Mississippi Moments

Friday, April 30, 2010

And I have a new thing on my Bucket List that I am going to put out there blatantly..
I want to learn to drive a riding mower...and I want to drive a real John Deere tractor. With THE HAT on.

That is all.
"One does not need to fast for days and meditate for hours at a time to experience the sense of sublime mystery which constantly envelops us. All one need do is notice (intelligently), if even for a brief moment, a blossoming tree, a forest flooded with autumn colors, an infant smiling....Simon Greenburg, "A Grateful Heart"

I will add to this list...
*doghair on the dog, doghair from the dog
*the little blue flowers that are up from all the seeds I scattered last year because that's all the energy I had
*lavendar starting to bud
*coffee in a cup
*tea in a cup
*wine in a cup
*knowing how to do some stuff so well that it comes automatically when you need it fast, now, and without problem
*my sisters at dance
*dancers at dance
*my 2 year old nephew doing what all the dancers at dance are doing
*music-Colleen's, Mark's, Matt's, Magical Strings, Dougie's,
*being happy
*being scared
*being hopeful
*being dirty from working in the yard
*camping with Mary J.
*trusting (which is the hardest thing in the world and heaven for me to do)
*loving my self
*loving my family
*loving my circle of Beloveds
*work-meaningful, intentional, worthy
*Bedroom Slippers
*hot showers
*the mountain from my front porch
*the lake from the front porch in my Heart
*the dance with my spirit-dogs
*the day that calls as I sing "Caledonia" at the top of my lungs as girds are loined and glasses cleaned, hairs brushed as preparations are made for the foray into untied shoes, baggy pants, lost pencils, a certain earthy aroma, and shy, want to do well around these kids energy pervades the day....
This all makes sense to me. I finally am less achy, dizzy, and tired..not still back to snuff but looking at it going "Bleh"and caring:). Love to you. Your day. Your life.

This Love will carry.--Dougie

Thursday, April 29, 2010

You've Got Something Important To Do

Listen to philosopher John Locke, who said that a person recognizes himself as the same being throughout his life, in different times and places. You are one person, indivisible, who just happens to wear many hats. And while I get that the weight of all those hats can wear you down, at least be happy you’ve got something important to do.
by Michelle Slatalla, Real Simple magazine article

There are some mornings I wake up and all I can think (after I say Thank you, God, for this amazing day) is keep saying Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you....

It seems to be another Zen Zone.
And I found my counter under a pile of dirty dishes that are now clean.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zen Zones
I love working in the garden after a soft rain. I haven't had that simple, grounding pleasure in ages. Tonight I had made a date with myself, the lavendar hedge, and Mother Earth. The bird song blessings and the quiet, colorful changing palette of the sky, the feel of soil on my hands, the pup helping me dig and chase starlings....that whole scene has a way of bringing me Home. Bringing me Here. Bringing me Happy.

I had more wellness appointments today. I am trying to get all this stuff in order before I take off from working fulltime.It turns out I also have a very bad cold--not strep or something ugly. Just a cold and I am run down. 12 hours of straight sleep and a 3+hour nap helped today. So did a long walk in the rain at Shilshole with my pup looking out at the grey water and clouds and sheets coming in. Also, my favorite color palette. Grey, more grey, and grey. Heard one red-winged blackbird today. Odd. The air is usually full of their trill this time of spring.

We sat for a long time watching all the birds and other creatures at low tide down near the wetlands. And a trio of birders went by. Big binoculars were the give away. And one of them looked familiar. Sure enough. I came home and looked him up in the back of one of my bird books. He was one of the authors. He is also the raptor expert at the Zoo. Almost said something to him and his friends but we were in our Zen Zone and they were in theirs.

My friend Scott McLean got into one of his zen zones for the summer. Meet the newest ranger down at Mount Tahoma. It's gonna rock some more down there with that energy!

