Dec 27, 2005

At peace for Christmas

In Norway, all the eating and gift-opening and caroling and such is on Christmas Eve. No one goes to bed early, if they can help it. That leaves Christmas Day as a true day of peace (sleeping in, lethargy, whatever). It's a lovely calm and still wonderfully Christmassy. We got out and stretched our legs, in crisp and clear weather, with a light seen only at the extremes of midwinter and midsummer. Now at 3 pm, it was almost sunset, and the sun gave us its best pale light, transforming the landscape into deep blacks and umpteen pastels with hints of gold here and there. I was totally fascinated by the uniform and undisturbed frost of the piers as well as the light on Lysefjord (with the island that was Ole Bull's last home in the background).

Goofy for Christmas

I had help goofing off and being goofy for Christmas. On Christmas Eve with a dear friend and his two teenaged kids, I lost 30 years off my own age (and maturity), and totally enjoyed myself. Flower stuck in my hair and "bunny ears" courtesy the 16-year-old of the house. I was the photographer (again).

I totally relaxed, totally had fun (and lots of tickle fights), loved every gift and every hug I got, and had a most happy Christmas.

Dec 23, 2005

Meme stolen from Beep

I do have something better to do, but want to let my just-finished frozen pizza settle first. Therefore, 40 questions, stolen from Beep's entry on her Livejournal.

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before? Take an animal to the vet to be put down.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? My New Year's tradition is to spend a moment on New Year's Eve, meditating on what I want for the year ahead. I actually found my note for 2005, cleaning up. It reads in full:

Over the years, I have prayed for many things every New Year's Eve. It really boils down to this: God, always be with me. For 2005, I want God to always be with me.

And was God always with me? Well, actually, yes. That resolution is definitely worth repeating and keeping in 2006!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Oh, boy, yes. My sweet grandma, in July. I no longer cry myself to sleep, but I just realized that I'm not going to watch the New Year's concert from Vienna on January 1 with her. That makes me all sad again. And I put my cat to sleep in February.

5. What countries did you visit? The US. I was back in California for the first time since I left it in 1981.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005? More patience. Less irritability. I'm already on my way to getting that.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? July 17, the day Grandma died.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Improving relations with my mother (she helped), and achieving a huge change in behavior at work (something I was given a big compliment for by upper management today.)

9. What was your biggest failure? Two: Not being more patient and less irritable with Grandma, and not being able to find another solution for my cat (I miss her, too).

10. 10.Did you suffer illness or injury? No. Except for a cold this month (which is just my immune system saying it works great), and an odd rash earlier, I actually have the best of health and haven't been accident-prone since childhood.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Oh, where to start. :-) Plane tickets to the US. All the meals I shared with my mom when she visited me this summer. My new DVD-recorder with hard drive. Frames for paintings Grandma made.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Mine! :-)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The US government's handling of the Katrina disaster. Didn't make me depressed, though. Made me pissed off.

14. Where did most of your money go? Who knows? Such is the mystery of life. (I have actually toyed with the idea of setting up a budget for 2006, just to find out.)

15. What events did you get really, really, really excited about? Changing my behavior at work.

16. What song will always remind you of 2005? "Rock and Roll All Nite" by KISS. Old song, but sung loudly with my friend Ann as she drove me to the airport. So it gives me happy memories.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. Happier or sadder? - Happier.
b. Thinner or fatter? - Thinner.
c. Richer or poorer? - Definitely richer, both financially and spiritually.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Foot massages for Grandma.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Watching television. (Hmm... Another New Year's resolution?)

20. How will you be spending Christmas? Christmas Eve with Torleif and his kids; Christmas Day with Torleif's parents. I'm really looking forward to it!

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with? Torleif.

22. Did you fall in love in 2005? Not in a person, but in life. I rediscovered joy.

23. How many one-night stands? This year? None. As for the other years, I ain't tellin'. ;-)

24. What was your favorite TV program? "Law & Order" and all the flavors of C.S.I. Again.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I have never hated anyone.

26. What was the best book you read? All sorts of Emmet Fox books (I read several) and one I'm still reading, "Creating Miracles".

27. What was your greatest musical discovery or rediscovery? Eric Clapton's "Back Home". I have never listened to Eric Clapton before, but really like this album.

28. What did you want and get? Warm gloves. Got them for my birthday.

29. What did you want and not get? More time with Grandma and Grandpa. Weird that, how I had more than 30 years with both of them, and it suddenly wasn't enough.

30. What were your favorite films of this year? Seen on TV: "Purgatory" (the way a western should be). "Favorite" in the sense that it made an impression and I want to see it again.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I served pumpkin pie at work the day before (since my birthday was on a Saturday), and on Sunday, I went to the aquarium with Torleif and his kids (wearing my nice, new warm gloves). I can't believe I'm 45!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Knowing sooner what I know now.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005? "Does this look good with jeans?"

34. Who kept you sane? I'm never not sane. That's why I manage to drive myself crazy.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most/least? The most: Noboby I can think of, off-hand. The least: Madonna and her kabbalah kick and her awfully boring song with the ABBA-sampling as its only positive trait.

36. What political issue stirred you the most? Nothing stirring happened in Norway that I noticed.

37. Whom did you miss? Douglas Adams. Re-read all of the "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books over again and wished he were still around, writing.

38. Who were the best new people you met? Sidsel, a woman I tried to start an astrological club with this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005: People are not out to make my life a misery.

40. Do you have any lost feelings of others? Uhm, I think I have a lost feeling of linguistics or something. Or maybe that's "last feelings or others" that is supposed to say. No, that didn't make sense, either. Ah, another life mystery!

(Thanks for playing!)

Dec 20, 2005

Christmas stuff

Last night, I finally felt peace descend on me. Final Christmas presents were in the bag, mail to America sent (late, but on its way), and I was suddenly a free woman again. I found myself in no hurry and decided to just sit for a bit, doing nothing. And so I discovered this year's Christmas decoration at our local mall.

I'm not into nativity scenes. As far as standard Christmas decorations go, neither are Norwegians. They tend to stick to "nisse", their local version of a leprechaun, who is associated with Yule, or even the American Santa Claus. Previous years have had some rather tacky giant Santas hanging from the ceiling. Not so this year. I was a bit surprised at the gathering of wise men, angels, a shepherd and the parents with their new-born. Funny thing is, it appealed to me. I liked the subtle and simple way the eyes were made (so subtle you can barely make out the little crescents), the simple but effective way they differentiated between the magis' fine garments, and Jesus' family's simpler dress. There was a gentleness to everything. I moved in for a closer look, and enjoyed the tableau so much, that when I noticed some bottle caps tossed in the hay, I removed them.

Respect for a nativity scene... I must be getting soft.

I don't mind.

Dec 18, 2005

Under Construction

I'm redoing my homepages. Slowly, but surely I'll have something different to offer. I'll be spending the Christmas holidays working on it. Yes, in Norway's it's Christmas, not something generic in order not to offend anyone. We have a state religion, our king is head of the church, so it's Christmas. But I digress. I'll be taking some days off during Christmas and I hope then to get my website whipped into its new shape. For one thing, I have some things I want to write and publish, but want a cleaner style for that. I also want to publish photos more frequently, so am turning my main page (index.html) into a blog. So stay tuned!

Dec 13, 2005

How to raise ostriches in Norway.

Indoors.

Dec 9, 2005

The miracle of ostriches, sort of

One of these days, I'll figure this whole miracle thing out. I mean, it must be possible to be instantaneously cured, to have people just walk into your life and fix stuff for you, to create blue feathers out of thin air (that last is for those of you who have read "Illusions").

In the meantime, I'm still doing the material version: I have a problem, I pray for a quick and speedy solution, and the solution appears as an item with built-in time factor. My slow miracle works, yes, but it reminds me that I still have a way to go in getting a grip on this whole spirit-in-a-material-world thing.

So, I woke up at 4:30 am this past Tuesday, told myself (and God) that both the cause of and the cure for the rash in my armpits (!) would quickly and easily present itself to me. So what do I end up doing Tuesday afternoon? Visiting an ostrich farm, eating ostrich meat, and being told the virtues of ostrich oil on all sorts of skin problems, especially eczema-type stuff.

I now own a bottle of ostrich oil, and I no longer itch. Ostriches rule!

Dec 3, 2005

It's my birthday, part 3

It's been a long time since I baked pumpkin pie. It's my favorite, and I much prefer it to regular cake for my birthday. I don't consider myself housewifely at all, but there are some things I am very good at, and baking pumpkin pie is one of them.

I'm good at rolling out dough. Don't know why, but me and rolling pins get along.

My mother showed me a trick years ago: Pinching around the rim of the crust to make a decorative edge. It certainly does present the pie beautifully!

Time for the pumpkin filling itself. Grandma loved my pies. She always thought I got the spices just right. I'm not telling you what I put in. That'll be my secret. ;-)

I made two pies. One's done baking, and now it's the second one's turn.

Yummy! I had two slices!

It's my birthday, part 2

My mom sent me this cat figurine for my birthday. I was delighted, and chuckled at the feather sticking out of the left corner of his mouth. He caught him a bird! Then I turned the figurine around.

I howled with laughter when I realized this cat has never been neutered. Thanks, Mom!

It's my birthday, part 1

So now I'm 45. It's a bit weird, thinking I've made it to 45. Don't quite know why 45's so different. Maybe because, if this is halfway in my life, that means I have to live to 90, and that may not be as likely as living to 80. At any rate, I woke up this morning feeling a bit weird. But, I shook that off, and had a great day, including a visit to the optometrist.

I have to laugh at myself. I am very well aware that the two sides of my body are quite different from each other. I have an uneven walk (mentioned before here); when I hit puberty, I had a right tit for 6 months before I also got a left tit; the wisdom teeth on the left side of my mouth grew in straight and perfect, while the ones on the right went sideways and forwards; I have a lopsided smile; and today I learned that my left eye is slightly near-sighted while my right eye is slightly far-sighted. The optometrist suggested that what I really needed was balance. Heh.

