A Photo a Week Challenge: From the Back 9/29/18

This first shot (below) I did not take (obviously, because I am in the the photo, but it is one of my most important photographs. It’s a picture of me with my very best friend, taken by my other very best friend.

We are all gathered on the beach in Port Townsend to do a Good-bye Ritual for my three pets, all gone withing two months of each other. This beach was my 16 year old purebred German Shepherd’s favorite place to run free.

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This next photo I caught by accident many years ago but to your eye, the true subject matter might not be obvious. This is my very precocious 16 month old grandson, who has come upon his mother, washing her hair in the huge spa bathtub, in a beautiful mountain cabin we had rented. He is mesmerized by what he sees through the door crack and stays frozen in this position, watching, for 5 full minutes (an eternity, if you have ever been around toddlers).

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These two are of our kitten Lucy. Neither really captures her essence but I thought the photos were kind of interesting.

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Boy, I am realizing how poignant photographs From the Back can be…at least the ones I have taken.

The one below is of my son, his wife, and their boys, on what would turn out to be their last Family Outing…EVER.

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A few weeks ago, the photo above of my family would have been one of my saddest ever, but my beloved 18 year old Heart Cat just died so this last picture, right below, has usurped that position, for a while anyway…

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His reflection  “From the Back” in that glass cabinet

really gets me…

 

 

**The “featured” photo at the top is my son, with his son, walking in the woods on San Juan Island.

 

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/a-photo-a-week-challenge-late-from-the-back/

Song Lyric Sunday-the Blues

Some might argue that the Black Crowes don’t have a blues bone in their bodies but this song is pretty BLUE!!

 

https://helenespinosa.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/song-lyric-sunday-theme-for-92516/
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She Talks to Angels by the Black Crowes

Lyrics

She never mentions the word addiction
In certain company.
Yes, she’ll tell you she’s an orphan
After you meet her family.

She paints her eyes as black as night now.
Pulls those shades down tight.
Yeah, she gives me a smile when the pain comes.
The pain gonna make everything alright.

Says she talks to angels.
They call her out by her name.
Oh yeah, she talks to angels.
Says they call her out by her name.

She keeps a lock of hair in her pocket.
She wears a cross around her neck.
Yes the hair is from a little boy,
And the cross from someone she has not met, well, not yet

Says she talks to angels.
Says they all know her name.
Oh yeah, she talks to angels.
Says they call her out by her name.

She don’t know no lover,
None that I ever seen.
Yeah, to her that ain’t nothing
But to me it means, means everything.

She paints her eyes as black as night now.
Pulls those shades down tight.
Oh yeah there’s a smile when the pain comes.
Pain’s gonna make everything alright, alright yeah

Says she talks to angels.
Says they call her out by her name.
Oh yeah, angels
Call her out by her name
Oh angel,
They call her out by her name
Oh she talks to angels,
They call her out, yeah yeah
Call her out,
Don’t you know that they call her out by her name

Written by Chris Robinson, Christopher Mark Robinson, Rich Robinson, Rich S. Robinson • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Dark Chapter

52 chapters/stories for my book…that’s how many I have written but the rape chapter is the hardest.

I started out being kind of namby-pamby about it. That’s the feedback I got from my mentor/auntie, an author I deeply respect. She said “Kathie, you have to remove the sugar coating and tell us what actually happened.”

It took many years, but I finally did what she asked, leaving out no disturbing detail. To that version, she responded with “Well, maybe not THAT detailed!”

So I am trying a completely different approach this time.

I am house-sitting for dear friends as I write this. I am in a situation I rarely put myself in…alone for days (and worse, nights) in an unfamiliar house, in a very remote setting. I did all the things that for me are normal when I am in any new place… checked out all conceivable exits…found the quickest routes away from the house, noticing fast exit dangers, like locked gates, stuff to trip over, etc.….discovered any weaknesses in normal security (windows, door locks) and tested how they all sound. And I found the best hiding places inside the house in case escape is not an option.

It’s a pain in the butt to be me.

