Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

In rememberance of and gratitude for those who have served our country. Tom's military service was extremely important to him. He is buried at Fort Snelling National Military Cemetary about 15 minutes from the house. (You may click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Tom served in the Air Force as a navigator/bombadier - he flew high reconnaissance over what was then the Soviet Union. He spent four years in Japan from 1958-1962. He still had his military ID card in his wallet when he died in 2004.

Tom was furious at the what was happening in Iraq in 2004. He would be livid were he still alive. He knew sacrificing our young people to the political agenda was and is immoral. However, this is not a day to debate about the war.

This weekend, we honor those who have served and those who have given their lives for our country. I have the deepest appreciation and respect for our troops and for those who have died in the service of the United States.

There are other casualties of this war. May those who are grieving the loss of their son, daughter, spouse, parent find comfort and solace. I honor those who have perished and those who have given so much.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007



The trip to California was as good as a trip like that gets - the second house is SOLD - after nine months on the market - hooray! My mother has already signed the closing papers and it is final this coming Friday. What a relief.

Mother pledged that once the house sold, she would list the primary residence and prepare to move - for the past few months, she has been doing a ton of stuff, cleaning out closets, painting and interior and exterior, having the gazebo deck refinished - "getting ready to sell." We had the realtor out to visit two days before my departure and Mother informed us that she was not ready to list the house yet. OK - her decision.

The morning I left she informed me that she will not be ready to consider selling the house for at least a year. I was amazed. I wanted to say, "Mom, you are one fall away from some really bad stuff." I didn't. I kept my own counsel. There is not much to say in the last 45 minutes that wouldn't have left us in a weird spot.

Leaving her alone in a two-story house is frightening.

We make our choices and our choices make us. This is the choice she is making now. It is very clear that I need to go home more often.


I am cleaning out the downstairs closets, getting ready for my handyman and his helper to come on Saturday to clean out the garage. These are the last hidey holes of undiscovered memories from life before death. It has been overwhelming. Pictures, clothing, suits, wedding shoes, theater tickets, guitars, music, so much of our life just laid out at my feet. My darling - my Tom - our life that is no longer.

It is hard. My heart is heavy today and yet, I know it is time. I need the rest of the house to be organized and I need to know where everything is in my home. I need the future.

For nearly three years, I have put so many things on the shelves in the downstairs bedroom and in the laundry room and in the garage. Now is the time. I clean and weep. I go through boxes and laugh and cry. I am full of gratitude yet apt to break down in tears at the slightest provocation.

I find myself slipping back into an old place of "why, why, why did this happen?" There are no answers.

Grief - the transformational journey that keeps on giving - the journey that keeps on ripping your heart out, that keeps reminding you to live in each moment - it is the only one we truly have.

I honor the grief, it has brought me to my knees a million times over, it has tested the resilience of every fiber of my being, it has drawn a new landscape on my soul.

"The hope that is left after all your hopes are gone -- that is pure hope, rooted in the heart."

David Steindl-Rast
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer

Friday, May 18, 2007


Back in St. Paul - happy to be home. Busy. It is Friday. Hooray, it has been a fast paced week. More to come.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Here are photos from my walk this morning. The first picture is stag's leap again - I took and posted photos in this spot last Autumn. The redwing blackbirds were out doing their courting ballet - my beautiful and noisy companions this morning. The grapes, tiny green pinhead dots, sketch the heavy bunches they will become.

I cooked a lovely brunch - the sun is shining. Happy Mother's Day. Trying to make sense of all this input - Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

California - Mom's House

What can I say? I am praying for ----- understanding, empathy, patience and wisdom to know what to do next. I got home and mother's leg from mid-shin to ankle was scarlet with a huge black sore from a piece of wood falling on her leg in the garage.

She told me she had an accident in the garage about three weeks ago, she said "I put put some antibiotic cream and a band-aid on it." Now when you hear "bandaid" you think of a scratch or small cut, right???? OMG, she went to the Doctor on Monday just before I arrived and he told her she almost had blood poisoning.

I went to the Meadows yesterday and took a tour by myself. The Meadows is an age-in-place retirement community in Napa about 12 miles from the house. It is a very nice place - but at every turn the reality of what is happening slaps me in the face.

I am sad and happy at the same time. She is really happy to have me home. I have done a lot of yard work - mulched and planted a bunch of new flowers, staked the tomatoes and planted an eggplant. I love my mom - she is really stubborn. I pray for understanding and guidance. What shall I do next?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

On My Way

Tomorrow morning I will awake to multi-hued balloons sailing over the house and grape vines winding themselves towards the sky. I love the land and the nature of California. Going home.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Another Transition Client May Be on the Horizon

I am being interviewed (and interviewing them) by a Board of a 78 year old Community Center to possibly guide them through an organizational transition. It is a venerable old institution here in St. Paul, one that deserves to be rejuvenated - we are in conversation.

Of course, a transition client means lots of action and being very busy - remember the Chicago/Phoenix client last year? Being an interim Executive is challenging, stressful and fun. If I sound like a masochist - well, I guess in some ways I am - I love a good challenge. I love untangling the "ball of string" - I love organizational development and assisting clients to build and sustain their own capacity to realize their mission.

Meanwhile, I am getting ready to leave for California tomorrow afternoon. Wine country photos to follow. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Only weeping shadows on the wall. Tonight.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I am on my way to visit my mother in Yountville - leaving on Wednesday evening and returning the next Tuesday. I am looking forward to being home in the beautiful wine country. It will be good to be with my mom, especially because it is Mother's Day weekend.

I know there are more changes since I saw Mother in mid-February - we will work on those together. I am going to visit the Meadows, which is a wonderful independent living complex in Napa. I have let her know of my intention and have invited her to join me. We will see.

Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.