Friday, April 30, 2010

An authentic Life

The weather is lovely - not too hot, about 75 degrees - dry and breezy, blue sky and sunny with a few puffy clouds. Gracey-Blue and I enjoyed the outdoors today - my lilac bush is in bloom and smells delightful. Our world is green and budding and flowering and growing -

I went to buy some 'staples' today - dog food and wine. :-) The store where we buy Gracey's dog food is a grain and feed store and very "country". It is a very old wooden building with a porch and posts and places for folks to tie their horses to. (I have never seen a horse tied though). :-) There are cats inside, big fat one's lazily sprawled out on the wood floors - a couple of very old golden retrievers panting and snoozing. Shelves filled with natural grains and animal feed and hand made pet treats and all natural flea and tick sprays too. A wood stove that heats the place in the colder months. It smells musty and like old wood and dried beef treats and wet dog. Oddly, it is a nice smell. The folks who work there all wear jeans and work boots and have bandannas about their necks and heads. The guys are full bearded with skin like shoe leather and even the women are scruffy looking, weather beaten and yet bright-eyed and beautiful in a rustic kind of way. I love going there as everyone is so friendly and laid back and so 1800's - like "Little House On The Prairie" :-)

Next I headed down the road to the "Wine And Spirits Store". The woman who owns this place is fascinating. First, she is bigger than life!! I mean HUGE!! She has long thick wavy brown hair that she swoops and swirls with clips and pins, a big blotchy and beautiful face with bright blue eyes. She wears the brightest of clothes that flow and wrap in bright blends of deep magenta, jade, turquoise and sharp greens and all enhanced with a scarf and long dangly earrings and bracelets in every color and rings. Her shoes are often patent and colorful and she adds clip on flowers to the toes. When she welcomes you she bellows like a fog horn so loudly that I stop in my tracks to absorb the force of her voice while I take in the overwhelming colorful outfits covering her very large body. Her smile and laughter are immense just like her. I find myself talking loudly to be on the same level of communicating. Phew.

Two very different businesses - both on the same road just a few hundred feet apart.

I found myself reflecting on the authenticity of each establishment and it's owners and workers. They know who they are and aren't and display their unique selves proudly. I thought of myself and how I am seen, perceived and how people experience me. I pondered for a moment about my own authenticity. And I realized why I appreciate their bold authentic presence - because I am the same, Bold and authentic. No pretense. I know who I am and I am true to that self in all situations with a few exceptions. I know the exceptions and why it is so. That's for another post. :-) After all, my whole blog is dedicated to honoring my truths.

Enjoy the song - it took forever to find one that "fit"

So what about you, my blog-friends.? Are you authentic? Bold? True? Always,
some times?.................

Monday, April 26, 2010


HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY DAD!! :-) The above pictures are pictures of pictures so I apologise for the blur. I used these same photos on a post last year on the anniversary of my Dad's death.

Dad was born and raised in Stratford, CT. - one of eight children - six boys and two girls. His parents were immigrants to Ellis Island from Austria. My Dad was given the nick-name of "Booty" when he was a boy - apparently because he always wore boots. He had many, many stories to share of his childhood - his father would repair their shoes with railroad ties and they slept three in a bed. One of his younger brothers was a bed-wetter! He shared how he ran away from home and joined the carnival when he was twelve. The police found him and he said they hit him with rubber hosing. Can you even imagine? Although, he added, he never ran away again. :-) His Dad died when he was sixteen and then he joined the army as soon as he was of age. He had already had met my Mom and she 'waited' for his return. He was a WWll vet - earning the purple heart. He was captured the last seven days of the war - and was held captive in a barn. He claims the reason they didn't shoot him is because he had chocolate to offer as a bribe. He also said they had beer and he kept a can opener under the rafters on a nail outside a window in the loft. Twenty five years later my Mom and Dad returned to Germany. The barn he was held captive in was now a restaurant. He went upstairs, reached out the window and there, on the nail, was his can opener. I have that can opener now - proudly displayed in a glass case near his encased American flag given to my Mom at his military funeral.

