Welcome!

A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013

Smile with me.

I will dance my heart
and sing the song of my soul.

Wish me well
and take my hand
or smile and please step aside.

I would have you with me
and we will sing your song
and dance your soul
when it is your turn

And not hold each other back
from our dreams
but hold each other up to the Sun
And to Sister Moon

For we will need their energy
to fly with each other

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Love...

...at Disneyland.


So looking forward to coming back for a long visit and catch up.

Just won't be today.

Did want to capture my happiness and satisfaction after my day with a dear friend at Disneyland yesterday.  She is moving to the east coast to nanny for a year.  While I am thrilled for her - weekends off and just a train ride from New York City (love) - I'm going to miss her terribly.  Thankful, as always, that technology has reached the levels it has.

Yesterday I re-learned one of the most important lessons of my life.

Love has no boundaries; it expands to include however many things you want to extend it to.

There's no list, no tally sheet where you have to take one thing off to add another.  Nope, the paper just keeps growing.

Forgiveness helps it to grow.  The wheelchair driver who clipped my heels from behind (been there, done that so I know it's not a good feeling to do that to someone), the woman who inadvertantly elbowed me in the crowd, the other woman who clobbered me - "Oh my gosh I just hit some poor woman" - to you all, as yesterday.  No worries.  Having a great day.  Smiles.  Jokes. Let's keep spreading the joy of this day we share.

Heading out to help my mom with Christmas preparations.

Wishing everyone who drops by here a warm, loving holiday season.  See you here when life slows down a little.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Sara Bareilles - Let The Rain Lyrics


Let the Rain...

Sara Barielles

I wish I were pretty
I wish I were brave
If I owned this city
Then I'd make it behave

And if I were fearless
Then I'd speak my truth
And the world would hear this
That's what I wish I'd do, yeah

If my hands could hold them you'd see
I'd take all these secrets in me
And I'd move and mold them to be
Something I'd set free

I want to darken in the skies
Open the floodgates up
I want to change my mind
I want to be enough
I want the water in my eyes
I want to cry until the end of time

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down tonight

I hold on to worry so tight
It's safe in here right next to my heart
Who now shouts at the top of her voice
Let me go, let me out, this is not my choice

And I always felt it before

That the world was filled with much more
Than the drowning soul I've learned to be
I just need the rain to remind me

I want to darken in the skies
Open the floodgates up
I want to change my mind
I want to be enough
I want the water in my eyes
I want to cry until the end of time

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down tonight

I love it when artists create something just for me. Don't know how they afford it, making things for one fan at a time but, hey, I'm not complaining.



Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Busy busy...

...getting caught up.

I think I've conquered my jet lag and am sleeping well.

I no longer own a car.  I walk to work most days and negotiate a ride when I need to venture further.  So far, it's working.

Weight Watchers has closed my meeting.  I had almost decided to cancel my membership (since I haven't lost any weight to speak of in a year), but on the very morning I was coming to my final decision, I ran into a friend from the meetings on my walk to work.  I had no idea she lived less than two blocks from me.  Running into her like that convinced me to stick with the program.  They have a new plan (again) this year so maybe it will be what I need to kick off these last thirty pounds.

Thirty pounds.  My magic number.  It was seeing a friend who had lost 30 pounds in the year since I had last seen him that inspired me to think of my loss not as 110 pounds total, but as 30 pounds a year until it was all off.  That was three years ago, and now I'm down to the final 30.

I can do this.

Never heard back from Google/Blogger about my photo issues (shocker) so have been experimenting with resizing my Japan pics for the blog.  Haven't quite perfected my process, but here are the ones I was willing to sacrifice if it didn't work out.

I was fascinated by the variety of foods in the Japanese stores, especially in this larger supermarket.  I mean, when they say fresh fish, they mean FRESH fish





 
And the produce!  I'm not a veggie girl, but I wanted to start filling my suitcases with this stuff.  All I ever see here in my town is broccoli, cauliflower and the occasional green beans and zucchini.
 



