Revisiting an Old Favorite

Sometimes the important things you read as a teenager or young adult make you wince when you come across them again years later.

I was (big surprise) browsing in an antique store this past weekend and came across an old favorite that didn’t disappoint me forty-five years after I first read it. In fact, I bought the inexpensive framed poster and just need to figure where to hang it. Anyway, I thought I’d share this and see how it strikes others, whether it’s an old friend or a new:

Desideratagreen road

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
woman singingBe yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

brigitTherefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

As always,

Blessings to All

Moth-Eaten No More

With a little help from your friends, you can do practically anything!

The Yucky Moths

My old moth-eaten rug is gone. Finally!  Carolyn (bless her heart — for real) came over last night to make it so. We had some nachos and then went to work. She cut up the rug and disposed of the nasty pieces in a heavy-duty plastic trash bag. I was going to use the bits as weed suppressants in the garden they grossed me out too much.

After much picking up and sweeping, and a little rearranging, my main room is looking much lighter and cleaner today. What a relief! I swear I’ll never neglect things like that again. It just creates too much of a problem when it’s time to face things.

But I truly do feel a great weight has lifted and I can now proceed with the Big Clean, a small step at a time, with a little help from my friends.

A Busy Weekend Coming

Wow! I’m not going to have a minute this weekend. In addition to our Yard Sale on Friday and Saturday (oh what a ton of work we’re in for), this weekend is the annual Lavender Festival at Mountain Farms in Burnsville. 

I went last year and had the most lovely day (see here and here).   I hope to make it up there on Sunday with a friend or two in tow.

The Mountain Farm website had the loveliest photo. Can’t you feel the breeze and smell the lavender?

Lavender Festival Girl


I finally ate my Fusco’s gourmet penne rigati. My friend Carolyn and I had it for supper with a tomato sauce – rich with fresh basil from my garden – and a little grated cheese.

It was scrumptious. The pasta tubes were huge – much bigger than I expected, and had just the right resistence to the tooth, truly al dente!

This evening is a cultural melting pot for me. Carolyn is dealing with her brother’s death and all the mess and upheaval a family death brings. We talked a lot about funeral customs and other very culturally determined concepts. Then I made us true Italian comfort food…

Next we’re going to watch some old West Wing episodes. These are our friendship’s cultural comfort food. I’m “petting her” this evening, which is southern Appalachian for fussing over her and giving comfort.

Gotta go… President Bartlett, Josh Lyman and treasured friendship rituals await.

Friends of the Best Kind


I’m incredibly lucky.

It’s not that I have an easy life — there’s almost always a crisis or two at some stage of happening. Health issues and financial problems have plagued me and, like everyone else I know, there’s never enough time to get things done.

But what I do have is amazing.  I have great friends. 

Right now I just want to say thanks to one of them: for her unfailing generosity both of spirit and substance; for her compassion and humor, as well as her strengths and her frailties.  I don’t know how I would have made it through the past dozen years without her love and support.

But I know I’ll never have to find out what it would be like without it. Our friendship is like the two trees in the Osho Zen Tarot card pictured. Steady, deeply rooted, and solid as a well-rooted tree. No matter the season, the foundation goes deep.

Here is the Osho site’s description and commentary on Friendliness:

First meditate, be blissful, then much love will happen of its own accord. Then being with others is beautiful and being alone is also beautiful. Then it is simple, too. You don’t depend on others and you don’t make others dependent on you. Then it is always a friendship, a friendliness. It never becomes a relationship, it is always a relatedness. You relate, but you don’t create a marriage. Marriage is out of fear, relatedness is out of love. You relate; as long as things are moving beautifully, you share. And if you see that the moment has come to depart because your paths separate at this crossroad, you say good-bye with great gratitude for all that the other has been to you, for all the joys and all the pleasures and all the beautiful moments that you have shared with the other. With no misery, with no pain, you simply separate.
aaa                      [from] Osho The White Lotus Chapter 10
The branches of these two flowering trees are intertwined, and their fallen petals blend together on the ground in their beautiful colors. It is as if heaven and earth are bridged by love. But they stand individually, each rooted in the soil in their own connection with the earth. In this way they represent the essence of true friends, mature, easy with each other, natural. There is no urgency about their connection, no neediness, no desire to change the other into something else. This card indicates a readiness to enter this quality of friendliness. In the passage, you may notice that you are no longer interested in all kinds of dramas and romances that other people are engaged in. It is not a loss. It is the birth of a higher, more loving quality born of the fullness of experience. It is the birth of a love that is truly unconditional, without expectations or demands.

Mid-April Madness

Just a few days ago I took the picture of the magnolia tree in flower that I posted. Now the flowers are all spent, the tree has greened up, and the next stage of Spring is here.

Mid-April madness is a mind-set that always comes upon me at this lovely pause in Spring’s sweet progress.

