Sunday, January 31, 2010

my cat peed in my wealth bagua

I wrote this 5 and a half years ago. At the time, I thought I was going to be a writer. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. My career doesn't seem to be moving in that direction at the moment; however...I've learned not to second guess the Unfolding.

“My cat peed in my wealth bagua.”

“Your what?”

“I said, ‘My cat peed in my wealth bagua.’”

“Ooo…that sounds bad.”

“I hope it’s not karma.”

My sweetheart and I are commingling households. It happens all the time, right? People decide to move in and live together everyday. “We’ll use my pans and your dishes. We’ll buy new towels. We’ll use my bed and your sheets. We’ll keep my cat and get rid of yours.” You know the drill. The stuff we are tired of or can’t use, we’ll give to our favorite charity, because it’s just not “us,” yet the stuff still has life in it.

Moving in together takes time, energy, and negotiation skills. Some weeks we make no progress. There are ups and downs, but we are getting it done. In the big picture, we are creating a home that we all love.

Hold it…rewind. What was that about the cats? Not to worry—two human ailurophiles do not disown the members of their family. However, two felines from one household do not readily welcome a feline from another household. It’s just not their way. Never mind that the one is an extreme geriatric who has held alpha status in his world up until now. When it comes to feline territory negotiations, he who has the largest bladder wins.

It happened in my office in the new house. When I say “new,” I don’t just mean “new to us,” but “brand-spanking-never-been-lived-in-the-carpets-are-still-white new.” You could walk barefoot on the new carpet and not be worried about unseen jungle animals deep in the fibers that would attach themselves to fresh flesh on safari. Clean at last—clean at last! Thank God Almighty—clean at last!

The Feng Shui of my home office is propitious. To determine the Feng Shui, a space is divided into ninths, as if you are drawing a tic-tac-toe grid on the floor. Each of the nine sections is called a bagua, and each bagua pertains to a particular aspect of life. You enter my office through French doors in the “Knowledge and Information” bagua. “Career,” “Friends and Helpful People,” and “Children and Creativity” all have enhancements built in. That’s good. I intend to place my computer workstation in the “Wealth” bagua—fitting, since my plan is to write as a career.

While my sweetie and I were moving in, we spent most of our time in my office. The TV was there; the one semi-comfortable piece of furniture that would hold more than one person was there; and my geriatric cat was there. It was his territory with all the amenities and accoutrements from his previous residence—me, his dishes, his litter box. Ahh!

What we didn’t count on was the jealousy of the other two. As my sweetie spent evenings with me and geriatric alpha cat in my office space, the two were apparently saving up and building bladder capacity to match that of my homeboy. All they needed was opportunity.

Then it started…the pissing war…with the largest action in the wealth bagua. Cats pee quickly. I see the crouch; I grab the animal, and in one continuous motion swing him from the carpet to the litter box—a move that would make the Flying Wallendas proud. He steps out of the box, starts his bath, and between licks, gives me a look thick with attitude: “Who me? What did I do?”

In that split second, between the crouch and the initiation of the trapeze move, he released a deluge of skunk and ammonia into my new—did I mention clean? —carpet, now a magnet for retaliation: layer upon feline layer of marking and civet cat scent.

Oh, the cat pee—eau de cat pee: eye-searing, tear-inducing, nose-hair-melting cat pee!

“Your what?”

“My cat peed in my wealth bagua—and so did yours. Both of them!”

Good-bye clean carpet. It’s gotta go. There is no cure for the acrid territorial scent of marking. It all has to go.

Maybe it is karma. Hey—maybe that’s good news. Karma is cyclic, right? So my cat and my adopted cat family have anointed my new career. The territorial war induced nadir in my wealth bagua may represent payment in full of karmic debt. After having been anointed by cat pee, where is there to go but up?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

i forget

(this was the first thing i saw when i woke up this morning)

For me and my sisters poverty is freedom, and the less we have the more we can give. Poverty is love before it is renunciation. It is not that we cannot have luxuries. We choose not to have them. This freedom brings joy, and joy enables us to give in love until it hurts.

