Toddlers, goats, chickens and a puppy!

Before the pandemic, I was part time nannying for twin two year boys. One with straight hair and cowlick, other one all curls. I am going to starting helping out with them again. Yesterday was good medicine taking care of these energetic, curious, precious boys, playing in their garden, chasing them around their property to pick blackberries, grapes and tomatoes, hanging out in the pen with the goats and chickens. Then back inside to throw some legos around, then back out for water play. All the while making sure no one needed to sit on the potty, doling out snacks and assuring they were safe at all times. They didn’t want to stay in any one place for too long.

One thing is clear, I need to start doing pilates and other forms of strength building exercises. By the end of my time with them, it was hard to get up and down. I’ve been on the heating pad, alternating with ice packs since yesterday afternoon. Today is probably all about rest, some stretching, and an acupuncture appointment. I did get to go by a friend’s yesterday evening to meet a new female corgi puppy. I can not wait to pet sit for her! So glad I meet her, I almost turned around while driving over to get back on the heating pad, it was painful. I’m new to back pain. Thank you friends who loaned out your heating pad and gave me arnica gel. We get by with a little help from our friends. Keep your core strong.

Burn some things

Oh how I wish I didn’t care that my oldest sister just came west to visit my other sister (we live in the same town) and didn’t contact me.
I wish I didn’t care that she also went to see my daughter and grandchildren.
I wish I didn’t care that there have been trips planned that excluded me.
I wish I didn’t care that we don’t talk or text ever, not on birthdays or holidays, never.
If I didn’t care, maybe the hurt would go away.

I wish I didn’t care that they think my ex-husband is the greatest thing since slice bread.  That they think I’m terrible for breaking up our marriage and put my daughter through a divorce. I stayed with him much longer than I should have, because I didn’t want to break up our family. They don’t know what went on behind closed doors. They don’t want to hear ugly stories, try to understand, it’s easier to just pretend I don’t exist.

Tonight I listened to Moth Radio, rooted in the past. Inspired by Craig Mangnum
and his story of breaking away from the Morman church, I thinks it’s time to burn some things.

Thanks for reading. It’s not always flowers and butterflies.

Writing in lists

Getting ready to meet virtually with my writing group. We are writing lists. Each week has a series of lists to complete. I’ve been so surprised by this process. Our group has really gotten close because we have learned so much about each other from our lists. Some lists have served as prompts for essay writing. As we say, “anyone can make a list”.

A couple of lists for this week:

Things you’d tell your 21 year old self:
1. Don’t get married, at least not for many years. Make sure he is a good man.
2. Don’t drink.
3. Study, follow your interest, your passions.
4. Learn the craft of writing.
5. Recognize what you and Tayloe (high school, college sweetheart) had was remarkable. Pregnancy and abortion were too painful for our young hearts.
6. Don’t try so hard to fit into the family, find your own way.

Things that scare you less as you get older:
1. Dying
2. Speaking up
3. Driving alone to Baja, having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
4. Problems
5. Mice, just a little less scared of them.
6. Anger
7. Emotions
8. What others think of me.

You get the idea.

Thanks for reading.

Redemption

Wendy’s daughter was getting married. We were all invited, all three of us plus the new one. We had all touched her daughter’s life and she wanted us gathered around, outside in beautiful Montana, along with her fun loving friends.

Since we had all been married to her father at different times, he would witness our connection. Three good choices, that ended due to his soon to follow bad choices.

The ceremony was beautiful. We all got to hear her father go on too long about his beautiful, bright daughter, making it all about himself.

Guests dispersed to sitting tables, bathrooms, food and drink tables. The brides grandmother, my ex mother in-law spotted me, grabbed me and insisted I find the other two for a photo opp. Forget that she has once sided with her son (I was the first) during our divorce. The two who followed me  became similar characters in the story of the cheating husband. His mother, then saw her son for the playwright that he was.

Dedicated to my sisters, Wendy and Suzy.

Why I Write

I’m trying to write. I write lots of stories in my head when I walk, when I wake. Putting them on paper is the struggle for me. This morning, I’m sharing a piece of writing from the prompt, why I write.

