Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Five Eagle Day

Craig woke us with fresh coffee at 5 this morning to catch the Kingston Ferry. La Push Beach was stunning. We had a small junk food picnic, found countless pieces of whimsical driftwood, had a nap in the sun and a brisk, salt spray - spritzed walk.

Maggie was soaked with salt water and sand. She skipped and pranced and chased waves till she was exhausted. The car was so full of her shedding hair that none of us dared to lick our lips. At one point we found some old jolly rancher suckers in the cubby-popped them in, and kept them in! Hair covered suckers? No thanks.

We had never in 12 years been to Neah Bay or Cape Flattery. We took the detour and it was so worth it. We found beaches that had to be explored. Craig stopped at every one of them for Tess to take pics and me to look for rocks.

At one rough, rocky beach we stood and belted out a couple of 'thankful' songs into the wind and waves. Was it salt water or tears on my cheeks? An eagle soared over. There was a fog bank rolling in and out that created this Brigadoon feeling.

Today, I was happier than the last time I was this happy. 5 eagles, 3 porpoises, 1 doe, foxgloves by the acre-mile after mile, ferns, foam flowers, banks of sweet peas, piles of wild roses, and enough heart shaped rocks to share.

The crashing, thrashing, bashing, splashing, spraying waves breaking against the rocks was invigorating to the very core of me soul.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Everything glorious?

There is a lamp post in our yard along the stone path to the garden room. It looks like a Narnia lamp. It felt like a Narnian sanctuary today in the garden - and I think perhaps I caught glimpses of Aslan. Or at least felt his breath lifting the hair on my forehead a bit now and then.

Us girls are desperate for some real ocean waves. Puget Sound is nice, the river gorgeous, the lakes around here pristine, but sometimes you just need a fix of pounding surf and nothing else will do. Craig and his kite, Maggie, Tess and I leave early in the morning for La Push - he loves to play with us! Just a day trip. Brita had plans and couldn't be so spontaneous. Maybe next time.

I am so thankful for the plain, simple extraordinarily ordinary of our life. Uncommonly common?

Can I just put it out there that I'm hoping to notice whales and porpoises and starfish and seals and sea lions and sand dollars and rainbows and everything glorious possible?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?! :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ode to Sue

It was Sue's (my girlfriend of 30 years) 50th birthday party today. Her daughter, husband and sister put on a wonderful, cozy, fun, colorful celebration in her honor. People showed up from all over to enjoy each other. Glynn smoked a brisket for 26 hours on his Traeger grill. It was perfectly tender, and dryly moist? :) As in perfect! I wrote a tribute to our friendship and read it out loud. Here it is:

When I think of a color that describes Sue it would be an elegant soft pink. If she was a flower she would be a sweet pea. If she was a flavor she would be Hagen Daas French Vanilla. If she was wine she would taste expensive and rare-fine. Brandy was the dog that matched her best. Her house expresses perfectly her unique artistical flair and showcases her warm inviting personality. Her high teas are legendary. Meals around her table memorable. Her managerial skills along with Glynn’s daring vision is the perfect coupling for a successful business. Sue has thoroughbred legs and ankles that still turn heads. She has written me letters, notes, made cards and sent gifts, jokes and suggestions for me to dream and drool over for years and years. Some slow mail with a stamp and some e-mail to save to a file. All are precious to me. All have been words of life. They offered us a home when we were in dire straights and needed to start over. She offered her parents and family when we had none to share holidays with. She has inspired me to garden and create, like her mother before her. Her hand crafted gifts are timeless classics. Sue is still Glynn’s ladylove after all these years – which in our world, a rarity. He still fancies her. Loves her. She still respects and honors him. Sue keeps her passion and intensity well camouflaged, but it is there, a deep, strong current that we all get to swim in. She uses her resources, talents and intelligence to help make a difference in the lives around her. She has 2 great glaring faults. She hasn’t a clue how beautiful she is. And she struggles mightily in ever asking for help.

I like you, love you and celebrate you. Your constant, unconditional love for me……………… epic.

And Susan, I will never ever give up trying to get you to dance naked in the rain with me. Ever!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally, Michael Jackson

I am really saddened by some of the stuff expressed by people who should think differently, about Michael Jackson's death. Almost universally, people sheepishly admitted to his music being OK, but not him. Um, whether or not you liked his style of music, it was epic. Some say good riddance. The unanimous cruelty is strange. It is so strange when we think what we believe is true. Whoops, maybe change that belief system to.........what is true is true!

Why are people who have listened countless times and enjoyed his music embarrassed by that fact? Why can't the parts of his life that could be celebrated be celebrated. He wasn't all anything, like we aren't.

One of my favorite ruminatings, quotes from others:
We think the opposite of bad is good, when actually the opposite of bad is loved.

We think the opposite of sin or missing the mark is virtue when actually the opposite is actually faith.

Isn't this a huge relief folks! Huh? I am so glad I don't have to stand before these people who are having a flesh tearing, stoning, good riddance party when I die. I get to stand before the One who made me, accepts me, chose me, forgives me, wants me, likes me and is quite fond of me .....just like I am. He sees me pure and clean and good. Because I simply asked and believed.