Nov 28, 2005

When dreams want to make a point

I rarely have lucid dreams, i.e. the kind you know you are dreaming, because you remember you had them when you wake up. I don't have those on any regular basis. But I did yesterday morning, and this morning, quite powerfully.

Yesterday morning I had two different dreams: In the first, I was changing departments at work. I was asked to come work for a different department, and only at the end did I ask myself why I was leaving a good department and work I enjoyed? But the tone of the dream was energized and happy. Same for the second dream, only more so: I was visiting my mother, in her apartment, an airy apartment with a large living room and two small bedrooms, and big glass doors on both sides (i.e. both a front yard and a back one). She had been painting, in bold, clear colors, and we were inspired to use them as patterns for new curtains. As we worked together, my mother suggested I move in with her. My last thought before waking up was, "Then we need a bigger place."

Two dreams, back to back (or so it seemed), both about changing places, about moving on to something or somewhere else. (BTW, I wonder if that apartment exists, because it would be perfect for my mom; she'd get a separate room for her art.)

This morning's dream was more typical of my dreams: It didn't make sense but was fun, anyway. My grandma was out on my balcony and she was holding a huge net and inside were dozens of Golden Retriever puppies (!). We were all happy, both humans and dogs. I tried taking pictures with my iPod (who knew it could do that?) but the viewfinder kept pointing the wrong way. Just as I was trying to see if that meant I could take a self-portrait, I woke up.

There are many ways to interpret these things. The symbolism of dreams do not always follow what you read in dream interpretation books. My way of figuring these things out, is to simply ask myself how these dreams made me feel during and upon waking up, and that usually tells me what they were about.

I felt happy in and about these dreams. I enjoyed the company I was in, and I was laughing a lot. I feel like they are telling me the pain is over and in my future is joy, and happy changes.

I'm also highly amused that my subconscious apparantly thinks that Golden Retriever puppies are the perfect symbol for fun and joy. I think that my subsconscious has a point.

Nov 24, 2005

Discoveries

Nothing like giving your brain something to go "Wow!" about.

  • I came across pykrete. I would love to see something the size of a skyscraper made out of that stuff.
  • I have learned what a snood is. Jokes are a fun way to learn (it's also how I came across pykrete).
  • My upstairs neighbor's first name. Like many Norwegians, he has two.
  • I have been reminded that those around us, reflect us ("birds of a feather flock together"). I am surrounded by some really cool and integral people. Which means that in some way, I fit in. It's Thanksgiving in the US, so I'm giving thanks for my life being filled with such great people.
  • Finally - and this one is worth the 11 pages of reading - colored soap bubbles.

Enjoy!

For your viewing pleasure

Near where I live is a large pond called Ortuvann. This is one of the streams that feeds it. (Click on the picture if you want to enjoy the details.)

Nov 21, 2005

Losing my virginity

No, not that one. Rather, my eBay-virginity.

There are so many places on the web for an innocent to lose any number of virginities. This past weekend, I finally made a foray into the world of internet auctions, rekindling my PayPal account and registering with eBay (as keeraann2005). I managed to lean on the chord of the power adapter to my tangerine (clamshell) iBook and caused a short. I needed a new power adapter.

Those aren't easily obtained in Norway, so I decided to give eBay a whirl, while I erased the hard drive on my iBook (using the fully charged battery) - just in case.

After all the rigamarole of signing up and signing in, I found what I was looking for (cutely called a "yo-yo"), and lay in what I thought was a reasonable top bid and then let eBay do the rest. I was eagerly refreshing my My eBay-page; it's a bit of a kick to bid at auctions. In real life, I tend to get carried away. :-) Since I had never done this before, I didn't think to check my e-mail, but eBay mails you if you're outbid and mails you if you win the bidding. So I didn't catch right away that I'd been outbid.

I had thought about how much I wanted to pay, or if I should just scuttle my iBook and sell it for parts or something if all else failed. I considered the situation, the importance of the item, and upped my max limit. I considered the price still within reason. eBay promptly e-mailed me to tell me I was at the top again.

Then eBay e-mailed me to tell me I was outbid. Now I decided to check who'd been bidding against me, only to discover it was one person just bidding and bidding, probably to hike the price up. I fell for the it the first time (my first dollar-limit) but didn't fall for it the second time. Let the sucker pay himself. He's probably the seller, anyway.

Anyway, it's possible to just outright buy stuff on eBay, so I found another "yo-yo" power supply, and have now sent money to a complete stranger. As of this writing, the only confirmation I've received is from PayPal.

When you lose your virginity, you have no idea before you start if the experience is going to be great, OK, or deeply regretted. But it will be an experience. And most likely a memory for life.

I doubt eBay will replace sex as far as great memories, though. ;-)

Nov 4, 2005

Wet, picture of

A year ago we started on what was to be one of the wettest late autumns/early winters in Bergen's history. This picture was taken then, while sitting on the bus. And now I've also tested Blogger's picture-uploading-thingy.

Oct 30, 2005

Processing...

This past month I've spent talking to a company psychologist for two hours once a week. I'm used to talking my way through my life and life experiences, though not everything gets spoken right away. Sometimes I withdraw first. But later (like a few days later), the words come, and I either write or talk. Typical of an Air sign Moon: Emotions need words.

If I find an outlet in one area, I don't usually feel the need to repeat in another area. It can actually tax and even bore me to do so. As I talk or write, I process. If the processing has gone well, I'm done and don't need to talk or write about it any more.

Then there's energy. Trying to find the energy to be creative, to sit down and want to write. I miss writing, and I said I would blog more frequently, and I've missed blogging. But lately my energy has been spent on conversations with the psychologist (amazingly draining, that), and on my immediate need to change my behavior.

Status hasn't changed: I'm still grieving, I still miss Grandma and Grandpa and even my cat, I still have to work on my attitude at work (a new 30 days to a new habit has started after a successful completion of the first 30 days - YAY!), and I'm still wondering where to next in my life.

I am losing my interest in astrology, and have come to a philosophical crossroads. Frustration, lack of enthusiasm, and no feedback has led me to delete my weather blog. Yes, it's deleted. I'm unsubscribing to the weather astrology group I was a member of. I'm not showing up for any meetings in the Bergen Astrological Club, either. My heart's not in it. Why this is a philosophical crossroads has to do with something Grandma said once to me: When you really need answers, turn to God, because God is the source of everything, including astrology. So, in my own efforts to sort out what's going on with me, and how to fix it, I have not looked to astrology. I have, however, found a lot of help in affirmations, and focusing on God.

So I know that if I were to advise anyone on how to handle big issues in life, I wouldn't tell them to look to astrology. I'd tell them to look to God, to try affirmations - assuming they aren't atheists. And even if they are, a focus on one's own attitude and making sure that the thoughts in one's head are constructive and optimistic is always helpful, and you can use non-deist affirmations. But there's more power in believing in an ever-present and all-loving god, simply because you're calling on the constructive energies in the universe, and it doesn't leave you feeling quite so alone.

Lately, I have been trying to answer the eternal question...no, I have been asking the eternal question: Why death? What's the point? Why does God create us in bodies, make us feel and love, and then hurt so much when those we love leave their bodies? I find myself wishing I had firm proof that there really is eternal life, for some evidence that all my loved ones are still alive, and that I can get in touch with them. And I want to understand what purpose grief has. I have read a lot of spiritual texts over the years, believe in reincarnation, and so I am surprised that I find myself asking these questions. I think I want to move from theoretical to factual. Should I come across any answers, I'll let you know.

I'm rereading a passage in Neale Donald Walsch's "Conversations with God" (Norwegian edition) about dying and death and how ultimately the soul decides and for the soul, death is a useful tool, not a loss. The passage in the book segues into a discussion about listening to one's soul. Oh, here's one answer: Perfect love is made up of all emotions, and in order for the soul to experience perfect love, it must first experience all emotions. Ah, so that's why we must experience grief. OK, I'll buy that.

Oct 17, 2005

Knocking life over

Someone asked on a astrology group what's up these days, since people seemed to be accident-prone, and experiencing upheavals and such in their lives – and all in the last week or so. Good question.

One suggestion: The solar eclipse exactly two weeks ago. I expected to feel that, at 10 degrees Cardinal. The thing with eclipses is that they have an influence if they hit anything in your chart that is the exact same degree as the eclipse, in this case 10 degrees Aries/Libra. Or was that Nodes? Well, I'll claim it, anyway. Hits my Neptune and Nodes, which are all 10-something.

Another suggestion is the inconjunct between Pluto and Mars currently moseying along together and have been for a while, at around 22 degrees (Sag and Taurus, respectively). Pluto is transformation and Mars is energy, and you may find yourself knocking things over and breaking them, literally or figuratively in your life, forcing you to repair or replace. With me, it's adding stress at work. Major stress. As well as my grieving not going anywhere fruitful.

I have natal Mercury at 24 Scorpio, being transitted by said Mars (an opposition). Yes, it's affecting how I communicate (Mercury) with people, and the issue is anger (Mars). Also, Mercury rules my 6th house and Moon therein and I'm feeling all this stress quite physically these days.

I can't wait till this transit eases up. I need to learn some stress management now and get a good night's sleep (also good for stress). That's Pluto-Mars, all right: Trying to transform how I handle irritation and too much activity.

Tonight I'm going to go through my reiki routine and see if that doesn't do some good.

Oct 10, 2005

Awestruck

I came across this blog by accident.

It's the very personal account about the victims of Katrina. Good writing, good photography. And it keeps grabbing me, over and over. I'm left awestruck, whether it's from the desperation, the frustration, the care, or the humanity.

http://operationeden.blogspot.com/ is that good.

I recommend reading the posts in cronological order.

Bad feng shui?

