Wednesday, December 02, 2015

It's Reverb time again -- 2015: Day 1

For some years now I have participated in a writing prompt titled Reverb. It's a look back at the year that is ending and an intention for the coming year. It is always insightful.

You are invited to participate, if you'd like, by going here to sign up.  Even if all you to is to reflect on the day's prompt, it can be beneficial, but you also can post links to your blog in the daily linkys for others to read. 

So onto the first prompt: 

 “Maybe lists are like prayers.”

What sorts of lists do you have on the go at the moment?

What do they suggest you are praying for?

I am a list-maker; always have been. I write stuff down -- grocery lists, things to do, ideas, packing lists, things to remember, menus or baking projects for holidays and parties. Even if I don't write it down, there is always an agenda in my head, a list, of things I want to do each day and pretty much the order in which I intend to complete the tasks. I wake up with lists. I go to bed with lists. 

Mostly they are a sort of shorthand, however -- not the minute-by-minute to-do lists that my daughter has taken to doing so that she doesn't forget things. I write brief words, or abbreviations like 'ct fd' on my calendar, meaning "Pick up the bag of cat food at the vet's office."  I use my calendar as a list too  -- things I need to do each day or each week, events I want to remember like "RF, LM c/TG" meaning that we are going to a play with our friends and then to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. 

Right now I have lists for Christmas in my head -- nothing on paper yet or virtually unless you count Amazon wish lists. Gifts for others that must be purchased and sent; cookies I intend to bake; what I'm fixing for a couple of gatherings we have scheduled; holiday items I need to get for next year when they go on sale after Christmas. A list of to-dos: write holiday letter, sort through papers on my desk; get out the Christmas card holder; make sure meds are ordered through January; pick up cat food. That sort of trivia.

If my prayers are reflected in my lists, they would all be gratitude prayers for so many blessings: thank you that I feel well enough to go to the play and to a restaurant and to an event -- that I am not in afib and not hurting anywhere and have energy. Thank you that we are blessed with enough money to purchase gifts, food, shelter, medication, and pay bills and have reliable, safe vehicles, and yes, to buy enough cat food to keep our boys and girls healthy and well.  

Thank you that we can begin planning to attend a very special party in February. Thank you for friends to have lunch with, to go to events with, to send cards to. Thank you for my wonderful, devoted husband who is still recovering from extensive sinus surgery and needs an extra trip to see the doctor that requires a last-minute overnight stay. Thank you that I still have a memory and enough intelligence left to even be able to write things down and remember what they are!  Thank you that I am alive! That I am here!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Haters gonna hate....I guess

For those of you who do not want to read my take on a political issue, stop now. Don't bother to comment. 

Along with millions of others, I have watched and celebrated the decisions this week handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. It's not that either of them directly affect me now; it's that they do impact my friends and family, along with so many millions who have worked so long and so hard to make them happen, who have prayed for them to happen, whose lives are changed for the good because they happened.

But this post is not directly about either decision.

It's about seeing that a Facebook friend 'liked' a post by someone else that piqued my curiosity enough for me to go read the post.

The accompanying picture showed the White House illuminated by rainbow lights -- an image that was all over social media. But this original poster had written about how disturbing the picture was -- not because of the ruling, but because of the "fucking clown who lives here" and who "feels it's his right to involve himself in your life...." The post ended by saying that Americans are slaves and sheep to the media and the lies "the pompous ass who lives in this house dictates."    

Whoa, Nellie.

So....President Obama is responsible for the marriage equality ruling? Huh? Because of his lies and fabrications? Because he wants to control our lives? 

We learn early in school -- well, at least I did -- that our government has three branches in order to act as checks and balances for the others. We learn how they function. And we learn that the Supreme Court's  job is to make sure our state and federal laws and our President's actions are within the boundaries set by the Constitution. (There is more basic info here...)

The President had nothing to do with the Court's decision(s). Under our Constitution and our laws, he could not assume that power. The Congress didn't either. Nor did the media, folks. 

The Court decided the way they did based on the Constitution and how the case that was argued before them is interpreted through Constitutional law. Nothing else. 

This post was clearly from someone who hates our President. HATES him fiercely and irrationally and vengefully. And while all our Presidents have had their haters (I was no fan of George W. Bush, believe me), President Obama has been the subject of more vitriolic venom and vengeful action than ever before (or, as in the recent Congress, INaction, deliberately and for no other reason than the Republican Congress HATED that Obama was in the White House and made a pact not to pass any Democratic bills).

