Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Old do You Wanna Live To Be?

Found this calculator which proposes to predict how old we will live to be based upon a number of personal factors.

I was surprised because it predicted I would live to be 87.
Did I not tell it that I smoked?
Yup, I sure did.
Still it says 87.

It goes on to advise me that I can add 3 months to my life by sleeping two more hours a night. Hmmm, let's 2 hrs a night by 365 nights by 45 years equals 32.850 hours. That equates to about 1369 hours or 57 days. Net profit of time in the end would be about a month...I guess I'll take the early payout, along with the 33 day penalty and enjoy my two hours a day.

It also says that I can add 3 months by giving up all caffeine. Me thinks not...how else am I supposed to function effectively deprived of two hours of sleep per night?

Smoking...a whole different can of worms. It says that if I quit I can add 8 years to my life.
I don't want eight more years.
I don't want to live to be ninety-five.
Instead I would rather enjoy the time I have.
Really, I wish I had never started smoking.
I wish I had the strength, the will, the passion, the drive. the belief... like I do for so many other things in life...to just stop.
Not because I want to live to be old... that's not it at all.

Because I want to be free...
because I want to breathe deep those two hours a night that I don't sleep...
because I want to savor the full flavor of the caffeine I take in...

I never buy lottery tickets, but tonight I bought a mega-millions thingy-ma-jig.
If I win, I plan on hiring an acupuncturist, a hypnotist, a psychologist and/or counselor, physical trainer, chef & a comedian.
I will take them all with me for 6-10 weeks to some remote island where they will be paid dearly to help me quit smoking.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

She's an owner of a small boutique here in town and I was her patron... looking for a small special something, maybe a ring, for a dear girlfriend.
The shop keeper had large cat-like eyes that danced with laughter but sat with a thatched roof of deeply rooted frown lines.
I'm not really sure how it all happened, but one thing led to another & before I knew it, I knew the shop owner's story of life, love & loss...
We all have our stories, some more tragic than others. Although I would never say this to her because I know it is all relative, her's was none too unusual but something about it captivated me just the same ...
Husband of seventeen years fooling around with the receptionist ...
Busted by a paper trail of receipts to florists and day-spas, Japanese restaurants and Victoria Secrets.
I smiled & nodded, remembering how I found paper trails myself many moons ago.
She packed all of his stuff, tossed it in the yard, hired a pitbull of an attorney, took him to the cleaners and opened her little boutique.
I laughed...'Ok. Good for you! You're happy now, right?'
I watched her furrows deepen.
She told me about her best friend. Her girlfriend since high school. And their final falling out...when she 'wiped her hands clean' of her.
Apparently this girlfriend always had a hard time recalling birthdays & even if she did, she wasn't big on making a to-do over them.
Post-divorce, this proved to be fatal to their friendship.
The shopkeeper was so very devastated by her girlfriends lack of thoughtfulness that she completely wrote her off.
When the friend called the Saturday after her birthday to wish her a happy day, she hung up on her...and hadn't accepted her calls since.
Doing the math, I figured at 42 this woman had been a dear friend for 25 or more years.
My jaw hit the floor.
One of my own best friends has been of my world for about this long and she too, imho, is sensitive about birthdays and such... but I cannot imagine her ever completely wiping her hands clean of me should I forget to acknowledge her birthday on the precise day.
She's my friend...one of my best friends. She knows me.
She knows I am not good with keeping up with the time of the day, the date of the month & the day of the week. She knows that I love & adore her everyday...even if we don't speak everyday
I couldn't help but share my take on life, love & friendship with the shopkeeper.
That was over a year ago.
Anytime, I go into her shop, she smiles big & hugs me and I usually leave with some little gift.

But I saw her out the other night, in faxt, the same day I last visited her shop... out of her element, out of her shop.
She was walking into a store as I was walking out and I saw her before she saw me.
I smiled big & when she matched eyes with me... her furrow didn't break.
She looked right at me...at me smiling, and kept on frowning and then looked through me.
It was obvious she didn't recognize me outside of her shop, which is ok.

What struck me as tragically sad was that she wasn't open, much less reciprocating, to my smile and I knew...
it wasn't just me, it was everyone...anyone.

