Sunday, October 30

Fuzzy Reception

One of the benefits of living in rural Tennessee is the absence of cable television. Without it, my television gets 1 1/2 channels...Fox (in full color) and NBC (snowy, wavy and usually in b & w). Having a short attention span, watching TV has never really been my favorite past time.

This weekend, I house sat for good friends who are on an Olivia Cruise. Lucky them....Martina Navratilova, the Indigo Girls and Cheryl Swoops are but a few on the sapho manifest. Their house is lovely and offers me complete respite from the demands of the Retreat Center. Yesterday morning, Mocha and I explored the Ridge behind their house. It was physically challenging and left me weary. So, after a warm shower, I curled up on the sofa and turned on the television. They have cable and much to my delight, there was a Julia Roberts movie marathon starting with Mystic Pizza and ending with Erin Brochovich.

I've spent a day and half watching TV... that's 36 hours. My intention this weekend was to take advantage of the peace and quiet and write. Instead, I sat mindlessly in front of the television and only got up to attend to my and Mocha's most primitive needs.

Today, my brain is I have a hangover. I'm pissed at myself for losing all that time and for what? I could have used it for much more productive activities, but I couldn't seem to muster the will to turn off the TV. Luckily, with the end to Daylight Savings Time, I earned an extra hour...I have no intention of wasting it in front of the television.

p.s. I went to turn off the TV and Dogma was much for self will.

Friday, October 28

My First Fire

With a feeling of great personal satisfaction, I curled up on the sofa last night with a really great book and enjoyed the warmth, crackle and smell of my first fire! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I built a fire in a fireplace and it didn't explode, go out prematurely or fill the room with smoke.

This may seem petty and/or mundane to some of you, but it was, for me, an experience filled with wonder, awe and gratitude. Life is opening up for fire at a time.

Tuesday, October 25

The Weather Girl

I never in a million years thought weather would control my life, but this South Texas girl has been shivering since Sunday. Dang it's cold here. The wind finally laid last night and today it's supposed to warm up to the mid-50s. Of course, they are predicting that the overnight low will be 33. Funny thing is, I like the cold...I just don't like being cold. Yesterday we had a power outage on the Ridge and my recurring thought was...must build fire, must build fire, must build fire. How caveman of me.

The wildlife have altered their behavior in preparation for winter. Last week, mice started moving into the Retreat House. I escorted 2 of them out the front door and unfortunately, the third died in the wall in the back of my clothes closet....yuck. The deer are moving down from the high ridge to the lower trail. Last Friday, I was sitting with a friend looking out at the lake and taking in the fall foliage when out of nowhere, a beautiful doe came to the edge of the water, jumped in, swam around, jumped out and disappeared into the woods. It lasted all of 30 seconds, but neither one of us dared take a was a gift. Yesterday, a retreatant recounted the joy and wonder of sitting and watching two otters tumble, spin and play around the perimeter of the lake.

It may be cold outside, but I'm not going to miss a moment of the splendor of fall. So I'll put on layers, wear a hat and forge off into the wilderness to overstimulate my senses with this oh-so- intentional march toward winter. As long as there is a cup of tea and a warm fire waiting for me at the Retreat House, I can live with shivering.

Sunday, October 23

Self-Medicating with Chocolate

I watched The Horse Whisperer last night. The best line of the whole movie was Tom Booker (Robert Redford) talking about his ex-wife,

"I didn't love her because it was right, I just loved her."

That's when the crying started...

Friday, October 21


There was a moment today when my heart was liberated
Oh sweet release
that made me giggle, then laugh so deep it made me snort

There was a moment today when longing melted away
Oh sweet joy
to watch it drip from fingertips and toes and not from my eyes

There was a moment today when my mind spoke the truth
and my heart received it
Oh sweet synchronicity
that has eluded me for so long

There was a moment today when my body was untethered
Oh sweet liberation
to feel my lungs fill to the bottom, limbs moving under my command and not anothers

There was a moment today when wholeness was no longer a prayer
Oh sweet awakening
of the far-flung parts of me that have been searching for home

There was a moment today that shouted, "YOU ARE READY"

There was a moment today that whispered, "now"

Thursday, October 20

It Depends

I live and work where contemplation is valued and encouraged. It's interesting to watch people who come to the Retreat Center either accept, reject or be paralyzed by the prospect of personal contemplation. It's manifested itself in an unusual way this week. Instead of contemplating their own lives, several retreatants have cleverly avoided it by contemplating mine, which has led to interesting questions:

Where do you grocery shop?

Do you believe in God?

Now, when you said Melissa was your girlfriend, what exactly does that mean?

Can I empty the portable toilet myself?

I think the appropriate answer to each of these questions is, "It depends."

It depends on whether I feel like answering.
It depends on whether I think you are someone who needs to know that much about me.
It depends on whether I think you can handle the truth (thanks Jack!).
It depends on how honest I'm being with myself at that particular moment.
It depends on whether I want to mess with your mind.
It just depends. are some answers and you can decide which it depends statement applies:

Where do you grocery shop?

If I'm being self-indulgent - Krogers in Nashville
otherwise..Food Lion or H.G. Hill in Ashland City

Do I believe in God?

I believe in a Divine presence in all living things. I don't call it "God", but if that makes you more comfortable to call it "God"...knock yourself out.

Now when you said Melissa was your girlfiend, what exactly does that mean?

If Melissa's name was Michael and I said he was my boyfriend, you wouldn't be asking me that question.

Can I empty the portable toilet myself?

Absolutely not...please don't deprive me the joy of emptying your waste.


Wednesday, October 19

Come Again?

'Pert Near' is an expression dropped into conversation in Middle Tennessee as non-chalantly as Texans use 'fixin' to'. Use it in a sentence you say? OK..."I pert near blew my foot off throwing shells down the barrel of my shotgun." Alrighty then....does that clear it up for everyone?

My next favorite expression overhead at the Mom and Pop convenience store that sells live bait, as well as Cheetos and beer... (said in the sweetest Southern girl voice with a big smile) "Now shug you have yourself a Teeter's kinda' day." I'll have to get back with you on that one...been pondering exactly what that means all day.

Tuesday, October 18

Butch Alert

Don't look now but this nellie girl is sporting a new accessory...a keychain with a hootie on the end that clips to my belt loop.

I's cliche, but as caretaker of 120 acres, a tractor, a golf cart, a house with 4 doors, two cottages and a stable, I can't be lugging all these keys around in my purse now can I?

Sunday, October 16

Observations and Things to Ponder

Mocha likes to catch flies...she's good at it...I'm thinking of changing her name to Renfield.

Karo Syrup is the magic ingredient for making the biggest, longest lasting bubbles for your bubble wand.

St. John of the Cross was one rocking dude for his time.

Can one achieve grace by laying on a blanket in the sun or is that just being lazy?

A male cardinal will share a nest and shelter with a female cardinal, but won't let her onto the birdfeeder at the same time...

I think I saw what was equivalent to the South Pole on the Moon last night. Does the moon have a south pole?

There's a reason so many cartoon characters are modeled after chipmunks...they are hilarious in real life!

That's enough for now...just had to get these things out of my head.

La Luna

La luna nella sua pienezza me inebria.

(sometimes it can't be said in English)

Saturday, October 15

Insanity or Multi-Tasking

A commercial for a local business caught my attention the other day. I normally don't pay attention to commercials, but I've found the ones produced locally (Middle Tennessee) have a flavor I've not tasted elsewhere. So....back to the was for a company called Dental Bliss. Yes, Dental and Bliss together. I had to pay attention to see where this was going. OK...this dental practice is inside a chalet-style building and in addition to regular dental care, you can partake of facials, massages, sit next to a roaring fire as you sip wine and listen as a pianist fills the cavernous waiting room with calming melodies (show tunes perhaps?). There's a coffee bar, an internet cafe and landscaped walking paths with babbling brooks.

Two thoughts occur to me as this sinks in...have we truly become such an anxiety-stricken society that in order to be coaxed to go to the dentist, it has to be wrapped in spa clothing or is it multi-tasking at its finest?

You be the judge. Here' a link to their website. Is it me or does the dentist look like he's had just a little too much laughing gas?

Friday, October 14

What's Wrong With This PIcture?

Isn't she sweet...left just enough room for me at the foot of the bed.

Thursday, October 13

Texan in a Popsicle Suit

The temperature is falling and my brrrr factor is in high gear. Mocha has taken up residence at the head of the bed, despite the fact that she has her own comfy, cushy, color-coordinated dog bed. I don't mind. I welcome the extra body heat. I always thought "they" called it fall because leaves fell gracefully from the trees. I call it fall because things are literally falling from the sky and making loud booming noises when they hit the tin roofs of all the buildings on the land. I'm told they are "buck-eyes". They look to me like neon green golf balls. One actually hit the top of my car as I was winding through the hills at 50 mph. Scared the beeJesus out of me. Other things that are falling...somewhere near the ridge someone is either setting off explosives (there are "blasting zones" around here) or it's zealous deer hunters in the wildlife preserve that backs up to the property at Penuel Ridge.

Fall is noisy or maybe that's just the sound of my teeth chattering.

