Friday, July 31, 2009

Sweet Summertime

Living in a neat and tidy trailer court in San Jose, my birthplace, was a hot spot to live in summer. Baking hot. No air conditioning, but mom would make homemade popsicles and occasionally we could buy a cold treat from the ice cream truck enticing us.

Mom gave me the green Bauer pitcher which always had a continual supply of iced tea in it. She bought it when I was born and used it for at least 30 years before passing it on.

One summer dad got a wild hair and decided that mom and the 2 older girls needed to hire out picking prunes. If dad said it, we did it! I was too young to work, but remember how miserable we all were. Watching them climb up and down the ladders, picking, filling, dumping over and over all day long in the scorching, unrelenting sun was almost as bad as doing it. Coolers, ice packs and water bottles weren't around then, or we just didn't have any because we were too poor. I don't know if they stuck it out for the entire harvest or not, but we all whined and complained, possibly silently, but loudly in our heads! If I see one of those big purple prunes in the produce section of a store I feel itchy, hot and thirsty and feel so sorry for the pickers.

When we moved to Glenwood, my little friend Julie would arrive to play with frozen strawberries in the little rectangle can. They were a treat that I had never experienced before. We would head to the hammock slung between the acacia trees, swing, sweat and eat the dripping sugared mess with our fingers. Sublime.

Blue belly lizards were out in force during the summer. It seemed like what they mostly did was sunbathe on rocks. Catching them was an exacting sport for they would lose their tail if you caught them by it. I think most of the lizards around our place had stubs, as we never tired of trying to capture them, hoping to turn them into pets.

When we had chickens, my older sister Marsha showed me how to go out into the coop at night with a worm tied on string. All the chickens would be roosting quietly until we flipped on the light, tempting them to see and swallow the worm then lead them around while they gagged. Why this cruel thing was entertaining, I'll never know.

When we lived in Glenwood, most of the day we spent roaming the hills. Some of every day was spent in the creek frog hunting and catching crawdads. They were hard to catch trophies.

Salting banana slugs in the summer was a sick, perverse pleasure. We hated them!

Grandpa Jose had a summertime problem. He puttered outside during the summer, fixing fences, exercising the horses, etc. When it was hot, he would get this film of white spittle around the corners of his mouth. I would be so distracted by it and could hardly keep from wiping it off. When it got too bad, I would remind him he needed to 'get' it. He would take his sweat streaked panama hat's brim and swipe it away, relieving my mind.

He also had a sheepskin coat that he always had close by, summer or winter. He was like a lizard, loved the heat and kept his woolen underwear on all year long under his clothes. When we would go somewhere in our topless yellow International Scout, oftentimes coming home in the evening the fog would roll in, changing the heat to coolness. He would take off his warm coat and wrap me up, tucking me down all cozy beside him.

Grandma used a wringer washer. The clothes got hung out on the line to dry. In the summer the towels would dry stiff as boards with baked in wrinkles, a crunchy feel and a cooked in fragrance. They were hard to fold and about scraped your tender skin right off. I have never since then used such thirsty towels as those!

Grandpa's job was to keep the water tower filled. It was wooden, high above the house and stored hundreds of gallons of water. He would turn the pump for the well on, pumping water into the tower which would then be gravity fed when needed. Invariably he would forget it was on and the house, porch and yard would flood, wasting our most prized commodity! Grandma would be furious at the waste and the extra work the mess made. When it happened in the summer, it could be disastrous, as the well could run dry and we would be without until it refilled.

Summer made the poison oak bushes deadly. In our ramblings, we knew to stay away from it and the stinging nettles, but it was impossible to be completely free of it. Someone usually had an itchy rash somewhere. Mom was the one who suffered most. If it was on our clothes, she would get it from handling them and she was highly allergic to it. Grandpa, who never ever
got it, convinced her to take some poison oak oil, a little every day to build up an immunity to it. She trustingly did just that and got an almost deadly case of poison oak, inside and out. She was in agony, eyes swollen shut and itchy running blisters all over her body. Where was the Benedryl then? Calamine lotion was the only remedy available to her. She was miserable for a long time.

When we moved to Idaho, dad needed us as field hands. My sisters had to go out early in the morning to irrigate the fields, then go back out to shut the water down in the evening. Marsha and mom milked Dolly our cow. All of us helped bottle feed the calves. We had a huge mean sow that wanted to kill dad anytime he was close. He could climb the fence in a wink to escape her wrath. Then he would get a board and clobber her. Is that why she hated him? We had all the meat, milk, cream and eggs we could use.

One of the best things during the farm days was finding kitties hidden in the haystacks. One time we were traumatized by a batch that somehow were full of maggots, being eaten from the inside out. Dad had to put them down. I cried and cried and had nightmares for days.

We helped plant by sitting on the bean seeder making sure the containers kept filled. I drove the big truck for dad when he was haying. I couldn't reach the clutch, brake or accelerator without standing up. The steering wheel was as big as a hula hoop. He would put it in the lowest gear for me then I would steer it down the rows of bales while he effortlessly used his hay hooks to grab a bale and throw it on the low trailer. They had to be stacked in an herringbone design in order to stay steady as the rows grew high.

Craig has a memory of being so small driving a big field truck that while Miles steered, he managed the gas pedal sitting on the floor! Uncle Cliff needed help, but it took two of them to accomplish it. They were scared spitless! :)

During potato harvest we would stand on the digger and throw off rocks, dirt clods or rotten potatoes as they came up on the belts. Sometimes we would put a potato on this certain spot on the engine. It would be perfectly baked by lunch. After a hot 12 hour day we would head off to the hot springs to clean up and get refreshed.

Southern Idaho is watered by irrigation that comes from the Snake River. Canals carrying all the water weave in and out through all the farms. The water wasn't clean, but it was cool! We swam and tubed the canals as often as possible. We should have taken a shower afterwards, but never even considered it. Some friends of ours had the best and widest main canal running through their property. Rapids, a little island and a great picnic area and launch place made it our favorite. They had a daughter with cerebral palsy named Karleena. She was the life of the party even though it was torture for her to speak and her spasms were uncontrollable. She wanted to do everything we did, so when we swam in the canal or tubed, her wheelchair would be tied onto a tube and we'd push her off. How she managed to not tip over is still a mystery, never to be solved. She would thrash and squeal delightedly until someone caught her.

