Sunday, January 31, 2010

Love is Art is War

It was true
only partly true
truth used to
soulish art
and blood red

a gift offered
given free
not subordinate
no obligation
joyous debt of love
and gratefulness
gentle stroke
of affection

parlayed by
double edged
word sword

mangled limb
will it tame
take up the tools
of change

Seth Godin's "Linchpin" has wormed it's way into some of my dark corners; casting soft ambient light on what seemed like sharp edgy shadows. This poem came out like a soft boiled egg from a surprised hen's backside.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keep Breathing

Rock hard
it lays imprinted
a cold indention
the naked skeleton
of what used to be
wrapped in
soft warm sand
hardened now
to enfold
only a fossil
lonely bones 
still and quiet
where once
the breath of love
etched life
stirring the soft clay
of their hearts
to give

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood

through my night
it took a
long panting dream
to finally catch a corner
of her red cape

finally making contact
the full red hood
took its time
to slip back
not a wolf
but a papery
her lips in
a wide
of a smile

I woke up from a long dream of chasing Red Riding Hood last week. She gave me quite a run. I was gasping and giggling nervously when I came to. I would include it at HCB, but don't know how. :) So, I'm playing on the sidelines. Reading the other poems about a character in a book has been fun.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Colors of Promise

Rainbows have magnetic appeal and attraction for me.

There are traditional rainbows of the arched variety. Sometimes doubled. They range from thin to thick, close up or far away. Some are more vibrant than others. There are sundog patches in the sky. Moon rings around the moon and lunar rainbows.

Lunar rainbows are quite rare - I have seen only one. It was the time between dusk and nightfall. I didn't know its name, but it entranced me. I tried to get people's attention to see this unusual, improbable and seemingly impossible occurrence, but few came. A stranger and I stood for a long while in silent appreciation and awe. Wonder knitted our hearts together without words. We both knew we were witnessing splendor.

I have experienced rainbows that have been gifts, sent to speak comfort, give courage, help me cope, promise hope, reassure me of protection and assure me of love.

I have driven through them in a car, had them wrap up our house and follow our ferry's wake on the Puget Sound.

Once I had an extraordinary experience of driving many miles with the fat foot of a rainbow directly outside my car window, keeping fear from crawling in the door.

Sometimes I've seen a rainbow and absolutely known it was for someone else. I passed it on.

There have been many times when I've sensed there was a rainbow close by, but I couldn't manage to see it. It still mattered.

Sometimes, I shyly ask for them, like inviting a caress. Once, I asked and didn't get a real rainbow but immediately heard "Rainbow Connection" on my shuffling ipod; He chuckled, I had to laugh.

Do you have a rainbow story. Tell me, share it.......... please?  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Music For Us Commoners

Yesterday, Maureen Doallas posted a video of an aria of La Traviata being sung at the market in Valencia. The produce venders / singers come out one at a time from behind vegetables and fruit, in their aprons, to mingle with the puzzled crowd. The atmosphere slowly becomes attuned with the offering. Wine is handed out; hands touching hands. By the end people are wiping tears, smiling and singing along with the musical manna falling around them.

One of my favorite words (Italian) is lagniappe; a beneficient kind of extra, an extra we weren't expecting but immensely glad to have.

I don't have to crane my neck or get my knickers in a knot to have lagniappe. I don't have to race or shove anyone to have it. I don't have to worry when the next time is. I can't buy it. It doesn't store up or save. I only have to be here. Or there. It will find me.

It is always a surprise, generously provided by the loving hand of the Artist who created artists who create art.

To enjoy it is simply to notice. I wonder if noticing is one of the deepest and most profound forms of worship.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Go Ahead, Push In

Chris Brogan is a master blogger and prolific twitter user with a huge following. One of the big boys in social media. I found one of his tweets fascinating on twitter the other day, it said: 

Excited to be at #smcdallas tonight. Make sure you say hi. Don't say, "but you were swamped." Just push in. :)

It never changes - we have more influence than some and less influence than others. It is uncomfortable thinking we might be a 'pest' to those we admire. 

