Friday, December 07, 2007

Planning ahead

One of the reasons people think I'm so efficient even with a packed schedule is because I'm a planner. I like to plan way in advance for everything: I finalize my summer vacation plans in February and by the end of September I'm done with Christmas shopping. In doing that I then have time to enjoy my holidays. 

This year I've made a sudden change that will definitely baffle my family members and will definitely excite my son. I decided that just this morning after waking up with the idea in my head and checking my bank account. A long weekend away from everything and everyone. A weekend surrounded by woods and nature, and good simple christian folk. I don't have any details or research all I have is a desire to unplug from this concrete steel hard city and plug into the warmth and hearth of spirit and love of nature and God.

See you all next year! Hope your Christmas is merry & bright. And please remember the reason for the season.  

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bonding Moments

Spending time with my son lately has been pure joy. He’s been having issues with his teacher and 2 classmates, which I have to go in and address tomorrow. To ensure his spirit remains nurtured, while enduring his personal challenges, I’ve rearranged my schedule to spend even more time with him. As a result, he’s made me laugh each day with something creatively funny he’s said. Below is a sampling:

[Scene: Picking him up at the gym from after-school program my son sees me, gets all excited starts running towards me.]
Son: Mom… mom, you gotta let me go to the Halloween party they’re throwing here in 2 weeks!
Me: You know that it starts past your bedtime. Why do you want to go so badly?
Son: Because that’s the mother load of candy days! I can collect more in one night than you buy in a YEAR! I can collect it and stash it away and eat only a few pieces a week, that way it'’ll last me till next Halloween and I’ll never have to negotiate with you to buy candy ever again ‘cause I’'ll already have my own.
Me: [Just gave him a look he’s used to by now]
Son: [Turns to friend and says:] “See, I told you she wouldn’'t buy it.”
[Scene: Me, stopping in at the corner café to buy some coffee on our way to my son's school. My son remains outside running around chasing pigeons. He stops for a moment, comes inside and starts collecting the crumbs off the counter.]
Me: Why are you collecting crumbs?
Son: The pigeons are hungry and want the crumbs.
Me: How do you know they’'re hungry and want crumbs?
Son: They told me so. I speak fluent pidgeon! [He said this with such a serious face everyone was dying to burst out in laughter, me included. He stood there waiting for me to give the ok.]
Me: [All I could muster to do was wave him on and say:] Go ahead.
Afterwards everyone bursts out in laughter and a few agree, the scene was worthy of submission to the the Metropolitan Diary column in the NY Times. I simply said "Please go ahead and submit them yourselves. I've got plenty more where that came from." Hence the inspiration for this new theme in my blog - Bonding Moments.
[Scene: While playing chess in our living room]
Me: Where are you going, we’re in the middle of a game.
Son: I know, by the time you figure out that I have you in double check I’ll be back with my glass of water. Want some? [He stands there waiting for my answer as I stare at the board and see that I'’ve lost becaues he has my Queen in double check-mate and my King in check. ]
Me: How did you do that in 9 moves?
Son: It’s easy, Thursday’s is your worst day of the week and you come home tired, with lots of things on your mind. I suggest we play chess so I can take advantage of that! [Him giggling!]
Me: Some day you’ll have kids of your own, I'’m going to teach them how to play so well, they're going to teach you a thing or to!
Son: Yes, and until that day comes I will continue to beat you!

Update: I received a lot of comments on this post. One of my readers shared a scene so hysterical, I'm still crying from the laughter.  I repost with permission below: 

[Scene: Seven-year-old son say goodbye to mother before leaving with Dad for school] Son: Mom look the dog is licking her privates. Mom: Yes. Dogs do that sometimes. Son: I can't do that. [bends at waist to demonstrate.] See? [Parents fall to the floor laughing the moment he leaves the room]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Clueless in NY

You would think that an urbane chick like me could handle anything life throws her way. I usually can, that’s why I have the job I do. But when it comes to SOME men, like my sexy, wonderful “Secret Agent Man” (SAM for short), I can be rather clueless. I discovered that last night quite by accident.

At the end of a most wonderful phone conversation he finally said to me: So how soon can I hear from you again?"

Ms. Sophisticated Urbane Chic (me) answered "Uhhhhhhm, I don't know." Why did I say such a stupid thing? ‘Cause I was truly puzzled and when that happens my mind starts racing. That's when the barrage of questions from my inner demons visiting from my past which have permanent residence in my head began talking to me, "You know, I'm not really clear on what he means" and in the background I hear his wonderful sexy voice protesting my 'I don't know.'

"“Oh, I see how it is… [he says in a disappointed frustrated voice], I'’ve been away in China on business for almost 10 days, in which I didn'’t call because of the 12 hr time difference, and as a result I'm now relegated to the back burner of your life, while you play it cool. I see how it is.”"

My inner demons were screaming at me, the arrogant evil one said, "Good let him sweat it out for awhile for not calling". The nicer demon screamed, "“Noooooooo, wait, that’s not what you meant, talk to him…. NOW dammit!!! Tell him the truth. Tell him that you’ve missed him, but didn’t call sooner because he hadn’'t responded to your last email. Tell him you thought he was busy and...”
"“AHHHH, STOP!!!“" I shouted to myself in my head as I pressed the palms of my hand against my forehead to try and stop the chatter and my impending headache. The voices subsided long enough for me to respond to SAM, who had been quietly protesting to me all the while through the telephone. When I spoke, all I was finally able to say was, "“It's your turn next."”

"What?!!" I thought to myself. All I remember from him was silence. While within me raged a second storm between my twin demons who were by now vying intenselfy for supremacy, so their message could get out first. The nice demon said: "“Tell him you DO want to talk with him...… often, but just don’t know how often and how long, or what happens if he calls and you're not in the mood. Or what if you're PMS, Lord, that’s never a good time to talk with you, EVER!"” I swear, for once in my life I was rolling my eyes at myself. I was so grateful he wasn't standing before me. My internal dialogue continued going in all different directions, my feelings were being crowded out by my demon twins.

My evil demon shouted, saying,"“Wait A minute... you’'ve emailed, you'’ve called,… you’'re not the only one who should be doing the heavy lifting here. He has to show he truly cares or has a genuine interest about this relationship too, otherwise you’re giving too much of yourself, and then it becomes one-sided, when it should be an equal effort… a give and take, a true partnership. This is when they show you if they can be a truly giving and caring friend, 'cause if that's too much to handle, then they'll be coming up short with everything else... EVERY TIME and then it'll be too late to realize you're just been wasting your time."” Since that argument sounded reasonable, I let my last statement stand.

We talked for a bit more about other things, I don’t remember how the call ended exactly, it was late and I hadn'’t slept well in a week, so I knew to quit while ahead.

And since I wasn’'t able to sleep yet again, in the wee hours of the morning I wondered if this is as hard for him, as it is for me. How on earth do we get past the inner demons and the fears to be able to speak from our hearts. Is it just as hard for him to tell me what he wants or needs from me, as it is for me. But the truth is that somehow we are managing to go over those speed bumps called fears, that temporarily slow us down long enough for us to take stock on how things are going on this wonderful journey. The good thing is that those bumps serve as a way to learn how to first and foremost be friends, so that we can learn how to be incredible lovers afterwards. I wonder if he's even aware how my stammering and stumbling of words is something that happens only when I talk with him. At work I'm clear, decisive and a force to be reckoned with. In intimate relationships the truth is I sometimes muddle my way through because my brain interrupts my heart every time.