My Mom and Dad had a gentle loving relationship. I learned how a man should treat a woman and vice versa from watching them. His only vice being that he, at times, drank way too much. Way beyond that was his strong work ethic, love of family, appreciation of flowers - he was a florist by trade although he spent his life readying new trucks for delivery and at times he would take long hauls with piggy-backed 18-wheelers. He taught me to drive his company standard shift pick-up truck when I was twelve and I was able to drive an 18-wheeler by age fourteen.
He taught me how to pitch fast ball- I was a star softball pitcher - pitching no hitters at every game. I practiced with my Dad every night - broke my share of windows too!! He is the one who gave me my nick-=name - "Gimpy" when I broke my ankle. He said I 'gimped', not limped! :-)

I also learned what being a good friend and neighbor meant - when the house across the street from us was on fire they had to stop him from going in to save the woman still trapped - I can still see the other neighborhood men holding him back as it was clear it was just too late. She died that night holding her dog. My Dad never really made peace with that.

His philosophy was that every day he needed to make people laugh. And he did. He was very funny. He also was able to cry - I watched him sob at his brother's funerals and when he lost dear friends. He cried at happy times too, our weddings, graduations, births of our children. He was very 'present' in our lives, no matter what.

He was just 64 when he died - a heart attack. He lives on in me, and my Mom, my sister and all those who knew him. In honor of him I will leave you with some of his funny sayings - I hope to make you laugh today in honor of my Dad ....

"We have more fun than people"

"How tall do you weigh?"

"Do you walk to work or carry a lunch"

"You didn't eat that did you?" (which he would say if he went in to the bathroom after someone had done their "daily constitution"...) :-)

"Get Bent" (he never really swore so if he was upset at someone, and only if it were a guy he would say "Get Bent"...

He was a real joker too. His sister Eva lived with us for a while and she was going on a date and he hid her false teeth!!!

If you were an over-night guest at our house expect to have your bed "short-sheeted"

and I could go on, but you get the gist, :-)

So Dad - "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" - and like the song says - "I would give everything I own, just to have you back again..............."

......and I realized that I only needed to take some parts of other posts about my Dad and blend them here - his amazing life has no new events to write about - it is all said and done. I remember him and now, you will too. :-)

I love you Dad....


and for some reason I can't remove one of the songs - so it is on here twice. Perhaps my Dad's sense of humor, huh? :-)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Who said that?

Metaphorically speaking.......................................

there was a twinge - actually a stabbing pain. Whose voice is that - who is speaking those words in that tone.? I don't know this person. I did but now I don't. A blanket of grief overcame me - a loss so profound my heart sank -
my head bowed -
hands folded -
silent thoughts spun in my mind - of resistance and fear.
Who can I tell -
after all, it was just a few words.
Words of revelation - eye opening revelation spoken defensively - confidently - even righteously.
I did not recognize this style of speaking from this person -
it is/was foreign to me.
Not anymore though,
the next time will be easier to hear,
or will it?

Thursday, April 22, 2010



I am so in awe of your journey. I am inspired by your courage and strength. I am honored to share in any part of your life and I hope you know, through our blog-land friendship that I feel a true and intimate kinship with you.
Today I celebrate "YOU' and here is a song for you............

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In celebration of a creation by Rose Marie at APOGEE POET

Hello to all of my dear blog-land friends.

I wanted to share a lovely video with you from "Apogee Poet" I don't know how to link, but if you type this address in to your url bar you will get to Rosemarie's blog

and here is the video -

how amazing is that?

I found this beautiful creation to soothe most all my senses - a blend of beautiful sounds and sights and feelings immersed in to one another,gently, and lovingly.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Jennifer


It is Jennifer's birthday today. :-) She is SO beautiful - peaches 'n' cream complexion, long wavy blond/brown hair - blue eyes - and VERY funny. I always say - she makes me laugh like no one else can. :-)

Some things about Jen -

She was born 'green' yes green. There is a perfectly logical factual medical reason this happened - the details of which I will spare you - however. The first thing I said when I saw her was "Oh my God - I gave birth to a leprechaun!! :-)

When she was a baby - her ankles were so skinny all of her socks slid off.