During the summer we also spent hours and hours riding our bikes. Miles upon miles. The roads were laid out in square mile grids. When we had explored the Northeast corner as far as we could, we'd start the Northwest, etc. One of our favorite haunts was the bird farm. These people raised exotic birds, pheasants and such and they didn't mind people coming to admire through the wire. We would take a simple lunch and have a look see, then have a picnic under the shade before heading back home.

In highschool, the way most of us made extra money during the summer was picking worms. It took sheer determination to do it. We all had these long metal rods with wooden handles linked together with extension cords about 3 feet apart, which needed plugged in to electricity. The 'high rollers', or serious pickers who literally made a living from it, had little generators that gave them freedom to pick anywhere. We would go out at night with flashlights, stick our prods in the ground and wait for the nightcrawlers to come skittling up from the ground in shock! When they were about half way out, you'd grab them, hoping they wouldn't break in half. It felt disgusting and was backbreaking. We did it because in about 2 hours we could make about 50 to 60 dollars. We'd take them the next morning to a guy who bought them. They needed to be alive and properly stored over night, i.e. healthy. I dreaded the picking, but loved the money he gave us before putting them in the fridge. Cartons and cartons of worms in refrigerators. He shipped them all over for fishermen to buy.

When we moved into town, most afternoons included a chocolate coke from the drive in, while most evenings were spent on someone's porch drinking iced tea, talking and listening to music and just lingering.

Hard work, play hard, rest easy. Summertime was sweet.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Uncle Tom

Uncle Tom wasted enough charisma to kill him early. He died in a car 'accident' in Mexico about 28 years ago or so. We never really knew how it happened and getting his body home was a challenge for his siblings, indebted forever from the kindness of helpful strangers.

My earliest memory is of him calling mom telling her over and over again how much he loved her and his family and all of us. It took a long time. Mom in her innocence, unaware of his drunken state kept cajoling, assuring him and trying to comfort him. He was driving through California and wanted to come visit, but needed clear directions for his fuzzy thinking. We lived in a very small cabin in the mountains. Our place was in the hills off the beaten track with a long dirt driveway and very few amenities. We had something in common with the driveway - dirt. As in dirt poor. However, Glenwood never gets defined in my mind as being the place where we were poor. As far as memories go, this is where the rich ones get mined.

Uncle Tom came roaring up the driveway in a billowing cloud of dust. When it cleared, a beautiful very long shiny (was it bright yellow?) car with very large wings appeared. When the hugs were over, he couldn't wait to take us for a spin. He was proud of his wheels, as mom and her siblings grew up without ever owning a car. Having a car was amazing, having a spiffy new one beyond any one's imagination.

Here was this dashing, handsome and charming uncle intriguing us, wooing us and inviting us into his life......and car! With all of us packed inside, breathing ecstatically, the windows started to fog up. I was squished in between some adults in the front seat. It was easy to reach the window from the lap I was sitting on and wanting to be helpful, used my little hand to clear the moisture away from the inside. Not only did I want a view, but thought everyone else would like it, so very thoroughly started working my way to his side. Tom definitely didn't like it! He harshly told me to never do that again, letting me know it was marking and messing up the window. The way he spoke I thought the damage was permanent - the window forever scarred. The rest of the ride was torture, lacking joy, for I was unable to notice anything - holding back tears. It is the first time I remember feeling ashamed.

The next afternoon, perhaps in penance, he asked me to take him hiking up my hill. I packed us a little lunch and a jar of water. A lunch made by a 5 or 6 year old isn't gourmet at best, but after trudging through hot grass uphill all the way, it was dilapidated. I didn't know then, but seeing the lunch I offered him now, in my adult mind's eye, I cringe, then laugh. The peanut butter and jam sandwiches were pressed almost flat with jam oozing out the sides. The water very warm which made the familiar rotten egg smell that our water had even worse. Tom ate the sandwich like it was a fine delicacy, then offered me (and my probably grimy mouth and sweaty hands) a drink first. This was also my first experience of true chivalry. I recognized it and revelled in feeling like a princess. I believed him when he said it was the best lunch he'd ever had.

Tom had a smile that could melt your mad. He was generous and hospitable. His sensuality never crossed the line when I was a child or teenager. He was a little dangerous, but always exciting to be around. I loved staying with him and which ever wife he was with at the time. He lived extravagantly, loved passionately, dreamed big and shared it.

But the last time I was with him alive, he and his best friend alcohol both crossed over. Hurt, but no lasting harm was done. I forgave's why. If it wasn't so sad, it could be chaotically funny.

I think I was around 20, living in Anchorage. He was with a new woman, again. I was visiting a friend in Spokane, where he lived. He invited me over for dinner, where we planned a trip, as he needed my help to drive a pickup he was selling to his brother to Idaho. Since I was heading there next, it worked for both of us. We were both heading 'home'.

We started out each in our own vehicle a couple of days later. A liquor store was our first stop; I stayed in the car while Tom went in, returning with a brown paper bag under each arm. Growing up very unworldly, naive and somewhat unexposed to alcohol, I didn't know to worry. By the time we crossed the Columbia his truck was weaving all over both lanes. As I followed him, it was terrible to watch in horror as the truck went up on 2 wheels, the other 2 riding the concrete divider. Must have jolted him, as he pulled into a rest stop, climbed in back under the shell and fell asleep for hours. I couldn't wake him. We still had half the trip ahead of us and home sounded wonderful! And the rest stop was hot and boring.

Enter Michael.....possibly a hitchhiking hippy angel. Michael was the only man I had ever seen with hair as long as mine-down to our butts. He was friendly, without crowding me. As soon as he casually mentioned that he was heading our way, I impulsively asked him if he would come with me as I was sort of afraid. He agreed, we woke Tom, stuck him behind the wheel (in his drunken stupor?) and headed for home. About 10 miles along, Tom pulled into the median, stopped confusedly, then slowly started getting ready to get on the freeway in the opposite direction. His window was open, so I pulled over and started honking and hollering at him to please stop. Miraculously he did, parallel to the freeway, his driver's side to the ditch. As I ran over and opened the door, he spilled out all over me and the hot crunchy grass growing in the gravel. I sat and cried not knowing what to do - then remembered Michael.

Giving a hitchhiker a ride (for courage) was one thing. Trusting him to drive a valuable truck was quite another. He cheerfully agreed to help me get Tom in the passenger seat of my truck and drive the other one as far as we needed him, assuring me he was already heading that direction.

