Thursday, July 10, 2014

down on mainstreet

A holga journey down Main Street:



Friday, June 13, 2014

chemo wigs and other fun

Everyone home from the hospital and we are trying to find a rhythm to our lives. We have home health assistants, hospice nurses, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc that we must schedule and open our house to as they make their mandatory visits. Often we are tired and exhausted but every once in awhile there are moments of mercy and grace that swoop in unexpected and refreshing. We are grateful for these moments.

A family dinner recently was spent in laughter as we talked about our day and remembered funny stories from the past.  The good feelings hovered in the air around us and we felt hope...at least for a bit...at least there was that.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Transitions

warning: there may be extreme expressions of emotions and sentimentality that some may find offensive.  For those who are or know my family you will understand I hope.

I take dramamine when I fly. So when I arrived I was just a bit groggy. My flight arrived on time, my bag appeared in a timely manner and good friends drove me to my mother's house to pick up her car and head for the hospital. My mother was coming home that day. I drove there with no problems, got the room number from my sister, left the car in valet parking and hurried inside. The room was missing though. I walked up and down the hall in my dramamine fog but there was no such number. I finally went to the nurses' station and found there was no such room number in that hospital. I felt irritated and confused until it hit me...I had driven to the wrong hospital. Both my parents were in the hospital...less than a mile apart from each other, on their 61st wedding anniversary, no less. Dad was in because he had become suddenly weaker, leaving him unable to walk, even with the walker he uses to support himself. My mother, who has been battling cancer for awhile was admitted to the cancer hospital due to pain. The oncologist did not bring good news and palliative care to reduce pain and alleviate discomfort has begun.  Since I was in the same hospital as my dad I ran up to the physical rehab unit for a quick visit with him. He was greatly amused that I had driven to the wrong hospital. He seemed happy to see me though disappointed that what he thought was a bag of popcorn was actually just my purse.  My father's dementia has worsened and even more so when out of his normal routine.  Finally arriving at my mom's hospital room I was struck by how small and frail she looked. But once she smiled and I held her in a long deep embrace I felt better. The hospice nurse was there, they were discussing assisted living facilities so that my parents could be together in a home that provided my mom the help she will need to care for my dad. She has been his primary caregiver for many years. She has Herculean strength and a stubborn constitution that has served her well. But this latest cancer pain was taking its toll and she would not be able to care for him as she always has.  My sister lives with them and helps as much as she can but she must work so we have to find some solutions. The entire prospect is overwhelming and discouraging. My sister shut down after I arrived and let the fear wash over her in waves, leaving her quiet and withdrawn.  The fear and despair is almost palpable at times.  I want to be the one that brings peace and calm to the situation but what can I do?

After bringing my mother home she wanted to visit dad as it was their anniversary and insisted on taking herself.  She came home in tears, overly tired and exhausted. It had been one of his difficult days and nothing she did or said could please him.  This journey...this transition will be a perilous adventure for all of us. A friend talked to me before i left about how to handle it all without being engulfed by the emotions. She suggested I hold the space...be there but don't try to 'fix' everything. I am practicing holding the space, pausing, responding not just reacting and, most of all I am practicing breathing and trying to be in the moment.

Later my sister, my mom and I enjoyed a pleasant evening talking and laughing and just being with each other. It was a gift that I will cherish. I have always loved my family but times like these make you realize even more about each of them and yourself.  My sister is a beautiful, generous, tender-hearted soul. My mother loving, lion-hearted and brave.  Despite the difficulties ahead I love being with them.  I am grateful I have the time to be here to help if I can.

I will spend the summer here and we will see...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

kaleidoscope

broken, smoldering, pleading yet
sometimes a flame of crimson...blazing,
bright and fierce...too hot to touch...
we cower in terror
 for she who comforts also burns

spinning in tiny circles, floating above
in a perplexed and weary refrain
the edges blur into a cacophony
of pain and despair

Grey, smoldering ashes with
tiny sparks of fire that flare and fade
into bleak and somber quiet. 

in the quiet she dreams
a muddled  kaleidoscope
of all she was and wants to be
snowmen ride on swans
and demons haunt her sleep

soft skin, gentle scent of 
something akin to life and love
rising in the night to pacify
the fretful fears of the weak and helpless.
unyielding embrace of solace hold me now

Friday, September 6, 2013

Something profound

video
Life is a constant searching for what will bring happiness to our life.  We toss and turn and flail about looking for 'the answer'.  We can't change the pattern and just float along accepting what the universe gifts us. Going with the flow is a daunting task. Humans seek and beg and even, sometimes, receive. Because that is the way we roll :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

over a year...

