Goodness, I feel sorry for the poor man in red his weary reindeer and sled Don’t blame me cuz I’ve never participated in dragging that man from his bed The worst you can say is I’ve not enough candles and therefore can’t light All my eight menorahs, yes, count ’em, eight Hanukkah for eight days of light Tell Santa to give up the late ride and eat chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil Safer to spin driedles, tell stories of brave Maccabees and the miracle of oil And he’ll feel much better when he rises well rested at the end of this year Not having delivered gifts heavier than a wish for peace and good cheer
*Disclosure: Printed without permission from the author . .
I’m a bit upset with all of you who have e-mailed me or commented on my retirement with such incredibly loving, affirming messages and gifts. I’m upset because it’s now too late to use all of you for testimonials to promote my services. Where were you when I could have taken advantage of you? I could be retiring a millionaire.
There are so many people who have touched my life I can’t begin to list them all. These are just a few in recent time: Sherry, Lisa, Linda, Margo, Susan, Joyce, Bryan, Adele, Liz, Peggy, Cathy, Doug, Chris, Ramesh, Paula, Ron, Kathy, Denise, Ann, Rich, Nan, Kate, Erin, Alma, Kathe, Ruta, Lyn, Abbie, Jackie, Jan, Ida, Jan, Alma, Rosemary, Denise, Fariba, Margi, Diane, Vivian, Christine, Theresa, Mike, Becca, Carolyn, Vandi, Kim, Daru, Bernice, Deborah, Laura, Tessa, Hank, Jamey, Carol, Theresa, Mary, Blair, Barry, Sandyha, Marc, Cindy, Sam, Laurie, Sally (if I’ve left anyone out please be forgiving as there are literally hundreds and hundreds).
I have met the most wonderful people in my life and career – people who dedicate themselves to helping others, giving to others, people who have gone through painful, frightening, confusing times only to come out stronger and wiser and more loving on the other end. You all have been an inspiration to me and I say that from the bottom of my tired, irregularly beating heart.
I’ve been a psychotherapist for 30+ years and needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) it’s been a huge part of my identity. I painted this canvas a few decades ago when I was in another “identity” shift –
struggling with who I was as a person with a chronic medical condition. The picture was done in about 15 minutes, spontaneously, without planning or forethought. It surprised me. It is symbolic to me of emergence and hung in my office.
It’s probably time to paint anotherand see if I’m growing a third head.
With love and gratitude to each and every one of you who have touched my life,
P.S. I suggest you consider announcing your pending retirement or your demise (which ever you think may come first) as soon as possible so you can enjoy the nice things people say . . . . and find out who is keeping mum . . .
Seventy years ago I emerged from the womb – my mother’s to be precise. If that isn’t lucky I don’t know what is.
As you know, I had decided to celebrate my Birthday Season for 70 days in advance this year. However, it didn’t work out as I had planned because no one followed rule #3. So I am giving you another chance. Starting today I will continue to celebrate for another 70 days.
Please review the rules so you understand what your part is.
Here are The Birthday Season* Official Rules that start again today:
Beginning on the day of your birth your season lasts the number of days you are old. You may start your Birthday Season before the day of your birth. But you cannot exceed the number of days you are old. Consequently, every year your Birthday Season is one day longer. With me so far?
You are to celebrate your birth the entire season by choosing whatever you wish to do, or NOT do, each day. So far so good!
People give you presents the entire season. SO GOOD, so far!
You must be over 50 to qualify for Birthday Season status. (Over 50 you need more time to celebrate because it takes you longer.)
Those who are under the age of 50 can celebrate a Birthday Season as long as they don’t tell anyone or demand presents. (Gargle thoroughly after breakfast to eliminate tell-tale “Birthday Season Breath”.
You must eat doughnuts everyday for breakfast during your season. (If you don’t like doughnuts you can choose anything you want as long as it isn’t healthy).
Every day of your season you must be grateful for being born and still being alive. (After your Birthday Season is over you can revert to moaning about your age).
This comes under the heading of “If I knew then what I know now”.
After years of hearing from Daru Maer, my friend and colleague, about how wonderful, creative and incredibly accomplished her daughter Jenn Maer was I finally got to verify that myself when I met Jenn last year.
I’m sharing Jenn’s article that appeared in the San Francisco Egotist because it is timely. During the holidays we are particularly sensitive to other’s expectations, needs, wants and their “feedback”. Jenn’s realization that feedback, most of the time, is given for precisely the reasons she identifies is spot-on. I wish I knew that when I was Jenn’s age.
(Sorry Jenn, I couldn’t resist the parenthetical feedback)
What I Learned in 2014: Jenn Maer, Design Director, IDEO
“This was the year I finally learned to take feedback.”
“Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been “addressing” feedback for my entire career.Early on, I mastered the art of smiling whenever somebody eviscerated my work—nodding thoughtfully while saying, “Hmm. Interesting. Let me have a think on that.” But until recently, I never truly meant it. Feedback was something to be dodged, outsmarted, and begrudgingly incorporated when pressed to do so.”
