Happy New Year 2016

To welcome the 2016 I thought I would begin with this. There is an incomprehensible thing that happens when you begin looking back upon your life, and at about this time in mine, that is what I am doing. You look and study and say, yes, I did that and it did not work as I had hoped, or yes, I did that and it hurt someone else, or yes, I did that and it hurt me, and yes I did that and launched a chain of events you had no idea how to reverse or side step (because life only moves forward). Or even, yes, that was done to me and I’m still hurt and angry. You begin to notice patterns of energy. You begin to notice thoughts from your own mind that contributed to every experience. You begin to understand creation as you never have understood it before. You begin to understand why denial, excuses, regret, ego, blame, shame, self-esteem, fear, anger, and all other such thoughts feel awful to your mind and body, and often cause illness. When you look at all the happiness you have felt from all the good things that have happened, from the loves you have felt, from the joy of children, from the lessons gently conveyed to help you along, from the good friends and family, you notice the same energy patterns and how your thoughts created experience as well. Every thought you think creates the energy in your life. The energy in your life creates the experience you have and interacts with those around you. So, it is important to think in a way that helps create the world you desire to experience and to help others feel that kind of energy. If you want to feel good, and share that energy, and know you are contributing to life-giving creative processes, then strive to change how you think. We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/buddha121308.html#ceyKrSskzqtyBfos.99 If you struggle, if you feel negative in any way, think deeply about creation, through prayer, through therapy, through introspectiveness, through forgiveness, through nature, through love – not human love, but the pureness of love in creation you knew before you were born – and I believe every living thing feels this. Find your own way in this process. You cannot do it for anyone else, and no one can do it for you, afterall. We come into life from creation and we leave this life back into creation. All that is in between is temporary. Of course, for me, it is so much easier to think while walking along a Cape Cod Beach, or walking along beautiful trails! Solitary fisherman on Cape Cod at sunrise                 Be mindful and be peaceful.

Update on The Desecration of Route 6


Route 6 Tree ClearingThe replanting of the median of Route 6 in Sandwich, MA has begun. Unfortunately, it will take years before the area will begin to resemble its former beauty, thanks to what appears to be more than a few incredibly stupid decisions by incompetent management in the Massachusetts DOT. As quoted in a Cape Cod Times article back when this tragic fiasco first began; “The clearing is to reestablish a safe clear zone, which allows space for drivers who may lose control of their vehicle to either pull over or get out of the roadway to a safe area, or space to recover or regain control,” said MassDOT Deputy Communications Director Michael Verseckes in an email. “The clearing also helps by improving sight distance along curves. Also, during high winds and storms, removal of the growth prevents any trees or limbs from landing onto the roadway and either making contact with vehicles or blocking the road.”  I wonder what the family of Lawrence Barros, would have to say about DOT's statement. Barros died last November when an allegedly distracted driver veered off Route 6 eastbound, crossed the barren median and slammed head-on into Barro's car.

I guess it is a safe bet to assume the sub-contractor hired by the DOT to do the "clearing" will not be getting another state contract anytime soon (maybe), but is that all? Shouldn't someone or many someones in the DOT be held accountable? and by accountable I mean fired. How anyone would think that it's perfectly acceptable to just start whacking down trees on Cape Cod without benefit of proper oversight is beyond belief. I'd like to see the head of the DOT, out there, shovel in hand wearing an orange vest, replanting some of those trees. I'd like to see a memorial sign that reads  "In memory of Lawrence Barros." where trees are being replanted. I'd like to see a financial accounting of how much the Route 6 deforestation project cost, and the subsequent cost to repair the damage from the deforestation project, after all it is all funded by Massachusetts tax monies. But really what I would like most of all is for none of this to have ever happened, and for Mr. Barros to still be alive.

As the saying goes, it is what it is.

On a side note; the local news media reporting of this story is a tragedy in itself. No one is demanding accountability. Wouldn't be refreshing to see the news media actually holding Massachusetts politicians accountable for the agencies they oversee? But they won't, and it's almost criminal.


