I look forward to proving this theory, but I hope to get there much sooner than 80 years old:
Thanks for the link, Marian.
I look forward to proving this theory, but I hope to get there much sooner than 80 years old:
Thanks for the link, Marian.
Crest Trail #25 - the only other trail I had hiked before. :) It's a wonderful hike. The entire trail is over 25 miles long...we didn't do that whole thing, nor would I. Jim (friend,Tai Chi sifu - remember him) has done the whole thing. IN TWO DAYS! Planned for 3; down in 2. Amazing.
TSHG always meets at the base of Ski Run Road, and we always drive to whatever trail is today's choice.
To get to Crest Trail is quite a drive up into the mountains, branching off toward Monjeau Lookout.
There are lots of postings on YouTube about this area: Monjeau Lookout and the White Mountain Wilderness. I'll stick with my photos for now. The Little Bear Fire went thru here...the change is dramatic, but (imho) not relevant to these posts. Look it up if you want to hear about 'disaster', 'should', shouldn't, 'blame', 'devastation', etc.
The real impact of the fire is much more personal than that to me and - for me - requires a different POV. Also for another post.
Only some of these will get captions; most will explain themselves:
Steps to Lookout
A gorgeous hike that was...
RE: Jim Edwards (guy in the Red Jacket) is our fearless leader. His mailing list for this group is over 100. The groups who actually hike range from 6 to 20 people per hike. Jim is an experienced Search & Rescue member, and inveterate hiker, and full of all sorts of knowledge about the flora and fauna of the area. He is extremely patient and unflappable. Really nice man. I hope I die before he decides to quit leading these groups.
This was my first hike with the Trail Snails hiking group, or TSHG as they will be known on these posts.
The group has existed for years, maybe decades. They hike twice a week: Mondays is a longer more difficult hike, and lasting much longer. One expedition recently was exploring in a part of the burned areas. They were never really lost, but fire had burned trail signs and, of course, most landmarks were entirely different. That group got back down the mountain about supper time!!
I don't hike with those folks...yet.
I might never hike with them actually. I like the hiking a lot, but I like lots of other things, too. We'll see over time.
Here are some favorite photos from my first hike up Mills Canyon:
It's an interesting group. My first strong impression is that they talk a lot. Now I know that some talk, some just walk, some want to know the name of everything, and some want to tell you.
I like the group. Even though this hike was an easy one, it was a challenge for this novice. Interestingly, my first hike with this group - this one in Mills Canyon, is one of the VERY few trails I had hiked before!
Yes, our dog took all my attention for awhile...QUITE a while.
Still does, really. But I'm also into Balance in my Life, right? You've heard me say so; I'm sure of it.
Lately there has not been as much as I like. Mea culpa, I'm certain.
Anyway, I'm still distracted, but I'm going to let this blog help me with one of them...the distractions, I mean. I will be posting here about the weekly (or almost) hikes I take. Yesterday's was the first one in the rain. Yes! Can hardly believe it. Slow and gentle, but still rain! Blessed event. None of us minded and I got to wear my Mickey Mouse slicker! Yeah, you know; the one you bought in Disney World because it started raining and you had to have something and it was the cheapest thing that would do the trick. lol
It turned out to be a one-use item as I suspected, but I'm very happy that it expired on the trail.
For the next MANY posts, I will be putting up photo-journal stype stuff of the hikes. I'll start back with the first one - it's mostly just to have the record here... and I can trim the photo files while I'm at it. I don't know if this will take several days or several years.
The hope is that, once I'm back in the posting flow, I'll actually write more.
Figuring out how the days should look... want time/ideas/?? for these things:
tai chi, alone, music, burning 500 calories at something fun to me, meditation(godhelpme), archery, Karaoke;
AND THEN...I want enough good time with the people I care about that they know they are loved, appreciated, and respected.
A lot of this stuff can be measured in minutes and a certain quality of intention and attention is required of course. Let's watch and see what happens.
AWW!!! FU%&#ng serendipity; here comes a major distraction and my partner answered for us:
good friends - and I mean really Good, The Best Ever - friends are on their way home and are stopping by for a drink.
In fairness to them and to you, dear reader, I had signed the ttfn just as the phone was ringing. So I was thru writing for today, just thought I might go ....
Change that... we'll take the drinks outside - take care of two birds.