“I realize this makes me sound like a world-class a_ _ _ _ _ _ (Feedback: Sorry for the edit, Jen, but this is a PG 13 rated blog and your description is not appropriate for those of us emotionally under the age of consent). But I don’t think that’s the case: I love (and insist on) working collaboratively, I always look for opportunities to help other people shine, and I’m pretty easy-going all around. I think I just hated the feeling that I hadn’t done something perfectly right off the bat.”
“Then, after having a really enlightening conversation with a mentor of mine, something shifted in me. I would get a piece of feedback and listen to it. I mean, really listen to it. Like the kind of listening a therapist does, when you say, “I hate the color blue” and they hear you say, “I’ve got deep-seeded issues with my mother.” (Feedback: Sorry Jen, your mother IS a therapist – how could you NOT have deep-seeded issues with her?) (Sorry Daru, but since you are a therapist you know that all things lead back to the mother . . .)
“I stopped being so quietly, inwardly defensive, and realized that each piece of feedback is delivered in service of making things better. Now, with every comment or red-Sharpied suggestion, I ask myself, what’s behind the issue that’s being raised? How can I use this as a chance to make my work clearer, tighter, smarter, funnier…whatever it needs to be?”
“I’m not saying I’ve got this new skill down pat. There are certainly still moments when people make inane, counter-productive comments that make me want to bash their heads in with the Polycom. (Sorry Jen, but I don’t know what a Polycom is so if you want to bash in my head I hope it’s soft . . . ). But you know what? I’m learning to hear what’s beneath those comments, too. It’s usually something like, “I need to feel important here.” (Sorry Jenn, I am important here – it’s MY blog) Or, “I don’t know what’s happening and I’m freaked out about it.” And with a little bit of empathy, I can help them through those issues, as well.” (Sorry Jen, if you don’t want to help me with my issue of compulsively commenting, maybe your Mom can?)
(ALL things are ultimately the mother’s fault – You are one smart, insightful daughter)
I like to experiment on my guests. I rarely cook (or have dinner parties) so when I do I want to try new recipes (except for my 500 degree 7 minute per pound turkey). People who have been to my “experimental dinners” know that, after tasting something I made and don’t like, I announce “This tastes terrible”. First time guests always try to appease me saying, with a forced smile on their face: “It’s good”.
Most (not all) friends and family know that I take NO offense if a dish doesn’t taste great and will offer their opinions too. I also make sure to tell them if they like something “Eat up cuz I will probably never make it again.”
It makes cooking an adventure and takes all pressure off of me worrying about whether others will enjoy the meal!
ALthough we aren’t having anyone over for Thanksgiving this year I just may try this recipe because it’s strange and interesting. I’ll freeze it for my experimental dinner party next year . . .
2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar (“red is a bit milder than white”)
Grind the raw berries and onion together. (Use an old-fashioned meat grinder or food processor that will give you a chunky grind — not a puree.)
Add everything else and mix.
Put in a plastic container and freeze.
Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw.
The relish will be thick, creamy, andshocking pink.(“OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. Its also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.”)
I’ve bitten the bullet (while I still have my teeth) and am taking the leap (while I still can leap) into the next phase of my life (which is getting shorter by the day)!
My office lease is up this February 2015 and coincides with my (gulp) 70th birthday.
I have wrestled with whether to sign a new lease, rent space from another clinician, buy a van to set up a Therapist-on-the-Go practice (kidding), move to the South of France (sorta kidding) or fade into memory . . . I will close my office along with my 69th year (no kidding).
Being a psychotherapist has been one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my life. I’ve been blessed to have had thousands (yup, count ’em thousands) of people profoundly touch my life. Therapy is a two-way street. I’ve learned and grown along with my clients. Their pain, hopes, struggles and faith have helped inform my choices, strengthen my faith and deepen my belief in human courage, resiliency and ability to learn & change.
It is almost inconceivable to me that I will be 70 years old and have been “practicing” psychotherapy for 30 years. It is hard to admit that in the last several years I have less physical energy and resiliency. But it’s true. (I like to blame my declining energy on fibromyalgia more than aging because fibromyalgia should be good for SOMETHING).
As I take the leap I will try not to lose my grip on the cord of these words that I do my darndest to tether me in my life:
“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. (THIS is a hard one!!)
Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.
Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.
Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. (GOTTA WORK on this – my speech isn’t always guarded as my friends can attest)
Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men.
Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.
Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts.
Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring.
Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.” (A TALL ORDER for us humans – one “leap” at a time).
(The Baha’i World Faith, Baha’u’llah)
I’ll keep you “posted” (on this blog) where I land.
Say a prayer that I land on my feet and not my head . . .
I am writing to you and not your canine owners because it’s you human beings who we allow to make the big-picture decisions.