In a world where things run smoothly, mistakes are rare, big mistakes rarer still, it has been an oddly mistake-ridden week here at work. We don't usually have to toss hundreds of business cards due to malfunctioning copiers. And we don't usually have to call for service on both color copiers on the same day. Neither do we make silly mistakes like moving a fold 1 cm too low, forcing us to remake printing plates and delaying truckloads of letterhead paper.

Last week I blamed the eclipse for the madness. This week's theory for the snafus is bad feng shui. We are remodelling the entire lobby area of my office building, and with walls being removed, temporary walls coming up and moving around, etc., we may have disturbed some ancient marsh spirits (our office building is built on marshland) or at least the flow of chi. I know we've disturbed a support wall. Oops.

Oct 8, 2005

It matches my jewelry

It's been a helluva two weeks, but I've managed to get through work without slipping into old habits, except yesterday. Too much work, including overtime, coupled with poor sleep was wearing me thin and pushing me close to old, bad habits (I think the Universe loves pushing the envelope).

After such a week, there's nothing like having an old friend drop by for a visit. I was so looking forward to it, that I even tackled picking up the place with a fair amount of joy (and setting the timer for 15 minutes at a time). Then it came to time to vacuum.

My trusty ol' sucker of 19 years just wouldn't unwind the electrical cord, so no vacuuming. Well, it had already started to leak around the hose, and I hadn't gotten around to duct-taping that, because deep down inside I really wanted a new vacuum cleaner, anyway.

So I didn't get upset, and I was saved the bother of driving myself nuts vacuuming. Did I mention I hate vacuuming? It's the one household chore that has always bothered me. I have never met a vacuum cleaner that would willingly follow me around the house and not deliberately grab onto furniture for dear life and force me to stop and go to it and coax it into joining me in the next room. My old vacuum would also pretend to be a lizard: Going underneath the sofa or around the table leg meant danger so it would instantly toss a body part, meaning I'd have to get down on the floor and fetch the attachment. Nothing like adding a nuisance interruption to an already frustrating task.

Anyway, my good friend doesn't notice my housekeeping, and we had a lovely visit last night, and he was also willing to pick me up today so we could go vacuum cleaner shopping. And so we did.

My new household appliance is small, light, has electronic buttons (sheesh, even vacuums have become electronic), I can control suction from the handle of the wand, and the attachments can be attached to the wand, the wand can be attached to the vacuum itself for resting or storing, and everything snaps and locks into place and won't play lizard. (Can ya tell it's been 20 years since I looked at vacuum cleaners?)

I read the instructions (it was a vacuum cleaner, not a computer, 'K?), plugged it in (ooh, a light!), and turned it on. Well, hot damn. It worked. I then proceeded to push it around my floor and discovered that the vacuum cleaner not only worked, it worked with me, not against me. Its three little wheels move smoothly in any direction independently of each other, and it actually came along on its own, totally oblivious to grabbing onto some corner. (I swear I think it wanted to whistle cheerfully. I know I did.)

I just may have unjinxed myself with this purchase. No more loathing to vacuum. And it's silver. It matches my jewelry.

Sep 30, 2005

30 days to serenity

September has been a month where things came to a head for me.

I don't function well when I'm tired. Ever since childhood, I've always gotten cranky when tired. After a weekend of little sleep, I got cranky at work last Monday, and the person I was cranky with (a regular co-worker) took it so badly, that my bosses were told.

So I had a meeting with my boss and his boss last Tuesday. Two very nice men, but I found it scary. I was afraid of losing my job.

I had a day off the day after. A day to reflect and rest up. But I found that I was so upset, I couldn't face going to work.

This year hasn't been much better than 2004. I tried to distract myself in March with my trip to California, but too much new and different plus the loss of my cat meant I didn't get my batteries recharged like I needed. I was looking forward to a peaceful summer vacation where I could completely suit myself, only to have it spent attending Grandma's funeral and to her affairs.

And then I gave up the key to Grandma's apartment. My last connection to her and Grandpa was severed and it hurt more than I expected.

I've been so wanting to take some time off work, but have no vacation time left. So feeling like crap, knowing I'd been overwhelmed, I called in sick. I was glad I did. I woke up angry Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (that is, I woke up, thought about the situation, and instantly got pissed off at my co-worker). Not good. Certainly not the right way to start the day if the idea is to not lose my cool at work.

So I spent my days at home tyring to think through my own behavior and how to handle the situation, only to realize that my anger was getting in the way. Finally, I realized I need to write off some of my steam first, and in so doing revisited past hurts from my childhood, and realized that some old wounds now need addressing and healing. Some of my reactions echo how I felt back when I was in school and being bullied. I don't know why this is coming to the surface now; maybe Grandma's death has removed a barrier in me or something.

Saturday morning was the first morning I woke up and didn't instantly get irritated.

I haven't written about this sooner, because I admit to feeling like a failure. I'm supposed to be so spiritual, using affirmations to get my life in order, but then I fall back on old, destructive ways and Kaphlooey!

But it wasn't for naught: The wounds that are surfacing need healing. It's time to put the pain of the past to rest. That I choose such dramatic methods, seems to be my usual modus operandi. But I have been thinking lately that it's time to address my temper.

In the past, my temper served me well. It let the people around me know that I wasn't happy with how they were treating me, and that I certainly wasn't going to go down and cave in to their abuse without a fight. My resulting distrust of people trying to get close to me, know my weaknesses or failings, was useful back then, too, but now that and my anger are only getting in the way.

I'm also tired of flaring up over little things. A cup bangs against the side of the sink as I'm putting it in the sink, and I cuss up a storm at it. That's an over-reaction. I don't want to raise my blood pressure or become an irritable old woman. Grandma was always so sweet to everyone and that definitely made it easier to get treated nicely back.

So I pored over my metaphysical books, battling with my loss of faith in that good things are meant to be the norm, and battling with my fear that maybe this isn't fixable. Maybe I really blew it.

But after five days at home, digging through my own library, catching up on other reading (and constantly getting reminders and guidance from various sources, including old magazines and Dr. Phil), writing out my thoughts, I found an affirmation in a Joseph Murphy book (see below), and I also rediscovered my faith. God had not left me, I was not alone. (Normally, I'd talk to Grandma about such things.)

I returned to work on Monday and my boss was happy to see me. My co-worker was skeptical about my new resolve to do better, to keep my negative feelings in check and always treat others well and without "bitchiness". I can understand his skepticism, but I'm not depending on his co-operation. I'm depending on myself (and God) to create a new habit for myself. It takes 30 days to create a new habit, so if I can keep reminding myself to stay on an even keel, be patient, and treat everyone with a smile (and to a smile) for 30 days (I started Monday Sept. 26), I'll have accomplished a lot, and by then, even my co-worker may notice.

I'll be having a meeting with Personnel on Monday. I've been thinking about asking for an anger management class or at least some kind of customer service training. I want to know how other people manage to handle customers fairly, nicely and patiently, no matter how they themselves feel. I have never been able to hide my feelings, to keep my emotions out of my voice, so this is all foreign territory to me. I definitely have something to learn.

What restored my faith

The affirmation that brought my faith back was hiding in my PDA, and is from Emmet Fox's "Diagrams for living", p. 104:
God in me is stronger than anything I have to meet. God has given me dominion over my circumstances. I let nothing in this situation frighten me for I know God is with me.

What I'm using for 30 days

The affirmation that I read and try to focus on with all my mind and heart is Entitled "Prayer for Controlling the Emotions", and is from Joseph Murphy's "The Amazing Laws of Cosmic Mind Power", p.151:

I am always poised, serene, and calm. The peace of God floods my mind and my whole being. I practice the Golden Rule and sincerely wish peace and good will to all men.

I know that the love of all things which are good penetrates my mind and casts out all fear. I am now living in the joyous expectancy of the best. My mind is free from all worry and doubt. My words of truth now dissolve every negative thought and emotion within me. I forgive everyone; I open the doorway of my heart to God's Presence. My whole being is flooded with the light and understanding from within.

The petty things of life no longer irritate me. When fear, worry, and doubt knock at my door, faith in goodness, truth, and beauty opens the door, and there is no one there. "O, God, Thou art my God, and there is none else."

Sep 16, 2005

Idling at work

I thougt today would be busy, but no. So I'm just waiting to leave for the weekend. The whole department is going on a weekend trip (seminar) so I'm packed and ready to go. For the first time I don't feel like I forgot anything ('cept my camera, but sometimes taking pictures is an interruption, not a pleasure).

I got tired last night, decided to go to bed early and instead get up early and pack in the morning. Even though I bugged myself during the night by waking up and saying to myself, "Do this! Remember that! Pack those!" and thought that maybe I should just get and pack already, I stayed in bed until the alarm went off a little past 5 am. I got up, did my usual doddling (which includes e-mail and news), and had an easy start to the day. Eventually, I was fed, showered and dress and tossing things into the living room that I wanted to remember to pack. The night before I had tried on clothes and had those picked out.

To my own amazement, I was packed and out of the house and on my way to work by 8:15 am. Usually, for weekend trips right from work, I'm strung out and show up late for work, and feel I forgot something (and usually have).

It was well worth tossing and turning for, but yes, I do need to figure out how to calm that brain of mine down. For those of you who have been missing astrology here, my Gemini Moon is one reason for a busy mind, but also Mars in Cancer retrograde can be very sensitive to stress (my stomach can tell you all about that).

Ah, yes, astrology. Perhaps it's time to rename this blog. My interest in charts has dwindled mightily, which doesn't bother me at all, but does surprise those who know me. My interest has dwindled before.

There are decisions to make if I put this particular hobby on the back burner: Redoing my website, deciding whether or not to continue the void-of-course calendars, and whether or not to keep participating in the fledgling Bergen Astrological Club, which I thought I would help start, then bow out, but the thing's looking like a non-starter.

The last meeting had one participant: Me. Good thing I have a Gemini Moon and can have whole conversations with myself. ;-)

Well, weather keeps changing today: Sunshine on one side of the building, rain on the other, and still more than half an hour to go before we're out of here, on our way to the train station.