For someone to make the drastic decision to take their life, it simply seems like the last resort. A solution. "Surely now, everyone will be happy, glad I'm gone. I will be free from the pain of living this life."

These strong opinions about him are formed only upon opinions, gossip columns, photo journalism and documentaries, footage, films. Not one person who has expressed a rabid opinion of him has ever spoken with him, ate with him, watched him parent, been in his home, saw his agony, loneliness, pain, broken heart, broken dreams. He could not do anything right, no matter what. Being misunderstood, misrepresented and misquoted could make a person crazy. And you just dig yourself in a deeper hole. Only when we know what makes someone hurt, someone cry, do we finally love them.

I wish the compassion we neglected to show him in life could be shown in death. Come on! We want compassion so much ourselves.

I read some time ago, and wish I could credit the author about the time Michael 'dangled' his baby over the balcony. It was inappropriate and somewhat dangerous and yet, his intention wasn't to put his child in danger. His strongest need and desire was to lessen the distance between the fans and the child. He was trying to connect in some way.

I think I ache because who of us hasn't parented badly, without premeditation? We just don't have the world taking pictures, watching and giving us feedback. We don't have a trial. Our lives aren't under the microscope 24/7 or at all.

I hope Michael is curled up in Jesus' lap right now having a private moment of bliss. One of his first. He doesn't have to pay for it. I hope Jesus has his hands on either side of his face, is looking into his beautiful brown eyes while saying, 'you are completely loved and welcome, Michael' I hope he is finally home, resting his weary heart, escaping once and for all the snapping at his heals, snarls, traps, money mongers, photographers, criticisms, judgements and
pain. I hope all his tears are dried gently. I wonder if Jesus will show him the bottle of tears that the angels collected.

If he wanted to spend eternity in heaven, forgiven, loved, wanted, craved, enjoyed, worshipping his maker with song and dance, we don't know, but Michael had some moment in time to choose. That's 'what's so amazing about grace'.

Tessa's Dream

Tessa and I spent a morning this week harvesting her herbs. We had a system going. She would write the name on a brown bag and hold it open for me while I cut a bunch, put it upside down in the bag and tied the stems in the neck of the bag. She has them hung in rows inside the warm dry garden shed. It was so sweet and somehow satisfying, to be doing this together! She looked so full and content.

When they are completely dry, the leaves will be picked off and stored in tins. Her first harvest of herbal tea. We've never done it before; hope they dry completely without molding. Hope they keep their beautiful color. We'll have another try when the next batch is ready to cut. Lemon Verbena was my favorite scent.

It wasn't an exotic vacation, there weren't any whistles blowing or fireworks going off. We were here, at home, together. Monetarily, very inexpensive. Brown bags, string, scissors and a pen. She was experiencing gathering the fruit of her dreams and labor. I was enjoying watching her.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Some Summers

Summertime memories have a soft glow and play like movies; stopping, rewinding, fast forwarding and pausing. Here are some still shots:

Gathered around under the rose arbor eating cold, crisp watermelon sprinkled with salt. Juice dripping down our arms and chins. Spittin' seeds. Swallowing a few. Swattin' flies.

Marsha, Ron, Terry and Dan wanted to catch a hawk. Someone thought of up the brilliant idea of smearing ketchup all over me and having me stand real still on the hill, in 100 degree heat. A 5 year old used as 'bait'. I trusted them - unbelievable! The hawk was supposed to think it was blood? Thankfully, for me it was a smart hawk and knew the difference. I still have my eyes and my flesh wasn't torn off in hunks. Although, I think that would have been easier than the torture of hiking around the rest of the afternoon in the golden, dry grass in the hills. The heat made the ketchup itchy and so sticky. It was the one day that we didn't play in the water. Whining was not aloud. If I get dementia, it harks back to enduring that day.

The hills in back of our house started out green, but by mid summer had turned golden. The long grass was slick like straw. We would save cardboard boxes, pick the perfect size, wax the bottom thickly with a candle or paraffin then head to the top and slide down. A good run, one worth the long hike up, was one where it ended at the very bottom. You had to hang on dearly to the sides of the box to stay with it/on it. Makes me thirsty remembering. And itchy. And smiley with the memory of the wind in my hair.

Grandma's neighbor in Felton loved birds. Chickadees especially. He would stand out in the yard in the morning and evening with his hand out and call, 'chickadee, chickadee, chickadee'. When I spent the night with her, I would race over to his house and watch for as long as possible. He offered to let me try it. It took a few days for them to get used to me, but the day they finally fed out of my hand when I called them was heart bursting. I barely breathed, wanting it to last and last forever. It tickled my hand.

When mom made cookies, or a cake we would get to lick the batter from the bowl. It was good, but she was too thorough scraping out every last bit of it. Grandma always left a generous amount, sort of accidentally, for us to enjoy.

Fires at the beach roasting hot dogs and marshmallows were frequent and anticipated every weekend. We would sing, make sand castles, get sand in places we didn't know we had places and beg to stay just a little bit longer. Packing up, riding home, falling asleep and somehow making it to bed, probably a sandy sheeted bed......bliss.