 
The tofu aisle.
 
 
 
Getting geared up for the holiday season.  I admit I do not have my usual Christmas spirit, but I'm trying to be optimistic that it will get sparked. 
 
Somewhere.
 
Planning a trip or two to my Happy Place withing the next couple of weeks.  The parade snowflakes have new - um - snowflakes.  That would cheer anyone up, right?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hope.


Until I get some communication about why Google is trying to sell me "extra" storage when, in fact, they say I've only used 40% of my free storage, I can resize my pics.

So, here is the first.  We called this the ginkgo park because the trees were glorious.  However, I learned an important lesson about the beautiful ginkgo.  If you step on the fallen fruit, your shoes will smell like dog shit.

Forever.

(No, my shoes escaped the curse.  The baby, however, was not so careful as I about where he stomped around, and he was a little fragrant.  If he had been older he probably would have been embarrassed that people might have though that was - well - his own smell.)

Fine Print.

Apparently when I started this blog six years ago, there was some fine print about how much I could post.  And I've reached that limit.

Until I decide what to do with this (pay for more storage or move somewhere else) I won't be able to feed my addiction for pics.

Do want to share, though, that my trip to Japan was just splendid.  It was painful to leave and I am still fighting to stay out of the dumps.

It's been a rough fall.

I really didn't need to lose this place right now.

Hang in there with me, OK?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This just in...

Kawagoe
is our family destination.






Two more sleeps.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Before sayonara...

... a check in.


Yes, I'm nearly packed and ready for my second trip to Japan.  I cannot wait to get my greedy mother's hands on my son, his wife and my too-cute-for-words grandson.

Y'know those movies where - at the dramatic climax - the heroine's lifetime of memories come flashing rocket fast, one after another within a few seconds through her consciousness?  That was sort of happening to me on Friday.  I was listening to my students recite the Preamble to the Constitution.  Normally it's one of my favorite days.  You'd have to know my classes to understand.  My school is what the United Nations wishes to be.  Youngsters from all over the world - all cultures, all colors, all orientations - doing a good job of learning to embrace each other's special qualities.  I always get a kick out of watching them - one at a time - stand and recite the preamble to our governing document.

But this time I was distracted, and it seemed to be when they reached, "do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."  Distracted by images from last year's trip.

 




This year I look forward to lots of conversation with my son and his wife (my friend) as well as active playtime with my grandson.  Am hopeful that he will settle in for a snuggle or two, too, but from what I've seen on Skype that may be a pipedream.

It has also been suggested that there may be some different sights to be seen this year.  Perhaps Asakusa...




I'm pretty open to whatever.  My family is my focus.  But they know I've had a lifelong love of things Japanese and it seemed to bother them that I didn't see more of the traditional "tourist" attractions (and I was a little disappointed not to buy traditional souvenirs for the folks back home, although I made up for it at the 100 yen shop.)

Anyway, I'm open to whatever they decide.  Asakusa is home to a famous shrine and equally famous shopping street.  And this could be fun:

 
 
Taikokan, a museum of Taiko drums (we're a family of Taiko fans).  It's a drum museum, and apparently you can play some of them.  My son has said he would take a day off from work to take me/us somewhere, but I don't really know what he has in mind.  If it's to be a family outing, the baby might enjoy being introduced to the drums (I would say he's unbelieveably musical for his age, but I do believe it because his dad was the same way.)
 
Anyway...
 
I worked on pre-packing over the weekend, trying to fit in as much as possible to take to them.  Things are so nuts around here that it's hard to focus.
 
Saturn in Scorpio.  Or is it Uranus in Pluto?  Or both?  So far in the last few weeks a rivet broke in the garage door hinge, my car died (RIP), the water heater sprung a rather dramatic leak (and the water penetrated the plastic storage boxes of holiday decorations; that was last weekend's suprise chore).  Yesterday my younger son was having problems with his computer and just before bed asked if I'd noticed the dryer was broken -  for the third time this year - with a load of clothes I had washed for the trip.
 
I'm on emotional overload.
 
Three more days.  Today I have to get prescriptions refilled and do more packing (if the last of the clothes are dry.)  I need a pair of nice slacks just in case we go somewhere where jeans are not appropriate.  I need to deliver the paperwork to the guy who is taking my car off my hands and pick up more cash for the trip.  I need to water my plants well and make up sub plans.  I want another good workout at the gym.  Am saving Wednesday for last-minute final packing, and then we'll be on the road Thursday at 6:00 am.  Plane takes off at 10:00 am.
 
Admit I'm looking forward to being forced - as I was last year - to sit still with paper, pen, book, movies and my own thoughts for 12 hours.
 
Rare.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

"Yes, We Plan..."



... to vote.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Happier.

October was a tough month.

But things are getting better by the minute.

This was waiting for me when I got home today.
My daughter-in-law sells her photography via instacanvas.  I ordered this one and am THRILLED with the result.  This picture does not do it justice.

 
The verdict on my car was that it wasn't worth repairing.  The Blue Book on it was only $2500, and the estimate on transmission, brakes, fluids and so on was over $4400.  Once I accepted that reality I felt a wash of peacefulness.  I've learned over the last three years that this means I've made the right decision.
 
I walked to work today and it was delightful.  Walking home - mostly uphill after a day of teaching - was not so delightful but not awful.  I'm in pretty good shape and, happily, live in a lovely neighborhood so I didn't suffer.
 
Once I got home I got a ride to the mechanic.  I was dropped off to pay my bill and then - with fingers crossed - drive my limping SUV home where I had imagined it would serve as a storage unit for a while until I figured out how to unload it.  I know there are organizations that will come get donated cars, but this one needs so much work I would feel guilty donating it.  There's no way I would get anything on it as a trade-in, and I couldn't "wake up with myself" (as Billy Joel says in "My Life") if I sold the thing to anyone.
 
So I felt like the Universe was smiling on me when I went in to pay my bill.  The owner was talking to someone and his assistant was kind of stalling.  Within a few moments the assistant asked, "What do you plan to do with that car?"  I said that I hadn't really thought it through yet, and he said the owner wanted to talk to me about it.  Sure enough, he finished his conversation and came back with a proposition.  "I'm interested in your car as a shop car."  He would make the repairs and use the SUV to transport his elderly clients home and back when they left their cars for him to repair.  He told me that he hadn't been able to find the "right" sized car and thought this Explorer might work better than the previous two SUV's he'd tried.  Trouble was, he said, he couldn't really afford to offer more than a couple of hundred dollars because of the needed repairs.
 
I'm sure it was an odd conversation.  I don't know if he expected me to try to bargain him up, but all I could think was that I loved the idea that my car (I really did love that car) would make a useful contribution after all and that I would be spared trying to drive it home (I was terrified that it would collapse on me in an intersection, which is what happened with the last vehicle I had with transmission problems) AND trying to dispose of it.  In the end,  I just suggested I trade the car for the $168 I owed him for what he'd done on it (mostly diagnostics).  He threw in a couple of free pre- purchase inspections if I chose to buy a used car.
 
I called my son and asked him to bring his truck to unpack all my stuff.  I'm glad I did.  I remembered the glove box, under the seats, my CD collection (both in the console and on the visors).  But he remembered my Disneyland license plate frames, which I would have forgotten.
 
So now I'm carless, but at peace with it.  It will be a while before I can think of getting a new car.  A lot will depend on Tuesday's election.  But we are a household of three people and two cars, so we should be able to make things work.  It's nice that I work so close to home (about a mile) and can walk on nice days.
 
Am grateful that things have worked out today.  Hopeful this bodes well for November.
 
Leaving in less than two weeks to love on my family in Japan.  Yes, that's my son and grandson in the photo  (he looks EXACTLY like his uncle from the back). 
 
Cannot wait to get my arms around all of them.

Nightmare Challenges.

A short list.

Nightmares can be fun.
Summoned for Federal jury duty.  First time for federal.  I've never actually been on a jury (although I've served many years in a row until I did a 99-day Criminal Grand Jury.  Haven't been summoned by the county since.  Yet.)   For the federal jury, my original summons was a call-in of October 30-November 12.  I leave for Japan November 15.

Younger son broke up with a wonderful young woman that he'd been with (seriously) for over a year.  I'd never seen him so happy with anyone (he's 31).  Still don't understand.  (I'm keeping her.)

Tried to order a free-range turkey from a local meat market for a dinner party.  Owner wouldn't answer my phone calls, email didn't work.  Finally resorted to facebook and he eventually responded.  Bird (frozen) cost $73.00.  Worker told me it would "probably be OK" to defrost in the refrigerator, but after one day it was still frozen solid.  Had to put it in water, then leave it out all night and it was still cutting it close.  It tasted good - because I do a good job with a turkey - but didn't have the fat of a "cheap" prisoner turkey (sorry, girls) so was a tad on the dry, tasteless side.  Won't be doing that again.

While I fought with the turkey man, another turkey contacted my boss about bringing my class to a local Civil War re-enactment.  They were willing to donate money for buses and assumed that gave them the right to assume we would be there, even though they, too, did not answer my calls or emails asking for details.  BTW, I've been to this re-enactment and it's fantastic - on Saturday and Sunday.  But our invitation was for Friday.  In short, after two weeks of being ignored, I finally bullied an email out of one of the men.  It told me that I would spend his money and easily that much again to bring 350 8th graders to the site to watch them set up canvas tents for about 20 minutes before we would have to load up and come back to school for dismissal.  This after disrupting at least two, probably three, classes and missing lunch.  Won't be doing that, either.

Finally got some breathing space.  Postponed the jury service until February.  Said no to the re-enactment and chanted, "Just get me through the dinner party" for a week.  Breathed a sigh of relief when the dinner party was successfully completed.  Went to work on Monday and at 3:30 drove away from school into town for a meeting.  On the way the "A/B OFF" light started flashing.  Called the mechanic the next day to make an appointment for the day after.  Fretted the whole time about the possible diagnosis while trying to talk positive. 

Woke up at 3:00 AM the day after I left the car, worrying about what I would learn.  One of my favorite Law of Attraction phrases is "worrying is like praying for what you don't want," so when I get into one of these states I distract myself by playing cards on my ipod or using it to check in on facebook.  While checking on facebook I noted this post from my son:

"Don't tell my mom, but the water heater broke and flooded the garage."

He did a great job of taking care of turning off the water and cleaning up as best he could in the wee hours.  The tank itself was under warranty, but we had to pay the labor - $675 we don't really have.

And then, at about 2:30 pm (I had been in a workshop all day) I got the call with the news about my dear SUV.  New transmission.  Master cylinder leaking - somewhere.  Two brake pads down to minimum allowable.  Power steering fluid smells burned.  Coolant is dirty.  Blue Book on the car is $2500.  Estimate on work needed to make her safely useable?  $4400.

I felt like I'd been swimming upstream all month.  I'm sure my astrologer friends can explain the influence of the planets on all this (I know Saturn has been in Scorpio and Uranus in Pluto, but I'm a long way from understanding how all that works).  All I know is that it feels like being beaten on with a 2 x 4.

But once I got that call and accepted that I was going to be carless, I felt a delightful sense of peace wash over me.  I'm coming to understand that this means I've made the right decision.  And once I make the right decision and celebrate that, even when, like in this case, it means inconvenience and complications, life starts to turn around.

I need to remember that.  I've read it over and over, but am still challenged accepting it.  If something is a struggle, and it seems that roadblocks are being thrown in your way, it's the wrong path.  When it goes easily, it's is the right one.

We're having a big garage sale tomorrow.  Moving out the final boxes from a three-year purge project.  These were the hard ones for me, the stuff that I kept after a half-dozen purges and garage sales.  But last weekend, as I went through the boxes again, I realized that the stuff is stuff I'd collected for different dreams.  Once I accepted that those are no longer my dreams, it became easier to let the stuff go.  My dreams are made of different stuff now and the dolls and teddy bears don't really have a place.  What doesn't sell tomorrow will go to the Rescue Mission Thrift Store where perhaps it will brighten someone's Christmas stocking.

That feels peaceful.

Like the right decision.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Too funny...

...to pass up.


Usually I try to deal with the speedbumps in the road of life with optimism.  Hope.  Gratitude.

It's been a rought trip lately.  An astrologer friend warns that it's because Saturn is in Scorpio, which doesn't seem fair since I just emerged from my second Saturn return.  (Really wish I understood all that.)  But the BS (bad stuff) has been piling on.  Ending my marriage is a continuing process, although the good news is that we seem to make better roommates in our typical Baby Boomer break-up than we were spouses.

But a couple of weeks ago my younger son broke up with his fantastic girlfriend.  It really shook me, and the grief has been profound.  Fortunately, she and I agree that we are keeping each other and are finding our own relationship without him.  It's better, but not perfect as I was really looking forward to being grandma to their someday children.

Then Monday after work a new light surprised me on my car dash.  Bess has been the best SUV ever.  I want to keep her going, and am trying to stay optimistic that the transmission service light means fluids, not replacement 'cause I can't afford that.  Oh, and probably brake work, too, since that light has been on for a while but I thought it was just another malfunction (messages have checked out as malfunctions for the life of the car.)  Smacking myself in the back of the head for ignoring that one.  I'm lucky I haven't killed myself; or worse, someone else.

And then this morning, 3 AM to be exact, while I was checking facebook on my ipod to distract myself from fretting about the car ("worrying is like praying for what you don't want"), I scroll down to a message left at midnight from my son.  "Shhh.. don't tell my mom the water heater broke and flooded the garage."  So now we have to see if the plumbing company I bought the heater from in 2006 is going to honor the expensive platinum ten-year covers everything warranty I let them sell me.

I could use a friend.

"In this moment, I am all right."

Now I just have to see if someone will take me to work.

Another day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dear Universe... Welcome Back



Really appreciate you coming back.  I've missed you.

This is perfect. 

Love,

Debi

Dear Universe (Again)...



Thanks for listening.  I needed this now.

Love.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ummm...

Dear Universe,

Again.

That wasn't nice.

D

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dear Universe,

I could use something comforting right about now.

Love,

Debi

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sometimes I grieve...

...for dreams lost


and wonder why I bother
and in the morning
there will be white clouds against a blue sky
and yellow birds fighting over breakfast
and a yellow dog with brown eyes and too much eyeliner
and velvet butterflies
and maybe velvet pansies, too.

And I might smile again
and brush lonesome to the side
and take one more step forward
and up on older toes.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

So Gay.

So happy it was.

 
Mom and I lucked out at Disneyland yesterday. I had forgotten that the first weekend in October is Gay Days at the Disneyland resort. Had I remembered, I would have for sure picked the same day I did to visit, just would have looked forward to it even more. Disneyland is a happy, loving, neighborly place most of the time but never more so than when the folks in red show up en masse.
 
Each year red takes over the Mark Twain for a ride.  Yesterday there were so many people they filled the Mark Twain and while they were loading, cast deberthed the Columbia so that it was ready for loading when the Mark Twain disembarked.  It looked to me like they had at least a third full boat load as well.


Says it all for me.


Gay Days is not an "official" Disney sponsored event, but their support, while subtle, is unmistakable.  I got the best rainbow Mickey shirt.  I call it my new Ally shirt.

It was a gorgeous fall day in California.  The weather was mild enough that I was comfortable in my black turtleneck with short sleeved tee over it all day.

HalloweenTime is my favorite season at Disneyland.  I love the decorations and the costumes and the fun. 


So much detail to enjoy.

We had breakfast at our usual spot, then headed over to Frontierland for the morning.  The Jamboree at Big Thunder Ranch that we had enjoyed so much has been transformed into a Halloween Carnival.  It attracted a much bigger crowd than we ever saw over the summer, but was still a relaxing place to enjoy the morning.

My alter ego.

 

Frontierland detail.  Frontierland has the most Halloween decor.


Halloween Carnival fun.


I didn't stand in line to check this out, but apparently in the tent is a cauldron where you can conjure up one of the Disney villains for pictures.  I would have enjoyed this if the line hadn't been so long.

Pumpkin Carver

Never a detail missed.

Billies doing their "Devil Went Down to Georgia" routine.
After our morning at Frontierland, we met the Disneyland Band at Town Square for their noon concert, then settled in at the Coke Corner for Musical Chairs with Ragtime Patrick, Alice and Mad Hatter.  No little kids seemed to want to play, so Hatter hosted an adult game.  That was fun.  After that we picked up some salads at the Pizza Port and took them to the Plaza Inn where we bought a fried chicken dinner to split.  I just can't eat that stuff anymore, but my mouth loved the flavors (even if my tummy protested for several hours after the meal).  From now on I'll stop at the salad.

Afte linner we decided to go see some of the new entertainment at California Adventure.  How delightful!  The first act we saw was Five and Dime.  A full band with chanteuse - all fabulous - was first.


And then came my favorite, the Red Car News Boys.  I've ended my school year with Disney's Newsies for years so have a special fondness for the theme.  Add great choreography and energy and it was a winning act start to finish.







I'm adding this video I took of the finale number but will apologize ahead of time.  I made a last-second decision to record this, then spent some time fumbling around with my purse and tote and camera and ended up with a pretty shaky video.  Should give you a general idea of how much fun this was, though.

 



After this show we went down to see the new Cars Land.  I think you have to have either 1) seen the movie Cars multiple times or 2) have actually driven and still remember the old Route 66 to really enjoy this land.  It's cleverly done, but not your typical "cute" Disney effect unless you know the story.

We went back to Disneyland where I parked Mom at Coke Corner.  We had some ice cream, then I wandered off toward DCA with a detour to see the Soundsational parade in the twilight.  Twilight is my favorite time at Disneyland, and I enjoyed the lighting on the floats.


 
There were two things I particularly wanted to do on this trip.  Several friends had exclaimed over the neon display in Cars Land, so I wanted to return to DCA at night to see that.  And I wanted to ride single rider on the new Cars Land Radiator Springs Racers.

 
I was not disappointed in the neon display, although I was not able to photograph it decently to share here.

I was also not disappointed in ...Racers, but the highlight of that experience was  not the ride, but the conversation in the queue.  I noticed that one of the men in front of me in line was wearing a GMCLA tee-shirt.  I've posted several videos here in the stitchery about the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.  I'm a huge fan, so had to ask if he was singing with the Chorus.  Not only is he currently singing with the chorus (for his twelfth year),  he is also a member of the cast for their new It Gets Better traveling program.  We were able to talk about all of my favorite numbers, including the It Gets Better video they did of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors."  It was because I loved that number (I still cry when I watch it) that I bought my first season of concerts.  I had decided I couldn't afford a season this year, but after talking with this delightful young man I'm determined to find a way to buy a season after all. 

It was kind of a cool "coincidence."  Or rather, a very cool affirmation that there is no such thing as a coincidence and that the Universe is always taking care of me.  As I had walked across the Esplanade from Disneyland to California Adventure, I was struck by a feeling of lonesomeness.  I'm not lonely.  Loneliness is deep and profound and frightening and - for me anyway - usually associated with hopelessness.  I rarely feel that deep loneliness anymore.  But I am often lonesome.  Lonesome for someone to talk with about the things that interest me:  music or writing or gardening.  Honestly, sometimes I think if I have to sit through another lunch conversation about Fantasy Football or Fantasy Basketball or Fantasy Baseball (what's next?  Fantasy golf or pingpong) I'm going to hurt someone.  So what a delight to enjoy this hour at my favorite place in such a conversation.  I walked across the Esplanade lonesome, and returned across grateful.

