Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sunday Scribbling - "Wings"

When I think of wings I immediately think of angels. Not statues or heavenly angels, but of angels right here on earth. I have been touched by a community of such angels that together created a miracle. I never saw their wings but I felt their hearts.

There is a reason my house is so special to me. It is not just the spectacular view, the comfort of the embracing walls or even the ten years I've spent here. My house has a story but it is a story that involves a whole community of angels. I wanted to tell this story so you can see why it is so hard to leave. They are out there ready to help if we will allow them.

I was a single, retired mother of two hormonal pre-teens. We lived as a team, while I battled my deadly disease, in a fairly large city. My kids would be shuttled back and forth, every other week to their father's. They were living two separate lifestyles. I was seeing anger in their behavior as a result and their school work was starting to slip. I drove them across town, even on dad's week, to make sure they went to the best school. The rich kids reminded them everyday that they did not fit in and they were unhappy there. The alternative school had gangs and dad was getting out of control. I decided to move to the country and away from the stress.

Where, how and when would be quite a hurdle. The ex was not very happy to live 2 1/2 hours from his kids, but when I agreed to a very low child support he reluctantly caved in. A friend suggested I buy a home and I laughed. I had always been a renter and the thought of buying a home as a single mom really scared me. I was on a fixed income so no way would a bank approve me. When I checked into it I was floored that it could happen, so I went full speed ahead. I chose a foothill area and dialed the first real estate company that came to mind.

Diana picked up the phone and became my realtor that day. She agreed that I could buy, being a first timer, so off we went to check out our new town. My list of "must haves" in a home was difficult to find in this area because of the hills. I gave Diana my list and it took six months for her to call. "Tammy, I think I found your house" the voice said as the dread began to creep up my spine. Could we really do this? The girls were thrilled and that was half the battle. Michelle would be starting high school so the timing was great.

The first thing I saw was an angel on the address plate as I stepped up to the front door. At first I was not impressed because it was not ready to be shown. It hadn't even been listed yet so it made a bad first impression. As I stepped outside to the backyard and saw the view, my jaw dropped. My first thought was that I was almost to heaven and my second thought was this is home. I could see living out my days here with my kids.

The realtor made the offer, but the owner ( a newly married mother of two) thought that maybe they had asked for too little. She was going to be living with her new husband, who had advised her to raise the price, since it was still early. This knocked me out of the game. My realtor was more upset than I was because I never really believed I could do this. Diana set the wheels in motion for a miracle and never even knew it until it was over.

Diana told her mother about my story and the "perfect" little house. Diana's mother spoke to her church and they prayed for me. A member of that church was a neighbor, who walked over and spoke to the owners about my family. The owners dropped the price back to where it was and the offer was accepted. You would think that would have been cool enough but there was much more. I needed $6000 for closing costs and I didn't have it. The owners paid for half of the closing, adding a new water heater and flooring. The title company had heard of our plight through the small real estate community and somehow added the closing price into the loan. I moved in without paying a dime with a mortgage less than my rent. Everyone worked hard to give my family a fresh start and a real home.

The day my friends helped move me in, the kids were with their dad. My friends did not want to leave me by myself and thought moving to the country, not knowing a soul, was lunacy with my illness. I had a new neighbor come to check on me the next day and introduce herself. From that day on I had a true friend and mother. Lynne and her husband adopted my family and has been there for us in unimaginable ways.

I will embrace my future new home with Dave, but a part of me will always remain with this house and community. My girls and I learned so much in the ten years we have lived here. I have been even more blessed because I have continued to survive. I just may bottle the water to take with me just in case it's in the water. My lack of progression could be many different things, but this community of angles gave me hope. I love change, but this one will really be tough. Maybe the next buyer will be looking for a neighborhood of angels.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fun Friday

Deb at Red Shoes Rambling has created a few interview questions for me.

1. Imagine there was a fire in your house. You, your husband, and pets are all safe and your basics (like furniture and so on) are all covered by plenty of insurance. You have just enough time to grab and save three things that insurance can't replace. What are they?
Wedding scrapbook
Picture CD's
My important paper files- I'm very organized so I would have time to add mom/grandma's crocheted bedspread.

2. Of the poems you've written, which is your personal favorite and why? (I know that's a bit like asking you to name your favorite child, but try anyway! :::grinz:::) This was written out of pain when my daughter used my grandson to hurt me. It was a horrible month but I learned that poetry can help you release emotions. Not my best piece but it helped me find my own power.

3. When I say the word "comforting" what's the first thing you think of?
Being warm and comfy in my bed, at the end of the day, with Dave by my side. That moment before you drift off to sleep feeling safe and everything is left in that day.

4. What's something about your everyday life that you think would surprise most people who only know you through your blog?
I go most days on a cup of coffee and a power bar until dinner. No liquids and I'm always forgetting my pills. My weight is stable its just a bad habit that my body adjusted too from being home alone. Dave said that will stop when he retires.

5. What's something about being a mother that is completely different (for better or worse!) than you imagined it would be before you had kids?
It's really an emotionally tough job and they don't appreciate me. ( I was a really good mom!)I'm still waiting on that one at 22 & 23. Still catching the blame for everything, but being a grandma was the best surprise.

Tammy at Mimmsical Creations asked these at Create a Connection. (

1. If you could have any magical power for only one hour, what would it be and why?
I would take my grandson to the park, run, jump, swing and twirl him around.

2. You've won a pair of round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the world. Where would you go, with whom, and why?
I'd take Dave to Alaska and stay at a really nice rustic lodge on a river. I want to celebrate his retirement. I answered this question before and chose Austria for me, so its Dave's turn.

3. You are stranded in a library or bookstore for 24 hours. In what section do you spend the most time? Why?
New release section, but you know I'd sneak over to poetry.

4. If you were to be on a reality TV show, which one would it be? Why would you be a good fit for that particular show?
That room designer show? (Top Design on HGTV?) I love home decorating.

5. What did you most recently dream or daydream about?
Finding the right buyer for my house with them offering more than its worth :)

Photo is at sunrise in my backyard :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Poetry Thursday - "Villanelle"

Another stretch for me as a new poet. You know I love a challenge and this is a whopper!

The villanelle is a poem of 19 lines, five triplets and a quatrain, using only two rhymes throughout the whole form. The entire first line is repeated as lines 6, 12 and 18 and the third line is repeated as lines 9, 15 and 19 -- so that the lines which frame the first triplet weave through the poem like refrains in a traditional song, and form the end of the concluding stanza. With these repeating lines represented as A1 and A2 (because they rhyme), the entire rhyme scheme is A1bA2 abA1 abA2 abA1 abA2 abA1A2.

A Mother's Anger

I look at you and shake my head
my heart turns cold with fear.
Somewhere I went dead.

The storm has been brewing
as I hold my tongue in check.
I look at you and shake my head.

I gave you life's truths in love
yet it still falls on deaf ears
Somewhere I went dead.

There is still time for you to see
but time keeps standing still.
I look at you and shake my head.

I pray that no harm will come to you
as I have only one defense.
Somewhere I went dead.

A mother's love can soar with pride
but her heart can easily be broken.
I look at you and shake my head.
Somewhere I went dead.

This is from a single mother who has been there and back to tell the tale. It was hard raising hormonal teenagers without the normal defenses and this brought me back there. Sorry it's so dark but I can't always use the postive stuff. I'm no PollyAnna.

To read other's poetry visit Poetry Thursday
photo of a thistle by stockxpert

Monday, April 23, 2007

One Deep Breath - "Earth Day" Photo Haiku

This is an amazing walking trail at the end of my street. It looks down into the river canyon and goes on for miles. This community protects and treasures it so it will remain untouched.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sunday Scribbling - "Rooted"

Me sitting on my walker after a swim watching the tide come in.
When I was a little girl I felt so disconnected to my family that I believed and hoped I was adopted. My family was not creative, political, affectionate or good communicators. Growing up the differences grew as I began to listen to the voice within my head. I never felt deeply rooted to my family and its dysfunctional history. I needed to find my own way and left home at seventeen.

I was young and thought I knew who I was, but I didn't, as I slowly spun out of control. My early 20's were a blur and I felt like I was locked up inside, watching a train wreck. I knew my choices were wrong, but I had lost that rooted connection within. My voice was drowned out by negativity and silenced with selfishness. When I finally found my voice I had left behind a path of destruction. I vowed in the future to live my life by trusting my own voice.

