Reflecting on Flowers growing through Cement

Reflecting

For our WPC theme this week Nancy Thanki wrote: “Whether it’s water or some other reflective surface, what have you seen recently that has changed your perspective on the view?”

Here’s my take on it. It is my mission in life is to learn how (and teach others) to    Choose a Perspective.

There was no sunrise yesterday morning. I’m not kidding. The sucker just didn’t come up!! No Sun. Just continued darkness…inviting the kind of depression that comes with S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

This is the chair I fight the cats for each morning, when the sun comes up and is streaming in from all sides, but not yesterday!

 

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Then I remembered three things.

  1. This IS Washington State after all. The weather can change in an instant. We just don’t like to spread the information about how truly gorgeous it can be when that sun does come out. We are crowded enough…
  2. I am the Queen of blooming where I’m planted, making the best of things, Choosing HOW I look at things, so I better use all that knowledge now.

3. Since my other posts this week were on Reflections, I wanted to do one on    Reflecting, so I did that. I Reflected for a while…most of the day actually…and    sure enough, true to its reputation, the Northwest Spring changed it’s mind about  everything!

So I went for a walk…just one block…and here’s what I found!

OH, and THIS!!!

And then THIS!!

And lastly, THIS!

If all that glory, on a single block, is not enough to shift your perspective, then I suggest you reflect on this; with whom will you be doing some psychotherapy…and how QUICKLY!

Song Lyric Sunday — Mother’s Day 2017

I just can’t write about my mother(s) today. I will sometime. I know I need to.

And since I didn’t get a single card or call or flower and I even had to make my own coffee, I’m feeling pretty forlorn.

So I will write about myself.

I have been a mother since I was 5 years old. I knew how to change diapers and handle baby food and bottle basics before I started school. I mothered my little sisters (and I must have done a lousy job because they resent the hell out of me.)

Don’t get me wrong. I love mothering. I live for it. My favorite movie as a child was not some Disney Princess thing. Nope, for me it was “Cheaper by the Dozen”.

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi3171616537

All I ever wanted was a huge family, a bunch of kids to mother!

I even mothered my mother, trying so hard to convince her life was worth living…but I failed…well, that’s how it felt to my broken teenage heart when she finally chose the permanent “check-out”.

I mothered, in the following order, myself, my sisters, my mother, my babysitting kids, my pets, my friends, my foster sisters, my boyfriends, my fellow students, my co-workers, my husbands, my neighbors, my BUGS, broken birds, and my hundreds of my clients…this last is a whole separate story of amazing “motherhood”.

I mothered myself when my own mother escaped her pain by shooting herself. How oxymoronic is that?

And I had to make the excruciating decision to NOT mother the child I was carrying at the time my mother died, leaving my sisters in my real charge this time.

Blissfully, I finally got to mother my son Michael, the light of my life, and eventually, a pile of step-children. And now, though I am their grandmother, I even get to mother my grandsons a little bit.

It’s still my favorite thing to do.

So here is my choice for Song Lyric Sunday, today, Mother’s Day, 2017. It’s the song I used to play for my most injured and damaged clients, in the hope that somehow, a little mother’s love really can heal. I know it has healed me.

And I know my “daughter” Pamela has received exactly this from her Mother.

 

And just so I don’t end on a pitiful note,

 

I’m off to Mother my CATS!!! They won’t know what hit them!

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 5/14/17

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The Eagles (for once, NOT the rock band)

I have delayed, avoided, and postponed writing this because I wanted to find the words to convey my recent profound experience.

For more than a month, we have had Bald Eagles visiting on our quiet little dead-end street, unusual in the middle of one of the largest, fastest growing cities in Washington state.

I’ve lived in my home for almost 44 years and have sometimes seen eagles circling high above.  Twice, I was even gifted with a low fly-by right in my driveway! But I have only seen them land once before. (I wrote a whole story about that dramatic event but I’ll save it for a later post!)

A few weeks ago on my daily walk I just happened to spot, well actually hear some sky activity. A couple of Bald Eagles, apparently cruising our neighborhood for prey or a nesting site (although it seems late in the year for that latter). Not sure why they are hanging out here. (Hope all the neighbors are keeping their pet Gerbils inside.)

It was a really gray day which made it impossible for my hard-working point and shoot Canon to get a good shot when they landed in a tree top.

