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lucky charms. [merely-a-thought monday]

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H is about the sweetest man you could meet.  he is in choir, sings bass and is a heckuva barbershop singer.   he loves music and adventures and birthdays and hugs and butterfinger bars and the letter H.  and we love him.

i was talking about a piece we were going to sing a particular sunday.  i told the infamous back row they would need to eat their wheaties that day; there were some tough notes in this piece.  H looked up, and with that glimmer in his eye, said, “i eat lucky charms!”

what???!!!  this is a grown man – 93 years grown – and you would think that his breakfast would be practical and of great nutritional value.  but nope!  lucky charms it is.  he added, “when my grandchildren come over, they eat all the marshmallows!”  clearly not a disappointment but, instead, the greatest biggest joy.   see?  the sweetest.

i’m thinking that it would be a smart thing to eat lucky charms if it means i am going to live 93 years and have a glimmer in my eye.  and they’re gluten free!

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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you are beautiful. [merely-a-thought monday]

you are beautiful (chicago)

i remember heidi telling me about a conversation she was having on a mother-daughter weekend with her sweet mom, among other mothers and daughters.  they were sipping glasses of wine and started listing some of the things that were disconcerting to them about themselves.

we women (and men) have all done it.  we are sitting smack in the middle of a society that puts great value on appearance and youth, rather than the wrinkles of wisdom, the not-perfect-shape of having children and nurturing families, the heart-showing-on-our-face that has learned great empathy through the years, the grey hair of hard work and compassion.  and so we complain about the obvious changes we are going through.

i have looked in the mirror numerous times and thought,  “wait!  hold on!  that is NOT how i look!”  followed closely by, thinking, “it must be the lighting!  good grief, why do they use these dreadful florescent lights?  where are the soft white light bulbs?  what about indirect lighting?!  haven’t they invented soft focus mirrors yet??  umm,  i prefer my photos over-exposed, thankyouverymuch.”  we are hard on ourselves.  understatement.

instead of recognizing the beauty, the light in our eyes, the smile lines on our faces, the brow of concern, we list to the negative.  we do not look like the photoshopped version in the magazine; we cannot measure up to the three-or-four-decades-younger version of even ourselves.  life changes us.  why is it so easy to minimize ourselves and so difficult not to maximize what those changes have brought?

heidi’s mom interrupted the conversation.  she gently stopped the flowing list of self-deprecating complaints.  and she said, “you will never be more beautiful than you are right now.”

we passed this spray-painted graffiti in chicago.  i grabbed the phone out of my purse and tried to quickly capture it.  my finger blurred part of the image and i ruminated after on how i had ruined the photo.  and then i realized that no, indeed i had not ruined it.  for that blurry flaw in the photo would remind me (much better than were it not to be there) that we were walking fast down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, trying to capture the photo inbetween lots of traffic, laughing and excitedly on our way to see The Boy.  that blurred sixth of the photo – a photo that was not perfect –  would remind me of that day, imprinting in my life right then, the reminder timely and empowering.

you are beautiful.  right now.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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when we all do better. [merely-a-thought monday]

we all do better when

blank.  it’s blank.  this book i carry with me.  it’s a journal, but i’ve never ever written in it.  created by sue bender, the plain and simple journal has photographs of amish quilts and the shortest snippets of writings, many gleaned from time that sue spent in an amish community.  i’m not sure why i haven’t written in it; perhaps it is a very-prolonged beaky rule – to save it.  i do know that its pages have both comforted me and made me think.  perhaps my own writing-on-these-pages would distract me or, once the pages are filled with scribble, it will detract from the printed snippets and fall out of i-carry-it-with-me grace.  either way, it’s blank.  and it’s profoundly wise.

“an amish woman told me, ‘making a batch of vegetable soup, it’s not right for the carrot to say i taste better than the peas, or the pea to say i taste better than the cabbage.  it takes all the vegetables to make a good soup.” (sue bender)

+

“to reconcile our seeming opposites, to see them as both, not one or the other, is our constant challenge.” (sue bender)

=

“we all do better when we all do better.” (paul wellstone)

for where is it that we can not glory in another’s success, mourn with another’s failure, weep with another’s grief, dance with another’s bliss?  we share the space.  in community.  not division.

we share the ride – we are all vegetables in the soup – we are not one or the other – and yes, we all do better when we all do better.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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crazy. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we were walking in the middle of the street and the sun was going down.  it was two days before we were to move off island.  i was suddenly struck by the comparison between two days after we arrived on island and two days before we were to leave.  three months have passed.  the whole summer.  it felt like way longer.  looking back, it went by fast.  it felt like way longer.  looking back, it went by slow.  crazy.

i wondered aloud about three months from now.  i did the math on my fingers and said aloud, “what will two days before the end of december be like?  what will have happened?  what will we have accomplished?  where will we be that day?  how will we feel?”

this period of time has been pretty fraught.  with more than i can, or wish to, list in this post.  in the multiple simultaneously ever-spinning plates of life, there has been more than one wobble, more than one plate off-balance.  it has made me wonder, “what, pray tell, is going on?”  it all has seemed a bit crazy.

as a person who just wants to bring idea, passion, joy to jobs, i’ve been diving to avoid spinning plates as they seemingly veer off course, as they spin outside the gravity of what actually feels important, as they go haywire, as they head to strike the floor.

