31 August, 2007

Wag More, Bark Less...

I think this is my new goal--I want to wag more and bark, snarl and growl less. The nature of events in my life and this heat wave, have me growling and snarling a lot lately.

Being stoic is overrated. Yet, I grew up in a family that did not encourage showing vulnerability and despite my proclivity towards crying, I keep pretty my feelings private and close to the vest. I grew up watching Jackie Kennedy--I learned how to do the hard stuff from the classic woman of grace and strength. My ministerial training and experience has taught me that grief needs to be felt, honored and expressed. But in the privacy of one's own home, right? When no one is around, right?

Today, I had the time to take advantage of the free birthday chiropractic adjustment Dr. Meltvedt offers his patients. Of course, my body has been holding a lot of the stress of this month. As Dr. Leo was working on me, I felt the tears well up and overflow. At first, he thought it was because he had adjusted my sprained thumb and it was quite painful. Then I explained that the tears were because of losing my mother and my body could now let go. He smiled knowingly and offered his support. I told him I was holding onto everything in my body and I feel and look like Violet (blueberry)Beauregarde. in "Willy Wonka." Dr. Leo said that if I hadn't held on, I might have exploded. He was oddly correct.

And now, all I wanted to do was sleep. I have been fighting off a week of malaise that was as if someone had put MSG in my drinking water. I would be so fatigued, I would have to fall asleep no matter what time it was or where I was. I am sure I have slept over the past few months, but you couldn't prove it by my recent energy level. As I've mentioned, the heat has only added to the molasses sludge of trying to getting things handled and projects completed.

This week, I did have a great day of serendipity, supply and generosity. On Wednesday, I manifested a whole passel of good things happening and demonstrations of supply. In the morning, my dear manicurist Rachelle (who I have been seeing since I moved to La Mesa originally in 2001. Her salon, Alante, is in the mall space where PCRS was supposed to be) gifted me with a pedicure for my birthday and also had a thoughtful condolence card waiting for me on my chair when I arrived. Ran my errands for the rest of the day. Had my online UCSL teaching class and then dashed over to the Ken Theatre to see "Colma: The Musical". Mel had gotten me the soundtrack for my birthday and we had been waiting for this indie film to play locally. We were early, so we took a lovely walk around Kensington and appreciated the sunset. When we walked in to the theatre, the manager was just wrapping up some sort of announcement. As he walked up the aisle, I stopped to ask him what we missed. He said the weekly Wednesday raffle. Bummer! He said next time, to get there early and we could participate. We were early, but we were outside instead. Oh well...

After the movie (which was interesting and had some creative merits) the manager was waiting for us and handed us two free popcorn coupons because he felt badly that he had started the raffle so early. What a sweet thing to do. Now that is good customer service (are you reading, Don? It gets better).

Mel and I walked over to Starbucks. I had fun educating Mel in some of the finer points of ordering his latte. I was very excited because the new summer blends were available and the Ubora was on tap. A very nice barista gave me a sample cup to taste and I was smitten. This bold blend from Africa is an oak-y, and has caramel overtones. Because it was so late, they had stopped brewing the milder Joya del Dia and I was disappointed to not get to try it. I figure any blend that has the word joy in it... and is manufactured by Starbucks and is supposed to pair with chocolate has to be good. We got our lattes and found a table and began talking and yammering. The nice barista from behind the counter came over to us. "I am going to make your day." He explains that he gets a free bag of coffee every week and he wanted to give his bag of Joya Del Dia to me! (Insert happy squealing here). He said he could tell how much I really appreciate coffee and he knew this would make me happy. Yeah, baby! I asked for his name so I could thank my benefactor and then asked if I could hug him. He complied on both. I was jumping up and down by then. We talked for a few minutes and found out we also share a love of books and that he wants to be a librarian. OK, so now, we're fast friends because books and 'bux go together. I asked for his e-mail so that I could ask a lovely librarian I know if she has any advice or leads I could share.

