March Full Worm Moon

Don’t forget to spring forward tonight!
I know that the weather is horrible in certain parts of the country, but I’m sorry/not sorry to report that here in SoCal, it’s like SUMMER! Windows are open, the sky is blue, and birds are singing.
The final full moon of winter 2017 will reach its crest at 10:54 a.m. EST tomorrow, March 12. This lunar event arrives a week before the spring equinox and represents nature’s inevitable rebirth after the dark winter months.
The Native American name for this full moon, the Worm Moon, alludes to the earthworms that emerge from the softening ground at this time of year.
Many sects of Paganism refer to this moon as the Storm Moon, which may have contributed to the old wives’ tale that March “comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.”
What comes in for me tonight is my son, DIL, and THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, Theo, AKA Angel Boy 2.0
I had no idea that I was going to fall head over heels in love with this jumbled up mass of DNA and genetic codes. The old me used to smirk at my friends who couldn’t stop extolling the virtues of their grandchildren–UNTIL IT HAPPENED TO ME.
Now I’m the pack leader with my Iphone, shoving it in everyone’s face to oooh and ahhh at the latest accomplishment of 2.0, his newest tooth, his gummy smile, his attempt to stand and walk…
Theo FEBHowever, my son (the original Angel Boy) and DIL won’t let me post pictures of Theo on my blog or social media so you’ll just have to take my word for it. But you can see by this pic that the curly apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree haha!
With this special moon, it’s a wonderful opportunity to manifest positive intentions for the future. I’m working on joy and happiness, abundance, and gratitude for myself, my family, and the world.
What are YOU manifesting?
(Once again, WP is screwing up the format, not allowing me to break between paragraphs–I’ve attempted to redo this five times and now I’m done. It is what it is!! The draft looks entirely different than the final published result. )
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One Year on This Earth

1 year, 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,00 seconds, not counting the nine months before he took his first breath on March 8.

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That would be Theo–Theo-dorable–Angel Boy 2.0

The most amazing grandson in this or any other universe.

I never really thought I’d succumb to the stereotype and become THAT sort of obnoxious grandma, but I did!

I am THAT grandma.

Hee hee.

I don’t have a REAL name yet; Grandma is how I refer to myself when I talk with Theo–my son likes to call me Granny cos he’s snarky–and I figured I’d let Theo make the decision. I’m pretty cool with just about anything.

Angel Boy 1.0 (the original) was born on March 23, so we have two special days to celebrate this month.

And lucky me, they’ll all be here (DIL included) for a couple of weeks so I can be a part of this momentous event!

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Getting party ready at Casa de Enchanted Seashells!

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Some outdoor furniture.

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A vintage toy, a favorite of AB 1.0

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You can’t start them too early to think about animal rescue, am I right?

Oh, and happy birthday to my first and foremost Angel Boy, without whom there would be no AB 2.0, honestly and truly my very first love. There was never a more amazing child.

I wrote this poem for him a couple years ago in this post (click on the title):

The Boy Who Is My Heart.
So Much Depends On A Yellow Steamroller.

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed

 

There’s Nothing Like Pink Ballet Shoes

To a certain type of little girl, there’s nothing like pink ballet shoes.

I mean NOTHING. Nada.

Before I was Princess Rosebud AND before I was Rowdy Rosie, I was simply Rosebud.

I was ballet-obsessed.

A little ballerina in pink tights, leotard, and ballet shoes, and once in a blue moon at a recital, I was lucky enough to be chosen to wear a pink tutu. HEAVEN.

Yes, I was a bunhead. And proud of it!

There was the special red letter day all ballet dancers wait for; the day we’re told our feet and legs are strong enough for POINTE WORK –and that means TOE SHOES.

To dance en pointe is the epitome of a dream come true.

You never forget the day your mom takes you to Capezio to be fitted for those first toe shoes. Smelling and stroking them all the way home, hand sewing the satin ribbons in the perfect position, tying and retying them, clumping around the house on hard flat soles that feel like wood, hours spent staring at your reflection in the mirror. I AM A BALLERINA; ignoring the promise made to Madame NOT to try to stand en pointe without her specific instructions.