Porter got his fur jets kicked by Murray last night. Murray is three times his size now and fast and funny. Porter kind of plays but mostly runs and hides but boy, do we hear about it the half hour after when he is running to the door, fence, window, back gate looking for his buddy. Strange play dates but it wears him out.

Going to garden now most evenings since the last big hurdle is finished for secondgradeland. Last night was our celebration of learning. In spite of being nervous, I let the room and the kids do the talking. I hung out in the back with the four and five year old crowd and we were busy building boats. It was a fairly painless evening. I have no idea how families responded to what was shown them and what their children are learning. It seemed to go well but then I never know at that place. I did my job. And the children did theirs. That is good enough.
We go to O'Dea for chemistry with the big boys who don't tie their shoes or tuck in their shirts either. I hope their teacher will read from Saint of the Day and say the Our Father much slower so the second graders can keep up. We are excited. I am going to bed now with the scent of lavendar and soil up my nose. How lucky can I get?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Mirthday and Simple Abumdance!
(Yep, I wrote that in my blased state of not quite myselfness and it's cracking me up so I am keeping it.)
I am thankful for having had the first naps Heartbeat-to-Heartbeat with Mother Earth this weekend, warm sunshine on my back, and then I turned over and enjoyed the outlines of osprey and eagle, kingfisher and wood-duck skydancing.I am, at present, home sick from work. It has been a lovely day even though I can't figure out what is wrong with me--why I still ache like this, why I have an ache inside the leftside of my head, why I am nauseous still and frequently, why I am dizzy, why my throat hurts, why my teeth, toenails, hair follicles, and eyelashes hurt---this is not fun. And I am still not complaining. This, too, shall pass. At least I am between the two mooncycles I am having per month right on the new and full moons. (And if you don't like how personal we get on this blog, might I direct you to the blog next door.) SO I am home instead of having a lovely cup of tea with dear friends or out to dinner with my parents and other beloveds. There ya have it. I did have a sweet little walk in the rain with my pup, a quick but seriously wet game of sheltie ball after our walk, a hot soak, the too quick end of a great book (Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts), and many wishes, prayers, and songs for my rebirthday. Or as Frannie calls it "Mirth Day"....I really like that.
I don't get into birthdays. Don't know why. I am always so grateful for the circle of beloveds who are in my sphere. I am grateful (although I might not always admit it) for those who were formerly in my sphere and who are not anymore. I am grateful for those who are coming. I want to be able to be at peace, in joy, in thanksgiving, in simple abumdance and order, with access to tea, coffee, Tuscan food, doghair, cedar trees, trilliums, a simple dry home, a garden, family and friends to love, balance and strength and clarity in health, good and meaningful work, a faith that is nourished by community, ritual, service, and Spirit. Movement, adventures, solitude, forgiveness, sex, wine, bonfires, sharing stories with children, making stories...It's all in there.
She gave me permission to blog. I wonder what she will think of this. I just spent another perfect weekend camping with my Camping Buddy, Mary J. I have been camping with Mary J. longer than all the years I have been married. And I have come to believe that everything I have learned about how successful marriage partnerships work I have learned from camping with Mary J. We are not even married...although we hve been mistaken for being partners many times at some places....apparently we fit a sterotype. Whoduthunkit? We have a rhythm. We are so in sync that we don't even have to talk about what we will bring for meals. We always seem to have what the other one did not bring. Same goes for cooking implements. And firebuilding needs. And first aid. And toilet paper. And drawing supplies or bird identification booksor games.We have worked out the rules years ago. It makes for respect and flow and space and community and laughter. There is an ease and a familiarity. There is a breathing that happens as we enter into the groove. The first trip of each season is always a bit chunky at first....we find our way. We reestablish the rules (or lack thereof)or remind ourselves. I love our groove. I love our sharings. I love our quiet times. I love our honesty. I love our wisdom. I love our courage. I love our boundaries. I love what we have learned from our health challenges. I love how we are both teachers...period. I love being around someone who gets it. I love the planning of adventures, the having of adventures, the sharing of adventures after the having of them. I love our coffee and tea moments. I love our fireside prayer circles. I love how we take care of each other when one of us isn't at our strongest, clearest, happiest, restedness, or open to life best.. I love how we talk about the difficult things or when and where we have caused harm intentional or otherwise. I love how we have learned about forgiveness and given and received it...or forgotten how or been in too much despair to remember it and the other offers the reminder and promise of Hope. That is what I am thinking on today. That is what is living in me today. And the fact that this gentle woman loves my dogs. And doesn't mind drying dishes. And she let me cook eggs...which is really her job but I was hungry and happy to be outside watching all the fish jumping and all the fisherfolk pulling fish out of the lake. And one eagle...

