28 January 2013


there is a kind of leveling up that happens when we work hard, persevere, earn it some how...
and then there is the uncomfortable kind. the kind that happens when a generation passes, dropping away, thrusting us up to the next level whether we like it or not.

We lost our sweet Mimi this weekend. My grandmother. My mother's mother. An amazing woman, strong, buoyant.  She scared me shitless when I was little. And even when I was not so little anymore, I always felt I was disappointing her. Or doing things wrong. Or being wrong. And I hated that. I never felt like she liked me very much.

Jeff died the same month as Poppy, my grandfather, 10 years ago this coming August. And in those first months of nearly insane grief, we bonded in a way we never had before. Jeff also shared a birthday with Poppy.

Suddenly, she became so much less scary-- so much more tender and loving toward me.  Each birthday anniversary we would reach out, specially and specifically.  Each death anniversary.  It was so hard to have this shared grief be the subject of our new relationship, and I felt so torn. So relieved that we were on new footing, so very sad about why.
But no matter how complicated the "why", the past 10 years have been a different kind of gift. A gift of connection, and a totally new way of relating.  I still disappointed her.  Getting pregnant before getting married-- a cardinal sin in her playbook. But I felt we truly had a connection in a way we had not.

And now here we are.
leveling up in spite of what any of us wanted.

I will think of her red painted toes.
Her ability to float like driftwood. Truly, a freakish thing.
I will think of her laugh, and her sly grin.
I will think of the tiny pickles in a silver dish, her swedish meatballs, her mac and cheese.
I will think of the gatherings at her house, smelling of sea salt and cedar.
I will think of jean nate and dove soap.
I will think of the time she dried my hair, hard, with a towel on the deck of a large sail boat off the coast of maine, and how i cried at her sudden tenderness.
I will think of the acrid smell of Ammens powder-- when we were very little, she would have us lie on towels on her bed, and spread powder on our backs after swimming.
I will think of the slippery-soled ill-fitting sneakers she would make us wear to swim off the rocky beach.
I will think of red geraniums, and spectator pumps, and her crooked front tooth.
And I will think of how her hand felt, under mine, the last time I held it.

23 January 2013

so much less than I will

Dear people from my past,

I think, growing older, that one of the most rich and painful experiences is realizing, and re-realizing, just how clueless I was when I knew you.
I remember the bad flattop haircut I thought was cool or at least did not know wasn't. The leg warmers. I remember standing in a gay bar wondering if I was supposed to feel at home because I didn't. And wondering if because I didn't, if that meant something. I remember a million occasions where I was just doing my best, but my best was like driving with my eyes closed down a busy street, and I don't know just how many people I hit before I was done, how much chaos I caused, how much hurt, how much confusion.
I was often misleading and confusing because I did not know what I was doing, and I am sorry. I hated the way I felt so often, so defensive, so lost.

I had the unusual occasion to make amends with someone I hurt unintentionally but far more recently.

A spam bot stole my email, sent spam to my entire contact list, oy
folks from my very brief foray onto match.com included
anyone I had not deleted
which means most people I know or have known

and I realized suddenly with a horrible sinking feeling that I would be back on the radar for some folks who had tried to forget me
and oh yeah
I was right

but, it gave me the chance to say I'm sorry to someone I am truly sorry to. I meant it and mean it and it felt better having said it outright.

So this note, to all of you from my past, those I kissed and those I wanted to, those I confused, and those I ran toward or away or over... I am sorry from the person I was then to the person you were then, but I did not know what I was doing. I meant no harm. I was just trying to make my way, find my way, find myself.

20 years later, or 30, I find myself finding myself still. But now I know I will not find myself in someone else, or in a haircut or dive bar or team sport or bed
I am finding myself in the moments of meeting my own eyes in the mirror, and knowing that I know so much more now than I did,
and so much less than I will.

17 January 2013

Surfing the longing

So here I am, luckiest person in the world and I *STILL* twinge uncomfortably with news of someone's pregnancy. WTF? Can I just grow out of this please? Can I just be happy for me, for them, for all of us who are so lucky?