Trains in Norway... There's only one line out of Bergen, due to the topography here. It's so darned hard to lay tracks across fjords so deep no one knows what's at the bottom. So they laid one track about 100 years ago across the mountains from here to Oslo. Manual labor, every inch of it. Prior to that, there really was no land connection that anyone used regularly; all connections were easier by sea, but that made Scotland closer to Bergen than Oslo was. Weird, really, that Norway's second largest city has only one railway connection. So we're going on that one track, up to the mountains, just on the other side of the watershed. It'll be cold at night (oh, I did forget something: A nightie. Oh, who cares.) and changing weather. I managed to pack for all eventualities except heat.

One thing's for sure: Without my cat there's a lot less fur on my clothes. Makes it easier to keep my black and dark blue clothes nice, but there are times when I'd rather have the cat. No, I don't want another pet. Not at this time. I don't know if ever again. I sometimes wonder if the 14 years I had with Sammy were a healing process, considering everything she taught me, and so to have another cat just wouldn't be the same. Sammy wasn't just a pet; she was a friend, a spiritual guide, an anchor for when I tried to float away. I'm a better person because of that pure goodness on four legs. I think a lot of pets do that sort of thing for their humans.

OK, I think I'm done idling for now. Someone sent me a bit of work to do. Yay!

Sep 13, 2005

Walking with the living dead

Shutting a door hurt. It really hurt. I breezed through the first 6 weeks after Grandma died, only to crash and burn something awful last week. By the time Friday came around, I had found hell again, that old familiar short-tempered and sulky me, and I just wanted to wall myself in.

A friend called Thursday and asked me to visit with him and his family for the weekend. I accepted. Good mental hygiene.

So, knowing I was going to be gone from Friday evening on, I bought a fresh bouquet of flowers and went to visit Grandma's grave.

She wasn't there. I mean, I go to her grave, and Grandpa's right next to it, and I can feel them there, I can talk to them and they answer back, and it keeps the loss and loneliness from getting under my skin.

But they weren't there this time. They were gone, moved on.

That hurt as much as giving up the key. No, it hurt more. I felt entirely homeless and abandoned.

So I crashed, and kept spiralling down.

I called my friend Friday night and said I wasn't coming. I was on the phone for half an hour and said 10 sentences. If you know me, you'll know that that is not a good sign. My talking is a barometer. I'm silent only when sleeping, sick or miserable. (Well, I haven't blogged much lately, have I.)

My friend called again Saturday to see if I'd had a change of heart, to see if I was all right. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the clouds were decorating the blue sky perfectly, and the temperature was actually pleasant and summery. I had a nice, short talk with my friend and felt inspired to go take a walk. I did not feel inspired to visit anyone.

I recharged my camera, and took myself off in the sunshine of a late afternoon. I noticed that autumn had arrived, and I was wondering when the heck did that happen? I also wished I had someone to walk with, companionship.

That's when Grandma showed up next to me, and next to her was Grandpa, and walking right in front of me like she always did in life, was Sammy.

All my loved ones on the walk with me. I was delighted. Then I had questions. Grandpa appeared to me as he had looked when I was little. Grandma kept appearing to me as she looked on a photograph with Grandpa, where the two of them are laughing themselves silly. A delightful photo. But why those ages now?

Grandpa's choice was to appear as he looked when he first met me, because that was one of his happiest moments. (He met me in the hospital when I was a newborn, accompanied by Grandma.) Grandma chose to appear as she looked when my mother was a baby.

"But that was one of the worst periods in your life, Grandma," I said. Grandma was widowed while still pregnant with my mother and she also had a toddler; earlier, Grandma had lost 3 siblings at various ages, and had even had a couple of miscarriages. And yet she managed to soldier on, and ended up very happy. So however bad things seem right now, it's all temporary, and I will get through it. She just wanted me to know that, and that's why she chose that age.

A real life kid startled my dead cat, breaking the "magic", so I said goodbye to my spirit companions, grateful for their being there for me. I had a fabulous walk and thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures, a hobby Grandpa introduced me to.

And so I realize I am not abandoned. My loved ones are definitely still here for me, and I will not dwell in hell forever.

Aug 30, 2005

Shutting a door

Yesterday I had a meeting with the lawyer that wil be handling Grandma's estate. He was very pleasant man and our relatively short meeting went well. The main thing was for me to hand over the keys to Grandma's apartment.

He asked me if I was sure. I said I was, that I was prepared to do this. So when we left, he locked Grandma's door.

I'm not going back.

I will never be able to go back.

It hurts more than I realized it would. I got home, and thought about it, and started to bawl out loud. It's OK to hurt, though. It's part of the grieving process, it's a necessary "milestone". At some point I would have had to give up the key, the access to Grandma's home, so it may as well be now.

The door is shut and all that has been for so many years is shut with it.

Aug 15, 2005

Freak out-free zone

Someone on a newsgroup I frequent, on which I had complained that I was bored (which goes to show how bored I was), suggested I alleviate said boredom by freaking out.

I replied that I do not freak out.

I have stumbled across a hilariously written blog, at dooce.com, and that has alleviated today's boredom. I read the archives to learn of how the expression "to be dooced" came about. You'll probably want to read them yourself to understand this next part:

The authoress of dooce.com lost her job because of her blog. She does things I wouldn't do to tell a story: Exaggerate and outright lie (i.e. her co-workers weren't really like that), but she does so with imagery and a pace that the writer in me finds inspiring and entertaining. But her bosses weren't amused. However, it was her defense of herself, her style, her blog that became the inspiration for this post: Apparantly, some people do "freak out". They like to rev up life's engine to the absolute max before slamming it into a higher gear, burning rubber and scaring pets and old ladies all the way.

And I don't do that. It's not that I wouldn't know how. It's just an odd character flaw in me that I have no need to do such things. I actually like being on the ground - nice, flat ground that my feet can firmly plant themselves on and no where near high cliffs to go off of or deep waters to fall into. I like knowing what's going to happen next, I like having some control, I like predictability, and I like doing unplanned things like long drives into the country on a sudden impulse. Other impulses, though, that might cause upsets in me or someone else, do not turn me on.

I am, however, usually not upset when things are unpredictable. I rather enjoy that. I just don't go in for causing it.

I think it must be chemical. I don't want any alcohol, either, unless I'm already in a happy mood - unlike most people I know, can think of, or have read about in some essay in the Sunday paper. But I like alcohol.

Aug 12, 2005

I'm bored enough to meme

From Ultraviolet's blog I have appropriated this interview because it seemed like an interesting change of pace from surfing Usenet looking for anything not boring, and shredding old bills and stuff (although shredding does have a certain satisfaction as the paper whines past viscious little electrified blades). (See how bored I am?) Questions edited a bit to suit me:

1. Can you explain when and why you decided you wanted to become an astrologer. Why astrology?

I didn't really decide to become an astrologer. I decided to keep it as a hobby. Basically, my interest is genetic. My great-grandfather on my mother's side started keeping long hours at the New York City library, copying pages and pages of stuff from astrology books. I don't know why he did that, but he did suggest to his wife that she give astrology a try, since she was such a nosy-parker, anyway (you had to have been there). Well, great-grandma actually had a knack for horoscopes, and wrote for the now long defunct "World Astrology". She even helped her eldest daughter, my grandma, get a job as an editor there. That job introduced Grandma to a lot of the big names of the time, like Marc Edmund Jones, Dane Rudhyar and Wynn, and she also got a lot of books for free. I inherited a whole bunch of them, as well as an interest in doing charts. It all started when I moved back to Norway and Grandma in 1981. Currently, my interest is focused on doing weather forecasts using astrology, also inspired by Grandma's stories about the astrologer Katherine Spencer and her weather forecasting for farmers.

2. What is the craziest thing you've ever done while under the influence of alcohol?

Kept drinking. Oh, wait, there was the panic attack, my first one. I had no clue what the hell was happening to me. Spending an entire night thinking you're dying has got to be crazy.

3. Are you a good cook? What do you enjoy cooking? Do you have a "signature" dish?

I surprise myself by being able to make tasty food (though I am easily distracted, something my mother discovered when she was rudely awakened by the smoke alarm one afternoon here due to smoking oil in a forgotten). My forté is anything egg. I do mainly scrambled and I do them well. I made a sufflé once and it came out gorgeous, which made me wonder what was so hard about makeing sufflés. (I had the same experience learning to play the clarinet; everybody told me it would be hard, but it wasn't.) My "signature" dish is spinach quiche.

4. Of the different cities you have lived in, which one was your favourite? Why?

I've lived in only two cities, Los Angeles and Bergen, and I love both, different as they are, so they share first place. But I'd go for San Francisco as a good no. 3: All the good things about America, while having a Europeanish compact city center and public transportation.

5. Shag, Marry, Push Off a Cliff: Michael Jackson, Rhett Butler, Charles Murray.

None of the above. Michael Jackson just gets my pity. I once met him - that is to say, he showed up at his CPA's where I was temping, was shown around the place, said hi to the employees, we all said hi back and that was that. This was during the release of his first solo album, "Off The Wall", which is still a favorite album of mine. Rhett Butler, uh, well, I never saw "Gone With The Wind" and don't bother to tell me I should. Both book and movie have been around longer than I have, so I've had plenty of opportunities. That should tell you my level of interest. However, Clark Gable in some photos reminds me of my father. I have no clue who Charles Murray is, and don't care enough to google him. Okay, I did google him. I'm so curious. Still don't have a clue who he is except he probably finished college. So he can be shagged, married and pushed off a cliff. I like neat solutions. ;-)

Now, the way this is supposed to work, is that when others comment asking to be interviewed, I will ask them five new questions. Or not. But if I do, it's a meme.

Aug 11, 2005

The truth is out there

When I was a kid, I was sure I saw a UFO (unidentified flying object). As an adult, I learned that it was likely a jet plane, at just enough distance away to seem to be absolutely silent.

