A Night Off

November  19th

There’s a steady rain outside.  It’s actually very soothing.  Midterms have passed and this month is nearly over.   I’ve been here over 3 months now and am a little surprised it’s been this long.  And I’ve decided to take the night off.  No studying, no typing, no reading of chapters.  I need a break.  I won’t get one however until December 15th.  I am SO looking forward to that day. I’ve got 2 papers and a project to finish by then; that part I’m not looking forward to.  But when I reach it my first semester back will be under my belt.

I had a momentary pang of homesickness the other day.  As the cabinet door was banging against the stove that will only open about 10 inches before it hits it, I was remembering my old kitchen with a dishwasher in it.  I don’t have one now and have a new form of therapy in washing dishes by hand.  I haven’t done that in about 20 years, but it’s like riding a bike.  It all came back to me.  In my little kitchen I can stare at my chicken picture hanging above the sink as I wash and rinse.  I did an experiment too the other day.  I can stand in the middle of my kitchen and touch the wall with one hand and the counter on the other side of the kitchen with the other.  How convenient huh.  Tee hee….. I do have a bar type counter on one side of my kitchen though and it makes it handy to have some counter space.  I’ve been looking at this kitchen wondering how in the world I’m going to make my 75 dozen Christmas cookies this year to give away.  That should be my worst worry.  I am so grateful to be in a one bedroom apartment.  I have fellow students renting out rooms and I think that would drive me insane.  One bedroom and a cat one friend has.  And the cat has to stay in the bedroom all the time.  Poor kitty.  At least my two have 3 rooms to run around in (I’m not counting the kitchen.  🙂 )  Sequel is on antibiotics, not feeling well once again.  But this time it seems to be much easier to keep him inside.  Maybe he’s resigned himself to the fact that I’m the alpha here and he’s begrudgingly letting me drop a capsule down his throat twice a day.  He gets a treat afterwards, so it’s not all awful.

So here I sit, listening to the rain hit the gutters and driveways and making little sprinkling sounds that is very soothing.  It actually thundered and lightninged and that hasn’t happened in years.  It doesn’t thunder and lightning in LA, at least for the 17 years I was there.  It may have once, but I don’t remember it and I don’t think it happened in the Valley.  This reminds me of my childhood, listening to the rain.  It’s turning everything cold once again.  So much for the lovely warmer weather we had.  The sweaters have come out again.  One good thing, I picked the best time in my life to move to the Bay area.  Now that I’m over 50, it doesn’t matter that I don’t wear shorts and halter tops any longer.  🙂 Sweaters and jeggings hide a multitude of sins.

So I’m taking a night off from reading about Calvinism and Unitarian identity; Universalist theology and their vision of the self – although I really am enjoying reading Clarence Skinner.  It’s interesting that in one of my past lives a Skinner was significant.  When I studied psychology B.F. Skinner was a major force in my learning.  And here comes along another Skinner.  I have tie-ins like that all the time in my life that offer me a bit of solace that I’m on the right path.  It might not mean a thing, but I give it meaning and it helps me to think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.  I must be tired; I feel I’m officially rambling now. 🙂

So ends my evening off in my little piece of Mayberry.  My thought for the night – Enjoy the sound of the raindrops and you will find peace.

Jo

The Circle of Life

November 10, 2010

I had an aha moment today.  Our project group in ECO class had met and were working on our semester project and we were doing a practice Chalice Circle.  In the circle ceremony we took a moment to speak about a sacred object we had brought to the circle.  I had brought my spirit bracelets.  These 2 bracelets that I wear every day were my mom’s.  Her name was Pearl and people bought her pearl jewelry all the time.  When she passed away , she left me all her jewelry.  Now she had a lot of trinkets, but not much that would be considered valuable.  I have 2 pearl bracelets that she actually used as extensions on a necklace that I discovered in the pile.  Ever since I’ve gotten them, I’ve worn them daily.  I decided that one stands for my mom and one represents my dad and I call them my spirit parents.  I was never close to my parents when they were alive.  We seemed to come from different worlds and didn’t understand each other.  But my spirit parents are awesome!  They understand me completely, they’re always there to support me, and I can talk to them.  I take them everywhere with me and it’s like I can share events and occasions with them.  When I went to visit my friend Katherine a couple of years ago, I took my bracelets with me on my wrist and told my mom, guess what Mom, we get to fly on a  seaplane!  I’ve always made a point to have my bracelets on especially whenever I embarked on a new adventure.  When I drove up here for my final trip, I said here we go Mom, we’re going to live in the City by the Bay!  It’s been a comfort to me to have my spirit parents to talk to and I’ve created more trust with them than I did when they were alive.  And it dawned on me today that I have them to share experiences with.  Both my parents are now dead, I never had children and am divorced and my brother is estranged from me at the moment.  I do a lot of things alone.  So I have someone to share experiences with that I can consider famiy members.  And I kind of like the sound of spirit parents.  There’s a certain magic to that thought that I’m peaceful with.  It’s like having guardian angels sitting on my shoulders watching over me.

