Monthly Archives: December 2009

It’s 12-30. Do You Know Where Your Intentions Are?

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Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Are you looking back at 2009 with tender memories and wishing it hadn’t gone so fast? Or are you looking forward with anticipation, intending that 2010 be even more exciting?

Many of us have experienced changes over the last year – illness, deaths, births, lay offs, and layovers. “Green” has become a focus – in the financial sense as well as the ecological sense. I’m no different than all the others. But I do think that we have choices.

Are obstacles or barriers necessarily a bad thing? Are mistakes really mistakes? And how can one control something that is uncontrollable?

Take a good luck at something that has happened to you in the past. That could be the death of a loved one, a divorce, an accident, or many other things that would cause us to feel sadness or despair. Your life was changed and you knew it immediately. I’ll never be the same, you probably said to yourself. You may have whined, or cried, or raged, or fallen into depression. You may have taken to buffering the pain you felt with drugs, or alcohol, or other forms of addiction.

Now consider where you are now, and how you arrived. Many of the decisions you made may have stemmed from that traumatic event. And this is where you had control of your destiny. In many ways (and don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to discount the event) the Universe presented you with a blank check.

By now, you’re thinking, ok, Pollyanna. Back off.

But really, you have free will. The Universe, in my humble opinion, allows you to take what WAS, and what COULD be in the future, and combine them to create NOW. We all make mistakes, and hopefully we learn from them. Some of them can be reversed, if we want that. And others – well, we can’t un-ring a bell, so we have to make a choice to have no regrets and move forward with a stronger outlook, a longer stride, and a happy heart.

Here are some people who did exactly that:

Lemonade Movie

Trust the Universe, man.

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Excuse Me, Sir – Your Blog is Running

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Some of you may remember back in May, I had a buddy fill in for me here at TrusttheUniverse. Predictably, Sir Buffalo Sushi has grown tired of guest-hosting the blogs of others (including his mom’s great blog, Polka Dot Suitcase ) and has struck out on his own. Not STRUCK out like in a ball game – struck out like starting on a great adventure. And I am sure he has. Sir Buffalo Sushi is making his blog’s mission a good one – to protect animals. I went to his site today and viewed some of the videos he has uploaded. And I have to admit, I have no idea what a Ripstick is, but it sounds like fun. Check out his place!

Room for Thought – and Silliness

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The other night I was attending a chat room with several of my global friends. On the web site, the chat room was located in a box on the left, and on the top right a smaller box held the names of people who were presently in the chat room. Directly underneath was a larger box marked “ignored members.”

Wow. I thought to myself, the box for potential “ignored members” is bigger – are the webmasters projecting something? Would there be a mass “ignore?” Is this such a rowdy bunch that it is highly possible that more members will be ignored than can actually fit into the room itself?

Wait a minute – this was a spiritual site. A place of happiness and group hugs. So would anybody really want to ignore anybody? If they did, wouldn’t it be defeating the purpose of the room?

After I gnawed on that idea until it was tasteless, I went on. Under the giant ignore room (ok, it wasn’t giant. It was ample.) there was another box. It didn’t have a title. It was just a box, waiting for text, waiting for definition.

I couldn’t stop staring at that box. I stopped chatting and just stared, wondering what its purpose was. I mentioned it to my friends. “Hey,” I typed. “Anyone know what that empty box is for?” Even though I couldn’t really see them, I knew they were now staring at it, too. So I asked. “You’re staring at it, aren’t you?”

A few typed LOLs came back. “Maybe it’s a naughty room.” But we decided we could all be a little naughty, so we all just may as well stay in the bigger room.

I stared at it. The box seemed so welcoming, so clean. It’s a room of requirement, I thought, like in the Harry Potter books. A room of potential. A box not yet completely created, just four lines on a page. Boundaries, with unlimited content. I felt like jumping into it, like a cat unable to resist an empty cardboard box.

We were all mesmerized by the room of potential. One chatter claimed the lower left hand corner for her own special spot. Since it was a room of potential, we felt the place needed to be looked at on an energy level – the lower left hand corner would be knowledge in a feng shui sense. The corner of knowledge – did the chatter feel she could handle that corner?

“Yes, I can – if I have the proper tools,” she said eagerly.

So we “outfitted” her. If she were to take on the corner and get in the know, she needed some things. Goggles, to protect her from overhear spray. Pants of steel, for possible slides from mud-throwing and gossip leaks. Latex gloves, so one hand could wash the other. Truth tights. Boots to slog through research.

“I’m ready! I can do this!” She was. I could feel it in her typing. She was eager. She was ready to get in the know.

