Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007

2007 draws to a close. Another year has passed, another year will arrive. This is my time to look back and to acknowledge the many blessings in my life. Gratitude and thanksgiving underscore my thoughts today as I look ahead to the unfolding of more days, weeks, and hopefully years when opportunities abound for living with intention and passion.

On this, the last day of 2007, I am grateful for.....

Living each day.

For best friend Denny, my two beloved children, my fragile yet loving parents, my sister and brother who live the good times and the hard alongside me, and my wonderful extended family both near and far.

For dear the treasured confidantes both near and far who continue to bring laughter, connection, joy and enlightenment to my life. You know who you are and you are precious to me.

For my health.

For my work.... in which I have finally achieved some balance.

For diversions of all types; great food, drink, outings, natural beauty, pets, blogging, reading, meditation, writing, dreaming, and sleeping.

For my newly found creative energy.

For the challenges ahead.

And lastly, I am grateful for the end of an era of silence, where truth overcomes the power of destructive secrets. Were it not for the four who stand with me, lifting me with the strength of eagle's wings to soar with the healing winds, there would never have been the first tender step. I am eternally grateful and blessed to be surrounded by your collective love and support of me on the journey I must make.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Red Dress

What do Women Want?
by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress,
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their cafe, past the Gurerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddammned
dress they bury me in.

This is one of my favorite poems; it captures precisely the magic of owning and wearing a red dress. In my wardrobe I have quite a few red sweaters, shirts and tops which I pair with black pants and skirts, especially during the December holidays. But, I have only one red dress and I have worn that dress to only one event. There are many times that I think about my red dress and want to put it on, just to take out the garbage or to clean the house and maybe to wear to another big event in my life. But, I don't. I'm hoping that I will do so and not worry that it may show too much skin or be a dress designed for a woman half my age. I want 2008 to be a year when that glorious red dress and I march into the storm and are victorious.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Feline Stand Off

This shot was taken last week of our cat facing off with his arch rival through the glass at our back door. This is a scene we witness frequently. Sometimes we give in to temptation, open the door, and let the cat out to chase (or fight...we are "bad") his sometimes playful friend and other times his enemy. We never quite know for sure what the dance of the day will be.

Our cat we inherited from Jeanne and Dan last summer; his official name is "Boo" but we call him "Boo Raton" and sometimes "Boo Raton Katon" whatever that means. His unknown rival is a fierce opponent and we call him "Pinhead" or ofttimes the "Felon". Both are equally descriptive of his appearance and persistence. We know not where he comes from but I suspect he belongs to someone as he is well fed and fierce.

These beasts delight us and allow us into another world, away from the challenges of being human.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007

Christmas has come and gone. The day was intense, emotional, and at times frenetic but nonetheless sweet. We started the day as a nuclear family around our Christmas tree, adorned with signs of Santa's visit; the balloons. I think we are the only hold out on this very old tradition from the Bain side of the family. The tree is decorated with balloons of all colors late on Christmas Eve. I've always enjoyed the new look it gives the tree and the balloons are surprisingly un-tacky. Truly. The tradition came from my Grandmother Bain's family; decorative ornaments were so expensive but balloons were not. In our family we believe the balloons are left by Santa Claus as a magical sign of his visit. At least that's what we told the kids many years ago. Now that they're older that actually help us blow the balloons before the stroke of midnight. Then, they are off to bed.

In past years the Christmas tree skirt was overloaded with gifts, spilling over onto the rug with the larger toys left unwrapped and waiting for eager, energetic children early on Christmas morning. Gift giving is more spare these days when checks and gift cards fit into small envelopes. We don't get out of bed quite as early either. Times have changed but we still have packages to open and enjoy taking turns opening our gifts. This year Chris and Denny put a lot of their unwrapped loot on the table with the Christmas creche figurines. The odd juxtaposition of the secular with the sacred aspects of the holiday warranted this shot of coffee mug, Seinfeld DVDs, a car compass, and bottle of champagne jammed in with the three kings, shepherd and camel.

The family gathering at the Arapahoe house with four generations in attendance mid afternoon on December 25th was festive and memorable but also bittersweet. Ranging in age from the extremes of almost 1 to almost 91 years of age, the group of 18 enjoyed each other's company and a tasty meal to celebrate the season of hope. My favorite memories are of Dad asking Chris to say grace before our meal, listening to Chris's prayer, loading up plates of great tasting food for Mom and Dad at the buffet table, watching flakes of snow fall outside the deck doors, serving up the famous Christmas pudding with foamy yellow sauce, and simply participating in the delicate family dynamic over our two hour gathering.

