White-Knuckle Driving

August 28, 2015 by

Yesterday I was driving back to my parents home from the eastern Arizona mountains after a great visit with old friends.

1I chose the prettiest route, and when I started, the day was perfect. I settled in with one of my favorite playlists and anticipated a gorgeous drive.

The day before, I’d noticed acres of wild sunflowers in full bloom. I was particularly looking forward to stopping to photograph them for my friend Julie.

Little did I know …

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Longing for Home

August 23, 2015 by

Clearly I need a new category: Woo Woo Weirdness. ‘Cause this is another of those experiences that logical science cannot explain (other than calling it a flight of imagination).

I have blogged before about how I’ve lost my home and how I’m searching for a place to belong. It’s a deep grief, a heart-hole I’ve carried for most of my life. My longing for home only intensified since I moved to Canada. I even have a playlist with 64 songs on it titled “Home.”

I joke sometimes about the hermit crab being one of my totem animals(Bear with me here: I do have a point.)

6HermitCrab

You may remember that, unlike most crustaceans, the hermit crab doesn’t have a shell to protect its soft body. It’s extremely vulnerable as a result.

So it salvages shells left by other creatures (or even hollow chucks of rock or driftwood), and curls into the space soft-side first. And then it drags the shell around.

Perfect metaphor for a highly sensitive person. We don’t have the protective barriers most people have, so we’re vulnerable and soft. Sometimes we have to crawl into a cozy space and pull our tendrils in behind us and hide, just to stay safe.

The image here is my Hermit Crab Soul Collage card. My hermit crab wants to hide. She wants to close the door and not see, just to take a break. And she finds her shell beautiful because it keeps her safe. Read the rest of this entry »

Truth from a Facebook Quiz

August 23, 2015 by

(I found this in my draft folder: I wrote it June 26 but apparently didn’t post it.)

Yesterday, just for fun, I did one of those Facebook personality tests: Color Oracle, based on what colors appeal or repel you. It was uncanny in its accuracy.

First, the colors I liked:

  • My general disposition right now is characterized by a need for prosperity. I’m ambivalent about money and think economically, but I like the security it can bring, and the freedom to buy something that brings me joy.
  • The most important thing to me right now is self-protection (though I would extend that to protecting my family, especially my children). I keep my distance from “unpleasant people who try to manipulate, define, or influence” me.
  • What I’m conscious planning is to feel safe. I want a stable home life and adequate income.
  • I need solitude: a quiet place, my hobbies, or “the sweetness of doing nothing.”
  • What I need most right now is “joyful fulfillment of (my) desires.”
  • I think I will be happy if I can create a life for me that lines up with my values.
  • I analyze everything (that is, I overthink).
Here’s what it said about the colors I disliked:
  • I am anxious about “difficult circumstances (that) limit (my) opportunities for experience and freedom of action.”
  • I want to be free from the “burdensome situation of suffering.” I think people should behave and be kind. I get annoyed when they don’t or aren’t.
  • I suffer from an “exhaustingly stressful situation.” When I try to pretend I’m fine anyway, I overextended myself.
  • My momentum declined because I feel “chained to people or circumstances” that restrict my choices. I get “itchy” when things happen slowly.
  • People piss me off sometimes. I “don’t feel like putting up with just anything.”
  • I’m gloomy because of my stressful circumstances. I feel misunderstood. I think I’ve been treated unfairly. I feel I’m at the mercy of the unacceptable behavior of someone I love. Because I try to hide this, I have lost my resilience.

Yikes. If you’ve been reading for the past few years, you know how accurate this is. And all from choosing colors.

Authentic Katrina, the Chalice

August 21, 2015 by

(I wrote this June 24, but apparently I never posted it.)

I had a profound and exquisitely sweet experience today. I’m having a little trouble coping with our latest bad news, so I scheduled a couple of appointments with a local counselor: Jill Koziey.

Today she did a visualization exercise with me that turned into hypnosis. I’m not sure if that’s what she intended, necessarily, but I go under fairly easily, especially since I started meditation.

She took me back to the last place where I felt I was my most authentic self: the Writers Retreat Workshop in San Antonio. She asked me to visualize the setting, the people, how I interacted, what I did there, etc.

She asked me to describe myself in that setting. I said I was directed. Maybe I said I was focused, I don’t remember. I was definitely big and loud and flamboyant — much more so than I am here, which is ironic since I often feel criticized for being a big, loud, flamboyant American living in Canada.

I pictured the force that is Authentic Katrina as a golden light emanating from my solar plexus and spreading outward. I pictured it filling the room, the city, the province, the world, the universe. I lived for those minutes with myself in all my glorious immensity, and it felt powerful and right. A force for goodness. A thing of beauty (am I allowed to say that about myself, even the Authentic Self that is my soul?). Read the rest of this entry »

Dreaming of Dancing

August 18, 2015 by

I dreamt last night straight from a Victorian period drama.

