Poem: To Those I Know By Heart


People are songs

melodic magicians

who orchestrate the chorus

of our hymnal life

Some drift out

in random times

where their notes are left

to dissipate

within the holy air

Others repeat over and over

stuck in the groove

the turning wheel

of fate

which plays endlessly

on and on

And there are those that

blast

loudly around our bones

only to shake us down

to listen for them

alone

quietly in the descending night

But

the ones that hum within us

and weave gently around our key

are easy familiar tunes

we will always

know by heart

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Poem: The Conversation


I speak to my cat

smelling of sweat

sitting crossed legged

in front of visiting deities

Their far-fetched faiths

diverge and dance before me

(or so I believe)

My cat talks back

In perfect speak

her travels shared

details flicked and flashing to and fro

and finer points dug home

I listen

in trance-like meditation

swooning to the tinkling tales

spun secretly

this tittering yarn

As I begin to follow

down cobble stone alleys

on padded paws

my tentative whiskers gracing my face

as we stalk our prey

Upon our return

My cat reassures me

our jaunt was judicious

So with a swish of her tail

and squint of her eyes

She turns

marching softly away

Leaving me

dismissed

Poem: Lured


The ripped raw slash

of disappointment

cuts me

A wounded animal

once again dragging

my leg pulled from

the trap

It was the sweet smell of bait

luring me to the center

as I sniffed my way

to the heart of doom

Each time coming away

more caked with sap

leaking from torn open

disillusionments

from crawling toward you

even knowing

you would never understand

 

Meaning


It has been a week of contemplation and ultimately deciding to let go–surrender.

For months now I’ve been preparing (with the online course) and then trying to get a job here. For any of you out there  who have tried in recent years, you may know it’s no fun task. Online job searching and applying has become, it seems, like all our communication now: a distant and computerized grind. It takes anything remotely human out of the chore. There is no more going into a place (like a store for instance) and asking for an application, where maybe you might have a real person see you. Everything is handled by some invisible robot now.

So I have been reduced to my statistics, and sadly they aren’t good. And don’t believe the lies they tell you. This America we live in now (or maybe even before), isn’t the equitable place everyone may believe. No, it’s really about the bottom line. It’s not about knowledge or experience: age does not bring wisdom folks, it brings the fact that you may just cost too darn much. Or in their minds you might anyway.

It doesn’t seem to matter that younger folks may not have the savvy for a particular job, or the personal presence shall we say (at least in some instances). I’ve noticed that many of the ‘kids’ seem too busy checking their phones to really know how to talk to a real person. But bosses and companies don’t seem to mind this flaw as long as they can keep hiring these kids cheaply.

And I’m not even asking for a lot of money! I just wanted a job. So does my neighbor. But try as we might, we just keep getting rejections, no matter how stellar our resumes may look. So it was time for me to just take a breath, because honestly, my breathing was getting too rapid about the whole situation. I was getting Indeed.com anxiety. It was nuts!

Enough already.

During a meditation it came to me that it was time to give in. My arms were heavy from swimming against this current. Fair enough. So time to take another tactic.

I applied to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Within 10 minutes they called me. I start tomorrow at 7 am. No, I’m not a good person. This totally isn’t about being generous. It’s about me. I won’t lie: this is doing something for me. I need to feel like I have meaning.

And it didn’t hurt to apply somewhere and have someone say yes.

Duck Rap


There are days where it seems obvious when the universe is speaking directly to us. There may be crazy things like a bird flying into our head,  which happened twice to my friend recently when a crow dive bombed him. Or maybe a group of ducks just walks right up as though you are a member of the family. No fear, just friendly carousing. 

Maybe it’s the fact, try as I might to apply for jobs, nothing is happening. 

I’d like to believe that instead of it being for the wrong reasons, there might be a more important one. And that these odd occurrences have significance beyond nature having fun. 

It could be a wake-up call to pay attention to things we’ve ignored. A rap on the head as a reminder or the group surrounding you if only you take the time to stop.

The universe provides plenty of advice, it’s simply up to us to listen. 