Saturday, October 8

Rant at HP you've noticed no pictures lately on my blog...only words. I've been grappling with Customer Service at HP for about a month trying to get my camera fixed. I've literally been passed around the globe...starting in India, passing through Houston, TX and onward to customer service destinations unknown.

A kind soul who read my blog and actually works for HP (yes, it's a tiny world) tried to help by escalating my issue up the corporate chain of concern. I was encouraged...someone on the inside pulling for ally...someone with the pass key that would magically open the door to customer satisfaction.

Well, after some rather tedious and off-putting exchanges with the "Executive Customer Service" representative at HP, they've told me my only option is to buy a new camera. I don't want to buy a new camera...I like, no love, my HP camera. It takes really great pictures, it's easy to use and has killer features. Why can't they just fix it? You know what they told me? The don't fix cameras at HP. They actually design, market and sell a product with no intention of supporting it. THAT'S JUST WRONG and as a consumer, I cannot purchase products from a company that doesn't support its product or its customers.

So, this being my blog with the potential to reach anyone on the planet, here's a sample of what my camera is doing (notice the blue vertical and horizontal lines). If you have had a similar problem or know how to fix it...I'd sure appreciate you letting me know.

Thursday, October 6

Things I Don't Know

1. How to grill a piece of meat using charcoal in a big-ass bbq pit.

2. How I got to be 46 years old and don't know how to grill a piece of meat using charcoal in a big-ass bbq pit.

3. Where the joy filled woman child went and if she is ever coming back.

4. Why sheets have to be folded just so or they sprounge out of the closet.

5. How to fix a door knob that will no longer turn...this is especially vexing when you have just enjoyed a hot shower, gone to open the door to your bedroom and realized the doorknob won't turn...which leads to other things I don't know...

5.a. Just how much is the repairman going to enjoy making a house call with me in my bathrobe?

5.b. How long can Mocha hold her water on the other side of the door?

5.c Would it help if I removed the framing around the door?

5.d. On this side of the door is food, water, bathroom, TV and the outdoors...on the other side is my dog, bed, computer, clothes, photos, jewlery, journals, etc... if I had to make a choice, which side would I live on?

I don't know the answers to 1 - 5c which is exactly why it's "things I don't know", but 5d is a no brainer, I go for what's behind the door. Mocha and I can always crawl through the window to freedom.

Wednesday, October 5


Went outside the other morning...took a few steps, a sharp right and a few more steps and something caught my eye...something was there that usually wasn't there. I stopped still, my body went rigid and the only thing moving were my eyes in their socket. I looked down on the dew drenched grass and there it was...a snake skin. It was perfect...stretched out in the grass, graceful curves every six inches or so.

Then it happened, I admit it....I had a nellie attack...a serious case of the willies. I squealed like a little girl and ran for the door. Luckily, I gained my composure long enough to get curious...just how long was this sucker? So I took a stick and gingerly extracted it from the grass and stretched it out on one of the deck benches. The head was all scrunched up like a used condom, so I didn't get the full effect, but I'm guessing it was about 3 feet long.

It must be shedding season in Middle Tennessee because my next door neighbor had recounted the previous day a story about finding the same thing in her yard. For a moment, I thought she had sneaked over in the middle of the night and put it by the front door as a practical joke, but no...there are now two big ass snakes hanging out in close proximity wearing the latest fall fashion.


Sunday, October 2

Happy Hour in Ashland City

My job is thirsty work. I spend a lot of time outdoors walking the trails, trekking up and down the side of ridges (usually toting things, like big jugs of water), walking to the road to get the mail and drop off the garbage, etc...

It was a particularly thirsty day for me last week, so on one of my trips into town for supplies (Ashland City), I pulled into the local Sonic for a large diet cherry limeade (for those of you that don't know, I've kicked the diet coke habit since coming here). My mouth was watering as I pushed the button and placed my order. The young female voice chirped my order back to me and said, "that'll be 79 cents." I thought that was rather curious since I ordered a medium that costs $1.49. She came bouncing out with my drink and again said, "hi...oh what a cute dog...that'll be 79 cents." I asked her if there was a special on diet cherry limeades and she said, "No, it's happy hour every day from 2 to 4 on drinks." This is good to know...I'm on a strict budget...and I get thirsty a lot.

Also interesting...Ashland City is a very conservative, religious right kind of a town. Every time there's a referendum placed before the citizens of Cheatham County to allow packaged liquor, it gets voted down. It's not a totally dry can buy beer and wine in the grocery store and you can order a beer at a restaurant, but no mixed drinks. All this being said, I found it interesting that in a semi-dry county, the local Sonic would have happy hour.