Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Off to California

My mother continues her decline.  She is still in the little home we purchased for her after the big house was sold.  She is nearly totally blind now and does have help in the house five days a week.  She has begun to fall quite regularly and you know there is nothing like denial.  She is quite certain that the reason she is falling is because of the cat.  

I believe it is only a matter of time until she falls and breaks a bone and then she will have to move.  I talk with her every day and she has days where she is really here and she has days when she is not quite all here.  But, we are grateful to have one another and I am grateful to still have her here on the planet.  

This has been a really long and brutal winter in Minnesota  - we usually have some thaws that reduce the amount of snow we have on the ground - not so this year.  We have so much snow and it has been below zero so many days - setting records everywhere.  

I look forward to going to Yountville.  Excited to see my Mom and excited to see the green and feel the sun. Long walks by the vineyards are in my future.
The camellias will be in bloom and the mustard will be starting - golden carpets covering the vineyards.   The photo above is Bistro Jeanty, which is just a couple of blocks from Mother's home.  It is one of my favorite restaurants - a real French Bistro with yummy food and lovely ambiance.  They serve an amazing lamb tongue salad, fried smelts, steak tartare and Mother's favorite cream of tomato soup in a sour dough bread bowl!!!  I hope she feels like going out.  She doesn't go out much anymore - if that is so, I will walk down and get food to go one evening.  
I am working on my final clients before sabbatical.  It is an exciting time of life.  New adventures just ahead.  Next post, my darling doggie, Sierra - the new love of my life.  Take care darling friends....there is much more to come.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

I'm Baaaaacccckkkk!!

After a year of silence on this blog - I am back.  This has been a pivotal year for me.  The year ahead will be even more transformational!!  I am going on sabbatical during 2014 and when I return I will no longer do much (if any) paid consulting work.  
I hesitate to use the "R word" because retirement paints a picture in people's minds that doesn't feel like where I am headed.  I have a new calling and it is beckoning me forward like nothing has in many years.  It is another ministry of presence, like The Grief Project.   It is too early to write about here - but this will be one of the first places I publicly share it with my friends and loved ones.  

Of course, since I have been silent for this past year, there may not be anyone reading or caring about this miniscule corner of the Universe - so be it.  
When I began this blog nearly nine years ago, I did from the indescribable black hole of recent widowhood.  It NEVER occurred to me that anyone would read it, except for me.  Through this blog so many blessings have flooded my life.  Incredible support and learning.  I have made new connections, soul brothers and sisters - family of choice for the rest of my life.  So, here I am, back to the beginning - out of the black hole, walking in the light - making my dreams a reality.

Lots of adventures to share - lots of reflections to scribe - it feels good to be back.  Peace and Grace.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I think this is the longest time I have gone without posting to this blog.  After 7 years and another broken heart I suppose I needed a break.   Funny that I should say ANOTHER broken heart, certainly the end of my relationship with Larry was not like the death of my husband but I can admit with a mended heart - that it HURT.  I know, I know - I ended it - I knew it would hurt, and it did.  One last L thing, I had no idea that I would never see him again - I thought we were friends - I thought we might have a time of estrangement - but I did not think I would never see him again.  Oh well - another life lesson.

At times I think I should start another blog but I can't.  This is the beginning place.  This is the place where I poured out my heart and soul in the darkest days.  This is the place where I made some of the dearest friends of my life - some of you I have never met in the 3D world and yet I love you with all my heart. 

So - here I am - back on the planet - sending love and light and a promise to be here again. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Memories...............on Your Angel Day

I shall remember the good times - I shall remember the feeling of your arms holding me - I shall remember the sound of your booming laugh - I shall remember your love and care - I shall remember that we loved and loved, through sickness and health - I shall remember cuddling in bed and dancing in the kitchen - I shall remember driving fast in the Porsche with the roof off, laughing - I shall remember that you always said you would marry from the first day we met - I shall always remember you.  My darling, lover, my flyboy, my friend.  

Monday, November 05, 2012

Grow Up Time


My sister, Marilyn, and I.  I have not seen my sister for somewhere around, ummmmm, 35 years.  Yes, that's right, 35+ years.    We will be together this week in Yountville.    

Mother is walking her new path.  We will be with her and with each other.  Shanti.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


This is the month that brings so many memories.  I am glad that we cannot see the future, no matter what we might wish in hindsight.

It is amazing to me that Tom has been dead for over 3,000 days.   If he appeared before me today, he would not recognize my life, everything is different.  Our home, the City of St. Paul, the little community where we live and most of all our country.  Eight years on November 14th since he flew away.  I miss him and I will always miss him.

My steady Eddy - my husband, my lover, my friend, my flyboy - I love you and never more than on these days of remembrance and love.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


My life has been a bit difficult recently as I have been suffering almost daily migraines - not always the headache but certainly the aura.  After a couple of months, your brain gets weary.  