I grew up and found spirituality and yet never felt deeply rooted to a church. I learned that I needed those years of bible study to realize that the voice I had followed all along was not just my own. It was a deeply rooted connection to God. No religion or politically correct wind could drown out the voice that guided me now.

When I walk through the woods the voice within gets clearer and so I seek out the places where I can hear it the best. I learned to listen, I know I'm never alone and I'm deeply rooted within. This poem is my favorite and yet I've never posted it. It needs to be on my blog, my journey.

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was
walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the
sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he
noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one
belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When
the last scene of his life flashed before him, he
looked back at the footprints in the sand. He
noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed
that it happened at the very lowest and saddest
times in his life. This really bothered him and he
questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, You said that
once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all
the way. But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life, there is only one set
of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed
you most you would leave me." The Lord replied,
"My son, My precious child, I love you and I would
never leave you. During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it
was then that I Carried You."
Mary Stevenson

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Round Robin Photo Challenge

Cool Slideshows

The RRPC has turned 2! Congratulations! The challenge is to pick any theme from the last two years. I chose "Dream Home" because my dream home has been on my mind a lot lately. It's a rented beach house on the N.E. side of the beautiful island of Kauai.

Four years ago I was looking at property on Kauai and I was committed to moving there. I was just waiting for the last daughter to leave the nest. The last thing I expected was to meet Dave and fall in love after thirteen years as a single mom. We got married on a beach in Kauai soon after. Dave fell in love with this magical island almost as much as I had. We went back in 2005 for two weeks and rented this house. We had done the tourist thing on the honeymoon, so we spent the extra money for this little house. We wanted to experience living in Kauai. We had our morning coffee with the rising sun. Snorkeled before the tourists awoke to play, grabbing a smoothie on our way home. Napped in the shade of the hammock and lounged after a swim. Barbecued fresh fish as the sun began to set, watched rented movies and was lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean's waves.

The properties on Kauai were outrageously priced and the choices few. Two people could not afford to live on our budget within sight of the ocean. On the way home we realized we could visit our magical island but not live there. We bought a dream house closer to home but it will never be Kauai. We will go back as often as we can for visits as soon as we are settled in our new home. We are so blessed to be retired at 45 and 50, that whatever happens, we have Kauai.

To visit other RRPC photos, visit here

Monday, April 16, 2007

One Deep Breath - E=mc2 "Energy"

I wanted to challenge myself with a haibun this week. The theme this week is "Energy" and since we are preparing to sell our home, we are surrounded by energy.

1) a brevity and conciseness of haiku
2) a deliberately ambiguous use of certain particles and verb forms in places where the conjunction 'and' would be used in English
3) a dependence on imagery
4) the writer's detachment
Bruce Ross
"Expect direct, concrete, economical imagery, infused with life and energy and eschewing abstraction and intellect. The editors refer to ‘sensibility and revelation rather than narrative and disclosure’."
Ken Jones
"Haibun prose is to be light handed, elusive, open-ended, playful and even ironic. "

Paul Conneally
"The haiku ... should link to the prose but is not a direct carry on from the prose telling some of what has already been said - no - it should lead us on - let our mind want for more, start traveling."

I probably did not nail it, but I got so confused. I had to try one. LOL

Summer Move

They began to set the stage in early spring. The peony blooms reminded them of new beginnings, with much work yet to be done. Weekends became drudgery as the facade was created to bring in the crowds. Watching memories of happy times, boxed up for the big production.

Heart in a box
not for sale.

Looking around at every prop in its place, it no longer looked like home. No newspapers lying by the chair with an old coffee cup half full. No glasses or books resting askew by the bed. The cat searching for her carefully hidden litter box, confused with attitude. Dog toys have been slyly hidden away. This is now a home missing a heart.

Sell fast
this coldness
feels fake.

The show will make them squirm in their seat but as the curtain closes they will rise up. Leaving to give a home their heart.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sunday Scribbling - "Secret Identity"

I have a secret identity that I have fought to keep hidden for so long that part of me wants to reveal the beast that lies within. I have tamed this monster, fighting to keep it in chains, so it can do no more damage. A few loved ones have seen it rear its ugly head, but they quickly forget as I tighten the chains. I'm forced into battle as a secret warrior for those I love. Keeping my attitude positive and not becoming a victim to my secret identity has kept me alive. My armor of strength gives them comfort but leaves me feeling bare and alone.

