean off said dog-hair and other garbage. Not wanting to go get another one and using an old-fashioned wet cloth to finish the job. And I did a thorough job.
*Walking Shilshole with Turi in the sun and wind and cold on this beautiful day, the mountains were out, lots of other people, dogs, walkers and being so into the talk et al that I lost track of where we were at the end of the walk--too short. I hope she will enjoy her new mixer to the sounds of Poets and Angels.
*Laundry by the binful...and the thought is "Thank you for a year of this wonderful washer and the surprise that went with it" and for the two drying racks that work beautifully, even for the big stuff. And what doesn't fit there fits beautifully over the doors.
*Having a warm, cozy bed--the two of us have our own--and still choosing to have a sleepover in front of the crackling fire in the woodstove with the Christmas lights on. Gonna do it tonight, too.
*Complaining to myself that I don't have anything good to read around here because I left my copy of Eat, Pray, and Love out in the car and I'm too lazy to go get it and then, *blip*, my Father emails over his latest collection of stories about my grandfather.....and I'm thinking--oops! Better be careful what else I ask for because I guess I am plugged into the Main Source this week...and so it has been....so it continues to be....
*I was checking out things last night on a Vietnam website. I had the brainpower to read Wikipedia's thing on Vietnam and then I googled something else for Vietnamese Adoptive Families. There is a couple who are waiting who have created a shop and are selling things to help defray their costs. One of the shirts for "expectant mothers" ( I LOVE THAT--that is what I am and in the little article they said that adoptive moms experience the same things as birth moms--and they are right) Anywho, the shirt on one side says "impatient" and on the other side says "i*m patient". HA-HA!! That's FUNNY! You get to choose which way to wear the shirt. I would write something on the inside and upside down, too. Hmmmm. The website also had a shirt for the dog in the house that said "animal friend" in Vietnamese. (personally, I'm glad the shirt didn't say "dinner").
Life is working itself out, inspite of what I plan or how tightly I hold onto anything or anyone. It's the Love that's real. And the dog shit, that's real, too. Esp. when I step in it. And then I have trouble finding the "Half-Full" to go with that one except that I found this product called "Poop Be Gone" and it does work. Just not on Sambas.
So, I'm leaving off on this New Year's Eve blurb with some words I found in this Prayers for Healing book--
" We look with uncertainty
Beyond the old choices for
Clear-cut answers
To a softer, more permeable aliveness
Which is every moment
At the brink of death;
For something new is being born in us
If we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway;
Awaiting that which comes...
Daring to be human creatures.
Vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.---Anne Hillman

Merry, Merry! And don't forget to Breathe.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I Believe in Santa.
I Believe in Hope.
I Believe in You.
Peace to You, Good Neighbor!
And a Merry Christmas Eve to you! Cedar and I just returned from an amazing early morning walk that began with the raccoons just coming off the nightshift and the full moon (yes, today, She is Full) reflecting in the windows of Reading Gaol pub in between the twinkle lights and missing pet ads. Our dragon breath mingled with the cries of the dawn patrol and as we rounded on the Ridge to window shop, the Olympics began to peek out from under their cloud quilt. I wonder if they will stay undercover all day or come out to play under the stars. I understand the Christmas Star this year will actually be Mars. Will look for it tonight after midnight mass. So, with coffee in hand and happy dog, off we went on a walk-about, hither, thither, and yon. The Christmas lights, trees in windows, candlelight, other dogs and their walkers (all women I might add some with coffee, some not. We discovered a pocket park (these are big in Ballard right now). It had been "hit" by the Bulb Liberation Front as a gift to the community. Here is the manifesto that just made my morning:

We are the Bulb Liberation Front.
We believe in the freedom to bloom...
We have committed ourselves to random acts of brightness
and affirm the sacred life force latent in the belly
We reject gray.
And the ubiquitous mono-culture.
We are defenders of delight. We are soldiers of stillness.
We are warriors of whimsy and wonder.
We are soldiers of silliness.
We are reclaiming our constitutional rights to bear trowels.
We are reframing the pursuit of happiness, and we are redefining the mission.
We believe in pink polka dots and in each other.
We believe regime change begins underground.
We are compelled to plant in the midst of darkness in order to call forth the light.
We are the Bulb Liberation Front.
Please join us.
We need your eyes on the perimeter, your hands in the dirt, and your bulbs wherever there is room to bloom.

Carpe Parkum.

We had a wonderful, magical time in Winthrop. The last Yuletide concert of the series was well received. The "Montessori Moshpit" was a hit (all the kids in the audience dancing and celebrating at the base of the stage the entire second half).The drive over wasn't too long. The way back was on account of the conditions. The cabin that was loaned to us by a colleague of Julie's was set way back in the winter woods about 20 miles outside of town on Lost River. A special, family time. Highlights included the "Surridge women" having food and fun out and ready in under 5 minutes upon arriving. The board games and fun. The blazing fire a la Brenin. The Solstice ale, the familiarity and ease of it all. Waking to soft snow. Playing outside and helping Ro with her first sledding . The ride home was pleasant but way too long. Squishy was fine and had fun at Auntie Lydia's. We have been enjoying each other's company ever since.
Time for Christmas-y things...