Spring in the Blue Ridge

Things are green, but still slightly golden around the edges. Flowers are still tender — not yet having achieved the profusion and brilliance of a southern summer.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are not yet deep green (they are still pale along the high ridges, where Spring is running a week or so behind).

Misty mornings still hold a touch of frost behind my house, though the birds wake me earlier each day.

I’m still filled with the enthusiasm of Spring. Once Summer arrives in earnest, I wilt way too easily to enjoy the gardens I plan at this time of year. I will soon seek the cool dimness of air-conditioned rooms, instead of baking in the garden’s heat.

For now, though, grandiose plans are the order of the day.

last summer's garden

I visualize spilling containers of herbs, brilliant pots of petunias and zinnias, hot pink roses, and climbing trumpet vines with dancing hummingbirds.

I imagine cool, deep green shadows under arbors heavy with grapes… my magical garden that needs more sweat and muscle than I can provide.

But, I’ve got a plan!

I cook.  In fact, I cook really really well. 

So, I’ve lined up garden and yard work on the barter system for this year. 

One friend to mow, one to trim hedges, one to weed and mulch, and so forth. I’ll make gallons of red sauce, quarts of chicken in wine sauce, pots of vegetable soup, pounds of artichoke salads, baked ziti, casseroles, stews, stir-fries — you name it, I’ll cook it. 

My garden elves will be well-fed, and I’ll finally have the garden my mid-April madness and imagination dictate.

Buon Appetito, garden crew!

Resuming Ordinary Life

I had a great outing today. It’s the first spontaneous fun-day I’ve shared with Carolyn (one of my two best buddies)  since I starting having health problems back in November.

We started out to just see a movie, but the lines were too long…. So we detoured to a bookstore…. Then on to an Italian bistro with antipasto, wine, tiramisu and espresso….  And, finally, the early evening show of the movie. 

So here I am, home again.

Even though we only had to walk about two blocks, I’m ready for bed! It was a lot of fun, though, just getting to browse and laugh (and cry a little).

Removing yourself from ordinary day-to-day pleasures and routines can be such a gift. I’ve treasured the time I had recovering from surgery — the lessons about letting go of expectations, accepting limitation and allowing others to help me. But my favorite lesson was remembering to cherish the satisfactions of everyday life.

Getting up for work and moving without pain. Seeing colleagues and having them welcome me back joyfully.

Finding I still love what I do for a living. Feeling strength flow back a day at a time. Chatting in the hallway at the office.  Being welcomed home by the cat running to the back door.

Going to the grocery store! That was one of the highlights of the week.

Today, I felt almost dizzy from the wealth of books and magazines, games and puzzles at the Barnes & Noble. I bought my annual calendars (at half price ☺) for the office and for home, two small jigsaw puzzles and a paperback. Such extravagance on top of eating out and a movie; however, today felt like a true celebration.

To Life! To friends! To books! To learning! And to prosciutto and tiramisu!

Back to Work — Let’s Toast!


I started back at work Monday after a month of medical leave.

It was great. Sure, I tired easily and I won’t be back full days for a little while longer, but it felt so normal being at my desk, talking with staff, and getting back on top of things.

I missed my friends and colleagues more than I had realized. Work grounds me and satisfies a big chunk of my needs for achievement, intellectual stimulation, conversation, connection, and purpose.

I know how lucky that makes me!

Recovering from surgery this past month has reinforced my sense of gratitude. I’ve had the good fortune to have a health problem that could be addressed successfully with surgery; the surgery and recovery went well; my benefits will cover most of the cost; my friends, family and work-family were all supportive and loving; and I’ve gone back to work with a renewed sense of interest and excitement.

So that’s why I feel like I should bring out the champagne.  It’s going to be a happy new year.

“Fun day” at work

Last Friday afternoon we all met at the upstairs dance/meeting space at the French Broad Food Co-op in Asheville to work with an art therapist for a couple of hours as a stress reducing/fun initiating /creativity releasing /team building…. whatever. Even though many of us scoffed (me chief among them, though I usually love this kind of stuff, I was just in a pissy mood).

Well, it was wonderful. We laughed ourselves sick — we got silly and wacky and did this amazing scream exercise, as well as a bit of self-revelatory stuff. But mostly we just laughed and laughed. We sooo needed it.

My personal highlight was playing the musical chairs-like game where one person stood in the center and asked if anyone had ever…. (fill in the blank). The only rule was the “thing” had to be something you had actually experienced. Carolyn said, “did anyone ever have a pet chicken growing up?” Deafening silence. The trick was, those who had shared your experience had to jump up and trade placed with each other — you rushed into the fray to claim a spot too, and the one left standing started the inquiry all over again.

So, we have 22+ staffers and volunteers present, several of them my age group. When I get my chance in the middle I say, “has anyone ever taken LSD?”

The upshot is, both pet chickens and hallucinogenics are unfamiliar to many Western North Carolinians in the social services. Who knew? And is it any wonder Carolyn and I best friends?