The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Friday, September 30, 2016

One of the very nice things about being "back home" is that I am close enough to celebrate sweet times with my oldest friends.  Being basically the only surviving member from the family of my origin (yes I have cousins, we're friendly, unfortunately - not close) has helped me realize how precious the people who share your earlier memories are.  It's a good gift - friendships!

Dolly is launching a new venture, Tailored Living of Greater San Antonio.  She invited me down to share the joy at the Home Show this weekend.  Yesterday I helped her put the finishing touches on her booth.  Well, actually, I helped by distracting some workers from what they were 'posed to be doing to help me widen a link on a bicycle chain so the padlock would fit through securing a Schwinn to the displayed hanging (genius) apparatus, while she applied the finishing touches.  Some of the guys were there to roll carpet down between the aisles and eventually her Prius had to be moved to make way for that.  I've never driven a Prius.  I volunteered, just trying to be helpful.  Every person on the aisle became involved as I navigated the 6" clearance on either side.  I may not be a Prius driver ... . The car does appeal to my geeky sensibilities though!  There's a systems matrix on the dash. The backup camera and rear visibility does leave something to be desired (that's my story).

bells and whistles 

More on this weekend later -

Saturday, September 24, 2016

“When our eyes are graced with wonder, the world reveals its wonders to us. There are people who see only dullness in the world and that is because their eyes have already been dulled. So much depends on how we look at things. The quality of our looking determines what we come to see.” 
― John O'DonohueBeauty: The Invisible Embrace

“What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.

When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.” 
― John O'DonohueBeauty: The Invisible Embrace

“You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.” 
― John O'Donohue

pics from a CJ2+ trip Oct 2013

“The heart is the inner face of your life. The human journey strives to make this inner face beautiful. It is here that love gathers within you. Love is absolutely vital for a human life. For love alone can awaken what is divine within you. In love, you grow and come home to your self. When you learn to love and let yourself be loved, you come home to the hearth of your own spirit. You are warm and sheltered.” ~O Donohue

“Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person's soul.” O Donohue

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Do it again Christmas Guidance

“Because children have abounding vitality, 
because they are in spirit fierce and free, 
therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. 
They always say, 
"Do it again"; 
and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. 
For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. 
But perhaps God is 
strong enough to exult in monotony. 
It is possible that God says every morning, 
"Do it again" 
to the sun; 
and every evening, 
"Do it again" 
to the moon. 
It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; 
it may be that God makes every daisy separately, 
but has never got tired of making them. 
It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; 
for we have sinned and grown old, 
and our Father is younger than we. 

~ Chesterton

bummer sticker

original image

"warm light" app overlays
background blur +"dream"

"prisma" app overlay
"aviator" dialed back
Playing around with my new photo apps ... it's amazing magic those  little gizmos conjure up!

This picture was taken in response to "what are you doing for dinner?"  I took a little ice chest full of food I like, a spoon for breakfast yogurt (even though the hotel promised a nice buffet style breakfast) and some half and half (because those tiny creamers are annoying when you just have to have your morning coffee).  I forgot a plate for the microwave.  I forgot a jar to shake my protein powder up in. The guy at the front desk solved "oops" number one, nearby Walmart the other.  Turning on the TV with a strange remote and finding something to watch was the only challenge of the weekend.  Gosh I love unlimited hot water!  The river house has a tiny bath tub, and I have a newly developed appreciation for "good" bathtubs!

The classroom style FIRC was incredibly user friendly.  It's the way to go. A few days away from my routine was a pleasant refresher too.

Now I'm "looking" at the other flight programs around here to see if there is a good fit for what I want to do aviation wise.  I do want to fly.  I don't want to fly at the exclusion of everything else.  I'm at that time in life where I don't have to work, I want to work.  And flying is the best work possible from my perspective.  One of the programs has a couple of Cessna Sky Catchers in the hanger.  After I finish my housework catch up today I'm going to read up on them  (I think it has the Continental O300 engine ... ).  I really think I'd like working with people in that.  I like the light planes.  I should say - I like landing the light planes. Not crazy about getting thrown around in them and that may be more of a problem over here where it's hot.

