Time for WPC (anyone else hear the Chambers Brothers?)

Time

IMG_9546

I inherited this amazing treasure a few years back and all I could think about is how much TIME it must have taken for someone to carve the “thousand faces of Buddha” into this walnut shell. The patience…the dedication…the talent…what an amazing person he or she must have been!

And then, I woke up this morning red-faced, realizing I am also that person.

In the last 20 years, for my closest 5 people, I made a “once-in-a-lifetime, just-because-I-love-you” hand-crafted gift. Each craft project took me a lot of TIME.

Here are some samples:

For my best friend-who loves giraffes and is an official Giraffe Project Hero, I made this. It took me about 3 years. It is made with Zen Beaded Embroidery and contains turquoise, copper, shells, assorted beads and several of my grandmother’s old glass buttons.

CRAFTS 008back up ALL 8-07 248

 

Next, my “adopted” sister, Lenore’s mother died leaving her these old jewelry boxes with lots of broken bits and pieces from her Mom’s life. Nothing wearable or worth repairing but Lenore didn’t want to let them go. So she gave them to me to play with.

IMG_6811

I grabbed the Tacky Glue and did this. Now they sit on the Lenore’s bookshelf as reminders of her Mom.

 

And this one took the longest. My son has been restoring a classic Porsche…for 20 years! It went to college with him. It has lived, in process, at his Dad’s, my house, his house, his grandmother’s house, etc.

One time, he had almost finished it and someone actually crashed into it in the driveway, leaving it virtually totaled.

It’s a matter of principal now. He is determined to complete this endless project.

So to support him (I’m no good with a wrench) I made this. It took me about as long as he’s been working on the car and is made entirely of my grandmother’s glass and shell buttons, and my old Hippie Beads. It is all stitched except for the white background buttons. In an effort to finish in my lifetime, I finally cheated and grabbed that Tacky glue again.

Teresa's and Porsche 016

Xmas09 032

Time…I wouldn’t trade a minute of it!

another Chosen Perspective on TIME for WPC

Time as reflected by the Generations

 

scan0002

top left-my Irish grandfather, right below him-my son’s Italian father, the rest-my gorgeous son!

The story….

Those who see pictures of my son often mistake his very Italian father for his brother. They look a lot alike.

He certainly doesn’t look anything like me.

It wasn’t until we found an old photo of MY grandfather (extremely Irish) that we saw some family resemblance on my side of the family.

Chosen Perspectives on TIME for WPC

Generations

scan0003

top-my mother, middle-my biological daughter, bottom-me

Time

And the back story is…

I didn’t see a picture of my daughter until after the longest stretch of time in my life…23 years after I gave her up for adoption. The reunion specialist I hired found her high school annual in a library.

I thought she was beautiful but could not see a trace of myself in her. So I didn’t really believe she was mine.

Then I remembered this photo of my mother when she was in the Navy at 21 years old. When I laid the photos side by side, I saw it!

The photo at the bottom is from my high school annual.

The Choice

Here is a disclaimer of sorts that I wrote when I was new at this blogging thing. (That’s a joke by the way as I am still incredibly new at this…)

 

Black and White, Light and Dark

I can tell a lot about my mood and general state of mind simply by what I choose to write about. I am absolutely blessed to have had a big enough range of experiences now (at 67 years old) that I can see how trauma and chaos will inevitably be balanced by joy and peace….if I can just wait long enough.

This is a disclaimer for my readers (all 4 or 5 of you now) so you can decide what you are in the mood for reading should you choose to check out my Blog on any given day.

Life has given me two very distinct kinds of experiences and I need to write about both….Consider yourself warned.

Thanks for reading either.

Kathie

 

I’ve included it here again because I want to share a darker story. Thanks in advance for reading this.

Her name is Sraddha

September 2015

Some of us learn pretty young how to make “the choice”.

It doesn’t take more than one event. If a violent act happens to you or even in your presence, you can stay…or you can leave. And when you can’t depart physically, you simply learn how to leave your body.

If it happens early enough in your life, you get hardwired for it…this “choice”.

I learned about it, a toddler, still in my crib. I got so good at leaving, I could look down and see what was happening, but I never had to feel it again.

Everyone learns their own version of this “choice”, not always because of some ordeal. But if yours came the way mine did, this ability to choose is not a bad skill to refine and practice. You must train yourself to use it ONLY by choice. You can’t let it control you, and believe me, it will. You must master it or you will use it to trash your most important relationships and you could walk through your life an enormous bundle of PTSD symptoms.

Ugly words will get attributed to your skill…”she can be so cold and distant” but you know exactly what you are doing…and why.

I’m glad now I developed this skill. In my professional life as a Psychotherapist, I can decide to never allow my feelings to be more important than those of my clients’. I can choose to be unconditionally present for them, even if their story is very close to my own.

But here’s the thing…You never get perfect at it. Sometimes things happen so fast, the Choice moment will slip right by, unnoticed.

That’s what happened just 21 days ago, on September 29th, the day before our long-planned dream vacation.

Let me go back there now, just to confirm for myself that I had a choice.

James and I are waiting at an intersection, the first car behind a metro bus. I’m driving. He is the passenger. The sound comes first, loud enough for me to look out to my left, expecting to see a car barreling toward us. Then, from my vantage point, I see a huge spray of sparkling glass, taller than the bus. From his side of the car, he sees what I would never recover from witnessing….a car, hit head on and pushed up onto the sidewalk…into several waiting pedestrians. James is out of the car in an instant to see who he can help. My emergency training kicks in…I put on the car’s flashers, turn off engine, grab my phone, and am out of the car, dialing 911…all in seconds.

But those same seconds are an eternity for the young mother who is pulling her toddler out of her completely crushed stroller….

As happens in emergencies, time loses all meaning so hours or maybe nanoseconds are flying by. The Mother is cradling her baby and wailing while she is frantically dialing the phone, again and again and again, reaching no one. She is clearly alone.

Having coached high risk childbirths for more than 30 years, I’ve seen way too many dead babies so I know her child is already gone. The first policeman on the scene knows it too, although he is performing CPR as if this is his own child. The firemen and the EMT’s who are arriving also know this little girl is dead.

But the Mom does not know yet.

This is where I give up my choice to protect myself. I can’t bear her being alone with this and though she never even knows it, I am standing with her. I plant myself right behind her as the CPR performing cop finally gives in to the truth. I stay here when the head EMT orders his team to move on to check for other victims. I remain while she is dialing her phone again. I am still here when her baby is covered with that awful death blanket. I am present when one cop tells everyone who is not hurt to move on but I say “No, I’m staying. She is alone here”. He thanks me. And I am here some infinite number of minutes later, when another cop is asking me if I saw the actual impact. When I say no, he tells me I now have to leave as this might be a crime scene. I don’t remember the walk back to the car.  I am still with that young mother.

As I am writing this, I realize I don’t know the ending. I could talk about how, afterwards, instead of finishing packing for our vacation, I frantically searched for more information on that mother, just so I could tell her she was not alone….that I had seen her daughter there. And that her baby girl did not have to make any Choice, to feel or not to. She was gone the instant that car smashed into her.

Or I could write how on the first days of our long awaited trip, I felt jerked back and forth between the sweet time we should be having and the auditory memories of the crash and that mother’s cries of anguish. Or I could describe the very kind detective who had to interview us by phone, apologizing for disturbing our beautiful train ride down to San Diego.

When you do not make the choice to protect yourself, whatever the horrendous event is, it happens to you also. I was that baby girl. I am that mother. And now, I need to recover also. All of us who were there that day need to grieve.

Then I remembered…I might be writing this story for more than just my own processing. I might want to share it, but I need a focus. I thought of the Moth Story Slam (open mic Story Telling competitions). The topic next month is “Guts”, but in re-reading this, I could not find anything that required guts on my part. Not switching into emergency mode…years of practice with that. Not standing with that Mother while the horrifying truth dawned on her. That was primal and any other mother would have done the same. It took no courage to take a huge bouquet of flowers back to the busy accident intersection later in the day. That was actually comforting to find a couple of others others had the same thought. A few flowers, some stuffed animals and a toy. A small sweet tribute to that small girl and her family.

But now, we’ve been home from our vacation for 3 days. Though the fateful intersection is on my regular driving trail, I have successfully dodged that corner…until today while out running errands.

