Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011


ATLAN - DUN DO SHUIL (Close Your Eyes).......Hauntingly beautiful, mood music.....

TRANSLATION

Close your eyes, machree
My worldly joy, my treasure
Close your eyes, machree
And you will get a present tomorrow

Your dad is coming from the hills
With game and grouse in plenty
So close your eyes, my love, my joy
And you will get a present tomorrow

Close your eyes, machree
My worldly joy, my treasure
Close your eyes, machree
And you will get a present tomorrow

The summer sun shines bright and warm
And potato stalks grow greener
A bracing breeze blows from the south
And we will have fish tomorrow

Close your eyes, machree
My worldly joy, my treasure
Close your eyes, machree
And you will get a present tomorrow

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Now the heart sings

Love is the song that the heart sings.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thoughts on a foggy morning

When I was young, I liked to say, "I was born old, and I just keep getting younger." As I have gotten older, that has changed to "Getting older beats the alternative." Cliche, yes, but cliches are cliches for a reason: because they are true. Right?
Anyway: getting older. One thing is for sure: I have always, always thought of myself as a late bloomer. In that sense, I have yet to come into my own. It may not look like it, but to me it seems like I just stumble blindly through life. Maybe a lot of people feel that way. What does it feel like to have a strong sense of purpose? Am I meant to have one, or is this life more about something else entirely? Is a life without a strong, defined purpose just a wasted life? Have I wasted a lot of my life in selfish pursuits, or worse, lethargy and procrastination? What's the sense in getting older  if you don't also get wiser?
When I was young, I was told that I was wise beyond my years. I guess I can't really claim that one anymore! Yet, as time passes, I see more and more how little I do know. Or maybe I just accept that there is a lot that I will never know. The vast majority of that is not stuff I feel a burning desire to know. I guess what I desire to know most of all is a sense of accomplishment. I judge myself most cruelly over this one. When I look at my life, my accomplishments are....nebulous. Is practicing virtue really an accomplishment? Whom does it help? Is helping only a few people really enough? If no one knows about it, is it still good?  Here is another of my favorite sayings: "Goodness is its own reward." Yeah, my kids just love that one. I say it because I truly mean it. But going deeper, is the reward what any of us is really always after? I suppose so, if you believe the pleasure principle. So you don't have to look it up, the pleasure principle is the psychoanalytical concept that people seek pleasure and avoid pain, in seeking to satisfy their biological and psychological needs. The mark of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. If that is true, then I am sooooooo mature! :-)




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Healing Thoughts

What inspires me to write can sometimes be something I have read, or sometimes it comes from what I am going through in my life. At times, the topic and, in fact, nearly everything I have to say about it, comes tumbling out effortlessly, and the post is finished before I know it. More often, the ideas roil around in my mind for days, even weeks, before they spring forth into written words.
I am not really sure if one way is better than the other. I do know that when I sit and the words flow easily, it doesn't feel like an effort at all. Rather, it feels like a relief to get the thoughts out! Honestly, I think the best posts are like that. I don't really overthink, I just write whatever comes to mind. Even though the thoughts may have been forming for a while, they appear to me to be spontaneous, not planned.
Bearing that in mind, this morning I read: It is the way of the miracle worker to always see all human behavior as one of two things: love, or a call for love.
Now, I have heard this before. It is actually a guiding principle of my life.  (On a side note, I find it curious that I place so much importance on aspiring to live up to my ideals. Funny that I have somehow made it my life's purpose. More to think on that idea. ) So: anything that comes up is either love, or a call for love. How many see the latter more than the former, raise your hands? This is only an indication of how much healing is needed in the world. For those who live to heal, this is not necessarily an issue. The fact of the need for healing is a given. Where healers must be vigilant is in identifying too closely with the call for love. What that means to me is: don't get sucked up into the drama. The price we pay for this is a sense of standing apart, or of being alone. This, when occurring often and to great measure, can drain one's energy. It's important to refuel, of course. But it is also good to be assured that this is all part of the healing process. Healers are also purifiers of energy. It's not meant to be a martyrdom thing. It's simply part of the healing process. It's almost like the old saying: it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.
When the whole world is healed, then healers will sit back and say: see? It wasn't so hard. Yes, we have a long row to hoe until then. It's important to stand up now and then, stretch and turn towards the sun. It's good to dance a while, under the serious moonlight. It's nice to run away every so often, preferably somewhere that Nature is free and wild. All of these actions restore the soul to its equilibrium. Balance brings clarity. Clarity brings serenity. Serenity brings acceptance. Acceptance brings healing. Healing allows love to answer the call for love.
P.S. We are all healers (or can be).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Road Not Taken

When I go within to restore my self to sanity and peace, I have to be careful not to take the wrong turn, else I could end up in the seemingly bottomless pit of despair and dread. Fortunately, the path before me is lit. Now I only have to pay attention, and mind the gap!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Reed Flute's Song

The Reed Flute's Song
by Jalalu'ddin Rumi, excerpted from Coleman Barks' translation in The Essential Rumi


Listen to the story told by the reed,
of being separated.

"Since I was cut from the reedbed,
I have made this crying sound.

Anyone apart from someone he loves
understands what I say.

Anyone pulled from a source
longs to go back.

At any gathering I am there,
mingling in the laughing and grieving,

a friend to each, but few
will hear the secrets hidden

within the notes. No ears for that.
Body flowing out of spirit,

spirit up from body: no concealing
that mixing. But it's not given us

to see the soul. The reed flute
is fire, not wind. Be that empty."

Hear the love fire tangled
in the reed notes, as bewilderment

melts into wine. The reed is a friend
to all who want the fabric torn

and drawn away. The reed is hurt
and salve combining. Intimacy

and longing for intimacy, one
song. A disastrous surrender

and a fine love, together. The one
who secretly hears this is senseless.

A tongue has one customer, the ear.
A sugarcane flute has such effect

because it was able to make sugar
in the reedbed. The sound it makes

is for everyone. Days full of wanting,
let them go by without worrying

that they do. Stay where you are
inside such a pure, hollow note.

Every thirst gets satisfied except
that of these fish, the mystics,

who swim a vast ocean of grace
still somehow longing for it!

No one lives in that without
being nourished every day.

But if someone doesn't want to hear
the song of the reed flute,

it's best to cut conversation
short, say good-bye, and leave.

        

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Snap. Change. Enjoy.

Sometimes Life hands you little curveballs (sometimes Life hands you BIG curve balls, but that is a different story. I think.) Perhaps it's, say, an important person in your life, who is going through a difficult time. Perhaps, say, that person takes out their frustrations on you, or doesn't let you in to share or help with the situation. Perhaps, say, it happens over and over again, and you start feeling the weight of this, and start wondering why you are in this particular set of circumstances.
Don't wonder why. Always move forward from the point  at which you stand. Asking why constitutes resistance to the experience of your emotions in that situation. What you resist, continues to persist. If, for example, you are feeling anger or anxiety over your current circumstances, asking "why?" (or Heaven forbid, "why me?") only serves to dwell on the negative aspect. I recently read about the concept of "paddling upstream" (resisting the situation and its emotions) and "turning downstream" (accepting the situation as it is, allowing the emotions, and letting go of outcomes). Turning downstream, and, indeed, letting go of the oars, allows you to find the current, to rest in the ease of knowing you are in the hands of the Creator in any situation. This does certainly not mean giving over control of your life to another person, or to the circumstance. It does certainly mean accepting your part in it, if any. It does certainly  mean accepting the validity of what you are feeling. It does certainly mean trusting that the (eventual) outcome is in some way contingent on your acceptance. To clarify: your attitude matters. Turning downstream does not absolve you of responsibility. Turning downstream does not mean you don't care about others. Turning downstream means you care most about learning from Life. Turning downstream means you are loving yourself, and being kind to yourself. What you resist will persist.
The curious result of this acceptance is instantaneous relief. When you realize it is okay to feel what you are feeling, you immediately feel some measure of relief! I continue to be amazed by this.
Yesterday morning, I was walking to my yoga class. It is about a half an hour walk, so there is plenty of time for ruminating. I was thinking about the above, as it's been rolling about in my mind for several days. I looked down, and saw a slip of paper on the ground. The words that jumped out at me were: SNAP. CHANGE. ENJOY. I loved it! It was like a little mantra that fit right in with the above ideas! All I need do is...SNAP: turn around, accept my circumstance, go with the flow (in 70's-speak). Then...CHANGE: my attitude changes as I see that what I am feeling is allowable, to myself most of all. My outlook changes as I stop resisting. I feel relief. Finally...ENJOY: actually see what I can learn from this, look forward to Life's mysteries unfolding, and know that no matter what I am safe in the Creator's hands.
SNAP. CHANGE. ENJOY.
(P.S. Later on, walking home from yoga class, I saw another, identical slip of paper on the ground.  I could not help picking it up, especially since it was the second time seeing the same thing! I felt like it had to be some sort of sign! Turned out it was a promo for a new cigarette! Hahahaha! We take our messages wherever we may find them.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Milano Part II

