Weekly Prompts-ClocktheTime 11/23/19

Fair warning (as I have stated before about my blog…I share happy stories AND painful stories), as of this writing, this post has no happy ending.


Clock the Time

Perfect for me this week. And I hate it!!

I’m in the middle of the longest, most frightening period of time I have experienced in my 71 years of life. In reality, it’s only been about 7 days so far, but for most of the last week, time has “stood still”, you know, the way it can sometimes when it loses all meaning! But in the moments when relevance has slipped back in…hmm, it’s been 13 hours since I’ve eaten anything…the time passing has seemed like an eternity.

I’m having one hell of a time Choosing My Perspective!

It’s been a little like attending a childbirth…where the only important clocking of time is tracking the number of minutes between contractions, or the more important clocking the time issue, the number of hours of labor so far. I’ve attended so many births and in the latter example, I would be vaguely aware of crossing that somewhat subjective line, mostly determined by the Doc or Midwife. It happens when a labor goes from what will later make a good story-I was in labor for 16 and 1/2 hours to the…Uh-oh, this is taking way too long moment. I know that look, that Uh-Oh facial expression on the face of the person there to “catch” that baby…

All the waiting this week has also triggered some deep, internal philosophical debates about the passing of time and the theory about feelings/emotions I have always taught my clients.

My basic premise has always been what I learned early in my training and education as a Psychotherapist.

-Emotions are basically biological…a physiological response to some perceived trigger, real or not.

-Feelings are not right or wrong. They just ARE!

-We can’t control a feeling response…only what we do with it…what we conclude from it and how we express it.

-Ignoring feelings completely is not good for us. They are going to need expression eventually…and the longer we wait, the more messy, and out of proportion they can become.

So this week, I have been trying to practice what I preach. But I’ve gone completely blank.

I had an experience of this kind of Clocking Time a few years ago. It challenged my beliefs about if, how, or when to express feelings. In a routine physical, an enthusiastic young Doctor decided that I had what looked like a life-threatening disease. Melanoma. She concluded that it had probably already metastasized. The biopsies to confirm this would take 48 hours.

A long couple of days, huh? I did not want to give myself over to the looming panic, but I also did not want to ignore the waves of feelings that were coming up, threatening to wash over me tsunami-style. What a balancing act that was! Luckily, I also knew to trust my gut, and the hard-earned knowledge I had of my own body.

My gut didn’t believe it, so I “waited” as that clock ticked fairly calmly. And it turned out to be, of all things, just an “age spot”!

During that eternity, on the clock just 48 hours, time had very little meaning. But a lot of other stuff sure did. Moral, ethical, philosophical debates raged in my head and heart.

Should I tell my family? Don’t they deserve to know?

Hell NO! There’s nothing to tell yet?

Yes but I always do scary things like this alone and never ask for support. Shouldn’t I reach out?

For what? You don’t know anything yet. Just wait!

Ya but I KNOW how PTSD works. The sooner someone who has been through a trauma can feel the resulting emotions, the better.

Yes but, has there actually been a trauma? You don’t know yet.

I think I was able to survive that two days of time standing still because of that little internal voice that was whispering to me that I was fine. When my gut reaction was confirmed, I could feel a huge relief and then use that to turn the whole thing into just an anecdote. Thank goodness, I also knew to get some “there, there” from my closest people. Turned out it was not a death sentence after all, but I still needed empathy for what was a rather a grueling stretch of stopped time!

I know why this current period of Clocking the Time has me in such a state. Fifty some years ago my mother went missing. I knew she was in serious emotional trouble. She had attempted suicide just two years before and this time, I recognized that same dark, dark resignation and resolve the last time I saw her. But because I was only a teenager, no one in authority would listen to me. For three eternal days, I looked for her, more and more frantically as each hour passed.

My gut was right. And I was too late. When they finally found her, she’d been dead for 3 days.


Right now, we are 7 days into hoping to hear from (or about) my teenage grandson, who “ran away” in a very dangerous state of mind.

My gut is failing me. Strangely and frustratingly silent.

And it’s been the longest week of my life….




Photo Challenge Clock the Time

Evanescent for WPC 5-24-17


soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.
“a shimmering evanescent bubble”

Oh boy, I had to look this one up…maybe because I am the Queen of Holding On, of refusing to let go of stuff, especially love and also beauty…in any and all of its forms. And PEOPLE, don’t get me started. I hang on to people, healthy for me or not. I am still in touch with almost every boy I have ever loved!!