The primary basis for this hatred is race. You know it; I know it; they know it. It just KILLS them to see a black family in the White House, a black man as the leader of our United States. Any other reason given is way secondary to this fact. It's just not acceptable to publicly hate on a black man in power because of his color; especially not when he is our duly elected President (by a MAJORITY of the voters, by the way). So the haters always find another way to justify their diatribes and hate speech, even when Obama had nothing to do with the reason the haters state -- like this Supreme Court ruling, for instance. It's his race, people. His black skin. That's the real reason.

In truth, however, President Obama has been an extremely influential leader (despite the Republicans in Congress). Most remarkable is that he actually managed to get a national healthcare bill passed -- a feat attempted by leaders of both parties since 1912. But there is a lot more on his star chart. Read the article.

(I have absolutely NO doubt that if Hillary Clinton becomes the next President of the United States that she will be the next target for extreme hatred and vilification by the conservative camps. And that, friends, will be because of her sex: a woman? In the White House? As the Commander in Chief? Leader of the free world? A WOMAN?)

So yes, this post disturbed me a lot. The fact that someone I know 'liked' what the poster wrote disturbs me too. It's worth pointing out that both the original poster and the person I know have many inspirational and motivational posts on their public pages -- comments that urge people to keep going, to stay positive, to be who you are and embrace life, among others. To write or approve of something so full of hate and contempt (on so many levels, from the full text in the original post) seems to belie their good words of hope and encouragement and acceptance. I'm not sure you can do both and actually live what you purport to believe. 

There is a popular quote by Janis Ian making its way around social media: "We don't have to agree on anything to be kind to one another." 

Maybe that doesn't extend to politics, to Supreme Court decisions, or Democrat-Republican, liberal or conservative differences and opinions. Or religion, especially when one religion sees itself as the only right way and everybody else is wrong, no question, no arguments. Or social justice issues, where everyone is equal but some are a little more equal than others, especially if you have money, are male, and are white. 

But I think it does. 

*** Do not make the mistake of thinking that I am a Pollyanna who never sees the ugly side of anything. Do not think for one moment that I do not know what it is to lobby and fight hard for issues I believe in, or to be bitterly disappointed in the actions and inactions of others, especially politicians, but also corporate management. Do not label me as a do-gooder, knee-jerk liberal Yankee Democrat who doesn't know what the "real" world is like. And especially do not dismiss my incredibly good research skills, my ability to write an impactful letter or testimony or opinion piece, and my Scorpio nature. All while being kind, of course....


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April Moon 15, Day 3

The prompt: Giving birth doesn't have to be literal. So far in my life I have birthed...

...A lot of pretty good marketing ideas and advertisements for both non-profit and public sector organizations, and a whole bunch of them for a couple of corporations.
...Various reinventions of my life depending on where I was, where I wanted to go, and/or what was necessary at the time -- like coming to California 18 years ago
...Two daughters, neither of whom came from my womb, but who grew in my heart.
...A nice portfolio of newspaper and magazine clips of stories about people, places, events, and more -- starting many decades ago. I no longer write 500-word ledes, by the way.
...Ideas, advice, friendships, relationships. It's a growth process, never a completed journey.
...Myself. Learning to be who I am, one day at a time, and figuring that out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April Moon 15, Day 2

The prompt: Knowing what I know now, I would tell my ten-years-ago self:

Ten years ago I was 57. It was 2005, and we were full-on into our real estate career, busy, active, working hard.

My mother was slipping bit by bit, too many miles away from me. I was on the Arts Council and very busy with that volunteer work. We were about to launch a new photo club which would meet with nine people in our great room on that first meeting, and which, ten years later, has morphed into something a bit different than our original ideas, but is still going strong.

I'd come a long way, however, and really was well-launched on a good path for me. But there are a few things.....

Today I would tell that person who was me then to let it go. The people-pleasing. The fear. The resentment. The anger. The only thing all of that angst will change is ME, and not necessarily for the better. It will not change the people, places, or things at which the fear and anger are directed.

I would gift myself with Mary Oliver's miracle-working poem "The Journey" and memorize it. And I'd read more Mary Oliver poems.