One of my High School friends has retired from a career in telecommunications - she saw the writing on the wall in the early 80's and made excellent business choices which landed her in tall cotton as us RGValley girls say.  She retired a while back, looked for what to do next, and has found something fun to pour her energies in to.  She invited me down to help with the business launch later this month.  Looking forward to that.  It's really neat to be back within easy range of my oldest friends.  We have our 40 year High School reunion celebration coming up next month.  Why October, I do not know, but I'm looking forward to a few days with my school buds.  We are approaching our Big 60 and I bet I don't recognize more than a handful of faces.  My graduating class was around 500.   I haven't been down there many times since I left for college.

Flew some this week - flying some next week after the WX system passes through here.  Getting back in to it slowly but surely.

Friday, September 16, 2016

what I'm looking at yesterday and today

There are three of these plants in the front yard at the rent house -
after I get the water kettle for coffee going, I go outside to call the cats in for their breakfast.
Seeing this bloom is a wonderful treat to start the day with.

This tickled me enough to swing back around for a picture - 
that green car is actually parked (snicker)
the white car is also parked
the lady who got out of the white car was fussing' about how the green car was parked
(and it is worse - still. pot calling the kettle ... lol)
I stopped with my cart full of pet supplies and smiled at her husband
(who was the handicapped person in their car).
"He doesn't even have a handicap sticker. If the police come by he's going to get a ticket!"
Just looking at the picture cracks me up.
It's so  "us".

This hodgepodge dinner was delicious -
Turkey patties with pineapple salsa on a bed 
of shaved lettuce, cilantro and red onion dressed in V's jalapeƱo 
(idk) Chuy's knockoff sauce- like jap/ranch
topped with red cabbage slaw (leftovers)
and avocado - yum.

Dallas - FIRC this weekend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I think Hillary has a touch of the Blues

Couldn't help but think of this as we receive "updates" on HC -

What's up with Hillary ... ?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

My niece (in law, the wife of Tommy's son) lost her mother recently to an almost two decade struggle with cancer.  She is awash in grief and asked me how one "gets through" these things and I told her  I think we gently find our way.