It is been over a year since our world fell apart during that humid and frightening summer. Many things have changed and we still struggle but let's just say it is better in many ways.  She does the things she has to but without the joy and happiness and peace I would wish for her.  I see her as always divided, pulled in many directions.  I don't think she can grow in that scenario.  And then there is me...always offering advice and counsel, wanted or not. Do I push too hard...out of fear?  The path she so tentatively travels on now seems fraught with danger and disaster.  But it is her path. And who am I to try and deter her from it.  But I have seen things ... that I feel I must save her from...

But most of all there is Tiny Owl...the wisest of us all...but still vulnerable despite her brave front. What does she need from me?  I know she needs her and to know she loves her more than any other but she doesn't feel that yet. How could she? And is she expected to pay for the sins of the past by enduring more pain?

So I have had severe flashbacks to the horrors of last summer, so has Tiny Owl. I guess it is inevitable as it has been a year and we inhabit the same spots we did before. Each one wrapped with a memory as painful as a knife slid into the heart.  I will always feel shame and regret for some of my reactions. I can only justify them by knowing I was clamoring to save her life...but does the end justify the means? Sometimes, I was gentle, understanding, accommodating while other times the emotions took over and I said and did things that I can't fix.

But there was a bittersweet memory that floated in one night  for which I am grateful.  It was just the two of us, not sure where Tiny Owl was that night. She wasn't like herself at all yet but had a sweetness that touched me deeply.  She was still rushing about trying to find refuge from the deluge inside her but her actions were different this night. We played silly board games and laughed together. She painted my nails. She stood outside the shower to make sure I wouldn't fall (Mom-om) and held me when I climbed on a stool to take a picture.  When I fell asleep she painted my toenails, paint everywhere but it didn't matter.  She was reaching out to me in the only way she could that night.  I grasp for the good as often as I can and can only hope for the future.  I search for balance in how to approach her with my fears...balance, something that doesn't come easy for me. But in my tilted, skewed way I will offer what I can...


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Monsters and other gremlins



He stared out of the car window with empty black eyes.
He thumped a beat with ashen fingernails on the glass
Though his gaze was vacant, his mind was absorbed,
studying his subject, calculating his next move.

He wondered when she would stop driving
And running and scattering herself to the wind.
If his aim was true he would defeat her by morning.
And if not then she should know he was legion,
he was not alone and there were a multitude of others
to take his place at her side. 

 He wondered why she bothered
and when she would realize his efforts could not be squelched.
He had been alive for countless years and his victories
were myriad.  And yet she continued to run from him,
believing his horrific countenance made him a monster
of the worst kind. His pallid skin covered with odd
protuberances and inflamed boils frightened many away.  

Somehow he thought she would be different,
more understanding, more accepting but no…
She too ran away instead of embracing what
he had to offer her. As he contemplated her fate
and what must come next, she drove off the road
hurtling the car into a deep ravine.

 As he climbed out of the shattered car and stumbled
 through the broken glass and twisted metal he chuckled 
 in a deep raspy voice and watched the sun slide slowly
 behind the horizon.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The unknown




I must go in...the fog is rising. Emily Dickinson

Monday, February 11, 2013

holga, holga



“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”  Gandhi

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

resting place



Tell me one more time

The story I should already know,

the tale of pain and woe that searches

for an ending, a place to stop and rest.

The bells chime, the funeral procession begins

We cling to what is gone and only know grief

The bird escapes his prison and there is a

Moment of bliss we choose to follow..

And it is enough...

Monday, December 10, 2012

feet




You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to  go.   -Dr. Seuss                                                                                     

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

night...



Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.    -Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Saturday, October 20, 2012

finding my way home...

...on a Saturday morning in Perry, Georgia



Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.  Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Poise

Poise: the ability to be ill at ease inconspicuously.
~Earl Wilson


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fading...



"Hey you, out there in the cold

Getting lonely, getting old

Can you feel me?

Hey you, standing in the aisles

With itchy feet and fading smiles

Can you feel me?

Hey you, don't help them to bury the light

Don't give in without a fight.”  -Pink Floyd

Sunday, October 7, 2012

birds of a feather...

"Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together."  William Turner, 1545

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

courage



The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.     Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Sunday, September 30, 2012

home

Where thou art...that is home.   ~Emily Dickinson

Friday, September 28, 2012

the past

"Everything you live through in the past helps to make you the person you are now."                                                                                                       -Sophia Loren

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Come back soon...

There's an ocean between us.
You know where to find me.
You reach out and touch me.
I feel you in my own heart.
More than a lifetime
Still goes on forever.
But it helps to remember
You're only an ocean away. - Sarah Brightman

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Waiting...

There is a proverb that says..." Between the wish and the thing, life lies waiting."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Suspended

“Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.”    - Henry James

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Final Reminder

Just four more days to send in your trailer pictures for 591Trailer Days!  We have received a great collection of pictures so far and we hope to include your picture in the exhibition.

Please send up to 5 pictures to 591trailerdays@gmail.com   The deadline is August 15, 2012. We will start publishing on September 1st.  Pictures should be 800 pixels wide, 72 dpi and jpg or png.

Friday, August 3, 2012

591 Trailer Days - Submission Opportunity

August is upon us and you have just 12 more days to send in your pictures for Trailer Days!  Though it is called Trailer Days,  pictures of caravans, farm and animal trailers, mobile homes, motor homes and food vendor wagons can be included.  Your interpretation of this subject is welcomed.
Please send up to 5 pictures to 591trailerdays@gmail.com   The deadline is August 15, 2012. Publishing begins on September 1st.  Pictures should be 800 pixels wide, 72 dpi and jpg or png.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

the wandering gnome...

“If you realize what the real problem is - losing yourself - you realize that 
this itself is the ultimate trial.” Joseph Campbell

Monday, July 30, 2012

connected

“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.”  - Albert Einstein

Friday, July 27, 2012

shadows and light

 You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in.  ~Arlo Guthrie

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

hitting rock bottom

              “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Submission opportunity for 591


While you are traveling this summer be on the lookout for caravans, trailers used on farms, mobile homes, motor homes and wagons and trailers used by food vendors for selling fruit or other treats.  Follow this link to find out how to submit your trailer pictures to 591photography.com!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Comfort

“comfort was allowed to come to them rare, welcome, unsought: a gift like joy.”                                                                                                                                     ~Ursula K. LeGuin



to Paul...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

light



Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Icarus

...When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains
however improbable, must be the truth...     - Sherlock Holmes

Friday, July 6, 2012

rekindling

“In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” 
                                                                                                                                Albert Schweitzer

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Us


“I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries” - Theodore Isaac Rubin

“I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self...The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”  Maya Angelou

Throughout the last few months we have had tumultuous upheavals that strain and crack   relationships. I often feel the burden of failure and disappointment.  We both realize a rift is there...we want and need it to heal. How?  Yes, laughter and memories... But something more, I feel, is needed to rebuild the trust. I think our relationship will change, it can never really go back to the way it was because we are different now, on a new path.  My wish is that the transformation will be a strong one and eventually lead us back to joy and hope. But there is always love!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day


“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility
 and the wings of independence."  ~Denis Waitly
                                                                                                                              

Saturday, June 30, 2012

together

 “And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together.”   ~Robert Fulghum

Thursday, June 28, 2012

fear

Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.  ~Marie Curie




Saturday, June 23, 2012

caged animal

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Friday, June 22, 2012

slippery slopes and other stories



Our dance has moved from a slow, careful waltz to a manic tango. The music sometimes louder than our thoughts. Our steps awkward and graceless. But we move on...The fish market was closed so we instead visited dark places with demons and exorcists shuffling around us. They finally let us sleep until the sun rose and we again entered the shadows by a different path. This time Dr. Happy led us through a maze of obstacles that ended in an explosion of water and ice and shards of anger that cut deeply. And still the gambol of confusion led us back to where we started, under the full moon with chimes pealing and sparks flying. We sat for five days on the edge of our seats, in a fog of cigarette smoke while our pillar of strength leaned into a flurry of cleaning, as if to wash away the goblins of panic and fear that surrounded us all.  And then she came home again...broken, lost, but ours to love and care for until the healing takes place. Each day is a new challenge...yet we dance on...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

dedicated to the man I love...

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Saturday, June 2, 2012

do it...

If you don't write it, what will you do with it? Writing it shapes it and makes it real. It gives you some control instead of none. Writing is a defense, you know. It is the truth and a lie, but it is real. Do it!  ~Cafe Selavy



Surreal is the feeling I've had for a few weeks now.  I've watched her descend into the lowest depths of hell that I have ever seen this close. As I watch I feel I am an observer, floating above, watching it all unfold and unravel and feeling helpless to save her or myself. It starts so slowly, just a few signs that I denied were signs of the deluge that followed. "Whatever, clever." Then it starts to become more obvious that it is getting worse and something must be done. Metaphors, lyrics, drawings  became our accepted form of communication, categorizing, analyzing, making lists, trying to make sense, trying to forestall the inevitable crash. The usual platitudes and advice are given but I still felt a storm brewing...a storm that would shake precarious foundations."Put the lime in the coconut"


She left early on a Sunday evening and she stopped before she left, looking deeply in my eyes and I felt a shiver, somehow knowing this was it...the storm clouds so dark and ominous that nothing could stop it. "Check yourself before you wreck yourself." The week before the storm was a swirling dervish of activity and thoughts, so fast, so harried, we both felt dizzy and spent. Our defenses down when the storm hit, no provisions, no preparations had been made....the hatches not battened.  Suddenly everything was hurtled into space and we watched in horror.  Disney figurines, Dumbo with big listening ears,comforting Pooh with his honey and love for us all, handicapped parking spaces, Mickey and Minnie bound in a dance of intimacy and anger...holding it all close, too close to breathe...but if she moved fast enough then maybe she could out run the pain and the fear. "Walked down my back like a duck." She felt as if she was a ghost, a tiny dancing spirit saved her and brought her back. But bringing her back only left her alone and naked in the storm.  Tears of rain fell and she succumbed  to the demons within her and the aliens circling her head. They led her through locked doors and the key was turned, the key was turned.  She was lost, lost to me, lost to herself, broken, undone...and with nothing left in me I went home to the tiny dancing spirit who held me up with her dark 'wise owl' eyes.  Her journey more difficult than mine - she wandered in the sun, sending smoke signals and pleas for help. Those around her became family and she heard their stories and held their pain. LaVern and Shirley sang for her. Tim in his blue blanket sang and laughed and then cried. Clinton in his yellow shirt looked like a duck. But no one held her pain and she suffered and r-u-n-o-f-t further from reality. Churches, people walking, police cars, God, spirits , racing thoughts, cigarette butts, technology and electricity combined in a jumble of Mad Hatter-like madness. And so we drank tea and and tried to find our way back home. "Yep-er Buddy".  And as the sun  began to set the anticipation of sleeping sent her into a confused, incoherent torrent of words and repetitive movements. But mostly she was afraid. "Wired but tired." The fear would grow as the sky darkened, fear of death, fear of failure, fear of falling, of not being enough, of too much information until one night all of the fears combined into one disoriented mass of raw emotion and flung itself about in her mind and body until 12 hours later she expressed her truth and then felt calm, emptied, hungry, and finally sleepy. 11 hours of sleep and now we sit on a wobbly slope of normality. "What is normal?"  We take each moment as it comes, grateful for what we have, cautiously anticipating the future, stepping forward, stepping backward in a shaky waltz of love and fear.  And so it goes...



Thursday, May 24, 2012

feeling safe

I've been thinking a lot the last few weeks about feeling safe.  Not feeling safe in your own skin is a terrifying thing to feel and to watch happen to someone you love. I watched her slowly come undone and couldn't stop it.  It is still haunting me every minute of every day.  I want to make her feel safe but I know she has to learn to trust and believe in herself. She has to do the work...I can only love and support and hold and care for her until she comes back to us.

My beloved husband and best friend, Paul, makes me feel safe and I've been leaning a lot on him...And there are such good people that have been here for us, offering love and support and so much more...Thank you all!



Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.  ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

Saturday, May 19, 2012

choices

There's no such thing as destiny. There are only different choices. Some choices are easy, some aren't. Those are the really important ones, the ones that define us as people.

Monday, May 14, 2012

fantasy


“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it -- I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.   I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know -- but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”  -Virginia Satir

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

being open

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.  If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.  But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche


Sunday, May 6, 2012

gifts



“They (the days) come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party; but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away."  Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

out of the blue

"Out of the blue" is an informal English language idiom that describes an event that occurs unexpectedly, without any warning or preparation. It is used as an adverb. The "blue" in the phrase refers to the sky, one from which a sudden plane falling is unexpected, thus it comes 'out of the blue'.

Longer and more explicit variations include out of the clear blue sky and out of a clear blue sky.