On November 26th my mother will have been dead 5 years.  On October 13th last month, my father has been gone for 8 years.  It’s strange being an adult orphan.  And as the day approaches to the anniversary of her death, I get a bit apprehensive.  What I am grateful for though is that I got to say goodbye.  She had been in ICU nearly 30 days when the hospital and my brother called to say it was time for me to fly back.  It was two full days before my brother agreed that it was time to let go of life support the day after Thanksgiving that year.  Then began the waiting.  At one point he went to get us cups of coffee and I found myself alone with mom, nearly in a comatose state with tubes running crisscrossed against her body.  I took her hand and I said, Mom, I forgive you for whatever it is I think you did and I hope that you forgive me for whatever it was you think I did.  I am so grateful to have had that moment alone with her and say I love you and say goodbye.  It was truly a gift.   And I think of this as her anniversary of leaving here approaches.  She hung on till I arrived and could say goodbye.  Interestingly enough during Thanksgiving time.  I wonder what she would say to my going back to school to be a minister.  I would hope she’d be excited, but that’s the sad part.  I don’t know.  We never talked about important things like that.  But she did show me how to make my grandma’s spaghetti sauce from Sicily and those famous Christmas cookies.  I have some good memories and that’s the important thing.  With the memory of at least seeing her at Thanksgiving.  I love the feeling that gratitude brings to me.  I’m entering into my favorite time of year, Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s.  I’m a stranger in a strange land with a lot of firsts happening each day I stay here.  So it’s good to have a couple of angels on my shoulders steering me along.

From my little piece of Mayberry,

Jo

A Happy 1st Birthday

October 22nd

Yesterday was my birthday, my first birthday in my new city.  It was really interesting to turn 56.  Somehow my face found out and I have 3 new wrinkles.  How does it know?

So I’ve started to write this particular blog 3 times and I keep changing it.  It’s a hard one to write – to talk about age in America.  If you’re not in the 18 – 39 demographic, it almost doesn’t count.  Especially if you’re a woman.  I’ve been invisible for about 5 years now.  It’s an interesting experience being invisible.  Solicitors in front of movie theaters don’t see me; they walk right by and give their free gifts and coupons to much younger folk.  And yet I’ve never felt more alive, more serene, more happy.  I must be glowing so brightly I’m invisible.  THAT’s what it is!

So I had a low key birt hday this year and that’s okay.  My friend Victoria took me out to a wonderful Thai place and bought me dinner and Lee joined us a bit later.  My first birthday in my new adopted city and it reminded me of my first birthday in LA.  I spent that in a rented room eating Panda Express watching LA Law.  I had been in LA one week exactly.  It was a little sad in that I didn’t really know anyone and didn’t have anyone to celebrate with.  Even my mom forgot to call me on my birthday that year.  But I was excited to have moved there and I looked forward to my new adventure.   In my last birthday in LA last year two of my girlfriends took me out to dinner and ended up not having enough money to pay for my dinner.  That felt really weird when I had to contribute to my own birthday dinner after they asked me out.  So all in all this year’s birthday was actually many steps above!

Aging in America – that’s almost an oxymoron.  70 year olds strive to look 30.  I’ve always thought I’d live to be 126.  I’ve even put that on vision boards that I’ve created.  And it dawned on me the other day that if I actually live that long, I’m gonna have to look old.  I hadn’t actually thought about that before.  My goal is to see the Tricentennial because I think it would be so cool after having lived during the Bicentennial of this country.  Don’t you think that would be cool?  It never occurred to me however, that I will not look even 50 when I’m 126.  So then I had to think, am I willing to live that long and look so completely differently than I do now?  I look in a mirror and I see all the fine lines and mini crevices that were never there before, but that’s just an inkling of what to expect in the future.  So I have two choices: either fight Mother Time with all the tools at my disposal in the 21st century or….  Accept the fact that with age comes wisdom and also AGE.    It is part of getting older for the body to physically change.  So I need to prepare my mind for the changes in the body.  The thing is, I don’t feel one iota differently INSIDE.  I feel 25 inside.  And I think that’s where the conflict lies.  I know inside I’ll feel 25 forever.  I’m sure I will when I’m over 100.  And that’s the good part about aging.  What I feel on the inside.

So my birthday is now over and I have a new number to tell people.  I really liked 55 however.  It was a cool number.  Now I need to look for the coolness of 56.   56 Chevys maybe????  🙂

From my little piece of Mayberry,

Jo