Push in. 

They might be spending loads of time alone. Their phone might not be ringing. They might not get any presents, cards in the mail or invitations. Their activity / full life could be initiated mostly by them. We think hoards are clawing at them and they wouldn't want to talk to us. This might be true ~ maybe it isn't true.  

Push in. 

Some of the most interesting relationships I have are a result of wriggling into 'the circle' of people who drop hands to let me in - graciously including me. It is extremely hard to do and vulnerable, but the alternative robs both of you. 

Push in. 

I love being pursued. My husband finds it quite delicious when I want him ~ which I do, often. The Lover of our souls....He likes it too. A lot.

Push in. 

Have you ever pushed in or wished someone else would have? 

Push in. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010


When was the last time you laid 
on the ground, on your back 
watching clouds?
 Dazzling blue sky, sunshine 
and a cloud parade 
will cure whatever ails you. 
Good Rx. 
I captured a few  
heart shaped clouds 
 overhead today. 
Someone was playing
with me.
He captured my heart. 

Thanks Milton

Reading a post today with a reference from Milton brought back some bad memories ~ "they who have put out the people's eyes, reproach them of their blindness."  

This has happened to me, maybe to you. I could never understand the dynamics until I read this!

Someone verbally, emotionally or physically abuses you-then they ridicule you for the instinctive shut down response that happens. "Looks like you're shriveling up".

Often, the abuser becomes the victim, turning the tables with, "you/they hate me". Instead of taking responsibility with, "I hurt you/them".  

Leave. Run. Guard your heart better. Do.
I did. I do. I will. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sentinel Trees

Sentinel trees 
guard my river 
like stags 

leafless branches 
 trophy antlers
in velvet moss

by a stroke
of sunshine's 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Love Stomp

Many of the things on my bucket list are checked off. Not completely, but many. Some things, like stomping grapes in Italy with my skirt hitched up, barefoot with other women of all ages, laughing  and  dancing with abandon; probably won't happen. Only in movies...progress, you know.

Last winter we visited the folks in North Dakota. My mother in law was in the later stages of Alzheimer's, still being cared for at home by Gordy. His hands were full with those legendary 36 hour days.

He was quite adept and efficient in caregiving, chores, housekeeping and cooking. Quite a thing for a farmer who had spent most his life outdoors. Noble man. Tired man.

Craig and Gordon took off for some manly time together, letting me enjoy sitting with Myrtle. She napped most the time, causing me to look around for something, anything to do. Something constructive.

I decided upon changing the sheets and washing their bedspread. I forgot they had a mini sized washer and dryer. The sheets fit one at a time, but the bedspread would have broken the thing and not come clean.

They live out in the country in a tiny prairie town. The closest laundry mat is at least 22 miles away. Determined to think creatively, like a pioneer woman, I put it in the bath tub with soap and hot water. Mistakenly, I thought I could swish it around like the women down at the river do... in movies?

Wet, it weighed a ton. Wouldn't budge. My back almost went out trying to swish it. Any desperate woman would do the same; I hitched my skirt up around my hips and climbed in. I stomped that thing silly. Stomped it clean. Sudsy laughter with tears came when mom curiously stepped around the corner to have a look at the commotion.

For once, the confused, uncomprehending look on her face wasn't there. Stomping grapes for the Italian wine harvest did not surprise her at all. Her smile was priceless, like we were having fun, doing my dream together.

It has been crossed off...the love stomp. This is as good as it will ever need to be.

This is dedicated to Russell also known as @LuvStomp on twitter. His username actually tweeked my memory for this post and gave it a title. Thanks brother for letting me use it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hanging a Shingle Out Front

Entheos (greek) means having the god within, or full of the god within.

The word enthusiasm comes from it.

