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Coming Home

I have recently been teaching a chair yoga class at a cancer center.  I was wondering why I felt so at peace afterwards. You would think that I would be sad for these patients, their struggles, their fears, and their hopes.

Today I had someone new, she was having Chemo tomorrow, and clearly she was well into her treatment as she had a scarf wrapped around her head.  She had never been to my class. Never done yoga. She took to it, the breathing, the positive visualization.  I could see she was desperate for hope.

After the class she said, could I come Wednesday with my “Chemo”, as if it was her new friend. We discussed what that meant, her port would be accessed and she would have a bag (of poison) to deal with.  I said of course, we would make sure to adapt anything you need. It seemed reassuring to her. My mantra, if you can breath you can do yoga.

When I left I felt energized and hopeful. Why? After I came home I realized this was coming home to me, I spent years in the hospital, off and on, with Natalie. They are like a safe place to me sometimes.  How many days and nights did I spend, trying to find the best cafeteria food, and most comfortable niche to hang out in. Natalie didn’t die of cancer but that really doesn’t matter. they are not only a place of death, but a place of healing and hope. I am bringing hope.

I teach in the infusion room, the place where the poison happens, but we turn it into a place of hope and love, community and love.

Bring on the Chemo.

Frank Sumatra

This morning I stopped for coffee in town, like I do every morning on my ay to work. Beantown is a great little place where all the locals congregate in the morning.  There is a table with retirees (I think) crowded around sharing stories. I sometimes envy them, their freedom, there ritual of coffee together each morning, being retired.

This morning one of these retirees was at the bank of coffee pots, there are several flavors. I in particular enjoy the English Toffee, or Chocolate Almond.  This gentleman was pouring cream into his cup, then some powdered chocolate, more cream, then Sumatra.  Quite a process for a cup of coffee. He looked at me quite seriously and said, “Sumatra, like the famous singer, Frank Sumatra!”  “Yes”, I replied.  “you are even preparing your coffee like the song, My Way”.

We had a good laugh. I walked out of Beantown with my Chocolate Almond with some half and half, a smile on my face and the song “My Way” in my head.  A nice way to start a morning.

 

I was in Indianapolis for a Library conference last week.  It was cold. There were 10,000 librarians and me. I am not a librarian but I am responsible for a Library.  I love the work.  Not sure if I wrote about that here, but last January 2013, I inherited the Library as part of my domain at the City.  So I went to this huge conference and listened to many great speakers, Brian Stevenson, Simon Sinek, Jane Pauley, Ann Patchett, just to drop a few names.  It inspired me to read more and to write more.

One speech, I think it was Jane Pauley got me thinking about things. The past, life, making a home. I don’t recall what she said specifically but I remember the flood of memories that came to me when she spoke about what a “home” would be like, and how hard I tried to “create” that for myself.  I am fortunate, I have a home, I own it and the house payment and the “maybe” termites that might be moving in, the gutters that need to be cleared and the fact hat it was built almost 20 years before I was even born.  The plumbing that needs to be replaced in the kitchen and the windows that need dowels to hold them up. And I have never felt more at home in my life than I do now.

It made me remember when I felt so out of place, when I was a kid. My parents divorced after my year in kindergarten, that was when it was taboo especially since I went to Catholic school. I want so badly to fit in with the rest.  I was the outsider.  I wasn’t allowed to have friends over and I wasn’t allowed to make friends in the neighborhood, my mother said all the kids had lice.  So I read and fantasied about everything that wasn’t reality.

When I got a little older I finally started to visit other peoples houses, usually through my grandmother taking me along on her Avon visits. What I noticed was that everyone had a sofa in the living room.  This must be the way normal people live, I thought.  We had a bed in the living room. My grandmother slept in it, and sometime she let me lay with her to watch “I Love Lucy”. I remember being in that bed late at night and waking up the night Bobby Kennedy was shot.  The black and white TV was on and my mother was in the living room along with my Grandmother, they were both crying.

We didn’t have a lot, but my grandmother being the crafty seamstress she was made a fitted cover for the bed and upholstered the 1 chair we had in the living room with the same green brocade cloth and added a couple pillows. Looking back on this I can clearly see that she was making this “home”. But for me it never seemed normal, and I was embarrassed that we had a bed in the living room.

When I finally moved out on my own at the age of 19 the first thing I bought was a sofa.  I had inherited a bed and dresser  in the move and the little apartment above the garage I was renting was partially furnished.  But I needed a sofa.  I remember saving up and buying my first one, it was brown, I think it was $400.  A lot for a staving student working 2 jobs and going to UCLA.

I had that same sofa until about 12 years ago when I finally got rid of it.  I alway have a sofa in the living room now. What’s even better is that there is usually a dog on it too.

