Untying The Knots

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What’s that sound I hear?

Melodic silence greeted me this morning.

Not at the godawful hour of 5:30 a.m. (their witching hour) but at a more respectable 6:30. The only sounds on this Sunday morning are the hawks and birds and the incessant warning squeak of a ground squirrel.

As I restore the house to a once again adult dwelling, moving the breakables back into their original position, I turn to the garden where I’m greeted with a massive knot installation by Captain Theo.

He had been deeply involved in a fantasy world of boats where he was the captain and we had to salute and respond to him with “Aye aye, Captain.” I asked him what my job was on the ship and he said I was his Mate, and so I was referred to as “Matey.”

Don’t even ask me where his creative little mind dredged up that scenario, but it was SUPER cute, as Char would say.

He wore a hat and gathered up all the rope he could find, along with some buckets and an old oar that was lying around, and proceeded to create a fairly sophisticated jumble of knots, all the more impressive because no one had ever taught him about the art of knot tying.

He designated himself as Captain of his world–that level of self confidence in a child is positive and healthy especially since he really really loves to give orders, which is why he’s been called Bossy Boots since he was two.

When it was time to untie the knotted structure because he wanted to build something else, he was frustrated and asked for help.

Always looking for the lesson in things–a teachable moment–as I sort of guided his unraveling, we chatted about what it feels like to be frustrated and how sometimes, a task like UNtying knots opens up an opportunity to learn to really pay attention (mindfulness) and practice patience.

Thereafter, his new phrase to Char was, “Just be a little patient and it will all work out.”

Hand to heart, that child is beyond precious. What a gift he is.

Now if someone could just get over here and help me untie the knots he left behind I’d really appreciate it!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Patience, Princess.”

PATIENCE.

BREATHE INTO IT.

Heart/wrecked

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Like a ship that runs aground because of low tide or unseen rocks or fog or navigational errors, our beautiful heart can be damaged when blood flow is restricted or when it flows unregulated.

Heart/wrecked.

I grew up hearing the term, “Stress kills.”

I was never quite sure what that meant, but then I did when it happened to me.

After a seemingly nonstop barrage of a personal stressful situation–like a ship hitting the rocks over and over again–it all finally took an undeniable toll on my physical health.

One of my favorite places to live is in the state of Denial, but I’ve been forced to temporarily move to a new town called Reality. Hopefully, I’ll just visit there for a bit until I can come home again.

After experiencing some intermittent and strangely terrifying heart pains, I went to the doc who took my blood pressure and was concerned about the results. It was super high. I had always had enviably LOW blood pressure since I exercise regularly, am vegan and never smoked, so this raised concerns.

Over the course of a couple weeks, my BP was checked daily and it stayed consistently high; dangerously high, which only made me more anxious and more stressed, and at one of the office visits, I started hyperventilating and had a panic attack. (Super embarrassing for the doc and absolutely mortifying for me.)

This led to an order for an Echocardiogram along with all the other heart-focused tests. The echo was done at a local hospital–a definite trigger. No one wants to go to a hospital at any time, but especially during Covid. It seemed like I was being admitted, with a wrist band and lots of little stickers, and I was devastated.

I almost bolted out of the front door at that point, but I persevered. I can share with you that it’s a scary time when you have to figure out why you don’t feel great. I’ve been a medical advocate for several loved ones, but it’s radically more difficult when you have to care for yourself. Poor me.

The technician was amazing, especially considering I tormented her with a million questions. I know enough about medical stuff to see that she was concentrating on a certain area of my heart. I really appreciated her patience with me and her detailed explanations during the hour-long ordeal.

The results showed a dilated aortic root valve and regurgitation of the mitral valve.

Risk Adjustment Coding Academy- Coding Focus

What this means is that the accumulation of stress and panic attacks and PTSD that I’ve endured during the last four years manifested medically and physically and caused structural damage to my heart.

Mitral valve regurgitation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

“Severe physical or emotional stress increases blood pressure to the point where the tensile limit of the aortic tissue is overwhelmed, causing the rupture.”

“Over time, certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause your heart to work harder, gradually enlarging your heart’s left ventricle.”

“Mitral valve regurgitation can cause complications such as atrial fibrillation, in which the atria of the heart don’t contract well. This leads to increased risk of stroke. Also, elevated blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension).”

Hypertension makes the blood push harder against the valve and causes it to dilate, enlarge, and that’s pretty much the same scenario for the mitral valve, which seems to be the cause of the intermittent chest pain.

I’ll need to be monitored regularly because if I can’t control the stress/blood pressure and the valves stretch to a dangerous size, the only solution is surgical intervention–or death.