Found this crumpled in a dark cobwebby corner of my heart.

It's dusted off - patched up.

I'm hanging a like-new shingle out front, above the door.

Welcoming enthusiasm. Welcoming all those who have it.

 Come is so good to see you.

I missed you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Diffusing Colors

The sun peeked out for the morning,
enticing me to the river Saturday.
Bundled up, sitting with the quiet,
I noticed the sun embracing a sundog by his side.
She snuggled under his arm dressed
 in colors of violet, orange, blue and pink.
Almost, I heard her humming contentedly.

The grass, sprinkled with clinging iridescent teardrops,
 mirrored the same colors.

Color; is it bestowed?

Gladly I borrow the gift lent,
 letting it infuse me, satiate me.
Later, I will translate it, diffusing it again.
Lending it to another.
First receiving, then bestowing in turn.
 Receiving is always first.
The fullness then escapes over the rim.
It must.

How Can We Live in Normal?

I need to do some grocery shopping, we are out of almost everything. But strangely, I keep putting it off. Buying dog food and anything else we need seems so trivial and shallow in contrast to Haiti's need.

Craig needs a new pair of shoes, his EEEEE's are expensive. We are taking the girls to brunch today, celebrating....these simple things are tinged with embarrassment, chagrin.

How can we live here in Normal when the loud sound of lamentation is being carried on the wind?

This is another way to help. I will lift up the hands and strengthen the feeble knees of the ones who are laboring to bring aid and succor, by uttering groanings of my own, on their behalf. There is Someone who hears and catches the tears of the hurting ones, the grieving ones and the ones bringing help, comfort and love to them. Join me? 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Untangling Words

Rainbow words 
shimmer in clusters
from the clasp of
 a bubble wand
a breath
of whispered hope
to untangle
wet wings of words
flying free

The first time something happens, take notice. A hot tub bath for me is a sacred sanctuary. When the girls were small, the door was locked and Craig ran interference so it was uninterrupted and peaceful. The sweet restoration it provided benefited all of us. Smart man.

Let it be said, it is a rare occurrence for me to fragment this ritual by tearing myself away from bliss. This, yes, I will bravely call it a poem, made me leave drips all over the floor, while searching frantically for a scrap of paper and a pen.

All my life, I've thought in pictures, metaphors. I see metaphors everywhere. This new poem thing is like meeting my absent identical twin after 50 years. Am I ever glad to see you sister.....

I left a comment on a posted poem today about how I'm starting to see poems, however slender they appear, as quite heavy, weighty. Muscle weighs more than fat.

Bono says "freedom has a scent like a new born babies head".  I feel sweetly free and fragrant, flying, a born again again, newborn.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Warrior Women

strength unlike man 
the weaker sex
less hardened
instead of weak

promise to stay tender
calluses remove
bruised strength mended
to birth 
to spark and kindle 
like flint for fire 
tears grow gardens
growing hearts

small offering 
added to yours
to hers
a noticeable heap
framed to
distribute hope
making a difference
knowing the end

getting up 
trying again
brushing off 
to give again
love received 
to pass on
it matters most

This is my tribute to new twitter friends who have introduced me to poetry in a fresh new way. Reading theirs has been so fun and inspiring. I have never even tried to write poetry before, even though I experience and notice nature as such. This is my first attempt. Terrifying, as I don't know the rules. Or how. Or protocol. 

They have encouraged me, and shared resources I never would have found and let me join them opening the door to twitter Narnia. Thanks to Nancy, Maureen, Laura, Glynn and Bonnie. Especially Glynn, who called my last post a poem? Startling me, naming me, giving me courage to try. Helping me 'caress the rainbow'...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Waiting for Green

We wait for green.
 Asparagus, forest, lime, pine,
sea shamrock, tea, viridian, Kelly,
jungle, jade, hunter, moss, myrtle, olive, pear, emerald, chartreuse,
willow, peacock, pea, army celadon, and grass green.  
Greens overlay each
other in our yards, in the park, in a
meadow, down in the valley,
up on a hill; overlaying without clashing.
Greens go
 with each other,
compliment each other,
even like each other.
Green poking up from cold, dark earth is
the most hopeful thing.
That kind of hope can't be crushed.
It begs to be noticed.
Spring green will come again, making us smile.
It always does.