My children have always looked to me for advise, comfort and love. I have taught them how to be independent, arming them with all they would need to live in this world. I taught them how to treat me, allowing them to forget what I have kept hidden. Believing in my strength, their fears were slowly set aside. My heart breaks as they move about their lives not even asking if I could use their help.

If you were to pass me in public sitting at a table or reading on a bench you would be deceived. Reading my blog and viewing my photography I appear as any other. If I were to get up from that table or bench my battle scars would tell my tale. I'm never going to unleash my secret identity because it keeps me strong and fighting for normalcy. I will not feed it my power. In front of my computer I am free from all that binds me, fueling my creative voice. Feeling connected.

You can't have it both ways. You can't push it aside and ignore it, that just gives permission for loved ones to forget it's there. You can chose the "poor me" route which will feed the beast and allow it to consume you. I've chosen to write and keep my secret identity chained up tight, sword in hand. I have fellow warriors who know this beast and help me find my middle ground. Yes, sometimes my sword weighs a ton but I have no problem reminding loved ones the beast is still there.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Surprise Gifts & Create a Connection

My girlfriend Mary came from out of town for a wonderful girls day. She made me a no-sew fleece blanket with bears and deer for the new house. It is two pieces that are cut and tied in knots to hold the fabric together. Too cute and very warm! Tara at Paris Parfait tried sending a package months ago for my french kitchen but it was lost in the mail. She surprised me with a second try and it arrived. A beautiful linen vintage table cloth, book on arranging Dave's flowers, home decor book for new house and some yummies. Does she know me or what? Thank you my friends. :)

My buddy Pam at Mind Trips made this for me while I was on my spring break and I LOVE it! Thanks Batman :)

Dave gave me the green light on a non-house makeover purchase...Woohoo! French coffee press at Amazon for $20. Happy camper!

An apple blossom from TK and Niiki love was a special shot. Create a Connection Thursday was to be a hand shot. What? It's in the shot. ;)
Create a Connection Wednesday was hosted by Tammy at Mimmsical Creations for Getting to Know You.
1. question #255 - If you had to change your first name, what would you choose as your new name?
I have always liked Gabrielle but not Gabby. I'm a Tamara and have never liked it.
2. question #158 - What is your favorite saying, quote, or expression?
"Let go, let God" and "no shit, Sherlock"
3. question #49 - If you could buy any rare collection in the world, which would you choose? Why?
Monet's collection
4. question #1 - If you could fly in a hot-air balloon over any city in the world, what city would you choose? Why that city? Have you visited there before?
Vienna, Austria because of "The Sound of Music" and Swiss alps. My daughter went in high school to see it for me. She brought it home for me.
5. question #221 - What is an item you own that has a minimal monetary value but has such sentimental value that you would not sell it for $5,000?
My wedding ring is a simple band with a few begets but it's priceless.

I entered a poem in a No. Ca poet's journal book and they accepted my poem for print in June...WOW! It's a free book but published. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter Break

When I first retired, over ten years ago, I rented a nice house in a large city. I was meant to live there because I had a retired cop on one side and this wonderful family on the other. The retired cop gave me my best friend Manny as my protector, until he turned 17 and passed from cancer. The other neighbors became my family as we helped each other out in any way we could.

We were unique families because we were all dealing with a similar motor neuron disease. Stephen and Maggie were born with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophied) that acts like ALS. The youngest in a family of six. These two are my little miracles that I have had the pleasure of watching grow up. You have never seen inspiration until you witness the teamwork and love of this family.

The oldest is away at a prestigious Air Force college in Florida and we had him join us this Easter via web cam. Rachel is 16 and a singer in the church choir, plus an amazing writer. Stephen and Maggie have never walked and have had their spines fused so they could grow properly in a wheelchair. They have always attended public schools and have been amazing students. I have no pincher's but I have grip and they both have the opposite. I teased them while we played Uno because I kept dropping cards and they did just fine. Maggie loves being in plays and Stephen is a comedian.