This is where Tom crossed the line. He was only partly passed out laying his head against my thigh for a pillow. Once in a while he would thrash around and try to grab the wheel from me, yelling and cursing. I slapped him on the head, then petted his head trying to sooth him and calm him down. About an hour from home he started getting roving hands along my legs. I had a skirt on, so keeping it down while trying to stay on the road and slapping his hands away was quite traumatic. I was in tears and completely exhausted when we pulled up safely. Mom and grandma and the other brothers greeted us, then hauled Tom home to sleep it off.

The house we lived in at the time had a 5 foot long deep and wide old claw foot tub. No shower. The first thing mom did after being introduced to Michael was offer to run him a hot bath. Guess she thought he needed it - I hadn't noticed - gratefulness colored him clean. She fed us, made up a bed for Michael on the couch, then watched intently as he showed her how to plait my hair with 6 strands. It was a work of art. We then practiced on his amazing tresses.

The next day, Tom asked me with tears in his eyes and chagrin in his voice if he had done anything bad to hurt me. I couldn't answer, but saw his shame. It was a different kind than mine had been so many years before.

I remembered in a flash those squashed peanut butter and jam sandwiches and all the fun he had provided over the years. Struggling to find words, I could only hug him. Silently, without any words I said, "I'm OK, we made it home safe.......that wasn't really you".

I hope he heard. It was the last time I saw him, as his casket remained closed.

Summer Rituals

Grandpa Carrico was angry most, but not all of the time. He read towering stacks of books from the library weekly. This effectively kept him from engaging, connecting or being affectionate as he looked upon us as annoying intruders most days. Keeping quiet and not disturbing him was the unspoken rule.

Even so, there were a couple of fascinating aspects of his personality that are good memories. He allowed me to observe silently two of his most revered rituals: Rolling a smoke and eating a tomato. I must have known he was bestowing a gift by allowing me this. No word was spoken between us during either of these long, slow, methodical, never varying rituals.

Grandma hated his smoking. Smoking wasn't a correct religious behavior. He had to smoke outside, which for health reasons was kindness to his family. He died of emphysema, miserably and tortuously drowning, unable to take a last restful breath. His last hours were panic stricken like he was being held under water.

But even though his smoking ritual caused a horrifying death, the ritual itself was refined, delicate and artistic in a way. He had a pouch full of loose, wonderful smelling tobacco and onionskin-thin smoking papers. With one hand he would pinch the precise amount of tobacco onto the square paper in his other hand. He had the amount perfect every time, never adding or taking any away. He would manipulate it evenly into a small sausage shape the length of the paper, somehow getting it to hold still and keep it's shape while he rolled it up, snugging and keeping the tension in the paper. Licking along the end he would finish wrapping and sealing it. Then he would tap it gently on end. I always wanted to ask him what made it stick. I'll never know, because my silence was the golden ticket to having the privilege of watching the next time.

When summer ripened the tomatoes, I would hope against hope to catch him eating one. He never offered me my own, nor did he offer me a bite. He acted as if I was invisible while I perched on the chair with my chin on my arms and eyes wide. It was a treat to watch; each time I thought the tomato was very fortunate to be chosen and given such honor and patronage.

He would get 2 saucers, one for the tomato and one to eat the tomato. A fork, serrated knife, sugar bowl with spoon and the jar of mayonnaise was ceremoniously arranged in front of him. He wasn't a praying man or a thankful man, but he would always quietly pause for this invisible rhythm only he felt before picking up the tomato. It was a grand, perfectly ripe one, pretty enough to paint, hand picked on purpose for the occasion. Since I wasn't there all the time, I often wondered how often he indulged. Every day, once a day? Once a week? More than once a day?

First, he would slice off the top and bottom, neatly discarding them to keep the vignette he had created pure. Then slowly he would take a not-to-thin, not-to-thick slice and lay it on his saucer. It would get frosted with mayonnaise, then evenly sprinkled with sugar. Using his knife and fork he would delicately cut it like a tender steak and slowly savor every bite, pause, then do exactly the same with the next slice. Like rolling a smoke, the ritual never varied.

I don't remember grandpa ever acting happy, smiling or enjoying anything. Yet when he did these two things it did seem like he was experiencing pleasure, some how, some way. I sure enjoyed it and knew instinctively that he was silently inviting me inside to enjoy it with him.

When our tomatoes get ripe, I might try to re-capture his pleasure, somehow try to encapsulate summer, pause and really see it, ingest it slowly, invent my own rituals to remember and enjoy the essence. Ripe tomatoes mean summer.....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

God Breathes

I asked Wendy O'Neil if I could post her lovely poem. She graciously said yes. When she read it last week at Kindlingsfest during the Bag End Cafe, she read it poignantly in an Irish accent.
I hardly breathed during the reading. It really caught me and held me. Here it is:

God Breathes
by Wendy O'Neil (used by permission) July 23, 2009

God breathes
Earth quakes, water lakes, man wakes,
woman's breath takes

God breathes
Wind blows, seeds sow, flowers grow,
branches bow

God breathes
Water falls, birds call, hills roll
horses foal

God breathes
Tides raise, trees praise, sheep graze,
clouds haze

God breathes
Fog lifts, wood drifts under the sun's kiss
peace - God's gift

God breathes
Souls thirst, death first, Mark 16 the 6th verse,
love bursts

God breathes
My heart leaps, my mouth sings, my eyes see,
grace rains through eternity,

God breathes
His presence near, my ears hear,
my eyes tear, there is no fear

God breathes
Faith expands, angels dance, the heavens stand
we're held in His hand.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Traveling Light

We headed over to Lake Chelan State Park Sunday on the motorcycle. Packing, for obvious reasons, is very simple. Only the barest of the bare necessities! Even then we look like we should have 'Arkansas or Bust' written on the back. It looks comical with things secured by bungee cords and bulging sidesaddles. Doug's motorcycle was having problems, so they had to re-do with the car. They kept to our traveling light code though. The cooler was the big
treat and concession because of it and we were all very grateful! We unpacked and gave them our load in Monroe since they had room and it would take some weight off the bike over the pass. It was a fortunate cancellation that made it possible to have a premium sight about 50 feet from the lake on such short notice.

Lake Chelan is one of the cleanest lakes around and one of my favorites to swim in - clothed or not. Night, evening, morning, mid morning, mid afternoon or any time in between is the right time to jump in.

