Posted in Friends

Finding Deede

In the late 1960’s while living in The Phillipines I was introduced to 2 of the most positive influences in my life.
The Sound of Music and Deede.     The Sound of Music influenced my love of music and theater while Deede taught me how to be a friend.           We had what I considered the perfect, magical childhood, filled with games, imaginary friends, laughter, and of course our favorite thing, acting out every scene in the Sound of Music for anyone who would watch.
When our fathers tours of duty ended we moved to separate parts of the world, but kept in touch for years via mail. Sadly with all of our combined moves we lost touch just before high school.       But she was that friend I could never forget.
One evening I was checking my email and there was a message that my brother had forwarded to me, Deede had found him on the Clark AFB website and asked if he remembered her.       Immediately we started emailing, catching up on the last 40 years of our lives, and making plans for a reunion in New England the following summer.
I was so nervous about meeting in person, what if we had nothing in common and our reunion was awkward filled with a few nostalgic memories, ending with lame excuses of how nice it was to see one another,  with a plastic promise to keep in touch. (Meaning we would send one another generic Christmas cards for a few years before losing touch again.)

Nothing could have been further from the truth. The adult Deede was even more fun and magical then the child Deede. She saw the world through bright, positive eyes. She is one of those people you love to be around, because her world is one that’s filled with infectious joy!     We talked until late into the evening,  it was as if I found a missing part of my soul and we reconnected immediately.
The next day, I went to hear her sing at Roslindale Market, and met her friends, who were all as welcoming and friendly as Deede. That was 4 years ago, we have remained in touch since then. Each year when I visit New England we make time to meet, even if it’s only for dinner. Our husbands get along and my children love her.
I love the grown up Deede just as much if not more then the child Deede.

I have been so fortunate in my life to have so many wonderful, treasured friends, all who have touched my life and made me a better person thanks to who they are.   But I don’t think any of of those friendships could have been possible if it had not been for that magical first childhood friendship with Deede who taught me as a child as well as an adult just how precious the gift of a friend is.

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Posted in Family

My Best Mothers Day Gift

My Best Mothers Day Gift;

On October 23, 1987 my life changed in the most amazing way, at 540 in the morning when I looked into the eyes of my daughter Liz for the first time. At that moment my heart changed ownership from being mine to becoming hers.    I remember asking all the nurses if they had ever seen seen a baby as beautiful and perfect as her, of course all the nurse agreed because she was beautiful and perfect.

Everyday was exciting as Don and I watched her grow and change, filling our lives and hearts with joy and happiness.
When I found out I was expecting Kat I was worried how would I be able to love anyone as much as Liz, but on October 4, 1989 I again was looking into the eyes of another perfect, beautiful baby girl who took my heart and also made it hers.
On October 20, 1994, another precious heart thief came into our lives when David was born.
We had no money and were far from being perfect parents, but we loved our beautiful family.      We would take walks, play in the park, camp and make Christmas decorations from toilet paper rolls.     Every night we would pray,read and sing. While other parents were bragging that there children could recite from the periodic table or Shakespeare I was proud that my children knew all the words to most Beatles songs!

We struggled through their teen years, and when their hearts were broken by the world, my heart felt crushed.

The day each of them left for college I felt like the air had been sucked out of my chest, how could I breathe with my heart in another place?

There are days I think I would give anything to go back for a moment just to hug them as babies once more, or dance them to sleep as we did all those sleepless perfect nights so long ago. There are many things I wish I could have done differently, and so much more I wish I could have done for them, but there is nothing I would want to change in who they have become.
They are all grown up now, each of them a unique,beautiful, kind person out in the world making me proud as they find their niche to help make the world a better place for the next generation.

Liz, Kat and David you are the greatest Mother’s Day gift ever, thank you for every perfect happy moment you have given me.

My dear mother in heaven, thank you for the love and sacrifices you made for your children, I know your life was not easy but I am so thankful for you.

And to all those people who have surrendered your hearts and experienced that perfect joyful sometimes painful unconditional love that children bring us, I wish all of you a happy happy Mother’s Day.

Posted in Travel

Chasing The Vortex

Don and I were taking our first trip since I had gone back to work, the new deal Don called it, meaning we would both work full time while making the most of our limited time together.
We had chosen to visit Sedona Arizona.    I was in search of the magical, mystical vortex areas of Sedona where it is said the earth produces a powerful healing energy that brings wisdom, energy and peace to those who experience it.
My recent return to work had left me feeling disconnected from my family and friends, I was to busy to write and sad being separated from Don. I was anxious to experience some positive energy, and once I found it I planned to take in as much as possible.
I wondered if it was a temporary feeling like filling a gas tank or if it would be more permanent.      Don being practical went along because he wanted to see the twisted juniper trees that are prevalent in the vortex.
We were staying at The Hilton Sedona Resort, set in the red rocks, the view from our room was so beautiful that sitting on our patio alone would have made for a perfect vacation, but I had a vortex to chase, so we studied the local maps and made our plan.

