Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ancient Blessings

Samhain ~ an ancient Celtic festival meaning roughly "summer's end" and celebrated as a time between the light and the dark. Bonfires lit the night. People dressed in masks and costumes to remember the dead and sometimes to laugh and mock ghosts so they would not return to haunt. It was and is a blessed ritual.

All Hallow's Eve ~ a more modern Christian celebration of the saints. For a long time "saints" were very specific folks so declared by the Catholic church for miraculous works of healing both before and after their deaths. Scripture speaks of saints as very ordinary folks who believe and are part of the "household of God." Whoever the saints are in your belief, this is the time of year to remember and bless them.

Halloween ~ a modern celebration of fun and delight for children and adults alike. Decorations go up earlier each year; little ones choose costumes from their imaginations; trick or treat brings in lots of candy; gentle pranks are laughed at; squeals of psuedo-fright are heard through out the neighborhood. Parties are held. Town centers and malls hold trick or treat times to insure the safety of the kids. All in all a fun time.

As I have pointed out in these pages before, there is much more that joins us than divides us. Early Christians heading into northern Europe found people celebrating the dead and decided to fit in by using the time to celebrate the saints. The masks and costumes never went away and come to us today in the fun of our children and for adults who enjoy parties and scary houses and horror movies.

This weekend no matter what you do, you participate in an ancient and blessed tradition. May you be aware, enjoy and be blessed by it all ~ blessed be

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Local Bookstore

For over a year we have been worried that our local bookstore was not going to survive. Rent where it was located was going up. Foot traffic was not what it had been. Tourists aren't coming to Tahoe in the droves they used to. So the store's owner was conflicted: to move? to close entirely? to sell to someone else?

Finally last week word came through their newsletter that they would be closed for two days in order to move to a smaller, more convenient location across the street and down a bit from where they were. Yay! :D

Dean and I dropped by late yesterday afternoon. There were still boxes stacked here and there. Shelves were still being installed. They had yet to find a place for the crossword puzzle books. And they were open!!! And settling in. I like the space. Smaller yes and with good energy. On a lower floor right off the parking lot where folks walking around this little area can just drop in without having to climb stairs and "find" them. (No, that opinion has nothing to do with the way my hip feels climbing stairs right now!)

Bought a couple of books for me, a couple for the grands and just enjoyed getting to know the new space. I look forward to going back when I can wander pain free. By then they will have found the crossword space. :) -- with blessings

Thursday, October 28, 2010

mmmmmm Tea and Scones

This summer we learned to love the coffee cake and scones from a caterer who came to the Farmers' Market. Breakfast on Thursdays. On the last day of the market, she told Dean she was going to try being open to the public from 7 to 2 on Thursdays.

Last Thursday Dean went for his coffee cake and she was very glad to see him. This Thursday he went for coffee cake and a scone for me and bought her last two slices of coffee cake. Now I don't want Dean to be without his Thursday coffee cake, and I am So Glad she is doing so well with this new venture.

Which brings me to tea and scones. Today I decided to splurge and have a goodie for breakfast instead of the good-for-me oatmeal. Dean brought home a raspberry scone. Oh my. Tea and scone for breakfast. Delicious! Her scones are soft ~ more like the scones I have had in England than some I have had over here that are more like little hard rocks. It takes so little to make me happy these days. :D ~ with blessings

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Love Compliments However They Come

Sitting with the admitting nurse at the hospital and she is doing all the pre-op questioning and teaching two weeks from surgery. Looking down all my files and health history, she says, "You are very healthy. I am not used to seeing such good health in a person your . . . uh . . . uh . . . "

"My age?" ~ then we both laugh. She agrees. And I am flattered by the compliment.

After all, even though I am presently walking most of the time with a cane, taking pain meds, and doing as little as possible, if you ignore my right lower quadrant, I am Fine! And two weeks from today, I understand from those who have had this surgery, I will be better. Sure I will have to recover from the surgery itself -- and the pain in the hip will be relieved. No more bone on bone. The surgical assistant says I will probably be snowshoeing before the season is over.

So - yes, I am very healthy and will soon be active again - :D :D :D ~ with blessings

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sitting in the Dark

If I look closely, there is a tinge of light against the clouds.

It looks really dark out there though with only three points of light in the room: the glow from Dean's computer bathing his face; the stark light of mine into which I look to write; and the warmth of color and feel from the fire between us. All around is dark and the rain drums steadily on the roof of the solarium.

