Saturday, November 06, 2010

On Turning 50...

It’s funny to actually be 50 years old. Somehow, I never thought I’d get here. It always seemed so far away! But here I am, I’ve been 50 for one day. Nothing really feels different, but I’m definitely wiser than I was a year ago. So, seems like time for another “things I’ve learned”….

Tomorrow usually is a better day.

Friends are those people who only want the best for you; who love you even when you screw up; celebrate your victories large and small; tell you the truth; and if you do something stupid, even after they told you it was stupid they will still give you a hug and let you cry on their shoulder.

Kindness gets you a lot farther than bullying

I know I’ve said this before but in the light what’s happened lately, do not walk around barefoot or you will step on a slug.

Keep the past in the past. It will only mess up your future.

Be careful who you put your trust in. Not everyone is worthy of it.

Love your kids unconditionally and let them go when it’s time.

The hardest thing in the world is losing your mom… or your dad… OK that’s not true. The hardest thing in the world is losing your child…

When you have a brilliant idea, write it down right away.

People really do tell you who they are. You need to listen. They aren’t kidding.

A hug from your kid makes everything better. So does a purring kitty in your lap.

Taking chances is often worth it, even if you fall on your face.

Feel the fear and do it anyway… but have a back up plan… But you really can do it…

Change is constant. Get used to it.

A person’s anger is something to pay attention to. Especially if they start hitting things.

If your relationship has to be a secret, get out now. Nothing good can come of that. And you probably aren’t “the one”.

Trust your own judgment…. well, I should say, trust your instincts. Sometimes the judgment part is a little off but your instincts will never let you down.

Love makes us blind, sex makes us stupid.

Yes, I really did just say that… And that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

The best thing you can do for someone is to be their soft place they can fall.

An encouraging word can change someone’s life.

As my dad always told me, a writer writes.

If you can find your passion and make it your life’s work, you can’t go wrong. If you can’t make it your life’s work, do it anyway. It will feed your soul.

When your dad shows your writing to an MIT technical writing professor then arranges a luncheon with them, it’s because he loves you and has faith in you. It wasn’t to embarrass the hell out of you. (Thanks Dad)

Be grateful.

Stop and smell the roses. They won’t last forever.

In a divorce, the kids’ well being is the only thing that matters. Try to be civil to each other. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up being good friends.

Lead by example not by dogma. It will leave you with good karma. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

Laugh a lot but cry once in awhile. It’s OK, really.

We never have our parents long enough. We’re never ready for them to go. And it’s really hard to move on without them. (Remember dad, you aren’t allowed to die now)

Everyone is beautiful even if you have to look to find it.

Everyone loves to get mail that isn’t a bill. Send a card, you’ll make someone smile.

There is always something new to learn. Be open to it.

Hate is harder to overcome that love.

Moms love handmade gifts. Draw her a picture or knit her a scarf. Whatever it is you do, she will love it. (Even when it’s a felt slug with teeth or a uterus stuffy)

I will never be 5’10 AND blonde. I’ve had to get over it. So should you.

It’s OK to wear glasses. It doesn’t mean you’re frumpy. It means you can’t see.

Snoring is not a character flaw. It’s just annoying.

Go to your doctor. I know, you hate going to the doctor. It can save your life.

Despite what they tell you, everything is not related to your age or your weight. And if they insist that it is, get a second opinion.

Dogs are always happy to see you. Cats are always ready to be fed.

Take long walks just avoid short piers.

Take your camera everywhere. You never know when you’ll come across that perfect shot.

Even with all it’s pitfalls and potholes, life is good; give it all you’ve got. You may not get another chance…

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I've been using the word "predator" a lot lately. This is because my life has been attacked by such a creature and he has taken down so many of my friends with him. Last night in a conversation over coffee with a friend I was given a revelation. And it was this:

There are more than one kind of predators. There is a shark, a perfect killing machine that trolls the water and with powerful jaws seeks out it's prey. It has no agenda other than killing to eat and to survive. It is an honest and honorable creature that kills to survive and doesn't play games. It has a purpose and when we see this type of predator, we know to beware. These are creatures that while have no conscience per se, kill quickly and without malice.

There is another kind of predator though. This is the predator that has no power of it's own. It has to feed off the remains of weak and vulnerable creatures. It has to live on the left-overs that the sharks of this world leave behind. This predator is like the hyena, a scavenger that seeks out the weak and the sick, the dying and the vulnerable. It feeds on carrion because it is not powerful or clever enough to kill the strong and healthy.The hyena sneaks in and steals it's prey. It is not honest nor is it noble. It has the same powerful jaws and gnashing teeth but it is forced to live off the droppings of the more powerful predators. The hyena is so impotent that it has to get what it needs by sneaking and stealing what it wants. It has no power to make it's own living so it steals from those who's defenses have been weakened by the world. This creature lives in it's own filth surrounded by the stench of it's stolen prey. 

This creature in it's human form has no conscience. Unlike the shark who kills only to sustain itself, the hyena cannot kill and so must steal and connive to survive...