I rarely have had any uncontrolled migraine episodes as I am able to control them using bio-feedback.  I had one uncontollable episode in 1994 and one in 2011, in both instances a month on a beta-blocker and I was good to go.  I am now beginning the third month and yes, my poor brain is tired.

And yet, I am so blessed.   During this time, I have forgotten to pause and think about how grateful I am for so many things in my life.  One huge gratitude:  I had a Cranial MRI a week ago (the neuro doc just wanted a look to be sure) and it was "normal".  That's a thing of beauty and something to be very thankful for -- headache, yes - strange things growing in brain, no! 

I am grateful for my business partner, J, who after almost ten years is my family.  Our values, our approach to work and life, our dreams for the future mesh so well.  He is a joy and blessing to my life.

My circle of friends who I adore and who love me in return are so dear to me, thank you for unconditional love.  My sister, Joan and the fact that we now live in the same city, only three blocks apart.

My home.  My little townhouse with the big backyard, the vegetable gardens, the patio and deck for relaxing in the sun or eating an alfresco meal and the 100+ year old cottonwood tree that stands sentinel over all.  How fortunate I am to live here - 18 years, the longest I have ever lived anywhere in my life.

I am thankful for my little cat, Miss Kitty, purring right beside me as I write this - I love her. 

The Grief Project, I am so grateful to be able to be a part of something that holds out the hand of hope and companionship to those who walk the difficult Widowed Road. 

I have never really had health problems - a year or so ago the doctor thought I had a mild stroke, it turned out to be the migraine stuff not a stroke (I am grateful for that).   I had surgery in 1995 but that was over in a heartbeat.  Even with all the things that are going on now, I am fortunate to be as healthy and strong as I am.  I am grateful for my health and for this physical body that has carried me and continues to carry me these many miles. 

I am a blessed woman and I am humbled at how much love I have in my life.  Remembering today to express my gratitude makes me ever more grateful for life. 

Monday, October 01, 2012

Life Goes On.........

The past two months have been amazing.  Hurtful at times and joyful at times - isn't that life as it is?  I have reorganized my house - rearranged the living room furniture - packed all the guy's things that had accumulated over the past two years - organized my studio for easier writing, painting, collage, and other creative endeavors and just plain tried to redesign my life for the road ahead. 
Two weeks ago I went on a solitary, spiritual retreat in a rural retreat center northwest of the Twin Cities.  I was there Wednesday through Sunday - silent and solitary in a small hermitage in the middle of a great pine forest.  It was transformative.  I slept, I ate, I walked in the woods, I read, I drew, I walked in the rain, I wrote, I reflected on my life in the present.  It was transformative - oh wait, I said that already.  But it was. 
I came home with a peaceful center in my heart.  I came home with love in my heart.  I came home in gratitude for all my blessings and blessed I am.   I came home with a new idea for my future........
I am thinking about making some rather large changes in my life in the next 18 months.  Not retirement - that sounds yucky - but refinement.  Taking more time to do what I want!  Being able to give more of my time and only working for pay a few months a year.  A very big change is definitely on the horizon.   I am excited - I always thought I would work until 70 at least - I am young, strong, healthy and do enjoy what I do for a living and now something else shows itself on the horizon.  
A refined life - what does that mean???  It means having time to wake up and do nothing.  It means giving of my time to causes I care about - including (especially) The Grief Project.  It means taking a daytime yoga class - walking in the woods - writing, disciplined writing.  Or it means doing nothing, if that's what strikes my fancy.  
I means the biggest transformation in my life since Tom died.  Whenever I think about it I am filled with a sense of excitement and anticipation (and a tinge of fear too) - I am preparing to step out into the next great adventure of my life.   Another Journey to a New Life.  There is much more to come...................

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Retreat was Magic

The retreat was MAGIC.  The photo above was taken at the end of our release and remembrance ceremony - that is a very large sky lantern we are lighting.  Most of the weekend was spent in "Kairos" or spirit time - thanks to our wonderful Saturday morning speaker, Alicia  (you can meet Alicia at the blog, "Forever Changed" - she is on the blog roll to the right) we learned lots about Kairos and the healing power of the spirit time experience.

The Grief Project has completed a one year cycle of service to the bereaved and its impact is enormous.  So many widowed are talking about how "they have been changed/healed/transformed" by Sacred Journey and The Grief Project.  My heart is full. 

I returned home late Sunday, unpacked, did laundry, repacked and after an acupuncture appointment this morning, I will be headed to the airport to depart for San Francisco.  Tonight I will be in Napa.  I will stay in a hotel, get my car in the morning and then I am going to visit the Senior Services Center, a home health care agency and other gather other resources for the aging journey ahead for Mother (and me as her support person).

Wednesday afternoon, I will motor on up to Yountville to begin my visit with Mother.  I will be posting while in California.  A closing note:  I am humbled that TGP is really up and off the ground and that it is making an impact.  For those of us who work in the nonprofit sector - there is no better thing to hear than our work changed a life.  That is the reason to be.   Many blessings to everyone - I will catch you from California.  Big Hugs.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sacred Journey

I have not blogged much at all about the project that is so dear to my heart.  The Grief Project (www.griefproject.org) is a peer support organization that provides companionship, hope, healing and support to women and men who have suffered the loss of their life partner.

