There’s no Costco in Heaven

He was once a stallion, strong with a chiseled jaw and tall stature, now well past his mid-80’s and considerably withered. My ears were playing tricks on me because I thought he said, “We don’t have a Costco in Heaven.” No one in ear-shot looks surprised, leaving me no clue as to what was really said.

A smile parts my lips and I feel the tears well. I selfishly stifle my emotions so that no one will see, realizing that I feel a measure of comfort knowing there’s no Costco in Heaven. It’s a private moment in a busy day.

The holidays rip at me, I want time to stand still so that I may mourn and gnash my teeth and wallow, I know that is not the way. That the departed would be ill honored by such shallow, predictable, useless and self-serving behavior, but for my grief…  Occasionally it bunches and bulges, surges and threatens to overtake me. Every loss, fresh. Once again deep, open wounds fill and bleed freely. I miss you.

Embarking on the next great adventure, seeking what is beyond the veil of this life…my mind has been on him and what might be out there ready, waiting. Will he explore heaven right now as I ponder the man whose life is too large to capture in an obituary, or even a long winded tribute. Will there be mountains to climb, how high will he go? What will marathons look like, though are those from heaven?

If you’re there when he arrives, circle ’round, find a spot then get acquainted. Expect the best story time, but you’ll have to be patient, he’s not one to boast, he’s not telling to hear his own voice.

I told you before how his days were numbered. There were weeks that stretched to months and turned into more than a year.  It’s time to remember my days are numbered, each of ours are. The concept circles inside of my head to not let a doctor or a disease be the reminder I need.

Someday will come for me too.

For today and each day I am here is an opportunity at love and adventure, at discovery, at chasing my joy like a fast paced foxhunt where the fox and I both win because we are one and we played as hard and as faithful as our spirit would allow.

On the 11th of December the world got a little less light, lost some of it’s sparkle. The mantle we carry to give, to care, to do more good than bad, to forgive and to love just got heavier, our shares increased. The balance of what we are to bring: a measure of good, of light and the challenge to give more than we take grew in the wee hours of the morning when Johnny passed out of this life and into the next.

I wholeheartedly detest two things, New Years Resolutions and Valentine’s Day, so I’m not waiting until January 1st to make sure everyday I start fresh, make a mark and try to climb above it. I’m not waiting until Valentine’s Day to start spreading my love around. I love you and all your mess, your flaws, your iniquity and your bright and glorious self, your goodness, generosity and creativity. I love you.

Don’t wait, start that adventure, run that race, take that trip, fly that heart. Go now.

 

Good-bye for now Johnny Yu, 7/26/48 to 12/11/15. Thank-you for setting such an amazing example of love and life, generosity and the example of largeness and joy!

You Spin me Round and Round

You Spin me Round and Round

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I’m Too Sexy For My Glasses

I’ll be honest, I was hoping you wouldn’t see me this morning. Sure I had a smile on my face but I was wishing, instead, for a bag over my head.

If you see me in the morning commute, dropping kids off at the pool…er, I mean at the school–or either actually–and I am wearing my “nice mama” glasses, you will know, I have given up on the day already. At least I am strongly considering it…another story, for another day perhaps…

Nice Mama GlassesMy “nice mama glasses” are hideous. A pair of wire rimmed glasses more than ten years old, bent, scratched and really, really ugly, they were the emergency back-up pair to my “sexy librarian”, Kate Spade, tortoise-shell frames that inevitably fell victim to a puppy several years back.

I only wear the “nice mama” glasses out of desperation, late at night or mornings when getting up early enough to put in contacts seems insurmountable.

For whatever reason Orion, 4 years old, has named them my “nice mama” glasses.

“mama, can we get under the covers and watch a movie together?” he will ask.

“Aw!” Heart melting, “Yes, that sounds nice. You are so sweet.”

A satisfied smile will sweep across his whole face, then the tiniest flicker of a shadow before he will decree;

Photo on 12-16-15 at 12.06 PM

without my “nice, mama glasses”

Photo on 12-16-15 at 12.06 PM #2

with my glasses that make me suddenly nice.

“but first you have to put on your “nice mama” glasses.”

