Welcome to my Journey

Hello, and welcome to my Journey. Over the last few years I have been learning more about my personal journey, my Path and my Soul Purpose. The further I travel, the easier I find it to share my journey with others, and to learn from their journeys as well. The most recent evolution has caused me to expand my Universe and allow more people access to my travels, as well as allowing me access to more people, their travels and what they have learned as they walk their own paths. Feel free to share your journey here as we all have much to learn in our lives as Divine Beings having a Human experience.

Love and Light.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30, 2012 Stepping outside the box

2013 is already starting out with some giant steps outside my comfort zone and it hasn't even started yet!  The first step was booking my first cruise ever.  The second was actually getting a passport!  Now, I really can jet off to Paris if the opportunity arises!  The third, to me, is really a bigger one!  In the last 20 years or so, I've only spent New Year's at about 4 different places.  1. Home  2. Borderline 3. Cowboy Palace 4. A friend's house for a game night.  Two days ago, I was all set to keep the pattern going, but last night, another possibility came up and I realized that trying something new wouldn't be a bad thing.  Granted, the kids and four other friends will be at this new place too, but I could easily have followed my original plan, staying home and playing board games with the kids.  Instead, I'll be doing my rowdy best to ring in the new year, Celtic style!  What fun that will be!  Music, dancing (even if I don't know what I'm doing) and a bunch of people intent on ringing in 2013 in anything but a quiet manner!  It should be a blast!

Today, after a day of walking and dancing, Heather and Mathom bribed me with a trip to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Chinatown to do more walking!  First, was a trip to the garment district so Heather could get patterns for another of her famous costumes.  Then, tummies growling, we made our way to Chinatown and pigged out on shrimp balls, dimsum, broccoli and mushrooms with an interesting jello-pudding thing for dessert.  It was quite tasty and just a little sweet.  Afterwards, we walked for hours through the very crowded stalls where we like to shop.  Parts of it were clear and easily navigated, but parts were inhabited by hoards of rude, impatient people.  But I came away with some more hair clips, a hematite bracelet that's supposed to help the joints, three pairs of warm, snuggly leggings and an oversized purse to take on the cruise.  I figure I can put my iPad, camera and my fanny pack for the shore excursions into it and leave room in my carry-on for clothes and stuff.    But the best part of all was just hanging out, being silly with the kids.   I also saw some really cute boots with a wedge heel that I'm going to try to find at Kohl's or somewhere here in town.  They would look really cute with my leggings! 

I am extremely grateful that, despite experiencing some aches in my knees, the extra walking and dancing I've done this weekend seem to have helped!  Tonight, I have only minor aches in my knees but am feeling pretty darned flexible!  One of my friends was talking about her 60th birthday in April and, after I got over the shock that someone who looks as good as she does is older than I am, I realized that the group of us who are in our mid to late 50's really do look darned good, and keep up rather well with the young whipper snappers at Borderline.  We may not close the place down, but we're there, dancing, 3 or 4 hours earlier than they are, so we actually get MORE dancing in, especially since we don't waste time drinking!  Sure, I'd love to be able to do the high kicks and wild spins I did 20 years ago, and that the 20 year olds do now, but I wouldn't trade them for being able to dance for 3 or 4 hours at a stretch, even though, admittedly, I am not on the floor for the entire time!  I easily get in 2 1/2 to 3 hours of dancing!  And last night it was probably a bit more as I got there around 6:30 and didn't leave until nearly 11!  This has been an especially good week for dancing!  In fact, I'd best get in some good stretches and do my knee exercises to be ready for tomorrow night! 

I'm bouncing off the walls too much to write more tonight, but be assured that, though there might not be a post tomorrow night, there will be tales to tell on Tuesday!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for abundant opportunities to step out of my comfort zone.
2. I am grateful for fun and supportive friends.
3. I am grateful for excursions with Heather and Mathom.
4. I am grateful for a warm, cozy house and warm cozy pajamas on these unusually frigid nights!
5. I am grateful for abundant opportunites, love, persistence and good health!

Love and light.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29, 2012 It's getting closer!!!

I've been feeling, lately, that people around me are rushing through everything.  It seems like everyone is in a hurry to finish things.  But today it occurred to me that maybe it's not that everyone else is rushing, but that I am, for some reason, moving in slow motion.  I'm the one who is setting a different pace from everyone else!  I just don't seem to need to get anywhere that fast.  I don't need to finish things too soon or reach the end of anything in the foreseeable future.  So to me, everyone else is hurrying.

It usually doesn't bother me all that much to be moving at a slower pace than everyone else, but today, Heather and I hit a couple of malls and the frenetic pace, the bright lights, the loud noises...it was all too much for me!  I had forgotten to shield before we went into the first mall, and I realized my mistake far too late to correct it with anything short of distance.  The good news is, once we got into the car and pulled out of the driveway onto the street, I could feel the tension melting away from me in waves until, maybe 2 miles up the road, I started to feel like myself again.  So what I learned today was that if I do feel the need to go out into the masses of holiday crazies, get that shield up as high and as thick as I can make it before I go!  Thankfully, these days, I bounce back fairly quickly as the negatively charged energy doesn't penetrate my being any more!  But I'd rather not suffer the least little bit with it if I can avoid it!

But today was massage day, so, for an hour and a half, I drifted in my blissful little world, nearly falling asleep on the table.  And as it was a dance night, I finished the day, whirling and twirling, laughing and chatting, hugging and just exuding lots and lots of love and joy!  In short, it was a day of serious extremes. 

Unfortunately, the jaunt through the malls yielded nothing more than a day spent with my daughter, which is no small thing, but the only thing we bought was lunch and water.  But not all trips can be ragingly successful. 

Meanwhile, both of my knees are berating me for my abusive behaviour today, and are promising retribution.  I'll fend them off with a couple of Aleve and maybe an ice pack, and call it even!  They have not yet learned that they can't keep a dance fanatic down!  We scoff at pain! :)  And did I mention that it was 37 degrees out when I got home tonight?  It made my 67 degree house feel nice and toasty!  There will definitely be frost on the pumpkins in the morning!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the love and caring I find in my dance family.
2. I am grateful for sleeping in days.
3. I am grateful for kitties who give me accupressure treatments.
4. I am grateful for warm, snuggly pajamas on cold winter nights!
5. I am grateful for the coming New Year which promises to bring some extraordinary changes!

Love and light.

December 28, 2012 Making use of the extra free time

Yesterday, my boss decided to let us leave early and take today off as well!  What a wonderful bonus that was!  I had all of the great intentions:  get up early, go to the gym, clean the house, etc.  I'm happy to say, some of them actually got done.  I did get up reasonably early (8:30), paid bills, got most of the kitchen cleaned up, scooped sandboxes, swept up the sand my darling furballs love to scatter, and downloaded the last few months worth of bank transactions into Quickbooks.  I also did a billing, found a missed payment and updated the program.  So all in all, it was a pretty productive day.

What I also did was enjoy my coffee in my new Eeyore mug while wearing my new Eeyore pajamas!  It was pretty cozy, working in my office with the computer warming things up a bit and no drafts, but when I wandered to the front of the house, I thought my nose was going to sprout icicles!  I know there's a gap under my front door, but it was downright freezing!  I took a look at the thermostat and I'd lowered it to 64 degrees at some point (probably before bedtime as I like it cooler when I sleep) but forgot to turn it back up!  No wonder the kitties were trying to get closer to me!  Now it's a nice, toasty 70, but I'll turn it back down before I go to bed.  Thank goodness for fuzzy socks and warm jammies!!!

Our cruise is now 2 weeks away, I've done my online check in, and am now thinking thoughts about the trip.  As usual, my mind wanders down interesting paths.  One of my concerns is whether I'll be able to put in my contacts while the boat is rocking.  I guess I'll have to try to aim between rocks!  Should be interesting, but I may have to send Heather out of the room while I perform my morning ritual, or she may rock the boat further, laughing her butt off at my struggles.  I also need to go shopping for another dress since I've put on too much weight to wear the ones I bought last summer.  I know it's only a temporary setback, but I want to be comfortable on the cruise.  Also, all of the dresses are very summery, and Ensenada is supposed to be as cold or colder than it has been here.  Looks like jeans and warm shirts will be necessary for our adventures ashore.  On board, layers will be necessary as I need cooler attire for my dancing adventures.  And speaking of dancing, I have danced in many places including pools, but I have never danced on a moving dance floor.  This should be quite interesting to say the least!  One of my old square dance tunes keeps running through my head right now.  A little ditty called "Rockin' in Rosalie's boat".  Whimsy or precognition of things to come?  Regardless of the challenges I might face, it promises to be a fabulous time!!!  I can't wait!!

I had a really good night of dancing last night, and stayed until nearly 10 again!  I even got some WCS and couples dancing in as well as some very energetic two step!  Needless to say, my feet were cussing at me by the time I got home and I've been doing my best to get up and stretch today, though my back is much better than it was for most of the week, and tomorrow is my massage!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!  While standing in front of the fireplace (it was really cold when we got there!) a gentleman asked me to dance and introduced himself.  When I introduced myself, he said "I know".  Turns out, he asked the dance instructor if anyone knew how to dance WCS and she pointed me out.  He turned out to be an excellent dancer and put me through my paces on a couple of two steps as well!

