I had the pleasure yesterday of speaking with an especially unpleasant woman. I had phoned her on a routine matter of little consequence and was met with rudeness, sarcasm, and the question: “Geesh, are you always this damn chipper?” Ouch!
It’s not the first time I’ve been called on my chipperness. I’m pretty naturally chipper. A friend calls me a gerbil. Even when I don’t feel at all chipperish? I try to manifest it anyway.
Later on in the day I learned that the irritable grouch had lost her husband and her mother in less than six months and the boss she’d worked with for years up and moved to another state.
On hearing all that I suddenly felt filled with all kinds of empathy for the gal – man, I’d be grumpy too!
I guess it helps to remember that everyone has a story. Whether we know what it’s about or how it was written doesn’t really matter. I’m hoping hers has a really happy ending.
Growing up in balmy, smoggy southern California I only saw stars on infrequent trips to the mountains and in birth-years ending in 5, not nearly often enough. Now, perhaps when I appreciate them most, I am blessed to view them with more regularity.
My husband has a property deep in the middle of nowhere that he bought precisely for its location, its hills, and live water. I love those things too, to be sure. But I love the remoteness the most because without the competing glare of city lights, stars not only come out, they put on a party.
I was hoping to attend one this trip to remoteland, but the moon would not have none of it. Pig Moon this full moon was called, and Luna, the Lunar stagehog wasn’t about to let any mere steller orbs steal her moment. She had the skies all to herself.
So I got to see her one-woman celestial show.
And it was spectacular. Indescribable. I applauded her performance loudly.
Lady Luna always teaches me something. This visit she reminded me that sometimes you receive far more than you hoped for, and the most precious gifts in life really are worth waiting for.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us -- Joseph Campbell
In yesterday’s post I wrote about how I had planned to go to the middle of nowhere to look at some stars and instead caught the moon in a spectacular display. It got me thinking about all the times I might of missed life’s moonrises waiting for the stars I’d planned to see.
No doubt about it, if I were I dog I’d be a terrier. Yappy, barky, and tenacious. When they get hold of something, chew toy or human equivalent, they just won’t let go. I’m that way when it comes to planning. If I set my mind to it? Consider it done!
That's a good quality in a lot of respects, it makes me determined, committed and focused. Unfortunately, when life doesn’t go according to my plans, I can be disheartened, frustrated, and grumpy. Worse, by hanging on with such tenacity there's always the chance of missing something better than whatever it is I'm holding on to.
Fortunately, the Universe sends me enough change-ups to keep me on my toes -- new chew toys for the terrier, if you will.
Just when you get your heart set on stars… well, here comes the moon!
"I'm being followed by a moon shadow moon shadow-moon shadow leaping and hopping on a moon shadow moon shadow-moon shadow..." Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam.
Recently, big, but not yet full-grown, puppy Rex has had a weird spurt of regression. All of a sudden, Mr. ‘I-Growl-because-I-can’ has become The Whimper Wonder. It started last week at dinnertime. I had just set out his food on our back patio, per usual. But then, instead of consuming it with gusto, he approached his dinner bowl warily, and then backed away. Then he neared it again, stoped, whined, and looked at me, quivering, (he was, not me). He did this over and over – approach, pause, whine. Each time he became more anguished and agitated.
I moved his bowl, changed bowls, poured his food on the ground, got on the ground with him – each night he got worse! Eventually, Rex started cowering before he even went outside to eat! I mean this dog was fast developing the warning signs of full-blown Doggie Anxiety! I can see it now: “Food Bowl Phobia – What the Vets won’t tell you!”
Fortunately, no doggie shrinks are on speed dial (yet). As it turns out, Rex’s night terrors were more astronomical than psychological. They coincided with last week’s Full Moon. It was so big and so bright, whenever Rex went outside to eat he cast a ginormous shadow – that “thing” was what was scaring him away from his food.
That was that. As the moon waned, his shadow shrunk, and mealtime resumed without incident.
A silly old shadow kept Rex from enjoying what he wanted to enjoy, what he was meant to enjoy and ought to enjoy!
Hmmmm…. Made me think about what might be standing between me and, well, my food bowl. What gets me anguished and agitated?
What moon shadow is stopping you from doing everything you want to do, were meant to do, and ought to do?
“Could it be? Yes, it could. Something's coming, something good, If I can wait! Something's coming, I don't know what it is, But it is Gonna be great!