Because if it hadn'’t been that hard for me, I would have simply said, “"You know what, I’'ve missed you this past week. I've missed your sense of humor, your incredible sexy voice; I've missed the sharing of our week with each other... I always love hearing from you... in any form. So write when you want to write, even if its just to say hi and to let me know you're busy. Call when you feel like calling. And if we can talk, we’ll talk and If we can’t… well, then we’ll figure something out when we get there. You just tell me what you're comfortable with, then do what you're comfortable with, and I'll do the same, and we'll just go from there. How does that sound?”"

One thing's for sure, next time I'll make sure I have plenty of sleep before we talk. I think the call would have gone a lot differently had I slept more than 16 hrs in in the last 5 days.

Hmmmm, I wonder if anyone has figured out how we can do do-overs in relationships. Any suggestions?

Update: Some of the comments I received on this post are worthy of re-posting here.

1 Do what your heart tells you, always trust your heart. It knows what it's doing, even if you don't think it does.
Posted by: Quality Weenie at October 17, 2007 07:25 PM (BksWB)
2 Wow, you not knowing what's the right thing to say? You ARE sleep deprived. You even sounded so today during the mid-morning call. Get some sleep! Everything will look better int he morning.
Posted by: lisa at October 17, 2007 07:37 PM (D0Mr6)
3 Hey, if things don't work out, can I have an oppty to take you out?
Posted by: Erik at October 17, 2007 08:09 PM (ueMLc)
4 Suggestion: email him what you said in the last half of this post.
Posted by: Jean at October 17, 2007 10:15 PM (AiJXe)
5 I'd love to offer up some great advice - but...yeah. It's ME, for cryin' out loud.... I sure do wish I could just replay some of our phone conversations for you. ;-) Probably the best thing I can say is to remind you to remember he's just as human as you are. Just as vulnerable. If you keep the walls TOO strong, you might miss out. Balance darlin'. It's all about balance. But then again, it's like I' ME, so what do I know.......
Posted by: Tammi at October 18, 2007 06:11 AM (dnmhS)
6 Are you aware that Mercury is retrograde and that all communications is apt to go awry? That means that everything you do, say and write is automatically prone to mis-communication.
Posted by: Lisa at October 18, 2007 10:28 AM (BN/Fu)
7 "I wonder if anyone has figured out how we can do do-overs in relationships." Just ask for one.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at October 18, 2007 03:47 PM (UquFN)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mail Bag

I got home from a busy, fun weekend (of hikes, apple picking, and taking my son to his first county fair) to find lots of wonderful emails in my inbox. That's a first for me! The sentiments ran the gamut and since I am pressed for time I will post a quick response here with individual emails to follow.

A few of you wrote asking for lots of interesting details on how my romance is going. Sorry folks, but I don't like to kiss-N-tell.

Several more wrote urging me to be careful and proceed cautiously. I am nothing if not very careful. So careful in fact that guys usually get tired of waiting for me to come around, they give up and eventually walk away. That suits me just fine because it's only over time that a person's true nature is revealed.

Some of you urged me to stop the torture and get it over with and jump his bones and share the details. One person in particular wanted pictures. No Lisa, I will not put a hidden webcam in his bathroom. I think your bathroom fetish is going too far now and you need to consider getting some professional help.

The jumping of the bones is fine for most people but not yet for me. Fortunately, my erogenous zone is somewhere in my brain, so the jumping of bones is for after the fact, or should I say after that act. Besides, you know what the Supremes say: You can't hurry love. No, you just have to wait...", but in the meantime, its a wonderful journey.

To those who are wishing me well, a heart felt Thank YOU! I am truly touched by your caring and thoughtfulness. I especially liked the email I received from Eric (Norway), which contained his wonderful wishes wrapped in the beautiful poem below. I am sharing it for our mutual enjoyment.

Again, a heart felt thank you to all.

Love One Another by Khalil Gibran

Love one another, but make not a yoke of love
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping;
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together;
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


There’s something unbelievably sexy when someone you like a lot leaves a voice mail message in a slow, deliberate manner, in a tone just above a whisper and says: “I called just to let you know I was thinking of you.” [Sigh!!!]

After listening to his message a few times, which gave me enough time to regain my breath, I was finally able to subdue my endless grin and bring it down to a reasonably normal smile. When my head finally got off it’s “giddy” Merry-go-round, this great song came to mind. Someday, I’ll let him know the effect his voice mail message had on me and how this song was posted in response. Yes, someday, just not today.

Now let me see if I can get out of my head, wipe the silly grin off my face and get back to work.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pt. 3 - Parting of the ways

We had been lost in each other for what seemed like only a short while, when we heard the conductor announcing our arrival in DC. Not knowing what to say, we gathered our belongings in silence. Reality had intruded into our little world and had cruelly disrupted it.

When he finally turned his attention back to me, there was a seriousness of manner and a purpose in his look that could not be mistaken. I’ve been in business long enough to know when a man is about to try and “close the deal”. I listened intently to him praise the qualities he liked most about me, and was touched by his sweet and sincere manner. It’s never easy for a guy to ask a woman out, I’ve always been keenly aware and sensitive to that. So, it was even harder for me when I was forced to turn down his dinner invitation. I quickly explained that it's a personal rule I have, not to go out with men I don’t know. Normally, that deters those men who only have one thing in mind, from going any further.

But when I also turned him down for lunch he was really confused. I again explained, since we didn’t have any acquaintances in common that could vouch for his character, I would have to know him awhile before I could accept any invitation. After all, all I knew of him was what he told me of himself and whatever was printed on his business card.

To help him understand where I was coming from, I shared with him a personal experience I had over a year ago. A gentleman, who called himself a christian, told me he was an Eagle Scout, a well-respected college professor and leader in his community. While wooing me over a period of several weeks, I refused to meet with him for the same reason and I thought I had gotten to know him pretty well. What he didn't tell me (though I asked) and what I later discovered, was all along he had a wife, mother-in-law, and 2 children living with him. Of course, it was easy for him to be so deceitful; aside from lacking morals and values, he took advantage of my ignorance because I didn’t live nearby. I had no way of knowing.

Having apologized for being so insistent about dinner, he became quiet and reflective. After a short interval he once again began to smile and said (more for himself than to me), “All good things come to those who wait. I’m a patient man, and that virtue has gotten me to where I am today, so I know my patience can take me all the way…. to dinner that is.”

A minute later he was holding the door open for me to enter the taxi. He lingered long enough to give me just a bit of hope. He finally said the words I’'d been hoping to hear for the last few minutes:
"“May I call you?”

I momentarily held my breath as my heart leapt up with excitement. Smiling happily I answered, “"Yes. I would love that.”"

Sporting a happy smile, which made him look younger and more handsome than he had all day, he asked, "“Is Saturnday night at 9:00 a good time?"

