25 November, 2006

White Christmas

NOT!

Ok, so I am still in San Diego and we are far from a white christmas however the sweetest, coolest website has come to my attention and I want to share it with you.

http://www.popularfront.com/snowdays/index.html

This site allows you to create a personal, uniquely designed snowflake (well,aren't they all?) and dedicate to someone or to everyone. Then you can invite people to see your snowflake and read your message and even have their responses sent to you.
it gets better. Each snowflake adds towards a contribution to the Salvation Army. This really beats the santas ringing the bells on the corner.

I am not one for games and such on the computer. However, this fascinates me and I love looking at the other random snowflakes that float down (click on any one of the dots on the screen) and see who and what they have created. Some are exquisite and from far across the seas, too.

Since I doubt I have the time, patience or ability to send one to each of you individually, at least this way the information will get out there and you can share in the silent beauty of a colloborative snowfall of peace and goodwill to all.

Seasons Greetings.

23 November, 2006

Thanksgiving Night

Yes, it is finally thanksgiving. And the official holiday season has begun.

Let me begin by thanking Nordstrom for being the only major department store that did not succumb to the accelerating commercial urge to begin decorating and selling Christmas things BEFORE Halloween. Crimeny. Next year, it retail will start by Labor Day.

I don't understand why we can't stay in present time. Thanksgiving is really one of my most favorite holidays and I hate having it tainted or basically getting short-shrift because it is not a shopping holiday. And it is no longer cachet to open the stores at 5:00 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It's becoming old hat to do that. The retailers need to think of something else, please. At least now, I can look at decorations and listen to seasonal music without cringing or judging. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas--and I was hopping around like any other kid waiting to see Santa Claus at the end of the Macy's Day Parade. For me, I like to build up my excitement till I can barely stand it and want to shake all my prezzies before Christmas morning while listening and singing to all the Christmas faves. I don't want to be singing "Monster Mash" one minute and "Santa Baby" the next.

Today, I shared a lovely family Thanksgiving that was completely vegetarian. It was delicious. Even homemade pumpkin pie.
I did my own thanksgiving inventory and counting of my many blessings.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
And thank you for being a part of my blogland.
Goodnight.

19 November, 2006

One for the Guinness...records, that is...

Did you think I meant the ale?

One of the interesting and positive aspects of Mercury being in Retrograde is that it is always a time for people, ideas, and opportunities from your past to come back into the present for you. A time where you hear from people "out of the blue"; a time when you get to clear up loose ends from past encumbrances or old beliefs.

Just got home from an unplanned trip to Los Angeles. This was a pastoral care trip predicated by the need to assist my mother in getting her groceries; getting groceries and taking care of some chores for my aunt (who just got out of the hospital with a dislocated shoulder from a fall she had trying to re-set her clocks); and visiting with a dear friend of over 20 years whose mother just had a stroke.

B R E A T H E

I did a lot of breathing to keep myself centered and clear and able to be objective and supportive. And to deal with L.A. traffic, of course.

My friend I had not seen since moving to San Diego--although she and I stay in touch by email and phone calls. So it was a reunion of sorts as well as being there to help her. It was a great opportunity to talk and know the Truth for her and for her mother. We also needed to be practical and talk about plans for when her mother would be released from the hospital and coming home. It's a good idea to Feng Shui a house but another to make it user-friendly for a stroke patient getting around on a walker.

Going up to L.A. is always a chance for me to review the past. It is one thing to review one's past in memory or reflection but when you get away from the people, places or things that make up your past, your history so to speak, and then you return to "the scene of the crime", it is often, very different. Driving past buildings and places that held significance; and also driving past those places that are no longer there that have been replaced by some edifice of commerce holding no meaning or appeal whatsoever. Nostalgically, listening to the local rock radio station, KRTH 101 that I grew up with playing the classics of rock and roll, and they are still playing those songs today. It is a time warp. Driving by one's high school while the songs "Satisfaction" or "Light My Fire" are playing and I have to find ways to remind myself that life is very different; and I am not the same person struggling with the idea of adulthood on the horizon even though many of my inner feelings have not changed.

Even being at the Ralph's on Third & La Brea where I was one of the first three female box-boys! As this older woman was bagging our groceries, I stepped in and joined her. Deja vu. I tried to tell this woman that I had worked at this very store back in the 70's pioneering doing what she was doing but she didn't 'get it'. Oh well... guess it didn't matter in the bigger scheme of things.

Adulthood. Changes. It is never easy to see one's parents or relatives age. Again, the horizon is starkly different when you go away and then return to objectively measure the change. They are the same people but now inhabiting smaller, feebler forms. I didn't want to 'see' the physical changes in my once inordinately active and feisty aunt. Yet, during our conversation about my recent chance to doggy-sit two big dogs, she blurted out that she liked big dogs and big men. I tried to contain my reaction and stay nonplussed. Whew, she hadn't changed that much on the inside.

Using my newly acquired HeartMath breathing techniques, I moseyed on into the San Fernando Valley to visit my girlfriend.
My ministerial training continues to serve me well in being of emotional and spiritual support while remaining clear, objective and open to divine guidance. We talked for hours catching up on old times interspersed with dealing with today's reality of her ailing mother.

Next on my itinerary was a chance to have dinner with Marshall Stern before heading home. A little backstory so that you can appreciate the serendipity ? Providence? retrogradian irony? -or a combination of all three--you decide. By the way, I have his permission to use his name and facts to share this story.

Earlier this year when I was in Asheville, N.C. for the Minister's Convocation, I received a phone call in my hotel room from a "blast from my past" whose voice I did not recognize. It turned out that Marshall and another dear friend from junior high and high school were having trip down memory lane and my name came up. That prompted Marshall to search for me online and lo and behold, he came upon this very blog site. And it so happens that I had blogged where I was staying and he tracked down the hotel!

Marshall was a year ahead of me in school. He was so cute and yes, I had a crush on him. He was in the cool crowd of older guys and I was the goofy little good girl who didn't smoke or ...or...nevermind. I wasn't really his type (nor most guys type for that matter) but he was always so sweet to me. Once he even interceded when the lead cool dude who was a big bully started to mess with me. (I never understood why bullies often attracted such appeal by male buddies or ogling females. And they in turn, probably wondered why I prefered to sing show tunes).

Marshall and I have begun e-mailing since his call (another baseball buddy) and his parents still live in Los Angeles, while he lives in Pittsburgh, PA. He wrote me that he was in L.A. this week and when I learned I was going up there yesterday, we discussed meeting for coffee or a bite to eat.

Can you begin to imagine the "trip" it was to see him after 35+ years? And to do so, while already tripping down memory lane in my old neighborhoods and with family and friends? It made me laugh that the last song playing on the radio before I got out of the car was The Monkees' "I'm A Believer."

I easily recognized him--still animated and not looking as if he had aged much at all. (Maybe they have better water supplies in Pittsburgh?) Having been in communication by e-mail, we easily fell into conversation and laughed and talked for until it was time to drive home to San Diego. Perhaps because I had been in such a work mode all day, I had neglected to feel shy or self-conscious about seeing someone whom I had not seen in decades and could easily have been the equivalent of a total stranger. It turned out to be a blessing that I could end an emotionally difficult day on an upbeat note. It made the long drive home a lot easier. As I got in the car to begin the long drive on a foggy night, the first song on the radio was "Say A Little Prayer"--so I did.
Spirit had my back all day and I was thankful.

"I'm a Believer"--now pass the Guinness.

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...