She first slept in her bassinet in the hallway until her room was finished.

She went to day care at age three. Her teacher was Jewish and from Long Island - Jennifer took on her accent completely. It was hysterical.

When she went to school she had, I believe, ADD and she had to be placed in a side boxed desk to do her work.

She had long braids by age 7 which I had to cut off and still have saved. They got knotted when she was sick with the measles.

She was always in trouble in middle school. She was the first kid they would NOT allow to attend the class trip to NYC.

She was the best "worm finder" during fishing season. My Dad would look for worms to no avail - Jen would come along and have a bunch in no time.

She once licked a flagpole in freezing weather and her tongue got stuck -

She looked so lovely when she went to her prom with the love of her life.

She has an amazing son.

She moved closer to me - so we can be there for each other.

"Happy birthday Jennifer. "I love you" - Mom.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Edited with honorable mention?

I have written before about chapters of lives - most specifically children. As adults, we write the chapters of our kids lives until they are old enough to write their own chapters. It is a HUGE responsibility - and the impact, result of the chapters we author are for a life-time. Children are innocent, vulnerable and trust that those in authority in their lives will write loving and honorable chapters. As we all know, this is not always the case - and when it is 'close-to-home' it makes reading/seeing the chapters being written agonizing. I say distinctly, "Only YOU can change their story". Separate from whatever part/lines are written by me and Skipp the bulk, or theme of their story is most affected by their Mom's and the choices they make in people they allow in to their lives, - significant others and friends, alike. We represent and influence a sense of normalcy and consistency and traditions that are life-giving, loving and honest. The chapters or lines in chapters we 'author' are where our power lies - the rest of the chapter is beyond our control. The distinction is quite clear. In that distinction I have found peace and purpose - holding the 'Serenity Prayer" up to each awareness. - accepting what I cannot change, changing what I can, and relying on our wisdom to know the difference.
I had an epiphany of sorts. when my daughter let her "X" come back in to her and her son's life I was very upset - and again I became righteous and told her that he had to come to us and 'explain' his intentions'. I have since SO let go of that - his staying or going has nothing to do with us. We are responsible for what we do NOT what he does or what his intentions are. I have told my daughter our concerns and her decision to try again with him is up to her. The other 'sort-of-epiphany' is that I was often over-involved in her choices because I believed that it was my responsibility to "pick up the pieces" of her mistakes and save her - so if I could stop her before the negative results my life would be simpler. I realized it is NOT my responsibility to fix anything or save her from herself. What a HUGE relief. Of course I would listen and love and even offer suggestions but the fixing and saving is all up to her now should this latest risky venture go terribly sour.
Which brings me now to the other 'Epiphany' that prompted this post. Some times I digress. I realized that I have been edited. Just like cuts from a movie or book that lay on the editing room floor - my character in the book has been down-sized to a minor distant role. My other daughter, the one who lives 500 miles away - I haven't been a main character or had a purposeful role in the chapters f their lives for a long time. It was a real eye opener, harsh and subduing as I finally accepted that I am not and have not been a main character for quite some time. I am written in when I am needed for some advice or when there is a significant event happens - usually for the good - the problems and outcomes from bad choices are often covered over and hidden. I usually find out but it is a watered down or exaggerated version with some facts - not all. I fought to be involved for many years - and it got away from me anyway. So much has changed, happened, and is happening of which I am not a part. And sadly, I know I have been edited. I have had so many chapters in their lives years ago - I was a main character. Time and distance has changed all that. :-(

And please, that's not to say that I don't understand the natural editing that happens between parents and their children. I know that over time, as they grow that other people and things are filling their chapters and that the parents are not as involved. I guess I just wished that when I "read their chapters" that I don't cringe, grimace in horror, hold my breath and feel paralyzed because I know what is happening or I don't know what is happening - either way has it's own set of consequences. And of course there are good things too in which I delight. Selfishly, or maybe it isn't. I hope for "honorable mention".

I am so grateful that my Mom is still a main character in all my chapters and that she shares and celebrates in all the parts of my story. I also know my daughter(s) love me even when they are making their choices and living their lives and writing their chapters and their children's chapters and they hide it from me and edit me out - I know, they know, I know!! There are times when they are very forthcoming and other times not so much. Strange, my son has never edited me - never. Even when he lived in Prague I was not edited out.