My human-being told me that Blu is going to Disneyland. I’ve never gone to Disneyland.
Huge, distorted creatures live there judging by the pictures Blu sent.
Blu is taking his human-beings who sent this announcement): “This adventure is a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Please support Blu by walking with us through Disneyland and California Adventure on Sunday morning, Oct. 12th. You can sign up by going toCHOCWalk.organd look for Team Blu. If you are unable to join us, your sponsorship to either Adele or Bryan Green would be appreciated.”
Adelbear, Blubear, Ginormousbear & Bryanbear
“Blu and family understands that we all have limited resources. If you are unable to help, your prayers and thoughts are welcomed. Blu needs all the help he can to be good while walking through Disneyland to remember that he can’t use the park’s fire hydrants for his personal use!” (Even if huge, distorted creatures live at Disneyland I would take my chances and go there to check out the fire hydrants. ALL the fire hydrants around here are already mine).
Freddie Parker Westerfield, philanthropist
P.S. Blu has his own facebook page for the children at the hospital:
You wrote me about your owner Cody and I will try to help you understand him to improve your relationship.
“Cody rarely barks except when he thinks I (Gloria) am too slow in answering the front door or taking him for walks”.(All humans are too slow because they insist on getting about on only two limbs).
“He thinks everyone that comes over, came over to see him”.(Gloria Human-Being, don’t be so sure that’s not true)
“He has a doggie door but if he thinks he’s not getting enough attention, (If he thinks he’s not getting enough attention, he’s NOT getting enough attention)he goes out his door and comes around to the family room door and barks to let me know he’s out there.”(how else is he going to let you know he’s out there? . . . make sure Cody carries his smart phone so he can text message you)
“When the doggie door is closed and has to potty, he finds me in the house and scratches my leg a couple of times to let me know he’s there”.(Gloria Human-being, of course he scratches your leg. Bend down so he can reach your shoulder)
“He’ll scratch my leg like that for attention if I’m in the office, to let me know the timer is buzzing when I’m watering my trees”.(We doggies are very conscious of conserving our natural resources – especially since water is the only one we are allowed to drink)
Cody, full “blown” Westie
“If you’re eating something, he will look at you with his ears perked up, but you tell him it’s “mine” his ears drop and walks away. (Gloria Human-being, you must learn to be more generous and share). Although if someone feeds him a snack he may stick around for more. I try to tell my friends to give him carrots or dog treats only.”(Is that what you feed your friends – carrots or dog treats?)
“Cody has been a treasure to have as he and I are buddies. He loves going to grandma’s house as he usually gets a piece of chicken or meat to taste”.(Grandma rocks! I would like to have her for my Grandma. Please ask her.)
When Rick and I were growing up (childhood pictures of Rick & me) my favorite fun game was to make him get on all fours on the floor while I would stand over him squeezing his neck between my ankles and rock back and forth. Mom just didn’t understand how much fun it was and would yell at me, “Stop!!! You’re going to break his neck!”
I never broke his neck but . . .
. . . Wick’s* wittle brain wrattling around in his head may be the reason for some of his “amusingly eccentric” attempts to heal childhood trauma. Cases in point:
All I can say is it’s a good thing I’m a psychotherapist . . . he needs my help.
My sister-in-law is a flight attendant and generously offered mea “Buddy Pass”. $40 one way to Denver, Colorado to visit my bother Rick for his birthday – I jumped at the chance!
That’s the last time I jumped on this trip.
Rick, showing off the daffodils he planted – before they are buried under snow*
$40 equals “stand by”. After a 3 hour wait at the airport I stood by and watched as the plane took off without me (and 4 other standby passengers). Only one more flight out. My bags were still packed so I stood by for another 3 hours. Five thumbs went up as my fellow stand-byers and I were handed boarding passes.
This morning I booked a paid flight home.
*Rain, sleet and snow is coming in tonight with a 30 degree temperature drop!
Benefits: Allows the body time to process information at the end of a long day.
“No yoga session is complete without the final pose – Savasana. The body needs this time to understand the new information it has received through practicing yoga. Even though Savasana is a resting pose, it’s not the same as sleeping . . . ” (because you should never eat when you are sleeping).
1. Lie down on your back (while your mice are climbing into the chocolate).
2. Let your feet fall out to either side (comfortably tuck in your tail).
3. Bring the arms alongside the body, but slightly separated from the body, and turn the palms to face upwards (to catch any chocolate that might not be accurately thrown)
4. Relax your whole body, including your face, (but not your mouth which should be ready and open wide). Let the body feel heavy. (notice it getting heavier and heavier the longer you stay in the savasana position)
5. Let the breath occur naturally. (chew only on the exhale to avoid choking)
My wonderful friend Sharon just sent this new yoga pose to me. I hope she follows up with chocolate. I’ll provide my own yoga mat and mice.