So…I pulled off the road and gave myself a good talking to. I decided to find the “guts” to go there. You can handle it I told myself. They had, of course, cleaned up the glass and all that blood on the first day so what was I afraid of seeing?

Then I realized my biggest fear. What if there was no trace of the event, that sweet toddler and her devastated family already forgotten?

Finding the courage to do something like this can cost you such a painful flashback. Or it can pay off big time.

It is three weeks later and here’s what I found there.

 

 

 

20151021_12040820150929_190913

 

 

Various news stories:

(don’t know how to transfer this picture…)

 

Isabella Sturm, 4, tapes a drawing she made to a memorial wall at the corner where a 28-month-old toddler was killed when a two-car accident sent one of the vehicles over a curb and into her stroller. Isabella and her mother, Meghan, had been at the same corner only 5 minutes before the fatal accident.

 

From KIRO news…..When 2 year old Sraddha Panchakarla her mother Bhavya went for a walk on their Bellevue sidewalk Thursday morning, a violent collision between an SUV and a car would change their lives in an instant.

The impact sent the car onto the sidewalk, over the spot where Sraddha was riding in a stroller.

“Nobody imagined it that would happen this way,” said family friend Kishor Vadla. “They were just trying to cross this road.”

Vadla told KIRO 7 that Sraddha, an only child, was killed instantly. He said her parents were new to the U.S, having moved to Bellevue from India four months ago.

Siva Kumar is trying to comfort his friends who have been through the unthinkable.

“I can’t believe a daughter dying in the hands of her mother. That is the most saddest part no one should ever expect,” said Kumar.

Bellevue police say the toddler and her mother were on the sidewalk waiting to cross Bel-Red Road at 140th Ave Northeast. Bellevue police say two vehicles crashed in the intersection.

According to investigators, a Dodge Durango was heading southbound and a Nissan Sentra was heading northbound.

Police said on Wednesday the Sentra had a blinking yellow arrow, failed to yield, and turned in the Durango’s path. The vehicles then collided.

The Sentra left the road and went onto the sidewalk, hitting the stroller with the toddler inside.

Witnesses rushed to help the little girl and her mother. The first police officer gave the little girl CPR but her injuries were too severe to survive, according to police. The toddler’s 25-year-old mother was taken to the hospital to be treated for distress.

Bellevue police investigators spent hours talking to witnesses and taking measurements to find out what caused the crash. The drivers of both cars had minor injuries and were also taken to a hospital.

“This really seems to be, at this point, a horrible, tragic accident,” Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said.

Tuesday night, as the memorial to little Sraddha grew, Vadla said the world lost an extremely smart little girl.

“She’s very bright, though she’s just two-and-a-half years old,” he said. “She speaks very fluently and you know she tells all the rhymes and all, though she’s just two-and-a-half years old, she is very bright, she’s very sharp.”

Now, Sraddha’s parents are surrounded by a community who wishes it could do more.

“We are all standing to support him financially, morally, (that) kind of thing,” Vadla said. “But loss is loss for him. Nobody can return that.”

A fundraising site for the family raised more than $20,000 in 17 hours.

Friends said Wednesday there was enough money to cover travel costs, so they shut down the GoFundMe account.

The family will take Sraddha back to India as soon as possible.

 

http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/baby-stroller-hit-killed/nnqqd/

 

Update: The flower wall in Sraddha’s honor grew and grew and remained right there for almost 3 months, apparently unprecedented in our area.

20151030_103221

Vibrant for WPC: gift to my sister

Vibrant

One of the best gifts in my whole life is having the privilege of house-sitting every year for my sister. They live in paradise….San Juan Island, WA. They go sailing while we tend their Bamboo Farm and arguably, the most spectacular gardens in the Northwest. One year I photographed just a few of their flowers (few, meaning hundreds) and then for Christmas, made them a calendar. These are the 12 photos I picked.

Hummers (the tiny bird, not the giant vehicle)

Just a handful, a random sampling…..I collect Hummingbird photos like I collect Cobalt glass.

It feels a little like cheating to catch a good shot from the chair in my living room window though…

Saw one this morning similar to this little puffed up guy, on a branch outside kitchen window. Not a bad view while washing dishes…