During the final days before my mother's passage she frequently (Momma) asked me, "Do you see that?"  "No Momma" I would say everytime, "but I don't doubt that you do. These things are not for me to see." 
And, I believed that when I said it. 
When the small dog she was seeing became too "rambunctious" I opened the door and whistled for him to go out.  She was satisfied by that.  I laughed at her shocked dismay when she spotted her least preferred brother-in-law, Kenneth, "WHAT is HE doing here?!?" she demanded with arched brows. She wanted me to turn around for the stranger who was taking pictures of us.  I was sitting near her, on her bed with my back to him.  "Why is he taking pictures?" she whispered pulling me closer.  "There are always pictures at parties Momma." I kissed her cheek and leaned away as she directed one of her brilliant smiles towards the corner of the room.  
I guess it was just the week before that I had packed her up for a six hour drive to visit her sister, my aunt is in a wheel chair and doesn't travel, but she and momma spent hours each day on the phone with each other.  I knew my aunt needed to see her this one last time.  Momma began seeing "little people " at the WHATABURGER drive through window which was her lunch request at the very beginning of the road trip. "DeAnn, what is that little man doing?"  I looked everywhere for a little man.  "He's right there!" she said pointing at the hood of Tommy's truck.  "Hmmm, what does he look like Momma, because I can't see him."  That was the first "thing" I couldn't see and honestly, I was pretty sure she was pulling my leg about seeing it herself, but ... I went with it.  She was aggravated that I couldn't see it too and I hadn't figured out how I was going to handle her invisible world yet.  I remember thinking 1) this trip may be inadvisable 2) hope these hallucinations don't get scary for her and 3) if she totally freaks out will I be able to maintain control of the vehicle.  She wasn't on a very high dose of pain meds, her "guy" seemed friendly enough and the truck cab gave me plenty of room to respond if she started grabbing for the wheel which was my primary concern.  I thought she'd be asleep during the Houston traffic and she was.  Anyway, back to "the little men".  I asked her what he looked like and she held her hands about 10" apart indicating his height ... she was watching him intently as we waited in line for her burger and fries.  "He's wearing a bow tie." I can't remember his specific "outfit" beyond the bow tie - that struck me as weird because I didn't think she'd seen many real men wearing bow ties.  My dad certainly was not the bow tie type. 
 "Oh my goodness!  He moves so fast!  Like a humming bird!"  
"What's he doing Momma?"  
"DeAnn (hear exasperation creeping into her voice), he is checking the engine!  Yes, he is satisfied with the engine. 
(I'd had the engine serviced earlier in the week, Tommy was a sticker about the oil especially.)
"Now he's checking the wipers!" she practically giggled.  "He is checking everything!"  She was very animated about the whole thing.  "How can I have lived so long never knowing about this?  We pray for traveling mercies but I just never knew ... he's making sure everything is good for our trip!"  
I called my brother, 
"Uhhh, Momma is seeing little angels ... do you think she is up for the trip?"  
He laughed.  
I was worried about how the meds were affecting her.  She saw bunches of "angels" as we made our way.  She described them as wearing brightly colored clothes but was careful to point out to me that they didn't seem clownish at all and that as a matter of fact, she thought angel wore only white garments, but these little guys were quite colorful and happy ... and they weren't all directing their attention towards us.  They were doing all sorts of things on behalf of the people around us.  She was worried at first that the "engine angel" (my words) wouldn't be able to hold on as fast as I was driving (I love those 85-90mph Toll roads) but I told her he could come inside if he wanted to ... and that I didn't think our stuff affected him anyway.  
"There's one waving at me."  
Yeah ... that's how it started. Once it got dark she stopped telling me about the little men.  She began counting (aloud) the orange reflectors on the guardrail posts.  How high will she go I wondered as I calculated the remaining minutes before I could rest. By time we pulled in to my aunt's home, Momma didn't recognize me at all.  Her first words to her sister were, "I don't know who that girl is, but she doesn't look like us!"  Gosh I was relieved to be there.  I was desperate for sleep. I had planned to stay for a couple of days and then drive on with her to my home, where I could sleep for a week if I needed to.  We thought momma had more time than she turned out to have and I was hoping to spend a week with my family where I'd have some help with Momma.  As it turned out my sister-in-law texted me that Tommy was back in the ER - septic - and I opted to drive back to be with him with Momma wrapped up in her sister's flowery moo-moo and flannel pajama bottoms.  All of that is so much a blur for me now.  Momma's health declined rapidly and somehow we found ourselves at the Hospice house within a few days of arriving back at her home.  I was so tired by then that I wasn't sure I would know how to switch on the oxygen that Hospice had delivered with a hospital bed for Momma.  It was such a bizarre time.  Momma was at the Hospice house for a couple of weeks I think.  After the first two nights I began to stay there with her leaving only to visit my brother who was in the hospital about 20 minutes away.  The doctors at Hospice thought Momma might survive for several more weeks, maybe months.  They helped me find a full care facility for her to be discharged to.  
I don't know why I'm remembering all that. 
Momma died sooner than anyone thought she would.  I woke up on the morning she died and watched her sleeping so sweetly.  She was smiling.  When she opened her eyes I told her that the ladies would be in to help her freshen up and we could have breakfast if she felt like it.  She said, why don't you go check on your brother.  (He was scheduled for surgery that day, but I never told her anything about him except that he was getting better.)  I remember I saw him briefly before leaving to get back to Momma.  The hospice nurse had informed me that Momma had "taken a turn" so I stopped at the grocery store to stock the little frig. in her room with apples, orange juice and yogurt for for me.  I thought it might be more difficult  for me to step away for meals. My phone was ringing as I came through the courtyard at the Hospice house.  As I stepped into the room the nurse told me that my momma was passing.  I remember I took my long sleeved overshirt off and got in bed with my momma to hold her, I thought she might be comforted by the feel my skin.  Her eyes were open but she was unable to speak.  Our noses touched as I held her close and told her I loved her.  I saw regret which I interpreted as her saying "I am sorry."  I whispered shhhhhhshhhh, Momma, I forgive you.  I love you.  I always have and I always will.  
She seemed to nod ever so slightly before she closed her eyes.  She passed on a sigh.