Over & Out
No treatise on the soul ever taught me as much as my dog, Winston. What a happy irony! I am a theologian being patiently tutored on friendship, loyalty, and love by a brown-brindle English bulldog. It seems only mete and good to pay tribute to the soulfulness of humanity's best companions on Saint Valentine's Day. For many of us, our dogs are the epitome of love incarnate.
Since our species, Homo sapiens, and our domestic dogs, Canis lupus familiaris, have shared a partnership through the good times and bad befalling the human race for better than 35,000 years, we have had ample time to learn many of the answers to life's deepest questions from them. "Who are my neighbors, and how am I to relate to them?"
Dogs have demonstrated unfailing help in time of need: herding our flocks, hunting alongside us, using their superior senses to warn us of dangers we could neither see nor hear, and watching over us while we slept. "Are we alone in the universe?" Dogs have shown us unstinting loyalty and companionship, offering us warmth to ward off the chill of the void, nuzzling us time and again out of our existential angst with their cool, damp noses--peering into our souls with their unfathomably rich brown, and blue, and hazel eyes. In the bargain, they have won a dependable source of food, shelter, and companionship from us. Little wonder, then, that the earliest elevation of dogs to the status of persons in prehistory took place by burying our faithful friends alongside us in human graves as early as 14,000 years ago.
My bulldog, Winston, knows nothing of these things intellectually. But I am convinced that he possesses all the best hallmarks of his race instinctually. He does not care about my ethnicity or race or gender or sexual orientation, whether I am rich or poor, whether I occupy the clifftop of my theological guild, or inhabit a more modest spot near the bottom of it. All that matters to him is that I am his human, and the joy with which he greets me at the door, flews all aflutter, and toenails skittering across the floor in his ritual dance of hello lets me know that I am home, and all is well. For to the world I may be only a single person. But to this bulldog, I am the world.
The ancient Romans believed that a great she-wolf (a lupus) suckled Romulus and Remus in her cave-den, the Lupercal, along with her own pups. True or not, her gentler great-grand-pups and we humans have been mutually caring for one another long enough for us to know that something of the best within us emerges in the company of the single species on earth who will be faithful to us to the last beat of their hearts.
Pagan Roman priests, the Luperci, and the Christian bishops who succeeded them argued theology to a fault, as the petty wrangling over the festival of the she-wolf, the Lupercalia, and the Feast of Saint Valentine demonstrates. Which was the correct god of the Lupercalia: Faunus or Inuus, Mars, Juno, or Bacchus? What rendition of the Holy Trinity proved orthodox enough to consecrate Valentine's martyrdom and make him a bona fide saint? But the dogs of then and now, Winston's kindred, fetched love away from abstraction and made acts of love obvious in each generation until this very Saint Valentine's Day. For us humans willing to learn from our dogs, it was never the finer points of dogma that counted a biscuit--the celebration of love and companionship is all that ever counts in life: canine, human, and divine.
So, do dogs have souls? When they die, do all dogs go to heaven, as the animated film of the same name suggests? I may remain agnostic about the obscure points of such a theology, but I am not undecided that, as St. Francis of Assisi prayed, all our pets manifest the beauty of creation and the holy joys of lives wholeheartedly lived. Prepare your best Saint Valentine's Day cards for them, then: our pets are our sisters and our brothers, and they call us to be better people and better stewards of creation than we are now.
Winston sighs as he nestles at my feet while I write. He looks up at me with his harlequin face, half white and half black, the yen and the yang in fur and wrinkles and underbite. Theologically, I wish I had something "profound" with which to conclude this post. All I can manage is a cliché I cannot better no matter how I try. In my life, I only wish I could be half as good a person as my dog believes that I am. Happy Saint Valentine's Day, Winston, you soulful dog, to you all your kin!~http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/blackberry/p.html?id=2667424
Jim sent me this video today. It is just gorgeous; had to share it.
Two of my favorite singers!!!
this is to save the post and the book title... already added to my Amazon list. Thanks, Ronni
Tongue-in-cheek, of course. I usually mean, 'please leave me alone'.
But Susan Cain, in this TED video, has a few enlightening things to say about introverts, and some suggestions about how we can best contribute, and best be supported within our work/social/creative worlds. A very good 20 minutes I think.
We were eight for dinner yesterday. I didn't think to take the 'after' picture, or the buffet spreads... should have. And my picture of the turkey is no good; I hope Carol's is better. If so, I'll post it. It was a GORGEOUS turkey, perhaps the prettiest I've ever made (credit to Michael Simon). The secret to a beautiful browned skin is to cover the bird in a few layers of seasoned-butter cheesecloth and then leave the bird alone in the oven.