Friday, April 23, 2010

I am thankful for gift of anality...not banality.
The Team this morning apologized for being so anal. Can you believe it? As they gave me another ALL CLEAR and handed me a paper with a message that said see you IN A YEAR. That works for me. THAT WORKS FOR ME!!!! I gave high fives all around (they have plenty of hand sanitizer for when we are through.) I learned early on in this world that the "happy dance" isn't such a good thing in that setting but that air or hand high fives are! I also got an invitation to visit Greece in September and made a date to introduce my pup to a parrot who calls a cat named Charlie "asshole" and who loves all dogs except pugs because he can't find their noses to kiss.
Now I am going to secondgradeland and not try very hard to convince any of us that grammar is important because IT AIN'T. We are going to take our lessons outside with our tennis balls and drawing journals and walking sticks...and if anyone asks what standard we are trying to meet today, I am going to look them straight in the face and say,"LIFE!". Come join us or go find yours. It's not far off!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Still on about the perspective thing....with Christmas music, ot course.
I woke this morning much later than usual-about two hours later because I have this horrible head cold/aches/dizzy thing going. I am actually wondering if I am havin ga sinus infection. Only had two before this but it feels about the same. Will get it checked out on Friday when I go for more scans and the ultrasound. With a whole hospital full of doctors,etc., there must be someone who can help me out. I am not shy about asking for what I need now. You learn to be your own best advocate. But this is not what I wanted to write about. It's just quite late and it is light out now. I woke this morning to the news.I did not know that cattle are fed chicken shit. Yes. They are. At least in this country. An "environmental minute". I would have preferred cello and harp but that part of my CD alarm clock broke. Too much Christmas music, I guess. I liked the one Mom and Dad gave me where I could wake up to frogs, or the sound of the rain, or a little brook, or children laughing or something like that. I really prefer when the chimes outside my window or the call of a bird do it or better yet the way my father wakes--with a prayer and his internal, eternal alarm clock. In further listening, I also learned that the average American woman wears a size 14, more than one in two marriages end in divorce, 75% of mothers with children work outside the home, one-third of Americans don't save anything, and women still only make 76 cents to every dollar a man makes....none of this was a surprise to me. None of this truly impacted my perspective.
And as I learned last year so traumatically, People see what they expect to see.
At my French class, I expect to see (and hear) all about a broader and greater world of women getting on with their succulent lives...in French. At dance, I expect to see my sisters and niece and nephew and work and challenge and movement and confidence happening in tandem. At school, I don't expect anything anymore and being the Taurus I am, I still see the best in the children and usually get that back. I enjoy when I get the chance to laugh there. At home, I expect to see small piles of paper, doghair, life in very stages of undress, clean laundry--and a wee tilt with a tea tray ready. At prayer and walk and workout, I expect to see inside. And then tehre is what we don't expect to see or experience and have happen to us. It does a body and a spirit good to have pleasant ones. It also (longterm) does a body and a spirit good to experience some of the unpleasant ones. I will never admit this in public. While it brings you to your knees, it also brings other parts of you to your knees, too. I am somewhat nervous about what the team will find on Friday. No denying that. And I am living this sweet life.
I was watching Porter run under the laceleaf maple yesterday. It is almost in full first layer burgundy bloom. I had to reach under and get the soccer ball out because I am too lazy to train my dog to get it himself. It was like reaching under the petticoats of a 18th c. gown. And there were the lady's legs with no knickers or anything. And under that laceleaf petticoats are buried three of my best friends. And here comes the latest barreling out of there with a bamboo stick in his mouth, puppy prancing paws, a bounce that would give Cedar a run for his money, shiny coat dappled with raindrops, and a grin to beat all get-out.....and I thought about how I had the pleasure of playing with all my fur-darlings in and out of those petticoats. I have crawled under there to cry, to hide, to draw, to read, to watch the world pass by from a secret place--all in perspective. I still might get under there later this week. Works like an umbrella, too.

