Saturday, November 26, 2011

small business Saturday

Shopping? Love it. Love to lose myself in aisles of shiny objects. I like to wander marble malls with escalators, skylights, and fountains. I like to look at people and fashion.

But crowds, big box stores, competitive parking, and frantic shoppers. Plastic (oil) crap made in China with lead and who knows what other toxins, wrapped in plastic (oil) and bagged in plastic (oil), no thanks. Sorry, The Graduate.

Online shopping? Easy and convenient, especially for distant friends and family. No wrapping, no trek to the post office. You can't beat LL Bean for customer service, quality items, and free shipping. Check out their solar products, winter boots, and snowshoes. Sweaters and long underwear. Pancakes and maple syrup.

Holidays. Me? I give to charity, volunteer, and buy homemade at craft fairs. I bought lots of rocks and handmade jewelry at craft fairs this season. I bought quilted stuff, candles, and local honey. Check out Etsy for gorgeous crafted items. We adopted a family at work, and I made posters; I wrote a big check. I'm determined to get to OccupyPortlandME and share Reiki.

Homemade. You can make your own bath salts. The legal kind; they go in the bathtub, not your nose or vein. Go to the grocery store and buy a box of kosher salt. It's chunky. Go to your health food store and buy essential oils. Make or buy some attractive packaging: taffeta bags, interesting jars, or recycled tins. Add oil to salt and package. Woop. That easy.

Small Business Saturday. Think about it. Shop at locally-owned stores.
Grow your own. Make it. Give yourself.
And remember to stop and enjoy people, laughter, and moments. Sing. Tune into joy.
Happy Holidays: Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Winter Solstice, and Boxing Day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Wasn't sure til I woke up what I was doing on this major national holiday. I woke up and felt certain that I had to see my younger son, the one who lives in Maine. My older son lives in Pennsylvania, and was spending the holiday in Michigan. Too far to drive. But M lives just 45 minutes away, in Portland.

Really? Going to Portland? I thought about it as I shoveled snow off the deck, showered, and dressed up.

I ate an apple and a chunk of dark chocolate, drank a cup of coffee, and hit the road.

I knew he was working, so headed for his restaurant. Commercial Street was deserted: park anywhere. Old Port sidewalks also deserted, shops closed. I saw a woman pushing a legless man in a wheelchair. There were a few strolling couples and one pack of joggers.

I walked up the hill to M's restaurant, up the granite steps, and up the winding carpeted staircase. Inside was all wood, chandeliers, mirrors, and respectful staff. His restaurant is in a 4-star hotel. There's an outdoor courtyard with flowers and sculptures. They have an ice bar out there in the winter.

The dining room was full of sun. I asked for my son. "He's really busy," the hostess told me. "We have the Thanksgiving buffet today." She looked uncomfortable. "I think he gets out of work at 2. You could come back then." She hesitated. "Just a minute," she said, and turned to speak with the manager. She turned back to me. "You can sit at the bar. The buffet is down the hall," she smiled.

Thanksgiving buffet? Sit at the bar? Well, ok, I guess.

I wandered down the hall. I found a room full of long white tables and gleaming silver food containers. What do you call those things? The tops slide back and there are cans of flame beneath. Long handled silver spoons rested on white plates. Young men dressed in black stood at attention beside hunks of roasted meat. A family was there, filling plates. I grabbed a plate and bowl. Started with seafood chowder: shrimp, haddock, clams, and oysters in cream. Next was an enormous platter: chunks of cold salmon and strips of oysters were arranged artfully between broad purple cabbage leaves, on a base of asparagus mayonnaise. I looked to my left: a tray of raw oysters. There were five kinds of roasted meat and fish. There were sweet potato gnocchi, arugula and smoked trout with fig dressing, and cornbread stuffing. Brussels sprouts were shredded, sauteed, and adorned with oysters. Garlic mashed potatoes, lemon broccoli, corn on the cob, cranberry relish, cucumber salad, and mac & cheese.

There was a 6 foot table of breads and muffins. Another of cakes and pies. Diners drifted in behind me, exclaiming over the fare. M brought in a chocolate cake and hugged me. "Sorry I'm so busy. Happy Thanksgiving!" he wished me, and hustled back to the kitchen.

I went back to the bar and marveled. Every bite had about 10 distinct, subtle, and interesting flavors. Herbs, citrus, garlic, and salt.