It is this hyena that has come in and attacked me and my friends. This hyena who laughs to make us feel safe, who hides his crushing jaws and his carrion-stained breath with pretty words and empty promises. It is this hyena who hides behind the women he is circling to protect him from being exposed for the predator that he truly is. He has fed off the carcasses of women who have been broken and crushed by the world and with no conscience he eats the remaining flesh from these bones and when the flesh is used up, he moves on to the next carcass. 

This hyena was so sure of himself and so arrogant and so convinced that these "carcasses" were under his spell that he underestimated a few of us. He underestimated our humanness and compassion for each other that when his stench became clear, we shared his ugly secrets. He was found out and has had to slink away to hide behind another's skirts, one who still cannot see nor smell his filth.

And this hyena is still out there, prowling and circling, choosing his next victims. So beware this hyena who looks like a puppy dog. Take care to look behind those engaging eyes and see the predator that lurks there. Take care to see past the pretty words and compliments to the underlying snares that exist waiting to catch you, like they caught me and so many others. And do not be fooled by the bluster of his accomplishments, for they are empty at best. Don't be fooled by his sly whispers and unspoken threats. He smells your weakness through the screen and knows just when to strike... 

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Breaking down

Long knock-down

drag out


of waiting


what does it all


Pulled in one


led in another

pushed behind

toppled over…


I waited

you gave



your words

telling me

it would all





We’ll pull it off

make it work

one foot in

front of the


making something


of it all

hang on

hold on

let go

come back

I need

she needs

no time

time’s running out

not enough

plenty left


plus me

no comment

back off

check it out



we’re wonderful






Come now

wait awhile

first things first

a car

a job

a home



life’s in flux

just my luck


you don’t






I know you heard me


I know you did


Left me




kept it quiet

should have run

had so much to


so much to


so much to



They said

He may be


but he’s



doesn’t know





good woman

good mind

big heart

kind soul


actions speak

louder than words

and the silence

is deafening…


I’ve heard it all before…

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Things I learned the hard way

When you don’t take your clothes off the line, it will rain… all night… oh, your dryer will be broken too.

When you have a car with a funky radiator, always carry water.

If you use the wrong kitty litter, they will go on the floor until you get the right kind.

If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

When you rush out the door, you will forget your coupon and will have to pay full price for that yarn you just can’t live without.

The truth will set you free.

No matter how many stupid mistakes you make, your true friends will look past them and still love you.

Honesty is the best policy.

When they replace the copier at work, you will, at least once, make 50 copies of ten page booklets, stapled and hole-punched with nothing on them. And you will do this when the boss walks by.

When you can’t count on yourself, you can count on your friends.

The day you wear that heavy sweater to work, the clouds will break and you will have record heat.

The one time in five years you mail your rent check from your mail box instead of the post office, it will get stolen.

When you can avoid it, it’s best not to make enemies.

Always turn on the light before you walk barefoot into the kitchen, especially if you have a slug problem.

Sometimes the high road is more painful but it is always the best choice.

Cats will hide hairballs as surprises for you. Usually in the underwear you were too lazy to put away.

When you walk down the driveway and read your mail simultaneously, you will slip on that patch of pine needles that you meant to sweep up.

If you’re going to fall, you will fall in the street or parking lot…and people will not stop to help…unless of course it’s the 95 year-old lady with the cane.

The day you finally get up the guts to wear that expensive blouse, you will spill coffee on it and not just a little, but the whole cup…and it will be in the front where you can’t hide it…and it will be too busy to go home and change.

It’s a bad idea to pour laundry soap in the washer when your hands are wet.

If the foaming soap says one pump will do, one pump will do.

Always look to make sure that brownie you are about to eat isn’t moving… ants love brownies.

When you get on an elevator with a cup of coffee with no lid in a correctional facility, they will close the door on you spilling coffee down your shirt. They will apologize but you can hear the rest of the staff laughing in the background. That’s when you remember you are always on camera in a correctional facility.

When you have to go around and collect papers from students, you will see one of them picking their nose right before they hand you their paper…

When your boss asks you to delete every file except the s1 file, you will delete the s1 file.
It's good to laugh at yourself and your situation now and keeps your humanness and your sense of joy through the tough times...
Thanks so much to all my wonderful friends who help me get through... you are all loved...
macro orange flowers

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine’s Day Blues Shawl

Or how I fought off the it’s  Valentine’s Day, I’m all alone again blues…

So, my sweetie was in New York on a business trip and I was all alone on Valentine’s Day this year. I decided that instead of feeling bad I was going to do something new and fun and for myself. Thus was born the following project.

I have never made a shawl before, being intimidated by the triangular shape, lace and many other daunting looking things that make up a shawl. I had been looking for years for just the right pattern to try out and on that February 13th, found the one I wanted to try. It is a simple triangle shape with no lace and no complicated pattern repeats. It’s a shawlette (meaning a small shawl) and I had some yarn I thought would look good in the pattern. I had the needles and so thought what the heck.

The pattern is called Boneyard and I found it here. Looked simple and can be made in pretty much any type of yarn with a simple needle size adjustment.  So, on the evening of February 13, 2010 I cast on the first 5 stitches.