The pudding, so tenderly assembled in October by MM, Mary, Q and I and stirred by family and friends all over the Seattle area, was steamed to perfection on Christmas Day, plated on a festive ceramic platter, ladled with warmed 151 proof rum and set aflame. The dramatic show captured the collective wishes, hopes, and dreams of all us gathered around the table and launched them all into the far reaches of what I call the "mystery and magic" of the season.

These times are special. But, they aren't necessarily easy. Tradition and respect for the joy in knowing that we are all connected one to another brings us together once again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas in Lago Colony

Those of us from Aruba know this image well; the refinery lit up at Christmas time with lights in the shape of tree.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Messiah

In the days leading up to Christmas I start listening to my 3 CD collection of Handel's Messiah, especially the first disc. And then, I start thinking about my mother.

Doris Bain Thompson is a musician, having excelled as a soprano soloist as well as a choral conductor. She sang Rejoice Greatly O Daughter of Zion from Handel's Messiah for her graduate recital and tells that she was asked to sing the piece twice, an encore performance, because the first time around was so breathtakingly beautiful. I often wish that technology then was what it is today; we have no recording of her singing and I am left to imagine.

Years later, in her many Christmas concerts performed in Aruba, she literally pulled the vocal talent out the choir members with challenging pieces, like the chorus And The Glory of the Lord, also from the Messiah. We have old tapes of many of these concerts and invariably if I listen to them I feel the tears well up as I hear the individual voices (especially Dad's), come through. Many years I can't listen to them and this year is one of them. Emotions are running heavy just now. Mom always found And the Glory of the Lord to be a vigorous piece to conduct, with timing being everything as she brought in the voices of the vocal ranges at just the right second. She always noted that by the end of this piece, the sweat was flowing down the back of her neck. And now, listening carefully to And the Glory of the Lord, I understand why. I sang in at least two of Mom's Christmas choirs and am grateful to have had the opportunity.

On this Christmas Eve, let us remember that "the glory of the Lord shall be reveal-ed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

Merry Christmas! Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth. Goodwill to Wo(men).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Tree

A thirty foot, mature and absolutely gorgeous evergreen once graced the space between our front yard and the neighbor's driveway to the south. Not only did the forest green branches hide the view of her concrete drive, the gorgeous wall of lush color and texture was the best type of property line. The only problem was, the trunk of this beauty belonged to the neighbor and one year she decided the tree had to go; "a messy tree that drops too many needles". I learned that tears, cajoling, bribing, and begging were tactics that just didn't work to change the inevitable. To her credit, she warned me weeks ahead of time and allowed that perhaps the heads up would let the news "settle" a bit. I remember going outside in the dark and cold fall air the night before the tree was due for execution, wailing at the fates, embracing the branches, and grieving. To this day I will never foget the beauty that was.

It was December of 2000 and Mom and Dad, well aware of all the angst in my heart and just as outraged by the unnecessary felling of this tree, decided to gift our family with a replacement, a small evergreen they purchased at Swanson's nursery. We planted the tree just feet from the trunk of the orginal tree but clearly on our side of the property line. I remember feeling that although this tiny tree would never replace the gentle giant, another living beauty planted there would one day ease the pain of a bitter loss. We never anticipated how this young pine would flourish; just the right amount of light and water apparently because each year this tree sprouts out with new branches, young and green with life, and lifts skyward another few feet. What once began as a four foot pine is now well over 15 feet tall.

The neighbor promised to plant new shrubbery to make the bald and scraggly area look better but despite all efforts, her gardener could never get the plantings to take hold; they all died, including a desolate evergreen that turned brown over a warm summer. I had to chuckle inside for there was nothing else for me to say or do other than watch our healthy youngster thrive and grow solidly.

This year I dressed the lower branches of our lofty pine with unbreakable simple ornaments in silver and purple, taking care to secure them to the branches so that wind and rain would not have their way with them. I must say, the tree looks lovely all dressed for the holidays. This is my Christmas tree, a living testimony to the power of survival and healing. May you grow into rich expansiveness and envelop us in your beauty.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bye Bye "Connie"

For some reason, it's always tough for me to let go of a car. I'm attached to the memories; the good times, the adventures, even the rough spots which in this case are significant. I remember the thrill of the "new car smell" driving out of the dealership, the pang of the first fender-bender, and the day I surrendered the keys to my teenage son and daughter and let them take the wheel while I pressed vigorously on the "invisible brake". Today a truck will pull up to the house and tow away my silver Ford Contour. I've donated the car to the National Kidney Foundation and it will be fixed up (I hope) and sold to a new owner or used for parts, whatever the need may be. The profits will be put to good use in the care of persons afflicted with chronic kidney disease so the donation is certainly for a good cause. The last thing we need around here is a car that is not being used taking up precious room in front of our house. I should be glad to see it go.

