Category Archives: me

Peace For Paris. Peace For Us All.

Like yours my heart is broken, mind reeling. There are simply no words that can encompass the enormity of the senselessness of the Paris attacks. A call of peace cries out into the darkness of our collective despair. As we stand together in solidarity with Paris, can we turn those cries into a deafening roar that demands peace for all humanity?

When I first flipped on the TV Friday evening and caught the headline, “Terrorist Attack”  I thought it was a recap of the tragedy that had played out in a crowed market place in Beirut the day before where 43 were left dead and 239 wounded. Slowly the horrific reality that this was a day later, a new attack, a different city – Paris– sunk in. Glued to the TV while checking in with Parisian friends on social media, I’ll admit that Beirut fell from my mind.

I don’t now anyone living in Lebanon, there was nobody to check on, but is that a reason to ignore this tragedy? No. Caring for those who suffer, standing with those who have been horribly, senselessly, brutally wronged should not be contingent upon whether we know someone from the region, or identify with their culture.  No matter our geography or culture, we are all tethered together as members of the human family. 

When you hurt a member of my family, I will stand up for them, beside them, between them and harm’s way.

I understand that Paris is a city we can all identify with. Who among us hasn’t longed to walk along the left bank in the height of spring, scale the Eiffel Tower, sip Bordeaux in a quaint cafe as La Vie En Rose plays softly in the background? There is romance, history, promise in Paris.  I’d wager that there is all that in Beirut as well.  

As we gather as one to pray or hope that peace comes to Paris, let us also do the same for Beruit and Brussels, London and Los Angles, Damascus and Dublin, into every city and every home.

Peace for Paris. Peace for Us All.

 

 

The Oath of True Friendship

The Oath of True Friendship was originally written on the momentous occasion marking the day LONG ago on which Mrs. Blais graced the world by birthing her youngest daughter. A woman who would go on to achieve heights as meteoric as being anointed my Very Bestest Buddy…  Ri.

I’ve changed it a bit here — mostly to protect the innocent, and possibly to keep the authorities baffled. Being that Ri is my dearest gal pal, I know her well enough to fully expect that she will have misplaced the original. So, I’m committing this version to posterity by posting it on my blog — which will undoubtedly one day be among the finest examples of what our culture was once capable of.  Pfft.. .riiight!

the oath of true freindship

When you are sad —  I will help you get pissed the hell off, dig up dirt on, and plot revenge against the bastard who made you sad.

When you are blueI’ll  try to dislodge whatever is choking you, then remind you that we CHEW our food.

When you smileI  will know you’re thinking of something that I would likely be game to involve myself with – even if questionably wise and only partially legal.

When you are scaredI will call you a wuss, tell you to “man up” and then cover your six.

When you are worriedI will tell you stories about how much worse it could be until  you  STOP WHINING!

When you are confusedI will remind you that this isn’t Mr. Whatshisface’s 11th grade trigonometry class. Unlike that final… we’ll figure this out.

When you are sickStay the hell away from me unless you’re wearing that bio-hazard suit I bought you for Festivus three years ago!

When you fall —  once I’ve stopped laughing my ass off and posting a photo of you on Instagram, I’ll help you up even if that means throwing out my back and ending up on the ground beside you.

When it is your birthday —  I’ll forego the obligatory, hollow Facebook birthday wishes and instead open the whiskey to let it breathe before I toast the best friend and partner in crime any saucy wench of questionable judgment could hope to be blessed with. 

This is my oath… my pledge it to the end. Why?
Because you are my friend.

A Life Measured With Coffee Spoons

I’ve often wondered what T.S. Eliot meant by a life measured with coffee spoons. Was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock  a lament to time lost in the doldrums of watching others live a fuller life or a reminder for us to see the extraordinary in our own ordinary.  That’s sort of the beauty in poetry, it’s a kaleidoscope of words in which we each see different things. Right?

A friend recently sent me a gift with the quote on it.

A Life Measured In Coffee Spoons

I’m sure this had something to do with my famed addiction to coffee. But, as I sat and thought about it the gift took on a deeper meaning, making me realize how profound a cup of coffee can be.

Slowly circling the cup, pulling along a snowy wake of frothed milk, the spoon sings a quiet tune. The sound of daydreams, of new adventures, of deep longing and fruitless introspection. 

In cups ornate and plain, chipped on occasion stained, the spoon omnipresent. I’ve stirred with a view of the sun rising upon the Duomo, clicked steel on china while watching sheep graze in a misty Irish haze.  Sleeping children have heaved blissful sighs as the spoon turned on. Words and tears have flowed to the dulcet drone.

I choose to believe in the everyday extraordinary. In a beautiful life measured in coffee spoons. Though I’ve recently switched to tea.

 

airplane rules

airplane rules put your own mask on firstWho gets the oxygen first? I’ve always found it a bit counterintuitive when flight attendants give their safety briefing and tell you to put on your oxygen mask on first before attempting to help others. Okay, so maybe you won’t be much help to anyone if you pass out from oxygen deprivation, but still shouldn’t at least the kids come first? Then I went to see a psychic.

Wow, that flight took a sharp left eh?

I’m not one to seek out metaphysical advice, in fact this meeting was pure chance.  A celestial alignment of a girlfriends weekend, the Presidential Suite, and fortune telling. Curiouser and curiouser…

I won’t go into details revealed to me about the future. We’ll just say that monetary windfall needs to make a landing before the teen gets into Berkley.  Tarot cards and mystic crystals aside, she had some true wisdom to impart. Wisdom she calls, “The Airplane Rule.”