Heart Rock Love

Wedding Pic

Happy 21st Anniversary Loverby - You were, you are and always will be my best beloved and studmuffin forever-n-ever, amen.
Can I just say.....I sure wish I still had a neck?  :)

Nice Spice

Today is our anniversary. Twenty first. Craig is three weeks out from having a knee replacement and I have a terrible bout of bronchitis going on.

This is real life. Nothing physically romantic. No red hot passion. There isn't a one upping last year happening. We're not 'getting away'.

It's OK. More than OK. We have survived hard times, endured the drudge times, enjoyed fun times, embraced the sad time, walked through painful times, trudged determinedly through growth times, been generous in the forgiving times, laughed at the comedies, cried at the tragedies.

He knows exactly how I like my coffee. I know how to give him a massage to untangle his seized muscles.

He likes me just like I am. I like him just like he is. We have a friendship that can withstand this plain season of simply caring for each other with simple acts of kindness. Caregiving doesn't sound very romantic. It isn't. Caregiving is about sacrificing and sacrificing is about love. And giving. The romance part? It'll come back, we'll have to fertilize it, dig around it, water it. Care for it. Be on purpose. Crave it.

My kisser needs reminded that...

The other part will come back, like green grass in the spring. Tom Waits says, "You Can Never Hold Back Spring".

This is also true.

Thanks Loverby, for my extraordinarily ordinary, uncommonly common life - full of tender hearted loving kindness.

Looking forward to some sizzle to add to the mix when we both are well.  BAM. Nice is nice, spice is nicer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti - Will They Come Home?

The disastrous earthquake in Haiti yesterday brought back some memories. What we experienced isn't even worth writing about, compared to their agony.

We lived in Santa Cruz in '89. Craig worked in Davenport, on the coast off Hwy 1. It was about a 45 minute drive from our little cabin in the woods and his work.

When the quake hit, it rolled the house like a roller coast ride. As I went to pick up my baby, the floor came up to bop me on the head. I crawled and clawed my way to her. We needed to get outside. She smiled in delight, thinking we were having fun rocking.

It sounded like a roaring freight train coming, and the house looked a little like one had plowed through it. I had just turned our gas oven on to preheat it for a pan of ribs for supper. Once Tess was outside and the tremors had stopped, I knew a fire could start from the gas, so ran back inside to a kitchen floor deeply covered in BBQ sauce, food and broken dishes. Everything was out of the cupboards on the floor. I made it barefoot to turn the dial off without a cut.

The aftershocks were terrifyingly dreadful, not knowing if they would get bigger or not. My worst fear was that a chasm would open up and swallow us, closing up again without any one knowing. It was real fear.

The epicenter was exactly between us and Craig. He was working in a quarry, driving one of those mythically huge trucks with tires as big as a house. He was climbing up into the driver's seat, when the mountains and trees around him started dancing wildly and his truck started bucking. Panicked, he thought he had forgotten to put the brake on, as the full truck was moving.

We lived in the valley off the Hwy 17 summit - called Glynwood.  It was the only way to get from San Jose to Santa Cruz besides the cutoff which led down to Old Glynwood Drive. The mountain had come down on the highway above us.

I packed some jars of water, a loaf of bread, some diapers in the car, in case a forest fire started and we had to leave. Cell phones weren't common, the telephone lines were down, so we waited. And waited. If I could, I would stay as long as possible; Craig and I had a pact, he would come for me, he would find me if I stayed still. Staying still was hard! Since I didn't know what conditions would meet me down the road, it kept me quiet and able to stay put.