With a click, with a shock, Phone'll jingle, door'll knock, Open the latch! Something's coming, don't know when, but it's soon; Catch the moon, One-handed catch! “ Something’s Coming – From the musical -West Side Story lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. -
My parents took me to see my first musical when I was in the first grade. I’ve been hooked on show tunes ever since.
What I love most about musicals is how the story is told through the music and lyrics – there’s very little dialogue, just enough to set up the next number.
I probably saw too many performances growing up. I was kind of disappointed when I got older and realized most people don’t pause at dramatic life moments and break into song. Personally, I think we’d all be a lot better off if we did.
My point is, if there’s a situation, sentiment, or occasion, there’s a song for it. The one playing in my head these days is Something’s Coming, from West Side Story.
Something always is coming, that’s for sure. The beauty of this spirited piece is the contagious positive expectancy: "Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is, but it is gonna be great!”
Hmmm, maybe we all ought to start out everyday singing some of that!
Do not look where you fell but where you slipped. – African Proverb
As one who has slipped, fallen, and gotten back up many, many times, I think I can speak on the topic with some authority. And, I usually do.
And while most of my stumbles have been metaphorical? I’ve had some dandies in the literal world as well. And since it is, afterall, “Oscar Weekend” I thought I’d share one of my most memorable!
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilon is home to the Los Angeles Opera and host of 24 Oscar Award shows.
In high school, I had the opportunity to attend a play there – it was a really, big deal. Dress up, high heels, the works.
Pictures do not do justice to the opulance of the interior – those four chandliers are breathtaking. And, it was while taking a breath, and simultaneously navigating the sweeping stairway that my heel caught in the hem of my formal. Whoops!
I knew I was in trouble.
It would have been so much better if I could have just fallen down, right away. Instead, I tripped, and tripped, and tripped. For half a minute I careened from one side of the stairway, down a couple of steps, to the other. I felt like an air-hockey puck. The fall took so long I was assured of the total and rapt attention of everyone on the class outing.
Never lived it down.
I’ve always said, the secret to falling is the getting back up again. But my second secret is this – if you’re going to fall? At least make a memory!
”I'm so happy, thank you. A girl's got to have her moment. Everybody tries to get me to shut up. It didn't work with my parents and it didn't work now” – Julia Roberts, Best Actress, 2000 Academy Awards
- - For the first time in my own history, I haven’t seen even one of the films nominated for Best Picture 2011. Or Best Actor, Director, Writer, Documentary or Original Song. It’s hard to fully enjoy the Academy Awards when you haven’t.
I did manage to see Iron Man 2, so I do hope the team Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, and Daniel Sudick win for best visual effects.
I’ve loved the Oscars since the crib – Hollywood -- the pageantry, the red carpet, the staging, the teary acceptances, and surprises and best of all – the Cinderella stories. Like last year when actress Gabourey Sidibe came out of nowhere, not only landing her very first role but a best actress nomination as well!
But the best part is always the teary acceptance speeches. You gotta love the gratitude. "It moments" -- isolated instants when you realize you achieved more than you ever expected. Oh how we love to have them and we love to watch them.
There doesn't appears to be a lot of suspense this year, the nominees were predictable and the winners seem shoe-ins. But despite the fact there may not be an underdog or Cinderella in the mix, there will surely be glitz, glamour, and plenty of red carpet.
“I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.” – Imelda Marcos
-- Two completely unrelated and most precious friends gave me the plaque and the coffee cup you see in the picture above Both Items read: Life is Short Buy the Shoes. They know me pretty well. Shoes are one of my passions. They don’t have to be expensive, that don’t have to be designer-labeled, they don’t even have to be faddish or popular, they just have to be special.
Here are my criteria – they have to look good on my feet, that’s where I tend to wear them most of the time. They have to make me happy. They cannot hurt to walk in. And if I can find them at a deep discount, I’m in heaven!
The genesis of most passions (some would obsessions) can usually be traced to childhood. I surmise mine stems from the wretched pair of Robin’s Egg Blue (#29 in the big box of Crayola® crayons) patent leather, half inch, Mary Janes I wore on the first day of school in the Second Grade. They were hideous. Oh, the kids on the playground had a field day with those. Even worse? From the cavernous recesses of my mind I think I may have picked them out. Aaaack! It’s easier to blame my mother.
Anyway, I think that was ground zero, both in my abysmal taste and my determination to have pretty shoes for the rest of my life. So far I have. My greatest regret is I didn’t realize early on there were professional shoe repair-ers and I got rid of my ecru-linen pumps. I still mourn them.
