Forever Connected That YaYa Sisterhood Kind of Thing…


 (Lynn is the blonde on the left)

I am getting ready to meet a handful of some friends from my past, way in my past… ones I called my best friends back then. The ones that  I met in my teens, and that I have a YaYa sisterhood kind of weekend planned with. We met in a time when every kitchen and usually every master bedroom had an attached phone. If you were lucky, you also had one in your own room, but with the same phone number. In a time when answering machines had not yet been invented and if you weren’t home to receive an important phone call, (unless someone was there to take a message) you missed it. Finding long-lost people in your past was through the mercy of a phonebook. If we had a report due, we would go to the library and look up our topics by going through the Subject Catalog in a bunch of long drawers that would give us enough information to go find the book with the information we needed. If we wanted a copy of something, we would pay ten cents and make copies on their copy machine. If we wanted to take a picture we did it with a camera and then had to wait for it to get developed and pick it up a week later.  And oh yes, there were Polaroid cameras back then too. and getting a semi permanent photo in a few minutes was the newest thing. (you can still make out most of mine but a lot are faded!) And if we wanted to send a message to a friend we would tear off a scrap of paper and write a note and pass it to them or if we wanted to write a letter to a friend or loved one that lived far away, we would  put a stamp on it and maybe a little sealing wax and the recipient would receive it in a few days.

 

Now days kids can follow each other on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and who knows what else. Our cell phone is our answering machine, our stereo, our library, our phonebook, our camera and our computer. We can email our letters and pass notes anywhere in the world by a thing called texting.  If any of those people that we are looking for are connected to a social media account, we can usually find them. And that is how this particular handful of friends reconnected. It is kind of funny. Two of them are sisters, Lynn is two years younger than me and Cindy is a little more than three years younger. And for a few years, I hung out at their house during my teens as if I was just another sister. Their parents were the coolest and their little sister Tracy, was like my little sister. I have a ton of sweet memories and I can’t wait to remember them all with them. Lynn was in my first wedding and, I actually saw Cindy more recently, (though several years ago)  when we ran into each other in a nearby town and discovered that we didn’t live too far away from each other and connected a few times until she moved and we lost touch. That is, until this thing called Facebook popped up into our lives. The other friend Amanda, was more a friend of Lynn & Cindy’s, but the funny thing is… I feel almost closer to her now, as we have reconnected a lot through writing back and forth with a kind of honesty and admiration that sometimes comes only from really taking the time to sit down and get to know each other all over again through the written word.

Now I’m going to be very honest and perhaps a little shallow. In a way, I don’t want to ruin it. The magic of creating or rekindling friendships on-line is just that. A little magical. I was always one of the thinnest kids back before becoming a mom and now grandma and well, just before life set in. And funny, I hated it. I wanted a little more meat on my bones and to have the kind of shape that would fill that bikini top a little more. Not even appreciating for a minute, that hard, tan, flat stomach! That I would kill to have now! Why aren’t we ever happy with who we are? Now I’m probably the heaviest. Lets face it. We don’t post the most unflattering pictures of ourselves on our pages, without make up etc… now lines and all POOF it’s me! But seriously, I think that every one of these girls (including me) will only see each other’s hearts at this stage in our lives. And I know that in a few weeks, seeing  these particular friends are truly another very important thing on my Bucket List that I need to fulfill. And you know what I have figured out? Bucket Lists take us out of our comfort zones but in the end, they make the best memories, not really to replace the ones that came before, but to add to them, to understand that we were all meant to be forever connected in this thing called life.

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They Say You Can Never Go Home…


I turned sixty this year and I told my very thoughtful husband and family that I wanted NOTHING. Forty and fifty were over the top costly celebrations and sixty just didn’t make me want to celebrate. Though I know that I am clearly blessed to be celebrating life at all and don’t take that for granted for one minute, I just didn’t want a party. Well, this year, my amazing daughter Brookie, and her Dad concocted an epic surprise for me. She faced timed me, holding tickets to Seattle!!!!

So for the last several weeks I had the most amazing gift to look forward to. You see, Seattle is my happy place. My childhood memories of all my summers all the way to sixteen were gathered there. My cousin Pammy and my grandma were really the glue that made everything so special but for more than half my childhood I knew that come summertime… I had a place to land. A place that made the world go away for a little while and to fall into the arms of a place that held unconditional love for me.

My grandparents lived just blocks away from Lake Washington on Seward Park Avenue. Their house was magical. It sat grandly on top of a hill that overlooked Mercer Island and everything about it was an adventure. I think because my cousin who was a little over two years younger than me, followed my lead and believed everything I said. (I am laughing out loud as I write this.)

My dad was up and coming in his career and had to travel and was transferred several times as I grew up. But he promised my mom he’d always send us home. And he did. I think maybe why I have to have “something” to look forward to now and if I don’t, I think I just realized that I get a little depressed. But there was nothing like looking forward to my Seattle days. I go there in my head now and walk through the rooms of that house when I am sad or just need a “HAPPY PLACE” to escape to for a while. I hadn’t been back for almost two decades. My last visit, my cousin drove me to the house and we walked around it, and as we were leaving met the owner who didn’t seem too impacted by the fact that our grandparents owned their house so never got to go in. And In my furthest dreams, and my most wished for  “check off”  of my bucket list… I never thought I’d ever get to go inside again. But the plan was that we were going to go and knock on the door…. Looking back now, I don’t think any of us thought any further after that.

This is the story of my journey as I truly got to go back home again…. 

This really is just a recount for me, but you are invited if you’d like to come along. I will only share a snippit of all we did because we packed so much more in, I will have to share it all in a few posts…

 Seattle bound!

I hadn’t been on a plane since my cousin and I went to Puerto Vallarta. It was such a blast to be going with my baby and this time she was taking me! Funny, how you start depending on your kids to navigate and find the baggage claim etc… 🙂

Pam surprised me with my cousins Katy and Jill and Katy’s kids that came along after I stopped going on my Seattle Summers and celebrated 60 with me! I was so touched and loved that Brookie loved them so much! It was as if no time had ever come in-between and we’d known each other our whole lives!

The next day…. Pam dubbed as our “Memory Lane” day. We got up early and headed for our old stomping grounds. First the lake that we spent many days sneaking down to…

It was so fun to stand where we used to stand and share the memories with my daughter who’d written that she was excited to have my stories come to life for her. I was so excited for her to see the house but the most I expected were maybe some good photos from afar.

Well guess what??!

THIS is a shot of the INSIDE of my Grandma’s door!!!!!!!

The most angelic lady opened the door and invited us in! Well, let me back track a little…  Pam and Brooke asked “Do you think that we should knock.” And I said “Oh yeah!!!!! I was not missing out on the opportunity. I guess at sixty you can do things like that you know. Anywaaaay, I knocked and my cousin and I kind of stepped back. I think I was thinking “Oh no! Now what?!” But Brooke stepped up and said as eloquently as I wanted to…. “Hello, this is my mom, and her cousin, and their Grandma lived here with their moms.” She invited us in right away. She was exactly my mom’s age and knew about our Grandma from the lady up the street who had lived the last 70+ years of her life taking care of her mom, our Grandma’s best friend Helen, who died a few years ago at 107!

She let us walk through each room. Even up the stairs that were probably the best memory I had of that old house. As we chatted for over an hour, I couldn’t help but feel this grateful emotional wave as inside my head I thought… “I can’t believe that I am standing inside my Grandma’s house with my baby and my cousin!” The two people in the world that could understand how much it meant to me and helped make it happen!

Entrance as you walk in the door (stairs are on the other side of the entry way wall)

            You see the Fireplace as you walk in the door and the kitchen doorway is to it’s right

r    Built in bookcase (view from kitchen) staircase to the left and front door on the other side of the wall with a little view of the sunporch my cousin and I used to sleep in.

Better view of the sun porch from the kitchen

side living room window (on the left as you walk in the door)

My favorite memory! The stairs! We’d sell tickets for our shows we had on that stage! I made my poor cousin perform on the landing as we did our nightly shows! (Since she had the better voice!) As well as other adventures we used to think up, using those stairs as our prop for most of them!

View from one of the upstairs bedroom windows

The above door is the one to leading to the basement. I tried to take a picture of the stairs where my grandpa used to come in after work and hang his pendelton before coming up the stairs. I was a little disappointed with the kitchen. I remember it with all the old fashioned appliances and squeaky “pink” cabinets! PINK?? and it had a bread drawer that always had powdered sugar dounuts in it! Maybe I should have known they’d change the pink cabinets. Smile…

Patty our Angel who lives here alone now since her husband passed away a few years ago.                                                       (Looking out the kitchen window into the magical back yard as she chatted with my baby)

       

The dining room and the built in china cabinet where we used to sneak sugar cubes out of!

      

Front of the card (me when I was little, with a ski mask on photo shopped by my crazy cousin and the beautiful ceramic sugar bowl she handmade for me with two pounds of my own sugar cubes so I would not have to steal them anymore!

The dining room french doors lead out to my grandma’s beautiful back yard.

It is still as magical as I remember it.

 

In Brookie’s card to me she wrote….

” I’m so excited to share this adventure with you & to see all of your stories come to life.”                                                   I am not sure how I ever got so blessed but as I was standing there in the moment… I was so grateful to my daughter and my husband and my cousin and Patty and to God who blessed me with all of the memories that I treasure. And I thought… Sometimes… in those very rare… serendipitous moments when the seconds and minutes all kind of work out just right. You CAN go home sometimes.

Like A Flip Book


lonely-ghost-girl

I feel as if my life is so out of control right now. I’m kind of having a little panic attack as I do the bills.  I have no job. I mean it simply hit me that I am unemployed! My parents are aging and I am worried about that, as roles reverse and I feel the pressure. It almost feels as if my life is like a little “flip book” as all the years just flash before my eyes.

From riding in the back seat of my daddy’s car and watching the moon follow me, I remember falling asleep only to wake up as he carries me in the house, feeling safe and so content. And then all of a sudden, first dates and the ups and downs of falling in love for the first time and a couple more times after that. Of weddings and having babies, of miscarriages and parties and funerals and then more baby showers, a painful divorce and another chance and another wedding, in-between the pain of failure and the whirlwind of just living life and trying to survive with all the joys and heart aches that come with it. Never feeling that the good times lasted too long but looking back “now” and feeling that even the bad times were kind of the good old days.

I remember shopping with my daughter her freshman year of high school. We had a budget every year. My kids always got the first day of school outfit and some other new outfits, new shoes and a new backpack with school supplies. I guess it was so special for me because my dad always took me school shopping and it was this amazing tradition that I treasure more than I ever did when it was happening.

The year I remember most, my daughter and I were on a vacation with my childhood best friend. She was blessed with never needing a budget and her kids usually came out with a bag of something from each shop we went in. The girls had run ahead of us and when we walked in the store they were all already shopping. My friend’s daughters started handing their mom clothes they’d chosen, when  my daughter ran up to me with a jacket that made her eyes sparkle. I looked at the price tag and with a raised eyebrow said, “you know this one jacket is a third of your school clothes budget!” Without missing a beat she just put it back on the rack as my friend purchased more items for her daughters as they ran ahead to the next shop and my daughter happily followed.

Something kicked me deep in my heart, the way she didn’t argue or even mope. At that moment I felt richer than all the money I could ever need. It only took a second for me to grab that jacket and take out my credit card and decide that I’d just have to figure out how to stretch the budget  for that year. When I reached my daughter I handed her the bag and said, “this won’t count as part of your budget.” She burst into tears hugging me and said “Oh mama, thank you but it’s too much!” It was probably one of my best purchases I ever made. Later my stunned friend asked me, “How do you make a kid be so appreciative?” I knew that it was kind of a rhetorical question so I didn’t say what I wanted to, but the answer is  you don’t buy your kid everything they want so they appreciate the things they do get.”

Today my daughter buys her own clothes and lives her own life. Both my kids have little parts of me in them but they are mostly themselves. And I am happy they are strong and have their own personalities and are creating their own way. But at the same time I wonder where it all went? The time of buying clothes and setting curfews and driving them to this place or that place, well it sends me to a place where I feel the pages flipping by. In a way, I wonder where it all went. So fast? in my flip book of a life!

I remember my grandma telling me how in her seventies she still felt seventeen. Me too! Now as I look to my future I feel that flip book, remembering the box boy who called me Ma’am in my thirties! Or the woman at Ross asking me if I wanted the Senior Discount in my forties! I remember being size five! Where did it all go?! That little girl I once was, is just a ghost of me, but still deep down inside somewhere.

Like a flip book, I want to slow it all down, I want a do over! But then I realize that someday, these will be the good old days and that today is the oldest I have ever been and the youngest I will ever be again!

That first Whiff


terri, scott and i                                I’m on the left, Scott is the one on the right

I think we all have them… that file of memories tucked somewhere inside of each of us that snaps us back like a rubber-band. That place when we smell or taste something familiar or hear a song that sends us back to a different time in our memories. I even have a time of day that hits me in a way that I just feel safe. As if someone has just told me that it is all going to be okay. For me it is around two PM.  That time of day must have been about the time when I’d wake up from my daily nap to my mom’s warm welcome back. A time before bills, a time when someone else took care of all my needs.

Whenever I taste chocolate milk, (BOSCO to be exact) I always think of my friend Scott who lived nextdoor. His mom would set up a little table under the tree in his front yard and make us peanut butter and honey sandwiches and chocolate milk. Such a decadent treat back in those simple days. I can still taste it. I remember walking into his kitchen,  and the scent of plums and peaches filling my head. His dad had a grocery store a few block away and every once and a while, I get a whiff of what that grocery store smelled like, and it snaps me back into those carefree wonderful days. It was a combination of the produce and deli departments and the memory of buying pixi stix for a penny each that still can prick my heart.

Bactine and Dippity Doo, Coppertone,  and the smell of tar and asphalt all have the same effect (The tar smell probably because there was a freeway close to our school that they always seemed to be working on. As a kid, I also loved the smell of a restaurant as you walked through the door. You know that first whiff. A combination of cigarettes and coffee. Every now and then I smell it but now that they don’t allow smoking in restaurants, that exact whiff is few and far between.

