Friday, April 6, 2012

Her Name Was Marlena

She was my best friend for many years, right by my side at all times.  I guess you could say she was my shadow.  Everywhere I went, there she was.  But, I didn’t mind.  She was the perfect companion for me.  Whatever I liked, she liked too.  She treasured and protected any secret I told her in confidence.  She maintained my sense of humor.  She gave me a sense of safety.    

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but suddenly one day I noticed, she had disappeared.  She would sneak a peek in everyone once in a while, just to remind me she had not really left.  But, sadly, as the years passed, her visits became fewer and farther between, until she no longer appeared.

With the passing years, tarnish developed in my imagination.  My life got busy, crowding out thoughts of Marlena.  Forgotten memory was only temporary, as everything is.  Then as swiftly as she vanished, unexpectedly her image surfaced once again.  She looked precisely as she had so many years ago.  Immediately I recognized her.  She was a welcome sight, a vision of warmth and friendship; a sense of comfort. 

It was apparent our paths had crossed long ago for a reason.  That purpose was clarified when we were reunited.  And, just as is true of any authentic friendship, even after so many years, we easily picked up, where we left off, as if no time had passed.

The difference is that now she is with me for only brief periods of time.  Now, so many years later since my childhood, my desires have changed, leaving less room in my life for Marlena.  However this whimsical fantasy returns to me, whenever a need exists. 

Created within the depths of my heart, soul and imagination, Marlena has become my sanity.  I am truly grateful for this gift.

If everyone had an illusion, just like Marlena, this world would be a more peaceful and happier place.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gratitude for the K.I.S.S.

Gratitude for the K.I.S.S.

I think it was about forty years ago, when I first heard this acronym.  It was at a seminar conducted by Terry Cole-Whittaker.  

The KISS Principle was a design principle articulated by Kelly Johnson.
Variants from Wikipedia:   The principle most likely finds its origins in similar concepts, such as Occam's razor, and Albert Einstein's maxim that "everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler".  Leonardo da Vinci's "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication", or Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry's "It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away".
K = Keep
I = It
S = Simple
S = Stupid

A good reminder, which I often forget.  I am inclined to complicate things, without intending to do so.  Being detail-minded is a good quality, but I tend to push it a bit too far sometimes.  When writing, I’m often verbose.  In my poetry, I digress, going off on a tangent, compounding the words, resembling an almost novel-length piece of work, instead of a creative sonnet. Sometimes I don’t talk, but rather ramble, on and on and on and on.  I sense the annoyance of that, when my family breathes sighs of boredom.

My boss would remind me to keep it simple, when writing emails.  But, I’d think it was necessary to include all those extra details in order to get the point across to the reader.  Maybe that’s true sometimes, but not usually; and definitely not to the extent I carried it.

I’m writing about this now, as a reminder for me to focus on transforming my complexity into simplicity; and my accumulation into minimalism.

But, how does one undertake this task, after sixty-four years filled with the obstacles of complication and obscurity?  I honestly do not know.  But, what I do know is that it’s never too late for learning a new concept.

Even now, as I write, this would be a good place to end, maintaining brevity.  But, my inner voice tells me to keep my fingers moving on the keyboard, as random thoughts swirl around in my head.

For now, I’m telling my inner voice to be silent, while I attempt to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Lesson one, in this challenge to consolidate my words into simplicity, is to conclude this chapter immediately, without another thought.

THE END ………………………….  for now anyway

Biting my tongue, sitting on my hands, closing my eyes, holding my breath…..

GRATEFUL for the courage to challenge and defy my inner voice

GRATITUDE for the K.I.S.S.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

GRATITUDE for Valentine's Day - Past & Present

Reflecting back with fond memories - fourteen years ago (1998), on a very wet, stormy day, we went to a wedding. He asked me to pack an overnight bag, but wouldn’t tell me where we were going. It was a surprise. After the wedding he swept me away to places unknown. The rain was coming down very hard, but he kept driving. Finally we arrived at our destination – The Embassy Suites in Arcadia, CA. He had reserved a special room with the Valentine’s Day Love Package, complete with champagne and chocolate, among other things. On our way to brunch the next morning at the hotel, we watched in the courtyard garden area, as two people (strangers to us) spoke their wedding vows, pledging their love to each other. We had not yet talked about marriage, but I dreamed that one day we would be that couple in that same gazebo in the garden, promising to love, honor and cherish each other forever.

For more than a year, each month, he gave me beautiful fresh roses – each month adding one more than the month before; with the exception of August, when he had thirty amazing roses delivered to me. This represented the thirty years since we had first met in August 1968.