Having landed in my hotel near the Piazza Lima a wee bit later than expected, I decided to catch a rest instead of wandering around. The hotel room was tiny, but perfect for one. And it was quiet, too, because it overlooked a small courtyard.
Refreshed, I headed out to meet B for dinner. She came to my hotel, as the Metro station was just outside my door! B had the idea to go to the Brera district, a neighborhood of art galleries and design stores, with narrow, winding cobblestone streets and loads of restaurants. The Metro is very easy to navigate, and we were in the Brera before we knew it. I was so happy because it was as if she'd read my mind about where I'd want to go! We wandered up this street and down that one, people watching, window shopping, and perusing a few menus as we went. About every twenty or so feet, there was a card table set up, with a fortune teller or a tarot card reader sitting there. Most simply let us pass by, but one or two tried to entice us. "Lucky, lucky!" We managed to resist....Many of the restaurants looked good, so finally we just chose one at random, sat down at an outdoor table, and enjoyed a lovely meal. In honor of my mother's birthday, I had Osso Bucco, and it was molto, molto bene.

The next morning after breakfast, B and I met up again. We decided to head straight to Castello Sforzesco, which is a castle that used to be the seat and residence of the Duchy of Milan, and one of the biggest citadels in Europe, and now houses several of the city's museums and art collections.

Since we arrived so early, we had the place almost all to ourselves. What a surprise and delight to find room after room of paintings, sculptures and artefacts! One of their prize possessions is Michelangelo's Rondanini Pieta, which he was working on when he died in 1564.
 Next we headed to the Duomo, a Gothic Cathedral that is the heart and soul of Milan. Begun in 1564, it took nearly 600 years to complete! It was wonderful to be able to climb up to the roof (okay, with the aid of a lift, at least part of the way) and see the spectacular spires and eerie gargoyles up close.
So much seen, and it wasn't even lunchtime yet! We stopped in at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which is a shopping area under two glass-vaulted arcades near the Piazza del Duomo. It is a popular meeting place. There you can find anything from Prada to McDonald's.

B had read of a good bakery nearby, where we found a long queue in testimony to its popularity! But the service was fast, so we soon found ourselves wandering the streets while snacking on panzerotti (fried dough filled with tomato and mozzarella cheese, and in my case spinach, too).
Suitably nourished, we spent the rest of the afternoon...shopping! We were in Milan, after all. I decided I needed a new handbag, but could not bring myself to spend mucho euro on a designer bag. Even though the prices were dirt cheap compared to Switzerland! I ended up buying a bag at Banana Republic! I also stopped in for a few items at Gap. After that, I laughed at myself for coming to Milan only to shop at American stores! Luckily for the credit card balance, I did not spend all that much money, really only buying a few things that were needed (like socks for Julia, a tee shirt for Daniel, etc.). It felt like a good healthy mix of indulgent and practical, the way a successful shopping trip should feel, in my opinion!
Our feet were exhausted and we were both starting to wilt, so we went for a breather at our hotels. But not for long! We still had a bit more of Corso Buenos Aires to explore! We went as far as Sephora, where I bought a much needed new hairbrush, which I love. On the way back, we came upon an area of street vendors. I spied a vendor with food from Sicily. I dared to hope for, and then I saw tucked in the corner: the holy grail of pasta....malloreddus! This is a particular Sicilian pasta that is part of DH's favorite dish at his favorite restaurant in Connecticut...I always look for it, and was successful only two other times in memory! I was thrilled, and bought 2 bags of it. I would have bought more, but I knew I had no more room in my luggage - I had traveled light to prevent myself from buying too much.

After one more rest, we went to dinner. My hotel's concierge recommended a restaurant a nice stroll away, called Noblesse Oblige. It turned out to be quite pleasant, as the chef came out and helped us choose our meals. We felt welcome there, although our waiter was a bit, shall we say, elusive. At one point, he was away so long, he returned to apologize and admitted he had forgotten about us! At least he was honest. I had a delicious piece of swordfish, which was a real treat. We even splurged on dessert, panna cotta, a sweet ending to a lovely day.

Needless to say, the return train trip home the next day was not nearly so eventful (B and I traveled together this time). Although they did kick a bunch of us off the train in Rotkreuz, Switzerland, as they were running late, so they were not stopping in Zug (sound familiar?? I am on to these people now!!). It all had a happy ending, because the train we caught went to my town, too, so I didn't have to change again in Zug!
A few short hours later, everyone was safely back home:


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Milano Part I, or Getting There is Half the Fun