The point of telling you this is that even though I have done a shitload of therapy and healing work on having been raped, one result remains the same. I live my life differently than most people.

Here’s the opening I wrote when my mentor requested a more “detailed version”, but I edited it in this draft to honor her feedback to not be THAT detailed….

If I do ever get this chapter on paper the way I want it, I will keep my original title.

What I want to know is would you want to read a story that starts like this???

“Being Raped”

Being Raped has to be the title of this chapter. The odd tense of the word “being” implies a current circumstance that captures the experience, as if describing a state of being rather than an action.

That’s why it’s perfect.

In an instant, an event like this can become the definition of WHO you are. There is a part of the act, the trauma, the experience that continues in your body, your psyche, your mind, and your heart…as if it is in fact, still happening right now, always in the present tense.

If you have been raped, the incident just goes on and on and on, granted less loudly with time. But for you, intrusion, in any form will shock your body right back awake, no matter how far into the back of your Secret’s Closet you’ve shoved that rape, hoping to keep it fast asleep.

This will be true for the rest of your life…no matter how much therapeutic work you do. No matter how deeply you are able to heal.

You will never not know the terror of being awakened with a knife at your throat.

You will never not remember the feeling of being held down in your own bed by two men.

And you will never forget the popping sound of a gun being fired, RIGHT BY YOUR HEAD, in the middle of this surprisingly quiet chaos… rousing the thought that though you may survive this knife, you still might end up getting shot!

All comments welcome! Thank you.

Black and White, Dark and Light

https://chosenperspectives.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/black-and-white-light-and-dark/

The link above is to a disclaimer I wrote back in January, expecting maybe to share more dark true stories, but only a couple thus far have insisted on being written.

I also wrote it when I only had a handful of followers. I am delighted and so surprised that I now have 142 amazing people who read what I write and who look at my photos. I feel so honored.

I love the exchanges I am having with so many of you. I feel like I am actually forming friendships, not something I really expected from blogging! (even though you told me I would, Karuna!) And it may be those friendships that are inspiring me to dig a bit deeper now in my sharing.

Anyway, I thought I would repeat the warning, you know, just in case you are not in the mood for “dark”. I can feel a couple of those stories bubbling up to the surface here soon.

If you do read them, I’d love a comment, any response, but especially if you think the story might have value for someone maybe working through something similar.

Thanks so much.

Kathie

 

“featured image” above is artwork by 10 year old Julius. A gift for the wall by my writing desk.

Song Lyric Sunday, 9-11-16

I couldn’t write this on Sunday. I couldn’t even think about it on Sunday. I do not understand why the anniversary THIS year would be any more difficult than all the other years but finally realized, for 13 of the last 15 years since it happened, I have done something on the anniversary with all that grief. I have connected with others and we have used our grief to express gratitude, mostly to our local first responders, in honor of their brothers and sisters lost on September 11th, 2001.

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We got up to 55 dozen cookies a couple of years ago…had to borrow neighbors’ stoves, had several cars full of moms and kids delivering cookies, etc.. There are 11 firehouses in our city and we made sure each got plenty of thank you cookies (Grandma’s chocolate chip recipe). Even made some gluten free options!

The kids also made thank you cards and we made old school Music CD’s with all the 9/11 songs we could find.

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Our local fire fighters and EMT’s were so grateful and gave the kids such wonderful tours and attention!

Anyway, when I was trying to come up with a song for

Our theme for Song Lyric Sunday is to post a song that refers to a city/state/town.

I could not pick one place so here’s the song I decided on.

It did affect us ALL, everywhere!!!

(I very much prefer this song performed by my dear friends Riley and Maloney but couldn’t find a video of them.)

Be sure to listen until the song really takes off!

As for credit, here’s what Wikipedia says:

I’ve Been Everywhere” is a song which was written by Australian country singer Geoff Mack in 1959, and made popular by Lucky Starr in 1962.

The song as originally written listed Australian towns. It was later adapted by Canadian Hank Snow for North American (predominantly United States)toponyms, by Australian singer Rolf Harris with English and Scottish toponyms (1963),[1] and by John Hore (later known as John Grenell) with New Zealandtoponyms (1966).

 

https://helenespinosa.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/song-lyric-sunday-theme-for-91116/

ChosenPerspective on Edge for WPC

 

Edge

I take a lot of “perspective” photos but the word this week brought up a completely different image for me.

Most animal people have that one special relationship, that stays with them forever…a “heart pet”…sort of an animal “soulmate”.

For many years, mine was an animal I won at a Saturday afternoon matinee. It was close to Easter and there was a drawing for a baby bunny, a tiny chick and a duckling. My ticket stub was the winning number for my very own DUCK!! I raised that duck in my bedroom, even “house broke” her. I was nine years old and simply didn’t know that was impossible to do.

Many animal friends later, I had a huge, beautiful purebred German Shepherd named Joy. Another heart animal for me….She lived until she was sixteen years old!

I’ve written about that amazing dog many times.

Here’s an example about Joy.

https://chosenperspectives.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/5706/

But then we come to Zorro.

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I have never been so in sync, so bonded, so in love with an animal before. He is 16 years old now himself and has his own long story. I treasure every single day with him. I am very clingy with the Big Z right now, but Zorro is not the focus of this week’s post so back to the theme for the week.

“Edge” is the name of my daughter’s most beloved cat. Edge only very recently left, after too short an illness for my daughter to prepare herself at all. A quick trip to the Vet, lots of tests and boom, he was gone. This loss completely broke her heart.

I have often thought that sometimes the loss of a pet can hit us even harder than when a human loved one dies, in part because we can love our pets from such an innocent, child-like place in our hearts.

And really, what human in our adult lives can love us as unconditionally as our heart- animals do?

Edge’s sudden departure and my daughter’s devastation are why poor Zorro is getting smothered these days. I know when I lose Zorro, I will undoubtedly be a nine year old, inconsolable child for quite a long while.

Below is my daughter’s story about her sweet “Edge”. She took this picture.

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I met Edge on Valentines Day in 2003 at the animal shelter.  He’d been abandoned at 6 months old and all 4 paws were severely frostbitten as it was -20º outside here in Minnesota.  It was love at first sight. I didn’t claim him as much as he claimed me. He had gigantic, long white whiskers and his face had odd splatters of white, making him look like he’d been in a paint fight. I named him The Edge on the way home in the car after the U2 guitarist. Some of my favorite things about him – when I’d come home from work and open the front door, he’d be on the stairs waiting but would act startled and then hop sideways with his hackles up back up the stairs.  It made me laugh every time.  He also would flop on my head whenever possible, whether I was sleeping, doing yoga, reading, he didn’t care.  If my head was accessible, he was on it. From the time I got him, he made a loud, rattling noise when he breathed, like a 90 year old man, which had limited charm when he camped on my head.   When Sarah would come over to visit, I’d let Edge out the door and he would run down the corridor meowing to greet her. He knew how to open the medicine chest in the bathroom and if he felt ignored, he’d open it and knock everything off the shelves and into the sink. He was such a good companion, loved to be picked up and hang out with me on the patio.  This is one of my favorite photo’s from my patio a few years back. I love how crazy his whiskers are, how happy he looks and how much we enjoyed hanging out in the sunshine together.

all this talk about hair………..

I posted about Hair in response to Marilyn Armstrong’s post  https://teepee12.com/2016/08/11/the-surface-report-today-we-are-shallow/

Then Karuna posted in response to mine

https://livinglearningandlettinggo.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/sixty-eight-years-of-hair/

Lots of comments back and forth (I don’t know how to share those) but here’s my latest response in response to Marilyn’s comment:

First, thank you🙂 It’s the thinning that’s so hard to deal with. I had a lot of hair for a long time. I think your hair looks GREAT.

And I respond:

These photos of my hair are NOT recent. I’ll have to post an updated photo so no one thinks I’m bitching about nothing! Although I guess it is all relative, eh?
sigh.