Ever since I can remember, I have dreamt of flying. The hill where we slid down on boxes was also a flying launch. At least I tried. And tried. And tried. Grandma had a few umbrellas stashed away for a rainy day. I'm not sure if I asked, or snuck out with them, but this idea was original. I climbed up the hill, clicked open the umbrella, then started running as fast as possible. I would almost get the feeling of 'lift' just when the stupid thing would turn inside out. It happened over and over again. Wonder how many umbrellas I ruined? Could it be that this is why I LOVE to para glide? When the kite fills, snaps and lifts you - being air born is such a rush! My first time, the one word blasting in my head was, "FINALLY"!

Mom's dog Vali died. It was a terrible thing, she was part of the family. Grandpa and Dad were supposed to bury her up under the oaks on top the hill where the Indian burial grounds were. They promised mom. It must have been a daunting task carrying her, so they negotiated and decided to stop and dig right outside the corral, out of site of the house window. Little did they know I would tattle on them. Poor dad had to dig that dog up and rebury her properly for mom. He was not happy - she was.

Dad built a fort for us out in the pasture. It was made of logs and looked exactly like a frontier fort. It was quite high and open underneath for the horses to use for shelter. The ladder going up was a long log with notches cut out. Only humans could navigate it we were told, so many a summer night we slept up under the stars, feeling safely adventurous. Dad was quite a woodsman, and I think he poured all of his creativity into making it for us. Whatever he made was rough hewn, but solid like a rock.

Our donkey Noel once ate the crotches out of Grandma's underwear hanging on the line. Everyone thought it was hilarious, except Grandma. The look on her face and the steam coming out her ears as she surveyed the clothespins clasped on the shredded remains - memorable. I still have her red checkered bag full of those same clothespins.

We had a big hand crank ice cream maker. The flywheel itself was cast iron art. Mom would soak the oak bucket part the night before to swell the wood tight. It was always an 'event' to have homemade ice cream. For as much work as it was, it's hard to believe we had it so often in the summer. Mom would freeze milk cartons full of water the night before. When the canister was full, the crank assembled and rock salt ready, dad would peel the cartons open and fill a gunny sack with the blocks of ice. He would use a mallet to pound the pieces into crushed ice. Layering ice and salt, ice and salt around the canister was serious business, getting it just right to freeze the cream properly. Here's the best part. Picture a strawberry festival where a girl is picked to be 'princess'. When the cream started getting stiff and the cranking harder and harder to do, dad picked me to sit on the towel on top to steady the bucket. I always felt like royalty sitting on a throne. Seeing dad sweat and his muscles rippling and looking forward to the treat that 'we' were making........the memory is sweeter than the ice cream. If there was a young man around dad would often hand off the cranking almost as a right of passage, initiation into manhood. Sometimes I would be dethroned for a big bottomed girl who could keep it steady with her weight. Whoever could manhandle that flywheel crank by the end was invited to partake of the prize. The prize was the ice cream covered paddle that had to come out before the canister was repacked with fresh salt and ice to 'cure' for an hour. It was a guy thing. Women were excluded from this male bonding. Everyone seemed happy with it. Could that ice cream have been as good as I remember? I think so. There was love cranked in.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Frog Favorites

Frogs were a staple in my young life when we lived in Glenwood. Catching polliwogs and watching the different stages of their becoming a frog was riveting. Most of the day was spent finding water, then finding frogs. It was a never ending fascination how their muscles flexed, the way their tongue scooped out like a New Year's Eve squeaker, how they laid in the water with nothing but their nose and eyes exposed, their silky skin, the webbing between their toes and my favorite - the way they croaked making a chorus of amazing note ranges with rhythm.

Up close and personal, my daily dose of frog made them the one thing in nature that I adored, studied and knew. Intimately. I never tired of watching them, feeling them, squeezing them, making them have jumping contests, finding frog eggs or listening to them.

My older sisters were in biology one year. Dissecting frogs was part of the semester's lab. After days of hearing them recount each procedure and how interesting it was, I decided it was necessary for me also. It was curiosity that drove me to the dark insides of my favorite creature.

The doomed frog was captured and confined until I found a wood block and my only tool. A butter knife from the kitchen.

Remember, I was only about 4-5 years old, had not seen surgery performed on anything, the one piece of information was that frogs were getting cut open and it was so intriguing. A rubbery formaldehyde soaked frog and a fresh, live one are different objects altogether, but I hadn't heard that part.

I laid him out on the block and with all my strength started to saw off his back leg first. It seemed like a good place to begin. Not much happened with the dull, rounded edge of that butter knife except that frog started kicking and bucking and thrashed so hard that I almost lost him. Determined to be successful, I kept at it with tears streaming down my cheeks as I realized he was hurting. I had gone too far to stop now. As soon as the leg separated and his bodily liquid came gushing out, I could not go on.

Can't remember the rest, but think I would have tried to bandage him up. Frogs can't hop on one leg. My remorse, lack of understanding, failure to satisfy my curiosity and the incongruities of my experience with my sisters puzzled me for days.

It passed.

