In Which Life Gets SIMPLE and Etsy Becomes Populated – Week Ten : Day One

In Which Life Gets SIMPLE and Etsy Becomes Populated – Week Ten : Day One.

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Dear God, Its me, Teri (a nod to Judy Blume for the title)

Dear God, its me, Teri. I want to talk with you about an issue that I have been having with intimacy. You see, for a long time, I have felt very empty inside. Nothing has been able to  fill me up. Not my family, not work, not food or alcohol. I have chased relationships with others, finally catching them, only to find no fulfillment. It has been this way for many years.

There are glimpses of what I desired, to be sure. Times when I well up with joy and feel as if I would burst.  I attribute those times to the moment or the person that I am with. Most times, I give credit to that remote concept of “being in love”. Only to feel that emptiness of the after-effect of being on an unsustainable emotional high.

I do not consider myself a “holy” person. For a few years, I might have had a “holier-than-thou” attitude, but I live a much different life with a much different perspective now. (Can I hear an Amen?) I gaze in wonderment at people I consider to be “holy”. Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Christ and my favorite saints.  They  seemed to have a deep sense of intimacy about them, a real connectedness to something I did not experience. They  had/have an expression of joy & intimacy on their faces and in their smiles that I only hoped for. And I remain alone. I do not consider myself lonely, for I had surrendered to all that I can on a surface level. But I constantly reach a plateau of dissatisfaction and disappointment.

And yet, something in me keeps searching. I see a man and think, “Hmm, maybe that one.” I seek out a moment or a thing and think “maybe this time”. But nope, not there or there or there. Always glimpses, never the Full Monty. (a movie reference, rent it, ‘nuf said)

Yet, just once…

One day, as I was leaning on the deck railing watching the sun set over the crashing waves at Pajaro Beach, I felt a Presence. A warm, enveloping of my entire being by a Power-filled, Loving energy. It was the deepest, biggest full body hug that I had ever received. It shot me through the heart, pierced my mind and headed directly to my soul. It embraced me for an eternity. Okay, really, just a few seconds. And in that moment, I felt Love. I knew what the mystics of the ages experienced. And I know that I can and have experienced the intimacy that I longingly seek.

My imagination captured a sliver of that moment. My soul longs for another God-hug and my heart holds the memory very close. I know that up to that point, I had been treating God as something external, something that had to be invited in. Now, my perception is changing. I am opening up more and more to the intimacy that I chased, realizing that it has been with me all along. I just need to recognize it. I move through life, of God, in God and with God. I practice stepping closer to this Truth. The more I practice, the more this becomes my reality.

The more intimate I become with my own life, the more intimate I become with God and then the more intimate I become with others. Hardly a vicious circle, more like an eternal one.  So God, thanks for listening. Although you already knew all of this about me. I appreciate the patient Being-ness as I catch up.   Love, Teri 

 

 

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The Grief of an Ex-Wife

teriost:

When I wrote this blog in 2011; I never thought that it would reach and touch some many people’s hearts. I am so grateful for the voices of each and every one of you. Know that you are in my thoughts and that I read every post and send you all healing. It is amazing what time does. My discussions with my boys about their dad are much easier these days. Anger has subsided, a soft gentleness is more than likely present in our remembrances. My wish for each of you is that you get to this place of tenderness that we have gotten to. It is wonderful.

Namaste. – Teri

Originally posted on Community House:

It has been a little over a year since my ex-husband died. A year of shepherding my two almost adult sons through the toughest times of their young lives. A year of learning that the grieving process is not really a process, it has no rhyme nor reason; just an ebb and flow.

A year has passed and the boys are coming to an understand what it means to be fatherless. What it means to not have him in their lives. They are coming to terms with the bitter disappoint that comes with an unexpected death. Coming to terms with what was left unsaid and unanswered.

And so am I.

But as who? I am no longer a divorcee nor am I a widow. Was I allowed to be publicly sad, to mourn the loss? People just didn’t know what to do with me.  And I didn’t know what to do with…

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I {HEART} Doris Day & Rock Hudson – there, I admitted it!

True Confession…I am a red-blooded, valentine-heart carrying romantic. Surprised? So am I.  Hudson & Day’s Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers rank among my all-time favorite movies list. They make my eyes spring tears of romantic joy and hope. Saturday afternoons of my youth were spent watching late 50s/early 60s romantic comedies and musicals on Channel 44 (cable station 12). Life had a musical score. All in technicolor. All with a happy ending. Boy gets girl. Girl gets boy. Happily ever after. The End. Cue Final Credits.

