Category Archives: Life thoughts

Frozen in Time

                                    Waiting

 

Right now we are all frozen in time, waiting for normalcy to return. We busy ourselves in our homes, some starting projects, some working remotely others entertaining children and try to keep the worry at bay.  I have started walking.  At first I just walked around the neighborhood, up and down every street, the couple of streets that have a small hill, taking in the view.  Then I started looking for different views, appreciating the variety of vantage points I have access to being on top of a mountain.

A view of rolling clouds with the threat of rain.

I look out at the quiet valley; I can see the streets with so few cars and the houses buttoned up tight.  In my neighborhood there is a sweet little park, I like to think of as a meditation spot, with a trickling fountain.  It is a calm place and offers another view of the distance.

A peaceful view.

This time, I begin to look for the little things along my walk.  I look for the art in the front yards, along the homes, the charming little yard statues.  I find that there is a lot of self expression here.

 

There are the hopes for peace and tranquility. The happy expression of joy.  The reminder to go within and find our own inner peace and joy.  The calming presence of self-reflection during a time of uncertainty all around us.

 

 

 

There are signs of hope under the watchful, eyes of peaceful saints.

 

These two, one resting by a tree and one providing a small bird with a drink of water, implore us to steady our resolve and to take stalk in all that we do have.

Gratitude and acceptance.

 

 

 

    There are playful gnomes watching our gardens.

These two are offering words of wisdom, “this is the beginning of a new day….when tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever.”  Take time to appreciate this day, this time, in whatever form it takes

 

 

 

 

 

There are animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                           This one is real!

 

This is Topanga, so of course we have a flying pig!

 

This guy is stoic but I am sure he would like to fly if he could.

There are a few children.

 

The offering of water, the offering of what we have to give from the place that we are now.

 

The important thing is to remember that we might feel alone, but we are not alone.

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Filed under creative writing, Life thoughts, Walking

Stepping Back (in time)

One poppy opened and a bud will soon join.

I started thinking about how things are going these days, these pandemic days.  I feel like I am living in a much simpler time and it makes me wonder how much of what I do is necessary.  My nails are back to their natural state, my hair is growing longer and I’m thankful that it is in it’s natural state of grey.  My pace has slowed down and though I am isolated, and really miss my family, I feel a little relaxed.  I am taking time to walk (a lot) looking at the springtime flowers, buds emerging, and I am enjoying talking (from a safe distance) to my neighbors.  I am cooking everyday  in a relaxed way, and eating healthier that usual.

The differences are blatantly evident.  I am alone and really getting used to my own company, the perks being I only have to think of what I want to do, what I want to eat and my own schedule.  With my open schedule, I begin to feel the creative inspiration (usually hidden by my busy work schedule) returning.  I’m in a writing mood and am enjoying reading books that have been sitting on my table waiting for me.

The unknown is everywhere.  How to implement distance learning? how long will this last? there are so many questions.  There is a lot that is out of our control, but there are some things that I can control:

my reaction

my exercise

healthy eating

engaging my brain

creative outlets

The old saying “this too shall pass” is spoken a lot these days and I know I look forward to this being behind us all.  In the meantime, while time is standing somewhat still, I will step back.

 

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Filed under Life thoughts

Looking for Signs of Hope

I went on a walk this afternoon to look for signs hope during this time of uncertainty. Just getting out of the house, the isolation, and the feeling that I exist in a world of one, was my motivation.  Plus, trying to get to those 10,000 steps. It is not hard to find beauty in the determination of the flowers to bloom and display their unique colors, shapes and beauty leading up to Spring.  A simple walk can lead to so many discoveries.  My little neighborhood is filled with beauty, so when I walked out of my house looking for signs of hope, I was lucky enough to find all of these signs of the natural beauty in our world.  It gave me a little hope on a somewhat sad and stressful day.

This beautiful view of the valley, the mountains and peeks of snow in the far right.

 

Here is a wide view with even more snow tipped mountains.

This little flower was peeking out in a succulent patch.

This is my favorite flowering bush, the Echium (Pride of Madeira)

The succulents are showing their happiness after days of rain.

A red rose stretching up, beginning to open.

These calla lilies are so beautiful and lush. It’s rare to see so many together.

There are so many daisies!

These soft, billowy clouds floating by against a turquoise sky.

The first sign of Spring and a spot for happy bees (zoom in).

 

Back home and the jasmine is in bloom sending its sweet scent around my house.