Rooted in that safety briefing, the idea is rather simple. In the same way that we wouldn’t be much use helping someone else get their mask on if we were passed out on the cabin floor, we aren’t much use any day if we don’t we don’t take care of ourselves first.

Here is how Airplane Rules work; Take six minutes a day to just be with yourself. Do something just for you. Meditate, take a walk, enjoy a cup of tea all by yourself. Turn off the noise and welcome the quiet.

Simple? Yeah, right!

Yes I do realize that making time to care for ourselves is typically anything but simple. With a new school year looming, making time for myself seems about as likely as having Sam Heughan show up on my doorstep bent on whisking me away to 18th century Scotland. That said, I’m really starting to think that The Airplane Rule has some merit.

sam heughan in a kilt what girl wouldn't love to be resuced by this Outlander hunk? We women tend to feel the urge to nurture others so strongly that it comes at the risk of failing ourselves. Or worse, feeling guilty about making time to do that. Guilt and I are lifelong pals.  Half an hour at the salon getting my nails done is an open invitation for guilt to take up residence on our sofa.

That psychic said something so profound to me, “Everyone has six minutes. There is nothing on your to-do list that can’t wait for you to dedicate six minutes to yourself. Find that six minutes and then before you know it you’ll have 12.”

So I gave it a try this morning

I went back to using the Headspace app. It’s a free and easy way to make some time for you through guided {or unguided} meditation. Maybe it was ten instead of six minutes, but it turns out I had time for even that long. The result? I got more checked off that to-do list than I’d even planned for.

I think I might just start to live by the airplane rule.

Your Parenting Philosophy Is A Joke!

What is your parenting philosophy? Um, try not to get them killed and hope they don’t grow up to loathe me? When that blurry little plus sign materialized on the stick trembling in my hand I was wholly unprepared for what lay ahead.

Confession time; I never wanted kids. That biological yearning to mother another human, it just wasn’t a part of my makeup. Or so I thought. Turns out that you don’t have to declare a desire to rear children in order to conceive. Who knew?!

Only everybody. 

When my oldest “reality check” came along it was almost instantaneously obvious to me that I’d been living some deluded idiom.  The kid was {is} cool.  Cooler than I ever would or could be. I was totally into this parenting thing. Maybe even made for it.

Naturally this revelation also came with an instant, fully-formed, and completely correct in every possible way, parenting philosophy.

Fellow parents, you may roll your eyes now.

My son was singularly brilliant. I’d teach him to read before he could crawl. Yes, he was going to be multilingual by age five. Never would a commercially produced morsel of food find its way past his cherubic lips. He’d wear only the best, washed always in Dreft {also known as the precursor to organic, fragrance free, sustainably produced, vegan, non-gmo laundry detergent.}  A smudge of dirt had less than a thirty second life-span anywhere on him.

Is that the sound of rapidly spinning rotter blades I hear? 

And, like a Highlander… there could be only one. Then, two lines in the window.

When she came along, my first daughter turned my world on its ear. Sixteen years later I’ve yet to right things, and I like it that way.

Your Parenting Philosophy Is a Joke - Because They Have Thier Own PlansWhere my first child was in many ways shaped after the me I thought I was, she would march to her own beat from day one. In fact the first photo snapped of her – seconds after eviction from the womb- shows her with a graceful, long, perfectly-formed middle finger resting on her chubby little cheek. This kid would do things her way.

With all four of my kids {yeah, the “no kids” plan is shot to hell} I’ve tossed out that whole parenting philosophy thing. Instead I just try my best to help them find their place in the world. By world I mean exactly that. We work hard to teach them that there is a common thread that connects us all, no matter our geographic location, spiritual beliefs, or economic situation.

Sometimes those lessons come through our travels, or our “Travel Nights” – a fun family tradition that lets us “travel” without leaving home by bringing in food, music, and cultural information about places we long to explore. Other times it comes in helping them connect with people who don’t look or live like they do through work with organizations we adore – like the UN Foundation.

For as long as I can remember, my oldest daughter has been the most taken with the idea of Global Citizenship. Her personal mantra is, “I will go to all the places.” So I’ve always expected that she’d want to study abroad at some point. Like her senior year of college. But as a Junior in high school? Yeah, no.

Be careful what you ask for, right?

I’m not sure why I’m all that shocked that she is so ready to fly. People tell me she’s been asking to spend a summer abroad since middle school. Somehow, I didn’t hear that.  Ignore it, she’ll forget about it like she did One Direction. Much like my feelings for the boy band genre, I’m not cool with this.

Gas up the chopper! 

I was nineteen when I moved to Spain. It’s not like I went without a safety net – or even by choice– the Navy had that covered. My parents never had to find a host family, a reputable program, do background checks, take blood samples, and interrogate anyone that might possibly have contact with their daughter. I was an adult {legally speaking.} She is a baby {mostly.}

This whole give them roots and wings thing is a load of crap. Sappy copy for greeting cards and fridge magnets. How about we just give them that tentacled vine thing they kept beneath that trapdoor under the three headed dog at Hogwarts? Who says we have to equip them with life skills to help them grow into confident, responsible, self-reliant adults?  Bah! 

take the world with you whever you goThe globe has lots of citizens, I only have one KK.