Oh yes, I wish it were different. I wish I were totally emotionally unhooked. I wish I knew that there is no conservation of fertility law, where someone's pregnancy means someone else will wait. I wish I knew with every certain fiber of my complex being that where I am is exactly where I want to be.

Months ago, Mel wrote one heck of a piece on traveling with her ghost child that left me teary and stunned.

I remember at the beginning of the whole IF journey doing some hard work with visualization, and imagining very clearly two children, two "spirit babies"-- a very spunky girl (boy howdy was that on target), and a very shy boy a few years younger who kept hiding behind my legs.

And I think sometimes, a usually very quiet part of me feels that he is missing... somehow, somehow... that somehow there is a piece of our family story that I imagined coming true. Othertimes, oftentimes this is not at all in my awareness; I am fine fine fine with no longing at all.

Believe me, we have our hands and hearts full.
We have the most amazing child in the whole universe.
We are blessed beyond measure, beyond imagining. I am not actually missing anything. I am full to overflowing. Logistically, financially, physically, energetically, it would be *so incredibly challenging* if we had more than one little one.

And yet, there is this whispery recurrent ghosty longing.

If we map this longing, I bet dollars to doughnuts it is a 28ish day cycle, landing smack dab on trigger day. I'm just sayin'.

So it comes and goes. Whispers and wanes.
Like grief I guess.  Yeah.  Just about exactly like grief.

13 January 2013

3:3, percussive reset

Well then,
now where were we?

Ahh yes, percussive restart.
Yes, it got me too. I thought I would *die* and I wish I were exaggerating.  Worse than labor, and kidney stones. I felt well and truly poisoned, and very very close to passing out many times.  But. Done with that and expecting a rapid recovery. Della is much better, although still off her food, and Doug, who was last to get it and had a different version, is tired as can be but is ok.
Somehow, we are ok.
Tired tired tired with no stamina, but ok.

But The Dread was exhausting and draining and the experience was intense and frightening,
and now, it is over and I feel nearly giddy
and would dance a bit, you know, if I could imagine lifting my feet off the ground. I'll jiggle and weave a bit now, sitting. It feels safer.

On a very plus note, after a few months of increasing discomfort and panic, culminating in a trip to see a new counsellor for some EMDR once I identified my triggers as triggers...I took action.
I made some hard choices as the year wrapped up about how I can best and realistically deal with my financial situation and feel relieved. I realize there might actually be a balance between what my brain knows sometimes and what my heart needs, and this time I feel I found it.

I also did some creative collecting this weekend-- a few opportunities to gather some images as fodder for my paintings.

It was fabulously foggy, with snow, and wet bark, and mmmmmmmmmmm
texture of corn fields, and dried weeds.

yes, I know I am nutty, but this stuff actually feeds me.

And for once? I allowed myself to be fed, to take the time to notice, take it in, and actually grab a few snapshots so I can evoke some of the same mmmmm in the future.

So-- yes, barfing and decluttering and trying to find some balance, and choosing pretty carefully (in this moment) what to put back in.

I really missed my campfire gathering, but felt I made progress this weekend finding my way back to what I know.

Hard to realize just how easy it is to lose sight of things that work when things aren't working.

09 January 2013

barf barf barf barf barf, repeat

Oh poor sweet Della.
12 hours of barfing.
seriously, 3-4  every half hour, then every hour... then...maybe..maybe
she is done with the active part I hope, maybe, but I am *done* and sure to be next since I did not sleep more than about 45 minutes.

For those of you who thought you might take part in the Campfire gathering over at Heartwork this weekend, I'm admitting my mere mortal status and rescheduling. Too much barf, too little sleep, not the best foundation for this work.

For those of you out there with kids who had this, is it 12 hours? or are we just taking a break here and I should get ready for a second round?

so help me.

04 January 2013

language spigot

"Tammy and Mason are coming to play tonight".

Suddenly, sentences.
Earnest, whole, and wow.

We've had a few before ("this one is momma's pillow"), and loads of fragments... but it is as if some language spigot was turned on and whoa baby, SENTENCES!