* Instructions borrowed from various Yoga instruction sites. (Parenthetical edits are inRED)
Layer #1: 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 7 oz jar marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped Layer #3
1 14 oz bag of caramels
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
I received this e-mail titled “My mega disappointment” this morning:
“Dear Little Miss Manners. All of these decades I have lived with the illusion that I, Rick Clarke, was your secret crush. Now I have been outed in public that it was Billy Nelson, not I. Oh what shall I do?”
Dear Rick, IF you had been to the reunion AND read THE PROGRAM THAT EVERYONE IN ATTENDANCERECEIVED you would know what I wrote: “Secret CrushES – (I would never have admitted it then) Bill Nelson’s falsetto and sense of humor, Rick(y) Clarke – cute, tall and kind“.
IF you had been to the reunion YOU WOULD HAVE HEARD Mike Bewley read (with a wry smile) the afore-mentioned program, using the microphone booming out for all to hear emphasizing “RICK CLARKE TALL, CUTE & KIND and BILL . . . having a sense of humor . . .)
Ifyou had been to the reunion YOU would have heard me ask YOU and Bill to come to the podium where I would declare, IN PUBLIC, my undying secret crush on YOU SINCE GRADE SCHOOL . . . and Bill.
Ifyou had been at the reunion you would have seen me look longingly around the room, waiting for youto rush to the podium, but hearing instead an anonymous voice call out “Rick’s not here.” Being the consummate professional, I continued, never showing my hurt and disappointment that again I wasn’t even important enough to you to come to the reunion to see me.
Ifyou had been to the reunion YOU would have seen how EMBARRASSED BILL was, possibly indicating he never crushed me back and was disturbed by the thought that I, instead of Kay Wester adored him . . . further devastating my fragile psyche, and denying me the fall back position of focusing on YOU.
(Charlotte too declared her secret crush to be Bill– thank goodnessshe never told him in high school or I would have been COMPLETELY devastated to watch BOTHa secret crush and a secret jealousy be boyfriend and girlfriend and get married and attend the reunion as husband and wife further wounding me for the rest of the time I have here on Earth).
If you had been to the reunion YOU would know that since you spurned me FIRST, and scarred me for a lifetime I have ever more been too frightened to tell anyone I had a crush on them, thus denying me the REMOTE pleasure and knowledge, that it might have been humanly possible for any male, much less Bill, to crush me back . . . instead of them always yearning after Kay Wester and Charlotte Mills.
If you had been to the reunion YOU would know that I adored you FIRST since GRADE SCHOOL before I ever met Bill Nelson. But because you spurned me I had to turned my sights to Bill since he AT LEAST spent time with me in High School whereas you completely ignored me. (I admit though that Bill damaged me more than you since he kept my hope up longer by spending time with me).
If you had been to the reunion and had taken the time to come and SEE MEYOU would not be wallowing in self-pity, hurt feelings and otherwise unbecoming behavior for a grown MAN, which you were not when I had my crush on you.
And so, my dearest Rick,
Please be comforted to know YOU will always be in my heart
as the FIRST to ignore me.
*True Story, in addition to the above TRUE story:
When I was in grade school (with Ricky Clark) I had Rudyard Kipling’s poem IF in a frame hanging in my bedroom. Haven’t a clue how I got it but NOW (thanks to Rick)I realize it was to portend things to come:
Here’s the last stanza which use to read over and over trying to understand how it applied to me. (true)
“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,(yup, all the way until senior year in college) Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,(yup, still common) If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,(Rick Clarke and Bill Nelson – probably Kay and Charlotte too) If all men count with you, but none too much: (NOW that’s the truth, I never got TOO much from Bill or Rick) If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, (been running toward forgiveness for 60 YEARS) Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”(Maybe that’s why I’m so confused . . .)
Full Disclosure & Disclaimer AGAIN . . .:
I did have a framed poem IF, by Kipling on my bedroom wall and pondered it.
Names have STILL NOT been changed as NO one, any longer, is innocent.
Small details may not be 100% accurate as research indicates that time can affect memory and the reunion was (can’t remember how many) days ago.
And FINALLY Still! No apologies to anyone I might have offended.
**P.S. Rick, I can NOT find one picture of you to post to PROVE I had great taste, even at such a young age, and you were indeed CUTE and TALL. IF you are still cute and tall please send me a picture.
Dear Olivia, You are my favorite 6-year-old human being friend. I had a very good time with you. I liked how you taught me to stand up and dance and the cookies you gave me. I liked how you dressed me up and the cookies you gave me. I liked how you played chase with me and the cookies you gave me. I liked when you hid cookies for me to find. I liked when you took me for a walk and the cookies you gave me.
Please come back to visit me again.
P.S. After you left my human-being wouldn’t give me any more cookies. She said I had eaten enough. You’re the only one who understands that no one ever has enough cookies.
