Sunday, November 30, 2008


If life imitates art, my life right now is an abstract. Nothing is where it "should" be, and yet, there is some undeniable sense of universal order at play.

As is the Link tradition, we got our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Well, one thing led to another. We moved the yellow chairs by the front window in the living room to make room for the tree, then it just sort of snowballed from there. Next thing I knew we'd gone completely crazy and moved the dining room table into the dining room. The "family room" furniture joined the living room furniture. (It's going to take me a few more days to get good with that juxtaposition.) The prayer room has some hodgepodge of furniture moved into a circle and we'll see how that all plays out. Not sure about the sewing machine/table in there.

Woohoo ended up with a leftover table in her room just 'cause there was no where else for it to go. Now there's a bookcase in our bedroom, and my groaning nightstand is thankful for the help.

In the last few years both STM and I have undergone some big personal transformations. Now our home has, too.

Maybe art does imitate life?

(The Beavs didn't get it done yesterday. It's not funny yet.)

* Photo from

Saturday, November 29, 2008


The Oregon State Beavers (yea) play the Oregon Ducks (boo) at 4:00 PM PST today. WHEN the Beavs win they'll be going to the Rose Bowl, baby! The Beavs haven't been to a Rose Bowl in 44 years. 44 is a power number, as all good followers of this blog know. That's all I'm sayin'. Oh, and let me also say this: GO BEAVS!

(STM is a Duck, Rojo has on his U of O shirt, I've got on his OSU shirt, and Woohoo claims to be a "platypus," should make for an interesting afternoon.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Stand up, on this Thanksgiving Day, stand upon your feet. Believe in man. Soberly and with clear eyes, believe in your own time and place. There is not, and there never has been a better time, or a better place to live."

Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893
American Author and Clergyman

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm over here today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Those of you that follow my blog (and, BTW, not enough has been made of how much I love and appreciate that, thank you), know that in the summer of 2007 I "left my kids" to go find myself. I was in frequent touch with them through the telephone and e-mails, and saw them a few times throughout my self-imposed seclusion, but none-the-less, I was not in their minute-to-minute lives like "good mothers" are.

Then I came home and wrote a memoir about that time, my midlife "crisis" book, my Erma Bombeck meets Elizabeth Gilbert self-discovery book. And then I tried to pitch that book to approx. a million agents, and was told everything from simply "not interested" to "love your book, love your writing, love your humor, love your honesty, but can't sell this book, now that Eat Pray Love made it big, there's a glut of this type of book on the market."

But for sure, the comment that hurt the worst, was from the agent that said, "Your readers won't be able to get over the fact that you left your children." And although I knew that comment was highly subjective, I feared she was right.

And then that same agent worked like crazy to find me a different agent, and I knew that even though I had offended her by my premise, I had hit a nerve - a universal nerve?

So I worked to get over the fact that others would judge me, whether or not they ever read the book.

And for the most part I was successful in getting good with my own decision, having told myself before, during and after the exile that what I was really doing, in the grand scheme of things, was not "leaving my children" but setting them free, particularly my teenage daughter. I wanted her to have her own life, to be unleashed from the invisible choke hold of my unfinished business. I knew what it was like to be fused to a mother that "hadn't done her work," and I didn't want that for my daughter. I wanted whatever "demons" she had in her life to be hers.

Not mine.

But the guilt remained. What if the voices on the outside were right, and the voice on my inside was wrong - just self serving and WRONG?

I decided to find out. This weekend I asked my kids. I started with Rojo, since he was the easiest, and I was a chicken.

"Rojo? Remember when I was gone for a long time?"

He looked puzzled, like no, he really couldn't remember that time, but I persisted.

"That summer when Daddy took care of you instead of me, when I was in Sisters?"

He nodded.

"Well, I'm really sorry about that time. I'm really sorry that I was gone, that I didn't take care of you all those days. I'm sorry if that hurt your feelings. I'm sorry if you missed me. I'm sorry."

He just looked at me, love visible from every pore of his skin, and said, "You don't have to be sorry. Now what time do you want to have our games today?"

Then I moved on to Woohoo and asked her virtually the same thing. She said in response, "Hurt me? You didn't hurt me. You helped me. You made me stronger. You taught me."

"I did? What did I teach you?" I asked, really wanting to know.

"You taught me that parents have lives they're not just here to serve kids."

