Looking back and thinking forward

Month: December, 2008

The Christmas gift 2008


In the heart of Anacortes


Christmas out West was more special than usual for me this time. 


For, I was officially inducted into the Jacobson family. And, as they accompanied the spontaneous and surprising ceremony with gifts and beautiful words, it was as if a huge, warm, woollen blanket was wrapped around, embracing me with a feeling of security and unconditional loving, the likes of which I cannot ever remember.


The gifts: Dick's hand carved bowl, smoked salmon, and Seattle Rain soap


Champagne toast by the hearth in Anacortes


JJ and TJ …

IPhoto Library 

Words from JJ:

Never Forget That you are Loved

If I had given birth to a daughter, I would have wanted her to be: beautifully loving and deeply compassionate toward others, like you; highly intelligent, successful and gifted in her profession, like you. I would have wanted her to be funny and playful with a delightful sense of humor, like you; In other words, my daughter would be exceptional, loving, caring and talented, just as I have always known you to be. I would be so proud, if you would be the daughter I have always wanted. 

Family members

Two mothers: JJ and Nelle


Just call me, "Sis:" (Milya)


Randy, our brother …


Jared – the best playmate a gal could wish for … because he knows how to wage a very cool silly-string-spray war!


Makaila and Maddie playing music from Twilight.


Missy, who came all the way from Florida, having to change out of her shorts to greet the Seattle snow.


Nelle and Missy preparing the evening meal.


We did not forget: Milo and Roscoe:

And, now … presenting … The chief instigator … TLJ


A year ago at Mining Nuggets: It's strange what you remember, isn't it?

Festivals of light

In a couple of days we head out West. It comes as a much needed break with reunions and gatherings planned in abundance. I am pretty tired out from a productive and challenging semester, and so looking forward to nestling into the generous embrace of the Jacobson family. In the meantime, until our return, I leave you with this, my holiday gift to you – a video I gratefully found at Time Goes By

I wish everyone warmth and joy, and light to guide you out of times of darkness. But mostly … I wish you love.

Happy Holidays!

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: The storm abates



Quote of the day

Thing to remember is if we're all alone, then we're all together in that too. Kathy Bates in P.S. I Love You

I am all out of resolutions. As this year draws to a close, naturally I start to think about the walk ahead. 2009 holds a few jewels and gems. I'll be turning 60, and, in a way or two, that looms large for me. Nothing is clear cut. I feel wide open for anything that comes my way. No rules, no fear (The Jane Austen's Book Club). 

For sure I will be continuing the exploration of intelligence and independent thought, as well as my sexuality. Finally, I have begun shedding the shame, and as it falls away, bit by it, more formidable pieces of my inner Self rise up to greet me. 

There is no way for me now, but forward – onward. A weight is lifting, and shifting, literally and figuratively. So, if I was to translate any of this into resolutions, it would be to do more of the same: 

hold still, keep on keeping on – detaching and letting go more and more of the wanting-to-belong-needing-acknowledgment addictions – through even more compassion and self-acceptance.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Taking hold of my brain


Quote of the day

When I had to prepare a short summary of your book, I wrote that you discuss the abuse of gifted children. Then I was reminded that I should avoid the term abuse, because it is too offensive, brutal and revolting. Instead I had to write that you deal with parents’ "non-understanding" and "disregard" of their children. What’s your comment?

It is very common that you are accused of being offensive if you "call a spade a spade", instead of using euphemistic words. It is everywhere good fashion to conceal the brutality of parents and to offend the people who denounce them. As this is the way we learned to behave, we don’t dare to give it up and we are quickly intimidated. But actually, it is a stifling way


Hanging out in the Jury Assembly room for hours on end gives a person time for thinking, pondering, reflecting, ruminating, wondering. It is quite good, actually. Some space in the busyness of life. Time to chill. 

