Archive for the ‘Pause To Reflect’ Category

Threads In Theatre Tapestry

October 20, 2014

by Florence Ondré

 

My friend, talented actor, Ashley Grantham, posted on facebook, these profound and grace-filled words of newly passed actress, Marian Seldes, from one of her interviews with James Grissom for his book, “Follies Of God:”

“The theatre keeps presenting to me the wonderful experiences of learning to tell time and falling in love for the first time.   I get these experiences-these feelings- every time I work on a play.  I get to start all over and relearn things, and I get to meet new friends– family, really– to whom I can give and receive love.  And this rejuvenates me, and it keeps me strong to serve the writer, to serve the play.  I guess I’m saying that I am always loving and I am always bending  time, and that’s as good a description as I can manage of a life in the theatre.”

Reading this perfect description of work and purpose in the theatre, simply stunned me with the accuracy of what it is all about and how fortunate we are, both those of us who do this work and those who experience the soul and life touching in the witnessing.

Over the years, I’ve struggled with the my own high respect for all aspects of theatre and, as time moves on, feeling a bit like performing has slipped into more a personality contest; worth minutes of limelight and too light an affair of single dimension, than a craft with depth in the endeavor.

I think to myself as I read Ms. Seldes words of wisdom, garnered from years of experience and well-earned success, ‘Who speaks like this anymore?

Who waxes multi-levelly on ever-expanding understanding of the depths and heights of their work with such careful and honest thought?

Who shares, with such kindness and generosity of heart, the inner workings to inspire and give how-to-gifts to co-worker-family with regards to spending well the coin of their realm of time upon this stage of life?

Who ‘gets it’ on so many layers of understanding lessons come to fruition by humble work ethic and love of profession?’

To be able to ‘start all over,’  ‘relearn things’ and know family of choice shows up in family of work for the claiming, if one is lucky enough to be awake and aware; to go beyond what one can see and touch to ‘always being loving’ and ‘time bending,’ both of which we are all capable of if only we would be open to that inner viewing, knowing and relishing.  How fabulous is that?!  How fantastic is the possible zest and willingness to see our own lives and work and days filled with this kind of love, service to chosen craft and be in awe of the time-bending we do in our mortal moments?

For me, I have to go back to my roots to see how far I’ve come on my journey and what light of clean scrubbed-faced-wonder still lives and breathes in me and whatever work I do.  What integrity, such as the above, was in me at the beginning and what wisps of wonder waft through my being today?  What nugget of motivation fuels my creativity and how have my perceptions changed or remained the same?

Surprised by  MS. Seldes beautiful, oh-so-acurate description of acting as ‘bending time,’ the breath of complete understanding and new realization hit me like Cupid’s arrow to the heart. These wonder full words, cobbled together, describe the indescribable; the intangible.  The very reading of the words is an ‘aha’ moment.

This is what work in theatre always felt like to me….working in wonder.

In my early, tenderling, formative theatre years, I fairly glowed with this shining light and thirst for learning and giving; for exploring one’s nugget of skill to be willing to be of service to the skills and talents of others in cooperative creation.

In a world of so much great talent, it is easy to be have humility and keep practicing; working while still searching for one’s own best defining talent.  One can be told by respected teachers what they see before their wise eyes and yet have depth of understanding dawn down the road.

It is only later , I learned what my team of master teachers in my first summer stock, at Dorothy Shay’s Duke’s Oak Theatre, where I was a most grateful apprentice, meant in their end of season review and assessment of skills learned and strengths discovered.

As I stood along on the bare stage, with only a work light for company, I heard their individual report cards.

“You are not the best of the dancers.”  “You may not be the greatest of the actors.” “You do not have the best voice of all.”

Time stopped.  My young heart sank because I was the last of the apprentices to be reviewed and the others, with family lines tracing back to theatre royalty of Lunt and Fontanne, Windust and Ritter had received high marks for at least one of these areas of performance.

It seemed forever in moments, standing statued still in my leotard and tights, waiting for their collective summation.

My mind raced hurdles with fear.  Did I have a career ahead?  Would I be good enough in this life of endeavor which I’d always known since childhood was my passion and lifeblood; a part of me like breathing; a place in the world to contribute and make a difference with my own gifts; to be of service?

Or had it all been in my own head; a fantasy land from which they would flunk me?

Breathe and smile, breath and smile your tremulous teen smile.

“…but you have ‘it,’ ” I heard  director, Mary Ann Dentler, of Broadway’s “Peg O My Heart,”  say.

“It?”

After politely thanking the board of theatre owners and master teachers,  I exited stage right in confusion and disappointment.

What was ‘it’?  Could I put that on a head shot and resumé?  How could this be an attribute when ‘it’ sounded like the plague?

