H is for Hard Lessons

Wow. I had a very challenging few days trying to figure out what I wanted H to be about. There are so many great and fitting H words: Honesty seems like the obvious choice, but there were so many more. I couldn’t quite bring myself to a place of full vulnerability for what I wanted to say about Helping. I learned a very difficult lesson this year about my penchant for wanting to help. And yet, I am a helper. I have always been. Anxious attachment. Need to be needed. All that is true. So, honesty. I always tell my clients that vulnerability is attractive. Perhaps I’m right?

Here are a few of my H lessons.

H is for Help. Helping is my love language. Not everyone enjoys being helped. I did not know this.

H is for Hiking. Apparently, all lesbians on dating sites love to hike. This feels daunting. One woman I met online and had a few lengthy phone conversations with admitted to being a Bad Lesbian because she did not enjoy hiking. I liked her.

H is for Humor. Apparently, all lesbians on dating sites would prefer a mate with a good sense of humor. Not everyone appreciates my sense of humor. When someone is struggling with a jar lid or anything really, I generally say “Need a butch?” My ex-wife laughed and laughed at this. Most people do. Not everyone though, I’ve learned. Huh.

H is for Dueling Hot Flashes. Two post-menopausal women. One bed. Lotsa heat. Just sayin’. And not always the good kind.

H is for Hunger. I have a hunger. Everyone else on the dating sites does too. We disguise our need with carefully curated photos. We thumb through our digital collection, stopping only on the pics where we have no wrinkles, we’re doing that activity we said we loved, we’re at the beach or on the mountain. No one is just on the sofa with Netflix on the tv and a can of Bud by their recliner. But a lot of us are there or somewhere equivalent. Especially this year. We hunger for connection. We are ravenous. Insatiable.

H is also for Hope and Heart and Home. I try to remember that it’s not good to be hungry at the grocery store. Not to be crude, but it’s a good metaphor. Right? Hear me out (that’s another fantastic H word: Heard. Being heard is so important, as is Hearing). I have to remind myself that I need to go in already satisfied with what I have. I must be clear on who I am, what’s in my heart. I am already home . I am enough. My heart is full.

And yet . . . I remain hopeful.

50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

My first Ragnar leg--1 of 3
My first Ragnar leg–1 of 3

Hello! I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to join a group of bloggers who are writing the 50 things for which they are grateful. The trick was we had to write the list in 10 minutes (adding pictures and links came later and did not count toward the total time).  I had no trouble at all coming up with so many things to be thankful for. Life is rich. I live in a beautiful place. I have a solid support network, good friends, a loving family. When times get hard, I try to remember these things. I started the list off with some of the things I repeat to myself on mornings when running is challenging–I am grateful for my body parts that all work as they should.  If you’d like to join in on the gratitude blogging fun, you can find instructions at the bottom of this blog. Enjoy!

  • Strong legs
  • Healthy heart
  • Good lungs
  • Massage therapy with Kristi
  • Physical therapy with Clare
  • My regular therapy therapist
  • The time I have every day to run
  • The beautiful trails in Bellingham

Chuckanut Trail
Chuckanut Trail–Summer

IMG_0268
Chuckanut Trail–Fall
  • Anna and Taylor
  • My house and home

Taylor, a few years ago
Taylor, a few years ago

Anna, a few years ago :)
Anna, a few more years ago
  • Dungeness crab
  • The Red Wheelbarrow writing community
  • My brother and his family
  • The opportunity to go to school, again
  • The road trip I took this summer
  • Beautiful days on the Oregon coast
  • The trip to Mexico this summer with my brother and niece

madeline_me_mexico
My niece and me in Salulita, Mexico

My brother and my niece, in Chacala, Mexico
My brother and my niece, in Chacala, Mexico
  • Being Freshly Pressed
  • Writing
  • My writing friends
  • Being asked to read my friend’s memoir
  • Money in the bank

The Skedgers (two of us, anyway) at a write out
The Skedgers (two of us, anyway) at a write out

jeep1
The Jeep

Bellingham Bay Marathon, Finisher Medal and 4th place ribbon (in my age group)
Bellingham Bay Marathon, Finisher Medal and 4th place ribbon (in my age group)