Sometimes they are my, “good mama” glasses it just depends on the day.

Weirdo little kids. Just like weirdo adults, they have ideas in their heads about what different things mean, even innocuous or arbitrary items that come off and on. I promise you, I am just as mean and nasty with my “nice mama” glasses on as I am without them.

I’d like to get another pair of “sexy librarian” glasses, I actually see a pair in the very near future. It’s tough being so sexy and not having a pair of spectacles so that everyone else knows it too…Until then, even though I hate the ratty, crooked, scratched-up, gold-rimmed, “nice mama” glasses, I am glad someone thinks they look good on me.

Scraps of Armor

It’s been there for two years, almost two years anyway. It feels like a lifetime and though I don’t know if anyone else ever noticed–for me–it was my sweet, and silent, tiny little piece of armor.  Strong, and still soft like when someone grabs hold of you, gives you a hug and whispers strength in your ear because they know you’ll never admit you need it. That piece of heart shaped paper with four little names on it was just like that.

It seems barely a breath has passed, though in fact two years have gone by, my life and everything in it felt fragile then. My rational, grown-up part of my mind knew the life it wanted, but my heart was fragile, hurting and full of doubts.  The hardest year in recent memory was coming to a close, no resolutions and no promise of improvement. Emotionally I was adrift, clinging to vague hopes and lost dreams, I clung to the fact that despite feeling like I might die, no one had…actually died…

Days would slip by when I could not eat, I would force myself to drink water, cringing at the thought of food. I withered, physically, emotionally, spiritually…I felt like I was dying. I was in hiding, hoping that all of the turmoil would melt away but not at the expense of going back to the past.

Then one day–admittedly in a haze of emotions a little tiny hand, no longer the chubby fist of a toddler and not quite the dexterous hand of a big kid–reached from the backseat and tapped me, handing off this tiny scrap of love.

Imperfect and cut with safety scissors, a heart, on it the words; mama, papa, Apollo, Orion. Scrawled with his tiny hand, in imperfect penmanship, made in stolen moments after a class project. Mama at the top of the list. It really was up to me…

The love that holds us...

The love that holds us…

I am not a sentimentalist.

Mini KnightsNot by any stretch of the imagination. Nothing feels better, for me, than letting go. Lucky for me, when I let go I rarely ever look back, that coupled with impatience for “junk memories” means I rarely remember anything long enough to regret getting rid of it.

I just held that scrap of red paper and wept before I could even start the car to pull out of the school parking lot.  I knew, then and there, not just what I wanted but that I had strength enough to get there.  A sense that if I could just hold on, the pieces of my puzzle would start fitting back together. I felt comforted.

God,  I hate not being an open book, but no one could have or would have wanted to hear the crap I was sorting. Even if they did, would I ever come back from the judgments they would pass, the doubts they would have about me?

That little scrap of my heart said I was going to be okay. Patience…have I mentioned I have none? So it was that I faced, head on, a test I knew I was otherwise not equipped to make it through.

I offered accolades to Apollo telling him how much I loved his gift, I held it all the way home then tucked it into an empty compartment in the car, for months that’s where it lived. At the school pick-up I would pull it out sometimes when I was waiting. A guaranteed smile would wash over my face, even on the bad days.IMG_2944

In the spring I quietly brought my love scrap into the house and mounted it to the side of our stainless steel refrigerator. I’m sure someone noticed but all mom’s are required to keep various gestures of affection from our children. No one knew this was actually a direct answer to personal prayer, executed by my own.

Family, it means more to me than I can adequately put into words.  If you know me at all, know my deepest held beliefs, know that my family is vast and extended and many are my dearest and favorite friends, especially my sisters and my husband, even my own mom, than you would not be at all surprised how much this paper screamed that life was going to be ok…eventually.

Last week, when I was cleaning, I took down my love scrap and recycled it to the paper gods. I don’t need it anymore, this picture is enough. So thankful for little hands and little scraps of armor.

Your Genie is a Carpet Ride Away

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Will You Be Mine?

Everything tastes better when you’re hungry, chocolate, burgers, steak, sex… mmmmm… so hungry.