So, the last I heard, Paggie (not her real name – you only get to know that if you’re in the know) was doing well, taking on knowledge with a vengeance. And the other three corners? So much potential. So much room in that box. You only have to learn to think inside it…

Auld Lang O’Nine

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By now, you are all shoving balls of torn wrapping paper into open boxes – or smoothing out those balls for use next year and breaking the boxes down for recycling. And by now, that Christmas dinner doesn’t look so appetizing, and you’re poking around the covered dishes looking for something less holiday-ish. The cookies have been picked through, and there are only jelly chocolates left in the Whitman’s sampler. Maybe you’ve stopped watering the Christmas tree. You haven’t, have you? Hmm?

The year is nearly over. Then what happens? Yeehaw! A fresh new 2010 calendar is ripped from its smooth thin plastic and the cardboard backer removed. Do you look at all the pictures before hanging? Or do you just scan the thumbnails on the back and hang it, wanting to be surprised on the first of every month? Do you sit down and write in all the family birthdays in careful block print? I can tell if you do – appointments and notes are always scribbled in sideways, hurried handwriting. But those first, most important dates are given time and consideration on the first opening of the new calendar. Penmanship counts on the ones that count.

I always clean out a cabinet or two on the first day of the year. I guess it’s my way of telling the cosmos I want to leave the cobwebs and crumbs and dead batteries behind in the old year, and start fresh, smelling like Murphy’s Oil Soap and citrus water. And by cleaning, I can see what I have accumulated and put things in order again. It’s a gesture of cleansing, of renewal and preparation for the days ahead.

I am so grateful for the many lessons that have come my way this year:

I moved to Vermont late last year and celebrated alone on New Year’s Eve, throwing imaginary confetti in instant messages to other friends who were alone in other states. The lesson: friends don’t have to be close by to offer good energy and love.

In February, I turned 50 years old and celebrated! It wasn’t a bad thing: the number 5 means change and transition. I had no idea just how true that would be: a few days later I was standing in front of a screen, looking at a mammogram of my left breast. The mass that looked back at me looked just like the face of Tina Turner, and so it was dubbed. The task began to roll her right on down the river!

I won’t get into the details, because now, it’s just a story. But I want to tell you that I am so grateful for the people I met along the path. I met incredible doctors who went to the edge, and were willing to think outside the traditional medical box for a solution we could all be comfortable with. I found a way to embrace the treatments we agreed on, and stand strong on the ones I was not able to embrace. To all the doctors, nurses, naturopaths, alternative health personnel, and other staff members, those who opened their minds and those who didn’t, I am grateful for the lessons that we were all a part of, and for the time we had together. And I am very glad to announce, Tina is gone. Thanks TT, it was real.

Friends and family helped in so many ways this year. They fed me, clothed me, entertained me, bought herbal supplements, sent coffee, movies, and totems, dog-sat, did errands for me – even paid bills. I received daily doses of healing energy, reiki, thoughts, prayers, and good wishes from those who were far away – I felt every bit of it. Silly happened along the way: funny scars, the realization that I have a not-so-perfectly shaped head, a brief time period after chemo where I could actually drink milk and not get sick (but at the same time was unable to stomach chocolate), lots of dancing, a great trip to the Smokies with an amazing and sweet soul, happy dances, shared laughter on the phone with friends all over the world, snow angels in parking lots, towel animals, and so much more. There are too many people to list here – but they all played a part in the healing. I learned to receive, and I am grateful for that lesson.

My dog, Fae, became a clown to help me laugh, a wolf to protect me, and a therapist to offer a warm head and a cold nose during the longest of long nights.

Even the mounting bills have been a lesson. Although I have always been good at cutting corners, I learned to cut even more. As a part of that snipping and clipping process , I am heading up north for a few months to a smaller place – my inner Huck Finn exploring new territory, looking for a barrel that might fit for the time being. Bennington is still home base, and my earthly possessions are staying here, but I’m off on another side road to meet new people and float down more rivers. It’s a good thing – the universe likes action, and riding the river is always better than pushing it!

To 2009 and all its players, to Mother Earth and all her gifts, thank you. You rocked! To 2010, I’m ready for my pie. Let the fun begin!

You Can’t Say That from Here

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A Canadian friend just moved to Regina. Now, I always thought this town was pronounced “ra-GEEN-a.” When I heard the true pronunciation, I immediately thought of the Seinfeld episode, where Jerry can’t remember a girlfriend’s name. He does know, however, that it rhymes with a female body part. I’ll say no more. You Chicagoans know a few street names that would have fit perfectly into that episode. You non-Chicagoans will just have to ask for directions.