SIGH

Innocence and hope and aspiration all wrapped up in pink satin.

These are my old shoes, the toe box full of lambs wool. I’m walking around in them right now…and my feet are killing me, lol.

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I definitely can’t execute twelve fouette turns in a row like the good old days. Never mind trying SIXTY-FOUR!!!

 

Down in the village. there’s the cutest little ballet store, and I couldn’t resist a new pair of soft shoes for barre work-and an adorable shirt–pink, of course!

And I know what you’re thinking and NOPE, I’m never going to grow up, don’t even ASK!

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The Science of Gratitude

Counting your blessings and creating a list of things to be thankful for has a real foundation in science and might even change the way our brains work, according to a brain-scanning study in NeuroImage.

It brings us a little closer to understanding why these exercises have these effects. The results suggest that even months after a simple, short gratitude writing task, people’s brains are still wired to feel extra thankful. The implication is that gratitude tasks work, at least in part, because they have a self-perpetuating nature: The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.

Feeling grateful is very good for you.

Time and again, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can bring a range of benefits, such as feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression, that often lingers well after the exercises are finished.

Changing our neural pathways of any old tapes we run of self loathing and lack of self worth and depression with replacement thoughts of being valuable, of deserving love and respect aren’t new ideas but they’re new to ME. Louise Hay is a well-known proponent of positive self talk and affirmations.

Recently, I started sporadically attending  free Friday mediation classes at the Deepak Chopra Center in La Costa because I thought I needed a little jump start to get to the next level of peace, harmony, joy, and NAMASTE.

After one of the sessions, I purchased Deepak’s little book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I just found a pdf of it here, if you are interested in reading it, too. It’s an easy read with valuable insights and suggestions.

I like knowing that I’m headed on a path toward increased compassion and gratitude, hoping to make the world just a little bit kinder by being more kind and grateful.

The Project of Happiness outlines seven steps toward the goal of a  joyful and fulfilled life.

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I’m grateful to all of you who read and follow my blog.

What are YOU grateful for today?

*Thanks to http://bulgariastories.com/2015/11/2612/ for JFK image

I’m BAAAAACCCKKKKK!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today it rained nonstop in SoCal and you probably saw the record breaking weather on your local news; I’d say our drought is pretty much over. Heavy rain on the deck!

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It was a perfect day for a DIY matcha green tea mask. It’s so easy; just a teaspoon of powdered matcha mixed with a bit of water and a few drops of rosehip oil. Leave it on for about twenty minutes, rinse off, and moisturize.

Did I scare you?

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What else is new with me?

Angel Boy 2.0, my adorable grandson, is going to celebrate his first birthday in a couple weeks. I can’t believe a whole year has gone by.

This is a view from their living room. The Salish Sea (Puget Sound) with the Olympic Mountains seem so close it’s as if you could almost touch them. Spectacular!

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No whales, but lots of boats. This is a busy waterway.

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And during a recent visit, a perfectly positioned squirrel watching us at Golden Gardens, an amazing park near the Chittenden Locks in Ballard, near Seattle.

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So what’s new with all of you?

 

Turn Your Clocks Back and Read Another Old Story…

September 1991.

Yes, I kept my promise; no dates and no mistakes. There was the excruciating lure of nubile and suntanned young surfers but I stood firm in my resolve in spite of the half naked, salty-skinned–oh crap. Living in Southern California is sooo like opening up a fresh box of candy. It wasn’t fair, but a deal’s a deal.

If only I could have had just a teensy-weensy bite here, a bite there–oh, SO yummy–that one has a caramel center, or that other one’s coconut-filled, or a tart juicy cherry embraced by dark chocolate, or full of Baileys Irish Creamer–you get what I’m sayin’?  I’ll just bet you do. On my towel, surveying the beach, I wanted to take a little bite out of each one, so to speak.