My Thoughts For Christmas 2014 and the New Year of 2015

cape codWith 2015 fast approaching, this is a great time to review all the things I'm grateful for and to share with you my gratitude list.  Do you have a list to share? 1. I am grateful for love. Love of my daughters, love of my grandchildren, love of my brothers and sisters and my extended family and friends. I am grateful that I have fallen in love twice in my life, and the ability to appreciate the unique differences from each experience. I am grateful for my profound love for life, for it is the seat of all of creation. 2. I am grateful for all the people in my life who inspire me to learn, and explore everything, because I am consistently growing my life. 3. I'm grateful for my intense humility of all things I see in the natural world, and for the ability to intuitively feel faith in what cannot be seen, for wisdom comes from faith. 4. I am grateful that I never have to go to sleep hungry, that I have a warm safe home, and that I have the freedom to live my life as I choose.  Too often we forget all those who do not. 4. I am grateful that I am as healthy as I am, and the ability to have all the resources to continue my healthy lifestyle as I age. 5. I am grateful for being born in America. Simply because I love this country. 6. I am grateful for all the hard lessons as well as the wonderful blessings. For without those hard lessons and wonderful blessings, I would not know empathy. 7. I am grateful that I understand the wisdom of seeking answers through prayer, meditation and self-reflection. Because I know we are all connected to creation and everything that exists comes from the energy of creation. 8. I am grateful that I and I alone am responsible for my life, and the thoughts, ideas, feelings and actions that have made me who I am. Knowing this is powerful and humbling, and inspires me to accept everything as it comes. 9. I am grateful that I had a career in Government service, for it taught me everything I know about politics, and why governmental powers must be limited (sorry, but had to sneak this in.) 10. I am grateful for you, the person who is reading this, and understands. Yes, my list is made up of simple declarations, but I think it is important to visit with simple gratitude often, and reflect on the life that surrounds us. There is no better time than now, as another year ends and a new one begins to reflect and choose what we hold onto and what we release.  I encourage everyone to hold on to what is peaceful, loving and creative and let go of anything that is not. We are responsible for not just our own life, but life everywhere. May you love and know a peaceful life, now and always.      

The Elf On The Shelf

IMG_1943This is the time of year most people begin to reflect on what will soon be another year gone into the annals of our lives. 2014 is just around the corner, and I’m typing as fast as I can. Yes, Christmas season is in full swing. This year, I'm more aware than ever of how Christmas has evolved, and I'm pretty sure not in a good way. Today's Christmas season rushes us along like Tasmanian Devils, from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. We spin from one happy holiday event to the next; we shop til' we drop; we go on a baking binge; and now thanks to Pinterst http://www.pinterest.com/ , we decorate and dress as if we are expecting ourselves and our home to be featured in the next big holiday spectacular television special. There are now so many craft fairs, fund-raisers and bake sales, that after the holidays, trash collection services add an extra truck just for all the signs. We still encourage the kids to make long lists of what they want from Santa, knowing all the while, that today's six-year-old is well beyond six-year olds from times past, and is all too aware of the real "Santa" story, or at least almost. Their pronounced sullen sigh is very clear. Christmas traditions have been on a steady decline for a long time, but this year it seems more prolific than before. In addition to the traditional religious message of Christmas being shunned in the wake of political correctness and progressive “tolerance,” and the flip side, where creative license is taken by those who would have you believe that they are the only ones who know the “real story,” we have also lost the ability to fantasize about the magic of Christmas, and thus recall the best of our Christmas lore and traditions. But all is not lost. A new magical Christmas tradition has taken over the imagination of children, and from the marketing displays I’ve seen everywhere, millions of adults as well. The "Elf On The Shelf” has come of age, and has seemingly revived that little spark of magic belief that lives in the heart of every child, at least for a little while. I recently became mesmerized myself while sitting around my daughter's breakfast table and discussing his antics with my grandchildren. That little red elf really gets around this house, and manages to write little notes, open boxes of cookies and candies, drive little cars and trucks under the Christmas tree, and climb very high onto lights and window frames. Every morning, the very first thing the kids do is search for the latest location of this little elf, and laugh and cheer when they find him at his latest location doing what little elves do.... finding mischief.  They even gave him a new name "Jacob Jolly." Happy little discussions ensue regarding his next trick, and their imaginations soar into the great unknown of the North Pole, and for a little while they are transported into the wonderful magic of make-believe worlds, where reindeer fly, little elves still make toys and a jolliest of elves still reigns over our most favored day of the year.  We all need to believe in something larger than our everyday life. Yes, of course, marketing and social media brings us the next great thing, and The Elf on a Shelf is no exception.  But, for a few precious moments every morning during this season, for those who choose to participate, the magic can be found, and with that magic, lots of Christmas love and laughter.      

Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013

military-discounts This is a reprint from last Veteran's Day. I wrote the post below for Memorial Day 2013.  A person named D. Green sent me the following comment: Never thought about in that context. You made it sound like we were(are) all heroes. That would not be true. What is true is that we all gave our word to do our best and I believe we did(do). I thank you for the post and… You are very welcome I replied...Giving all you are able to give for something outside yourself, makes one a hero, no matter what the circumstance. On this Veteran's Day, please remember all our veteran's, for all they gave, and for those who continue to honor their oath.  Acknowledge that these men and women, who give all they have to give because they promised to do their best, deserve our respect, and our heartfelt thanks. They have earned the right to be called heros. For our American Military I can’t imagine what it’s like for the man or women when they sign up to become a member of our military. I can’t imagine what it’s like the first day of training in the armed forces. I can’t imagine what it’s like to receive the first deployment order. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be dropped onto foreign soil in an American military uniform in a hostile atmosphere. I can’t imagine what it’s like to walk down a road, knowing there are land mines everywhere that I cannot see. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be armed with high-powered weapons and walk into a village of people full of confusion, fear and hate. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in a battle with others who are intent on killing you, and you them. I can’t imagine what it’s like to kill someone to save someone else. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be far from home, afraid but willing to die for the mission. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, lover, who has to leave all others behind, to fulfill a promise made to strangers to protect and serve, knowing they may not survive. I can’t imagine the pain from being shot, burned, or blown apart and surviving. I can’t imagine dying in battle. I can’t imagine being taken prisoner by the others knowing I would be tortured, maimed and possibly killed and never seeing those I love again. I can’t imagine the commitment, the bravery, the fortitude, or the strength of a higher purpose that drives the person in the military to go on day after day. But, as a human being with a brain, spirit and belief in the soul and all the emotional and logical processes we are endowed with, I am grateful for every man and women who has ever served.  Just imagine where you would be now, if they had not.  You can’t. Imagine you living in a time and place where no one would fight to save you from those who seek to destroy you, your family and your country.  You can’t. Imagine you without America. Think about that, what if there were no America? Where would you and those you love be? For all who have agreed to protect my country, all those that I love, and my life, thank you. For all of those who have been injured, suffered, and have endured the pain and rehabilitation, and may never again be way you were before, we honor you and your sacrifice, and we hold you in our hearts and minds whenever we see our American Flag. For all the military families who have lost a loved one,  you have our deepest sympathy for your sacrifice and loss.    