I've noticed lately that a couple of the single women have gotten quite rude about asking a guy to dance.  More than once, I've been talking to someone and one of them butts right in to ask him to dance.  I learned last night that one in particular does the same thing, regardless of who a man might be chatting with.  Maybe I'm all wet, but if I see a guy talking to a woman, I don't typically take it upon myself to ask him to dance.  For all I know, he was just getting ready to ask the woman he was talking to.  It could be that it is accepted dance etiquette, but it just doesn't feel right to me.  But then, I don't tend to dance as many couples dances as the ones who are, in my opinion, rude, so maybe I'm the one who doesn't get it.  No matter.  I will still do my best to be polite and respect the fact that people are having a conversation.  I may dance less, but that's ok.  With the line dancing, there is rarely a night when I come home feeling like I didn't dance enough!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for extra days off.
2. I am grateful for days full of accomplishments.
3. I am grateful for an abundance of love, success, prosperity and kindness.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to write, and words that flow freely.
5. I am grateful for time spent cuddling my cats, destressing and feeling loved.

Love and light.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012 Ramble ahead!

As the title says, I suspect this post will ramble around a bit, so hold on tight!

I've started having "getting lost" dreams again.  These dreams typically involve me trying to find my way in or out of someplace but I keep making wrong turns or hitting dead ends or just going around in circles.  I do eventually find my way, but it's a very frustrating experience.  I am not sure yet whether this means that I'm trying to extricate myself from something or if it's just time for me to move on but I can't quite figure out how to go about it.  What I do know is that the answer will come to me if I don't fight it.

I realized today that the cruise is barely two weeks away, and as I've gotten a bit chunkier over the last few weeks, I may have to go out and buy another dress for the formal night on the cruise.  <sigh>  I keep trying to get back on track but have not quite gotten myself in gear.  I really need to start doing weight work again as it makes me feel so good, but I come home tired and am not pushing myself as I should.  I have to figure out what was working before and get back to it!  I know that my energy level was much better when I was on track.

What I do know is that I'm very unsettled right now.  My mind wanders constantly, it takes more for me to solve problems, I have trouble even focusing on conversations for more than about 10 seconds, and so I have to force myself to focus on what someone is saying to me.  I'm not even sure if I'm making the appropriate responses right now.  I wonder if anyone even notices that I'm not all there?  We all seem to be rather wrapped up in our own stuff these days.  The exception is the cats who are more than normally attentive lately.  Where I was used to having someone nearby most of the time, either laying nearby or against my leg, now, more often than not, someone has to be in my lap.  Dylan has gone back to walking up my chest to rub his face against mine.  Toby thinks I should do nothing except hold and snuggle him (he's grabbing my pants leg right now, trying to get me to move my arms so he can get into my lap!), and Munchkin and Loki just have to be close.  They've even taken to fighting over who gets the bigger share of my lap!  The only exception was on Christmas when Dylan and Munchkin were giving my sister attention.  But as soon as everyone left, they all acted like they'd been completely neglected for months!

There is definitely a vibration in the air right now because I can feel it on my skin when I sit still for a minute.  The best word I've come up with so far for this feeling is "twitchy".  I just feel like my skin is doing little twitches all over my body, kind of like we do when something is brushing lightly against us.  It reminds me a little of my college days when I'd pull all nighters, studying for finals, and would take Vivarin to stay awake.  It's a feeling like I want to jump right out of my skin!  The only real question is, why????  There isn't anything particularly monumental going on in my life right now.  No major changes.  Nothing to make me fret.  Perhaps it's just anticipation of some kind of change.  Granted, I've been feeling that change is coming for quite some time now.  Is this my higher self trying to tell me that that change is closer than I think and that, like it or not, I'm going to have to roll with it pretty soon, and make something wonderful out of whatever I encounter?  Am I destined to be part of something that will be, quite literally, earth shaking? 

What is my part in this play?  Will I have a supporting role, or merely be comic relief?  Will I be directing the show, or just building sets for the other performers to use?  I've had thoughts of doing a tarot reading, and maybe that's what I need to do again.  I have several sets of tarot cards and could probably just lay them all out on a table and blindly pick one.  I say this because, for some reason, I'm getting the feeling that I need to step out of my comfort zone on this one, and that includes the deck I read from.  I've gotten very comfortable with the Spiral Deck, so maybe it's time to use one that makes me somewhat uncomfortable?  I'll give a couple of them a try in the next few days and report back.

In the meantime, I will wind this up with tonight's gratitudes:
1. I am grateful that change is coming and that I am being allowed to share and grow in that change,
2.  I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities, love, success and health.
3. I am grateful for the sharing of ideas and support I have been experiencing lately.
4. I am grateful for the extra attention my cats are giving me.
5. I am grateful for cold weather that makes me want to bundle up and snuggle,

Love and light.

December 25, 2012 A very merry Christmas to all!

The word of the day is "wonderful".  It truly was a wonderful day and more, it's a wonderful life!  Opening my home to family and friends (and puppies) today reminded me more than ever how very fortunate I am, and how very blessed.  We ate and talked for hours and it was an amazing time.  I appreciate everyone who shared the day with me! 

The kids and I did manage to see the movie we'd wanted to see (unlike Thanksgiving which just passed by so fast and left us too spent to even go!.  Of course, the walk to the car was a little on the nippy side, but it really feels like winter here right now!  Granted, we wimps get cold when the thermometer dips below 60, and it's dipping quite a bit lower than that right now, but there's definitely frost on these pumpkins!  I know it's bad when my girls in the garage start using their litter box instead of the outdoor facilities.  Also, Cinders no longer leaves her pile of blankets when I start backing into the garage.  She is warm and comfy and it takes a lot to coax her onto the cold garage floor!  Smart cat!!

But I'm tired and tomorrow is a work day, so I'll cut this one short.  Thank you to all of my friends and family who make me remember every single day how very blessed I am!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for family and friends with whom I can share my life.
2. I am grateful for love and encouragement.
3. I am grateful for abundance; in blessings, in love, in success, in challenges to be mastered and in lessons to be learned.
4. I am grateful for the love and compassion my furry children give.
5. I am grateful that I am me.  I love this person I am more than anything in the world!

Love and light.

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 Christmas Eve, and the living is easy!

I thought I'd take a whack at a modern day Night before Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas and the Web was a-buzz
Sending last  minute e-greetings to friend, sis and cuz.
Stockings carefully hung in the Towns and the Villes
In hopes that by morning they'd be virtually filled.

But I couldn't get past the first stanza.  Oh, well.  All I can say is that it was a very busy day!  I got up fairly early (OK, 9 ish) to dash off to Kohl's for a gift I'd forgotten.  Then off to TJ's for the rest of the fixin's for Christmas breakfast and back home to wrap the last gifts, put away all of the wrapping stuff neater than I'd found it, and start cleaning the house.

I didn't get as far on the cleaning as I'd have liked, but I did get the clutter straightened and the cat food put away.  I put off the vacuuming as long as I could.  Until after our annual Jewish Christmas Eve dinner, in fact.  But the traumatization of the cats could not be put off forever.  With the exception of Patches, they are now sulking because, not only did I run that noisy monster all over the house, I removed all of their fur from the furniture!  They put a lot of effort into getting it placed just so, and now they'll have to start all over again.  A cat's work is never done, it seems.

Dinner with the kids was a blast, and watching a 4 year old manage chopsticks quite well was a real treat!  He even picks up rice!!!

I'm loving reading about everyone's holiday celebrations.  Some are very traditional with church and big dinners and such, while others see it as a day to be comfortable while spending time with their families and friends.  But however we might celebrate, the key element is love.

I find myself thinking that if we could coordinate a time to just send up a huge dose of that love together, we could eliminate all of the starvation, war, anger, hate and negativity in the entire world!  After I wrote that, I thought, hmmm, maybe we could come up with a device to magnify the love and make it more powerful, but right on it's heels came the realization that love is its own magnifier.  The more love you give, the more you have so if everyone just focused on giving love to the best of their ability, it would reach epic proportions all by itself!

So I'm taking it upon myself to send out the love energy and keep sending it out as I watch it grow and grow and double back on itself and grow some more.  I remember reading a book as a child called "A Fish out of Water" in which a boy overfed a goldfish and the fish kept outgrowing it's containers until he had to put it in a swimming pool and it eventually had to be moved with a crane.  Love is kind of like that fish except that, instead of outgrowing its environment, it just fills in all of the nooks and crannies, eliminating emptiness, sorrow, sadness and all of the things which leave holes in our souls, holes which allow negative energy and emotions to seep in.  When we fill up the holes in our souls with love, we effectively tell ugliness that there's no room at the Inn.  And that is what I'm doing now, and will do my best to help others do the same.

There is no room at my Inn for hate, anger, abuse, mistrust, resentment or sadness.  I've filled all of the rooms with love, respect, trust and joy.  AMEN!!!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for all of the love in my life.
2. I am grateful that I can open my home and share the love I have to give, and the love I have been given.
3. I am grateful that, despite traumatizing my furry children, they will be there to warm up my bed and snuggle again tonight.
4. I am grateful to my friends for sharing their holiday blessings.
5. I am grateful that there is enough love in the world to fill up everyone's holes and bring Joy to the entire planet.

Love and light,

December 23, 2012 Two more days, but the presents are wrapped!

For once, the only thing left to do on Christmas Eve (aside from our traditional Jewish Christmas Eve dinner) is to fill the stockings!  The packages are all wrapped, I have one more thing to pick up which I forgot, and then I will put away all of the wrapping gear and do some serious cleaning to ready the house for Tuesday's festivities.  My home will be fuller than it has been for a few years, not only with people, but with more Joy than ever!  My daughter and I have done our best to truly make this a season of giving and I feel much better for the effort.  When I find myself thinking "I should have done more" I realize that I did more this year and if I do the same each year, that's really what matters. 