One of my favorite memories is falling asleep in the car as a kid. Watching the moon follow me home as I drift off and then feel my dad pick me up and carry me inside. As he unlocked the door and that first whiff of “HOME” would hit me. I can’t explain it, nor have I ever been able to duplicate it,  but I can still smell it in my head. And it was the BEST! I think it was a combination of a million things. But most of all, I think it was just  that it was that  time in my life when someone else was in charge of worrying about everything. Maybe there is a special scent for feeling carefree? If not, there should be!

How about you? What do you remember? What are some of your best  memory smells? You know, those first whiffs moments that you will never forget?

Still The One


friends two little girls with braids

“Love doesn’t keep track of wrong doings.”

It took me over a half a lifetime to understand what that one piece of wisdom that God  has tucked in HIS WORD over and over again, really means. I’m not sure  why it took me so long to truly understand just how simple this message was. For years, it seems as if I’ve been angry at something or someone. My dad used to say that I had a Forest going, with all of the leaves I turned over. I wasn’t always like that. I was a happy little girl. For the most part. But people hurt me and I let it get to me.

peaceful forest

A few years ago, I had a falling out with my childhood Best friend. We’d lasted for over a half a century without so much as a cross exchange. Well, at least on my part. She was the “alpha” in our relationship and pretty sharped tongued at times, and said it like it was. I’d accepted that part of her personality and though she hurt my feelings at times, I’d dealt with it. And then in one stupid afternoon, I used my words to retaliate and let her know that it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t that they were fighting words, or even that they ended our visit on  the spot. It was just that I’d had it and I stood up to her for the first time and it surprised us both and for the most part, changed  the future of our friendship. I am not saying that it is not good to be honest with your feelings, nor to stand up for yourself when the occasion calls. I am just saying that for me, it was not worth it. And it kind of changed the dynamics of a life long friendship. Though we’ve shared a thousand phone calls and texts and emails, and have confided and laughed and cried and laughed again since that last time, I hadn’t been back for a visit since that fateful confrontation. Until…  this last weekend, my daughter and I went to visit her. And she was still the one who I walked to kindergarten with, and failed my driver’s license test in front of… TWICE. She was still the one who was in both of my weddings and I in hers. She was still the one who let me drag her around as I searched for the perfect “first dance” song. She was still the one who ironed my wedding dress twice! We were even both pregnant with our daughters at the same time. She is two months older than me and her daughter is two months older than Brooke! And she is still the one who invested in my daughter’s dream, helping her pay for her first year of school.  She is still the one who my dad sent for when I went through a bad break up, and still the one who was my friend when I sometimes felt that I had no one else. And she was the first one I called when my dad died. She is still the one who has beat this damn cancer over and over again for the last twenty years. We’d planned a visit for her birthday this year, but then she canceled saying that her treatments were taking a toll on her and we should wait until later. But her sister (also my dear friend) called and said not to wait. So my sweet daughter piled in the car with me and we took that six-hour round trip laughing and crying both ways. door ajar The house was still the house she’d designed with loving care. The scent of her home still enveloped us as we walked through her door that I hadn’t walked through for a few years. And there she was. They’d gotten her a hospital bed. We covered her with the blanket we brought her for her birthday. She was able to get up and eat some lunch. I fed her soup. The next day she went on hospice. On the way home, my daughter begged me to get a mammogram. I got one the next day. I guess I am sharing this because I have learned that we don’t always have to make it about us. We don’t always have to be so offended. I mean after all, it worked for over fifty years the way it was. I do have regrets. I wish that I’d just “let it go” because we were best friends forever, we wrote to each other on stationery we picked out especially for the other  and used sealing wax to make it even more special.

sealing wax

Our friendship was one of the greats, the way we loved each other, and the history we shared would be hard to duplicate. But I still regret that one month where we didn’t know what to do so we did nothing. Last night, I read all of our emails since 2007 And you know what? God really has it right…. “Love doesn’t even notice when it’s done wrong.” 1 Corinthian 13:5

friends crying hugging

In the end it is all about the lessons


The other day, I was talking to someone closer to my age about how scary it is that life seems to be dashing by. Yesterday, I was planning a summer get away and now POOF it is almost Christmas. I brought up a point I made in a past post…

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/unfolding-prayer-requests/

                                                                                     About how good God is, and about how when you really look back at the important stuff, it all worked out in the end. I had a prayer tin when I was a young wife and mother and faithfully put prayers in it. I found it years later, and every single one was answered in some way. Perhaps, not the way I’d envisioned. But they ALL actually were answered.

Later that day, a young girl that I was talking to, shared with me how she was heart-broken about the ending of a relationship and I told her my prayer tin story and how things that seem so important now, really won’t in four or five years. Of course four or five years to her is a lifetime, or at least a quarter of her young life, and I’m not sure if she believed me, but…. It made me think. Age is not such a curse. Good things come with experience. Hopefully wisdom is a biggy.

In my life, I have had a few hard lessons. And it’s funny, because NOW, all these lessons that I refer to have seemed to have collectively gathered at one time. EVERY day, I have had quite a few of those light bulb moments recently. And I guess you could call it wisdom. In writing my book, I have re-written the ending at least a dozen times. I do know that since I typed that first word of the first page, I have lived a lifetime in my heart. The poem below is not where I am today. It is just part of my story, a chapter in my book. I am so glad that I have lived past that time in my life. I am so glad that God answers prayers and that life goes on, and that we are forgiven of our indiscretions. In the end, I guess it is all about the lessons.

door little girl peeking out black and white

In the corners of my mind,

 behind the closed doors of my heart,

I struggle with the melody,

 that keeps us far apart.

couple on the dock

Loyalties and passion,

twirl inside my head,

memories of the past play there,

 like a story I once read.

smelling the books girl

Heartache is the tune that plays

 in the background of my soul,

charging for my sins,

 like a gate keepers constant toll.

Diane Reed                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © 2014

I Miss You Lucy


You know that one house and that one friend’s mom that you remember from your childhood? It was the one place you always felt welcome by that one mom who was not yours. You felt special because you knew she really wanted you around and it wasn’t because you were her kid and she had to feel that way. It was your first experience of knowing your worth and feeling valued because of who you were and not because of who you belonged to. Sure, I knew my mom loved me and that mattered to me, a lot. But there is a time in your life when you feel funny and interesting and likable because you are who you are, and only because of that. And someone else enjoys you and wants you around.

I grew up in Palos Verdes California, down the street from Lucy. She was that mom in my memory and always in my heart. I was about eleven when I met her. My mom was an artist when I was growing up and Lucy was always decorating something. I am not sure what ever came of the meeting or if my mom ever painted the mural she inquired about, but I do know that her oldest daughter, Kathy and I became fast friends along with all of Lucy’s daughters. She had four. It was like I hit the Jack Pot meeting them. They all went to a local Catholic School and because they didn’t go to our public school, the neighborhood kids were small minded and slow to embrace them. Well, all I can say is… their loss was surely my gain!

I took turns being good friends with each of her daughters during different stages of my life. And then a few years later, Lucy went through a divorce and met a man named Bob, who she married, bringing two more kids into the fold. It was a wonderful family and I loved each one of them in different ways throughout my life. But Lucy ended up being my friend that I’d go visit years later. I remember staying up late at night for hours at a time talking to Lucy. I loved spending the night at their house and when they moved, I think I went into a small depression. Until, we reunited when my mom discovered a phone number that had gotten “misplaced.” That summer, I promptly moved in with them in Orange County where they’d moved and spent several weeks hanging out with Lucy as she picked out new wallpaper and tile for the 6000 foot home she was building in Fallbrook overlooking their several acres of avocados that Bob was going to manage.

The plan was for me to find a job somewhere in Fallbrook and join them. But between getting very engrossed in a serious relationship and missing my own mom a little more than I thought I would, I didn’t follow through with the final plans to move there with them. Though, I did get a job offer after I’d moved back home. And always kind of regretted not getting to live in that amazing house that my sweet Lucy built for her family and included me in that plan. Even though I never lived there, I visited several times a year for many years until I got caught up in having my own family. Slowly, the visits became less frequent. Though Lucy and  Kathy, attended my dad’s funeral and Bob and Lucy attended my second wedding, and Lucy even came to stay at my house a time or two, I regret letting life interfere with our visits and I often wonder how different my life might have been if I’d moved into that wonderful home.

A few years before Lucy died, I took my daughter to visit her and we had such a neat visit. I wanted to share a piece of Lucy with her and I really feel she “GOT” who Lucy was to me. I will always be grateful that she agreed to go and that we have that memory.

Tonight, while I was driving home, I drove past a house with a long driveway filled with cars and it reminded me of that house in Fallbrook. It always looked as if it was having a party, because of all the cars parked there. But they all just belonged to her family, each in their own rooms or in different parts of the house just living there. And it gave me this warm melancholy feeling. And it made me think. Legacy isn’t just something physical that you leave, it’s not a building or a fortune, but something intangible. Something far more valuable. It might leave a hole when it’s gone that takes your breath away, but even more, it gives you that place in your heart to fall, the one person, or place you remember when no other place works quite as well.

 

It’s been over a year since she has left this world

and yet, sometimes knowing that she’s not just a phone call away any longer,

takes my breath away.

lucy

winnie goodbye quote

 

Empty Nesters Unite! As we watch our baby birds graduate and learn to let go!


 

This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.  This is bascially a re-share      that I posted  before my blog was very well known. I thought that I would reshare it as some of you are approaching that time in your life as you watch your babies graduate and wonder where the time has flown off to. It is hard to believe that the boy in this story is going to be 34 tomorrow! I just had to stop today to say….. Happy Birthday Chadly! Your mom loves you!

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

(Time flies! The one I wrote this  this poem for now has a family of his own!)

Brenden and Chad Muslemen

Behind The Door Of Yesterday


girl at a new door out in field

Behind the doors of yesterday

girl carrying huge key

we all hold that perfect key

ballerina

unlocking places in our past

ballerina sitting on floor

where shadows used to be

dancing in the wind

Dancing upon moonbeams  until all  the music dies

SONY DSC

letting go of all the pain as the broken winged one flies…

floor crying girl

Falling hard from our dreams, when we finally land

 baby in a bubble

searching for our innocence all where we first began.

finding Diane3

Diane Reed

2013

As I continue to work on my book, I feel stuck. I am in a place of pain. Of total confusion. I guess ambivalence would be the best word to describe where I have landed. I keep going backwards. I need to start moving forward. I have a story to tell. A lot has to do with my past. I have the framework sitting there for me to build upon and yet I am not sure why I need to write these silly poems that have nothing to do with me today….

Or do they?

Empty Nests… Letting the first one go…


This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

Thirty Years Ago Today…


album daddy and friends

My Dad is the one squatting with all his friends surrounding him It is crazy how much my son looks like him here.

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My dad used to always play the guitar and sing to me…. I think he knew all of five songs! One of them was: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” from the commerical. He used to tease me all the time.

daddyMy dad and me 50 years ago ~

He never felt comfortable going to church or getting his pictures taken… You can tell he wasn’t too thrilled here.

I do remember he came to church when I got Baptized. After he died I prayed for God to give me a peace about knowing he was indeed saved and with The Lord… and at that very moment I found the sweetest letter my dad had written in the Air Force about God to my mom. Isn’t God great?!

DADDY & ME

My dad and I at the County Fair

WEDDING DAY WITH MY MOM & DADDYI was so happy here… little did I know I’d lose my dad only five years later…

I remember getting the phone call  on the day that my dad died. It was that kind of surreal unexpected horrific “Kennedy moment” that I will never forget. Heart attacks are like that. They are filled with unsaid goodbyes and conversations that ache to be finished even three decades later. The one thing that I will always have is the way that my Daddy loved my writing. He always encouraged it and believed in me. One of his last letters to me mentioned it and in the end, written words from me were my last connection with him.

My dad died July 9, 1983. My son had just turned 3 and barely had a chance to know his papa but I remember how tickled my dad was when he taught him to play pacman and his 3 year old grandson got to BABY PACMAN! And I am so that he never got to meet my daughter who was not yet born, though I do have an inkling that he might have hand chosen her in heaven if God lets dads do that kind of thing! There was just so many things I still wanted to say to my dad but it was too late. Today it is funny to think that I am now older than my dad was when he died. You’d think I would have learned the life lesson about goodbyes and always doing it in love. I guess that may be the reason that I tend to try to say “I love you” every time I say goodbye now.

I’d been a Daddy’s girl as I was growing up.  He was the one who used to take me shopping for school clothes every year. It is strange now but I don’t remember my mom ever going clothes shopping with me. I guess because it was OUR thing, my daddy’s and mine. We had a great relationship.  He was the one I’d talk to about boys and the one in my life that I cared most about  not disappointing or always wanting to make him proud. He had the kind of quiet integrity that in the end, filled up the chapel to standing room only where his services were held.

When our Pastor asked us if there was something I’d like him to talk about regarding my dad, I remembered that I’d written him a Father’s Day card a few weeks earlier. So I ran up to see if I could find it. Sure enough he’d saved it in the drawer by his bedside. I will always be grateful that I had the chance to give him this last message….  I know he didn’t just read it once. It still comforts me that I know he knew even without a poem. But in memory of today and him I wanted to share it with “YOU”  my friends here today. This one is for you Daddy!

No one could ever fill the shoes I once put over mine,

lost within your slippers, my feet were hard to find.

Yes, your overwhelming presence was felt within your shoes…

A feeling so great, though I’m grown, I know I’ll never lose.

Each night when you’d walk in the door from working hard all day,

a security would fill me up and push all my cares away.

And though I’m now a mother with a small one of my own

I’ll always look back upon the days before I was fully grown…

And when I’m with him on the beach, sometimes it brings to mind

stepping within your footprints as I’d follow close behind

I pray that now that I’m the one followed by little feet

I’ll leave half the footprints I found within your feet.