Apart of me still likes to think it was a UFO.

When I was a kid, I wished I was a witch. I always went as a witch at Halloween. What I really wanted were magical powers.

I still wonder if that can happen.

I've been raised on a diet of fairytales. There are stories circulating in many cultures about little people who live underground, under our feet, and who can do magical things.

I sometimes wish fairtytales were true.

I was raised on a diet of science fiction, too. Not only are there UFOs, but there are extra-terrestrials (ETs), visitors from other places that are here on Earth, right now. Or so some claim.

And here is where my childhood dreams and wishes break down.

I was directed to Coast to Coast AM radio's web site, who now offer broadcasts as downloadable MP3s, so I signed up for a month's worth. I'm enjoying listening to American talk radio (again), but listening to some of the topics and beliefs on this show are straining my credulity.

Some people really believe that there are conspiracies, that there are ETs on Earth, that there is a (in some cases, literal) cover-up involving non-manmade space craft on our planet, that there is a city on the dark side of the Moon, and that we don't know about these things because our astronomers are sworn to secrecy by a government which doesn't think we can be told the truth without panicking. Which may be the only fact stated in this paragraph.

What gets me is how willing people are to believe these things, including the end to our planet, especially if the source is some channelled entity. What got me writing was this: A blind listener calling the radio show was frustrated that technology is making is harder to have physical disabilities, not easier, so she wanted the Zetas to tell her whether or not being blind would get easier. The answer: Yes, because during the coming pole shift we will all be plunged into darkness, so being blind would be an advantage. The blind caller was cheered up by the answer.

And that's when the insanity of it hit me: The caller was so focused on her personal needs - or on getting such a positive response from the Zetas - that she probably didn't stop to think that her "solution" would require the destruction of civilization as we know it and kill off half our population, too. To me, that is just...so out there.

The flakes, woo-woos, UFO buffs, Bigfoot hunters, what-have-you, say the truth is out there. Maybe not. Maybe it's much closer to home, but that's too mundane, too easy, to hold our interest. Which is a shame. I think it keeps people from finding more workable and reasonable explanations and solutions to whatever problems or mysteries they are struggling with.

Mind you, I still believe in ghosts.

PS: "The truth is out there" is the catch-phrase for the TV-series "X-files", though not necessarily coined by it.

Aug 6, 2005

More than I realized

A change has happened, for the better. A new era has started in my family. My grandma's passing has brought my mom and me closer, a blessed thing.

Over the years, many friends have listened to my problems and complaints, including those about my family. I chose to inform several these friends of the latest developments - partly to bring them up to date, and partly to thank them all for their support and advice all these years.

The list of people who have been my friends and allies contains more names than I realized it would, and still it is not a complete list.

It's an abundance that I simply have not seen until now. I am truly blessed.

Jul 25, 2005

Three generations of bookworms

My mother has come over from the US, to attend her mother's funeral. She went with me to see the minister to discuss details about tomorrow's funeral and the eulogy. We thought we had covered everything, but just now remembered one thing about Grandma that was so obvious that we missed it: Her love of books.

My childhood home with Grandma and Grandpa included a room that was lined with books. Grandpa built shelves and Grandma put books on them: Fiction and non-fiction, glossy coffee table books and cheap paperbacks. Murder mysteries, history books, biographies, classic novels, how-to books, travel books, art books, books about cats, flowers, Norway, Germany, the pyramids, science, astrology, meditation, yoga, diet, etc. I once asked her if she had read all those books and she said she had.

Grandma's love of reading got passed on to her daughter and granddaughter. Mom is immersed in a book right now while I blog, which is what reminded her of her mother's voracious reading habit. I myself have yards of bookshelves, and there's always two or three books in progress on my nightstand. When I was a kid, I could spend an entire afternoon in one place, finishing a brand new Nancy Drew mystery. I'll still sometimes stay rooted to the spot to finish an exciting book.

I have always claimed that if you have something good to read with you, you are never lonely. Books can take you places you can't go to physically. And sometimes where a book takes you is a place where no person can join you. Some of my most pleasant moments and some of my most enlightening moments have been due to books.

I can remember walking into the two story high library at Dublin's Trinity College, and just standing there with a huge, goofy grin on my face, revelling at the sight of All Those Books. It wasn't the thought of having all that to read that was the cause of my spontaneous joy; it was the thought that so much of all kinds of human knowledge and experience and ideas were right there, at my fingertips. All I had to do was read.

I often got that feeling standing in Grandma's "library" when I was a kid. My choices were unlimited. Any bound back with printing on it was an adventure waiting for me.

Jul 20, 2005

Grandma's gone

I can't believe that the woman who has been in my life all my life is gone. The death notice was in the newspaper today, and to see my grandma's name in print made me bawl out loud.

I'm expected to handle funeral details, some last minute paperwork, clearing out her room at the nursing home, etc., and this part of the process irritates me (it did when Grandpa died, too). I don't want to think right now, dammit! I want to curl up in a ball and just go numb until I think I can handle the change, the loss, the foreverness of her never, ever going to talk to me again, look at me again, touch me again, nor will I see her again, touch her again, speak to her again.

Jul 14, 2005

She'll be here soon, I said

Life has interrupted blogging. My wonderful grandma, who has been like a mother to me, is on her deathbed. 11 years ago this week, her husband - the wonderful man I called Grandpa - died. Years ago, when I went to visit his grave, I got such a sense of loneliness. I told him that he'd have to be patient; we girls weren't done gabbing yet. The grave no longer looked lonely; he knew what we were like.

This evening I visited Grandma. She's sleeping, unconscious, free of the chronic pain that has plagued her for years. Her kidneys are shutting down, making her fingers swell, and the wedding ring she asked for last week is cutting into her ring finger.

I felt like visiting Grandpa's grave on my home. I spoke to the lone name on the headstone, the name that has been alone for so long, waiting for a second name to fill the gap underneath his.

"She'll be here soon," I said. "It won't be long now. Receive her. She's coming soon to be with you again."

Suddenly I realized why Grandma had asked for her wedding ring. She told me that she wanted people to know she was married. And she is. Her husband is waiting. He's been waiting a good while for his beloved wife, but now the wait is over. She'll be with him soon.

Jul 6, 2005

Successories

I enjoy how people play with words, making up new ones, and you automatically understand what they mean. (Can't think of any good examples, off-hand, except spork.)

Just now, I came across "successories", "success" and "accessories" combined. Successories are motivational items, like a poster of a cat seeing a lion in the mirror with a caption along the lines of "It's how you see yourself that matters."

I came across the word, reading someone's blog complaining about the phenomenon, meaning seeing people's offices full of successories. I know that stuff like that doesn't work with me. It tends to become visual clutter and get mostly ignored - until the day I feel like shit or do something really stupid. Then it too easily turns into a reminder of what an Absolute Failure I am. Who needs that sort of "motivation"? It's the mental equivalent of sugar highs: Sweet and satisfying now, doldrums later.

As far as motivational sayings go, I don't care for "carpe diem" (Latin for "seize the day"). Sounds like effort. I much prefer "This Too Shall Pass." Works wonders with worries and those dumb days.

A black and white day

Well, that's how I'm dressed, at any rate.

I said I'd blog more often and, darn it, I'm sitting here, dressed in black and white, and suffering from writer's block. I wrote something about stuffed closets and couldn't figure out where I was going with that, so stuffed it. So here I sit, white pants, black top, black patterned jacket, black shoes, white socks, black wristwatch and earrings with white flowers, feeling incredibly coordinated with my black purse and new black-and-white umbrella, which I used today, grateful that the rain was light and coming straight down so it didn't splatter my white pants.

I really wish I could think of something to write about.

Jun 28, 2005

What's that not doing in my purse?

Dashed into the local grocery store for a frozen pizza yesterday. I fished, search, hunted and eventually started emptying my purse in search of my large coin purse which also contains my debit card. I pulled out PDA, iPod, credit card holders (two) and the new black coin purse I had purchased to replace my old one, wondering why it was in my purse already. I couldn't find what I wanted, but luckily had some "emergency" money tucked in my key chain, so I got my pizza and left the store.

I searched my mind, trying to remember where I last had seen my old coin purse, and a vivid picture of me tossing it into the trash came to me.

Oh, that's what the new one was doing in my purse! (Insert sound of slapping forehead here.)

No, I don't know what sign the Moon was in. Well, actually I do, but it's immaterial. Sagittarius can do scatterbrained as well as that other Jupiter-ruled sign, Pisces, can. ;-)

Jun 26, 2005

If you woke up in the future...

...What use would you be?

A really good read should get one thinking. Good science fiction would offer some what-ifs that are worth musing about. Like what if you are put into suspended animation and revived some centuries into the future?

I - and many sci-fi writers - have often thought that would be a Good Thing. However, I've found a reason why it wouldn't: What knowledge could any one of us have that would be useful to people in the future? As any computer owner can tell you, there's nothing more unpopular or useless than obsolete technology. So unless you happen to be one of those historians or archealogists who likes to recreate how Cro-Magnon man actually made arrowheads from rock, there is not much you know that a society that still has electricity won't have improved upon in the next centuries.

If, however, the power goes out, we'll need people like you - but darned if we'll know how to keep you alive for that.

Jun 21, 2005

Garden of Eden

Sometimes I read something that makes me go "Wow!" or that simply makes me go, "Well, yes, of course." Sometimes a combination of the two, like just now, in reading up on weather astrology.

"[...]Swinging closer as he passed, he found [the planets] pitted with craters. They were creased with long, tortuous trenches and ridged with saw tooth mountain ranges.

"In short, crossing the solar system, the space traveler found the world of the sun to be a desert, a corner of the universe where neither plant nor animal could live.

"But what he now sees coming up before him in the distance is clearly something different. This planet is green. It looks like an oasis in the solar wasteland. As his ship streaks toward the burgeoning earth, he begins to make out details. He sees the glimmer of water, the ice caps at the poles, glittering in the sunlight; the green masses of the continents breaking up, the blue of the seas-all of it coming and going in endlessly shifting patterns behind drifting white clouds.

