White mountain velvet night
Following moon-silver owl flight
Looking into the well of Self...
I fall into the heavens.

Linda McGeary

I have an obsession!

Blank books.

I've been journaling since I was a teen.

I started a book journal in my twenties. (title, author, date and rating, sometimes comments about the story, and quotes if I really liked it.)

In my thirties I started dream journaling. I have at least twenty years worth of dreams.

Sometimes I look at that box of old journals, and my stack of new ones waiting to share my life, and wonder why I do it. Is it a sense, or touch of immortality it gives? That something of me, my mind, my heart, will remain. That maybe my sons will find them interesting someday. Or not. Maybe they will never read them, even as I have not finished reading all of my Mother's.

What is the value of a journal then?

I can get lost in an old one, rereading, seeing where I've grown or not, and maybe where I need to focus some time and attention in silence and deep thought. The cascade of memories, and where they find place in my life now.

There is joy, sorrow, pain and healing in those pages. Humor too. Poetry, story ideas, and sketches. But really, are they or will they ever be of value to anyone other than myself?

Maybe a dream researcher might find those journals interesting, if that's not a thing of the past by the time I return to the stars.

I spent a number of years reading volumes of dream books. I've always been interested in dreams. When I was a child and had a dream, my Mom and I would talk about it. What did it mean, or an image she would encourage me to draw, or make a poem or story out of it. I loved those shared times. She would tell me her dreams too, sometime they were dreams that would make me see she was worried about me in some way. They would make me think.

I got so into dreams and the meaning of dreams and the value of them, that I spent a couple of years doing dream workshops to help others understand their own dreams. Helping people find the tools to interpret their own dreams and use them in personal healing, or in creative endeavors. It was great fun for a time.

Then life just got to busy to do the kind of journaling I used to do. My theater job, working 55-60 hours a week, more or less broke me of the consistency I used to have when I was younger. I'm more hit and miss now.

That's O.K. Who has time for everything?

But the obsession remains. I discovered it's the blank books I crave. All clean white pages, or cream color, or some other pastel hue.

And the covers!

I love shinny, sparkly things, just like the crow in the Secrets of Nhim. I think I have about ten ahead of myself, and I know that's not the end of it. If I go into a book store and they sell them, I'll buy one. Something different than any that I have.

It's crazy! But I just love blank books.

The day after I couldn't make my mind work backwards to catch the threads of detail for the post I wanted to do, I went into my store to attend a writer's group that meets there after hours, two times a month, and there on the desk was a beautiful little leather bound black book. Blank book! Never been used.

I thought how marvelous, just what I need. It will be my Blog Notes book, small enough to put in my purse.

Now, just to find time to note that fleeting thought, or simmering image.



"It's all over. There isn't anymore. It's all over. But what's it over for? Just when you think the party's starting... It's over."
It's Over - Squirrel Nut Zippers

This album, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Perennial Favorites, 1989, was a christmas gift from my oldest son the first year he was living on his own. I love it. It always make me think of him when I play it.

Sunday night, like most of us movie fans, my husband and I were watching the Oscar Awards.

There were five of us. My Seattle sister-in-law. My in town sister-in-law, and one of her friends. Duncan felt lost in a sea of comments about gowns, suits and jewels, and would jokingly throw in a bawdy remark like, "Wow, look at those rockets," just to break up the banal.

We had a good time and laughed a lot.

All the way home ideas where going through my mind of what I'd write on Monday morning. Good ideas. Great title. I was jazzed.

They say the first to go is short term memory. It must be true. Because in the morning. Blank. Oh the idea, the concept of what I'd been thinking was there, but the details. Gone.

I thought, O.K. I'll not focus on it and maybe catch a thread of it out of the corner of my eye, so to speak, and follow it back to the center. So I worked on that premise all day. Nothing.

My mind kept going back to the phone conversation with my oldest son, that Sunday afternoon. He's going through a divorce. It will be final at the end of the month. They had only been married for three and half years.

He said, "This breaks my heart, it has gutted me. What went wrong? I don't understand it." (She had an affair and left) "Did she ever love me? Why did she marry me in in the first place? Can I trust my own perceptions, my own judgements about people? How can I tell what is real? What did I do wrong? I thought I knew her. I loved her, and now it's over."

