Poem Art: The Sentry


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Years of giving

torn from the skinned Birch

to carry others

across rushing waters

while naked the Tree remains

rooted

watching

as the world walks away

Not listening

to the endless clawing on Jesus arms

the sucking tendrils

that have grown up

twisting themselves around

the age-old rings of Her heart

Move on! Move on!

whispering through the thousand hands

waving goodbyes to those

that left her standing

still

and siphoning life from

dirty earth thrown down

around Her

Immobile

a sentry seasoned with sight

the beacon to set others

on their way

But forever bound and grounded

in the place she chose

to be born

 

 

 

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Merry Eostre


So my dear and diverse readers in blogging land, I’m going to diverge from my normal protocol (well mostly) and stick my toe into the potentially controversial topic of religion.

Today as most of you know is Easter here in the US. And some of you may also know, because I have mentioned on my blog before, I am not Christian– although I do tend to be a very spiritual (and respectful) person. But there is one thing that I have found over the years perplexing (and maybe slightly tiresome) that I’m going to put out to you all.

Why do people–like almost everybody I bump into–feel compelled to wish me a Happy Easter and assume this has meaning to me? This has been going on for days leading up to today and each time I hear it, I just wonder what they think when they say it. Do they think that I too am Christian and celebrate this particular holiday or is it just something to say instead of: gee, it’s a nice day out?

To me it would seem the more appropriate thing to say might be: Do you celebrate Easter? And then this might open a conversation. Or they could even discuss their Easter plans and say: What a great day for Easter. Then it leaves the other person open to speak of their plans if they have any, or just listen if they don’t.

If someone is a completely different religion, say Jewish, wishing them a Happy Easter, is not particularly relevant to them. At Christmas time these phrases (Merry Christmas!!) happen too, although folks seem sometimes to be a bit more aware and sometimes offer a ‘Happy Holidays’ just in case.

I understand that people aren’t trying to be rude or anything, but it’s more about awareness of ones interactions with people and who they might be. Like the adage: don’t assume. Just because you believe something and it has meaning to you, doesn’t mean it does to someone else (even if it has meaning to a large population). It’s maybe not a big thing really. Just a small politeness. A tiny way to say: hey, I’m me, but maybe you’re you and it’s OK. We can all live here together with our own beliefs, traditions and truths. A way to keep trying to connect our world on a more individual level and not lump everyone into a category. Maybe if we tried this and took the time to get to know each person we met rather than treat them as a reflection of our own insecurities, there wouldn’t be so much hate and fear.

So what if I said to you: Merry Eostre. What would you say and how would you feel? Would you take the time it hear what it means to me? Or will you remain in your own story till the end…??

I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful and blessed Sunday.

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Sorry I Just Had To…


I’m not usually very political on my blog, but it’s getting harder and harder not to be these days. I turn on the radio and listen for a few minutes and either get ill or have to turn it off. Every time I hear something to do with our president-elect (sorry but I will not give power to him by mentioning his name), and feelings of such sorrow come over me.

Today I heard a story on NPR where a Gay man was interviewed in Orlando. He is a prominent figure in that town and the reporter was recapping the Orlando massacre, how the city has handled it, how this man feels now in Orlando as a Gay man and as one in general.

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While he felt there has been an outpouring of support in the city, he said his biggest fear is in the future or this country’s attitude because of the election. Since the vote, he has experienced even more hate crimes and said there is more fear in the Gay community. My heart just sank. It doesn’t surprise me though….

The radio is just heavy with the news of death everywhere in the world: major world powers teetering on the edge of hate ready to explode, while others are in the thick of raging wars already. Innocent people trapped between warring extremes desperate to escape somewhere, anywhere safe.

And now so many places, including potentially our country, shutting our doors to these people. It sickens me. Our fellow humans! What is the difference from them and the Jews in Germany? Nothing! Since when have we become so narrow? Why is there so much hate in people’s hearts now? Hate against anyone different… But the sad irony is: we are all the same!!!

Cut us open: we all bleed, break down our cells, we all share the same DNA; hurt us, we all cry; we all have the same bodies, bones, skin, brain. It is crazy to me that some people look at cultural differences, or skin colors, gender orientations and to kill over these things? I mean, seriously: think about this….

When will we all just think about ourselves as HUMANS?

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All the chatter about Christmas…does anyone remember the first five letters in that word? What would He say about this behavior? Hey, I’m not even Christian, and I know!

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Maybe I will be wrong about this all and He-he-who-will-remain-nameless will get his act together and not start another world war. Maybe he will realize you can’t keep opening up your yap all the time and say the first thing that comes out of it just because you feel like it. Maybe congress will actually do something smart for once and realize what a blessed mess we’re in and hopefully not undo so many of the decent things that are in place just to show they can.

Any maybe Santa is real too…

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Catholic Medals


So in keeping with my love of miniatures and my intrigue with many religious symbols, I was drawn recently to a couple of Catholic medals. I also wondered if they were old (I’m drawn to vintage also) which made me ponder who might have owned them previously.