There are a lot of packages under and around my tree as well as around the TV because not everything would fit around the tree, but really, most of them are smaller things this year.  It feels like I went more crazy than ever to see all of the packages, but in reality, there is no more than I've had any other year, and I have many more people!  And the many more people is my greatest gift this year.  I truly treasure being able to share the day with an extended family.  It promises to be a silly, laughter filled day with, most likely, a few practical jokes thrown in for good measure.  And in my family, it isn't a holiday without a few jokes! 

I know Mathom has a few tricks up his sleeve, but I'm ready for him!  He'll get a chuckle out of a couple of things I did, and Prince Charming from last year, is still holding pride of place to watch over this year's zaniness. My only hope is that, as many times as I chased Toby away from the tree, I won't find packages scattered all over the living room by Christmas!  So far, he's been rather delicate and nothing has fallen, but with Toby, that is usually just a temporary respite.  Those huge, Labrador feet of his are not really capable of grace!  But if he does knock something over, he's likely to scare himself more than anything! 

For all who read this blog, I want to wish you all Joy, Peace and Family this season.  Remember to give lots of hugs, and tell everyone how much you love them often and sincerely.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that all of my presents are wrapped.
2. I am grateful for what sounds like a real gully washer tonight.
3. I am grateful for time spent with family and friends.
4. I am grateful that people feel welcome in my home, even though it's less than perfect.,
5. I am grateful for a warm house, food to eat and share, cats to cuddle, friends when I want company, and living alone so that when I want alone time, I can have it.

Love and light.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22, 2012 Part two

I raised the Joy bar tonight with an absolutely amazing night of dancing!  One of my favorite two step partners was back after a few weeks' absence and I got a lot of couples dancing in along with all of the line dancing.  In fact, I stayed later than normal, just to get some more two-stepping  and a horseshoe in!  My feet are definitely tired, considering I was there for nearly 4 hours and danced a rather large part of that, but it's a very good tired!  Heather invited a friend who was just delightful.  She exuded joy and energy and goodness which you couldn't help but feel and be made warmer.  I am looking forward to her joining us in the future. 

Tonight was a little odd, though, because there were a lot of people who normally are not there.  I'm not sure where they came from, or what brought them to our little home away from home, but I hope they enjoyed themselves and will come back again.  For those who didn't dance tonight, I hope they enjoyed watching so much that they'll come back and learn!  It was another very high energy night, so the show we dancers put on just had to draw some of them into our fun!  Granted, I am not one who enjoys watching, at least not for very long, but I could see on their faces that some of them were really enjoying seeing us dance with wild abandon.  And of course, there was a lot of hugging, both on and off the dance floor.  We do tend to be a friendly, vivacious group most of the time, and the holidays just have us all amped up! 

When I got home, the cats acted like they thought I'd left them forever!  As if I don't go out dancing regularly, and come home afterwards every time!  What silly beasts they are!  Toby was kind enough to keep my pajamas warm which was very welcome after extricating myself from sweaty clothes which had gone cold on the drive home.

And Christmas Day!  What a joyful celebration is ahead of us!  We'll bring together family, friends and adopted family for a day of eating, laughing, presents and love!  My heart is swelling to 5 times its normal size in anticipation of the love that will fill my house in a couple of days!  I feel so very blessed to be able to fill my home with people who mean so much to me! 

So, a few more things to wrap, a trip to the base for breakfast ingredients and, perhaps, a couple more gifts and we're ready for the big day!  Woo hoo!  Not to mention, dinner at one of our favorite Japanese places on Christmas Eve! 

Right now, in this moment in time, I do believe that my life is perfect!  Or at least, it's so wonderful that it might as well be perfect!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be able to bring together family and friends in a celebration of love, gratitude and friendship.
2. I am grateful for all of the gifts I have been given in the form of the people in my life.
3. I am grateful for kitties who warm up my pajamas on cold, winter nights.
4. I am grateful that I'm able to recognize and appreciate all of my blessings.
5. I am grateful for nights of dancing that leave me pleasantly tired, yet energized at the same time.

Love and light.

December 22, 2012 Inspiration strikes

I'm being inspired to write today.  I don't know why or how or what.  I just have a little gremlin in my brain which is telling me to start typing and the muse will come.  So here I am, with "Age of Aquarius" running through my head, giving that little gremlin what it wants. 

I woke up to a beautiful, day after Apocalypse morning and all I can say is "wow!"  If this is what it looks like after the world comes to an end, I'd say we're in darn good shape!  In fact, contrary to popular belief, it's rather on the cold side!  Oh wait!  I've got it!  Hell did freeze over!!!  Could it be that the doomsayers had it all wrong?  Could the real change be that the devil has finally been trounced by love?  Has he traded in his pitchfork for a harp?  And what would Nostradamus say about all of the commotion?

I find that I am easily distracted, though.  I'll wander off on little tangents, searching the internet, checking Facebook, petting the cat who is flinging herself against my legs with no small force...  In a word, lollygagging.  Clearly, the muse wants me to write, but doesn't have any great profundity in mind. 

As Christmas is now imminent, I have to make a major push to finish the wrapping0, though, really, I have most of it done.  What is left are the things that take more time and thought:  Undies which must be wrapped in such a way that they beat last year's craziness, books which must be inscribed before they are wrapped and Ferraro Roches which I made the mistake of wrapping individually a few years ago, and which my daughter got such a kick out of that she wants them that way every year!  It does, at least, use up all of those little scraps of wrapping paper!  Plans are also underway for our traditional Jewish Christmas Eve dinner, though we're breaking away from the Chinese food of yore due to less than exemplary service at the restaurant we'd patronized for years.  This year, we'll gather around the Teppan table to begin our crazy, mixed up version of the Christmas celebration. 

We'll be gathering the goodies for Christmas breakfast tomorrow, which will also prove to be rather eclectic.  Heather began the tradition of Caprisi salad last year and Mathom and I liked it so much, especially with her fresh pesto, that we insist that the tradition continue.  This year, we decided that we want some Chanukah with our Christmas so latkes are also on the menu.  I'm not sure yet whether we'll scramble our eggs or make Heather's crustless egg pie, but either way, we'll be yumming!  The kids also want to make use of Mathom's new Belgian waffle iron.  It's beginning to sound a lot like Sunday brunch at Marie Callendars (except for the latkes, of course!) 

The house will be filled with family, friends and love.  A small part of me wishes that my daughter, Jenni, would try to be part of the family, but I know that this year won't be that time.  I'll miss having my granddaughter be part of the fun and chaos, but I hope she'll think of us a little as she opens the gifts her Aunt Heather and I couldn't help buying and wrapping for her.  They are such a small measure of what I wanted to do, but given the current rift with her mother, it was more than I expected to do.  I just couldn't resist a couple of things!  And knowing that reminds me that whatever happens between her mother and me, she will always be in my heart. 

And speaking of hearts, mine is just bursting with love for my life, my family, my friends, people in general...  I find myself smiling broadly at everyone I meet, be it a stranger, a clerk in a store, a host/hostess in a restaurant.  Everyone is the recipient of a beaming smile and a gratitude filled "thank you", whether they like it or not! 

I had an interesting dream last night.  It seems I was interviewing young men for a position in my household. The position wasn't really clear, only one of the young men I was interviewing.  I was apparently on the second round of interviews because the man I was interviewing had left a notebook when he'd been there before.  I had moved it to a small stack of notebooks on an end table when I was straightening up, and nearly forgot to give it to him when he left.  When the interview was over and I'd pretty much decided to hire him, I was talking to a woman who was supposed to be my mother.  She was criticizing the way he was dressed (plaid, short sleeved dress shirt) and asking if I was sure that he was right for the job.  I was speaking quietly to her, explaining that that was the current mode of dress when he came back into the house, having forgotten something.  My "mother" was afraid he'd overheard our conversation but I assured her that I was speaking so softly that only she could have heard what I said.  As I walked him back to the door, he made as if to kiss me, but I put up my hand and told him that this would be strictly business.  After he left, my "mother" handed me the most awful shirt I'd ever seen, saying it was more appropriate for my new employee.  I tried it on and found that it reached nearly to the floor and had huge, flared sleeves.  Laughing, I took it off and said that it was extremely inappropriate and that the way he chose to dress was fine.  At that point, I was awoken by hungry, impatient kitties, so the dream didn't get to show me what came next.  I did find myself confused by the fact that, in the dream, I was considerably younger than I am now. 

As I think about it, I'm almost always a lot younger in my dreams!  I wonder why?  Could that be part of the reason I have not dated in a long time?  Am I putting out signals to the wrong generation?  That is definitely one of those things that makes me  go "hmmmmm".   What doesn't quite fit is the fact that I really do find men of my generation attractive.  OK, some of the ones I find attractive are in their 40's instead of 50's or 60's, but since most people are shocked to find out I'm such an old bat, maybe it's all part of the picture.  And maybe men of my generation think I'm too young for them?  But it's not something I really dwell on.  Whoever is out there for me won't be concerned with the numbers on my calendar, nor will I be concerned with his.  Our connection will be on a much higher level and encompass much more important things than numbers (which sounds odd coming from a numbers person like me!) 

All I can say is, I entered this holiday season months early as usual, full of hope, joy and goodwill.  My goal is to keep this feeling going in spite of, or maybe because of, life's little twists and turns. 

Which reminds me of another dream sequence from last night.  I received a check for a couple of thousand dollars, followed quickly by a couple of more checks, paying off what I was owed by the contractor.  It seems that he sold something, though it wasn't clear whether it was a vehicle or a building, so he could repay his debt and get back in business.  This one, I'm sure, was just because I had mentally resigned myself to the fact that it was very likely I'd never see the money, but that he can never work as a licensed contractor in California again as a result of his actions.

Life's twists and turns are great places to learn new things as I adapt to the changes or learn something new so I can rise above them.  I look forward to more of them as this new era unfolds.