Yesterday, I had just such an opportunity. In fact, it must have been six straight hours of sitting and waiting to be selected for a jury or not. Plenty time for reflecting: I thought about how the day before, while looking in the mirror and brushing my teeth, I had suddenly realized that I am intelligent, and that I have been intelligent since I was very young. And, more interesting to me than that was the additional realization: "I am an independent thinker." Now, of course I have known this for some time – intuitively, perhaps even, unconsciously. But, I must say, and I know that this will surprise some of my readers, I have never owned this understanding about myself. Indeed, I have always tried to down play it or, even, hide it. Revelation upon revelation. Epiphany upon epiphany. A person can be in denial about positive things too! A person might need to cover up her successes and achievements in order to survive. As far-fetched as this might sound, it is beginning to make sense.

What is it about intelligence that feels dangerous for me to own up to? In my family of origin, "intelligence" is a valuable commodity. There is much competition surrounding who is or is not intelligent. There are many family myths about it. And, it seems to me, it is narrowly defined and "belongs" to only certain members. Lately, I have been shattering all sorts of family myths about me within myself. It feels like walls are crumbling, glass is shattering all around me, and I am beginning to see clearly for the first time in my life … through my own eyes, and not through mythological lenses. Intelligence comes in all sorts of packages, designs and sizes. Intelligence is not only about having academic knowledge, but also includes emotional smarts, and/or the ability to think outside of the conformist view. In fact, I discovered recently, that I have uncovered a new and exciting treasure trove to explore. Intelligence! And all that it implies about my emotional and psychological development.

I start sneezing as I write this. Five minutes go by and the sneezing continues, preventing me from thinking or writing about my new discovery. I reach for my coffee mug and think about another piece of the interview with Alice Miller that I quoted from at the beginning of this post:

People normally prefer to deny that they were abused. Would you interpret eating disorders, obsession with diets, nail biting, "non-offensive social drinking", thinking about suicide, asthma, taking drugs or even the self-destructive "need" for unhealthy junk food or cigarettes as unambiguous proofs of emotional or physical abuse?

Yes, absolutely. All these illnesses or addictions are screams of the body that want to be heard. Instead of hearing and trying to understand these screams, many have chosen to fly.

You say the body is wise and can’t be fooled. The good news is that if we listen to it we can be cured of physical symptoms. But if we are too busy denying its needs and its memory we condemn ourselves to living in an invisible hell. Everything is perfect, but we are cut off from our true emotions and destined to live a hollow superficial life and our body becomes our enemy. How can we become friends with our body which demands extremely unpleasant truth?

First we have to stop avoiding the truth and live through one or more experiences that the truth didn’t kill us, that in fact it made us feel better eventually. If you decide not to take your pills when you get your headache and to find out instead when exactly the headache
started, what happened just before, you might be lucky enough to understand WHY your body needed a headache just now, what happened today that would make you feel miserable if you gave your full attention to the event. Once you do it, a very painful emotion may arise that must be felt. However, after this feeling is over, a solution to your plight may appear. But in any case, to your great surprise, you realize that your headache disappeared without any medication. If you have already experienced such a spontaneous disappearance of a symptom, nobody will ever be able to convince you that your headache absolutely needs aspirin to go away. The drug prevents you from understanding yourself. But this understanding may be essential for your health

I smile to myself, breathing slowly and deeply. The sneezing stops. I continue to write. Abuse comes in all forms. It is a harsh word, is it not? The truth will set me free. I realize that as far back as I can remember, I have been ostracized for independent thinking. Bob-the-therapist used to describe that when I tried to express my real self, my honest thoughts or feelings, people tried to push me back down into a box, or silence me. I did not quite understand what he meant, although something would stir and shift within me whenever he would say that. And then – there it was, a couple of days ago, while doing the mundane task of brushing my teeth – a denial screen fell away, and I got it! I understood in my guts what Bob had been trying to tell me for years. Yes! I had not only been shamed for my intelligence, but more importantly, for expressing an independent thought, notion or feeling – for seeing whatever everyone else was seeing – in a different light – and for saying it! I realized instantly why, for years, I adored those students in my classes who are different, non-conformist, who say outrageous things, or who make me think differently about "truths," that I thought were truths. The more the challenge, the more intriguing it is for me. 