Even Better


Sometimes we get tiny moments in time where we get to reinvent ourselves: a new job, meeting a new friend or maybe moving to a fresh neighborhood. We start over so people may not know our old habits, quirks or things about us that maybe we’d like to change. Of course, we probably are essentially the same, but we can hope that our old baggage can be left at the door.

As we get older, for me anyway, the picture of who we are seems to become less complicated. Maybe getting there can still be puzzling, as the world may not always work in the way we want, but if we take enough time to be quiet we can usually figure out what makes us tick and will make us relatively content. We realize too, that utter happiness may be an illusion chased by youth, and that each day presents challenges we must face.

But there are basic things we can each decide if we need or want them: do we need to be rich or have just enough to live and be comfortable; is a relationship important or is our solitude more gratifying; how close to family do we need to be; how much weight do we put on our jobs/careers, or is it simply important that we enjoy them? There are so many questions we can ask ourselves in search of contentment and being the person we want to be.

And when we stand at the threshold of some beginning, hopefully it is one that will bring us fulfillment and we can come to it as the person we want to be. So then at the end of it all, when we have lived as best we can, embracing what we loved about ourselves (even if others didn’t) and adapted to each new situation because it was a chance to become someone even better.

Return To Silence


What’s the old saying: “Pleasure is 9/10 anticipation”.  Ain’t that the truth! Well, in some cases it certainly seems so anyway.

There are times where we can drum ourselves up into thinking that something will be way better than the reality of what actually happens. Then it can be a let down or a disappointment in some way. Or, at the very least, it can give us a new outlook on our lives, the way we do things or what we may have been thinking about our future.

That’s certainly what happened with the recent visit with my friend. Not that I had built it up into some great expectation. I have known this person for many years, and our relationship has gone through many convolutions over the past. So I knew the potential for the visit to be a certain way (boring, not what I might hope etc.) was very real.
But even when one knows ahead of time that things might not be wonderful, it’s still a bit of a downer when those expectations are filled! I guess as a hopeful individual, one can still think that another person might have changed a bit, or grown, or wants different things at this stage of the game.

In the end though, I’ve learned by now, that in order for people to really change in any way (great or small)–it takes very hard work and concentration, which most folks can’t give or don’t have. And most people either don’t realize or believe they need changing. Maybe they don’t either–it’s only according to someone else’s perception.

So where does that leave things? Well, a visit within tight quarters for almost a week can become uncomfortable and tiresome. For me, as someone used to living alone for many years now, I began to ache for my solitude. My patience and sense of being a good hostess begins to wan. All I really wanted was my space back…  It’s not that I disliked the other person, but I began to see all the little things about them that make me realize why I live alone now.

For years I have gone back and forth in my head about living alone. Will I be OK this way for the long haul? Is there something inadequate with me that makes it hard for me to be around others? Am I safe by myself? Am I truly happy this way? But I see others more and more living as I do and I find I am not so unusual. Many of us have come to this place after years of living with other people. And now we live alone by choice.

As we grow older, it is easy to become isolated, but the need for space and solitude also becomes a treasure. The years given in service to others–kids, spouses, pets, jobs, parents, families–can bring you to a point where the peace of one’s home is a blessing.

Having guests over is not a bad thing by any means, especially when they contribute to the well-being of one’s life and soul. But the return to the quiet when they leave is a sound I am also grateful to hear.

Back Of The Queue


Having been in healthcare in the US for 20 years, I know what a poor system it is and how one must really know how to navigate within it or get lost. Plus one must be an advocate for ones-self or have an advocate, or simply get lost.

Luckily my Mom has me! The elderly in this country are forgotten about in more ways than one, and within the healthcare system is one BIG way. As a friend said: they get pushed to the back of the queue. No-one cares…not really. Many can’t speak up for themselves, have poor insurance (and we all know it comes down to money) and don’t really know what’s going on anyway.

But not only am I a healthcare provider, but I have a big mouth. A bad combination if someone isn’t doing their job. Hey, I’m the best patient  or advocate in the world, if the people are treating patients like they are supposed to do. That’s because I know what it’s all about: how hard the patients can be, the thankless hours, the endless paperwork, the nasty co-workers and crappy management/jobs. I get it all. So I tend to be very nice until you cross the line of not caring or not doing what you are trained to do.