Diane Griffin

1983

If we said a thousand goodbyes…


QUOTE WINNIE THE POOH PRING

The messages attached to “Good bye” mean different things at different times in our lives. To some it means see you later when to others it holds the sting of finality. And then there are those who though they may have said it a thousand times … they are the ones who will never completely ever be gone. They are the ones whose “goodbyes ” have as much strength as a feather.

And then…. there are the ones who are completely gone. They have left this world. Their ashes have been scattered and we will never hear their voices (at least not on this earth) again. In a way it really makes me resent the game playing in the frivilous goodbyes. I mean after all, life is so fragile. It should mean so much more than it seems to. We are not game pieces that can be moved by the toss of a dice. We are human beings with lives that are already hanging from the most fragile of threads. We can only play with the hand we are given but it makes how we play so much more important.

Inside the memory of a thousand good byes

my grieving heart sees through it’s lies

past the dreams we gave away

wondering now… what if we’d stayed?

so tell me again go ahead

beat the horse until it’s dead

Explain it to me, please just try

What should I do with your goodbyes?

Diane Reed

2013

winnie... if the comes a time

Falling In Love AGAIN


This one is for those who remember these words from a verse I heard long ago…

“Oh my love come grow old with me… for the BEST is yet to be….

So many times when we are young we don’t grasp that we are actually living our “Good Old Days” we have bills and toddlers to deal with and then suddenly in a blink of an eye it is over… our toddlers have grown up and moved on to have families of their own and we find ourselves living like strangers wondering WHO is this person I am living with? Perhaps with much water under the bridge where we even forget why we fell in love in the first place… It is up to us to remember. To realize that we almost missed the BEST in the part we promised each other long ago.

If you are in that place… lonely and wondering; WHERE the the heck is the BEST you promised me?! Look inside yourself. And remember LOVE is a verb!

coffee in the morning

I caught myself looking at you

and in the wisp of the moment,

on the breath of love,

older couple laughing

as an angel’s wing brushed my heart

I remembered

what falling felt like…

 couple kissing outside

The scent of joy and passion

the sound of laughter

riding on a memory…

All mixed in with the pain of life

arguing couple2

that almost made me forget.

But in that glance

hugging2

I fell down into my memories

rushing past all the bad

and landing in all the good

falling, falling, falling

 in love again.

Diane Reed ’13

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

Saying Goodbye to Best Friends…


When I was a little girl you became my second mom

I’d spend the night at your house and we’d talk till well past dawn

Your daughters were my best friends I was friends with them all

but later in life, when we grew up, it was “you” who I’d call…

Oh Lucy, how I dreaded the call I got today. So many memories flood my heart as I write this. You were always my soft place to fall, my advisor, my confidant, my constant. So consistent in my life. Always just a phone call away. Opening up your home for me to live with you guys when I was younger and then for visits whenever I could get away. I grew to love you like my own family. I smile as I think about our late night chats as Bob would call down “Lucille!” And you would tell him you’d be right up and then two hours would have passed as you stayed to chat some more. I loved your stories. Some of them were life changing for me. Some molded my life in ways that made me into who I am today.

When you found the Lord, you were so on fire. And that fire never went out. I could come for a visit or pick up the phone and you were just as in love with your Lord as you were on the first day you really found HIM. Even our last phone call was all about HIM. And I am so confident that in my own selfish sadness (please bear with me while I catch my breath realizing that you won’t be here for me anymore) I know you are so happy, free from pain in your wonderful Savior’s arms. But in the meantime I need to adjust knowing that I won’t ever hear again your wonderful voice and the joy you always seemed to have in it when you would hear it was me on the other end….

I’d hear…. “Oh helloooo baby, or Diane-eeee or Darling” You always made me feel that you were soooo happy to hear from me in a way I don’t think anyone ever has before. And I’ll miss that.

I am so glad that I got to bring my baby for a visit a couple of years ago. She remembered visiting you as a little girl but it had been too long. It was quite an adventure getting to your wonderful *mansion* in the dark up on the hill in Fallbrook…. *funny the memories little kids have*… I remember as you were building it and going with you to pick out wallpapers for ALL those  bathrooms and the tile for the pool. I will always cherish memories of that wonderful house you made into a home. It looked so much the same as I remember the last time we visited… another constant in my life.       Sooo much more than just that house, you were the one who never changed. And on the way home from our visit Brookie said; “Thank you Mama for making me go with you. I love her too.”

Oh Lucy, what am I going to do without you as my soft place to fall? You have left quite a legacy in your path… so many lives you have touched. You will be missed. But you are home now. Heaven must be so wonderful for you. So many people who you have touched, waiting in line to greet and thank you! Save a place for me! I love you!

 LUCY

Click on the song below to understand WHO Lucy has been in this lifetime to me!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6j_YpZQi-I4

My Creative Journey from Artist to Writer…


paint brushes in a row

In my last post I wrote a little about my life as an artist and it seemed to generate a bit of interest and so I thought I’d share some pictures and memories with you here. After I had my daughter, it was hard to imagine ever leaving her with anybody else to go to work, and my son was at an age that I didn’t want him in school all day,  and so I decided that I wanted to take a crack at raising my kids as a “stay at home mom.” 

And so I prayed about it

sad woman3

and the answer came so simply as if God came to me Himself and said “Okay.”

It really did happen just like this…

One day soon after my daughter was born…. my neighbor invited us to their little boys’ birthday barbecue. I was out on maternity leave and not making a lot of money so instead of going out and buying a present, I painted a picture of her little boys in a bath tub for the gift. Personalizing it with their hair color and their names on towels hanging on the tub. Unbeknownst to me, she took that painting to work with her that Monday to show it to some friends and came back with 40 custom orders! Wahlah. THAT is actually how I began. Isn’t God great? How could anyone not believe? He even used one of HIS numbers: forty! Must I even repeat this? How could I not believe that He had answered my prayers?

Jesus anwers our prayers quote

When I was a kid my mom did arts shows as a hobby for extra spending money. Though it ended up being quite a little business for her. She began having an annual  boutique at our house that lasted several years and I remember that she let me try to sell some of my doodlings at a few of them.  Back then, I drew pictures of kids at a bus stop. I honestly can’t remember if I sold any. I actually think I  may have sold  a few.   I liked to draw and my dad told me that I was pretty good. Besides the poems that I wrote as a teenager, and the little doodles that I sketched, I never really felt very artistic .

drawomg

When I first started doing shows, I just focused on the paintings and then I (am dating myself now but…) I started making “Mop Dolls” and even got a rep and sold them wholesale to Longs Drug Stores for a while!

The first show I did was pitiful, I had gotten in by default. There was a waiting list a mile long and because I knew the president of the Art Association I slipped in at the last minute when one of the artists broke her ankle. I was not very prepared and had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t have a very good display and only sold children’s paintings and then sold just a few at that… I was so disappointed but I wanted to learn  from it and so I walked around that show, and noted what the busy booths did differntly and the ones that were selling out had more than just ceramics or paintings, they had a variety of things.

So…the same show the next year, I didn’t just sell children’s paintings, but I also sold dolls, ornaments, baskets, etc. I’d  learned by then that just selling one media didn’t work for me and I was right, I made $1000 the first hour at the same show the following year, selling a bunch of different things! Though looking back, I think that I went overboard creating, without a real good focus. Though I did stay whimsically related which was good. I think I needed to reel it in just a bit. Today my advice would be to choose a few things you do well and stick with what you do best.

img236img235

One of my first shows ~(You can kind of see my paintings on the right in the 1st picture and the mop dolls sitting on the bottom shelf on the 2nd picture)

Some of my first shows and creations are what I like to call “Early Diane” and I have to say they were  a little embarrassing. I had a booth at a place called Crafter’s Guild and slowly started doing different art/craft shows and building up my own following of customers.

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Brookie standing outside of Crafter’s Guild with my scarecrows as their display and a picture of my booth.

Some shows were pretty sad with poor advertising and not a lot of customers. But ALL of them generated something great! Whether it was new friends or networking about new shows, I never looked at a “bad” show as a waste of time. I met my “wood guy” at a show where I sold one thing and I look back at that show as one of my best because I snagged such a good find! He was this wonderful old man named Wayne who would make me whatever I asked him to and deliver them to my door. His wife used to joke that she wanted to come with him to deliver and he wouldn’t let her. She told me that he would put on his after shave just for me! He was so cute!  Wow, I haven’t thought of him for so long. He was the BEST!

My suggestion before signing up for a show, is to go attend it as a customer first! Walk around and don’t only notice how many people are there but how many of them are buying?? The shows I used to do always had a line at the doors to get in and more at the cash registers to check out. Another good piece of advice is to google the reviews. In this day and age with technology at our finger tips… it is easy to find the reviews on shows and read them all,  from both a customer’s and artist’s persepective. But actually getting in your car and going is your very best measuring stick! Talk to the artists and see how their mood seems, ask if they have done the show before and if they would do it again. Try to talk to more than just a few! There is always one bad attitude in every bunch and you don’t want to judge everything based off of one sour faced answer. Also look around and notice how much competition you may have.. If you make hand crafted things, don’t just ask someone who is selling manufactured items their opinion of the show. You get the idea. (See Sugar Plum’s facebook video below~ I promise it will be worth your time.)

When I first started doing shows, I’d do about a dozen a year until I settled into a juried Festival in Southern California where I lived, called Sugar Plum. http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com/#

sugar plum booths

sugar

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=619354118093879&set=vb.126344157394880&type=2&theater

It was such a wonderful find that I ended up giving up all of my other shows and only doing Sugar Plum about five times a year.The rest of the year I would spend getting ready for the next upcoming one. It was such fun. I ended up getting the job of “setting up” the General Store which was their blended area. The other artists who were also assigned this job, worked late into the wee hours of the morning with me, displaying all the wonderful items that several different artists earmarked for the General Store. And together, we made a magical shopping place that actually looked like a General Store filled with treasures and all of our creations! When we would finish we had a tradition of walking over to the Denny’s across the parking lot for coffee and a late night visit before slipping into our hotels and getting about 4 hours sleep before we had to be back to help open the next morning! Though it was a lot of work. I never would have missed a single minute of any of it!

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My garage Getting ready for a Sugar Plum Show!

I began using overalls and kid’s clothes to make scarecrows and themed dolls and my husband made a choir stand like display for my dolls so that I could keep them away from the saw dust. I became known as “The doll lady” because when I had my garage door opened people would stop and want to buy them right off of their shelf! Somedays I could make “grocery money” for the week!

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My dolls became a hit in the local neighborhoods that loved to decorate for Christmas! There was one called Sleepy Hollow in a Southern Neighborhood in Torrance, near Redondo Beach. One day a w0man came to a show at The Torrance Rec Center and wiped me out. She bought about a dozen of my dolls on the spot! Here is a picture of her front yard. Needless to say she won the competition that year and many years after! She would build a glass house with a life size santa sitting in a sleigh and she put all of my critters around as part of the scene. I was so honored that she chose my designs to be a part of her Award Winning display each year!

Christmas sleepy hollow house

You can “kind of” see all my elves sitting around the sleigh…

Soon my paintings became cards and in the beginning I cringe at some of my Early Dianes that I produced without help. But slowly my husband got involved and learned about a technique called sublimation and for a while started having my artwork printed on mugs and tiles and shirts.

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I still did a few dolls… but here was a new display after my husband got involved….

My trademark look was a “Holly Hobby” kind of whimsical angel with falling down socks and patches on their wings. I started writing poetry again to go with them and soon my cards began out selling my dolls! Each customer would grab a few and a few added up to great big checks and I had a great little business.

c49c0074fcbb7f1b_Diane_s_Angel_Friends001b_preview02ec609cf326aa9e_diane_angel001a_preview41b20fd17107c7c9_Diane_s_Angel_Kidsa_previewc082a3aa8a2b3110_Diane_s_Kitchen_Helper001a_previewa0121Starlounge17528

Around that time… my daughter asked me If I had imagined her when I was her age and I began to write my answer to her in way of a book called:  “Did You Imagine Me” Which my Dad produced for me! I still have  a few left for sale in my Etsy shop.

Diane Reed Reed on Etsy

http://www.etsy.com/people/crafterdi

DID YOU IMAGINE ME PAGE

When we moved to Central California, I still tried to do my shows but when we opened our store “Rose In The Woods” I tried to keep up with Sugar Plum and did for a while, but it was hard working all day and producing enough to make it worth doing the shows and so I slowly retired. Though a few of my friends would occasionally  host a little home botique for me. Until I finally sold the rest of my inventory in my store and called it a day.

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After the earthquake and the loss of our store. A lot of things changed pretty fast. But it is nice to be able to look back and see the blessings that have come along the way since a time in my life that I only saw devastation. Though I finally had to get a real job and today I work at a beautiful spa in a resort setting and it is a pretty nice place to work, if I have to. I have to admit that I complain from time to time and seem to constantly worry about the bills during this transition in our life, I have learned some much needed  lessons about appreciating the important things in life through the different set backs. Lessons I know that I might have missed without the ups and downs we have survived. And….For a long time, my art studio sat empty until my husband took it over for his office after losing his job. And I am praying that he will be using it very soon! due to some blessings God is working out for him!

Recently, my daughter got the creative bug after we visited a Sugar Plum Show during one of my LA trips when I came to see her. We’d received one of their post cards and decided to make a date of it. She had great memories of going and helping me set up from the time she was a baby and so we each took a best friend and I must say it was like magic! The owners of Sugar Plum embraced us with so much love and it was so fun seeing all my old friends. I was secretly hoping that I wouldn’t miss doing the shows and it all would be just a happy memory but I have to admit that I missed everything about the entire package from the very minute when I walked in that door. I hadn’t done a show for ten years and it was kind of like withdrawal…. The smells, the energy, all drew me back in like an addict!  My daughter excitedly talked me into doing one last show with her. So I set up my art studio again, this time in our guest room since my daughter had moved out and we now had two guest rooms to speak of. It was fun fixing up a new little place to create and for a while it felt as if the magic had come back. (Maybe someday I will write a book about how to have a successful art business including the dos and the don’ts about art shows and investments. I sure have learned enough to fill all the pages of at least one!)