"So what are you doing after this?" the waiter asked me. He wasn't asking me out, he was asking about Thanksgiving.

"Um, this is it," I replied. Then regretted it when I saw the surprise and pity on his face. I should have made a joke. "I'm having Thanksgiving with friends tomorrow," I added, stretching the truth a bit. Leftovers count, right? He looked relieved.

I wanted to go back for more but suddenly felt too shy. I left a huge tip. Fluff and I wandered around the cold sunny streets and waterfront. We looked at yachts, some were wrapped for winter. We saw fishing nets, lobster traps, and seagulls prowling inside fishing boats. I looked into store windows. I felt fuller as we walked.

Then I drove home and raked snow off my roofs. 

nook, kindle, or iPad?

Can't decide.

e Would like to trim down my library- have way too many books and they take up so much space. I love to read.

Paper But maybe my face is in a screen enough already. I like the feel and smell of paper. I like to read in the bathtub and in bed. At the beach.

Monday, November 21, 2011


The smell of roasting turkey, all day.

1 turkey, 2 pans of hot yeast rolls, 3 cousins dressed like Pilgrims, 4 kinds of cranberry sauce, 5 resin turkeys on the piano, 6 casseroles, 7 people in my family, 9 guests, 10 pies. 1 prayer before eating, 1 walk around the block after eating, 1 big bowl of whipped cream, 1 bowl of nuts, 2 nutcrackers, 2 tables (adult & kid), 2 football games, 2 bottles of wine (red & white),  3 games of pinochle.

We  had to stay out of the kitchen, all day. Some years we went out to camp for a lunch of oyster stew. We bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves, and sat near the roaring woodstove. We wandered outside, admiring the wet ground, bare trees, and cold grey pond. Then back to the stove, gloves off now, slurping hot creamy stew: crackers floating between the oily bubbles. Oysters: chew or swallow?

Back home. Dad watched football. He ran to the kitchen during commercials to baste the browning bird.

We dressed up, a little. Family and guests gathered. We set out bowls of nuts, olives, and carrot sticks in the living room. We set the table with linen, place cards, candles, goblets, good china, and silver. Napkin and fork on the left, knife and spoon on the right.

It was hot in the kitchen: oven and woodstove. Cold in the living room with football and snacks. Just right in the dining room between.

Kids ran, tumbled, and squealed. They banged on the piano. Relatives scooped them up for a quick squeeze. Men watched football and talked languidly in the living room. Women prepared vegetables, refilled wineglasses, and laughed in the kitchen.

Dinner. Turkey: dark or light meat? Who gets the wishbone? Make a wish. Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplant parmesan, cinnamon rolls, broccoli, and green bean casserole. Yeast rolls, creamed onions, rice, and stuffing. Homemade pickles.

We all ate too much. So we bundled up again and went out; walked. It was dark and sometimes snowing. Our faces got cold. We walked until we shook the food down enough. Enough for dessert. We poured heavy cream into the mixer and turned it on. Add a pinch of sugar and a few drops of vanilla. Serve the pies. What's your favorite? Apple, cherry, pumpkin, rhubarb, mince, pecan, or blueberry? Chocolate? Glob on the whipped cream. Thought you were full before?

Then TV, card games, and talk of politics and travel.


Sunday, November 20, 2011


New theory on Fluff's seizure: a mushroom.

I was walking with Fluff this morning and chatted with some other dog people. I told the story of her seizure and our trip to the vet, the power outage.

"A mushroom," one suggested. "That can happen if they eat a mushroom."

My backyard is damp, there are mushrooms. It's fenced in, so Fluff can wander around. She could have eaten a mushroom. A neurotoxic fungi. She's all better, thank goodness.

Friday, November 18, 2011

quirk #152


I hate having my hair cut. Always have. I remember my Uncle Roland telling me, "If you don't like it, make a fuss." How old was I then, 4? 6? We lived in Minneapolis and I think I was going to Great Aunt Amy's Dayton's department store for a chic big city haircut. I didn't like it. I made a fuss. A big fuss. Some people blamed Uncle Roland.

I don't like people in my space. I don't like to sit still. I don't like people fussing over me. I don't like leaning back into the sink, I don't like the smell of the shampoo, and I don't like the styling afterwards. I don't like paying all that money for something I could do myself. I don't like the way they cut my hair, and almost always come home in a snit and snip it more. Myself. My way.