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Knowing very little about the Catholic faith, I have no clue about these, although I can guess. There is writing on them, but it’s so tiny  (and I can’t find my magnifying glass), so I can’t read what it says. I googled them, but couldn’t find anything just like them.

Anyone out there who can help me? I’d love to know as much as you can tell me. They are very precious.

Christmas 2015


As I lay in the heat of my tropical bed last night, listening for the jingling of Santa’s reindeer–I thought about how I just couldn’t get into the Christmas spirit this year. Not physically anyway. It just didn’t feel right somehow to drag what little I brought with me, and garnish my apartment, only to look out and see palm trees and feel 80 degree weather. Nope, does not compute as we used to say… The only thing that looks remotely “Christmas” are some cards sent to me that I did decide to put out.

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Christmas past

So I thought about what defined this particular holiday for me, especially since I’m not Christian. I certainly have celebrated it, along with the other teeming throngs of stressed-out Americans. So I started to make a list, a list of what was missing this year that made it feel all wrong and why I simply let it slip by instead:

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  • The mad wrapping of presents for my daughters, both as kids and when they were older, both with and without a husband.
  • My famous stocking stuffers, (which always included a whoopee cushion), each one wrapped and sometimes filled 3 stockings a piece.
  • A morning run or walk in the cold, maybe with snow–other neighbors bundled or shoveling.
  • Endless Christmas music in the stores.
  • Santa everywhere you went.
  • My friends.
  • Sending and receiving special gifts (money was tight this year).
  • Hearing The Messiah being performed.
  • Seeing The Nutcracker with my daughter.
  • Children everywhere.
  • The warmth of my home on a winter’s day.
  • Either a day off or filling in for someone with small kids.
  • The knowing that spring will eventually come.

These are some that were missing.

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My wonderful home

I went for my walk here on Christmas day. It was strangely quiet. I imagined everyone inside with their families. It made me think about this global thing that happens today. It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. Everyone, everywhere doing the same thing.

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Imagine if people could put that energy, the money spent, toward other things? Say even half of it. If there was a day, like Christmas, where the whole world concentrated on world hunger, or world peace, or global warming or violence against women or racism. If everyone took the energy they take preparing for this holiday, took the money they spend on it and put it towards one of these things…? What if….??

Do you think Jesus would mind?

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Is Santa Real?


santaSitting here on Christmas morning, on this bleak 50 degree day in New England, knowing full well many kids have by now ripped into their many brightly colored boxes, I wondered about the reality of Santa. How many of those kids believe, or what do they believe he is and how do the parents keep him real.

As a parent myself, with a myriad of religious/spiritual backgrounds, our household was filled with Christmas, Hanukkah and Solstice celebrations. I’m not quite sure when my childhood belief in Santa, or my own kids, disappeared. In neither case was in some tragic fall to the ground state of despair. It just seemed to be a quiet realization that maybe this guy in the red suit you see everywhere in the malls doesn’t really bring the presents to put under the tree.

I personally wasn’t angry or upset at my parents about this new theory. If not Santa, then who? I’m not sure I pestered my parents to explain it (we didn’t even have a chimney as we lived in an apartment building in NYC) as much of the myth didn’t really work for me anyway. There are so many Santas everywhere you walk in the city: every street corner ringing bells, in every department store and sometimes just walking down the street. So how could any kid possibly believe?

As my kids started to become skeptical and since we lived in a more mystical home, it was very easy to explain that Santa really isn’t a person. Santa is more the representation of the joy of the Christmas spirit and season. I tried to explain that as this symbol he brings gifts because the season is supposed to about giving and he’s jolly because we are supposed to be joyful (because of the birth of Christ I assume). So really he is like a spirit and in that sense real.

And all the Santas we see as kids (and adults) everywhere, they are simply the images of the true feeling and sense of what the day and season is supposed to be. Like any icon should remind us. Whether we are Christian or not, the message is a good one: joy, giving, kindness, love–these are never bad things to celebrate.

It doesn’t matter if Santa is tangible or not. I’m not sure if I had it to do over if I would tell my children he was ‘real’, but I certainly would continue to perpetuate his myth, mystery and magic of this sweet and lovely holiday.

Merry Christmas!

Simply Strong


Today I got some news while I was at work. They say no news is good news, and so, this wasn’t good news. A very dear old friend of mine had been battling breast cancer and had been doing well. She is a very low-key person. It had been her way not to initially tell many people, including me, even though I’ve known her for almost 25 years. When I found out, I was a wreck. She had to console me–it was rather pathetic. But by then she was well into her processing and getting ready to start treatments. Plus she’s just simply strong.

Today when she emailed, she said she had discovered some bleeding. As a medic, I always wince when I hear ‘bleeding’ come over the radio. We only imagine where the bleeding can be coming from…. She figured it was probably nothing, but when she went to the doctors, they found she now has rectal cancer. Upon discovering this, they quickly ran more tests, and discovered her breast cancer is back.