I would remind myself that the most important thing about life are friends and family -- and honestly, I was already very aware of that in 2005, but still too trusting, too ready to accept people as honest and true. People are often not what they seem to be, even dear, close, loved ones. That is a bitter, bitter pill to swallow and process. Lack of trust, deception, lies, and fear are devastating.

I would pull that back in myself, me who had always given too much and carried too many others along, trying to fix it all for them. I wish I had known -- and understood -- then:
You strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do,
determined to save
the only life you could save.
From "The Journey", in Dream Work (1986)

I would give myself permission to have more fun, to be more spontaneous (something I still don't do enough of), to enjoy things.

I would be grateful for each day for my health, although I was already working to keep it good.

I would remind myself that I am strong and capable and that I can weather some terrible disappointments and griefs, and still be loving and kind.

And I would tell myself to be kinder: to myself, to my family and friends, to clerks, to telephone callers, to random people I see on the street. Judgement serves little purpose: kindness does.

April Moon, Day 1

"That's when I knew that this chapter of my life had ended. And now I was free to.."

That's the first writing prompt for the marvelous 2015 April Moon series from wild wonderful writing woman Kat McNally, she of Reverb and August Moon.

It's a little different this year, she explains. It's a story-starter, really. I'm a bit late in beginning this one, but it'll work no matter when I begin or end!

While I can think of several chapter endings, at least a few of them are not appropriate for a public forum such as this (although they're great stories). But let me tell you about the end of my freelance career....

It was January 2010 and we'd been to see one of the traveling Broadway-style shows that Redding regularly featured at their Civic Center -- "The Wedding Singer." Actually, we hadn't subscribed to the series for a few years since Tony was working in Chico at that time, and the plays were always on week nights, which made for a very long day of driving for him. These were gifted to us by friends who couldn't go.

After the performance, we headed, hand-in-hand, back to the truck in the parking lot. It was dark and the lot was dimly lit. As we got to the back of the truck, we parted -- Tony to the driver's side, me to the passenger's. There was not a light near the truck, so I was walking mostly in the dark. I came past the tailgate and headed down the side of the truck.

"AHHHHHHHHH," I yelled as my toe struck the concrete parking curb stop which was partially hidden under the truck bed. There was nothing to grab. I flew sideways and landed on my outstretched right hand, then my hip and body followed.

I crashed onto the blacktop and just lay there for a minute. A couple of people from nearby cars came hurrying up to help; Tony came around the end of the truck, and they tried to help me sit up.

I knew my wrist was broken. It was in an unnatural s-curve, although it didn't hurt. "It's broken," I said, holding it close to my chest. "Maybe not," said Tony, as he helped me stand, along with two other men, and then together they boosted me into the truck since there was no way I could grab onto the strap to pull myself in.

I thanked the others and we headed for the Mercy Hospital ER. I had the presence of mind to take off my rings since my hand hadn't begun to swell yet, and also directed Tony to the hospital.

They took me back immediately and it wasn't long before they shot me up with painkillers and an anti-nausea drug. X-rays showed several pieces of shattered bone. Long story short: It was splinted that night; a week later I had surgery and the wonderful orthopedist put it back together with many screws and a plate.

But even that night I knew I wasn't going to be writing stories anytime soon. It was my right hand. My note-taking hand. And there's no way I'm typing stories with just my left hand.It hurt, and I had no idea how long I'd be in a cast. Certainly I wasn't going to meet deadlines any time soon.

It was over, those freelance gigs. And I wasn't too upset about it, actually. I loved the interviewing, the getting to meet new people and find out their stories and how they got to where they are. But the deadlines? Meh. The stress of trying to tell their story accurately and yet still making it enticing in a mere 500-700 words? Very hard. I would sweat blood over the story and always ended up paring it down, hopefully not losing the essence as I chopped words. I would not miss that part.

The next day I called my editor to tell her I was out, but that I had a replacement in mind, a local friend who had no freelance experience but whose writing was clean, interesting, and sharp. They both agreed -- and my friend Melissa is still writing for them, five years later.

 I was ready to be done, apparently, and the Universe took a rather drastic way of letting me know that. I needed to get out of the way to allow Melissa her opportunity.

While I know I could have resumed freelancing once I'd healed, it never felt right again. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#Reverb 15 -- March -- Decluttering

The prompt: Spring favorites | Cleaning out the closet, updating your beauty regime, tackling DIY projects.  What are your favorites this spring?

I swear that I am in a constant state of decluttering....closet twice a year when I switch from warm clothes to cool clothes, the office every time I sit down at my very messy desk, the kitchen when I open a messy drawer, the linen closet weekly when I put away clean, folded sheets. And don't get me started on the attic.

It just never quite seems to come together, though. There is always more to do. It is never finished.

The last few months have been interesting, though, in that through my reiki group and increasing passion for this healing modality, I have read more about astrological influences and energy involvement than I have ever studied. This past week, for instance, was a huge week with a new super moon, a solar eclipse, and the spring equinox. There were other astrological references that I only vaguely understand, but involving cycles and degrees, beginnings and endings.

I understand beginnings and endings. And the energy felt tumultuous, big, charged. It was a time for big change, a time to let go of things that no longer serve our best interests to make way for new things to come into our lives. It was a time for evaluating everything, including relationships and projects. And its effects continue through the next six months, so no, I didn't have to get everything done this week.

But I'm embracing this spiritual journey that reiki seems to have launched me into, planning to continue training with three days of level two training coming up, and opportunities for 'woo-woo' workshops appearing. I am appreciating the energy and wisdom that my little group of reiki students/practitioners offers, and learning so much.

Practically, I'm again cleaning out closets as I contemplate cool clothes (since our winter appears to be quite over), and discarding bits of paper, cosmetics, medicines, tubes, boxes, and the like that accumulate in drawers over time. I am finally throwing out three bags of fabric that I cut into pattern sections (along with the now outdated patterns) oh so many years ago, facing the truth that no, I will not ever sew them, and wouldn't wear them anymore anyway. More, more, more of this kind of cleaning out!

And more more more of the 'woo-woo' experiences that are resonating with my deepest self right now.

Monday, March 02, 2015

#Reverb15 -- February

Wuv, twue wuv...Love is strange | What characteristic or habit of yours is so odd, you'd be mortified if your partner ever discovered it? Alternatively, what makes you a total goober and your other half still loves you for it? If you're single, let your freak flag fly and tell us about what you're afraid might turn off a potential mate. 

Well, I'm a little late, by two days, to this prompt for February, and honestly, I'm not sure about it.

At this stage in my life, I'm pretty much What You See is What You Get....not about being 'mortified' if my partner discovered some habit or characteristic. Actually, I gave up that deceptive practice a long time ago.

And that's a GOOD thing.

Why hide a part of who you are from your partner? How does that make for open, honest communication if you share only what you think s/he would want to know about you? How would you feel if your partner withheld a part of him/herself from you because s/he was afraid you wouldn't love/like them anymore, or if you would be horrified at learning about a habit or characteristic? 

I don't much like surprises, especially surprises like those. I want to know all about the warts, the uglies, the nasties, the funkies. If I can't handle those details, then the relationship isn't one I should be in. And I hate even worse being blindsided -- I mean, don't YOU?

Seems to me that if you have a habit or characteristic that you think is so awful that you can't talk about it to someone who you claim to love and cherish that maybe you'd better both take a look at the habit AND think about why you're reluctant to 'fess up to your partner.

Do I have little habits and characteristics that are hinky? Yup. But he loves me. And he knows them all, as I know his. No secrets here. And that's a GOOD thing.

Monday, February 09, 2015

#Reverb 15 January -- my UNgoal

The Prompt: Ungoals | What are you so NOT doing this year? What's on your "I just can't care about that" list?

Well, I'd love to say that I am not going to have any more big medical issues this year, but that got blown to hell last week when we discovered that the sight in one eye -- my GOOD eye, vision-wise -- has deteriorated quite a bit. So I will be having an MRI to rule out brain tumors and strokes, and then we'll go from there. Meanwhile I am back on eye drops for the glaucoma. Not something you want to mess around with. My doctor is on top of it, though, and I'm grateful for that.

So instead I'm going to reiterate what I've been saying and mostly doing for the last couple of years: I am not spending time with people who I don't much like anyway, for whatever reasons, and I'm not doing things or participating in causes that I don't feel strongly, even passionately, about. I don't play games anymore with people. If you don't like what I am and what I believe, that's fine. We'll be done.

When you clean house, when you open the doors and declutter your house, literally or figuratively, it makes room for new, good things to come in and take root. I want more things like my wonderful reiki group, like our new drumming sessions. I want more gratitude and joy. I want to always see the glass as half-full.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

#Reverb 14, Day 31

Big (or small) goals: What’s on tap for next year?  Share your big (or small) goals with us.  Why did you pick those goals?  Are these things you’ve always wanted to do?  How are you going to get them done?

Job one is recovering from hardware removal surgery from a triple arthrodesis I had two years ago. I am hoping for physical therapy as I haven't walked with a decent gait for at least three years, and I am tired of feeling off balance and like Lurch. Everything in my body is a little 'off' -- and I want balance.

Actually, balance is pretty much the goal for 2015 in all things. 

I did not like the 'obese' code in my doctor's pre-op instructions, not ONE bit. I don't think of myself as 'obese,' but according to the BMI charts, I suppose I have been either there or in the overweight category for years. Even when I lost 50 lbs back in 2002-3, according to those charts I was still overweight. But I didn't look it -- I looked slim and healthy in the photos from that time.

So we are both on a quest to lose weight and ramp up exercise, not to look buff and skinny, but to look and feel healthier and not so achy-breaky. We both need to gain strength in our arms and legs, we both need to increase core strength. I need always to work on balance (which I have never had, really, even as a young person). 

Yoga will help me do a lot of that, and so will some strength training at the gym. Like I said, it's about balance: feeling and looking healthier and stronger, with more stamina and strength. 

That also means putting my head in the right space to do this, not feeling deprived and anxious, but knowing that spirit will guide me to the right place for me. My mantra is "I am here." Right here, right now. One day at a time, one bite at a time, one workout at a time. We can do this.

Commitment to that is the only goal for 2015. The rest will follow. 


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

#Reverb 14, Day 30

In and out list: Each year the Washington Post (and various other media) pens an “in and out” list comprised of pop culture people/items that are in and out.  What’s on your in and out list?

Bluetooth iPod speaker
Love Grown Power O's
Magnesium Oil
Rescue Remedy Sleep Spray
Alegria shoes
Local beef
Zevia Zero soda

Earbuds (except in the dentist's chair)
Supermarket pink slime beef
Diet sodas with Spenda or aspartame

I suppose I'm woefully behind the times regarding pop culture. Most of what I know I've learned either from Entertainment magazine or one of the television Insider-type shows. 

I'm retired! I wear jeans and yoga pants and tees and sweatshirts and hoodies and sweaters. I listen to what most would call moldy oldies, abeit I have an eclectic mix of classical, high church choral, Broadway musicals, Celtic, and classic rock groups on my iPod. I sort of feel like Ouiser in "Steel Magnolias": "I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don't see movies 'cause they're trash, and they got nothin' but naked people in 'em! And I don't read books, 'cause if they're any good, they're gonna make 'em into a miniseries"

That, of course, isn't really true about me -- I do see plays, I do go to movies, and I do read books. But I'm picky.


Sunday, January 04, 2015

#Reverb 14, Day 29

Day in the life: Describe a typical day-in-the-life.  Give us details!  Give us pictures!  Sometimes our days can seem boring.  Is that okay?  What do you do to make your days feel a bit special?

 Oh, how retirement changes day-to-day life!

Tony almost always gets up before I do. I snuggle back down in the covers and snooze, awakening usually between 8 and 8:30 (unless I didn't sleep well, in which case it could be an hour later). Sweats and slippers on. Flip on lights on the plant shelf (where my angels sit); open great room blinds,  and I'm ready for a cup of tea (sometimes decaf coffee). Teabag in the tall St. Elizabeth Hospital cup, cup under the Keurig dispenser (hot water). Sit in my green leather chair with my iPad. McMurphy leaps to the arm of the chair, his butt barely missing the cup of hot tea, and into my lap, where he insists on snuggling, stretching out long paws to push away the iPad. I comply. Sort of, anyway, holding the iPad at an awkward angle so I can cuddle the cat too.

Tony is in the office and comes into the kitchen anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes later, always coming over to my chair, leaning down, and giving me a kiss or three. (*lucky girl* aren't I) And then he goes to the kitchen to fix breakfast -- alternating cereal (hot or cold, depending on the season) or eggs. (ditto that *lucky girl* thing)

"It's ready," he'll say. I put down the iPad and come to the table, where I dispense vitamins, we enjoy breakfast and bird watching since he's already replenished the feeders tjhat hang outside the sliding door by the table. We clear the dishes; then sit back down and read aloud, taking turns with each book, from the two books we've chosen for the year's morning readings. 

