And Another Thing

So, here I am…krooked face and all.  It is what is is and in all likelihood I will get better.  True to my competitive and yet optimistic nature, I plan on being the valedictorian of recovery.  Which means that I have to admit while I think I am super woman…sans the tights and the cape…not a good look for me, I cannot do it all.  It kills me that I have to rest because I feel like crap, that my elocution sucks (and let me tell you extemporaneous speech is one of my superpowers) and that half the time I can’t see because my left eye doesn’t blink on its own anymore.  My inability to recognize my limits may be my kryptonite.  At first thought, I had the same attitude I always have had…simply that I’ve walked around with a fractured spine for 30 years undetected, this can’t stop me either.  Except it did.  I am forced to wear a vulnerability right out in the open and I don’t like it.  It was awkward at parent teacher conferences last night, because it’s hard not to keep staring at my flapping lips, when I want to talk as fast as I always do and can’t, and that I have to explain what happened over and over.  People have been beautiful about it, don’t get me wrong, that isn’t the issue.  The real eye opener (pun intended) is that I am part of the 100% of the population who is fragile and vulnerable and broken and weak.  We all are broken, I just happen to have it written on my face right now.  We should all be as beautiful to each other as those who can see it on my face have been to me.  It just isn’t always as obvious.  Who knows what internal paralysis may be going on inside someone, hidden to the outside world.  It has given me pause and challenged me to be more sensitive, and kind to others.  I do plan on posting the after picture as soon as possible.  Until then, I appreciate the prayers.

Bell’s Palsy

I have been struggling with auto-immune problems for a while now, and this weekend I started experiencing the symptoms of bell’s palsy…which you can google for specifics but in a general sense it means that the major facial nerve on the left side of my face is inflamed leaving me with minor facial paralysis.  Yes, it sucks to be me right now, but I’m trying to remain calm because stress can definitely make it worse.  I will have all the necessary blood tests to rule out lymes and other diseases, but I quietly chalk it up to a year of increasing difficulties with food allergies, inflammation, thyroid issues etc.  While the ARP treatments I have been receiving have helped my bio-mechanical trouble from my spondylolisthesis, it appears I have a larger battle on the inside.  I do appreciate your prayers and I am thankful for the great support I am receiving right now….thank God I finished my Christmas shopping early!

Olympic in more ways than One

This past weekend Steve and I were privileged to play host to a couple of exceptional athletes, great role models, hard working, positive, ethical and generally all around really nice people.  Sadly, when it comes to many famous elite athletes, those traits I just listed aren’t usually the first that come to mind.  It is more the infamy, the arrogance, the multimillion dollar salaries and exposes in the media that range from the tawdry to the criminal.  Having two boys, it is often disheartening to see one of their sports heroes get entangled in a sex controversy, or get caught cheating by taking performance enhancing drugs.  The formula for excellence should be committment, perseverance, hard work and a good share of failure to learn in the process.  Now it seems that less energy is put on the hard work and learning through failure portion and more into what better way to cut corners.  I certainly understand the pressure that is on todays’ athletes to keep winning when the bar keeps getting higher and higher.  But I also believe that the bar is raised unfairly by bionic bodies created by illegal “short cuts.”   It just isn’t fair to those athletes who build their talent the old-fashioned way.  And I would imagine these old-fashioned athletes would be frustrated, bitter, angry and just want to give up….but not Caitlin Compton Gregg.  She is a breath of fresh air.  She loves what she does, and is committed to being the best at what she does.  Not only is she a committed athlete, her actual job is to be a role model and mentor to kids ( her husband Brian is also a youth mentor and an elite athlete as well).  That is the kind of athlete that I want to inspire my children, not the kind who live in such a moral vacuum that their spurious escapades dwarf their athletic abilities.  I want my sons to understand that excellence demands hard work, committment and the willingness to fail.  Excellence in sports means being an excellent person.  I know it sounds so simplistic, but that is why I wanted to write this, it just needs to be said more often.  How we get to a goal is the most important part of any journey.  I see all too often the emphasis is put on winning or being the best without highlighting how one gets there.  Caitlin’s journey is full of hard work, committment and the kind of grace that I really haven’t seen in a long time….it was encouraging for our whole family.  She is a role model, she is a mentor, she is an exceptional athlete, she is an excellent person and we were enriched by meeting her and her husband Brian.  It a year of a lot of pessimism and struggle, she charged my optimism.