Reducing stress and hypertension can possibly keep the valves from enlarging any further, but the damage is done–nothing will make them reduce in size back to normal, except surgery.

Let me tell you that it’s true. Stress kills.

Now I’m off to change course, take some magnesium, eat more beets, meditate, calm down and regulate my breathing so that I don’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Heart/wrecked.

Shipwrecked.

DIY: Embellishing the Ordinary

When I’m sad or melancholy, I shop. When I’m happy, I shop. It’s an all purpose panacea that works for me, no matter what. They don’t call it retail therapy for nothing.

I was out and about browsing in all my usual haunts from Ross to TJ Maxx to the Rack.

I didn’t find much except for a pair of Laura Ashley slippers. I love to wear slippers; I have a closet full of them from animal print to sequin-studded to a couple pairs of Hello Kitty slippers that were gifts. I don’t have any babouches, those flat Moroccan slippers, but I have mostly every other style.

I brought home these pillow-soft, ballet-pink slippers and determined that something was missing. They’re super soft and comfortable but they needed some enchanted style embellishment to become perfect.

The white bow didn’t work for me. It seems to me that Laura Ashley could have really taken it up to another level if they had given it a bit more thought.

I removed the bows and drove to a fabric store.

I was thinking about a pompom to look like a little bunny, but then I spied a fabric flower with a rhinestone center. I had to have it.

Luckily, there were two, so I brought them home. Even more fortuitous for me is that they already had a pin mechanism on the back so I can take them off when I throw the slippers into the washing machine.

HAPPINESS!

After I attached the flowers, I was feeling satisfied with myself and I know I’m a little strange, but I felt like a princess walking (still limping) through the house with my adorable slippers.

In fact, I love them so much, I created a little photo sesh with different backgrounds. Definitely fit for royalty.

On animal print.
On a soft and furry blanket.
Draped in pearls and gems.

Low cost fun for me. Slippers: $7.99
Flowers: $8,00 for the pair as they were on sale.

My joy = priceless, because I’m easy to please.

Embellishing the ordinary is my special talent. There is beauty all around.

LOVE!

A Dark Shadow Over The Grand Tetons

Most of us didn’t personally know Gabby Petito but I’m sure we have probably heard her name on the news the last few days.

I watched the FBI presser after they found a body that matched the description of Gabby who had gone missing under suspicious circumstances while on a vacation with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.

News crews covering the search for Gabby say this rainbow appeared near where authorities discovered her body.

Image

Apparently the couple had traveled from Florida to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons when her family stopped hearing from her.

Gabrielle Petito, a 22-year-old Instagram travel influencer from Suffolk County, New York, was reported missing on September 11, 2021. Her family lost contact with her in late August when she was in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

The internet is unbelievable. YouTube vloggers Red White and Bethune https://youtu.be/PBp3aNAGuFM spotted Gabby’s van while editing raw footage and reported what they discovered. Law enforcement searched the area and a body was found in a remote area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, near the Spread Creek Dispersed campground 

That was truly a needle in a haystack found by the internet.

How could such a magical place as the Grand Tetons hold all the dark and distressing secrets of a murder, where poor Gabby was discarded like a used up coffee cup or candy bar wrapper. I think of her lying in the dirt with the weather turning cold and I’m so sad and so angry.

When did love turn to homicide?

Initially Brian Laundrie lawyered up, now he’s in hiding; his family refused to cooperate, and the FBI sealed off the Laundrie Florida home this morning with a search order. Doesn’t this all sound extremely suspicious? There’s a lot of info about this if you search Google.

Meanwhile, I found some photos of a wonderful road trip to the Tetons. Jenny Lake is one of the most exquisite places I’ve ever visited. The lake is breathtakingly gorgeous and the hikes around the lake are memorable in every way.

Rest in peace, beautiful girl.

Reflections: Princess Rosebud Random Facts Revealed

I’ve been asked to share a little bit about who I am, so here ya go! I had to have three old crowns replaced this morning and while I’m recovering from the lidocaine numbness, I thought I’d string together random facts about me. Sadly, those aren’t the kind of crowns I’d prefer to wear but I guess I can say that I am now really and truly royal.

Why Princess Rosebud? I’m named after my paternal grandmother, a Jewish tradition, and her name was Rose. My dad started calling me Rosebud; other people began to refer to me as Princess (for obvious reasons), and thus Princess Rosebud was born. When my Angel Kids call me Grandma Princess Rosebud, it makes me laugh A LOT.