Do you know that BuckWheat is NOT wheat? Do you know how to make worm juice to fertilize your garden? – Important things I learned at The International Association of Clinical Hypnotherapy Meeting www.hypnosis4u.org!!!!
Linda Weisner a wonderful hypnotherapist and I learned about more than just hypnosis from John Warhank a talented hypnotist and Qigong teacher. Since you didn’t attend the meeting I’m passing on information John knows that EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW:
While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seedthat is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens. Buckwheat flowers are very fragrant and are attractive to bees that use them to produce a special, strongly flavored, dark honey.
3. Can Gardening Help Troubled Minds Heal
by Kristofor Husted
If you haven’t noticed, gardens are popping up in some unconventional places – from prison yards to retirement and veteran homes to programs for troubled youth.
Most are handy sources of fresh and local food, but increasingly they’re also an extension of therapy for people with mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; depression; and anxiety.
It’s called horticultural therapy. And some doctors, psychologists and occupational therapists are now at work to test whether building, planting, and harvesting a garden can be a therapeutic process in its own right.
One 2007 study in the journal Neuroscience found a bacteria found in soil linked with increased serotonin production in the brain — a sign that gardening could increase serotonin levels and improve depression.
Much of the science behind just how gardening affects the mind and brain still remains a mystery. What scientists do know is that gardening reduces stress and calms the nerves. It decreases cortisol, a hormone that plays a role in stress response.
Alone-time is something I relish. Whether it’s a factor of my personality or the kind of work I do . . . or both . . .I’m not sure.
All I’m sure about is I kinda like being with me. I find myself extremely compatible and understanding!
The word, coined in medieval times, originally signified “a completeness in one’s singular being”.
In religious terminology, ‘solitude’ typically means the experience of oneness with God.
Today, alone often implies lonely, an absence of something important or essential.
Here’s what it evokes for my good friend Sharon:
by Sharon Mills
To be a•lone is to play your music loudly or softly to please you, to read in the family room or dance in the living room or sleep on the couch, at noon, to clean or not to clean, to launder or to do homework or to exercise, or not. to revel in the possibilities of hour, day or week.
To be lone•ly is to turn on any talk show to hear a human voice, to sigh in the family room or cry in the living room or sleep from boredom, at noon, to scream or not to scream, to be crushed under the weight of things only one cannot do. to survey all there is to be done and conclude there’s no use.
To be a•lone is to exult in the exuberant monsoon rain storm, to be delighted that the phone does not ring and there is no raucous rap on the door, to be not Netted, to be able to think a thought through from beginning to end, to find time to luxuriate in being you.
To be lone•ly is to hunker down with headphones to avoid summer storm, to wish for the call of even a salesman or that a Witness would come to the house, to check for E-mail, to run from your thoughts as if from a speeding freight train. to be by yourself and not like the company.
A•lone is time to fill. Lone•ly is time to kill. A•lone is feast. Lone•ly is famine. A•lone is choice. Lone•ly is endurance.
I received a lot of responses on from the original post I wrote on lonely and alone
Tessa and I met many years ago when she attended one of my altered book Therapeutic Creative Expression Workshops.
She’s one of those people that you instantly feel comfortable with.
She and Steve Parker are Marriage and Family Therapists and have written a very “cool” book on relationships. Now anything that has lots of pictures and makes the point without lots of psycho-talk is “cool” in my book.
A wonderfully irreverent friend sent this to me. I have edited NOTHING out because Linda wants: None of that Sissy Shit!
Here is the unadulterated, unedited, unexpurgated, intact e-mail LINDA SENT ME.
P.S. The drawings are using one continuous line without picking up the crayon, by moi.
“Are you tired of those sissy ‘friendship’ poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality?Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.You will see no cute little smiley faces on this ~ Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.”
1.When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad. 2. When you are blue ~ I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you. 3 When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I would probably want to be involved in. 4. When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I get until you’re NOT. 5. When you are worried ~ I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining. 6. When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words. 7.. When you are sick ~ Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don’t want whatever you have. 8. When you fall ~ I will laugh at your clumsy ass, but I’ll help you up. 9. This is my oath …. I pledge it to the end. ‘Why?’ you may ask ~ because you are my friend.
Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.
Send this to 10 of your closest friends (including the one who sent it to you).
Then get depressed because you can only think of 4″
Thanksgiving is a day when we pause to give thanks for the things we have. Memorial Day is a day when we pause to give thanks to the people who fought for the things we have.
I wanted a VW Bug for years. They are round and compact and tweak memories of my teen years. One month before my Father died at the age of 93 he bought me a VW Bug: Brand new, white with a beige interior and a little plastic vase to hold a flower right next to the steering wheel.
My Father was a World War II veteran. Every year he would buy red poppies from The Veteran of Foreign Wars and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers who gave them out for contributions for disabled and hospitalized veterans and their families.