And I wish I'd photographed the Veggie Pie... I say, this was my year for Pretty, and I didn't document... no doubt fond memories will suffice. :)
We had a pot-luck menu, from talented cooks.
Soupe au Potiron (Savory Pumpkin Soup)
Herb-Roasted Turkey with Onion-Apple Dressing and Pan Gravy
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows ~ Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Double Crust Vegetable Pie
Yeast Rolls and Butter
Salade de Poireaux (Leek Salad)
Wines ~ Beer ~ Tea ~ Fresh Lemonade
Sweet Potato Pie ~ Chocolate Meringue Pie ~ Pumpkin Pie ~ Fudge
Did I say we ate well? Why, yes; we did. : )
To begin, each of us read a quote about Gratitude from a bowl passed around the table. Then we toasted my Dad with a version of his "Big Orange" That was served in the small flutes with a slice of Orange. It's really nothing more than a vodka cocktail that he had every day about 3 in the afternoon. Not all of my friends drink alcohol, so the cocktail had only a token 1/2 teaspoonful in the mix for all 8 of us. (Some of us added a little kick from a small pitcher passed at the table.)
Since the first bird was cooked on Tuesday, we had a wishbone all clean and pretty. We'd decided to give that to a 'lucky' winner who picked the right number, and let them wish on it ... but we forgot to remember... I suppose Joel and I will do that tonight over turkey leftovers.
Football did play a factor in the festivities, but the group broke fairly evenly among fan-atics and chatters and those who moved between the two. Two other friends stopped by, also. It was a thoroughly lovely day.
And the Dad part played out perfectly for me. and then was done...
So, the first dish-washer load ran last night - thank you, Honey! The second load is in and it's time for me to finish up the kitchen and pack the leftovers for the next stage; some to the freezer, some to care packages, and some for lunch!! TTFN
Last Friday was his last day. I still don't know what to say about it. Besides Joel, only Nancy knows, so far. And I'm not really sure why I'm keeping it so much to myself. Can't really be all that different from so many who lose a parent they didn't really know. Just Thanksgiving and all...no point in bumming out the natives. Mom passed at Thanksgiving, too...
Only notice I'm found so far...
Apparently, he was sick several weeks ago. I heard about in late October after he'd just had surgery and things weren't looking so good for him. They called in relatives. I didn't go. Things to do, you know: a play in Albuquerque we'd bought tickets for last February; a doctor's appointment in Texas; stuff... you know, planning for the Thanksgiving soiree. just stuff.
And then he got better. Amazingly so. And everyone that had come in to town for him went home. And I didn't go. I thought I'd rather see him alive than dead...and how much more convenient to go in a few months when he's stronger, and winter is here, and a trip could be a get-away and not just a mad dash to a sick bed...or a funeral.
So, now the funeral is Wednesday. And I'm not going. And I don't really know how I feel about that. Bill isn't, either. We're sending flowers. Nice ones. All the folks in Florida for this occasion are people I don't know at all. Except Frankie, his wife. I would love to be able to give her a big hug. Her son is there with her, and tons of other relatives. Not that any of them can really make her feel better...
My people are here...sorta. I haven't really told anyone. My brother Bill is in Texas.
I'm just feeling sorry. Sorry he's dead and I didn't go see him. Sorry for Frankie. Sorry for myself.
So, I've put this up...for L and E, mostly. And to mark the event. And for the crying time this writing has afforded me. Hadn't done much; needed to... This is what we're sending:
Being me, I have a little trouble approaching spiritual subjects in language that feels exclusive to only one religion. Heaven, for example, is not the word I'd have chosen in this title... but Dr. Eben Alexander's experience, as related in the article, matches quite well with what I believe. And it also fits quite well with what I have come to understand, and believe, about and thru the words of Esther Hicks/Abraham.
Check it out...
Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife
n. pl. wives (wvz) A woman joined to another person in marriage; a female spouse.
Wow. How cool it was to look that up and see this definition: a 'woman joined to another person'; not a 'woman joined to a man'. sigh...
So, I want to talk about this a little bit. Being a wife, accepting that role, and loving it-embracing it has been a little problematic for me over the years.
