Taking Care

It is that time of year again. That time where we take pause to give thanks for what we have and who we have in our lives.  And this year, as I looked around, I saw the landscape change.  There has been much more taking care this year than in the past.  By that I mean my friends, family and I all taking care of each other. It is a fluid stream of handing off the “I’ve got this” baton to each other.

This year there is so much for which to be thankful – my Father’s cancer going into remission is the biggest. Followed by me having and finding a safe, mold free place to live. The new job, my new life basically.  But there has been so much help along the way. My sister and neighbors watching over my pets, my sister and great friends opening up their houses to me, offering a place to live while I figured out what course of action to take with the House of Mold. I was given a safe place to sleep and live, eat, laugh and play.  Friends were coming out of the woodwork to help and s=check in to make sure I was OK.  And I am so very thankful.

And I have been able to be there for my friends as well, offering support, free writing services, advice, a shoulder, cooking and much more.  This year, more than any year, I feel like we have formed a community for each other, a place in which we can go, and work, and live and love, and truly know, we are not alone.  That is a wonderful thing to have in this world.

And so this year I am thankful for taking care – thankful for those who have taken care of me, and for hose whom I can repay the favor. And this year, it is truly a celebration of the beautiful souls I am blessed to have in my life.

Safe and Settled

Here it is, the eve of the move. The eve of finally having all of me in one place. It’s hard to pick up the pieces when you r life is scattered in many directions, in storage units, and garages, and the trunk of your car, and in your mother’s greenhouse and a friends spare bedroom…and a thousand other places it seems.

Home. It is a special word to me. A place that is my sanctuary, my safe place. It is where I go to take off the armor of the day and let my guard down. This is where I am safe, this is where I am protected from the outside elements. This, this is my Home. And for a person like me, it is so tough to be somewhere, that is not home.

The mold is still in the house, as the sellers and I go through the dance of negotiations. One seller is helpful, the other seller, Richard Porter,  refuses to speak, only to say we have nothing to speak about. And I breath, knowing that there are plenty of people investigating him and criminal charges pending.

And I focus on my future. on unpacking. On getting settled in for the winter. On making sure this place, this space, is my home while I am here. It as been hard getting here, there truly are no words to express the amount of tears, pain, worry, stress, emotion and hardship. To be displaced from you home, through no fault of your own because Richard Porter tool illegal shortcuts.

To have no place to go, to face the possibility of loosing everything you own, to be sick fro the mold, to have your loved pets sick, to have to figure out where to go and what to do has been overwhelming at times.

And I look around, at where I am now, typing before bed and I am thankful. I have been given a home away from home. A friend who opened up her home to be when I had nowhere to go and nothing to offer in return. A friend who gave a safe place to land, while trying to navigate through difficult waters of life.

She gave more then a bed and warm place to sleep, but hot coffee in the morning, breakfast burritos, encouragement when I was too lost and upset to even make it off the couch to cook or do dishes. Yet she was there, with all her Grace, caring and making sure I was OK. She gave conversation and laughter, the Blacklist and funny show clips. Warm towels, clean washcloths, and friendship. She seemed to understand that I needed a moment, to be a mess, to collect myself and regroup. I am the one who takes care of those around me. Yet I was in genuine need of support.

Something I wall always remember and pass on whenever I can.

And here I am now, on the eve of being safe and settled and I know, deep down where I hear my heart beating, that I could not have done it, gotten here, without the love and support of such wonderful family and friends. And as I drift off to sleep, one last time in the warm and comfortable spare bedroom of my friend, I know that I have been kept safe while here. And in the short span of 24 hours, I will be getting settled. My life will, after several months of seemingly moldy chaos, will once again be manageable.

And my heart and mind rest deeply on the thought.


The Sweet Bitter Whispers

It was as if all of the happiness, all of the magic of this blissful hour had flowed together into these stirring, bittersweet tones and flowed away, becoming temporal and transitory once more. – Herman Hesse

There are money moments in life that are bittersweet. And there are plenty of times in our lives we must “catch and release.” Funny how many times these two concepts intersect.  And many times when we clear away the noise, separate the innocuous, the ancillary and the imperative, and see down to the nitty gritty of it, we can just take a moment.

And so in the hectic of packing (with horrible movers), in dealing with banks and lawyers and sellers, I took a moment to look over each point. And there is was, the sweet bitter.  I said goodbye to all that I thought and dreamed and wanted. Because I really saw what was there.  A house that, in the sort time I lived there, was a nightmare.  From the roof the very first week, to the mold even on that day.

Lets face it, the reality did not measure up to the fantasy. So it is better to shed, and come out of the other side stronger, better, finer, shinier, than to stay in an old. But there must be a goodbye, a salute to the view from the mast bedroom, having a sauna and an amazing all marble bathroom. The adventure of going from backyard swamp to a swimming pool. Chasing a dog around the neighborhood. Finding a snake in the living room, sliding down the stairs countless times, planting my first tree in my first back yard of my first house.

The pride of having my parents over for the first time. Drinking wine outside in the back yard watching the fireflies dance like magic. Planting flowers along the back wall. Walking barefoot in my back yard.  Meeting my cool and wonderful neighbors who turned into wonderful friends. Discovering all the birds that loved that flowers and trees.

Of Dreams and Whispers

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. – Maya Angelou

And as I turn away I hear dreams whispering in my ear as my heart beats to the rhythm of Next. I hear whispers of a new home that is more manageable, less costly. I hear the want of a new back yard and new trees and new beginnings.Whispers of laughter, dinners, conversations with friends, watching movies, and a home that is more comfortable for family and loved ones. I hear whispers of romance and soft kisses, slow music and lazy Sundays. And I know there are many smiles to come. Because when you get still and very quiet within yourself, you can hear God’s voice, whispering, guiding, calming, beckoning. And when I hear that, I know, deep down in my bones, that all will be OK.

And that is the great thing about life: We write our own stories, we can make our own rules. So it doesn’t really matter what mistakes are made, what paths crossed or even who gets the house, the sellers or the bank. Because we get to write the story of our lives. And the story might still be under construction, but that’s OK. Because it’s never too late to change the ending.

The secret is that we must always be curious. Curious about life, love, our friends, strangers, dreams and what’s around the next corner. Always have the courage to keep being curious, to keep seeking, keep asking, keep learning. Adventures are waiting.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. – Albert Einstein

His iPod

I now know what it is like to find the iPod of a loved one who is gone. We listened to his iPod on car trips, music playing the the background as we talked of life and laughed, and made plans for the future. He told me about his favorite songs, about the artists, the stories of how the songs were written and what they meant to him.

And sometimes we did not talk at all.  Sometimes we just listened, each in our own little part of the world, yet together in our own shared space.

Music is such a personal thing, what you have on a tiny machine. How you cataorize them, which are your favorites, which song off of which albums, which covers of which sings. A snapshot of a person. Right there, on their own playlist, the soundtrack of their life. All the theme songs, sad songs, happy songs, work out songs, driving songs, relaxing songs, break up songs, make love songs….all of it, right there waiting with one word: Play.

And as I lay there in a bubble bath and listened, I cried. It was real, he was real, the love I felt was real, the trust I had was real. Even if the man, the person, no longer exists on this earth.  And it meant something.

And therein lies the comfort.