We talked for sometime. I knew that sorrow he was feeling. I'd gone through it too. With his father. So I knew all those questions. All those feelings.

He said, "I'm hurting right now, but I know I'll be O.K. I know in the future I'll be fine. After all, I have you as an example. You went through this and came out the other side stronger, and happy. I will too."

This is the son who waited till he was 35 to marry, skipping the practice marriage, he used to joke, but I think he really believed.

So, this past week I've been blocked, I just couldn't settle on what to write after losing my funny, cheery post about the awards.

I felt this was just to personal and raw. So I was scattered, my thought all over the place.

There are some things you hope your children will never have to experience. And then they do.

How do you hold them with the tenderest of support?

That unbreakable bond of love that says, "I'm here for you", knowing he knows that, and both of us knowing I'm not, exactly, what he needs.

What I can do is be there without getting in the way of his processing the grief and pain, without adding mine to his soup of emotons right now.

When my two sons were small, they were always best friends.

They live in the same town now, and that not only comforts my oldest son at this time, it is a reassurance to me. When either one of them go through hard times, I know they are not alone, they have each other.

When we were a single parent family I had this image of us standing on a small hill, back to back, protecting each other, like three meerkats scanning the hozion for danger, or anything interesting that might come along.

I still see them that way. Back to back.

These are uncertain times for them both, one through divorce, and one trying out a whole new kind of career.

I think of them every day.

That is one thing I'm not feeling blocked or scattered about. The way I feel about them. I'm proud of them. Not only do I love them, I like them. I always have. They are interesting, talented kids, who have enriched my life, and that party will never be over.



"The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man."

How do you follow your bliss, or your passion in life and still keep a balance on top of that ball that just keeps rolling along?

Life doesn't always give us what we want. By some peoples account, not very often do we get what we want, but we get what we need often enough to keep going.

I've met or heard about many people you would think don't have a care in the world. You would think they have a perfect life. Everything must go just right for them. Then you listen to their story, their life, and you discover their beginnings were less than perfect, their losses more than you think you could live through and keep smiling.

But there they are. Moving forward. Stretching a hand out to help someone else. Often times it seems they even draw from these hardship in life to give to others, to write, to art, to music, to make brilliant the colors of their lives by following the thing that makes them happy or where they find truth.

I'm sure none of us, in fact, have had lives without challenges. And none of us have had lives entirely without those things we are grateful for.

Life is never all one way. We have our desert times and our riverbank times.

The trick in life, or the secret, is to find that balance between the inner life and the outer. The ability to keep self safe and the desire to keep others safe. A balance between the head and the heart. Using both in a way that neither runs away with the show. And even if that should happen, regrouping and getting them back in the same wagon, working together for balance so it doesn't tip over.

It seems to me that this search for balance is not just a personal, or individual thing.

We can all see how our country is struggling for balance right now.

I've heard it said the farthest distance in the world to bridge is the 16 inches, between the head and the heart. There is an abundance of opinions out there. Multiple... On every side of an issue. Right now we can hardly afford to lose the passion for finding the best way for the most people. Nor can we reject reason and logic because we want it now.

Sometimes we need the radical fringes to bring us to our senses and show us the center path where we can find the life saving balance we need, where we can meet and learn to listen in respect, if not agree with, other people.

Balance may seem dull and boring from the fringe lines, but living out there can be a little to exciting for good health.



"And love can come to everyone, The best things in life are free."
Buddy De Sylva, 1927 song, "Good News"

Friday the 13Th is suppose to be an unlucky day as the superstitions go.

But not for the Irish! I've heard it is the reverse.

Luck is theirs on that day, what ever month of the year. I kind of like that because the 'love of my life' is Irish/Scottish. And so were my great, triple greats, along with some English tossed in on the side.

In my first marriage, my former husband announced he wanted a divorce, he was in love with my best friend. That was our 13Th anniversary.

Three years later I met Duncan at a writers group, our first date was a Friday the 13Th. We've been together 25 years.

So, for us, it's like magic.

Love can come to everyone. The best things in life are free!



"People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges."
Joseph Fort Newton

We are born to communicate. It's in our nature, the desire to share experiences, insights, hardships and good times.

Even the most introverted person needs to have some contact outside of themselves.

I'm a quiet extrovert.