On another note, I have found my backbone at work. Not in a nasty sense. I have just learned to hold my boundaries on some things. I have stated my needs and wants. Whether they are respected doesn't matter. I did what was best for me. I also had a kindergarten parent have a conversation with me after church on Sunday--she was saying they can't wait for two years for second grade. I did not say anything. She then went on to say that she has a sister who has been teaching forever who has a friend who has been on the accrediation board something or other for 15+ years. And this mom then went on to say what the accreditation team lady had to say about me--that in all the years she has been doing the accreditation thing and in all the schools she has been to, she has never seen another teacher the likes of me--"beyond outstanding", "amazing", "wished they could package and teach it"---once again..say it with me....perspective. I am also appreciating the Universe's gift of affirmation. And the seeds of glory which have rooted. I can package this in some way and share it. Will use the time to garden and think on this this summer. Have some other plans in the works for a change. More soon on this. Life happens under the petticoat, outside of it, and without one! (The other thing I was thinking on was that I have indoor plumbing and the Medicis didn't...HAH!!!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Over the back fence
...came home tonight after having a lovely cup of tea in spit-spot rain conditions with one of the Star Sisters while my boy-puppy tried to make friends with Star-Man, the Golden Retriever of the Day..who wasn't really having any of it..so Porter ran around trying to climb the fence and get at the squirrels who were teasing him farther up in the hawthorn tree...anyway back to the trainwreck of thought---my neighbor who is a professor of Latin and GReek and ancient history of all of the above and more and who is one of the most well-educated, well-spoken, open-minded, high-standards kind of teacher--was waiting for me. He asked me how I liked Italia. I responded with "How could I NOT like Italia?" And we were off....I have since studied some more of the geography and history and remembered that I have read situational fiction and told him a couple of titles that I learned about from our guides on the trip---He is bringing me the first three from his collection at Seattle U. Am I one lucky person or what? It's like I have my own 1 on1 history class and lit class all in one with wine!! He was excited that we were so intrigued and interested in the Etruscans. HE has some thoughts on that for the future. He is going an another adventure this summer visiting and exploring Roman camps and outposts all along the Rhine. And he is interested in Van Gogh in the Netherlands and outside of France. I wonder if he knows I did my sabbatical work in France on the last weeks/months of Van Gogh before he decided to check out. I want to live this life and grow this mind and garden this soul and savor this food and everything that comes my way. BE careful what you ask for....also got him in a little hot water because he has been promising his wife that he will take her to Cinque Terre for several years and I came home yammering about how splendid it was...and he said he is on the hot seat to get her over there to hike and eat. In no particular order. Of course, he speaks fluent Italian and so he helped me with some of my words. I like that I can be friends with my neighbors. He likes my little dog, too.
My next big read this summer will include VIrgil. I may even begin to teach myself some Latin. I have always wanted to learn.
Had a wonderful evening last night with my dearest friend, Scott McLean, his lovely wife and one of their sons, Derrick. They shared all the luscious details of their adventures in Switzerland where they were earlier this year because Derrick is a World Champion Curling Team member for the USA. What an experience they had--culturally, athletically, parkingly....the Swiss are known for their cheese, chocolate, aroma-showers, hospitality--but not their abundance of parking. We could take a few tips from them about car-free zones in the center of cities, etc. My opinion. I liked having to walk all over Italy. I was ready for it. It made life so much easier.
Pretty nice having a neighbor to talk Virgil and ants and Ostia and Italian with. Tea and dogs. Pasta and dogs. Coffee and ducks and walks. Head cold and body aches not withstanding---it's a wonderful life.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