Sometimes I need a morning like this. I like it when it comes on a Sunday. Makes keeping Sabbath very easy ~ :). I breathe into the sound and the dark and the glow of the lights. A little chill runs through me. Time for hot tea and maybe a move closer to the fire. Nice ~ with blessings

Friday, October 22, 2010

Theatrical Surgery - or Surgery Theatrics

I feel like I have returned to theatre and am working on a production.

Rehearsals include: chiropractic, acupuncture, massage and physical therapy, hypnotherapy and even a haircut. Major crew meeting coming up on Tuesday when everyone who will be present on stage meets with me and we discuss the whole production. I also have a meeting at the theatre where we will make sure all is ready for the upcoming production.

Final dress will be attendance at my women's group who have promised me a group healing.

Opening performance will literally be that and the director will rebuild one quarter of the set in the middle of the performance. As this is a rather unusual occurrence in my experience, I am grateful that the director, although young in my eyes, is very experienced and has done this type of performance many times before. 150 a year he says.

I am ready - well, I will be come November 10. You never want to peak too soon. ~ with blessings

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Too PC Even for me

I was raised by a lawyer father who Loved the Constitution of the United States. I remember being "taught" that we had freedom of speech and that was a wonderful thing. It meant you could say anything you thought without political consequence. However, there often were consequences and that was ok because you took responsibility for what you said ergo for the consequences as well. So - Daddy, what do we say about the fact that Juan Williams, a respected, well-liked, intelligent, thoughtful news commentator expressed an opinion and was Fired by another news organization?

All he did was express an opinion. And according to the article I read, NPR called him. He wasn't even given the courtesy of a face to face with the people who had employed him for ten years or more.

Wait - I listen to and read NPR to have a good, strong progressive view of what is happening in the world. I expect to hear several sides of stories we don't hear on other news channels. I expect in depth reporting and analysis. What just happened?

Have we become so PC that a respected commentator like Mr. Williams cannot express an honest opinion or even feelings? If I keep writing, I am going to blather and go around in circles. I am not completely sure how I feel about this except that it bothers me, hurts me and makes me sad for my country. I have a feeling you will hear more about this in the future. We are Not pleased. ~ with blessings

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Kitchen Toy

I mentioned in an earlier blog that Dean has a new kitchen toy: an electric pressure cooker. What fun! We are eating well and quickly. No more questions about what to have for supper when we should have started cooking an hour ago. Be a bit creative with your vegetables and whatever meat is available and dinner is ready in less than 15 minutes. Having talked about this to everybody I see, I thought I would give you a link to this amazing product.

It is a Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker. Sits on the counter - we even created a special counter space for it. Pressure Cookers were something from my childhood, something that aunts and my grandmother used. My mom was the youngest of her sisters and she didn't have one. Pressure cookers were old fashioned even for her and by the time I had my own kitchen, they were from the distant, ancestoral past. Until last week.

Suddenly it is the latest thing - in this family at least. Quick, easy tasty meals on very short notice. Yes, sort of like a crock pot, except with a crock pot, you have to decide at 6:30 in the morning what you want for supper when you come home from work. This way you can decide when you come home from work and still sit down to eat almost immediately. And Dean tells me that if you put it on low pressure, it does work like a crock pot. The best of both worlds.

Anyway - give it a look. The Costco price was $20 less than the on line price and even at the on line price it would be worth every penny. Dean is even learning how much food to cook so we have nothing left over. We eat fresh all the time. Right now he is the pressure cooker chef. He also is the one with the creative ideas about what to prepare. I am very happy being the sous chef. ~ with blessings and good eating

Sunday, October 17, 2010


The day is grey;
the clouds are too.
Except for the cracking of the fire.
Early morning peace breathes its gentle energy through the thick air.
Time slows down.
All is held in abeyance waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting . . .

Even pain slips away on the waft of medication.
It is a time of waiting . . .
and of knowing all will be well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


To be married to a man who cooks may be one of the gifts from the gods ~

To be married to a man who buys his own cooking appliances is ribbon on the gift ~

To be married to a man who is so excited about his new toy that he prepared dinner last night and lunch this morning ~ the perfect wrapping paper ~

The appliance is an electric pressure cooker.

Delicious rice pilaf last night and chicken soup for lunch - both dishes perfectly cooked in less than 15 minutes. Yummy. And all I had to do was show up at the table. Dean may take more care of me Before the surgery than afterwards. For now, I am very happy with the gift that has been laid at my feet. ~ with blessings

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

And So I Wait Some More

The good news is: I really, really like the hip surgeon.

The bad news is: he is probably scheduled out three months in advance. His booking agent will call toward the end of the week and we will schedule surgery. He is telling the lady who schedules to get me in asap. He understands.