And then, a few days later, I was at my computer sending a favorite link to my new blogging friend, Lisa, at  https://dailymusing57.com/  (a terrific Blog, by the way). The link is to a live camera for the Decorah Eagles. As I was typing, I heard that unmistakable eagle-screaming right outside my window! I ran outside onto my deck (without my camera-Dang!) and witnessed the most amazing thing.

This deck is very large, about 600 square feet, and wide open. It’s actually the roof over an old 3 car garage. Before the trees in my neighborhood matured, from my deck I could see the Space Needle and the Olympic Mountains! And every year, lounging on this deck, I would watch the big fireworks shows in July or the Blue Angels performing in August.

But I had never seen a show like this one! There were FIVE BALD EAGLES circling my above me!! Like a small Convocation! (you gotta be impressed I knew that word!) It looked like two were fending off or chasing the other three. Maybe it was a territory battle or some kind of mating ritual. I don’t know!

The twosome flew very close together in large and then smaller and smaller circles. They landed on the top of the biggest tree right in front of my house. The other three flew off into the distance.

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In all these years living in my house, no eagle has ever landed right in front of my house before! Maybe I was just tapped into Eagle Energy on that day or something. I mean, what are the odds I’d be typing away about the Decorah Bald Eagles at the exact moment my local ones appear? I have often wondered if Eagles are a “totem” (spirit animal) for me. Supposedly, if an animal presents itself to you three times, they are yours! So I looked them up.

http://www.pure-spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/629-eagle-symbolism

For the next several days, the Pair that won the turf battle, hung out in some trees right up the street from me.

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Finally, a sunny day. I shot so many pictures, I broke my camera…literally. I now have to use glass tape to keep the battery door closed.

Now my neighbors all know about our visitors. I am the longest (and oldest) resident on our street and the self-appointed Wildlife Reporter for our neighborhood e-mail list. When I am in the street with my camera, looking up, they stop their cars and ask where the Eagles are today? There have been many emails of sightings, almost as many as when there is a coyote prowling around. On Easter morning, several households were treated to a dramatic Bald Eagle show during outside Easter Egg Hunts. Great opportunities to teach the younger ones about these majestic birds!

Part of the “show” was a couple of Crows dive-bombing these two Eagles, who seemed to be simply sitting there…but I bet there was a Crow’s nest near by.

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This Eagle “peals” each time the Crow dives

This whole experience has totally inspired me to upgrade with WordPress so I can share short videos on my blog. And I think there is a way to capture single frames from a video but I don’t know how. Here is the opening frame of a great video I got of that epic sky-battle. (It’s a photo of my computer screen, so sort of a blurry “screenshot.)

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In recent weeks, almost every clear morning and evening this beautiful twosome sits at the top of my tree to watch the sun rise or set. They remind me of a scene in the movie City of Angels (Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage) where all the Angels are lined up on the beach to watch the Sunset. (It’s in this Goo Goo Dolls video)

 

I have been house and dog sitting for dear friends this last week, so I have missed their visits, but every day I drive the 25 miles back to my house hoping for a sighting. I pay lots of attention to my three cats for a while, pretending that’s why I’m home, but then, I go out on my deck looking for my Bald Eagles. I miss them. (Do NOT tell my kitties that’s really why I’m home. They are so sensitive!)

One morning, at the place I’m staying, I looked up from writing this story to see a huge bird right outside on the fence…some kind of Hawk, I think. Couldn’t get my camera focused fast enough but here he is.

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Anybody recognize this pretty? I thought to myself “Hmm, settling for a Hawk? It’s just not the same.” but when I looked up the Native American symbolism for Hawk, it was so close to Eagles I decided I’d better start paying better attention to their message for me.

I have to admit that with all this activity and totem research, I am now taking these Bald Eagle visits very personally. I’m looking at my current life differently and as usual, with a “message from the Universe”, there is a mixture of wonder, awe, and Duh!

If I knew how to thank these birds, I would.

I mean, I’m not going to sacrifice one of my cats or anything, but I am truly grateful for their amazing and persistent presence.

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My message…
“This may be a good opportunity for you to renegotiate and balance your obligations–-Eagle ”  from http://www.spirit-animals.com/eagle/
OK, got it!! Could not be more fitting right now.
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You must always look carefully at the WHOLE picture….even when there is distracting beauty right in front of you…
(My accidental discovery…I didn’t see my Eagle in the background until I enlarged the apple blossoms…)
If you read all the way to here, I sure would appreciate some feedback or reactions to this post. Thank you.

