Friday, February 27, 2009

Friendship and Trains

That's me and my best good friend JoJo - for almost 20 years now. She is a spicy, sassy, opinionated, adorable Italian - with dark eyes and olive skin. Her natural curls fall to her shoulders and bounce when she walks or laughs or turns her head. We have been friends since 1992. We have lived and shared everything; from births to deaths, illness, wellness, holidays, birthdays, just because days and drank enough wine together to paralyze a small army. Our sons are also best friends - and her husband and mine like, respect, appreciate each other and do 'guy' things together - like the Red Sox/Yankees game this past August.

I am lucky to have a best good friend. I can tell her anything and I never worry about judgment or an 'eye-roll' or a raised eyebrow. We trust each other with our secrets and we celebrate our joys and agonize over our sorrows. JoJo and I are forever friends - of the heart.

I appreciate, value, and honor the gift of friendship. Some friends have gone - some I still miss and wonder why they left - some I remember and also I know that our friendship was for a season, a reason, and not a life time. My good and amazing friend Sophie (Ashley) and I often talk about the friend we each have that we would throw ourselves in front of a train for - Hers is Danielle, and mine is JoJo. Although we both also know that we would do that for each other too, and also for Dale and Tina - the 'pajama party' group. JoJo, like her Danielle have had that place the longest - the jump in front of the train place. And now there are four! Wow!

Here's to friendship and trains! :-)

Love Gail

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Here goes:

P E Nolan and Kevin awarded me - I am not sure how to copy the award on to this post though.

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Here are my award recipients:





their links are at the bottom of my posts.

Enjoy - and it is humbling to be amongst such talented writers/bloggers

Love Gail

P.S. I hope I did this right.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


"This land is your land - this land is my land - from California to the..........."

Nice view, huh? That is some where in Virginia. I am getting better at putting photos on my posts, not so good at the video thing. Not without Dolan right here prompting me. My goodness.

Anyway - back to Virginia. My husband traveled there a week or so ago (so be the photo). His youngest son is going in the Navy and he went to spend a few days with him before he left. Interesting scenario. You see, years ago, when Skipp and I first fell in love and blended our lives - his world, the one that included his X-wife and their two sons - there was no blending to be had. It was a difficult time for everyone. I never wanted Skipp to feel pulled between me and his sons. I maintained a position of support, freeing him to be the best Dad he could be - the best Dad she would allow him to be given her "getting even with him for leaving her" approach to moving on. Mind you, they were already divorced for a few years when Skipp and I met. Her torch stayed lit for many years - and truth be told? She, despite her new life, new husband after 20 years alone - torch in hand? Would run back into Skipp's arms in a heartbeat.

For years I stayed in the back ground of them parenting their sons. They were often used as pawns - a means to control. Skipp never allowed her manipulations to interfere with his relationship with his sons. I was often amazed at what he would tolerate. So many times I wanted to challenge him but I would never. Instead, I stayed out of it and applauded his efforts and his understanding of his sons Mother's behavior. I never was the insecure type. I believed in him, I believed in us and I honored the father-son relationship Skipp maintained, no matter what. And so they grew up, and moved away. She re-married to an old high school sweetheart and moved to Virginia. Their youngest boy eventually moved their too. So be the trip to Virginia. Skipp actualy stayed at their home for several nights. SHe has told me over and over how nice it was to be with Skipp. No doubt!

THere is a miracle in all of this. When their oldest boy had a baby-girl almost three years ago it became time to not repeat old patterns but rather come together for the sake of this new baby girl. She and I began to email and lay some things out on the table. Skipp had some lengthy phone conversations with her which 'cleared the air' as best as it could be cleared. The point is we all could hear each other and we all listened. She was finally able to say that she often wonders how differently their boys would have grown had she allowed them to experience Skipp and I together. A question that will always remain unanswered. Apologies were made for many reasons and the healing finally began. This is nothing short of a miracle given the years of hardened rage and pain.

This miracle of forgiveness lives is why we were all able to be here at our home for our granddaughter's first birthday. It is why, when their oldest boy was going through his divorce and was seriously depressed that we all came together to reach out to him. It is why Skipp was able to comfortably stay at their home in Virginia. There are so many other examples of the miracle of forgiveness that have happened since we all decided to forgive.