3 Boys at the Fountain
In Roma, actually from what I am learning, in all of Italia's cities and towns, the evening stroll is a centuries old ritual all about seen and being seen...and gelato. There is a rhythm to it. There is a progression of activity. There is a call and response. There is an order. There is a dress code. There is a lively passion. That being said when you throw dumb tourists into the mix, that just spices it up. So, around 11 pm., we are with the goup at the Trevi Fountain in Roma, on a Friday night, with 20 million other tourists and tons of Romans, too. It is hopping. It is unbelievably beautiful. It is warm out. The air sparkles with good wishes. I'm standing off to the side of this amazing fountain with our tour guide (an expat named Karin who came to Italy for school and has never left). Three skinny teenaged boys come running up to me and start asking questions in French. When I answered them in French, they explained that they were having a contest with their schoolmates and were supposed to get the Italian word for breakfast. So, I turned to Karin, asked her in English, she answered in Italian, I checked in with the boys in French and they took off running back to their teacher and their group. Seconds later, we heard this huge groan from the rest of the group, we see "our" 3 teens whooping it up and jumping up and down, and their teacher just laughing. Then they came running back over to tell us they won and to say thank you (in French). They also said it wasn't cheating just because they happened to ask someone who spoke French who was standing next to someone who spoke English and Italian. Talk about cultural bridges--they picked an American who speaks French who happened to be standing next to another American who speaks Italian and we both speak American at the Trevi Fountain. Maybe it wasn't who was seen, but rather who was heard? I'll take the "three boys at the fountain" instead of three coins in the fountain.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Perspective...all in the perspective.
I am chuckling. I am cozy. Porter is chewing. Barbra is singing in the other room. Just finished dinner and am on to my second cup of wine in a teacup. It is Friday. This is all a good thing.

I find my 'Self" and my thoughts standing in front of the very famous painting called the "Birth of Venus". Which I did in ordinary reality at the Uffizi Palace in Firenze. Not because this is a world famous painting but because of the impact and meaning of this piece of visual expression. I won't go off on all of that here only to say that while that was being painted, people were still throwing their refuse, porto-potty collections, dead animals, dead people into the streets. Imagine the smell, rot, crap piled up. Then change rooms, change focus, change jobs--and see/feel/experience something entirely different--succulent, full of depth, color, transition, creation, order, sensuality, borderline pornographic for the day. Not so different today.
I don't throw my junk into the street (unless you count this blog), but when I went to Italia, I was sure fussing over things related to this house and this life. The little tilt, the lack of space, the lack of organization, the lack of quality in the work outside (which has all but been fixed--I am in process of redoing and correcting the errors made with the bamboo barrier, but one thing at a time.The fence is now complete and done correctly and made to last with love and focus. I need to get out there tomorrow and "clear" the area and reconnect to the balance in the wards. We have a new one that has just shown up to replace the archangelica--Holly!! I digress...)
Perspective. Then I stayed in some pretty fine hotels that I would never have been able to afford if it hadn't been for this tour (Go Rick Steves ETBD!) and they ALL tilted. They were all from the 12th or 13th century except one. The newest one was a former Benedictine nunnery from the 15th century (1402-1501)! And it tilted! I can live with tilt. I also can live with the lovely indoor plumbing that I have and the sweet little garden. The people of Rome and Florence that don't have bizillions to live on have these sweet terrace gardens chock-full of herbs, scented flowers like jasmine and geranium and stone, stone, stone. For them, the stones are family. I can relate to that. Perspective.
I, who am scared to death of nearing the edge of some backyard decks like the McLeans or the overpass at Carkeek Park to get to the beach...I hiked the cliff trails of Cinque Terre...and without drugs!! At a couple of places, I will admit, I was having a name-down with one of the other tour members who was also scared of heights and she was from a family of 11. So we were walking along these scary parts and calling out the birth order of our families as quickly as we could without laughing! And all the people hiking around us were just cracking up...and then they would call out "Do it again"...and after a bit, several of them were trying to do it with us. They kept giving us another girl named Kitty between Colleen and Brigie. Maybe in another life, eh? Perspective.
I can hike cliffs if I want/need to. I can get stuck (literally) over and over if need be to be well in all aspects of my life when I use to pass out at needles. I can relish stinky dogs and hair up my nose and all manner of things, because no damn volcano got in the way of my bucket list. I can choose wine or tea or water...or single malt. I can choose to trust again and love...which I have. Perspective.
I can quit my job and wonder what the heck am I going to do or be....and for now, it's all in the perspective, in the soft rain, with baby squirrel chuckles and Porter at the window barking at Fletcher coming up the walk for a cup of tea.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The trillium are in full bloom.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"At the rainbow spring,
The dragonflies start......."-Zuni

