ONE little word; one LITTLE word; one little WORD
Looking back on my OLW for 2010…wholeness…I’m pleased with the results. Pleased but not completely satisfied. You see, I score pretty high on Gardner’s Intrapersonal Intelligence. I am oh-so self-aware. The idea was that naming the work toward wholeness would push it forward in my mind, make it visible. But something was missing. Something specific. To be whole, I recognize now that I need to work on those specific areas/pieces/whatever that need the work. Which brings us to my OLW for 2011…like Honore, I see this word as the natural extension of what came before. May I introduce you to beacon.
…both really     May 29
When Honore and I have this conversation face-to-face, it could go on for hours. Confining my statements to a manageable text here…versus a discourse…will require discipline <grin>.
On the path: per our Maya, “I believe talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it.”  I agree with Ms. Angelou. Our task is to discover who we are and what talents we have, not to waste energy figuring out where they may originate. This is not an easy assignment for most…and it continues until the day we die. How does that make you feel? Anxious? Excited? Because I know one of my talents is perpetual optimism, the prospect brings out the adventurer in me. Now, I’m no Pollyanna (although a bit of Scarlett O’Hara creeps in now and again). Life is damn hard. That’s why I live my life with gratitude. Offer thanks for the gifts – including talents – I am given.
Left turn: the southern Appalachian in me tends to construct duties, responsibilities around most everything. Hence a quote from Henry Van Dyke. “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” If we do not find and nurture our talents…even when it may be frightening or embarrassing to do so…we do a disservice to ourselves and to humanity.
Last turn: accept that the search and discovery is lifelong and lifewide. Continue to grab the gold ring. And one last quote, which I didn’t really follow here, from TJ. “The most valuable of all talents is never using two words when one will do.” HA!
Reflection: as I dig in to study on and hone any natural skill I have with photography (like how to digitally remove the irritating power lines in the photo above), Joshua just has it. The photo on the homepage is a bit fuzzy (it was extremely misty that day) but has perfect balance/composition…height and depth. It was the first time the kid touched my point and shoot camera. See…talent as gift. 
…everywhere a path     May 21

On the horizon...

In very different ways, both of my grandparents taught me that life is a never-ending series of choices. While some choices are huge, most are those small decisions that create the twists and turns on the road we travel. My grandmother’s lessons were heavy with regret. My grandfather’s centered on preparedness. Once I accumulated enough life experience, I realized that the combination of the two equals mindfulness for me. And at the heart of this is trusting my instincts. Like going to Frostburg instead of Radford University…where I met Jim Graybeal…who had followed his instincts by coming to Frostburg where he knew he was going to find his lifelong companion. But, just think…what if I/we had:

  • followed the recommendation of the Head of the Sociology Department and headed to graduate school at Columbia?
  • moved to the Great Smokies when Jim had an offer from the National Park Service?
  • decided not to come to Delaware for unstable, seasonal employment with Parks?
  • not taken the Admin Librarian position with the Division of Libraries?

You could go crazy…that’s what I mean when I say “If only we could see a little farther…” Now? Imposed and self-selected changes are in the wind…brand new paths are coming into view. Cool.

Life’s oddities…Small World Curiousity     May 14

Main Street ~ honeymoon hotel on right

On April 30th & May 1st, I joined archivists and historians from across the Mid-Atlantic for their Spring conference. A whole new world for this public librarian. But, not a strange one. There has always been a part of me that wanders ancient sanctuaries, carefully handling rare books and cultural objects with gloved hands and whispers. That’s a conversation for another time.

