Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fertile Ground

The sun is shining this morning. The last two days have been rainy. The temperature has dropped so low at night that the heat has been running.

The tulips closed up against the cold. Maybe they will open today.

My friend in town started working in her garden earlier this month. The season was three weeks ahead. She has been in her glory turning over the soil and preparing the ground for planting. At 77 years old she still does everything she wants to do.

I have been teaching my friend how to use a computer. In February someone gave her a small, used laptop. Ken and I got it hooked up, and I have been helping her learn how to use email. She has never typed or used a computer before, so we started at the beginning. I am going over to her house this morning to show her how to do a search online. I will show her, and she will go through the steps herself. She will write down notes and thank me, and next week we will go over it again.

At 10:00 she and I will attend Crafty Ladies, a group that meets once a month to visit and do handwork. The women are all retired and when my friend introduced me to the group 16 months ago I was sure that I would soon be working and unable to meet with them for long. I know them well enough now that I am able to make small talk.

Yesterday I listened again to a series of CDs by Caroline Myss on self esteem. Each time I listen I hear something new and make connections. I have been observing myself this week, what I say to myself and what I think about. I am intentionally changing my story and holding myself accountable. I ask myself what I want my life to be. I am waiting for the answer to evolve.

The last sentence on the last CD is, "At the end of the day the greatest gift you can give the world is a healthy you."

The journey continues....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Letter To Public Television

This is our reply to a recent request from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for an "extra gift" ~

Dear MPBN,

We were excited to think that we'd have 2 PBS channels with the digital change-over. Considering that we've lost ABC altogether, and we only get NBC in the right weather, we knew we could rely on getting PBS with our antenna. [Comcast refuses to pull cable down our road and we have too many trees for a satellite dish.]

Unfortunately, MPBN has continued to play the same programming on both 10-1 and 10-2. Two stretches of fund-raising, two weeks of high school basketball, and now the auction have meant that often we are not able to watch regular programming. Due to the interruptions, we've given up trying to watch "This Old House," a series we have followed for 25 years. "Charlie Rose" at 11 pm is often pre-empted, but I knew I could count on seeing him at 1 pm. Now you're moving Charlie Rose to 4:30 as of May 1, which is right at the time I prepare dinner. And me with no television near the kitchen.

To say we have been disappointed with the whole digital takeover of the airwaves is an understatement. The powers-that-be really didn't think about TV viewers without cable and satellite capabilities. Our disappointment has only multiplied with the increased lack of regular programming on MPBN. You have two channels, why not use them?

Give you extra money? Sorry, no. In fact we will be decreasing our pledge when the time comes.

Sharon and Ken

Thursday, April 22, 2010

No One Said There Would Be Flowers

Last evening my daughter came, with Mazulah*, for a visit. She brought me tulips from her yard. I planted bulbs there last fall, and she wanted me to enjoy the beautiful blooms.

No one told me when I had children that there would be flowers.
My daughter shared the news that she is on track to graduate from residency in late June. Each resident has a meeting to make sure they have met all the criteria, and she has! In August she will begin a one-year fellowship, a unique opportunity to study further and continue to see her patients of the last three years.
I also spoke with my sons yesterday.
T called to say he's all set with an apartment for the summer and is registered for classes in May and June. Last week he confirmed his co-op position [aka paid internship] for July through December.
P called to say he has been offered a new job, a full-time permanent position. He starts Monday and is looking forward to working with the people he has met.
Who knew, when I had children, there would be so many flowers?
*Mazulah, my daughter's puppy, has the same name as a player on the University of West Virginia basketball team. We were watching the NCAA play-offs when the name Mazulah caught my attention, and it seems to suit her just right.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quiet Time

When my children were little we had quiet time every afternoon.

As babies and toddlers, they took naps. Some days I took a nap, and some days I relished the quiet.

As the kids got older, quiet time continued to be part of our routine. Some days they napped, and some days they read books or played quietly on their beds.

Quiet time was good for all of us.

My kids learned to rest when they were tired.

And I learned that quiet can be a good thing.

Now when I am home alone I realize how quiet my life is.

This has allowed time for reflection, introspection, and healing.

The quiet has filled my days in the last week. I have had some things to think through, to resolve, and to forgive. Feelings of anger and vulnerability are not healthy.

Today I realized I can feel differently.

Quiet time allows room for the process.

The journey continues....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Welcome Mazulah!