But….I had to go cold turkey and avoid them all. Not one lick, not one taste.

I had a goal, I had a vision; I had my list–clenched tightly in my hand–WILLPOWER–it’s all about the willpower.

Here’s where serendipity might have had a hand in the convergence of our lifepaths.

In the beginning, I THOUGHT I first laid eyes on the captain when I was hired for the marketing department of a local cruise line.

Aside…because the whole idea of me and boats is a joke. I’m not what you’d consider sea-worthy. I’d only been on a couple of boats previously and became violently seasick on both of those trips.

OK, now read this – could it be the hand of fate that brought us together? Was our eventual connection forged a decade before ?
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Was it luck or serendipity?

On a romantic evening In front of the fire with a couple snifters of Courvoisier, my tugboat man and I concluded that our paths did cross, not in a prior life, but…

In the 1980s he captained a charter vessel in our local harbor–tours of the bay, dinner cruises; that kind of thing.

In between going out to sea for four to six months, he’d come back to SoCal for a break and to surf-and worked locally.

Around that same time, my mom and I took my then five-year-old son on his first boat ride, a tour of San Diego Bay.

At that time, there was really only one boat company that offered daily excursions.

It wasn’t until we had been married for probably ten years or so– looking through an old photo album–when he saw a pic of my mom and me on “his” boat — that the subject came up.

(

That’s part of me and the Coronado Bridge. Obviously, my mom couldn’t take a decent pic.)

Since there were only two captains, and the time of day we were there was during his (remembered) shift, it’s highly possible that we spoke–or made eye contact. As captain, he always greets and counts the passengers while he collects boarding passes; especially because we had a child with us. Always concerned with safety, my captain.

Our ships DID, most likely, PASS in the night (day).

Did we each hold on to a momentary glance or imprint on our subconscious so that our path to romance was pre-determined? 

Why did I become employed at a cruise line when I don’t know much about boats?

I still have no idea.

That we met in 1991 might be interpreted as luck or serendipity. 

Which do you think it is?
_______________________________________________________________

Back to the story:  Was it merely coincidence–meaninglessly simultaneous occurance–or synchronicity?  We agree that it was meant to be. We’re two peas in a pod, me and him.

We mirror each other.

One of my first marketing duties was to attend a downtown trade show. I vividly recall my ensemble–and before you get all judge-y and everything, let’s take the year into consideration–1991–please be kind.

You know you looked exactly the same.

You KNOW you did.

I wore a short split skirt (dare I say skort) of silky polyester-type material (I know, I know) imprinted with brightly colored parrots (cringe), a turquoise blazer, and four-inch-high red heels. Oh, and they were LARGE parrots.  I’m five-feet-tall with very curly dark brown hair. You can imagine the style when I tell you it added five inches to my height. Nuff said–stop laughing, I have nothing to apologize for; it was the decade of big hair.

The owner of the company walked by our booth and introduced me to his senior captain. I played it cool; I’m good at that–just a quick handshake and then I turned my attention to the marketing materials like I was very, very busy.

I only allowed myself a passing glance his way, committed as I was to making a good impression on my boss. Plus, I was fully dedicated to my promise to celibacy and just because he was ADORABLE was no excuse to give in to temptation. Not even with those green-gray eyes. Not even.

Since I was on a “man diet, I transformed him (in my mind) into a rich chocolaty truffle
and successfully used my powers to resist–at least on that particular day. During the next few weeks, our paths crossed many times; at the office with brief hellos in the hallway, and with overt scrutiny during cruises when I accompanied some of the charters. (When I wasn’t stuck with my head in the toilet. I told you the truth, I’m not a natural seawoman.)

As much as I tried to deny it–I can’t lie–there were those familiar little tingles, goose bumps even, delicious frissons of attraction. On one hand I was fighting it with all I had, yet on the other hand I spent more time in the office than I really needed to.  A little extra makeup, perfume, a few new outfits–you know how it is. OK OK, I admit it! A smile from him did something to my insides, that fluttery butterfly sensation I willed myself to ignore.

