Saturday, October 31, 2009

It may be Halloween . . .

. . . but it is also the birthday of one hauntingly Romantic poet,
and so in his honor, this excerpt from . . .

A Thing of Beauty (from Endymion)

John Keats

    . . . Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
Her passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us til they become a cheering light
That, whether there be shine, or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.


Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

'One ringie dingie'

Found inside the knobbly pod of a milkweed plant, while walking at Clare's Well.
They're so silky and make me think of angels just about to spread their wings.


"If trying harder doesn't work, try softer."

~Lily Tomlin


Image by Kathleen Kimball-Baker,who is thinking about Jennifer on the Verge

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

'You are enough."

I walked my favorite labyrinth* this weekend while making a 2-day personal retreat, something I try to do every couple of months. I didn't have a specific question going in. I just wanted to listen. And here's what I heard:

You are enough.
Seek to do enough
so that you have enough
to know that
you are enough.

An interesting message that I suppose could be interpreted in different ways. What I took from it was a reminder to balance the different parts of my life. In other words, do "just enough" and try to avoid perfectionism. Do this so I have enough "time" and "energy" not to get so depleted that I forget that I really am enough just as I am. Things have tipped rather heavily toward work of late (which is why I haven't posted or commented much lately.) So this sweet message was exactly what I needed to hear.

If you've never walked a labyrinth, I highly recommend giving it a try. I've found it to be a fascinating experience. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has only one way in and one way out, and walking the path is incredibly meditative and calming. I've yet to walk one without gaining some perspective. Sometimes the message has been: "Will you just lighten up!?" Other times, I have a running dialogue with The Great Unknowable. I've even walked out with one word: "Heal" or "Rest" or "Enjoy."

I usually bow in reverence before entering a labyrnith, say a little prayer, and pose a question. By the time I reach the center, I almost always have an answer. Sometimes, that's not the case and an awareness comes to me on the way out. Such was my walk at dawn. In the past, I've worried when nothing became clear by the time I reached the center. But after many, many walks, I've learned to trust that I will exit with some very helpful guidance.

And my favorite labyrinth* is at Clare's Well, a retreat farm run by 3 Franciscan sisters, about an hour west of the Twin Cities. If you click the "take a closer look" link, be sure to check out the picture of the large labyrinth on the prairie as it appears with snow on the path. Sister Carol is so experienced creating labyrinths, she can make one just walking on fresh fallen snow atop the property's frozen Sabbath Pond. That's what I woke up to see one Minnesota morning when I was in the sorriest state I've ever experienced. It was such a breathtaking site, sparkling in the winter sun and beckoning me outside to reflect, enjoy beauty all around me, and soak up love. Not surprisingly, I've been hooked ever since.

May you find an answer or any guidance you seek by walking slowly and contemplatively on a labyrinth near you.

So have you walked one?
Where's your favorite labyrinth?

I'd love to hear about your experience!

Image by margaretsaizan

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another reason why 2 good knees are a must!


Any suggestions on how I can get Mr. B to go to Arthur Murray's with me?

*And mushing, of course.

(Right knee scheduled for surgery November 5)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leaving Las Vegas

Las Vegas sunset - October 2009

The deed is done.

RockStar son now lives in Las Vegas.

And a part of my heart resides there now as well.

Moving my youngest 1,300 miles away was not exactly in my concept
 of what the future held. I quaintly imagined my whole brood (including but not limited to 2 sons, 1 daughter, their sweethearts, Mr. B, me) always always clustered within a 10-mile-radius of each other. Sunday breakfasts together. Birthday bashes together. Holidays together. Little outings together. Witnessing in person little and big triumphs, life changes, new haircuts. Leaning on each out of silliness or for support. 

What was I thinking?!?!?
Apparently about what I wanted.

Which isn't to say that's a bad thing. But it's just part of the picture.
And I'm beginning to realize that if I keep my vision trained
on that narrow little part that I can imagine,
I will miss what the rest of the picture has to offer.

Truth be told, the choices my children make are far more interesting than ones I'd make for them, because my own vision is limited by my experience. If I think my children are wonderful, wise, delightful, loving human beings today, I can only begin to imagine how the choices they make will add color to their stories and texture to their lives tomorrow.

So while I may get weepy with these partings, I am proud to honor the paths they're taking and privileged to witness their lives unfurl,
whether they're nearby or 1,300 or more miles away.

That's what I'm choosing. 

I do love a good adventure, and I must say this really is one.
Good lord, just seeing the terrain by air between Minneapolis and Las Vegas was a spectacular adventure.
I'm still marveling at how incredibly beautiful this country is,
how fascinating the changes in topography are.
and what a seemingly odd contrivance the dashed lines on a map are.
(Why do we find so many ways to divide ourselves in this country?)

For me, being in Las Vegas itself was an adventure laden with surprises.
And I just so happened to bring along my sweet little camera.
So here are some of the surprises, beauty, and joy I found on my Las Vegas adventure,
--and why I'll keep coming back for more!