Two ends of the spectrum

There is so much in parenting that no amount of age, wisdom or experience can prepare you for.  No matter that I am educated in child development and spent most of my career working with young adults.  It is a giant exercise of strength and will just to hold on tight to the grey matter in my head and keep myself from physically dissociating and taking a permanent vacation in my happy place.  Even more difficult is having two children who are on two complete ends of the spectrum.  Nothing I learned from raising the first was applicable to the second.  They never agree on anything except how unbelievably stupid their parents are.  When suggesting that they could benefit by walking in each other’s shoes and trying to see the world from another perspective, they of course took me literally and went on infinitum about cooties and the diseases that each would get from touching the others shoes.  When I told them I wasn’t being literal, but figurative they both snorted, ignored me and took respite in their iPods.  Don’t get me wrong, they are both great kids in their own right, but I certainly have a greater appreciation for the divisiveness that plagues our country.  So I used the great ol’ USA as my example at dinner.  I told them both they were perfect examples of how both political parties have become completely intolerant of one another and are at the same time ignorant about who and what the other really is.  My sons were behaving like a little mini microcosm of the large macrocosm of our two-party system.  Yes, they almost choked on their meatloaf, but I concluded with this phrase, “If you two Yahoos can’t get along…and you’re family, who can expect the rest of the country to broaden their perspectives….”  the reply…”What’s a Yahoo?”   my answer “Read Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.”  Conclude with plenty of eye rolling and masticating of beef.  Seriously now, am I really the stupidest person you know??????

A Sad Farewell

This week, the struggling economy became even more real in our small little hamlet here on the St. Croix River, when our town bank was closed and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named receiver and the Central Bank of Stillwater took over all accounts.  What really hit me in the gut was being directed from the old riverbank website to a “Failed Bank Information” website.  While it is easy to say that people made grave mistakes, I just don’t see it that way.  I cannot wrap my head around the word “failure” because it was just a few years ago when we were a burgeoning community on the cusp of growth and the RiverBank was a central feature of what we wanted our community to be.  This was and hopefully still is a place where people want to live, and if not, open enroll their kids in our schools.  It is a full community ripe with opportunities and expansion, and I know that I would have thought it inconceivable that this is where we would end up.  And amidst the expected shock, sadness and mingled with a bit of fear for the future, I want to stop and take a breath, turn and try to look at it from another perspective. 

When I studied the New Testament, there was a particular parable that I loved…the parable of the talents.  In short, a master is going on a long trip and distributes some of his wealth to three of his servants, the first two take the money they are given build and grow it, the last, in fear of losing it and fearing the master’s wrath, buries it in the ground.  When the master returns, he is pleased with the progress of the first two servants and blesses them with more abundance.  The third he rebukes for doing nothing and letting fear take control and takes the original amount and splits it between the first two servants.  I used to wonder at the strong language of the master toward the third servant, after all he didn’t lose the money, he kept it safe.  I figured out that the message here is that safety is overrated.  Taking risks and using the gifts we are given and building them into something greater is the expectation God has of us, doing nothing and staying safe is not.  So when I look at all that the RiverBank has accomplished I don’t see a failed bank.  Could any of us have foreseen what transpired in the last few years?  While I’m sure in hindsight there is plenty that went dreadfully wrong, but there was also so much that was right.

So I say, rather that see this situation as a failure, perhaps as difficult as it might be, we all should try to see it as an opportunity to build something else, something even better.  There is still an abundance of talented people out there, and it would be like burying treasure in the ground to do nothing, to stay idle.  When this country has been hit with natural disasters, we come together and rebuild.  How is being unfortunate enough to be in the path of an economic tsunami any different?  We simply come together and rebuild.  We take the talents we are given from the master and take the risk to grow and expand them once again.  That is what I hope will happen in these dark times, is that we see beyond the fear of losing, and embracing what great gifts we have all been given and move on.  My prayers are certainly with everyone in this time of transition, but if we hold on to a hope for a greater future, the struggle today will only make each of us stronger.