Over time my taste has improved and my passion and collection has grown to challenge closets and spousal units. So, be it. I’m not addicted. I can pass a shoe store and not go in. I can peruse a catalog and still not buy. And while a strappy, glass-heeled slipper can still make my mouth water, I’m not ready for rehab yet.
As far as I know, my guilty pleasure doesn’t harm me, offend others, or impact my carbon footprints, and the one’s I leave behind will be gorgeous – with a three inch heel.
“If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted.” – Sir Francis Bacon
-- I spent a lot of time this weekend combing through magazines like Shape, Fitness, and Prevention looking for interesting exercise ideas. Part of my sassy, bon vivant, and effervescent personality is my penchant for seeking out new and different things. Translation: I bore easily.
Lately, just trudge, trudge, trudging on the treadmill or even around my neighborhood has, become (yawn) pretty routine and downright dull. Funny, that tedium/boredom coincides with my body’s rather abject refusal to lose one more pound or give up one more inch. Arrrgh! The scales won’t budge and the measuring tape won’t either. While I take some comfort that neither one is increasing, I need to see some progress. It’s what spurs me on.
According to everything I read (I know, I might see more results if I moved more and read less) body’s get bored too – they need a change every once in a while. So this week I’m giving the recumbent bike a shot. And I’ve added some ankle weights to my leg lifts. I must be doing something right because now I have aches and pains in all sorts of new and different places. Progress!
I guess the moral of the story is if something’s not working for you maybe it’s time to rethink our methods, change things up. Hmmm… perhaps that applies to more than just exercise, you think?
I was thinking yesterday, “I really need some time at the beach.” Ever feel like that? Like you just want to get away somewhere, off by yourself, away from middle-east unrest, soaring gas prices, the latest updates on the meltdown of Charlie Sheen…
Personally, I find reality decidedly overrated. Call me an ostrich, but every once in a while a good round of head-burying is in order. Bring on the sand! Having enjoyed the beaches of Southern California, Mexico, and the Caribbean, I can attest they make ideal reality-avoidance centers.
Yep, those ostriches have the right idea. Hide out. Although, some say they don’t really hide in the sand. According to Roman writer Pliny the Elder when ostriches want to avoid their problems, i.e. predators, they hide in the bushes. My luck, there’d be chiggers.
Nowadays, researchers say the flightless birds don’t hide at all, in bushes or sand. Instead, they lie on the ground to make themselves inconspicuous. Tee-hee! I LOVE it!
Yep, that’s what I need to do… find some sand, some surf, stretch out, close my eyes, and get really, really, inconspicuous…
"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away." – Henry David Thoreau
One of the unsung heroes in my life is Vicki Robertson – a high school friend of mine who was even shorter than I was which meant that in Drill Team she always stood a little in front of or right beside me. Whenever I forgot a move or lost my place or panicked, I could look to Vicki and catch up. The only reason the Fullerton Indians stayed in formation is I wasn’t just a few inches taller.
See it wasn't so much that I was marching to a different drummer, I just couldn't seem to keep up with the ones I heard. I was thinking how blessed I’ve been to always have a Vicki in my life. Someone who does something really well, sets a good example, and doesn’t mind showing others exactly how it’s done.
Having majored in Trial and Error and degreed in Hit or Miss, I appreciate it when life sends along a shortcut – gives me a model, shows me the way. I’ve always said I may not be a great cook but I can follow a recipe. A friend tells me I’m “coachable”. Maybe. But if I am it’s only because I’ve had the pleasure of working with some super benovelent and dynamite coaches.
We always take for granted the things the come easily for us. The talents and skills that are effortless. But to someone struggling to keep up? Those talents are golden!
“Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last. Just kicking down the cobblestones. Looking for fun and feelin' groovy” – Paul Simon
Something very, very unusual happened this morning. Rex the puppy woke me up at 5:00 a.m. No, that’s not unusual, that’s a given. I haven’t set an alarm since his arrival in my life six months ago – no, what was unusual is he woke up, uh, calm.
Normally, the first thing he does when I let him out of his crate is bound up on the bed and start to, for lack of a better word, wrestle. He’s forty pounds of solid muscle and energy is his long suit. I virtually have to tackle him to get his leash on him and this has become one of his favorite games – prolonging me from completing this task for as long as possible. We call the game “Bedroom Football.”
I don’t know all the correct terms for ordinary football but our morning ritual always includes “unnecessary roughness” and “flag on the play.” Rex calls all the plays and has mastered the hurry up offense.