I am fairly sure I knew what it meant to those rearing me back in the day. I knew it mostly UNconsciously then, but I did know it. And much of it I rejected, finally. For a long time, I thought that was because no one wanted me. Meaning, of course, that no 'man' seemed to want me in the ways that I understood. And growing up as I did, homosexuality was not even on my radar.
And then I met Joel.
And many things became clearer. : )
And then, as things will in relationships, they became less clear.
I discovered over the years - as you have probably done, as well - that some of our best times were born in our hardest times. One of the greatest blessings I share with Joel is that we will talk to one another. And stop. And talk some more. And get real about how we are.
But now I'm talking about something different.
This is just about me.
It has nothing to do with Joel as an individual, and nothing really to do with our recent marriage. There is a sort of cart-before-the-horse feeling about my feelings now. I don't know for sure what grew out of what.
These things I do know.
I want to be the wife that I will be proud to have been.
I want to nurture the people & animals in my home. I want to lead and teach where it is appropriate. I want to LOVE all the aspects of my days.
I've had a 'thing' about the dishes for ages, for example. I think that if I spend time doing the cooking (plan, shop, prepare, etc.) then someone else should do the dishes. I mean, it worked like that when I was in high school and Mom did the dishes!
Mom thought the dishes were a breeze compared to the cooking/shopping thing. She was delighted with the arrangement and so was I. I like the more creative part.
I forgot about the 'coulda-woulda-shoulda' monster that lives inside me and totally ignored the fact that Joel is not Mom. Well guess what? Doing dishes is the worst drudgery in the entire world for Joel. She would rather not eat at all than to have to do the dishes. So...how do you think things were working for us in the grand scheme of things - around this dish issue?
Not too well... I'd get to feeling unappreciated or something and would pitch my version of 'a fit', so she'd make a promise that was totally unrealistic, and in two or three days I'd be mad again. Such a delightful little dance. Amazing how many times we've done it.
Here's where I am, now. I've decided to embrace 'wife'. I ALWAYS wanted to be one. I was trained to be one. I know how... what on earth have I been grousing about?
I've found that I like having the kitchen look a certain way and it no longer matters how/who makes it so. AND I found out...sssshhhhhhhhhh don't tell...I can enjoy doing dishes! Who knew It's totally a matter of decision having nothing to do with soapy water!
Now, I get it that the dishes are a tiny matter. And I'm really talking about much bigger things. I guess that what I'm exploring is the true nature of just what 'wife' means to me. And I've come to realize that it has little to do with the dishes and everything to do with how I want to feel as a wife. To nurture my family means a certain attention to what we all eat, even if it doesn't matter to anyone but me. To nurture my family means that I must get some of the things that I want, too. That part is harder for me, but getting easier every second. ('nother story) One of the things I want is a cleaner kitchen. Now, it's easy to have one.
To be a wife is to stand by my wife in whatever way supports her and against any obstacle.
That doesn't mean she's off the hook for beahvior that effects me. But it does mean that she can be as idiosyncratic as she wants/is. It means that I spent some time looking at how she was reared; what she brings to me and this relationship; and how she balances me in the big picture. It means that I know now how and by whom the dishes will be done, and it is not always me. :)
I'm enjoying this exploration and the things I'm learning about myself as I go down this road.
I'm a very good wife, and likely to be getting better.
And while these thoughts are not related DIRECTLY to our recent marriage, they are brought into a new focus because of it. And the word 'wife' is easier to say. and more fun.
I'm mostly saving this here for myself...
but you might like it, too.
It speaks to me of process - how I need to think and feel in my now.
I feel like there should be a photo of me here, wiggling my eyebrows up & down like Groucho did... It hardly seems real, even now. I look at the photos and know I was there, but during that whole week I felt - different. Perhaps I'll figure some of it out - or how to express it - while posting this to share with you.
There will be LOTS of photos, and I hope I can share some of the joy, surprise, and actual wonder I felt.
Joel and I first talked about getting married a month or two before this trip. It was casual; no one fell to her knees with anything like a 'proposal'. After all, we've considered ourselves 'married' for over 18 years - since the Commitment Ceremony in Chicago. It just seemed 'cool' to us. Who knows, maybe the feds will decide to get with civil rights and grant us some legal rights before we croak. And wouldn't it be fun to be 'the first on our block'.
We're hardly the senior couple in terms of longevity among our friends, but none of the other couples have taken this particular plunge. Knowing us as I do, we probably will celebrate both anniversaries. We do like a good reason to eat out!