With the entire family away, it seemed like a great idea to do a little traveling myself. An acquaintance, B, invited me to join her on her trip to Milan.
The morning of my departure, I was feeling pretty adventuresome. I posted on my Facebook status update: "I'm going to Milan today, AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME." Playful, yes, but little did I know I had thrown down the gauntlet.
I left in the late morning, toting an overnight bag, for the train station in Baar. A quick train ride took me to the Zug station, where I would catch the 3 1/2 hour train to Milan. Simple, right? As I waited on the platform, I saw that the train was going to be 20 minutes late. Another train pulled in, bound for Lugano. The platform attendant approached me, deducing I was waiting for the Milan train. He proceeded to inform me that, in fact, since the Milan train was late, it might not even stop in Zug, but instead travel down the other side of the lake! This was because there were so many trains on the line, that, in order not to be further delayed, the Milan train could decide to take a longer but less traveled route. Hmmm....well, he said, you should take this train to Lugano, and meet the Milan train later on, down south. But then the on-train employee told me, it's okay, you can take this train or wait for the Milan train, it's up to you. I decided I would rather wait in Zug, where it was familiar, than in some strange station somewhere...strange. So the train left, without me. The nice young man on the platform then informed me that I had made a mistake, that I should have taken the Lugano train, because more than likely the Milan train would not come to Zug. The Milan train stayed on the arrivals board, though. Until it disappeared. Down I trudged to the ticket office. After some consternation on the part of the agent, she consulted her colleague, and her computer screen, and finally - you guessed it - the nice young man from the platform, who was now in the back room. She came out and told me, you should have taken the Lugano train! Duh! All nice and friendly, of course. Next, they told me, you can take a local train to Arth Goldau, and meet the Milan train there. Somehow, I would beat the Milan train to this station! And so I did, and duly boarded the Milan train. I even found my assigned seat in the correct car. Alas, an Italian lady was hogging most of the space of the 4-seat area, so I nicely and quietly settled in to the one remaining seat. All proceeded smoothly for several hours, until we arrived at the Italian border. We were informed, in German and in Italian, that everyone would have to exit the train and board another train. Much confusion ensued, naturally, and we were there quite a while as everyone filed off one train, and reloaded themselves into a shabby, rickety Italian commuter train. Nearly every seat was taken, and aisles were filled with baggage, too. The border patrol came through, doing random checks of people and baggage. Since I deigned to look one of them in the eye as he interrogated the Italian man next me, the agent demanded to see my passport. Luckily, I passed muster, and he handed it back without a word. The nice British couple across from me began to chat me up, relieved that I spoke English. It seems they were en route to Venice, having left London the night before, and travel via Paris and Zürich to this very station on the Italian Swiss border. She was cheerful and up for the adventure, and he was grumpy and rather put out by the whole cock up. They were enjoyable to talk to, though, and we chuckled at the situation as the train finally got underway, and lumbered slowly along. We traveled at a snail's pace, stopping at every seedy, rundown no-name station along the way. People who boarded the train clearly were surprised by the crowds, so I think this was not the usual run of events. Finally a voice announced, this time only in Italian, that anyone who wanted to go to Milano Centrale (me! and the nice British couple too) should alight at Monza and wait for another train to take them there. We arrived at Monza, and scads of disoriented tourists with their baggage milled around aimlessly, befuddled and bewildered. It then slowly became clear that the next train going to Milano Centrale would not be for another 90 minutes! Ugh! Of course, there were absolutely no railroad employees anywhere in sight. This was becoming quite the saga. I came upon the British couple, who were listening to a man explain that many people who had stayed on the last train, knew that instead of getting off at Monza, they could go to Garibaldi, and there take a Metro (subway) to Milano Centrale. Oooooh! The man showed us that the next train to Garibaldi was arriving in a few minutes. We three decided to try this new leg together, with the help of our new guide. We boarded an even shabbier train, and traveled about fifteen minutes to Garibaldi, while enduring a beggar who laid a typed (in Italian) plea for money on our seats and returned to silently chide us for not giving him money (and taking back his little slips of paper for further begging later). In the Garibaldi station, the Metro ticket machine was broken, so our guide trotted us (me and the nice British couple) up into the station, out the door, down the street, and into the Metro station. He showed us how to buy tickets, and brought us to the correct subway platform. During this time, I learned that the nice British couple were Ron and Julia, and they were heading to Venice in order to take the Orient Express train! Also, they were worried that they had packed the wrong clothes, as they learned that they would have to 'dress' for dinner. The Metro train came (think New York City subway circa 1977), we got onto the crowded car (by now it is full-on rush hour, so you can imagine the crowd), and traveled 3 or 4 stops. Guess what, we had arrived at Milano Centrale at last! As we said our goodbyes (Ron and Julia had to find a train to Venice), I learned that our wonderful new friend was named Martin. I thanked him, and he just smiled and wished me a a wonderful stay in Milan. I think he was German, and he did not seem to be completely familiar with Milan, but he sure knew a lot more than we three travelers! I will always be grateful for his kindness....Next, I had to find my hotel. I knew roughly how to get there, so I figured if I just wandered around enough, I'd find the street I was looking for. That did not exactly pan out, so I stopped a police officer as he was writing a parking ticket, and he nicely pointed me in the right direction. A ten or fifteen minute walk brought me to the Piazza Lima, the site of my hotel. And there it was! And it only took me six and a half hours to get there. What an adventure. The Italian train system TRIED to STOP me, but I made it to Milan. And I'm all the richer for the experience. In case you lost count, that was six trains, from home to hotel.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Leapin' Lizards!

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder! Life is an adventure. To quote a wonderful, wise woman: every day is golden, every moment is sweet and precious, and meant to be lived. Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, YAHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9/7 Wednesday Hodgepodge....

There is a link to the wonderful blog whence these questions came, to the left of this column.....



1. What is one piece of advice you would give a 'just turning' 21- year old adult? 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.

2. Besides cooler weather (or warmer weather, depending on your hemisphere) what is one thing you are looking forward to this fall?

In general, I am looking forward to seeing what fall is like in my new country.

3. What sound lulls you to sleep? 
I love the 'white noise' of my fan. I admit, it is a hard habit to break when the cooler weather comes around!

4. September is National Preparedness Month...does your family have an emergency 'kit' and/or disaster plan in place? 
I first built a kit after 9/11. It's around here somewhere....

5. How has your blog changed since you started blogging? Or has it? 
It's pretty much the same: usually intermittent, and occasionally insightful!

6. What's something you've recently learned to do on the computer?

I'm trying my hand at Google+.

7. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

8. Insert your own random here. 
 I was excited to learn today that, not ten minutes' walk from our place, is a lovely hiking trail through the woods...at the end: the Höllgrotten caves..."Amid the wild romanticism of the Lorze ravine, these most beautiful limestone caves are richly adorned with calcareous formations, while miniature lakes, impressive stalagmites and stalactites in a variety of hues give each grotto its special characteristic." I can't wait to go there!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The last day of August

At the school's Welcome Fair today, I found:
a dentist
two German language schools
a hairdresser
two yoga teachers
two spas
a hiking club
a book club
a lunch club
a bowling alley
Afterwards, I went for coffee with a new friend.
A great day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Eindrücke, Part 1

There is an elaborate set of foot and bike paths that weave their way between, behind and around all the homes and apartment buildings around here. It is a great system, providing both shortcuts, and pleasant, quiet ways of getting from one place to another, or even just a lovely stroll.
Every day, a man rides down the path behind my building. In the front basket of his bicycle, he has a boombox.The boombox is always playing Swiss accordian music, for lack of a better description.
He wends his way past, heading somewhere, I know not where. A little while later, here he comes, headed back. His pace is always the same: slow and steady.



There are rules against any loud noises between 10 PM and 7 AM, and all day on Sunday. You must not offend anyone by making loud noises. Except if you are a church, in which case you can ring all the bells you want, whenever you want, for as long as you want. So it seems.

If you ask a Swiss person if they can speak English, they almost always say, "A little." Then they proceed to speak it quite well, at least enough for us to get the business at hand done. I am appreciative of this.

Zug is kind of like the Greenwich of Switzerland. A  very wealthy community. The chasm between the rich and the poor is wide. The middle class is getting squeezed out by all the changes that have taken place in the last few decades. Picture this: a town of 26,000 that supports both a Maserati and a Ferrari dealership. And all around are farms, cows and barns.
















Monday, August 1, 2011

How great?

I found a discarded fortune cookie slip, which said, "What great things would you attempt if you knew you could not fail." (sic)
My first thought was the saying, "With God, all things are possible." Then the enormity of that statement dawned on me. With God, all things are possible, INCLUDING FAILURE. God does not prevent us from failing, if that might be helpful to our growth.
So, the question as to what we might attempt if failure were not an option is unanswerable. It follows, too, that we need not wait for failure to not be an option in order to attempt great things.
Of course, then it comes down to fear, which is at the core of the whole failure concept.
And we all know the answer to that! LOVE! Now that's a great thing!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hope's so....