Love and healing

Friday, February 20, 2009

Our Wood Stove

I certainly have made enough references to our wood stove - and now that I have learned how to post a photo, voila!!! :-)

The brick is real, the wall created brick by brick The floor is a dark gray slate that our stove sets upon. To the right is our dining room and to the left our 'living room area. Our wood stove provides so much more than added warmth, and when it is loaded and roaring heats the upstairs too. When we open the doors and can see the mystery of fire it is so comforting and sensual. We have had some fine times in front of our wood stove on the carpeting just beyond the slate - pillows and some nice Merlot, our favorite music and the elements of winter swirling around outside, visible through full length glass sliders and picture windows all around - our wood stove defies the cold to interfere with it's purpose of providing us comfort, warmth, ambiance and freedom to bathe in it's glory. There is a black iron kettle on top. It is filled with water, spattered with spices and scented oils. As the water heats and the steam rises it fills the air with a wonderful aroma that soothes and entices all our senses. It is a gentle whirl of fire and spices, an inner glow of winter wine, the force of winter just outside pounding on our windows and doors and walls, our bodies surrounded by each other and lost in the sounds and smells and passion of our intimacy - heightened intensity. We become one with all of it, giggling and moaning, noticing winter, a glimpse of the fire, another sip of wine, a surge of spices, the music plays on - It all blends like molten lava. There is no separation, no difference between us and the mystery that surrounds us - we revel in it.............. and then we relax, come back to individual parts of our amazing blend.....the fire still glows, winter still rages, the spices still fill the air, the wine needs refilling, the music still plays - we lay limp and gratified -


And so our old and sturdy Vigilante wood stove could tell a few stories if it could speak. It has charmed and warmed our home for almost 20 years. It has seen and heard it all........

Love Gail
peace and warmth

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trying Something New - thanks Dolan!

Here is an amazing video: You Are Love. (thanks Fallen Angel)

and here is a great video with "Imagine" -

How am I doing posting pictures and videos?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

His name was Marc

What is truth? Is it subjective? Is it objective? Is it your perception of me verses my perception of me? Are both perceptions correct? Is truth so intimate with the self that no one else can ever really know truth, other than their own, if they choose to?

There are worldly truths - the sun will rise and set, the moon will cycle, the seas will ebb and flow, seasons change, storms rage and subside, nature has it's design, and all forms of life begin and end. I, like you am a form of life, a speck in the whole of all creation - and I, like you, have a true form with spirit, essence, purpose, passion, desire, faults, talents, power, love, and yes, - truth. Over the years I have come to understand that my truth isn't really important to anyone else but me. That's not to say that people who are close to me don't appreciate my life's experience and wisdom gained - however, ultimately, we are all alone with our truth. If I think too hard about that I feel foreign, alien like. I suppose that is why so many 'support groups' have come to be. It has to do with 'security in numbers, or not feeling alone with our truths, or believing that if others feel like me than I must be okay. Still, at the end of the day I, like you, am alone with myself. All things considered, and following years of self evaluation, I am actually okay being alone with myself. And actually, as I sit here thinking, I have been okay with myself for a long time.

Sometimes though, as life happens, my 'okayness' gets challenged. This usually happens when some part of my truth is perceived differently then what I know it to be. The question here is "why does that even matter?" Also, the challenge has more of an unsettling effect if it is someone close to me, that matters in my life. I begin to ponder my meanings and intent as I wrestle with what I believe is a mis-perception, or perhaps a clearer, more objective perception of some aspect of myself that needs some redefining. I think perhaps I might explore this with the challenger, or maybe I will just dig my heels in and maintain..............after all, relationships require compromise, acceptance, even when people disagree, right? And then the issue gains clarity - it is about fear. The challenger's fear or mine? - maybe some of both. Fear that the relationship will end if I am not who they believe and need me to be to them, or, if this facet of my truth is so unappealing to them that they can not relate and so they leave - or is it their inability to ally with me that has me considering not being true to myself or staying true and then leaving - with my truth in tact. It is then that the real truth is bigger than the truth. Fear. Have I self-actualized so much that I can continue to 'defend' my position to the point of loss and no return? There are few circumstances that I can think of where I would. The few are powerful, tested, tried and true for me - have little wiggle room and to surrender would be a personal sacrifice and self-deformation of character of monumental proportion. These circumstances deal with, mis-use of power, violence, hate crimes, abuse, betrayal, and indifference, to name a few. I cannot be swayed to veer from my standings on such things, better said, I will not be swayed.