So I had a hard time “getting” the definition of this word…

synonyms: vanishing, fading, evaporating, melting away, disappearing;

I learn so many lessons from sea shells. Having grown up by the ocean, I have been a collector all my life. But it wasn’t until an amazing sailing trip throughout Fiji, where we got to prowl along beaches so remote it truly felt like we might be the first humans to ever lay bare feet in that sand, that I realized I was a shell snob. That was my first insight into my own ageism. I only wanted those gorgeous, undamaged shells. In other words, the young perfect ones.

Even though we had to receive permission from the chief of an island to collect shells, it was the locals who pointed out I was gathering shells that might not be finished with their life’s purpose yet. Most shells are recyclable! I was stealing some hermit crab’s future home or maybe a pearl’s gestation container!

But this post is not about shells. My interpretation of evanescent is about all things with a life cycle, no matter how short or long. My lesson from the word this week is to remember how the Fijians (the iTaukei) taught me to fully appreciate beauty at every stage.

It’s easy to see and appreciate the evanescent progression in nature…

I can see the obvious beauty there…

But it’s a bit more difficult when I study the phenomenon of Evanescence while looking in the mirror!

Time…….passing at warp speed now!

That’s all I can say…

Song Lyrics Sunday 3/12/17 TIME



Well, I’ve just spent an hour searching for the song I wanted to share. I thought for sure I could find a video with it playing in that haunting beach scene from the movie “Coming Home” but no luck.

So here is the song (and lyrics). If you are over 60, crank up your volume, hold onto your heart and get ready to be transported back…in TIME!



And here is the scene from the movie that comes up in my search and in my opinion, won Jon Voight the best actor Oscar that year.



Transformation by ChosenPerspectives


This is my second post for this challenge. Pauses and Clicks reminded me this morning of the whole challenge.  Before I had focused mainly on the “strange and grotesque” part.

Life’s Autumn Changes

This series of photos I’ve been taking of Hydrangeas best captures the week’s theme for me but it wasn’t until reading the above post that I got how truly beautiful this amazing plant and it’s blossoms are….until their very end.

How in the world does THIS…


…Become THIS???


The “Transformation” is both invisibly slow, as well as lightning fast. I took these pictures from April to June!

Here is a Transformation slideshow.

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But for me, the lesson didn’t stop there. I had planned on showing the photos of Hydrangeas at the end of their life to demonstrate how something so lovely can transform into “ugly”…but I read her post this morning and it completely changed my perspective.

NOW, I can see how the Hydrangea becomes MORE beautiful as it ages, stunning even…

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And, since I’m always looking at life through the lens of Generations, look what else I found!


Multi-Generational Living at it’s finest!!!

Thanks Pauses and Clicks!

(Now if I can just apply this lesson the next time I look in a mirror!)


PS Today is November 4th, 2016 and when I walked outside, here’s what greeted me!


Obscure Opposites from ChosenPerspectives 7-1-16

These are sort of examples of the Opposite of what you might expect………..

IMG_3649This Junco, who forgot to migrate, is singing like it’s Spring….

IMG_3683The bright green of this grass seems to be opposing the snow

IMG_3687Very late apple!

IMG_8580View from cabin on Hood Canal


Saving the Best for Last: a Love Story for the Natchez High Class of 66!

Happy 10th Anniversary to my James ♥

Dear Natchez High Class of 1966, (the longest “christmas Letter” ever!)

After we left y’all at our 40th Reunion in 2006, James and I have made quite a life for ourselves. You all witnessed the beginning of us, (unless you actually remember even earlier…James and I hanging out back in high school during The King and I rehearsals). Some of you probably spotted the potential before either one of us did.

Actually, it was pretty instant. Eye contact at the Pig Roast at Everett’s. We both knew  even before we even arrived back to our separate homes out West in June, 2006.

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                                                    Spotted this on my long drive home that June

I was the more resistant at first, not wanting to be in a long-distance relationship. (This was when I thought James still lived in Mississippi.) But when I found out that he was just across my local mountains, a mere 4 hour drive (from Bellevue to Spokane, WA.) I was a goner. No excuses. Early on, we had fun discovering the mutual secret crushes we both hidden in our adolescent friendship during our time together at NACHS.

During our first couple of years together since that reunion, the 4 hour drive was sometimes inconvenient, but both of us willingly accepted the challenge and began making room in our separate lives for each other.


Sometimes all we had time for was driving two hours each, meeting halfway between our homes but that became another sweet adventure. Talk about meeting in the middle of nowhere! This is the Columbia Gorge.

We have now lived in both our places for most of these 10 years.

Learning about each other’s’ lives since high school has unearthed so many experiences in common…and many near misses as our paths almost crossed…serendipity!

We both “served our country”, James, by being in the Army during the Vietnam era, and me, by becoming a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), our country’s Peace Corp.

                                     James in Vietnam                                           Kathie in Birmingham 

We both lived in the San Francisco Bay area at the same time, during the height of the Haight/Ashbury Hippie days.