We all want hair pulling, ass grabbing, all night long…chocolate. Am I right?

That’s exactly why you should boycott trivial, trumped up holidays like Valentines Day. I mean is it steak dinner night or chocolate mousse night or can we just skip to the ass-grabbing dessert?

I love the idea of a fun day for little kids to pass out candy hearts to classmates, and a reason to make the kids heart shaped pancake and eggs. I hate the idea of a scheduled–nationally scheduled–day, hyped-up, fake holiday, made up romancing day, to wine, dine and sixty-nine me, as if we need a reason for that!

To be fair some of my best make-out sessions have been scheduled. Tuesday night: sex night. There’s a difference between a commercial holiday that tells women they need something sparkly and that this somehow signifies the good things in life, and hopefully, true love -vs- a day that my lover and I make sure that we carve out time for something kinkier than a quickie–kids and jobs can trick you into forgetting about how important that time is.

I don’t always schedule hair-pulling, but when I do it’s never because of something trivial, like what day of the year…same thing with gifts; don’t get me started on birthdays and Christmas!

That being said, some people love the tradition of certain holidays–I’m not a conformist–if you love these paper heart, commercial holidays, fine by me but my rebellious side refuses to reciprocate. It goes against my principals so don’t waist your time or money–not on a holiday anyway…

So my plans for tonight? Salad, one slice of pizza, while watching a movie-at home, then “dessert”…oh wait, that’s what we had last night…it’s crazy, we are wild like that…ha!

All right–carry on folks! With any luck you’re smarter than the average person and you skipped dinner so you won’t be too full when dessert comes around…or you skipped V day altogether and went to bed, resting up for a real adventure bright and early tomorrow no doubt!

Happy Valentines.

If You Hate Running, Even Better

Everything matters.

Or at least I want it to. All of it to have meaning and lessons and prove some petty need for validation that “I’m special”. Except, try as I might…I just don’t have it in me to give a rat’s behind about ALL of it.

I read books. Meh.

“That was okay.” I’ll think.

I’d take that day or those days back.

“I could do better.”

But I don’t. I just sit there replaying the weak parts…
I read your blogs…lots of them some days.

*sigh

“that’s the best; Best title? Best topic? Best intro? WTF? Did they just read thru everyone else’s blogs and regurgitate? Are we all supposed to be talking about how Mia Angelou saved us or how Harper Lee changed our lives? (No mention of the literary teacher who likely forced these authors on you or you’d never have read them…) yapping endlessly about fashion or fame? Or sex? (Okay-keep up the sexy talk, at least that’s not yawn-worthy all of the time.)

Gag me.

I guess I do care, right now, in this second, because I’m fed up. Rest assured. I’ll get over caring-you’re not that big-a-deal.

While I do care, I’d like to take this momentum and draw attention to all the people that turn everything into a point of contention, a bitch-fest. It’s starting to feel like I’m talking about everyone, including you…[with the exception of my *sisters*, all of whom are bright spots in the universe.] Instead I reference all those people who care what kind of person Miley Cyrus is or Emma Watson for that matter?

Who cares if the next James Bond casts a black Bond? Really?

Why are so many people so eager to go on a Big One for things trivial and, mostly, absurd? Why are we obsessed with getting our opinions validated on everything from peanut butter and jelly’s to feminism to religion?

If all the people who are good at caring about everything actually gave a turd about anything real, like preserving Native American lands and culture, feeding the hungry preserving coral reefs, sex trafficking, reducing our collective human footprint, corruption in government or saving my ass from destitution when I’m old (economy collapse) then maybe the state of the Union would actually stand a chance of getting better.

Instead we all stick our noses up Kim Kardashian’s butt, interject ourselves into any trite experience, carry around our little paper cups full of hot liquid showcasing a two tailed mermaid on the front, and use it all as an excuse to blow off the quality of our work, our health, our moments to connect to each other, a child, a community; shiny distractions that we dump energy and time into while we get slow and soft in the middle (and in the grey matter.)

Wake-up! Go running, run until your brain is empty, your body feels nothing and the petty little distractions melt into oblivion.

If you hate running, even better…the pain is good, helps clear the mind of insignificant and worthless junk.