Mom would often ask someone to say a simple grace before supper. When she thought I was old enough, maybe 5, it was finally time. We had company, so it needed to be my best. I bowed my head, folded my hands and spoke these fatal words, "God, thank you for the birds that sing and the frogs that croak, amen" The whole table broke out in an instant spontaneous roar, laughing till their sides ached, then, every time they looked at each other would split up again.

I cried and cried and cried. Couldn't eat. Wouldn't be comforted. The more mom tried to explain it, soothing me, a laugh would erupt and off they'd go.

The only thing that did comfort me is I felt God liking me and my prayer a lot. I'm still unashamedly, unabashedly thankful for the birds that sing and the frogs that croak. He still likes it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Three Strands

This morning, I was thinking about the patterns in my/our life. The same circumstance is presented and I can either react or respond the same way - or differently. This is how I grow. The only way. There isn't any cream, lotion or potion that will make these kinds of 'stretch marks' disappear. I think at the end of our lives we wear them proudly as battle scars! :)

Yesterday, Craig and I had a major emotional catastrophe, but it resolved quickly, because we're old enough and have enough experience to do it different than before. We chose to take another route. I actually chose to take the 'high road', which I hate! I like him to be the one to do that! Because I'm lazy? Proud? Comfortable? Who knows why.......

Craig, very early in the morning, before I was even awake yet, set us up to both fail. Sabotaged a perfectly innocent day with no mistakes in it yet. It was out of fear of perhaps being disappointed or hurt. It was from assumptions that he had still clinging to him from a hard night of bad dreams. They seemed real.

I've done the same thing to him at times. It's so hard.......trust and hope seem so dangerous sometimes! Vulnerability is being nakedly exposed to possible rejection, abandonment or just having someone you love turn away from you in disgust. It might be the last straw, the last ticket?

I said some really angry, ugly things to him out of my anger and hurt. I wanted to get in the car and take off and drive off the edge of the world - not come back.

But leaving's not the only way to go!

Reassuring him of my commitment, my love, my respect, my desire and the covenant which will not be broken was the last thing I wanted to do. Nor did I want to make him the enticing Father's Day breakfast that was planned, but I did; the french toast, coffee and sausage, a different kind of 'communion' to remind us that a cord of three strands will not easily be broken..........

La Chaim!!!!!! To Life! I bow, curtsy, toast, cheer, applaud, raise my hands, my glass.....and drink...... deeply of life. That means every last drop. Sometimes sugar gets sprinkled in by Someone.........helping it go down easier!

As we cuddled each other to sleep we both realized the day that had started off badly had become sweeter and sweeter. We felt like hummingbirds drunk on spiked nectar? :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


There's a rebuilding going on in me. Everything was demolished by a wrecking ball - outside of my inner circle of love and home. Lots of things I believed, many things I thought I knew, some things I took for granted, a few things that I thought were forever and would always just be are in tatters, shredded, questionable, fallible or torn out by the root. Gone. Finished. And it's not the first time. There have been several times in life that it seems like it all gets flattened in some way - to smithereens.

Each time, I have wanted to stick a grave marker and some plastic flowers in the 'ground' and walk away to Beautiful, but each time stayed. Went from building with straw, to sticks to......you guessed it - brick. This time it's BRICK!

Life has chapters, life has passages. I asked a young friend, who is going through a hard time, "How old are you now?" She told me. After I empathized I said, "You're right on schedule - it's one of those passages in life that you get through to the other side of the rubble and rebuild something wonderful and new. Fresh. I know you girl, and I know you will get on the other side - borrow my hope for you." I feel for her, want to listen, and want to offer comfort if I am allowed and able. The chapter had a different title, but the feelings I recognized in my story at her age.

There's this hunger to find some older gals who can tell me their stories, reassure me and comfort me about this passage in my life that they have already passed through. The kind of story that sort of fades off making me sit on the edge of my chair and exclaim, ".....and then what happened?" They'll just smile probably and say simply, "Well, I'm not sure of the details, but here we are, aren't we!"

There's new construction, new habits, new thinking, new music going into this story of my life. It feels a bit sparse and unfamiliar. It's got a different rhythm that will take some getting used to. I don't want to be afraid of it, yet feel timid.

When Craig and I cleaned up after the '89 earthquake in Santa Cruz, we just shoveled all the broken, useless messy mass of debris into the junk pile. Didn't dig through to salvage much.
It was disheartening and a waste of energy. We were scared to start over in a new place, and yet each new place, each move (no matter if geographical, emotional or spiritual) has yielded wonderful memories, growth and friends.

Whenever we've moved, which we've done about 10 or so times, we purge, throw and give away the 'stuff'. It feels good. Each time, because the minimum feels orderly and easier to manage, I always promise myself to be careful what I bring home. Doesn't work long term, as clutter seems to accumulate over the years, in spite of good intentions.

That's practically speaking. Figuratively, in this life' passage', how will I choose to rebuild, refurbish, renovate and restore? What sentimental or meaningful things will I still use? What clutter will I choose to do without? What will I replace? What will I replicate?