"Indeed, this is a garden in the solar desert."

And that's when I went "Wow!" and "Of course!" at the idea of the garden of Eden as not one spot on Earth, but as Earth. Part of the Wow! is also the idea of some travel-weary space traveller doing exactly as Boesen, the writer of the above quoted paragraphs, describes: First passing a number of inhabitable and inhospitable worlds, and then discovering a friendly and living jewel.

You may enjoy reading the whole chapter. It's an interesting and even poetic description of Earth and its climate (part of a series). http://www.weathersage.com/texts/boesen2/chapter2.htm

Jun 20, 2005

Værvarslinga på vestlandet

Jeg grisler med astrologi og prøver å spå været med det. Nå har jeg satt meg fore å spå været for denne sommeren og har startet en egen blog i så henseende. Så nå skal jeg konkurrere med meteorologene, men de kan ennå ikke spå hele 3 måneder frem i tid. Jeg vet ikke om jeg kan, heller, men nå skal jeg altså prøve dette. Vær klar over at jeg er en nybegynner og vil gjøre feil. Jeg setter likevel pris på tilbakemeldinger (kommentarer er mulig på værbloggen). Og nå: Været. http://bergensvaeret.blogspot.com/

One of my astrological interests is a branch of mundane astrology, known as astrometeorology. I have decided to give this a go, and have started a new blog with weather predictions for the city of Bergen, Norway. I am still learning and will probably make mistakes. And now: The weather. http://bergensvaeret.blogspot.com/

Jun 18, 2005

Digital watches, blue watches and stuff

"There are of course many problems connected with life, of which some of the most popular are Why are people born? Why do they die? Why do they want to spend so much of the intervening time wearing digital watches?"

The above is a quote from the book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. Adams (may he rest in peace) had a fascination with digital watches (as well as the fjords of Norway, and rightly so, but that's another matter). "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", or HHGTTG, started out as a radio play in 1978 on the BBC, when digital watches were all the rage - a new rage. The rage really took off in the 1980's, along with other late 70's inventions like the Sony Walkman.

Adams' wonder at the fascination with digital watches got me thinking. I tolerate glowing digits on clock radios, which I think is some kind of imprint thing, since clock radios in my experience have always had glowing digits. I find that I find clock radios with analog watch faces weird. But what goes around my wrist is the good old-fashioned analog type. A regular wristwatch with a regular clock face; nowadays without the claim of being a quartz watch, however (I suspect digital innards). I like hour hands and minute hands. Sometimes I let myself get completely distracted by the movement of the second hand. I also require, due to some sort of geometric dyslexia of mine (or whatever it is), dots and/or numbers on all 12 positions of the clock face or I cannot tell time. (For whatever reasons, I didn't learn to tell time until I was almost 9 years old.)

Another thing about watches is blue. The 70's was also an era of colored watch faces, and my grandma and grandpa gave me an adult watch with a dark blue face for my 14th birthday. I loved it! I had that watch for 7 years, then it became a casualty of a rip tide on a beach in Los Angeles. It was the end of an era, I realized. The final end of childhood. I bought a new, expensive watch; my mother offered to buy it for me, but I insisted on buying it myself. It was a good watch, and was carefully attached to a pipe while I showered aboard a passenger boat. I then forgot it and by the time I remembered, hours had passed and the watch was gone. I didn't bother reporting it. I believed it was the end of yet another era. Then followed a period of about a year of wearing no watch, an interesting "experiment" in itself until getting another watch as a gift. Incidents and coincidents gave me the belief that buying my own watches somehow jinxed them for me.

I believed this for quite a number of years, and so depended upon birthdays and Christmases for any new watch I may want or need. But one day, I decided that it was just superstition on my part, and broke my long-standing rule of never buying a watch for myself. The three watches I have since purchased all still work and are all still in my possession, after several years. (I think there's the end of another era in here somewhere.)

Min nye klokke/my new watchI bought a fourth watch for myself just a few days ago, which did trigger the past memory of associating self-purchased with loss. Adams' fascination with digital watches made me realize something: Of the shop's 6 stands with watches in them, only one featured digital watch faces. All the other stands and all the show cases had analog watch faces. Even several clock radios featured analog watch faces. I think it's safe to say that we no longer have a fascination for digital watches (there is an anti-technology trend these days, anyway). But my fascination with dark blue-faced watches still holds and made my newest purchase an easy decision, as you can see by the picture.

PS: I'm sure there's some astrology in here, a connection to the keeper of time Saturn (aka Chronos) and its related signs of Capricorn and Aquarius. You may remember that I have three (important) planets in Capricorn in my 1st house (personal self). In regards to watches, I see them as outer symbols and manifestations of my inner processes.

Jun 15, 2005

My neighbor, Buster

I've always thought Buster looked a bit goofy, but behind a somewhat crosseyed appearance and extremely easy-going temperament, is quite the intelligent personality.

When I had Sammy, she would sit in the window sill and hiss at Buster down below outside. Buster would always look back up at her with an amused and curious look. (Once Sammy got out on the landing outside my door and met Buster on the stairs and they had a noisy fight, but no injuries.) Sometimes I'd see him down below, scanning the window sill for Sammy, if she wasn't there. When I run into Buster in the stairwell of our apartment or outside, I try to sneak a pet.

Buster the catBuster is a spayed black-and-white tom and large and hefty, and he lives in the apartment right above me. A few times after Sammy died, Buster has invited himself into my apartment, and sniffed around, primarily where Sammy sat most. I think he's trying to figure out why he hasn't seen her.

I'm not sure about letting him stay for long with me. I haven't told my neighbor that Buster has dropped in. So after a few minutes, I pick him up and throw him out; that's how easy-going he is. Now he's taken to being vocal with me when he sees me. Like the other day, when I was coming home and could see a woman with her small dog in the road in front of our apartment building, and Buster, who was crouching in the road some feet away, not sure of the dog (who was on a leash). But Buster approached the dog, who wasn't aggressive, just curious. By the time the cat got close enough to the dog to make the dog strain on its leash to take a closer look/sniff, I was at our street door.

The woman and dog left, and I called out to Buster, thinking maybe he'd like to use me as a door opener. He came, chatting away at me, but streaked right past me, in no mood to be petted. Instead, he walked ahead of me, keeping a half stairway between us, finally stopping halfway up to his place (he's done that before, often at my request because I didn't want him to see Sammy at the door). What amused me was that he parked himself on the landing to watch me let myself into my apartment.

He's a character, and I guess he thinks the same of me.

Jun 8, 2005

No misunderstandings

In Norway, most companies have a one-on-one annual review between supervisor and worker, where each, in a private and focused environment, can give and receive feedback. Today my boss chose to have ours.

I have to admit that I don't look forward to such things. I'm always expecting the worst, expecting criticism only. It must stem from childhood because there is little - if anything - from adulthood that can explain this fear. I do get along well with my boss, but that doesn't make it comfortable for me to be in a position where I may receive criticism. Also, lately, my boss and I have been having silly misunderstandings (over choice of words and such), so before the meeting, I wrote an affirmation for myself: "This meeting is a joy and a blessing for all concerned. I listen with an open mind and open heart, and I speak clearly and respond with love."

My boss welcomed me to the annual review between him and me, and then handed me a piece of paper and asked me to write down the one thing I thought would trip us up in this meeting, but without showing him. I scribbled "misunderstandings". He then told me to crush the paper into a ball and toss it behind me over my shoulder. I did. He then said, "Now any problems are behind us." I cracked a big smile at that one, inwardly amused at the synchronicity with my affirmation.

We had a wonderfully productive meeting, neither being nervous or tongue-tied, nor struggling to pass the time. The feedback was mutually constructive and positive, as well. I downright enjoyed the annual review! Which made me curious when it was over, so I checked my transits for today: Natally, I have my midheaven (cusp of 10th house, representing bosses and careers) at 17 Libra, in a 120 degree aspect (a trine - sweet and easy-going) to my Gemini moon, which is in my house of work environment and routines (6th). I thought maybe transitting Jupiter, which is currently in Libra, was at my midheaven, but it was instead sextiling my Sun and squaring my natal Jupiter. What did stand out was the transitting Gemini sun on my moon, trining Neptune at 17 Aquarius, forming a grand trine (very sweet) with my midheaven. Boy, did my boss time this meeting right! (No, he doesn't know astrology.)

After the meeting, my boss asked me what "problem" I had tossed away. He was highly amused by my answer. (The aforementioned grand trine is in Air signs, adding focus to communication.)

Anyway, I'm happy, and I think he is, too.

Long time, no blog

I was looking for a picture. I thought I had it on a blog somewhere. That's when I realized that some of my monthly archives contain only one blog!

Hmmph.

Well, I'll try to do something about that. Let you, my dear reader(s?), have something more weekly to read rather than monthly. Daily I'm not sure of. I write when the mood grabs me and sometimes the mood has no grip.

And just so the title fits, I'll write my other thought for the day in another post.

May 30, 2005

Peaceful, not boring

I irritated myself the other day. It started with running into my old boss, the man who initially hired me 22 years ago at the company I'm still at.

I was happy to see him, with mores lines in his face but still himself, and still blonde, not gray. He gave me a big hug and I got caught up on what his life was like now: Retired, doing consulting work 4 days a week, and apparantly (still) pleased with life. Then he asked me about myself: Was I married? Was I still living in the same place? I answered no and yes, and added "only boring to report". And that's when I irritated myself.

My life is not boring! Experiencing no change in marital status or home address over the course of two decades is not the same as boring. It's stable, it's peaceful. I moved house so many times when I was a kid. I can remember three homes before the age of 6, and due to other moves and circumstances, I also have never attended any one school for more than 2 years. I am so happy to be able to be in one place, to not be torn up by the roots and replanted somewhere else.