Two things surprised me, and one of them had begun to make itself felt even before we got to this 'wedding' thing. The first is the really deep sense of relaxation I was able to achieve in that lovely family setting in Cape Cod. The second is the vastly deep feelings I experienced during and because of the way that whole wedding thing went. I found that it - the ceremony, the clothes, the fashion show, the simple yet fancy 'style' that the whole week had - touched ancient fantasies I didn't even know were still important.
As for the first surprise: that comes mostly from Jane and her way of walking around in the world that is unique. Joel kept telling me to quit futzing; Jane had 'everything' and would give it all to us. I simply didn't believe her. And so I did my stuff around packing and worrying and list-making, etc.
Turns out Joel was right. Jane is thoughtful, generous, comfortable, relaxed and gracious. As an example, she gave us a guest room that was truly ready for guests! The closet was empty, except for beach shoes and bags that were bought for us. The chest of drawers held ONLY a pair of reading glasses and a DVD in case we couldn't sleep one night. The bedside tables had only flashlights in them! Crazy. And so welcoming.
There will be a few changes made around here to add some of that comfort for the next person who visits here, I can tell you.And that is just one example...
For the second surprise...I realized, when I relaxed into Jane's ideas for the ceremony, that I was - maybe - going to get that wedding I dreamed about when I was a kid. An actual wedding with music and a photographer and stuff. It's not at all that I had been missing something. As my life evolved, I stopped even wanting a wedding in any real sense. And later, I was happy to let our commitment ceremony in Chicago ('94) be that special day. All was perfectly fine.
I haven't been going thru any angst about what didn't happen all those years ago. But, last week, I began to feel like a bride in ways I hadn't in Chicago or in the ceremony we had the next week here in Ruidoso. In funny little ways hard to describe, I was experiencing these days with a very real and very deep joy. And in ways that made me think of that really little girl I used to be. Such a sweet realization.
Some of the joy came from knowing consciously that I had done all my 'work' well. I released one old dream ages ago when a new one came along in Joel. And I found a new/old one unfolding around me in the nurturing way that everything came together thru Jane. It was very surprising. Makes me smile, even now. I let go of running the show, but kept true to what I wanted by expressing opinions and asking for things - like a bride should.
I realize, too, that I'm not explaining the feelings well at all. But then, I'm really the only one who must understand.
And, btw, the music included: (most links to to YouTube; we played from iTunes.)
As Long as You Love Me, cover by Michael Henry and Justin Robinette
And there were instrumentals, too...forgotten which. Lovely things.
This first set of photos is pre-ceremony, some of them the afternoon before... setting the stage and getting dressed.
It doesn't need another thing.
Jane is more than amazing. Without leaving the house, or ordering anything, she began to gather stuff together. What was just an empty (gorgeous) back yard one minute is transformed in the next. The tent was over the golf cart late Wednesday. By that evening, the cart was in the garage and the tent was in the back yard. Before you know it, the curtains off her bedroom doors are hanging in the corners of the tent. Everything went that way.
Then we have to get to fussin' with our own stuff:
Bearly's Best Man Boutinniere!
No, he doesn't like clothes, no matter the reason!
Isn't she lovely?!
well...half dressed so far.
Oh, it's Time!
Yes, I will.
Happily, she did, too.
Hard to see in this picture is my 'engagement ring' that Joel slipped on at the end. It is a Giant Plastic Diamond! Fun and funny, and just like my Joie. And a touch that had to come from Jane.
We even had a wedding buffet; this lovely Key Lime Pie, Champagne Bellinis, petit Deli Sandwiches, and Purple Cabbage Slaw. Yum...
And a grand send-off!
Our wedding trip was to Provincetown...'nother post for that..
Monday night, the 23rd; the day we applied for The License!
So what were we looking for...?
And were we sipping wine? Why yes! We were!
But I've got to tell you, dropping about 45 lbs makes a BIG difference in how I look in a mirror. I mean, how I 'see' in a mirror...
I DID say we were drinking wine, right?
I love this Asian look - mandarin collars, or can you tell?
And, finally...the one we chose for The Wedding:
And yes, Joel tried on several things, too. Kicking and screaming some of the time, and trying to avoid buttons and photos. But we had a blast and ended up with great costumes for the ceremony that followed on Thursday.
The cheese whose name I don't want to forget is Taleggio. Jane says it's stinky, but I thought not-so-much. It IS wonderful, however, so I'm hoping I can find it at TJ's on the way home. If not, there is always online! :)