So I had my hair cut today. It's been six months and I was quite shaggy. I mean, I've been chopping away at odd moments. Bangs in my eyes: snip snip. Too long in the back: chop. Feels dry: hack. Today I was walking fast in the mall and saw a hair place. Oh. I need a haircut. How long will it take, how much? Right away, $31. Too much; I walked out. Stopped. Went back, really needed a haircut.

"Let's sit and talk," she said. What? Talk? Panic! I'm outta here. Wait, really need a haircut. She lifted a handful of my hair and said, "You have too much bulk; it's not doing anything for you. I can fix that." Around my waist too?

I leaned back over the sink. She had fake nails and raked them across my scalp. The shampoo had a strong perfumey smell.She snipped delicately and raked the scissors over the ends, shagging them expertly. There wasn't much hair on the floor.  About a tablespoon -  for $31. She worked slowly and had a glum demeanor. Hurry up and get me out of here! I asked her about life. She recently broke up with her boyfriend of 2 1/2 years "What a waste of my time," because his mother was in all their business. She moved in with her grandmother. The boyfriend had custody of the 2 dogs and 2 cats. She was a full time student, community college, undeclared major, and part time haircutter. Six years experience cutting. Her father was a chef. He worked at a medical facility: nights, weekends, and holidays off. Good benefits.

I came home and chopped an inch off the bottom, shampooed out the shampoo, and combed it all back off my face. Whew, there, back to me.

I feel sorry for men. With your short hair, you must have to go quite often. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reiki principles. Just for this moment...

Went to a Reiki share tonight. It was wonderful, with some of my favorite people. It was peaceful yet powerful.

We talked about the Reiki principles, original and as rewritten by my Reiki students.

Here are the original principles. Are they from Usui or Hayashi? I'm not sure.

Just for today, do not anger.
Just for today, do not worry.
Honor your parents, teachers, and elders.
Earn your living honestly, in a way that benefits others.
Respect all life.

Here are the revised principles.

Just for today, forgive.
Just for today, have faith.
Honor your parents, teacher, and elders.
Earn your living honestly, in a way that benefits others.
Respect and show gratitude to all living things, everything.

Then we got talking about the pace of modern life.
Perhaps instead of "Just for today" we should say, "Just for this moment"...
what do you think?

Reiki for Fluff

She doesn't usually like it, but she accepted some Reiki last night. She usually shrugs it off after a few minutes. Maybe she's too weak to refuse, but she shared Reiki for a long time last night.

Today she's even better. Her eyes are bright and young. She ran around the yard a little, and jumped up onto the couch. I fried eggs for her, and added parmesan cheese. She loves cheese.

Now I'm grateful for every day with her. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fluff improves

She's better! Her eyes are bright and aware. She can  walk, go up and down stairs, and jump on the couch. She remembered how to eat. She walked around the yard and didn't plop down once.

I worked 6 am to 1 pm today; I thought about her all day. My boss gave me tomorrow off to take Fluff to the vet. To put her down. But she's better.

I made her another fried egg. She sleeps a lot. But she's still here. Thank goodness the lights went out in Farmington last night; thank goodness the vet's office was deserted.

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

fried eggs for Fluffernutter

I wore my moonstones.

That's the necklace I wore when Fluff was lost in the woods. I used the stone to help find her. That's another story.

Today, I wore the moonstones for Fluff. Fluffernutter.

Back up. Last night she fell off the bed. Clunk, right to the floor. Woke me up. I lifted her back onto the bed and fell back asleep. I woke up again. She was having a seizure. I turned on the light and stayed with her. I hoped maybe it was a squirrel dream, but I couldn't wake her up. She stopped shaking and I fell back asleep.

She seemed Ok this morning. Not very peppy, but OK. I went to work.

It was the first day at the hospital for my group of nursing students. This is a wonderful group. They get along well, learn quickly, and are friendly and likable.

I came home from work and Fluff seemed disoriented. She wasn't in her usual spot. When I called, she looked in the wrong direction. She was slow to rouse. Her hind legs kept giving out: plop to the floor. I called the vet and described the situation.

"Well, she's 12. You're going to have to make a decision. You can come in tonight at 7, or Thursday night, or Friday morning."

I thought. Tomorrow I work, and I'm giving a talk on Reiki. Thursday is work and a Reiki share in the evening. Friday I'm going to a conference in Portland. She plopped to the floor again.

"Tonight. I'll see you tonight at 7."