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Busy Year

So far this past month has been extremely busy. I don’t even know where the time has gone.  I usually get a little downtime at the office, not so far this year.  This past month I turned 54.  J thought it would be more fun to turn 35 again, I don’t think he connected the dots. I was 35 when his mom, my sister, died and he and his sisters came to live with me.

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We went to see “The Eagles” in concert 1/24 the day after my birthday, all in all it was a great birthday weekend. On Saturday everyone, got together and we went to have pasta. It was the nicest birthday in a long time because C was acting decent and kind.  She even brought me flowers and a cake.

Today it is 8 years since Natalie died.  I almost didn’t remember until I started writing this post.  For some reason I can’t link back to that post;

Though she only was with us for 21 short years, Natalie experienced a lifetime of fun and experiences. She lived in Lake Tahoe and learned to ski, she made several trips to the east coast to visit family, Natalie spent 4 weeks in Costa Rica living participating in a program to build a school in a small village. Natalie, went away to college at Cal State Monterey Bay , she fell in love, and lived independently after her transplant. She loved Pablo Neruda poetry, gummie bears, her dog Roscoe, and her favorite saying was “It’s all about the love”.

February 1, 2006

Natalie Catrine 
January 16 1985 – February 1, 2006

Happy New Year

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This is my windowsill in the kitchen above the sink.  Just thought I would share.  I wanted to wish everyone who still reads this blog a Happy New Year, one of my resolutions is to post more both words and photos.

Last night was quiet, I made a pretty darn good roast chicken for dinner.  D was over and I fell asleep about 10 after a bit too much champagne and wine. I watched the parade on TV this morning in bed, while I drank coffee. TOday I am going to take down all the Christmas stuff.  Thats the goal.

2013 was a year of clarity for me.  I finally came to a huge ah ha moment with my Yoga teaching, and said what I needed to say to K|Y after teaching for her for free for almost a year.  I felt a huge sense of freedom once that relationship ended.  I was being used so much, and I knew it but did nothing.  Finally in October I said what I needed to say, a huge weight was lifted.  Also after C and all her lies, I finally have let that go.  Its her problems, and I no longer have any expectations of her.  She is turning into the kind of person I really don’t like.

When the Doc said I needed a new knee, that was also anther ah ha moment.  I needed to get into shape and lose weight.  So I start the year 10 pounds lighter, with 30 more to go, and my knee is feeling great thanks to a regular Pilates reformer class, and more walking.  I still attend group yoga classes occasionally.

In 2014 I want to:

  • Connect more with Nature
  • Write more
  • Be more creative
  • Get my garden/yard in order
  • Spend less
  • Travel more
  • Find great hikes, and do them!
  • Lose that other 30 pounds

 

Poppies

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Well the weather here is really not very “Fall” like lately.  The highs this week are supposed to hit 90.  At least it is cooling down at night.  I have been trying to get motivated, in many ways.  Today I wired on the office, throwing away, putting away, and loading CD music not my iTunes account so I can just store all the CD’s away too.  Soon we will buy all our music on-line and not have to buy CD’s.

The poppies are from a trip a couple years ago to Ojai.  It was a nice place we stayed at and should go back sometime.

Roscoe had a big surgery on last wednesday, he had 12 bladderstones removed.  He came home on Friday afternoon, and is finally acting like himself today.  I have been sticking close to home to keep an eye on him.  He will not be happy tomorrow when I head out to work and put a cone on his head!

I started a diet, today is day 12. I am doing better than I have in the past and it is giving me some motivation to get things done. To get the house in order, my office, I want a space to write. A space to create.  I need at least another weekend to make it happen. Hopefully before Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

911

If you could chose how you were to die would you? If you knew, definitively that you would be meeting your maker within, seconds or minutes or even hours, and you had a choice of flying into the hands of God instead of burning to death, or being crushed or suffocated, would you?

Today we remember 911. I remember the images, the plane hitting the tower, played over and over. I remember thinking that’s weird, why would they be flying so close? Then the second plane hit and my heart sank and I burst into tears with the realization of what was happening.  The images of the towers burning, the firemen and police everywhere, and then of images of people jumping from the horror that awaited them, flying into the arms of God, those images horrified me because I knew they were trying to create a fate less terrifying than the fate that awaited them. I can’t imagine what they were hearing, seeing, feeling when the decision was made. And then of the towers collapsing, of people running, dust everywhere.

I never judged these people who made this choice, I thought to myself I would probably do the same.  But I think those images affected me the most, and caused me to reflect.

Today I read an article about the falling man.  I had no idea there was so much controversy over these images, I know that the media stopped showing the towers falling every few minutes and the people falling from the towers, after a day or two because they were so disturbing.  There was a mission to put a name to the face of the falling man. Maybe they did.

 

 

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