Come now, fall...

Come now, fall...

Come to us with your blazing leaves and burning comfort, your cooling kisses in the gentle breeze and rustling leaves, come now, fall...

Bring to us your calm, your gathering together of hearts and souls, your gentle warming of hearths and bowls, descend...

Throw back the sheets of stifling heat, and tuck us in with cool fresh air of changing seasons everywhere, retreat... 

Hush our hurried scurried lives, running circles, passers-by, too fast to pause and take life in, too busy with survival swim, float... 

Emerge from whirling raging pools, to find the atmosphere has cooled and settled, preparing to begin, the loving snuggling, tucking in, rest... 

For again the earth has circled 'round to bring us all back underground, reminding us, all living things require pause and slowing down, breathe... 

Come now, prepare a bed of leaves, of resting earth and sleeping trees, for us to lay our weary heads, and dream of all that next year sees, sleep...

Come now, fall, reclaim us all...


The Thirteenth Hour...

This girl right here, wearing her birthday present, had one wish for her 14th anniversary on this planet- to go back to that little pebble rock beach cove that we found by accident 5-6 yrs ago when we were here last, and get her feet into the ocean there before she turned 14...

Only I had no idea which of the many little beaches and coves it was that we happened upon and explored on that trip. So we got into town last night around 6, with no hotel reservations, and no energy left, and some bad cases of bus butt from driving all day, sore legs from hiking in the sequoia national forest earlier in the day, and no idea where to start looking. We had endured nose bleeds, altitude wooziness, and dehydration all in a day. Plus over the course of this trip, a stepping in vomit incident at a natural public pool which induced a day delay due to subsequent illness, an allergic throat swelling incident, and a couple of check engine lights and stops to local auto supplies stores, and I can now add to me resume a light mechanical tune up while traveling. Suffice it to say that in six days on the road, I've thought about just giving up and going home at least twice, each day... :/

Well, anyway, we get into town, Monterey Bay Area, last night after a full day on the road, six days total actually, and it's cold and windy and the clouds are hanging heavy on the mountain tops, and we just start driving. We end up at point lobos preserve, because we knew we visited there before, we get into the gates, and start exploring beaches. We see coves, and rocks, and waves splashing. We see jellyfish, and sea lions, and gorgeous landscapes. We walk winding paths, we climb stairs, we drive from one end of the park to the other, walking out to each cove. None of them are the right one. There's one cove that seems like it could be it, but the big mermaid rock isn't there any more and the stairs don't seem in the right place. Maybe if we could just walk down there... Only it's roped off bc the staircase collapsed at the bottom, and the beach looks like sand, not pebbles. But maybe it washed up in five yrs time, or maybe that tiny little rock is the tip of her old mermaid rock, or maybe, maybe, maybe... Maybe this isn't the right place. And it's getting dark. And the park closes half an hour after sunset. And even though it's way too cloudy to see the sun has set, it's getting dark fast, and we are getting a little worried about what else may come out at night to eat, having already seen several deer grazing within a few yards of us, and clearly they were not at all afraid of us, which is saying something about the wildlife in the park- when the prey is unafraid of people that close, certainly predators won't be either... :/ 

So we resign. She sighs and feigns nonchalance, and agrees to just dip a toe in at that other little place we saw with the tide pools. Only we don't know if we have time to get back around the park to find it again before they lock the gates. So we start driving toward the exit, hoping not to be stopped from looping back in again. And I'm feeling like I've failed. She only wanted this one thing. This tiny little impossible thing that I had nothing but faith to believe that I could even begin to pull it off; to give this little child of mine, who is so quickly growing into a young woman now, this one last wish of hers- this one last vestige of childhood fantasy to cling to in her memories. Memories of her childhood. Memories of her hope, her faith, her belief in magic and mermaids. Memories in the end that I hope will hold tight in her heart, the love her mother has for her, and the lengths I will go to for her. 

One day, I hoped that she would remember all that we overcame to make this one last childhood wish come true. Because 14 feels like the beginning of a new phase. She's started glancing at boys, and occasionally puts on a little mascara and lip gloss, and cares more about her clothes being cute and fashionable. This child of mine who has, more than anyone I've ever known, clung hard and long to the childhood innocence that she has seemed wise beyond her years to cherish and not squander on silliness and a rush for more grown up things. But I've seen stirrings of her moving on past these childish things. She has held on long enough, and I've sensed that she is ready to let it go and embrace what's next. Oh this process... Of watching your child ready, steady, and prepare themselves to let go. 

First from your own body, then from your bosom as they wean and start taking in the world unfiltered by you. We start as a carrier of these creatures within us, and it feels so much like they are ours. Like they belong to us. They are a part of us. And part of watching these beautiful beings grow, means us letting go. It's like taking pieces of your heart and tethering them outside of yourself, and feeling these tugs as they float and drift and wander and explore the world, farther and farther away from the safety of you. And you wish you could tuck them back inside your arms, or inside your heart at times, and keep them safe and close and hold them there forever. But part of loving them, is letting them grow.

I'm just remembering- my mom had an embroidered wall hanging of little deer in a flowery little forest on the hallway wall when we were kids. It said: if you love something, you have to let it go, if it comes back it's yours- or something like that. But I think when you truly love something, you can never really let it go. It is a part of you, in some form, and it forever will be. But when you truly love anything, you have to give it room to grow. To be. To become. You nourish it, feed it, water it, and give it all the best that you can, and you cherish it and watch it grow, marveling at this incredible thing you see unfolding and blossoming in your life. What a gift! What an incredible honor. To be on this journey, with these beautiful creatures, as we, the mothers, the protectors and the givers and the lovers of these things, get to witness first hand, the incredible unfolding of a life! We are truly blessed by our children aren't we? No wonder we wish to spoil them, and please them, and serve them, and adore them. No gift we could ever give could be as incredible as the gift of being their mothers. 

So as we are driving out of the park, I am glancing down at the park map, attempting to not run off the narrow curvy road, and just not wanting it to end up this way. The whole trip is feeling like a let down, like a waste, like a disappointing reality that will discolor her lenses of looking into adulthood with the icky cynicism of so many people who have hardened to life's hard knocks, given up on their dreams and fantasies and believing in anything in general, for fear of the let down. I'm asking myself- is this it? Is this what we were meant to learn on this trip? This wake up call to 'the real world'?  This ugly truth that we don't always get what we wish for, and maybe there isn't any real magic left in the world? 

No. No, I don't want this to be her welcome to pre-adulthood experience. Life's a let down kid, get used to it? No. No nononononono NO! 

I look down at the map and heave a heavy sigh, and then I see it. I teeny tiny little inlet, and the teeny tiny little letters- Hidden Beach... Could this be it? It sounds like a place I would have been drawn to in the past. It sounds like something I would have sought out before... So i ask the girls- do you want to turn around and go see if this one is it?- they say no, not really.... 

It's late, it's getting dark, we are all tired, and the 'reality' that we have no idea where we are staying for the night is becoming increasingly 'real' by the second. We see the park ranger parked at a turn around, obviously to keep anyone from going any further into the park at this late hour, and it hits me- I whip the car around right behind him, hoping he doesn't try to stop us, but knowing that he will have to knock me down or taser me at this point, to stop me from going back to just see! This is it- this is the final hours of her thirteenth year, and dammit if I will be this close to the possible place and not go see! So we go, we peer into the bushes and look for trail posts. There's a small wooden post hidden behind some bushes. We stop. There are no words. I get out and walk closer- it says, barely visible- hidden beach. 

We get out, reserving ourselves to avoid the disappointment which we honestly, at this point, are actually expecting. We walk down the trail, come around some bushes, and right there, to the right, is the little staircase, just as it should be, not vaguely familiar like all the others, but really familiar! We peek over the ledge- and THERE IT IS!!! The Mermaid Rock! THIS IS IT!! THIS IS THE ONE!!! The RIGHT one. We did it! We found it! We found the one place she wanted to be for her birthday, for the one thing she wanted to do before she left behind the number thirteen. We drove 13 hundred miles to get here. 13 times I considered giving up and going home. And 13 years with this special girl, have proven all along the way, and especially at this moment, the 13th hour, that magic is real. That hope has power. That belief is everything. Belief, and never giving up... 

So on this 14th anniversary of her very first birth day, my wish for my daughter, is one for all the happiness and love and joy and wonder and adventure and fullness of life. I wish for her to see the beauty that is all around, and to feel the love that has her tethered to all the people here who love and cherish her, and to feel safe and secure in those roots, as she spreads her own wings and prepares to fly out into this big bright world and make a world and a life of her own. 

Thank you my girl, for this journey we have been on together these past 14yrs, it has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. 💗



Sometimes you just get tired of making nice for everyone. 

Sometimes you get quiet, and that makes some people uncomfortable. 

Sometimes you speak up, and that also makes some people uncomfortable. 

Sometimes you spend so much time being 'nice' that other people forget that perhaps you have feelings as well. 

Sometimes you can give so much of yourself away, that there is nothing left of you. 

And when you are no longer there to give, those people often disappear or move on to something, or someone, else. 

Sometimes you may lose people in your life because you make them uncomfortable. 

Sometimes you think if you accept people where they are and forgive their shit, that you will be treated in kind. 

Sometimes this is true. 
Sometimes it's not. 

Sometimes you can turn yourself inside out to be everything to everyone else, and then feel shocked that no one seems to care or notice. 

Sometimes you can have a dark night of the soul, and really have to go it alone, as uncomfortable as that truth might be. 

Sometimes you can feel judged by the 'happy people', and sometimes you wonder if they realize you also judge them, as careless and selfish.

Sometimes people don't care about your shit, because they are so wrapped up in their own. 

And sometimes, ALL of that is just fine. 

Because sometimes, it just has to be about you for a while. 

And often, when people have gotten used to having you there for their every need, they will get angry when you stop. 

But usually, they will casually dismiss you as crazy or troubled, rather than take a look at their own unjust or unkind behaviors, and just move along to the next person or distraction. 

Because some people are just takers. 

And some people have no interest in growth, spirit, or fairness. 
Which sounds pessimistic, but it's not. 
It's realistic. 

Many people are unkind. Selfish. Inconsiderate. Careless. And superficial. 

And that's ok. 

Because any of us, can only take care of our selves. And the kind of people that we choose to be. 

And sometimes, the best way to do that, is to stop caring so much for others. 

And sometimes that's ok. 


Good things.

Here's something- 

You can be so involved in a good thing that it becomes a bad thing. 

You can be so close to a situation that you can no longer see it clearly. 

You can be so stuck in what you thought things were, or should be, that you don't realize what they really actually are. 

So... hmmm...

Where does that leave us?

Wiser, maybe? 

Yes, I think so. 

Chalk up another one to 'life lessons' I guess...

Take the time to stop and smell the roses. 

See the forest for the trees, and whatnot. 

Step back and take a moment to enjoy the view. 

Savor life. Drink it in. 


Cliche? Yes. Certainly is. 

But cliches are born of truths. 

Very simple, basic truths. 

And very simple, is often, very true. 

Radical acceptance of what truly is, without wishing, wanting, or needing, to bend, shape, mold, perfect, or change it, is a very good thing. 

Sounds like I've watched too much Martha Stewart today. But really...

keep it simple sweetie. ;) 

Now, i'm going to eat chocolate chip cookies with my girls, and watch Martha Stewart whip up a perfect coq au vin- without even wishing I could do it! 



Here's something I've been chewing on for a while...

I've been really unhappy. (Shocking, I know- given my chipper and upbeat attitude of late, my general positive outlook on life, and my overall love of people in general) *ha

I'm actually amazed, given my recent personal reflection, that I still have any friends or family willing to speak to me at all. 

I mean, I don't even like me any more. I'm negative and uptight, and cranky, moody, bitchy, impatient, defensive, suspicious, accusing, and I'm sure lots of other not pleasant things too...

On one hand, I want to give myself a break, and realize just how hard it is to be sick, and getting sicker, over a long period of time. To lose hope, and become a cynical asshole who loses the ability to find joy in anything any more, or feel truly in the moment without fear or worry. 

To even begin to believe that nobody truly cares what happens to me, and at times to think perhaps everyone's lives would be better if i would just get on with it and drop dead already. 

I'm sorry, I know that's uncomfortable. But, it is what it is. And it is how I've felt. At least at times. 

I've rolled out of bed, and pulled up my bootstraps, and put on my game face, more times than I can count in the last year or so. I've repeatedly ignored my body, my heart, and my soul, in the cries for rest, recovery, and release. 

I've just continued to do what had to be done, putting one foot in front of the other, and getting from one side of the day to the other, and crashing again feeling drained, depleted, and like life has become utter drudgery. 

This... Is not living. 

But, we do what we do. We do what we can. And we do what we have to. To get through. To keep going. To move past. We just do. 

Until... We don't. Until we can't. 

And I can't. I can't keep doing... This. 

This... Is not living. 

I give everything I have, and much of what I don't, to what I think are the right things to do. 

For my kids, their education, their social lives, their entertainment and enrichment. 

For my husband, his business, his needs, our relationship. 

For my home, decorating, cleaning, planning, organizing. 

For our health, our meals, researching, preparing, learning, trying new diets. 

So much goes into a family. 

So much of it comes from the mother. 

I once wrote a post about what a mother was not... 

Here is what I've come to learn about what a mother is: 

A mother is the glue. 

She is the sticky goop that holds everything else together. 

Perhaps in neat and orderly rows that line up in perfect military fashion. Perhaps in the most wild and crazy haphazardly type mess you could imagine. Like marshmallow fluff melted and being mixed into cereal bars.

A mother is the root. 

She is the place from which the heart of a family grows. She is the source of the bringing forth of vital nutrients and life giving vitality, from the earth, from underground, from below the surface of what is visible to the usual point of view. She digs in and finds energy from some place deeper, dark, unseen. 

A mother is the voice. 

She is that quiet voice that says, everything is going to be ok. She is the nagging voice that reprimands you when you really know better. 

A mother is many things in relation to what she means to her family. More than I have the time or focus to reflect on here. 

But aside from all of this, the one thing I have been forced to recognize recently, despite thinking I already knew this, despite having heard it come from my own mouth on a multitude of occasions... 

A mother, is a person. 

She is a human being. 

I feel the need to say that again.

She is a human. Being. 

I have lost touch with my own humanity. In this silent march of strength and duty, to keep on doing what I am supposed to be doing- I forgot about the being. 

I forgot how to just be... human. 

Flawed, imperfect, ridiculous, and all the rest. Only I'm still all of those things. I'm so much more flawed by my constant pursuit of perfection. I'm so much more imperfect in my quest to meet some imaginary self imposed standards, for what? For me, for everyone else around me. My complete rejection of all that is as not enough- well that is truly ridiculous, at it's highest. 

I don't have a neat little bow to wrap up this post. I haven't worked my way to the end of it yet, and I don't really think I need to. I don't need an answer, a solution, a finish... 

Life is not like that. 

It's messy, it's confusing, and it's ongoing... 

And that's okay. 


Roots... and wings... run deep.

My maternal grandmother... Vernie Almedea Mercy Kinchen Hughes- brave, strong, independent, adventurous, willful, progressive. Proud member of the WACs Women's air traffic controllers in World War II, proudly served and traveled all over the US, fan of the theatre, the Dodgers, the Rockettes, and Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, all fondnesses from her time in New York, postcard collector,  play bill and ticket stub saver, New Years Eve Manhattan party goer, free-spirited and engaged to at least 2-3 men before meeting 'the one' -my grandfather, who upon seeing walk into the diner told her co-workers, 'I'm gonna marry that sergeant' despite being engaged to someone else at the time. So a dear john letter, five kids, 18 grand kids, and many years later, here I am- recognizing the roots of my wild and willful ways, seeing the source of this mysterious gypsy blood of mine- having only really ever known her as Maw-Maw Vernie- moo-moo wearing, church going, child raising, god loving, family building, pancake flipping, popcorn ball making, chicken calling, stray cat feeding, kind and patient, big and squishy grandma... Widowed 40+yrs, never having even entertained the thought of seeing another man- bc she had a husband, and was always married to him, and him alone.  

This explains so much- the source of my roots, as well as my wings. 



A cool and sunny October afternoon, having salmon sashimi and a lemonade, enjoying an old Nina Simone? jazzy, yet sad, rendition of blue skies... 
Smiling at me... 
Nothing but blue skies

Across from me, sits a lovely, Middle Aged, maybe 45? I'm nearly 40, she's at least a decade older. She must be...  Is it the streaks of fine gray in her thick dark hair, hardened, dry, brittle, reminiscent of it's once voluptuous youth, an intricately laced coral shell replica of what was once alive and vibrant, rich and soft and flowing... She seems European, her light colored knee length a-line skirt, black ribbed turtleneck sweater, black Opaque stockings peaking out, only an inch or two, nearly met by a clean and pricey looking pair of knee high grey suede flat-soled boots. Smart, stylish, comfortable, unassuming yet elegant... Is it that? Her quirky, unkempt, yet perfectly effortless appearance, that reads to me as aloofly European? foreign somehow? 
Or is it the somewhat melancholy look in her eyes, the distant longing- nothing of bitterness, only experience, both good and bad... Pleasure and pain. Light and dark. All without a hint of judgement or denial, delusion or grandiosity. Only casual acceptance. A surrender to what is, what once was, and the inevitable what may be still. 
Her eyes are dark and round, and tell secret tales of many passionate moments long past, moments of loving, anger, fury, fueled by only something as fierce and foolish as youth, and the unbounded energy still unbridled, unbalanced by age and wisdom. 
She stares blankly, yet deeply through the window, for what seems an eternity. 
I am entranced. 

Perhaps sensing the depth of contemplation in the prying eyes of this stranger sitting across from her, she shifts her eyes intently, unflinchingly, directly to me. Embarrassed, I shift my gaze quickly over her shoulder. 

Directly behind her is a typical all American woman. Strikingly beautiful, tall and thin and statuesque, strong and somewhat intimidating in both dress and demeanor. I noticed her strut by me moments before with a confident, poised, purposeful gait, knowing, seemingly at all times, exactly where she is going, filling all the space of her own embodiment as well as the space around her with an air of untouchable, admirable, infallible competence. But now, sitting alone, eating her overpriced sandwich, eyes cast downward into whatever business plagues her via iphone... She is changed. Bitter, angry, hardened. Weak...?

She walks away, her too large sharply square bag hung tightly over her rolled-back shoulders,  Filled no doubt with files and a laptop and other varieties of very important things. She stomps through the cafe in her sleek, expensive black slacks, perfect creases front and back, long pointy black heels, sensibly high, without any suggestion of frivolity, only just high enough to stand just a bit more above the rest of the world, to gain  a slightly wider edge than provided by her already nearly six foot frame. Creamy white cardigan with scalloped edging suggests a desire to be feminine, but somehow, despite her still luxurious, perfectly coifed, clearly pampered mid-aged skin, hair, and nails, she misses that mark. She veers astray, wanting of the timeless, goddess-like femininity of the French woman, or at least she is French in my mind... 

Something so sublimely feminine in her complete and utter destruction and surrender. Her letting go of self in order to let self truly come through to surface. The exasperated wild and weary look of her, precisely countered by her peaceful self control and deeply rooted comfort in her own aging skin... The charm of her melancholy, the exquisite beauty of her sadness. She IS woman, and the other only posing as such. Building her facade, unconvincingly play acting in society's high heels and lipstick, over dressed and under equipped, like a child in her mothers things... 

Wanting to be, striving to be, is not the same thing, not even close, to being. Woman. 


Today's lessons...

Playing jump start all day...
Me- Did you learn anything? 
Well I learned one thing
Sometimes even when you cross your fingers, it doesn't really work... 
(Sometimes wishing for something just isn't enough, you have to keep trying)

Making blanket nest with dog...
Me- Can you lay me a golden egg? 
You want me to lay a gold egg? 
Me- Yes
I don't think I can do that... 
Contemplation... But I think I can probably do a pink polka dot one.
(The faith of a child is a beautiful thing, never give up hope)

Sitting next to me, sitting next to S, in the same bed...
Can you ask daddy to text trinity to find out where she is? 
She was in the same house, just not the same room. 
I had my phone in my hand.
(Sometimes you just need to make sure everyone gets involved in your process)

Crying on the stairs, having just finished reading the Warriors series...

...losing someone we care about is always hard, and our capacity to care for others is always incredible... They don't have to be human, or actually even exist anywhere other than in a story, our hearts, or our minds. 

For me-
Every moment, of every day, someone, somewhere, is in crippling, writhing, life altering, pain- for every moment that you are not, count your blessings, including the obstacles. 

Please don't tread on my cheeseburger, he's my only friend in the whole wide world. 


Crazy Balance

When things feel crazy all around, I try to look within. 

I don't take responsibility for the actions or choices of others (not any more at least- its taken me a lot of years and practice to learn where my load ends and how to stop carrying other peoples baggage around) but I do try to do a little reflection to ask myself what the lessons might be for me.

The onslaught of crazy lately has been off the charts. 

Violent, demanding, rude, pushy, inconsiderate, selfish, imposing, untrustworthy, angry, and aggressive. 

All of these terms could be used to describe the people (or their actions) who have recently intersected my life (and infiltrated my quest for peace and calm and regaining my health). 

I have to ask why? I have to ask myself- what does this mean? What am I supposed to be learning here? 

I'm coming closer to knowing the answer for certain. And i feel like it's some unseemly combination of self love and respect, coupled with unconditional and universal love and compassion. 

Now that I say it that way, it doesn't seem so impossible at all. I can see how this plays together. 

Having personal boundaries, self love, and wanting to be respected- these things do not have to be at odds with having unconditional love and compassion for others. 

It is possible to stand my ground, and still understand yours. It is possible to respect my own boundaries, and respect yours too. It is possible to show love to me, as well as to others. 

There can be a balance. 
The trick will be to learn to balance. 
I'm a libra. I can do it. 


Big Sis: Are you ready for me to close the closet door? Little Sis: Let's have a staring contest first. ...five minutes (and lots of giggles) later... Big Sis: I'm not having a staring contest with a stuffed animal! ...fivemoreminutes... Giggles galore and some major silly talk. This reminds me of being a kid, sleeping over at my grandmas house with all our girl cousins, on a pallet on the floor, staying up late and saying silly stuff to make each other laugh, giggling all night (until Mamaw yelled at us from her bedroom- then we'd get really quite, and then all crack up laughing again) It was all fun and games until she threatened to get her slipper... #oldschool #sleepysillies #giggling #childhoodmemories #thegoodoledays #happytimes #homeagain