We started in Sedona where we planned to take the vortex by storm. We were going high into the rocks with Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour. The jeeps may have been pink but they were not at all girly. Those rugged vehicles drove off road up and down the rocks, a few times we found ourselves looking straight down the only thing that kept us from falling out was our seat belts and the tight grip to the rails. Our views from submarine rock, chicken point, Chapel Rock and Rock of Gibraltar were breathtaking. The valley was deep red when lit by the morning sun, everywhere I looked there was the majestic beauty of the rocks and mountains beyond us.

Our tour guide suggested we check out the rocks at The Airport Mesa where the vortex powers were said to be exceptionally strong. I struggled with the first part of the climb and at one point thought about staying at the bottom while Don climbed, but then I remembered a pact I had made with my brother Michael shortly after my moms death,to get back in shape in her honor, so I continued with that promise in the back of my mind.
Don walked in front of me and patiently pointed out every foothold, I thought about how exhausting it must be for him to not only climb each step but to then reach out and help me up.
When we reached the top the sun was getting low and the valley was bathed in reds and golds the sky was smoldering with the last colors of daylight.      I felt at peace feeling I kept a promise to my brother and mom by not staying at the bottom, It was an amazing view. But I did not experience the magical vortex.
After our climb we went to the Mesa Grill at the Sedona Airport where we watched turbo prop planes land and take off as we drank dark beer while watching the last glimpse of sunlight disappear under the horizon, before heading back to our hotel.

I slept well that night dreaming I was standing on one of the beautiful red rocks, I had found the Vortex in my dream, and I was filled with joy, energy and happiness. I woke up the next morning and could not wait to get back out.   After breakfast we drove to Bell Rock.

The hike up Bell Rock was Less challenging, we passed several hikers and cyclists on the way, everyone seemed in good spirits, good sign I thought, no one is leaving looking pained or unhappy, surely the inner peace I was seeking would be at the top of this beautiful Rock.       We made our assent stopping for photos, and occasionally to check out a twisted tree or the way the sun or shade was catching the light off the rocks. I placed my hands on the rock once or twice hoping to catch some energy, Don would stand by wondering if I would lift my hands away with the answers to all universal questions, but instead I would step away and shake my head, “nothing”. So on we would walk, holding hands, talking, laughing about what the energy would feel like and wondering if it would ever forever change our lives. We stopped close to the top and sat taking in the majestic beauty of the red rocks. The bright sun shown warming our faces making us feeling as though we had found a piece of heaven, but I never felt the vortex. I guess I’m not one of those people who get to feel the energy I said sadly. Well Don answered the twisted trees were pretty cool, though I think they are starved for water and they twist around looking for that last drop, most of the twisted trees are dead or dying.

On our climb down we met a lost family, we had been told it was easy to get confused between the paths, Don helped them figure out the correct path and gave them water, they thanked him and even offered to pay for the water bottles, no worries was Dons reply you have just helped to lighten the load of my backpack by taking some of the water.

Don helped me navigate every step, reaching out his hand to assist me with the taller drops, at the bottom we stopped to rest.
I closed my eyes for a moment and thinking about the sights and feelings of the last 2 days. “I found the Vortex.” I said out loud, “Here on the park bench?” Don asked. “No silly,” I laughed, “it was there in beauty of the rocks, and the peace of sitting at the top and seeing Gods beauty in front of us, it was meeting challenges that I was scared of at first but worked through, it was in those people you helped on the path. It was in you everytime you held out your hand to help me.” Don laughed at me, “You sound like Dorothy when she woke up from her dream in the Wizard of Oz.”
There was another twisted tree near the bottom as we got up, I looked at it and realized this is what happens to people when they don’t stop to drink in the joy and beauty of life, we twist and turn and end die with our lives nothing more then an odd curiosity.

I had felt that energy in all the the places we had visited together but especially in natures masterpieces. There is nothing like the beauty of sunshine coupled with love, kindness and compassion to help us find inner peace.

It was time for me to go home while Don stayed to work, and while I was sad that we would be apart for the next 5 days, I was planning to squeeze as much adventure as possible into every moment of our new deal.