The marvelous thing about hope is...that it is ever-replenishing. "Hope springs eternal" may be a cliche, but it is an apt aphorism. Hope has a way of renewing and sustaining faith. Perhaps they are cut from the same cloth? Hope is rooted more in desire and faith is rooted more in commitment. Hope looks for a certain outcome, faith accepts any outcome. It may seem, then, like we should favor faith over hope. Yet hope has its place in our lives. We are human, and we are prone to desiring...outcomes, mostly. So maybe hope is a stepping stone to faith. When we hope, we open ourselves to the possibility of faith. Surely we can arrive to faith without going through hope. Many times, though, hope helps us get through the moment. We cling to hope, because we have not let go of desire, of a certain outcome. Hope helps us survive our humanness. When we have hope, we can know that we are alive. Faith sees our hope , and calls out to it. Does hope answer, saying, yes, I am coming to you, faith? Does hope carry us to the faith that brings us home? Is that why, even when faith seems impossible, there is always hope?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks in the Distance

We watched fireworks from the condo window last night. They were in the distance, so their impact was...muted somewhat. They were beautiful, and some were breathtaking.
It seemed appropriate, somehow, given our life circumstances. We've taken a step back from our ongoing lives, living in a bubble of slow time and quiet activities. We are in our native country, but we don't reside here. As the celebrations went on around us, we were observers more than participants.
So,  fireworks...in the distance... were perfect. We sat in the darkness, each with our own perspective on the event. It was memorable not for the excitement of the near, but for the peacefulness of the faraway.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Goodbye to Chiswick

In a few days, we'll be saying goodbye to our (temporary) adopted hometown. It's been a wonderful year and a half (give or take), and we take with us many sweet memories. I know the road ahead looks promising, and we still don't know exactly what is around the next bend. Still, it's good to stop a moment and reflect on this era. When we moved here, we  didn't know what to expect in many ways. There were certainly many surprises, and most of them were delightful! Time will fade the memory of the less sweet episodes. Knowing what I now know, I think I can move forward into the unknown, assured that the next home will also be presenting us with moments of discovery and more memories to treasure.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Everyone adores me anyway

Every morning a "Note from the Universe" arrives to my inbox. They are almost without fail spot-on. Here's today's:

How adventurous would life be, Meredith, if you were "challenge free"? If you had the perfect body, perfect self-esteem, everyone adored you, and you won the lottery every Sunday?

Not.

Now what if, painful as they may temporarily be, you could choose a life during which challenges might arise whenever your thinking needed expansion, on the sole condition that every one of them could be overcome no matter how daunting they may at first seem?

Everything makes you more,
    The Universe


P.S. Besides, Meredith, everyone adores you anyway. 


How shocking! What a radical idea! Everyone adores me anyway. If you were to proclaim that, people might think you are being egotistical. There is something about adoration that says the object of adoration should either be young and innocent, or perhaps old and venerable. But there is a separateness implied in adoration. You might even say to adore is to idealize in some way.

I dare to say that we could all stand to adore each other more. Also, we could all stand to make adoration of each other a way to build community, to validate our essential oneness, even.
As we adore each other, despite any flaws or conflicts, we help each other to become more adorable.
Because really, what we are talking about is being lovable.
It's a tad more acceptable to say, "I am lovable" than to say, "I am adorable." Either way, the truth is that we are all that. Yes, even the ones who don't seem to be so. 
Therefore, today I say: Everyone adores me anyway. Even though I am flawed. Even though I don't get it right all the time. Even though I feel fear, or stress, or anxiety, or anger. 
The catch is, I aspire to adore. And I aim to adore all. 

P.S. I had been focusing on all the challenges that lay ahead of me in the coming months. This Note from the Universe helped me see that in a different light. Transitions can help us to open our minds. To grow and to go with the flow! 


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bird's Eye View

My next challenge shall be to move from being an observer to being a visionary.


Piece of cake, right?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011 Wednesday Hodgepodge

The link to From This Side of the Pond is to the left....


1. How many times in your life have you moved house?
Not counting a couple of times when I was too young to remember, and a few temporary places during college, I've moved sixteen times! I'd never counted before. Wow! And it's about to be 17 next month, when we move from London to Switzerland.

2. What subject would you study if you had a year to devote to it?
Probably something to do with hospice, as over and over in my life I have felt drawn to working in this area.

3. What in this world breaks your heart?
When Fear crowds out Love.

4. What is one item that symbolizes the times in which we live? Why?
The smartphone, because you hold the entire world in your hand.

5. Share a favorite bumper sticker or t-shirt slogan.
"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

6. How do you like your spaghetti?
Cooked! :-)

7. What is one piece of advice you would give a recent, or soon to be recent, graduate?
Now, your real education can begin. Follow your dreams, and don't hold back. 
Work hard, but don't let life's joys pass you by in the process.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I can't get this song out of my head!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May I please answer this week's Hodgepodge Questions?

Link to the originating blog, From This Side of the Pond, is to the left..... 


1. Have you ever been served breakfast in bed? Do you enjoy that? If someone were serving you breakfast in bed this coming weekend what would you hope to see on the tray?

My kids give me breakfast in bed on Mother's Day. I enjoy and appreciate the intent, if not always the execution! I am not sure I will have breakfast in bed on Sunday, but I would love to see a bowl of fresh fruit, a cup of coffee, and perhaps a croissant or a muffin. And a flower in a bud vase! Hey, a girl can dream!

2. What is one piece of advice you would give a new mother?
 
Trust your intuition. Also, sleep is highly overrated.You'll be surprised by how little you can get by on!

3. When was the last time you wanted to scream? Explain. 
 
I am going through a period of change in my life, so I am feeling stressed and frustrated a lot! The better question might be: when was the last time I did not want to scream?
(This too shall pass.)

4. Can you hula hoop? 
 
For about two seconds, so, no.

5. What is something people do in traffic that really bothers you?
 
Talk or text on their cell phones.

6. What do you do when people don't admit they're wrong?
 
I pray for a miracle. I pray for guidance. I pray for right action (on my part).

7. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word 'fun'? 
 
Summertime at the beach!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
We have lived in this house for a year. It's a rental, and the kitchen had been remodeled by the homeowner. His handyman, when we asked, told us that the wall switch in the kitchen was not connected to anything.
Today, we discovered that the wall switch operates an underfloor heating system! This would have been nice to know last winter as we were freezing our butts off every cold, dark morning at the breakfast table, and wondering why the homeowner had not put any radiators in during his renovation.
Prospective new tenants have been traipsing through lately. One of them must have flipped the switch to see what it did. My son has been telling me since last Friday that the floor is warm, Mom! I kept saying it must be from the sunshine coming in through the glass ceiling. He finally made me get down on the floor tonight to feel it. When we figured it out, we had a good laugh down there on the tiles!

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Special Royal Wedding Commemorative Edition

A link to the wonderful blog whence these questions came, From This Side of the Pond,  is to the left.



1. What is something that bothers you if it is not done perfectly?

I have a 'thing' about making my bed as soon as I arise. I exhort my children to do the same. After the morning flurry settles down and they're off to school, as I pass my son's room....I can't help myself! I have to go in and re-make his bed! Because his idea of 'make your bed' and my idea of it are, well, different. We never speak of this, but he must know, because I cannot be walking by covers askew and half the pillows on the floor all day long. And I can't simply close the door because that would make the hallway too dark, don't you know. 
My husband rags on me all the time, because he thinks I like a lot of things 'perfect.' The truth is, I do. But most of the time, I have learned to live with imperfection. Life is easier that way.

2. What is one of your best childhood memories?
Staying outdoors the live-long day. Playing games, riding bikes, having picnic lunches, climbing trees, making forts, going to the beach....it was a kid's world all the way until suppertime!

3. Do you plan to watch the Royal Wedding and when was the last time you wore a hat? 
Hahaha! I love that these questions are together this way! Of course I plan to watch the Royal Wedding. V. excited about it, especially since we are right here in the middle of the action. Husband even wants to head down to the Parade Route! I am not so sure about that, so we'll see. There is a neighborhood party planned, too. I have a feeling the whole town will be one big party!
As for hats, it has to be in the winter. Mostly hats are utilitarian for me. Because I have an unusually big head, most women's hats simply do not fit me!