My gratitudes this morning (as I do plan to write some more tonight) are:
1. I am grateful for life's twists and turns.
2. I am grateful for little gremlins who encourage me to step outside of my box.
3. I am grateful for joy and good cheer this holiday season.
4. I am grateful for the beginning of a new era of love, trust, truth, cooperation and growth.
5. I am grateful for the ability to help others who haven't had the opportunities and advantages I've been given.

Love and light.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012 Apocalypse never!

For most of my life, I've had a tendency, and sometimes to a fault, to see the positive side of things.  This sometimes annoying propensity has me laughing uproariously right now because, once again, the doom and gloomers are left with egg on their faces.  Humanity may well be flawed, and frankly, that's what makes us interesting, but the Universe has no plan to give up on us.  In fact, there are high hopes for what we'll be able to accomplish in the next 2012 years!  It isn't time for us to burst into a pile of cosmic dust and take all we have achieved with us.  There is value to what we have done, and even in the mistakes we've made. 

We have learned that history repeats itself and have tried to educate ourselves to prevent some of humanity's more disastrous mistakes.  Like any human, some lessons take repetition before they are learned.  And some of those lessons take a LOT of repetition!  No matter.  What does matter is that, at some point, we do learn the lesson and move on to, oh yes!  yet another lesson!  It brings to mind the children's song, "The bear went over the mountain".  That silly bear climbed the mountain only to see another one. And when he saw the next mountain, he climbed that one too, and so on, and so on...

Humanity, both as individuals and as a unit, learns lessons so that we are ready for the next lesson, and once we've mastered that, there are half a dozen more just waiting to test us, challenge us, annoy us and strengthen us.  We don't ever reach the end because there's always something to strive for, but we aren't shown all of the lessons at once because we would be discouraged.  Some, until we've learned the lessons at hand, seem unbelievably difficult.  But once we've mastered the prerequisites, they don't seem so overwhelming any more.  Why?  Because, in learning the earlier lessons, we also obtain the tools we'll need to take on more difficult lessons.  You can't dig a large hole without a shovel, but before you get the shovel, you have to learn to do things on a smaller scale, and with smaller tools.  It's simply a process of working up to the next level. 

It is the process of moving up that stairway of lessons which keeps us inspired and excited and which has us setting loftier goals for ourselves.  In some ways, life sets the bar for us, but in others, we set it for ourselves.  But without  the lessons we learn throughout our lives, we wouldn't even know how to set those goals, or even that something beyond where we are right now could even exist.  We learn that just because we can't see something doesn't mean that it can't exist.  Just because we can't understand the logic behind an idea right now doesn't mean that, at some point in the future, we'll not only understand it, we'll actually rewrite it! 

I cannot conceive of living a life in which I just sit by and watch life pass me by, stagnating at the same level for years and years.  My brain demands new challenges, new concepts, new ideas, and most of all, new goals!  Tomorrow, I want to learn something I don't know today.  And the next day, I want to learn something else!  I want to fill my brain with so much knowledge and so many ideas that I'll have to do an Abby Sciuto and reorganize my mental filing system from time to time to make pulling out those ideas and facts easier and more efficient.  I'll take the time to perform a mental defrag from time to time so that information retrieval continues with minimal brain farts.

And setting those new knowledge goals is what I call "setting intentions".  I've set so many of them over the last few months that I am probably ready for that defrag.  Many of them are in progress as we speak (or type, as it were) while others are waiting in the wings until the right qualities are in place to make their appearance smoother, but not too smooth.  Those bumpy roads are what make the best lessons and goals!  The twists and bumps not only make for an interesting journey, but make for something a lot more memorable than a fifty yard dash from start to finish. 

I've always preferred my gemstones flawed because I believe they have more character.  The same is true of the rest of my life.  The imperfections and the crazy way I look at things make it all more interesting and more, make it uniquely mine.  I also value imperfections and unusual perspective in the people I consider to be friends.

As I see it, being offbeat and unable to fit into someone else's mold, someone else's idea of how I should look or act or think is a very precious thing.  It is far easier to conform to society's expectations, to fit in and not rock the boat than it is to be the one who stands out in a crowd, who fights for what's right and who challenges the way it's always been.  But in the end, being true to yourself is more rewarding and, face it, more fun! 

My kudos go to the free thinkers, the ones who see a rainbow in every storm, who aren't afraid to dance in the rain or wear two different socks, to express an idea that conflicts with everything and everybody they know.  And especially to those who left their comfort zone behind because it just plain got in the way of all of the wonderful things they could do and thinks they could think!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for happy beginnings.
2. I am grateful for a strong, curious, crazy ming.
3. I am grateful for one very eventful, exciting, change filled year which has (hopefully) prepared me for one which will prove to be even more of an adventure.
4. I am grateful for the people I have met on my journey who inspire me to further greatness.
5. I am grateful for amazing opportunities, resounding successes and aspirations beyond anything I could have imagined even a year ago.

Love and light.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012 Apocolypse now???

The talk of the internet seems to be focusing on the fact that tomorrow is the last day of the Mayan calendar.  What positively baffles me (although after the "California is going to fall into the ocean" scare of the 70's probably shouldn't) is that there are actually people who believe that because the calendar ended, the world will to, maybe even in a blaze of glory!  Nothing, if you ask me, could be more ridiculous! 

What makes so much more sense to me is some posts being attributed to various members of the Bolivian government who say that December 21, 2012 is simply the end of an era.  This era, called Macha, was one of hatred, selfishness and lies.  It is giving way to Pacha, an era of brotherhood, love and truth.  As I've been feeling a shift in energies for quite some time, it really doesn't matter if this particular interpretation really came from Bolivian diplomats or from someone's mind.  What matters is that it feels exactly right to me.  It also gives credence to my belief that many souls have been leaving this plane lately because they were not ready to be a part of such a major shift.  Those of us who choose to continue this particular human experience will be called upon, perhaps even challenged to play a role in this major shift in the human thought process. 

As my daughter and I have been focusing more on what we can do to help our fellow humans, we are really just part of this coming shift.  Some people have been feeling it and living it for many years while others have only recently begun adopting a more loving, giving attitude.  But in the next few months and years, it will become a widespread thing, traveling to all corners of the earth, affecting people from all walks of life.  We will begin to see extraordinary things as people learn to work together instead of always in competition.  Minds will be joined and miraculous things will be achieved.  Think tanks which are currently isolated cases will become a way of life, cherished and treasured, but not taken for granted. 

The group mind has always been there, but most humans were not aware of it, much less, aware of the strength and power which can be harnessed simply by tapping into it. 

As my daughters were growing up, we shared a kind of telepathy between us.  In moments of stillness, we shared thoughts.  I never really thought much about it, but just attributed it to a combination of the girls being twins, and our being tuned into each other.  I realize now that what we had was simply a precourser to what the world will become when we all start thinking outside of ourselves, lose our fear and allow the connection to be there for us.  Right now, we use artificial means to connect to all sorts of knowledge bases around the world.  Imagine being able to do the same thing without a keyboard and computer or other electronic device!  Imagine sending out a thought and having the answer come back almost instantaneously!  It's really as simple as allowing ourselves to reconnect with the Source where all minds and all knowledge are stored and connected. 

With such a connection, we would have access to something as simple as driving directions or an old recipe or something as complex as quantum physics.  But either one would be accessed in the same way.  There would be no differentiation between what is simple and what is complex.  It is all simply shared knowledge!  And what a bonus it would be to know, long before any action is taken, how one action could result in something beautiful, amazing and life changing while another would  be so horrific that it should not, could not even be considered. 

We could, in our lifetime, see cures for hate, poverty, dictatorships and discrimination.  Greed would not be tolerated and murder would be found only in history books. 

Of course, if this happened too quickly, many of us whose livelihood was tied to the military would find ourselves out of a job, but it will take some time for this to manifest.  In the meantime, I can gear myself up for writing the great American novel so I'll still have a means to support myself when the changes are in place!  By then, I hope to be writing about the wondrous achievements which have occurred as a result of mass cooperation.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that, in the midst of chaos, the voice of reason rises up to drown out the muttering.
2. I am grateful for peace on earth and goodwill towards all.
3. I am grateful for an evening spent visiting with friends interspersed with a little dancing.
4. I am grateful for the coming changes and how they will make our world a better place.
5. I am grateful for abundant opportunities, successes and joy.

Love and light.

December 19, 2012 Wrapping is nearing the end

The wrapping frenzy of the last few days is slowly winding down.  I have but a few more items left to wrap and am able to work for awhile, then take it easy.  My back is grateful for the respite as it was getting rather twitchy.  Of course, waiting too long to see the chiro probably hasn't helped, and major year end crazies has put the cherry on top of this insanity sundae! 

Meanwhile, sunny So Cal is experiencing a rather sharp drop in temperature, enough that we thin blooded types are shivering in our boots, adding on layers and turning up the thermostat!  My sister claims that her two labs climb in bed with her and that she is really enjoying her "Two Dog Nights".  My own little furballs fight for prime real estate on my bed or, better yet, on top of me, while my daughter's 60 pound "baby" finds her sweet spot in the middle of the bed and her feline brother has learned a trick or two from my Dylan Man, choosing the ever favorite head wrap position for his nightly snooze.

Even more surprising, I've finally put my sandals away and have resigned myself to wearing shoes and socks!  In fact, even when I get home, the socks stay on until I go to bed.  My days of always being too warm have disappeared without a trace (or, thankfully, a hot flash! Yes, folks, this girl has flashed her last flash!).  These days, I'm loving my fluffy socks and have made a cave under my comforter.  I'm just grateful that I keep my car in the garage where it is a tad warmer.  Even so, I was halfway to work before my hands defrosted, just from getting into the cold car!  It would hardly surprise me if we saw a reprise of 1988 when we saw snow below the 1000 foot level!  I know that for many folks, this all sounds quite bizarre since they've been experiencing freezing temperatures and snow for at least a couple of weeks now, but in my neck of the woods, we typically see our snow from a great distance on the mountains north of here, unless we actually drive to where there is snow!  Our trees lose their leaves, only to immediately sprout new ones after the first rain.  To say the least, we're very spoiled. 