Naturally, all these ruminations and revelations these past couple of days have made me as angry as can be for my blindness and stupidity. What a waste of time! Here I am, almost sixty years old, and only now allowing myself to own my intelligence, and celebrate my ability to think independently. This has great implications for my continued research about teachers' emotional development and how it affects their interactions with children. 

There is no time to lose! Still so much to explore and uncover. I believe I have only scratched the surface. There is more to come.

What a productive jury duty day, I had. I must say. 

Adieu until when?

Quote of the day

By propagating knowledge thus, an ideal scholar clears the darkness of ignorance and as a result the society treads on the path of peace, progress and prosperity. [508 Samaveda, Second of the Four Vedas. 1,500-500 B.C.] Holiday greetings from AERA

It is time to get to the final works before setting out to the much anticipated Christmas season with life partner and family.
  • Final grading to be finalized
  • Book to review
  • Chapters to write
  • And, yes indeed … even Jury duty awaits!
So, I do not know when I will squeeze in visits with my blog. To those 20 or so readers (are there that many?) out there – hang in there with me … if you like.

And, remember, a good time was had by all. 

While you wait for my return, here is my favorite meditation [of February 12], from Melody Beattie's Daily Meditations for Codependents: The Language of Letting Go. I have cherished this book of meditations for the past 15 years. It is always at my bedside, and often accompanies me on my travels to different states and countries. Indeed, I believe these meditations have saved my life at times, and given me wisdom and comfort in some of my darkest hours. I will always be grateful to Patti Young, who offered me another option.

Picture a bridge. On the one side of the bridge it is cold and dark. We stood there with others in the cold and darkness, doubled over in pain. Some of us developed an eating disorder to cope with the pain. Some drank; some used other drugs. Some of us lost control of our sexual behavior. Some of us obsessively focused on addicted people's pain to distract us from our own pain … We did not know there was a bridge. We thought we were trapped on a cliff.

Then, some of us got lucky. Our eyes opened … we saw the bridge. People told us what was on the other side: warmth, light, and healing from our pain. We could barely glimpse or imagine this, but we decided to start the trek across the bridge anyway.

We tried to convince the people around us on the cliff that there was a bridge to a better place, but they wouldn't listen. They couldn't see it … They were not ready for the journey. We decided to go alone, because we believed, and because people on the other side were cheering us onward. The closer we got to the other side, the more we could see, and feel, that what we had been promised was real. There was light, warmth, healing, and love. The other side was a better place.

But now, there is a bridge between us and those on the other side. Sometimes, we may be tempted to go back and drag them over with us, but it cannot be done. No one can be dragged or forced across this bridge. Each person must go at his or her own choice, when the time is right. Some will come; some will stay on the other side. The choice is not ours.

We can love them. We can wave to them. We can holler back and forth. We can cheer them on, as others have cheered and encouraged us. But we cannot make them come over with us.

If our time has come to cross the bridge, or if we have already crossed and are standing in the light and warmth, we do not have to feel guilty. It is where we are meant to be. We do not have to go back to the dark cliff because another's time has not yet come.

The best thing we can do is stay in the light, because it reassures others that there is a better place. And if others ever do decide to cross the bridge, we will be there to cheer them on.

