Saturday, November 26, 2011


Having been taught a lesson... here's a Hymn to Hope.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

For Grizz

Dear Grizz,

Tonight I was listening to music on Sirius radio while on my break and a beautiful song came on, choir-like... almost religious in tone. I couldn't make out many of the words, but what I heard I knew I was familiar with for some reason... and they reminded me of the kindness you've offered me so often. So, I pulled over in the dark and did a voice search on my phone for the lyrics I had heard. The second stanza?....

...Oh, there are subtle patterns in the world. I can't find the song to post for you but here are the lyrics. I'm sure you are very familiar with them. Thank you again for your friendship. Among all your years of proof.... heres another reason to know you do not live in vain.


If I can stop one Heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain

Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain.

~Emily Dickenson (of course)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bad Day....Into the Void

Keith isn't answering his phone and there is really no one else, so I'll write it here. Really, this needs be be remembered, she said sarcastically.


A month ago, the company I work for (which I will refer to as ever, as the 666BBHS) shut down 20 stores.... three of them near ours. In the meantime they decided not to go against the normal competitor any longer (the orange people) and instead go up against our number two rival, Amazon. Yes, you heard right. End of being task oriented... only sales oriented... and out for the internet giant. This from a company that still uses DOS....

They also came out with a new thing that they believe will save the company.... a card called 'MY 666BBHS'. If you sign up there are no perks, no discounts, no benefits.... BUT, if you buy a can of paint you will forever be able to log in (if they are still in business) and see what color you bought. This is the plus they insist we tell people about.

Problem is... they haven't been very forthright in telling the little people on the floor what their vision is.... and unless you're paying strict attention, and unless you have some inside info.... you don't know that the days of blue collar wandering around half drunk, or in sloppy clothes or not really knowing your business is a thing of the past.


On Friday we expected a few corporate people... familiar ones. All of a sudden we were inundated and as I sat in a small office at a computer a friendly, corn-fed midwestern boy led some of our management in... saying the office needed change, shelves gone... clipboards we use to do business taken off the walls etc. I should have known when he whipped around to read my name, used it familiarly and touched me on the shoulder... it wasn't going to be good.

Later I passed Rick, the store manager who looked at his watch and said to no one in particular.... "Thank God, 4:30. Almost time to go home". He comes in around 5 a.m. but never says things like that. Might think 'em, but.....

At 8 p.m. I saw him in his coat ready to leave. I asked about leaving at 4:30 and noticed he didn't look right. His face was red but translucent... like he had recently been angry, cried or was exhausted. (Since he's military, tears in that landscape were out of the question.) He said he thought he'd work as many hours as he could, before he had no more hours to work. Knowing he was off for the weekend I told him to try to forget about the place for a while. He showed me a thick notebook and said he was taking work home.


When I came in on Monday, Brandon (Rick's sort-of son... at work) cornered me and told me this might be it~ the store closing. Rick had been at the store late on Friday because the corn-fed boy had had him in a meeting... and he said he'd never in his life had a meeting like that. They threw all these figures on a board showing how badly we were doing and elaborated. He and his wife had spent the weekend clearing their house of everything that wasn't necessary.

What I must say about Rick, is that he's a taskmaster. We have always been a black sheep store... and still are, but he's gotten rid of so much baggage and made amazing changes. He's demanding but fair. Whatever they said to him, he didn't deserve.

The other thing Brandon told me was that there was an emergency meeting of all the regional store managers the following morning. With the new structuring of the company, that's well over a hundred people from all over they called into Illinois.

Meanwhile, they had Brandon tearing up the offices and hallway leading to them. In an hour, everything on Rick's walls was gone.

I have two other people I talk to at work... Eileen in cabinets and Paul, the cash office guy. Mid-day they reported on the news the 666BBHS 3rd quarterly report. We were down 44% compared to last year. Eileen said there was a way to access the video conference of the report, but for some reason... they had blocked it through our computers and my phone is apparently not Adobe Flash 5 capable.

When they announced the closing of the twenty stores in October, Paul noted that though the DOW was tanking.... the 666BBHS stock was flying high. Eileen happened to mention that her work mate had heard the past week on the news that we were closing more stores. I mentioned this to Paul. who stared at me for a moment and then told me the same thing was happening right then.

At the end of my day I went into Ricks office and told him of a conversation I'd had with a co-worker... it revolved around the Paterno situation... and my co-worker used Rick as an example of a man who would have taken not only the correct legal action... but the moral one as well. I told him I was relaying this so that he would know that whatever happened there were people in the store who respected and admired him and that he made a difference. He said, "They will always cut from the top, thinking that will fix everything."

Then he asked when Christmas trees were coming in (the bane of his managerial existence) and I said Wednesday. He replied, "Wednesday's going to be a really rough day."

I came home feeling less than hopeful.

I went back in this morning... just wondering and having spent the day before with Prilosec... my new friend.

I ended up with Dawn, a new co-worker I don't see very often. She transferred to us from a store that's actually doing well. She told me she's looking for another job. I asked why. She went to Rick and said that she was a 44 yr. old woman with 4 kids and needed to know the truth. She knew he had to tow the corporate line, but should she be worried?

He said 'yes'.

She told me he'd had his house appraised.

Later, I found my old manager alone in an office and asked him if we were even going to be there after the first of the year. He seemed certain of it ( and I usually believe in him). Said that we were still making money, which was what mattered (even though we are 10th from the bottom in the region.) He said he didn't know why, but a lot of people were worried about it all of a sudden. I'm never sure how far to go with him, so I left it at that.


At 5:30 I looked at my phone and Jay had called but hadn't left a message.

We don't talk. We text or email.

I texted "Are you okay?".

No response.

I wondered if he had lost his job. I wondered if he were somewhere in a hospital.

When I got home I texted, "Should I call?"

And this is what he wrote. "I'm ok. Once unemployment kicks in I can send money again."

Fucking bastard.

In later texts I wrote that I was worried about him. He said, 'Shit happens.' and I said, 'Yeah, and it may happen here. Soon.'

He wrote, 'Crap timing, happy holidays to me.' Missed what I'd said, altogether.

Later he said he was worried about me, but that's his way of telling me he's giving up.

I have never seen so many people on so many economic levels in such dire straits. Life doesn't have to be this way. I don't know why, I just know it doesn't.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There are good things....

Just took Meander out for his last walk. The moon was a Blood orange section hanging just above the horizon and her reflected skirt danced almost to the water's edge. We walked onto the beach and looking up I saw Orion ...tilting to the south... but he and the other constellations were pale courtesans. We walked south and the moons light followed on this oddly warm November night.

(Image not mine, and obviously doesn't fit the content. But, hey, it's pretty!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Well. She's Gone

As I mentioned, Star was Her horse and she was His human and they were, from the beginning... spirits dancing together. She wrote once about they had begun to get familiar with each other and trust each other and touch on the importance of their relationship. But, it wasn't absolutely certain until she trusted him completely....

'A quick aside that will tell you something about our relationship...a group of us had gone horse camping in the Santa Cruz mountains and my endurance friend and I had left the group to do some serious conditioning. We spent the morning following a downward switchback trail that started at the top of a redwood canyon. We slowly followed the tops of the trees down until we landed at their trunks at the bottom with a beautiful trail that wound through them. As a reward for the difficult concentrated work on the switchback trail, I let Star pick up his beautiful rack and we silently floated between the trunks of massive redwoods.

I was shocked when the trail suddenly opened out onto another canyon and I found us hugging the side of it on a four foot wide trail with about a sixty foot drop off beside us. My first instinct was to pull him down but he seemed so sure of himself that I made one of those leaps of trust and bonding and let him choose what he could manage. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life...flying along the edge of a cliff with my horse through the very tops of a redwood forest.'


This is where I want to think she is now... flying with her spirit horse again and skimming the top of Heaven.

(Photo's were taken from Carmons blog and all credit is due there.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remembering, Before We Say Goodbye

I'm documenting this for myself, so that I never forget or blur the important lines.... something I'm wont to do.