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just a warning to those who haven’t seen me in a while…

I’m losing ten to twelve of these hairballs a week now……..

 

(hmm, and I need a manicure…like I ever get those!)

In the meantime, enjoy my response to Karuna’s response.

 

Song Lyric Sunday August 21, 2016

(WARNING! “R” rated for language! Mine, not necessarily the song choice)

OK, first things first. All the instructions are down below because I want to launch into my choice for this Sunday’s Song Lyrics theme, ANGER! Perfect in my life today!!

I have had the worst pissed off week I have had in ages. I fly fairly level these days in my life. But when someone really close to me dumps a shitload of their saved up garbage on my head with no warning, fury is the only natural response. Especially when it comes in an email disguised with a long-awaited, closeness-promoting title!

Oh eventually, I’ll get clear about what’s mine and what’s not, but right now, today? Here’s my song!!

Pump up your volume and sing along if there is someone you are mad at!

 

 

https://helenespinosa.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/song-lyric-sunday-theme-for-82116/#like-2043
Our theme for Song Lyric Sunday is to post a song that explores anger.  (I know anger is a secondary emotion, so maybe that isn’t the best word choice, but I think it’s broad enough we should be able to come up with something.)  

As always, you can go your own way and post a song that has nothing to do with the prompt.  We’re all here sharing our love of music and lyrics, and most of all, having a great time!

Also, if you would like to suggest a theme, I am open to suggestions.   Please either pop it in the comments or send me an email at redesp75@yahoo.com.

Here are the “rules”:

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due and it’s honestly just a simple Google search
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and provide a link to where you found the lyrics
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song
  • Ping back to this post or my own Song Lyric Sunday post
  • Read at least one other person’s blog so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process

Feel free to use the Song Lyric Sunday badge by copying it into your post or add it to your site to show you are participating.

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Trees-for Marilyn

I love trees. They have played such an important role in my life, starting at 5 years old when my new Dad bought a tree that was exactly same height as me so I could watch it grow all through my childhood.

I loved that tree…a Star Pine…and as it grew, I played in its shade, building miniature forts out of natural debris. When it quintupled its size, I climbed up in it to check out the view of the ocean over the top of our house or to just read a book where it was quiet. That tree was my secret hiding place during many childhood dramas (and traumas).

I seriously bond with trees. I was lucky enough to have made several trips to the Redwood Forest as a kid, where I met and still remember this one particular tree that I visited several more times in my life. It was not one of the tourist trees…this one was mine.

Not that you can actually own a tree……..

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk (where I am writing this right now) on a perfectly calm, sunny day. No wind, no rain storm, no earthquakes. Nothing. Perfectly peaceful.

I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Then, came the sound. Sickeningly familiar. I’ve heard it before, but thank god, only a few times in my life…like when the snow load on a tree is just too heavy. Craaack. From my desk I can see my two favorite trees, very mature Ornamental Flowering Plum trees, and I watched helplessly as a huge limb on one of them slowly cracked and slowly split apart. It slowly fell onto the “Baby Bird”. (That’s what we call the 57 T-Bird that lives at our house while her owner is abroad. We are trying to sell her.)

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What I can see from the window by my desk (board put there in a desperate attempt to hold the branch off the car)

I jumped up, ran out the back door, down the deck steps, and stopped short in the driveway as it hit me. What the hell was I going to do? Try to stop the several hundred pound limb from falling further???

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Can’t see it in this photo but there is another car buried under there, nose to nose with the T-Bird

As I stood there, visually assessing, that awful cracking sound continued…quieter, but in short staccato bursts. I didn’t know if the whole tree was about to collapse or what! I could see that heavy limb was miraculously being held very slightly up off the Thunderbird by all the smaller branches that already reached the ground surrounding the car…like a purple cage of twigs and leaves.

But the continued cracking was a warning. If that branch came the rest of the way down, the Baby Bird might well be crushed.

Now, I panicked.

I’m always complaining (mostly playfully) about having to live with six men, but today, I was wishing for even one of them to be available. This felt like a Guy Emergency! I broke two cardinal rules. I interrupted my son Michael at work and James, at band practice!!