We had a wonderful Easter with this family again this year. Lamb, homemade creme puffs and chocolate eclairs. We will be moving 4 1/2 hours away instead of the current 2 1/2. We have stayed in touch since I left. It was hard to break away and move to the country nine years ago but I knew I needed to spread my wings. They will come and visit, no easy task, when we move and I can't wait.

Stephen is a Freshman in High School now and he is a comedian/artist. He gave me this apple he drew and I was touched.

We also had Dave's daughter's family here from Washington, but it was a short visit because of so many friends and family here. His grandson's are not one's to pose for pictures at 2 and 5. Nikki is behind the iris. :) We had forgotten how active young people can be so we kept them busy. The oldest got to go on our canyon trail with mommy and papa Dave, while youngest napped. Papa also took them bowling and the 5yr old loved it. They were born in Washington and felt California was just too hot (70's). lol

The oldest got to cool down on a swing near the creek. Papa is a happy camper!

Wild flower on our hiking trail. Do you know what this is?

This is 1mile down the trail and it's the river below my backyard view.

Dave and his daughter Jolene on the trail with the lupin starting to bloom. Jolene has created a blog and joined Sunday Scribbles as One Vintage Housewife.
We have had a busy 12 days but we got a lot done with some added fun.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

I hope your Easter is full of joy and blessings!
I've been enjoying my husband's vacation time this last week so my posting has been spotty at best. We took some our time to get our eye's checked before the big move. Now we are in our late forties I guess it's time for the "full time" glasses...yuck! No more reading glasses from the drugstore for us. You know I'll let you see my new "Nine West" look when they arrive. lol No granny cracks from you youngsters!
We are going to drive out of town tomorrow to spend some time with friends for Easter. Then Dave's daughter will be stopping by Monday on their vacation from Washington. Dave's vacation will continue until Wednesday so I'll be back to visit real soon. Our flowers are in bloom, the front of the house got a make over and the inside is almost done! (see slideshow) Our little home is almost ready for the "For Sale" sign. :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Create a Connection

Tammy at Mimmsical Creations is hosting "Getting to Know You" at Create A Connection for April.

Name your all-time favorite movie! (Or if you're like me, narrow it down to your top five!)
Dirty Dancing
Sound of Music
The Patriot(Mel Gibson)
Schindler's List
Remember The Titian's

What genre of movie do you like best?
Romantic dramas, Independent Flicks and history movies (wars, time period pieces and true stories).

What movie made you cry the most?
I cry at happy endings, when a child dies and when they kill off an animal. Since I don't do comedy, just action or horror movies very often, I cry at most of my type of movies. Terms of Endearment, My Dog Skip and Notebook made me sob.

Have you ever applauded during a movie in the theatre? Which one? If not, what would make you do that?
That Disney movie about the sled dogs made every emotion come out, including applause.

Do you own any soundtracks from movies? Which is your favorite and why did the music inspire you?
No, but I Love the music in movies. I noticed TV dramas are adding great music now too. I liked the movie Flika's music over the weekend but that McGraw guy was bad.

Is there a particular actor or actress who inspires you? Why do you like him or her?
Meryl Streep, because she is so versatile and great!
Sean Penn, because he gives 100% and is really good. OK, in real life he's um different ;)

Is there a particular actor or actress who you just dislike and will not see their movies? Why?
Will Farrell movies, because I don't find him funny.

Have you ever dreamed of being an actor? Which role would be your dream role?
I dreamed of it until a college drama class. I sucked! I loved "Baby" in clip's role :)

If there was ever a movie made of your life, who should star as you?
Annette Bening, she was great in "Running with Scissors."

I really can find something good about most movies. We go twice a month and rent two every weekend via mail. Movie lovers in this house!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge - "The Body"

My grandson came by on a beautiful spring day. I had not been outside except to capture our blooms with my camera. Watching him feel the grass under his feet and seeing the joy in his face, I wanted some of that! My daughter walked me out to the grass to join him, gently setting me down on the grass. TK crawled over to me being that the grass was an unfamiliar walking ground. He toppled me over on to the deep, soft lawn and we just played. I looked up into the blue sky and just breathed. Looking at the pictures of our hands reminds me of the healing power of love and youth. I was a kid again bursting with joy!