We both travelled the country and chose the beautiful Northwest in which to settle. A couple of times, I was back in Mississippi while James was out West, in San Diego (where I had returned to after high school in Natchez) just missing each other.

We have both inherited such wonderful things from each other’s lives.

We have two homes now; one, a gorgeous mountain retreat, built by James with his own talented hands! And one, a unique suburban homestead, much of which has been built (or held together with duct tape) by my own hands.


                                            My misleading “little house”…it’s actually quite large


I get to have live music regularly in my life now, as James has continued to play off and on professionally.

He and my son connected over music right away.

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                                                             Michael and James on guitar photo


                                                                       James at a Spokane gig


James got me on the Harley


and I gave him a family

                                                                            James with his new family


James gave me his circle of friends that have been meeting every Wednesday night for over 20 years at what they call The Wheel. (This is an amazing group of folks in Spokane who gather on a mountain top to celebrate Nature and to support each other. They call it the “Church of the Blue Dome”.)


                                                                                The Wheel


And I gave him my sister’s home in the San Juan Islands where we get to house-sit every year for a few weeks.

IMG_6522            IMG_1970

 Oh, my sister’s husband is now one of J’s very best friends.

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They think they are so tough. Lenore and I think they are just HOT!

We have had great travel adventures. We’ve been back to Natchez several times, almost bought an “older home” there, and with each visit, we gained weight by filling up on real catfish and hushpuppies…oh, and fried green tomatoes and dill pickles.

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My sweet cousins and me

We took an amazing road trip on the Harley, down the West Coast as far as Pacific Grove, and camped in the Redwood Forest, which James had never seen before! (below)


We have been to San Diego a few times, enjoying the Beach Life I grew up in…


And we have both tried to make up for all the lost time by sharing our Mothers with each other.

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                                        James and siblings visiting Mother Alma’s grave in Natchez

James even went with me to visit my Mother’s grave for the very first time.

November 21 162

                         My mother’s grave in the Fort Rosecrans military cemetery in Point Loma

And a huge highlight for me is that James was with me and my son and his family, when we reunited with my long lost daughter, Pamela and her family.


                                 Me, with BOTH my children at the same time…a dream come true


We have done so much to improve our two homes.

James has used his amazing skills to fix up, save and improve my Bellevue home of 40 years now. It’s over 100 years old and needed his talent. He even built me a Group Therapy Room so I could bring my practice home after I sold my long time office building. It’s really the very best room in the whole house.

And I introduced James to my 38 years long best friend and former business partner and he and his wife and James and I have added on the equivalent of another home to J’s mountain “cabin” so we can all live together as we age. (All four of us WRITE! My best friend and his wife are both published, she has even won an award  http://www.patriciacleary.net/ ).

But James is the sleeper. He is incredibly talented! The novel he’s working on rivals anything Grisham has written and, dare I say it, maybe even our own Greg Iles. (James will deny this, LOUDLY.) I’m writing a nonfiction book that will hopefully be a legacy for my grandchildren, at least.




                   Casa Esmeralda-Before and After (named, as James often does, after Emerald Mound)

James and I are so grateful to have connected at this later point in our lives because we know we probably would not have survived with each other earlier, given all the hard relationship lessons we both had to learn.

We really wanted to come to the 50th Reunion this year, and had planned to when we thought it would be Memorial Day weekend. We were going to dance outrageously and give y’all “Something to Talk About”……………(You’ll have to get James to tell you the story of Bonnie Raitt singing that very song to him!!!)

But instead, you get the world’s longest “Christmas Letter”!

So sorry to miss you all. And I hope you turn the town upside down this weekend!!

Love and Hugs from,

Kathie Bessey Arcide and James Carl Fletcher

(although he doesn’t know I’m doing this! It is my anniversary gift to him!!) ♥

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My favorite picture!

PS Someone posted this recently.


Was it you Larry?

Admiration on chosenperspectives for WPC


Undying admiration and gratitude for my long, LONG-time friend, Karuna. Our paths (in probably 30 years) have crossed, paralleled, drifted apart and re-linked more than a few times.

I won’t tell you my version of her whole biography. You can read that for yourself on


But you won’t find a more courageous, adventurous, giving, dedicated, ethical and loving person, teacher, friend and mother.

Let me just say that what I am currently admiring most is her seemingly endless patience with me as my “Blog Coach” (and butt kicker)! Thanks Karuna for pushing (encouraging) me to do a WordPress Blog. I’m loving it and all the wonderful, talented, amazing people I am meeting.

PS Before you complain about the photo, Karuna, I think it captures so many of the things I listed above. You are truly a beautiful person!