Back to what I call the Small World Curiousity. In only 10 hours spread out over 2 days among a mere 270 people from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, 3 chance meetings occurred.
*Awaiting the start of my first session, I chatted with the professional mirror image on my right. She’s from Silver Spring, MD now but lived in Wheaton for years and years. In a development off of Georgia Avenue. The same development where Jim & I rented right after getting married. At the same time.
*At lunch…so not rubber chicken…a delicate caper sauce over a perfectly poached breast…my table mate turned out to be from LaPlata, MD. Thirteen point five miles from my home town of Indian Head.
*My last session was late getting started. A frazzled woman came running in and plopped down on my left.  Relieved, she began talking about meeting her daughter for lunch downtown and how she wasn’t looking forward to the long ride back…to Western MD. Then, I noticed her tote. Frostburg State. She was a librarian at FSU…our undergraduate haven. 
That one did me in. I think I just kept shaking my head back and forth, back and forth the entire way home. 

My apt. on left; Bowery Bar on right; our apt. at crest of hill; campus beyond

Capture the moment. I mean it!   May 10

Chuckie Cheese - Oct 1988

Yeah, I’m a few days behind here…life happens. But, as I look through photos I have collected/scanned/found, I’m disappointed. There are so few of “us” t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r. How did that happen? It just strengthens my conviction when those around me now whine about getting a few shots – like they did yesterday morning – to capture this single moment…this flash of time. 

Meanwhile, I share a couple of pics of my mother and my mother and me. Our family life has always been complicated. But, our one-on-one relationship has never been complicated. What better gift can a mother give to her child? 
…trees…     April 30

Our canopy returning...

“I think that I shall never see…a poem as lovely as a tree…”  Joyce Kilmer  That’s it. And, that’s all. 

It’s Not Easy Being Green     April 23
Kermit’s right. While we have recycled for decades, carefully turn off lights, contribute to an organic CSA and take all the right steps to be gasoline efficient, it’s not easy. The convenience, timeliness and instant gratification afforded us by the not-necessarily-green products and tools with which we surround ourselves are hard to give up. 
But, the Blizzards of 2010 made it abundantly clear that I am no Laura Ingalls Wilder. Electricity means much to me. The no-power event gave me just a little too long to think about The Day After Tomorrow and how unprepared we – my family and my fellow Americans – are for a true emergency with no communication, no electricity, no water, no way to cook our meals. Drama aside, we watch tragedies on the tube and send our prayers and tax dollars to  help but we don’t get it. We’re watching it like some new Michael Bay movie. 
So, here’s the plan. Over the next year, we will move toward extremely local sustainability hand-in-hand with global sustainability. Three identified Big Goals will be: the elimination of pre-packaged/overly packaged items for healthier/home-grown versions, the replacement of all sorts of chemicals in the house with Earth/people friendly/everyday varieties and less time on the road. I’m  hoping these goals ripple out to help my family in other ways. Sure would be great to get the crap shown below out of Jon/Josh’s lunches.

The Pantry

 Now, getting rid of my Bounty may be more like when I got rid of my cigarettes. It may require Wellbutrin.  



Darren, aged 3-4 years

 Those old vivid childhood memories: 1966-ish          April 15 

The library as refuge is not a drum I beat too often. But when I was a child, it was. The tables, the library chairs and the books, the books, the books. The world reached out to me there. And, I learned to reach back. During the mid-1960s, my mother, brothers and sisters lived on Circle Avenue in the post-WWII development of Potomac Heights. Their house perched at the top of the circle and a local library sat at the bottom.   

When I visited, I would ride my aqua Spyder bike down, return with a basket full of eclectic titles and park myself in the orange naugahyde rocker to read for the remainder of the day. However, it is a different vivid childhood memory I want to tell. 

My youngest brother, Darren, was my baby. I mean, really, does anyone care more for babies than a 10-yr. old girl? I carried him on my hip; fed him bites from my mouth. To this day, still the sweetest baby I’ve ever seen. 