"“9:00pm is perfect"”

"“Then it’s a date!"” he said with a mischievous look on his face. He closed the door as he smiled triumphantly, having managed to secure more time with me after all. I leaned forward and waved goodbye just to take one last good look at his gorgeous frame. I had already memorized his face. It was my last chance to memorize the rest of him before he disappeared from view.

By the time I arrived at the office, there was an email waiting for me that simply read:

"“I'’m really looking forward to talking with you Saturday night!”"

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Power of Love

Love is an incredibly powerful force. It has its own energy and life span and can outlive the bonds with those we love.

Meeting this incredibile man recently has made me think of my very first grown up love.

My first true grown up love was and incredibly beautiful and powerful love that had a force and an energy all its own. Its hard to put into words how incredibly perfect it was. I’ve never spoken of Jack to anyone because the huge solid lump in my throat would prevent me from speaking his name, let alone me sharing about him or our time together. Even now, tears still flow as I write and think of him. I can still vividly recall the moment we first met, what we wore, what we said, how we felt (though the intensity of the emotions have faded considerably over these past 20 years). There are times I remember awkward funny moments that our self-consciousness produced very early on, which gave way to a growing strong and abiding love.

For a very long time I believed he was my one and only soul mate. But he, being older and wiser, kept insisting, especially as his cancer progressed, that I would love again and eventually find another wonderful soul mate. Being 20, I felt I had already lived a lifetime. so I never knew whether to believe him or not. I figured either way time would tell, but I didn't think it could ever be possible for me to have what we had a 2nd time around.

This past summer I had a lot of time to think about the kinds of love I have experienced in my lifetime and the kind of love I now want to have in my life. For the first time I had the courage to think back on the kind of love Jack and I shared, and reflect on what made it work and what was lacking, so I could be clear about the kind of love I want to experience in the future.

Funny how it took me to be in my mid 40’s to learn love is not an accident. Meeting someone, and experiencing a connection with them is, but true love is something that evolves slowly over time. True love exists when you deeply care, not only what happens to that person, but loving them in spite of their shortcoming and through every challenge they experience. True love doesn't fade in their absence, or with sickness, and is supposed to remain steadfast in health. When you truly love it holds steadfast whether you grow richer or poorer, and irregardlessly of your lives getting better or worse.

Saying “I do” doesn’t make true love so. True love is a state that exists way before the “I do’s”. It’s when both individuals are willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work, thrive, and grow, and you’re not afraid of self-sacrifice or hard work, because the rewards from it are so incredibly worth the sacrifice.

I bumped into Jack’s parents this summer. After years of marriage they were still holding hands as they walked down the street. We recognized each other and immediately began talking and catching up on the missing decades, as people so often do in this city.

Afterwards, as I watched them slowly walk away, hand in hand, I realized what a gift Jack had been in my life. In loving me, he taught me how to truly love. And to truly love someone is to do so openly, honestly and without manipulation, with caring, patience and understanding; with commitment for the other's well being as well as their own. It is loving with passion, respect and vulnerability; all while deferring self-centered desires for the greater good, which is always the relationship.

Jack, what a blessing and a great teacher you were. Thank you! And I finally believe your prediction was right. I finally believe I have found my other soul mate. His smile and laughter are already in my heart, filling the space that you opened up for him to fill. Thank you!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mon Cher, do I love you?

“Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you? Am I making believe I see in you, a [man] too perfect to be really true? Do I want you because you're wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you? Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream, or are you really as beautiful as you seem?” 
~ Oscar Hammerstein II

I Cried For You

Pt. 2 - Intimate Interlude

There is something that happens to the rest of the world when you meet that special someone you strongly connect with. For awhile, the noisy intrusive world that surrounds us ceases to exist. Time seems to stand still, when in fact it steals away precious minutes from new found lovers. The world shrinks to encompass only them and nothing and no one else exists in their little world. Sleep, hunger, comfort, all are sacrificed just to linger for a moment longer with that special someone. Early on in their meetings, that special someone's presence and closeness is all they need and want for nourishment.

But what most of us don't realize when looking at that special someone, is that we really don't see what's before us. No, instead what we see is all that we wish to see and hope to find in another. What is before us is often a magical illusion of all our hopes and dreams. Anything beyond that is ignored for the sake of maintaining the wonderful fantasy just a little while longer. So we can have that love high be just a little sweeter.

That was the Svengali-like effect he had on me. Nothing existed within my sight except his beautiful smile, his heavenly eyes and his heart-melting sexy voice. He too was just as attentive and eager to learn about me as I was about him.

At one point he was sharing this story about himself babysitting his younger nephew. As a mom, I couldn't help but think that his story of learning to be an uncle and of the manly 5 second rule (for food that falls on a floor) were a bit gross and did not reflect the incredibly sophisticated and attractive man that was before me. I couldn't help but unconsciously respond by making a strange face.

Stopping mid-story he asks: “What’s wrong?”

Though I hesitated at first I went ahead and asked, “"Do you always tell this story to women you’re trying to impress?”"

"“Uh… yes”. Why?"

"“No wonder you’re still single. That’s story makes you seem so.. so… .... sooo unlayable right now... it’s just not funny!"”

His shock at my frankness caused him initially to gasp then pause, before letting out the biggest raucous heartfelt laughter I’ve ever heard from a man. I too was shocked at hearing my honest thoughts escaping my mouth, and laughed.

When he finally composed himself, he confessed to me that no one had ever told him that it was such an unappealing story.

“Well honey, someone needs to tell you the truth… and often. Otherwise the next thing you’ll go around believing is that you’re handsome, and we can’t have you going around believing that falsehood.”

Here again he laughed heartily too. I enjoyed making him laugh because he had the most wonderfully infectious laughter and the most heart-warming smile I had ever seen.

Yes, each second of those 2 hours and 45 minutes were nothing like I had ever experienced before in my ife... they were truly magical.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pt. 1 - The Meeting

While descending the stairs at Penn Station I was glad to see that my Amtrak train bound for DC had not yet arrived. Reaching the bottom of the steps I excused myself, to get the attention of 2 gentleman blocking my path onto the platform.

As they apologized I could not help but stare at the one gentleman who turned to face me. For a moment I thought I had run into my best friend, but knew that to be impossible since he had just left for a long secret vacation at some unknown resort with some mystery woman. I smiled broadly thinking to myself, how am I ever going to explain my staring, to this handsome gentleman standing before me?
“Pardon me” I finally say to him, who is by now returning my smile, ”I must tell you that I believe you have a twin brother in Georgia”
Shaking his head while smiling broadly he laughingly says, “That has got to be THE worst pick up line I have ever heard!” I was instantly captivated by his honeyed northern Virginia drawl. And yet, I couldn'’t help but laugh heartily, both at his presumption and clever response.
As I laughed I realized I still couldn'’t stop staring at him, which made me both very self-conscious and caused my breathing to quicken. I was just mesmerized by his deep intent gaze into my own eyes. I think it is so sexy when a man is confident enough to look straight into my eyes and hold my gaze. Thinking at that moment was impossible, but I needed to say something to the man standing so closely before me, awaiting patiently for a response. Amidst our silence, I felt his Svengali-like power begin to take hold of me.
Momentarily looking away I gathered all my courage to speak honestly. Smiling shyly as I looked back at him once again, I finally whispered, “I’m sorry… your beautiful green eyes have mesmerized me and I can’t think of anything to say.”
As he continued to hold my gaze, I could sense his surprise. “"Wow…! that is the most honest come back line I’ have ever heard!”"
I truly don’t remember what he said next, for I was completely lost in the beautiful sea of green that were still controlling me. I do remember thinking about halfway through our trip, as we continued to talk, “Wow, he’s funny, intelligent, interesting, charming, well traveled, self-confident and handsome, with a great body to boot… I finally have before me the man of my dreams. Oh Lord, I think I'm in deep trouble here… If he’s meant to be in my life please Lord, let me know the right thing to say.“

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Battle Weary - A Work in Healing

Battle Weary - A Work in Healing

My battle weary body
collapses... tired.
Sleep escaping...
sad thoughts
like a train
aiming for
my brain.