I carried The List in my handbag and referred to it in moments of weakness, and for a while I was able to avoid temptation.

Here comes the good part, y’all.

In mid-November, I met with a client at one of the boats to plan a large corporate event. As we walked up the gangway, I discovered the captain was on board in the wheelhouse. I had no idea he would be there, and resolved to ignore him, except that everyone always wants to meet a captain, (too much Love Boat) so I was forced to be polite and make the introductions.

Here’s where it all went wrong-or right-depending on your point of view.

After my meeting ended, I did not immediately leave. I stalled, meandering around the small area of shops located near the harbor. I was so mad at ME; I tried to talk myself into leaving by going over The List and telling myself that I should be writing up the event details.

Just GO, I said to myself! But guess who didn’t listen? I found myself furtively looking around to see if the captain was still there. Since the whole chocolate visualization thing didn’t seem to be working anymore, I turned him into as a gooey, cheesy, spicy pizza and I used all my willpower to stand firm–to stay focused–recounting all the reasons why that delicious piece of heaven is not worth the calories.

I swear to you, I had every good intention of leaving and driving to the corporate office, I really did, but cosmic forces had grabbed hold of my good sense.

I was powerless. The hand of fate had me in her grip–and that chicka had been working out with the heavy weights.

Finally, I could find no further excuse to drag my feet and delay the inevitable departure.

I very reluctantly and slowly walked to my car, parked in front of a coffee shop, and as if by magic, the captain appeared.

I was trying to act all cool and nonchalant in spite of the fact that my heart was racing.

“Where are you going? Why didn’t you say goodbye? “What’s up?” “How about buying a co-worker a cup of coffee?”

I demurred, saying I had to go, I had another appointment (not true); uh, I don’t buy guys coffee, and he kept badgering me,

“C’mon, don’t be stuck up, don’t you have fifty cents for a cup of coffee?”

(That was before six-dollar lattes and Starbucks on every corner.)

“You don’t want me to think you’re a snob, do you?”

[pause]

That did it.

Of course you understand why I wouldn’t want him to think any of those things, right? RIGHT? It was a matter of pride; once he turned on his charm, I was hooked. I unearthed a few quarters from the bottom of my handbag.

Yes, I bought the coffee. It’s something I can’t believe myself.

My other credo had always been, “Princesses don’t pay. Men pay.” But buy the coffee I did.

Honestly, I was borderline pathetic. Not even borderline. I was hanging on to the cliff with my fingertips.

It’s like sparks were flying off his body. I made every excuse in the book to lean over and oops, accidentally brush his arm and cop a sniff. He smelled heavenly.

It’s that damn pheromone thing. I was–still am-hopelessly–magically attracted. He’s irresistible. And he knows it.

We took our coffee outside and sat at a cement patio table. It was one of those perfect SoCal November days–balmy even. For a few moments we said nothing as we sipped from our coffee and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

Red lights flashed on and off in my head.

DANGER AHEAD! STOP THE MISSION! RUN!

Less than a foot away from me he straddled the half-moon shaped concrete bench. His thighs were encased in soft worn jeans and my thoughts were heading into hazardous waters.

His hair was wet and looked like he just had showered.

“What are you doing here? Did you know I was going to be here?”

“No, I didn’t, I had to update the logs, and I surfed a bit earlier.”

Ah, that’s where the wet hair came from.

“So…you’re a surfer?”

That is most definitely NOT on my list.

“I like to think I am.”

Scintillating conversation, huh? I thought that was a bit arrogant, a bit–AHEM–cocky.

Later I learned that he had spent much of his youth in Kauai and he really was/is a great surfer, but I didn’t know much about him — only what I was feeling.

As the conversation unfolded and we chatted–he told me where he lived and where he had gone to college, and–those thighs, oh wait–no, not that–of course I meant what kind of music he liked and that he loves animals–I found myself listening to his voice but not hearing the words.