I write to be heard, to hear myself
I write to be understood, to understand
I write to remember, to forget
I write to forgive myself, to forgive others
I write to be surprised
I write to be delighted
I write to bring hope and joy
I write to grieve, to mourn
I write to move forward with what I have

I write to be disciplined
I write to honor stories, mine and others
I write to not feel alone, connect
I write for perspective, maybe a new one
I write to prove I can!
I write to reveal, show
I write to laugh, even at myself

I write because others say, “you should write”
I write because I have good stories to tell
I write because I have some of those good Southern tales, better than fiction

I write to be published
I write not to be published
I write now because I should have been all along

I write to remember loved ones
I write because I am only a speck in this universe, what have I got to lose
I write because our stories matter

Why I am writing this blog

This blog started as a way to stay connected on my solo journey to Baja from Montana a few years ago. I pretty much left it alone after that. Here we are on our solo journeys. We can’t meet for coffee. The title of this blog came from a friend, Marc Moss, as we sat over coffee. My daughter had cut off all communication with me. I was grieving, still am just differently. Choosing joy in spite of grief. My nephew had invited me to come stay at his place in El Pescadero. Fuck it, why not. So I write to not feel totally alone.

I think maybe I’ll post a picture each day with a piece of writing to go along, or I’ll just write as a journal or share a contemplative collage from my daily ritual to stay sane. Or I’ll share a recommendation of what I’m watching on Netflix or the like. Who knows, none of us know much right now. But we still got love.

Best diversion yesterday: Lola called to share that as she was looking out her window she spotted, Sam Elliott walking down her street. There’s that!

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Excerpt from The Final Frontier

This morning, I read from One Long River of Song, Notes on Wonder. It is a wonder to read exactly what one needs to hear at just the right time. It is a wonder that some , namely Brian Doyle, here, are able to put in words what is called for. I share with you in the event you may need to read this as well.

Excerpt from The Final Frontier by Brian Doyle

Of course you do your absolute best to find and hone and wield your divine gifts against the dark. You do your best to reach out tenderly to touch and elevate as many people as you can reach. You bring your naked love and defiant courage and salty grace to bear as much as you can, with all the attentiveness and humor you can muster. This life after all a miracle and we ought to pay fierce attention every moment, as much as possible.

But you can not control anything. You cannot order or command everything. You cannot fix and repair everything. You cannot protect your children from pain and loss and tragedy and illness. You cannot be sure you will always be married, let alone happily married. You cannot be sure you will always be employed, or healthy, or relatively sane.

All you can do is face the world with quiet grace and hope you make a sliver of difference. Humility does not mean self-abnegation, lassitude, detachment; it’s more calm recognition that you must trust in that which does not make sense, that which is unreasonable, illogical, silly, ridiculous, crazy by the measure of most of our culture. You must trust the you being the best possible you matters somehow. That trying to be an honest and tender parent will echo for centuries through your tribe. That doing your chosen work with creativity and diligence will shiver people far beyond your ken. That being an attentive and generous friend and citizen will prevent a thread or two of the social fabric from unraveling. And you must do all of this with the certain knowledge that you will never get proper credit for it, and in fact the vast majority of things you do right will go utterly unremarked. Humility, the final frontier, as my brother Kevin used to say. When we are young we build a self, a persona, a story in which to reside, or several selves in succession, or several at once, sometimes; when we are older we take on other roles and personas, other masks and duties; and you and I both know men and women who become trapped in the selves they worked so hard to build, so desperately imprisoned that sometimes they smash their lives simply to escape who they no longer wish to be; but finally, I think, if we are lucky, if we read the book of pain and loss with humility, we realize that we are all broken and small and brief, that none amongst us is ultimately more vulnerable or rich or famous or beautiful that another; and then, perhaps, we begin to understand something deep and true about humility.

That is what I know: that the small is huge, that the tiny is vast, that pain is part and parcel of the gift of joy, and that this is love, and then there is everything else. You either walk toward love or away from it with every breath you draw. Humility is the road to love. Humility, maybe, is love. That could be. I wouldn’t know; I’m a muddle and a conundrum shuffling slowly along the road, gaping in wonder, trying to see and say what is, trying to leave shreds and shards of ego along the road like wisps of litter and chaff.

How’s everybody?

Last night, my musician friend, hosted a live performance via facebook. I was able to invite friends to the “party”. For about an hour, I was able to imagine us sitting in a public place and feel the connection the music created. Then it was back to Netflix, along with a little ice cream.

This morning I am hesitant to go on social media. I need a break from some of the information on there, but it was such a treat in these times to have a party last night.

I have been humbled. The earth seems a little more pleased with how things are. When we get back to daily lives, I do hope we remain mindful of this time, and not take all we do have for granted.

A few months before social distancing, I was in a group doing Contemplative collage. A method used to help create writing prompts. It reveals symbols and insight. Thank goodness I have a stack of National geographic. This afternoon, our group is sharing via conference call. I’ll share my latest collage.

What are you doing to find peace as of late?

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