Today we got the email that the doctors didn't expect Carmon to last the day as her breathing has changed, and that we would be updated as things went on. It's 12:30 a.m. and there's been no subsequent email.

I don't know much about Carmon's life before the beginning of her blog. I know she had some family issues.... bad ones, that even her siblings were dealing with. She was extremely smart and worked for Chevron during an economic downturn, in a position that allowed her inside information. The corporate mind-set nearly killed her spirit, and she left when the economy was tanking... for whatever would come.

She never got to tell us much about her interest and interaction with Native American peoples but they had a great influence on her..... especially after she found her horse, Star. Star was an amazing spirit, and I think he encouraged her to follow a path of healing others, and she had just put that into practice when cancer struck.

She has amazing stories about their time together and how she grew as a person because of it. And since Star, she has been graced with a herd of horses.... and she 'sees' each one as they are. She's had to part with some because they weren't meant to be with the others... but she has this amazing talent for creating quite the band of spirits.

I took this from her blog. She wrote it in June of this year and it is where she went while 'away', with the horses that are now standing somewhere on a mountain in New Mexico...... knowing full well, I am certain, why she is not there and where she is going. In fact, I imagine they are busy getting her back to her heart's horse... Star, who can carry her to what comes next.

June 18, 2011

This time last year I was in surgery getting my skull opened up and a large hematoma from a bleeding melanoma metastasis scooped out of my brain. The first thing that I clearly remember from that experience was waking up in the ICU and seeing Mike walk through the door. For me, it was still the 16th, the day I was airlifted down to UNM's Neurosurgical ICU after I called friends for help, experiencing the proverbial 'worst headache of my life'.As Mike came through the door, I wondered how it was that he had gotten from North Dakota to Albuquerque in the same day.

There is so much of the conscious world from those three days that is lost to me. There are flashes of memory, bits and pieces. Apparently I was present enough to have appeared conscious at times but I don't remember it for the most part. I know I had several brain and full body scans that I have no memory of. I must have been talking though because according to hospital records, I told them I was extremely allergic to IV contrast, which I'm not. Why would they believe someone whose brain was bleeding anyway?

I've thought about going back to those early blog posts and reading them now that a year has passed. I won't though because I think it might be too disturbing for me. I remember in those first days when I was trying to get some sense of control back, that it seemed very important to put all of the pieces together and figure out just what had happened to my physical self every minute of those three days. Now I understand that what was important was what happened in the space in between, when I was 'carried between shadows and light'.

I know that I intended to write about that three day yet timeless experience and I have a feeling that I never did. I know that I started numerous drafts but I could never get it quite right. Now I understand that was because I was trying too hard to explain something that really can't be explained in words. The last thing I clearly remember was being put on the helicopter, then waking up three days later in a private room with IV needles in every possible vein.

What happened in between was that I drifted away...somewhere in between life and death and yet I felt completely loved, held up, and safe. I knew I wasn't dying, but also that it could go either way and yet I was never afraid. I was content to be in that calm space. And then somewhere in the shadows I saw Griton's beautiful eyes shining, surrounded by white lashes in his loving face. Griton, the ground of our healing circle, whose spirit runs so deep into this mountain that his eyes pulled me back like a magnet and I was held in his gaze.

Corazon, our healer, was there in the circle and I felt that he would give me whatever it was that I needed to hold spirit to body. I was safe, held, loved and healed by our herd. Each time I began to drift away again, there was Brillo to carry me back. With Griton it was his eyes, and Corazon's immense healing presence, and with Brillo I would feel myself on his back, his mane like fine silk in my fingers as he would carry me back to the circle. The other boys, Llego, Valeroso and Mio were there as well, providing support with their presence.

And there, finally, is the story of what I experienced in those days when I was not truly present in my body. Other people that I've told this to have asked if the herd treated me any different after that and the answer is yes. All of last summer and through the winter they understood that one of their members was weak and injured and they were very careful with me. I feel closer to them than ever before.

t was a timeless place and experience and one that I can touch back into just by remembering. I have been forever changed by this last year, in every possible way. We are on fire watch right now, with a new fire in the forest just to the west of us. There are things I find I want to say about what is different in me and the next few days as I watch the news may be the time for it.
(All photos are from Carmon's blog and all credit is due there.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We All Wait

I think psychologists should begin studying blogging friendships... how it is that you can become so attuned to someone you've never met, and likely will never meet. How it is that over time you could (if lucky enough to be able to travel there) stand on your 'friends' deck... that overlooks a prairie, a river or a valley... and name their horses, or the types of their roses, or where the Turkey Vultures hide... or show you where joy or calamity once struck.

They should study how it is that a person can get enmeshed in that distant environment... how the fireplace crackles in one place, the wind howls in another, the wildfires threaten somewhere else. How the pulse slows or quickens just by reading the words, and seeing the pictures .... because, you've invested so much you might as well be there.

They should peer into the ingredients for 'distant' love... whatever those may be that make us smile when a new critter arrives or a new idea.... like when using the intuitive nature of horses to heal human beings gets set into motion.

And they should study the reaction of the reader/distant friend when illness strikes the writer, and how the distant friend responds. And how that friend can only type out platitudes and are too far away to feed the dogs, carry water to the horses, keep the yurt tidied.

And they should study the writer, who is battling on every front... but is tied to her blog, and her readers and friends there... and why she continues to say.... 'I'm Alright!' when she is probably so tired she can barely breathe.

And they should study the human kindness that makes someone who is close to her post on her blog, that she has gone away and no one expects her to awaken or survive.

And they should study the person who lights another candle, and the other who says another prayer. And the one who frantically searches for the necklace made and given... and wears it to keep her friend close, as if a talisman were necessary.

And, none of us can speak to one another. We were blog commenters... and her blog was set to 'approval'... so....

We all wait.
(All photo's are from Carmon's blog and credit is due there.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Maybe it Will Help to Write

I woke up this morning and turned on the computer. Hit email. Was groggy.

She's an old blogging friend who lives in a yurt on a mountain with 5 horses, two dogs, a cat, goat or two here and there... oh, and her husband. I've never met her, but I love her and apparently the cancer she's been battling snuck up on her... and she drifted into unconsciousness sometime yesterday. It's had me off kilter and angry all day. I treated plants like they were weeds until I had the good sense to go to lunch and try to nap in my car.

It didn't help that after that email, was nothing. My (almost) ex and I have had trouble emailing and he said last night he would try again... and there was nothing.

And after that.... a bill for over 100.00 to SiriusXM, for 6 upcoming months of service that I forgot I agreed to back in May. I don't have 100.00.

And no message from a friend I've tried every way from Sunday to reach.

And get to work stressed because the 'Head Asses' are supposed to be in and everyone has been crazed about it and worried about what questions we will be asked and tutoring us on them; and I'm trying to remember if we've taken in 11,000 this week or this month and it's patently obvious but it wasn't this morning.... and no one showed up.

And I went to the bathroom to find that the only pair of jeans I own (which I'm wearing) have a huge hole in the front and that means I have to go to Walmart, (yes, fucking Walmart) after work and spend more money that I don't have. And when I say I don't have it, I mean I DON'T HAVE IT.

And for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to apply for a position in Wisconsin because I've wanted to be there for years and a post came up and I never thought they would want me to BE there.... that the interview would be over the phone like the last one was. But, no, I'm driving up on Tuesday morning and WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

I can't afford to move or a first months rent/security and if I went I wouldn't know a soul, and looking around our sorry store today realized I really cared about a lot of these people.... and they care about me.

And because I had to go to f*cking Walmart I didn't take the dog to play, just a walk... the one that's left inside too long too often and he's driving me crazy.

And I wanted to bounce this off of my Happy Homo but he's lost (cellphone and mood-wise) on a mountain in Kentucky and we keep missing each other.


And it all comes round to this morning and the news about Carmon and I wonder how I can be so selfish and self-absorbed.