I read somewhere that you only keep what is truly beautiful and truly useful.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Loving Today

I love:
cleaning and refilling the hummingbird feeder with fresh simple syrup.
sweeping the rock pathway and steps.
setting the sprinkler and listening to the chk chk chk chk chk tddtddtdd whft.
smelling new cut grass.
having the fridge clean and sparse.
a full clean fridge and cupboards to cook creatively with.
sparkling windows.
fresh smashed guacomole with a hint of lime on tacos.
cold, cold Mike's hard limeade with spicy mexican food.
swinging with Craig on the porch swing.
eating outside in the garden room.
getting buzzed, checked out and mistaken for a flower by hummingbirds.
cutting fresh salad greens and eating immediately.
sleeping with a cool breeze coming in the window.
waking up without an alarm clock.
dead heading flower pots.
anticipating a fresh, long overdue pedicure.

Leaky Faucet

Going to Costco is a hateful way to spend an afternoon. Three times a year is about all I can endure. Today was one of those 3. It didn't turn out to be so very painful after all.

In the line I noticed a man in front of me that reminded me of my dad, white hair, glasses, unsophisticated, hardworking life kinda guy. Then I looked at the goods he was buying. Practical, simple and not much. The last thing laid on the belt was a double package of those elk-leather work gloves. Golden, soft and like a second skin.

Dad has been gone for a little over a year now. He worked hard physically most of his life. Two things stand out; he always wore a hat and never worked without gloves. Maybe when he was younger, but not later. His hands were amazing~like a river rock~hard, yet so smooth.

I tugged on the man's sleeve and told him he and the gloves reminded me of some good memories of my dad, who passed away last year. He smiled gently, his blue eyes really seeing through me.......and turned the leaky faucet of my eyes full on. It was a little blurry finding my wallet.

The clerk who heard the short exchange was also having some leaking going on. She had just lost a dear friend from cancer last week and remarked that it was so bittersweet when something reminded her of her.

We parted with this unspoken but implied purpose......to love those we love better and more-while we have time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Being Neighbors

This morning a young neighbor came over for coffee in the garden. We had a lovely morning. She told her story of surviving the foster system as a child. She is having me over for coffee at her house with another young neighbor tomorrow morning, already. I found a note on my door with the invite.

When I mentioned we had been wanting to have a cul de sac BBQ for years and haven't put it together yet, she enthusiastically volunteered to make flyers and pass them out to all the people we can see in both directions. We made the date for July 4th at 11:00.

We don't really know our neighbors well. There are the super quiet, never see them ones, the guy who vacuums up dirt from moles in his pristine yard, the bachelor who is so self sufficient that he paints, roofs, landscapes a gorgeous home all by himself, the race car wanna be with annoying mosquito buzzing cars, the ones who wash their cars and wax them ritualistically, the drug dealers and thankfully, the identity theft ringleader is gone.

Some only mow their yards. Some have wonderful landscaping. A few we don't know who really lives in the house at all. Invisible.

These neighbors are of every age, all walks of life. Some don't work and we can't figure out how they do their nice life?

Sometimes the police comes into our 'hood. Often, some angry neighbor calls the fire department on another neighbor for backyard burning.

The thing is that times could get hard here shortly - we could all need each other sometime. Craig and I grew up in small, neighborly communities, playing, borrowing, helping, working together and many times sharing pies, veggies, bread and home made ice cream along with BBQ's. Watering for each other, pet sitting etc. Ice tea on the porch at the very least.

The more we're out on our porch, hollering across the way or greeting someone getting their mail, the more they initiate with us and vice versa. We're starting to be a waving hello kind of neighborhood! Friendly like. It's about time - 9 years. Feels horrible that it has taken this long, but it's a start. It feels like we have been shut off in a little tiny huddle for years and years, not part of the heartbeat of the life around us.

Francis Chan says that manure in a pile stinks, but if you spread it out it makes everything grow beautifully. We're willingly in the manure spreader getting broadcasted....................

Could be fun?!?!?! Could be a challenge?!?!!?!?!? Could be we enjoy each other and have something to offer each other that's valuable. Who knows, maybe we think they need us, but we need them?

We could graduate, move up, to live bands and cuban style street dancing in the fall! :)

If you see a faint glow and hear a dance beat rumbling late into the night it could be our neighborhood.

The food will be great, this we know.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Floating Free

Last night Craig and I went to float the river, but it didn't work out. When I parked at River Meadows, as the door was closing and before I could stop it - realized that the ignition key was in my hand, but not the door key. Tess had the extra set in her purse. We needed to be able to get in and drive back to the bridge where we had started and get the truck when we finished. We went to plan 'R', it was still a good evening.

Today, we had it better than it would have been last night. Brita came with us, it was earlier in the day, so the sun was shining on the river almost the whole time.

We almost got dunked by one of the two 'bad' rapids, that are actually miniature ones. Our floaties - all three of them had leaks and lost air, which slows you down to a crawl. By the time we reached River Meadows Park, we were all mostly submerged, but still floating, in the FREEZING water. Craig needed a shot of 20 weight oil in his knee. His knee was stiff like a board!