For months my daughter talked about getting a dog. Then she spent weeks looking for a canine the right age, the right size, and with the right temperament, which is a tall order in Maine. States in the Northeast have strict laws about spaying and neutering animals so, while there are lots of cats available, it's hard to find a young "rescue" dog that will be happy in a small house and able to live with cats. Then last month she found the perfect pet online. She made the application and was accepted as an adoptive owner for an adorable puppy from Mississippi. Once the dog had all her shots and was cleared by a vet for transport, she traveled north with twenty other dogs who had owners waiting with open arms. On Sunday we all met Mazulah, who is just as cute and gentle as she can be. Leo approached cautiously and never got close enough for Mazulah to know he was in the same room ~

How could anyone resist this face?

Welcome to the family Mazulah! We are glad you're here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just To Be

Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.
~ Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Those words are posted on the side of Laura's blog Shine the Divine.

I didn't realize the full meaning those words had for me until last Thursday. I spent the morning rushing around getting snow tires changed over, dropping off items that had accumulated in my car, getting gas, and making mental lists of all the things I still hadn't done.

I was driving home when I noticed the dark clouds moving across the sky. The trees on the side of the highway were swaying in the wind. I thought Just to be is holy. The words came unbidden. I knew that wasn't the sum total of the saying, but it was the essence of what I was feeling at the moment between being busy and starting in again on more I had to do.

Just to be is holy. The thought startled me. I took a deep breath.

That evening my husband and I were going to the train station to pick up our oldest son, P. He was going to be on the east coast, from California, to take care of some business, and he was coming home for a long week-end. We were surprised and thrilled when he called to tell us about this unexpected trip.

My next reaction was to think about the things I wanted to get done before he arrived.

Just to be is holy. Slow down. Stay present. Enjoy the time together.

It was a wonderful week-end. Our daughter was able to join us for dinner twice. We drove to Boston on Saturday to spend time with our youngest son and watch his team participate in the Steel Bridge Competition.

Tomorrow P will take the train back to Boston. He has an early morning flight from Logan airport on Wednesday.

In the meantime I will enjoy the time we have together.

I will not forget that Just to be is a blessing and Just to live is holy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I once believed that the more I have to do, the more I get done.

That was true when I had a tight schedule and needed to work what I wanted to do into a life filled with other people and obligations. I found time to spend with family and friends, time to take care of a house, time to work outside the home, and time to go back to school.

Now I have too much unstructured time and too many choices.

Over the past three years I have found ways to fill my days. There is always something to do.

There are chores and errands and projects, sleeping and eating and exercising, writing and reading and sewing, bookkeeping, movie viewing, and spending time with other people.

I was able to fit things in where there was time. If something came up that wasn't on the calendar, I moved my time around and made room. I stayed up late when I wanted and got up early when necessary.

I haven't had a set routine and my schedule has been flexible.

Now I want to add structure to my days.

I am having a hard time.

It sounds ridiculous, but I have too many choices about how to plan my days. There is no framework to start with. It's up to me to decide when to schedule what and how to set priorities. I want to keep doing everything I have been doing, and I want to start doing things I've never done before.

I am buried in paperwork. It seems like the more I try to streamline record keeping, the more there is to keep track of. I have invested in "Quicken for Home and Business" but have yet to find time to install it, and then I need to figure out how to use it. I need to get my business files organized, which will be easier once I get Quicken up and running.

I am tired of cleaning and cooking, but I like a clean house and balanced meals.

Keeping a house for two people isn't much different than keeping house for five people. The same things need to be done regardless of how many people are around, but there are fewer people to help with what needs to be done.

The other side of that coin is that now there are three family members living elsewhere, people I like a lot and want to spend time with when they are available. I have always made time for my kids. Now the need is for chunks of time instead of time distributed over weeks and months. Since time together is harder to come by, it matters that I am able to change plans and be available.

The irony is that since I don't have a job outside the home, until now I have moved around what I have to/want to get done to meet the time constraints of everyone else.

Now I need to consider what it means to be self-employed.

I am frustrated. I don't know what to do first. I am not even sure what I want.


Thursday, April 1, 2010


Despite the fact that it was the wettest March on record, spring actually arrived in accordance with the date on the calendar this year. The green leaves of crocus and tulips are coming up among the brown leaves of fall because, well, because I hadn't raked because it was still March. Today the sun came out so I went out to see if there were any flowers to report. There was a little purple bloom glowing in the sunshine ~

as well as a lovely white crocus that came up right through autumn's leftovers ~
Now that's perseverance. Welcome April!