Some of my Ragnar team, after the Chuckanut Foot Race
Some of my Ragnar team, after the Chuckanut Foot Race
  • Sweet computer skillz
  • Christmas Eve with the family
  • Friends from school
  • Marge, for letting us stay in her home this quarter
  • New friends
  • Old friends
  • Carpools

The labyrinth at the AROHO retreat, Ghost Ranch, NM
The labyrinth at the AROHO retreat, Ghost Ranch, NM

Pearrygin Lake, Winthrop
Pearrygin Lake, Winthrop
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Anna's new car!
Anna’s new car!

To join in on the fun:

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the link at the bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise. 

http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=592585

D is for the Goddamned Deer!

Did you ever set out to write something and then realize that to do so would be a bit Disengenuous, Dear Reader? This morning as I looked over my list of possible topics to be brought to you by the letter D, I thought, man I do not want to write about Depression or Drinking. I’m not suffering from either at the moment (knock on wood), and even if I were, I’m not sure that I want to be Defined by either of those words, though god knows I have been in the past.

So I pushed away from the computer this morning and decided to go for a run instead of writing, hoping that inspiration might strike while my body was otherwise occupied. As I began my second circuit around the lake and settled into a cadence, I realized that in all the times I’d run there I had not once seen Deer. And why would they be here, I realized with a jolt, when all the tasty treats are in the yards nearby?

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve written previously about the godDamn Deer in the neighborhood. Monday Dawned bright and glorious, and I eventually Dragged myself out of the house after my early morning run thinking I should Do something productive in the yard since winter seems, finally, to be over.

One of the goddamn deer in our 'hood.
One of the goddamn deer in our ‘hood.

Things are blooming—or would be if the fucking Deer hadn’t eaten everything in my yard except the tiny smattering of Daffodils under the birch tree.  As I surveyed my flower beds, I became Depressed and Despondent—as far as my eyes could see the Deer had wreaked havoc: Tulips? Gone. Pretty purple flowers? Gone. Tiger lily? Chewed to the quick. Nascent hasta? Nubbins. The remaining hollyhocks? Mowed down.

Well, fuck this, I thought to myself and headed to the garage for my shovel. I couldn’t stand to look at the Destruction any longer. I couldn’t take being assaulted with this Degradation every time I wandered out the front Door, Dammit. Time to Do something. If I can’t enjoy the beauty of my bulbs, then the Damn Deer weren’t going to get anymore either, I Decided.

It hasn’t always been this way. For the first ten years I lived here (and during which time I planted said bulbs and other Deer Delicacies), my roses grew tall and strong and bloomed Deliciously. The hollyhocks waved all summer in magenta glory, and the tulips pushed through the soil and blossomed into an array of loveliness. But something changed.

The Deer left the nearby parks and woods with their boring diets of . . . whatever Deer used to eat before they tasted our suburban garden Delights. Now they roam in large packs, marauding up and down the city streets on a culinary circuit of Destruction. Not in my yard. No more.

I set about Digging up the bulbs. I cleared the beds of anything the Deer liked to chew on. No more tulips. No more pretty purple flowers. No more hasta. Bye-bye hollyhocks. I’d already gotten rid of the roses a couple of years ago in a similar fit of pique when I came out one day to find the ready-to-burst buds of the previous day completely Desecrated.

I replaced the rose bushes with California lilac, which, truth be told, is not really cutting it for me. I miss my roses, but I can’t go back to the days of constant vigilance—the spraying, the stress, the watching, the knowing that as soon as the rains come and wash off a coating of the (sadly) non-toxic deer repellent, the beasts will be back to strip my yard of its Delights.

I’m sure I will miss the greenery that pops up each spring, a reminder that winter is finally moving on, that summer awaits. But it is time for a new normal. Time to take control and beat back these feelings of helplessness and Despondency. I will buy more Daffodil bulbs this fall and plant them everywhere. I will get more peonies and some irises (I don’t think the Deer like irises). I will plant more lavender. There will be no more free Deer lunches. Not in my back (or front) yard.