If Craig was dead, wouldn't I know it in my soul? It took him about 5 hours to get home. The police wouldn't let him pass the roadblock to get to home, at first. Somehow, he looked so desperate and determined, they let him go through. He was one of a few, since the mountain had come down on the other side of the cut-off, in his favor; they told him to try. It was fortunate he took the highway, as the old road was severed and had fallen down the ravine.

It was the longest time of waiting, worrying and wondering. Torture.

When he finally drove up the long driveway, I ran to meet him. There were no words. We melted into each other and got stuck for a long time while tears of thankfulness drenched us. Touching and holding, crying and laughing; I kept patting him and sniffing his scent to make sure he was real.

There is nothing as sweet as knowing for sure that the ones you love are safe and home again.

There are thousands of people in Haiti today who don't know that experience and never will. For this, my spirit groans.

Love Rocks

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Embossed Heart

La Jolla Beach ~ Seeing love ... as solid as a rock. Feeling like the best beloved. Noticing the gift.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Planes and Sunshine

The sunshine broke through for 2 days in a row. When this break in our PNW drizzle happens, I'm outside, dressed warm, hunting down water and blue skies.

On the way to my favorite spot on the river Friday, I told the lover of my soul to pour it on, I was so empty and tired, whatever he gave, I would gratefully receive. Refreshing love...

First I saw an eagle milling around in the sky with a flock of snow geese. It looked like they were playing. It might have been more sinister than it looked, but it was unusual.

A few miles on another eagle swooped over the road, letting me admire him.

The rhythm of the river sang and laughed for me, smoothing all the parts that had become weary and ruffled.

On the way up the path as I was leaving, right when I reached the clearing in the meadow, 4 planes in formation flew right over my head. I did my customary wave.  They all turned around and put on an air show for me.

Now, you might think they didn't see me at all. It might seem narcissistic for me to imagine they would go to all the trouble, for one speck of person on the ground.

They zoomed over, framed their tricks against a puffy white cloud, then went beyond me, returning with a new routine. The sky above the meadow was full of playfulness.

I couldn't leave, didn't want to. It was wonderful enough that applauding, laughing and crying out there all by myself didn't seem ridiculous. I have seen them before; they have put on shows for me before. They seem like friends, responding to the same invitation to play in the sun.

Never underestimate the enjoyment and pleasure you give; even if it's to an audience of one.  I'll never know if they did it for me. They will never know how loved I felt.

It doesn't matter. It is a pretty story anyways.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wellspring of Life

"Guard your heart, it is the wellspring of life"

This was a natural formation at the seal rookery in La Jolla. It was over a foot in diameter. Noticing is a gift. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Green Dayspring Hope ~ 

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." 
Lady Julian of Norwich 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Digging Up Bones

For words of affirmation, validation and acknowledgment, I would prostrate prostitute myself willingly.

Disregard or no response makes me want to stop trying.

Ridicule or derision causes visceral nausea, tears, incontinence and the protective, instinctive roll of a potato bug, armadillo or hedgehog.

There was a time when you could easily manipulate me with words. Unhealthy; If you approve of me, I'm OK and will let you....

A good coach of any sort is able to pull the best out of me with words. Healthy; I'll die trying if you believe in me and appreciate the effort.

Almost fifty is nice. That need for approval went to nip at some younger person's heals. Giving encouragement away, giving what I want and need most, is something to spend the rest of my life refining. When I think of finishing well, this defines it because the ripples go so far.

These pictures are from around 1980 ~ I was twenty and younger. They are in a sense exhuming a grave, as they have been shuffled around through about 20 different household moves. I forget about them. They surface once in a while but there is a stink, or some pain surrounding them that I don't relish examining by opening. This is it ~ all there is.

Today was the day. As I scanned them, I looked deep inside. There has been a surprise inside, a present much more significant than merely the Cracker Jacks kind.