I just texted them each the above photo. They both came. I don’t know what I thought they could do though. Super James is getting older (finally) and younger, muscle-man Michael was hampered by some newly broken ribs. They were not going to be able to lift that limb either.

I also sent out an SOS on our neighborhood group email asking for all available youth and muscle to come to my house ASAP. Several of them came immediately. I love my neighbors!! Still not enough to lift it and besides it was getting really unsafe by now.

The most urgent dilemma was getting the Baby Bird out from under that limb in case it finished giving way. The obvious thing to do was to back the car out from under the potentially crushing tree…impossible to open the driver’s door but the passenger door not impossible. Here’s the thing though. James stores the car with its battery disconnected. There was absolutely NO getting that hood up to reconnect the battery. Below you can see him buried in the tree trying to lift it.

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And even if we got it out, how much more of the tree would fall onto the Taurus, the car hidden nose to nose with the T-Bird??

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the Taurus

OK, so tow it out of there, right? And hope the huge limb doesn’t scratch the Baby Bird or crush the Taurus when the Baby stops holding up its weight.

Well, towing a 1957 Thunderbird is not easy. Those suckers are heavy!! But James got it out with his 4Runner and miraculously, the smaller branches continued to hold the heavy limb up off the Taurus, gently resting on the ground.

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The crisis with the cars was mostly averted, only purple streaks across their hoods and roofs. No scratches deep enough really to even damage the paint jobs. Amazing.

Then a potentially more serious problem showed up…

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Look closely at the above photo and you can see a wire pulled down by the limb….uh oh….

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I have been after the power company, the cable company and the phone company for years about the placement of their connections to my home, and a few years back the power company did finally come out. Not to change the location of their power pole, but to trim my trees just a bit…to keep their wire safe.

But now, to the left of this whole T-Bird vs Tree argument, there is a wire laying on the ground…and it goes all the way across the street to the main power pole for the whole neighborhood. My street is a long dead-end lane and there is rarely traffic on it except, of course, at this exact time of evening. Everyone is arriving home from work.

We are all standing around, no one 100% confident they know which kind of wire this is.

So I call the power company. I call the cable company. I even call the phone company although our landline is now through the cable. No one comes. They all say they will be there within 45 minutes. NO ONE SHOWS UP!! (Not for 36 hours!!!)

Finally, one knowledgeable (or just brave) neighbor pulls on the wire hard enough to lift up the slack that had lain on the street. Second crisis temporarily averted.

Except for the day and a half of no TV (only hard on the grandsons) and no internet for those adults in our house who work online, we (cars and all) survived the event just fine.

Now, the real trauma….

If you happen to follow the wonderful Marilyn Armstrong at Serendipity ( https://teepee12.com/ ), you know that she and her family had a horrific ‘nature tragedy” earlier this year, that terrorized her and nearly destroyed their trees. If you are not suseptable to nightmares, you can read about it here.

FIGHTING MONSTERS

What I am about to tell you in no way compares to what they went through but I bring up Marilyn because I think she might understand my recent loss better than most.

Though it is a long and complicated story about why, basically here’s what happened next.

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My beautiful trees are killed…

 

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I can’t write any more right now. All I can think of is the countless birds associated with those gorgeous trees. Hummer nests. Blue Jays. Flickers. Woodpeckers. Nuthatches. Chickadees. And whole flocks of beautiful House Finches whose colors matched the tree! It’s where the Crows waited each morning for me to feed them. Sometimes the crows would talk to the hummingbirds there. And even the cute but irritating squirrels would steal the crow food and leap off the corner of the deck into the safety of those plum trees.

Here’s a slideshow in Memoriam…………

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I’m almost glad I don’t have any pictures of them blanketed in their full Spring Pink Glory….just that partial one at the very top…

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This is my Therapy Room. If you had come to see me, you might have sat on this brown couch, positioned so you could look out that window…at my beautiful Flowering Plum Trees.

I guess I will be rearranging furniture soon.