Hot Flash Dance

One of my favorite movies from the 80’s was flashdance. I didn’t like it for its depth and breadth of plot or acting…I just loved the dancing.  Lately, though, I’ve been having flashbacks of that infamous scene in the movie when she throws herself back in a chair and a bucket of water dumps all over her.  Then, I was thrilled at the sensuality of that dance….these days, I simply daydream about that cold bucket of water.  With the coming of the new school year, when both boys are finally in high school, also came what I’ve been dreading to come for awhile….hot flashes.  Not that I lack any information on the subject, I do work in health care after all.  But what they really can’t prepare you for is the horrific psychic time travel when you are forced to revisit the emotional upheaval that were our bodies in adolescence when they raged with hormones and did things without our permission throwing us into a continual tailspin.  But, since I had the added degradation of travelling through highschool as a 12 year-old boy, and pretty much spent my freshman year in college squeezed into underwear that was too tight because I was too far away from home and too broke to buy a bigger bra and even my loosest sweaters made me feel like Marilyn Monroe…except for the wicked case of acne…my revisit of this lack of control over my body has shattered even my super hero power of common sense like kryptonite did to super man.  It isn’t enough that I was just getting comfortable in my body after all this time, now I had to go to the store and again buy a bigger bra ( yeah I bet they didn’t tell you that little tidbit) and I have to change my shirt at lunch time because I sweat through it and just as I neared spontaneous combustion, my thermostat completely shut down and I froze the rest of the morning in my “wet” t-shirt and had to tape down my nipples that reacted to the cold.  My body was saying porn star against my will.  The advice I get from other woman is to dress in layers, but yesterday when I brought a light sweater to cover up once the freeze hit after the flash, all that did was send me into another hot flash.  I work in a field where dozens and dozens of people walk through this door every day, and the last thing I’m sure they want to see is a sweaty woman with a delicate wardrobe malfunction.  I am waving a paper fan continually just to keep the makeup from running into my eyes and trying desperately not to surrender to the heat.  I’ve tried supplements…including the ones with black cohosh and they don’t do bupkis, but with the memory lapses I’d forget to take them anyway.  It just doesn’t seem fair.  Last week during the morning frost, I actually went outside in my underwear and the steam that rose off my body was in close competition to the fog that blanketed our valley.  I actually choose dress clothes that won’t show perspiration stains…THAT SUCKS!  I remember now when I was a young teen that it didn’t really matter how cool I felt inside my brain when my body refused to cooperate and I just looked awkward.  Today it feels no less frustrating.  Right now as I am writing this I have stuffed a kleenex on my lower back to catch the sweat that is now running down my back.  It will be alright, I have learned to adapt with a lot of ice, multiple t-shirts to change into, and the promise of a cold winter soon on the horizon.  For the time being though, to all you sweaty women out there I stand in solidarity with you, I would hug you too, but I wouldn’t want to stain your clothes….

So, I wept

Yesterday, as I sent by boys off to school, I sat down with a cup of tea to watch the today show before my workout…which usually means a lot of dancing around pulling too tight things on just to sweat in.  I stopped half-clothed as they did a story on a young man who had recently come out as gay to friends and family and while he tried to be an advocate for anti-bullying by posting on the internet, the bullying escalated and ultimately he ended up committing suicide.  I always am sad when I hear about bullying, but what literally made me break down and sob, was when Jamey’s mother told Anne Curry that on the night of the wake, their daughter wanted to be with her friends at the homecoming dance, and a Lady Gaga song came on that Jamey liked, and his friends started chanting for him, the bullies that had been harassing him started chanting “We’re glad your dead” and “you’re better off dead.”  What kind of miscreants are we raising today?  In the name of what God is this kind of behavior ever acceptable? 