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A little fuzzy but you get the picture…

 I made one last effort…but did it in a smaller version than before… Later, I heard that people still were looking for my larger holiday dolls so I probably should have stuck to what I knew best but didn’t have that kind of time so I tried something new. (Big mistake!) Once again my cards did well… but nothing as great as in the old days! I’d lost my following a decade earlier for the most part and I just wasn’t in a place to invest the time to build it back up again. I needed insurance and benefits and need to stick with my job for the time being. But it was a happy memory doing a show with my daughter, the once little toddler that had proudly showed off her bright red ears  to anyone who would look.. the day she got her ears pierced and we had to go to Sugar Plum right afterwards, when she was three. It was so fun to go back with her again, and have them all remember her little pink ears and see her all grown up.

Remember that little girl at Crafter’s Guild?img231Brookie's art show                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Brookie with her honey that helped her at one of her many shows last year!)

                                    

We did end up doing a Sugar Plum together a few years ago. It was so fun doing it with my baby! But it was a lot of work. And It really was my last show (I think) But it got her started doing shows while it made me realize that everything has a season… I was happy to pass the baton to my baby. And she has soared. She has done many shows since and has far surpassed me in her own Etsy shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/thenakedbird

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A Naked Bird of course!

She also has a blog here  http://thenakedbird.wordpress.com   She made me the cutest little Writing Mouse typing on her typewriter!

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Sure… dub me the proud mama! I’ll take it! There is nothing better when your kids follow your footsteps. It seems as if I followed my mom and so it is kind of cool. And the funny thing is I knew my daughter was a great actress and writer but who knew she had such an imagination and was such an amazing artist?! But she went to LA to pursue acting and is well on her way so has also had to put away her brushes for now… But every now and then will get an order from her Etsy shop!

So Anyway… I traded in my art studio

PAINT BRUSHES

for a writing studio

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type the end

and never looked back… till today…

Today I really am fine just writing. I don’t miss the mess and the shows and the set up one little bit…. well maybe… a teensie weensie, tiny bit!

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Just remember….  a paintbrush can paint magic….  as our words can become art to the ones who take the time to see their beauty!

Diane 2013

writing magical

Finding Diane


Soooo remember that song that I was trying to write the lyrics to? A while back a musician friend of mine, Jim

http://nostolencatpictures.com/2013/03/31/music-theory-0031/

  wrote a melody, indicating that he was inspired by the chapters from my book (Pieces of the circle) that I am writing and shared some chapters here. He titled the piece Finding Diane and basically told me that it might  be therapy for me to come up with the words. HOW long has it taken me?

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/finding-diane/

I think we started in February.  I must say that it has been quite a project. If you have followed me at all… you may have gone to my friend Jim’s archives (above) and listened to the melody. It is epic! I have come up with several lines via original poems that I have posted here separately. I wanted to see how it flowed if I put them all together. So that is what I have done here today.  The cadence is off a bit in a few areas because they were written as separate poems, but it surprised me just how well 3 separate individual attempts seemed to all flow together. I  have left out the pictures which have sort of become my trademark to enhance the words I write. (Though if you want to read them with pictures they are listed all separately in my archives.) Though the poems do sound better separately, it surprised me how they worked together.

Anyway, I don’t expect him to finish our song anytime soon since he is a teacher and has other projects going but he was right. It was therapy and so I title this Finding Diane. If nothing else… the title is coming true!

The song will not require as many lines as are here (way more than he needs) he will need to cut out words here and there and only take the lines that will work… but at least I have given him something to play with for now. I finally feel found!

Well maybe one picture…..

Worship by sunset

I hear a song and my heart flies away,

I want to snatch it back for it’s gone to yesterday.

The melody wraps around my heart,

though in my head I keep playing the part.

No one can know the pain that I feel,

over a fantasy now, that seems unreal.

And so I pretend that nothing is wrong,

as I try to block out the tune in our song.

But the melody lingers as I push replay,

and wander back into my heart still there, in yesterday.

I dance in the flames as I fall into step

trying to miss the places that made you upset.

The memories make me jump higher and higher,

I feel the sting as I dance past the fire.

The tears bring back the pain that I’d put away,

spinning back into the melody of yesterday.

Like a butterfly trapped, still inside its cocoon,

I dance through my mind running from each room.

As I close the door, where you live in my mind,

I find the part of me that I left behind.

Just like a jewelry box dancer trapped in a box

my heart is inside with the key and its lock.

I had to come back to this place, always heard whispering in my ear…

Oh little girl, somehow I knew I’d still find you here.

Among the memories waiting, wondering if I was coming back

to find the child I left long ago forgotten in my past.

I gather you up and hold you close as we walk through the rooms of our soul,

pieces of you and me once broken, healing and becoming whole.

Looking inside from the child within, I see all the pain you must feel.

Knowing that we must tend to each wound before we truly begin to heal.

We walk through the lonely places that once held our yesterdays

Oh how I wished I’d protected you in so many different ways.

And yet I know that through the hurting, we’ve gained strength in what we’ve learned.

In all the lessons remembered, in all the times once burned,

in every tear we ever cried, and every broken heart,

in every time we were in a crowd, and felt a million miles apart.

we built the walls around our heart and “they” never saw us cry.

We learned that fighting to survive was what we had to do

and so I lost the biggest part of me the day when I lost you.

It’s hard to face the ugly truth and really look inside,

to know I left you all alone, living with the hurts and lies.

You were the child inside of me and I failed you the most,

in the mistakes I made along the way, in the different paths I chose.

But I’ve come back to find you, to finally bring you home.

So that together we can learn to live and never be alone!

I want to find the kid inside, and heal the pain we knew.

I want to learn to love the me, that I forgot to love in you!

And so as I pack up all your things, I have hope in what will be…

As I learn to love you more…

Cuzzzz after all you’re ME!

Diane Reed

2013

                                                                                                          (Hey and Jim try to look past the punctuation errors! LOL)

The Places That Hurt Before


little girl window seat

Her heart was bruised
and a little misused,
she learned at a young age
how it could break~

boy walking away

Years went by
and life went on,
she learned the games
of give and take~

girl lost in the woods

But she always wandered back
into the forest of her yesterdays~
looking past the shadows
losing her way inside the maze~

letting go diary

Now the bruises on her heart…
They don’t hurt much anymore~
unless you push very hard
on the places that hurt before.

Diane Reed ’13

advice about the past

If Only…


girl flying

If only

I could will myself

to you,

floating high above,

that you might

feel my presence

in a surge of love.

Like a curtain moved

by  a summer breeze,

curtains in the breeze

a light wind,

holding tight

as it carries me

Wendy

through my

memories…

love in Heaven sillouette

I would set upon

your rooftop

rooftops

and quietly

 look

right through~

If only to spend

A minute’s

worth of time

with you!

peterpan and wendy not a cartoon

Diane Reed

My Tara


boy selling papers without shoes
When my dad was a young boy… (I think he told me he was about seven or eight,) he had to sell magazines to buy himself a new pair of shoes. He also told me if someone gave him a nickle too much in change, he would walk backwards, barefoot, in the snow to return it. Of course, he was just trying to make a point about honesty, but point made. I would never consider otherwise because of him and the lessons he wove throughout my life.

I remember as a young child, my dad making every Christmas very special. It was almost embarrassing to have someone see the presents piled high around our Christmas tree.

Christmas tree with presents

I don’t think that I figured it out until this year, but I realize now that he most likely, was trying to make up for his “lack of” in his young life and that he probably, was driven to be a success because of his hardships in his own childhood. Kind of like Scarlett in the last scene as she stands on her land (“Tara”) reciting that famous line from Gone With The Wind….

Tara

    “As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again.”

My dad was like a kid at Christmas time. He couldn’t even wait till Christmas day! We always had our Christmas on Christmas eve. As soon as it got dark he would reach behind his chair and tap on the wall and look up at the ceiling as if he heard Santa’s sleigh landing… we would look up, totally believing and then he would scurry us up the stairs telling us we better hurry cuz Santa would not come down the chimney till we were out of sight!

santa's sleigh

We would hear “ho ho ho” and big jingle bells ringing. Until finally my dad would call us as we would scramble down the stairs, always blinded by the movie camera bulbs as we found even more presents added to the pile and usually a big one like a bike or a “Santa present” and of course, our stockings were always stuffed to the brim.

Not only did he teach me how to receive but he also taught me how to give. He could make buying a present for my mom at the drugstore a special memory because it was all from just me! Funny, I never thought about it, but I pride myself on giving thoughtful presents. Listening and knowing what people like. I hate the White Elephant exchanges, because you are buying a random gift for a random person. Though I have to admit that I do like trying to bring the present that everyone fights over. Ahhh, a reflection on my dad again, I am sure.

When my dad died suddenly of a heart attack, I was twenty six, He left a lot of holes, though Christmas was probably the time I missed him the most. Not so much because of the thoughtful presents he would add day after day to the pile around our Christmas tree.

presents

but I missed his childlike joy. I had just had my son a couple of years before, and he loved having a child in the family again, to bring back the magic. Of course, he spoiled him from the beginning. The Christmas before he died, Santa had bought an electric jeep for his two year old little grandson!

I think that something came over me, the first year without him. I knew that everyone would feel the excruciating holes that he had left and I guess I felt that I had to carry on his tradition of giving. That year, it was as if my dad’s heart for giving possessed me. I tried to fill his shoes. Funny, not until writing this TODAY, dozens of years later, have I realized that. In the past, I have gone into debt trying to fill his shoes.

I think it is kind of hard, when you come from a place of comfort and find yourself struggling rather than the other way around. This year, the presents can’t be piled high. My husband lost his job and though the prospects look good for the possibility of a new company working out for him, it has been a challenge. And though we have learned to cut back, The bills are all the same from the lifestyle we had become accustomed to.

We have a friend who has suffered with ALS from as long as we have known him. He is in the process of deciding about getting a trache. It is a matter of $9000 per month to just breathe! I figure that I am $9000 a month ahead, just because I can breathe! I can’t even wrap my head around the presents under the trees that won’t be opened this year because of that horrific act carried out at that school. I KNOW I am blessed. We are just heading towards our nine year anniversary of the earthquake that wiped out our store. (Story in my blog) :

 https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/category/earthquakes/

That year, I learned the lesson about how stuff is just stuff.

And yet, I have been asking myself…what is my problem this year? I mean, I don’t even want a Christmas Tree. Well, I miss my dad. I do every year. It never lessens. But it is something more, this year. I have sat through the Christmas story hundreds of times. And know that I have understood and been touched and yet, this year, I think I finally understand that it is so much more than stockings hung by the fire. It is all about The Greatest Gift Of ALL. A Baby that we seem to forget about as we stand in the long lines. But this year, I have realized that Christmas is so much more. It is not about receiving presents or even giving them, it is about the faith and joy we find when we really remember what Christmas is all about.
It is where we build our Tara.

Baby Jesus

So this year… has been an especially hard one for me but I am looking at things differently.

This song… kind of sums it all up…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmGSHZYZ74c

Terri


boxes in the yard

The refrigerator box lay sideways in our front lawn. I was four years old and we had just moved in to our new house. My dad answered the door as two little girls looked up at him. The oldest one asked “You got any kids?” I peeked around his legs. And that is how I met her. My BFF.

My dad always loved re-telling that story over the years, whenever she would come for a visit. She was two months older than me, the younger of the two sisters who had knocked at my door on moving day. Refrigerator boxes were so magical back in those days and had such bonding powers, I rarely look at an empty one without remembeing the powers that, THAT one seemed to possess.  I have often teased them both over the years, that they only wanted me for my boxes.

Now over a half a century later, I think I got the better end of the deal.  She has been in two of my weddings. (And has warned me that two is her limit!) She is Auntie Terri to my daughter and my BFF for over five decades! I think she must have followed me around to five record stores while I tried to find a song I wanted to play at my reception and must have  ironed my wedding dress about four times the day of my wedding and stood up for me as my Maid of Honor.

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She is the reason that my daughter has experienced Hawaii. And it is because of “Auntie Terri’s”  generosity that she got to go to the school of her choice without the financial hardship there would have been without her heart. She drops everything to play hostess to my baby or will drive for hours to see her in a play.

From playing dolls to having our own babies two months apart, we have come full circle.

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(Our babies… mine is on the right though I claim them both!)

We have gone through births and deaths, illnesses and more births, we have gone through weddings and heart breaks and falling in love and out of love, a dozen times over the years. We even got past the idea we were both going to marry the same boy! (Scott lived nextdoor to me and across the street from her!)

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We can say exactly what we are thinking without feeling judged and vent and snap and know that none of it will change our love for each other. Life may throw us curve balls but nothing can rock our friendship.  Not even miles….

From the time we were little girls, we made the effort to keep in touch. Through letter writing and special note cards, sealing wax and phone calls, visits and later, emails and texting… we have ridden the wave and found that our love is built on solid ground.

letters with ribbon

My daughter is up there this weekend doing an Art Show and staying with her Auntie Terri and it warms my heart that they have found their own friendship in each other. Their own interests and  memories all of their own.

girls gossiping

And my heart is full as I share my best friend with my best friend.

Ironing Boards Inside My Wall


 

orange crate shelves

Orange crates beneath some wood

Ironing boards inside a wall,

ironing board cupboard

Dancing on that empty floor

back then we thought we had it all~

 moving day hug

Defrosting the fridge with a hammer

defrosting with a hammer

Glass door knobs and yellow tile

yellow tile in kitchen 2

Wooden crates and mason bricks

mason shelves

Still somehow,  make me smile

Long before Pottery Barn or Thomasville

writing a check

Before credit cards statements each month…

There was a time when we lived on dreams

And somehow that was enough.

cute romantic couple dancing

Diane Reed

Fire


It’s been thirty years

And it’s been twenty days

And the feelings are somehow the same

It’s as if you weren’t here

And as if you won’t leave

Makes me wonder if you ever came

My mind is still whirling

And my heart has gone blank

The memories have all been erased

Like the scent of the past

The fragrance can’t last

YOU are just my yesterday….