From there, depending on what's on the calendar for that day, I may go back to my chair with a second cup and browse through email and Facebook and blogs for another hour. Or I may go back to the bathroom, pausing to make the bed, and get showered and ready for what's on the agenda.

{{{Day goes along -- maybe a trip to town, to an appointment, to lunch -- maybe a movie together or a day trip or errands or grocery store. Maybe some laundry. Or cleaning. Or writing. Or reading. Lunch happens, usually together, unless I've got a lunch date. Or we decide to combine errands and lunch. Or I bring home a sandwich. We will be adding regular exercise to this timeline in 2015, either at home or at the gym. }}

Around 5 p.m., the TV news usually goes on and I begin puttering in the kitchen in preparation for supper. We generally eat between 6:30 and 7, sometimes lingering for half an hour if we're deep into a conversation. I clear the table, he does the dishes, I feed the cats, and we're ready for an evening of TV -- unless I still need to do the daily email I write to a small group of family and friends (a bit of nothing much -- what I did, what's going on with the weather, maybe a commentary about the state of life or something newsworthy, and a quotation that either reflects how I'm feeling or is something I think one of the recipients should hear), which takes maybe 20 minutes. 

We are such creatures of habit. We record a number of TV series and movies, and most always have a discussion that goes something like: "What do you feel like?" "I dunno. What do you want to watch?" "Oh, I could be up for most anything." (or, alternatively, "I don't feel much like a movie...I want something light and fluffy....I dunno.") Eventually we either take turns narrowing the choices ("Uh, Person of Interest, Agents of Shield, or Divergent.") or I just click on something (I nearly always am the mighty ruler of the TV control.)

Unless it is a movie, we do that again in the hour it takes to watch a series. I know. It's SO co-dependent. We know it too.

The exceptions are when we have both Showtime and HBO favorite Sunday night series to choose from, and we know we'll get to at least two of them, so it rarely makes a difference which we do first. And  Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, in that order, don't need conversation to choose either. 

News at 10, and it's off. Tony goes back to the office for a last bit of computering; I usually play a game or two on the iPad, and then I'm off to get ready for bed and reading my Kindle. He'll come in, both cats leading the way, in half an hour, snuggle down, and is usually asleep quickly. I read for maybe an hour, and then it's lights out for me too, and hopefully to sleep (perchance to dream....)

I suppose it could seem that way. It doesn't feel boring, however.

We prefer to think of our days as drama-free. We like our little routines and rituals, and even when we're traveling in Sallie Forth (our travel trailer), we follow pretty much this process.

I like waking to the same routine every day. It puts a structure, a beginning that is predictable and comforting, to another lovely day. 

Every day that we are together and feeling good, every day that allows us to control what we do and when we do it is a special day. We don't need excitement and drama and lots of socialization to feel satisfied and happy with our days, and neither of us needs to be entertained or kept busy, since we are both exceptionally self-directed with our activities and interests. If there is a downside to this, it is that we ARE such compatible creatures and enjoy our routines, and sometimes need to shake things up a bit, to change what we are doing to promote better, healthier habits. 

Life is so good, folks. We are so, so blessed. 



Saturday, January 03, 2015

#Reverb 14, Day 28

Creativity: What does being creative mean to you?  How do you express your creativity?

I have always regarded myself as a creative person, pretty much centered around the various fine arts, although I learned long ago that I am more of a dabbler than a perfectionist. 

And yet when I was working, I often found new ways to look at old problems or different paths to complete a project or changing up a long-established process to make it easier and more effective. I was often self-directed, especially in the non-profit positions, which usually makes such creativity easier to implement, and I also learned how to be creative with a very small budget. When I worked for the larger corporations I was part of marketing communications, the 'creatives' part of the business, and change wasn't always as easy to do or as accepted by management. 

I learned to work with a group or a committee, but that is not an easy road, especially if personalities are strong. And sometimes I didn't work very well with a group, preferring to be solo or with only one other person. Management doesn't like that much, though.