I’m gripped,
by age old fears,
while shedding tears
through grief-filled years
that never end.

If only this were:
… a bad dream;
… a tired scream
that’s dying
from within.

But it’s not, it’s
…a hurting soul
…that's not yet whole
a high price,
in life & thoughts
for caring
and loving
when it should have not.

Its new pain…
like an old refrain
playing endlessly
without restrain.

Comfort can’t be found
in memories,
nor in those that live
for they so easily
can deceive.

I turn to God,
my source of all,
who provides,
healing love,
and patience
from above.

~ me ~

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thoughts on 9/11

Two months ago, as I was doing research for a story I was writing, I visited an old post on a website, where the blogger asked his readers how they made sure they remembered or observed 9/11. To me it was an unsettling survey and some of the cavaliar comments “about getting over it already” were even more disturbing (that's why I'm not linking to them). It was all very hard to read, especially after learning that earlier that week none of the local tv stations were going to broadcast the memorial services for 9/11.

As I began to read one of the comments (which I have posted below), I found it both relatable and somehow very familiar. I was truly stunned, when I got to the end and discovered who the comment author was.

"Just reading these comments surprises me. Those of us that survived and also lost loved ones that day don't have to remember. We have lived with it every day without respite. Yes the pain is duller and the compelling grief that tugs at your heartstrings and the corners of your memories is less intense, but the memories are pervasive and still linger close to everything I do."

"It's the first automatic thought I have as I emerge from the subway and look up on clear blue sky days. It's the thought that returns during my early morning Tuesday conference call in a new conference room facing that spacial ghost that lingers in my mind's eye, as I look at the downtown skyline. It's immediately and urgently brought back with every fire drill, group of ambulances, fire engines or police cars that go by with sirens blaring, as they head downtown."

"It's in the ever present silence and absence of my loved ones during every milestone, celebration or heartache I experience, making each occasion more poignant for their absence."

"No, I don't need reminders of 9/11 for I am a living, breathing, reminder of survival on that day."
Posted by michele on August 23, 2004 12:48 AM

Even after all these years, on some days that'’s exactly how I feel. I will be at a private service tomorrow, remembering friends who died saving others on that day, who never came home.

For me, there will always be plenty of reminders of 9/11. Reminders from those who continuously tell us how much we are hated and reminders from those how have sworn to annihilate us. In NYC we’ve already endured, 3 dirty bomb scares in one month. In one particular instance, I walked out of my office building for lunch to encounter hazmat clad police officers with a huge chemical “sniffer” on the back of a flat bed truck. At the moment I encountered this scene my first thought was “I’m glad I’ve told everyone I love how I feel about them, because I can now go in peace.”

I hope you take a moment each day to feel grateful that you are alive and that you can touch, laugh with, hug and kiss each and every one of your loved ones. This life is a gift, please don’t take it for granted. May God continue to bless us all.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

State of my state

Hey there! Hope you’'re all well. I’ve been visiting my top 50 blogs through my cell and seeing the amusing, fun, interesting, heartwarming stuff you all have posted. I’m still keeping VW, RSM, JON and a few other special people in my thoughts and prayers as they go through their physical/health challenges. I’ve been through my own this past year, sometimes even doubled-up when I was undergoing chemotherapy while dealing with torn ligaments in my knees that left me on crutches for months. I know it can'’t compare to your own personal trials but what I have to share from my own experience is that if you  hang in there, relying on your faith, your relationship with your creator and find daily inspiration for a positive outlook, you’ll have the ability to have a more positive outcome. A decade ago when I had my first bout of cancer if found Louise Hay to be a very inspiring author. From her I found others. So if you’re going through anything that’s challenging your spirit, I encourage you to search online for positive inspiration or re-explore your faith again. There’s plenty of support and resources online so I hope if you need you’ll use them to get through any bump in your road.

As for me, I'm currently back in physical therapy almost 2 hrs per day, in order to finish the rehab on my knee and move back into the gym. Wooohoooo! At the same time I'm busy going through an intensive professional development course which is FRIEKIN AWESOME! Of course the goal-setting workshop kicked my butt this week because I didn’t anticipate that we would be taking THREE DAYS to envision everything I would like to see in my professional life for the next TWENTY YEARS. Now please understand, I’m psyched about this because these are all my professional hopes and dreams that were tucked in the back of my head but never allowed to see the light of day. Why? They were small thoughts based on a fearful life that didn't dare to dream. And folks, this time I was not only given permission to dream, I went out there full forced and dared to dream... BIG!

This Trainer/Coach is so good I decided to take and pay for a personal development class with him. Unfortunately, I didn’t know it at the time of signing up, but the classes overlap for about 2 weeks. At first the overachiever in me thought: “ahh, I’ll be able to manage.” Now, I’m not so sure I can do both classes justice. All I can do is try because I really want to take these 2 courses now. This guy isn’t always in NYC and the timing for these courses in my life is perfect.

You see I'’ve always had a lot of dreams. When I was 25 and diagnosed with cancer the first time around I made a list of the top 50 things I wanted to accomplish in my life. The first 10 or most important to me I decided to accomplish prior to starting chemo. In fact I deferred chemo for 4 weeks because I wanted to have something to think about and feel good about during the throwing up, loosing my hair, skin looking gray, not wanting to continue on days. The accomplishment of those 10 things were my carrots/my evidence that dangled before my eyes for my future life and my drive for remaining an active participant in my recovery so that I could accomplish the remaining 40 things by age 40.

By age 35, I was blessed by God with having the opportunities to accomplish 48 of the 50 goals on that original list. When I was 40 I completed the last 2. This past April, when I was diagnosed with skin cancer, I quickly did a top 10 list of things I wanted God to bless me with the opportunity to see, do, have in the following year. It was tough at times, especially after my knee injury, but God making the way, I forged ahead and I recently accomplished my 10th! Wooohoooo! So I knew I needed a new set of goals that would help me continue my forward momentum. And this instructor, well, he dares me to not only dream, because God didn't put us on this earth to do just a few things but to do great things (whether small or big) in his name. So this time I dared to dream like I’ve never dreamed before. He asks me to visualize my dreams and how they would look like in my life, with no impediments such as fear stopping me. There’s more, and the course its a lot more intense, but that is just plain awesome. No one has ever dared me to dream and aim way high! High enough to reach the sky for God's guidance and blessing. No one! And so he has shown me that my track record of accomplishing my small dreams are proof that I cannot only dream big, but that God will show me ways to accomplish the big dreams too, if they're his will. Which means... me eventually leaving NYC (you know I’ve kidded about this before but it’s a dream of mine) and finding a wonderful community to live and work, where I can raise my son to be a happy values oriented kid. Woohooo! Can you tell I’m psyched?