I was still in scrubs. I quick showered and changed into jeans and a sweater. I chose the moonstones. I called my ex and left a message, "Fluff isn't good, we'll stop by around 5." I ran up to the attic for the dog bed she never used and threw it into the van. I lifted Fluff outside and gently placed her on the bed. We headed to Farmington, an hour north.

The sunset was beautiful, all pinks and lavenders above the ponds and pines. It got darker as we drove north. Fluff shifted frequently, then crawled up between the front seats where I could pat her head.

"We're going to the vet," I told her. "I know you hate the vet. You might not want to hang on for that, but stay til you see Sky again. Sky and Jingle. You need to see them." I thought about life without Fluff and cried all the way.

We approached town. The street light was out. Strange. It got darker. I drove up the driveway at Sky's house. No lights. The house was dark. What? Was he OK? Did he get my phone message? Maybe he didn't want to see us? I sat in the ticking car, you know, that sound the engine makes as it cools. It ticks. I looked again. There was the merest glimmer of light from inside, probably the TV.

He came to the door. He was holding a flashlight.

"The power is out," he said. "It just went out."

"That's funny," I said. "There's no wind."

He came out to the car. I opened the doors. Fluff was still, she didn't move.

"Oh," he said.

He patted her and called her name. I thought she was gone, but I saw her chest move. She was breathing. He kept patting her. Then she got up. I lifted her to the ground. She seemed confused. I carried her inside and set her down in the dark house. Jingle Bell meowed and they touched noses.

Fluff paced around and didn't slump to the floor. "Oh, she's better!" I said.

"Do you want to eat?" he said. "I was about to heat up leftover eggplant parmesan and spaghetti."

I thought. I looked at the candles set out on the counter. "I am hungry," I said.

He cooked. I sat on the floor as Fluff paced, then I lifted her to the couch and sat beside her. We ate.

Then I had to go. I went to check on Betsy, who has been ill. Betsy gave Fluff some Reiki and asked Fluff what she wanted. "She isn't ready to leave you," Betsy told me. "She isn't ready to give you up."

"I'll never be ready to give her up," I replied.

The whole town was dark. It was eerie, downtown all dark. College students wandered the streets, flashlights bobbing like lazy fireflies on a summer night. The girls wore boots and tight jeans, the boys in low baggy jeans. Big flashlights. I drove carefully. I didn't want to hit one.

I drove out to the vet's office. Arrived; it was dark like the rest of town. All dark. I could see stars right down to the trees. I looked at constellations. Big Dipper.  I sat in the parking lot. No one came out. No lights. I headed home.

Again I drove through the woods, through the dark starry downtown, and past the bouncing flashlights of the careless students. I was cautious at intersections, where dead streetlights offered no guidance. It was auto anarchy, but we were respectful. I headed south. As I drove past the strip mall outskirts, the lights suddenly came on. Auto parts, Tires, Restaurants, Big Box Stores, and street lights. Light.

I kept driving. It's a two-lane highway back to the city. It was dark and I hate driving in the dark. I kept the wheels between the yellow and white lines. I dimmed my brights when cars approached.

We made it back to the city. I noticed a car was tailgating me. It had a funny shape, big. Was it a police car? I kept to the speed limit, 25 mph right there on Webster St. I could see the license plate and it had just 2 figures, strange. Police or diplomat? Still tailgating, what the heck? I made my right turn onto Scribner and glanced back. The big car pulled around me and accelerated aggressively. It was a hearse.

Back home. I fried some eggs for Fluff. She likes fried eggs. She plopped to the floor a couple of times. Now she's sleeping. Wonder what will happen in the next few days.

Friday, November 11, 2011

pick joy

Someone asked me today, "You're always so happy. What are you happy about?"

"I just choose to be," I replied.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

numerology: 11-11-11

OK- tomorrow's the big day. Lots of ones. New beginnings.

So on 11-11-11 at 11:11 am, let's all step outside. Turn our faces to the Sun. Breathe. Forgive. Feel gratitude. Breathe.

Ok, my pragmatic friends are groaning. So when you step outside to breathe: sure, release your inner gases. Eructate. Exhale. Expectorate, if you must.

Just go outside. Celebrate all those ones.

thank you ~

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2005 YU55 asteroid

Yes, a space rock is in an orbit around the Sun, and will drift past Earth this evening. According to news reports, YU55 takes 15 months to loop around the Sun. It will pass between Earth and the moon around 6:30 this evening. It is not expected to drop onto your roof or into your swimming pool.