“How did you do?”  my enormously and validated, talented singer, dancer and actor apprentices, excitedly asked as I stumbled into the wings.  “What did they tell you is your best attribute or strong suit?”  “What did they say?”

In a soft, quiet, uncomprehending, green voice, I replied, “They said, I had ‘it.’ ”

They hugged me.

I never knew if they understood anymore than I, what this invisible gift from the gods was, they were simply my first family in the theatre. It was these dear ones I loved; who loved me back in that special energy of unconditional acceptance which I came to know as extended family with each show and cast I’ve been privileged to join.

A life in the theatre is endless learning and growing; transcending all barriers; ascending and plummeting the roller coaster of emotions.

And, when you can touch an audience, even when you are not the best singer, dancer or actor; yet reach into hearts in the dark and move  people to tears and laughter and give them pause for thoughtful looking within, there beyond all wishes otherwise, is the best gift one can bring and give in the theatre, “it!”

You can study til you’re blue in the face, but this odd nugget is what you are either born with or not.

…The incandescent warmth of connection; tender, always loving, time bending, in the ever-expanding family and leaps of learning…. honest to goodness, ‘it!’

 

 

 

 

 

Butterfly Angels

October 18, 2014

by Florence Ondré

 

A classmate from high school, Sue Floyd Turner, posted a lovely picture of a person looking at a butterfly fluttering closely by, on which a quote from Doreen Virtue, read, “Butterflies are often messengers of love sent from Heaven above.”

In this month of the 2 year anniversary of superstorm sandy, where so many thousands of us remain displaced; out of our homes with not much more than empty and broken promises in a recovery system that has failed us cruelly, life has become a ‘before’ and ‘after.’

‘Anniversary,’ what a disconcerting name for an event not engendering much singing, dancing or huzzah celebration.

While stunningly still struggling to survive in hardship and basic deprivation as deeply devastating as the storm at landfall 2 years ago, it has been hard to know if Angels are anywhere near.

We tens of thousands feel forgotten; yesterday’s news, receivers of  “Aren’t you done, already?” “Thought you were back home because the yard looks nice.” “I thought everything was fine by now,” comments.  We’re a people of the invisible in between; halfway to or nowhere near a land called ‘rebuild; trying to appear as some semblance of  lost ‘normal.’

In all the overwhelming, with deadlines and more cut offs and losses of help to get back home and frustrating feelings of hopelessness, I realize as I stopped and read this post, that I have noticed the occasional butterflies wafting by in odd circumstances and places.

‘Stragglers to the winged migration,’  I’ve been thinking, as I push on to the next meeting, pound through redundant paperwork, sit on phones trying to track down information to open the channels of funds earmarked for rebuilding which still remain tied up in  mismanagement and blood red tape… and send light to be of some support, inspiration and oddball humor to as many as I can.

Sitting in sunset silence in the backyard of my gutted house; letting my eye and heart wander; remembering which flowers and trees were planted where, before, I can practically smell the lilac tree;  creator of Monet lavender and jade moments,  which grew, over the years, to lush health and  tallness like my sons who played with their friends there; growing up with the roses and blueberry and raspberry bushes; the garden where the great zucchini, big enough for 5 boys to have to line up and hold, took reign over string beans, tomatoes, broccoli and carrots and gave giant sunflowers, as tall as the first floor of the house, a run for their money…the grape arbor that shaded the patio where our golden retrievers lay for cool shade and the evergreen, with soft, sweeping-the-ground arms, that covered the hiding place, buffalo-wallow-like retreat of Bailley, our dog blogger.  The sheltering boughs of the years-before-us, Russian olive tree which created a secret garden corner nook where children, big and small, could look up to see soft silver fur on the underside of green leaves and peek through bird and squirrel nests to see patches of blue sky and scudding puffy white clouds to play ‘who-can-find-the-angel’ in them…the puny peach sapling, newly planted only days before destruction; the least likely to survive and the surprising sole survivor of the flood, produced a prodigious portion of precious peaches this season.

In this back and forth memory lane, I am less sad and more comforted as I pull my focus back to present and see the empty canvas, waiting to be a new work of art in nature.

As I wipe the tears from my face, a lone butterfly comes flittering by: kissing the fluffy stalks rising from the gift given by next door neighbors,  after the flood receded; a small clump of dune grass replanted in hope for life.  For the first year, it drew in upon itself and faltered in the spot where our robust butterfly bush had made its honeyed home; busy with buzzing bees and beautiful butterflies, before the sea drowned it.  Yet, this summer, this dune grass plant tripled its size and grew strong stalks; wide, lengthy, variegated  leaves and white, fluffy, feathery arms high   in sea breeze and whipping-winds, interpretive dance, above the cedar newly reposted, salvaged, cedar fence .