We went with some friends who like the water as much as I do, which is rare! Not many people can take much. Judy is a mermaid also, which is a treat for me! If there's water - she always says yes. Craig actually matched us dip for dive.....that was legendary~ I really like it when he plays with me! :)

We rented kayaks for an hour one day. Doug cooked simple meals that tasted so good and filled us up for more swimming. We lounged, swam, found ice cream cones, watched the sun set, walked, read and did it all again. Last night Craig and I left our rain flap off the top of our little tiny tent and used the sky for a ceiling. During the night I would gaze up hoping to catch sight of a shooting star. Right before dawn early this morning, I saw one. Wonderful way to end the
time. We took one more dip before heading home in the sun. We stayed damp and cool until Leavenworth, then the sun and wind baked us to a crisp most of the way home.

It was so relaxing, easy and uncomplicated. Traveling light without all the STUFF is so refreshing. These trips, so common and simple are extraordinarily ordinary. That's why we do it. We need it super simple. Often!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


We just got back from 4 amazing days forever engraved in bold italicized fonts on my heart. This was the 2nd annual Kindlingsfest on Orcas Island. We didn't register in time last year to find accommodations. Next year, as soon as possible, I'm reserving a resting nest way ahead of time!

It was a big group of people who believe being creative is a God given gift that everyone has. They are living out their calling, being creative. Filmmakers, actors, painters, artists, singers, writers, lyricists, musicians, photographers, graphic artists, poets and dancers. Humble and engaging, every one of them!

Kindling is what we use to start fires. It takes more than one piece. We 'kindle' each other, need each other, hence the name, The Kindlings.

There were some brilliant people who had been labeled and tagged early in life, because us right brainers live in an almost completely left brained world and environment where it's not usually safe, rewarded or celebrated to be 'us'.

Here is the thank you e-mail I sent to Dick Staub. It might express how it all affected me better than a straight blog post:

Dear (Kindlerman) Dick,

We had to leave Orcas after the Sat morning session. I was sort of overwhelmed and spent my time alone at the bow of the ferry, letting the wind sort me out a bit. The verse that came washing over me over and over again was; 'He brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me is love.' Salty tears leaking, squirting, spurting - watering my thirsty heart.

I've simply been a homemaker, home school mom, and beloved wife - other than that have no patron, no recognition, nothing published, nothing valid, no collection or portfolio, you know, no credentials, pedigree or papers to publicly prove I'm a 'real' artist.

This was my first Kindlings event. This was also the first time I've been in a group of people who 'tilt almost completely over - to the right' (as in right -brained), or been in a big group where I didn't feel utterly alone or like the accidental tourist.

To feel 'normal', to feel collectively and corporately connected was overwhelming; my heart almost burst unable to contain it all. To be in a group of kindred spirits, knowing, understanding, intuiting, worshipping, absorbing and perceiving what we listened to with a humming, throbbing, vibrating agreement surrounding me and weaving us all together, um, it was amazing!

I'm hearing this constant echo; 'I too am an artist, a writer, creative, make things, see, notice, worship my Creator who made me creative! With these people, it's considered a good thing to still have a sense of wonder and awe. There's nothing wrong with me! Nothing!

Not only am I kindled again, but I remember again what I almost name. The one my Lord calls me.

Thank you so much for striking the first match to birth such an epic week of pure, safe, naked, sacred, open, honest encouragement.


Kathleen Overby

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No Points Please

Brita was telling Tess and I about her day and the point system at work. It is a system of rewards that builds up points towards prizes from a catalogue. Brita isn't longing for princess alarm clocks, waffle makers, underwater cameras, ugly bracelets, blenders, tablecloths, etc., that cost 3,000 points. If you're an exemplary employee, you might receive 10 points a day. Maybe. You can get employee of the week which is around 40 points and ipod privileges for the day if you are on the stock team. You need to save them up, however, if you don't use them, you get taxed for not using them! Brita begs her manager NOT to give her points!

Tess, listening intently, dryly exclaimed, "No wonder you don't like those points Brita, you only went to Awanas for one night". We howled!

I asked Brita what IS a reward to her. She said, "It is when they notice I've done a good job and say so, when they choose me to cover a shift and me knowing inside that I did the best job possible".

That is pretty cool. She's barely 18 and on her way........ I concur with her. The best rewards are mostly intrinsic in life.


The last post about Kent Keith's "Paradoxical Commandments - Anyways" let me take a sort of inventory, do a check up, take my temperature right now. So I'm going to keep going with this train of thought.

Miserable, unhappy, wretched, fearful and empty people can rob me quickly of the necessary stamina and endurance that it takes to live this way consistently. I'm not sure why; maybe it's a maturity thing, or a boundary thing? Am I such a wimpy wilting violet? No, I refuse to shrivel up!

As I recover slowly from old and new wounds and have progressed through the stages of emotional healing and have purposefully resumed my real life of gardening, fun, friends, hospitality, playing, adventures, traveling, thinking, reading, loving, forgiving, trusting and serving again; I wonder if my life possibly provokes and confronts people? The most healing thing in the world to counteract slander, injury, insult or attack is to simply live life to the fullest and let it burst out.......anyways! Easy to say, hard to do..........

It is happening though, and I'm so grateful. It has been like Eugene Peterson says, "A Long Obedience In The Right Direction". There is so much joyful progress and blessing this summer!

I just read a poignant review of "Phoebe in Wonderland". She says, "It's about a little girl with quirks that neither she nor anybody else understand. Her mother wants to preserve her uniqueness while finding a way to help Phoebe.

Phoebe's drama teacher says, 'At a certain point in your life (probably when too much of it has gone by) you will open your eyes and see yourself for who you are.....especially see everything that made you so different from all the awful normals. And you will say to yourself, 'but I am this person.' In that statement, that correction, there will be a kind of love.''

I would add this from my own experience. I believe it can only come from without. We can't manufacture it or have the wherewithal to self -fill our own tank! It must come from outside of us, from our Creator first. This knowledge, knowing and believing how He sees me and what He thinks of me and how He loves me gets knocked about, beat up and crumbled, often...... then I remember again what I forgot and try to bounce. I want to be like Lucia in "You Are Special" ---none of the dots or stars stuck to her. She was free because she knew whose she was and who made her.

It is so sad when we waste time on that familiar refrain reinforced over and over again by others, "What's wrong with you". Then, allow it to echo futilely, destructively and dangerously in our own heart..... "What's wrong with me?" What if there isn't anything wrong with you or me?