Today, I will move forward with my life, despite what others are doing or not doing. I will know it is my right to cross the bridge to a better life, even if I must leave others behind to do that. I will not feel guilty, I will not feel ashamed. I know that where I am now is a better place and where I'm meant to be. (Pages 41 and 42)


Validation heals 
Like the warmest, ocean's embrace; 
No longer alone

Cultural traveler

Quote of the day


I found this at Danny Miller's blog and it fits perfectly into my, I-don't-belong-anywhere neurosis. Indeed, I laughed out loud when I saw it. A hearty, straight from the gut, recognizing myself type of laugh. Don't you love those kinds of recognitions? Being married into a family that is not Jewish is a blessing for me. That way I can participate in Christmas as if I belong. Growing up in Rhodesia where the dominant white culture was Christian, I was always longing to participate in Christmas, but always felt left out. It was the perfect feed in and confirmation for my already developing childhood feeling of not belonging anywhere. But nowadays I seem to flow in and out of different cultures with ease, and more than that, I enjoy the participation – at times feeling as if I truly belong, and at others as an outsider looking in. Both are comfortable and enjoyable feelings for me now. Indeed, I have become a cultural traveler, and rejoice in the freedom it brings me: the freedom to choose for myself.

Most of religion is about rituals and traditions. Some are worthy just because they encourage generosity of spirit and compassion for all humankind. Others are barbaric and nonsensical. It has always been important for me to understand them and acquaint myself with their meanings, because it was a way for me to learn about the similarities of people through their differences: differences of expressing the same kinds of emotions, beliefs or values.

I seek out the kernels of kindness and compassion, giving and forgiveness in any of the religious rituals and celebrate them with glee. 


Whenever I look at this old photograph of myself as a child, I recognize the inherent hope and joy we are all born with, before the harshness of life manipulated us to believe in and expect disappointment – sucked out the joy and replaced it with bitterness and mistrust, hopelessness and sorrow. As I become older, I seek out joyousness in celebrations.  I keep my inner eye focused on the child-like joy in those mischievous eyes of the young child in my photograph, and work to regain my birth right of joyous happiness and playfulness.

Mother Teresa had some excellent quotes about some of this:

  • Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
  • If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. 
  • Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

So, bring it all on! Gentle twinkling trees adorned with ornaments, each one holding a memory, a symbol of what has gone before, telling the family story over and over again, lighting candles on a wintry eve – or any festival of light that symbolizes the miracle of life, rebirth and redemption. I will participate and rejoice in it all, or even in just sitting silently watching the snow fall on the old oak tree by my window as birds rush to the feeder.

Political odds and ends

Two items I received from my friend, Marion this morning:


And … this joke: 

The White House

One sunny day end of January, 2009 an old man approached the White House from Across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, "I would like to go in and meet
with President Bush."

The Marine looked at the man and said, "Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."

The old man said, "Okay", and walked away.

The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush." 

The Marine again told the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."

The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.

The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U.S. Marine, saying "I would like to go in and meet
with President Bush."

The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don't you understand?" 

The old man looked at the Marine and said, "Oh, I
understand. I just love hearing it."

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "See you tomorrow, Sir."

Wish, wish, swish …

Quote of the day

Believe that you have it, and you have it. Latin Proverb

It is that time again! To generate my Christmas wish list. I really want to oblige.It just makes it so much easier for our diligent family Christmas shoppers. Plus, I love the giving and receiving of gifts on Christmas morning. 

And so, I have been trying to put together a list of stuff. I must admit that it is quite a challenge this year, for I feel as thankful as can be for what I already have. Indeed, my heart is full to the brim.

However, I saw that Willow Tree has a new upcoming Angel of Freedom that I really, really want to add to my collection, and there are always those fleece gloves that I need for every day warmth this winter, as my old pair have become quite holy … I mean, holey.

Hm … well, that is all I can come up with for now, but if you think of something I might want to add to the list, do let me know. I need all the help I can get!

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Salala

Holiday time begins


Remember those Obama cookies? Well, today I finally met Amy, one of the owners of The Night Kitchen Bakery. Life Partner and I stopped by to order holiday cookies for the party we are planning next Saturday. 


It was a great day all in all. After stopping off at the bakery, we bought our tree and a new red and gold embossed skirt to wrap around its base. For now, the little fir is settling into its corner, drinking water and reaching its branches out into the warmth of our room. And tomorrow will be trim-the-tree time