I think creativity is the ability to see/hear/perceive something in at least a slightly different way and then to express that through whatever means is appropriate to the medium. Being a creative has been a big part of who I am throughout all my life, and I find my greatest satisfaction and joy comes from that ability to see differently -- as well as the same. 

My creative nature shows in what I wear, my jewelry, my shoes, what my house looks like, what I read, what I listen to, what I like to watch and do, even (when possible) in what I like to drive. I like being a little different, a little quirky, although it took years to embrace that. 

I'm not singing or taking photos or painting or sewing right now (all the dabbley stuff): the constant creative outlet in my life has always and continues to be writing, even if it isn't polished and perfected. I write only for me these days: while I love that people enjoy my blog or find wisdom in my writing, what I say is truly from my heart and mind, and not to please an editor or an audience. It is who I am, if you care to read it. 


#Reverb 14, Day 27

Creature of Habit: Did you form a new habit this year?  Or continue with an old one?  Is it a good habit?  Or one you’d like to break?

Bad habits: Sleeping past 8 a.m., sometimes way past, because I read too late or don't go to sleep easily at night; indulging too readily in candy or milkshakes or cookies that I know are going to pack on the pounds (and which have) and do not contribute to good health; putzing too much on the iPad and/or computer during the day in lieu of getting some long overdue cleaning tasks done; not climbing on the exercise bike at least three times a week NO MATTER WHAT, or going regularly to yoga. 

Good habits:  Continuing to cook most of our food from scratch, thereby controlling salt intake and other not-good ingredients; carefully regulating carb intake for most meals; practicing gratitude every day; being intentionally kinder to myself and to others. 

Lots of room for improvement. But progress continues.

#Reverb 14, Day 26

Energy: What gave you energy this year?  What took away your energy?

Energy. I have never been so aware of energy and how it comes to us, what we give ours to, whether it is positive or negative. That's thanks to my reiki group which began meeting slightly less than a year ago, and which is so focused on our energies and how they manifest. 

Two years ago I was slated for foot surgery in late December,  involved in a group that had a lot of chaotic energy, and acting as payee for my daughter who was in a basically negative living situation but seemed unable to get herself out of it (for a lot of reasons). My own energy was afraid and angry a lot of the time, and the foot that was getting cut on felt like a piece of wood, which also was concerning. I felt pulled in so many directions and none of them positive. 

And I knew that prescriptions and Western medicine were not going to help me with this. So I went in desperation to a woman I knew slightly who did energy work and asked -- almost begged-- her for help. 

WOW. Everything changed. With her help and counsel, I went into that surgery unafraid, positive about the outcome, and feeling so much more peaceful about where I was. 

That work has carried me to today, facing surgery again (this time to take out the hardware that was put into my ankle two years ago), and blessed with a supportive group who believe in the power of energy to heal and to change lives. 

I have actively worked on keeping my energy charged and healing as well, and try hard to avoid getting enmeshed in people, places or events that sap it, releasing relationships and memberships when necessary, or changing how I react to others. 

It is intentional, this good energy, and takes the realization that all is temporary -- good, bad, ugly, hard, easy. It all changes eventually. What I can control is my own reaction, and I try to keep that focused on the positive, the good healing energy, by deliberately meditating on it, praying, practicing reiki, and being kind both to me and to others. 

Yes, there are not so good days. But I have control over how that affects me. And I choose positive energy. 

#Reverb 14, Day 25

Thanks and Gratitude: What are you so grateful for?  How did you count your blessings in 2014?

I don't even know where to begin on this one. I have practiced active gratitude every day this year, with prayers morning and night (and often in between).  Actually, I have intentionally practiced gratitude for more than 30 years...the "attitude of gratitude" was drilled into me at one point, and it has become a way of living.

But especially as I grow older, there are so many itty bitty things, alongside the big huge ones, that I am grateful for -- hot water in my shower, a good parking place at a store, a meal where everything came together just right, a day without afib, a phone call from a friend, a reiki session that really hit home....

 I am so grateful for my husband, my home, my kitties. For no afib, at least right now. For enough of everything. I am grateful for our relatively drama-free life. 

So. Many. So. Much.

I try to give back to others through donations, through being kind or helpful, by trying to be thoughtful and accommodating (but not to the point of people-pleasing, something I have worked on for years now). Kindness is such an important quality, and one we have not always been taught. So I work on being kind and not so judgmental, either of others or myself.