I hadn’t seen or thought about poppies in years until 2 months after Dad died. Outside the grocery store an elderly man was selling poppies. I gave him a donation and received a poppy. Since then it has shared space in the little plastic vase in the Bug my Dad gave me.
A brief history of the artificial poppy
In the World War I battlefields of Belgium, poppies grew wild. The overturned soils of battle enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, allowing them to grow and to forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed during that and future wars. The poppy movement was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” written in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces in 1915 before the United States entered World War I
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
By 1918 the poem was well known throughout the allied world. Moina Michael, an American woman, wrote these lines in reply.
We cherish too, the Poppy red That grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies.
She then adopted the custom of wearing a red poppy in memory of the sacrifices of war and also as a symbol of keeping the faith.
The poppy became a nationally known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is worn to honor the men and women who served and died for their country in all wars.
My human took this post from your blog because she likes it so much. I hope you will not be made at her because she will pout and I will not get the treats I’m due. I know you, of all my best friends, understand my plight because not only are you an artist and poet – you are an animal communicator, for real. (If you don’t believe me look at my best friend Becca’s blog)
Too many women have touched my life that have had breast cancer – relatives, friends and clients.
A few died but many survive to this day. The survival rate is so much better than years ago and we all owe that to research and organizations like the American Cancer Society that promote education and support the research. I venture to guess that your lives too have all been touched in someway by breast cancer.
If you’ve not been following the SketchBook Challenge this was just posted. This is a great idea and opportunity to get an ORIGINAL collage by donating to the American Cancer Society. My small contribution is to post this information and ask you to pass it on to anyone you might know who would be interested.
One Cause, One Wednesday, One Hundred Collages
One Cause – The Fight Against Cancer.
One Wednesday – February 16, 2011.
Sweet Tea House by Jaime Fingal
On Wednesday, February 16, ONE hundred collages will be offered with a minimum donation for each collage of:
$160 for two hours (10 a.m. – Noon CST)
$80 for two hours (Noon – 2:00 p.m. CST) $40 for two hours (2:00 – 4:00 p.m. CST)
You can preview the collages at least one day prior to Wednesday, February 16 for a preview and all the details about how to acquire your favorite collages. Collages will be featured periodically on blog prior to February 16.
One Hundred Collages – Created for this event by an all-star team of artists: Natalya Aikens, Pamela Allen, Laura Ann Beehler, Liz Berg, Pokey Bolton, Laura Cater-Woods, Jette Clover, Jane Davila, Jane Dunnewold, Jamie Fingal, Gloria Hansen, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Jeanelle McCall, Linda Teddlie Minton, Karen Stiehl Osborn, BJ Parady, Judy Perez, Wen Redmond, Cynthia St. Charles, Virginia A. Spiegel
Many years ago my good friend Bernice and I were sitting in a motel room eating doughnuts for breakfast. We picked this motel because it had free doughnuts and coffee every morning.
It was just before our birthdays which are a few weeks apart.
A bit giddy from not sleeping well on motel mattresses and slightly inebriated on chocolate covered doughnuts, we decided that if we were going to get older each year we would at least take advantage of our accumulating age. We created OUR BIRTHDAY SEASON.
Here are the rules in case you’d like to have your own Birthday Season.
Beginning on the day of your birth your season lasts the number of days you are old. Consequently every year your Birthday Season is one day longer. With me so far?
You are to celebrate your birth the entire season by choosing whatever you wish to do, or NOT do, each day. So far so good!
People give you presents the entire season. SO GOOD, so far!
You must be over 50 to qualify for Birthday Season status. Over 50 you need more time to have fun because it takes you longer.
You may start your Birthday Season before the day of your birth. But you cannot exceed the number of days you are old.
Those who are under the age of 50 can celebrate a Birthday Season as long as they don’t tell anyone or demand presents. Gargle thoroughly after breakfast to eliminate tell-tale Birthday Season Breath.
You must eat doughnuts everyday for breakfast during your season. If you don’t like doughnuts you can choose anything you want as long as it isn’t healthy.
Every day of your season you must be grateful for being born and still being alive. After your Birthday Season is over you can revert to moaning about your age.
Do NOT write me pointing out the bias I have shown toward certain kinds of doughnuts in the slide show.
Margo’s Nephew Nathan was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Margo sent paper bag pages to all of Nathan’s relatives. Her instructions were to cut out and paste meaningful pictures, words and write notes to Nathan on their bag page. When she got all the pages Margo made a cover from a box and sent the Bag-Book to Nathan for Christmas.
Fantastic idea Margo!
Here are some of the pages. Take a look. It’s great!
I’m not seeing clients for 2 weeks, count ’em TWO, 1, 2!
First time I’ve ever taken time off in 25+ years of practice simply to catch up on paper work and organizing. I’ve been drowning under paperwork and haven’t been able to catch up all year.
Two Weeks! It feels very self-indulgent! It feels great!