But, honestly, I'm sad to say goodbye to this car despite its shady history. This is the vehicle that carried me thousands of miles to and from work, on vacations, errands, expeditions, and outings for the last nine years. Aside from the the first few golden years, it has not been a very good car; terminally plagued with myriad issues including a pesky "check engine" light that never extinguished even when the best mechanics tried to diagnose the problem. And worse, over the last few years, the car displayed an annoying tendency to stall out erratically when braking; an unpredictable event occurring up to half a dozen times a day and then not again for weeks or even months. Just when I was convinced the problem had fixed itself, the misbehavior started anew. Despite the several thousand dollars expended trying to fix this vexing problem, nothing worked for long. Last month I finally realized that I was going to get in wreck if I kept driving this car; rear-ended at a minimum with a stall out in heavy traffic. I haven't allowed my children to drive this car for over two years because of its unreliable habits. The car has to go despite the modest 51,000 miles on the odometer. I only hope someone can finally fix it and drive it safely.

Yesterday I emptied the vehicle of "things"; an old umbrella, a kite, wadded up receipts, loose change, pens, and the garage door remote. I'm comforted to know that even though the car will be gone soon, the memories of the many important conversations, light-hearted laughs, and tense arguments that took place in that car, not to mention all the creative thoughts that bubbled up in my mind while driving belong to me forever. Nonetheless, I will miss Connie, the name Miss Laura gave to this silver bird when she assumed the wheel as a novice driver at age 16.

Bye Bye Connie Contour. Thanks for the ride.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Birds on a Wire

Ok, ok...I am at it again; reading significance into images. Stopped at a red light this morning after taking Laura to work, I saw these birds on the power lines. There are 10 birds, 9 are together and one is farther on down the line. I'm glad I had my camera handy and even happpier that the photograph really "tells". The bird below the traffic light cross bar is holding down the "empty chair", the symbol honored in Covenant Group meetings.

Yesterday after my post about the "Group of 9", I sent an email to my Covenant Group family to share with them my blog site address. I'm a bit nervous about it but in the spirit of openness, honesty and exploration, I did it anyway.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Group of 9

Covenant Group meets twice a month; 9 of us spend two hours together discussing a topic of interest. Tonight was the final meeting for this calendar year and we celebrated the season with sparkling wine, cheeses, crackers, and chocolate treats in addition to the traditional lighting of the chalice, "checking in", discussing the topic of "Enlightenment", and then briefly "checking out". The flow of these evenings follows a specific format, an agenda perhaps. "Checking in" is the opportunity to share before the meeting anything that is going on in our lives that we we care to offer to the group. The individual sharing might take less than a minute or might go on for several. Here is where I begin to freeze up; having so many potential things to say that by the time it is my turn I am overwhelmed with a combination of self-doubt, shyness, anxiety, and a healthy dose of "who would ever care anyway?". I realize that this is my perception in the moment and bears no relation to reality but nonetheless I feel powerless to resist the urge to clam up and say little to nothing. And then, that state of mind carries over into the topic for the evening as I listen intently to what others are saying, nodding my head, adding a yes/no in affirmation to someone's truth but rarely offering any of my own thoughts. As for "check out", I still come up short and the last two meetings have offered single words or phrases like "namaste" and "success is the quality of the journey". Sounds like b.s. to me as I write this.

Where am I going with this?

I have always been the shy, reserved one....way back to the beginning of time whenever I'm in a group setting. I remember seeing a photograph of myself at age 4 or 5 at a birthday party in Aruba, standing by the side of the garage holding a stuffed animal. I assume (and perhaps remember) that everyone else was running about, playing games and interacting. What in the world was I thinking about as I stood there watching? In high school I was told that my lack of verbal participation in groups made others think I was judging them and made them feel uncomfortable around me. I've always been quiet in class; at St. Stephen's my Spanish teacher did all he could to get me to converse but to no avail; talking in English was hard enough. To this day, I read and understand Spanish fairly well but am mute when it comes to speaking.