I love the interaction between people. Face to face. On line. In my store. I love the deep conversations, or the casual, or even the surface chit-chat which can deliver some interesting view of life.

I like people!

Even the difficult ones. Not because they're difficult, but sometimes I see something there worth the time invested, from both sides.

There are many times in a week when I think of friends or family, some fleeting thought that reminds me of them and the times we've shared, and a pang of longing strikes.

I miss them in that moment, and send a blessing thought their way.

Even though this is so, I am very seldom lonely.

My soul is a city without walls, populated with many loved ones. There is a bridge to each one.

Sometimes a bridge will suffer neglect, disrepair, disuse, from one side or the other, or both, and can fall into the river of life and be swept away.

That is always the chance one takes when building bridges.

Being an open wall-less person doesn't mean you don't have boundaries and understand them with others.

What it means, is that your life is open... To the joys and the sorrows, the good and the bad.

Taking to heart this kaleidoscope we call life, with all its jagged colors and bright edges, willing to see the beautiful patterns which can be made from the jumble, if we only open our eyes and look.

So Recycle!

Build bridges out of old walls.



"A Jack of all trades, and a master of none."
Unknown (to me)

"I'm bored!"

I've never understood that statement. My entire life the closest I've come to it, is restless. But really, restless is caused by to many things to choose from, for me, not a lack of choice.

When someone makes that statement, I'm always mildly surprised. What does it mean?

What does it mean to the speaker of, "I'm bored."

One of my problems in life is that I say, yes, to too much. My interests span a wide range. Much the same as many of the people who blog, and list all their interests and activities.

I don't say, yes, out of some false sense of obligation, it is always because I want to do that thing. But often I find my commitments have out distanced my time and energy levels.

At 60, I've learned to step back a pace and prioritize. I notice my energy doesn't go as far as it used to.

When I was a child, I'd look out over the future and time seemed endless. Looking back now, I think, how fast it has gone. And still so many of those things, as a child, that I wanted to do, haven't been done.

True, goals change and so do interests.

But I've always kept that enthusiasm, and curiosity about life in general. There is always more than one road to follow, and interesting things to do, learn, see, read about.

I guess that makes me, a Jack (or Jill) of all trades and a master of none. Maybe those choices won't make me rich or famous, but it will always keep me from being bored.



"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."
Henry David Thoreau

The small community I grew up in, just three thousand strong, below the Oregon border on the coast was not a huge tourist draw. It was a fish and timber town. The only reason we saw tourists at all were the Redwoods, and they mostly just drove through them really slow, annoying all the locals.

Not a lot of wealth. If money is the only dimension you count wealth in.

I grew up poor. At least by some people's standards.

We lived in a house that was a composite of several out building that were skidded onto the central piece of property we owned. Twenty acres that my father bought for $2.00 an acre. The house was insulated with newspaper, and roofed in redwood shingles. Some parts of the house were built right on bare ground, or cement blocks, certainly no foundation.

It was a sight for sore eyes. Or an eye sore. Which ever way you might look at it. Mom was a gardener, though and had many beautiful trees and flowers around to hide the houses flaws.

As a kid, I loved that house. It had nooks and crannies to play in. It was large and rambling. Mom was a very neat and clean house keeper, even though what she had to start with wasn't much, by HGTV standards.

We lived about four or so miles out of town. Only a handful of neighbors early on. The folks sold a few of the acres over the years, for not a lot of money, but more than $2.00.

My Dad tried his hand at a lot of things over the years, he was never able to settle. He had so many interests.

At one time when I was young Dad started a printing business in town. He was a good printer, but unfortunately he was not an astute businessman.

There were times he was out of work or out of town looking for work, and home not being left with much while he was gone. Mom was a woman of deep faith in God, and one time when we didn't have any food left, and no Food Pantries, or organizations that took care of the poor, no place to go for help, she prayed for someway to feed her kids.

The next day a stranger showed up at our door with two bags of groceries.

Mom did a garden, and canned some. She did the odd jobs she could do from home, which brought in some money. Mom always did volunteer work around town too. We had two convalescent homes (now called assisted living) and ran errand for the people living in them. She visited the shut-ins, and brought cheer to the people in those places. I went with her.

Even though we were a family with very little means, we always had books.