Surprise #1: Texture 

Bark on the same palm tree!  

Left: At the base

Right: In the middle


Surprise #2: Delicate beauty

Art glass
in a gift
shop of the 


Surprise #3: Real candy and eye candy

Left: A fraction of the world's

largest chocolate

Right: Dale
Chihuly glass


Surprise #4: Beauty at the Hoover Dam

Left: One of two "Winged Figures of the Republic" by Oskar J.W. Hansen

Right: The architecture above the women's bathroom


Surprise #5: Clouds, both outdoors and indoors

Left: The rare event of clouds in the desert sky

Right: The
painted dome above the Forum shops



And why I'll keep coming back . . .

But of course: 

The sweet hearts

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just call me 'Zonked'

Oh, my, but it's been a bit wild in these parts the past week.
Wild as in madly pounding away at they keyboard to meet a work deadline and barely looking up to see beautiful October snow!
And tomorrow, I head off to the Wild West to move my youngest to "Sin City", Nevada

Greetings to my new friends who've arrived via Eddie Bluelight's Sunday Roast.
Hi to my all my blogpals.
As soon as I get a break in the action, I'll be pounding away relying to your lovely comments.

I suppose it's no surprise that Charlotte and Cora are not at all happy about this trip (or this picture) and both declined to guest blog.
But who knows? Maybe they'll stop pouting in a couple days and make an appearance.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go take a catnap before I leave for the airport in 4 hours


Image by the noggin nogged

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Oh, Ed-eeeee"

What fun it is to be rrrrrrrrrroasted!

Thank you, Eddie,
for interviewing me
for the

(and for continuing the delicious tradition)!


And now, for your entertainment pleasure,
I give you the delightful Topo Gigio
who was also quite fond of "Eddie."

Embraced by night

"O God, surround me as the night embracing the moon. "

~ From Trish Bruxvoort Colligan's CD "Splash"

Image: Company for the Moon by Joe Bonello

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh my stars!

And the hole in the blogosphere just got smaller.

First we learned that Eddie Bluelights of Clouds and Silver Linings is carrying on the delightful tradition of the Sunday Roasts (fun interviews with bloggers) started by David McMahon, who recently "retired" his authorblog to spend more time on his literary pursuits. Watch for Eddie's first roast this Sunday. I guarantee you I will!

And now, thanks to the divine author of Oh My Goddess, we will be treated weekly to her new feature -- The Goddess Awards, which will build this amazing community by pointing us to visit-worthy posts.

In her own words:

"I visit quite a few blogs and am often really impressed by the writing, or artistic beauty that other bloggers post. In the spirit of acknowledging the creativity and brilliance that is to be found in the blogosphere, I will list and link to those posts that have captivated me. I plan to post my list once a week.

Some of you may remember a similar idea that Dave McMahon was doing on his Authorblog. I always thought his Post of the Day was a good hearted gesture, and I was extremely proud to have been selected by him. Now that he has moved on, I want to continue the good energy of acknowledging a job well done. And to David, if you are reading this, I say Thank You for paving the way."

Would you look at that gorgeous hair!!!

I am truly honored to have received one of the first new Goddess Awards
for my empty-nest lament, What I must let go.
Thank you, OMG, thank you very much. 

And as I was clicking around to collect all links* for this post, I discovered yet another blogger who is weaving back together the rip in the blogfabric left by dear David. It appears that Hillary, author of The Smitten Image, is adding a Post of the Week feature on Wednesdays.

In her own words:

" . . .David gave me his blessing. You are acquainted with me well enough to know that I don't post anywhere near daily but I do come across many fine blog posts over the course of the week, so I've decided to venture into doing a 'Posts of the Week" instead. I hope you'll come to know a few new blogs by clicking on the links which I'll suggest. Also, keeping true to David's method, I'd like you to feel free to mention and link to your own favourites in the comments section of my POTW - if you wish.

I'll try to make a point of publishing the POTW each Wednesday but hope you'll all understand if I'm not always quite as organized as our friend, David. He has left mighty big shoes to fill."

Are those not the eyes of someone who loves whimsy?

If I wasn't burning the midnight oil on a work project (yes, I'm taking a little break), I would add blingees to the photos of these wonderful stars who are brightening the blogsphere. But I think a stop by their blogs will add plenty of sparkle to your day (or night, as it were).

So, to quote David: Do pay them a visit.

And David, if you're out there, would you look what you started! What do you have to say for yourself, sir?

*Number of links in this post: 11 (whew!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A prayer at compline

"Grant that this night
we may sleep in peace.
And that in the morning our awakening may also be in peace.
May our daytime be cloaked
in your peace.
Protect us and inspire us to think and act only out of love.
May our paths be free from all obstacles from when we go out
until we return home."