How does a person like this go into a field where verbal communication is a fundamental prerequisite for success? Easy. Communication is almost always one-on-on in medicine; occasionally not but almost always. I feel quite confidant, comfortable, and function at a very high level in these settings. But, get me in a group larger than about 5 and I'm going to freeze unless I'm in charge. I'll rise to the occasion in that case and for a brief time become someone else, play-act, and put on a show. That's what happens when I have to give a presentation, a lecture or the like. I've overcome the fear of public speaking but will do almost anything these days to get out of it because I've done it enough already and have put in my time. Forever, I hope.

Old habits die hard and I'm not even sure I want this old way of being to change much. This trait is so embedded in the person that I am that I must ask if struggling to be any other way is worth it. I think not. Which brings me back to Covenant long can I continue to participate and remain so quiet? It certainly doesn't seem fair to the group and continues to stir up anxieties in me. Yet, I feel invested in continuing; something draws me like a moth to a flame to these wonderful, genuine and nurturing people. Out of their mouths comes poetry. I wish I could speak my poetry but perhaps mine comes out on the page.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Personal Dictionary

I've decided to create a new category of blog posts....."Dictionary". There are so many words that we've "invented" over the years; some of them are legitimate words or phrases but with new meanings and some are words we have created, our own family language perhaps. I believe that most of these terms derive from my messed up mind and have therefore populated the vocabulary of my nuclear family. I'll take the credit and the heat for the craziness. But, Miss Laura is not far behind.

Dictionary posts will define these words/phrases to the best of my ability with examples of how they are used in common, everyday communication in this family. Sometimes they spill over into the extended family but most of the time they remain the domain of the four of us: Denny, Kate, Chris and Laura. They are fabulous (in my opinion) and so they are fodder for the creative. It may get you thinking about what new words you've created over the years that aren't in the dictionary.

Ever heard of a "keek"?
What are the other meanings associated with the term "short out"?
"Geeze out"?
Getting "balded"?
Being plagued by "konks"?

I know Laura is following in my footsteps, especially with her famous work on the word "beast". Although a noun in the conventional sense, it is at once an adjective (Laura's addition) and a verb (my work). This is the beauty of it all; words becoming all they can be in the infinite, ofttimes playful language that we all create from the mother tongue.

Too heady for you? Relax. Let's explore.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Indulging in the Ribald

These days it seems possible to find almost anything you want on the Internet if you spend a bit of time searching. This continues to amaze me and in this case makes me feel less like a freak for finding just what I was seeking last night on YouTube. I take comfort in knowing that someone other than Denny and I find this clip from the mostly dumb 1987 flick Dragnet, with Dan Ackroyd and Tom Hanks (wow, he looks young), as raucously funny as we do. This is my indulgence in the ribald, a word I recently re-discovered and which applies perfectly to this scene where agents Joe Friday and Pep Streebek interview a witness at the front door of her home. Played by the late actress Kathleen Freeman (1919-2001), she portrays a feisty, outrageously hilarious landlady who has been wronged by her former tenant and villain Emil Muzz.

If you are courageous and don't mind raucous (and ribald) language, check out this YouTube clip that explains all. This scene never fails to make me howl with laughter and if there comes a time when it doesn't, I'll be ready to cash it in.

This post is quite a contrast to my usual but it's just another facet of the authentic me. Mom always says I didn't learn this language at home and she's right. Although she thinks I learned it from my husband, that's not exactly true either. What is true is that quite a few of these quotes from the clip appear in the everyday banter between Denny and me; we've collected a number of them over the years and I'll just leave it at that. Ha!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I can't get away from this imagery. I see it everywhere and wonder what it all means.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Anniversary Roses

Here they are; 5 reds and a white.....the pattern to be savored in this moment but never to be repeated. We are always moving forward.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

30 Years Together

On December 10, 1977 Denny and I were married in St. Phillip Presbyterian Church in Houston. I have an invitation to the wedding that sits in a silver frame on my desk and although I rarely pick it up, much less study it, today I have done so. It reads....

Mr. and Mrs. Dean Vincent Thompson
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Catherine Shirley
Mr. Dennis Patrick Maher
on Saturday, the tenth of December
Nineteen hundred and seventy-seven
at four o’clock
Saint Philip Presbyterian Church
Houston, Texas

Reception following
Six Shadowlawn Circle

Denny and I will celebrate today, a day early; we have dinner plans for tonight. Tomorrow, on the actual day, I can expect the roses which mark the day. The number and color combination of these roses is an unrepeated sequence, each unique and a tradition that has held firm for each of these 30 years. I carried red roses at my wedding; a choice which I thought was a beautiful contrast to my wedding dress and the forest green dresses of my two bridesmaids (MMH and MBJ) and the rich earth brown of the men's tuxedos.

