Friday, June 23, 2006

friday again

Only this one is different in some ways because I am officially on vacation. Tomorrow morning we leave for Myrtle Beach...and as luck would have it, I'm mostly packed, which means a little last minute shopping is in order. At least that's the plan.

I intend to do some real exploring of downtown Sioux Falls. Though I've visited a couple of the boutiques down there, I have yet to do serious shopping. And it's a little scary. It's the kind of town that could get a girl in serious shopping trouble. As far as I can tell, there are two main streets lined with tiny shops that carry art, jewelry, cute know the type. And they're quite a bit different than "the Mall" (which I've only visited once - I'm not the "mall" type). I'm sure I'll find a place to stop and have a cup of coffee, as there are tables and chairs along the sidewalks. I may get distracted by the sculptures that stand at all the corners.

My only regret is that one of my sisters or a friend isn't here to shop with me. Ann and I for instance...we shop great together. She always knows what I should buy, and I always know what she should buy. We're great at pushing each other over the edge when either of us is indecisive. And that's what a shopping buddy should do. But only if it's the right thing at the right price, or at least one we can live with. I do miss my favorite little shop in Kingwood - the one with the paintings of the elegant monkeys - the one where I bought the dragonfly bracelet when I needed it most. I will have to visit when I'm back in Houston.

I may even put on makeup today, and wear good shoes. Since I was on deadline all week, I haven't been too worried about my appearance. Haven't done much with my hair and my nails need some work.

And tomorrow afternoon, I will be on the beach or at least close enough to catch the scent of the sea. And I will be surrounded by many of the people that I love. I will laugh with Emma, and talk to her about her new kitty Martin (with the emphasis on the last syllable). And I will hug my dad and mother. I will have a whole week to play with my sisters. And I will relax.

Steve says he's a little nervous, which explains why he's leaving on Tuesday. I guess I don't blame's better to get to know my family in small portions, I think. But I am not nervous at all for him to get to know them. He is kind, gentle and has a loving spirit. It will be a perfect week, and I will revel in it. And I hope he will love them, as I do. And that he will laugh and be himself and be comfortable after awhile. And I hope that when next summer comes, he will say, "when are we going to the beach?"

It will be awhile before I'm here again, in front of this screen. And I will make memories in the meantime. With sand between my toes I will be revitalizing my spirit, renewing my creative energy, and refreshing my soul.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

waking up wrong

Yesterday was one of those days when you wake up and the world is just wrong. On days like yesterday the bed doesn't get made and nothing in the refrigerator satisfies. There was lots to do on my calendar and my desk was cluttered and disorganized. I felt like doing nothing but reading under a blanket on the sofa. My S.O. would be working late into the evening, so I had the entire day to be a slug. I felt as if any moment, tears could fall, and couldn't figure out why.

My blues were punctuated by the fact that I had to pick up Bailey's ashes at the vet. I put it off all day long, thinking that later was better. And I thought a lot about what I would do with him when I got him home. I was sure he would stay with me for awhile, on top of my dresser or on the entertainment center, but sooner or later (probably later) I think I should release him into nature. I'm thinking that Texas was his home, and perhaps it would be best to take him there, but then the other side of my brain says that anywhere with me was his home, and he should stay with me. And so the dilemma remains.

When I finally picked him up, it was the collar that triggered the meltdown, but it passed as I drove through Sioux Falls with the sunroof open and a call from Lynnette, who soothed my soul and let me talk about it

I also had a surprise visitor in the afternoon. I think she came to remind me that my "blues", though valid, were a drop in the bucket compared to her life. She is a friend of Steve's, and she was having a meltdown of her own and felt as if our house was a safe place to be. And so she came and unburdened herself a bit. What I've learned is not to give answers, but to ask the right questions, as my answers aren't always the best answer for everyone. So I listened, and asked, hoping that she could come up with her own answers. In her case, all the answers have serious ramifications, but I tried to remind her that to everything there is a reason and a purpose. Not sure she bought it. And I asked myself what her visit meant for me. This I'm still contemplating.