~ From The Babylonian Talmud

Image:Der Abend (1980) by Caspar David Friedrich

What must I let go

I met a delightful woman last summer when our family went up north for vacation to Lutsen, Minnesota, along the shores of the beautiful Lake Superior. Her name is Marcia Hyatt and she runs Last Chance Art Studio & Gallery.

Her gallery sparkles with artisan-crafted treasures, and being the magpie that  am, I could not leave without a new pair of earrings. They're called intentional earrings, pieces of silver stamped with words, rolled like scroll, and antiqued. In my pair, one earring is inscribed with "peace" and the other bears the words "forgiveness and tolerance."

But there is more to Marcia than her fine ability to find beautiful artwork, wearable and otherwise.

She also runs a firm called Waterline Consulting and Coaching , and she offers personal retreats and peer coaching. As part of her business, she publishes a weekly e-mail newsletter called On the Waterline, which features a provocative question. I've signed up and I'm loving it.

On Sept 27, when EarthDoctor son turned 28, this was the question of the week:

"When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be"

~ Lao Tzu

What do I need to let go of?

It was a question I've been struggling with for weeks now. Why? Because in the period of 3 weeks, the last of two of my three fledglings had spread wide their wings and shoved off from the nest.

I've heard the cliches for years about empty nests, and it's not like the time wasn't right. For 25 years, one child or another has lived in the home I found for them in 1992, the place where they could each have a room of their own, and we could flourish as a famiy. The time was right.

But when PreciousGrrrlChild came downstairs toting a basket of clothes and announced that she'd be spending the night in her new place, said goodnight, and matter-of-factly closed the door, I gasped at the vacuum that suddenly filled the room and my heartlungs. My insides imploded with grief, emotional atelectasis. It took days to begin to reinflate that desolate place, and tears, lots and lots of tears.

Isn't this the moment we raise them for, to see them move their lives toward self-fulfillment? Shouldn't this be about joy? Celebration? Rites of passages?

Yes, of course!

So why does it have to hurt?

I've avoided peering into their rooms for days now, much like I've avoided the piles and boxes of my mother's belongings that have filled my basement for 4 years since her death. I know that the scents and trappings they left behind will touch off something deep and primal and flatten me again. So I do my best not to look, not to breathe in what nature has us know by heart. And I know I cannot do this forever.

Like the arrival of a child, which utterly turns one's life upside down in ways no one can prepare you for, the departure of children into independence and adulthood has, for me, unsettled my nice cozy midlife place of comfort in ways I did not expect.

But I also know that traveling through such passages, if i listen carefully, watch attentively, feel with willingness, brings unexpected joy and discovery.

I do know what I must let go of.

I do not know what I might be.

But once again I see the imperative to turn this question over to The Great Unknowable.

(Good thing I like surprises.)


So tell me, what do you need to let go of?


Image by Chris Bruzell - "Empty Nest" 2007 - Claudia Marr Gallery
Image by Nicola Slattery - "Restful Flight"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

To Monday

"I rise from sleep and say:
Hail to the morning!
Come down to me,
my beautiful unknown."

~ Jessica Powers

Image by Wendy Puerto

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Did you hear the good news yet?

I've been mourning like crazy the departure of the beloved authorblog from our online community. David McMahon has been such a prince, every day connecting us to each other with his Post of the Day feature, entertaining us with his verses, showing us beautiful photography and the stories behind it.

I never could imagine how he did it all. So I'm genuinely pleased that he's using his time now to pursue his literary career. But it sure felt like massive tear in the fabric of the blogsphere had occurred, and don't you just it hate it when that happens.

But here's the good news:

The famous Sunday Roast,
in which David interviewed bloggers, 
lives on!

Edwin saves the day

David has passed the microphone to Eddie Bluelights, the charming author of Clouds and Silver Linings . He's got an entire post listing all the bloggers who've been roasted since David began the weekly interviews Feb 3, 2008. It's a gold mine, I tell you!

So if your heart is still aching from not seeing authorblog at the top of your blog roll, head on over to Eddie's (a 7-time POTD winner!) and start following. That's where I'm going this minute. I hear he's got a rendition of the Wizard of Oz in the making, and I've got see what that's all about!

Thanks, Eddie, for keeping the Sunday Roast tradition alive and sharing with us a your own brand of good cheer.

So ring the bells, beat the drums, and spread the news!

(Doesn't it feel like that giant hole in the universe just got a bit smaller!)

Image from 
Image from

Sweet tea in the morning

"One must bow one's head
to one's heart"

~ the little words on my tea bag this morning

Image by Meredith McNeal, who painted
the Sanskrit word for Namaste on 7,000 rose petals

Friday, October 2, 2009

And then the sun came out

Rain, rain, rain today.
Good weather for a very busy work day.
I did get outside for a few moments during lunch, and look what found me!
It was lovely to see beauty everywhere after a bit of a dry spell.
(Mustn't tell Mr. B, though, that I was taking pictures in the middle of a street.)

Image by Kathleen Kimball-Baker


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