So I’m looking at a schedule that looks a little bit like this:

5:30am – 7:00am – Physical Therapy via Skype
7:00am – 8:00am – Make breakfast (pack lunch) get son and I ready for our days
8:00am – 9:00am – Travel to drop off son at camp/continue on to work
9:00am – 10:00am – Get as much stuff done as possible before Prof. Dev. Class
10:00am – 11:00am – Professional Development Class
11:00am – 4:45pm – Work \hard to get all issues resolved & squeeze in 20 min of PT
4:45pm – 7:00pm – Travel to and take classes then take a cab home
7:15pm – 8:30pm – Catch up w/son and sitter, spend time focusing on son & get him ready for next day and bed
8:30pm – 10:00pm –House work, meal prep for bkfast, lunch & dinner as I eat dinner
10:00am – 1:00am – Do homeowork for class, shower and crash in my bed

In order to achieve this I’ve had to adjust my nutrition and increase protein, calcium, etc. to support the extra activity. So far so good, I’ve been on this schedule for 2 weeks now and it’s held up well. The truth is I'’ve not slept this good, been this driven, nor been this excited about life since before 9/11 when my beloved friends and I were all training for the NYC Marathon.

What do I attribute all this change to? Your total steadfast support, your unconditional love and you guys cheering for me until I was able to once again cheer for myself and cheer you guys on right back. You have helped me heal in ways I never thought were possible. And the most awesome part of this process is that I am a better person than I was prior to 9/11. God bless you all for being such an integral catalyst in my growth and I promise to be back as soon as I’m done!

Oh one of my personal goals that I intend to put down on my list and accomplish over the next 3 years is to attend at least 1 blog meet and make a few personal visits to some awesome bloggers out there. So, look out! I just may be headed your way by the end of the summer!

BTW, comments are still closed 'cause in this kingdom I choose not to deal with scum of the earth spammers. But thank you for stopping bye, for your incredible support and for sticking by me through the quiet blogless periods.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Types of Men I Love

There are 2 types of men that I absolutely fall for: smart guys and funny guys. If the guy is both I have hit the jackpot and I'm head over heals in love.  

I was lucky enough to know Robin (who is both funny and smart) during his early days when he was roommates with Christopher Reeve.  I had such a crush on him I would never talk I would just stammer.  He would love to talk to me because I was an easy audience, He made it easy for me to be around him.  Another thing, he seldom cursed when off stage.  

Work has been so stressful that I haven't laughed in awhile. Since I also missed Robin I needed to re-ignite my crush, so I watched him here.  Enjoy! 

Friday, June 15, 2007

Frayed at the Seams

For the past 8 weeks I’ve been working hard on several projects and dealing with lots and lots of stresses:
- working on the splitting up of our dept., and the transition that will require us to re-allocate: work, assets, resources and personnel
- not knowing until the end of last week, that my employment would continue
- organizing high level business meetings with a Gov., several Commissioners, some senators and Reps along with business leaders for that state
- reading, digesting and analyzing pressing time-sensitive legislation and forwarding important items to people within my firm explaining why it’s important they review it
- dealing with prima donna staffers at work & elsewhere
- dealing with first, my son’s ear infection, then his throat infection, which is now a mild chest congestion
- dealing with the abnormal growth of my son’s incisor tooth which is bothering him
- answering my accountants questions so he can finish the taxes I started (but was unable to finish filing due to my additional work
- getting my wallet pick pocketed on the train and having to deal with reporting all my cards as stolen
- dealing with almost daily changes in my son’s school schedule and class routine
- taking him to swim class, baseball clinics, birthday parties, etc.
- dealing with the shortcomings of my babysitter which led me to fire her 2 days ago.

Well, in the last 48 hrs life reached a level of stress that made me fray at the seams and finally act out in passive-aggressive ways, some of which involved playfully transferring my frustration onto 2 very patient and kind individuals. Along the way God showed me that he still loves and cares about me and that he’'s still taking care of me. “How do I know?” you may ask.

Two days ago, while riding in a fellow parent’s car, I began to get an eerie feeling of desperation that I needed to leave the car right away. So I begged the driver to pull over because I had forgotten that I needed to take the train in order to be on time for a mtg. Mind you, I had already been riding in the car over 20 min. But something inside kept nagging at me during those 20 min., and my increasingly queezy stomach convinced me to change my plans.

Five minutes later, while I was comfortably sitting on the train reading Tammi’s blog, a car rear-ended my friend’s car at 70mph, sending it into an active intersection, where a 2nd car smashed into the passenger side (where I had been sitting) making her car jump onto the sidewalk, injuring 5 pedestrians, 2 almost fatally. After I visited the driver in the hospital and saw her extensive bruising, I decided to go see the car. What I found at the police parking lot was a smashed up and flattened sardine can. I could not help but break down and cry and thank God for keeping me safe here on earth for a little while longer.

Somehow, the sudden unravelling of all my projects doesn’t seem all that important. What is important is that I was able to have a wonderful dinner with my son tonight, I was able to sit on the floor beside his bathtub as he bathed, while reading to him the recap of last night’'s Yankees and Mets game. But most importantly, I was able to hug him and kiss him goodnight then sit on his bed holding his little hand telling him all about the very first time I went to a baseball game. Earlier he had not only said please and thank you,… he asked if he could be excused from the dinner table. Those 3 hours today were parenting magic.

I’m so very grateful that I not only get to spend more time with the incredible little guy that’'s my son; I get to have the pleasure to be around and enjoy his company for what's to come.

Daz’d, I believe this definitely qualifies as one of those pre-cognitive experiences you’ve asked readers to share about.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Three Years

It's been 3 years since I began blogging to heal from all my losses. What started as a place to pour out my pain and tears has become a place to reflect, create, and explore. Even though the pain is mostly gone, I continue to use this blog:

- to reflect on how the past continues to affect and imbue my present spirit and actions.
- to create, using my talents and the inspiration I receive from others.
-To explore who and where I am, while continuing to move towards my dreams and discover who I am yet to be.

Thanks to all of you who stop here along your own personal roads of discovery, for you have all become part of me in one way or another.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hot Damm!

Scene takes place at a local café, while I’m talking for a few minutes with another mom during children’s storytime.

Me: “Is it hot in here or is it me?”
A Mom: “It IS a bit warm in here. But you’re also drinking hot latte. [Touching my forhead] You don’t have a fever.” 
Me: “Man… I’m so hot I want to take off my shirt and go bury my chest in the snow”
A Mom: [blinks and looks away, not knowing what to say]
Me: “Sorry, that was too much information, wasn’t it?