But this morning, for some inexplicable reason, he layed down beside me, licked my hand and went to sleep. Long enough for me to sing him most of Simon and Garfunkle’s 59th Street Bridge Song. And long enough for me to remember that sometimes we move too fast. In less than a minute he was up and at ‘em again, a tour de force of hungry puppy power. Moment over.
As I fed him his doggie breakfast I thought how quickly that magical connnection passed. The good ones usually do. And I was reminded that when it comes to those great bonding moments – with your dog, your mate, or your very best friend, we need to make the morning – and the moment – last.
For the first time, researchers have found that laughter causes the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels, to dilate. This increases blood flow which, of course, is good for overall cardiovascular health.The message is clear, and economical. "I think it would be reasonable for everybody to loosen up, and spend about 15 to 20 minutes a day laughing," said lead researcher Dr. Michael Miller, M.D. Director of Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Apparently the good Doctor and a lot of other brainiacs have documented what little kids have always known – life is pretty funny stuff, funny stuff makes you laugh, and laughing is a lot of fun! And kids do it constantly – about 300 times a day. And then we grow up. And then we mature. And then we stop – if not altogether, we slow down to an average rate of about fourteen laughs a day.
I was reminded yesterday how important it is to laugh at least fourteen times a day. It’s good for you physically, psychologically, emotionally. All sorts of studies have proven that laughter heals. Stuff way over my head about T-cells, cellular repair and regeneration. I DO get the bottom line: Giggling is good stuff.
One of my dearest friends on this planet or any other has been battling cancer since Christmas. His daughter emails us almost every night with a progress report. I am always moved when the report includes comments like: “Per usual, Dad had all the Doctors and nurses laughing…” His own laughter is healing him. And with his humor, he is healing us.
The only thing I can think of better than laughing fourteen times a day? Making fourteen other people laugh. So thank you, all you precious people in my life that make my cheeks hurt and my stomach ache from giggling. Bless you. And, keep up the good work!
Poltergeist -- A poltergeist is a phenomenon in which disorder occurs without explainable cause, usually indoors and in the presence of people. Such disorder typically includes inanimate objects. – Wikipedia
I am not the best at keeping track of my things. My Dad used to call it my lack of discipline. As I’ve matured I’ve dismissed that. I don’t lack discipline; I have a problem with possessions of mine wandering off from where I placed them.
This morning it was the cap to my favorite purple Uniball® rolling writer fine point pen. The ink flows nicely. I think it has magical properties. My point is, one would expect to find the cap somehow attached to the body of the instrument. Not the case. It disappeared.
To give you an example of how long this phenomenon has plagued me, years ago when I left a former employer, my boss presented me with a cigar box filled with, you guessed it, a couple of dozen felt tip company pen tops. Now why the ghosts would have spirited away all of those caps from where I put them to one cigar box, I’ll never know. Maybe it was spectral convention time
It just goes to prove my theory that some folks are not disorganized, they just have unseen perturbers that like nothing better than to distract people like me from their intended activities. It this instance the matter was complicated by my own principal of scarcity.
See, the less there is of something the more important it is for me to find it. In this instance, I only have one purple Uniball® and this particular pen is like a wolf; it only has one mate. I’ve tried every cap to every pen in this place to find a surrogate, none of them fit. I’m expecting a pumpkin and some white field mice at any moment.
So if you stop by and see my favorite pen ensconced in aluminum foil, just never mind. I don’t want the ink to dry out. And, everyone knows aluminum foil wards off aliens.
“…she is velcroed to him and won’t leave his side.”
I love words. All of them. Big ones, short ones, easy and impossible to pronounce ones. And I love most of all when I find them used in exceptional ways. The pause and catch your breath ways.
A friend of mine used the expression above in reference to her parents. They've been battling lymphoma. It’s hard to say whether he has been the most valiant, or his bride of fifty plus years. But they’ve been tackling this event like every other one in their joint life experience, as one.
He’s on his fourth round of chemotherapy in a marathon that began at Christmas. He went from “Uh-oh” to Diagnosis to Treatment like a high performance vehicle – super, super fast. And his utterly devoted companion of some time has been with him every moment.
I haven’t been able to express how touching it has been, seeing the two of them together, even before this medical monster entered their existence.
With the shared history that only good wolves have that mate for life, they are the completers of each other’s sentences, the keepers of each other’s secrets, “getters” of each other’s jokes, and co-conspirators in the mystery of life.
As difficult as this adversity has been, how awesome it must be when you can go through it in lock-step with the hooks to your loops.