That got me started on town names that are fun to say. Certain town names make you want to hitch up your suspenders, like Podunk, VT, or Yeehaw Junction, FL. Some fit nicely into little phrases – are you tipsy in Poughkeepsie? Can you play a kazoo in Kalamazoo?

Many American towns borrow their names from Native American names, and sound like you are being asked to perform a task. If I figure out how to Massapequa or Waxahachie, or even Chattahoochee, I’ll be sure to let you know.

We are also very fond of coming up with unusual pronunciations for our towns. For instance, Berlin, NY is pronounced BURR-lun. Apparently the town wanted to distance itself from the German town of the same name during World War II. And Vienna, Ohio, chose to be called VIE-anna so as not to be confused with the cute little sausages in the can. All right, the last one is just a theory. And Lima, NY – well their founding fathers devised an ingenious plan to bring a grimace to their children; they decided to be LI-ma (like the bean) instead of Lee-ma (like the Peruvian town). Buena Vista in both VA and CO – yep, it’s BYOO-na Vista…Bueller?

So…where you from, Delores?

Pigs in Heaven Part Deux

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Now for the rest of the pig tale…

My friend Molly arrived, carrying a bucket of apples and a looped rope. By then, I only had corn left in my bucket, having used the rest of the treats to create a Hansel and Gretel-ish trail during my wanderings with the pigs. We stood together and discussed the problem. Molly said she had called another friend, whose husband Dan was on his way. While we talked, the pigs started to move about in the trees, and Molly decided she would try to lasso one of them and lead them back home. She stepped up to the pig and gently dropped the loop around the pig’s thick neck. Then she pulled.

Remember the little tidbit about pigs not doing anything they don’t want to do? Here’s another one. Pigs don’t like being leashed.

The pig squealed and backed away with Molly in tow. She gamely held on, the pig bucking and hurling its heavy body in every direction, and Molly wrapped the rope around a tree trunk for added leverage. But there was no solution – without the tree, her arms would be ripped away from her body (Ok, maybe not, but it seemed that way). With the tree, she couldn’t lead the pig anywhere. The pig was released and immediately plopped into the leaves, exhausted and upset.

We both went back to watching.

I had the bright idea of bringing my own dog down to meet the pigs, as I had seen how interested they were in the Cocker Spaniel and the big black dog. Maybe, I could get them to follow the dog home. So off I went to collect her.

The pigs were a bit curious. The dog, a sheepdog, sniffed them and realized they weren’t sheep, and looked at me as though I had lost my mind. I took the dog back home so I could go back to watching the pigs.

Dan arrived, with more loops of rope. He spent a few minutes watching the pigs, too. A decision was made – instead of leading the pigs to the fence, why not bring the fence to the pigs? So Molly left to gather up the electric fence. Dan decided to pick up the loose end of the rope still attached to the lead pig. Grunting and squealing ensued, and I truly believe at one point, the pig did fly. But Dan held on – I was impressed. Finally, the pig stopped, tiny eyes closed tight, screw tail stretched out straight, sides heaving. Every so often it opened its bloodshot eyes and looked at Dan. It was most definitely sizing up its competition, and planning its next move.

The other three pigs came running to see what happened. They huddled together and sniffed their roped colleague, grunting condolences.

Dan held the end of the rope, muttered something that sounded like “come on, you piece of…pig,” threw the end of the rope over his shoulder and put his entire weight into his work. He dragged the pig, inch by inch, up the hill. “We’ll tie it to the ATV,” he grunted, yanking and pulling the protesting pig through brambles and up the embankment to the ATV parked at the top. As he pulled, the other pigs followed their comrade, but stopping now and then to taste something along the way.

Dan tied the end of the rope to the ATV and I drove it slowly toward Dahlia’s property, the pig planting its feet and plowing through the dirt, and sometimes trotting alongside. Once well within Dahlia’s property, we decided the fence would do the traveling, and we corralled the pig inside wire before releasing it. It immediately stopped puffing and squealing, and set to work pulling up grass. Dan went after the other ones, now wandering back to the hickory nut banquet table, and after hauling the second pig up, the remaining two decided it would be easier if they just moseyed inside the fence to join the others. A flip of the switch on the charger, and we called it a pig pen.