------------------- an hour later-------------------

Scene takes place on the street; it’s 20F and the wind chill makes it feels like 11F. I’ve bumped into my babysitter’s mom, Jenny, who was a Dr. in South America. While talking with her I begin opening my coat, removing my scarf, taking off my gloves and finally my hat.
Jenny: “Aren’t you cold? It’s freezing out here.”
Me: “No… I’m actually kinda hot.” 
Jenny: “How many layers of clothing do you have on?” [I’m known for my layering. Tammi doesn’t know this but when I met her for dinner I had wool/cashmere blend tights, a pair of leggings under a pair of corduroy pants. Over all my clothing I wore my Michelin style, full-length (sub-zero) down coat.]
Me: I’m wearing just 2 light shirts and 2 pants under my down coat. [I remove my coat to show her.]
Jenny: Let me see… [touches my forhead], you don’t have a fever. [she asks lots of medical questions, which I answer]. Hmm, you’re too young to be going through the change.
Me: What change?
Jenny: You know…the change [she says frowning at me for not getting her meaning.]
Me: What change?
Jenny: The…. change [she says speaking slowly as if talking to a retarded child].
Me: “Who’s on first?”
Jenny: “What?....”
Me: “What’s on second.”
Jenny: “What are you talking about?” [she’s got major frowning action going on now].
Me: “I don’t know [“he’s on 3rd”]. I have no idea what YOU”RE talking about.”
Jenny: “Well it doesn’t matter because you’re too young to be going through it anyway.”
Me: “Well, thank you for that non-diagnosis, Dr!”
Jenny: [She laughs, but I’m wondering if she really understands my sense of humor.]

------------------- 2 hours later-------------------

Scene takes place in my kitchen. As I wrestle with dinner options I call my blog-bro _Jon..
Me: "Jon, can I ask you a question about your wife’s chemo treatment? Do you mind?" 
Jon: "Not at all. What do you want to know?" 
Me: "I’m having insane cravings: Today I bought anchovies, feta cheese and olives for my dinner. Did she ever get cravings for foods like that?" 
Jon: "Yep, she had some pretty strange requests." 
Me: "Okay, I’m glad to know it’s not just me." 
Jon: "No, it’s not just you. Oh by the way, she also had some major hot flashes." 
Me: "Oh. My. God… I thought I was either going crazy or there was something seriously wrong with me. How did you know I needed to know that?" 
Jon: "I just figured you did because it’s all part of the chemotherapy."
Me: "Oh, I can’t believe it… so that’s what’s been going on?" [I momentarily think about sharing how I wanted to take off my clothes and bury my chest in the snow earlier, but the look of that mom’s face came back to me, so I spared him. Some things are better left unsaid.]

Lucky for me I have this blog, so I can remind myself – it’s the chemo stupid – if I forget!

Jon, one more question. Is insomnia also part of this? It's 3:00am and I'm still not yet sleepy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Playing Cyrano - A Man's Post

For the past 48 hrs. I've been writing little notes, leaving text or voice mail messages, letting some of the incredible people in my life know that I care about them and that they are much loved. In return I have received a number of requests (a total of 5 in the last 48hrs) from my guys (deployed soldiers I correspond with) who have asked me for help in writing to their wives/girlfriends/loves, letting them know they are loved. They are looking for the perfect letter. I was hoping my previous post in which Daz'd wrote a poem to his wife would be enough. But they don't want poetry because it's not them.

When I wrote back to the first few, they essentially replied they needed "a sample" or something to go on for inspiration, because love letters were "out of their area of expertise". Hmmmm, I know what that feels like, when you struggle to say the right thing to someone not knowing if you've said it well because your emotions are all jammed up inside.

Sooooo, I'm thinking this is a post my wonderful male readers can help with. If you don't want to be recognized you can send an email to: lettersfromnyc [at] yahoo [dot] com with your "sample" note or letter. It will not only help these men, it will also counter some of the negative vibes the cynics of the blogosphere have been spreading. So, I hope you help your fellow man and guide these young ones in the way of love, and in so doing show women out there that some of you know how to sweep a lady off her feet when you put your mind to it!

I asked one of my incredibly talented and most wonderful blog brother Jon, to help some of these men out, with sample he would write to his wife. Here's what he contributed:

Michele: My idea here is for men to take these templates and expand upon them. If your correspondents read these and are inspired to expound upon them, I think they can create some wonderful - personal - letters of their own.
Thanks for the chance to help, the chance to create. - Jon

----- Template: Strength -----
The love I feel for you exceeds words. I say "I love you" each time I hug you, each time we kiss, each time I touch your hand. I think of your love during my most difficult times. Your support - your love - renews my strength and helps me get my work done. There is a special strength I gain when I think of how much love we share. Many times I want to hurry and finish what I am doing so that I can return to you. When a soft ray of light touches my skin, I often feel it is your touch, even when we are far apart.

----- Template: Time -----
When I smell your perfume, I am transported to those special times we've shared. Holding you is like being wrapped in a warm blanket - so soft and comforting. When I wear things you have given me, I recall the moment of joy when we first touched. Each of these feelings is permanent in my heart. These memories are etched in my mind as solid as carvings in stone. My love for you will always be strong. The time we have spent together is but a small down payment on the time I wish we could share.

----- Template: Religious -----
I am so very blessed to have your love. I feel as if God had selected an angel to love me. When my faith falters, a simple reminder of your love restores everything. At moments when I question, your love removes any doubt. Knowing that you - My Angel - are watching for me, waiting for me, loving me - that boosts my spirit. In those moments when I pray, all of those prayers include thanking God for you in my life. From the moment I say "Amen", I feel the strength of your love in me, helping me up, keeping me going. With your love, I have an unshakable faith.

----- Template: Without -----
Without your love, I would be hollow. Not only do you fill me, your love causes an overflow within my heart. I do not cry because of our love - I shout, I do little dances in private, I smile and laugh for reasons only we understand. I cannot say how much I love you because it is beyond what words can express. Only my actions can show you the depth of my love for you, and as you will see through the years, my love for you is without end. Without your love, I would not be me.

----- Template: Query -----
How much do I love you?
How much does a flower love the sun? How much does a singer love the song? How much does the painter love the brush? How much does the driver love the open road? How much does the pilot love the take-off? How much does the eagle love the wind? How much does the tree love the earth?
There is no limit to my love for you. It is the ultimate question - it can only be answered by another question.

Of course, for those of you who want to be a little more naughty, you can visit Harvey's treasure trove of Daily Love Notes for inspiration or out right swipping. Please feel free to contribute your own notes to help others. THANKS!

Update: The submission below was contributed by Laughing Wolf.

You complete me. Though the distance is long, you are here with me, a vital part of me. Your love is a warmth that surrounds me, your laughter brings a smile to my lips, your eyes are a memory into which I sink each night, and the silk of your touch is a comfort from within when things are rough. The distance is long, but to spirit and mind it is as if you are here. Memories of you fill my thoughts, your love my heart, and your strength and support surround me each day. Know that you are in my thoughts this day and every day, and that I send my love to warm you and surround you every day.

Great job guys [fanning myself to bring the temperature in the room down] all those are great contributions and pass my swooning  inspection.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Battle Weary - A Work in Healing

My battle weary body
collapses... tired.
Sleep escaping...
sad thoughts
like a train
aiming for
my brain.
I’m gripped,
by age old fears,
while shedding tears
through all these years
which never end.