Our life, our marriage, our family is so full to the brim with contentment, gratefulness and love running over, splashing everything like a tremendous waterfall....I can hardly contain it all. I know, I know.....I don't always feel like this - but right now feel it clear to my toes! :) This must be what it feels like to live like I believe there's nothing wrong with me.

Actually, when Craig got home I warned him to come outside without his cell phone or wallet, egging him on to try and capture the hose from me. It was so hot and the water so cold and the take-over so easy for him! After we were all wet and kissed and dripping, we just stood underneath this sprinkling waterfall, smiling and soaked with silliness.

I really like waterfalls! One of the things on my bucket list is to stand behind a thunderous water fall and feel it's throbbing power surrounding me. Wow, maybe I can check it off, I think I'm standing there?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Paradoxical in Paradisical

"People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway."

These 'Paradoxical Commandments' are highly quoted pieces of inspirational writing. If you google it - the author who gets credited for it is Mother Teresa. Thousands of times! She didn't write it, but it must have meant something to her as she had it hanging on the wall. A guy named Kent Keith wrote it and published it the first time, years ago, I think it was 1968 or so.

I love the quote and just recently perused both his new little books about "Anyways". These words can instantly bolster and support my sagging thinking. Even though I'm not in a despondent state right at the moment, there have been many times when I was in such a funk. I read these words for the first time over 20 years ago! Like some C.S Lewis quotes and the 'red' words spoken by Jesus in scripture - they are words that slap you up side the head with gumption and being on purpose again. Bounce back words. Scrape your knees and get up again words. Try again words.

It is so refreshing reading about Kent Keith and his philosophy about not being recognized as the author most of the time when it is quoted; he knows he wrote it and published it, when, where and how. Instead of worrying about who gets or takes credit as it has grown out of obscurity over the last 20 or 30 years, he is just plain thrilled that it has had an impact on so many thousands of people. Amazed in fact!

I hope he truly is blessed. A guy who really doesn't have to have the applause and recognition to enjoy the intrinsic reward of writing something meaningful, that's the kind of guy I want to get showered! I hope he reaps good things on all fronts as his books hit us between the eyes.

Weekend Wonderfulness

Craig and I left Saturday for Olympia. Craig and Glynn have a truck race tradition every year, so Sue and I sit in the garden and gab for hours while they are gone. Rhubarb pie and ice cream finishd the night. Maggie was invited, but maybe won't be again - she tormented Otis with her puppy exuberance. He wasn't impressed with her stealing his chew toys, stuffed toy or the games of chase that she won. She loved it though!

It was pretty late, so we just spent the night, even though we hadn't planned on it, hence, no toothbrush, fresh underclothes, deodorant, food, etc. Oh well, those are the best memories, the serendipitous ones!

Craig and Glynn went to the truck stop for breakfast, then we took off for Westport, instead of home. The ocean was stunning! We sat on a blanket curled up in a nest/wind break of driftwood, completely entertained by the rhythm of the waves. As Craig napped, I took Maggie on a long walk around the point. It was astringent for my soul.

We wanted to explore the North beaches for the afternoon and take the back loop home. Ocean Shores is despicable, but Pacific Beach, Moclips and the beaches south of Forks are more than completely delightful. There is a rough, small, first come - first served camping spot on a bluff that I will be going camping at someday! I have my spot picked out already. The thought of going to sleep and waking up to the waves right there make me tingle with anticipation. Craig said he'd be at the Kalaloch Lodge, sleeping close by, meeting me for beach walks and meals. Did I mention it was very primitive? :)

Craig's 2 handled trick kite is usually in the trunk, thankfully! He found perfect wind in Pacific Beach. Maggie and I were his go-to girls if it hit ground. It is so fun to watch him play. How can a person have such prowess in play? It was jaw dropping, some of the stunts he put the kite through. In fact, I think it might need a few repairs before it's next flight.....

The ferry wait in Kingston was grueling, like an SOS pad scouring some of the shine right off our magical day. Then the construction going on at night in South Everett put a few high pitched scrapes on. We were at first happy tired, then I took it up a notch and got really itchy and cranky. Had to apologize about 13 times in 13 miles for being a witchy woman.

It is a little crazy to put so many miles and hours on in a day exploring, but this is our 'backyard' and even though we go and go, there are so many new places to discover. Will it ever end? I hope not.

One of the sweetest moments was in Westport while Craig was in the store buying iced tea and some nuts to munch on. I noticed the car next to us had a wheel chair in the back seat and a somewhat sick looking older man in the passenger seat. When his wife came out with 3 bags of things, instead of putting them in the back seat or trunk, she came to his open window and item by item shared her purchases with him. He looked like maybe he had had a stroke or something. I could not quit eavesdropping as this beautiful scene unfolded. It seemed like they were on vacation as she bought a couple books of local color, one of the lighthouse history, a local paper and groceries. She took every single item out of the bag, showed him and put it back in. It didn't seem tedious or dutiful. Both of their faces were lit up and responding to the wonders contained within those plastic bags. Every time she showed him the next thing it was like he got his ticket called and won another door prize. They did not tire of this until the last thing was explored. Talk about milking and squeezing every moment of delight out of the commonest of shared experiences. They were a picture of long time dedication, care and the kind of love that is tried and true to the end. They were completely oblivious of my gawking.

It came back to me several times that day, that what Craig and I were doing today, would be what will give us the ability to drink from that reservoir of stored up habits of love later, hopefully! If we store up enough moments of living together in an understanding way, playing, laughing, loving, adventuring, resting, restoring, respecting, learning each other, sacrificing for each other, giving generously.........we'll be practiced and skilled enough at it that when a really hard experience comes along, we'll simply keep doing what we have done, with some fine tuned adjustments to fit the new now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Good Again

Sometimes, in the summer, every day is better than the one before. This summer has been like that for me. And the calendar is full to bursting with more! I'm hoping that all the wonderfulness will be spilling over the top like Niagara, into a reservoir of 'slide show memories' to take out and experience again during the dark, soggy, long winter!

Yesterday Bree and I poked around the little shops in Fairhaven. We took Chuckanut Drive to enjoy the scenic route. It was sunny and leaning towards hot, which here in the PNW is a rare occasion. Our A/C is out so we had the windows rolled down. We had lunch at a wonderful little pastry/bakery shop. Our sandwiches took quite a while, the line was long, but they were fresh and packed with goodness, so very worth it. I had homemade lemonade with a hint of rosemary, which was a thirst quencher.

