The art of doing nothing . . . for the next five days

$21,840,293 requested in proposals since this past September, I can finally do absolutely nothing for the next five days! How apropos that this time of doing nothing falls at the end of the year when I instinctively reflect on the past year's goings on as I anticipate possibilities in the new year.  Possibilities as grand as a child's waiting for Santa, the strike of midnight (or perhaps a family).     

My plans for the next five days? Finish reading my friend, Paul Griffin's book, Stay With Me.  Plan New Year's Eve feasting festivities as we have a few friends coming over for a night of karaoke. Maybe a hike along the shore.  Definitely the gym.  And most importantly - sweet scented, soothing candles and mental musings.  

Happy birthday, Mom! Today's is my Mom's 69th birthday.  She's just returned from a month-and-a-half-long visit to the homeland. Having planned her trip to the Philippines in advance, also timely was that she was able to attend my Dad's older sister's funeral services.  Only one sibling out of seven remains, half of whom died of cancer - cancer that is always present in my life, there to remind me to take time to do nothing.  Spoke with my older cousin who accompanied Mom on her travels through the islands, and he shared how wonderful it was to spend time with her - doing nothing, of course.  So thankful that Mom, healthy, continues to enjoy herself.  I understand she's planned an upcoming pilgrimage to Europe in the spring too. 

Missing My Dad
Meeting deadlines at work this past quarter left me no room to remember how much I miss my Dad.  Funny how "deadlines" have the power to leave us "dead" in our spirits. On the drive up to family Christmas festivities in Connecticut, I phoned my parents' best friends in Chicago to wish them holiday love.  It always makes me feel good to hear their voices.  I recall how heartened my Dad would be to call them during the holidays to catch up and talk about how they and their kids were doing.  And it contents me to continue his gesture. 

Back to nothing
A. & I. loved staying at a B&B in Granby (CT) for two nights - a charming home, fireplace in our room, and gourmet morning treats.  Falling asleep to the night's incense of burning logs and waking up to the distinct savor of breakfast were a most welcome nothing.  My wish for friends and family?  After wild merrymaking, do take a moment or two to do nothing.  We all need a little nothing in our lives.  



year's end 
downtime fireside
a breath of intention
as distinct as my first quaff
and another pause
a glass of wine becomes one more
we faithfully wait for someone 
fireside this holiday season
and somewhere --
someone, too, waits for us . . .
and perhaps by next year's end
we will be forever plus one


Eve eve

I have never looked more forward to the holidays than this year.  This month, work has more than crept into my personal life what with meeting deadlines, bringing work home, and being strapped to the computer weekdays and weekends -- writing . . . and more writing.  (Ain't I a writer?!)  To have my husband admonish me and express that work is affecting our quality of life is not something I particularly enjoy, especially when I'm absolutely exhausted and pressured to bring funding into our agency.  Not sure how I survived the last couple of weeks . . . did I mention that I have three more proposals to submit before the new year?  Two super significant grant applications out of the way, and I do feel a little relieved . . . though not quite out of the woods yet.  To remain grounded, I ask myself, when I'm dead and gone, will it really have mattered how much I worked . . . or how much money I brought in?

What's kept me somewhat sane are a couple of holiday parties I attended with our kids in foster care and in our early childhood education centers.  To see young children's eyes mesmerized by Santa's presence and gifts that seem to appear out of nowhere in holiday bags taller than they are makes the work I do well worth it.   As I witness toddlers' absolute surprise at meeting Santa at a childcare center in East Flatbush (Brooklyn), I can't help but be overwhelmed as they crowd around Santa and burrow their faces into his cheap, red velvet suit. 
Knowing that these might be the only presents they receive all season as their parents struggle to overcome their mental, emotional and financial challenges, what I do is just a tiny piece of puzzle.

While I've had work to distract me this month, the holidays can't stop me from thinking about my Dad.  This morning, I woke up from a terrible dream.  My dad had collapsed, and I asked the folks around us to call an ambulance.  No one seemed to understand me.  No one knew what to do.  I reacted immediately and dialed 911.  Thank goodness I woke up . . . frightfully feeling sad and abandoned.  More than three years later since my Dad's death, I certainly hope it's no indication of my Dad's spirit being stuck in a bad place.  Maybe it's just my coming off the intense stress of work that's colliding with my missing my Dad.   

A more welcome vision . . . A. shared that he experienced a quick peek into the future - this time next year.  A young boy with a bowl cut in a white t-shirt sitting at the dinner table with us on the eve of Christmas eve.  I hope so . . .

Wishing friends and family near and far, a sparkle-filled holiday season of peace, hope, & magic . . . Be charmed . . . love & light.


Falling for fall

autumn's heather sky
her crisp breath chills my insides
i ache 
for a steaming apple cider cocktail


Heart gratitude

Five years ago, A.'s most unnerving fears of all fears came true. It was the night before he would become a CABG man (or coronary artery bypass graft heart survivor). When A. and I first started dating, I'd been wary of marrying the man as I watched him take his cocktail of multiple meds, his having been with a cardiologist since his early twenties given his family history. But that didn't stop me from loving him. I will never forget the terror that gripped my entire being the morning we learned that A., having had no previous episodes or cause for alarm, would undergo open heart quadruple bypass surgery. While I momentarily cried frantically, A. remained calm (and relieved).  He was thankful that it was happening this way.  What he most feared and anticipated sometime in his 50s (and would happen as a crippling heart attack or stroke) had finally become a reality - at 38 . . . without all the hoopla.  

Five years later, A. is at his best health ever.  He is most conscious of his nutrition and what we put into our bodies.  And he has even learned to love vegetarian meals.  A long way from the boy who loved to feast on KFC and fried rice.  

Thank you, Spirit, for the power of the human body to heal itself, for the courage of the soul to welcome new habits, and for the depth of the heart to embrace a most cherished Life.  To healthy and heedful hearts.