I know I’ve stormed the principal’s office when my sons were the victims of bullying and did what I could do to protect them, but I know that reprimands or punishments don’t change hearts or minds.  It isn’t enough for me that they have a safe haven at home, and that we encourage them to be exactly who they are.  They should be able to do that out in the world as well.  We adults can, though, say loud and clear that this kind of brutality and intolerance will never be ok, and it really doesn’t matter where you stand on the issue.  The challenge is to show young people by our own behavior that different is good, and diversity is even better.  God has graced us all with specific potentials…I am reminded by that great metaphor of the body of Christ that Paul uses in 1st Corinthians.   But when one part of the body has the audacity and arrogance to defame that grace and goodness of another part of the body and snuff out their potential, the whole body suffers.  One of Jesus’ last commands was that his disciples love one another, so that the world would know who sent them.  Somehow, by placing moral judgment ahead of love, that authority is lost….and the proof of that can be found by the divisiveness of the very people who were charged to bring a message of good news and eternal love.

I do apologize for pontificating, and I seem to do a lot of that these days.  But I’m just so frustrated and sick of hearing stories like this, and Jamie and his family moved me to speak.  You cannot call your self a Christian and not be scandalized by this tragedy…and if you’re not religious, you cannot call yourself civilized if this story didn’t make your blood boil.  And if you feel nothing or engage in this kind of reprehensible behavior than even hell isn’t good enough for you.  I know that righteous anger won’t solve the problem, to hate the haters is no less cancerous to the body.  I do pray that the hatred stops, and is replaced by a spirit of decency.  Most important was the conversation that I had and will continue to have with my own boys, it appears being against bullying is one thing we can agree on.

Go Golden Gophers

The reason for our trip to LA, revolved around old friendships.  Since the new stadium opened a couple of years ago on the U of MN campus, Steve has been in touch with many of his Gopher team mates.  When they realized that the Gophers played at USC for the first time in 20 years, many decided to make the venture west…including me.  Now, I’m not much for sports…I am more academic and artsy…but I will never turn down an opportunity to travel, to have a break from our clinic and not have to cook and drive and all the other chores of daily living.  Steve and Dewayne Eldridge hadn’t seen each other in 30 years, and they were just like school buds again.  It was great to listen to the stories and what happened to everyone over the last 30 years.  Dewayne is now a detective in Orange county and it was wonderful meeting he and his wife Lydia.  We met such nice people and had such a great time, with the exception of a really bad sunburn.  It appears that the sunscreen I used was not as sweat proof as I thought.


From decadence to holiness, I was able to find a bit of heaven while on my trip to LA.  We were actually walking somewhere else when we came across this cathedral.  I guess it is the biggest in the United States, and it was spectacular.  I know the pictures don’t give it justice, but if I lived in LA, I certainly would attend mass here.  Beyond the beauty and grandeur, the quiet and holiness was actually palpable and the calm and peace washed over me.  It was wonderful just to stop and pray for a moment.  I’ve seen many ancient cathedrals around the world, and this modern one felt as awe-inspiring as any other.  It was a highlight for me.


I know there will be plenty of posts dedicated to my trip to Los Angeles, but right now I just have to say how much certain parts of the city had to resemble Rome before it fell.  I know it’s easy to criticize a place that is inherently foreign to me, but I’ve travelled around the globe plenty of times and no place gives me this same visceral reaction that I get when I enter into Beverly Hills.  It is full of the decadent kind of wealth that I associate with Monarchies and those tyrants who amass wealth while the populace suffers.  I am not a socialist, but it is hard to tolerate this kind of excess when the rest of this country is suffering so deeply.  Yet, to the young billionaire who was stalked by the paparazzi, life was as it should be.  She was catered to, and the rest of the crowd breathed in her glory.  From what I gathered from some of the cameraman (who really are rude, by the way) she has done nothing to earn her special treatment in the world except to have been born into money.  While I certainly don’t blame her for this, I do expect that a country whose very existence is rooted in the rejection of power by this kind of “new” monarchy, not perpetuate the belief that they are indeed better.  Every person that stood on that street and waited for the celebrity did that.  And while I stood there all surly and couldn’t wait to get back on our LA tour bus, I couldn’t help but feel inferior and obvious in my “touristness”  I felt stalkerish, and I didn’t like that feeling one bit. 