Barnstable Fire Department’s Support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Bodacious_Bras_logoThis post is dedicated to my beautiful sister-in-law Sherrie Boutwell, who successfully fought breast cancer in 2009. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month http://www.nbcam.org/ Kudos to the Barnstable and West Barnstable Fire Departments for their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131010/NEWS/310100336&cid=sitesearch Any publicity is good publicity, or so they say. But leave it to a few whiners to ruin a good idea for a great cause.  Why the Barnstable Fire District caved to a few complainers given the important message the display represents is beyond comprehension.  Really? I mean really? People actually complained about bras hanging from a pink ladder?  Who complains about things like this in 2013? It would be interesting to me to know who these people are. I'd like to know why they believe the display was inappropriate for Main Street. I'd like to meet the person who thinks their concern about underwear on display should trump efforts to bring attention to fighting breast cancer. Do they have the same reaction when they walk into Macy's second floor in Hyannis, or the window display at the Gap Body at Mashpee Commons? Lots of "unmentionables" there for the easily offended to scoff about. I wonder about folks who get upset about a display of underwear especially when they say "it's about the children" as I saw in some of the comments about this story. Most kids don't give a hoot about anything outside their own little world until an "adult" decides to stir the pot and makes a big deal about nothing. You know what we should be concerned about?  How about the Cape Cod Times story from January 10, 2012, that sites a report stating that Cape women are more likely to be diagnosed with Breast Cancer than the average Massachusetts woman http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120110/NEWS/201100323 or how about these chilling estimates: The American Cancer Society's estimates  that in 2013, about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. About 64, 640 cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer.) In 2013 about 39, 620 women will die from breast cancer.  These women will be somebody's daughter, somebody's mother, somebody's wife or significant other, somebody's sister and somebody's friend. I wish the Fire District Board members had shown more support for the men and women who brought this message to us in such a creative fashion, and less concern for the underwear whiners. I wish William Jones III, had a little more grit about supporting Breast Cancer Awareness, and I wish those who complained would get a grip, grow up, and put their efforts towards real problems on the Cape.  

Posting From Michigan

IMG_0279 For the last week, I've been grandchild and house sitting at my daughters in Howell, Michigan. It is a glorious Michigan fall morning. Last night's rolling thunder storms accompanied by downpours of cooling rain have left this morning quiet, cool and pungent with the fragrant country air that I remember. While the kids slept in after a late night of Halloween Bingo and full stomachs from a BLT pizza (another new thing I’ve just learned to love) I'm contemplating the differences in a New England fall and a Mid-western fall. The colors are just as bright, but there is a definite difference, not better, but a distinct difference. Having raised both my daughters in Michigan, a morning like this brings back all those sweet innocent memories mothers hold secretly in their hearts long after their children are grown. And now, watching my children's children growing into their emerging selves, I am reminded of the infinite mystery and diversity of this thing we named life, and the gift of finding a much deeper appreciation of everything around me, wherever I am. I think that may be the difference I am seeing in the fall weather of Michigan and Massachusetts. But as my visit comes to a close, I am hearing the shoreline of the Cape and longing to feel the sands under my feet. Yet, there are some definite things in Michigan that I always miss when I come back home to the Cape, besides the kids of course! Like Meijer’s (http://www.meijer.com/) Meijer’s is a huge modern one stop-shopping store for just about everything a family or anyone, could possibly need and they have locations all over Michigan, and they are open 24/7, 365 days a year. It's the best place in the world for a busy Mom, who, as she is tucking her 8-year-old in bed for the night, suddenly recalls she has forgotten to buy a gift for someone at the office party the next day, or needs to get baby aspirin and Vick's vapor rub at 2am for a sick child. Or simply feels like doing the weeks grocery shopping at midnight (although, in all honesty, I would never want one built on the Cape, but Kingston would be ideal!)  So many nights driving home late from work from Boston to the Cape, I longed for a Meijer’s store, cursing the 9pm closings of all the other places. Then there is Calder's dairy. Say what you like about all the fabulous ice cream stores on the Cape, and there are so very many but I've never found anyplace on earth to rival the ice cream or chocolate milk from Calder's Dairy http://www.calderdairy.com/ although Smitty's http://www.smittyshomemadeicecream.com/capecod.html comes pretty darn close., especially their pistachio ice cream!!!  Michigan has the UP, the Great Lakes and the Irish Hills; Massachusetts has the Berkshires, Boston and the Cape. Of course too, I grew up in Southern California, and while it has taken quite a beating over the years, there still is no better place to hop to the beach to watch the surfers and the lovely Pacific, climb up a mountain or wander the desert all in one weekend! As in everything else in life, comparisons are relative and the loves and joys are not found in any one special place but in our hearts and memories. Places we call home, for a little while, or for a lifetime.