If only this were:
… a bad dream;
… a tired scream
that’s dying
from within.

But it’s not,
…a hurting soul
…not yet whole
a high cost.
with life & thoughts
for caring
and loving
when it should have not.

Its new pain…
like an old refrain
playing endlessly
without restrain.

Comfort can’t be found
in memories,
nor in those that live
for they so easily
can deceive.

I turn to God,
my source for all,
who provides,
healing love,
and patience
from above.

~ me ~ 1.31.07

Sunday, January 21, 2007

On Reading C. S. Lewis

I'm currently reading C. S. Lewis' essay, THE PROBLEM OF PAIN (1940) in which he explores the depths of his faith in light of the suffering he sees around him. In the essay Lewis asks: "If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?"

In the end, his spiritual quest led him to believe that much of the suffering in God's world can be traced to the evil/sinful choices people make, for which they must atone and amend for in this lifetime before achieving inner peace and a true connection to God. It's a very thought provoking essay. 

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Conversation with Michele

A post written by Colin :

I was sitting there reading the NY Times while visiting/caring for Michele after physical therapy for her knee injury. She was stretched out on the couch with her right leg propped up on a pillow with a huge ice pack on her knee. We had been sitting quietly, me reading - she thinking, for upwards of an hour without saying a word to each other.

She was staring out the window and looking up at the night sky, when she noticed me staring and turned to look at me for a moment.

"What have you been thinking about all this time?”" I finally asked her as I glanced back at the newspaper and turned the page.

"“Nothing really"” she replied and turned to look back out the window. After a long pause, in which I read an entire article, she asked, “"Have you ever read Ayn Rand or Robert Heinlein?”"

“"No, but I have heard of them."” I stared at her thoughtfully for awhile. “"Michele, I was just wondering… something... is this what married life is like?"” She looked at me intently for a moment, almost as if to read me.

“"Well, that depends on what you’re feeling at this moment."

After considering a bit, I shared: “"Comfortable, serene, relaxed."”

After a deep reflective sigh, and with a tone of real honesty, almost wistfully, she said: "“Imagine those feelings, along with contentedness and an abiding love and you have the feelings of someone who is happily married.”"

After making sure I understood, she settled back into her quiet reverie of years gone past and didn'’t speak again until I left.

Though she is still mourning, she is now in a place of acceptance and simply learning to live with the loss. Sometimes I am blown away by her resilience, conviction and strength. It almost makes me feel self-conscious and somewhat ashamed that I tried to play her once.

Last month, during lunch she said to me that I needed to learn more about women in order to respect them as people so that I could eventually have a successful relationship with one. As I check in on her I can’t help but think how right she was and how this is all part of learning that life lesson. 

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Anatomy of a Meltdown

I am genuinely touched and taken aback by the number of messages I have received through Colin and Jon. I am sorry I haven't responded to the messages I received directly and hope that this post will serve both as a response and allay concerns and fears. I’m sorry that I just checked out of life... everyone's life, for awhile. There's so much stuff going on in my life right now that I just needed to take some time for me, turn my focus inward to strengthen my inner-self, in order to refocus/ re-group and then move on. Much like pulling back during a fierce military battle that has been waged for far too long.

Right now I'm just at stage 1 of loss: experiencing the feelings of overwhelming grief, from simultaneous losses (one was an old friend and neighbor of 20 yrs), which overwhelmed me all at once. I have been here once before... after 9/11.

This time as things began accumulating recently: enduring my skin cancer treatment this past year, the beach rescue that turned badly in early fall, the leg injury after thanksgiving which then brought back my carpel tunnel…; well, they were compounded by the news that my mom’s cancer treatment is not going well and she’s going blind, and 2 very recent losses of good friends who will be dearly missed. It was multiple straws that broke my emotional back.

There's always stuff going on in my life that I never talk about because: a) I'm not a whiner... I know that most situations are simply temporary life hurdles to get through. I am a very reserved individual who processes things by thinking thoroughly, feeling deeply and working through things by writing stories, letters, posts and in my journals; b) I’m accepting of many things because I know, in the end, my faith will carry me through everything; c) Oftentimes, I just need to process my feelings quietly first, so I can then be level-headed in planning out my actions and executing solutions. That always entails quiet reflection, definitely some prayer time and writing, and on occasion tears, when loss is involved. Since my hands were hurting I couldn't write. My spirit was too low to speak to anyone on the phone, my body was in great pain from physical therapy and my injury, so I reached a breaking point by the time I received the news of my mom and the losses of good friends.

Colin is a caring, funny and sometimes an exasperating work colleague (if you remember some of his posts you know what I mean), who doesn't know the personal side of me yet, because we've only recently begun to hang out, so he didn't know what was going on. Thanks to those who emailed him and enlightened him on Michele. He shared those emails with me and they touched me deeply. It seems some people who have been reading since the beginning do understand me. They knew I was too over-whelmed to clue him in when he showed up at my door on Sunday. My grieving process is always handled in private and within the confines of my home.

In this instance, I was just tired of enduring so much pain and loss in my life in this past year, especially as I approached the 1st anniversary of my best friend's death. So yes, I took the opportunity, while my son was at a sleepover during that weekend (a true blessing) to allow myself a mini-meltdown. Normally, some people overwhelmed with grief drink, they yell at people, or take it out on others. Me, I just wait for the best moment I can deal with my feelings and then let myself feel all of the pain of my losses, because I have no time and no strength to carry excess baggage around with me. So I deal by feeling everything all at once when I'm able to. It allows me to bounce back and be there for my responsibilities and my son sooner than trying to suppress the hurt while living my daily life. Lying on the grave was a fetal position moment that just couldn't wait any longer. I just wanted and needed to be close to my friends and feel their loving embrace and re-assurance. By lying on the grave it was as close to them as I could come in a moment in which I greatly missed them, needed to talk to them and wanted desperately to get one of their awesome loving hugs. See, if Colin had known me, as my friends did, he would have known that I was wearing my waterproof hiking gear. They would have known that I just needed to cry my heart out dry and would have let me do so.

After 9/11, Hook instictively understood that on some level and published my letters in which I finally shared how a survivor of an attack felt and how one finds their way back to the light after loss. In doing so, he helped my healing process by giving my pain and thoughts a forum. By giving voice to my words in print he guided me to the wonderful power of healing through writing. Through his kind act I learned that I would eventually be okay. Now I know that with time, God and through my writing l will once again heal my wounds.

I don't know if any of this is making any sense, but that's what was going on. When I visit their graves in the summer I sometimes sit down and have a picnic or just lay down and talk to or pray with them. As C. S. Lewis once said, when he was seen doing the same at his wife's grave: "Their spirits may not be there, it many not do a thing for their souls, but it certainly makes me feel a heck of a whole lot better."

As time passes, and grief is processed I'll move on to stage 2: acceptance. In the meantime, I'll live in appreciation for the wonderful gifts of friendship and love I received while they were in my life, and though I will miss their presence terribly, I’ll have wonderful moments of bliss that I can recall.