While we were lucky to know friends there and venture out to some pretty remarkable restaurants, it was obvious that for one in particular (Asia de Cuba) the simple people get treated far less respectfully that those who flaunt their money and position.  At one point I wanted to smack our waitress who often made it clear that she would rather be serving someone else.  On a trip to the Ladies, my size 8 made me look like a heifer in comparison to the women, who looked as though they were in a non-size category.  They were twittering like pernicious little twits about everyone else at the Sky bar…Iguess I’d be crabby too If my daily caloric intake was smaller than my shoe size.  I grabbed my phone and looked down when I started laughing nervously so they wouldn’t know that I was laughing at the ruthlessness of their conversation.  They were…horrible, there is no way to couch the judgment.  In fairness to our gracious friends who took us there really for the excellent food, I kept my mouth shut.  I also did so because my opinion was clearly not wanted or needed.  To that end, future posts will be all about the great things that I experienced on our short jaunt.  I did ruminate on the possibility that I harbor some deep envy, but I truly think that I I’m just better than that.  I was raised to believe that you treat people how you want to be treated, that money doesnt exempt you from civility.  None of us are better or worse for the size of our wallets…that is earned by what we do with what we have.

Being Thankful

This past 10 days I put my “practice what I preach” hat and went to the wall to help.  The details are immaterial, but suffice it to say, that giving without strings attached isn’t always easy.  I never questioned whether or not I would help, I added conditions which I felt made the arrangement more just…only to find that one person’s interpretation of the condition is not the same…even when they are laid out in the most elementary, I’m almost embarrassed to make this so simple, kind of way.  But hey, even I can roll with that.  After living in crazy town where much of what I say gets twisted into such unrecognizable statements that even I would despise me, if I actually said what they claim I said, I’ve learned not to take things so seriously.  What boiled down my compassion to the blackest tar, was the complete lack of gratitude and thankfulness at what was quite a sacrifice.  What ever happened to uttering the words “thank-you.”  Are those in need so entrenched in their own misery that they will snap at the hand that will help them because you are in a standing position and they are not?  I felt judged for having worked hard for the life I have, like I had no right to complain about anything…given that life in crazy town is so perfect.  I did voice my opinion that while, not everyone is dealt an even hand, it is how you strive afterwards that makes all the difference…and if you never. strive. at. all. you shouldn’t expect any results period.  I did get preachy for a moment and shared this little tidbit…”If you give a man a fish, he eats for one day.  If you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”  What I can’t do, is try and make someone learn… that is not possible.  That was the hardest thing about giving without conditions…even a simple thank-you.  I am reminded, however, to keep expressing gratitude every day.


I’ve been soul-searching for a while now.  In this time of great unease and restlessness it is easy to fall prey to doomsday thinking.  The media doesn’t help with its chicken little attitude.  For me it begins and ends with faith.  When I look at the unrest in the world, I do have faith that America can once again take the lead in bringing us back to stability.  How we get there is going to be a challenge, it’s nice to have one thing we can all agree on.  But I also believe that the journey should depict the end result…we can”t engage in the kind of juvenile behavior that I see when it comes to politics.  None of us would tolerate the behavior we’ve seen in Washington in our own children.  In the recall elections here in Wisconsin, one super-pac group sent absentee ballots to their opposing side with a bogus address and incorrect date.  I find that behavior reprehensible.  If they had real faith in their candidate, they wouldn’t need the kind of nefarious ghouls that spend their days thinking up that kind of crap.  I can co-exist with different ideologies, but I won’t tolerate that kind of moral depravity…winning by any means simply means you’re not qualified to represent the America I want to live in.  I can agree to disagree, struggle to see a multitude of vantage points, and work for compromise if and only if our elected leaders  can carry themselves with the kind of integrity and leadership that is necessary to build a better future.