Mel and I were beaming at the serendipity and generosity of this man's actions. He had never met me before and something impelled him to be so gracious. I was really touched by the intention even more than the gift itself. He could have given that coffee to anyonel or kept it or sold it on e-Bay for that matter. I told him I would return next week to let him know how I liked the new blend.

Wag. Wag. Wag.

26 August, 2007

Dog days of summer

It is summer and there are days, but who let the dogs out? I am still looking for mine.

Time is still a bit askew in my world and I am still not fully connected. It is getting better, however. In fact, on Sunday I had an amazingly fabulous day that I thought someone had re-written everything while I was sleeping. Did someone turn the world around and put it back correctly on it's axis? Did everyone have a double-shot latte on their way to see "Hairspray" after the dog park? Oh, and President Harrison Ford (hey, he had more practice on screen than Reagan did) announced that that the troops are coming home.

On Sunday, I was the guest speaker at the Pacific Center for Positive Living in Lake Forest. On the way, we had a few bouts of thunder and rain and the air even smelled differently. I felt ... well, positive and enthused about this opportunity.

Rev. Lynn Gabrielson from this church had called me a month ago to book me and she was just so endearing on the phone I knew this was going to be a lovely experience--and it was. Immediately upon arrival, I felt a welcoming energy not only from the presiding practitioners and the head greeter but all the people as they came in. Don and I joined in their meditation service which was delicious and I surrendered to it fully. The music was awesome-- Hal Ratliffe, formerly with The Righteous Brothers, was the musical director and keyboardist; and guest vocalist, Gail Chasin--whose rich, sultry voice was an unexpected delight for a Sunday morning.

By the time I set foot on the platform, I felt so comfortable, safe and accepted.
I had such fun giving my talk and the diverse group easily 'got' my humour. Whew. I was a bit concerned since I was a complete stranger to this church and it wasn't even within the UCSL ranks who might have at least heard of me.

My faith was as they say, restored. And the grinning irony of it all did not escape me. The name of the church, Pacific Center . . .their choir was named the JOYful Voices...and, they meet in a Masonic Lodge hall! (although this bright and airy center was unlike any Masonic center I have visited).
It felt as if the circle was complete in an odd, parallel life kinda way and now I can move on. Thank you, Jesus (or Buddha, or Mohammed or Uncle Ernie...)

The emotions spiraled again on Monday as Don and I put together the flier for Mom's memorial service--something about seeing it in print. Concurrently, David sent the photos he scanned for me to use at the service and it was bittersweet. The advantage to not working right now is that I don't have to keep eye make-up on or explain the red puffies.

It has been documented that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. It is three weeks today since my mother died but I don't think I have broken the habit of missing her yet.

Oh-oh-ohhhhhhh, Starbucks has two new blends created to pair with food. The Ubora blend and the Joya del Dia. Oh my, they sound wonderful. And kudos to them for initiating another new health practice of only use % milk (unless you request whole milk). Maybe I should re-think working there again...

The warm weather does not help for getting these tedious projects done.

Oh and here's a sqwinkle in the scheme of things: Took HenryHonda in for regular servicing at my wonderful car repair shop, Smitty's here in Normal Heights. This is an honest shop with great people who run it. But I digress.... while running a service check, they learned my battery was running at 5.6 volts--waaaay under norm, so I authorized then to install a new battery. Cool, right? Well, I did not realize that would throw off the electrical system and it meant the CD player would not work and required the standard Honda theft deterrent code to be re-entered. Argh. Well, I found the code but not till after Don and I were pushing all the buttons to see what we could accomplish. Then in reading the owner's manual (don't ya wish we had one for ourselves?) I come to learn that if you incorrectly enter the code after three tries you will be locked out. And what's the solution?? Ok, here it comes-- the car must have the CD unit ON for one hour continuously before it will accept a reset. You have got to be kidding! That means I am supposed to drive to Orange County or sit under a shade tree in Balboa Park with the engine running. Forgive me mother nature that I have to waste gasoline and pollute the ozone so that I can listen to my music again.

Lookout, today my bark is equal to my bite.

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...