Today will be better, I tell myself, despite the fact that the weather looks dire and a gray mist falls outside. One bite at a time, I tell myself, that's how you eat the elephant. And so I will organize the office, pay bills, work on the magazine, do some writing, pack a bag, eat something, and let today be better. And it will all make sense. Bailey is here, only is spirit to cuddle with me, and make me feel better. But Buddy is quite willing to step in and comfort me when the blues show up.

Steve will be fishing much of the weekend, and I will do something else. Perhaps I will go to the lake and hang out with his mother, or perhaps I will stay here. I haven't decided. I'm almost afraid to stay here, as gray can turn to black quite unexpectedly when you're alone.

And Saturday, the sun will shine...or so says the Weather Channel. A good book and a lawn chair by the lake may help.

Looking back on yesterday, and taking into account the fact that I had to revisit Bailey's passing, I cannot figure out why I was blue. I wonder why some days just feel wrong. Do we need these days to help us experience days that are right? Is it the soul asking for a bit of rest? Is it the human spirit longing for attention? Or is it a call to find some good in the chaos? Most likely it's hormones, and it will pass.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


The last week has had me revisiting my past in my head, and frankly...I don't want to go there - not physically, mentally, or emotionally. I much prefer my present. My new life is much more fun.

I had to compile loads of copies of bank statements, etc. for the divorce attorney. It was no fun and made me resentful. If I think of the whole process as a business transaction, I have an easier time of it. But when I begin to take it personally, I get mad. The bottom line is this: I did my time and deserve to be released free and clear, with a little spending money and new outlook. And so when I dropped the overnight package in the mail yesterday, the weight was more step toward closing the gate behind me.

I can't believe that it's been 15 months since I left the house on Castle Hill and embarked on this new journey. At the time, I had no clue where I would end up...and I certainly didn't think it would be South Dakota. And now I am here in the SLRH loving life again.

I try to think of the happy memories of the past, like the day we got Bailey, and the day we drove to Brenham to pick up Bo. Christmas was always very special, and birthday dinners out. I remember the vacation to Big Bend fondly, and traveling to Spain and Singapore. We all loved watching movies and eating homemade pizza on Friday nights. I suppose there were times that were worth remembering, but more than anything, I remember the huge sense that the weight of the relationship was too heavy for me to bear. I remember the yelling and the way I waited everyday for the other shoe to drop - for something to set Ray's temper flaring. And I remember the tears. Alone in my office, or in bed at night, I would feel them slip down my cheek, knowing that I couldn't do it forever, but afraid somehow to change things.

Don't know where the courage came from, but one day it came...strong and sure. And I knew it was the best right thing to do. And I was right. Things in my life seem in order now, though my surroundings, the SLRH and the life I've made is much more chaotic. Ironic I suppose.

I spent yesterday afternoon trying to organize some of the chaos, but found myself daydreaming instead, and shopping for windchimes and imported baskets. And this made me happy. Once I realized that I should release control to the Universe, things began to fall into place. And I trust that my life will continue in this way as long as I trust and believe that life is bliss.

I am relieved today, knowing that I can put the past in a big box, wrap it up and shove it in the closet with pictures from vacations and mementos. It will be there for me, should I want to revisit it, but for now, I'll make new memories.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Okay, so I've been distracted for three months. The only writing I've done is what is necessary and this blog. And I can say the same for the meditating and chakra work. I haven't been reading, or studying, or trying to improve my mental health or physical fitness. I have not eaten right nor have I exercised. And I haven't quit smoking.

And do you blame me? Put a 44 year old woman in new town, with a new life, and a new (and unbelievably adorable and energetic) man, and her life changes. Surprise? no. In the words of Cyndi Lauper..."girls just want to have fun."

Are my priorities out of alignment? Perhaps. Or maybe, for the first time in years, they're exactly as they should be.