Chatting about the weather here sounds very small talk at a cocktail party, but it just seems to be what's on everyone's mind lately, so I thought I'd add my two cents.  Besides, my head is a bit stuffy so really profound thoughts are having a hard time squeezing through the muck!  So it's probably a good time to just give you my gratitudes and call it a night, huh?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a change in the season to make things interesting.
2. I am grateful that I am nearly ready for Christmas Day.
3. I am grateful for lighter traffic as everyone gets ready for Christmas Vacation ( and I refuse to be politically correct about this!)
4. I am grateful for warm kitties on cold nights.
5. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities and financial successes.

Love and light.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012 A little blog with your coffee?

I love getting feedback from people who are actually taking time to read what I write!  I recently learned that, on occasion, I'm part of the morning coffee ritual.  As a lover of the brown bean, I am especially gratified to be included with such a vital part of the day's beginning.  Sort of like "would you like a donut or a piece of toast with your coffee?"  "No thank you.  I'll just have a piece of blog!"  Is that cool, or what?? 

My daughter and I have really gotten into the idea of giving to others, for the holiday season and beyond.  I have to admit, she is my inspiration as, no matter how much or little she has, she will take something out of her paycheck to buy food, a Christmas gift or something for animals.  I am so proud of her for setting me such a remarkable example of generosity.  Because of her, I have chosen a couple of areas which need help and am making them part of my regular routine. 

I recently learned that charitable organizations can set up wish lists on Amazon, and people can go to those wish lists, purchase an item and it will be shipped directly to the charity!  How cool is that?  Then, instead of sending random things, or money, you can send them something they need, and even take advantage of sales to send them more! 

I know I ranted recently about how everyone wants but then they seem to just take the contributions for granted.  I have to retract that.  They appreciate the help, it's just that in our current economy, everyone needs so much, everything keeps costing more and there is massive competition for every charitable dollar out there.  I really commend some of the high profile sports and entertainment figures who are doing something to give back.  Most of us don't have the means to give back in the quantities they do, but I'm sure that all of the rescue groups, advocates for the homeless and every other organization which exists to make things better for others is happy for every dollar that comes their way. 

I will admit, I am not the one who will be sending money to feed someone in a third world country.  It's not that I think they are undeserving, but we have so many people and animals who need help right here, and frankly, our government sends all sorts of aid across the pond.  My choice is to help those in need who are much closer to home.  In fact, I typically confine my efforts to people in my own city or state.  But that's just me.  We all have some cause we care about.  I think a rescue organization I support says it best.  (and I'll paraphrase here).  If you can, volunteer, if you can't volunteer, foster, if you can't foster, contribute, if you can't contribute, share so others are aware of what we need to continue our efforts.  There's always something we can do and it often requires little investment in time or money.  If we all care just a little, we'll find a way to do something, even if it's just a little.  And all of those "just a littles" add up into a lot!  I have the utmost respect for the people who devote their lives to keeping organizations that help others going.  I know that in some cases, it's almost a 24/7 job with no vacations or sick days.  Not all of us are cut out to be that giving, but we are all cut out to be giving to some degree. 

I would like people to continue to believe that December 21, 2012 will bring about apocalyptic changes, but rather than mass destruction, I would like to wake up on December 22, 2012 to find that the world mindset has shifted to caring for our sick and injured, sharing of ourselves, loving each other, knowing that we are all connected and responsible for this lovely planet we call home. 

As I sit here writing, surrounded by my cats and feeling very blessed, I am once more, amused by the antics of my little furry kids.  I have a fuzzy foot massager my daughter bought for me a few years ago sitting on the shelf under my window.  Toby likes to walk around up there, and every so often, I will hear a whirring sound as he sets the thing off to massage his poor, tired feet.  I would think that the noise and vibration would scare him but as he thinks he's human anyway, I suppose he enjoys the human comforts.   When I'm finished writing, he'll be the first to crawl up into my lap for some snuggle time. 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for opportunities to give something back.
2. I am grateful for humor which softens even the worst of times.
3. I am grateful for my daughter who reminds me to be charitable and considerate of others.
4. I am grateful that there are so many people who care and share and love each other.
5. I am grateful for the time for reflection and friends who bring out the best in me by reminding me to take that time.

Love and light.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16, 2012 Food, wine and intelligent conversation.

Tonight I was very blessed to spend the evening with some really amazing people!  The conversation was all over the place and highly entertaining.  And I learned several things!

First, if I ever want someone to buy me an expensive gift, wait until they've taken an Ambien and maybe a glass of wine.  They'll never remember their generosity!
Second, tequila can give me the latin hips I lack for salsa dancing (but be sure to stop drinking before reaching the point where "tequila makes her clothes fall off!"). 
Third, animal trainers do not always treat their animals kindly.
Fourth, my first attempt at writing a book may well have been, as I rather suspected, a cathartic brain dump to prepare me for what I'm really meant to write!

As we shared stories of kids, animals (including pictures) and parts of our lives that were funny or taught us a lesson, the atmosphere was one of warmth, camaraderie and a strength earned by living life, no matter what it might throw at us.  As is the case whenever I get a chance to talk to any of these people, I was truly inspired by the way they have all turned challenges into opportunities, and how every life they touch (including mine) is better for the experience. 

From the joy on the face of a mother who's son is home for the holidays, to shared pictures of our little (and sometimes not so little) stress relievers to favorite books and movies to Ambien induced stereo purchases, the evening was amazing and eclectic.  I was thrilled to be included, but couldn't have predicted what a great time I would have!  I am just grateful it was planned for a Sunday.  I joke about my Saturday and Thursday nights being sacred, but as I think about it, those are the two nights I can guarantee I'll get a really good workout.  I may not be a devotee of the gym yet, nor do I get out and walk as I should, but when it comes to my dance nights, I'm a superstar!  I ignore my knee and dance until my feet are screaming because that is what makes me happy!  Granted, I'd be even happier if I got more of the couples dancing in, but really, it's pretty cyclical.  I'll have a few weeks when I'm dancing a great number of the couples' dances, then I'll hit a dry spell as I have lately, where I only dance one here and there (interesting to call it a dry spell as the rain is dripping outside my window!).  That's not to say that I don't have a blast either way, though.  I love the line dancing and chatting and joking with my friends. 

And speaking of chatting and joking, one of my friends tonight was talking about how she had a list of qualities she wanted in the man she would marry (and of course, her husband has all of them and more!) but she said that "sense of humor" was added to her list subsequent to the initial writing.  I find it interesting that we all have our own priorities, and, if we're honest, at least a mental list of what we need in a person we want to share our life with.  I know that mine includes a sense of humor, a quick wit, a keen mind, a love of animals, ambition, kindness and strength.  Though this is not a complete list, it's the basics, and I also know that this was NOT the list I carried around in my brain when I met and married my ex.  And, no, this is not a bashing of him or myself.  I just realize that I've evolved and grown from that time into who I am today.  I have learned many lessons, some of which took numerous tries and quite a few Universal head slaps, while others, though few and far between, that I got on the first try.  I have suffered setbacks and beatings but also more than my share of successes and triumphs. 

Yet, as I sit here typing, I'm experiencing a frantic fluttering in my stomach.  Could it be the onions in my fajitas giving me a reprise of dinner, or did I learn something tonight which would cause me either agitation or anticipation?  I might attribute the flutter to tension resulting from the surreal drive through a foggy, drizzly Box Canyon, except for the fact that it started as I was leaving the restaurant.  I made it home safely and without incident, and all of my furry ones are present and accounted for, so what is making me twitchy?  Could it be that I'm just ready for a change, but not sure what I want the change to be, or even which area of my life I want it be be in?  As I give thanks for the many opportunities in my life, is there one in particular which is staring me in the face, waiting to be recognized for the life changing, earth shaking step I'm going to take? 

The accountant in me could analyze this to death, never really reaching a reasonable conclusion.  The writer in me could discuss it ad nauseum without finding an interesting plot.  The woman in me could worry it into a mountain.  But the sensible part of me, though it may seem very tiny at times, is going to let it go and have a cuddle with my cats, knowing that given time, I'll know what it is, and I won't have turned it into something unrecognizable, and insurmountable in the process.   After all, with December 21, 2012 looming on the horizon, I find the very idea of a sudden end of the world to be laughable at best.  A little tumbly tummy should be no different! 

***Warning*** Here comes another tangent!

And speaking of the world ending, could it not just be that an era is ending and that we are entering a new one?  I would love to see a very definite change in which we all become more compassionate, less self serving and more in touch with our Spiritual side which already knows that each and every one of us is connected, so that if you do harm to one, you harm yourself as well.  If I give food to a homeless man, am I not also feeding myself?  If I stab someone, am I not also punching a hole in my own soul?  What might the souls of those who have a righteous belief in ridding the world of infidels look like?  Swiss Cheese, perhaps?  And what might the souls of those who devote their lives to helping others look like?  A rare Persian rug, interwoven with intricate, colorful patterns chronicling the lives they've touched?  And what of that homeless man?  Is his interspersed with dark patches where he was ignored or belittled, and brighter patches where someone took the time to be compassionate.?  This brings back some of the conversations I had tonight.  Everyone has a story about  what made them who they are, but many of those stories are the same or similar.  It is the path which is chosen that makes the stories different.  One person may have been raised in poverty, neglect and abuse, yet grow up to be incredibly compassionate and patient, helping others and teaching their children to look past the outer shell to find the gem inside of everyone.  Someone else might have a similar upbringing, yet grow up to be a drug abuser, a rapist or a mass murderer.  It's all about choices, and part of the choice is, in my opinion, making the decision to either be in control of your life, or be a victim.  That is not to say that victims aren't in control.  They are simply more insidious about that control and tend to lure other people into being under their control, often, unwittingly.  Nor do people who choose to control their own destiny control everything in their path.  In fact, they know that there are times to be in control and times to allow oneself to be led.  "To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose..."  Those words mean more to me right at this moment than they ever have. 