I’m sure my rant is lack-of-run induced. It’s been two days and my brain is having withdrawals…

When you’re done, you just might find out you don’t have time for the clutter of caring about everything. Maybe, just maybe, with some practice, we can all learn to care a little bit less.

Run For It!!!

does this headband make me look fast?

does this headband make me look fast?

There’s another one! I just saw her on my way home from school drop-offs. I want to slam on the breaks, honk, get out and slap Each. And. Everyone. Of them. Don’t they know there are people like me on the road–trying to run them over!? Well not trying to run them over, at least not me…not on purpose anyway.

It’s hard to navigate my disgust, because on the flip side I want to cheer for her.

She’s out running. The roadsides and gyms are flooded with all the New Year’s resolutions. People determined to not let another year slip by without focussing on their fitness. Filled with all the people who got a brand new shiny FitBit or other fancy gadget to indicate they have fulfilled their 10,000 step goal. Also filled with the regular runners, bikers and other gym enthusiast that I see on a regular basis. I was her once. I want to cheer, you go girl! She is going to feel great later today, later this year (if she keeps it up). The difference is I don’t try to get run-over every time I go out on the road for a run.

You’ve seen it too right?

Runners who assume everyone drives like they do…or like they think they do…Runners, running with their backs to traffic, this girl with headphones in.  I don’t care how bright your fancy running pants are, if I am distracted I will still not see you. And the big silver, 3/4 ton, Dodge diesel I drive has no fancy navigation system, it will not distinguish between off roading fun and running over a person…

Flashy clothes alone can't save runners from rogue vehicles and distracted drivers.

Flashy clothes alone can’t save runners from rogue vehicles and distracted drivers.

If you have refocused previous efforts or are reinventing yourself entirely, especially by running or walking more, cheers to you! I won’t complain about the gym being too full, or the roads bustling with with more foot traffic. Really. I am happy for you. Stick with it. If you get distracted, pick it back up. You don’t have to wait for New Years. Just start again.

BOOM! Just like that you’re back.

In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to help you stay alive while you are out there pounding pavement:

1.) Run into traffic. Well, not literally into it, that would defeat the purpose of getting healthy. However, you should be facing oncoming traffic. Shoulders down, relaxed, chest out and head up looking at each car. (Even looking down a little restricts oxygen, that will slow you down, but not as much as getting smashed by a car.)

2.) Did you know that wearing sunglasses can reduce your field of vision by 40%? Yeah, I wear them too. I’m just cool like that. All the more reason to keep your eyes on traffic.

3.) Go without headphones. I listen to music, not every run though. When I do have my tunes I only wear one headphone and I keep it down low enough to hear my own singing over the music–sometimes I throw out my arms and sing my heart out in the middle of a run, that’s when I realize I am not as tired as I thought I was…and that everyone now knows “I’m friends with the monster under my bed…”

Some interesting things I’ve noticed, running without iTunes.

Smells are more intense. Things like daffodils in spring, and eucalyptus trees come to mind right now, wet grass, and heady lilac too, heck even brewing coffee or bar-b-q (…then there are the few times I wish I hadn’t noticed: horse farm, garbage day and slurry pits…) The sky’s a little bluer, songbirds louder, frogs happier and laughing kids, sweeter. I don’t know, it’s just a nice change.

Here’s another nice thing about no music. There can sometimes be very serene and spiritual moments to a good run–in fact, there should be. When I decide that I am dedicating a run to someone, (and run with no music) a friend in need (my neighbor with cancer), a loved one, even someone who has passed away, I tend to run further and faster with less complaints from my head and body. Try it.

That and you will hear the cars coming toward you.

4.) Get out of the bike lane, if you see a biker coming. I know, usually the rule is “lower and slower” gets the right of way but not in this instance. Bikers have their backs to traffic–if they aren’t idiot bikers–and you’re feet are more maneuverable than some of those skinny road bike wheels, so scooch over. They might even thank you but don’t expect that, in fact they may not even acknowledge you but who cares. It’s the right thing.