And my heart broke for her.
I knew at that moment that when she had thrown her husbands clothes in the yard, she kept all the negative stuff inside and when she had wiped her hands clean of her friend, she had closed such an important door to life...

May we all be open to smiling..

Friday, February 20, 2009

She seems hard, weathered and rough.
Her words can strike people as abrasive.
Stockings are only for weddings and funerals...
She's opinionated, outspoken and quick to jump to conclusions.
Sometimes wrong but always sure
Strong, devoted & defiant
A mouth like a sailor, a temper to boot but a heart of gold
She always speaks the truth, as she sees it...
subject to change and all.
And this is why I love her...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

There's no guarantees.
He lay in ICU...11 months into stage four.
Pneumonia. Infection. Lung Cancer.

She cries...
'I wish I would die right now & he could just come back home.'

There are no guarantees.
Planes crash into houses.
Kids wrap themselves around telephone poles.
Mother's stick little heart shaped stickers on their babies mouths.

We can never predict.
We can never tell from one moment what the next may hold.

May we never forget to value each moment and take them just as they come...
one by one and subject to change...

Monday, February 16, 2009

What Time Is It Anyway?

The clock in the office says ten till seven, the one in the entry says ten after.
The clock on the oven says twenty past eight.
The computer & the cell phone, the only true indicators of what time it is to the rest of the world.
Looking at my utility bill history last night online, I realized I had lived in this house a year longer than I realized.
Talking to my SisterLove Kimbies Saturday, I realized I am a year younger than I thought.
I can't keep up with it.
Looking at all the various times on all of my clocks...
I see that it's okay
As long as I deal with my here and now.
And try to have a good time...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Letters & Love Notes...Revisited

Enrico Carusso....I believe that is the name of an old Spanish Opera Singer. My Mom had very old clay records she would play on the Victrola of his. When I say that name, I kind of roll on the R's & I like the way it sounds. I first said that name in 3rd grade.
3rd grade, 1975, saw a move & change of schools, which can always be good or bad. In My World, this move could have been better. I didn't like the wide paved roads as much as the small brick road we had lived on. The neighborhood didn't have all the mature fruit trees & old Oak trees that I was used too. The school was bigger & there weren't as many kids in the neighborhood to play with. Actually, there was probably more kids...but these guys played inside & I rarely saw them.
I met a boy in class & he befriended me. He would walk me to the corner of my street & then go back to go home himself. At the corner, often eating candy or popsicles from the ice cream man, we'd talk. I told him about my old neighborhood, the brick roads, the floating docks & canoes, the orange trees & banana trees and of course, The Big Old Oak Tree. Before moving here, I thought every neighborhood had a Big Old Tree. He told me about His World. How his Momma didn't speak good English & his grandmother lived with them & his father worked hard & about who he liked & didn't like at school. I never invited him to my house...we would meet each other at the corner & say good bye at the corner.
Except one day he just stayed at the corner and I didn't realize it as I walked on. I was about 1/2 way to the house & he came running up behind me. When he caught up with me, he handed me a note & said 'The Big Old Oak Tree...even though I've never seen it.' I took the note, it was tightly folded up into a football & asked what he was talking about. He said, 'Read that when you get home & you'll understand,' and then he turned and ran! I held the note, fumbling it between my fingers, as I watched him dash away. I finally turned and walked a few steps before tucking it into my pocket.

Arriving home, I promptly forgot about the note. It wasn't until bedtime, when I was hashing over the days events in my head, that I remembered the note. My sister & I shared the room next to my parents & the whole house was asleep. I quietly got up & retrieved the note from my crumpled up pants. I turned on the light to my sisters vanity mirror. Hunched in towards the light, I read my note. This is what it said...
"My Dearest & Most Beautiful Paiger~
I would like to kiss you as many times as there are leaves on the tree. I Love You. ~ Enrico Caruso"
Short, thoughtful, passionate, romantic, to the point & filled with lustful desire, this was a true love note...

(This post was originally written almost 3 years ago, but I thought I might bump it back up for Valentines Day...Much Love People)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Pad Locks & Pixies

It was just a crazy dream with an image of my Vilulah girl standing in the doorway of the shed outback, doors swinging wide open, but it stuck with me all day.

And then it was real...only the doors weren't swinging, they were just wide open.
And Vilulah wasn't standing, she was sitting.