Like I said, it was an epiphany when I realised that not only do we write our children's stories when they are young but some times they leave us parents out of their chapters when they are older. I guess we all edit our stories - I wonder whom have you edited out and whom has edited you out? This editing of our stories doesn't only apply to parents and kids - it goes to partners and friends and family and so forth. I have to be honest, I don't like being edited, natural progression or otherwise, and the times I have edited someone it didn't feel good either. As my daughter prepares to give birth this June I am painfully aware that I am not in this chapter. I will send baby stuff and flowers and share in his birth as best I can from here - the distance and the editing is profouind and so evident. It is hard to write and say that I ache for her - for us and how it used to be before I was edited. She ends every phone call with...............................
"I love you more, Mom....." How do I make that enough, if any of you know how please tell me. I think the answer is I have to accept the way it is now - reconcile the editing......... and so it goes, so it goes................................
(And so it Goes)? That is the title of my book - now almost 200 pages. Funny - I am "editing" what I have written so far - much better feel/use of the word, huh? :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Diana - YOU are such a wonderful presence here in blog-land. I feel your love and wisdom and compassion in every post you write and in every comment you leave. I have continued to grow in friendship with you as our lives and our families lives unfold. As mothers I feel so connected to you and empowered by you. And I felt deeply your Mom's passing.

So this day I celebrate YOU - all that yo are to so many - you - your life - cause to CELEBRATE!!

Here's to you!! "HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIANA"

Friday, April 9, 2010

Light their way home.

All good reports!! My blood pressure is well within normal range. While my doctor was checking it and the numbers kept going lower he kind of chuckled and said. "whose arm is this, where did Gail's arm go??"" :-) And, my back is so much better. I am still doing heat treatments and being careful but I haven't even needed a Tylenol in days. The unexpected heat a couple days ago knocked me for a loop!! MS doesn't respond well to heat. It is cool and rainy today so I am SO much better - not droopy any more. Phew. So there is the physical condition update.

Now, let's talk about my emotional/mental and even spiritual (because they all are connected), "state of being". Surprisingly, despite some family dilemmas, I am okay. Part of the reason for that is because the situation is not close in proximity, however it is still close to my heart. I just don't 'see' the day to day overt and subtle elements of this situation because they live so far away. That is both a gift and a curse. My imagination can run wild and/or I can pretend it is not all that bad.

I realized something though - and it was a harsh realty to absorb. What is happening now with my eldest daughter and her son is so far out of my reach. As the years went by and she remained so distant my/our involvement was less and less. The results or price of her decision to move so far away has had unfortunate outcomes. Had she stayed near by, our family could/would have helped raise her son who required and still requires much more than she or any single parent could provide. He is now the angry result of lack of support and assistance and opportunity. She has "thrown her hands in the air" - and wants to be free of the responsibility for his care. The life has been squeezed out of their relationship - each victim to the other - each angry - each feeling unloved by the other.

Some where over the years I 'lost my place' in their lives. Oh sure, I sent gifts for all their birthdays and all the holidays - I called every week and they called too - and at times I was invited in to explore options for resolve for other situations - sadly, I was usually not ever given or told the whole story. There were always variables that my daughter kept secret - and she made it quite clear when I stepped over the line. I continued to communicate love, no matter what. I can count on one hand over the past 10 years the times I really challenged my daughter angrily with little regard for any self control - and this would shake things up a bit but not for long. The distance and questions and concerns forged on. Basically, I have loved, and supported as I could and helped if I was asked. I painfully and sadly accepted that her choice to live so far away and keep parts of her life secret were her decisions. My power was in what I could do to show love and share in joy and provide support if I was included in a situation. Every now and then her harsh reality finds its way to my door and heart as is the case now. And it is out of my reach to resolve. It is right here - BOOM!! I am getting out of the way of the blast - waiting for the dust to settle - trying SO hard not to go into a ranting of "I TOLD YOU SO's" !!!!! I have a slew of those ready to spew.