5.) You know what else is the right thing? Keep it to yourself. Don’t litter. Don’t throw down your water bottles, or empty Gu packs (If you’re doing this-you are a tool and maybe you deserve to get run over). Really. Fact is that unless you are running for more than an hour, you’ll survive without both…you will also be tougher. Stick that gooey package back where you had it stashed, even if you had it in your sports bra, you’ll survive and you’re going to need a shower pill anyway.

6.) Reflect. Weather morning or night it’s easy to not notice how dark it might be to a driver if the sun is waxing or waning…I feel silly running with a reflective vest but I’m not so cool that I don’t when I choose runs late in the evening. Besides…I think it makes me faster, if only to hush the nay-sayers.

Besty who runs at night with me! Night runs are ah-maz-balls!!!! This pic is post 4.5 at about midnight, cuz we're rebels. Running at night makes you feel like a kid, cuz it's silly and nuts.

Besty who runs at night with me! Night runs are ah-maze-balls!!!! This pic is post 4.5 at about midnight, cuz we’re rebels. Running at night makes you feel like a kid, cuz it’s silly and nuts.

7.) I’ve discovered that running buddies also make me stronger, keep me safer, and are a good distraction around mile five or six…for some reason after forty or fifty minutes I start getting bored, that and on a really long run (10-12 miles, I sometimes end up out in BFE-alone-that creeps me out a little.)

Yesterday Aden when on a five miler with me. Not long but he's fast. Even though we were talking the whole time we still averaged nine minute and fourteen second miles. Easy for him, hard for me! Stud.

Yesterday Aden and I post five miler, (no make-up and he still looks good!). Not that long but he’s fast. Even though we were talking the whole time we still averaged nine minute and fourteen second miles. Easy for him, hard for me! Oh- and then he turned around and ran back home five miles averaging 7:40 or 50something each mile! Stud.

When I have a buddy it’s always better. I’m lucky, I have a teenage kiddo who makes a (mostly) reliable and good running partner and I’ve been collecting others!

Regardless, fast or slow, you’re doing it. That’s what counts in the end!

I am happy to see new faces out on my runs, just stay safe.

 

Terminal Velocity

Its Christmas Eve, I am hiding out at the local athletic club–in the hot tub at three in the afternoon. I’ve decked the halls, wrecked the malls, hung some mistletoe, shopped till I dropped, kissed the elves and one smelly old man, then double checked who’s naughty and who’s nice (my husband thinks they are the same thing), rubbed the roast beast (the husband says he’s next). I’m my sous chef for tomorrow so I also prepped twice baked potatoes and mounds of vegetables to glaze and to roast, made breakfast and bread then drank something red, I’ve wrapped presents, stamped cards–that are three weeks too late–skyped bunches of loved ones, plus made all of our beds, dressed all our kids, tended the farm, paid homage (to one of my) bosses, plus I got in my hour of cardio then some weights, that’s just today, now I’m dead.
(Being dead may be a tiny exaggeration, not by a lot, it was getting close to “me” or “them”. I like “them” so I took a time out, refueling.)

It’s Christmas time and I have reached terminal velocity–this is slower than Christmas velocity–the hot tub is my fuel to reach Christmas velocity. That’s when I should be able to muster enough courage to tuck in nice and tight, and fly right into the vortex.

My phones wrapped in a plastic bag, tied in a knot and I’m facing a jet that’s working my thighs–leg day earlier and it was good. You’re my distraction from all the time I am wasting, really though? This is where I should be, relaxing and refocusing. The longest week of the year, with dark falling early and to-do lists continually unfurling.

I hope you got a break. found time to recharge, rewind, and define what really makes you happy, all the people you love, and all that other Yule tide, good stuff. Christmas is for everybody or at least it should be. Sure it’s about baby Jesus and that’s good, but baby Jesus would want it to be about love, he’s just that kind of baby, always thinking of others before himself. So no matter who you are or how well you know baby Jesus, go celebrate, be happy and oozing out cheer. Love your friends and your neighbors and everyone dear and try to not drink too much beer…or eggnog for that matter.

Be safe and be merry.
Happy Christmas.

The Deep

“Have you ever?” she asked.