Don’t even get me started on Three Coins in a Fountain. That topic deserves special attention. Back to Rock and Doris.

Rock. Doris. Hudson. Day. They had a special chemistry. A fine balance of friends and lovers. They were opposite ends of the magnet that somehow connected. Their on-screen relationship skewed my vision of what love is/was for decades.

These days, I am brought to tears by most of Adele’s songs and croon along with her as drive here and there; occasionally choking up when a poignant verse strikes a deep heartstring. But I have become a closeted romantic. If you were to ask my friends to list my character traits, “romantic” would not make their top 20 list – maybe not even their top 100. What happened? Why have I buried this essential puzzle piece of my soul? I am actually embarrassed when I confront this face of my self. I rarely share this side of me (except for now, for the entire world to experience). I prefer to wear my steadfast and practical mask when I am out and about. It is safe and there is no crying involved.

So as I ponder my inner romantic and try to figure out why I locked her away and more importantly, what I want to do about this personal revelation; let’s wander through what being romantic means to me.

#1 The good guy always wins (which is probably why I also enjoy good westerns and action movies, as well)
#2 Couples reach past their own preconceptions about themselves and others to finally connect with Love
#3 Words spoken have deep meaning and are powerful
#4 Glances stolen speak volumes and curl toes
#5 Caresses given are never casual and cause deep sighs of contentment

Being a romantic means that in the end, no matter what happens, everything will work out just as it was meant to be. There are sunsets to share, creeks to wade in and whispered promises that come true.

Being a romantic means life is lived filled with hope and expectancy.

I am not sure when the bright cherry red light of the romantic dimmed for me. Maybe my expectations of others are such that no has yet to match them. (YET = Romantic) Maybe outside space is too harsh for my romantic soul and I have hard to harden it to survive. Living day to day demands a great deal of attention and it seems that I have left some of the most important aspects of self alongside my path.

What I do know is when I knock on my romantic soul’s door – it is always opened on the first knock. I am warmly and deeply embraced. My heart quickly overflows and fills me with a glow that causes tears to well up, all the while, there is a broad grin across my face. Then, I furtively look around to make sure no one has caught me. I guess, I have some work to do.

I believe these days the world needs a BIG dose of the romantic. Of hope. Of remembering and believing that the improbable can happen. Yes, we ALL most definitely need a draught of the romantic. Who knows what ills it will cure?

But for now, I am settling for a Hudson/Day movie marathon, watched in order, with a big bowl of popcorn and even bigger box of Kleenex.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love,
The biggest romantic fool ever

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Guest Blogger – MattieO – Storytelling in Video Games

Matt’s my son – gaming is his thing. Thanks MattieO for the guest post!

Storytelling is an art form that has moved and inspired people for centuries. Whether its fiction or non-fiction, people become captivated by the exploits or the misfortunes of others. Tales of goodwill and great evil are even included in stories that we tell our kids. Television shows, musicals, books tell stories that people listen to or watch everyday. People become attached to these adventures, wondering how the ending will play out or what will happen next. And for that reason, I believe video gaming may yet be one of the strongest forms of storytelling ever.
When you enter a game it is like opening the first page of book you just bought. Your mind fills with excitement and wonder as you browse the opening menu. You leap with fear with every surprise and wrestle with your own mind at every puzzle. Your brain is constantly at work deciphering every piece of the abundant information in your surroundings. With games you may sometimes enter a deeper state of interaction that cannot be found anywhere else. I sometimes find myself looking back on a game I played with a great deal of nostalgia running through my head. Had I not slain the dragon that captured the princess and saved my village from sheer destruction? With video games you can be presented with topics of great imagination and wit and play through them as they become your own adventure. And they really are your own. It is a unique experience that you define with your own actions, the story that includes you. The reason good games have such rich stories and background is because of the people who create them. The gaming industry is by far one of the youngest in the entertainment industry and the fastest growing. This can be attributed to the richness of the story.