No better way to end such a nice day.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

...its only seed.



I never get tired of the message of this song and I never hear it without crying.  Christopher Maloney's brilliant performance is the most powerful I've ever seen or heard.

And produced the most tears.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Birdsong and Butterflies



What a morning!

My son took the dog in with him last night, which gave me a morning without sunrise visits to the lawn.  I don't mind them, really.  I had one yesterday.









 
 
Not too shabby a way to start my day.
 
But today was special.  Quiet here.  I had been wakeful during the night (some good stuff growing to pleasure in) so had a hard time waking up to the alarm.  Don't usually mind waking up to Jim Brickman's "Harvest" but this morning Jim got snoozed.  When I did finally wake up enough to take a look around, I noticed that the monarch crysalis that has been hanging on one of my candle holders (a rescue from the bottom of the big bowl I usually raise the butterflies in) was black.
 
This is exciting!  I got closer to take a good look and indeed I could see orange and black wings tucked in there.  In fact, when I looked closer, I realized the shape of the crysalis had changed, too.
 
I've hatched dozens of butterflies over the last few years, but have never actually seen one emerge from its crysalis.  I set up my camera, and tucked in to witness one of the Universe's miracles.
 
There is a fairy garden outside my window.  Over the two hours that it took this Monarch to emerge the garden was visited by a family of goldfinches, still in breeding plumage.  The bright yellow papa bird perched on the tall shoots of "Cecile Bruner. " I wished I had an extra camera to snap his portrait, bouncing the sunlight off his matching chest against today's bright blue sky.  Next I watched a small "flock" (four birds) of mourning doves land in the tree on the back property line.  Occasionally they will visit the fairy garden to see if the goldfinches have dropped any seed on the ground, but today I was happy to enjoy watching them climb along the tree branches.  A hummingbird flew through, stopping long enough to nag me through the window screen to refill her feeder, and a scruffy young mockingbird stopped for a few seconds on the top of the passion vine trellis to see what all the excitement was about.
 
 
The Monarch did finally break out of her shelter, but it wasn't as I had always imagined.  I thought it would be a bursting out, but instead it was a slow, gradual ripping.  I noticed the first holes a good hour before she actually, finally split the shell in several places and rolled out.  I left the camera to record until the battery gave out. 
 
 
 
I rarely have quiet times like this, when I force myself to be still.  It gave me time to reflect back and to see how different I am now than I was just three years ago.  Three years ago I frequently woke in tears, asking myself "What the hell happened to my life?"  It has been almost exactly three years since the first domino was toppled and I landed - with help - to toddle along a new path.  Three years.  A stack of books a yard high.  New friends to love.  And to love me.  Such a gift these years have been.
 
It's time to release him.  He has about three weeks to make his life as good as it can be.  How lucky we are to have years to accomplish the same.  Three years, and I am very different.  My life, though it seems the same from the outside, has completely changed for me on the inside.  If there are tears in the morning now, they are tears of gratitude for what I have been given.
 
All morning a melody was floating through my mind.  I finally recognized it from a summer drama production my brother played drums in while in high school.
 
Who will buy
This wonderful morning?
Such a sky
You never did see!
 
Who will tie
It up with a ribbon
And put it in a box for me?
 
So I could see it at my leisure
Whenever things go wrong
And I would keep it as a treasure
To last my whole life long.
 
Who will buy
This wonderful feeling?
I'm so high
I swear I could fly.
 
Me, oh my!
I don't want to lose it
So what am I to do
To keep the sky so blue?
There must be someone who will buy...