Her lips scarlet, her skin made more pale in the moon light. Drops of water clinging to her skin, eyelashes clumped together from the damp and fog just barely lifting off the water where we swam.

“Have you ever?”  She repeated. “Just to be there,  feel swallowed up. Swam, without hesitation, out into the middle?”

I closed in on her until I could feel the vibrations from her body, swirling eddies brushing past my naked skin. My fingers reached out to trace across her chest and down to the curve of her waist. Only a silver sliver of the moon between us.  I could see her moving in the water, slow, effortless. Lips parted, I wanted to kiss her. She smiled, but only a little. It made her look vulnerable and in a moment, that small minute, I knew she was undecided.

That the future didn’t exist to her, not now. At this moment, there was only this moment. She wanted it to last, not knowing what would come at the end. I pretended not to see her loss. With big strokes I swam past her until I was far enough away. Letting the vision of her settle into my mind. Perfect, simple, not asking, not taking, not expecting.

At the edge of the water it was loud. Noise: animals rustling and calling, insects singing, chirping and buzzing and the sound of the water lapping endlessly at the shores. Here was quieter, muted, and I turned to see how far away I was. She was still beside me, her face, inches away, skin radiating as the moon rose higher. She came close. Looking into my face, searching.

“From here it looks like nothing.” She said.

Her breath was wispy, soft, but close enough to dislodge water droplets on my cheeks, send them in rivulets down to my chin. It was my turn to offer a smile in silence.

I turned to look back into the dark, into the deepness. Silently she slipped past me, brushing softly against me, effortlessly going forward. Her head slightly swaying, swimming silent in the still waters, a tiny wake of a ripple trailing out from each shoulder. Transfixed, I followed.

We swam on an on, I wondered if we’d ever arrive, wondered why we were going. It looked like nothing. It took the length of night and no time at all. Memories of the journey stretched but time pasted effortlessly. At last she slowed.

“We are here,” she whispered.

Quiet enveloped us, the kind if silence that sucks away the air and the sound of even your own breath. Her back still facing me, she, looking into the deep. Tendrils of mist rising around us. Sections of her long hair snaking down her back and swirling around us. I searched, looking. At first I saw nothing. Then slowly it materialized before me. The Deep.

“It’s here.” she said barely above a whisper, “They call it jumping in with both feet, letting go, or falling. Really it’s here, far away from the edge, The Deep. You chose to come, let go and turned your back on your retreat. Unforgiving, magical, you give up your safety, hope to believe, risk it all, even yourself, that’s The Deep. The place you find yourself when you choose to let go, unafraid, abandoning your needs, your fears, your own wants and giving into the deep.”

I hear her words just as she turns to kiss me and the waters swallow me up. I don’t fight it. I’m not afraid and I’m quietly terrified. A siren speaking of love. I wanted it, not her and I let The Deep take me, watched as the shimmer of her body got further and further and I sank…

~M

If You’re Lucky

You told her to get a life. Find something better to do. So she did, but now she’s too busy for you.

Selfish. That’s what has become of her, what it feels like to her, being normal. Where once being a good wife, a good mother, having it all, meant falling on her sword…for the greater good. A martyr’s common mistake.

That the world won’t be okay without their blood without their sacrifice. The selfless giving away of…all of it. Who told her that, why did she make that her fairy-tail? Kiss away hopes and dreams, ambitions for an endless story and no kingdom, only a king.

“Get a life”, like a light switch she remembered when she was full of life, when she thought she still had time to chase butterflies and clouds and dreams.

Now she’s dreaming again–like riding a bike–she still remembers, she needs practice, but she’s getting faster and stronger. Only, now she barely has time for you, it’s not selfish, she’s alive, all of her. No fetid, stinking necrotizing odors. Not practicing origami, or stacking marbles, she’s not going to play by anyone else’s rules.

She’ll wear dresses or pants or go naked. She will climb trees, swim naked, drink spirits, eat chocolate and she won’t apologize, won’t agonize.

If you want her love, take it. Consciously, confident. Don’t cage her, hold her or make her, she won’t abide. She no longer thinks about what’s expected or who’s to blame, she’s thinking about laughing, and dancing, and writing. (If you’re lucky, she’s thinking about you.)