Saturday, June 14, 2008


First - I am wowed by the number of people who read these words. Thank you for stopping by, for emailing me or leaving comments.

This is a picture of a corner in my backyard that is presently in nearly full bloom. I took this a few days ago, and now the peonies (the dark green plants with the raspberry-colored buds in this pic) are in full bloom and are lovely. I like the way the plants in this corner complement each other. Also, those shrubs with the silvery blooms? They are a summer lilac, a late blooming lilac with silvery pannicles of flowers and a strong lilac scent - I'm not in love with the flowers, which lack the charm of true lilacs, but the scent is heavenly, and makes the yard awash in the scent of lilacs for another three weeks. So I thought I'd share.

Sometimes friends who also garden are surprised that I'm not familiar with the botanical or latin names of my plants. To me, at least up to this point, gardening isn't about that. I remember the common variety names (the hardy geranium in the picture is called Johnson's Blue - it's fabulous), and I research the hell out of plants before I buy them. But once planted, the latin names are just details. What matters to me is the act of planting, nurturing.

I WILL bike tomorrow. And for those of you who have heard my uneasy/displeased voice saying that I'm not writing...I'm writing again. Day two, but I'll take it.

It seems to me that one of the reasons I find myself unable to write, or sometimes when I find myself flirting with depression, it's because I want to stop wanting what I dream of, and be happier and content with what I have. I wrote last year about this - about being satisfied with what we have - but this is a shade different from that post. That one was about accepting and being satisfied with the path you've followed, not reliving and retracing the path that brought you to now. What I'm speaking of here is my dreams - the future me.

This isn't some brilliant new revelation - passionate people want to throw themselves into whatever it is that they are passionate about. I want to write, garden, bike, dance, sing, read, teach, drink wine, travel to the thousand places I want to see, cook meals for a kitchen full of friends and family, laugh often and hug strangers who look like they could use it. But I need to also work at a job that pays actual money, clean my house, eat sensible meals comprised of foods that are less convenient, juggle finances and doctor's appointments. Did I mention work at a job that pays actual money?

Lately, things have been too much for me. I see that NOW. :) But in the moment, I often do not know it. I'm too busy dealing with the necessary next steps. That makes me good in a crisis, good at coping with ambiguity and change, as they say on my performance reviews at work. But. BUT. It's all fine to cope well with crises so long as I'm remembering to measure them against my needs. This is the wisdom I seek these days: know when things are too much, and reset my priorities. Now, not six months from now, or "when this crisis is over." The crisis always wins, and there will always be another. Being happy means living in the now, and the now includes any number of simultaneous crises. I'm pretty good at differentiating real crises from "someone else wants me to freak about this, isn't that cute" crises - but even so, the real ones can arrive in pairs or triplets. So I need to live in the now and keep my priorities, those that feed my soul, intact. Otherwise, I stop doing things that feed my soul - see the "i want to" list above. I sacrifice, as the person who is my "other me" describes them, the parts of me that are my essence. Unacceptable. Yes, I'm aware this is something we all do. I'm just the one talking here. :)

Tomorrow is Father's Day! If you are a father, enjoy your new grill/tools/books/home store gift card/special breakfast...whatevah. And for the fathers who read these words - thanks for all you do to make your small people happy, healthy, safe and loved.

Good thoughts!

~ Patti

Friday, June 6, 2008


It's been a while since I welcomed a weekend as heartily as I'm welcoming this one. I've been working a lot, and trying to catch up on things that slipped around the house while I was working a lot and teaching. And then the foot...grrrr...the foot.

I'm pleased (relieved?) to announce that this morning I walked three miles of my four mile loop. I skipped the hill, and it was a wise decision. Any more detail would be TMI. Trust me on this. There was supppppposed to be a 6 AM training session with our team in India, but as is often the case in transoceanic virtual meeting rooms...the key person's technology failed. The cancellation gave me a chance to walk, so it was a win/win.

My sister is coming to visit Idaho at the end of the month for a family wedding in Stanley. Stanley is a rustic mountain "resort" town. Do not remove the quotes there. I'm very excited she's coming, she hasn't visited since I moved here uhm...22 years ago! I have tickets to our Shakespeare theater for a night that she is in town, and will generally just enjoy showing her "my town."

So - wanted to post some happy "I'm walking!" thoughts tonight. Hoping to get some garden pictures tomorrow, have recharged my boat-anchor camera and am poised to snapsnapsnap. It's so cool here it feels like April, not June. But summer is coming, I'm sure of it.

Peace and good thoughts to you!
~ patti

Monday, June 2, 2008


Today is my baby brother's birthday. Happy Birthday Michael!

Trials probably do make you stronger - or more resolute, or more clear in your thinking. Not the legal kind, though I'm certain they can sometimes have a similar effect. I'm talking about the kinds of life events, sometimes your own and sometimes those of a loved one or acquaintance, that strip away all the silliness, or reveal it as silliness, and give you perspective.

I'm thinking of big trials - those are like a spotlight, illuminating everything in the vicinity in impossibly bright light, so clear that they cannot be denied. My friend Pam's brother, Larry, had a very large tumor removed from his face a few weeks ago. He's home, recovering well, in the care and love of his very close family, and in the prayers of the faithful that Pam's life is filled with. And guess what? Every person that Pam let share in this incredible trial in her family's life knows a little bit more about family, and love, and faith. We are grateful for our family, and we either are roused by or marvel at the faith. It's impressive, and humbling.

But I'm also thinking of the smaller, wearing trials. Those that, left unspoken in the dank dark space under the stairs, grow big and acid, eating away at your confidence and your joy. Chronic illness, chronic pain, the disappointments of a lifetime - it's this kind of trial. Each moment is bearable. No problem. But they take a little, take a little - and then you find yourself without a reserve of hope, facing the big ugly thing that the moments have made in your heart. It's not inevitable, but it is a real risk, and it takes a real effort to keep those moments at bay, in perspective. Like weeding a garden, or cleaning a house - keep up with it, and it's a small matter to tidy. Let it grow unchecked, and you have a big project on your hands. Maybe blisters, certainly thorns.

I'm an evangelist about this stuff any more. I have the fervor of the saved about tending your heart as you would any other precious growing thing. Don't count what you do not have, but what you do; this is the simplest path to joy. Don't say you can't, or that you'll try. You can, so do. Find a stretch of minutes each day to tend your heart - the small trials that vex you. Yank 'em before they take root.

My big learning this month? The stretch of minutes I tend my heart are apparently the same minutes I spend walking my 4 mile loop, bellydancing, or riding my bike. Action and clarity come as one for me. So as my owie foot has been hampering my movement (it's healing - yayyyyy!), little weedlets of discontent are sprouting. I sat on my deck tonight, it was a little drizzly and cool. I looked not at the few flowers I have not yet planted, but at the expanse of beautiful blooming spaces, the plants that are like living paintings to me. I breathed deeply, and drank a glass of wine, and found ease.

Soon it will be real summer - hot, dry. But for now, it is early summer, with all the promise that holds, and air scented now with late blooming lilacs mixed with early roses, the faintly floral scent of my crazily blooming clematis vines, the dark smells of good earth and compost drifting through. It's good to see - really see.

Next time I'm here I WILL be telling you about my morning walks making me smile, my bike being the fastest thing since my banana seat Schwinn, and my new bellydancing scarves making my shimmy even shimmmmmmier. But in the meantime, I'm smiling.

Don't try. Simply do.

~ patti