Friday, December 21, 2007

Eve of Solstice Blessings!
Finished at school (there's a sub in there today), off to WInthrop for the last Yuletide concert with the famdamily.
Cedar is mending well. MIss him.
He's having fun with his buds.
I am very, very tired. Off to workout now. That will help.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cedar is wearing the cone of stupidity and it isn't working. Neither one of them. His snout is too long.
He had minor surgery yesterday. He tore his toenail at the base when we were jumping logs apparently on Sunday.
He is such a non-complainer that I really didin't notice until Tuesday...another difference between this Boy and the Girls.
So, my real dog has had a torn ear and a ripped toenail. And blew a big chunk of the Christmas budget--ah, well.
The Christmas school scrum is over--thank Heaven. I'm ready for them today. I'm not ready for me, today. Coffee and a workout will help although the workout will wait until after school.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Have you seen the moon tonight? Through the clouds?
Truly an evening of soft rain falling on our fields (or backyards) and the wind gently but firmly blowing the clouds northeast.
And a dotting of bright planets and stars to stud the sky with dreams.
The week continues to be draining and absolutely full of Love and Magic.
I just love Christmas cards with the letters, pictures, and notes from loved ones. I never get around to sending out my own on this physical, ordinary reality plane, but I send them out with my prayers and Heart Love all the time, esp. NOW.
Things are rocking in firstgradeland. We spent parts of today listening to the rain in candlelight, finishing sewing our button blankets, adding sprigs of rosemary and cedrus atlanticus to our willow wreaths and then I showed the kids how to tie ribbons on their packages and how to make curli-cues. A little, very little math, some play, a whole bunch of Old Testament stories about how Abba takes care of us and how God did so in these stories. I'm telling you--with a little (or a LOT) of editing, these stories are better than movies and the like.
Good dancing, good teaching, and home for tea, cheese, pickles, Ottmar Liebert CHristmas music, and a happy dog for whom I like to cook and it makes the house smell good.
The Yuletide dancing has been going great! And the addition of the Tara dancers has enhanced and brightened each show in a special and different way. I love to see the hair-bling Colleen wears. Elegant, elegant. It was so GOOD to see my sister, Maude, at the Seattle show backstage. It means a lot that she came all the way down to connect with us. We miss her at every show and every time we dance. She doesn't know how beautiful she is on the inside and the outside. Makes us miss her even more.
Dad got the flu pretty badly and now it turns out that Mom and Mark have it as well.
Cross my fingers. I am so looking forward to celebrating Solstice and the Return of the Light up in Winthrop. A bonfire in a bag is my next figure-it-out thing. Truth is Life has been full of LIght, even when it seems as if it hasn't. It has been Life-giving backstage in all regards and another plus is that LIttle Feather was able to stay most of last week--at least her stuff and her smell-while she was helping to bring her new nephew into this world. We pray aa lot, share a lot, drink good coffee, walk in the darkness, and share ritual as a family. And it is a good thing when I get to walk with my dog all the way down the Shilshole way, to the beach, build a labyrinth, jump a bunch of logs with him so both of our tongues are hanging waggly out of our mouths, and return home for really great coffee and satsumas. Life doesn't get much better...and then it turns around and does.
Tomorrow is the Christmas program--not holiday happenning, winter wondershow, respect revue, or boring bonanza. It is a bonafide CHRISTmas program with all the carols, lessons, fidgety kids, fidgety parents, and beaming good will oozing out of pores and cracking 7th grade boy voices. Come to think of it, some 5th grade boys, too.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Okay, so yes, I have been THAT BUSY.
But here is the funny...
Go to: www.elfyourself.com/?id=1321288837