I grew up in Detroit and moved to SoCal during high school. I was a year younger than my classmates because I used to be SUPER smart and skipped a grade. However, that brainy-ness wore off fairly early, I’m sad to say. Since my dad wanted me to become a lawyer like he was or a doctor, I’m sure he would be slightly disappointed, but I’d still be his Rosebud, no matter what.

I don’t remember much about my high school years because I left early every day to intern at the Old Globe Theatre and to take ballet classes. I don’t think I went to a single football game, although I attended senior prom. As I posted a few months ago, I recently reconnected with a high school classmate who reminded me of the time we attended a Doors concert and I jumped on the stage. Hand to heart I didn’t remember one detail about that evening even though there are several newspaper accounts. As introverted as I am most of the time, getting close to Jim Morrison was the catalyst I needed to step outside of my natural tendencies.

Thanks to https://marthakennedy.blog/, I recalled a memory of the Old Globe. I interned mostly in the costume department where I learned the invaluable skill of sewing a breakaway sleeve for fight scenes. A few years later, I auditioned for a production of Chekhov’s The Seagull. It went so well that the director (famous Craig Noel) old me to keep going after I had finished a couple of paragraphs. The room was silent as I continued, and I was shocked to receive resounding applause. I didn’t get the job, though, but it was my best audition. I ALMOST showed up the following year to audition for Equus until I learned the role involved nudity and I couldn’t do it.

I stopped eating all meat of any kind in my junior year of high school. It took a bit longer to completely remove dairy and fish, but that happened, too. Right now in my refrigerator, all you’ll find is vegan pesto, tofu, mushrooms, and a fresh batch of veggie lentil soup. Avocados are a staple too, I eat one every day for the good fat.

I’ve always loved wolves and have no idea WHY since Detroit is the last place in the world you’d find one. There are wolves on Isle Royale, but I’ve never been there. According to a shamanic practitioner, I was actually a wolf in a former life, so that explains the connection. I like that scenario. Being outdoors with nature is where I’m happiest; tall buildings and concrete are disorienting and cause me a lot of anxiety so I tend to avoid the big city.

I went to college here, majored in literature, creative writing, and entered the elementary education teaching program, then I decided I wanted to be a famous movie star or director or something in show biz and switched my master’s focus to drama and production.

I thought about emigrating to New Zealand ‘cos I love to ski, but there was (and still is) a really long quarantine process for dogs so I didn’t follow through on that. I’ve always had a Border Collie in my life, at times along with a rescued wolfdog and other assorted cats and dogs.

After being cast in a few films and a stint as a casting assistant, I abandoned my Hollywood dreams because of a particularly scary and ugly casting director experience. Thank goodness I was saved before anything happened. Think along the lines of Harvey Weinstein…WHEW.

I interned at a local TV news station but didn’t enjoy it—a lot goes on behind the scenes and it’s way too competitive for me, but I learned a bit about investigative journalism. Mostly, I found it personally unsavory to shove a microphone in a mom’s face who had lost her son to a senseless street murder and ask her how she was feeling about it all…Not my cup of tea. I refer to those types of reporters as vultures…

A couple years later, I put all my effort, time, and attention into growing, birthing, and being mom to the original Angel Boy, still dipping my toe into local politics and passion projects from time to time, and always always defending and protecting and fighting for the rights of wolves and coyotes to exist.

Five years ago AB finally figured out the only way to deflect this Drone Mom is to have a baby (all about me, see how I do that?) which was a total success for him because my unparalleled devotion and obsessive attention is now laser focused on the Angel Kids, a win-win for us all.

As socially introverted as I am most of the time, I easily speak to huge crowds as I did when I testified in Sacramento to save wolves or stir up the masses at a packed city council meeting (I’m famous for that) or even to meet and speak with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I experience no fear at all in those situations but I’m most comfortable talking to my coyotes or my tomatoes or sitting on the floor discussing rainbows and kitty cakes with my Angel Kids. I can still hear T…”Grandma, why do I see a green bit? Is there any kale in here?” (Heehee, yes there’s probably always kale in everything I prepare, from muffins to smoothies.)

I literally never take a selfie but I was FaceTiming last evening with the fam and my son uncharacteristically told me I looked pretty which he NEVER does (AND he didn’t even have ulterior motives this time) so I had to snap a quick pic to see what he was looking at.

His exact words were, “Why are you all dressed up?” I wasn’t at all dressed up, but I can see his point since I emulate Cinderella most of the time. If I’m not scrubbing the floor or standing at the stove, what else could I be doing?

FUNNY!