Although she opted for a double mastectomy originally, it’s still back! The good news, if there is any to be had in all this, it hadn’t spread to any ‘major’ organs….yet. And now she’s back in treatment.

I can hardly type this blog article now. Throughout the day, I just cried. While she was pretty upbeat in her email, I know how she must really be feeling. This all went down in the fall. Like I said, she’s pretty private. It made me feel like I wish she had told me sooner! Here I’ve been running around feeling happy about life, and one of my best friends has been so sick . Sick and scared witless. How dare I be OK?  Gads.

When we met so many years ago, our kids were babies. We were nursing and went to the same very liberal church. Our spiritual preference then was earth based and I still follow that path. She, on the other hand, has moved in an extremely different direction over the years. My friend found God in a big way over since we have lived apart–and I’m glad for her she has done so. I can tell she finds comfort in her religion now.

Me being me, while I know I must ‘be positive’ as everyone says, I am a realist. I’m also a paramedic and live this stuff all the time. One of the first things I did was to google rectal cancer. It was depressing. She’s no fool either.

It’s funny sometimes where life brings us though… It always kind of boggled my mind how religious she had become and how much she now spoke about God and Jesus. But maybe it was all for a reason. Maybe for her, they really did have a plan. While I can only hope her stay here on earth isn’t painful and is as long as possible, I pray her Heaven is waiting for her too.

But all I know is that I surely hope they hurry up and find a cure, because there are too many people who I end up missing terribly.

My Christmas Joy!


As I sit surrounded by my three canine pals and write tonight’s blog, I reflect on this holiday season and what it means to me. I am not Christian. My mother was Jewish, but my step-dad was of Christian background (Protestant), so during this holiday season we ‘celebrated’ both holidays by having a menorah and a Christmas tree. As far as real celebrating goes, we didn’t get into any of the true meaning of either. That was for me to pick my way through as I got older. My mom’s take on it was that it was really a ploy for Hallmark to make money. Maybe she’s not far off.

We all know, and I hear said over and over, that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. When I hear this I can only assume people mean it is supposed to be a time of year of special kindness, generosity, love, caring, forgiving and other peaceful traits that Jesus would have put forth. Yet what most of us experience are stress, greed, lack, worry, fear, and often unkindness of our fellow human. And I know this disturbs most of us.

What disturbs me, though, is that I try to practice the above mentioned things all year round–not just this time of year. I’d imagine that’s really what Jesus was hoping for? Not just one big spurt of energy in the dark time of the year just to get your blood running. Once a good and very devout Catholic friend of mine once told me that I was one of the best Christians she knew. I was humbled.

But I digress. Why my title? I have always been a gift giver. It never took just Christmas for me to give gifts. I do it all the time and often surprise people at the most unexpected times and for the oddest reasons. Sometimes people accept well, sometimes not. I personally do not receive well. Something I’ve been working on over the years. People give not only to make the others feel good, but because it feels good to give. I suppose that’s why many do token giving this time of year.

Everyone knows how much sadness there is in the world as of late. I personally work so hard in my life to try to be happy and joyful. It is an uphill battle in my own personal life. If I don’t even look beyond my own struggles it hard to stay upbeat. But I can be having a wonderful day and then turn on the radio or computer. It can quickly come crashing down because of what is going on around me. Some people may be able to compartmentalize their life and shut out the rest of the world’s struggles. But I can’t do that. I feel everything on a soul level.

Some things do give me consistent joy though! And one of those things is the joy I feel when I’m around my dogs. I live alone and have tried many, many times to be in relationships. I’m done with that arena. But my pups are my constant companions. I had two before yesterday but had been contemplating for some time getting a third. One of mine is getting older and I like to transition a new one in before he goes. And suddenly everything seemed right.

He was on the Humane center’s website and I was sure he would be gone by the time I got there. But I guess he was just meant to go home with me. A couple said they saw him at the shelter last week too! I can’t believe no-one wanted him. My other guys are going through some adjustment, but it will be OK eventually I’m sure. They are all pretty good-natured. It has been nutty walking three, but I will manage. And I’m worried about him during the day. He’s had some accidents, but hopefully he’ll figure it out. My kids are around now and they said they would help….hopefully it’s true.

Many think I’m nuts, but they don’t live with dogs. They have no idea the peace they bring to ones life. I know I can’t travel like they do, but I don’t care to do it. I love my home with them in it. My ‘vacations’ are right here with them. Dogs add a level to our understanding of the world because they use senses we do not. If we tune into them they help us to heal, learn, love, be calm, and share. Sometimes they even save lives. And in return we give them shelter, food and hopefully caring and love back. Small price to pay for the utter devotion they give us. Tell me one human that gives completely like a dog does?

So, welcome Pippin. Welcome to our family. You’ve already filled my heart with your silly little looks, kisses all over my face, your leaps and bounds and gruff bark. You were so easy to love! And you loved me right back. How easy was that? And took away all the sadness I have been feeling for the world. Thank you. And Merry Christmas.