I have spent a lot of time fighting to maintain control of my life.  I've fought battles on behalf of my kids, for myself when I felt I was treated unfairly, and in small ways for others who were being abused.  But there comes a time when the battles have been fought, the ground has been claimed and it is time to relax, sit back and, in a way, watch how the next chapter unfolds.  What my role will be is not really important.  Stepping up and taking my place in the general scheme of things is.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends with sharp minds and a straightforward manner.
2. I am grateful for love and respect.
3. I am grateful for opportunities which are now traveling at warp speed.
4. I am grateful for dancing because it keeps joints loose, muscles toned and energy levels high.
5. I am grateful for possibilities and the chance to step further away from my comfort zone.

Love and light.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15, 2012 Remembering to be kinder to myself

Getting ready to go dancing tonight, I stood looking at myself in the mirror (a couple of hours after polishing off a quarter of a carton of soy ice cream) and came to the realization that I had really been treating myself unkindly.  I had been eating a lot of garbage, lately, gained back over 10 pounds of what I'd lost and was starting to look mushy again.  I resolved, right at that moment, to get myself back on track and get back to being good to myself.  I would resume my healthy eating, get back to the gym, and stretch a lot! 

It seems that putting a suggestion like that into our heads is immediately effective!  When I got to Borderline, the smells which are usually so yummy were almost nauseating.  And although I had last eaten at about 3:00, I still had a full feeling and nothing looked or sounded good except water.  I came to the conclusion that the real key to getting healthy is to simply remind ourselves to be loving, kind and caring of our own health and wellness.  Between Heather's wedding and my knee surgery, I'd lost sight of that, but I am grateful for the reminder, the wakeup call, which has started me back on the path to a healthy, fit body!  I want to be dancing 30 or 40 years from now, so I need to take good care of the machine so it won't let me down. 

.Today was one of the most productive days I've had in ages.  I got up early (no thanks to Mr. Toby who was being his usual obnoxious self early on a weekend morning!), got my bills paid, ate a light breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen, finished my laundry, and spent the rest of the day wrapping Christmas presents.  I don't feel like I've made much of a dent, but in reality, I have probably gotten more done than I realize.  The pile of packages next to my TV is sure getting big!  But I still have maybe half of the big suitcase, all of the small one and assorted other items which are currently stashed around the house.  Granted, I have over a week to get it all done, but there's also work, dancing and getting together with friends.  Besides, my back is aching from today's marathon so I really need to pace myself, although I'm sure a good night's sleep and some kitty cuddles will make me right as rain! 

Dancing was fabulous tonight.  The early part of the evening saw a lot of people in the club, but most of them were not dancing, which left the floor clear for those of us who did want to dance.  Of course, there were the usual young girls who thought it was ok to just jump on the floor and diddy wop around, but I very politely set them straight, though a friend of mine insisted that I was trying to mow some of them down!  I was just doing the dance!  It's not my fault that it moves!  It wasn't as if I were trying to hip check them or anything.  If I was, a couple of them would have been in the wall as they were little tiny things who would have flown nicely after a tap from one of my ample hips!  I wonder if I can think of a way to incorporate that into one of the fast moving dances like, say, TGIF or Chocolate, or better yet, Shebangs!  I guarantee, the recipient of one of my gentle hip checks would think twice before taking the floor on a dance they don't know and trying to invade MY space! 

But the reality is, I would never really do that if for no other reason than it would be unkind.  But I can still amuse myself by picturing it, can't I? 

At any rate, I got in a whole bunch of line dances, a couple of two steps and a waltz and my body is telling me that it did more than usual today.  I'd like to say that I'm looking forward to a restful day tomorrow, but I have some shopping to do, more wrapping and an evening with friends, so I'll be on the go pretty much all day.  Sounds perfect to me!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for remembering my responsibility to myself.
2. I am grateful that I've learned to not sweat the small shit, and that everything is small shit.
3. I am grateful for a good night's sleep after working my body too hard.
4. I am grateful for the Holiday Spirit, may it last all year long.
5. I am grateful for abundant health, abundant well-being and abundant opportunities.

Love and light.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012 Exodus of souls

As I shared everyone's horror at the massacre in Connecticut today, I can't help thinking that there seem to be a lot more souls choosing to terminate their current human relationship these days.  As change is becoming more and more imminent, the choice of whether to get out of the way or stay and be part of the new millennium appears to be reaching critical mass.  Grand gestures are being made by those who realize that they either have no part in what is to come, or have no desire to participate.  The end result, though, is the same.  Their soul and its current human host must part ways. 

I know I am not alone in being excited about what is coming.  I find it hard to conceive of feeling any other way.  I suppose that a certain culling, no, reduction in population is a natural occurrence in something of this magnitude, but when the culling is violent, sudden or simply senseless, I find it difficult to understand the necessity.  It seems to me that there should be a less traumatic method for allowing those who will not be participating to exit gracefully.  I do understand that it is all part of the plan and those of us who remain behind to get the job done will be called upon, along the way, to face certain harsh realities.  But taking the lives of innocent young children seems more than a little harsh to me.  I, for one, would have gotten the message, nay, have gotten the message from more subtle departures.  But then, I've had some harsh departures in my life so maybe I'm a tad more sensitive than most. 

I know that at some point, I will come to understand why the violence and destruction had to happen, but right now, all I can be is sad.  I ache for those parents who will have to look at the presents they bought for the children who were taken so abruptly this Christmas and see nothing but an empty place in their homes and in their hearts.  While the media belts out peace and joy, their hearts will be made heavier for the reminders.  I wish for them the comfort of family and friends and the opportunity to heal at their own pace.  Thoughts of love and healing are directed towards both the immediate and extended families coping with such horrific losses, that they may hold kindness and love in their hearts, refraining from being sucked down into the abyss by this very troubled young man's actions. 

Although everything we experience happens to teach us, there are just some lessons I feel we could take a pass on, or learn more gently.  I know that the Universe is endless wisdom, but even it can exhibit signs of unkindness at times!

In the midst of the ugliness, I was given a beautiful ray of sunshine as I received a surprise visit from one of my amazing friends!  She brought the biggest rainbow into my day along with a much appreciated break in what has been one of my more insane weeks!  And it was kind of like an appetizer as I'll get to see her again in a couple of days!  She is a beautiful reminder that, even in the midst of tragedy and ugliness, we, ourselves can maintain higher standards of love and kindness. 

It really is true that hate cannot survive in a loving environment and love grows exponentially as we send it out into the world.  My goal this week is to send out massive amounts of love to soak up and neutralize the hate, much like hair soaks up an oil spill.  Not only can we neutralize the hate, we can also raise the levels around ourselves towards Joy, and as each of our circles grows, more and more people will be touched by the positive energy and the well will continue to fill.  There will come a time when the well of love has become so full to overflowing that it washes away anything in its path that is unable to become part of the sea of unconditional love.

That day is our future, and it is much closer than we think!  That is not to say that competition will be eliminated, because it is competition which causes us to strive to be better, faster, stronger and more innovative.  But competition will evolve so that it is more friendly and more mutually beneficial instead of antagonistic.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who bring loving kindness into my life.
2. I am grateful for my children, both human and furry.
3. I am grateful for weekends when I can re-energize and accomplish a great deal.
4. I am grateful for unconditional love, both given and received.
5. I am grateful for abundance and a plethora of opportunities.

Love and light.

December 13, 2012 Short and sweet

I'm going to keep this one short, both because I am too tired to think and because it's already very late and tomorrow will be another busy, crazy day!

Last year, we had an abnormally quiet December and I think I became a little complacent, but this year, December is, once again, kicking my butt!  We suddenly have proposals to crank out in a hurry, schedules being changed, unexpected problems cropping up and mass chaos threatening to erupt.  The only saving grace is the four holiday days coming up (which I'm hoping I will not have to work through as I have in previous years!) to recoup, regroup and refresh myself from the craziness.  This is definitely one of those times when living alone is a major blessing!!!  I come home to a quiet house (aside from the usual growling, hissing and spitting as the boys do their best to annoy Miss Patches) and if I don't want to talk to anyone, have any background noise, or otherwise have my quiet place interrupted by outside forces, that is what I get!  I'm just hoping that this time around, all of our additional effort will yield positive results.  We've learned a lot in the last few years from our mistakes, and I'm hoping we can now turn that to our advantage!  I know that I, myself, read each RFP much more carefully now, digging in deep to ensure that when I review our proposal, I'm doing my best to ensure that we're addressing every single point.  That is not to say that I totally agree with some of the decisions and choices which have been made lately, but until another path opens up, I will be doing my best to make the most of the one I'm on!

Dancing tonight was incredible!  The energy level was higher than I've seen it in awhile, there was a great deal of joy in the air and people were starting to sport their holiday attire.  At times, I felt as if my feet weren't even touching the ground, I was so buoyed up by the energy in the place!  I'm looking forward to seeing this energy expand and grow over the next couple of weeks.  

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the peace and harmony in my life.
2. I am grateful for new and increasing opportunities.
3. I am grateful for a very high energy, joyful night of dancing.
4. I am grateful for the coming weekend in which I will get closer to completing my holiday tasks.
5. I am grateful for my daughter, son-in-law and adopted son and grandson who are giving me more and more reasons to thoroughly enjoy this holiday season!

Love and light.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12, 2012 The road is loooonggg

Today was a seriously long day!  I was up at about 5:00 (in the dark, even!) for a leisurely drive to beautiful, downtown Norwalk as the powers that be in the Passport department didn't like the looks of my birth certificate.  The only way to placate them and still have enough time to get a passport before our trip was to drive to Norwalk where they keep older records on microfiche, prevail upon them to accept my emergency plea, wait around for a couple of hours, and obtain the needed document.  As an extra precaution, I purchased two of the darn things so I don't ever have to deal with this again!  I was, however, very pleasantly surprised to find that what could have been a horrendous drive down I-5 at rush hour was actually a reasonably pleasant experience as the other drivers were, on the whole, extremely considerate!  I have made many forays through Los Angeles, but never have I found people to be more polite! 

Could this be a new trend?  Are people finally starting to realize that they don't have to be nasty or rude to get where they're going in a reasonable amount of time?  Has the old adage "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" finally started to sink in?  I am absolutely thrilled to see this trend, and hope that it continues.  If people can exhibit kindness and consideration on the morning commute, who knows where these random acts of kindness will end?  We might actually find ourselves in a world where violence, anger and hate are no longer exhibited.  We might soon find ourselves spontaneously hugging a stranger or taking a homeless person out for a meal!

As I type this, I am reminded of one rather frightening moment in my drive home.  Driving through Burbank, I spotted a dog on the center divider.  As if that wasn't bad enough, just after I passed him, he proceeded to cross 4 lanes of traffic, including a stroll past the front of an 18 wheeler!  Miraculously, he reached the shoulder safely as traffic was moving a little slower in that spot for some reason.  Clearly, someone was watching out for the little fellow and knew it was not his time.  It looked like he had a collar, so I only hope that someone managed to catch him and return him to his owners. 

Aside from all of the excitement, I've been experiencing bouts of lightheadedness and nausea over the last couple of days.  I don't actually feel sick, but more, disoriented for a moment or two.  Maybe I'm just practicing detaching myself a bit to allow the Universe to guide me a little ways down my path?  Hard to say, but not quite as hard as it is to get words out tonight.  I have a million thoughts zooming around in my brain, but can't seem to get any to settle long enough to start a discussion.  It might also be that I've just been up for too many hours, and got up in the dark.  My body is just not used to waking before daylight!  I've also put in one of the longest days in awhile with a lot of new tasks to address, and more to come, I suspect. 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the endless, abundant, amazing opportunities coming into my life.
2. I am grateful for increasingly common acts of kindness.
3. I am grateful for an active mind, even when it goes too fast for me to keep up.
4. I am grateful that I have children to love.
5. I am grateful that I am learning to step more confidently outside my comfort zone with no expectations, only trust.

Love and light

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 10, 2012 Keepin' the fires burning

Today was, in a word, interesting.  I spent the entire work day in a training session broken up only by a working lunch and a couple of short breaks to check email and answer the call of nature. :) 

After work, Heather and I must have been sharing a brain as we both headed to Costco to get our passport pictures taken (she misplaced her duplicates in the move and needs one to get her name changed).  We wandered around the store while waiting for our pictures to be ready, sampled some blintzes and tamales and just hung out.  It was a very pleasant way to end the work day, although I still had to come home, clean out sandboxes, sweep and take out the trash before I could eat dinner.  But it made for a very productive evening.  I got several more packages wrapped tonight, after vegging for awhile.  I also discovered that it is much easier to wrap packages standing up than sitting down.  I guess I have a better angle when I'm standing.  I'm taking it slow and easy right now, in hopes that I'll have enough done that I won't go into panic mode 2 days before Christmas.  I hope to get the suitcases emptied by this weekend so I can take stock and determine what I still need in the way of stocking stuffers.  But even more important, I need to come up with an idea to top last year's crazy wrapping job.  Heather has come to look forward to it, so I can't let her down.  I also need to dredge up some ideas for my annual creative writing project, especially now that additional participants have been added to the game.  Hmmmm, as I mentally review the contents of various boxes and bags in my living room, an idea starts to form.  I think I have something new and completely different for this year's insanity wrap! 

I'm getting such a kick out of reading everyone's posts about how they decorate and prepare for the holidays.  I'm especially enamored of the unique and personal decorations and celebrations.  I have found that lighting the menorah each night has special significance for me this year, as on most nights, I'm lighting it just for me.  I'm feeling very connected to my ancestors in those moments when I prepare the menorah, light the candles and say the prayer.  It's very grounding while at the same time, a very spiritual, connected feeling.

The kids are in and out of the house these days, with whispers and secrets the order of the day.  The cats are making themselves at home in my boxes of wrapping materials and bags of gifts so I have to stow things carefully when I stop working for the night.  By now, they've all been through my annual wrapping frenzy and should be accustomed to how I turn my living room upside down until all of the packages are safely wrapped.  But because the kids stop by all the time, I have to keep everything stowed in case they come by when I'm not here.  I also tend to wrap later in the evening when I know they're both safely at home. 

I do believe, though, that instead of buying toys for my furry children this year, I'll just leave a couple of the packing boxes out.  They seem to get a lot more amusement out of climbing in and out of the boxes, especially if there's some nice, crinkly paper inside!  It's nice to know that I can amuse the little darlings so cheaply!

Not a night for profundity, but definitely a night for peaceful contemplation.  And with that and my gratitudes, I shall wander off to slumberland.

My gratitudes for tonight are:
1. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities, to learn, grow and expand my horizons.
2. I am grateful for family and friends sharing holiday traditions.
3. I am grateful for leftovers on a night when I get home too late to start cooking.
4. I am grateful for increased energy levels which enable me to wrap and write and get things done late at night.
5. I am grateful for kitty cuddles to begin and end my days.

Love and light.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9, 2012 Much done, but much yet to do!

The quiet weekends are definitely a thing of the past these days.  I may get two or three hours in the middle of the day to relax, futz or, as was the case today, ice my knee, but for the most part, it's a steady stream of busy!

I am happy to report that, except for stocking stuffers, I am done with my shopping for this year!  Of course, I now have the fun of wrapping everything, but that will be done in the evenings in front of the tv where Christmas movies abound!  I did make the mistake of wandering around Costco just a little too much yesterday, but also managed to get a certain item I thought I was going to have to get at a specialty store, so it's all good!  All traditional items for all members of my list, including the new ones, have been acquired.  I am very pleased!  And better still, my breakfast and coffee are already set up and ready to go for tomorrow, and they were done before 10:00 tonight!  I think I'm getting my energy back!! 

I am grateful that so much has been done because I now need to go through the passport process for my cruise in January.  Failure to do so would mean no sightseeing when we're in port and that would be very sad!  So I have gathered my documents and will use my lunch hour for something besides my daily meditation for the next few days so it will all be in place by the date of the cruise in January!  And it all worked out perfectly because my son-in-law has his Reserve weekend so he wouldn't have been able to go anyway.  He'll be home to ride herd on all of the critters in our absence. 

So, to recap, this weekend my accomplishments include:  1. Finishing my shopping for the kids and our two additions, with even a little something for the granddaughter I probably won't see over the holidays.  2. Gifts and cards for the ladies who make me beautiful and relaxed.  3. Chanukah dinner with the three kids ("adopted" son joined us tonight!)  4. Christmas shopping finished except for the rest of the stocking stuffers.  5. Christmas lights put up with the help of my son-in-law (a couple of bashed or tweaked knees notwithstanding).  6. Finally got my hair de-frizzed for the first time since before the wedding.  7. Danced and visited with friends.  8. Kitchen put back in order.  9. Passport paperwork filled out and documents gathered.  10. Breakfast and coffee prepared for tomorrow.  11.  Grocery shopping done for the week.   And that doesn't even include taking Gwennie for a nice long walk on Friday night followed by dinner with my daughter and son-in-law!  I'd say I did pretty well for a "quiet" weekend!

We're all having such a good time sharing Christmas secrets, calling each other for advice on gifts for one or another, and just doing things together.  I am feeling the joy of the season more than ever before this year.  It's not that Heather and I haven't made ourselves fun holidays the last few years, but there's something extra special about sharing it with a few other people this year, and in finding little things we can do to help make the holidays better for others as well.  Even though the little things we're doing are for people (and animals) we'll never meet, it's being able to do those things at all which make this year's holidays so special.  I am so incredibly blessed with friends, family, my furry children and the ability to give a little something back.  I'm not saying that my life is perfect and that this year has gone completely smoothly, but I believe that the challenges I've faced this year, and the way I've worked through them has made me grow more in a single year than I have in the last 10.  Paths, while still not completely clear, are becoming clearer, or at least, I'm trusting myself more to just go where it feels right to go.  My joy increases just by watching others be happy.  As I watch couples either in love already or in the getting ready to fall stage, I'm not so much envious as hopeful now.  Seeing a face which is glowing as two people share that special connection which makes everything they do together seem like Disneyland, Christmas and birthday all rolled into one makes my heart swell to five times its normal size.  I am literally seeing the Love flowing out and over everyone I see.  The Joy is so great that it cannot be contained in a single heart, but simply overflows and touches anyone and everyone who shows the least bit of receptiveness.  It is simply enervating to watch and listen and feel!