The pain is so deep,

I can’t hardly sleep

Though,  I know, that I’ve finally learned….

I won’t do it again…

Look back where I’ve been…

for with fire, you always get burned.

Diane Reed 2012

Seems Like Only Yesterday…


SON

 

Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

(My son and his beautiful family)

by

Diane Reed

copywrite 1997

Do Overs


If I could do it all again

would I make the same mistakes?

Would I bypass all the times

when I know my heart would break?

Would I still fall in love

with the father of my kids?

Would I do the dumb things

I remember that I did?

If I could go back,

and undo everything I’ve done…

Would I trade it all

to once again be young?

It is a tempting question,

to consider what I’d do,

to be able to wipe the slate clean,

To undo the things I wish I didn’t do…

And yet, I have to wonder

what the trade off would have to be

if I undid my life…

And could re-invent the one called “me

Even with all I now know…

and the lessons I have learned~

The “Do Over” I could have,

and the places I’d return,

I would still have to choose

all I know of in this life

If it meant being someone else’s mother

and someone else’s wife!

For all the ones that I have loved…

makes it worth it in the end~

To live the life with the ones I’ve loved

Yes~

I’d do it all again.

Hopefully with lessons learned

to make some slight revisions~

To gift me with the wisdom of today

In tomorrow’s new decisions.

Diane Reed

B-R-E-A-K-I-N-G


Sometimes I use my tears

 for everything all at once,

I remember ALL the pain,

I experience all the love

that has passed me by,

I cry for the people

who needed me

when I wasn’t there,

for lost dogs in my life,

for dreams

that should have come true

and misunderstandings

that should have never been

for death, and for life,

and for those

who never got a chance to live it.

Sometimes I use my tears

to break all at once

to shed them until I am empty

so that I might be filled again.

Diane Griffin ’90

(me)

Chapter Four


I have been sharing pieces of my book. (It is already written, I am now in the process of editing it, which I have found is almost a longer process than writing it.) This won’t make much sense without reading the first three chapters. I am asking for feedback and guidance from anyone who has already published a novel. I appreciate everyone’s time! I have stopped blogging for the most part, until I have finished my editing. But please feel free to visit my archives, I have over 100 posts just waiting for you there.

Chapter Four

Keri woke up to her phone ringing. Her dad had left earlier that morning for another business trip and had told her that he wanted her to check in with him and her mother regularly while he was gone, and to still ask permission before just going out to sea again or doing other things that she would normally have to ask to do if they were there, and she laughed and  happily agreed.

Keri’s dad had not been so sure about leaving her for the next week but she assured him that she would be fine. She opened one eye to peek at her clock radio and groaned when she saw that it only said 8:13, she reached for the phone beside her bed. “Helloooo?” Keri said in a raspy voice that was obviously still not fully awake. “Where are you?!” Lori’ demanded loudly. “Huh?.” Keri answered sleepily. Only to be met with another retort, “Did you forget about todaaay!?” Suddenly Keri jumped out of bed. “Oh my gosh, Lori, I am soooo sorry!” Keri said now, fully awake, “I’ll be right there.”

Lori had a few registration issues that had come up at the end of the school year, and had to drive to UCLA to iron everything out so that she could get placed in the dorm of her choice. She had wanted Keri to come along for moral support and to see how to get there so she could visit, often Lori hoped. She was feeling slightly homesick and unsure about making new friends. “You will do just fine.”  Mrs. T had encouraged her, when she had found her daughter in tears earlier that week. Planning to drive the girls up that morning, they mapped out the best route to take. Deciding to make it into an all day outing, she  planned to treat the girls to lunch at her old hang out, called the Hamburger Hamlet that had been a favorite study spot of hers when she had gone to UCLA. The girls had been looking forward to the day and to take the walk down memory lane with her.

Now she was late and she felt horrible as she jumped in the shower and then raced to Keri’s. Matt had left his wallet in the backseat of Jack’s car the night before and Jack had found it that morning when he left for work. When he arrived at work, he had called the Taber’s and Matt answered, just having  noticed minutes prior that it was missing. He asked his mom if she could swing by and pick it up since Sarah’s family was picking him up for a day at the beach but he would need it later that evening when he went to the movies with friends. Lori groaned, complaining that now they were going to be even later. Keri felt secretly pleased for a chance to see Jack again so soon. When he saw the Taber’s car drive up, he ran out to the car and handed Mrs. T the wallet. Leaning in, he caught a glimpse of Keri and looked surprised as he said; “Good Morning!” Lori barely grunted something back, but Keri enthusiastically tilted her head so he could see her better and,  happily offered back in a slightly exagerated chippery voice, “Good Morning!”  Keri could hear Lori mumble a sarcastic mimick of the way she had greeted Jack and frowned but ignored her. Jack grinned back at Keri, obviously happy to see her. “Thank you for finding this.”  Mrs. T added gratefully, touching Jack’s arm. As they drove away Keri waved and watched Jack as he winked back at her and she felt it again, that warmth that she had felt a few times the day before.

Lori had not missed the little exchange and was annoyed. Keri seemed so happy. But Lori knew more than she was letting on and felt horrible about not coming clean from the start with her best friend. The least I can do is, tell her what I know and then let her decide, she would argue with herself. Lori knew enough about what had happened between Jack and Maddie to know she didn’t like it. They had met up at Montana State during a double date and began going out. Lori deciphered enough to know that it had been a very troubled relationship through out the time that they were dating and had overheard their mom talking to her sister during a few late night phone calls, trying to console her when Maddie had called crying after a bad argument. She had even had to come home after one particularly bad fight and Lori remembered hearing her sister sobbing through the walls and wondering what had happened that was so horrible that made her cry like that.

Jack had left a semester early to go help his mom with something and his plan had been that he would return again the following Semester and he and Maddie would spend the summer together when she returned. But her sister had landed a part time job a few months earlier, and could not leave as soon as school ended and if truth be known, she hadn’t wanted to because that is where she had met Dan.  Even though Maddie had broken up with Jack, he had been hoping that he could win her back over the summer. He had planned on taking her sailing and other fun places  but his plans had all been changed when Maddie happened to have plans of her own. All Lori knew was that Jack had expected Maddie to return home to him, and had not been counting on her bringing a fiancé back with her. She knew that her mom had been distressed over how to break it to Jack without hurting him or any possible drama, and she realized that without even thinking, her mom had probably just recognized that Keri had been the perfect solution. Lori remained miffed at her mom for knowing what kind of issues Jack and her sister had been having, and  not being more concerned about Keri.

But Lori felt that she had her old mom back since she had finally broken the news to him and he hadn’t been as devestated as had expected. Mrs. T was just so relieved having the problem of hurting Jack behind her. Lori knew that her mom had grown to love Jack, he had shared things with only her and no one else, and she had begun to understand his demons.  She knew more about his family dramas and why he acted the way he did, and so she excused some of his out bursts that had happened in front of  Maddie and even some that she and  Matt had witnessed.  She had been a kind of a self appointed surrogate mother and counselor to him when he needed someone to  just be there and listen to him.

When Lori had confronted her mom with what she knew, her mother had insisted that she felt that Jack had learned from his mistakes and had changed. And so Lori kept her feelings to herself.Though she struggled with what she knew.  As the weeks passed by, Keri seemed so happy with Jack. So Lori decided to keep quiet, hoping she was wrong and that her mom was right and that Jack had actually changed.

Mrs. T easily navigated  the girls around the campus. They parked and walked for what seemed like miles. As they investigated both old and new buildings. By the time they had gone to Lori’s meeting and explored the different aspects of the campus they were tired and starving  but they loved every minute of it. Lori’s mom told so many stories that day that both girls felt as if they had discovered a new side of her that they had never known. They chatted easily over lunch and laughed at the funny perdicaments she shared about her own first year away from home. By the end of the day, Lori felt more comfortable about moving away and Keri loved and admired Mrs. T even more.

Things seemed to go back to normal for the Taber family, before Jack and the boat occupied their driveway. Lori was planning on leaving a few weeks earlier than expected to take a class that she had found  she needed to have completed before the first semester began. Keri sat on Lori’s bed sulking as she watched her pack “I’ll probably be back in a few weekends.” She reassured her. “And you can always come up and visit.” she reminded Keri who agreed, “I guess” but stuck out her bottom lip as Lori laughed. Keri hopped up handing a stack of tee shirts she had just folded for Lori to add to her pile,  when the doorbell rang. Mrs. T was around back, outside in her garden and Lori was sitting under a pile of clothes so Keri jumped up and offered, “I’ll get it!” as she skipped down the stairs. She was surprised to see Jack standing there with a box of tools. “Hi” Keri said  sounding surprised. “Uh, hi” Jack replied “I borrowed these from the garage and was returning them before I forgot.” Jack stammered. He usually only found Mrs T home this time of day.”I thought that was your car.” He said pointing around to the side of the house where she normally parked so that she could easily maneuver around the progression of cars that ended up along the Taber’s long driveway.

Jack had been calling Keri sporadically  and they had gone out  a few times, mainly to just talk and get to know each other. She let him do most of the talking and slowly he had begun to open up. She felt that he just needed someone to talk to and she had been that someone. She had continued to spend most of her days with Lori but now Lori was leaving and she felt kind of lost. “It is good to see you Jack!” Keri sounded happier than she felt and opened the door wider, motioning for him to come in. Jack grinned, hopefully and stepped inside.

Keri and Jack were still talking at the bottom of the stairs when Mrs T came in wiping her hands and looked surprised to see him there, as he quickly explained that he had brought back the tools he had borrowed when he had been working on the boat. It had been slow at the station and so they let him off early and he told Mrs T that he had meant to bring them up earlier. She thanked him knowing that he had avoided coming, when he knew Maddie would be there. But Maddie had come and gone and was now visiting Dan’s family on the East Coast for a few weeks.

Mrs. T excused herself to go check the chili she had on the stove and asked if they would like a bowl as Lori came down to see who had been at the door. Mrs.T stirred the simmering pot as Lori and Keri pulled the bowls and placemats from the cupboard.  Soon Matt and Sarah arrived and they found themselves all sitting around the table once again, eating cornbread and chatting happily. Jack had slipped in directly across from Keri and she couldn’t help but notice how he was kind of playfully bumping  her feet with his, under the table. When she looked up, he was looking directly at her. She glanced away and then looked again as he she felt another nudge and then giggled and blushed as his eyes remained fixed on hers.

Keri helped Lori clear the table as the boys settled on the floor watching the game. After all the dishes were put away Lori said she had to finish packing since she was leaving in the morning. Keri wandered over to where the others sat watching TV and let her go up alone. Matt was on the floor, leaning back on Sarah who was sitting in one of the easy chairs in front of the TV, affectionately playing with his hair. Jack hopped up from the other easy chair he was sitting in so that Keri could sit. Something flipped in Keri’s stomach as Jack nestled back comfortably onto Keri’s. He had been complaining that his back was sore from having to work on a car upside down all day. He smelled like a combination of shampoo and gasoline from work. To her surprise, the scent made her feel funny inside.

Jack reached up to rub his neck again. Keri pushed him forward a little and he seemed kind of unsure as to why. But when she began massaging his neck and shoulders, he realized what she was offering and leaned further forward groaning with pleasure. Soon,  Matt had talked Sarah into doing the same, joking about how sore he was from a day at the beach. When Lori came down to get a soda she surveyed the scene at hand and rolled her eyes, going back up stairs with the unpopped can she had come down for. For a moment, Keri considered following her up, but  she was not in the mood  for a lecture and  was still a little annoyed that their summer plans had changed so close to it’s end so she just settled back and continued to glide her hands up and down Jack’s back as he pressed comfortably up against her bare legs.

As they both got into their cars that night, Keri mentioned something about going home to an empty house and how she actually missed her mom and little brother and would be glad when they returned soon. Jack offered to follow her home and Keri agreed. She had just cleaned the house knowing that her dad would be home in a few days and had left it sparkling. When he pulled up, she parked in the driveway. She went over to his car. She knew that he had planned to  just watch her go inside. They hadn’t even kissed yet. He had been a perfect gentleman. But something about the night made Keri want to ask him to come inside. And so she shyly asked, “You wanna come in?” Jack grinned. “I thought you’d never ask.”

As Keri unlocked the door, Jack followed her. Dropping the keys on a table by the door, she continued to the kitchen, Jack liked watching her as she turned on the lights and then  opening up the fridge offering  him something to drink. He continued to watch her as she poured them both some iced tea and went into the living room. “How about a fire?” he suggested eyeing the wood. It was almost September and the nights were getting a little nippy, especially near the ocean where she lived. “if you want to.” Lori agreed. When the fire was blazing, Jack went around and turned out all the lights. Keri watched him from the sofa, amused. As he sat down, he took the iced tea out of her hands, placing it on a coaster on the glass slabbed coffee table in front of them. He held her warm hands, still slightly wet from the condensation on the glass and looked into her eyes that looked trustingly back at him, her lips parted, just waiting for what came next. He tilted her head up and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her but he brushed her bangs away from her forehead ever so gently and breathed. She held her breath waiting for what seemed like several minutes but she knew it had just been a few seconds, and then he said in a  soft, rough voice she knew she would always remember, “I really like you Keri.”

Jack’s words took her breath away, even more so than if he had actually kissed her. The words caught in her heart. She felt as if she would burst. He had emphasized the word “you” so tenderly. She savored the moment and then whispered, “I really like you too Jack.” Then reaching up, she touched his face. Ever so slowly, she leaned up as he leaned down and their lips touched softly, searching and then exploring, getting to know the other. Nothing in the kiss carried anything from the past. She knew at that moment. This was not a rebound kiss. Nor the residual pieces from a broken heart, it was somethng new. No one else mattered at that moment.  He was kissing her, not with the memory of Maddie in it,   but with the possibility of a new future and with the  tenderness of a new chapter, ready to be written.