For the most part I choose to have people in my life that are of similar thinking, values and traditions as me. I think that it is human nature to be drawn to those most like us. Entire cultures are built on this. Even in blog-land we pick and choose which ones to follow based on their content and how that content "fits". I like that I know what works for me and what doesn't. I like that if someone else's opinion or view challenges my perspective I explore that and decide if there is room for change. I like when someone agrees with me and not because I need it but rather because it just feels good. It is clear that "I have arrived"......there is a truth to that, that I find empowering. I am happy to report that those BIG issues I wrote about don't often come in to play with people in my life. Mainly because, as I said, I have people in my life that are similar to me and our differences are not so left of center that we cannot still relate harmoniously.

A very dear friend of mine has different values than me about 'women/men'. We often go round and round on this matter. He spoke of strip clubs and how he would "look in to their eyes so that they would feel better about themselves"!!!!! There was so much wrong in that statement that I didn't know where to begin in my response. He is also someone that would go to the ends of the earth for me. I really struggled with how I could be in a friendship with a man who thought so little of women and saw himself as so powerful as to be able to influence a stripper by where his eyes looked. I get sick to my stomach thinking of such righteous bullshit. I told him exactly how I felt and he thought I was crazy. We didn't speak for weeks and weeks. In time, the bigger truths won - such as kindness, support, love and agreeing to never speak of his strip club experiences again. It was a close call though - one of those times that the who of who I am, my truth, was bigger than the friendship - one of those times that i 'dug-my-heels-in' and stood firm on my self proclaimed moral ground. I still believe what I believe. I still dislike, actually despise this part of his 'macho-man delusional -thinking. But the truth is I love much more about him than I dislike. It took time to discern - and our friendship won. My point is everything in life is a balance. I am not so rigid that what I found so distasteful would negate what I appreciate. There are times when that would be the outcome - and believe it or not, there is only one time in my life when that happened - and that's a story in-of-itself. His name was Marc.

Love Gail

Monday, February 9, 2009

At The Core

Kel's death has had a profound impact. It is interesting to me, considering my own thoughts; fears, hopes, denials, realities, and what it all means. In one breath I am telling Skipp we need to buy two cemetery plots where the rest of my family is and will be buried and in the next breath I am saying, fuck it -let's just sell everything, buy an RV and take off. I like the idea of an RV because it would have it's own bathroom which, is one of my realities - the need to have a bathroom in close proximity.

If Skipp dies before me I wont be able to live here. Nope, no way. I simply cannot afford it. That wasn't always the case. Before I was diagnosed with M S and I worked full time I could have supported our home on my own. So not only would I need to redefine myself as a widow I would need to move. That sucks, big time - huh?. I always prided myself in knowing that I could take care of myself, and my kids when they lived at home, by myself. I learned that after I lost everything because I depended on someone else's income to make it. I swore I would never be in that position again and I wasn't. This made my falling in love with Skipp so free and untangled. I loved him for him. It had nothing to do with needing him to survive. But as life goes, things change and that just isn't so anymore. Thank goodness we have had years of knowing that our love for each other was only about our love for each other and not because we needed each other to survive. That line has been long since crossed and to our delight it changed nothing. Actually, our desire to live and love together is still strongest at the core - the 'no matter what' core we have strengthened and defined over the years. This core is built on matters of the heart and soul and spirit, not matters of finances. We have never kept score or even thought about times of weakness where one of us had to 'carry the load' - we knew we would get back on even ground again.

I recall my sister reflecting on her life with Kel - which as I have said, has had it's share of all that life offers and takes away. She spoke warmly and deeply of their core, of their love at the center of it all - it was unshakable. The core is still there - that doesn't die. Grief continues, the harshness of the void evident, the hope that in time adjustment will come, the belief that precious memories will sustain, the gift of seeing Kel in her sons, the faith that Kel is with their son Clayton that died, the importance of family support and casseroles dropped off and cards in her mail box, a job to return to, a life to re-define, a sadness to honor, a healing journey upon which to embark, albeit it out of step, out of tune, at best clumsy, at worst paralyzing.....meanwhile, I have two sites bookmarked on my computer; one for Resurrection Cemetery, one for Recreational vehicles, new and used.............choices, choices, choices...