Each year, Denny has honored our years together by marking the occasion with a red rose, one for each year together. When we arrived at 25 years a white rose became the symbol for a quarter century. After the prior year's enormous showing of 24 red roses, the single white rose was pause for deep consideration; we had made a long journey together. Since then it has been the white rose and red roses, each red counting for another year. This year I will enjoy a single white rose and 5 red roses; a luscious half dozen. If we are fortunate to make it to 49 years of marriage; there will be a single white rose and another 24 red roses. We haven't decided if 50 years merits a new color rose; I suspect not because red and white are our colors (and roses don't come naturally in brown or forest green). I would love to see two white roses standing tall; certainly by that time we will both have white hair ourselves.

Because I've inherited a bit of the mathematician from Dad, today I counted up all the roses I've received on the 30 anniversaries. As of this year, there have been 321; 315 red and 6 white. I don't have the courage to figure out what the statistics will be at year 50 but if we are privileged to make it that far, I will undoubtedly do the calculation.

But clearly, anniversaries are much more than roses or dinners out. They are more than the two gorgeous rings that came my way on our 13th and 25th anniversaries. They are more than the sweetness of one anniversary (maybe our 19th or 20th) when after dinner we opened a bottle of wine that we had saved since the early 1980's, wondering if it was really going to live up to the promise that good reds mature with age. We weren't disappointed.

Anniversaries to me are mini-celebrations that when strung together, year after year, and honored with a healthy dose of compassion and and forgiveness, form the glue that keeps us moving forward. I was asked by someone earlier this week what the "secret" was to 30 years. It didn't take me long to say "laughter". In order to laugh with one's partner, there must be shared compassion and forgiveness.

To Denny; I love you.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Birthday Lunch at Mike's

Today is Denny's birthday. We've both been home today; he mostly studying for finals which start next week and me, enjoying a day off from work. Denny was quite clear; no cake or fancy dinner plans this year. All he wanted was to eat lunch at Mike's Chili Parlor in Ballard. We've driven by this place hundreds of times but have never been in to eat until this fall. Denny says it's his kind of place; low keyed with stick to your ribs food and a definite "eat heavy" attitude. Chris was able to join us today and we really had a great time gorging on not-so-good-for-you-but-oh-so-tasty food in an atmosphere that lives up to the restaurant's recent feature on the Food Channel's, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. This place has been in business for 80 years and after our experience today, I can understand why. It's just honest, tasty grub in a no-frills atmosphere. One meal there and it'll last all day I feel certain.

Check out this menu and the items we ordered. As you can see, abuse is free and a grilled cheese goes for $54.25. It's all about the chili obviously.
Chili Cheese Fries

Chili Dog Chili Burger

Kind of all looks the same, doesn't it? Don't ask if we cleaned our plates. I'll let you guess. Happy Birthday Denny!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stairway to Heaven

I think I'll do almost anything to avoid thinking about the holidays (see post from yesterday). Today as I was reading the "news" on my web homepage there was an article about Led Zeppelin's upcoming reunion concert in London on December 10. Apparently their most famous "Stairway to Heaven" piece is highly controversial. People struggle with the lyrics and LZ singer Robert Plant seemingly has a love-hate relationship with the song. Will the group perform their most beloved piece at the concert? Most say yes.

Why do I care? I don't really; just reading the article got me thinking about Stairway to Heaven again. I'm not a person who ever gets into lyrics much. I'm far more mesmerized by the tune, the beat, and the rhythm of songs. Lately, however, I've been reading lyrics of some of my old favorites and am struck by the ambiguities. These are complex pieces and they raise questions of interpretation. After more exploration, I found the above photo and full eight minute recording of Stairway on YouTube.

I'm listening now and really hearing the lyrics. And, I'm going back, way back in time to the fall of 1973 as a sophomore in college, madly in love with a guy named Kenny (can't even remember his last name now...scandalous). We were dancing to this tune, first slow and as the tempo increased faster and faster. All I knew was that this guy was great and our relationship was just beginning. I will always associate this song with that evening though I've heard it countless times since and already three times today. Funny how these associations come to us and stick like glue. Dancing to Stairway may have been the peak of our relationship; as I recall it was a gradual downhill from there until the day he told me he wasn't interested in the relationship anymore. Harsh.