Earth for WPC 4/18/17

Earth
Earth

What an Earth Day morning I’ve had…nothing short of miraculous!!

I apparently woke myself up before daylight fretting about how I could respond to the WordPress Photo Challenge this week. The topic this week is Earth, perfect given today is such a special day, but overwhelming in it’s vast and endless possibilities. As is often the case, I just can’t choose one picture! So here is a photo journal in honor of Earth Day.

I love photographing plant life!

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I am thrilled with landscape shots, especially mountains

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Sunrise and sunset are, in my opinion, Natures purest art form, and it’s a brand new canvas every day!

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I love animals, especially birds.

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Don’t even get me started on water. Ahh, the ocean…

All of these things seem to capture Earth for me…

I thought I might do this post about the pair of Bald Eagles that have been hanging out in my tree for the last 3 weeks. They were there with me this morning for 2 hours during a stunning Earth Day sunrise…

But, I have been collecting photos in a particular and slightly odd category for quite a while, just waiting for the right “topic” to inspire me to post some of them. Today seems like the day.

Contrails

It started with a very powerful waking dream one afternoon. In my non-chemically altered state (I promise) I became a native inhabitant of the Northwest, maybe 200 years ago. Here’s what I dreamed.

One day I was simply enjoying the afternoon sky when all of a sudden I saw a strange narrow white cloud, shooting a perfect line across the bright blue expanse. It was moving rapidly and though quite pointed at the front end, it spread out into thicker rows of tiny clouds, all in a straight-ish line. I thought this must be a special message from Father Sky and wondered if I was supposed to find a man to interpret. And then I knew…Father Sky and Mother Earth were one in the same…both identically important and equally powerful. Even more significant, that one could not provide it’s individual sustenance to and for EARTH without the other. Different, but equal. Differing, but the same. Separate, but connected.

When I shook myself out of my revery, all I could think of was that Contrails did not exist back then and if one had streaked across the sky, how in the world would it have been explained by any who had witnessed one? Can you imagine? What would you have thought???

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Maybe this doesn’t seem like an Earth Day post to you but there you have it.

Happy Earth Day to all and don’t give up.

Song Lyrics Sunday-4/2/17 Music of the 80’s

Helen from https://helenespinosa.wordpress.com/ has asked for some “hopeful” music from the 80’s. I’m not sure my selections are what she had in mind. Because my very first thought was Joan Baez and her song (and album) Children of the 80’s, all I could think of after that was all the great political and protest music that came out in the tail end of that Disco-laden era.

Actually, now that I think of it, there really isn’t anything much more hopeful than younger generations filling our hearts, minds and EARS with thoughtful and inspirational music, even if it is protesting the current state of affairs!

In the 1980’s, I attended Antioch University to finish my Masters. We were encouraged to be creative in how we learned about our chosen subjects. I took a class I expected to be dry and factual, called One World-the History of Political Science. I hated both history and politics.  My professor could see how much I dreaded this class and suggested that I create an informative project about “politics” as I personally defined it. I designed an auditory presentation called Music of the 60’s vs Music of the 80’s. Going in, I had assumed the music from MY time of Flower Children, Hippies and Protesters would insultingly overshadow the inane stuff I was hearing on the radio in my house. My son would have been a young teenager then. Rupert Holmes singing about Pina Coladas, Captain and Tenille, Bananarama, Come ON!

Man, was I ever shocked when I started actually researching current music. I talked to local band members like Heart, Queensryche, and Soundgarden. And all the folk singers I could find-Riley and Maloney, Tom Dundee, Jim Post. I started really listening to the non-mainstream (the tail end of disco and it’s spinoffs) type music. I interviewed disc jockeys from several local radio stations.

What I ended up with, almost accidentally, was a 90 minute tape that blew my professor’s mind. He lobbied for, and won me 10 credits for my 3 credit class.

Here are just a handful of songs I had in my project.

If you want to hear more great 80’s Protest or political songs, check out this great site.

http://www.inthe80s.com/protest.shtml

Thanks to Helen, and all the participants in her challenge, who make my musical week!

A Good News/Bad News PS

That tape got destroyed in a basement flood not long afterward. I was SO crushed!!