Then we went on to have our best heart-to-heart talk we've every had, followed by the warmest hug of my life.

And although this does not mean I won't still feed the "Leather Fund" (time on a leather couch with a good therapist), perhaps it's time I feed myself a little something too.


(Just noticed the date on the artwork up top, 1994, the year Woohoo was born. No accidents. We had our family prayer time this morning, each kid drew a card from the "Enlightenment" deck, and both kids drew cards dealing with what? Forgiveness.)

* Photo from:

Monday, November 24, 2008


There are two kinds of people, those that upon finding a large crack down the center of one of her favorite coffee mugs, heartlessly tosses it in the garbage, deeming it "worthless," and those that say, "Hey! That's not garbage, it's just got character now. It can be fixed. Don't give up on that mug."

Thank God I'm married to the latter.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Thank you for all your love, prayers and support. Yesterday as I readying myself, closing my eyes and trying to center, a weird buzzing sound kept interrupting my moment of zen.

I finally opened my eyes, got up, and went to the window, where I saw not one, but two bees, side-by-side, trying desperately to escape. I gently captured then released first one, then the other, and went back to my "thing."

My "thing," shifted after those bees. First I noted the mere fact that it's November, and I haven't seen a bee outside, let alone inside, for months. Then I remembered that they symbolized resurrection, healing, and Mary. Then I remembered all of you sending me love.

Thank you.

Thank you for the bees.

* Photo from

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Still over here burning through the layers. Today is a big day. Any and all prayers/light/love are welcome.

Tomorrow I lay my weary arm down.

And rest.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Woohoo is becoming quite the writer. She has an amazing English teacher, and is being lit from within. What more is there? Here's her most recent poem, posted upon request:

Here's to guardian angels, both physical and non-physical!

* Photo from

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


So I put Rojo to bed, I've completed the full battery of bedtime routines, and am heading down the hall to my own bedroom. I pass the two opposing doors that separate our rooms. The laundry room (upstairs laundry: best invention ever) which directly faces Woohoo's door. And I think, That's the space I hold, right there in the middle. I am seated on the hardwood floor right between two doors, feet shoved hard against one, pushing, pushing, pushing, and back against the other, holding back, holding back, holding back. All I need to do to stop this insanity, is just stand up. That's it. Just. Stand. Up.

I keep walking to my room, all full of myself for my deep and powerful insight, and Rojo pulls me back into the moment.

"Mom," he calls from the opposite side of his door, "What time do you think you'll wake up tomorrow?"

"I think I'll wake up at 5:30 tomorrow. What time do you think you'll wake up?" I ask.

"I think I'll wake up at 6:10," he says.

"Okay. See you at 6:10," I say, "I love you, goodnight."

Back to my reverie and he cuts in again.

"Mom! Are you going to jump up and down?"

"Excuse me?" I ask, not knowing WTF he's talking about, because I'm all about doors now, and have long lost the magic of my moment with him.

"When you wake up at 5:30? Are you going to jump up and down because you will be so excited to wake up?"

"Oh. Good idea. Yes, I will jump up and down at 5:30," I answer.

"Don't forget!" he says. "Don't forget to be excited when you wake up tomorrow. Promise you won't forget."

"Okay. I promise not to forget," I say before making the final steps to my room. Finally.

"Mom?" he calls again.

""Yes?" I say through gritted teeth.

"That's a blog."

And so it is.

Now back to the jumping.

(BTW, guess what time he woke up today. To. The. Minute.)

* Photo from

Monday, November 17, 2008


I've had lots of friendships in my life, and by and large the ones that have ended, have died from natural causes. But there are two cases where the friendship ended in more like a bloody murder, with lots of drama and finger pointing and deeply wounded egos.

Well, this whole surrender "thing" I'm working on has a side effect I hadn't counted on - guess that's the whole point, a full surrender includes surrendering to the unknown. Long story short, I am going to be having coffee soon with both of these women.

"It's time to mend fences," I told Kathleen, even thinking as the phrase left my mouth, that that was an odd choice of words.

You see, boundaries were the problem, at least for me. I'm just not that great at maintaining them, and when I come across someone skilled at stomping on them, I have easily let that happen, then sat with righteous indignation right on top of the collapsed "fence."

I've always struggled with "Being a good Christian" vs. being a strong self-advocate.