4. Where do you fall in the birth order in your family? Do you think this has influenced your personality? 
I am the second to the youngest, out of seven children. My brother and I are close in age, with the rest all a bit older, so we were sort of a subset, known as "the littles" when we were growing up. So, in one sense, I was also the "elder" of that minigroup. I think both roles had some influence on me. I learned early on how to be the pesky little smart aleck in order to get attention and to get my way. Later on, when it was just my younger brother and me, I learned to take charge and take care of others. In a way, I had the best of both worlds. 

5. Where do you think you spend most of your money?
First, there is the mortgage and property taxes on our New Jersey home! In daily life, it is easily the supermarket....

6. When you need to confront someone would you rather communicate in person, on the phone, by email or by letter? Why? 
My last choice would be the phone. I have a weird phobia about making phone calls, even when they are non-confrontational. Email has been a godsend to me!
If it is a business (non-personal) type of confrontation, I prefer the written word (email or letter), not only so that I can measure my words, but also to have a record of the interaction.
If it is a personal matter, say with my husband or a family member, I prefer in person, as I have the advantage of being both open-minded and quick-witted (even if I do say so myself!!)

7. Dodge ball, freeze tag, kickball or jump rope? You have to pick one. 
Jump rope, because it's collaborative rather than competitive.

8. Insert your own random thought here


It's not my own random thought, but it's a poem by Robert Frost called A Prayer in Spring:

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy and humble

"People who feel powerless to make themselves happy often use arrogance as a shield."
That was from my horoscope today. It's food for thought! When I find myself in such company, I do well to keep my sense of humor close at hand. It's not necessary to express it verbally, but to keep sipping at the well of joy within me. That's MY shield!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Between a rock and a hard place

As the prayer says, I am to accept hardships as the pathway to peace. I am wondering, is hardship the only pathway to peace? Is it the acceptance of hardship that is the pathway to peace, or is it the hardship itself?
I often find myself these days contemplating my life in this context. To an outsider, my life looks very easy, and certainly in so many ways it is. And yet there is hardship of a sort. No details here. Just trust me on that. So, do I accept the hardship and find myself on the pathway to peace? Really?
What exactly does this pathway look like? How do I even know I am on it? For all I know, I am on a completely different pathway. Perhaps I took a wrong turn, or I didn't accept strongly enough or consistently enough. Who decides this stuff anyway? Who decides if I have accepted hardship, which therefore places me on this pathway to that peace? Is it me? Is it God?
I seem to have more questions than answers on this one. Hmmmm.....so be it. It must be so.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Enjoy Yourself...It's Later Than You Think

In a conversation with my daughter, I mentioned that we humans are alive, usually, no more than about 100 years, give or take. I stated my opinion that that is not a very long time. She replied," A hundred years is a very long time!"
Such is the perspective of the young. The older I get, the faster time seems to go by. Now, I know I am in the second, or last, part of life. I expect I'll live to around 90, given my family history. So I have a few good decades left. How shall I spend it? What is really important, after all? Must we spend our time, or direct our efforts to, doing something important or good for others? Is it enough to just enjoy our time on Earth? Is that a life well spent?
Truly, if we all did only that (that is, enjoy ourselves), where would we be? Of course, everyone defines enjoyment differently. I imagine some people, perhaps inventors of importance, or spiritual leaders, derive enjoyment from their work. But is that the purpose? Do they do it for the enjoyment of it? In that case, is it okay to simply enjoy whatever I am doing, even if it does not necessarily contribute to a greater good? Or is it selfish?
I guess the answer lies in the shades of grey. I can do both. I just have to find a way.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday is Fun and Mental Day

First a brain teaser:

What is greater than God,
More evil than the Devil,
The poor have it,
The rich need it,
If you eat it, you will die?

While you think about it, watch and listen:
(answer is below)




way......down....here...is....the.....answer....




 





 The answer is......Nothing!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday is God's Love Day

"God is going before me, making my crooked places straight."
 I have that written in a notebook I keep. Mostly the notebook contains important phone numbers, to-do lists, lists of books I want to read and places I want to go. Intermingled with these are random thoughts and quotes I have picked up along the way. I like coming across them at unexpected moments. They usually make me stop and read them one more time. This might even make my perspective, at the moment, widen. And that can only be a good thing.
This morning, I opened my notebook, in order to review my latest list. I came upon the above quote. I am not really sure where it came from. Also on the page is this: " God already had the solution, before I even had the problem."  As well as,  " I make good choices  to fulfill my destiny." And, "The right people are going to cross my path."

I am certain that I did not originate any of these thoughts, and that I heard them or read them somewhere. But I neglected to credit the author in my personal note-taking. It may have been Dr. Wayne Dyer; I wouldn't put it past him.
Anyway, so there are the thoughts. As I look at them, I wonder about their meaning for me now, on this day, here, at this place.
"God is going before me, making my crooked places straight." To me, that says that, as long as I follow God, I am on the path that He is creating for me. Or rather, the path that we are co-creating. I can't see what is on the path ahead of the next curve. But that is okay, because God has that covered. I only need to walk the path. Also, I am the path. I can't always see what is beyond my crooked places either. But that is okay, because God has that covered. He is straightening my crooked spots. I only need to be myself, and trust in the process. Oh, and stop trying to straighten it all out on my own. Because God has that covered.
"God already had the solution, before I even had the problem." I am a big believer in the concept that we are here to learn. The purpose of life is to learn, and, more specifically, the purpose of life is to learn...Love. Oh, sure, simple. Not. It's the Big Lesson. And we have myriad opportunities. And there are seemingly endless mini-lessons, pop quizzes, group projects, field trips, major tests and so on. It's life-long. Problems are the main way we learn about Love, when it comes down to it. If there were no problems, we'd be in heaven, man. So, problems, and solving them, bring us back to our life-long pursuit. As we learn about Love, how to do it and how to receive it and how to manifest it in ourselves and in our lives and in others, we come back to God. Slowly, suddenly, surprisingly, surely. God is the solution to all of our problems. Because God is Love, of course.
"I make good choices to fulfill my destiny." This sounds like an affirmation, and, as affirmations go, it's a nice one. Who, after all, doesn't want what it affirms? So, I will leave it there, and repeat as necessary. Silently, to myself. It's a good one to remember.
"The right people are going to cross my path." Serendipity. Synchronicity. Angels. Miracles. If a person is in your life, then they are the right person. They might not always look like it, but they are there for a reason. The reason may not always be readily apparent. If you are resisting that person's presence in your life, all the more reason to take a second look and ask yourself why.
So, let me see if I have got this: I am co-creating a path of learning about the Love of God, am being provided with the opportunities and other people to learn about Love, and all I need to do is make good choices in order to achieve the ultimate goal, which is the return to the Love of God.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Zany

Cockamamie. Goofy. Sappy. Silly. Wacky. Foolish.
Buffoonish. Clownish. Clownlike.  Humorous. Madcap.


I hope to be all of these before my time on earth is over. 


And speaking of over, my alphabet series is over. 


Crazy, huh?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Youthful

Hahahahahahahahaha!


Well, I am in the youth of old age.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Xenophilic

Now here is a word you don't see every day...xenophilic.I admit it is a stretch, but hey, there is not much else you can do with the letter X.
So, on to xenophilic. Guess what it means. Yep, you are right! It means 'loving everything.' That about says it all for me! Because I do love everything. It's such an honor to be alive, here, on this earth, at this time. I am so glad. Even when I am not happy about the particular circumstance of my daily life. Even when I am angry and not handling the anger at all well. Even when I am afraid or worried or frustrated or stressed to the max. I can always, always, always, reach down to the very core, and sense the absolute, undiluted, unfettered joy at being alive.
Xenophilic. That's me.

Happy Spring...Hodgepodge!

You can see the originating post at From This Side of the Pond, using the link to the left...
1. Sunday was the first day of spring. So they say. Ahem.
What is your favorite outdoor springtime activity?
Strolling through a field of daffodils on a bright, sunny day!