Weak 1: I didn’t grow up with computers. I download EVERYTHING to read. I download EVERYTHING to
keep for later reference. I download EVERYTHING that appeals. I download EVERYTHING . . .
Priority “To Do”
Weak 2: My personality, er propensity, er character sees EVERYTHING as a possibility. So I “tend” not to throw anything away. There’s ALWAYS some use. There’s ALWAYS a way to recycle, upcycle, reuse, repurpose . . . There’s ALWAYS a creation to make when I have time . . .
Yesterday, day 1 I went to a party.
Today is day 2. Laurie, my good friend (she doesn’t have “weaks”) came over and DIRECTED cleaning part of the garage where I had lots of “possibilities”. I threw away 2 HUGE garbage cans of valuable things. And donated 3 HUGE garbage bags of valuable things.
It was rather traumatic so I didn’t take pictures.
It’s my husband’s birthday today. I purposely didn’t schedule anyone at the office for tonight so I could prepare a birthday FEAST. Now you must know I rarely cook. I’m a pretty good cook but there’s a rule in our house: Who ever Cooks Cleans Up. Need I say more?
I made a New Zealand lamb roast because that’s one of his favorites.
and made a salad FROM SCRATCH and salad dressing FROM SCRATCH!
I set the table with our best stoneware and stainless, couldn’t find the napkins so I delicately folded paper towels.
I EVEN put ice in the water glasses!
For dessert there was a choice: chocolate eclairs or apple pie that was on sale for $1.99. My husband chose the eclair
Seems as if December brings many beginnings and endings. Here’s a lovely article I received from Cathy, a wonderful, talented writer. It made me reflect: The passing of parents, particularly the same-sex parent, often leaves us asking questions about our own lives; I suspect questions may be the most important legacy we receive.
Here’s Cathy’s questions. Which do you share?
“Thirty-seven years ago today (Dec 19), my mother passed away. The phone rang at 7 a.m. I answered, and the doctor asked to speak to my dad. He sat on the edge of my bed and took the call. Then he put his head in his hands and cried hysterically. I don’t really know what happened after that. I do remember that I made the calls to my brother and sister, aunts and uncles, because my father could not.
We went to the hospital; the doctor wrote me a prescription for Valium. I never took it. We went to breakfast and had bacon, eggs and toast. I don’t remember tasting anything. We went to the funeral parlor. I picked out the coffin because my father could not. It was slate blue metallic with a blue satin lining.
After that, there were the usual preparations and condolences and services. Those I barely remember.
I wonder what she would think of me after all these years. I wonder what she DOES think of me. She visits me often. She would probably to this day tell me that I can be anything I want to be. Is that still true? Was it ever? What can I accomplish in the remainder of my life? Have I squandered it all? And, in truth, what DO I want now? That’s the difficult part.
All I know is that today I will acknowledge my mother. I will unwrap her fragile tea-cup salvaged from my dad’s apartment this year and put it in a place of honor. Just so she knows she is not forgotten.”
She was always a favo(u)rite of mine, including the great exchange between her and W.C. Fields in a movie that I can’t remember the name of! She said “My little chickadee,” and he said “Come up and see me sometime.” Just too funny to see two of my favo(u)rites using each other’s “catch phrase” as they say today.
Glad to hear the Mae West is your muse: you’ve chosen well!
I replied to her post and had to stop when I started to tear up.
My Mother died 10 years ago today. I have a VERY bad memory for dates. But I know it was December 12, 1999 because December 12th is my dear friend Joyce’s birthday and I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that Mom missed living to 2000 by only 2 weeks.
It seems Mom was always both behind and ahead her time: She gave birth to my brother when she was 30 years old — extremely rare in those days — In 1950, 30 was OLD to have a child; She upcycled clothes when upcycling was not in the dictionary; She learned to swim and DIVE and had her first airplane ride in her 40’s.
Mom gave me my love of creativity. She knitted, sewed, tailored clothes, made jewelry, stained glass, copper enameled, painted, water-colored, tooled leather, did ceramics – she would try anything. I am always a bit sad that she’s not here to experiment with me at all my new creative endeavors.
I do remember her at funny times, over funny things: She loved eating anything off the bone, particularly turkey carcasses; She kept a sign up over the stove “This is Selma’s kitchen. If you don’t believe it start something” – where that sign came from I don’t remember; and when things were difficult she always said “This too shall pass.”
She had polio as a child and one leg was shorter than the other. You couldn’t tell until she took a photo – the pictures were always at a slight tilt. As she aged she developed post-polio syndrome and was in excruciating, intractable pain the last years of her life. She never complained but you could see the pain in her eyes.
It doesn’t really matter if I believe she is no longer in pain and in a better place. I miss her. I also believe there never is an end to grief as long as I am in this body called human.
