Thursday, February 26, 2009


I haven't practiced the observance of Lent for more years than I can remember. This year, however, this season of fasting, reflection and prayer, my spirit is guiding me to pay attention. I think back to what Lent meant to me when I was young - Ash Wednesday, walking around trying to pretend that I didn't have a big ashy smudge on my forehead. Meatless Fridays, lunch consisting of a tuna sandwich, a cheese pizza, gorton's fish sticks for dinner. Searching my mind for something that I could 'give up' during the 40 long days between Fat Tuesday and Easter Sunday. Candy, TV one night a week, and as I got older perhaps saving the indulgence of cocktails for the weekend, or possibly ending the 40 days a few pounds lighter by denying myself between meal snacks, dessert.

In this juncture of my life I rarely find the time for church. The season of Lent, just another 40 days in the course of my year. I'm not proud of the fact that my life has led me away from the church-going practice of my childhood, but neither do I feel regret or remorse. I'm not lacking spiritually - prayer, my faith being my constant companion, comfort. This this year though, this season, it's different somehow. I can't ignore what my heart is telling me to do, what to give up, what to celebrate.

Although I didn't attend church service yesterday, no dark and dusty blotch applied to my forehead, I do plan to observe and honor the spirit of Lent. The season of giving up, letting go, going without in order to receive abundance at the end of a journey. And the task before me, for me personally, will take self control, prayer, strength of will. At the end of these 40 days I hope to be looking ahead for once, and not looking behind.

I hope to end this period of fasting and reflection with a strengthened spirit, a renewed sense of faith, peace and perspective. This is a season I will celebrate in daily personal practice, no succumbing to weekend church schedules. I won't be denying myself sausage on my Friday night pizza, although during Lent (and just about any other time of the year) Friday night fish fries are on my radar. My challenge, what I'm planning to 'give up' is baggage. Baggage that I wear in an emotional backpack 24-7. It's heavy. I'm sick of carrying it. Its contents plague my thoughts each and every day. But yet it's always there.

This morning as I write, in my mind I'm removing the backpack from my shoulders. Setting it on the floor. Challenging myself to leave it there, not pick it up. To allow myself to feel the lightness of my shoulders, no longer bearing the burden of that clunky bag of shit. And maybe, with the aid of prayer, meditation, filling my time with meaningful distractions, I might just find at the end of these 40 days that I simply forgot that I ever owned that backpack. Let it go missing. It was something I never wanted in the first place.

Then I will be at peace.
Maybe not 10 pounds lighter, but celebrating my spirit...
weightless, free.

the photo is the bike path i travel in warmer days. snow covered. cold. the borders undefinable. in 40 days the path will be clear. it's twists, turns, ups and downs visible and ready to enjoy.
in the springtime. when everything is new.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


i miss writing
i miss order in my home
i miss knowing what's in the drawers of my refrigerator
i swear i've been wearing the same 4 outfits over and over
for at least a month now
i'm sorry i haven't kept up
life is crazy
good, but crazy
busy times at work
weekends that don't let up
but life is good
despite the news which i block out
choosing instead to fill my home with stories
read to me as i begin and end my days
or classical music
notes written and played
for kings, queens and legends
as i prepare our evening meals
i thrive on a fast pace
new challenges, changes in direction
but none the less
i'm longing
for time...
to write
to share
to dream
with you
who are just as busy as me
lives lived in a flurry
you, me


here is a photo i took of figaro a few weeks ago
my little blogging buddy
i miss him too

Friday, February 20, 2009 expression of what is beautiful

Honestly, this has been the coolest week ever. Back at the beginning of the school year I began working with our district art teachers in planning for our second annual student art show. In celebration of National Art Month, the library was the proud host for this auspicious event. And this year we were even luckier in that the student awards presentations also took place at the library.