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So when someone gets sent home and everything is still wrong, the person is still way too sick–we have a problem Houston! When the home-care RN comes and finds actual data to back this up and tries to call the Doctors and no-one returns phone calls…. well, you can darn well believe this ex-healthcare provider AND daughter is going to be making some phone calls herself.

And they ain’t gonna be pretty!

Come on people! Are you serious here? Is it really only about the money or what? Does anyone care anymore??

So after a rather FIRM, shall we say, discussion with the doctor’s secretary…she said in a very meek tone: hold on please. Oh, yes, I’ll hold on alright. And then I was put through…imagine that!

I finally got a PA on the phone. And finally some resolve. No, Mom won’t go back to the hospital…ever again as a matter of fact thank you very much thanks to all you people! No, that wasn’t an option. And I don’t blame her one little bit. But after much convincing, she did agree to go tomorrow (instead of waiting until Tuesday) to see her Doctor that did the procedure. Thank goodness… It took some doing because she’s fed up with everything, but I was firm with her too. There is just too much going on and she deserves more. I won’t let them turn their backs on this patient.

She was the boss for a long time, but I am now.

You can bet I’m going into that room tomorrow too. And this time, I’m calling the shots!

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In The Space Of A Friend


It was in September that I moved to this new place–uprooted myself, left my career of 20 years, left family and friends behind and decided to start anew. I told myself it was partly to create a new me, have some adventures and to try out a new part of the country. The main motivator was to be closer to my Mom, but all these other factors were certainly added incentive.

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An Alien landscape

Now that it’s been about six months (not quite but still hard to believe) since this monumental decision, I am reminded that I’m not 20 any longer and easily adaptable to new places and situations.

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Hard to say goodbye….

Years ago it felt pretty easy to simply pick up and go–to change my surroundings quickly and plop myself down somewhere else. Maybe I was less encumbered or tied down to places or people. Things didn’t seem to stress me as much about moving, there wasn’t as much ‘stuff’ to drag around or get rid of and saying goodbye not as painful. It all seemed like, well, there was plenty of time to get together at a later time or just gather more material things.

But now I know the sacred value of friendships and how distance can, maybe not break them, but make them less tangible in some ways. Sure, we’re all more connected so have instant access that way–but somehow knowing our nearest and dearest are a car ride away if we need them, is far more comforting.

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The magic fabric of friendship

And while I am trying to reduce my material things, I do know that a home that has been loved and cared for, gardens that have been tilled and watered and certain items we have–all these things become part of the fabric of our lives.

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Follow the sun…..

So when we find ourselves in alien territory, it can be lonely and disorienting for quite a while. We don’t recognize where we are and google maps becomes our best friend for a long time. It may be hard to reach out to people for fear they may reject our advances for friendship.  In the end, we end up isolating ourselves instead.

Sometimes, though, a magical thing can happen in the midst of it all. That moment in time, as we slowly start to familiarize ourselves with this new place the blurry becomes clear. The walk we do every day becomes a routine and we notice things that make it feel like our neighborhood. Even the crazy job starts to get slightly easier, people call you by name and smile–you don’t get lost in the halls anymore and it’s almost OK.

But the really most wonderful day comes when you find someone, that first someone, who you know will be a friend. That first time that someone reaches out, invites you to do something (and means it), meets you somewhere and you click. There is such beauty and peace in these moments. They remind us of all the moments in life we’ve had like this: all the moments where we met a wonderful friend (that we probably still have) and how comforting it was when we connected. It reminds us we are no longer alone, that there just might be someone ‘out there’ in our new world should we need them. Somehow it makes all the difference….

Today was that day for me and it changed the whole color of me living here. She reminds me of another dear friend I have with her quiet beauty, soft intelligence and abounding kindness. It was such a lovely day in the space of a friend, something I have not felt in months.

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We went shopping!!

And for this–and her–I am grateful.