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Auntie Lydia has entirely too much time on her hands when she is not training and untraining the adolescent dog crowd at her place. As soon as I can figure out how to upload it, I will.
Until then, some more good news--I am #129 in line for Viet Nam, up from 196 a year ago and out of 330+. SO it is moving and the hope continues...:)
Have some really good music on--LIttle Feather brought up Ottmar Liebert's Christmas music, "Poets and Angels". It is amazing. Nothing will replace Andy WIlliams, Bing, or Barbra but this fills a spot that has needed filling.
So, we're having Celebration Roast and basmati rice tonight because we can.
Tomorrow is Christmas Bread Baking Day in first grade land (aka math, measurement, fractions, following directions exactly, cooperative learning, reading comprehension, etc.)
I am on the lookout for a neurosurgeon. My general surgeon won't do it because the tumor is hooked into the nerve system somehow. Called for a referral but if you know of a good and kind one, I would love to have the name.
The only thing that could make things better is snow tonight or in the early morning.
Little Feather was at the birth of her new nephew this morning, Ian Jamal. Says he is very cute and wrinkly.
Bring on the cider. We're celebrating at Fair Isle!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lump News-good.
It's a benign spindle tumor. It will need to come out but it's no big deal.
Thanks to the mother-unit who drove and was total support. Really--thanks a million.
It really was a piece of cake. Very glad for that.
Now I can thinkk about other things like decorating for Christmas and maybe doing some baking.
A bath, first.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Some things have no words. Like the expressions on first graders' faces when they discover that St. Nicholas DID leave something special in their shoes during Elf Math. Or these latest and greatest from Auntie Lydia. Ho-Ho-He-He-Oh-My....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Starting to feel like my Self again.
The slip of moon and accompanying stars were beautiful this morning in the stillness and above the twinkle lights of homes in our neighborhood.
I have been bummed out because I have had no energy to even begin decorating or trying to create the season in my own home. That has changed. The decorating started on the inside actually and I just wasn't paying attention. And sometimes the Universe sends you sweet little presents wrapped up in a friend's smiling face on a surprise visit after a busy, not at all peaceful afternoon with Ho-Ho-Ho heads.
Candlelight, especially scented ones, help.
So does a cup of Christmas tea in a Christmas cup made the same way on any other day but when you call it Christmas tea, that makes it even more special.
So, along with the usual schoolwork in the quiet of the early day, I enjoyed filling some vases and old teapots with fresh evergreens and rosemary and setting them around the cottage this morning. It is beginning to smell a lot like Christmas. And I cleared off most of one surface and will call that "SPLENDID" for that part.
Curves is flooded out, literally. So I am walking and playing more with my dog and will work on increasing my sweat quotient in other ways. Probably during math and we will do "aerobics" for skip counting and other warm-up today. We shall see. Glad my old positive outlook is back. Feels alright that that is more the norm than anything else and when it takes a break, I notice big-time.
The weather is calm for the ttime being so that should help at school.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The storms are here. The news crews are having their hay-day. Or is it hey-day?
Around here, it has been lay-day. Rolled in around 3:30 am after our Portland Yuletide.
It was a pleasant time on the way down. Serious snow and wind and slush but the Meister did a great job driving in his big Expedition and by accident, I discovered how to use the seat warmer. Don't want to become accustomed to such luxuries. It is better for me to stay in simple land.

Even the wayward heron (we saw two yesterday and no they weren't going the wrong way even though they were flying north along the river banks) brings reminders to me of that transformation and the truth and reality of it. I counted yesterday as a "3 Heron Day" because I wore one when I was dancing.
I love doing the Portland Yuletide because of the historic old church with the fantastic old library. Each year, I know there will be one or more special books that garner my attention before, during, and after the concert. Last night was one on Labyrinths. I read most of it AND I learned how to make a 7 circuit labyrinth. I've wanted to know how to do that for years. I also learned that it is not hard to make the 11th circuit Chartres one but I wasn't ready to learn that...yet. I have some practicing to do at Shilshole on the beach. Pretty cool. I also found a book that I've wanted to read since last summer's Jonestown. It's called "When We Were COlored". It was actually a book written in the late sixties about being a black mother and raising children in that tradition, time, and cultural framework. It has been reprinted. Okay then. Got 5 chapters into it and will look forward to getting it from the library this winter. I guess I ignored enough of this cold so that it hit today. I have been curled up in front of the fire or in a hot bath or sleeping to find comfort from the aches and headache. So be it. I'll be back to my usual self.
I have an appointment for a cell biopsy on the chest lump. Sigh. I really hate needles. I-pods will rock even greater in my book. I am not looking forward to this.

Other sweet memories from this weekend:
Holding my mother's hand during some of the singing at the concert
Victor rocking the house with his opera-tic JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOYYYY!!!
That is the soundtrack of my LIFE!:)
The snow coming down on the way down.
The Christmas music as we drove into Portland.
The mist in the hills of the the sides near Kalama and Kelso. I am so drawn to the area around Newaukum. There is something there for me, my heart, and my spirit. Will find it.:)
Bringing a basket of fresh satsuma-clementines with rosemary from the garden.
Dropping Squishy off at Auntie Lydia's and knowing he would be happy and fine and getting fresh blueberry scones to share in return!
Nailing the hardshoe reel at the end!
Laughing myself into tears when Julie tried to zip Sara into Maude's costume..and seeing what growing child has to say about how the cardboard in front sits.
Discussing the "Hobbit" and caring for chickens with Rowan's sweet dancer-friend, Madeline.
Arriving home safely.

A Sesame Moment--Sing with me. You know the tune.
"Three of these dogs belong together. Three of these dogs are kinda the same. But one of these dogs just ain't a real Airedale. Now it's time to play our game. It's time to play our game."

And then Queen Alice has enough of these upstarts and she makes one sound and OFF they go! In the house, the two male rugrats hit the deck flat when she says "ENOUGH". It is hilarious! Also, I get kudos for not having kiniptions when my sweet boy-dog acts like a real dog and letting him be. I hope you all got that. It is tough. FIona and Sadie must be howling with glee from their sweet heavenly spots.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Off to Portland in a few.
Squishy is at dogcare. Got the compost dug, grocery shopping for the month done.
Clean dishes put away. Looking forward to a long nap and some good coffee on the way.
Missing book group tonight. Wish it wasn't so.