It is expected to turn eyes upwards, and turn imaginations to asteroids, space ships, and the motions of heavenly bodies.

freakish weather

It's 70 degrees. I'm sitting on my deck: barefoot, soaking up sun. I'm a little obsessed with Sun right now, as it's November in Maine. It's the beginning of our 6-month winter. It will be dark, cold, and white. It's coming.

But now, right now? It's sunny. The grass is still green, despite chunks of melting snow from our freakishly early snowstorm. There are 3 big orange pumpkins beside me. The burning bush and Japanese maples still have their leaves, as does the neighbor's big oak. The calendulas are flat to the ground, but have hardy orange blossoms. A motorcyclist just growled by.

Color, light, and warmth on this November day. 

Monday, November 7, 2011


Do you have plans?  It's a big day. Numerology, New Age, Armistice, etc. This Friday.

What about 11:11?  Pm, of course, I'll be asleep. Am? Hmmmm. I'll be in a meeting. At work. Inside, no windows.  Could I close my eyes for a bit? Probably. Fold my legs, turns my palms up, grin at the sun, and chant "Ommmm"? Definitely not.

Sun? Oh, I did get some yesterday. Fluff and I went to Wolfe's Neck State Park in Freeport, ME. We wandered around the beach: rocks tilted at 60 degrees, loads of yellow seaweed, some fuzzy brown seaweed, barnacles, and blue mussel shells. We ran through the forest: roots, moss, and pine needles. Sun? I meditated on the rocky beach. I sat on a boulder and turned to the light. Sun was brilliant overhead, and reflected in a wide blaze on the water. It was 60 degrees, slight salty breeze, rocks were warm.

But 11-11-11 at 11:11? I'll be inside. If there's a download of light energy, quanta of information, well, I'll miss it. Perhaps I'll take a break and step outside for a breath of fresh air.

Let's all take a Sun break this Friday at 11:11.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It was a long day. The alarm went off at 5; I hit the snooze button a few times, I admit. Got to work around 6 and got ready for my lecture. It went pretty well despite a couple of snags: my guest speakers were no show and the technology failed because I forgot to stick in the jump drive. Oh well. There was a heated discussion about culture in general and circumcision in particular.

Meetings most of the afternoon, though I did manage to grade a couple of papers.

Then on to Reiki class this evening: bliss! I love to teach Reiki. Oh- before leaving the office I stopped at the bathroom. While unzipping my fly I discovered my amethyst and crystal bracelet tangled in the zipper. Huh? I guess the last time I went to the BR the dragonfly clasp came unhinged and the whole thing stuck in the zipper. So that means.... I was walking around for how many hours with amethysts and crystals dangling from my fly?

Anyway. Reiki class was super. We talked about the history of Reiki, ethics, principles, and symbols. We did self-Reiki, meditation, and Reiki on a volunteer recipient. Three people were ready to be attuned to Level 1. That happened. There are 3 more Reiki practitioners in the world today. Light & love ~ Reiki!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

love, learn, and change

What am I supposed to be when I grow up? I love teaching, nursing, Reiki, research, writing, travelling, people, nature, the Sun, and stones. I like to help people learn and change. Life shifts, changes, transmutes, and transforms us. 

just for today, have faith

Have faith?

Yes, that's my students' rewrite of the revered Reiki principle: "do not worry." My students found "worry" too negative. "Plants a negative thought in peoples' minds," they said. They suggested "hope", or "faith" instead.

So I did some reading and research. Some say "hope" is passive, and "faith" is active. Ok, maybe so. But to me, "faith" sounds like religion. Reiki is not a religion.

Reiki is a spiritual practice, a way of life, like yoga. Not like a religion. Reiki embraces people of all religions. One may be a Reiki practitioner, and access one's own personal private faith while sharing Reiki energy. When I teach Reiki classes, I don't ask people about their religion or religious beliefs.

"What, me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman

So today, when I find myself worrying about:
 my life, my job, my ability to teach, my future, my 401k,
 world hunger, Occupy activists, earthquakes,
 the happiness and success of my students,
 Fluffernutter's loneliness,
 too much snow,
 getting enough exercise, enough money, and enough time to maintain friendships...
I remind myself. Just for today, don't worry. Hope. Have faith.

I offer the same to my dear readers. Hope. Have faith.
Please reach out and offer comfort to someone today.
thank you