Brita and I capsized a few times, I lost my water shoes more than once and had to retrieve them. We laughed, argued, shivered, screamed, yelled, got soaked, waved at lots of wanna be floaters on the banks, saw a few leaches, my heart rock, the laughing rock, fern rock, the waterfall, a few fish, lots of trees down, gorgeous new steps leading up the bank to my favorite place on the river bank and got soaked with sunshine and made memories.

We all came home racing to take hot, hot baths to warm up our outsides. Our insides were warm already.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


There's a place in the London Tube stations in between the train and the platform, where, if you miss a step and fall into it, you die.   Every few minutes 24 hours a day, this voice warns over and over again, "Mind the Gap".   

For me, the 'gap' is bitterness, cynicism and powerlessness. 

I want to be old and have laugh crinkles at the corners of eyes that still sparkle. 
I want my mouth to be permanently turned up, defying gravity and age. 
I want to love well, finish well, have compassion, be nurturing, be open hearted, hospitable, kind, tender hearted, good willed, sweet tempered, valiant, enthused, brave, courageous, fearless, bold, forgiving, merciful, graceful, resilient.  

"Minding the gap" isn't focusing on what not to do......it is being aware that there is potential harm and purposefully choosing the firm footing of either the train or the platform, which for me are faith and choice.  

I'm steppin' up and out, playing the movie forward ~ wanting to hear that, 'Well done, good and faithful servant" because I took my maker up on his offer of unlimited help and power......

(PS.  suttonblog inspired this post)  

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Heart rocks are amazing.  I find them ALL the time.  This morning however, was the most extraordinary heart rock experience to date......

Why am I still surprised, still awestruck, still amazed and still undone?  

                  Because it's new each time.

The capacity to know such wonder and  joy is a gift and the one thing intact from childhood.

Maggie and I were puddling about playing on the 'laughing rock' at the river this morning.  We would go up and sit in the sand to dry off and do it all over again.  Over and over again.  For hours!  

I had been keeping my eye out for a heart rock or two, but never saw one, till the very last wading spree.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the sunken relief of a big heart shape carved into a huge rock.  It was in the shadow and under the gurgling water about 12 inches or so.  It was about 2 1/2 feet long and 2 feet wide.  The perfect edge of the heart shaped indention was approximately 5 inches deep at it's deepest point.  I carefully brushed the silt away inside the outline to admire it more.....the effect was stunning, like finding an underwater treasure.  

It was pure gift.  Noticing it was a gift.  Recognizing it as a gift was a gift.   

This verse came to mind....Ps 36:8 ~  "I drink from your river of delights"  

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Anchor Holds

When Craig came home from work, I asked him if we could go lay down and just hold each other.  We did just that, till everything rustling around inside of me came to a calm stillness. 

It is so comforting when he lets me lay on his strong, broad chest with his strength flooding me and lets me cry it all out without asking, fixing, needing or wanting anything.  He simply waits patiently for the storm to blow over.....however long it takes.  

A few times I have felt like I would flounder, capsize, sink or we'd at least have to bail for dear life!   Today the storm crashed over Craig who is a rock, or better yet, my anchor. 

I am so grateful.  Resuscitated.

So grateful in fact, I made strawberry rhubarb crisp.  We had it warm after supper with french vanilla ice cream tonight. 

 "A faithful companion is a sure anchor"   

                                                              Mine holds!  (me)  :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And Then There's Rain

Yesterday's post was about water, all kinds of water.  Today, I must use one more water metaphor before I move on.  Rain.  

Craig and I re-watched "The Hiding Place" this afternoon.  It has a timeless message about what compassion and love really is.  What it leaves out but hints at is the way Corrie works on actively pursuing a life of forgiveness.  Later on in her life when she meets one of the guards who thoughtlessly and cruelly abused them in the prison camps, he greets her with joy and exclaims about her speech and agrees with her about how wonderful grace is.  It was easy for him, but so hard for her to reach towards his proffered hand.  The supernatural release of love for this man as she shook his hand was life changing.  

Rain is the water of forgiveness.  Rain is constant here in Washington about 9 months of the year.   Sometimes it is tiresome and we crave baking hot, dry days......lizard on a rock days.  But the truth is that we have the lushest, greenest woods, yards, camping spots, roadways, parks and pastures anywhere BECAUSE OF THE RAIN.  It is embarrassing coming back home from Nebraska or Wyoming or Eastern Washington.....because you feel so sorry for the desolate dryness they endure, reminding me to be grateful for green.   

Rain cleans the air and makes it sparkle.  Bathes the plants, trees and grass with nitrogen food. Refreshes root systems that aren't used to doing without.  It also is natural 'soft' water, good for your skin.  You can breathe well after a good rain.  

Once I danced in warm Arkansas rain with nothing on.  It was pitch black night in the woods and with my arms open wide and face uplifted I let the pouring rain wash over me.  It was sensually and intensely a spiritual cleanse.  Rain is like forgiveness.  Rain is good.  Perhaps I like rain.  I want to be rained on and rain on others, both.  Rain-er/Rain-ee?   :)  

I forgive you Jim J, bloggingly outloud, and release you to be loved, respected, honored, creative and used.  Be blessed indeed.  



Saturday, June 6, 2009

Water of Life

Thinking in metaphors is the way it happens for me.  All the time.  It's how everything connects.