This is where it gets weird.

And pinky-swear, it’s all true, it all happened exactly like this. It was REAL.

He looked at me and smiled.

I felt lit from within.

My heart melted. (Even now, his smiles affect me the same way.)

I sighed. He sighed. I sighed again.

That was IT.

Everything became quiet and a calm-before-the-storm sensation enveloped me. I placed my hands on the bench because I was suddenly lightheaded–I needed support because I felt like the ground beneath shifted;  waves that triggered that falling phenomenon just before you completely succumb to sleep–like a hypnagogic myoclonic twitch.

Faintly, I sensed the planets tumble into position, the clickclickclick… of stars aligning in the heavens; the sun, moon, Venus, and Mars at that moment were singing in the universe.

Did we just have an earthquake? I jumped off the bench like it was on fire. I ran to my car, unable to deal with the intensity of the moment. He was right behind me. He was so annoying!

“Where ya  goin’? We  should go out sometime.”

I was having a hard time breathing and fumbled with my keys as I unlocked the car. I leaned against the door for support and turned to him,

“When? Tonight?”

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not known for being subtle.

“I have to work a charter later, I’ll give you a call.”

And with that, I drove off.

Of course, I never went back to work. Who could blame me?

I raced home and power-called all my girlfriends.

I was in panic mode.

I reported every detail to one friend after another. I needed advice, I needed explanations. I needed to be talked down. But no one had experienced anything comparable. No one knew what to do.

I was on this voyage alone; no rules to follow. I was in uncharted waters.

That evening I did what we are warned not to do, what mothers counsel daughters against.

I was nervous and jumping out of my skin, but also determined to be 100% honest (also on my list). How else would I know if he was “the one”? I called and left a message on his voicemail. Remember way back when we used voicemail?

“Hi, can you give me a call when you hear this message? There’s something I need to ask you.”

He called a couple hours later. I was  on my bed, reading a magazine, pretending I was not waiting for the call…dreading the call.

“Hi there, it’s me. I got your message, but I was planning to call you anyway. What’s up?”

I took a deep breath and decided it was now or never–I needed to go for it…take that chance. DO it.

”Uhh, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what happened at the harbor…I never felt anything like that EVER, and I think… I think…”

I took a deep breath and the words tumbled out,

“IthinkIamfallinginlovewithyouandwonderifyoufeelthesameway–orifitisjustme.”

“I mean, I really need to know.”

[Pause]   [More pause]

Oh boy. In that single, painful, heartstopping moment I wished I could hit delete and erase the last five minutes.

Palms sweaty, heart pounding, OMG, I am a total f-ing idiot–what have I just said–I’m insane, he’ll think I’m a freak or I’m exhibiting psycho pre-stalker tendencies–and then, finally, it seemed like hours of silence had gone by–I was gonna hang up and hide under my bed if he didn’t say something–he said,

“Umm, no, it’s not just you. I’m feeling the same exact way. Something happened to me today too,  and I can’t explain it either.  How about us going on a real date and let’s talk about it?”

I released the breath I hadn’t been aware I was still holding. That last planet locked into position.

I discovered my soul mate, my tugboat man.

There’s lots more to this story; some twists and turns and ups and downs, but the thread that ties it all together is how we found each other and fell in love.

Today: I wait for him to come home. And wait. And wait. And remind myself, “Don’t count the miles, count the I-love-yous”

Christina Perri, “Miles”

Just a Cup of Coffee – The Love Story of Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Captain – Part One

PS WordPress is playing games with FONT SIZE. I can’t change it, can’t fix it…

Reposted from a while ago…

Today:
Sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not. That’s the life of a tugboat captain’s wife

February 21, 1994

The wedding. Our song, our first dance as husband and wife. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole

The Beginning…This is the love story of me, Princess Rosebud, and her tugboat captain.