Here I am. No filter and my necklaces are all tangled up. Straight-ish or curly, what do you think? Since I was at the dentist for such a long time, I showed him these pics and he liked the curly one. Random market research haha.

Tying Up Loose Ends

There’s a lot going on this Saturday to commemorate 9/11/2001.

Never forget.

This is how our former presidents will commemorate the 9/11 anniversary:
President Bush- Keynote speaker at Flight 93 Memorial.
President Obama- Ground Zero Memorial.
President Biden- Memorial Services at all three memorial sites.
**Trump- Ringside commentary at a BOXING match.

Without minimizing the tragedy of that day, I hope I’m not the only one that hopes that the events of 1/6/2021 will elicit the same sort of future memories. I watched THAT act of terrorism unfold live on television as we did twenty years ago.

Tying up some bloggy loose ends:

  1. So far I haven’t located the big saute pan that disappeared. I have the lid and can’t figure out this gigantic mystery.
  2. My back is healed and so is my toe, but my injured top of the foot isn’t any better, which is super annoying. I think it’s tendonitis, but I’m pretty stubborn about not going to the doc, so I’ll suffer a bit longer on my own. Over the years I’ve accumulated an array of air casts and braces and I’m trying all of them like Cinderella to see which one most relieves the pain and stabilizes my foot. It would help if I’d stay off of it, but that’s not gonna happen.
  3. A wildlife expert confirmed that my grainy backyard video really was of a very large bobcat. I knew it was, but was still so excited to have it corroborated by someone who’s qualified to make that determination.
  4. Finally, Angel Boy 2.0 LOVELOVELOVES kindergarten, so this Ghetto Grandma can stand down and take a deep breath of relief. He’s full of happy stories as they walk home and is eager to go every morning. That’s a total success and kudos to the teacher! (She really has no idea how close she came to dealing with this grandma bear. Heehee.)

It’s hot here in SoCal. Although we had a magnificent display of lightening and thunder a few days ago, there were only a few drops of rain, not enough to quench my garden’s thirst, so I’ll be out there tending to all my growing things.

I hope your day is serene and full of joy.

Butterfly Breakfast

Look at this orange butterfly feasting on an orange zinnia!

I’ve never seen it before and I was so excited to learn this is a Gulf Fritillary or passion butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) They’re “longwing butterflies”, which have long, narrow wings compared to other butterflies. Gulf Fritillary is the only member of genus Agraulis. From Wiki.

#WordlessWednesday

An orange butterfly represents passion. An orange butterfly sighting can remind us to stay focused on or follow through with a plan or project until it’s complete.

The orange butterfly is associated with the sun, life, and consciousness. Spotting an orange colored butterfly can signify that a new dawn of healing and heart transformation is about to occur for someone who has been depressed or anxious.

Orange colored butterflies have also been associated with courtesy, friendliness, and liveliness.

Seeing an orange butterfly reminds us to stay positive.

Having an orange butterfly land on you or fly near you means that joy will soon come into your life in some unexpexted way.

An orange butterfly can also encourage us to be more socialble or outgoing, or seeing one can indicate that a visitor will soon arrive, or an invitation to a social event is coming–especially if the butterfly is flying inside or around the home.

Many believe that an orange butterfly represent rebirth. Seeing one often leads to a shift in perspective on something. https://www.butterflyinsight.com/orange-butterfly-color-meaning-and-myths.html

#WordlessWednesday

Kindergarten Angel Boy

It’s not possible, I keep shaking my head.

It’s time for that brave little bird to take another giant step into autonomy and individuation outside of his nuclear comfort zone.

NOOOO! I’m not ready. Angel Boy 2,0 MIGHT be ready, but I’m not.

I had this conversation with AB 1.0:

  1. If T wants to come home FOR ANY REASON or NO REASON AT ALL, bring him home. No questions asked.
  2. School is a place to have fun and learn new things; it’s not a prison.
  3. If he ever wants to STAY HOME, allow it.
  4. If he ever wants to CALL HOME, allow it.
  5. Again, school is NOT a prison.

These are the guidelines I lived by (and also made sure the teachers and admin knew) and it served us well. During his elementary school years, he called home only one time and that was to merely check that I meant what I said so our trust was never broken. AB loved school, loved to learn, and that’s one of the main reasons I believe why he’s now a professor.

Dad said he remembered, promised, and reminded me they’re only two blocks away from school, so I won’t have to worry.

School should NOT a prison.