~ Mother Teresa ~

I had something in mind to write about. Now it is completely and totally gone. Perhaps it will come back so I can use it another day.

I can hope.

Friday, January 29, 2010

request for information

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

~ Zora Neale Hurston ~
American writer, folklorist, and anthropologist

I'll let you know when I figure out what kind of year this is going to be. Or if you get it first...please let me know.

On another note--I am planning to publish a book on a site like Are there any others that you know of or is blurb it?

Thanks, y'all.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

love thursday 01.28.10 ~ life and death

Conversion is what happens between birth and death. By ... conversion as a process, I do not mean to disclaim the many accounts of people being suddenly and mysteriously touched by God and changed tremendously ... However, even people who have had a dramatic encounter with the Divine, still must go through that daily purifying process of continued conversion. A deep and lasting conversion is a process, an unfolding, a slow turning and turning again.

~ Macrina Wiederkehr ~
from her book A Tree Full of Angels

Most of you know that my dad passed away the weekend before last. Thank you so much for your kind words and comforting presence. I love and appreciate you all.

In the last couple years, SO and I have watched a lot of movies. Being in recuperation and not having energy to do much else, movies are a good way to be entertained and rest at the same time.

This week, three of the movies have had themes that included death. Only two of the movies were good, however. So I will only mention those--

Taking Chance
My friend Mary told me about this one. Kevin Bacon plays a Marine Corps officer who volunteers to escort the body of a young soldier back to his hometown. It's not much more than an hour long and it is incredibly well done.

I don't even know how to describe this one. Suffice it to say that it, too, is well done and I highly recommend it. One of my blogger friends mentioned it. Was it you, Michelle?

Happy Love Thursday!

And if there is a movie you love, please leave me the title in the comments. I am always looking for more good flicks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed.

~ Martin Luther ~

Came down with a cold--or something like that. My neti pot is my friend. So is Breathe Easy tea...and water...lots of water. Sneezing, snorting, blowing--and now starting to get that shitty little cough.

HoneyBoy peed on the rug. Had to remove the rug until we can get it cleaned.

I sure hope Luther was right.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


(mijo: i think he missed me and wants to go with me next time)

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

~ John W. Gardner ~
Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
under President Lyndon Johnson

In the last few months of Dad's life, he was on hospice care. I really believe in hospice. When it is done well, the patient and the family feel companioned and witnessed through the process of end of life.

When it is not done well, the family gets left out in the cold and feels like they have to protect the patient from hospice. Ours was the latter experience with my dad.

Fortunately (and unfortunately), I have had other experience with hospice--when my very dear friend died 20 years ago. The care givers were wonderful. Their communication and understanding kept us in the loop.

Today, while the memory of it all is still fresh in my mind, I wrote hospice a feedback letter. They will either accept it graciously or they won't. However, I can tell you that I wrote it graciously. If I don't tell them what it was like from my perspective, they will never know. And if I do tell is up to them what they do with it.

Based on my first experience, I cannot recommend hospice highly enough. Based on this experience, I must say that if you are not satisfied not only with patient care but also with the communication with the family, fire their asses and hire a different hospice group.

In this situation, life truly is too short to put up with more grief from the care team on top of what you are already going through.

Monday, January 25, 2010


You're only given a little spark of madness. You musn't lose it.

~ Robin Williams ~

Not me. I'm nurturing mine.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

no picture today

no picture

few words

really tired

we are all okay. i'll have more to say later, i'm sure.

thanks for all your love and support. it means a lot to me and i have felt your presence.

for now...i just wanted to let you all know that i am here and i'll be back soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

good bye dad

There is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for.

~ Paulo Coelho ~

This morning we say good bye to my dad. It is always good to see people we know and love and we will enjoy having a chance to talk about Dad and his life with them.