Thirteen years ago (1999), barely awake, still in our jammies, hair not combed, teeth not brushed, we sat in my backyard drinking coffee. He excused himself and went into the house. Shortly he returned with a bouquet of twenty-four red roses, but these were artificial – silk ------ “fake” flowers????? This was so unlike him, or so I thought. But, it was exactly just like him – the wonderfully loving romantic man in my life. As he held the flowers, he explained that unlike real roses, these would last forever, just like his love for me. Then he got down on one knee and proposed.

There was no engagement ring, but it didn’t matter to me. We were in love and we were going to get married to share the rest of our lives together. That’s what was important. When we finally got around to discussing a wedding date, this fifty-four year old man suggested waiting a few years. Wait? A few years? For what? We had known each other for over thirty years! We’d been involved for over a year. We had no doubts about our love for each other. There was no reason to wait. But, we did wait one year, because we wanted to get married close to the date of my parents’ wedding anniversary, February 15th. With my lucky number being 19, it was perfect – the following year (2000) February 19th fell on a Saturday. But, we’ll get to that day in a little while. There’s more to the engagement chapter.

A couple months after his proposal on Valentine’s Day in 1999, we were out dancing.  While moving slowly on the dance floor, wrapped in each other's embrace, he said “Put your hand in my pocket.” I was shocked! What???? He said it again. I said “I am not putting my hand in your pocket out here in public on the dance floor!” As I tried to escape, he took my hand and put it in his pocket, where my engagement ring was hiding. He put it on my finger and proposed again. The ring is not only beautiful, but lovingly thought out. There are two gold angels, one on each side of the stone. He told me these angels are there to protect me always.

Fast-forward to February 19th, 2000, our wedding day. In front of family and close friends, we said our vows, in that gazebo in the garden at The Embassy Suites in Arcadia – the very same place we had watched others get married two years before.

Remember those silk red roses from 1999? Yes, they do last forever! We’ve kept them displayed in our home, ever since he gave them to me.

Fast-forward to today, February 14th, 2012, Valentine’s Day. This morning, he walked over to me, while carrying those same silk roses. He proposed again, very much like he did thirteen years ago; with the exception of getting down on one knee. We laughed when he said his body doesn’t allow him to bend that way anymore. This is something we both understand all too well.

In five days we will celebrate twelve years of marriage together, as soulmates, best friends, and lovers. Life is not perfect. We have our challenges at times. But, we are perfect for each other, and still very much in love.

For this, gratitude fills my heart.

P.S. Last night I came across a love letter that Mike had written to me on Valentine’s Day 2010. I didn’t re-read it, until after I had finished writing this. Some of what he wrote is almost exactly what I’ve just written. Just another example of our amazing bond, and proof that we were meant to be together.

Always and Forever ♥

Thursday, January 12, 2012


It seems natural to write this on January 12th, 2012, exactly one year after being diagnosed with the life-threatening medical condition of Deep Vein Thrombosis.

As the year 2011 was coming near the end, I was dreading the thought of an entire year known as 2012.

For the past five years, the number twelve has had an adverse effect on me. When that number would surface in my life, in any way, shape or form, I’d cringe, as if a huge dark cloud consumed me. It had become so overwhelming, that I’d avoid that number whenever possible. For example, when playing “Scrabble” or “Words With Friends”, if my score was to end up being twelve, I’d find another word to play, even if it meant a lower count. Never ever would I choose the number twelve, when picking lottery numbers to play. Please don't give me a hotel room with the number 12, and don't offer to seat me at table 12 in a restaurant!  I was allowing the number twelve to control my actions. The twelfth of any month caused uneasiness within me.

You see, on December 12th, 2006, my precious step-daughter was killed in a car accident, at the very young age of only 31. Then on December 12th, 2009, my amazing, loving father passed away.

Although not nearly as devastating as the loss of two very special people, as mentioned above, it was the 12th of January 2011, after an entire day in Urgent Care, when I was given the frightening news of the DVT diagnosis.

In my twisted, grieving mind, the number twelve was causing depression, sadness, and at times, even misery and a feeling of hopelessness. So, it seemed understandable (to me anyway), that the year 2012 was going to be a very long twelve (there’s that number again!) months to survive. I’m not one to “worry”, but yet, I wondered how I would manage.

As the new year of 2012 arrived, I was blessed miraculously with one of those glorious "A-HA” moments! Suddenly the terror of the number twelve transformed into a “Gratitude Moment”! I knew that 2012 would be a wonderful year, filled with magical memories.

All it took was a simple change in perspective - -
an attitude adjustment!

You see, NOW, when the number twelve surfaces for me, a new perspective has transformed my thoughts of loss (of very special loved ones), into precious memories of those loved ones --- wonderful memories dance in my mind and sing in my heart and soul.

NOW, the number twelve sends me reminders of how wonderful these two individuals were, the influence they had on my life, and how my life was better because they had been a part of it.

For this, and for perspective and attitude, I am GRATEFUL.

In gratitude & love, always