Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pursuing the Dream

I have always been a dreamer.

Back in my late 20s, I would write my own list of dreams and goals at the end of each year as my New Years Resolutions. It was never about quitting anything. It was all about new beginnings. It was all about starting new things and conquering them.

After writing out the list, I would fold the sheets of paper into an envelope to read the following year in anticipation to see how far I had gone. It would be my confirmation that miracles DO happen.

But. I don't recall ever opening the envelope. I think I was too focused in writing my list and never caring about the outcome.

This past summer when I was going through so many personal old papers and such, I came across my old wish lists and I was so taken back by what I had found! ALL of my wishes had come true. Really! All of them!

Not necessarily that year. But over time. Over the years they did come true.

But the sad thing about all this, is that I didn't notice all those dreams had come true for me. I was already off on another new adventure. By the time my dreams arrived... I had already turned the path. I already moved on to another dream.

This afternoon, I sat in my backyard.

It's nearly October. The leaves are already beginning to turn. Time for me to turn over some new leaves as well. I pulled out a small notebook. I started to write down my wishes, goals, ambitions and dreams whenever they came to mind. It was my TO DO List. By writing it down, it will give me a more complete picture of the progress.

I really believe in the power of dreams and creating the life we want to live. I believe that's what's going to happen when I start writing down my goals and wishes. My subconscious will work overtime to make sure I get what I want.

I hope you consider writing out your TO DO List, too. If so, let me know. We can share our accomplishments together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Sometimes when I can't sleep, I wonder about things, such as the little animals that waited two by two in line for hours and hours for Noah to choose their fate on his ark.

Did any of them pretend to be someone other than they were to better their chances in being able to escape the flood?

Monday, September 19, 2005

I Bought a Pair of Brand New Running Shoes

Working from home has gotten to me lately.

I've been feeling certain low levels of boredom and depression. Getting out to grocery shop has not been an easy task for me lately.

I sit at the computer day in and day out and sometimes never leave my house. So it's no surprise that I've been seriously daydreaming of getting out and exercising to increase my energy level. It is imperative to my discipline and work load. If I ever want to be a success, I need to first be successful within my own self.

I've been on the treadmill 8-10 times this past year, always being ever so gentle with myself, stopping as soon as I start to breathe heavy or feel boredom coming on. And, if that's not embarrassing enough, in that little time and so little miles, the treadmill's running belt split open the bottoms of my shoes. Kelly said I needed to buy a pair of *real* running shoes.

And so I did.

When I was a child I loved to run and would run everywhere. I did it effortlessly. In junior high and high school, I loved Track & Field. I adored the explosion of coming out of the starting block into a brief burst of an all-out-effort to the finish line just seconds later.

The long distance running was never my thing, though. I hated running laps around the school field for exercise. It wasn't so much that it was painful. It was just boring. Yet, lately I've been thinking I should take up running. It feels essential to my self-discipline in being a successful self-employed artist.

I sit too much and have overdosed myself in more than enough alone-time. So I decided it's best to run and to get my heart flowing again.

So yesterday morning over a large breakfast, Kelly and Matt invited me to go on an easy run with them. It was a good opportunity to wear my new running shoes. I laced up my dreams and headed out to join them.

Kelly is an ultra runner. In the past year, she has run in the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run in California, The Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run in Utah and the Cascade Crest in Washington. Matt easily runs 35 miles... and is training for a 50 Mile Run in November.

I've never run more than a mile at once in my life.

We started just outside Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, located high in the Mayacamas mountain range separating the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Thankfully, we didn't run up against any deer, gray foxes, bobcats or coyote that live among the oak trees and grassy hillside. My eyes were mostly kept down, watching the tops of my new shoes getting dustier while darting over rocks, fallen branches, tree roots, horse manure and mud.

There were so many moments I wanted to quit. Especially when I got the painful side ache. And when my feet felt so heavy, it took every strength I had to lift them just high enough so as not to drag them along the dirt. Maybe it was the time, I felt my heart beating in my face and pulsating in my eyes. Or when I started to dry heave and thought I was going to throw up my breakfast.

But I didn't quit. I walked when I no longer could run. But I never stopped, and I mostly ran the three miles up hill and three miles back down. My heart and sweat beating out of my pores.

It was the first time I ever pushed myself beyond my comfort limits.

It ended up being a great day yesterday. I allowed to feel my heart really beat hard and fast against my chest for the first time. To feel the sweat on my back seep into my shorts. It was a time when I realized that I am more than I thought I could be and it was inside me all along just waiting for an opportunity like yesterday for me to see it.

Thank you Kelly and Matt for inviting me to run yesterday. Because you both are so great, you pushed me to be great in my own right. I needed that moment. To see what I'm made of.

To grab hold of this new experience and ride it like there’s no tomorrow.

Because we only know too well, there may not be. Life is short and I want to live my life as fully as I can. And I think it did begin again. It was yesterday.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A Summer of Bug Bites

So ... a few weeks ago I'm with my best-ever childhood friend and two of her daughters.

We talked of old childhood stories. One was which we were galloping through the yard on our invisible horses when I got stung by a bee and nearly died at seven-years-old. I was rushed to the hospital and survived within minutes.

For twelve years, I received 8 to 16 allergy shots a week. I hated it. I nearly memorized every single issue of Highlights for Children while sitting in the waiting room waiting for a reaction, which nearly always occurred, which added even more shots to my forever sore forearms and hips.

I took Terry and her adorable daughters by my mom's house because she hasn't visited it since we were kids.

As we wandered through the secret garden and pet cemetary we came under attack by yellow jackets. Terry got stung first. Then one of her daughters got stung three times. It was like a sniper decided to take aim and start shooting.

I have been stung four or five times since I became allergic. And, always within seconds, my tongue and throat start to swell closed so I have difficulty swallowing and breathing and I feel I'm losing consciousness as my blood pressure dramatically drops. I go into a severe anaphylactic reaction that can be fatal.

I quickly walked to my car and grabbed my epi-pen from my purse just incase I was stung and that's when I started to feel the bee buzzing inside my shirt. I carefully and slowly stretched the neck of my shirt open so it could fly out and, instead, it got caught in my hair and stung me on my neck near my left ear.

I tried not to panic. My heart raced so fast. The epi-pen is an auto-injector that administers epinephrine into my blood stream. I think it's a form of an adrenaline that can reverse the allergic reaction, at least temporarily, to provide the life-saving time needed for me to get further treatment in a medical facility.

God only knows how much of my own adrenaline was running through my veins when I got stung. Perhaps it was enough.

Before thrusting the syringe into my thigh.. I waited for the feeling of doom and death to come toward me.

I waited and I waited.

My allergic reaction never came.

I want to celebrate that. Celebrate my life.

I have been self-employed for one year now, too. Another miracle. It really is. Another reason for celebration. I am happy tonight. At peace. I believe in angels.

I count my blessings. I am aware of them everyday.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Johnny who?

A little girl declaring her love for actor Johnny Depp just moments before her older sister laughs at her mistake and erases it.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Lost at Sea ... or just in the Fog

Here i am again. I feel the spray on my face.

Seemingly floating out at sea ... bobbing this way and that ... licking my finger and testing the wind. I'm drifting somewhere with no clear direction. I've lost my compass to my dream ... I can't remember my destination. I'm just drifting along through the mud flats. And I'm dragging again.

I recently had a business dinner with this wonderful man the other night. He is a super hero to me. He's young and has this dream of creating unique cookies. He lives in Berkeley. And on some mornings, he leaves at 3 am and drives across the Bay to Ukiah --which is a hundred miles up north on highway 101. He goes there to bake some sort of special cookies at a downtown bakery, and then afterwards, he drives even further south to San Francisco for his day job.

He doesn't seem to tire out because he sees his dream clearly in sight.

I'm so in awe of him.

I need to put my glasses on. I just looked out ahead of me and it all looks out of focus. Where has my dream gone? The fog has rolled in. I hold my compass in hand and need to follow it even when I don't see where I'm going.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

She Wore the Same Coat

I LOVED my new Christmas coat. It felt as though the Christmas coat loved me as much I loved it. It wasn't a hand-me-down. It didn't have holes in the linings that would swallow up the dimes and cherry flavored caugh drops in my pocket.

I was 8-years-old and I beamed with pride owning this beautiful wonderful coat, rattling the candy and change in my pocket for everyone to hear.

I went to catechism in a large Cathedral Church in town. When I walked into class glowing like the many candles in the hallway and on the altar, I noticed Janet–– the beautiful, but loudmouth girl-- wearing the same coat.

I was so bashful back then, and I didn't want to take the shine away from her new coat, so I draped my lovely new coat on the doorknob outside every time before walking into the classroom.

My sweet lovely coat.

I still get a lump in my throat when I remember.

Monday, September 5, 2005

It's Just Five Minutes In My Life

I swing the kitchen door open from inside the garage and the doorknob breaks off in my hand. Several pieces bounce to the ground and under my car. Once inside, I hear my cell phone ringing, but its in the bedroom. The tune gets louder and louder and louder and seemingly faster and faster and causes me to panic thinking it's an important phone call. So without taking the time to turn on any of the lights, I rush through the dark living room, down the hall and into the blackness of the bedroom ... kicking over a clean litter box, flipping it in the air upside down. The phone has now stopped ringing.

I probably missed a very important phone call. Or worse, it's a wrong number.

I flip the light switch on and scoop up as much litter as I can to refill the litter box. Afterwards I walk into the bathroom to wash my hands and as I turn the bathroom sink knob, it decides to mimic my kitchen doorknob and it screws off in my hand. I easily screw it back in place while Mollie is meowing at me to eat. I dry my hands off and though I am just inches away, I don't want to take the time to lean over and hang the towel on the rack, so I TOSS it and miss and it drops in the toilet. I grab the dripping towel and run with it through the dark rooms over to the washing machine to drop it in.

With the lights now turned on, I feed the cat and then pull out the vacuum cleaner. Just as I'm about to plug it in, I can hear sweet little Mollie barfing up her entire dinner on my living room rug.

I haven't had a bad day. Just a really lousy five-minutes.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

The Devastation

I have been squinting into the television screen for several days now. The same familiar faces of those on the street keep being played over and over again. I'm beginning to feel as though I know them. The young woman with her lethargic baby in her hands... the other woman desperately shouting "Old people are dying! Those in wheelchairs are dying!...." The man holding up his three-week-old baby shouting, "How's he gonna survive without food and water?!"

These images being played over and over again... I can barely watch anymore, yet do not want to distance myself from it either. It is devastating. It brings me to tears over and over again.

And I worry. All that standing water, the sewage, the decaying bodies, dehydration ... will there be long term kidney damage from all this? Obviously the emotional pain is just horrific.

Two nights ago, after staring at the putrid condition at the Superdome and into the hopeless faces at the Convention Center, I walked into the local Red Cross to become a volunteer. I attended a near four-hour class that would normally take a couple of weeks to complete.

I desperately wanted to help. To go out there in the midst of devastation and help in whatever capacity I could.

Last night I received a late phone call asking me to report to the Red Cross this morning at 11 to immediately receive my tetanus and diptheria vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine. I would also get my assignment of what airport I am to fly into. I could be leaving in one to four days and the minimum stay has lengthened from nine days to several weeks. We were warned we might be sleeping outside and be subjected to extremely uncomfortable situations.

While laying in bed last night I took an honest look into my own gut to find my inner strengths and limitations.

Our ability to handle life's difficulties is shaped by our very own unique life experiences. The amount of weight you bear on your shoulders is perhaps different than the weight I bare on my shoulders. Our personal triumphs and traumas we experience in our lives determine whatever that weight is we can safely bare.

Being aware of the responsibilities and commitments I've made at home and measuring how much weight I can put into my own heart and shoulders right now, I decided it would be best for me not to go on assignment. I certainly appreciate my caring friends and family who have called or written and helped me in my decison making.

I will help in other ways I can.

My heart and prayers go out to all of the people who have lost their homes, their families and their friends in this painful place of tragedy and devastation.