Ahhhh, the view from my porch never gets old.

Lavender at home. The scent, the wisps, more happy bees!

Tiny blooms sending out shoots.

Everything is blooming!

Forever roses, climbing, blooming, reaching across the arbor.

The sage is growing so tall!

These beauties on my porch are reaching for the sun.

My first poppy! It’s barely opened, but it is the first this Spring.

 

 

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Filed under flowers, Life thoughts

Memories

Today my sister and I attended the Kever Avot Memorial Service, a service held during the High Holy Days.  There were moments of sadness, but also moments of comfort in the prayers, the melodies and the sounding of the Shofar.  I am not a particularly religious person, but I do enjoy the cultural aspects of my heritage and the feelings evoked by the familiarity of blessings heard my whole life.  Maybe the comfort and the feelings I get are my religion.

Today, sitting at the cemetery with hundreds of other people, we remembered our parents and other family members we have lost and of course Gary was at the forefront of my mind.  The service was a time for reflection and meditation and I was lost in my own thoughts.  I thought of the time that has passed, it has been 18 years since my dad died, almost 10 years since my mom died and almost 2 1/2 years since Gary died.  Time that has flown by and stood still at the same time.  Memories ingrained and memories tragically fading, but all the while, I hold on to the traditions I grew up with and tried to instill in my own children, attempting to find ways to pass the feeling of comfort to my children and granddaughter.  Holding on to traditions and vocalizing memories are what keep our loved ones alive in our hearts.  I was particularly moved by this poem by Rabbi sylvan Kamen and Rabbi Jack Reimer:

 

We Remember Them

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,

We remember them.

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,

We remember them.

In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,

We remember them.

In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,

We remember them.

In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn,

We remember them.

In the beginning of the year and when it ends,

We remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength,

We remember them.

When we are lost and sick at heart,

We remember them.

When we have decisions that are difficult to make,

We remember them.

When we have achievements that are based on theirs,

We remember them.

So long as we live, they too shall live,

For they are now a part of us,

As we remember them.

Memories are difficult things to pin down and control and mine surprise me by showing up unexpectedly, a favorite song playing, a scent wafting in the air, places visited and never-ending thoughts about what could have been and what I miss so much.

 

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Filed under death, Family, grief, Life thoughts

Becoming Handy On My Own

Voilà!

I’ve learned a lot in the past six months of living in my home, the responsibility of doing everything from taking out the trash to hanging pictures, from paying the bills to daily maintenance, but the learning curve is steep and always there.  This weekend I though I would tackle two little tasks that had been on my mind, but not gotten done.  I needed to attach clips to hold the mini-blinds on the back door in place so they would stop swinging wildly every time I opened and closed the door and replace the hose valve.  I was feeling pretty confident, so I developed a plan for the mini-blind clips first.

I figured out where to place the clips and had the great idea to use a small bit of earthquake putty to hold them in place (since I don’t have four hands) while I marked the holes for the nails.  From experience I know that it is easier to hammer nails into a pre-drilled hole so I charged the drill battery and found a bit a little smaller than the nail and drilled a small hole.  Then, to make things really easy, I pounded in the nails part of the way, then removed them, stuck the clip on the door with the putty and carefully hammered the nails in.  It was a process, but it worked!

Now I was really feeling empowered!  I decided to take to old  hose valve off so I could buy the correct replacement valve size.  I disconnected the hose and then began to unscrew the valve when about two turns away from being done, water began shooting out everywhere!  I was soaked and there was, of course, no way to put the valve back on.  It never occurred to me that I should turn off the water to the house before I started taking off the valve.  Rookie mistake.  I remembered where the water shut off was and quickly ran over to turn it off.  It worked!  I went to the hardware store to get a new valve, remembered to ask about wrapping silicone tape around the pipe to seal the connection and headed home to finish my repair.

I did it!  Wrapped the pipe, screwed on the new valve and voilà!

These might seem like small accomplishments, but for the majority of my life, I have depended on someone else to do these little things for me.  Sometimes the pressure of being the one to do everything seems like a lot, but other times it feels like liberation.

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Filed under change, choice, Independence, Life thoughts

3:00 a.m.

 

 

It’s 3:00 a.m. and I am awake

like I am so many other nights.

My first thought is,

“Of course, the moment his heart

stopped.”

I am tugged out of the escape of sleep.

The house is dark

and so quiet.