2. Who would you want to come into your kitchen to cook dinner for you?
 Dead, Famous: Julia Child, because she is such a compelling figure. I'd just love to have her regale me as she cooks, and then sit down to savor it all with her.
Alive, Famous: Ina Garten, not only for her food, but for the way she giggles. 
Dead, Not Famous: My grandma, because she is my gold standard of familial love, and I can still smell her cooking in my mind!
Alive, Not Famous: My children, because it would mean they were paying attention to what I've been trying to teach them.

3. When did you last fly a kite?
A couple of summers ago...hmm, too long!

4. What topic puts you to sleep faster than anything?
Polysomnography :-)

5. Which flowers do you associate with specific people, places, or events?
Roses remind me of my mom, because they're her favorite. 

6. What significant historical events took place during your elementary school days?
Vietnam War (my big brother was in the Air Force, over there) assassinations of MLK and RFK, first man on the moon, detente with the Soviet Union, Watergate break-in...

7. Do you swear? Do you pseudo-swear? (You know crap, shoot, friggin'?)
Try not to, but I do slip up here and there.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I heard this the other day: My job is not to be perfect, my job is only to be human.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wistful

Let us now sing the praises of being wistful! 'Wistful' makes regret sound poetic. There is an aching beauty in 'wistful.' Surely I have plenty in my past for which I could muster regret. Yet when I assign the 'wistful' label to any of it, I find myself in a curious state of self-comfort. Perhaps it is delusional, but I'll take wistful over regretful any day. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Valorous

Valorous is just a fancy word for brave.
I admit that I don't always feel brave. Some people think I am brave to have moved 4,000 miles across the ocean to another country. It felt more like an adventure than a scary thing for which bravery would be needed.
So, is being brave a matter of feeling afraid but going ahead anyway? Or can being brave sometimes just be a matter of seeing that life is an adventure? Embracing the mystery of life calls for a certain amount of bravery. We can't always know what lies ahead. Indeed, life would get pretty boring if it were always predictable. It's a good idea to shake things up a little from time to time.
In that sense, I'd rather be brave than bored.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ubiquitous

Of course I am everywhere.
And, since I have traveled almost 9,000 air miles in the past couple of days, I actually feel ubiquitous!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Transcendent

Why not just admit it - I AM TRANSCENDENT! And I don't care who knows it. And I doubt anyone will disagree. If they do, then they don't know me very well.
The fact is, we are all transcendent. We are all more than mere mortals, on the soul level. We are all special. We are all unique. We are all children of God. That's what makes us transcendent.
If I can live one day in a transcendent state, I will count my life as a success. For when I am able to do that, then I know I will have learned what it means to be truly alive.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sensible

To have the quality of acting with care and thought for the future is no small feat. I have often in my life been called upon to be an apologist for being sensible. I carry an umbrella when the forecast calls for rain. I wear comfortable shoes when I will be walking a lot. When driving, I scan the road ahead for potential hazards. So many times, I have chosen the sensible, practical course of action over the impulsive, risky one. I can't really think of anything else to say about this. Maybe I will later.
Maybe not.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mardi Gras Hodgepodge

This week's questions, from This Side of the Pond (see link at left) have a Mardi Gras theme!

1. The season of Lent begins on March 9th this year...do you participate and if so, in what way?
I don't give up anything for Lent.

2. Traditionally pancakes are eaten on the day known as Shrove Tuesday which is the last day before Lent (March 8th this year). So....butter and syrup? Blueberry? Chocolate chip? ewww, no thanks!! What's your pleasure when it comes to eating pancakes?
I like thinner pancakes. If they are too thick, they taste only of flour to me. So, I'd go for a crepe, and there are so many ways to enjoy a crepe, I couldn't begin to choose! Probably some kind of fruit....

3. Spring is coming. (It is coming, right?) What's your favorite springtime flower and do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Two questions I know, but they're lightweights.
Spring is here, in London! My favorite springtime flower is the hyacinth. I just love the scent. I feel pure happiness when I catch a whiff of hyacinth.  
I think I am allergic to the blooming of certain trees.

4. "Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them than upon what they make us see in ourselves." Author unknown. Agree or Disagree? Why?
I both agree and disagree. I agree because often something I don't like or disagree with about another person has its counterpart in my own weakness/fault/character flaw. Of course, it is easier to see it in someone else, and not own up to in myself. So, when someone bugs me, I ask myself what it is in me that is triggering this feeling.
On the other hand, I disagree, in the case where I admire and/or look up to another person. They may have a trait, or behave in some way, that I aspire to have, or do. In that case, what I see in them is more important to me than what they make me see in myself.

5. Since it's "March" and also the season of Mardi Gras....have you ever been in a parade? What's the best parade you've seen? 
Many decades ago, I would walk in the annual town parade as a Girl Scout. 
I think the best parades are the hometown little parades, with the local bands, and dignitaries waving at the crowd from open-top cars. Where you pull up a piece of curb, with or without a lawn chair or blanket, and wait in the warm sun for the drum majorettes to twirl their batons, and the fire engines to blast their horns.
On the other hand, one memorable parade I attended was the Tall Ships in New York City for the Bicentennial, July 4 1976.  Even though I was a baby, I remember it! Okay I was a "baby" in the figurative sense. Let's just say I was old enough to drive, and leave it at that.


6. You would jump up and down and shout for joy right now if someone told you___________?
I am waiting to hear whether our kids are being accepted into a school in Switzerland, where we are moving this summer. I really, really hope they have room for my kids. That news would put me over the moon!

7. How clean is your car on the outside? Inside? Is there junk in your trunk?
I don't own a car right now, as we decided to try living without one while  in London. 
But I like to keep a clean and neat car, offset, of course by the fact that my kids don't share the same sensibility.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm so excited to be going to Florida for a long weekend, to attend my niece's wedding!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reluctant

When you don't want to do something, it is difficult to get started. But, what about the times when you're thinking "I want to do this" but you still find it difficult to get started? Why be reluctant in this case? More often than not, the answer is: fear. And, more often than not, the fear is of: the unknown.
Reluctance is a signal from your Higher Self to examine your motives, listen to the fear, and accept the fact that pushing on ahead is going to get you past the fear.
It's as if you are standing on the edge of an abyss. Of course, you are reluctant to take that first step. You are wise to be reluctant! But, what if the outcome were assured? What if you knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that when you took that first step, you would either find solid ground (miraculously) beneath your feet, or (even more miraculously) you would find that you had sprouted wings and could fly?
Would you be reluctant then?
Or would you take a leap of faith?
Replace reluctance with faith.
Because the outcome is assured.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quixotic

Quixotic = impractically idealistic. I decided long ago to look at the world through rose colored glasses. I would rather remind myself that some person who is irritating me, or did me wrong, or did something "bad"...whatever.....is indeed a child of God in the end. It helps in the forgiveness process to always remember this final fact. If that makes me quixotic, so be it.

Peaceloving

To be peaceloving also implies that one is peace-attracting. Conversely, it could be averred that a peaceloving person also attracts the opposite of peace. In other words, if you create what you defend against (as some claim), you are at the same time attracting the opposite of what you love in order to turn the opposite around. This is my way of processing the goings-on in myself of late. I have been decidedly un-peaceful. Sure there are lots of (external, ephemeral) reasons for that. Yet, isn't the essence of serenity (which is by its nature peace-loving) that you are accepting of all circumstances no matter their character? That you achieve and maintain a sense of calm at your center, no matter the storm swirling about you? I suppose that ought to continue from the external all the way to the internal storm. Thus, at the very center of my core, I am peaceloving, and peaceful, despite the tempest in my teapot. Moreover, the unrest could be the reason I am able to be at peace in the center, as it is a process, a conscious effort, to go the peaceful place that I love, again and again. It's like coming home. It's always there, even when I am roaring about and flapping my wings and fussing over all manner of unimportant things that bug me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Optimistic

If life feels jolly rotten, there's something you've forgotten....