We walked on the docks and esplanade in both Fairhaven and Bellingham. I picked out a couple of boats to covet! Oh my, why oh why do I have champagne taste on a beer budget?

Bree wanted to take me to Edelene Dairy in Lynden for an ice cream experience later in the afternoon. I ordered black walnut and peach ice cream on a waffle cone. We sat in the grass in the shade devouring our cones like kids, with whiffs of cow everything coming and going on the breeze. The smell of silage, hay, cow poop and cow sweat; it's just earthy and familiar to me ~ weirdly comforting.

Bree and I sat on the swing for a bit when we got home, then did a garden walk before she left, while Craig finished fixing some linkage on Brita's car. Craig was so hot that one of my best fantasy's ever came true. He invited me to go swimming in Lake Howard, a small, clean hidden lake over by Kayak Point. We floated, swam, laughed and played like otters in the delicious coolness for an hour, coming home completely refreshed and renewed. I really like to play with people I love. Especially in, surrounded by or on......water! Water, sunshine, good food and loving people is yumminess!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tough Flowers

Yesterday Jenny and I hiked in to the ice caves. It was a sunny day perfect for being outside and getting filled up with fresh air and awesome scenery. Maggie came with us, acting very polite about being on a lead most of the way. When we got to the top where the snow fields were, I unleashed her and she went nuts. Loops, tumbles, skids, rolls all the while racing close to the snow. Jenny and I did a few snow angels as an excuse to roll around in it also-it felt so good, cooling us off. On the way back down I spotted this swimming hole clean, deep and so clear with white/blue sand. The blue-ish tint should have told me something. I took my shoes and socks off, climbed down the bank and jumped in. It was so cold I couldn't breathe or talk or move very well as fat solidifies at this temperature! Staying in for very long didn't seem wise, so I lumbered out and up, getting pretty muddy. It was extremely refreshing! The rest of the walk back to the car was cool like air conditioning.

The way the lupine, daisies, foxglove, dogwood, ferns, and bleeding hearts grew gallantly on the rocks with hardly any dirt was fascinating. They look so delicate and fragile, but must be so tough. I wanted to roll around in the fields of flowers too, but refrained.....

It was a very good day!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Knickers in a Knot or Speaking the Unspeakable

Today, I'm wishin' we still all greeted each other with a kiss and warm hug. I get my knickers in a knot about some of the fear based books and words that try to protect the genders from lust, affairs, prostitution, homosexuality, court cases from real or imagined accusations, sexual abuse from harmful and inappropriate behavior, and the rampant pornography addictions that rage.

I won't name any titles of books or people or podcasts, but I get so smad! Sad and mad, because touch is my dominant mode of exploring, getting a read and understanding my world. It is the ONE predominant way I give and receive love. And in our culture, it feels very lonely a lot of times because of the stigma, on several different fronts, that affection and touch has.

In many circles, the 'safe' way to hug a man is 'sideways'. This is all well and good if you are a flat chested woman and the distance between the two of you is full of air, which takes calculation, strategy and purpose. I happen to be a big woman with a bosom to match my size, hence, a 'safe' sideways hug could go awry for a lustful or fearful man as my breast could give his side a serious poke if he wasn't careful. So legalistically, he/me would be 'safe', but realistically, on accident, he could be getting a sideful! I have breasts, which I don't want to smear all over anyone. I'm also highly unaware of these sometimes offending twins and yet, I still want to have and give hugs! What to do? When I was younger they were for milk production, for years they have been Craig's favorite pillow and now it is starting to be a challenge to find quality support to encourage them to defy gravity. Sigh.

I wish homosexual men and women would get smothered in good affection by safe and appropriate men and women who aren't afraid of being harmed or giving harm. I wish men who have failed morally in their marriages by pornography or infidelity could experience warm tenderhearted loving kindness from uncalulating women who don't consider them lepers. I wish girlfriends could cuddle, hug, hold hands without raised eyebrows or anxious rumors.

Most of my friends' husbands are my friends also. I love and treasure the hugs, love, affection, kisses on the cheek and forehead from all of them! Affection does raise our endorphin levels, which doesn't equal sexual arousal, hello!

When my mom had her knee replaced last year, one of the most poignant and sweetest things she said was, "honey, when you massage me, it feels better than any of the pain killers".

In the movie 'Amelie', the little girl has very eccentric parents who never interact with her or touch her. Once a year, her father, who is a physician, gives her a simple exam/physical. When he checks her heart with a stethoscope and looks into her eyes, ears and throat, her little heart races with a mixture of craving her daddy's affection, awkwardness from it being so unfamiliar, etc. Her father thinks she has heart trouble, giving her an almost invalid status for most of her life, making her fearful of living fully. I wonder how many affection deprived people feel this heightened pleasure and equate it with sexual arousal? Makes me cry for them.

In "Lorenzo's Oil", the remedy is an oxymoron, a paradox. The general consensus from the Dr's is to give this disease no fat or oil, when the remedy is actually the opposite. The body needs an abundant supply of the good kind, so it doesn't have to furiously try to make the damaging kind.

When fear of homosexuality, fear of a lawsuit, fear of an affair, fear of failing, fear of gorging is the topmost thing on our minds, we have no freedom..... the fear and focus set you up to fail.

I don't want a strategized, calculated and distance - measured hug from anyone. No thanks! I want men to look at me, in my eyes and heart, not at my breasts, but when they are so conscious of trying not to oggle, they end up oggling! Or so conscious of intercepting a front hug that the side hug they trade it for is thanks.

I have been in a marriage for 20 years with a man who is easy to love and respect. His love language is also physical touch, which helps us both feel full all the time. We both have had a few times when chemistry with another person has happened. We have been able to talk about it, process it, pray together, encourage each other, remind each other of our commitment and covenant, reassure each other that if we had to do it all over again~'I CHOOSE YOU'.......... But, there isn't any shame, blame, threat or fear. There is actually a renewed trust built from the honesty.