And I believe that my cats are feeling it too because they are even more affectionate and snuggly than ever before.  I can't be in a room more than a few seconds before at least one of them follows me and insinuates themself into whatever I'm doing.  All I can think is that the positive, loving energy I'm walking through every day is clinging to me like stardust and the cats with their heightened senses are feeling it too.

I hope that this Joy I'm experiencing is radiating out to the whole world, touching the richest of rich and the poorest of poor and everyone in between, and making their world, regardless of their situation, just a little brighter!

My gratitudes are:

1. I am so very grateful for the growing sense of joy and community I'm feeling this year.
2. I am grateful for my growing family who I am getting to share all of the love and joy with.
3. I am grateful for Mathom and Heather and Chris and Caleb and my sister who are helping make this holiday season the best ever!
4. I am grateful for friends with whom I can share this joyful feeling, for the camaraderie as we share our holiday traditions and our families.
5. I am grateful for an abundance of love, joy, opportunities and sharing.

Love and light.

December 8, 2012 Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah come light the menorah.

Tonight was the first night of Chanukah.  As I left the house mid afternoon and didn't get home until after 10, I had to light the candles late.  It was weird lighting them just for me, but then I realized; it's OK!  In fact, it's better than OK, it's wonderful that I can keep my traditions, even if I'm all alone.  It still feels special and more so knowing that the kids are keeping the traditions in their own home too. 

Today was the first time I'd had my hair re-done since before Heather's wedding, and my dance peeps went totally crazy over how it looked.  I guess it had a lot to do with the drastic change since it was pretty much back to its normal state before Jen worked her magic on it! 

One of the regulars is a real hoot, but he just has no filter between his mouth and his brain.  He kept putting his hands in my hair to feel how soft it is, and kept insisting that I keep it like this forever.  I tried to tell him that I'd been having this done for a couple of years, but he wasn't hearing any of it.  In his mind, this was the first time I had had it done, and it looked amazing. 

The crowd was very light tonight, most likely as a result of the start of the holiday party season.  Several couples I know had to attend other functions.  And I realized today that not having a lot of people in my life can, at times, be a blessing because while friends are missing dance nights to attend parties and such, I am there like clockwork, getting my exercise, letting my endorphins run amok, and working my knee so it will get back to 100% sooner.  One friend I ran into earlier in the day was a bit envious that I don't have to give up my dance nights for other affairs.  However, it was mostly a couples night tonight so that meant no two-steps or couples dances for the single gals unless, like one or two, they managed to hook up with the odd single guy.  (and believe me, they stuck like glue tonight!)

I made my annual trip to Costco today to get gift cards and a Crayola activity box for Toys for Tots.  Fortunately, I was able to find a place to drop it off and took care of it on the way home from dancing.   It happened to be a movie theater and the woman at the door told me that I was supposed to get something free from the theater for donating.  I told her that I don't buy a gift for the freebies, but because I want to do it, but thanked her for offering.  I think it's great that area businesses offer free stuff to try to encourage people to help with the program, and I have, on occasion, accepted something, but I realized this year that it means a lot more to give from my heart and not expect anything in return.  Heaven knows the girls and I went through some tough times, and perhaps I overcompensate now as a result, but they always had clothes, at least one book, and pajamas under the tree.  Some years were pretty lean, but there was always something.  The families for whom the Toys for Tots program is intended often are doing well to put food on the table.  So this is my way of showing my gratitude for having been able to manage the lean years without outside assistance.  I may not have realized it at the time, but in a lot of ways, we were very fortunate. 

My big find today, though, was a T-Rex pillow pet!  I know a certain little boy who will go nuts over it!  But speaking of nuts, I may have gone a bit too far in that direction myself.  But I figure, if there is too much, I can just hold back a few things for Easter and his birthday.  I also broke down and got something else for Sera because it was just too darned cute!  It's a purple unicorn pillow pet.  I figure that I'll wrap her gifts and drop them off at her mother's house sometime between now and Christmas.  She can either explain why the gifts were just dropped off or not.  Her choice.  I'm not doing much, though it would have been quite easy to go as crazy for her, but I just can't do nothing, so I won't! 

Conversations tonight went in a lot of directions, but a couple in particular bear mentioning.  One involved a friend commenting on how we learn a lot of our lessons from our children.  I remarked that the biggest one was patience and he heartily agreed.  But I have stated on many occasions that I learned something from my girls.  The most recent was a lesson in kindness from Heather.  Lessons definitely go in both directions and anyone who doesn't see that we really learn more from our kids than they do from us is missing the point entirely.  I'm not talking about basic life lessons like "don't cross the street without looking both ways" or " wash your hands after you go to the bathroom", but those lessons which not only build our character, but take us further down our Spiritual path.  Those same lessons which may temporarily scar us, but which ensure that the lesson is embedded into our character but the pain we experienced is allowed to fade away.    I still stand behind what I told the girls over and over.  "The lessons we remember the best are the ones which were the most painful."  But they are also the ones which benefit us the most. 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my daughters who, each in their own way continues to provide opportunities for me to learn and grow.
2. I am grateful that I am able to do a little something for those who are less fortunate, be they human or animal.
3. I am grateful for another amazing, exhausting night of dancing where the smile was so firmly stuck to my face that even my face ached by the end of the evening!
4. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities to learn, grow and expand my world.
5. I am grateful fro an abundance of love for and from my friends, my family and the Sea of Souls to which I belong.

Love and light.

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012 The Universe has its own way of getting our attention!

Today I experienced one of those Universal headslaps that really makes you stop and go "hmmmm".  It all began last night when I decided that I was too lazy to fix my breakfast for today, but as I'd been waking up earlier lately, would just do it in the morning.  I woke up to Dylan curled around my head, purring and washing my face, and could have happily stayed right there, but knew I had to get moving so I got up.  While getting ready for work, I decided that I'd treat myself to Jamba Juice this morning.  This thought in mind, I finished getting ready and headed out the door to the Jamba Juice in the mall.  What a surprise I had when I pulled on the door and it didn't move!!!  I then looked at the hours on the door and found that I was 10 minutes early.  No matter, I'd go to the one near my office!  As the freeway was a mess as a result of an early morning accident, I took the prettier back way which took longer than a clear freeway, but since it wasn't clear, probably a quicker and much nicer drive anyway.  Pulling into the driveway for the Jamba Juice near my office, I saw the homeless man (or one of them) who typically stands at the end of the drive.  And that's when it hit me!  When I got to Jamba Juice, I ordered two instead of just one for myself.  Handing it to him as I headed to work, I noticed that he didn't seem to have teeth so the Jamba Juice was probably a much better choice than a sandwich or something which needed to be chewed.  So, Thank you, Universe, for giving me the opportunity to do something kind for someone else!  I only wish I had done a better job of acknowledging his thanks, and maybe, wished him a nice day.

Now, I don't think the Universe was really very subtle about it either as I followed a Food Share truck part of the way to work.  Sometimes, my friend, The Universe, is so subtle I just say to myself "I know you're trying to tell me something, but I just don't get it!"  But clearly, this was NOT one of those times!  I am being strongly encouraged to make sure that I truly make this holiday season a season of giving to those who are less fortunate!  I also heard a Toys for Tots commercial on the radio, and when I walked into Jamba Juice, there was a big collection box.  OK, Universe, I get it!  If you recall, I ALWAYS get something for Toys for Tots!!!  Why would this year be an exception?  I'd already planned to pick something up when I was at Costco for gift cards tomorrow.  I promise!!!!

As I re-read what I've written, it hits me that I have been meditating on kindness lately as I truly want to be a kinder person, and have many shining examples of kindness in the amazing women I am blessed to call "friend".  In the tradition of "ask and it is given", the Universe has heard me and is really making it easy for me to start practicing kindness, one small act at a time.  I'm also finding that when I start to have a critical thought about someone, I'm finding it easier and easier to, at the very least, throw imaginary confetti, but in many cases, to find something kind or complimentary to think about the person instead.  Slowly but surely, I'm clearing the blackness from around my heart, and further opening it up to the love and goodness that I know is out there!  But as it is a slow process, and one I need to focus on every day, I know that I must be diligent if I want to evolve.  Thankfully, I have my daughter to pull me back in line when I start getting cranky and judgemental. 

Tonight at dinner, a young boy jumped ahead of us in line at Souplantation.  My immediate reaction was that he was very rude and his parents should be better about teaching him manners.  It was Heather who noticed that his parents were, indeed, keeping an eye on him, but there seemed to be something going on which caused him to behave as he did.  I am so grateful that she looks beyond the surface and is a compassionate young woman.  I can stand to learn from her in this regard!  Granted, she has as little patience with screaming, whining, out of control children as I do, but she isn't as quick to judge and be annoyed as I am.

We had a very nice walk with Gwennie, though she definitely needs some retraining.  She gets very excited and pees all over herself a lot!  She tends to pull to hard on the leash or stop suddenly to sniff things, but the kids are working on getting her back on track with her training.  She gets lots of walks now, and tonight's was so enjoyable that I know we'll make more of an effort to take her on these longer walks so she'll be a little bit calmer when she gets home!  It also gives us a chance to chat without the distraction of other people, telephones, televisions or other electronic devices.  And this time of year, there's the added bonus of being able to admire the neighborhood Christmas displays. 

And now, it's time for Chanukah.  Though the latkes will wait until Christmas this year, we have candles to light and presents to open!  The fun begins, and I've barely gotten started with my wrapping!!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be learning the lesson of kindness and for being given opportunities to practice.
2. I am grateful that I have the resources to help others in need, be they the two footed or the four footed kind.
3. I am grateful for long walks with my kids and grandpuppy.
4. I am grateful for a quiet end to a long, busy week.
5. I am grateful for the abundance I enjoy, and the ability to share it with others freely.

Love and light.