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Figurative Fasting

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent. Forty days with a focus on fasting, praying, and giving. I had been thinking about what I wanted to fast from, for many months, and had come up with being negative/critical/complaining. I was hoping I could make it to lunch without breaking my fast.

I am teaching a small group of kids at church, preparing to be baptized at Easter. With ash crosses marked upon each of our foreheads, we discussed what we'd learned at Mass earlier that day: the meaning of Lent, the symbolism of the ashes, and what we were going to do during our own individual Lenten journeys.

One of the older students, a sponsor to a younger student, after a group discussion about giving up Xbox, iPods, candy, sweets, etc., said she was a going to do "more of a figurative fast." It's not my place to publish her personal decision on what to fast from, but suffice it to say, I was blown away by her maturity, wisdom, perspective, and approach. It gave m…
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Annual Needs Assessment

Yesterday was Wil's annual needs assessment. Oregon has moved away from the ANA, and is now conducting the Oregon Needs Assessment, which, thankfully, only needs to be done every five years. "Unless that changes... you know how things are always changing," Wil's Personal Agent said.

Yes. I know how things are always changing.

What doesn't change is the PTSD the needs assessment activates. Because of the new tool, and new rules that come with it, Wil's PA came as support and for advocacy, but a second person came to administer the assessment. Through emails with the PA, I was well-prepared for what would happen, how long it would take, and what was expected from Wil. For the 100-minute appointment, Wil was asked to partake for 30. Much pre-paving and elaborate scheduling to assure he was well-fed, under-scheduled, etc. took place.

The PA and the assessor, in 30 minutes, got that. And more. They really saw and heard and gathered and gleaned. The three of us wer…

56

It's been awhile. Sorry about that. I've been working on a "new" memoir. "New" can only be said using quotation marks, as it's been many years in the making, but has been started and re-started, many times. I haven't quite landed on "it." I will know when I'm there, but the path is that of a maze: the dead ends are many, and the way through, not obvious.

Turned 56, yesterday. Closer to 60 than to 50 brings with it mixed emotions, mostly good. Our nest is full. Woohoo lives here again, and we are once again, a full-time family of four.

Been listening to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah's new podcast on A NEW EARTH: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. I went through the original series they did together, many times. Life and times have changed, and it's almost like hearing it all again for the first time, but with a twist -that stir of remembering.

It occurs to me, not for the first time, that Wil does not have a Pain Body, nor an ego. …

It Counts

TOP 10 THINGS THAT COUNT AS WRITING:

10. Reading books about writing

 9. Reading great writing

 8. Signing up for a writing class

 7. Listening to podcasts with great authors

 6. Combing through old writing for snippets, ideas, threads

 5. Writing in a journal

 4. Blogging

 3. Talking about writing with another writer

 2. Reading what you've written from the day before

 1. Writing



TOP 10 GRAY-AREA THINGS THAT SORT OF COUNT AS WRITING:

10. Cleaning your house

 9. Yard work

 8. Going through photo albums

 7. Ironing

 6. Sleeping

5. Recording dreams

4. Listening to an inspirational song, in a continuous loop

3. Staring into space

2. Meditating

1. Walking, alone, in silence, while the writing sifts and sorts


Honey

"Don't wait too long to get another one!"

"When are you getting another one?"

Variations on the same theme and message: you need another dog, ASAP.

"We miss Flicka, but we're enjoying being pet-free," was our response. We didn't miss the hair, the rigid schedule, the expense, the obligation.

We were in no way considering another dog. That was our story, and we were sticking to it.

STM and I had been hearing Woohoo talk of Honey for months. "Don't get any crazy ideas about bringing Honey home with you," we cautioned.

When we landed in Puerto Vallarta, it was only a matter of hours until we met Honey, Pickles and Nova, favorites of Woohoo's from the dog rescue shelter at which she'd been volunteering.


Woohoo played it smart. She didn't push. She understood when we told her we thought Honey was adorbs, but that we were not considering another dog.

Long about Day 3, Honey came up in conversation again. "I'm cons…

Flicka Link

January 26, 2004 - September 4, 2018
Three weeks later, and it's not much easier to talk about. 
My dad used to say, "I don't get a dog because I want to be free to go, but the truth is, nobody 'goes' less than I do."
That was not the truth. The truth was, he could not bear to put himself through the inevitable loss he would one day face. The loss he'd experienced before, and knew he could not do so again. 
That never made sense to me. He needed a dog for companionship, for purpose, structure to his days, for the unconditional love a dog would offer, and he craved.
It makes sense to me, now. 
I have never been with another soul as the veil got thin, and they passed right on through.
I have never been the one to choose the date and time of another's passing.
I will never do it again.
The time was holy, unifying, and beautiful. The days leading up to it, I sat with her for hours, praying, petting, and trying to make peace. I shuffled my Mother Mary Ora…

Something Right

Took the sheets off our bed, and started the laundry. Wil looked at the threadbare mattress pad we've probably had as long as we've been married and said, "There's something wrong with that one." You know how you look at the things around your house so much, you stop seeing them?

I decided he was right, so the next time I was at Target, I treated myself to not the RE, dormitory-level quality, but one up. $35 later, and one mattress pad richer, I decided to run into the bathroom before heading out to do the rest of my many errands.

"Mommy?" a little voice from the stall next to me said.

"Yes?"

"After we wash our hands, will you put your hands over my ears, before you turn on the hand dryer?"

"I'll try."

I came out of the stall, washed my hands, and decided to forego the hand dryer. The woman next to me, without a word, without a glance, did the same thing.

I'm sure that mommy and that extra-sensitive-hearing-kid of h…