Sometimes, across cultures, seas, genders, size or age, I have experienced intimacy of soul with another human. It doesn't scare me or thankfully, Craig! It just is. Hugging or not hugging, distance or no distance, adhering to this rule or that just isn't the question or the answer! Loving my Creator, my family, my spouse ~ and my self because of their collective love for me ~ this is what keeps me focused on the right way to act, respond, initiate, be affectionate, live and love, all the while refraining from insulting anyone's spouse. This lets me live wide open without fear. And respect other's parameters, boundaries and 'bubble'. Speaking of bubbles, I don't have one. My lack of a bubble though, is not license to be mauled, abused, disrespected, seduced, dishonored, groped or slobbered on!

At almost 50, looking back, there have been many honorable men who have, unbeknownst to me, trained me in being appropriately affectionate so I wouldn't be a danger to myself or others. I also have come to believe that as honorable, vibrant, captivating women, we can train men and boys to be affectionate without being dangerous to us or to themselves. It's love. It's giving instead of taking. It's having someone else's best interest at heart instead of our own.

The other night, unintentionally, I was caressing another man's backside very lovingly and with wifely designs. As I was casually heading south to what I thought was Craig's fine behind, I looked up to see him across the room. Shocked I looked over at the guy's face to find that it was a young man built like Craig with a look-alike Hawaiian shirt who had come over to greet a family behind us. I gasped. He smiled and graciously held out his hand and said he thought we should introduce ourselves. He assured me he understood and explained that he thought it was just his mom lovin' on him like usual. I blushed, Craig laughed.

My flower containers start wilting within a day if I don't water them daily. I would wilt without abundant affection from my family and friends. I'm so thankful for hugs, kisses and whisker rubs!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Not Nightly News....

Brita had a tire blow out coming home from Granite Falls today on Highway 9 Northbound past Marysville. She was able to pull over, then immediately called not AAA, but her dad. He loves rescuing us girls, so was there within 10 minutes. He soon realized she didn't have the right wrench or some tool to change the tire, so came home to get it, then returned.

While Brita was waiting for him, three cops and 11 guys stopped to ask if she needed help. One guy had his wife with him, half were middle aged and the other half younger guys. They were polite, eager to play the hero, treated her gallantly and seemed disappointed when they found out her dad was on the way back.

She helped Craig manhandle the fix, so she will know how if she is ever in dire straights and alone.

I realize she is adorable and was probably striking a pretty convincing pose of the classic damsel in distress, but the truth is that within 45 minutes some really kind chivalrous men wanted to help her. Her instincts never went on red alert sensing danger. She was a little overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.

Tessa, both times traveling alone to Austria via Munich, a 4 hour train ride including a grueling train connection from the air terminal to the train station, also experienced incredible kindness from strangers who were more than helpful steering her to the next right spot she needed.

I also have experienced so many people who were friendly, kind and helpful. Car trouble, international travel, getting lost in unfamiliar cities.......

Brita's news when she came home tonight is the kind I love ~ there really are caring people who are more than willing to help!

Dunked and Bathed

As I age, almost everything has more dimension, color and texture. Today, I was chewing my cud like a cow does with hay, only I was working on digesting the word grace. Human to human grace.

A strange phenomenon when grace is extended is this; often as the recipient, we act as if we are the givers. Maybe it's pride which won't allow us to receive such a free gift which we've done nothing to deserve, possibly the vulnerability required to accept it or acknowledge how delicious it feels is too scary, or is it narcissism which won't let us consider we even need, want or could use such generosity from a fellow human being.

My confession is that sometimes when I extend grace, I want the recipient to know what I gave and how much it cost. And yet, the secret essence that gives grace it's multi-faceted sparkle, which infuses both the giver and receiver with such a lavish experience of love is not telling, showing or letting them know. It doesn't matter!

"Babette's Feast" and "Chocolat" are my very favorite movies where this is depicted elegantly and eloquently. The recipients who were dunked and bathed in grace were completely unaware. Even so, they would never be the same afterwards.

I haven't been the same afterwards either, come to think about it! And I wonder how many times I have been completely unaware? Amazing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Real Sweet

Wouldn't it be fun to live your fantasies for a little while? Not the rest of your life, but to try it?

Craig and I are always looking at boats, we see one every now and then that would be perfect to live on for a year. The Nordic Tugs made in Anacortes are our favorites. New, long, shiny and red. We don't have the juice left to start with a fixer upper! We just want one to enjoy. Then, the fantasy comes crashing down. What if it was claustrophobic. How fun would it be to bring groceries and staples on board in the rain. Cold, slimy and slick walking to the slip. Day after day of being cooped up in the dark grey during winter. No where to spread out or have privacy. So, we fantasize about living somewhere warm, anchored in some sunny little harbor in the South Seas. And the paycheck? Where would that come from again?

Hand cranked ice cream is so much fun. If once in a while is fun, wouldn't making bigger batches more often, for more people be more fun? :) So I look at and compare freezers, often as in frequently. Maybe we could do festivals in the summer on the weekends. It is so fun to let the kids take turns cranking it, their eyes full of wonder. But the reality is that's not how I want to spend every weekend- marketing, selling enough to make it worth the effort.....groan! But did you know they make 20 quart ones that have a flywheel that can be hand cranked or motorized? Fascinating!

A hot dog stand on some busy corner, now that would just be the most fun-handing out love in a bun?! But maybe it only looks fun in the movies? :)

It's fun to dream and have fantasies - meanwhile living the real sweet one. My fantasies always include food, water and people playing, having fun.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Enough Today

Dreams of living in a leper colony, cooking for them, hugging them, binding their wounds or working on a Mercy Ship for a couple years or living in an orphanage in South Africa caring for aids orphans or the lost street children in Santiago or the poorest of the poor in India~~~~~these have been real desires most of my adult life. Somehow, it has never happened.

Life has happened instead. Maybe I didn't have the guts, the money, the will, the reality part down. I could blame it on Craig. Maybe it was all sentimental mush and the achingly hot tears were wasted and soon enough forgotten?

And yet, life isn't over for me, maybe the second half will see a few of these dreams come true, I don't know. Maybe just supporting with money is my part. Maybe I'm addicted to the fantasy/romantic idea of such an adventure and not the hard part of the reality?

Our neighbor boy is in first grade. He greets me almost everytime I leave in the car and runs over to greet me as I return. Yesterday, I asked him if he like stories, books read to him. He said no. I persisted and asked if he would like to sit on the porch swing with me while I picked a couple books to read to him. He snuggled right up as close as he could and didn't make a peep or wiggle much while we got lost in the first two.