So, back in the land of ordinary reality. And spring sprung while I was walking the cliffs of Cinque Terre and losing my camera while cycling on the ancient walls of the city of Lucca and sampling wine in a 15th century wine cellar in Volterra and looking into the eyes of alabaster Etruscan noblewomen and men. Then I came back and looked into the eyes of my pup who is blowing his coat and of students who want to blow their coats and all the growing ones who are blowing scents and leaves and colors into my sphere...the rainbow has sprung. I continue to prepare to rest. And play Andy Williams and Magical Strings and Colleen Raney. Spring must have its own soundtrack on the inside when it is still feeling like winter dreams on the outside...at least at 4 in the morning. Oh, today was peaceful.The stars were winking. The morning air was sharp and still. And I had plenty of time to do laundry and dishes and transition research for what is to come. And to think on last night and the big family dinner celebrating 4 birthdays--one of the birthday girls is in Heaven. What a place for her party...and I felt her near me, almost holding my hand and guiding me around St. Peter's Basilica, into the corners and quiet chapels (huge, ornate, amazing churches within a church)--sacred space. Sometime, I would like to think and write on the sacred space I find in the rain forest and at the ocean and the sacred space in places like the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's and the Duomo in Firenze and every other place and the oratorios of the convents we visited and the Baptistries....another time. Add to that the sacred space I find whenever I am in circle and relationship with others. Is there any place or time that is NOT sacred? I am beginning to believe not.

And I am thankful that there was a professional photographer on the trip who will share his photos so the ones that were lost won't really be. But they really can't be. I carry them deep inside. With a lot of other stuff.

On another note: I am going back to my team for more scans. They have found something that is giving them concern. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Be Careful What You Give Kids for Birthday Gifts.
When I turned around in the Forum in the late afternoon on Saturday, walking on ancient pavers put there by slaves thousands of years ago,in the center of ancient Roma it caught my breath. Literally. I had to go lean on a tipped over marble column and literally pinch myself. I was IN one of my dreams. When I was a kid, my mom and dad gave me something I think is called a viewfinder. You put this round thing in and looked through the lens and slides would show you wonders and scenes. (Mom probably has it in her famopus basement somewhere...The slide-thingy I remember the most was one of the treasures of the world. it included the David, the Sistine chapel, the Forum, the Coliseum, a Roman amphitheater, Etruscan sarcophagi, and Duomo of Firenze. Be careful what you give kids for birthday presents....it can have a deep impact. I took a walk INSIDE the viewfinder. I will never be the same. Grazie Mille!