It is odd what died and what lived; what withered and what thrived.

My human focus, needing to be on surviving myself, took me away from the garden and as I sit still, now, in its energy; noticing, I realize that this backyard haven was the first place: the first piece in a puzzle of gigantic loss, where I let go.

This design is no longer mine.  Everything grows or not in its own perfect way, without me.

What lives, lives. What doesn’t doesn’t.

And, just for today; just for these moments, I am grateful for it all as I sit in the simple silence of what might be…whenever it will be.
And I send thanks to Sue and Doreen for reminding me that Angels come in many forms to gently light upon our awarenesses like butterflies, uplift, lighten burdens and show us, in all the world changes and crushes, that we’re not alone or forgotten.

We are guided and loved.

… and, ooh,  ooh… just as I typed these words on my laptop at my makeshift desk, there’s a butterfly right outside my window here in Mt. 6 Manjaro; the top floor, high rise apartment shelter I fondly have dubbed thus, from the early days when I had to climb 7 flights of stairs up and down several times a day when there was no electricity, elevator, heat, water or sewer.

There she is with her rice paper wings, saying hello and farewell;  readying to make an arduous, miraculous journey of her own from New York to Mexico…from start to finish.

How will she do it?

How will we?

On Angel’s wings perhaps.

 

Remembering Robin

August 13, 2014

(by Florence Ondré-8/12/14-)

 