“All falsehood is a mask; 

and however well made the mask may be, 

with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face.”

The nurse came back in the room.  She had been waiting just outside the door.  I was entirely unaware of her, but ... she must have been right there, because she came in immediately.  She said, "Your mother has passed." Maybe she offered soft words, I don't know.  I stopped hearing her.  I was moving away from the bed and looking at apples on the floor.  They had rolled out of my shopping bag.  I sat on the couch for a minute then asked the nurse, "What happens now?"

“Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.” ~RWE

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
That soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath elsewhere had its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
From God, who is our home."

~William Wordsworth
(a few lines from "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" - From recollections of Early Childhood)

One of the things I was compelled to think about as I sat with my mother was "how we see ourselves" and with that, maybe a little bit about "why we see ourselves thus". from May 2014

So ... what happens next?  after they have gone to forever?  

Surely a lot of it depends on what happened and what you "made" of what happened while they were alive (here).  For me ... I compartmentalized.  I am outstanding at that - sometimes to my detriment.  I picked up the apples, drove to my mother's home showered and drove back in to the hospital.  Tommy's surgery was for a colostomy bag.  It leaked ... not leaked, that is too weak a word.  He was mercifully unconscious until midmorning the next day.  The hole in his colon under his ribs seeped continuously through the night.  The bags that the hospital had for him were "not right", the seal was wrong for his incision.  His skin was raw from glueing, scrubbing away glue to reapply a different seal ... on and on through the night.  My phone alarm was set for every 15 minutes because it had been "suggested" that a pain med push every fifteen minutes would help him not wake up in screaming agony.  Between pushes we ran through every clean towel and sheet on the wing.  The nurses were ... they became family to me.  I did what my mother had requested.  I took the best care of my brother that I was able to.  I focused on helping him.  He died the day after Christmas that year ... and unfortunately, the chairs in front of his casket were sitting on top of my mother's grave.  I sat on my mother's grave and watched the pastor move his mouth saying ... something.  All I could hear was a voice in my head saying, you're sitting on your mother's grave and they are going to put your brother in the earth beside her. 

After that I went back to my life.  It has taken awhile to find it.  I had a lot of "unpacking" to do.  It takes time and it seems right to be gentle with oneself.  

I cleaned my house really thoroughly ... I'd been away a lot during the past year and I'd missed all of the routine things I did around my home.  The garden hadn't been seen to properly for example.  Windows hadn't been washed, and there were spider webs all over the screens.  It wasn't that people hadn't cleaned while I was away ... it was that nobody knew to vacuum out the couch and wash the slip covers once every month.  I did "stuff", stuff that required enough thinking to keep me doing something but not so important that I couldn't stop and look at the bird building a nest in the rose bush.  I worked at living my life again.  I worked at finding a new normal.  

I didn't feel like flying (which had been my thing).  That's just now started to become a pleasure again. I am grateful. 

I walked my dog a lot.  Still do.
I read, not as much as I used too, but more then I did that year.
I found a chorale to sing beautiful music with.
Last week I joined the gym and selected pilates and yoga classes which meet several days a week.
I'm starting to think about the 40 year HS reunion planned for next month.
I'm living.

I finally succumbed to learning how to Snapchat ... my two youngest children think that's fun and it is - silly fun. See - 
with a filter (a mask)

without the filter
I sent that first one to my Debbie and she immediately replied, "Oh no!  you've had a face lift!"  I think it looks like a fairy person in the Lord of the Rings movies.  It's not as creepy as some of the filters!

I kayak for an hour or two most days and I look for the baby Heron that lives on the river, and ... 

... I live.  No only does it seem to be the best way I can absorb the loss,  it seems the best way to honor my people.   