Here was my progress by the end of Valentine’s Day:

Shawl day 3

I made good progress and it was a good distraction from feeling lonely on that day.

I kept it up, worked on it in my spare time at night after work. I still wasn’t sure what I was really doing with the triangle shape and about two more repeats I figured out I was knitting it top down! Now I got it! It made sense to me at last. The fancy borders that have made me drool but have stopped me cold from trying those lacy shawls are done last!

So I kept going, being encouraged and urged on by my knitting friends and compadres on Plurk. Then Friday I hit a wall of depression. I hadn’t hit this kind of depression in years, the kind where you are afraid to say anything because they may make you go “see someone”. I haven’t felt so alone in a very long time. This is the kind of depression that is robbing me of sleep and the ability to eat. The one person I needed the most was completely out of reach with no way to ask for help and support. This is the kind of depression that I worry about because it is paralyzing.

But sitting on the couch next to me, buried under the box of Kleenex was my knitting. My shawl that I had been diligently working on all week. I really didn’t feel like doing it but I picked it up. Might as well do something other than stare at the TV, the computer screen and weep.

As I began to settle into the rhythm of the needles clicking and the yarn slipping through my fingers, I began to feel a small bit of peace. I felt my breathing slow down and my heart beat become regular. My mind was able to relax and focus on the patterns and colors that were emerging as I knit. I thought about my mother and how it comforted me to see her knit and now knew why. I’m sure she got the same sense of peace that I do. Mom’s birthday is coming up this week and I still miss her so much. Knitting connects me to her, I can feel her hands on my shoulders as I learn new things.

So I threw myself into this shawl and knit until late in the evening. I had one eye on the Olympics and the computer and one eye on the needles. I made significant progress and thought to myself, I can finish this tomorrow if I work on it all day.

Sleep was fitful and I found myself up and checking the phone at 4:50 am. Still no messages. I got up thinking how am I going to get through another day. I was out of coffee so I fed the cat, made some instant and settled down to knit. Finally heard from the sweetie only to hear that I wouldn’t be hearing his voice for awhile longer. I walked up to the store, got some real coffee, bagels and of course, cat food.

Then I sat down with my fresh coffee, and began to knit. I knit through out the morning and got to the point where it was time to bind off. I decided to try something else new and looked up the picot bind off technique. I thought what the heck, and started to bind off using this new technique. Turns out it was easy and by lunch time, I was half way through. I should have counted the final stitches to see how many there actually were.

After lunch I kept going and low and behold, I finished it! I actually felt excited and had to post to my Plurk friends that I finally completed it! Of course, I took pictures and posted those too.

So, the depression is still here and still pretty crippling. Don’t know how I’m going to do work tomorrow, but I suppose I will. One minute at a time as they say.

But the whole point of this is that I have one tool in my basket. My knitting; just some yarn and a couple of sticks. It let me be inside my skin while taking me away to a calmer place. To a place where it didn’t matter what I look like, whether I do or say the right things, whether I am a good person or worth the time. It was just about the work, just about the process of yarning over and slipping the stitches from one needle to the next and watching the yarn turn into something beautiful and useful. It doesn’t matter that at the moment I feel like I am neither…

shawl full

pico edging 2

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Spark

A friend asked me today if I have been writing lately. I had to say no, I really haven’t and when asked why, had to take a good look at that question.

Why haven’t I been writing? It used to flow from my fingers with ease and not a lot of agony or thought. So what’s happened?

I sit down to write and I feel this presence sitting behind me watching every key stroke. I feel this sense of disapproval looming over me and I feel frozen. I seem to have lost the freedom I felt when the words flowed so easily. I now think about the placement of every word, space, every hard return. Am I spacing things properly, will these words provoke anger or disapproval or worse, will they be ignored…

So there it is… will they be ignored…

When I write, it really is a message from my heart, from deep within me. I don’t know where the words come from but when they do come, know they are truth and not meant for only me. I can’t really explain it any better than that. It’s an intuitive process, not one that I think out ahead of time. I don’t do outlines or make copious notes. Sometimes I write a few words down then they come to me and I know they are meant to be written.

Yet now when I sit down to write, I feel fear. I feel stiff, choked, and muzzled. Am I moving backward in my life? Am I letting something steal my voice again? I fought so hard to get this back and here I am letting it be taken away again… I know this is all personal, ugly stuff and isn’t uplifting or positive but I have to write it.

I just now realized that I have felt that I can’t publicly write anything that doesn’t look on the bright side, that doesn’t get summed up with a sunny disposition, looking for and finding the silver lining. I just now came to the conclusion that this is not real. It is not truth and it is not me. I can’t write freely if I have to worry about what someone thinks about the words. I can’t worry about whether the words be ignored, I just need to write…

Thanks Marjie for the spark, the encouragement and for the reminder of what this really means to me…  <3

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Spring, elusive spring

Spring is beginning to pop it's head out from under the covers. In my walking to and from various bus stops, I am seeing those harbingers of spring, bright with promise and hope. Nature's way of bringing light to the dark days of winter.

Here are some I've found that I'd like to share with you...

I hope you find some spring beauty on your travels too.