Spring

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Spring has at last sprung. My Doctor, MGT, told me in the last time I visited that she wished she could medicate for February in Seattle, but sadly she can’t. Getting through February and my birthday and the changes in my work life, well, let’s just say, it’s not been pretty.

There is a cherry tree outside my bedroom window. In the morning when I open the blinds to look , that tree is my barometer. Just 2 weeks ago there were tiny little pink buds. Today the outline of the tree is filling out with many pink blossoms. Its about a third of the way there, but that is enough for my soul to take a deep breath and say, “Right, winter doesn’t last forever.”

I notice that from about November to about March I wear nothing but blue jeans, black long sleeve v-neck shirts and boots. It is my winter uniform. I just brought out a blue skirt and sweater to wear today. I am a little cold, my body is not quite ready for the lighter colors, but I need to try to keep up with my cherry tree. Dressing for spring. Even if I am not fully committed, and still have on black leggings.

In the best of all possible worlds I would live somewhere that was warm in the winter and still had sunshine. I know that in March when the winter has begun to break I always feel like I have “survived” the winter and I feel a little proud. But honestly, I would be just as good with not having to survive.

Once more I am going to look out my window and see the cherry tree. I am going to thank it for giving me a bit of hope for the longer days to come. But mostly I am going to remember that seasons come and seasons go. Something I loose sight of in February.

Practice makes perfect.

Or at least it makes it so you can remember how to post a new page on your blog. I swear, I must have technology Alzheimer’s, because I don’t post every day or even every week, and so each time I do I find that I can’t remember how to write a post. I can’t even find the place to push the button to find the directions to locate the help section to discover how to start a post.

It’s awkward.

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\In the meantime I bumble with the technology, that I would be good at if I actually read the instructions, used it more than every other month, or just slowed down.

This frustration with things is possibly my best avoidance device. I get frustrated and I stop. I roll my eyes and get annoyed and then blame everything on the technology, or on the situation, or on the day, or on the moon, or on the….

The bottom line is that if I would just take my time, expend the energy, and allow myself to learn, breathe, and absorb anything/everything, I would not get so frustrated. Last night my I-pad wouldn’t do something, and I shook it over my head like I used to do with an etch-a-sketch when I was little. No idea why, and knew it wouldn’t help, but the movement felt good. Until my husband looked at me and gently asked, “problem?”

When D3 approaches technology he calmly types a question into google and reads the instructions that have been posted. Then he types in a few keystrokes and it’s fixed. I shake the I-pad over my head. Even when you do that with an etch-a -sketch you have to double check and make sure you shake it right side up to get all the lines gone.

Many flaws in my logic, approach and procedure. Many.

But at least I notice the flaws now. Which is an improvement.

I stumble, I fall, I get back up again.

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One of the problems I have with January 1st and New Year is that I expect so much from myself that I actually just make everything worse. About a week in I realize that there is no way for me to “make resolutions” or “let go of the past year and look to the future” anywhere on or around January 1st. Part of that is because I work retail and the holidays are exhausting. Part of that is because I really don’t think of my new year as starting until February 21st, my birthday. So January is this weird mix of finishing up the old stuff, organizing the year end, getting my ducks aligned and planning for the following year.

2016 is a 9 year. That means it is the end of old patterns and the clearing out of the last 9 years to make way for a new 1 year. When you get three 9 years together, you get 27. Look at your life and see if you had a big shift in your life around 26-29. With the inclusion of Saturn returning into your chart astrologically at that time, and the three 9’s, things get a big shake-up. People usually make major moves, relationships change, children are born, rock stars and actors die. It is huge.

The next time this happens in most peoples lives is 54. Another Saturn return and another group of 9’s.

I am hitting that full blast right now. Things that kept me sane and happy no longer work for me. Things that I assumed would be part of my life forever, have begun to drop away.

This year’s “lame duck period” from January 1st to February 21st feels like a huge and important time for me. It feels like this is a shift that will get me into the next era of my life. And I am weighed down with the feeling that February is going to look drastically different from January.

So, I am reaching for my Gretchen Rubin (Happiness Project), Shatki Gawain (Creative Visualization) and thinking of Jenny Lawson (who is Furiously Happy), and holding on to the belief that if you let the Universe help you, you give love to those around you, an you just remember to breathe, everything you want, all you dream and all you never knew you wanted, will fill you with joy and peace. And the Change will come.

Raccoon Energy.

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I have had a lot of run-ins with Raccoons this year. And for once I am researching what that may mean. I will post what the inter webs and Ina Woolcott have to say at the end of this, but first…

I was shaken to the bone by witnessing a teenage raccoon being run over by a cream colored SUV. I was in my car across the street on a particularly dark and gloomy morning, when I saw the teen jump off the curb and try to cross the road. The killing car did not see him and it’s back tire ran over his head. I was across the street in an impossible situation where I was trapped, unable to help him without endangering my own life. There was a large truck pulling into the driveway at the same time and he saw the event as well. He pulled his truck to a safe place and helped the poor raccoon who was spasming in death throws. It was a gruesome, terrifying scene that I will never forget. When I got to my destination I was in hysterics. Even though this was months ago I am still in tears about it. Partly because it was a horrible way to die, and partly because I chose not to help him in any way.

I have meditated on this event. I have prayed for him and hoped that it was just his body twitching and that we was long gone and felt no pain. I know the universe is random, that accidents happen, and what you do when they happen is what makes you the person you are.

I have not felt proud about this moment.

However, there are moments when we make choices and they suck, and there are moments where we can be strong. Each is valuable, and each is relevant.

Below is what Ina Woolcott has to say about Raccoon energy. And I think that maybe it is my teaching for 2015.

To all the raccoons who gave their lives so that we as humans can learn and grow and become better at being on this earth.

By Ina Woolcott

Raccoon’s Wisdom Includes understanding the nature of masks, disguise, dexterity, seeking guidance and confidence, questioning without fear, balancing curiosity, shape shifting, secrecy.

In some ways, the raccoon is a clever scavenger. Their magic is their mask, though often the raccoon’s mask is linked with its “banditry” they have been known to open peoples house doors and bin lids to take food-the mask has a far deeper meaning. No one, including you and I, are ever quite what we may seem even to ourselves, for in our lives we can experience the freedom of many identities. Be it with friends, partners, children, parents, work colleagues, strangers etc. This medicine helps us to take on and let go of the many roles we fill. Having various identities isn’t negative, for we can learn to become adept at changing identities when appropriate. Over time this becomes as easy as selecting and changing ones clothes. Your many faces are about to be revealed to you. The raccoon will assist you how to mask, disguise and transform yourself. Masks are a powerful tool; through the use of masks, altered states can be reached. Raccoon people generally do well in professions to do with theatre.

Raccoons seem indifferent when caught “stealing”, although if provoked they can become ferocious. They are strong and muscular and can hold their own in nearly all situations, teaching us to do the same.

If Raccoon is your power animal, eating mainly fruit and vegetables will be beneficial to your health. Raccoon will have a long influence on your life, staying with you for a long time.

Raccoons are for the main nocturnal animals, travelling in small groups of 1 or 2 families searching for fruits, vegetables, and small animals. Often they can be seen sloshing their hands and food in water before eating. The symbol of hands represent holding, receiving or giving. If raccoon comes to you may be being asked to let go of a situation, person, belief or habit. Reversely, the message may be for you to receive the gifts being offered to you by the Universe.

They are excellent swimmers, though they prefer being up a tree – which is where they are often found. Up here they are aware of everything around them and see danger a long way off. Raccoons are highly curious leaving no stone unturned. This has its up and down sides. Following ones curiosity can pave the way for new and exciting things. However curiosity without caution can pave the way to trouble.

Jazz hands for everyone in 2016.

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Christmas Cat Tree.

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Most years since I have owned cats I have either not put up a Christmas tree, or they pretty much have left them alone. Last year D3’s, and my first year together, we bought a lovely little Flocked Christmas tree and put it on the mantle with all my most cherished ornaments. I lovingly removed each ornament from its tissue and told D3 the wonderful story of how it came to be in my possession. Basically my life story in Ornaments. We went to bed that night, seeped in the sepia colored memories of days gone by.

In the middle of the night we woke to the tiny tinkle and major crash of all the ornaments crashing onto the tile of the fireplace hearth. Elvis found the flocking intoxicating and was unable to stop himself. I foolishly cleaned up the glass and put it back up. After two more events that completely devastated all my past and every bauble on the tree, plus the 65 year old tree topper that I cherished, I pulled the tree down and let Elvis chew on the flocking. I think secretly I wanted him to get sick on it, but he never did. We went from two very large boxes of ornaments, to 2 shoeboxes. At the time I was so frustrated that I purged a lot of the other stuff. This year I didn’t even open the boxes. I was pretty convinced that I had thrown everything out and just couldn’t bare to see the devastation my Christmas tantrum had caused.

This year I cleared off the mantle, we put up a fake string of lights and green, and then filled the mantle with the Christmas cards we received. The theme this year was apparently Glitter and Reindeer with oversized noses. Then when it was time to put the presents out we merrily stacked them on the Cat Tree. We bought one of those big cat trees with scratching posts and hiding holes for our ungrateful little furry bastards. A tree that was expensive and took 2 hours and many cuss words to assemble. A tree that neither one has deigned to even sniff unless I put so much catnip on it that they are chronically stoned for days.

So above you see the beautifully wrapped presents that have not been disturbed, AT ALL! Next year I am wrapping it in lights and putting ornaments on it.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Visited by the ghosts in my life.

This morning, in the wee dark hours, I was awakened by my father. I felt him. I know he has long gone to wherever he went and I know he is at peace. This is my brain dredging up family I miss as the holidays fast approach. I think of my father at Thanksgiving. We never began a meal without his saying, “Good food, Good meat, Good Lord, Let’s eat.” That was the prayer we said. When I was small my family said the lord’s prayer. But as we grew up, the prayer was dropped. We never dropped the “Good Food…”

This year D3 and Cedar and I went to a restaurant and had a dinner brought to us. Then they took away the plates. And they did the dishes. It was nice. The food was superior, very American. D3’s second Thanksgiving was much better food than last year, when I cooked.

But for some reason, it felt a bit anti-climatic. Maybe part of the joy of Thanksgiving is the mess it makes, and everyone pitching in to get dinner on the table. Maybe it was more about inviting people into your home and letting the chaos and joy happen. Maybe it was just that after what feels like a million Thanksgivings, the food is not the issue. Maybe it is pumpkin pie for breakfast, and making a pickle and olive plate, and opening the can of Cranberries and sliding them onto the dish that is for cranberries and slicing them. Maybe it is about using 2 sticks of butter and burning the rolls.

Maybe it is about a simple phrase. One that we forgot this year. And Dad came back to me today to remind me that it is the little things, the things we take for granted, that are the glue that keep us rooted in the world.

Good Food.
Good Meat.
Good Lord.
Let’s Eat.

Reckless Video at 25 years.

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Today is the 25th ANNIVERSARY of The opening of Reckless Video. Below is rather sad post about the fact that many video stores are closing. TODAY is the 25th anniversary of Mike Kelley’s vision of a family video store opening in a cozy neighborhood, surrounded by friends. We have customers who have been with us since the first day. We have withstood a lot of change, but our store is supported by customers who are our neighbors.
As we look forward to the next 25 years, I am so happy that our neighbors keep growing, the store keeps apace of changes and the our model remains “friends and family and good movies make our life better.”
We are open today, Thanksgiving, because we are thankful to our customers that we get to be open every day.
That’s what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving 2015.
Best Wishes,
Zoe and her amazing Crew (Matt, Zeke, Theo, Julia, and Scot.)

It’s the end of the world as I know it…

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I have included the words to the R.E.M. song at the end of this post. “Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn, world serves its own needs, don’t misserve your own needs.” These are the words that are moving through my soul right now.

My Pseudo-sabbatical is over and I head back to the world tomorrow. I am feeling calmer and more centered than I have in a long time. I am glad I took this time. I needed to get my priorities, if not straight than at least get them rounded up in a corral, and maybe hose them off a bit. I have a better sense of what I need to be doing and what I want my life to look like.The life I am now living with D3. The life that I will be spending the rest of my time here on earth doing. (The life that I will be doing the rest of my life spent here on earth.)

So without further ado, I bring you R.E.M.

And I feel fine.


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“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” R.E.M.

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake
Birds and snakes, an aeroplane, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid

Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn
World serves its own needs, don’t misserve your own needs
Feed it up a knock, speed, grunt, no, strength
The ladder starts to clatter with a fear of height, down, height
Wire in a fire, represent the seven games
And a government for hire and a combat site
Left her, wasn’t coming in a hurry with the Furies breathing down your neck

Team by team, reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped
Look at that low plane, fine, then
Uh-oh, overflow, population, common group
But it’ll do, save yourself, serve yourself
World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed
Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light
Feeling pretty psyched

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

Six o’clock, TV hour, don’t get caught in foreign tower
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn
Lock him in uniform, book burning, bloodletting
Every motive escalate, automotive incinerate
Light a candle, light a motive, step down, step down
Watch your heel crush, crush, uh-oh
This means no fear, cavalier, renegade and steering clear
A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives, and I decline

It’s the end of the world as we know it (I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)
I feel fine (I feel fine)

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

The other night I dreamt a nice continental drift divide
Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein
Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce, and Lester Bangs
Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam but neck, right? Right

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

(It’s time I had some time alone)

Actually Running Downhill.

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The idea of a sabbatical was to allow myself time to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was going to read and write and clean and organize. I was going to go swimming and walk, and I was going to clean up my food and my health. I planned on finishing the play I am working on and doing art projects and making my life and D3’s life much more enjoyable and easy.

What happened was some of that .

I went to yoga every week. I finished the first draft of the play. I once again threw away huge piles of things I no longer want or need. I have written some blogs. I have read some. We got to go to a cabin over night. And we upgraded our automobiles.

But during this time my mind has been going pretty much non-stop. I have had some spectacular ups and downs. I have hung out with a few friends, but mostly spent a LOT of time alone. I have watched the leaves outside my office window start to turn to fall. And I have realized that no matter what I think, I cannot get ahead of the things in my life. I can keep up, a bit. But getting ahead is impossible.

 


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This is more what this sabbatical looks like.

I think I have to be okay with it. I have to accept that I am going to be a bit of a mess no matter how hard I try. D3 will not always (or possibly ever) get a home made meal after work. I will not exercise every day. My chaos is always going to be invasive and visible. I will need to throw things out. FOREVER.

I did do a few things I have wanted to do for a long time. But in general…It was a lot of unstructured chaos. Which means that going back to work and the structured Chaos there may be a relief.

Also, yesterday I celebrated 1 year with my D3. We had a lovely meal and held hands. So as far as the relationship in my life goes, I am VERY happy. Which is the first time in my life I have been able to say that and mean it.

So there is that.

Yesterday I met my half Sister.

My whole life I have had what I call my “moving dreams”. Since we moved so much growing up, I would dream I was somewhere and I had to be on a plane, since that is something very final and you can’t turn around and get something you have left behind. I would dream that I had not packed and that we had to leave in a few minutes and that I would have forgotten to pack. And usually worse I would have had all my favorite things with me and I would have forgotten to get enough boxes, or bags or suitcases. So here I am with my precious children’s books collection and the brown shelf they all fit on so nicely and I would be late for the plane and I had to decide what I was taking and what I would have to leave behind. It was always a very scary, upsetting, stressful situation. I know that whatever I left behind I would never see again. I knew that whatever was dropped would be lost forever. And the horror of leaving something behind, something that I night need someday and would not either be able to find, or that would not have the money to replace was terrifying to me. What if I got to the new place and needed the Ironing board, or the left handed set of golf clubs, or the bicycle?
What if? I never trusted my past, so why should I trust that the future would be ok?

This weekend I met my Half Sister Katie. I found out about her last year, after the death of my Aunt Camille. She was part of the final settlement of my Aunt’s Estate. My cousin, little Camille called me one evening and told me about her. I had not spoken to Camille since I was 10 (43 years). When she told me that my father had been married once before and that I had a half sister named Katie Smith was overwhelming. I have since started calling it the “wow” conversation. All I could say after she told me was “Wow”. It was pretty shocking.

As I have thought about it I think once dad mentioned that he had another daughter while he was driving me to school in Manitou. I remember us going around the blind curve that he always took too fast in his cop car, as he told me that I had a half sister and that she might be showing up because she was graduating soon. I think I would have been 12 or 13? I also realize as I write this that I often did not believe things dad told me because his wild life stories were the only thing I believed of him. His childhood growing up in the west and riding horses and being friends with indians. He broke his promise on so many other things, coming to  see my school christmas choir concerts, or being home for dinner, or being home at all, that I could believe his wild cowboys stories, but not his stories that were grounded in any kind of reality. I remember once arguing with him and then calling him a liar when he told me that there were busses of people that went to the Denver Bronco games. We lived in Colorado Springs, an hour from Denver, but I told him I didn’t believe the story he made up of busses full of Broncos fans leaving on Sunday mornings for the games. He just calmly let me call him a liar. I believe the exact wording I used was “bull shit”. That moment when he conceded so easily I was sure was a turning point. He finally knew he couldn’t pull the wool over my eyes. What I know now is that he just decided to quit fighting me.

My sister Katie is a few years older than my sister Pat. She said that her mother was divorced from our dad by the time she was 9 months old. I assume dad got her pregnant and then did the right thing. Which is so often so far from the right thing it isn’t even funny.

Now, after meeting Katie, I realize I have a million questions. I also know that I will be able to ask her these questions. And I will believe her, as I never believed my father. I think I may have asked him a question or two but he would not answer me. Was he on a call, and had to get me close to school, so he could just drop me then get to work. Which he did a lot. I don’t think I even knew her name.

I think also when dad died I asked Pat if we should call her, but she said, no. That she was a bitch and that she wouldn’t talk to dad when he asked to talk to her. Then I remember that I found a page in mom’s address box written in dad’s hand writing. I kept it. It had Kathleen Smith written on it. On the back of the card is a note, she will or won’t call as she wants.

As I try to untangle what I knew and what I didn’t, as I grasp at memories and wonder at conversations that were real or imagined, I find that I am feeling lost and found at the same time.

Last night I had my “moving dream”. This time I had three bags. They were all packed and ready to go. I had to rummage through mom’s hutch, as I always do in my dreams, as I looked for my tarot cards and my psychic books. I put them under my arm and was ready to leave. (I also looked for that box of pot that I have somewhere, that I want to get rid of. but cannot remember where it is.) So yeah, a little stress. But the three bags were ready.

Dave, Pat, Katie?