He got distracted when his neighbor friend, 'Bubba', who is a little smaller and younger started riding his bike in the cul-de-sac. He wanted to know if Bubba could come and listen too. As soon as I said yes, he slammed the 2 books shut, hollered to invite Bubba over and begged me to start over so he wouldn't miss out. Bubba had to sit on the other side, he wanted to be next to me and wouldn't share his spot.

Today, they both shyly came over and asked if I could read some more to them. I was in the middle of weeding, watering, and had plans to clean house as soon as I was finished outside. I almost said, 'not today boys'. Important stuff was needing done, sheesh!

The one thing I'm a sucker for is a child who wants a book read to them. I simply can't resist! We ended up on the porch swing, a boy on each side with me in the middle, happily having story time. Sunshine rays circling the shade. Contentment lapping at my heart.

Africa, India, leper colonies, medical ships, relief work are all quite exotic and I'll never stop dreaming of them, but when a child can't wait for you to turn the's more than enough right at this moment, today.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Meaningful Mandelbrots

Math in any form isn't easy for me. Wrong side of the brain or something? But, once upon a time, my genius friend Bill showed me 'Mandelbrot fractals'. I don't really understand them, the equation or the process by which brilliant people from places like Princeton, put colors to the numbers in a special program and come up with these beautiful pictures.

Mandelbrots fascinate me because the first frame is the whole shape, which if I understand it at all, is always the same. From there the next frame is a point zoomed in. The next is a zoom. And the next. It just keeps going forever! A little like a kaleidoscope, but more precise. They have given them names-the valleys, crevices, humps and such. Assigned color schemes. Patterns.

If I take all the words that are words of life like; love, grace, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, enthusiasm, joy, play, healing, wholeness, art, music, etc, etc, etc and 'Mandelbrot' them; it's like when you're 5 you learn about a word, practice it, experience it. Then, when you're 10 you learn it again, see more, understand better. When you're 20 it's more, deeper. At 50 these same themes become more and more complex, more dimensional, more colorful, more beautiful as you dive deep into the story that is being written.

I challenge you to Google Mandelbrot images and just slowly digest the immensity, the possibilities.

Good Rain

Sunshine is wonderful. We've had days and days of it hear in the soggy Pacific Northwest. Today it is raining and I'm so thankful! Everything is dry and sort of dusty in an unfamiliar way. Anything green is thirstily gulping, preening and shining like new again. It is refreshing.

A while back, I posted some metaphors about water, with rain being like forgiveness. I have been working on forgiveness whole hearted-ly since then. The rain this morning is symbolic and a token of proof that I am succeeding in letting go and moving on.

There have been a few times in the last couple of years that I would have rather been physically violated, with bruises, blood and torn flesh afterwards as evidence. When your heart and soul get violated, it's invisible and no one can see the incessant dripping away of your life's vital fluids. There aren't any marks, nowhere to put a bandage or salve.

I have been pouring over the lives of those who have forgiven much, by reading and watching movies. It is fascinating how beautiful their lives became in the process. Big fruit.

A song that keeps popping up on my ipod when it is on shuffle is India Aries' "Wings of Forgiveness". It's keeping my nose out of the water and keeps me heading in the right direction. Whenever it is now. Moment by moment. I seem to be making some headway and exercising some new muscles.

I feel like the plants in my garden, clean, perkier, green, and ready to burst into bloom soon.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Fourth, Friends and Fun

The block party in our cul de sac had a good turn out. As usual, my worst fear is that no one will show up. They came! We met neighbors and their parents and children. There was enough food for the whole county. It was cute how the guys all wheeled their own BBQ's to custom grill their favorite meat with a familiar tool. We had all you can eat crab, london broil, chicken, oysters, lasagne and tables of salads and desserts. Mostly home made which was fun! Craig made 10 gallons of lemonade instead of his traditional root beer, as we couldn't get dry ice on the holiday. We hand cranked 11 quarts of ice cream - enough for everyone to get filled up. We pre-filled water balloons and had a fight with the kids. Someone got the hose when the balloons were done. It was hot enough that it felt wonderful! Jon put up the canopy and people stayed under the shade most of the afternoon. It was truly neighborly and people want to do it again. It was interesting how shy people were at first. Then we all started to meld.

We cleaned up, hosed off, washed off and put away everything - order restored everywhere except my kitchen! I'm taking the day off from dishes! They'll still be there tomorrow. It'll wait.

Last night we went on Richard's boat, picking up crab pots. When we came back in to the slip, the guys cooked the 12 big monsters and we cracked them hot. Supper was all the pre -cracked crab we wanted, steak, better- than- sex-salad (almost)....a.k.a. oriental cabbage salad, potato casserole. We weren't really hungry again, but what does that have to do with anything?

Friday night some friends came over for a simple supper of ribs, coleslaw, taters; they brought strawberry shortcake for dessert. We eased the evening out from the garden room to the firepit. I'm now famous for the worst coffee making in history! Forgot the cone filter, so it was like syrup and we all now have hair on our chest!

It's spilling a gallon of orange juice in the fridge and floor, bad coffee, a disaster hear and there mixed in with the food, fun, conversation, kids having a cry, me having a cry, sunshine, memories, and lingering time with friends; this makes life, life. It's all good. I'm so grateful for fun filled, love filled, memory filled, tummy filled, heart filled, 3 day weekends!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


The river was singing me an invitation early this morning. As soon as could be managed, I grabbed Maggie, a latte and showed up. The birds sounded like The Von Trapp Family Singers, the sun was dazzling and the water looked like Kiplings 'great, grey-green, greasy, Limpopo river, all set about with fever trees.' My eyes wanted to be my throat and swallow it.

A young buck crossed from the opposite bank to my side up river. Some time later, out of the corner of my eye, there was a movement up on the bank behind me. It was him, peeking curiously down at Maggie and me. He had about a 9 inch stub with one little nub branching off it. He was so close that I could see the golden tan velvet on his wanna be antlers. Maggie was quivering for the 'ok' from me to give chase. She didn't get it! He ran off just before she caved into her animal impulses. Later on he crossed the river again, showing off his graceful walk. He might be the next king, huh? Teenager Bambi? :)

It was one of those perfect mornings that you don't want to ever end. I couldn't stay out of the water for long. Collected rocks, dug in the sand, dreamed, read, journaled and de-cluttered my brain. Mostly played. Deep play.

Paradisical time isn't available, readable, do-able or plan-able on any clock you can buy or make. It only happens when you show up. That's the thing, showing up.