Sunday, April 27, 2014

Psalm 121

After I was accepted into La Verne College (now University of La Verne) in 1972, I gleefully marked off each calendar day until mid-September, because I felt like I couldn't get out of Burbank fast enough--or far enough. That day Mom and Dad packed my stuff and me into the back of the 1971 VW, and we headed to the freeway onramp, I waved ecstatically from the back window to some kid standing on the corner. I remember he looked somewhat bemused, but he returned the wave nonetheless.

And yet, here I am, back in Burbank again since 1988, and in no rush to consider leaving again.

Lately, with the challenges of caring for Mom, who is now slipping away from me a little bit more each hour with her physical frailty and dementia, I treasure the very safe idea of home -- this house, this community of Burbank, even the foothills behind Sunset Canyon and Brand Park. When we moved here in 1964 from upstate New York, I was fascinated with the hills as a geological formation, and tagged along with my father up at the De Bell Golf Course, or my "big brudda" to Stough Park.

Decades later, as a single mom, I took every opportunity to hike with my young son behind Brand Park, and didn't mind when my car's back seat acquired a messy payload of sticks, pine cones, or other souvenirs from nature.

Now, with family responsibilities and work demands, I find the hills calling to me again. The other day, after Mom's faithful caregiver arrived, I seized the precious hour's time before my first client, and escaped to the Canyon Grille at the golf course for breakfast. The early morning sun...the quiet...the rolling green of the course outside the sliding glass doors, already open to allow the birdsong to waft in...

No matter how much I chafed against Burbank and its hills as an adolescent, they were still here, waiting for me when I was ready to return home. When competing appointments, cell phone calls, health issues, mounting projects and household tasks seem to bury me, the hills are always there, waiting. In the Sixties, many called places like this "Nature's Church," and I'm more inclined to agree as time passes. These foothills are where you're likely to find me these days when things in town get a bit too much...

I recognize and respect that readers of my blog have diverse spiritual beliefs; nevertheless, for those who will accept it, I offer the following as a calming thought for today, and every day hereon:

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." -- Psalm 121

Monday, April 14, 2014


I'm doing more than mere "spring cleaning" these days. I've begun a full-scale, ruthless purge.

Previous posts have seen me discuss the curios and cheap furniture items that have gone to the Vietnam Veterans of America or Out of the Closet. Now that, thankfully, I've run out of those items, and my living room has breathing room, I've turned my attention to even more annoying things cluttering up my home office and my bedroom.

When I see the number of things in my email inbox--unread, read and "to be answered," spam, etc., etc., my eyes glaze over. Seriously, the count is getting toward the 5,700 mark, and so I've begun my counter-offensive -- making one daily task to "unsubscribe" to at least ten senders, especially when I either don't know them, or "I'll get back to this one later" becomes the knee-jerk response.

Ditto my list of bookmarked websites. As my career and personal lives have wended their ways forward, and my interests have changed, I just haven't kept up with paring down the site addresses cluttering up my PC. Poor thing--no wonder it's slow. So, tonight it's click-delete time! After I've taken in the lunar eclipse, that is.

And then, there's this dress you see. Back in 2006, when I was still on the loose in the dating world, I was swept off my feet by someone. I won't go into details, because the memory of this person would only serve to stir up anger that's best left in the past.

Anyway, I was invited to a full-on gala--dinner, awards, testimonials; in short, it was to have been a "magical evening," even though that term is too often and too easily used.

After work one day, I went to Nordstrom--and I can count on one hand the number of times I've crossed that store's threshold. During a two-hour spree, I bought this Empire-style dress (I know my photos don't show it off properly)--satin bodice, chiffon-y lined skirt. Even though I was still in my size-14 days, it flattered me, and I felt like a princess for the first time since I was a young girl. A pair of black heels (my very last pair, I should add!), black stole, and slinky black hose completed the ensemble. I was gorgeous, and ready to "go to the ball." The fact that this single outfit cost me more than all the clothes--in total--that I'd ever bought in my adult life didn't trouble me at all. This was an important evening, and I wanted to be a proper lady escort.

Two days later, I got a voice mail. In a terse, 15-second message, my date simply said he wanted to take someone else. That was it. And I never heard from him again.

The dress promptly went into the closet -- way to the back. In time, I actually forgot I had it. A few months ago, I was surprised to see the original zippered bag with "Nordstrom" printed across the front, and with the shocking price tag still attached to the dress. So, out it came.

No, I wouldn't wear it. First, I'm happily a few sizes smaller now. And second, I've been with someone--my gentleman friend Chuck--who I believe truly deserves me. I won't stand for being disrespected--ever again. Now, at my age, I can love with my heart and my head.

Tomorrow, during a break, I'll take the dress to a local consignment shop. Let's see how much I can recoup, and silence the visual noise that still resonates.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What Being an RA "Newbie" Has Taught Me - Rheumatoid Arthritis - Health Monitor

What Being an RA "Newbie" Has Taught Me - Rheumatoid Arthritis - Health Monitor

Well,golly gosh, even as old and jaded as I am, I still haven't lost the capacity to be thrilled.  Here's me, featured in an article!  Except for the few times in my life when I've written letters to various publication editors and had them printed, this is new for me.  And there is a little talk about the possibility of me actually authoring my own pieces. After all, writing, my beloved means of expression, has taken a back seat lately, and I want to change that.  It saddens me that I have several drafts of things in my computer, slowly ripening, still waiting to be harvested.

My association with Health Monitor Magazine began quite accidentally, when I picked up a copy in my doctor's office about a year ago, and took one of their readers' surveys.  It led to a couple of phone calls, and then this piece. 

Few things make me happier than sharing real-life experiences to encourage others, along with the work I do as a therapist.  "Letting one's light shine" is such a satisfying way for us to help each other enhance our quality of life.