A lot of Perspective

Remember the movie, “Freaky Friday,”  the Lindsay Lohan version (before she fell into a life of crime) when the mom and daughter characters switch bodies for a while and learn a valuable lesson about perspective?  None of us want to admit that our viewpoint is limited, or at times blindingly flawed.  I’m sure most people…ok me…thinks the rest of world is delusional much of the time, and while I don’t deny that I still may be right about the general tenure of crazy town, I do need my perspective to download an update once in a while.  It is good to try to see the world through broader and wider perimeters on occasion, especially to make sure my own particular boundaries aren’t being arbitrarily created by a proverbial “they” out in the world.  I think the Dr Suess childhood classic “Sneeches” is still the best illustration of how we can be duped into discrimination and prejudice, and the amount of money that can be made on the resulting discord.  (think plain and star bellied sneetches).   How often are we told to support an idea or a cause because it is what “good” people do, or it is the “right” thing to do, and then if one doesn’t conform they are ostracized?  Categorizing ideas and people should never be that easy, but it happens all the time.  I know it is worse in times of economic and political stress, but that is the time when true leaders need to rise and not only calm our fears but challenge us to open our eyes even wider than we ever thought possible.  Discrimination and prejudice can take many forms, it isn’t just about race.  So today, I am thoughtful of all the different kinds of sneetches in the world and taking a moment to try and see the world from another perspective.

The Utility of Things

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to take a lovely boat ride down the St Croix River with some friends and it was, not only glorious weather, but a fine opportunity to wonder at how easily it appears that nature and culture have melded together so tenuously.  Here is an eagle’s nest dangerously perched on top of power lines, but I’m sure to the eagles it is the perfect bird’s-eye view of the river and all that it avails.  Then there is the railroad bridge that opens magically when the water is too high to pass under it (we’ve had a very wet season here) so we could continue our sojourn down the river.  It was a lovely lesson of cooperation, I wish we humans could catch on as easily.

Without Propriety

I’m seeing a growing trend in today’s society and I don’t really like it.  As much as we advance technologically, we seem to be in a steady decline when it comes to propriety.  I am tired of foul language…even the abbreviated “texted” kind.  I’m tired of the rush of embarrassment that I feel whenever I come face to face with a woman dressed in too little with too much exposed.  I’m tired of the kind of rude behavior that would even raise a sailor’s eyebrows.  What good is technological advancement without a correlating advancement in culture and human behavior?  I do get befuddled once in awhile at my reaction to certain things, like the depression I feel after having to make a Wal-mart run.  Poverty isn’t an excuse either, there is no distinction between the classes when it comes to rudeness or the amount of unseemly flesh I’m forced to witness.   What is sad, is that a sense of propriety shouldn’t be forced…it is something that this advanced society should have continually developed naturally.  Civility shouldn’t be associated with all things antiquated….but should be the natural expression of a country that deserves to be ranked as a leader of nations.  On a smaller scale, I do feel like I’m like losing the battle at home too.  I hate the language that transpires between my teenage sons and I.  Of course it would be easy for them to just do what I tell them to without argument and say thank-you, but I think the power struggle is a natural part of growth.  I just want it to be less vulgar.  Where are the manners that I taught them when they were little?  I do hope that when their frontal lobes begin firing again they will remember the requirements of living in a civilized society.  As for the rest of the world….I will have to think on that one.

Screaming like a Girl

This is what I discovered when I opened the cover to our pool skimmer for a routine cleaning….and his name is not Charlotte.  I had the most visceral reaction I think I have ever had, a “HOLY SH#T THAT IS THE BIGGEST MUTHER F’IN SPIDER I HAVE EVER SEEN”  Of course that is what I was thinking because what came out of my mouth was the loudest, highest pitch screechy scream that stereotypically could be described as “screaming like a girl”.  I must say, it is usually one of the men in my house that utters this kind of scream when coming across…usually any insect or rodent that may breach the security of our walls.  I generally mutter something really mean that resembles “big wuss” or “stupid pussy” and go kill or trap the damn thing myself.  Not this time.  In a rare moment of humility, when facing this tarantula like arachnid, I felt their fear, as irrational as it may seem.  I threw the cover back on, and finally had a friend, who had stopped over get rid of it…not before he was able to appreciate its size and I snapped a picture.  All in all, it was 2 1/2 inches or so and had TIGER STRIPES.  I think I even heard it snarl and cackle as it scurried away.  I didn’t kill it because I didn’t want its family to issue a hit for killing the big daddy.  I literally had the willies all day long every time I thought about that damn spider, and at night every time I tried to think of the heroine of “Charlotte’s Web”  I got distracted because I could swear I  heard him taunting me from under my bed.