My very creative friend Sharon hand-made this pillow for me — she’s definitely my “Victoria’s Secret Incredible Bra”
Here’s an internet review of the Incredible Sharon, er Bra:
“Comfort. The instant comfort comes from the innovative self-adjusting straps. There’s no little doojiggie to fumble with on the straps. I never have to tighten or loosen, because the straps themselves stretch to adjust to the right fit.
I’ve been wearing one regularly for the past couple weeks. It was a little snug on the first wear but it soon became quite comfy. It also feels very durable and doesn’t feel like it’s going to get all stretched out.
It’s also very comfortable, because of the super-soft, silky fabric and cushioned, double-wrapped underwire. I never feel it digging into my skin.Flattering Fit. I tried the push-up style, which adds great lift (makes me look about one cup size bigger at least) but still looks natural. The wide side panel also has a slimming effect and smooths underarm pudginess but without feeling constricting. The bra is virtually seamless so I can wear it under most any top and not see any revealing lines.”
The Bottom Line: The Incredible Sharon is one comfortable friend that looks really good and feels really good.
Today I opened my e-mail and there was this poem from http//:BendedSpoon.wordpress.com. It immediately brought the memory of my Mother telling me, when I was a little girl, that my Grandfather’s favorite rose was yellow. Grandpa has been dead over 50 years and every time I see a yellow rose I think of him.
Thank you BendedSpoon for helping me remember that the thorns are there to protect the rose. They really aren’t out to get ME.
“How could she be so kind
in a thorny life.
Maybe she saw roses
she taught me
how to see too.”
Do you see your roses?
Received this from one of my treasured friends, Laurie Miller. I met Laurie at an International Association of Hypnotherapy meeting (impossible not to meet her – she’s the president!) and is a wonderful and successful hypnotherapist. Her web-site is www.HypnosisConcepts.com.
( I don’t know who the author is. I do know that the article supports research findings)
They Teach It at Stanford
“I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last
lecture was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between
stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among
other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his
health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the
best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her
At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.
Women connect with each other differently and provide support
systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life
experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time” helps us to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas
men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a
buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal
lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf?
Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.
Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and
evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.
There’s a tendency to think that when we are “exercising” we are
doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with
friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively
engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality
personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our
physical health as smoking!
So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let’s toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it’s very good for our health.”
I REALLY TREASURE MY GIRLFRIENDS. Now go and treasure yours. (couldn’t resist the Pink Color!)
P. S. Interesting Research findings:
Longevity – Married men live longer than single men, yet women who marry have the same life expectancy as those who don’t. However, women with strong female social ties (girlfriends) live longer than those without them.
Stress – For decades, stress tests focused solely on male participants, believing that all humans would respond in the same manner. When these same stress tests were finally conducted on females it was discovered that women don’t have the same, classic ‘fight or flight’ response to stress that men do. According to the research presented in The Tending Instinct, women under stress have the need to ‘tend and befriend.’ We want to tend to our young and be with our friends. Time with our friends actually reduces our stress levels.
More Stress – A study conducted by the UCLA School of Medicine found that when we’re with our girlfriends, our bodies emit the “feel good” hormone oxytocin, helping us reduce everyday stress. By prioritizing our female friendships and spending time with these friends, we take advantage of a very simple, natural way to reduce our stress.
Even more stress – Prairie voles, a monogamous rodent, have a similar response to stress. When a male vole is put in a stressful situation, he runs to his female partner. Female voles, when stressed, immediately run to the females they were raised with.
Self-esteem – A recent study by Dove indicated that 70% of women feel prettier because of their relationships with female friends. It’s no surprise that our self-esteem is highly influenced by our girlfriends; this is important to understand for girls as well as women.
The Health Factor – Women without strong social ties risk health issues equivalent to being overweight or a smoker – it’s that serious.
When she was bed-ridden from the pain of fibromyalgia Lynne Kennedy Mattallana created beautiful water-color paintings and The National Fibromyalgia Association.
Now water-color is a medium that is fluid, delicate, where the colors intermingle uncontrollably and the picture that emerges has a life of its own. You start with light colors and progress to darker and darker tones. And once the color is laid down on the paper it leaves an indelible mark.
The origin, scope and growth of the National Fibromyalgia Association is a water-color painting.
The NFA has flowed across the entire continent, delicately but tenaciously influencing laws and research promoting the care and well-being of fibromyalgia & pain patients. Like a watercolor The NFA picture has emerged as no one, not even Lynne, could envisioned.
The NFA web site has a wealth of information:
FMAware Magazine on-line, Newsletter
Fibromyalgia: Research, clinical trials
Resources, Doctors, Support Groups
Advocacy, science, treatment, prognosis
and much more.
I encourage everyone who has or knows of someone who has fibromyalgia (and that’s MOST of you since the disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3-6% of the world population!) to take a look and tell others about the NFA “paint” site
Founded in 1997 in Orange, California, by Lynne Matallana and Karen Lee Richards, the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) is the largest nonprofit [501(c)3] organization working to support people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses.