Gimme Shelter


Yes I am sheltering in place even though Mother Nature is about to unleash her wrath and fury upon the land where I live. I’ve received numerous worried phone calls and texts from friends and love ones of concern at my half-baked plan to stay. Their feelings that I should evacuate, or should have days ago, have been coming across loud and clear.

Agreed, it’s all a bit freaky. The worst hurricane in the Atlantic in history!! Yikes. This doesn’t leave for a good nights sleep mind you. And yet, I plan to stay and wait it out. Am I simply nuts?

Well, no, I don’t think so. Having been an emergency worker for 20 years, I wouldn’t choose to shelter in place without giving it some good hard thought and without reasons. Maybe my reasons are emotional ones: my pets and my mother, but I still feel the gamble is worth it.

Where I live is not in a flood zone and my apartment building is a cement box. I’m on the first floor and have hurricane windows on most of windows and on the ones I don’t, I put up my shutters. I have candles, canned food, batteries and will fill up lots of things with water, including my bath tub. And then I will simply wait.

Sure, we may lose power, but after being without power for 11 days in New England in the middle of winter without a wood stove, I guess I can handle it. I have a small battery charger for my phone, and if my car doesn’t get wrecked, then I can charge my phone in my car to let folks know I’m OK.

As long as my Mom, my pets and I’m OK, I really don’t care if I lose stuff. There is nothing I own that is more important to me than my ‘family’. Things can always be replaced. If it blows away or gets wet… so be it. Maybe I’ll end up in the land of Oz…

And the upside of these disasters is that it always brings out the best in humans. Maybe Mother nature does this to reminds us of our need to care about each other. My neighbors have been great. (Note: my neighbor for Canada flew BACK to be here for his Mom and just stopped by to make sure I was alright and didn’t need any help!)

So, yes, I’m staying and hopefully it won’t be a mistake. If it is, well, it won’t be my first mistake. If it’s the last, well…we all gotta go sometime.

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

The Rolling Stones

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Ah Family 


Visitors! Yeah! Been so bored and lonely so now I get to see my two daughters for a few days. I am so lucky. It’s been a while. 

Great to see familiar birken stocks and a back pack hanging around. 

And at bedtime, their furry brother missed them already when everyone went to bed. It was quite amazing how he remembered everyone too! Even the cats did.

Ah, family. Xoxo 

The Crazy Man?


I readily admit a feeling of doom and gloom, not just because of yesterday…but life in general has been seeming blah. I’ve been working over-time to keep my spirits up, and during my meditation this morning, my old thoughts crept in. Those dark and bleak thoughts where I convince myself that I don’t know how to be positive for very long, that life always seems to put stuff in my path to make me feel low or lost.

Luckily, I don’t stay in this place very long these days…but it stinks that I go there at all. It seems like a shadow that follows me, on sunny days as well as rainy. It lurks just around the corner, like the crazy man smoking the cigarette by the lamp-post–the one that is a bit scary and mysterious all at the same time.

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But happily some good things are happening to get me out of this slump I’m in, thank goodness. By luck, an old and dear friend is visiting. We all know there is nothing like friends to cheer us. Being surrounded by love and those that accept us for who we are without trying to change us is so important as times like these, especially when we are at odds with ourself and questioning our sense of self. For someone to take time away from work and to pay to visit really means a lot to me.

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The other good news (although slightly bittersweet) is that my old home will finally close on Monday. It has dragged on for over a year and I’m really ready to be done with it all. In the end, it didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked, and I was probably a sucker. Sometimes I am nicer than I should be and folks take advantage of my good nature. That was the case here. But hopefully I will gain some Mitzvah in the book of heaven? Or I am creating good Karma or at the very least the whole darn thing will be over once and for all.

I will miss that house and all its beautiful memories. This apartment can never compare in many ways: the gardens, the peace, the lake, the woods, the birds, the sunsets…. But its time has passed. And I am so grateful to be here with my Mom.

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And I’m so blessed for the friends I have now, who accept me, even when I disagree and speak my mind. They seem to understand my moods, my faults and how I can be different. I am lucky that I can call on them to vent, to cry or to be silent for they will always listen and not judge me.

So even if the world may change in a way I might not like or agree with, my tiny world will stay the same as long as I have those near and dear to me close by. And we will continue to keep our world filled with love, kindness, empathy and compassion for each other at least–and there’s usually some left over for others that may need it too.

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Finding Heroes


beech tree1As I was done with my morning routine today and was leaving my sacred space, I spotted of photo a friend had given me. It was of the two of us someone had taken on a past holiday. The photo made me sad because we don’t talk much any longer as the way of friends–sometimes good friends.

But it gave me pause and made me think about the nature of relationships. How we pick our friends, who or why do we tend to attach to or look up to in a person? Is part of it that they become someone we admire? And do they, in some way, become our heroes?

For me, this is most certainly true, not just with friends, but with people in general I may admire. In my lifetime though, there are some special people who I can think of that are truly heroes in my eyes. And not for the reasons one might think…

While it’s true that I am in the emergency service business, one would most likely think I come across these people every day. But these aren’t really the people I am talking about. Honestly, we are trained to do a job and I personally cannot stand when someone calls me a hero. I am not in that sense of the word to which I am referring.

It’s the everyday person, that has no intention of doing something amazing, good, kind, brave or honest that raises them in my eyes to this special status. The folks that go beyond their limits, or the average person’s limits for someone else or even what they thought they could do.  And it’s not their ‘job’ to be a hero. These are truly the stand-outs.

To name a few:

The friend who extricated herself and her child from an abusive marriage after 10 years of isolation and fear. She did it alone with guts and with no knowledge of what would happen to her and her child, no money–barely any hope. Just a leap of faith and a knowing it was what she needed to do.

A friend who was fired after many years of being the Chief of an ambulance service. A woman who gave her heart and soul to the place, but was turned on by petty politics of small town. She only took one day to cry, then pulled herself together and found another job: as a grunt paramedic–and loved it; continued to serve the public she always had with dignity and professionalism.

My Mom, who after years and years, could finally admit that our relationship was less than it could be and agreed to make it right with me. This is not easy for someone her age and generation.

And my oldest daughter, who had struggled with drug addiction, but has been clean for years. She kicked it on her own and now has graduated with honors from college, has a wonderful job and is doing beautifully. She fought demons and won.

One who had turned her young life of living with alcohol into a healthy life of gardens and good food, and then found herself facing cancer. But she has battled it bravely and honestly, doing it her way despite the paths of others. She now has a new body and continues to come up against new struggles at each corner, but she is undaunted and doesn’t complain, continuing to honor and love life.

Another dear friend who grew up amidst sexual abuse but never gave up her struggle to be whole and free. Always kind and loving, never letting her inner suffering turn outward onto others; instead her love is always felt by those around her and we are always grateful.

Of course, the countless reporters that put themselves at risk doing stories in violent places when they could just as easily could be here at home; or the medical people who go to help in countries where people have diseases like Ebola; or teachers or workers that go to places to help at their own discomfort; or the dreamers, scientists, philosophers, musicians, artists or anyone that steps outside themselves or comfort level for someone else’s benefit. It’s hard to pick them out with the news filled with pain and suffering, but these heroes exist among us!

And finally, this may sound selfish or lame, but slowly I am unearthing the hero buried deep within myself. She has laid dormant but is starting to awaken. She is the person that wants to be on the edge of human need, face her dragons head on banish them, face every day with joy and courage and try to love a part of each human she meets. This may be the true test of a real hero!

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Raise The Bar


What is the fate of two particular people meeting each other? I’m sure we each can come up with some fantastic story of how some people you know first came together.

For instance, my Mother and step-dad, who were married many years-met on a plane. He was considerably older than she was, but apparently quite taken with her. In those years, my mom owned a very large wall paper business in one of the boroughs of Manhattan. She also had a very unusual last name, which she had shared with this man (my step-dad) on the plane. When they parted ways, he eventually called the store (which he remembered), got her secretary on the phone, but did not recall my mom’s name. As luck would have it the secretary was used to people mispronouncing her name and put her on the phone. Had she said there was no-one there by that name, they would not have gone on to have a long and happy marriage.

This is a happy story. You may have one. We call it fate. Maybe it’s the combination of a particular mixing of genes that makes one kid be the child of a famous rock star and another of a pauper. Sometimes we may search to make a particular connection and find that right person….and fail. The way that two people come together can happen in a variety of ways: sometimes actively, sometimes passively.

Sadly at times fate puts us in the path of the wrong person. We hear on the news all the time of kidnappings, random shootings and other awful atrocities. Why do those particular people cross paths?

There are those that may believe it’s divine intervention. Some may believe it’s coincidence. Others think there’s no such thing as coincidences at all–that everything happens for a reason. Why the bad things happen to good people, we may never understand.

Whatever you believe, we come in contact with others all the time. A best friend may appear almost by chance and stay with you for your whole life. Even casual friendships may be right around the corner wherever you may turn. These are the connections we want to draw to us.

Trying to be open to these contacts may be the key. Seeing the positive and putting out the good vibrations may bring a wonderful connection to us. Hoping for the best in people may not save us from the bad, but it raise the bar a tiny bit in those we meet.

Bleeding Heart


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Some time ago I read an article about women my age going through a realization point. It said basically that by our ‘past middle age’ crone point, we have realized that we can stop trying to please everyone else and that we can begin concentrating on ourselves and what might us happy. Over the past year or so, and certainly since my awful car accident, this certainly has been the case with me.

I probably started this process way before this when I began to realize that not everyone had to be my friend. When I was much younger, I was the type of person that seemed to gather every soul to me.  It was important to me to be nice to everybody possible and befriend all types and listen endlessly to their stories. This, obviously, can be a huge energy drain as most people don’t usually give back what they take.

Over the years I began to realize that I didn’t need to have a million friends in order to be OK, so instead only kept the ones close to me that provided quality friendship back. This was a huge step, but so uplifting. But I was still really a ‘pleaser’ in many ways. At work I gave almost everyone a holiday gift, no matter how many co-workers I had. And I used to send about 60 gifts around the country at holiday time too! No, I did not get that many back.

In my marriages/relationships I think I tried too hard and expected too much in return and therefore was always disappointed. That’s why they all failed. And, of course, I gave and gave to my three daughters also as a mother should. When one is by nature a giving person, it’s hard not to be in every role we play: wife, friend, co-worker, employee….whatever we do.

But in this role, it is easy for others to take advantage of one’s good nature. And this has happened too often to me. I have been hurt more times than I can count: by friends, bosses, husbands, boyfriends and now my kids. And it’s to the point now where my heart bleeds.

I am much, much older now. And I have been through a lot. My business as a paramedic also has slammed home the importance of living life to the fullest and reaping the most joy from one’s OWN life that you can. When one is spending time trying to please someone else all the time, you lose yourself in the meantime. And before you know it: poof, your life is gone.

The really sad part too is that many of the people who expect me now to continue to ‘yes’ them (like my kids or ex-husband) are incredibly disrespectful of me! They, apparently, have become so accustomed to me simply putting my own feelings aside, that this new woman they face has turned them into mean and rude people themselves. They do not like me having an opinion or a feeling that doesn’t agree with what they want, or for me to say NO. They don’t like me finally standing up for myself. They feel I’m too ’emotional’.

I am very conflicted though, don’t get me wrong. Two of my kids aren’t talking to me right now because I’m standing my ground. And my ex and I aren’t either (no great loss there). But I will no longer tolerate rudeness or disrespect. I’m not at work either from my boss. Even my mother said something hurtful and I told her. She got very angry and yelled endlessly. It was amazing! It was scary to me to tell my mother I wouldn’t accept behavior from her!

So I guess people don’t like to see change in someone. I’ve tried to remain calm as they all rage around me. Maybe I’ll end up with no family or friends? I have no idea. But I feel inner peace now. It seems the whole world would rather fight and rage and everyone has forgotten to communicate. I have tried speaking calmly to all that fight with me. It’s funny but my middle daughter told me a man who lived here with me said that I was hard to live with after he moved out. This coming from a man who yelled every time there was a discussion about anything! And who continues to stalk me on my blog.

Maybe I will never understand people. Or maybe they will never understand me. I surely hope my daughters come around and get it someday before I’m too old. My mom and I just avoid everything and so it will remain. But I do know I will continue to stand up for myself. It feels right now. I have only myself now to please. If I don’t do it, no-one else will.