Clicking “LIKE”


This morning I came on and found that someone had liked 47 of my posts! It made me have to wander back with them in my archives because I thought if they are going to take the time to read and then “LIKE” something then I should take the time to at least click on each “LIKE” and re-read the things they clicked.

Blogging is a funny thing. It is like leaving your journal open for anyone to read. There was a day when I had a little diary with a lock on it. I carefully hid the key and wrote my tiny daily paragraph of all the most important events in m life… “Went to school today, came home, and maybe just maybe the boy I liked “looked at me!” Ahhh so much has changed… One BIG thing is… I could NEVER fit all of my “important”  daily thoughts in a little 5 year diary thats provides you with five little lines to chronicle your life!

When my grandma died, I wasn’t there. My mom flew to Washington and my Aunt and cousin went through all the things they wanted. I was in a different mind set then. I didn’t want to come across as greedy. I was so sad. It seemed inappropriate to “want” something of hers after she was gone and yet… she always would tell me “I want you to have my china Diane” I was just about ten when she started telling me that. I was just a naive little kid back then and even remeber thinking “Why would I want your China?” But when my mom asked me if there was anything special I wanted her to bring back… I did say “Well she always wanted me to have her china.”

Today I love it. It is actually pretty nice I think… as china and antiques go… it is Franconia from Germany. And now I realize it was probably very special to her because it was so nice and she wanted me to have it. She was my age now when I remember us talking about it… Which I thought was NOT old enough to be talking about her not being here and leaving me things. And I was right. She lived a long life. I was born on her birthday and was the first grandchild. We always had a specal bond. So besides the china… which was the one thing I knew that she wanted me to have, I asked for my grandma’s diary.

It was one of those five year kind. The thing that is so  unique, is…she started it the day after Christmas her sixteenth year and it ended when she was 21. She talked about her school events, and young girl crushes, dated a little  and then finally,  met my grandpa, fell in love, got married and had my mom all within those five years! It was as if I got to see a little glimpse of my grandma’s life all inside that little leather bound, worn book. It is an amazing treasure to me. I can almost imagine her in her bedroom, after a date writing in it.

Today as I re-read my journals, I wish I had saved one of those childhood ones with the locks on it. But I do have one that I started when I was sixteen. Filled with silly poems and pictures and such innocence. It snaps me back to a time where I had not yet experienced life. I only wrote about, dreaming of what lay ahead and then it also is filled with pages of new love and the passion that comes with it and then heartbreak and sorrowful poems of young heartbreak. It is kind of funny now. I still remember the reasons behind some of those poems that I wrote.

Today, I click on some of my old posts. The ones before I knew you guys… the ones no one “LIKED” because they didn’t know they were there. Or I hadn’t really invited anyone to share yet… I followed a friend’s blog, they followed mine… I was more vague back then. People didn’t really know what I was writing about. Now it is kind of like a puzzle.. I still have not provided all the pieces and yet you can begin to see the picture I have painted and yet you are still following me!

It makes me realize that we all have a story and our stories help each other live our lives, somehow making us feel not so alone in what we are going through, just by knowing someone else out there may understand just a little. I still have some posts in the proverbial little locked diary inside my imagination but waking up to find someone took the time to read 47 of my posts sometime in the night is the best compliment I could have as a “wanna be writer” and it inspires me to keep writing. Hoping that something I might have to say can touch someone enough to keep reading….

I know I have a lot to learn… a lot to tweak and edit and going back and reading some of my older things has made me realize that this blog has done just what I set out for it to do… helped me grow… and stretch my writing abilities to a place where I might not have to beg my family or friends to listen to something I wrote… but people actually go and click on me and search me out and sit there and read my “stuff” all by themselves! Like Sally Field said… “You “LIKE” me you really like me!” And for that … I say thank you!

In Honor of my 100th Post!


This is my 100th post. The one I have talked about many times before. The one that is supposed to be the milestone that inspires me to finish my book I have had in waiting….  I thought that it would be the perfect post to…. honor somene who inspires me daily…

My Mom…

She was born  March 3rd in  1934.  My grandfather was a machinist and my grandma stayed at home, being a mom. My mom was the apple of her parent’s eye. Blonde and full of life.

When my mom was six years old, “polio” was a dreaded word, feared by all. There was an outbreak of it, right in their own neighborhood in Seattle. My grandma was especially careful trying to keep her little family far from any germs, staying away from public places and washing everything. One day her neighbor asked them to go on a picnic to the lake, explaining that they would stay far away from people. My grandma reluctantly agreed and as they were unpacking their lunch all the kids  went exploring,  and accidentally knocked down an old hornets nest. My mom was stung where ever her little sunsuit did not cover. They rushed her to the lake and placed mud all over her wounds. shortly after, she came down with polio. It could have been a number of things that led to her contracting the terrible disease. The stings, the mud, or the trip on the bus downtown a few days later when her resistance was low. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter now. (Though I will always be puzzled about why they went on a bus ride downtown, right smack in the middle of people~ with all those germs, but… Oh well…)

     My mom on her way to school. (Her crutches are laying in the background)

The fact is that her life was changed forever. Her childhood was taken from her, the life she was meant to have was as well. And yet she learned to walk again where the doctors predicted a life of being paralized. She had horrendous surgeries, a bone taken from her leg, to straighten her back, a body cast for a year, and then later as she learned to walk again, cruel and clueless kids, stealing her crutches as she walked to school. And yet, she has fallen in love and been married twice in her lifetime.

           I’ve always  loved this one of my mom! She looks so happy as if her whole life was ahead of her!

She has been a successful artist and a wonderful mother. From an early age, she would sit me up on the counter and let me help…  pouring in the ingredients and stirring it with a spoon, always remembering to let me smell the vanilla and stir up my own concoction of “something.” I am sure that is WHY I love to bake!… she has been a wonderful grandma and the best memory maker you could ever ask for!

Mom and me 1958

One year my mom, found Winnie the Pooh (Always my favorite) blow up characters as party favors at my 8th birthday party! Every party she threw was more special than the year before. (She always out did herself!

My mom with my son (her first Grandchild)              My beautiful mom and daughter on the boat in New Port Beach, on my wedding day

She is in a lot of pain a lot of the time and I guess I never really understood much of it, until I got to an age when it was a little harder for me to get up in the morning and I began having the usual aches and pains that come with getting older. And I know, I only experience an inkling of a crumb of a speck of what she experiences daily and has for a long, long, time.

When I was younger, I hate to admit that I hated her polio stories. In fact, I’ve hated the number six all of my life because that was the age my mom got polio. I hated that she complained about her aches and pains and that she couldn’t do as much as I wanted her to. To attend my school functions and walk long distances. Funny, how selfish we are as kids. Now it is as if I have different glasses on, (I actually do! Recently having to finally give in to getting a REAL pair due to old age!) I can see more clearly. She is actually a hero for doing so much. She did art shows for years. With my dad’s help. And then ours, when I was able to drive. We all pitched in to help set her up and break down at her shows. My dad was so tickled as she obtained a following of faithful customers. She always made sure that we went to church every Sunday, even though my dad only would go on very special occassions… Easter mainly. Oh yeah and when I got baptized… smile.

Today, my mom has survived a lot. Polio was just the begining. My sister was in a horrific car accident and my mom would drive an hour a day to go see her. Sometimes twice. She did not give up when the doctors told her to not hold out too much hope. She prayed and talked to  her, until she came out of her coma and worked with her until she was able to live a pretty normal life. A few years later, my dad died of a heart attack jogging around the block, she was the one who found him. When you add it all up, she has not had an easy life. And yet she has proven that she is who she is because of surviving it all. And she has survived.

The thing about my mom is she has always had faith. She always believed that God had a plan. She never gave up. After my dad died, she began reaching out to hurting people in way of cards that she wrote in the form of letters, adding different scripture verses that pertained to what each person was individually going through at the time. They say Elizabeth Barrett Browning is in our ancestory somewhere and I don’t doubt it~              and so we write. That’s just what we do. My mom does it, I do it, my daughter does it. It’s just in our blood!

A few years after my dad died, she reached out to an old childhood friend  at my grandmother’s suggestion, with one of those letters right after his wife died.  He ended up coming for a visit.

They have been happily married for almost three decades.

So you see, even though life handed her some big obstacles, she always rose above them and God blessed her for it.  The lesson she has taught me and many others through out her life is that God is a God of MIRACLES and that nothing is too big for HIM. Not the opinion of a doctor or the diagnosis they may give, or the closing of a door. She has taught me that there is always a door to open somewhere, not too far down the road.

I don’t always tell her often enough but I am proud of her and she is one of my biggest heroes and best friends.

I love you mom!

The Ring


The first time I got married, we bought our rings at Gemco. I still remember, they were just little bands of gold. Mine fit perfectly inside of his. Our Pastor made up a quick little off the cuff sermon about them when they were placed in his hand. Something about, how the circle was unbroken and how the man protects his wife. Well, that didn’t work out too well now did it? The circle was eventually broken and as for protecting… well my heart was shattered into a million pieces and so I think not.

I remember once after we had separated, I had taken mine off. It had been almost as painful as removing my actual finger. Over the years, after we were more financially stable,  he added to that little band of gold and had given me a beautiful diamond engagement ring  for Christmas one year. Several years later, the diamond fell out and I had been devastated  and stopped wearing it until we could replace the diamond. We never did. But I always wore that little band of gold. Always, till I didn’t.  I remember noticing that he still had his on long after we had separated and it kind of tugged at my heart in such a way, I still can feel it today. There is just something about a man wearing your ring after you have taken his off that gets to you.

I have since remarried and  was given a new beautiful diamond ring that I’ve worn since. It has weathered many years. Last year, the band broke, it had just worn down and split right in the middle. It kept pinching my finger and so I finally took it off. My husband (the giver of that ring) and I were going through some rough times and so it was kind of apropos. I placed it in my jewelry box and I remember feeling sad but kind of free. Though when I saw my husband wearing his ring, I felt that same pain that touched the core of my heart again. And yet, I reasoned that my ring was broken and so it remained in my jewelry box.

A ring has a lot of symbolism for many of us. We all probably could share a story or two about a ring  in each of our lives. I won’t go into exactly what was going on in my life, but I went ringless for almost an entire year. All I will say is that it was timely and pretty sympbolic. But every time I would see my husband’s ring on his hand, something struck me. Perhaps it was his loyalty and steadfastness, because no matter what happened, he kept that ring on.

Christmas was on a Sunday this last year. My husband had to work. We had done presents earlier because we knew we had to go to church and he would have to leave early from there to go to work.  I was not expecting it when he squeezed my leg to say goodbye and pressed a little velvet box in my hand. I looked down as he walked out of the church. I opened the box and there was my shiny diamond ring with a brand new band. I sat there holding it. Feeling as if I did not deserve the ring nor the husband.

It wasn’t as romantic as it could have been. He hadn’t stayed to slip it on my finger or even to see if I would do it myself. I felt kind of empty sitting there looking at it as he walked out the door. There I sat in church with my sweet daughter who had come for Christmas, sitting beside me. She knowingly watched me. she had known, been in on the “surprise” she knew too much as it was. I put on the ring and smiled at her. She smiled back. The singing stopped and we sat down to listen to the sermon. So much was going on in my head,  I don’t think I heard any of it that day.

Today I look at that ring. Several months have passed. Several emotions and conversations later and it still remains on that finger since I slipped it back on, in church that day. Yesterday, I was noticing that in all the rings I have ever worn, this one just seems to fit perfectly. Maybe it is the great job the jeweler did in fixing it, but just maybe it is the ONE that is supposed to be on my finger. The one that The best “REPAIRER” of  all rings and hearts and all good things is still working on.

Still Can’t Push Delete


Like a light turned on in the night

Warm and dim

Comfortable and yet still hard to clearly see

a tune caught in my mind

As I hum it’s melody

A message lost inside the blinking light

Though I no longer must rewind….

I still can’t push delete,

A scent wrapped up inside

memories left behind….

As once again, I breathe.

I need to taste

The fizz

 that quenches my deepest thirst

as I fill my glass to the brim

it stops short before it spills

The Gift We Almost Missed


When you found me, I was tired and weary. I had forgotten how to dream and I had walls up all around me. Some you helped build long ago, the same ones you helped me take down in our times together. You gave me back something that I had lost…  you gave me the gift of my youth.

The memories we shared were like the best tasting honey ever, and I remembered with an old weary heart, soaking up all of it until there were no memories left to remember. Every day was better than the last, we danced the dance of getting to know each other all over again… the one I once knew so well, had memorized and then tried to forget with the exact same passion I had loved you with.  And yet, we worked through it, all the painful memories. You asked for my forgiveness and in giving it, my heart healed and my world seemed to somehow feel more aligned with everything around it.

I began looking forward to your words, to your affirmations. Your words were like salve upon a wound, they had healing powers and I was lost in a world so rare, so right and yet so wrong.  And so… …..   all in the click of a key, my life changed. It all started quite innocently, the catching up, the remembering… so innocently…

But you wanted something  more, something that I could not give… In-between the youth that you offered and the life that had happened in-between the past and the present, the path had changed. I had changed. You had changed, yet we hadn’t changed enough. Slowly I tried to back away and even though you would say that you knew you weren’t entitled to be angry about any of it, you still were. And even though I wanted to go back and make it alright for you, I could not change the past. Though I was not sure what to do. I did not want to abandoned our newfound friendship, I continued to reach back through the distance but we knew nothing was going to make it right.