The in between news in no special order:

Of 150 hip surgeries he does per year, I am in the top three of Bad. We both regret we weren’t doing this from 10 years to 10 months ago. I finally said, and we aren’t so let’s go from here.

We ignore the knee until the hip is done. About 98% of the time, the knee problems will disappear when the hip is done.

Surgery will be a little more complicated for him (ergo for me) because he has to do a bit more extensive repair/rebuilding work because of the extreme arthritis.

Stairs will not be much of a problem. He will tell me about how much pressure I can put on the right leg - from 30 to 50 to 100% depending on surgery.

Dean was already thinking about buying a used snowmobile for transport up the drive in winter and he says this will probably bring this about because 3 months from now there will be lots of snow on the drive.

If necessary, I can stay with Michelle and family for a while.

Between now and then, I am to lay off my wonderful shot and otc anti-inflammatories and take the Vicodin I have been prescribed but not taken. He says I won’t become addicted and it won’t effect my liver and kidneys like the other stuff will.

That’s it from here. I will let you know when the surgery is -- and I intend to ask her to put me on her call list if they should Ever have a cancellation between now and whenever mine is scheduled. ~ with blessings

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reflections on Books

I read The Great Gatsby for the first time the other day. I was not sure it was for the first time. The book is so iconic that many images are in the social narrative: the parties of that era, the callousness of society, Gatsby looking across the bay at the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. These are references we know without "knowing." Nonetheless, there is more to the story than these and it is good to have read it even at this late date.

The Remains of the Day won a Booker Award and I didn't even realize it was a book and not just a movie. *sigh* This one was a bit hard to get through just because Stephens is So dense that I wanted to shake him out of his complacency and lack of understanding. It is a fascinating view of societal transition after WWII. We have watched a lot of WWII documentaries recently and this added some depth to my understanding of that time in Britain.

Pride and Prejudice is an old friend. It gets read about twice a year followed by the viewing of the almost 6 hour A&E production starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Or sometimes I watch the movie first and then read the book. I am always amazed at how modern script writers can take a book with very little place in it and create very natural places for people to say a particular piece of dialogue. Jane's famous first line, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." is given to Lizzie as the family returns from church where Mrs. Bennett has learned of the letting of Netherfield to Mr. Bingley. It is perfect timing in the perfect setting to leap the story forward even as it does at the very opening of the book.

Enjoy the books you read, whatever they are - and let me hear about them sometimes - with blessings

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Aroma of Homemade Soup

Maybe the title of this blog says it all. When there is soup bubbling on the stove the entire house is permeated with the aroma that makes the mouth water and the lips turn upward in an anticipatory smile. The next meal is going to be Wonderful.

Dean has a meeting here today and they have had homemade muffins and fresh fruit for breakfast and for lunch they will have soup ~ wonderful vegetable soup made from Farmers' Market bounty and other good things. I can make other soups and this one is so easy and has a wonderful history.

It has been taken to grieving families when something warm and nourishing sitting on the stove is just enough in spite of the abundance of other food that graces the tables. The morning our grandson was born, we stopped at the store for some ingredients and this soup became the sustenance for a laboring mom and her amazing mid-wife. (And for dad and grandmother too of course.) It has fed cast parties, friends having lunch, and folks gathered around the fire on cold winter evenings.

Usually it is a cool to cold weather dish and that makes today the perfect day to inaugurate its season. We have had lots of rain and today the sun is out, the temperature is warming, and although we will have lunch on the deck, it is still cool enough to make a big bowl of soup just the thing to see a busy bunch of folks through their afternoon session.

Yummy ~ and with blessings

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Act and Art of Listening

Had a conversation this afternoon about an actor who doesn't listen. Oh, I am sure he listens to his director and other people around him. The point is, when his character is supposed to be listening, you can tell he (the actor or the character) is not doing so.

Listening is a hard trait to portray on stage or in the movies or tv because 1) you, the actor, actually has to listen and 2) your character has to give some indication of that happening. And if the actor is not listening, just hanging around waiting for the next cue, it shows in the character. Even if the audience is not aware of what is (or is not) happening, there is a feeling of dis-ease, of something being just a little bit off. And the show or the scene is not quite as good as it might be.

We can learn something about life from this little theatrical example. It is important that when we listen, we really listen. We hear what the person is saying to us. We aren't just hanging out trying to think what we should say next or "waiting for our cue" as it were. Otherwise there is something a little off. People around us, and especially the person speaking, can tell we aren't totally present.