Tomorrow I'll take my sister to the airport so she can head home. Mom and my brother will be here in Tillamook and I will head back home.

We will all begin our new normal...whatever that will be.

I will miss them all.

Friday, January 22, 2010

who ya gonna please?

If you live to please other people, everybody may like you, but you are going to hate yourself.

~ Paulo Coelho ~

So do you like my boots?

I do.

I guess that's enough, huh?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

love thursday 01.21.10 ~ life goes on

(heart shaped burn)

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

The graveside service for my dad was perfect. My brother played the guitar and sang a couple songs. I read a story I wrote. My sister was the photographer. My mother was presented with a flag from the veterans for my dad's military service.

Everyone shared stories about Dad. We laughed. We cried. We were together.

It was organic and better than anything we could have planned. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


(both boys in the sink...wrestling)

The God who made us what we are knows what we desire to be and waits with infinite patience while we become what we can. We, on the other hand, know that whatever we need to become all that we can be, this same great and loving God will supply. For all of that, we are thankful. From that gratitude grow love and commitment, faith and trust, wonder and worship.

~ Joan Chittister ~
from her book The Liturgical Year

We are all in process...a day at a time...a step at a time. For that I am grateful.

I keep getting repeating or sequential number messages several times a day. I am amazed at how much seeing those lift my heart and my faith that someone--something bigger is with me/for me.

This morning, we will have a burial service with just the family present.

Saturday afternoon, we will have the memorial service from noon to 3 p.m. at the Bay City Oddfellows hall. If anyone needs more information, please let me know via email or comments.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

things you might not know about me

(mom's birthday party and mom & dad's 62nd wedding anniversary--and the last picture of the 5 of us)

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

~ Martin Luther King Jr. ~

1. I lived in the same house my entire life growing up. Not until I went away to college did I switch residences. My mom still lives in that house.

2. I can be very funny. Just ask my sister. I love to make her laugh.

3. I would rather go without than drink shitty coffee.

4. I keep a list of things I will do / buy when I win the lottery--the big prize, of course.

5. I sell my old books on

6. I feel like I am between 35 and 45 years old. Always have.

7. I have played over 30,000 games of Free Cell and found only one so far that I couldn't win.

8. Once in my life, I laughed so hard I thought I would pass out.

9. I can swallow a handful of pills all at once.

10. I have (had) 40 first cousins.

Monday, January 18, 2010


(mijo hanging off the bathroom counter)

We are all hanging in there and doing amazingly well. We went to Dad's apartment today and brought all his stuff home to Mom's house.

My sister, brother, sister-in-law, niece, Mom, and I spent the afternoon making plans for the upcoming week. Tomorrow we go to the cemetary and pick out the plot. We'll do a private burial in a couple days. Then we will have a memorial service / celebration of life on Saturday or Sunday, depending upon the day the hall is available.

We'll have a potluck and share some stories. All are welcome.

More to come. Thanks for loving me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


(december 8, 1922 to january 16, 2010)

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

~ W.H. Auden ~

Be at peace, Dad.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

me and joe

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away.

...coo coo cachoo....

~ Simon & Garfunkel ~

Ode on a coffee cup

Thou dark and tarry brew,
Come fill me with your heady aroma
And flavor nonpareil

For thy essence wafting by
Arouses me. Be gone, Morphean coma--
Le goût de l'eau est perdu.

Friday, January 15, 2010


(look at the size of that paw)

If I see [a] gift as mine alone to give, I might give hesitantly, even grudgingly, considering my options, then giving from a sense of ought. If I see the gift as God's who allows me to use it for a time, then the gift can flow more freely, as I join with others to be a channel for God's love and mercy.

~ Roberta Porter ~
from her poem, "Grace in Giving"

I know that all I have is God's. Some days...I feel I have nothing to give.