And you must have seen the writing on the wall because all of a sudden you weren’t there anymore. It wasn’t me this time. It was you.  I waited for your reply and wondered if you were okay.  But then I realized, you nor I were ever going to be okay when we weren’t in touch or when we were. Even though it felt so right sometimes, we knew the truth.  I had taken a thousand opportunities to just stop over and over again, and something always would happen that seemed to make it impossible to stay away. Neither one of us could “just” stop. And so the Merry Go Round kept turning.  Both of us, in our own way, would try to stop riding for a while but in the beginning,  the pain was so raw, the sting was so painful that a new  panic would set in. I remember feeling so wild with grief one time, that I felt a little  like Hellen Keller must have felt  in the Miracle Worker, floundering in my blindness, seeking to understand. And the thing that gives me hope is that Hellen Keller later, actually became one of the wisest souls to live. She literally gives us new meaning to: “I was blind and now I see.” (Hopefully in the places that I was blind in my life… I will see things with the same clarity that Hellen did.)

But slowly, as we began to play the game of jumping on and off, over and over again it suddenly got very old. And we realized it wasn’t fun anymore, but we kept riding, until one day, one of us just quietly got off. And this time it was you. Who woulda thought? There were no words of anger or tears cried, there wasn’t even a goodbye. The door closed just as quickly as it had opened.

And we were okay.

We still could breathe and we even  lived through each day, one at a time~ Though some were harder than others…  And we still looked in the places we used to go to find each other. Recently, I even caught myself looking at a star and “willing” you to look at the same one. Or found myself listening to the same radio station and wondering if you had just heard the same song.

And I can’t say that I haven’t wanted to reach out to you again, sometimes many times a day. To make sure you are really okay, to ask you what made you finally strong enough… But I know that it would hurt us more than it would help me and so I remain silent… remembering…

The love will never go away. The places you once were ~  still feel pretty empty when I look and you aren’t there, and  just perhaps, they always will.    I just know that I will never look at them the same way again…

You are still in my daily thoughts and prayers and I hope I will always be in yours… not so much as a possibility of anything more but a sweet memory of a gift we were given. One that few ever get to experience. I am not sorry for the time we shared nor am I sorry for our unspoken goodbye because it was all meant to be…..to remind us of God’s love. The perfect Gift. The one we almost missed.

Walking Backwards


I look forward to the weekend and then wonder where it went on Monday. Life seems to be moving so fast. It seems as if only yesterday I was looking forward to falling in love and getting married and having kids. My Easy Bake Oven was my first kitchen,

and I played out the stories in my head with Barbie and Ken. Only very rich people had color televisions and you could still go and buy things from a catalog with things called Blue Chip Stamps.

Gas attendants still pumped your gas and washed your windows. Bosco and Dippity Doo, Chatty Cathys and Wish Books, all hold a place in my heart.

I look back at my first car and then my first apartment and I wonder where did the time all go? Why did I want to push so fast?? Babies and life all happened and it all feels as if I am walking backwards as I remember it all. Life was so simple then. But I didn’t see it. I just made it all so complicated when it really wasn’t at all. I have to wonder, am I doing that now? Not appreciating that TODAY may be tomorrow’s “Good Old Days.”

I grieve for my youth, for not realizing the special moments even in our struggles when money was tight or our marriage wasn’t right, or when bad stuff happened. Sometimes I just got stuck. I prayed for things, always looking behind my back, never really giving God the chance to work on anything because I kept snatching it back, right out of His hands. I would ask patiently for about two minutes and then be too rushed to wait for an answer. I feel like I really am walking backwards, not even turning around to see where I am going, just one step, two steps, three steps, all with my  view straight on the past.

Recently, it hit me that I missed out on a lot living in my world of retro regret and realizing that there are no U turns where God is concerned. There is only hope in the future because….

Blown Dandilions


You came back, not to interrupt my life, not to hurt me, but to ask for my forgiveness. I thought that I hated you. I spent decades trying to forget you. I couldn’t even say your name for months after you left me. I spent hours writing really good poetry because of you. I spent years trying to overcome my pain, trying to prove I was better than you said I was when you left.

When you found me, I was trying to figure out where God figured into all of this, I was on a journey with Him. A journey that had been a long time coming. And I was finally there. Right smack in the midst of finding HIM again! You found me in a state of grace and confusion and somehow you found that part of my heart, way back in the dungeons of my pain that I didn’t even know existed. And between the grace that I was learning about and that part of my heart that found it’s way out, I forgave you and it felt so good.

When you release something like that, the relief is overwhelming. In my imagination, I was seventeen again and you were twenty. But your voice was rich with age, of life lived, that did not include me. It was weird to feel a kind of jealousy of not getting to be a part of that life and yet perhaps in a way, relieved that I wasn’t. From the things you shared, I’m not sure we would have survived it and found the forgiveness we have today. The few friends who I shared our story with cautioned me to be careful, I was treading into un marked territory or even more, territory that was “marked” out of bounds. I went anyway, in a way, I felt entitled, empowered, this time I was going to be in charge. And yet I forgot one thing, to take the ONE who had opened my heart up to forgive in the beginning, and I pretty much entered alone.

You let me talk about my memories, about my pain. And then you began to share about yours. The things I never knew, the things I had forgotten and through the wisdom gathered over the decades that had passed, I understood your pain better. Hate changed to love, and anger to forgiveness. And I forgive you, I really do but you did interrupt my life. There is a huge place inside of it where you just don’t fit in anymore and I am not sure what to do with it.  Somehow that feeling, is lost in the world I live in and I know it doesn’t belong there. And yet, I can’t seem to let go. And I don’t know if it is you or my youth or just the feeling of connecting with my past that I don’t want to lose again. I try to stop wanting you in my life. I try to stop needing that connection…But….

Like a dandilion,  I try to  blow you AWAAAAY, and I blow over and over again, but the seeds scatter and take root and it is like an endless question that has no true answer.

Flashing Before My Eyes… This Thing Called Life!


I watched as the bus drove away. The year before, I’d insisted that I drive my daughter each way to school. I didn’t trust the bus drivers, or that there were no seatbelts on school busses! We’d moved to the country to give her a better childhood. We lived 12 miles out of town. That meant 12 miles each way, to and from school. What was I thinking?! After the first year, of driving almost 50 miles a day. I succumbed to my daughter’s wish to take the bus. But I enjoyed that first year driving her back and forth. We visited and bonded and talked about everything you could possibly imagine.

I remember commenting on how we couldn’t see cows on our way to school where we used to live and we laughed deciding that they might look out of place on Hawthorne Blvd. On the first day of school, all those years ago,  I argued with myself as I watched her wave as the bus drove out of sight. I knew she would be okay.  She was going into the fifth grade. So funny now when I hear stories of moms putting their kindergartners on the bus, and yet I still  felt as if she was just a baby.  Or maybe I wanted to keep her one for as long as possible because I knew the day would come when she would be driving away in her own car, far, far away from her old mama. Which kind of brings me to my ramblings on this subject. Time does pass us by so fast.

That was years ago. And yes, my baby has since moved four hours away and I am happy for her. In fact, I envy her life. She is right on the edge of new and exciting things just bursting to give birth.  Her life is filled with new pages to fill in books yet to be written, new relationships to be made and dreams to come true.

I remember once when I was nine. The little neighbor boy and I were playing at the beach. Our parents were visiting nearby on the sand in a little area where they had set up camp for the day.  Suddenly a huge wave pulled us out in an area where we could not reach the ground. I remember him grabbing my hand as we struggled to swim under the wave that had overcome us. Coughing and sputtering we looked at each other, amazed we had survived. Still holding hands, we suddenly let go~

I often wonder if he remembers that event. I always will. Our moms are still in touch. I barely think of him except for that time. Funny, what our minds store, isn’t it?

Back in those days, I didn’t have a lot of life to flash before my eyes but since then when I have had those life flashing before me moments, my mind always touches on those few seconds in my life when I knew I was in deep trouble, drowning with the boy across the street, my little friend who grabbed my hand and held on to me for dear life. I have felt that feeling lately. It reminds me of that bus driving away, my life flashing before my eyes, feeling the distance growing as I watched  it drive away with my baby in it, on that day so many years ago. I remember that memory of the near drowning flash through my mind as I was rushing around pregnant, trying to find my son the day he went to the wrong gate. And I remember it when my dad died, when my first husband died. It is something that I can’t make happen, it just does. Like one of those little books you flip through and it animates the drawings. And today I feel the pain of letting go of the past, of trying to grasp the future and hanging on for dear life, as if watching my life flash before my eyes.

Last night we were driving home from a church event, when a car flipped over and down a hill right in front of us. It all happened  in a split second. We live out in the country so it is pitch black except for the head lights. My husband swerved over to avoid the  car that had been in front of us as we all pulled over and stood frozen. My husband called 911 and  said “Someone has got to be dead down there” when in our amazement, we watched a young kid climb up the hill with only a cut on his hand.

I have felt like that in my life, all the way back as far as that drowning experience.   God has been there through all the moments. And last night was just another example. The way it happened, we all could have been killed.  Funny but it happened so fast.. I prayed a quick prayer and somehow I almost expected that kid to pop out of the dark and be okay. And if you follow my ramblings and read my blog… you know what I am talking about as I touch on a few more stories and blessings I have lived through as I think of them all in slow motion, unlike the flash before your eyes moments but blessings that I count daily.

I expected my family to not have been hurt by the earthquake. And I expected my best friend to survive her latest bout with stage four cancer. God is so good. But what about the times, when our prayers aren’t always answered the way we want them to be? Maybe in God’s infinite wisdom, He knows more than we do? Sometimes He answers our prayers the exact way we would like.  And at other times,  Well, I knew my dad was dead before we were officially told, I knew my first husband was going to die when he told me he was sick and somehow I knew he was going to go quick  and it would be on his birthday. Strange and yet, comforting to know that there is so much more to God we can tap into if we really go there. Sometimes I get a quick glimpse of understanding God is controlling things more than I ever imagine. And I could actually be more involved in it all. And then I get in the way and forget to get involved. Kind of like my life. I have been so stuck lately. On my own little island in my own little life.

God is a mystery. Our life is short. Some of us are done sooner than others with what we are given. Some of have longer lessons, some have more to learn, and others have more to teach. I have felt that drowning feeling lately, the life flashing before my eyes, kind of kick me in the butt kind of reminder and I am not going to waste it. Life is flashing before our eyes every single day. I am going to slow down the pages and jump back in the story and stop being stuck somewhere in the middle. I need to reboot and keep moving on.

I know now that I am going to write.

I am going to open up my own empty book and begin a new chapter. I will not waste the life that  God spared in that wave so many years ago. I am going to begin to fill new pages and live this thing called life again!

The Wrong Gate!


Just another empty nest story….

My heart goes out to Mamas this time of year. It’s that notorious time of letting go… For some, it is an exciting time of new beginnings. For others, it is a time of dread. I know both too well. The one place I feel like a true expert. Once upon a time, I left both my babies their first day of school. My son was a little different because I worked when he was a baby so the sting of leaving him on his first day of school was a bit muted after leaving him with sitters and at Day Care but I do have a few stories that were memory makers.

Though I loved him dearly, my first husband was a little selfish and careless when it came to parenting. Funny, because when I first met him, I watched him with his little niece and he obviously loved her very much. As I watched him color with her and listened to their  conversation and the sweet exchange,  I KNEW that I wanted him to be the father of our future children. Don’t get me wrong, he ended up being a good dad in many other ways but in his youth, and theirs, at a pretty crucial time, when I needed him to be seriously responsible, he just wasn’t. One shining example is when my son was about two, I woke up the next morning to a big mess. I had waitressed the night before while my husband babysat and I guess he had a small party with some of his regular friends over or so I thought. Obviously some other friends of his I did not know came over that night as well.

As I was cleaning the mess up from the night before, I frowned when I noticed a treasured mirror my very best friend had given me was laying on the coffee table. Puzzled,  I thought that was odd and wondered why it was there until I saw my son pick up a straw and stick it in his nose. Horrified, I realized exactly why he did that and what his innocent eyes had witnessed the previous night and my nightmare began.

I realized that my son’s own father was not going to be the one watching him ever again or at least for a very long time. I promptly went back to school to get a job so that I could work  in the day, put him in Day Care where I knew he would be well watched without coke heads partying in front of him. And even though that may have been a one time incident and little did my husband know that his own barely two year old baby  unknowingly toldl on him, I freaked out enough to realize that it was up to me to take care of my baby. So between my mom and a neighbor, I found safe child care. Sometimes a mama has to do what a mama has to do. And it is ALWAYS about putting the safety of your kids first. Period. I don’t think I even made a big deal about it. I just adjusted things and filed the information away realizing what I was dealing with.

Fast forward, a few months, I finished school, was working and had my son in what I thought was a good school when we ran into the Director of that school. I loved her. She was amazing, or so I thought until my son totally freaked out when she came up to him at a local Fair. I had no idea why, and it didn’t matter. I promptly removed him from that school and put him in a Christian School until we finally moved and I was able to stay home. By then I was pregnant with his sister and had enrolled him in the public school around the corner. He was in second grade and I walked him to school the first day.

He was already showing signs of not needing his mom by then. Though I could tell that he was a little happy that I was there. I had packed his lunch trying to imagine him eating it and thinking of me, lovingly putting in all his favorites, how funny. Now I know he wasn’t thinking of me at school while he was eating his lunch!!! As a young mom, it helped to imagine that anyway~

He had a new backpack and new clothes he could care less about but it made me feel better  knowing  his shoes were new. I prayed all the way to school that he would find a new friend and like his teacher. As soon as he saw the first glimpse of the school, he dropped my hand. Ouch. He puffed up and marched into the line of his new second grade class. Leaving me totally in the dust. Double Ouch. I smile as I think back at how I felt back then. I decided to not make it worse by trying to kiss him but I did remind him what gate to meet me at when school was out. “I KNOW mommm!” He stated as he followed his new class to their classroom.

When school got out that day, I was excited to hear about his day. I watched for him. I watched for his class. I thought I saw his teacher. But I never saw my kid. I panicked. I went to his class. It was empty. I went to the other gate. Everyone was since long gone. I finally went to the office. I was barely four months pregnant but I felt as if I was going to go into labor right there when they told me to call the police! I ran home crying, hysterical. My neighbors had their screendoor opened and I didn’t know what to do or who to call so I told my friend across the street the whole sorry story. She immediately got on the phone and cussed out the office saying “WHO tells a pregnant mother to call the police?” Then we hopped into my other neighbors car promptly drove back to the school.