When he was about 18 months old, Darren cried after me so hard one day that I parked the bike, hitched him onto my hip and headed down to the library. Since it was later on a Summer day, chances are we were both pretty dusty. And, I’m sure we were bare-footed. But, the blast of frosty air welcomed us in…and so did the librarian. First, straight to the ice-cold water fountain for a drink. Then after pulling a book from here, a book from there, building a pile in the kids area, I sat us down to look through a coffee-table book or two. Probably about animals…not my favorite subject but always good to keep the little ones occupied. Eventually, the librarian came over and asked if we were making out alright. We had been sitting there for nearly an hour she said. I looked at my little guy and I swear he looked me right in the eyes as if to say, “Wow. That’s a surprise…and a nice one.”  The librarian also commented that she had never seen a child so young behave so well for so long in her library. And with that, I checked out way too many books, balanced Darren on the other side and we made our way back to the house. I guess we both needed a little refuge that day. 


It’s not all there in black and white           April 9   

Shirt & purse ~ Wednesday

Traipsing through conferences, business meetings and general confabs, I usually stick out like a sore thumb. You may see a flash of vibrant red or bright blue or a green geometric print in the crowd. It’s me. In the sea of black, white, black & white stripes/dots/swirls and shades of each, I am in color. I tried to go that “professional attire” route. I really did. But no more.  

Nature wears color…and we respond to it. How can you feel down when you spy acre after acre of peach trees covered in pink or the lush greens of early Summer?  I can’t and I’m not even a big fan of pink…or Summer.  

Color makes me happy. And, well, since I’m fortunate enough to live at a time that colors across and through the rainbow are there for me to pick as clothing, I’m picking them. Unprofessional? Who wrote that book? Bet it was black with white pages.  


 April’s Fool        April 1       

April 1st, 1982 ~ upon returning from an appointment with my obstetrician, I informed my husband that I was having twins. Jim stopped moving…he may have stopped breathing. He was paralyzed. (He wasn’t scared or disappointed…we were just poor) Since my sister-in-law, a high school junior, had accompanied me to the doctor, she was my partner in this April Fools’ Day prank. I was absolutely not having twins. We continued the masquerade all through that afternoon and evening. Poor Jim would simply look at me periodically and say nothing. If the dear old thing had just thought about it…I was 6.5 months pregnant. We would have known about twins much earlier on. Finally, it was just too painful. We yelled, “Surprise! Happy April Fools’ Day!” Trust me. Happy in no way applied to what was going on at that moment. Jim was furious/hurt/confused. And, Samantha and I? We felt like total rats. It all went to confirm my conviction to never, ever pull a practical joke. I hadn’t before then and I haven’t since. I still blush with shame a little when I think about it. Yep, I was April’s Fool that time round.  


...of the same coin

March 25   

“Individuality is only possible if it unfolds from wholeness.”                    David Bohm, American physicist  

One Little Word ~ originally connected to a now-discontinued-challenge ~ the idea of pausing/considering/choosing a single word to guide you for the coming year appeals. Simplify has been my touchstone for nearly five years and will remain so; but part of simplification centers on moving around/over/through our personal barriers. Enter One Little Word (OLW).  

Wholeness is my OLW this year. Those who know me were a bit perplexed about the choice. I maintain a good balance between life/work/family and experience real contentment fairly often…these things are not easy in our world today. However, this is not wholeness.  

Wholeness recognizes a landscape as is. Accepts a landscape as is. Then, pulls together our varied landscapes ~ spiritual, intellectual, physical and emotional ~ into a true (you guessed it) whole. I will share stories here along the way. Today, just know that my OLW has tested me this first few months. But there have been more “A-h-h, I see.” moments than “Oh no, was that really me?” moments. So, we’re good. 

3 thoughts on “Kathy

  1. Of the three of you, you’re the one unknown to me. But L & H love you, so I assume I shall, too. I look very much forward to following your journey here, Kathy!!


  2. You are so unique, in many ways. Go girl!

  3. Awesome…and wholeness…amazing the little things that you learn about someone you’ve known your whole life..that you never knew before..and how those little things add to one’s own wholeness:) Love You Sis..You Rock!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: