Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A New Morning

This morning I feel sad and a little heartbroken but it’s ok. People will often let you down but right now I have my beach on this chilly, breezy morning. I have my own company which isn’t half bad. I am remembering that I deserve to be honored, to be treated well and to be true to myself. I will do what I need to do this morning and while I do, I will share a little of my beach with you. 

Hope yours is a fantastic day. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Thank you Mr. Pence

I just made a donation to Planned Parenthood in honor of Mike Pence and I feel GREAT!

No pressure here, but if you would like to donate in honor of our ultra-conservative VP, who is against the woman's right to make healthy decisions for herself, her body and her family, you can donate here:

****Donate to Planned Parenthood in Honor of Mike Pence****

Planned Parenthood is the biggest supplier of reproductive healthcare for the poor and underinsured in America.

Also, I couldn't help but post this:

Monday, November 18, 2019

Pomp and Circumstance

My youngest had her graduation ceremony on Friday night. What should have been a time of sweet celebration turned out to be quite bittersweet. As I sit here to write, I feel the ache still.

The kids father, of course, wanted to be at the ceremony. The only thing is, he cannot drive at night. At first, my sweet graduate was going to take him up (about 45 minutes from home) bring him back to his sober living house and then go back up to enjoy the parties with her classmates. I was making the trip myself and did not want to spend an hour both ways in the car with him alone. It would be very uncomfortable for me and maybe it would be for him too....I don't know. But I also wanted her to have a fun, free evening. She worked hard for this night.

Last minute my Denver girl decided to fly in and she solved the whole thing by driving her dad up and back. My Boy Scout ended up getting the night off too, so I had a cohort in my journey up and down.

After the ceremony, which included each student and their model for the evening, we went down to the stage to congratulate and take pictures. The thing is, her dad wasn't doing well. Medications for mental illness and other health issues can be strong and hard to manage. He works with his doctors to level out all the negative side effects of the medications but it takes good and caring doctors, as well as decent body awareness and a strong desire to work hard at caring for oneself. I am not sure all of that is taking place.

I think we were all startled at the shape the man was in. After the pics, my Denver girl and her dad left. I stayed a bit longer and saw that my graduate was heartsick. Not wanting to make assumptions, I asked but got no real answer.

The next day, after she had some "recovery" time, my two girls and I spent the afternoon together, talking, eating and, best of all, laughing. It was during that time she shared with me that she had wanted to have dinner with us after the ceremony. She wanted to be with family for a bit but she felt guilty that it would hurt her dad tremendously if she went to dinner with us (me and the Boy scout).

I hate that my kids have to deal with those feelings and choices. Add into the mix their dad's fragility and instability and it layers a complex situation of navigating healthy boundaries and codependency .

I am so proud of my girl. She's worked hard, school 40 hours a week while working two jobs, and I celebrate her accomplishment!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Friends and Animals

I took a friend to a fundraising event at a local college. The nearby town of Moorpark (which has no moors) is home to a unique curriculum that it and only one other college in the country has. Moorpark College houses a small teaching zoo and is well known for it's Exotic Animal Training & Management program. 

My friend, Nancy, who is coming up on her 95th birthday, loves this program and the animals within. She especially loves one of the tigers, Karma.

I pick Nancy up around 4:30. She's spunky and doesn't need a lot of help. She's dressed comfortable yet chic, with her gorgeous shock of white hair topping every outfit. She's giddy about the coming evening.

As we arrive at the zoo, she is greeted by many people that know her well. It's dark (the event got pushed back two weeks because of the last round of Southern California fires) and hard to see the animals but she insists on going back to see her Karma. We return to the program area and they've reserved a table for her, front row. Nancy is about 5 foot so sitting behind her is no problem. The presentation starts and the students from the college show us what they have learned. One by one, they bring out an array of animals and tell us how they are cared for. The bulk of these animals are actually rescues and even the tiger Neil was confiscated from a person who was trying to raise him in their home.

When the presentation is over, the students bring the animals to us, one by one. At one point, Nancy is talking to the young trainer that is holding the owl. She is animated and excited. Suddenly, she turns to me with the brightest smile, no words, just absolute joy. It was the highlight of my evening to see her face light up.

A great night of life!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

She is Fierce

Gratitude doesn't come naturally to her. She has to work at it. Her brain takes her places and tells her things and tries to put her in a box with a too tight lid.

The other day, her thoughts took her to the "Look at what your friends are doing" mode. Never a good place to be but sometimes it sabotages her at just the right moment and swipes her feet out from underneath her. Some of her friends do some traveling to lovely places. Something she has always desired...something she had "planned on for the future" while living life. Now that time has come and the opportunities appear somewhat limited. Finding balance can be hard.

So she focuses on those travelling friends and feels discontented, disgruntled, discouraged. She hears her partner talk about his travel, she dines with him and his ex and they touch on places they have been together and those feelings grow. Eating at the good stuff, the awareness, roof over your head, money to pay the bills, the family and friends....making them seem small, unimportant.

But this girl, she is a fighter!!! And sooner or later, she sees the shadow for what it is and recognizes how it slowly it crept in to steal what she has worked so hard for.

Her partner did travel to lovely places and experienced those different cultures. He was lucky to do that. But he did that while she was raising a family. Would she trade her family for those experiences? Hell no.

To combat the shadow, the ugly voice, she conjures pictures of the people she loves the most and realizes that she'd trade them for nothing because they are precious and make up what is truly good in life.

Fuck off shadow! Shut the hell up you ugly voice.

She's back in the saddle and riding high....

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Music to My Ears

When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things. When you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people.
~Helen Keller

While the idea of losing vision is very scary, more and more I feel the isolation of hearing loss. I try to be brave and own it. I am secretary at a meeting and I realized last night that I was asked a question by someone sitting at the table and was completely unaware that anyone had spoken. A gal next to me prodded me and I responded but it was awkward. Those are the kind of things that ebb at my confidence and make me doubt my place or ability. I am choosing to move forward with this position regardless. I am trying to love myself even with my defective hearing. I suppose they will tell me if it gets to be a problem. I feel the more I give into those belittling inner messages, the more I give up on parts of my life that I enjoy. 

Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact---it is silence which isolates.
~Thomas Mann

Beethoven started to go deaf at the age of 25. According to California Symphony Music Director Donato Cabrera:

Once his hearing was fully gone by age 45, Beethoven lost his public life with it. Giving up performing and public appearances, he allowed only select friends to visit him, communicating through written conversations in notebooks. His deafness forced him to become a very private, insular person over the course of time.

And Beethoven spoke to his brothers of his pain in a letter called The Heiligenstadt Testament:

Alas, how could I proclaim the deficiency of a sense which ought to have been more perfect with me than with other me. A sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, to an extent indeed that few of my profession ever enjoyed. Alas, I cannot do this. Forgive me therefore, when you see me withdraw from you, with whom I would so gladly mingle. 

~L van Beethoven

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Helping Hand

The other day, on the way to a meeting, the Boy Scout and I approached a very busy intersection. This particular intersection, in addition to its 4 normal lanes, has 2 left turn lanes as it feeds the 101 freeway a few blocks down. Looking over to my left, I noticed a homeless gal trying to pick up a friend who had fallen out of his wheelchair into the street near the corner. She was having no luck. The gent was an amputee and was not able to help her much.

We came to a stop at the red light waiting to make our left turn and, without a word, the Boy Scout jumps out of the car and hurries over to the corner, ignoring the traffic. In this big intersection, where dozens of cars are stopped, and loads are speeding by, he was the only one that got out to help, not the 30ish construction guy on my left, not the two high school boys behind him. Finally, a gal that was pumping gasoline nearby came over. Between the two of them, they got the gent back in his chair and up on the curb. My man says to the gent that he could not believe that he was helping a Raiders fan. They both grinned and back to the car he came.

I love that about him. He helps out.