So let me clarify, I had come from the arms of a private school where anyone picking up my child practically had to give their blood type before they would release him from their care, to a school that loses your children and then takes no responisbility after they have done it! I laugh now but you have no idea the feeling I had back then. I can still feel it even though it was almost 25 years ago. Well, obviously we found him. My friends and I split up and one of them came back with him in tow…. He had gone to the wrong gate! Oh my gosh. Really?!

I guess my point of sharing this story is: we all have those memory making moments… The first days of school, the first time you let go of the back of their bike without training wheels, the first time you watch them drive off with their fresh new license in hand. And then off to school or to whatever life they are heading to. The thing we have to adjust to is that no matter what the age, 7 or 17 or 32…. when they take that metaphoric hand out of ours it hurts a little. We let go in different ways throughout the years. And then we finally adjust to that empty nest. Or do we? Yes, we do. We start writing our own second chapter. We realize that we made all our dreams come true in our first chapter and become inspired to write the next and then the next, only imagining what we can do!

Like I always say, I will always see the little feathers stuck at the bottom of my nest and remember that my own little birds once filled that nest giving me a lot of joy. And know that even now, they sometimes will end up at the wrong gate. But my prayer is that there will be a lot more right gates than wrong… and that sometimes they will come home to let me hold their hand from time to time and I will understand when they need space, and pray that they will always know  that I will be okay when they let go but will always be here  with an outreached hand and a soft place to fall as needed. Because…. I’ll love you forever and forever your mommy I will always be.

The Red Knob


Fear is something that we can’t run from. It is something that we must face head on. Some of us try to pretend that it doesn’t exist and some of us, run like hell from it all of our lives. Others tend to run into it head on. There are all kinds of new shows out about it. Fear Factor and extreme “believe it or not” shows that try to up the last outrageous stunt or depending on it’s success, crash! I am not sure where these people come from, but they all have one thing in common, they all need that rush that comes with being afraid. That is why we jump out of airplanes and walk on hot coals and swim with the sharks. They believe that fear is something that they must embrace in order to get that “high” that comes with feeling alive.

In my lifetime, I have taken a few challenges of my own. I have flown a glider without an engine, more than once! I actually have a log book of not only flights I took with an instructor but solo flights where it was just little old me, being pulled up by a power plane and then expected to pull a red knob.

For those of you who have never flown a sail plane, let me explain, on the dashboard, there is a red knob that connects you to the line connected to the power plane. You start out being pulled up by the plane in front of you. Up, up, up. It is a strange feeling. You see the power plane hit turbulence and then you hit it a few seconds later, all as you are rising to the correct altitude. There is a moment and a signal that indicates the exact time when you are supposed to pull that red knob to release the power plane. It is an excruciatingly empowering moment. And yet, it is probably the most afraid I have ever been. How funny, to realize, that even after I experienced that fear, I did it over and over and over again, logging several more solo flights.

I remember the first time that I sat inside that cockpit, only enclosed by a dome of pexi-glass, ready to be pulled up by the plane that would take me to heights I never dreamed I would go, especially without an engine, I wondered what in the world was I thinking! And I remember also thinking “my dad would kill me if he could see me!” And he almost did~ but then he ended up doing it with me! He even went on to take lessons and solo too! And that is a memory I will cherish forever.

I think that flying above the clouds without an engine and having to rely on only myself to get me on the ground is a lot less frightening than what I have been going through the last few years. Sometimes falling in love is scary, and falling out of it is like holding onto that red knob for dear life, in a quick downward spiral. It really doesn’t matter if you hold on to it or not because you have already let go..

But wait, you can recover. They do teach you that. The emergency runway is somewhere down there, you look and see it and then the adrenalin pushes you to new heights. Courage clicks in and all the lessons you learned about recovery and landing take over and you find that being afraid and being brave have nothing  to do with the red knob after all. And relying on just myself? Well I have since realized that I never have to feel afraid again. I never have to pull the red knob or worry about  where I am going to land because, with God as the pilot of that power plane pulling me up, I truly never have to let go..

That Comfortable Place


ImageImageSometimes my mind replays like a home movie. Summer time and being a kid always snaps me right back to my grandma’s at Lake Washington. My cousin Pammy was my first best friend and we would spend a few weeks together each year there, and I always had “Summer” to look forward to. Back then, the simple things filled me up with such contentment and joy. If only I could bottle those moments and take a swig every time I needed to feel that feeling again.

Funny how later, I let other things get in the way of those trips. I think that I was about sixteen and driving the first year I missed Seattle because of boys and jobs and other things I thought were more important back then. Now, I would give anything to recapture some of those moments for just a few days in my life.

I remember the smell of coffee and the first rays of sunlight flooding my room as I would pad down the stairs on those lazy summer mornings. Our days were not filled with anything special. Most were just hanging out and swimming and exploring the nearby woods. Sometimes I would invent adventures that my cousin usually was a willing participant in. We could spend hours planning shows and making tickets for our parents who would be the audience whether they liked it or not, or walking to the nearby store and sometimes sneaking to the lake instead.

Every empty building held a story that I would make up. The old girl’s boarding school, now all boarded up, held stories of characters that I would build adventures around. The big old corner house at the end of the block was definitely haunted. As well as the Synagogue around the block and our grandma’s basement! I was a writer and my imagination was my pen and my sweet little cousin a willing reader.

Today, those memories are like old books on a shelf, stories tucked inside the pages, not forgotten but hazy from time and space. Once opened, the scent of the pages and the joy of remembering seem to snap you into another time and place. Much like today. It is summer. So many decades later, and I want it all back. I want to go down the rabbit hole and spend my day in yesterday where our biggest problem was what bathing suit to wear to the pool.

This last weekend, I spent a few days visiting my childhood best friend. I met my daughter up there and we bunked together. I realize more and more how my baby reminds me so much of my little cousin and realize that I actually have “made” my own best friend! I enjoy her so much and love the quirky, crazy wonderful, fun, talented person she is becoming! It was so much fun having a slumber party with her for just a few days. Each night we would talk until the wee hours of the night… about silly memories and important things, about things that made us laugh till we cried and other things that just made us cry.  It reminded me of that comfortable place I shared with my cousin so many years ago. And for a tiny moment, I was transported back to those lazy summer nights where nothing mattered and yet every minute was the most important of all and it made me treasure the fact that every moment is what you make it.

Facebook; The Click of a Key Rocked MY World!


My first love found me on facebook. We had a rocky break up but lets face it you never forget your first. He was the first one who asked me to marry him. The first one that I really loved back. The first one who I cared what he thought. My very first everything. We were both young and terribly naive. We let pride and other people play us like game pieces on a board.

Our past hurts from childhood and life such as it was in the few years we had lived it, controlled our destiny. There was abuse and no matter how much I excuse it now as I understand my first love’s own childhood hurts, the things that happened mattered and they positioned me in my life for my future and my way of loving. I built walls where there shouldn’t have been and never let go in exactly the same way.

When I became a mother I was not prepared for the love I felt. It was like no other and yet I feel I didn’t really grasp motherhood fully until I had my daughter seven years later. Before I had her, I wasn’t sure that I could ever love anyone as much as I loved my son but other mothers were right… your heart finds room.
And with my daughter, my heart did not have to make much of an effort to make room for her. From the beginning we just seemed to “get” each other. For the first time, since that wall went up, I felt the wall finally coming down.

At different times in my life, pieces of the wall were able to at least be moved but it stood strong most of the other times. So you can imagine my surprise when I accepted my exe’s friend request and finally felt that wall come tumbling down. In the click of a key we were transported back to our youth. And I stood at a door that I viewed as an opportunity to a kind of a “Do Over.”  Or adventures to be had in the midst of a full fledged mid life crisis. WARNING: You can’t ever go back. There are no such things as DO OVERS.

Am I sorry I clicked the key? You might think that I should yell from the mountain tops a resounding YES!!! But in a way, I guess I have to say that nothing ventured, nothing gained….If I hadn’t taken the time to walk down the path of my past, I may never have been able to see the beauty when looking down the path of my future or just being able to appreciate how lovely the present truly can be.

Beginning In The Middle


I think that admitting you are middle aged is like turning the light on. Though, recognizing what a full blown mid life crisis is and that we are having one is a little less easy. Sometimes when we are in the dark for so long, we don’t realize that just turning on a light would help us see things a little better. I think that I have been in the dark for a few years now. I would never have suspected that I would be in the throws of the classic symptoms of a mid life crisis and have missed them all together but now as I turn around and look at where I have been recently and what I have done, I am sure or maybe even positive that I have been experiencing just that.

A young girl with a lot of wisdom and research under her belt spoke to me about hormones and the mixture of menopaus and my experience with my now empty nest mixed in with a bit of being stuck in a marriage that seemed to be on a merry go round of excuses and wah lah you have what we define as a mid life crisis. The problem was just how far I took mine.

Stuck in a job that didn’t leave room for a lot of creativity which is what I crave, lost in regret of many areas of my past, guilt about a divorce, anger about a past relationship even  before my marriage that defined much of who I am now, and pieces of my childhood that seemed fragmented into much pain, my current marriage barely had a chance.

Go forward a thousand years and I found myself right in the middle of a profound place of being stuck…. My dad died when I was twenty six. I thought I would never stop grieving over that. I was not ready to lose a parent yet and was devestated. Even today, I can find uncried tears easily when I think of it too hard. Death is difficult at any age, but when it is cut short so early there is something that just never seems right about it. And even though we were divorced, when my first husband died it was all surreal. It didn’t rock my world as I might have thought. It all happened so fast. And I truly think that I am just afraid to go there. To really feel the pain about losing the father of my children, to wonder what if… and the guilt of the divorce. When he told me he was dying, he said something that made me feel that he thought that maybe if we had stayed together, I may have magically been able to stop this from happening… his dying I mean.  I can’t seem to get it out of my head… what he said when he told me he was dying… I said… “I should have stayed with you to nag you about your smoking.” And he said, “I knew you were going to think that.” I didn’t really think that. I just said it, to have something to say in a moment of having nothing. Maybe he thought that. I never knew.

I don’t think that I have dealt with a lot of pain in my life. I think that I have pushed it all away and at times it comes out in anger and in other times bad judgement, as I look for things to numb it. Alcohol and drugs is a temporary fix. I don’t like the way they make me feel after it has all worn off… and so I must go on the journey to find something opposite to numbing the pain. I need to finally deal with the pain and in turn heal the wounds. I have started on this journey and made mistakes along the way… this blog is my way of sharing that journey, my mistakes and in turn, hoping to find some answers for us all.

Turning Pages


Prologue
Reference to real people, events establishments or places are intended to only provide a sense of authenticity and are used fictitiously.
Once upon a time in an age before cell phones or personal computers, Ipods or even taped messages there lived a girl who had a dream, she wanted to be a writer. It was the summer of her sixteenth year when diaries were still in books with locks on them and the secrets were all just dreams of what might be. Images of houses with families inside, behind white picket fences and the hope of what would come next, danced through her head and found their way onto the pages, she wrote late into the wee hours many nights, pouring out her dreams onto the pages in way of poetry. Such raw and corny words, fell upon the pages as the young girl slowly filled the book, waiting for her innocent prayers to be answered, for her prince charming to rescue her and whisk her away into the life she was meant to have.
That old book was packed away, life happened in-between and recently while going through storage boxes the book was discovered again by the girl, not so young anymore, the one who had packed it away so many decades ago. Now much wiser and much more worn out, the woman held that book close and slowly opened the pages breathing in hints of yesterday, flipping through the pages, now yellowed with age. “What’s that?” Her daughter asked walking in the door, finding her mother deep into whatever it was that she was reading. She hadn’t even looked up when Brynne walked in the door nor had she heard her questions, but just the muffled interruption as she stopped reading for a minute.
The older woman looked up and smiled a melancholy kind of mood seemed to envelope her, Brynne was puzzled. Her mom always had the TV on for background company even if she wasn’t watching it. But today, she sat by the fire in silence with a book. Brynne frowned and sat down next to her mom as her mom began reading a few of the pages aloud to her. She stopped to make sure that she had not lost her daughter’s interest back somewhere at the first page but noted that she looked intrigued. Inspired by the attention she seemed to have captured the woman,Keri, explained to her daughter…”I started writing this book when I was about your age.” Brynne listened interested. “I never told you this part of my story she said.” Maybe it’s time I try to tell it to you now.
Brynne, who was always in a hurry curled her feet up under her and grabbed a throw as she settled in to listen to her mom read. Keri began reading, she read a page and then the next one and paused thinking that Brynne would be bored but Brynne motioned her mom to continue reading.
Aperture
Back in the seventies letter writing and phone calls were about the only means of communicating.  Journals were in bound books and writers still wrote their ideas on napkins and then transferred them onto the pages wound tightly in their typewriters. If addresses or numbers or names were changed, finding them again didn’t hold out much more hope than a message in a bottle might. The inventors of E-mails, Facebook,  twitter and texting were  not yet born. Little did we know what lie ahead. But my dad did.
In 1966, when I was about nine, my dad took me to his office filled with huge computers and disk drives and told me….
“Someday all these computers that fill this room will sit on just one desk … and maybe even in our life time, you will be able to hold one within the palm of your hand.”
 My first love recently found me on Face book. Our story is bittersweet. For over three decades I only allowed myself to remember the ugly part of our love story and basically stayed stuck there for all of these years. This story is about it all. (The ugly and the beautiful.)
  Everyone’s first love should be a sweet memory. Now through today’s technology I have recently,  I have been given that gift back again. The message here is not just about the mistakes made by the ones in love but by the adults in their life, the secrets kept, the sorrow and pain of young love lost.
In the seventies, we learned;  Love means never having to say  you’re sorry. I have to modify that today by saying.  Love is all about forgiveness.