“you don’t have to be crazy to work here.  we’ll train you.”  a familiar hyperbole or idiom of sorts.  maybe that means this:  we’ll try to waylay you so you never get to the real work.  we’ll ask you to make change but will rail against it.  we’ll try to undermine or undervalue you.  we’ll try to withhold information and still expect you to function.  we’ll try to put boxy definition and constraints on the art you are attempting to create.  we’ll try to grab the stick under the spinning plate and wreak crazy.

or

maybe it means that you will endure all these things.  you will encounter havoc-wreaking and you will encounter messes.  you will find others in the ‘here’ who will stand by you and spot you as you plate-spin.  you will find your sisu and you will stand in the integrity of the work you are doing.  you will survive, outlasting the crazy.   and, you will, in the end, do some good work. crazy good.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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because they are them. [merely-a-thought monday]

not salmon quote

this doesn’t really need any more words.  these words are succinct and clear.  and i appreciated them more than jay could know when she sent this message to me.

d always repeats to me  ‘don’t take anything personally’  but, at the times he says this, i am ready to jab back with examples of when he has ‘taken it personally’.  we are human, after all, and things people and say do affect us.  were we to be teflon, we could avoid most hurt, but people are made of cutaneous cells that absorb, not the stuff of good frying pans or the feathers of cold-water ducks.

once i heard an interview with a woman who was 95 or 96 years old.  she was in excellent fitness, no plaguing physical difficulties, with a robust view of life and living and a quick laugh.  she was asked to what she owed this phenomenal overall good health.  she replied, “i don’t take anything personally.”  after a moment she added, “or seriously”.

it’s a part of me to wonder why people have said barbed or snarky, malicious or unkind things to me, why they have been ugly or hateful.  if i sit back and look from afar, i realize that they are, at the very least, consistent.  their behavior has been the same, their bite has become predictable.  regardless of my action or inaction, they are hurtful.  remembering it is ‘because they are them’ is helpful, especially in the path of not-taking-it-personally.

but it’s not so easy.  i guess i still have to work on this.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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“………..” merely-a-thought monday

dogga end of day.jpg

at the end of the day, when we sit listening to the quiet, waves lapping at the shore, a silent moon pulling our attention outside, dogdog lays, finally resting, his eyes tightly closed.  there is something about the trusting nature of a beloved pet sleeping that tugs at your heart.  i wonder what are the thoughts he thinks; what are the dreams he dreams?

as we weave through complicated days, dogga weaves with us.  he is always aware, always watching.  our sweet aussie, he is a mess of empathic energy, his eye contact unnerving.  his little heart beats fast and he watches, watches.  he has comforted us with his gentle knowing more times than we can count.  he doesn’t say much, but then, he doesn’t have to.

and then, at some point, he drops to the floor.   for him, everything is right in the world.  his people are close by, his babycat lies next to him or across the room.  all is well.  and he sleeps.

sometimes i wish it was all that simple.  it’s people who complicate matters.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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kind of awesome. [merely-a-thought monday]

your day

when packages arrive here, you get either a phone call or a text from the ferry dock.  you are told that a package will be arriving and that you can pick it up after 4:45 at the ferry dock office.  it’s pretty exciting, especially when you don’t know what it is.  you arrive, curious.  if you are in the back room of the dock office, you are likely surrounded by amazon prime boxes, because amazon prime is definitely a thing here on island.  with a $53 round trip ferry price tag for the two of us to go shopping off-island, paying zero for delivery on items you can’t buy here anyway makes total sense.

last week we got a call.  it was the thursday of a for-various-reasons-really-rotten couple of weeks.  david had been having high fevers for over a week and we had to go off-island to a clinic for some bloodwork, which eventually revealed that he picked up lyme disease in the previous weeks here.  exhausted and shocked, we attempted to stay patient and treat his painful, confusing and somewhat scary symptoms while we waited for those results.  jen and brad knew we were waiting and they knew we were having some heftily trying days.

we left for the ferry dock at 4:30, our pace slow, watching for the sweet leggy deer that wander into the road.  david went in to get the package.  he came out with a big box, from wine.com, with the words: “fact:  your day just got kind of awesome.”  six bottles of our favorite friday-night-potluck wine were inside with a note of love.  you can bet that as early that evening as was acceptable, we opened one of those and toasted our dear dear friends and our gratitude for them.  kind of awesome.

we have wonderful friends at home.  we consider ourselves very fortunate.  20 was just up here for a couple days, replenishing groceries for us, sitting and talking and having the kind of conversation only people who have known each other for years have.  it was kind of awesome.  the up-north-gang is coming this week and we can’t wait.  they will bring snacks and laughter, hugs and listening ears, perspective and big heart. they asked for a list ahead of time, of things we might need that we don’t have access to.  our days with them will be kind of awesome.  back at home, our friends help take care of our home, assisting us from afar.  michele and john mow our lawn, loan their bike to my girl, ask how they can help.  linda and jim make us food and pour generous glasses of wine at the drop of a hat.  dan brings a new dehumidifier.  kind of awesome.  there are too many people to list.  there are too many people to thank. which is, in and of itself, kind of awesome.

today, with a deeply sombered heart, i am aware of a young woman who is losing her grasp on life.  with the thinnest of thread she clings, struggling against a plethora of sudden medical emergencies.  i don’t know the whole story.  i just know that this young woman, with a huge life force, may be moving on to a different plane of existence.  and it very well might be today.  today.  i think about that.  today.  toDAY.

every day we have the opportunity to help make someone’s day kind of awesome.  we can choose that or we can choose to perpetuate something different.  we can gift someone with kind words, kind deeds, or we can be, well, rotten.  we can ignore people’s hearts or we can tend to them.

it’s a choice every day.  fact.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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