We had one wall in the coldest room in the house that was all built-in bookcases. It was full, as I remember it. There was a small pop bellied stove in that room too, an old pump organ that didn't work, which someone gave to us, which Dad said he was pretty sure he could fix. He never got around to it. Other things he never finished; an indoor bathroom, running water, numerous other things that Mom learned to do herself. Dad did finally put a pump handled sink in the house and enclosed the well house to the side porch of the kitchen.

Dad was a great procrastinator. There were always a hundred things more interesting and fun to do than...and money was always an issue.

He was also a great storyteller. He could spin a tale that would keep us kids on the edge of out chairs, and keep us thinking into the night when he'd stop at a crucial point of suspense. Years later he would tell us that was because he painted his hero into a corner and didn't know how to get him or her out of it, and needed time to think on it, before he gave us another installment.

I am the seventh child. Three older sisters, and one older brother were already living on their own by the time I came along. My two brothers who I grew up with were 6 and 8 years older that me. By the time I was nine they had joined the army and were gone from home. Dad had begun having strokes, and was not in good health.

One day he stoked that pop bellied stove too hot and the chimney caught fire. That was all she wrote.

That house was history.

Mom and I got Dad out. Then made several trips into the burning house to retrieve what we could.

The amazing thing is how much we got out. Even the kitchen table, a round oak table which is in my store today. Family photos, mementos, important written records, clothes. Even some of the books.

At the end, when we could no longer go back in, there was a heap of things in our yard.

The neighbors were connecting up hoses and watering the house to no avail. We could hear the fire truck sirens, all around our area we knew they were trying to find the road in. It was just a maze of back roads then. They never made it till the fire was nearly out.

We watched our house burn to the ground.

Mom and I stood, blackened with suet and smoke, smelling like sulfur and sweat.

We were alive! We were all alright. Somehow we would survive.

There were many amazing things that happened because of that fire.

The community we lived in built us a new house. It was small. A neat little two bedroom, with a kitchen/dinning and good size living room. Mom lived in that house till she died in 2001 at the age of 95.

I had just turned thirteen the year our house burned. My father died two years later, at 73.

Even though we didn't have much money and it seemed like bad things were happening to us, we didn't doubt, we always knew, we were rich!



"You spend the first half of your life accumulating things, and the last half giving them away."

Sometimes I stand in front of my not so big closet stuffed with clothes, some of which I haven't worn in awhile. I sort of have a rule, if I haven't warn it in a year, it goes to good will or to one of the local places that gives clothes out where they are needed.

This is a good thing on several levels.

If I'm not using something, someone else should be able to use or enjoy it. Where it is something I have two many of, or just can't use anymore, it should move on with my blessing. (Duncan, who is more of a minimalist than I am, would certainly give it a parting blessing as it goes out the door.)

I tend to be a bit of a pack rat. (Books mainly)

Why is it that we are so sure, should we give the extra away, what ever it is, we will need it the next day? I hear this all the time. Stories of such things. But it has never been my experience.

Instead, I think of that extra coat I let go of last winter, warming someone this winter. Those pans or dishes, going to a table of a family who have lost everything in a fire. Those, puzzles, or books entertaining someone, who has no T.V. and can't afford to go to the movies.

They are simple things, really. Not of great value.

But when you don't have a coat and the weather is 35 degrees out, a coat is a life saver if you have to walk to work. And when you've lost everything to a fire, a simple place setting can seem like a bit of normal life in a sea of loss and change. And who doesn't enjoy something to do on a winters evening, besides worry about the conditions of the world.

For most of us, I think, as we get older, we see how short life really is and that possessing things is not what brings the greatest joy to life. We may even begin to see things that accumulate as a burden. And when we share these things more and have less we are happier.

Someone ask a minister what heaven and hell are like?

"In hell, there are these long table, full of food. It looks delicious, and smells wonderful. The tables are covered with enough for everyone. But looking around, there are all these people who are upset, angry, hateful, and staving to death, as their only means of eating are three foot long chop sticks."

The people all agreed that would be hell alright. So what is heaven like they ask.

"In heaven, there are these long tables, full of food. It looks delicious, and smells wonderful. The tables are covered with enough for everyone. They also have three foot long chop sticks to eat with. But everyone is happy and laughing, talking and enjoying the sumptuous feast."

Well, what's the difference, ask the people?

"In heaven, they feed each other."