No offense, God.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

love thursday 01.14.10 ~ love all over the world...all at the same time

Some of you have seen this, but it bears repeating. You can never have too much love, eh?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ankle update

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

~ Abraham Lincoln ~

I've been walking about a mile a day for the last several days. My legs and feet are sore, but my ankle feels stronger. I even turned it a bit when I stepped on a tree root under the pavement. It didn't feel good, but it didn't incapacitate me, either.

Next week I have another therapy treatment on it. This might be the last one.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

random thoughts from monday night

(hawaiian flags and icicle lights at dusk)

I was a peripheral visionary. I could see the future, but only way off to the side.

~ Steven Wright ~

Day 12 of the new year and I am caught up on my bookkeeping. I'm doing a little bit almost daily. Beats the days when I would sit down in February or March and do the whole year at once--the previous year.

I am so looking forward to our trip to Hawaii in May-June. I have been too long away from the islands. Whenever I go there, someone thinks I am a local. That's a huge compliment in my book.

It's raining. 100% chance for the next several days. It is winter, after all. Better than ice and snow--and freezing rain. However...see above.

Sent in my Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes entry and bought lottery tickets. May the Force be with me...and also with you.

I've been going for a walk three days in a row now. If you go to you can put your runs, hikes, bike rides, or walks on a map. It will tell you how long the trip is, as well as how many calories you burn. You can also see the elevation gain and loss. My current route is 1 mile. Perfect.

Trying to decide whether my favorite dessert is red velvet cake or boca negra (dense brownie type cake with vanilla ice cream and salt caramel topping). Perhaps I will have to try both again before I can decide.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010


When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flock, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace ... to make music in the heart.

~ Howard Thurman ~
American author, civil rights leader, and theologian

Holidays are over. Decorations put away. Life is back to normal.

Sunday morning. Coffee and yawns. Another cup and all will be well...I hope.

Have a wonderful Sunday sabbath today. (Or whatever day you sabbath may it be wonderful.)

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Bodies matter to God. Matter matters. Until we can proclaim that wondrous truth, ecology will be a sideline in our pastoring and preaching, our theologies and liturgies ... Wetlands and rivers, wheat fields and dough rising, people dancing in the aisles and people sleeping in the streets of our cities. Matter matters to God.

~ Barbara Lundblad ~
from her sermon "Matter Matters"

I am sure bodies matter to God. Otherwise we wouldn't have them. Why go to all the trouble of designing and creating them if they aren't important. (However, there are a few design issues I would have liked to have some input into.)

Lately I have been noticing how much I feel my faith--in my body. When I am at peace it is physical as well as mental. When I feel grateful, I feel it in my body. When I am connected and at one with the Divine that is samadhi.

Pain. Pain just is. It provides information. It gets our attention. It matters. Being in denial doesn't help.

Living in and through the body--pain, samadhi, and all--that is the fullness of the experience of life. All of it.

One love.

Friday, January 08, 2010

night and day

(this is what happens when you take a picture dusk with a flash when it is snowing)
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.

~ Hafiz ~

The gremlins descend at night. Right before bed, all my worries float to the top of my awareness and dominate my brain's activity. I look at them and practice putting them aside. Practice faith that whatever happens all will be well.

In the morning--most mornings--things look brighter. I even experience samadhi with my morning coffee on the best mornings. And on good mornings, I know I will make it through the day and on to the next.

It's the difference between night and day.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

love thursday 01.07.10 ~ godogodogodog

(brotherly love...and i don't have a dog so this'll have to do)


I could not lie any more so I started to call my dog "God."
First he looked

then he started smiling, then he even

I kept at it: now he doesn't even

I am wondering if this
might work on

~ Tukaram ~

Happy Love Thursday, everyone...and Melkam Yelidet Beaal.*

*Today is Ethiopian Christmas. Happy Christmas, Se'lah and friends.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

find a better job

Find A Better Job



All your worry

Has proved such an





Find a better


~ Hafiz ~

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

tidy soul

(remember this?)

(well...look at this. same chair. same kitten.
yes, he used to be just one stripe wide.)

Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.

~ Mark Twain ~
American novelist

Keep a tidy soul. That's probably what we called being "prayed up" in my evangelical days. Make sure that your side of the street is clean--that you've looked at your stuff and taken responsibility for it and where necessary, made amends. Oh, wait. That's 12 step.

No difference.

There's the stuff between me and others. Check. The stuff between me and God. Check. The stuff between me Hmm. No less important.

Especially since we are all one.

Yeah. One love.

Monday, January 04, 2010



It's kind of fun to do the impossible.

~ Walt Disney ~

Susan wants to know "what is home?"

When I am in Hawaii, I feel like I am at home. The energy of the place matches me...or vice versa...and I am at peace there. Lately, I have been thinking that I would like to move there--that's how much at home I am. However, the reality is I have no money to move and no job once I get there. That's why today's quote popped to the top of my list. It would be fun to do the impossible.

And then there is my home. This spot of geography where I dwell also feels like home, but more because I have imprinted my energy and my style on it. I have never lived in a house that I missed after I moved. This one might be different.

Home is where I am. And it is so much better when I am there with those I love.

What makes your home "home"?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

tigers and toes

(chewing on my toes, which he must have mistaken for a tiger)

Some days you tame the tiger. And some days the tiger has you for lunch.

~ Tug McGraw ~

I am strangely devoid of words at the moment. No great insights or inspirations to share with you. No topics of interest to expound.

Three days into the new year and I am still posting every day! I've also started a new Project 365. This year, however, instead of self-portraits, I am simply taking a photo a day...even if it is with my phone's camera. Discipline. This is all about discipline and practice.

I took down some Christmas lights today and I am almost done with my year end bookkeeping. I should be able to work on my taxes before the weekend is over...but that doesn't mean I will.

If you have any requests for topics or questions to ask, as always, leave them here in a comment or send me an email. Maybe you can help me break the suction.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

the truth, which abolishes prejudice

Jesus’ example was radical. Over and over he tried to tell people to differentiate between tradition and truth – and he called them to follow the truth, which abolishes prejudice.

~ Jill Briscoe ~
Christian author, lecturer, and founder of the magazine,
Just Between Us

We all do it. I know I do. However I am much more blind to my offenses than to being offended by the prejudices of others.

People look at me and decide they know who I am. They don't check it out with me. They simply assume they know the truth. Always they are partially wrong. Sometimes they are totally wrong. It wouldn't matter so much if they didn't also have negative judgment to go along with their prejudices about me, and that's what really hurts.

Being the object of prejudice makes one powerless. The subject becomes invisible, now the object of judgment--no longer an individual with capacity for relationship. If I am the object of your prejudice, I don't exist. I can't change your mind. You are not relating to me. And if there is no relationship, how can I dispel your myths about me?

Let's make a deal. Let's simply look for the truth--about ourselves, about others.

"...the truth, which abolishes prejudice."

Friday, January 01, 2010

word for 2010: grace

(yes, that is a full size laundry basket full of kittens)

One of the elements that drew me into the Catholic Church was the concept of grace, although I've never been able to make more than clumsy sense of it. I am moved by the idea that God always already loves us first, before we love God, wholly and without condition, that God forgives us even before we have done anything to require forgiveness, as we will inevitably do, and that this outpouring of love and forgiveness fortifies us for repentance and reform.

~ Nancy Mairs ~
from her essay "Here: Grace"

Grace. An outpouring of goodness separate from having earned it. My word for 2010 is grace. I am sure I have no idea what this journey has in store for me, yet with that concept in mind--how can I lose?

2009's word was rich. During the year, my financial wealth diminished rather than growing. Yet, I know from holding this in focus that my understanding has changed. My richness comes not from having great assets at my fingertips, but knowing that I am provided for every step of the way.

Grace, I am sure, is an extension of that. I'll continue to reflect and share my thoughts as they become clear.

How about you? Do you have a word or focus for the year? Please tell me do....