It was the evening of my wedding. We’d had an appropriately decorous day. I wore off-white because I was a widower with a child, not a maiden, but I’d exchanged nothing with my groom other than flirty glances across the room and a stolen kiss or two.

But it was finally evening. My new husband had dismissed the servants once they served dinner, so we had the house to ourselves.

VictorianWe had dressed for dinner, and I had chosen something risky.

All black, though it was my wedding day. A cocktail dress with a beaded lace yoke, strings of bugle beads that dangled over the fair skin of my upper arm, and an uneven hem that showed glimpses of my shapely calves (shaddup: I can wear whatever I want in my dreams!).

During dinner, my new husband had pulled off my elbow-length glove, and tickled my arm until my whole body was tingling.

We rose from the table, though I’d hardly eaten. I stepped into the half circle of his arm, tapped his chest with my forefinger, and said in a teasing voice, “Is there where I dance with my husband?”

He straightened into his frame, and we began to dance.

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Mom, Willie Nelson, & Me

August 16, 2015 by

I just finished a road trip with my mother. We went from Phoenix north through Salt Lake and Boise to Walla Walla, then west to Woodland, Washington, and eventually south through Sacramento and Los Angeles. My daughter was along for the first half, but we were alone together for the last.

It’s been a long time since I’ve spent much time one-on-one with Mom, and I’d forgotten a couple of things about her.

StriationsFirst, I’d forgotten how delightful she is. My mother has an exquisite, child-like sense of wonder. She notices things, always has.

As we drove, she pointed out interesting things: striations in the rock, puzzling vanity plates, funny puns on traffic signs (I will never see “chain-up” and “chain removal” signs the same!).

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A Hotel By Any Other Name

August 5, 2015 by

On the drive down to my son’s wedding, The Animator asked his father what hotel we were staying at.

“We have rooms at the Super 8 and the Marriott,” Mars said. “You’ll be staying at the Marriott.”

“That’s good,” The Animator said. “I don’t like Super 8. It’s not a nice hotel.”

You have to appreciate: I grew up camping. I doubt I stayed in a hotel at all until I was in my late teens. I thought any hotel was fancy traveling!

“What do you consider a nice hotel?” Mars asked.

“Do you remember that hotel where we had to pay for everything?

4243805436_37a3e2ebaa_oWe both gasped. He was referring to the Fairmont McDonald, a five-star luxury hotel in Edmonton.

We only stayed there because we had a company event to attend and lived out of town. The company covered our stay.

The Fairmont is gorgeous, but rooms start at $369. And though there’s a very nice minibar, the prices are exorbitant. If I remember correctly, bottled water was $8.

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Near-death & Indecency at My Son’s Wedding

August 3, 2015 by

My oldest son got married over the weekend. She’s a beautiful, sweet girl, and I couldn’t be happier.

DSC_0234The setting was beautiful — a lush garden against a babbling brook (shaddup: I know it’s a cliché, but I gotta call a spade a spade). The bride was stunning, in a simple white dress and a joyous smile that never dimmed. The groom got a little teary-eyed as she walked down a grass aisle lined with wildflowers in mason jars.

Every detail was planned, and everything worked out exactly perfectly.

Right up to the point where I tore off my dress in the middle of the reception.

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My Father and the Troll

June 21, 2015 by

My worst day of childhood was also my best.

We were camping at Fish Creek Lake in Utah, an idyllic place under the pines with a cool mountain stream wandering by our campsite.

il_fullxfull.605748123_5hsxI played with my favorite troll doll, the one with pink hair. My sisters and I had many of the little trolls, all with the characteristic long, fuzzy hair in unnatural colors. I played with all of them.

But I loved the girl doll with the bright fuschia hair.

That day, I tied her to a supple branch that hung over the creek, and bounced the branch with my foot so she dipped into the water briefly.

In my big imagination, it was an amusement park ride, the precursor to a bungee cord jump over water. In my mind, I was the doll tied to the stick, taking great swoops through the air that ended in a brief plunge into the snow-melt water.

It was thrilling.

Right up to the moment when I glanced at the stick and saw nothing there.

It was bare. My troll was gone.

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Identity Crisis at My Age???

June 9, 2015 by

Yesterday someone called me a housewife. Someone who, I thought, knows me quite well.

I didn’t handle it well, and I’ve probably lost a good friend. But this isn’t that story.

The thing is … I think of myself as a writer. Heck, the reason I was willing to move to Canada is because “I can work anywhere.”

But I have struggled to write here in Canada. Heck, I’ve struggled to read here in Canada! I’ve always been a voracious reader, but the last couple of years, I find I cannot concentrate on a book except when I’m traveling.

And I’m losing my identity. If I’m not a writer, I don’t know who I am.

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