We like to think of ourselves as good listeners - I mean, weren't we taught that in kindergarten? Nevertheless, it is a skill we need to cultivate all our lives in order to stay in the moment, living and listening every moment to the fullest. ~ with blessings

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Forty-one years ago today

Happy Birthday, second Daughter!

Three back twinges and a baby - 19 inch baby, 19 inch snow storm. But let me start a little earlier. I woke that morning saying that I would have back labor again - in two weeks or more. I dressed in a sleeveless jumper -- later as it got colder, I put a long sleeve shirt under it. When I was taken to the hospital shortly after noon, I was wrapped in a heavy wool poncho and snow was falling.

First we went to the doctor's - although I had a 2:30 appointment, Rex insisted we Go. The doctor didn't believe such a light contraction could do anything but I better go to the hospital. He would be over later. Oh, please - I had guests coming to dinner. But we went. While Rex was checking me in, the nurse examined me and called the doctor. The only words I recognized was 10 centimeters. The doctor got to me before Rex got up from admitting. Like I said, three back twinges and a baby.

Finally had the nurse wheel me into a room with a telephone so I could stop the guests from coming in three hours. It was a Friday so they fed me a salmon croquet for dinner and I didn't eat salmon again for years. Still don't like it very much. Rex's mother came from Texas on a moment's notice (you could do that in those days) and smuggled warm prune/apricot stewed fruit into the hospital for me. Pastor and his wife drove through the snow from 30 miles away to bring me a plant and say Congratulations.

Lots of good memories for a life time -- and a second wonderful delightful daughter. ~ with blessings

Fall Has Come

I realize I write a lot about the weather. Weather in the mountains is always with us. Between June and the end of September, there is not much to say. Gorgeous, warm to hot, sun shiny days. Cooler nights. Only once in a while some anomaly arises.

Come the middle to the end of September, weather becomes a major topic of conversation. When will fall arrive? Is snow really forecast above 9000 feet? And in the case of the last couple of days - Rain! Rain is a rarity. And so it has been a real joy to experience the sound and fury of the storm two days ago, the gentle steadiness of rain yesterday afternoon and evening and again this morning.

It is one of those days. Cloudy. Rainy. Cool. Just right for reading in the corner of the window seat with a cup of tea at hand. We haven't turned on any lights and don't really need to - and it is the sort of grey day when we could very easily and appreciate the warm glow. I think we can safely say that fall is here. We may have some warmer days again, just like in summer we have cooler days occasionally. For the most part though, fall is here. Even sunny days will be cooler. We will appreciate the rain when it comes. Aspens are turning yellow. Maples the red and gold I love so much. Tiny new pine needles clatter against the roof in the least breeze. The aroma of wet pines fills the yard. Fall in the mountains. Lovely. ~ with blessings

Friday, October 1, 2010

It Rained Like Hail

If you are old enough to remember Lil Abner, you will remember the character that went around with a rain cloud over his head. It rained all the time - and just on him. (Anybody help me with his name?)

Today our house was like that - except this was Wonderful. Suddenly it was raining, Huge, thudding drops. From where? Out the front windows was blue sky. From the west a ray of sun right in my face as I sat at the computer. And still, there it was: rain, rain, harder and harder until there was Hail. Both peppering down, making enough noise that we had to shout across the room to each other.

Slowly the air turned cooler and cooler. I walked out the back door to stand under the deck eaves until thunder and lightning struck at the Exact Same Time. Sent me scurrying back inside even though I didn't close the door. Did affirm that the storm was Right Over the House. I called downstairs to Dean, "Come up and share this with me." For the longest time he didn't come and when he finally did, he admitted he thought I was popping corn and didn't really understand why he should come up when I would bring him a bowl.

I think the thunder clap got his attention though and up he came. We wandered from window to window checking out the blue sky and fluffy white clouds in front, the stream of sunshine across the neighbor's back yard and watching our roof and our deck as well as the neighbor's side yard turn white with 1/4 inch hail stones.

Dean had on shorts. He put on sweats. I closed the deck door. The temperature dropped and is still dropping as I write. Slowly now the noise recedes. The silence has its own "sound" when it has been missing for so long. The drumming of rain and hail is gone. The gentle drops have moved outside instead of surrounding the inside space with powerful sound. The blue sky and white clouds still hang over the front. The western sky is bright with a setting sun. The few houses on the block and the land up the back hill are covered with a rapidly fading grey as the blue sky comes through again. The white blanket of hail is gone as quickly as it came - except in the cushions of deck chairs where it may take just a little longer to melt.

What an amazing hour (or less). Pictures wouldn't work. Neither do these words really. You had to have Heard it ~ and heard the silence that is now settling in and around the house again. Peace ~ with blessings