Now, readers, I am leaving things out – there was a lot more walking, driving, running, swatting of pig rears, discussing pig fates, sweating, cursing, and laughing than I have included in here. But as in all stories, it has to change a bit to fit the page and the readership. And I’m sure the pig’s perspective is completely different than mine. I can tell you, I am thankful for friends who were willing to watch and chase and haul and share in the experience that day. And, should my wish of a self sustaining place of my own come into being…I have decided I can survive quite well without pork.

(All the names have been changed to protect the exhausted and humiliated. Except the pigs – they were actually pigs and will remain so on the record.)

Pigs in Heaven

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A few weeks ago, I house sat for a friend. My friend – I’ll call her Dahlia to protect her identity – needed time away from the farm. And I was always ready to go to the country. So I packed up my dog and my laptop and headed for her place.

All went well – Dahlia’s dogs and my dog got along famously, and I fed poultry and gathered eggs and took care of the four Tamworth pigs that were fenced in the summer garden area to root and till the soil for next year. They respected the electric fence and happily munched their way through the old stems and stalks, and slept piled into a giant, snorting pile of bristly red bodies. Each one weighed over 200 pounds, and I could almost see them grow fatter each day.

The last night I was there, a rainstorm whipped through the area. I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about the electric fence. I hoped that nothing was near enough to blow onto it, grounding out the electricity. But, I thought, it was too dark to check. It was what it was.

At first light, I started a pot of coffee, pulled on chore boots and headed for the garden.

No pigs.

I scanned the horizon. No hunchbacked forms climbing the hill behind the pen. No happy grunts coming from the nearby chicken house. The pigs had made a run for it. In an instant, my schedule for the day changed.

Now pigs don’t do anything they don’t want to do. Pig owners know that the only way to coax a pig back into its pen is with really good treats. I ran back to the house to collect the best of the best – apples, bread, whole corn, and peanut butter. I threw everything into a bucket and headed up to the nearest woods line, shaking the bucket and calling, “pig, pig, PIG!” every few steps.

No pigs.

After an hour or so (or less, but when you are searching for missing pigs it always seems like hours) I trekked back down to the scene of the crime. Then, I saw the trail. A line of rooted-up grass right along the house fence, leading straight down to the road.

A pickup stopped in front of me as I trudged to the pavement. “You looking for pigs?” the driver called. “I almost hit one back there.” I waved a thank you and headed in the direction of his pointing finger, and he gave me a smile and drove off.

The pigs were in the neighbors’ yard, digging up flower bulbs from newly mulched beds. The neighbor came out with his dog, and the dog set off barking after the pigs. They promptly chased the now-very-nervous Cocker Spaniel around the yard. “I’m sorry,” I muttered to the neighbor. “It’s okay,” he answered. “I would help, but I’m off to work!” He waved gaily at me and left in a cloud of dust. He was no fool. Whatever he had in store at work was heaven compared to chasing pigs.

I shook my bucket of treats and called out to the pigs, and they briefly stuck their flat snotty noses up into the air and sniffed, determining if my bucket was worth their time. But, they decided there were places to go, people to see. They wandered up and down the fields, sniffing and tasting. A man came out of his house with a big black dog – both annoyed. The dog growled and barked and nipped, and the man held a shovel like a semiphore flag, and both the dog and the man only served to annoy the pigs. I followed behind them like a lost little sister, swinging my bucket. The best I could do was try to keep them out of the flower beds and off the back porch. I slapped them on their round flanks, grabbed their ears and yanked, and clicked and clucked at them. I had called for reinforcements, and I knew my friend Molly (also a pseudonym) would be there as soon as she could. But I also knew, that in this case, two heads were still no match for four pig-heads. It was a waiting game.

Then, the pigs found heaven. For pigs, that is. They wandered down to the edge of the road, and just before stepping onto asphalt, the lead pig stopped and swung her head toward the thin line of trees that marked the edge of Dahlia’s property.

Hickory trees.

Now, for you readers not familiar with porcine likes and dislikes, nuts are high on the list of favorite things. Hickory nuts are especially favored – kind of like Godiva chocolate for the discriminating pig.

My bucket of goodies meant nothing. “Pig, pig, PIG!” I called. The four Tamworths ran as fast as their little hooves could take them to the trees, and just before they got there they lowered their wedge-shaped heads and plowed into the thick blanket of leaves.

The bliss! Eyes closed to tiny slits, smiles on rubbery pink lips, the pigs had found Nirvana. They ate and ate, throwing leaves into the air and gulping mouthfuls of hickory nuts – they had to stop between banquets to catch little pig naps in the soft undergrowth.

All I could do was hold my bucket, and watch,and think about the coffee that was waiting for me back in the kitchen.

To be continued……
Dahlia