We met when I was a year into my deal with myself to stay celibate until I met someone, uh, worthy

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010… At 3:40 this afternoon, I was in the threshold of our garage door that leads into the living room where I had dragged in a ladder to help with my latest project–painting the living room walls a divine shade of seafoam green–to stay busy when the captain’s out to sea. I mean, I can’t shop ALL the time. A girl has to take a break now and again, right? I set the ladder down and went back to close the garage door. At that precise moment, the glass vases on the shelves surrounding our fireplace began to vibrate and wobble. Here in SoCal, I’ve endured a handful of quakes, but never such intense shaking.

Through the open garage door I saw the bicycles that hang from the ceiling sway back and forth. As I attempted to process THAT information, the crystal lustres on my grandmother’s antique porcelain candelabras clashed and clinked. Terracotta tile flooring in the foyer seemed to roll back and forth and I had a difficult time standing.

Feeling dizzy and unbalanced, I grasped the doorway for support.  My poor kitty gave me a dirty look like I had interrupted her nap on purpose. So much for the concept that animals can sense an earthquake–not this spoiled little brat.

I ran up our oak-planked steps into the family room and through the patio doors onto the deck and shouted out to the neighbors.

“Look at your pool!”

“I know, this is crazy! Are you OK? Any damage?”

“I don’t think so. A couple seashells fell off the shelf in the family room, but I was so freaked, I didn’t want to stay inside, so I ran out back. I don’t know if we should stay in the house or what we should do!”

“Us either! Let’s see what’s on the news.”

This quake was so violent that it caused the water in their pool to slosh over the sides like a mini-tsunami. We each went back in our respective homes and turned on CNN. We discovered that there had been a 7.2 earthquake in Mexico. The first reports that came in revealed a lot of damage near the epicenter in Mexicali, but no major problems in San Diego; only broken glass and falling cans at grocery stores, which seemed pretty miraculous considering the earthquake’s size.

Still spooked by the shaking and some pretty strong aftershocks, I surveyed the house, removing anything unsecured and potentially dangerous.

This is as good a time as any to confess something. I’m a shell-aholic.

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I’ve got shelves and shelves of seashells in every room–including the bathroom. Everyone collects seashells, right? One here, one there, as a memory of a great beach or a fun vacation, right? Well…I’m a seashellhoarder. I want ALL seashells–there are never enough seashells to collect or buy. I make things out of some of them–picture frames, mirrors, boxes–they line the walls in our two bathrooms and even our front door, but mostly they just hang out–in bowls, on shelves, anywhere and everywhere. There is no empty space in our house, and if there is, it’s quickly filled with a shell–or a rock.

After a couple decades, we have come to an understanding, the captain and I. He thinks I’m crazy and obsessed with shells and rocks and driftwood, and I don’t destroy his surfboards if he doesn’t give me a hard time about it.

I anxiously emailed the captain who’s half a world away in the middle of an ocean. I figured that if anything would cause him to cut his four month assignment short, this might be it. The way that emailing works in deep ocean situations is through a pretty inefficient satellite; sometimes it takes hours to complete the process. If there’s a real emergency, I have a phone number to call, but this didn’t really fit the definition. I wasn’t hurt and the house wasn’t damaged or anything. When he finally read the email and wrote back, he told me to “standby” at the house phone because he would try to make a call from the boat’s sat phone. When he called, I used all my powers of persuasion to convince him to come home, but to no avail. He simply wasn’t going to call the United States Coast Guardto fly a rescue mission a thousand miles from land to bring  him home because the kitty and I were scared.

Well, I know where I stand in his list of priorities. Hmmm, I wonder if this is when I hatched my plot to get that Chanel. Hmmm, I wonder.

After that stressful event, and many aftershocks later, some pampering was definitely well deserved. That evening, I drew a bath in the upstairs bathroom we call the spa because it’s decorated in earthy tones with seashells and beach glass surrounding the mirrors and along the walls.

(I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t care.)

I lit a fragrant and calming lavender candle, eased my body into the almost too-hot-to-stand-it water, and trickled in ginger and lemongrass aromatherapy oils. Sipping from a glass of merlot, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and my thoughts wandered.