My two-year pattern (a Mars cycle?) seemed to continue at work, changing jobs and departments every second year, but after my Saturn return, I've settled into 7-year cycles (so far) - which is how I got to 22 years and counting with the same company.

So no, my life is not boring, my life is stable; where I get my mail is no longer decided by my family, and my marital status is my choice. I have peace.

May 25, 2005

Grandma's chest of drawers

Grandma has been transferred from the temporary department of the nursing home to the permanent residency one, and she needs a chest of drawers. So I said I'd clean out one of hers at home and bring it over.

Grandma is far more organized in regards to personal possessions than I am, though age brings out the bad habits and short-comings. The two chest of drawers that are in her bedroom are neatly filled; whatever is of value to her actually gets put away. I pulled out all the drawers on both. One had mostly clothes, the other mostly papers so I decided to empty the one with clothes. Papers take too much time to go through.

So began my task of going through Grandma's things (I can't stand the thought of someone else doing the same with my stuff, which is one reason why I want to declutter my home - but I digress). The top drawer and top of dresser was full of old cosmetics and skin care products. 99% was trashed. I found a letter from my mother to Grandma, about a painful family situation. I wondered what to do with it. The situation made Grandma so angry with her daughter, but now she may not even remember since her memory is really bad. I wondered why it was up to me to make a decision about it, then decided it wasn't. My job was to clear out the dresser, so I put the letter on top of the other dresser.

The top drawer turned out to be quite a treasure-trove of costume jewelry. I pulled out all sorts of beaded necklaces, some made from natural stones, some just glass and plastic, but all tasteful. I saw several items I would like to have and some that would suit my mother's coloring. I imagined going through all this together with Grandma, and the thought gave me a bittersweet feeling.

I have many fond childhood memories of Grandma's jewelry box. She not only kept beautiful beaded necklaces and rosaries, but also a huge collection of buttons, some quite special, and many quite fancy. I played a lot with those items. It was almost the same, going through her top dresser drawer, but now I was alone. No Grandma in the next room to be asked if I could play with this or wear that. Still, as per Grandma's request, we will be going through this stuff together at some point in order to sort what to keep and what to give away. I'm looking forward to that.

Old clothes, in sizes Grandma no longer can wear, juxtaposed memories of who she once was with who she is now, making my lonely but efficient hour and a half on her bedroom floor that much more poignant. Years of togetherness compressed into one evening, with The Who blasting on my iPod. A new era, this, with me being the competent, able-bodied adult.

A part of me still wants to be little Keera, playing with Grandma's jewelry, with Grandma healthy and capable just a room or two away.

Apr 28, 2005

Do you believe in magic(k)?

There are innumerable quizes to take on the web. "Which color are you?" "Which dragon are you?" "Are you a redneck?" You get the picture.

The latest quiz I bothered to take, was the cynic test. One of the questions was, "Do you believe in magic(k)?". I answered "yes".

There have been books and articles on the nature of "magic" in our lives. The transcendental writings of, say, Henry David Thoreau, are one example of discovering the magic in our lives, i.e. the wonder that is happening right under your nose, in your own life.

There is also the claim that there is no such thing as coincidences. The psychologist Carl Jung went one step further and noted that people would experience "meaningful coincidences", like having been invisibly guided to the right moment or person or thing, a phenomenon he called synchronicity. (The link takes you to the skeptic's take on Jung's idea, so you can draw your own conclusions.)

In my world, meaningful coincidences are verifications of correct thought or desire. They are evidence of being on the right path, that previous choices have been the right ones for you even if you didn't see it at the time. (So a bunch of meaningful but negative coincidences should tip you off that perhaps you need to change course.) One question that constantly returns to me, is why don't I do things then and there? Invariably, a reason shows up.

My priorities when moving to a new town, are to find a dentist and a hairdresser as soon as possible. (Astrology: Capricornian Saturn (teeth) and Venus (hair) in 1st house, focusing on long-term health and bolstering well-being.) The dentist I found in 1982 was my dentist for many years. He sold his business to a woman dentist, E.F., meaning to retire, but died suddenly. E.F. was my first female dentist but she managed to pull off something I greatly appreciated and admired her for: She managed to talk me through the entire procedure of changing a filling so that I wouldn't need anaesthesia.

Unfortunately, she didn't stay my dentist for long. Her son developed a chronic illness and she needed to be with him. She sold her business to another woman, whom I've seen once a year for about 3 years. She doesn't talk much, and I don't feel it easy to talk to her. Oddly, she's a Capricorn and you'd think that would mesh well with my chart, but I assume she's hitting my Saturn too exactly to transcend the feelings of limitation and fear (Saturn's shadow side). So, I've known for a couple of years that I'm not happy with my current dentist, but just haven't gotten around to shopping around for another dentist. Until now.

Last year, a new dentist's group opened next door to where I work, and several co-workers have bragged about the service. Last night, I decided to call them today and see if they were taking new clients. I also wondered idly if E.F. was working again, figuring enough time had passed for her life to have adjusted back to normal. Today, I browsed the web pages for the dentists, looking for a phone number. Each dentist seemed to have her/his own phone number. Then I saw E.F.'s name. Indeed, she is working again, and right next door!

I called, asked if E.F. was taking new customers (she was), explained that I'd been to her before a few years ago, and now have an appointment for Friday the 13th (heh), listed as "previous customer".

So my not immediately switching dentists turned out not to be a matter of dragging my feet, but of actually waiting for the absolutely right moment, the right situation, the right dentist. How did I know to wait over two years? I can't tell you. I thought I was just procrastinating. :-) But so many times, my apparant procrastination has turned out to be perfect timing. So many times, I experience synchronicity, that bit of magic that happens in an ordinary day.

Yes, I believe in magic(k).

PS: For the record, the cynic test claims I'm not a cynic because I trust my friends too much. Stupid test.

Apr 15, 2005

The astrology of a meeting

Prologue 1: We have just finished a period with Mercury retrograde (Rx), the time when the planet Mercury seems to move backwards. This happens about three times a year. Since Mercury is the planet of communication and paperwork, all kinds, its condition can influence everything from relaying a simple telephone message to international computer systems. The keywords for a Mercury Rx period are that such matters will experience misunderstandings, glitches, delays, or false starts. Anything done during a Mercury Rx usually requires extra care and even redoing in order to get things right. Mercury was still retrograde Monday evening where I live.

Prologue 2: The influence of a void-of-course (VOC) Moon is often compared to Mercury Rx. The hours the Moon is no longer forming an aspect to any other planet, and will not form a new aspect until it changes sign, are considered to be a time during which there is confusion, miscommunication, or lack of action. In horary astrology (the only truly predictive branch of astrology), a VOC Moon means "nothing will come of the matter". One of my readers found that companies formed during a VOC period, went belly-up within few years. The Moon was void-of-course all Monday evening where I live. (See my calendars, in English or Norwegian.

The meeting

In Norway, there are building societies, originally formed to pool resources so that one can build affordable housing. Individual building projects (like ours, a collection of 19 apartment buildings) are called "borettslag" (literally: "right-to-reside" association), or housing association, made up of shareholders. The individual owner does not own the buildings or grounds, but instead owns a share (one per unit). Housing associations are handled administratively and financially by their own steering committee, elected among and by the shareholders, and we have bylaws.

Now, every year there is a regular shareholder's meeting of the local association, with a standard agenda to follow, elections, and voting on any matters that involve large or extraordinary expenditures and/or changes to the property or buildings. After having not attended a shareholder's meeting for several years, I decided to make a show this year. I must've been psychic, because it turned out that there had been a campaign among the neighbors to oust our current steering committee foreman, a man who's been foreman for more than the 18+ years I've been living here.

So we packed our club house to the rafters, over 140 shareholders and proxies present (usually we're around 60), called the meeting to order shortly after 7:00 pm, and immediately, some contrary people interrupted the process to claim that the process was not going exactly according to the bylaws.

After over 2.5 hours of arguing, interruptions, as well as normal business according to the agenda, we had a break, and then started our elections. With a bare majority, our foreman of over 20 years was no longer foreman.

It was heady. It was comical. It was irritating. It was confusing. It was unnecessary. The one issue that was the real reason behind the "coup" was parking. We don't have enough parking spaces for everyone, so a few years ago, the steering committee opted for zone parking, rather than assigning individual spaces. Apparantly, not everyone is happy with that. Well, we voted to not discuss that particular point on the agenda, as it would take another hour to go through details, have a discussion, vote, etc. and it was already close to 10:30 pm and we were all weary. Anyway, the bylaws require the steering committee to quickly call an extraordinary shareholder's meeting in such cases, so the issue would be delayed only a couple of weeks.

As I went home after the meeting, listening to the comments of my neighbors, getting a better picture of the background of some the events earlier, and noting the injustices and weaseling behavior of some, I wondered how the new steering committee would actually fare, elected as it was with Mercury retrograde and the Moon void-of-course. By all astrological signs, the results would not stick, though at the time I didn't see why not; it all seemed above board.

Yesterday evening, with Mercury once again direct (forward-moving) and the Moon not void-of-course, a next-door neighbor showed up with a petition to call an extraordinary shareholder's meeting in order to hold another election, claiming the discussions at the first meeting had been too disruptive and misleading. I grinned widely, realizing that astrology does work, and signed.

Apr 10, 2005

The arrival of the soul

Native Americans say that it is bad for the body to travel too fast for the soul can't keep up. And it did take me a whole week, after I got home from my vacation, to truly feel like I had finally come home.

I have spent 3 weeks in California, in the Bay area, staying with an old friend about 45 minute's drive from San Franciso. I hadn't seen my friend in 15 years, but it was as if no time had passed when I saw her again. I had a wonderful stay! 3 weeks felt like 3 months, and I thoroughly relaxed. Coming home did not give me the same feeling of joy as I usually get.