Every game is like an open canvas for artists and writers alike, a place to spill out a more uncensored art style than one you could produce with movies or TV. To appease gamers you have to be original and separate yourself from the flock as well as taking the best ideas from other games and implementing them into your own. So what happens is that these artists and writers are allowed to design something that they truly pour that heart into, a world full of detailed environments and rich characters. From start to finish you are playing something that a group of people spent every inch of their thought and creativity to make. Sometimes I find myself wanting to play many games not because im attracted to the game play, but to the back-story and characters the game presents. You can feel a greater connection to allies or enemies in video games due to the fact that you’re interacting with them on a more personal level. Whether you’re completing a task for a friend or even deciding someone’s fate you always experience more emotional reaction when something happens to those characters.

My own imagination runs wild as I ponder the events of a video game story, and the fact that you will be the one playing it out and possibly deciding the fate of the entire game makes completing it all the more sweeter. The stories of games like The Legend of Zelda, Mass Effect and Dante’s Inferno have rang louder and longer in my ears than any other story tale of Fantasy, Intergalactic peril or Retribution has. These video game stories and others thrive on the imaginations of users playing them, making them the most powerful stories one can experience.

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In light of my Starbucks card dilemma…

An interesting story popped up in the LA Times…Check out Jonathan Stark’s proposition!

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Strawberries and Balsamic – Who Knew? (Summer of Salads #2)

photo credits - Sherry Page/Culinary Getaways

How does something so acidic make something that is already sweet, sweeter? I am sure that the answer is fascinating, but it is a rhetorical question. I really don’t care about the chemistry , it is just so damn delicious!

The local strawberries are out in force at the farmer’s market, on the street corners (those little tarts!) and in the produce section. Mine are delivered weekly via my CSA. The strawberries are the first lot out of the bag and always the first to be eaten. And man, they are delicious! I was inspired to do a lil something different by my friend Sherry Page of Culinary Getaways, whose recipe for Balsamic Strawberries with Cracked Black Pepper was too intriguing to pass over.

I had received a bottle of Fig Balsamic Vinegar as a gift and I thought this would make for a good base for the dessert. No crème fraiche in the house, so I just enjoyed the strawberries over ice cream with a nice glass of Vino de Mocha from Kirigin Cellars on the side.

The vinegar smelled sweet and had a slight acidic burn as I breathed it in. The sliced strawberries bathed in the vinegar, releasing their juices and soaking up some of the balsamic, I think that is what is known as macerating. I let them sit on the counter for about 45 minutes . Then I scooped some into the bowl of vanilla ice cream and topped it all off with a good twist of black pepper. I  settled down to watch the season finale of “Fallen Skies”, no spoilers here, but the equivalent of light summer reading, you should check it out!

 The strawberries were amazing, the acid of the balsamic drew out every drop of sweetness they had to offer. The sugar from the strawberries tempered the vinegar and the black pepper taste quickly dried out in my mouth, leaving me ready for the next bite.

My only problem with the recipe was what to do with the remaining strawberry sweetened balsamic at the bottom of the bowl. It was too delicious to toss –but I didn’t think drinking it was an option. There were a few remaining strawberry slices floating in the brew – what was I to do? I threw it all into a container, stuck it in the fridge and hoped inspiration would strike.

Well, today for lunch – I had a Chicken Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Feta Cheese, topped with a glorious dressing that I based upon the leftover Strawberry Balsamic Juice sitting in the fridge. Amazing!

Here’s the recipe for Sherry’s Balsamic Strawberries and below is my recipe for the dressing that it inspired. I have enough dressing left that I am going to baste some jumbo prawns and grill ‘em up.

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

 All measures are approx. depending on how much strawberry balsamic vinegar you have leftover, how much oil and salt you choose to use.

¼ c. Strawberry Balsamic vinegar and any floating strawberry slices (leftover from the Balsamic Strawberries)

2 T. Fig Balsamic Vinegar (or nice smooth aged Balsamic)

 2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

 A small pinch of kosher salt

 A couple of twists of ground pepper

 Using a hand blender, whip together any macerated strawberries and strawberry balsamic vinegar until smooth. It will be thick. Thin out with balsamic vinegar and stir in the olive oil. Blend together well. Season with ginger, salt and pepper to taste.

Components of the Salad:

- Well washed organic spinach, rinsed well and patted dry

 – Leftover shredded chicken breast

 – A couple of fresh strawberries, sliced

- Slivered Almonds, lightly toasted

- Crumbled Feta Cheese

Proportioned to what you have on hand and how many people you are serving. Top with dressing and toss well. Finish off with a bit more cracked pepper and enjoy!

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