Experiencing an earthquake; the dizziness, the weightless feeling in a tub of warm water; it all reminded me of falling in love. It all felt the same… and it all started with a fifty cent cup of coffee.

Newly divorced in 1990, I speed dated a few guys, including one totally boring and slightly scary man who immediately wanted me to meet his parents after the first (and last) date, along with a couple of total idiots whose combined IQs prolly didn’t equal my Border Collie‘s. Those unsavory experiences became flashing red lights–STOP! NO! THINK!–impossible to ignore–that I seriously needed to take some time off the dating circuit.

It was the perfect time for a list.

I’m an inveterate list maker; I prioritize my errands and even list groceries in the order of where they’re located in the store– like my own custom board game–where I start at the entrance and finish at the cash register.

I wrote this particular list with the hope that if I documented the qualities desired in a significant other, the universe would deliver the right one when all the planets were aligned. Or so I dreamed.

At midnight on August 7th, 1990, with a bottle of wine to seal the deal, I made a promise to myself–I would not date (or do anything else) for a very long time, and the next one would be “the one”.

The List
1. Must call when he says he will. This is non-negotiable.
2. Must show up on time for dates.
3. Must love pets. Also non-negotiable.
4. No cigarettes. No smoking, and of course, no drugs.
5. Likes to exercise, work out, eat healthy, etc.
6. Must have gainful employment.
7. Must be nice and polite and honest and trustworthy.
8. Fidelity is of paramount importance.
9. When the time is right and he meets my son, my son has to like him. Also non-negotiable.

Next: Part Two

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“My soul was in the lost and found…”

…and no one but me came along to claim it.

I got lost today. Physically lost, not spiritually lost.

That’s not to say that I’m NOT searching for myself in a spiritual realm, but that’s not what this day was all about.

Nature was calling as she often does; I could feel the strong pull to hike, to connect my hiking boots with sagebrush and trails and coyote scat dotted with small bones and fur.

I’ve never hiked alone but thought it’s about time, it’s time to stop waiting for my Prince Charming to tie my cute size 5 1/2 boot laces into little bunny bows.

Time to step out and face this day and the next day and the day after that…

On my solo journey.

At least for today.

So I did. I hiked Calavera: I’ve hiked it a zillion times over the years but never by myself.
(Check out a previous Calavera excursion with pics HERE)

How difficult could it be? It’s a five minute drive from the house and like I said, I’ve done it a ZILLION times.

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I started at 4:00 p.m., thinking I’d walk for about two hours or so and be back at the car before sunset.

That was my plan.

I started up the trail, found another trail that looked SLIGHTLY familiar, and made it all the way to the top of the not-very-big-mountain, said hi to some other hikers, was asked to take a pic by a young couple who were celebrating their very first outing away from their newborn (grandma was babysitting), and breathed in the scent of dirt and native plants– HEAVENLY.

I decided to be a real adventurer by taking a different path to get down the hill.

This was where my decision making became just a bit faulty.

Nothing looked familiar. NOTHING. All I knew for sure is that I had climbed UP and now I needed to go DOWN.

How the hell could I have pretty much walked every inch of this land and not remembered the right way to go?

5:30 p.m.

I saw another single female with a similar look on her face–one of slight anxiety, embarrassment, and uncertainty.

I asked her if she knew how to get down. She replied, “No, do you?” I responded, “Nope, but let’s walk together so that we can be lost together.”

I gave her one of my walking sticks because the first path we eventually agreed to traverse was steep and narrow. Prickly bushes slapped our faces as we hacked our way through to one dead end after another.

We FINALLY found the correct way and set our course around the lake.

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6:15 p.m.

We said goodbye as the sun started to dip and blaze on the horizon. I had parked at the far trailhead and had a fairly long but level walk to my car. I walked FAST because the sun was going down FAST.

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OOPSIE.

I forgot there was a last minute fork in the road where I should have turned right which would have led me directly to the parking lot.