The Universe, with its sense of humor, is giving me two big tests that feel critical to my personal evolution. How to strike peace, be loving and kind, while remaining true to myself.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


10. I don't like so-and-so
9. I'm mad at/about ____________
8. You hurt my feelings
7. I hate you
6. My stomach/head/any body part hurts
5. I don't feel good
4. Anything whiny
3. It's not fair
2. How come I don't get to do _____________?
1. Ouch

Friday, November 14, 2008


So I'm driving Woohoo to school, all the while she's texting one friend after another, and talking to me at the same time. Some guy likes some girl, and said guy is going to ask out said girl, but said girl doesn't like said guy, and Woohoo knows this, wants to save the guy the embarrassment, but not sure how.

"Why don't you just tell him you asked your friend, and she's just not that into him?"

"No. I'm going to text Sarah and see what she thinks."

More texting, more telling me of the developments, and more butting in from me, until finally Woohoo looks over at me, all cute in her designer jeans and North Face jacket (read: uniform), and says, "Mom, don't tell me the answer, I'm a teenager. This is my time for making mistakes and learning from them."

I'm pretty sure she's right.


Thursday, November 13, 2008


Sorry to disappoint you all, there really is no back story to the "mysterious" quote on yesterday's post. I am still on my Caroline Myss kick, and now am knee-deep in Entering the Castle. It's a study of the mystic, St. Teresa of Avila. Soon as I learn of someone new, I must get to Googling, and well, one thing led to another, and next thing you know I found that quote of hers and liked it.

That's it.

Did spend some time today, however, reflecting on the various answered and unanswered prayers over the years, and damn if that mystic nun from the 16th century wasn't right! Bottom line really seems clear: Control is an illusion, and any prayers that are really an act of coercion, should have an entirely different name, like, wishing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”

St. Teresa of Avila (Spanish Nun, Mystic and Writer, 1515-1582)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Light a candle for softness
Light a candle for friends 'til they come through
Light a candle for warm kind love
Light a candle for me and you
'Cause there's a reason we've come here
Are we holding back
Or are we willing for connection
While knowing what we hold most dear
Must eventually surrender to its own direction

(Chorus of "Harmless Love" by Ferron)

A funny thing happened on the way to a life without Paxil: The backlog of emotions that that wonderful med held back (and I'd make the same decision to use it all over again - it was a lifesaver at the time, nothing short) are making their presence known.

My challenge these days is to "be" with them.

I'd prefer to numb. I'd prefer to get extraordinarily busy, and have no time for them.

And/or I'd prefer to process every little detail with trusted friends, effectively externalizing the process, when what it feels I'm called to do is nothing. No thing.

Nearly impossible.

But nearly is not the same as totally, in fact, they feel like they're on two opposite ends of a spectrum.

On Sunday I reached some point of surrender - Let come what may, was my prayer. No more super hero efforts at holding back the tide. All my expectations, wishes, plots, plans, unfulfilled desires, all of it -be gone, I thought.

And so, when on Monday morning the e-mails started coming, I wasn't all that surprised. The Universe is swift and compassionate. Somehow I tend to forget that.

Some doors were opened, some were closed, and some still swing back and forth, and I'm working (hard) to just watch them swing, and not rush in and hurry up the process, eager for "done" over "resolved."

The Dalai Lama teaches that if you can't be of help, don't be of hindrance. Be harmless.

Harmless love. I like that. I think that's what I'll "do" today.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I went to Wordstock with one set of objectives, and left with another. Isn't that always the way?

My plan was to go and be inspired to finish writing what I set out to write, and learn how to shape it so it would sell.

Somewhere along the way I started to shift, and wonder if I even wanted to bother writing another word. At all.

The person that spoke and said he'd spent 10 years writing a book and tossing 3,000 pages? Not inspiring.

How about the one that said 8 out of 10 books never make any money? Not motivating.

Or the guy that said the system is entirely backwards - the book buyers for the big sellers determine the industry. They are in communication with the publishers, and what they decide will sell, is what trickles down to what writers can write. Not encouraging.

But the last panel discussion I listened to was "Writing About Addiction." I thought, Well, there's a subject I have no intention of ever writing about, but I went because it was moderated by Cheryl Strayed, and Cheryl rocks. Period. The three panelists all shared their backgrounds, and inspiration for writing about the gritty side of life.