I've wondered if I'm somewhat autistic without being 'labeled' as a child - because I think in pictures?  When I read, it is a complete 'picture', instead of individual letters, words, paragraphs.  The whole page is a picture that I see almost complete.   Weird, huh?  

Stay with me here.....  I was thinking about water, all kinds of water - creeks, ponds, rivers, lakes, oceans, seas, fresh, salty, icy, warm, still, moving, rapids, waves, deep, shallow, clean, muddy, stagnant and pure.  

The different ways we live and love are like all different kinds of water:
Intimacy of soul is like diving deep into bracing, pure, clear Lake Chelan or Lake Tahoe. 
Intimacy of mind is like surfing the salty, stormy, crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Intimacy of heart is like floating on a warm, calm, clean, easy, familiar swimming hole. 
Intimacy of body is sometimes like the vibrations and mist from Snoqualmie Falls, sometimes like rafting white water rapids in spring and sometimes like soaking in a hot jacuzzi.
Intimacy of spirit is the combination of them all, like being bone dry, then guzzling in one fell swoop, a dripping, fresh, icy, tall, glass of water.  Getting your thirst quenched.  Satisfied. Satiated.  

If you've ever been wetted in this way, you can't settle for anything else.....nor is it possible to undo the experience, or the bond that was created.  

The difficult discipline for me is to choose carefully who, how, when, what and why.  Careful because there have been times when I unknowingly drank, dived, surfed or floated straight into malignant, stagnant, dark, shallow or contaminated water.  Unexpected and shocking way to almost drown or break my neck!   Fortunately,  I'm fat and float;  bob and pop back up, usually.  Maybe.  Hopefully I'm unsinkable? Not invincible, but resilient?

I crave intimacy with people;  young, old, fat, in shape, brown, black, yellow, red, white, smart, simple, male, female, single, married.....etc.  The desire doesn't spring from a lack of it in my life, but an abundance of experiencing it, which makes me want more of such a wonderful thing.
Have I told you lately...................... that I love water?  :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Free List

As our girls are becoming adults, I find this compulsive need to give them a last list, sort of like "Last Lecture".  Every parent has some advice that needs given, even if it's not wanted; I'm not dying quite yet, but here's mine just in case I get taken - and they want to know:  

Sleep naked.
Buy the most expensive water hose you can afford, along with shoes, tools and mattress. 
Plant flowers, seeds occasionally, to watch miracles unfold.
Read fiction. 
Indulge in live theater, live concerts, performances - the electricity is 2 ways. 
Buy used cars. 
Be creative, use your gifts and talents.
Enjoy great music.
Support and encourage artistic endeavors. 
Eat quality ice cream, make it occasionally, for memories.
Bake bread once in a while. 
Use butter never margarine.  
Nurse your babies.  After the first month it is bliss!
Say no to epidurals and pitocin during birthing.
Stay home and enjoy being flat broke and investing in the one you gave life to.
Find a way.
Make free memories.  They are best. 
Have bookcases stuffed with amazing thoughts old and new. 
Make love steadily and generously to each other, no matter what. 
Explore yourself, others and your world.
Be comfortable alone - getting filled up.
Limit the things that suck you dry -  (Vegging isn't the same as relaxing, which restores.)  
Never indulge in ridicule or sarcasm, it kills.  Apologize if it happens. 
Find a way.
Go to plan 'B' easily.
Hospitality is about welcoming and nurturing, not performance.  Bless them.
Light candles.
Brew only the best and freshest coffee.  Use real cream.
Exchange a red lightbulb for a white one in the bedroom.  Only the good things are highlighted.
Know in your knower that you are 'the apple of His eye'.
Live like you believe that this isn't all there is. 
Gratefulness is the bottom line and changes everything. 
Find a way! 

I love you more than you will ever know.....

Both Rowing

Last evening, Craig and I were desperate to change the rhythm and tone of the day, so we took a blanket to lay out on the bank of the river, drinking in the songs of the birds trilling to each other, dancing dragonflies,  tenacious wildflowers and the laughter of the river spilling over the 'laughing rock'.  It changes and tunes it's laugh by the depth of and amount of water going over it.  

The laughing rock invited me.  As cold as the water still is, the evening was warm enough to accept the invitation.  I went down the bank and laid flat out on the rock, interrupting the usual sound, changing it as it powerfully washed over me, making a miniature waterfall that I was part of, making me gasp!   

Craig stayed up on the bank watching, thinking it was pure craziness.  Holding out his hand to help me up the steep last few steps, he told me how much he liked it when I smiled.  I just smiled more- all dripping and goosebumpy.

I was smiling just because there are the sweetest times right smack dab in the middle of real life that make you feel clean, refreshed, connected, born again again, baptized once more.   Kind of like remembering what you forgot.  Hopeful.  Comfortable with the shadows.  

We stopped and had an ice cream sundae on the way home, then 'picked up our pack' again, the one stuffed and bulging with life.  It seemed lighter and the straps didn't cut into our shoulders as much. 
I love part of that song, The Water Is Wide.....