Instead, I ended up probably two or three miles away from my intended destination.

It was dark now. Completely dark.

I somehow found my way to the main road (I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I GOT THERE) with traffic whizzing by.

I felt like Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild)  on the Pacific Crest Trail.

I thought I was going to end up spending the night there, sleeping with a trio of coyotes wrapped around my body to keep me warm. As magical as that sounded, I was tired and dirty and wanted to go HOME.

It took about another hour to walk up a steep incline to where I THOUGHT my car was parked.

I knew I could have called my neighbors for help but I was determined to solve this problem on my own.

I am a strong and capable female. I CAN DO THIS.

Sweaty, dusty, stressed out but exuberant, I made it to my car at 7:30 p.m.

I had never been so grateful for civilization in my life.

I drove to the closest liquor store, bought a bottle of wine, got home, took a bath and toasted myself with a huge glass of merlot.

I was lost, got found, and feel like a natural woman.

Success!

Just Sunday, that’s all…

I spent the entire day with one of my oldest friends. We had lost touch for many years but picked up the thread as if it were only hours between chats, and not the chasm of time that separated us.

It was my fault. I wasn’t there for her when she needed me. I apologized and she forgave me.

So simple. True. Honest. Authentic.

Here are three of my favorite things to celebrate and be grateful for on this kind of overcast and cloudy Sunday.

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Death. SO VERY BIG

Before I was Princess Rosebud and Rowdy Rosie, I was a little girl who loved to dance in pink tutus and satin toe shoes.

A sweet and innocent little girl who was very gentle and sorta clueless about life.

Who loved animals (especially wolves and coyotes and foxes and mountain lions and bobcats) but all animals really.

Who never had to face life’s seriously sucky tribulations, cos life was pretty good most of the time.

Especially when there were seashells to pick off a sandy beach. Or someone thought about me and brought home a handful of seashells from one of their vacations.

Seashells make me happy. Butterflies make me happy, too, but that’s a different story.

This is about death. DEATH. Not a metamorphosis.

D.E.A.T.H.

Death is pretty final in a lot of ways. I mean in this plane, on this Earth, when someone dies, stops breathing, heart stops beating…well, that’s pretty final.

Why do some deaths hit us harder than others?

Randomly searching for something on the internet, I discovered that a friend and business associate I hadn’t seen in a long time had died of cancer a few months ago.

I didn’t know. No one told me. How did this happen, that I didn’t know?

The death and the not knowing shocked me, rocked me to my core. I was sobbing. Not him, I thought. Not him. Good men like that should live to be one-hundred-years at least.

(I could tell you how it happened that I didn’t know, I could elucidate, fill you in on all the deets, but then the story would be all about me and not a way, however small, to honor this fine, fine man.)

I heard him say this one thing a thousand times, “Hey guys, here’s just another rusty brain idea I’d like to run by you.”

He was one of those true-blue, honorable, faithful, simply noble, ethical, principled, reliable, honest, trustworthy, dependable, SALT OF THE EARTH men.

They don’t make them like that any more. Trust me on that. It’s really so simple, when you think about it. Not a difficult way to live one’s life if you know what’s really important.

All men (and women) should aspire to conduct their lives to that standard. A decent man with character and a deep commitment to his wife and family.

A never-give-up kind of man. The very definition of what a man should be.

If you needed anything, Steve was there. Especially if there was food involved. Oh yes, Steve loved to eat, that’s for sure.

I sent his wife a letter expressing my sorrow for her loss and apologized for not knowing and not attending his memorial service.

She wrote back almost immediately.

True to form, he never told anyone of his battle with cancer. Thinking back, I remember he was always showing up with bandages all over his face and head from skin cancer surgeries, but he brushed aside all questions about his health. The cancer spread and though it was quite painful, he never complained.

One day he collapsed and died in his wife’s arms, the only place that was ever really home to him.

I honor you, Steve, and I will miss you forever. More than you could know. This is a big loss, a big death, and my heart goes out to your lovely family.

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