I think I have come to feel more comfortable with being the sort of vulnerable that loving as well as I am able to makes me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Green Chili - also a family recipe

I start with a bunch of poblano peppers ... clean them carefully because dirt hides in their "divets" especially around the stem. Roast them for awhile in a slow oven with a head of garlic and pictured here a couple of red peppers (just for color).  Once the outer skin has blistered remove from oven and cover with a tea towel.  The skins will be easy to peel once they've cooled.
I do not remove the seeds or membranes.  Pull the stems away and drain the juice into your cooking vessel.  Slice the peppers (I go lengthwise, but I don't think it matters) and put them with the juice and the prepared roasted garlic and an onion or two ... gotta clean and chop those up too!
I don't roast the onion btw ... it stews as everything cooks.

Sometimes I cook the chili in a slow cooker.  If you're doing that, the meat should be a pork tenderloin ... it's going to cook down to a pulled pork type deal.  Add the chilies once the meat is closer to done ... say 1/2 way through the time.

If you're cooking in a skillet, cube thick boneless pork chops (trim the fat away), season them, sear in hot olive oil, then turn the heat down to simmer ... add chilies later.  My mother used cornstarch mixed in chicken broth to provide a thickened sauce.  That works well when you're in a hurry, otherwise, slow cooking will render a nice sauce.

Serve this with black beans, grated cheese, spanish rice and flour tortillas.
left overs are great on nachos

Monday, September 5, 2016

... down by the River to play ...

This is the River which borders the back yard of the rent house (lucky us!).  We've been spending a lot of time on the water lately.  My foot, which I damaged a few weeks ago, still swells if I walk on it as much as I want to so to have time outside we've taken to "kayaking" the river.  I am starting to plan for a better way to get in and out of the water.  Lately the water has been about two feet deep where we launch from.  I don't love how slimy and slippery the river bed is along our boundary "lawn" line ... and we have snakes down there from time to time. The neighbors have tried to dam up the river a bit with a rocky ledge with is fun to shot over but has been impossible to climb back over in the boats - the paddles strike the uneven rocky bottom and are unable to get much of a bite of water.  So far anyway.  The river was up another two inches or so today - it's probably 5-6" there , and as the level comes up,  it will be easy to pass that area in either direction. I'd like to build something makeshift and easily portable since this isn't our property.  Just something to keep me from slipping or stepping on a snake!  Most of the river is fairly deep.  I can see turtles and fish in water that is about four foot deep. I don't know how deep it gets as we make our way downstream - lots deeper though. In the shallow area upstream, one can see wagon wheel tracks.  A local ScoutMaster said they were from the Chisholm trail.  

I like being on the water as much as I enjoy walking the trails.

This weekend we discovered that my great-grandmother who I knew was from Oklahoma and had  a Cherokee heritage was actually full blooded Shawnee/Cherokee.  I knew she had an "Indian number" and felt some shadow of shame about her parentage, but I thought she was not 100% American Indian.  It was very interesting to read the Dawes Packet/her Dad's file.  He answered questions posed by the Department of the Interior for enrollment as Cherokees of Shawnee blood through an interpreter.  It is amazing. My Great Grandmother must have learned English as a second language.  I spent time threading her quilting needles and talking with her one summer while she visited at my Granny's home.  My Daddy built her a quilting frame and she made several quilts on it.  She was tall, like me, I'd say she was as tall as I am (5'9") with the same slight lopsided waistline.  I noticed it as she bent over her work and we talked about it.  Her daughter, my grandmother, was a full foot shorter, and blue eyed.  My great Grandmother had topaz colored eyes, the lightest brown with golden flecks circling her irises (just like my mother's eyes - scare-y looking like a snake).  She was very soft spoken, shy in the same way I am shy, but very matter of fact about things.  We talked about how scandalized she was when she saw that Granny sent her a pair of slacks to wear on the plane from her home in California to come to Texas for a visit for that summer.  She said she felt almost naked wearing them!  She told me that her husband had never seen her without her clothes on and when I asked her how the deal with making babies worked with that she wasn't the least bit annoyed at my questions.  She said she was always under the covers in the dark before he came to bed.  
I liked her a lot.  My mother said all the grandchildren liked being at her home when they were growing up.  The records say her mother didn't have an English name.   I wish I could know what her momma called her ... . 

Her husband, my Granny's dad, was from Wise, Texas.