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of abbreviated communications: "Nurse, Ferb, TV" (she wants to nurse while watching Phineas and Ferb on the TV)

But the ratio suddenly shifted radically.


Hey, there's a Free Campfire Weekend coming up over on Heartwork January 11-13!
If you haven't stopped by that blog for a while, I'd love it if you'd check it out-- my new design makes me happy and I'm having some fun over there. Today's post celebrates small changes.

03 January 2013

what kind of beauty

just now the sky lightened to tawny from indigo deep along the eastern edge, behind the pines.
the last stars fading
it is *so still* that I can see each pine needle.
i can see shadows of footprints in the snow

today I am starting with some moments of meditation
some intentional breathing

gathering myselves to get into a warm shower, comfy clothes, the car for a long drive to a client site...

this drive takes me past dark wooly work horses, some lovely lakes and streams and swamp lands,
up north and then west into mountains
it is always beautiful

there are some drives we dread, and others, like this one, that feel more like gifts.  On a morning like this, I wonder
will the water be open or iced over?
will the mountains be in clouds?
and of all the things there are to wonder, these questions are gifts too.
since it is not a question of whether there will be beauty,

it is only a question of what kinds of beauty I will be lucky enough to notice.

02 January 2013


Yesterday I walked my first labyrinth.

Actually, that's not true. I walked my first half labyrinth.

It was much larger than I expected, and I walked more slowly than I expected, and there were more people in it than I expected, and I had *no idea* that the way "out" and the way "in" were the same path.
(I realize, philosophically, they are not the same, but literally, they are, and I had no idea what the etiquette was, who steps where to let which person pass?)

The labyrinth was laid out beautifully in black tape on an old wooden floor on the second storey of the town office building. There were candles up on the stage area, and soft music playing. Otherwise, it was silent except for the sound of people walking.

I had the hardest time stepping in. I got all choked up, and truly thought I would lose it right there.  What was that all about? Was it about the last year? The recent tragedies? The riffled up holiday emotions? The ailing beloved grandmother? The job uncertainty? The feeling of not quite having my footing?

Finally, I stepped in, and tried to allow myself to stay present and inward and true. I walked very slowly, really paying attention to how each foot felt as it contacted the floor. I was reminded of walking meditation, where as you step, you say, I am arriving, I am arriving, I am arriving, or, I am here, I am here.

I was totally in my own space when I realized I was face to face with someone in the process of coming out-- and we both dodged and weaved and finally made it past each other with awkward smiles. I was surprised at how hard it was to allow myself to step out of what felt like my path. I was afraid, maybe, of not knowing where to step back in.

At one point, I noticed a ladybug crossing the floor right in front of me, so I stopped and picked it up, and carried it for a while until it flew off my palm.

Slowly, I made my way to the center, meditated for a few minutes to the sounds of the creaking floorboards, and then, walked the first part of the pathway out. Once at the rim, and getting more and more aware of time passing, and my loved ones waiting for me at a nearby cafe, I respectfully stepped out, circled it once, and left.

To be honest, yes, it felt centering. It also felt *important*. I don't have a lot of rituals in my life, in fact, very very few.  And it felt sort of great to have a symbolic something to do, to take part in, something ephemeral.

It also felt like I was doing a bit of emotional decluttering. If only the stage of the project where you dump out the junk drawer to see what's been gathering in the back corners.

I've been working on decluttering a bit in more than one aspect of my life for a month or so, thanks to a great little book that my sister put me on to (read chapters 4-7 for the biggest ah has).

Decluttering, for me, does not and cannot mean achieving a steady state of serenity and order; it is much more kinetic, more of a tending, more of an ongoing process with big intention motivating it.  I know and have known I feel happier and more at peace in less cluttered, simpler, more beautiful spaces.  So this is about opening my space to feel better than it has until this recent flurry of decluttering began.

Anyway, it was how I marked the beginning of the year: stepping into the unknown, finding myself sad and relieved, on a path that often felt like it was going the wrong way, back and forth, not making progress that was visible, until there I was at the center, some place I'd never been before.