This weekend is our (second annual) widowed retreat.  I am so very excited - I began to dream the grief project in 2005 - and here we are.  This year the retreat has 3 times the participants of last year.  Rooted in participation and reaching out to those who in need - we are here to stand witness, to be a companion, to be there for those who are taking that devastating journey of loss and transformation.

So, my car is packed - the workshop presenters are ready - we have lots of gifts and surprises.  The gift in the grief project is my consulting group (*and the generosity and support of my business partner) funds the organization - that means the entire weekend costs $200.  We also hold one-day Gatherings several times a year - they are free.  My heart is so happy that we can welcome those in need and by that I mean heart and soul need without thought to money.   Of course, we are growing and so my next job is to begin to raise funds to make TGP sustainable over the long haul.

No mind for the future right now -- we are off to laugh, hug, cry, learn, be, eat, and be happy to be in a big group that 'gets it"  -  Yay!!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My heart hurts

I know this is the best thing. I know it was a long time coming. I know, I know, I know. i am grieving the loss of someone and something that was very dear to me. I will honor the grief. I will walk through to the next place. But damn, it hurts. Just saying.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Here I am - Monday evening.  Sucking it all in.  Mourning the loss of a dream - knowing that this was the best action I could take.

I am happy that I finally posted a photo of him ---- he is was so important in my life.  Saturday afternoon I told him that "we" were over.  I am sad but committed to myself and the future.

More to come...............................

Saturday, July 14, 2012


My mother continues to decline.  I have learned so much from her on this journey.   I am so grateful that I can be present to her.  When I was there in February, I bought her all new clothes.  At that point, I bought "what I thought she should have".   Once I returned home to Minnesota (after several phone conversations with her) I ordered the "travel knit" pants she likes to wear - practical as those cotton pants were (for someone with incontinence problems) those are not her style.  So what if the travel knits wear out faster and have a tendency to hold on to objectionable odors.  Who cares!  No matter her decline, she has always been a woman of great beauty and style.

Today as I was canning pickles, I thought about how far we have come on this journey of aging and loving one another.  Mother and I have always had differences of opinion - in the end of days here we are, the two of us.  Today I realized that I might have been unconsciously taking out some deeply buried "adolescent crap" out on her when I purchase her "practical cotton pants".    Mother has always been the definition of controlling, including every aspect of my upbringing and just maybe I was acting out some long held thing - who knows, who cares.  We are here together until the end of days and I am honored to companion her on this difficult journey. 

 She has begun to have frequent falls.  Two weeks ago, she fell and knocked out one of her front teeth.  Luckily, that is something the dentist can repair.  It is now "good as new".  She fell again this week trying to hang the hummingbird feeder.  I hope she stays vertical until I arrive on August 1.

Of course, I worry.  Of course, I want her to be safe.  Of course, of course, of course.  I have learned to curb my worry and anxiety and not have it spill over onto her.  I try to honor her decisions and speak only lovingly and constructively to her.

Today when I called, she was baking cookies.  These are the prepacked "Nestle Toll House" cookies that you can purchase in your supermarket's refrigerated case.  She has been baking these for the last few years.  They are "her cookies" and she gives them to her neighbors and friends.  She would be mortified if she thought anyone thought she didn't mix the batter from scratch. :-)

When I spoke with her, I saw us - how alike we are and how much I have inherited from her.  She can't slow down and she won't slow down - feeling needed - doing things for others - being active - using her hands, these are all intrinsic to what and how she is.  I am so grateful to for that legacy and to have inherited that can-do spirit,  She is the energizer bunny and if she falls and hurts herself - she is living her life - not sitting on the shelf.  A priceless and precious legacy.  Thank you Mother.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Life on this last day of 65

This is a precious time.  I have been able to spend a significant amount of solitary time this past week.  This picture so accurately depicts where I am right now.  It is time - time to move out of my comfort zone and reach for the stars ahead.

I changed my blog template this week - this is the third template in 6 years.  The first was dark - black with white type, reflecting my life and my pain.  The second, blue with clouds and the new one, a pale golden background with a flock of birds in flight,  reaching for the sky.  How fitting.

Just as the template is symbolic, so too the tag line, which I also changed this morning.  For the first few years the tag was "when you're going through hell - keep going".  For the past two years, "the adventure continues" - the new tagline "embrace the magic" is fitting for what is ahead.

I am unsure about  what is ahead yet I know it is wonderful.  I feel it deep in my bones - something amazing.  I am going to (not tiptoe)  begin to take leaps outside my comfort zone.  Starting now.  I reach for the magic. 

The birthday weekend continues - I am blessed and grateful for this life.  And for YOU.  You are MAGIC.