There were a couple of reasons for me to be struggling with feeling "home":

  • I am not yet done with grieving for my cat. I still wish I could hold her again. Waiting for me in my mail was the pick-up slip for Sammy's ashes.

    She haunted me when I got back. I saw her walking in the hall, I heard her scratching in her litter box. These "hauntings" disappeared once I got her urn placed in the spot of the window sill where she liked to sit and watch the outside world. I installed my new printer and tested its photo capabilities by printing one of Sammy, and that too sits in the window sill.

  • I came home to a messy home, and I do wish my home were better kept. (Working on that.) A computer problem, forcing me to reinstall a few things, has made me finally tackle a stack of stuff that's been sitting for ages. Which is just as well; I do need to get rid of stuff.

    On my vacation, I saw this sign on someone's bathroom mirror: "The more I know, the less I need." One interpretation is that spiritual knowledge reduces the need for material things. I don't think that's the only interpretation but I have to muse on this before I can elaborate. In the meantime, the Zen concept of not owning too many things or they will own you, is quite appropriate.

  • There is so much on offer in America, including my preference in religion, and groups, activities and things I can't find here in Norway – at least not as obviously. So I came home to an unexpected boredom, job included. Boredome is a sign of a need of change, so this is something to address.

So is all wrong and bad? Heavens, no! I also feel like I have so many possibilities and options, and that it just takes focus and some courage to make things happen. But I'm still not sure of what I want to be when I grow up.

While on vacation, I was asked by a reverend where my heart was. Honestly, I have no idea. And that is the challenge and the struggle.

I'm feeling a little bit like I did on my first day in California: I was so weary from travelling that nothing my friend suggested for dinner sounded agreeable. I apologized for being a difficult guest. As it turned out, I was fine within a couple of days, so it was just travel fatigue. So once I get back into the proper routine of things here, perhaps finding out what I can do to make my life here more like what I want, I will be more agreeable again.

All I know is, it's time for a change. Time to figure out where my body and soul should really be. In one sense, I'm "homesick." I am, after all, a native of California.

Mar 3, 2005

A month later...

Many have asked how I'm doing after losing Sammy. Thank you for your concern! Here's an update:

I attended the annual new age fair in Bergen the weekend of February 18, this time to promote the newly started Bergen Astrologiske Forening (astrology association). I bought a pendulum, too. Once home, I asked the pendulum some questions about Sammy, crying as I did. One question was "Did I let her go too soon?" The answer was "no". Well, that relieved some guilt.

A week ago Wednesday I was feeling miserable. I had been experiencing minor annoyances, little (unimportant) things breaking or uncharacteristic accidents (like bread catching fire in the microwave; I didn't know bread could do that :-) ) or my plants starting to die, ever since Sammy died. Harmless stuff but I associated it all with losing my "familiar", my four-legged guardian angel. So my miserable feeling was from frustration and a little fear of the destruction around me. I screamed in frustration (I live in an apartment, so I'm sure my neighbors heard me), just like a kid having a temper tantrum. But they say that sometimes you should just yell. It did help. I calmed down.

The next evening I lay down on the sofa and put on my reiki self-healing CD. As I moved my hands to my heart chakra, all my thoughts were of Sammy, and I cried and cried. I could see her so clearly but I didn't see her as being here. She was somewhere else. By the time I had gone through the whole reiki routine, I felt like I was done grieving. I had finally let Sammy go.

Now I can think about her, write about her, without beginning to bawl again (though I still tear up), and I know she will always be in my heart.

Just the other day around dinner time, I thought I had better go home and feed the cat first before going out again. I didn't get a heartache thinking that, realizing there was no cat waiting to be fed. I was just amused at the habit popping up.

The "accidents" have stopped or at least no longer upset me. I'm back to normal, balance is restored. Now I can focus without guilt or distraction on the next big thing: A 3 week trip to visit an old friend in California.

Feb 9, 2005

Is has become was: Samantha

My lap is empty, my heart is broken. I keep looking at the bed in the guestroom for a furry back, curled up in sleep. In the kitchen is an empty food dish, and the bag of favorite kibble.

The dish has remained empty since Monday afternoon, when I came home, and was greeted by a cheerful Sammy, with her tail held high, chirping at me, as cats do when they are happy to see you. I hate myself for having abused the situation, her trust and her sweet nature at that moment, because I scooped her up and started to shove her into the cat carrier.

She hates the cat carrier, never likes what it means, and I felt horrible because I knew why I was doing that. I actually wailed out loud. My own resolve nevertheless surprised me and I got the cat into the carrier. Then I wandered around aimlessly crying and bawling out loud. Then I called a cab and took Sammy to the veterinarian.

I didn't have the courage to stay with her for her last moments here on Earth. I wimped out, more focused on my own pain than on her, already in tears. I left the vet's and walked across the bridge. Once I had crossed it, waiting at a bus stop, having left both cat and carrier behind, I regretted not being there with her. I missed her already. It didn't matter that the doctor said she'd stay with Sammy; Sammy doesn't like strangers. I should've been there, held her in my lap, stroked her beautiful calico fur one last time. But I didn't. I left her to be executed. Signed her death sentence and left.

Such a horrible, irrevocable decision. Such pain. I could feel in it my chest.

All Monday evening was a cycle of wailing, crying, and constantly repeating, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" and constantly missing her. I prayed that God had been far kinder to my cat than I had, and that He would forgive me for putting down my best friend, my protector, my angel who had been nothing but goodness itself all her 14 years with me.

I was sorry for having removed my best friend, leaving myself hurting so. I was sorry for having taken advantage of Sammy's trust. I was sorry for not seeing any other solutions. I was sorry for not staying with her longer. I was just plain sorry, and feeling guilty.

It is now almost 48 hours since that moment when I found the resolve to just do it, just get the cat to the vet's. I chickened out two weeks ago, a moment when Sammy was settled on my lap, facing me, draped upwards on my belly (yeah, cats can drape upwards). She was absolutely calm. She didn't move or twitch at all under my hands and I thought, "Now's the moment!" and held her firmly. She still didn't move. But I couldn't. I relaxed my hold and the moment passed.

Now that I'm calmer and no longer torturing myself constantly with my own decision, some things appear clearer.

First of all, I was always clear on why this euthanasia and why now. For over a year, Sammy has a nervous habit, and has been constantly licking her belly balder and balder. (It's a known phenomenon.) She was also an aging cat. Cat years are measured differently than dog years; the first year = 20 human years, then each year = 4 human years. So Sammy was a senior citizen, currently 72. There were other signs that age was starting to catch up to her, most notably with her digestion. She was no longer a cat that I could leave in the care of strangers, or alone for too long at home. I also saw that the nervous habit was just getting worse.

I just haven't felt emotionally or psychologically able to set about trying to do different things for Sammy, to try to fix what was wrong. For one thing, everytime we go to the vet's, she usually needs anaesthesia, because she won't relax or trust. And each time, her reaction to the anaesthesia is worse than before. Not something I wanted to willingly subject her to. So, what to do?

After much thought, making a list of facts for myself, knowing that a very stressful situation was coming up for her, I decided that maybe now was the time to euthanize her. Both my grandma and the vet said that it was better to be a bit early than to let things maybe go too far. So Sammy is gone, and I still feel like shit about that (I'm crying while blogging this) and I miss her. I just want her back, though I know that's not realistic for several reasons.

Now, secondly, there seems to have been an agreement after all. This is now becoming clearer to me. One instance was in the cab, when I was chiding myself, expecting to go to Hell for this, when I suddenly remembered that a dear friend as well as my grandpa had both had to put far younger and healthier cats down. I can still remember Grandpa's expression when he left for the vet's all those years ago. And no, I don't think he's in Hell.

The other clue to this agreement, that my prayers about a solution were answered, is Sammy herself. That cat could always read my mind. Always. ("Samantha", Sammy's real name, means "the one who listens".) She could tell if I was thinking about taking her to the vet's. I'd come home and the cat would be hiding or at least wary of me (and then she'd go hide). She could read my moods and knew in advance if I was going away for the weekend or something, before I even began to pack. My dragging out the suitcase was just verification for her.

So why did she stay still in my arms two weeks ago, when I was thinking about that dreaded pink cat carrier? Why did she let me catch her when I got home Monday? I had been thinking furiously about what I was going to do, and was sure that when I opened my door, I'd find the cat hiding or at least skeptical. But no, she was up and about and came right to me and let me pick her up. (I guess it's about time I say that Sammy is not a cat that enjoys being constantly held or petted.)

So the sweetest creature I have ever had the pleasure of knowing is gone. And I'm feeling a bit helpless, too. Sammy taught me respect, she taught me to relax. She taught me love and forgiveness.

She did me other favors, too: If I couldn't find something, I'd just ask her and then I'd find it. She'd react to the doorbell or phone ringing, alerting me, temporarily deaf to such sounds due to headphones and music full blast. She'd let me know of bugs that need to be helped outdoors. She'd warm my lap, and lower my blood pressure by stretching out on my legs, like in the picture here, digging a claw into my knee in pleasure, just before dozing off. (Sammy never did knead; she'd just dig her claws in once and deep. Ow.) The root of her tail would fluff out on its own when she was excited, like during a game of Peekaboo, with me chasing her through the apartment. It was during such a game, when I was peeking around a corner at her, that I was alerted to the fact that I needed new glasses: Sammy was out of focus.

So I feel like I've made a huge mistake although I know I didn't.

I don't know what happens to animals when they die, if they have souls. I believe they do and I hope she's in animal heaven.

Sammy, rest in peace. I love you.


PS: While at the vet's, I was asked if I wanted a joint or separate cremation. Huh? And then if I wanted the ashes returned. "We have a very nice selection of urns," and a catalog was offered me. So on impulse, I asked to have Sammy's ashes returned, in a white urn with a gold rose on it. The next morning, they played "The Rose" on the radio and I made the association to the urn's rose. I do think Sammy was a good seed for love.

PPS: I can't believe I'm writing about my dead cat. Still hasn't sunk in completely.