Friday, March 4, 2011

Neighborly

I regard this as an "aspirational adjective" because, even though in general I am helpful and kind, I could be more so. I strive to be a good neighbor, although I think I could be more friendly in terms of reaching out to my neighbors. Something to work on.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Misunderstood

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood." From time to time, I find that I am misunderstood. That's okay, because what others think of me is none of my business. My priority is to understand. It's also important to be clear, of course. That eliminates some of the misunderstanding straight away. But there is always the fact that people see what they believe. So, if people decide something about me, and it is not rooted in understanding but in their own beliefs, there is little I can do to rectify that. Nor should I.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March! Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Visit From This Side of the Pond, using the link to Wednesday Hodgepodge to the left.


1. March 2nd is Dr. Seuss's birthday so I'm wondering...do you like green eggs and ham? Okay-how about this instead...how do you like your eggs? Or don't you?

Say!
I like green eggs and ham!
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat.
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!
 
I like eggs so many ways! I guess a fluffy herb-and-cheese omelet might be a top choice.

2. Is March coming in like a lion or something less ferocious where you live?

As a matter of fact, March came in like a fox! I was awakened yesterday in the wee hours by the cry of one of the vulpine creatures that skulk about in the dark around here. 
Weather wise, it's been c-o-l-d, tempered only by the sight of forsythia, daffodils and other early bloomers. Not too bad.

3. Do you work better or worse under pressure?
 
Oh, better. But not so much better that I create undue pressure by waiting til the last minute to get something done. Well, maybe I do that a little.

4. March Madness-are you a fan? It's college basketball in case you're wondering. And if you're outside the USA tell us-is there any sort of 'madness' taking place during March in your part of the world?
 
No, and none.

5. Under what circumstances do you do your best thinking?
 
What a thought-provoking question! I think I do my best thinking when I am in a quiet, peaceful place, by myself, and I am well-rested, reasonably well-fed, and caught up on my to-do list. Er, scratch that. I think I do my best thinking when I decide I do not have to be in a quiet, peaceful place, by myself, well-rested, reasonably well-fed, and caught up on my to-do list in order to do my best thinking.

6. What item of clothing from your wardrobe do you wear most often?

Underwear?

7. Do you use sarcasm?

I try not to, because I think there are kinder ways to be funny, and clearer ways to express discontent.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
 
This morning I decided that my word for the day would be 'prognosticate' but I couldn't foresee the circumstance in which I would be able to use it in a sentence. Voila!

Loving

True, 'loving' is an adjective. But, even more, it is both a noun (gerund form) and a verb! I think it might just qualify as one of my favorite words for that very reason.
Loving is, after all, in my opinion, the reason we are here. We are living to be loving, and we are loving to be living. Without loving, what am I?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kissable

Kissable....well, that's because I'm so sweet. 'Nuff said.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Introverted

I have always been more of an introvert than an extrovert. This is somewhat unusual in a Leo. Most people are rather surprised that I am a Leo because I am such an introvert. I would much rather be alone with my thoughts than in the center of a crowd of people.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy

Here are some random thoughts on 'happy:'

God wants us to be happy.
Don't worry, be happy!
I want to be happy, but I won't be happy, til I make you happy too!
I could be happy!
Walking happy!
Happiness is as a butterfly, which when pursued is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Graceful

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
This is a traditional fortune-telling poem that supposedly tells a child's character or future based on the day of the week on which they were born.
I was born on a Tuesday. I am full of grace.
I don't particularly think of myself as graceful in the physical sense. Nor am I clumsy.
But looking at the word 'grace' I find that its meaning resonates strongly with my experience of life. I've enjoyed a great deal of good favor. Choosing to focus on its positive aspects, I find a wealth of beauty, good will, mercy, and moral strength (all definitions of grace). Most of all, I see the Love of God throughout. What could be more graceful than that?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge 02/23/11

 There is a link to the originating blog, "From This Side of the Pond," to the left....

1. Did you know there is a National Day of pretty much everything in the universe? February 23 happens to be National Inconvenience Yourself Day...when was the last time you were inconvenienced?
Because I don't have a car, I feel I am inconvenienced every single day I have to leave my house, which is pretty much every day unless I choose to become a recluse! So, I decided a while back to treat my tolerance of that inconvenience as a badge of honor. It sure helps me get my exercise, since I have to walk everywhere! 
More often than not, being inconvenienced is a matter of your outlook on the situation.

2. When a room in your house needs painting who does the job?
If it's a small room, I'll tackle it. But soaring spaces, that require a tall ladder, call out for a professional, in my opinion. Or at least someone who is not me.

3. Are you friends with your cousins?
Yes! I am friends with some of my cousins. Others are more distant, but I love them all.

4. Do you use an alarm clock? If yes-is it an actual alarm, music, or something else?
I do use one, but normally awaken before it goes off. Drat! It's an annoying little escalating beeping thing. I prefer waking to music.

5. What do you put ketchup on?
Funny you should ask! Usually, I save ketchup for cheeseburgers, fries and onion rings.
Just last night, I had a hankering for ketchup with the meatloaf we were having. This grossed out my son, who nevertheless proceeded to douse his mashed potatoes in ketchup. This in turn grossed out my daughter, but then again she puts ketchup on hot dogs, which grosses me out! 

6. What smells make you nostalgic?
Scents of the seaside remind me of my childhood.

7. Have you heard about the high school English teacher recently suspended as a result of some things she wrote in her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn't mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.

What are your thoughts-If you're a parent is your child's teacher online and are you 'friend' or 'follower' there? If you're a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students on fb? How about their parents? If you're a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you're a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss...
I think it's fine to be friends with my children's former teachers, but I'd rather keep it professional while they are teaching my kids. I think teachers do have a responsibility to not vent their frustrations about students in a public forum.  That said, I wish more teachers used online resources to provide information about what is happening in their classrooms. In my experience this is an under-utilized tool.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
A friend just sent me an email about the incredible healing properties of asparagus. Who knew?

Ebullient

Now the heart sings....a song of joy. Standing on the mountaintop in Iceland, gazing upon a wondrous, glorious scene spread out as far as my eye could see, I felt my heart sing with joy. I felt the grace of the place. I felt like belting out a tune! Instead, I spread my arms wide, faced the wind, and grinned a huge grin! I was alone, but for once did not feel at all lonely. I felt only joy, joy at being alive, joy at being one of God's children, pure bliss. It is an unforgettable memory, one of my top ten for sure.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Discerning

It occurred to me that something I value highly is insight. I seek first to understand, then to be understood. I feel I am not truly alive unless I am seeking insight into some aspect of living. That is just who I am. 
I also aspire to having good judgment. Paradoxically, in my view having good judgment entails not judging others. Or, at least, judging others with  kindness and mercy. We're all God's children.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Capable

There really is no end to my abilities. Yes, I know I will never be a ballerina, and it's unlikely I could climb Mount Everest. Honestly, one great thing about aging is the discernment we bring to bear on our dreams. We don't stop dreaming, we just (hopefully) choose more wisely. In the end, I am capable of achieving my dreams. I simply need to choose my dreams wisely.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bountiful

There is so much abundance in my life. I am so very grateful for all of it.  Let me now take a moment to thank God for all of it. Even the "bad" stuff, for that is where I find my greatest learning opportunities. And where would I be without that?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Alert

I love waking up in the morning! I awaken each morning with fresh hope for a good, God-given day.
Generally, once I wake up, that's it, I'm up for the day. I rarely turn over to snooze. I can't wait to get the day started. Sure, there are exceptions to this. But usually, I am happy to get out of bed and get going. Maybe that's because I am blessed with an easy, happy lifestyle at this stage of my life. In that case, I am aware of how lucky I am. Still, I have always been more of a lark than an owl. I am alert in the morning.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Love, Me

To love one's self is a lifelong journey. It is a skill, and it is an art. There are myriad opportunities for honing this skill. We ignore the opportunities at our peril. There is a self-fulfilling aspect to it as well. For, as we practice loving our selves, we are more able to give love out to the world. And that, in turn, brings love back in to our selves. I don't mean on an individual basis; that is, I don't expect love in return from the person to whom I give love. It is Universal Love of which I speak. Just as goodness is its own reward, the "reward" for loving others is ......more love for our selves. Get it?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

There is a link to the originating blog to the left.