I've spent years trying to be perfect...and frankly, I'm damn tired of it. I can no longer keep up the pace. Instead, I think I'll be me - in all my imperfect glory. I will not do the dishes immediately after eating. I will not drink eight glasses of water a day. I will not have dinner on the table every night at six. I will not balance my check book to the penny. I will not answer the phone every time it rings and I will be more diligent about saying "no, because I don't feel like it."

For example...yesterday, I woke up and after my first cup of coffee, which I enjoyed in good company, I went out into my yard and cut peonies for the house. I sat at the table outside, drank a second cup of coffee, and enjoyed the morning. I did not make a list of things to do. I did not write in my journal, and I did not let my mind race. I watched the birds come and go. Usually impatient, I was surprisingly able to do mostly nothing for at least an hour. I brought the flowers in the house, found a vase, and made a huge bouquet, which fills the living room with the light fragrance of the outdoors. I decided to wash my face, brush my teeth, and put on some clothes - comfortable, mind you. I checked the computer for important e-mail (there was nothing pressing), so I played computer games for awhile.

Okay, I admit, I was feeling like a slug. So I made a list, a few phone calls, and actually had a somewhat productive day despite the slow start.

In the end, I did manage a shower late in the evening, listened to Wayne Dyer on PBS talk about inspiration, and even managed to squeeze in a short meditation. So I guess, all in all, I didn't do so badly. And so I'm left believing that life is to be enjoyed = everyday. With this in mind, I will go pour myself another cup of coffee, smell the peonies, and sit on the front porch for awhile, watching the world go by - enjoying the little distractions that make up my new life.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

sunday morning

Alone this morning, enjoying a cup of coffee with Buddy, the pup. And I'm okay.

Recent events have left me realizing just how quickly life can change. In the last 3 months my entire life has changed direction in many ways. I find myself not only in a different place, but in a completely different space. Where there was pain, there is joy. Where there was loneliness, there is companionship. Where there was void, there is fullness. And time passes quickly. One day becomes another, and soon a week has passed.

I have become a part of a new family. At first this was pretty weird to me. It had been years since cousins and uncles and aunts had truly been a part of my life. In Houston, there was Ray and the kids, and Ann in Austin. But other than that, I was without relatives. My friends stepped up, as I did for many of them, and we relied on each other as a family might. Here in South Dakota, I have found a new family. They have embraced not only my relationship with Steve, but me, as just me. I realize now, that this connectedness was missing from my life for years. And it feels good. They cook out together, help each other move, celebrate reunions and birthdays and anniversaries together. They call to see if I'm okay, bring flowers when your pet passes, and call to invite you swimming. They stop by.

Other things have changed, too. I seldom read a book, or page through magazines. I don't eat Chinese food very often, nor do I sit at Starbucks with my laptop. I started cooking again, a little. And buy more groceries. I have more laundry and a yard. I have a bird feeder and two rose bushes and live with cats.

The rhythm of my life has changed. I get up a little later, and go to bed a little earlier. I enjoy the outside more, visit beautiful places, and ride in the country, where there is peace. The traffic is light - always, and people I don't know wave at me from the driver's seat when they pass me on the road.

I've met interesting people like Arlene and Virgil, who have changed the lives of others, and left their mark on the world forever.

And in a strange way, I fit here. It's as if all my life I've been waiting to find this place, this space, and this time. And there is no searching, only contentedness and comfort. Bailey taught me, that to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose...thank you dear friend, though our time has passed, a new season has been offered to me. And I will jump in with both feet, and enjoy the grass between my toes.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Each day when I wake up, I look down by the side of my bed and realize that my Bailey is no longer here. This seems unreal to me, as he has been by my side for so long. He was the one to greet me and say good morning, many days before the sun rose. Because of Bailey, I will never be the person I was before he came into my life. For this I am thankful. He taught me lessons so many days. Taught me to keep going when things seem unbearable. Taught me that a little attention goes a long way. Taught me that sometimes, barking is good. He taught me the value of naps, of running around the yard a bit, and that the sun is worth enjoying.

Yesterday he taught me a new lesson - that life goes on, despite grief and despite pain. He also taught me that it's okay to let go of some things when the time is right.