Shearing Sampson

So, I decided in a rare moment of spontaneity yesterday to add a little “fierce” to my day and donated 10 inches of my hair to locks of love.  It was relatively easy.  I didn’t feel the strength leach out of my body, nor was my identity and sex appeal lost when my stylist cut off that pony tail.  I was actually amazed at how much length was left over…I never really thought about how long my hair was.  Steve’s first words were “Thank God”…and when he saw that I had frowned deep enough to conjoin my brow, he frantically tried to back pedal…(he will never, ever win the suave award).  Neither of my sons noticed right away, which again is validation for my judgement that they live in their own universes all of the time.  I feel lighter both literally and figuiratively…who knew hair could weigh my head down so much.  All in all, I am happy with my choice, hair will grow back…unless my burgeoning fierceness moves me to something else.  Who knows, maybe next I’ll get a tatoo…

I used to be Fierce

I was chatting with a practice member’s wife in our clinic the other day, and discovered that she was the book-keeper at the first job I had out of college.  When I told her my name, her mouth dropped open and she exclaimed, “Oh my God, you’re Mary Flood!!!  I used to wonder what happened to you!”  She spent the next few minutes talking about my energy and kindness and how crazy the priest was that we worked for.  This was one of a few experiences of running into people from my past.  Listening to how they remember me, not only surprised me, but made me a little sad…I used to be so fierce!  Words and phrases like fearless, boundless energy, passionate, a force to be reckoned with were used to describe my antics…and I often don’t feel that way anymore.  One of the forces that drove me when I was young is the belief that no amount of energy would be wasted, that all things were possible if you threw yourself out there.  While I still espouse those beliefs philosophically, I don’t think I’m walking that talk as much as I did when I was younger.  I know that one reason may be that I am tempered with experience and wisdom, but I’m also aware that deep down I just don’t trust the world as much as I used to.

When politicians spout invective rhetoric on a daily basis about each other, don’t even understand the basics of American history and can’t seem to work together….ever, and then the news has story upon story of the improprieties that they commit almost on a daily basis, I do find myself less compelled to throw myself out there.  I was at a political meeting last night, and while my extemporaneous rantings made people laugh, I realized that I was just angry and fed up.  Angry that our political leaders are, and here it comes….SO STUPID, and fed up that they couldn’t work together to solve a problem if we put a gun to their heads… I look to other places for salvation.  Yes, my faith is a central source…but for the most part I call out all you smart reasonable human beings out there who don’t want to sit by and watch evolution stop, to put your fierce on and on the most basic level…be reasonable, listen to facts and not rhetoric, be willing to be uncomfortable in conversations with family and friends, share ideas that you may have about fixing the many problems we face today. And most importantly, be proactive…don’t wait for someone else, or sit idly by and wait.   Let the inner tiger come out, even if starts as a cat….

Summer Moon

I took this picture of the summer moon at our first baseball game of the season over the weekend.  This is the kind of day that will reside in my memory and sustain me during the next long cold winter like the one we just struggled through.  It was a sunny and hot, glorious day.  Everyone was glowing from the sun and the warm weather.  We spent the day celebrating my neices’ recent highschool graduations, the end of yet another school year (and a deep soul-sigh from me that my youngest son made it through middle school) and the first real opportunity to use our pool.  It was as if all the anticipation was finally over.  I didn’t realize how hard this past winter was until those first tunes started playing over the sound system while I floated on an air mattress on the water and my face broke into a Cheshire cat smile that was literally stuck there the whole weekend.  I can breathe again.  Even with the sweat dripping down my back…I didn’t care that it was hot.  I vow to relish it and remember the cold and how much it wore me down.  Curiously, though, I don’t know if I would have appreciated this past weekend had I not been drug through cold of the 9th circle of hell.  I am reminded why I live here in the first place…so I can rediscover this great feeling of relaxation all over again.  It was a very good day.