"The water is wide I cannot cross o'er
 and neither do I have wings to fly
 give me a boat that can carry two
 and both shall row - my love and I
 and both shall row - my love and I."

Thursday, June 4, 2009


A big splurge this year was a big metal cherry red watering can.  As far back as my memories go, water has been one of the most important things in my life.  I really like to play with and in water.  Hoses work great, but a garden girl needs a proper watering can.  It completes the picture.  

For my garden, I could hook up a sprinkler and let it methodically do it's job, which occasionally happens, but most often I use the hose or my lovely new watering can.  It's not about getting things watered in a dutiful, useful way.  It's about getting newly acquainted each morning with my plants and their surroundings.

It's more like having the luxurious time to notice each leaf, flower, brown spot, dry patch, slugs, bugs, mildew and fungus.  While I stand still with the hose on 'gentle shower', the garden beds are outlined in 3-D.  I'm close, noticing the beauty in the details, asking what they need, how are they doing and providing it.  Plants like being handled, picked, shook, talked to, admired - they must, for they sort of straighten up proudly and put on their best display.  

While I'm quietly sprinkling, I'm also straightening and sorting out my thoughts.  Cleaning, processing, dreaming and planning.  Also having this comfortable companionship with my Maker.  Most the time, there's just this simple togetherness - nothing profound or complex. Kind of like taking a garden walk with a friend holding hands and loosening them only to bend over to point out and share something magical.  

This morning was sweet like fresh honey in the comb......   a huge, graceful bright yellow butterfly kept me company, swirling, dipping, almost caressing my shoulder and always keeping within my field of vision.  For about one hour!  

It wasn't until I came inside that I realized what a gift had been given me as I watered. This is gratefully expressing it outloud ..... Thanks my Love, I needed that!  

Once Upon That Mattress

Craig and I have always had a great and easy physical relationship and if it's true that what's happening in the bedroom is the thermometer for what's happening in the marriage, then for the last 20 years our marriage has been satisfying, pleasurable and fulfilling.  What's happening in our bedroom is as natural as rain. Playful, tender, generous, plentiful and sometimes real funny!   

We've always had a running joke about quarters...... 'Got five minutes? I've got a quarter', etc.   Flirtatious.    

A couple of years ago we were having a honeymoon weekend on Orcas at our favorite place to have this sort of wonderfulness.  We no sooner walked in and put our bags down than the romping, playing and loving started and finished like an instant sprint for both of us in a surprisingly short time. Like really short!  It was kinda fun, and a little surprising.  

Everyone knows that usually these things take some effort, a little time, some flippin' the switch and warm up exercises always help to ensure it ends well for both. 

Idealistically, we were thinking, wow, getting older is going to just get better and better!

Then realistically we thought, wow, maybe it's just the mattress and promptly checked to see what brand it was!   

The rest of the afternoon and evening were relaxing and cozy.  We slept like babies, woke up starving and quickly found a great breakfast cafe with good coffee.  Mt. Constitution was calling our name so we climbed all over the rock lookout tower admiring the heavy doors, stairs and wrought iron hinges.  The view is breathtaking in any direction.  Exhilarating.  It's new every time.

We headed back and no sooner got in the door than.....woohooo, replay of the afternoon before! Except this time it would have to be called instant gratification for me, as in instant!  Instant like lightning.   Craig has an extremely dry sense of humor;  without missing a beat he looked down wondering if he had left his Superman underwear on,  grinned mischievously and asked, "Honey, since I don't have any change for that quarter, should I just keep going?"  

We literally rolled off whatever kind of amazing mattress it was, tears streaming, sides aching, cheeks cramped and laughed till we collapsed completely.  We couldn't breathe or get up off the floor for quite awhile. 

The first part was good, but that laughter had all the loving texture of our lives boxed up, wrapped, and beribboned.  I took it off the shelf so you could have a peek inside and I could remember.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sowin' Love...

Earlier this morning, I wrote a very convoluted, badly put together furious 'parable'.  It was like one of David's psalms where he wants his enemies to get their teeth crammed down their throat and wants justice; but not as poetical- choppy, dislocated and all over the page.......because I get SO MAD!  But underneath the mad is hurt, and empathy for others who have felt the bruising sting.  Mad that there is no justice,  angry that there isn't anyone to put a stop to it.  Pissed that no one will talk about it or address it directly. Frustrated because it isn't and wasn't all bad - hating the good memories, trying to crush the little seed of hope that maybe there will be change, restoration.  

And more than anything else, confused by the fact that in spite of everything, I have grown tremendously and used the pain to create amazing beauty; pain as fuel?  Hmmmm...... 

It is a balmy summer evening, and as I count my blessings and look around in awe, noticing the
wonderfulness oozing out of me, our home, yard, off the page of the book I'm reading......
my mad has disappeared because love has replaced it and filled me up completely.  Thanks to both the Lover of my soul and the amazing man who consistently and generously makes love to my body, mind, heart and spirit.  Love kills the noxious weeds and lets the flowers bloom.  I really do want to bloom! 

Sometimes for me, it takes a flame burner, Roundup, Vinegar, Salt and black plastic to all have a go at the same time to get rid of the toxic, noxious weeds in my mind.......