Love Gail

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sigourney Weaver - In Aliens

I love a 'cause'. It energizes me, brings out the best of my determination, skill, passion, strength and purpose. I am excited by the camaraderie of same beliefs and the combined desire to stand against injustice. I have always been inspired by such.

As I mature I have come to hold fast, my sense of right and wrong. For the most part I live my life accordingly and I do not impose my values on to others nor do I deem anyone wrong if they do not ally with me. I accept our differences. However, when those differences impact my life directly or the life of someone I love, well, I start to take on that "Sigourney Weaver in Aliens" mindset. I become protective, and quite verbal and challenging. That "whatever works for you" attitude becomes difficult to maintain. I tell myself I am not going to speak out. Hah! ' I talk to a few people and find they think like me which strengthens my ability to challenge and even appear righteous (which is not my intention, I swear.). There is security in numbers.

It looks like my 'cause', although supported and agreed upon by my 'people', is a cause I cannot impact for change. How sad is that? I have all the right skills and wisdom and desire and information to "right" this situation and yet I am powerless. In my mind and heart I am the opportunity for change, the special agent ready to rescue. I have a team ready to follow me in to enemy territory. My command post is active with full communications and ammunition all ready for action. All this is for naught - knowing I cannot rescue her because she does not know she is a P.O.W. I cannot take down the enemy because she has not or cannot identify him as the enemy. At times I want to 'storm the compound' and put a burlap bag over her head and drag her out and throw her in the 'get-away-van' waiting to bring her to safety. I silently wait for the call that she is waiting for the right moment to make - when he is asleep and she whispers to me - "now, come and get me now". None of this will happen, I know it and you, my readers, know it too.

If any of you need a rescue team for any reason I am ready. Seems a shame to let all this just go to waste. Let me know.

Ready and waiting

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I was so excited that she, Ashley whom I have re-named "Sophie Lennon", said "Yes". A sleep-over. I can't recall when I was at one or had one with girl friends. It was decades ago, that much I know. Sophie is young and beautiful and spirited and so smart and real. I clumsily asked, "are you okay with sleeping with me"? She giggled and light heartily answered, "Of course I am you silly, I would love to sleep with you!" And then I invited beautiful Tina, - Italian, colorful, confident, safe to love, - Although she can't sleep over she is going to come in her pajamas and eat with us and stay and be silly . And my mate Dale- Australian and proud and determined and so classy and feisty - she too will bring her pajamas . how fun does this sound? I am SO excited. I have my home-made marinara sauce made and we will have pasta and bread and wine. I have all the "fixins" for ice cream sundaes too. I am so thankful I have these amazing women in my life to celebrate an evening in pajamas. Together we can change the world. In many ways we have - at least in our corner of it.
Girlfriends are SO important and SO life-giving. Women can and should empower and celebrate each other - mine do. I have so many memories of the gifts of friendship. One in particular with

My mate Dale - I had an M S flare up and Dale was my driver from my hairdresser appointment. I was trying to make the step down on to the driveway and she put her arm out for me to use as a support. The strength in her arm was amazing and I knew she would not let me fall. This is true in every area, as well. With my group of girlfriends we 'hold each other up' when needed. I will never forget that day. "Thank you Dale."

Sophie - I recall one time during the same flare up that she did the grocery shopping for us. She drove here and took my list and off she went. We shop at the Big Y which has 'savings coins'. Sophie could not handle matching the coins to a particular item. We have had so many laughs about those coins. She carried all the bags in -put everything away and then made us lunch. "Thank you Sophie".

Tina - the newest to our circle of friends and at the same time she has been part of us forever. Tina always comes with 'stuff', lots of 'stuff', home made food, wine and beer and gifts. Tina's presence is SO wonderful and she is every where all at once - swirling and laughing and doing....such energy!
"Thank you Tina".

We are all leaders in our own right and of strong character, purpose, passion and kindness. We are physical in our expressions, keep each other's secrets sacred and celebrate our individual gifts and talents. We can laugh at and with each other and cry together too.

I am so lucky to have these amazing women as my friends. I cherish and love each of them. And I know they feel the same about me. It doesn't get any better than this.

See you at the P J party!!

Love Gail