Over the last three nights the library welcomed nearly 800 moms, dads, kids, teenagers, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, friends, to view the creations of the talented young people who live in our community. Punch and cookies were served. Students posed proudly with their artwork as parents captured the jubilant moment with a flash of the camera. The press was there covering what would the next day become a front page story.

This was indeed news - a celebration of education, talent, teachers, families, the importance of the public library in the life of a community. I'm humbled and honored to have had a part in bringing this all together. Just looking over the crowd...students posing for a picture with their favorite teacher, parents after a long work day making sure to be there, with their kids. And I'll bet that for most it was the best part of their day, their week. I know it was for me.

Despite the news we're constantly being inundated with, there are so many good things happening in our lives, our communities. There are so many causes to celebrate. This week we celebrate the students in our town. This is news. This is the headline.

800 people coming out to the public library on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday night. Brutal winter weather. Icy roads. Long work days. Busy lives. But never too busy to pass up a moment to applaud our children, our teachers...the artistic masterpiece of life. I write this early in the morning while listening to Pachelbel's Cannon in D. I'm just feeling so blessed, so proud to do what I do. What a moment, what a week.


"Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
Pablo Picasso
p.s...the student artwork is on display at Wauconda Area Library through March 6. come on out, grab a cup of coffee, and take in the art. it'll make you smile.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

perfect, just us...

we've only just begun to live
white lace and promises
a kiss for luck and we're on our way
and yes we've just begun
before the rising sun we fly
so many roads to choose
we start our walking and learn to run
and yes we've just begun
sharing horizons that are new to us
watching the signs along the way
talking it over just the two of us
working together day to day
and when the evening comes we smile
so much of life ahead
we'll find a place where there's room to grow
and yes, we've just begun.

"you'll go down the tubes!" my dad said worried, holding his head
"you made your bed, and now you'll be eating it." my grandpa whispered
to me in the receiving line at the church.
"for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in good times and in bad"
we promised to each other
you in that tacky blue tux, me in my borrowed dress

we didn't go down the tubes, although we have ridden some storms
from the eye of the hurricane we've held on tight
to each other, our life together, our family and our love

31 years ago today
we've only just begun
dance with me
i want to be your partner...forever


we've only just begun by the carpenters
a song from our wedding day

Monday, February 16, 2009


i think i get it now
what an exorbitant amount of time i've spent
precious days wasted
copious hours lost in frustration
building a wall brick by invisible brick
if only i'd understood the true nature of forgiveness
it's an act, a verb
which brings forth a physical reaction
when the mind and the body connect and agree to let go
forgiveness is not something you say
it's something you do
and only in doing
can things be undone


Friday, February 13, 2009

life expanded...

life is just too big to get a hold of right now
like a balloon growing larger by the moment
i chase after it reaching for the string
knowing if i can just grab hold then i'll be in control
my fingers brush the surface
enough to create that funny squawky balloon sound
but the string slips from my grasp
teasing, taunting, begging to be caught
i'm determined to make it mine
tie it down to keep it from floating away
i know i can catch it
by running just a bit faster i'll have it in my grip
and i won't have to run anymore
the chase will be over
life will have maintained a size
that fits easily into the palm of my hand

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One day in the middle of a week...

from the start, a pretty good day
everything going well... typical I guess
my daily trip to the gym
watching my Ella Starr at her swim lesson
my wild, wonderful Ella
living her little life largely with reckless abandon
peeking in on my Tyler Bean in his preschool class
stealing an unscheduled hug
plans for the upcoming programming season filled in on my calendar in ink
just going through a regular day
tonight a meeting...time spent with a woman I so admire
a woman whose daughter suffers young with cancer
invasive, devastating, defeating
those of us who know her well share words of comfort and hope
touching bases with my son
inquiring about a cold he's been sacked with
tensions he's under with school, sports
home...hubby waiting with a hug and a smile
and news
a neighbor dear to us wrestles with illness that threatens his life
one of my son's high school team mates
age 20 at best
is living his last days
his battle with cancer ending in defeat
me...sitting with my husband
quiet, sad, shocked, stunned
us, blessed
that we have each other to hold onto
when life makes us smile
providing the promise of each other
for when tears speak the words that our hearts cry out
me, vowing yet again
to never take any of it for granted

be gentle, look up, reach out


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Random rabble...