I was mesmerized - particularly by Tony O'Neill, the author who spent 10 years as a heroin addict, and completely disappeared from society. This author said he's spent his whole life breaking the rules, and his writing career has been no exception. Everyone told him he needed to write a recovery memoir and punch up the "aha moment" when he knew his life had to change. He didn't do that. He never had an "aha moment." That wasn't his story, and he wasn't going to write it, no matter what "sells."

And the audience couldn't get enough of him. His flaws so exposed, his pretenses non-existent, his humanity so evident. He was just a man telling his story - not a story anyone I know can even relate to, but we can anyway, because he's a writer, writing about what he knows.

And so today I put my butt back in the chair and I continue to write about what I know, and let that be enough.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Found out today at Wordstock, that if you're a non-fiction writer, the subjects that are "evergreen," are:

1) Cooking
2) Golf
3) Business
4) Sex

So, looks like if I want to sell a book, I better become an expert on at least one of the above subjects. No matter which one I pick, STW will be happy.

Can't talk now, off to WORDSTOCK for the weekend! See you after my much needed shot in the arm!

Friday, November 07, 2008


Still processing my discovery of the Beggar archetype - one manifestation is the opposite - refusing to ask for anything. BINGO! It showed up in my 4th House: Cancer, which deals with HOME. Hmmmm.... Caroline Myss talks at the end of the book about physical ailments, and how they relate to our archetypes and their placements in our chart. Guess where anxiety falls.

Another big "aha" on my chart was the placement of the Saboteur (we all have that one, it's a gimme, right up there with the Child, Victim and Prostitute, so start preparing yourself for that fun fact right now). The Saboteur is the guardian of CHOICE. That sweet thing landed in my 7th House: Libra, the home of marriage and relationships. KEY-RIST!

So, to summarize, I don't ask for anything. I have trust issues, and in my house of marriage, I am a SABOTEUR???

Pretty much.

Maybe I should turn off the computer and go address these issues with my husband?

Rome wasn't built in a day.

*Photo from

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I've just completed my archetypal wheel as part of the work I did while reading/studying/applying the concepts in Sacred Contracts. Actually, if you want to split hairs, I just completed my SECOND wheel. I thought I was done on Sunday, even got out a protractor and made really pretty lines, but when I showed it to someone, they pretty much said, "No. Nice try. Now go back and REALLY do the activity."

This person ordered encouraged me to really consider the archetypes that were distasteful to me, and meditate on why that might be.

Oh. Like the BEGGAR? Yea. Really didn't want to think part of me resonated with that one! But it does. Profoundly. Turns out the beggar helps with developing loyalty and coping with betrayal.

Three people recently have pissed me off surprised me by suggesting I have "trust issues."

I'd tell you which astrological house the Beggar ended up in, except I haven't learned to trust you with that information.


* Chart from

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


44 years ago African Americans got the right to vote.
Tonight, an African American is the 44th president-elect.
All I'm sayin'.

We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

We'll walk hand in hand,
We'll walk hand in hand,
We'll walk hand in hand, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,

We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,

We shall all be free,
We shall all be free,
We shall all be free, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,

We are not afraid,
We are not afraid,
We are not afraid, TODAY

Oh, deep in my heart,

We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

From the song, "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard

"Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now"

Thanks, Anon. Here's the link to the Bob Herbert article in yesterday's NYT.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Catie Curtis

We are passing this world on to our kids
From the day when they climb from their cribs
We'll try and teach them well, show them that they're loved
But in the end all we can do is hope our best was good enough
They'll witness how this life can be so beautiful and cruel
We can't shelter them forever but if we show them all the tools
They might leave this world in a little better shape than me and you
We are only passing through

Passing through, passing through
We are only passing through
Passing through, passing through
We are only passing through

We are watching this world from our living rooms
Near forty years since we walked on the moon
This big blue ball is shrinking and I don't know if that's good
But for better or for worse now this whole world's our neighborhood
And there's no place left to run to, to stay above the fray
We better learn to get along not just to get our way
Not only for each other but our children's children too
We are only passing through

Passing through, passing through
We are only passing through
Passing through, passing through
We are only passing through

And I wonder sometimes what will I pass on
How much can one voice do with just a song
Sometimes injustice and indifference are all that I see
But I refuse to let my hope become the latest casualty
So I'll sing of love and truth and try to practice what I preach
If I can't change the world, I'll change the world within my reach
What better place to start than here and now with me and you
We are only passing through

Passing through, passing through
We are only passing through
Passing through, passing through
We are only passing through
We are only passing through