And so I will listen - quietly. Validate as best I can - Hope and pray for better days for her and her children - I keep the candles in every window of our home lit so they can be seen from every angle - they represent the "light that I hope one day will guide them home................"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Is it ever kind to be cruel?

I am not sure when it happened - I just know that it did. The hurt was gone - and in order to feel it I had to look for it, reach back for it because it was now a memory. Part of me wishes I was more in command of such relief - but truth be told -I was not. In fact, I fought for my right to hold on to the hurt, and disappointment, and feelings of betrayal all in the name of self preserving. When I did I was quite justified to be righteous. Oh my, how unpleasant is that? Very!!

I have written of this struggle often - and my right to be right. Even writing it kind of makes me cringe and wince. In some sense of fairness to myself I did need to take time to sort through the events that changed the relationship - that made it so difficult to feel safe - all that is still true - what isn't true anymore is how much it mattered - how much my 'position' gave me permission to be indifferent - perhaps even cruel. Oh how right I felt. Something shifted and I couldn't feel "my rights" anymore - rather I felt unkind. I was faced with an opportunity to embrace something bigger than what I was holding to - I looked hard for all the reasons I had to not respond in kind - I searched every corner of my heart - and somehow being loving overpowered being right. It was a moment of surrender and a moment of truth and a moment of transition that swept me off my emotional feet!!

And so I am writing humbly this day of His resurrection - feeling that I rose above what had me nailed to the righteous cross of being right' - perhaps in your lives there are times you felt so right - and in being right you did or didn't do what was loving - when is love, in its purest form twisted to 'fit' being right. I was actually stunned by my own rationale for so long and recent 'change of heart'. There is even a song that speaks to -"Cruel to be kind or is it Kind to be cruel?".

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Losing MyReligion - Finding My Faith

Over the years so much has changed for me in regards to religion. And by changed I mean lost. I was raised Catholic Italian and our family went to church every Sunday and we followed and honored all the faith traditions. I felt so much a part of something so huge and powerful and life-saving. As a kid I was scared some times too - all that Catholic-Italian guilt. I believed what I was taught to be true and right and must be followed for such was the only way to be assured getting to Heaven when I died.

I don't do any of that religious ceremony any more nor do I believe any of that "burn in hell" stuff any more . It was a difficult and long transition. I am so much more connected to Jesus/God now and my faith is so strong and purposeful without all the interference of religion. I do believe myself to be a Christian and I adore Jesus - we are best of friends and I ally with his teachings as they are good, loving and hopeful. I have a Jesus inspired creed by which I live and it starts with love, promotes justice, is kind, humble, generous, natural and simple, fair, musical, fun, honorable, respectful and more love.

My ability to "know" any of that after I was abused and betrayed by Roman Catholic clergy was destroyed. I can tell you that I tried, I honestly tried to belong to a faith community again of various denominations and venues - even a 'Women's Spirituality' group - I was destined to find my way back to my faith but not in a church with false leaders and dishonest servants. I finally found my way and I began walking hand in hand with Jesus - me and Him - and we talked, and He listened and I listened - and Jesus and I continue to do so - and some times I will commune with one, or two or three other faithful people and we give witness - not planned, rather unexpected and from the heart. Oh there is nothing more beautiful than that. I feel Jesus present amongst us and our hearts open and spill out the loving truth. Oh it is so glorious when that happens. No altars, or pompous religious garb, or golden chalices and marble floors - just hearts - broken and poured out before one another and our Lord. Oh it is so humbling when that happens. I believe it is the way Jesus intended it to happen with him, and in His name.

And so as he dies for me, for us all this Friday I am at the foot of His cross - I am humbly kneeling before Him - I will thank and praise Him. I will await His resurrection and freedom. And I will continue to walk hand in hand with Him, listening, believing, sharing from my brokenness so others can have hope - I renew this promise every Good Friday. My brook is running high and free so I can submerge my feet as I have so many years before and promise Him that I will share the gift He has given me - the gift of truth. It s all He has ever asked of any of us - to be true and to share our truths with others - to be broken and poured out so others can have hope. Amen.