As for the lyrics, I haven't a clue what they mean although I like the imagery of the stairway to heaven that "lies on the whispering wind". Who is the May Queen and who is that pesky piper who is calling us to join him?

***Sipping wine with Denny this evening, I shared the content of this blog with him and he told me that he also loves Stairway and that it was the LAST song played in the operating room as he finished his final surgical case in June of 1999; his request! Wow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hanging onto November may be December but I am in total denial about the season. The music, the lights, the holiday decorations, selecting and (worse yet) decorating the Christmas tree....well, I'm putting it off as long as possible. Call me the Grinch this year. It's just that things feel so rushed and I feel manipulated by the endless reminders that there are only so many shopping days until Christmas. It seems we barely got the kids off to school this fall before the assault of Halloween candy and spooky decorations started. And once October bit the dust, the onslaught of Christmas ads on TV and fat newspapers stuffed with inserts proclaiming huge holiday sales was everywhere before we could even sink our teeth into Thanksgiving. The intensity ramped up exponentially once Turkey Day passed and now we are truly in the thick of it. I'm resisting as long as I can. I still have my lone pumpkin outside the front door, my dining room tablecloth is a luscious rust color and the candles in the shape of fall leaves still sit on the windowsill.

If it weren't for a husband and two children who would never, ever permit a break with tradition, I'd beg for a cabin on the coast or in the woods, with a wood burning fireplace, lots of good food (and my family of course) celebrating the season in a simple way. No gifts required. No fanfare, tension, or stress about fulfilling some visual of the "perfect Christmas". Instead I long for quiet, peace, and thanksgiving for the blessings in our lives and a commitment to honor ourselves, our loved ones, our community and our world as we ease into 2008. I think we've lost touch with the beauty of these few weeks in December and that makes me sad. Outside forces are telling us how to feel, what to do, and how to be.

What's the matter with me? Hopefully the spark will ignite for me soon. There are three people in this house counting on lots of "Ho Ho Ho" this season. Thank goodness none of them reads this blog regularly; otherwise they'd say that "Mom is up to her old tricks". Bah Humbug.....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Life in Perspective

All of us live with challenges, obstacles, hassles, and irritations. It's just that some days contain more than we think we can handle; and yet....handle what's coming our way, we do. Today has been busy for me; a particularly active weekend day at the hospital with the beeper hardly ever quiet, unending requests, questions, and needs for input, decisions, and advice. I finally left the hospital around 2 PM and headed to get "stuff" for Mom and Dad. Batteries for their TV remote, beer and chocolate Ensure for Dad, various toiletries for Mom and a couple of prescriptions from the drugstore. It was raining and blowing mightily when I pulled into the parking lot by Bartell Drug and Metropolitan Market. Around that time my pager started going off every few minutes. Trying to multi-task, I continued making purchases while trying to talk softly into the cell phone about and with patients with miserable complaints and concerns. By the time I had all my purchases in the back end of my car, my cell phone had pooped out and I was wet, cold, and edgy.

Ahhhhh. And, now on to Mom and Dad's apartment with all the loot, stuffed into flimsy plastic bags and heavy as lead only to walk in to Mom's newly created "list" which included three items which I had not purchased and which (apparently) are needed. Trying not to lose it, I had to breathe....just breathe. I truly cannot fathom how many paper and cleaning products they use and how many chocolate drinks Dad consumes. I feel like I'd best get to Costco and buy in bulk to reduce the number of trips and the costs. If only I could get supremely organized and make one trip a week but somehow, I just can't get there. But why should I expect this? I can't even get this organized with my own shopping lists.

And then, I started talking with Carol Ann, the caregiver on duty with Mom this afternoon. She shared with me that she'd had to request a shorter shift today because "I've got 7 month old triplets at home and two are sick today and I've got to get home to help my husband". Not only does she have triplets but she has 2 other children and 2 stepchildren; a total of seven kids at home. It was clear to me right then that my moaning about having to buy dish detergent, toilet paper, and Kleenex after having just come from an outing to the store was ludicrous. I would not change places with this woman for anything; bless her heart. She has far bigger worries and concerns than I. And so it is that I am now at home on this blustery, cold evening able to write my blog and sit in a quiet house with little else to do except answer my beeper and keep close to the telephone. This seems so easy; compared.