Without any classes, training or instruction of any kind, I created these. Some are copies of famous artists, some are copies of a card or picture I loved, and some are original. I had no idea how to use pen and ink, charcoal or pencil. Vulnerable to expose that faces, eyes, and perspective eluded me completely!

The smell and feel of toothed paper and a sharp, soft leaded pencil comes back even now with these words, and I feel such pleasure.

Bashful as I was, if I showed my drawings to anyone it was probably a close friend or family member. The response to me taking this huge risk was mostly kind and under whelmed. [yawn]

Never mean, just disinterested. I translated that lack of enthusiasm and apathy as; me and my drawings were dumb, not very good and embarrassing. I began to agree and stopped drawing altogether. Being creative is a must, not an option for me, but I deliberately killed the urge and desire to draw.

Compared with my aunt, uncle and grandmother, it seemed natural. Art like this was normal in our family, so what? They were each incredible self taught artists who splashed in their personal puddle, but never exposed/sold their art much. My uncle tried to for a short time, to make a living at his genius, but took his life too soon for anyone to see it. I'm sure he, like Van Gogh, never knew what he had was so valuable.

I'm coming full circle here. I could cry and whimper that nobody took an interest in helping me develop this gift. Or, I can ask myself why isn't there a pile of pages, years and years worth...... anyways?

Being intrinsically motivated is easier now - I don't need the external encouragement so much; the thing, whatever that is, is it's own reward.

If you know of a person who has unique gifts and talents, please encourage them; listen and look at their offerings. Anyone who risks the adventure of being artistic is worth admiring. There is nothing more fun than noticing and seeing the work of artists and letting them know you appreciate it. It's how we kindle each other, blow the coals into flame.

When we create, we give pleasure to our Creator. This I know.

Allergic to Assumptions

Thousands of people with gluten/wheat allergies are off wheat for life. As a simple farm girl, I wonder if wheat isn't the culprit. The wheat kernel is separated from the life giving germ and fibrous bran. Maybe our bodies can't process the bleached impostor called flour?

More and more people are diagnosed with milk/lactose intolerance every day. Milk in it's raw state is real food. For thousands of years it has been considered so. It is killed dead by the heat of pasteurization, then all the molecules are forced into sameness so the cream won't separate. Our bodies simply can't tolerate this white strange liquid called milk.

Many of us equate exercise with going to the gym or horrific memories of P.E., and think we despise it. We love the real thing; walks, hikes, gardening, building projects, swimming in the river, playing.

Women can believe they don't like sex, without having experienced the pleasures of being given the gift of a generous man's love making.

Birthing women trade the endorphin high after a natural birth for the epidural to kill the pain during birth.

Spinach from the food service sized can is nasty. Fresh spinach raw or lightly steamed is delightful.

What assumptions and beliefs do you need to trade in for the truth?  Is it fear or laziness that keeps us from examining them?

I'm going in for a deep cleaning and will ruthlessly toss the useless, discard the meaningless, then sigh contentedly at how light I feel when I hit the 'empty trash' button.

Bree's Heart

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In the Clutches of the White Witch

Last winter we wondered if we were trapped in a snow globe fantasy. Rain is common and normal here in the Pacific Northwest, not snow. It caused untold trouble, but, aahh, the enchantment. These are from an old digital point and shoot, plain, unedited, un-photoshop'd. Remembering the magic:

My Line His Dot

Our 21st anniversary is coming up next week. I was four months pregnant when we were married by a justice of the peace at the home of friends. The bump under my dress was hinting at it during our wedding. We needed to marry sooner than we did, but it would have been terrible to 'jump' Craig's brother's wedding.

They had been engaged properly with a lovely wedding planned. Their wedding was beautiful and warm. Big family affair on both sides. The bride in white was pale pink, while I was green; not with jealously, but morning sickness.