My friend Brooke asked of her blogging friends to follow along with the 25 random things list.
Here's mine...

  • My favorite color is, and always has been - GREEN.
  • I married my high school sweetheart. We've been together since 1975. He still gives me the shivers.
  • I absolutely love classical music. WFMT in Chicago is THE number one station on my dial. Except for when I'm working out, it's all I listen to. I'm listening right now.
  • My favorite place to be is home. I love my house.

  • I read before sleep, without fail.

  • I hate scary and/or disturbing movies.

  • I think cats are the cat's ass. I'll always have a cat or two...or? My two cats, Tosca and Figaro, think they're the boss of me.

  • I wish my sister and I could be closer. Her life is her kids, my life is the library. When her kids are grown, I plan to hang out with her lots more. Most times I just plain miss her.

  • Good literary fiction is the best fun there is to have. I can't deny the bliss of being over my head inside a good book.

  • I love to write. I didn't know that until about a month ago.

  • I drool over a good dirty martini.

  • I love to sit with a glass of wine, a box of cheezits and a good book. Cheezits are my favorite reading food.

  • I'm an idiot for chocolate.

  • I have a pretty positive outlook on life. It's laugh or cry. I choose to laugh.

  • But...when I'm bummed, you can hear it in my voice. When I'm blue, I can't hide it. I just need to work it out.

  • I have a strong faith, have ever since I was a child. And I believe in Heaven too. But I have a bit of an issue with organized religion. I think people should live and let live when it comes to personal faith. I also find pushy/upity Christians a bit of a turn off. I believe in God. It's as simple and as wonderful as that. And I respect your beliefs, and wish you peace.

  • I wish I had the strength of will to live a vegan lifestyle.

  • In the summer time I grow an incredible herb garden. I'm really missing it right about now. All the pesto I put up in the freezer is long gone. I'm over-wintering a few pots of herbs in the house. They look so sad; they're missing summer, just like I am.

  • I love wearing skirts. I pretty much hate pants, only wear them out of necessity.

  • My kids are my biggest accomplishment in life. They're three amazing young adults, and I'm really proud of them.

  • I'm typically not a nut over babies. I don't go all crazy over every baby I see. There's some though, that I can't resist.

  • I'm the oldest of two. And I have a hard time with the fact that my parents see me as a kid just like I do with my own kids. When my mom refers to me and my sister as "children" it drives me mad. It's my problem though. I understand why she does it. I do it too.

  • When I was in third grade my parents took me and my sister to the outdoor movie theater to see Night of the Living Dead. That movie scared the shit out of me. Still does. I've never been able to watch it again, only that one time. Maybe that's why I hate scary movies. Thanks Mom and Dad. (now that's random)

  • On the outside I look organized, but open any drawer in my house and you'll see it's all smoke and mirrors. My mom made me keep my closets and drawers clean when I was a kid. I couldn't rebel then or I'd be grounded. But I do rebel now.

  • I'm really pretty damn good at decorating a Christmas tree. I cried when I took my tree down this year. It was gorgeous. I still miss it.

Now you know me, what about you?


Page set up on blogger drives me nuts. I don't know if I'll ever figure out how to get the spacing feature down pat. Have a good Monday everyone!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dream, impression, certainty, truth...

Ever since I was a very little girl, I've always had this white hot little fear of something happening to my dad. Something bad. This fear most likely has a Freudian connection, some sort of psychological answer as to why a girl child suffers a subconscious fear that something's going to creep in like a thief in the night and steal her daddy away. And with that, my security, my safety net, my Dad, would disappear.