It was cold, real cold but not rainy or windy, so I simply let it be...

When the weatherman threatened rain a couple days later, I slid the padlock back through the male and female parts of the latch, spun it so that it would appear locked & cinched the doors shut again.

It wasn't but a day later when the doors were found open again, this time swinging in the rain, padlock clanking coldly, dangling from the male part of the latch.

In nearly 8 years this has never happened, but it was cold so I just let it alone....knowing.

After the rains came and went, I fed the padlock through both sides of the latch again. I looked around...out into the shadows, to see if someone was watching and I ventured back into the fire-fed warmth of my house.

I found myself once again, just a few days later...outback, after dark, re-latching & mock-locking my shed. It was just too dang cold to snap that padlock locked.

Really, I live in the friendliest ghetto in town. It really quite quaint & I am afforded some of the best people on this green earth as my immediate neighbors.

Sometimes I forget to deadbolt my backdoor when I leave. Sometimes, I forget to do that for weeks or months at a time.... until something small reminds me....
like a 5 gallon change jar left empty in the yard or a broken piece of pottery with all of it's splattered shards gathered and tucked safely inside, resting safely more centered on the table or a long forgotten jewelry box pulled from the bowels of the bottom shelf, emptied of it's costumed artifacts and left sitting on the pillow ...little reminders that Pixies are real.

But they never take the trash out.

While at work, a neighbor with keys to my house came to borrow something off of my entryway table.
She was surprised to see Vilulah inside & Smokie out on such a clear, sunny, even if cold, day, especially knowing that I would be gone for 12 hrs. I was equally surprised when she called that evening to inquire because Vilulah was out when I left & out when I returned.

So it began with a dream & it ended with one too. I dreamed of a boy I once faintly knew, a boy who knew my dogs better than he knew me and better than I knew of.... a boy I once knew to be homeless.

Trash day...

I stumbled in the pre-dawn hours to the back door and found a tiny pane of clear stained glass window to peer through and I some him.

He wore all blue and jumped my fence. I thought about popping the backdoor open and saying something & thought better.

Even in my foggy morning head, I knew Spring was just around the corner.

So, I gathered the trash & took it out.

Two days later, I popped up out of bed & headed right back to that same little window pane. I don't know what I woke up looking for but I know what I saw.

I blinked, rubbed my eyes, re-focused... there he was.

In the alley, just outside my fence... peacefully getting into the back of a police car.

Later that night, after work, I checked out the shed. So, maybe I am missing a couple sleeping bags...a tent...

I cinched her shut tight, spun the padlock & clicked it tight.

And when I left for work the next day,
I deadbolted the back door...
knowing Spring is just around the corner.

Keepers...and such

Maybe I was 4 or 5, I don't know. BrotherLove had been sick, really sick & he was in and out of the hospital a good bit. And when he was at home, he got special foods and in my young eyes, special treatment. I don't think I resented him for it, but maybe I did... 'Look Skinny, I got this just for you.' 'What?' "Look. It's Emerald' My brother. A year and a half older than me...maybe 6 or 7. A tiny little ring with a heart-shaped 'emerald' ...from him to me. And I still have it. I don't keep it out for the world to see. I may not even look at it for a year or two at a time. But sometimes I slip it onto my pinkie finger...a keeper.

I might have been 16 or maybe I was 18. Not sure...it was a while ago. I was camping with the guys and had my lawnchair plopped into the icy creek. Every swill or two of beer, I would reach down, grab a rock and 'Ker-plop,' I would sink it about 15' downstream...slowly building a dam. Lynyrd dropped his chair next to mine... 'You're building a dam?' 'Kinda, I guess' 'That's against the law.' 'What?' And as he went on to tell me about some fishing and forestry laws, I reached down for one more rock... and I discovered that what I thought would be my last would really be my first. My oldest heart shaped rock... On the floor in my bathroom... a keeper.

Maybe I was 20 or maybe I was 22, I don't recall. I just remember my room-mate & her sister... 'Those shorts are disgusting Skinny. You need to go shopping!' 'But, I love these shorts.' 'Hahaha...weren't they your brothers in high school?' 'Hee, hee, hee...yeah, and they were my sisters in high school before they were his.' From Kimbies to BrotherLove and on down to me... busted old Levi's Yeah, I still have them. I don't wear them all the time. But I still pull them out when it feels right ... they too are keepers.