School is not a punishment. Going to school shouldn’t be a threat. Neither should threatening to call the teacher if a child misbehaves at home. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Learning and being creative and imaginative is a JOY. I don’t care about attendance; that’s just the district’s hidden agenda to continue the flow of dollars. If a child doesn’t wake up in the morning excited and eager to get to school, it’s the teacher’s fault, and they really do NOT want this ghetto grandma showing up to find out why.

Teehee, that’s not an idle threat, by the way…’nuff said. Fingers crossed that he’ll LOVE it as much as his dad did. Or else.

P.S. In case I forgot to mention it, I used to teach school, K-6. Kindergarten is the most important and pivotal year in a child’s life to set the stage for academic success and nurture an inquisitive mind. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a positive kindergarten experience.

Inner and Outer Beauty

Here’s an update regarding the ongoing saga of my injuries: my back and toe are much better, but I seem to have a stress fracture of one of the little bones on top of my foot. I admire my consistency, however, because all of this is on my LEFT side.

This time the stupidity was caused by my sad attempts to remember Swan Lake choreography and practice fouettes, which I haven’t done in FOREVER. I wasn’t wearing pointe shoes or even soft ballet shoes; I was barefoot on a hard tile floor. Like I said, STUPID.

Why Swan Lake? Well, the last time I saw my Angel Kids, we were in the car when Swan Lake came on the radio. I yelled out, ” That’s SWAN LAKE!” T asked me what that was and I explained the story of the dance to him while we were listening. When the music gets to the part where the court jester does those incredible gravity defying grand jetes and double split cabrioles, I told him that it takes a very athletic, very talented dancer to jump like that, and he was intrigued.

I promised I’d take him to see Swan Lake as soon as it came to town. When we got home, he said to Siri, “Play Swan Lake” and then he sat on the sofa and became lost in the beauty of Tchaikovsky.

Anyway, that’s how I hurt my foot.

I can’t really put any weight on it, so I’m once again reclining on the sofa with my everpresent ice pack on yet another part of my little body.

C’est la vie! No one to blame but myself. I am NOT and never was Margot Fonteyn lol (ballet snob reference).

Here’s a few photos from inside and outside as I hobble around.

I stopped to admire the sun shining brightly on these indoor plants. I couldn’t capture the whole wall in one photo, but there’s a matching cabinet to the right. It’s a very pretty room.

Meet my special bunny friend. He’s slightly lighter in color than the rest of the family and he comes out more during the day than the others. This was taken right outside my bedroom window. Good morning, brave little one!

Because of relentless RATS, I had to pick these strawberries just before they were 100% ripe to save them from being half eaten and discarded.

I am reminded of a starfish with this spider lily. What a perfectly lovely specimen!

Check this out; it’s not a ballet but it’s danced by the great danseur, Sergei Polunin, to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”. Choreography by Jade Hale-Christofi. (In 2010, at the age of nineteen, Polunin became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer). He is truly amazing as an artist, but I read things about him PERSONALLY that aren’t all that savory in regards to some homophobic and sexist Instagram posts, so his invitation to perform in the Paris Opéra Ballet‘s performance of Swan Lake was revoked.

Texas Can Kiss My Ass

Here’s what I think about the insane and repressive new Texas law restricting abortion…

They don’t care about the fetus; all they care about is controlling women. I’m right, don’t try to argue with me.

If you don’t have a uterus, you have NO RIGHT to tell ME what to do with my uterus.

If you DO have a uterus, you have NO RIGHT to tell ME what to do with my uterus.

My body, my choice. You do YOU, and I’ll do ME. We’ve done this before, we already fought for the right to make our own decisions for our own bodies. This is such BS.

I’m proud of Lyft, Uber, and GoDaddy who have made statements in support of women’s rights.

I will protest with Naral and Planned Parenthood for all women to have a CHOICE.

FACTS: A new law (SB8) went into effect in Texas that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. That’s well before many women even know they are pregnant.

The law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion — including those who give a woman a ride to a clinic or provide financial assistance to obtain an abortion. Private citizens who bring these suits don’t need to show any connection to those they are suing.

The law makes no exceptions for cases involving rape or incest. (Source:NPR)

Learn more here: https://www.aclutx.org/en/know-your-rights/abortion-in-texas

Nestled Together

I thought these little guys would be HOT since they’re jalapenos, but they taste exactly like green peppers.

I wonder if it’s because I’ve nurtured this plant for more than five years, way longer than it was supposed to produce. They used to taste really spicy; only a little bit was needed for guacamole, but maybe capsaicin, the chemical that gives chiles their heat, decreases over time?

I sure have no idea, but they still taste fresh and juicy, and so cozy nestled in this little bamboo bowl.

#wordlesswednesday