I have not yet told my son of my neighbor/his surrogate grandfather's passing, he's currently dealing with the flu so I decided to wait, like the coward that I am. That's the only thing I'm not good at, is telling him about death. When his fishes died several years ago, some of you may recall how I told him they went on vacation to Florida to visit family. When we were planning for our Disney vacation this past August he insisted on visiting his fish to try and talk them into coming home. Sweet I know, but do you think I told the truth. I started to, but caved in at the sight of quivering lips. But this time I have no choice but to share the sad news and help him through his own grief. My neighbor was a wonderful caring grand-father figure that was teaching my son different languages, music and art. He was a sculptor and an artist. Recently I had been enjoying tea time with him in the afternoons. What I will miss the most is being able to share the little simple things that I used to come across and read and our discussions about art, literature and politics. I was so looking forward to our discussion on Heinlein and Rand this coming week and on Tocqueville the week after.

So there you have it. All of it. I have not yet lost my mind, though I'm sure a few people thought I did. Thanks to those of you who sent messages of support. Just know that you helped to ease my grieving process by being with me in spirit. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know when I’ll write again. Just know during my quiet moments that I’m doing my best to heal. In the meantime, what’s come of all this is local bloggers extending themselves to me and inviting me to “meet-up” in the Summer. There’s a Renaissance Festival in Troy, NY and Celtic Festival in CT where a few bloggers will get together. Which is nice, I have something fun to work towards and look forward to for when this dark cloud lifts and my leg heals. I did need something to gear my healing towards in the near future and an invitation to a dinner/dance in April helped enormously. Again, thank you all for your support, your kind thoughts and words have really helped during this time!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Out of my Depth

Colin here… writing a post for rhe injured Michele. 

As some of you may remember, I was a guest blogger awhile back until I was banished to Siberia by the beautiful Michele for violating her blogging guidelines. This time I return having been forgiven but with much consternation over Michele.

Michele and I have worked together in one professional capacity or another since late 2004 and as a result I’'ve had the opportunity to get to know her a bit on a personal level. Having redeemed myself, I’'ve been on my best behaviour and have been supportive during her recent physical challenges. However, in the last 2 days she’s undergone a radical change and I truly don’t know what to attribute it to or what to do to help her. When it comes to dealing with emotions, either mine or someone else’s, I'’m truly out of my depth. Perhaps if I explain what happened recently someone out there might understand and be able to guide me as to what to do to help her.

A few days ago, we agreed that I would pick her up on Sunday for lunch and afterwards drop her off at church. When I didn'’t receive a call-back Sunday morning I went to her apt. to make sure she was okay. What I found was someone who was the total opposite of the cheerful, vibrant woman I know. She was altered in both mind and spirit. After a great deal of coaxing she finally allowed me to drop her off to visit a friend she said she needed to talk to. To my surprise she guided me to a cemetery about an hour from her home. Over her objections I told her I would stay and wait as it threatened rain at any moment. Before leaving the car she asked me to promise that no matter what I would not get out of the car. I did and gave her an hour before I interrupted.

Ever so slowly, limping and hobbling along, she made her way through the graves and stopped before one with a large gray headstone about 30 feet away. She stood there for a moment and while holding onto the headstone knelt down on her good knee and leaned forward letting her forehead touch the headstone in a gentle and loving way. From where I sat I could see her lips moving as if in prayer. At one point she lifted her head slightly, just enough to kiss the stone. and then pressed her cheek against it and extended her arms like a christ-like figure, almost as if trying to hug and hold the headstone.

A steady drizzle began falling and just when I thought she would finally return, she instead carefully laid her body down on the wet grass. Not knowing what to do, and constrained by my promise, I lowered the car window and called out asking: "Are you okay?" After a minute, in which I was on the verge of running to her, I received a text message saying simply “yes”. There she lay immobile on that wet grass under a cold rain for almost half hour in which I knew she would be soaked to the bone. A long while later, when a torrential downpour began to fall, I felt I had to do something. Getting out of the car I ran to her side and asked her if I could help her get up. While I waited for a response I saw that her eyes were tightly shut. In looking at the headstone I recognized the picture as one of her deceased friends. Without asking again I picked her up and carried her back to the car, placing her gently in the seat. As I closed the door I saw her eyes were still closed and tears were steadily streaming down her cheeks.

When I turned on the ignition to engage the heating system my cd player turned on automatically and played “Far Away” by Nickelback, one of her favorite bands. As I reached to turn the music off she stopped my hand and said, "Please"” in a haunting pained voice that was just above a whisper. Her level of desolation is something I have never experienced in anyone. She began to sob silently while I sat there not knowing what to do nor knowing what to say and feeling pretty damned angry for it too. As a man, there has never been a time in my life that I can recall feeling so utterly helpless. Men are programmed to spring into action and fix things in order to save the day, not to sit quietly by, watching helplessly as women cry.

I eventually leaned over and put my hand on her shoulder, squeezing it to let her know I was there for her. I asked if there was anything I could do? Anyone I could call? But she just shook her head. Just as I was growing wild with desperation over her sobbing I asked if I could just give her a hug. When she didn'’t respond I simply pulled her towards me and embraced her as tightly as I could. Her body shuddered from the deepest sob I'’ve ever heard. It truly broke my heart seeing her this way and knowing there was nothing I could do to lessen her pain.

I held her for a very long time until her sobs subsided. She eventually pulled away to lean back in the car seat and through small heaves of tearful gasps said “thank you”. I pleaded with her to please give me something to do, no matter how small or insignificant, that might help in some way to make her feel better, for I felt totally impotent. That’s an awful feeling to have while facing someone in pain. When she was finally calm enough to speak, she turned to me and said “pray” which was followed by a huge mournful sigh.

“"Pray?”" I asked, not recalling having ever prayed in my life. 

"“Pray."” she said earnestly. 

After a long pause I confessed to her that “I don’t know how to pray.” Then I asked her, "Does “God listens to the prayers of unbelievers?"” 

“"God listens to all,… especially sinners."” And silent tears began to fall once again.
“"That’s it? Just pray?”" I asked again to make sure that’s what she really wanted from me and to get her to focus on our conversation rather than her thoughts and pain.

“"Pray,"” she said looking at me with the saddest face I’ve ever seen on her.
After a long pause, I asked, "“How?"” She reached over and with great effort turned off the music. She then clasped her hands, bowed her head and taking a deep breath said, "“Dear God,”" pausing for a moment to steady her emotions that were once again welling up inside, "“please help Michele heal & become whole once again. Amen.”" 

She looked up at me encouragingly, so I followed her lead and repeated the same words.” After another long pause I asked, "“Is that all I can do?”" 
"That’s all anyone can do for me right now"” she said trying to breathe through her unsettled emotions.   
We drove back the entire way in total silence, which to be honest I welcomed over the crying. I made her promise to call if she needed anything but all she said was “just pray”. I still can’t see how this prayer business works and how it can actually help her, so I’m turning to you, her readers (especially the women), to guide me and tell me what I can really do to help. She doesn’t want to talk about it, so I’m not going to press, but I welcome any advice or suggestions on how I might help because I have no clue as to what to do. If you think of anything, please email me. In the meantime, I’'ll keep updating everyone as to how she’s doing. 

google-site-verification: google0ae6c0eabbcf691f.html