About five years before, I had chosen an abortion to end an unplanned pregnancy. This time around, I really loved and cared for the father and knew he would take good care of us. The first time I didn't have a conscience or a constitution. This time, I would not have considered it, although telling our parents and friends was hard. I never wanted Craig to feel trapped or manipulated, didn't want to lose my best friend.

A marriage has stages. The first years were hard. We had one set back after another for years and years. I don't really know how he had the fortitude and wherewithal to keep loving me. High maintenance is putting it mild. If you ask him, he just says, "I decided to, that's all". He has always told the girls and me that we are his dreams come true. He is so convincing, we believe him.

As our anniversary comes around, I looked back through this last year of blogging. He is high on the list of things I write about. I describe him, give him tribute, explain, laugh, ruminate, ponder and share him with words.

He hasn't always been top on my list. One of my worst fears is that I would be unfaithful to him - I can be fickle when I'm not being bipolar. I have admired other men more than him more than once. I have found other things more important and more interesting by default once in a while.

Honesty has kept the intimacy of our deep friendship. He has never been offended when I've come to him with my fears, shame, troubles or secrets. We have never had secrets from each other. Ever. He is safe for me to be real, so I never have to be anything else. That's a comfort. Trust keeps growing as respect gets heaped on the pile of love.

Yesterday, Hugh Mcleod tweeted "The Dot and the Line" a romance about lower mathematics.

If you clicked the link, you heard our life story better than I could tell it. I consider myself a fortunate woman. Twenty one years fortunate. Hot- tears- melting- my- face- thankful. It could have all turned out so different at every crossroad on the journey. 

Thank you line.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top Secret Isn't

When I was young, my mother's friends would pass recipes to each other as if they were gold. It was the greatest of all compliments if someone asked for a recipe after they tasted the dish you brought to the potluck.

At one time, owning recipes for Waldorf Salad or Red Velvet Cake were the key to being highly esteemed. Rumors abounded, but the REAL recipes were hard to find. Not only was it before google led you straight to your heart's desire, but they were top secret recipes. The chefs who created them didn't want to share their knowledge. They tightly clinched their famous recipes to their fearful hearts. Or so legend has it. It might be the case of the urban legend inside the urban legend?

Currently, Starbucks has a Christmas offering and favorite of the masses ~ The Cranberry Bliss Bar. They won't give the recipe out. They have a corner on the market. Hoarding the secret makes it as desirable as a hotel on Park Place. (If you're playing Monopoly)

Except, umm, these days, I can google a brilliant chef, or several, who have by trial and error created a clone. Is it pirating? Stealing? Naughty? I don't happen to have a conscience about it ~ my desperation causes me to cauterize it.

In our world, the people who blog and share great content are a brand of hero. (Pun intended) They are chefs, artists, art enthusiasts, writers, CEO's, publishers, agents, musicians, techno wienies, and info junkies. Each one has a special passion that they share ~ for free! What they have in common and why they have such loyal followers is this; when you open your google reader to peruse their latest post, it is like opening the lid, then sticking your hands into an overflowing treasure chest. An interesting feast that anyone is invited to.

And everyone wins because they want us to pass it on. Sharing is caring here in our bandwidth world. 

If you're jaded, you could argue that books get birthed by the authors of great blogs or that the ads make it lucrative. Amazon alone could do that.  It doesn't matter.  It's still free brain food.

Receiving and giving, two ways streets that turn into rivers as wide as the Amazon or Nile.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Perry Noble posted this as a tweet status, "When we automatically assume the worst about people ~ we cannot effectively lead them!" 

This hit me between the eyes. I have had to remove myself from following leaders who automatically assumed the worst of me. It destroyed their influence and my trust. 

They believe they are right and I deserved their bad opinions. I can't talk them out of their assumptions or opinions, nor should I try. Respect was not mutual.  