1. What is more important-doing what you love or loving what you do?

'Loving what you do' holds more importance for me. I believe in being present, in giving attention to the task, no matter how small. I aspire to live that belief, although I may not always achieve it. 'Doing what you love' is wonderful, although not always practical. Better to learn to love what you do.
Also: "Before enlightenment, carry water, chop wood. After enlightenment, carry water, chop wood." Bringing your awareness (love) to any endeavor can also deepen your experience of living.

2. Do you like bleu cheese?

Yes, please, the 'stinkier' the better!

3. What is the most difficult emotion for you to handle?
If you define emotion as 'feeling in motion,' then I would have to say fear is the most difficult for me. I think that is mostly because fear tends to paralyze me. My fear stops me from doing things I want to do. Ultimately, fear is the one thing holding me back from living out my greatest dreams. 

4. Fresh flowers or a box of chocolate? 

Fresh flowers are a feast for the heart.

5. What's a song you love that has the word 'love' in its title? It doesn't have to be a 'love song'. 

Oh! I was just thinking of this song the other day! 

"Let's Fall In Love" 




6. Are you the person you wanted to be when you grew up?
No. See #3 above.

7. Any special Valentines Day plans?

My family and I will be on a mini-break in Iceland! We're excited about exploring a bit of that beautiful place. I think we'll be spending the day taking a super-Jeep tour of the glaciers and waterfalls in the area surrounding Reykjavik.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

With God, all things are possible.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

There is a link to the Wednesday Hodgepodge, whence these questions came, to the left.

1. Would you rather be seen as a person who did their duty or forged their own path?

I subscribe to the thought "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." Thus, in any given situation, what matters more to me than how others see me, is whether I understand the rightness of my choice to either do my duty or forge my own path. In any case, I also don't think the two are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, I often feel it is my duty to forge my own path! (Have I successfully wriggled out of giving a straight answer on this one?)

2. This week's Wednesday Hodgepodge happens to fall on Groundhog's Day. In keeping with that theme, if you could have a do-over of any one day out of the last seven, which day would it be and why. If you haven't seen the movie Groundhog Day this question will make absolutely no sense but that's okay....you can answer anyway.

Hmmm...if I had a do-over, I would have skipped going to London's largest shopping mall last Saturday. I am not a huge fan of malls anyway, and it was just way too crowded. I spent the whole time feeling vaguely irritated and slightly claustrophobic. And the store which was our destination was closed for renovations!!


3. Hot cocoa...yay or nay on the marshmallows?

Yay!

4. Do you wear makeup every day? What are the top two must haves in your daily makeup routine?

I do not wear makeup every day, although I probably should. I just can't be bothered, and where I live, there is slim chance I will run into anyone I know!
I usually wear it on the weekend, when my husband is around, so I look pretty for him.
The top two must haves? Moisturizer with SPF, and lip gloss!

5. Is it more important to you in a relationship to be loved or understood?

Another quote: "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
I think the two go hand in hand. That is, love encompasses understanding, as well as transcending it. Even so, my husband doesn't have to understand why I like things "just so," but it helps that he loves me, including that part of me that likes things "just so."

6. Parsley sage rosemary or thyme... your favorite?

Nice question! My favorite for cooking is thyme, but my favorite for rubbing and then smelling my fingers is rosemary!

7. What do you do when you feel angry?

Depends on the situation. Usually I give myself a time-out, in order to calm down and deal with the anger in an appropriate manner.
That sounds so mature. Sometimes I just yell.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My random thought is a prayer for the healing of a person I don't even know, but whose blog I was introduced to recently. She is a 38 year old mom of two who suffered a stroke last month. You can see her blog here ....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

Acceptance is key. When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself, "I love and accept myself just as I am today." That does not mean there is no room for improvement! An excellent cup of coffee can always be enhanced by a new flavoring or a dollop of this or a pinch of that. In this scenario, you are the cup of coffee. Enjoy yourself, drink in the richness of you, reflect on your boldness, sip on your individuality. And have a biscuit.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Ponderable

What you seek in another, you would do well to look for first in yourself.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Life's Simple Pleasures

Today's Simple Pleasure: chopping garlic for the Lentils with Rice and Caramelized Onions I made for lunch today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I am having a go at a weekly set of questions that a fellow blogger, "From This Side of the Pond," creates. To enjoy her blog, click on the link to the left...

1. Will you watch the Super Bowl? If so who will you root for? If you are outside the USA what is the 'big deal sporting event' in your own country?

I think I will record the Super Bowl, and watch it the next day. Here in England, of course, it doesn't start until quite late, past my bedtime! Still, I enjoy watching the Super Bowl, even if only for all the potentially funny, controversial or groundbreaking ads! That's right, I watch the Super Bowl for the ads!!
Needless to say, for England there is only one football, and it is indeed a big deal sporting event. I learned that first hand during the World Cup last year!

2. Is ignorance bliss?

Ignorance is ignorance and bliss is bliss, but I don't equate the two. I think the saying was created to justify keeping people in the dark. Speaking from experience, usually that of which I have been ignorant has been kept from me in order to spare me injury or anger. But absence of injury/anger is not the same as bliss. The truth will out, as they say. And then, what good did ignorance do but delay the inevitable?

3. Which of the seven dwarfs are you? (and just in case your Disney is a little bit rusty, here they are-Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy)

Almost always, I am Happy. As it happens, you caught me on a "Grumpy" day, and I don't want to talk about it! Back to being Happy soon enough.

4. When you are riding in the car with another couple how do you organize the seating? (Men up front? Women up front? Couples sit together?) And thanks to Lori at Mountain Woman at Heart for the question! Everyone go say hi to Lori.

No rules or patterns to report here.

5. What is beauty?

Beauty is a quality that brings pleasure to its beholder. In an ideal world, beauty is truth, and truth beauty: so that if something is beautiful, it must be true, and all truths are beautiful. But reality is not so simple. The truth can be ugly, and lies can seem pretty.

6. If someone asks you to bring an appetizer or a dessert to a party in their home, which would you choose?

Probably a dessert, because I enjoy baking.

7. What is your crowd pleasing go-to appetizer?

Hot Artichoke Dip. Yum!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and thankful mind. (That's really a quote from somewhere, but it's the first thought that popped into my head! It's something I try to say to myself at least once a day.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Note to Self

"The road is long, with many a winding turn." So goes the first line of an old song. It's about how we're all in this together,and as we go along, we can all help each other. Another's burden is my burden, and a burden shared is by definition lighter. Each time we choose to love one another, we grow the collective Love. It's as simple as that. Someday we will hit a critical mass, and the sadness will be outweighed by the gladness. It may not look like the world we know any longer. It may look more like the heaven of which we dream. And so it shall be.
We don't usually know how long the road is, or what is beyond the next winding turn. To experience the mystery is one of life's greatest pleasures.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For the record

I have a completely sane and rational mother, who always does what's best in every situation.