I got a call from my friend, Lynnette. Through her ability to see the other side, she was able to connect with my dear friend, who was running through a meadow and chasing butterflies. (I'm sure he was so excited to be able to run again - it had been so long.) But she told me that a piece of my soul had gone with him. This should come as no surprise to those who have seen Bailey and me together. We were deeply connected energetically. Thing is...I need this piece of my soul. She recommended a meditation and that I release Bailey, and call back the piece of me that went with him. So I walked to the park, knowing that she was right. Not long after I sat under a tree in the grass and closed my eyes, trying to find Bailey, I felt his sweet head resting on my lap. He looked up at me with his soulful eyes, again, helping me to find comfort. This time it was easy for him, as his pain was gone. I told him it was okay to go, and that I was going to stay behind. I could see that he would be fine now. He didn't need me dragging on his neck into his next adventure. He was strong, the fur around his eyes not longer gray, but miraculously glossy black, as it was years ago. And at my urging, and with a final hug and caress or two, he got up and ran across the grass, slowly at first, as if a bit reluctant to leave me. But then I told him it was okay. I'm fine now, and happy. So he trotted off. At the top of the hill, he looked back at me, tail wagging, a big smile on his beautiful face. And then he was gone.

Though I said goodbye on Tuesday, yesterday I was able to release his gentle spirit back into the universe. There is peace in that. Perhaps now we can both move forward, leave the past behind, keeping only the happy memories only we shared.

Kindred spirits? Yes. I will see you again old friend, and we will laugh and play when I get to the other side. I am thankful for all the gifts you gave and the lessons you taught, and I will remember you always. I will feel you in the wind, and remember your warmth as I stand with my face to the sun.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

saying goodbye

How do you say goodbye to an old friend? The tears continue to fall as I think about the hole in my life where my dog used to be. There are no words to express my sadness. It's something that only someone who has lost their closest companion can know. Bailey came into my life when he was 10 weeks old. All paws, gangly and awkward. I knew he was supposed to be mine when I met him. The spot around his eye caught mine, and we both knew he belonged with me.

Over the last twelve years he has been by my side. When times were good, we ran in the yard together. He chased squirrels, caught a rabbit for Megan, and woke me every morning with a wet nose. His favorite place was next to me. When I worked, he would lie under my desk, keeping my feet warm when they were cold. He loved to hop in the back seat of the bug for a ride, and even shared my Starbucks latte when I wasn't looking. He was a great listener, allowing me to read stories I'd written out loud, whether they were good or bad.

When times were bad, he was my comfort, my happy place, my confidante and my best friend. Through my struggles and challenges, he was next to me, letting me know that as long as we were together, everything would be okay.

I'm sure that it was hard for him when we moved to South Dakota. He didn't much like the snow in March, but he allowed me to put boots on his feet so we could walk together to the park. And it took awhile for him to get used to the new rent house, but he did okay after a few weeks, as long as his bed was next to mine.

Over the last month or so, he started to have a tougher time of things. And I knew he was ready to move on. He knew that I was safe and happy. And that he didn't have to protect me anymore. His job was done. And so he waited for me to get home on Monday night from a couple of days out of town. And when I got home, he let me know he was ready, and that I would be okay now.

I lay with him for an hour or so, curled up behind him, and reassured him that he was right. I was okay now. He could go. And my heart was breaking and it didn't feel okay, but I knew he was so tired, and that our time together had been a priceless but temporary gift. I thanked him for the joy and the protection and the comfort, and he thanked me back with a tail wag. He looked in my eyes with the look only he had, and laid his head against me as if to say, it will be okay.

When the time came, I felt him let go of his life peacefully. With his head on my lap, like so many other days, I petted his head, his face, his nose, and ran my hand against his tummy.

I will miss you old friend. No one will ever take your place. And I know that somewhere in the universe you are running again, your legs strong, and a smile on your face. I will reach for you in the quiet times, and your spirit will join me - as it always has. There is no separating your soul from mine. You will be with me always.