I get up, walk to the bathroom,

walk back to bed,

waiting for sleep to return.

 

It’s 3:00 a.m. and time moves slowly,

becoming 3:15,

when there was still hope,

when the phone rang and

in a foggy confusion I got

in the car.

 

It’s 3:30 a.m. I am still awake,

watching minutes tick by,

noticing the light of the moon

trickling in

through the window shades.

 

It’s 3:30 a.m. and I run,

too late,

through

the hospital to Urgent Care.

Missing the pronouncement

by only one minute.

 

It’s 4:00 a.m. and the mockingbird

is singing as I try

fruitlessly to return to slumber.

There isn’t enough air.

The room is too light,

the blankets too warm, and

the pillow offers no comfort.

 

It’s 4:00 a.m. and the hospital room is full,

of family, friends, support.

But, it is empty too,

of a life, of a future.

The nurses say, “It’s time to go.”

The doctor’s say, “We must clear the room.”

But how can we move when time is standing

so still?

 

It’s 4:30 a.m. and my mind won’t stop

thinking about this different life

filled with decisions I make alone,

about paint colors, room designs,

coordinating the arrival of cabinets,

the avoiding of packing

my old life and deciding what to take

into the new life.

 

It’s 4:30 a.m. and we are leaving

the hospital room,

lingering in hallways,

hesitating,

not ready to head home,

away from the place

where hope once lived.

 

It’s 5:00 a.m. and exhaustion is

setting in.

Sleep is slowly returning

and it doesn’t matter that the bed

is too big or

that the bird is still mocking.

 

It’s 5:00 a.m. and we are all exhausted

by the disbelief,

coming home to the whirlwind of

plans and decisions.

eating bagels, drinking coffee,

We are waiting for planes to arrive,

for cars to bring everyone

together,

our eyes aching, dry and red.

Multiple empty boxes of Kleenex

dotting the house.

 

It’s 6:00 a.m. and morning is near, but I cling

to sleep.

Just a few more minutes…

The sounds of other birds begin now,

robins, finches, the occasional cry of a hawk or crow.

They beckon me to rise, eyes opening again.

 

It’s 6:00 a.m. and it feels like

A thousand hours have passed.

3:00 a.m. is a lifetime away.

Time is divided into before and after.

Information is being gathered,

preparations are being made,

prayers are sent and phone calls break the stunned silence.

 

It is 6:15 a.m. and

the sun rises.

It is a new day and the need to crawl

back to sleep is over.

This is the first day of a new life,

another day of a new life.

A blend of old and new,

memories, hopes, the unknown and maybe

there are still

some dreams.

 

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Filed under death, Family, grief, Life thoughts, sleepless

13 Months: Through The Looking Glass (Reflections on entering the 2nd year.)

IMG_0983

The 21st is a hard date to face each month. A month ago I was standing on the other side, the Looking Glass in front of me, looking over my shoulder at the first year, my past, hesitating to step through to my future, but really, what choice did I have? I can’t live in the past, with regrets, and wishes don’t make the future a reality. So, I stepped through and I find myself here, on the other side, insecure in my uncharted territory with a million decisions to make and myself the ultimate consultant.

I am fine most of the time, well maybe ¾ of the time, as long as I stick to my routine. The decisions are hard, the weekends can be hard but I’ve gotten used to the nights. I’m fine and some of the time I even enjoy the time alone, to think, to write, answering to only myself. I have a home that stays clean, food that I like to eat in my refrigerator and half as much laundry to do each week. I’ve almost stopped waiting for someone to come home.

It is different here, on the other side of the Looking Glass. The world looks different and feels more uncertain, but I am trying to create a landing pad, a place to feel at home and friends to share some good times with. I am making different memories while struggling to keep the old memories alive, the good ones, the laughter, and the adventures shared. This side of the Glass has a long road stretching out ahead and I am traveling light, taking only what holds memories, is beautiful or needed, letting go of so much. Not just hopes and dreams, but also the weight of all that is carried through a lifetime.

A Looking Glass is for looking through, but once I’m through it, I can look forward and while I can’t see too far down the path, I can see a day at a time. I can plan a day at a time. I can live a day at a time, with gratitude that I have these days and that I have this path to walk on. I am fine, most of the time, but having the support of my family and friends is the buoy keeping me afloat. You’re asking, me answering, I’m fine most of the time. Thanks for asking.

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Filed under change, choice, death, grief, hurdles, Life thoughts