Maybe I was 5, 19, 27, 35 or 42. I can't remember. The years are like the sky over a sunless, moonless sea...hard to tell where one begins and another ends...like maybe they just go on for all eternity. But whenever it was, I discovered love....good love... pure, truthful, soulful, profound, kindred spirit love. "That's not love Skinny. When you love someone, you want to settle down, have a family. You have never wanted to do that with him...never! That is not love." "Hmmm... maybe it's just a different type of love? OK?" "What would you do if he said 'Marry Me or I'll never see you again?'" "Hmmm... he wouldn't do that but, I guess I'd have to say 'See You Later.'" "See! That is NOT Love. Have you ever stopped to wonder why you guys say you feel the way you do?" "Nope. I think we just accept it for what it is and for a generation now, simply accepting it for what it is has worked. " "How can you say that it has worked?" "Because we still have peace & we still have love..." He's a keeper.

I don't know if naivety or wisdom... selfishness or selflessness... fear or conviction... and honestly, it doesn't really matter. It is what it is. Keepers. We all have them. We all want them. We all need them. Sometimes, in my opinion, my experience... In order to truly keep them, you can't always keep them on your pinkies, on your hips, in your rivers or even in your daily life.
Elasticity. Peace. Love.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Last summer I found myself escorted by heron....down the river and again, at the beach.
They watched me.
They followed me.
And as things always seem to go full circle, they led me.

Everything means something to me & I believed these majestic, primitive beings were a totem of sorts...

patience...followed by assertion
innate wisdoms...coupled with balance
self-reliance...and time management...

I remember watching them watching me...
I remember reflecting on my life...
ninety miles to nothing, running in circles & going no-where, appeasing this one and that one just to have a moment of peace, surviving but not quite living

So, I listened to my gut and I put on my boots of patience. I laid my head to the ground and I listened and when it was time to get up and dance, I danced... all by myself, alone... in my kitchen and in my living room and sometimes even in the bathroom and when my gut said 'sit this one out,' I sat. I watched and I waited and if anyone caught me watching them, as I had caught the heron watching me, I simply smiled.

When I left home two days ago, I stopped with two tires in the road & two on my brick pad. Under the shade of a great oak tree, filtering the sideways sun shining down on us, I saw the shadows of LoVe.
Climbing that tree... stretching up and reaching down, dipping into the crevices that only fairies and ants knew about. And down below, in the midst of icy cold dirt and dead leaves, a sprinkling of green and one simple word...Grow.

In the past two days I have been shocked, surprised and greatly honored with some of the greatest rewards life can give.
Lots of them.
Patting ones and rubbing ones, squeeze ones & nestling ones, ones coupled with kisses & ones coupled with tears.
My reward for believing.
I have been inundated with treats and drinks & heartfelt gifts.... unbelievable stuff.
Handmade Peruvian belts from forty years ago, baby azalea shrubs, pewter peace keepers, written words in the name of art and expression that moved my spirit...
and most importantly...
LoVe...pure, sweet, simple, accepting love.
I am such a lucky girl...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

One Moon & A Million Moods

Thoughtful & sincere ... a sweet soul, dear to me, sent this to my way.

If you found yourself captivated by the world she stirs...there is also this fanciful & imaginative little poem by Zora Bernice May Cross, which you might enjoy.

The New Moon

What have you got in your knapsack fair,
White moon, bright moon, pearling the air

Spinning your bobbins and fabrics free,
Fleet moon, sweet moon, in to the sea?

Turquoise and beryl and rings of gold
Clear moon, dear moon, ne’er to be sold?

Roses and lilies, romance and love,
Still moon, chill moon, swinging above?

Slender your feet as a white birds throat,
High moon, shy moon, drifting your boat

Into the murk of the world awhile,
Slim moon, dim moon, adding a smile.

Tender your eyes as a maiden’s kiss,
Fine moon, wine moon, no one knows this,

Under the spell of your witchery,
Dream moon, cream moon, first he kissed me.

Zora Bernice May Cross

Austrailia (1890-1964)

Artwork By Singleton of JustGiveMePeace