BUT, my son Michael informs me that the music I was so judgmental of was not at all to his liking either, just happened to be on the radio. We now enjoy mostly the same stuff.

michael and mom
In the bottom photo we are probably listening to Depeche Mode…

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https://helenespinosa.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/song-lyric-sunday-theme-for-4217/

Lucy, the Woodpile Kitten

I know we all think that our cat (or dog) is the most amazing, most talented, and  cutest one in the history of its species. What good pet parent doesn’t?

But my Lucy? She might seriously be up there in the top 5, well, OK maybe the top 100 of all time.

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I’ll spare you all the “cute” stories about her childhood. “Cute”, when it comes to kittens is only slightly relative. Hard to find one who doesn’t elicit an “awe” from even the most hardened resisters.

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Lucy meeting her two new siblings-one was happy and the other, not so much

Lucy was born into cuteness. Our whole world was cute the day we found her in our woodpile with her 3 tiny siblings. (You can read more about it here:)

https://chosenperspectives.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/warning-cuteness-overload/

Though I am primarily a dog person, I’ve also had cats my whole life…usually more than one. They have been mostly outdoor cats until the recent influx the of brazen coyotes into my neighborhood. No fault of the coyotes. The builders have run them out of their habitat. But now, any felines I parent are strictly house cats. It only takes one time seeing your favorite cat being carried off in the mouth of a coyote to make you rethink your responsibility to the animals you domesticate.

Lucy will be three years old this summer. I have many good stories about her (again, what good parent doesn’t?) For example, sitting here at my desk each morning, I can see the squirrels arrive on the deck right outside my window to steal the food I have put out for my Crows. If I say “Lucy, your friends are here!” she will come bounding out from anywhere in the house, even if she is sound asleep, and jump on the window sill to cat-chirp at the thieving rodents.

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Here’s another quick tale. If I so much as TOUCH the bag of cat treats, she appears like lightening. Oh, the other cats come also but not nearly as fast. And Phineas and Zorro do not perch on their hind legs at my feet like a begging Meerkat!! Lucy will stand in that position any time I say “UP” and then gently grab the offered treat from between my fingers. If I toss it, she’ll even catch it mid-air, just like a Frisbee dog, right between her two paws, like she is clapping!

And then there is her fascination with containers of any kind. I know, I know. Most cats love boxes and various bags. But Lucy prefers the emptied plastic wraps from Costco.

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All of that is cute, right? But there are two things she does lately that really have my attention. (A reminder here that I have often posted the disclaimer that I am the QUEEN of anthropomorphizing)

1) James is clearly Lucy’s favorite human. She imprinted on him the very first day we found them in that woodpile.

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James has had to travel a lot lately and when he is gone, Lucy misses him…no, seriously. She mopes. She repeatedly sniffs where he has been sitting. And she refuses to sleep on the bed with me. When James is here, she sleeps under the covers, ON his legs, ALL NIGHT!

OK, so maybe that doesn’t prove anything but listen to this. If the phone rings when James is out of town, she is instantly on alert. And if it is James calling me, (we talk on the speaker) she is on my lap instantly, purring like crazy. She rubs her cheeks on the phone, and will not stop until I hang up. Sometimes, our whole conversation is about how she is head-butting the phone or, if I happen to be semi-reclined, how she has settled high up on my chest, under my chin for maximum closeness to the receiver. She does not do this with ANY OTHER caller. James will talk to her and I swear, her purring increases in volume.

And 2) Here’s the Lucy story that really gets to me.

Since she was very little, she has liked watching TV. Not so rare for a cat but it’s WHAT she watches that caught my attention. It started with this…

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That’s Jackson Galaxy, the Cat Whisperer 

And then she branched out but the only other shows she watched were Cat shows

Recently, with Lucy asleep on the bed, I started a National Geographic show on Netflix. I left the room for something before the show got rolling. (Have I mentioned that Lucy is the sweetest, most gentle cat I’ve ever had? Not once has she ever clawed or bitten or even so much as played too roughly. And she is very quiet!) As I headed back to where I left her asleep, I heard the most unusual sound, a faint whimper at first and then a low whining that turned into what could only be described as a slightly muted keening. She was up on the dresser with the TV, gently pawing the screen, and keening. I’m not kidding.

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The show was about the study that certain animals do, in fact, grieve.

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She whimpered and mewled for the whole show and when it was over, came over and, like she sleeps on James all the time, and, as if in empathy fatigue, collapsed onto my chest and fell asleep..

Not sentient, my ass!