I have memories of events where I was scared shitless about things happening to my Dad. When I was about four years old, my parents were invited by some friends to go boating and, as I would learn, water skiing. Young as I was, I'm sure I'd never been in a speed boat, much less witnessed the sport of water skiing. As the boat sped around the lake, I hung on for dear life, terrified. Isn't this fun Terri? Are you having fun honey? Please take me in. I think I just wet my pants. After yet another turn around choppy waters, the boat slowed down. Dad strapped on a life jacket and plopped himself into the (very deep) water. After moments of fussing around with ropes, skis, and me not really knowing what the hell was going on, the boat took a sudden jolt forward. I looked back and saw my dad holding fast to a rope on the back of a speeding boat. Fun? I opened my mouth and screamed bloody murder. Didn't stop until Dad was safely back inside the boat. I'm sure I pretty much squelched any enjoyment my parents might of had that day. Who knows what kind of brat their hosts imagined me to be. All I know is that I've never forgotten how terrified I was. My Dad's life flashed before my four year old eyes. I can still hear my scream.

Another event, a few years later when I was maybe 6 or so...Dad borrowed a friends motorcycle and, in an attempt to impress God knows who, nearly killed himself (or so I thought) by trying a wheelie while speeding down our neighborhood street. And again, there I was, open mouthed screaming as I saw my Dad being thrown one way while the bike went another. He was okay, no broken bones, but bloodied up pretty good. Me? One more incident tucked away in a little girl's mind to ponder over on nights when there's no need for the boogie man, the sheer fright of child nightmares enough to keep me company long into the night.

Other events, Dad breaking his leg on a ski trip in Colorado, Dad coming in the house from shoveling an elderly neighbors walk, face looking like he'd been attacked by a knife wielding nut case, thanks to a shard of ice that had slipped from an awning and caught him right in the forehead. And as if this weren't enough, from say age eight on, and throughout my early twenties, I suffered a recurring nightmare involving my Dad. From middle school on, we lived near a beach, and at the beach there was one of those floating rafts - wood planks attached to barrels attached by chain to underwater cement blocks. The underside of that raft always gave me the creeps, big time. In the nightmare, my Dad is caught somehow - under water, under the raft, and no matter how hard I try, I can't free him. If only I had known how this dream, these fears, would somehow later in my life prove to be prophetic.

It all started with a little twitch in my Dad's leg about 10 years ago. Later on that twitch would be diagnosed as Parkinson's disease, a disease in which the body serves the brain divorce papers. A divorce that is long, drawn out, cruel. Because Parkinson's disease itself is a misery that loves company, heart disease became the smarmy divorce lawyer. And because of the complications of the divorce, the lawyer needed an associate. Hello dystonia...abdominal, rare, debilitating, disfiguring and horribly painful. Days have turned into years where I haven't been able to free my dad from being stuck under the raft.

But this is my Dad: hopeful, courageous, positive, calm. I know no one more brave than he. Inside my Dad resides an indomitable spirit. Brain surgery at Mayo, a quadruple bypass, a stroke. He still finds his way back to me. Pulls his head above that murky water and puts his hand on the raft. And I grab it. I hold on tight.

Intuition, the voice which NEVER lies, has prepared me. All my life long I've known that the time would come where I wouldn't be able to scream and save him. I'd wake up and no matter how hard I pinched, this wouldn't be a dream. But still. No matter the effect the ravages of Parkinson's has had on my Dad. Despite the trauma his tender heart has suffered. I still see my Dad, his love of life. His appreciation for the joy of one more day. And he teaches me. He's there for me, Dad as always. And through him I'm inspired. To be brave. To seek adventure, to lust for life. To live life to it's utmost. For him. Through me.
And tonight? After another day, another surgery, there's my Dad...still hanging on to the tow rope. The speed boat that is life pulling him along on another rough ride, only to end safely at shore.

I love you Dad.

p.s...for more on the artwork above, visit here