Last night we ate out. I made a split second judgement of our blonde little waitress. In my instant opinion, she could have been wearing only pink rabbit ears and a puffy tale. Within minutes, I felt this sick remorse and sorrow, that I had so quickly assumed what she was like. I was so wrong!  Completely wrong. 

As the night wore on, she noticed my handcrafted silver bracelet, recognized it was from the middle east, told us she had been to India twice for months at a time. It was obvious, after I let go of my opinion that she was a kind, generous, sweet girl who really cared about others.

As we left, she gave me the name, address, phone number and e-mail of her jeweler. The bracelet that became the catalyst for changing my mind, needs a small repair. 

That little scrap of paper represents mercy - in french, merci means thank you.  

Sled Dogs & Bull Riders

  • Sled dogs teams at the start of the Iditarod do it. 
  • Race horses, grey hounds and race car drivers do it. 
  • Mules and work horses at horse pull competitions do it. 
  • Athletes do it.
  • Performing musicians do it. 
  • Actors do it before they come on stage. 
  • Speakers do it before presenting. 
  • Surgeons probably do it before surgery. 
  • Attorneys do it before an important trial.
  • Bucking broncos at rodeos do it.
  • Bull riders do it.
Before the gavel pounds, the gun goes off, the curtain goes up or the gate opens, there is a person or creature quivering with excitement. Pent up energy is released, to start what they were created and trained to do. Beginning.......... to finish well.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sad isn't Bad

We learned the old songs from mom, who learned them from her mom, who learned them from her mom. Old scottish/irish melodies handed down from the appalachian tradition. They were mostly heartbreaking, tear inducing tragedies of love lost, loss, and tragic accidents. Heart breaking lyrics. Smarmy sentimentality. Throat chokers. Here are my favorites. If you want the complete lyrics, ask.

Every night after being tucked in, I asked mom to sing 'Old Shep'. She didn't want to because it made me cry. I persuaded her each time, knowing I would cry. The song is about a young boy who has a dog. As he grows up, the dog grows old and blind. He takes him to the vet, who kindly suggests that he puts the dog out of his misery. As he aims the gun at Shep's head, Shep looks at him with such love, he couldn't do it. Cliche? Oh well, it still constricts my throat, even now.

Another one was called "The Baggage Coach Ahead".  It is about young father unable to quiet his new baby, who is disturbing all the passengers in the car.  Several people start becoming grouchy at the inconvenience of not being able to sleep. A kind woman goes to the young helpless father and asks why he doesn't take the baby to its mother. He puts his head down in agony as he replies, "I wish I could, but she's dead in the baggage coach ahead."

"Miner's Child" was about a young motherless girl who begged her daddy not to go to the mines one morning, because she had dreamed of a disaster. She describes mothers, wives and children crying at the mouth of the shaft. Her pleading and tears don't keep him safe. Her premonition comes true. She is left an orphan.

"Purple Heart" told the story of a little boy tugging on a soldier's sleeve to ask if he'd seen his daddy... over there?  The soldier's eyes grew misty as he realized it was his best buddy - lost in action. A brave lad who had saved his life.

My favorite was "Old Limpy". It was about a bachelor rancher who went out in a blizzard to save a calf from dying, only to catch pneumonia and die from exposure himself. The calf surely lived?

I wonder if these songs gave us permission to feel sad indirectly?

Growing up, we sat around most weekend evenings singing and playing music. Piano, guitars, and harmonica. I would find a corner to curl up in, going to sleep with the thrumming hum of stories set to music.

Maybe this is why feeling sad doesn't feel bad.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Having someone endorse you is nice. They are saying, "This person is worthwhile. I know them and so should you. They have integrity, are trustworthy and will add value to your life. Because you know and trust my judgement, you can transfer it to this person."

Endorsements are gifts, not to be taken lightly. Never to be taken for granted. Two reputations can be smeared. Someone else lending credibility to us for free because they believe in us.

A good thing to receive. A good thing to give forward.