Depression descended like a dark, heavy greatcoat. No matter the good,large or small, on my very full-plated life, I couldn’t get above sea level in feeling overwhelmed with underwhelm-ment.
The emotions were confused and yet clear in “undertoad” waves; making no sense, no matter the ebb and flow of strengthed shore crashing.
An enormity of “yes, I know there is good’ and ‘arrggh! I don’t want to do this show,” “write this assignment,” “accept invitations to dine,” “talk with anyone,” took up battle stations in my brain. All these wonderful things turned to dust devils from one heartbeat to the next. It was too much trouble to lift an arm or leg; to breathe, to stay awake and upright nevermind accomplish my to do list. All the ‘importants’ felt insignificant; trivial in what loomed large in my mind taken up with thoughts of a life wasted.
I could chalk it up to Sandy survivorship; to almost two years after the devastation of my house, community and East coast of America; losing pieces of family and the home in which I raised my children; still sheltering “off-site,” with continuous, health debilitating grief and stress; wading through the most enormous amounts of crazy-making, pencil- pushing, victimizing-victims bullshit any cracker factory could dream up.
Oh, that would be easy.
But then my stubborn, angry, ‘never-let-’em-see-ya-cry’ self would rise up to scream-point of “Oh, no you won’t!” “Never quit 5 seconds before the miracle!”
This inner space stretching before me from within dove back and forth beyond the highlights of career, attributes or life parts well-lived and hard times and tough challenges. This was the “Losing My Mind” Sondheim siren song.
“I’m so depressed.” I murmured aloud. “I know I shouldn’t be but, for today, I’m depressed and can’t get out of it.”
“O.K., stop trying to figure it out. Lay it all down. Let go. Live with the depression.”
So I gave in and did.
And at day’s end, after moody meanderings on the why’s of my own existence or purpose of continuance in the clown chaos, the shocking news came that he was gone.
Gone in a flash!
Not to return.
No rehab reawakening. No healing to go on in his family, in this world, in our lives.
There had been a brief social media buzz about it in the afternoon and then sloughed off by everyone’s denial that it could even be considered on the edges of our belief systems, as a hoax.
Depression? Suicide?
Bad Bazinga!
Reality does bite.
Yet it’s a bit easier to get through the exit-stage-left shock with Robin Williams’ staggering amount of good left behind to focus on in reviewing his movies and considerable career.
Still, the incredulity of such a robust loss remains.
And, though we are left as human beings, ever wanting more, we are the better for his having been here.
As I read Joanne Woodward’s words, “Not only was he a brilliant actor and comedian, he was also a mighty force of philanthropy, doing so much for the homeless, for the arts and for those in his orbit who needed aid,” I shot back in time to a long ago, tucked away memory of a night at “Catch A Rising Star,” the club in Manhattan where comedians and new acts could get a start and established or establishing artists worked out new material where their own gathered and supported each other.
My singing trio, “Amethyst,” was slated to go on at the end of the evening, in the wee hours when stars came in after other gigs and audiences were loosened up liberally with libation.
We waited with our accompanist; huddled at a table in the back corner of the club, watching comedians like David Brenner do their stuff that night.
Lenny, the Bionic Chicken, finished up his set and, at last, introduced us to a round of applause.
We walked into the spotlight, in our fringed, bejeweled, white-booted outfits; a velvet, sultry-voiced, red headed, blues singer to my left, a perky brunette with a pop voice and a belt that wouldn’t quit to my right and me, the fluffy, shag-haired blonde, handling the comedy songs, in the middle.
As we finished our up tempo opening theme song and were about to go into our next number, a group of guys at the round table nearest the stage went beyond appreciative applause into hooting and hollering, “Hey! Blondie!” “Hey Hotstuff!!” and vocalized numbers of their own to the tune of whistles, heckles and stomps until one guy got up from his chair and loudly announced, “Yes! You, sweetheart.  I want you, Darlin!” as he began to climb the stage.
Yep. He wanted the blonde in the middle… me.
And like one of the rough hewn in the movie musical, “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers,” it looked like he was set to pick me up, throw me over his shoulders and carry me off.”
No amount of continuing singing would thwart this late night Lothario.
I froze as he advanced. The music and show stopped.
And moments before he got to me, Robin Williams appeared like magic!
Shazaam!
He jumped in front of me like a cape thrown down across water for protection and started heartily cajolling the guy back to his seat and stayed barrier between us by heckling the heck out of him and the rest of the band of merry men; making jokes at their expense; pointing out the men’s room if they needed to rise to the occasion, to which they laughed uproariously as he got them to stay seated; inviting them to enjoy the show ‘from their buckboards’…..and with his half sweet, half sly ‘we’re-in-this-joke-together’ smile, added, with that shrug of his shoulders that could be mistaken for self deprecating, but-hey-what-do-i-know, aw shucksishness character…“Let’s let the little ladies sing, Hoss.”
We finished our song set to standing ovation and I will never forget that night in my performing career where I could say, “Lenny The Bionic chicken opened for me and Robin Williams closed.” What a show biz night that was!
“In his orbit,” ever so luckily, I was…
A fledgling singer with only a microphone between me and a singer-napping…
And there he appeared, well known by that time; ready, willing and able with his special skills and talents to help someone he didn’t know who was indeed “in need of aid.”
He took no credit, garnered no write-ups or kudos and slipped away as if he were an anonymous everyman just doing what anyone would.
And, though I hadn’t thought about that rescue in a long time, especially being ‘sandy submerged’ for what seems like eons, obliterating thoughts I ever even had a career, it was this memory that came back to me as I bent over the kitchen sink in my little top floor apartment, which I fondly have dubbed, Mount 6 Manjaro, and wept with grief for his going and gratitude for his being.
Andy Hammerstein reminded me today, as we all remembered our favorite movies and characters, that his favorite was mine, “The Fisher King.”
Then the thread rippled out across the minds and media of our world. Everyone sharing which ones they liked and the why of how their lives were touched by this gigantic talent.
As I read, I found my head bobbing up and down in agreement… of course “The Fisher King;” the madness and the fragility making it top the list of craft for me and “What Dreams May Come,” for the muddled and magnificent; “Aladdin”…who else could try to do a more behind-the-scenes voice; taking no credit, and be so recognizable and memorable as to become synonymous with the character onscreen…”Patch Adams,” the tenderness within the boisterous laughter….”Good Morning Vietnam,” the giving of good in horrendous circumstances…”Good Will Hunting,” more good in the will and willingness to be vulnerable on the road to educating the heart and mind…”Dead Poet’s Society”… Who of us didn’t want to stand up on tables to get that different perspective…”Mrs. Doubtfire,” with her layers of persona added, padded and ultimately stripped bare as we all are in our relationships…
The question may arise as we hear there are those who preferred his characters to his ‘hyper schtick,’ “Did the hyper drive the depths and heights of his creative genius, which gifted us with so many multi-levelled characters, or vice versa?
I love how Bette Midler put it, “Oh, dear God. The wonderful Robin Williams has gone.”
There feels to me, a softness in the words, ‘has gone.’
They flutter feather light, gently as a Robin Williams’ smile and warm the heart like the sincerity of his soul… as if he has just left the building like he did the many years ago in a dark nightclub.
And here he is again, in his leave-taking, prompting people to speak in anything other than whispers; aiding so many who struggle with depression; shining the light of his star on another dark place in need.
And…Oh, you peacemaker… you, good-hearted Robin….with all this drawing us together in your leaving.
Look at all the good we are remembering, focusing on and smiling about instead of being at war with each other and our own selves.
There you are superstar, still cleverly at work now…. and forever.
I realized today, after all the ‘why’ questions beyond even my experience with ‘the greatcoat’ and puny human understanding of the rippling and ripping of the fabric of life, as with all great life passings…
Simply put… his journey here was done.

And the words from his movie, “Jack,” now seem more poignant than ever:  “Please, don’t worry so much.  Because, in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth.  Life is fleeting.  And, if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky, when the stars are strung across the velvety night.  And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day…make a wish & think of me.  Make your life spectacular!  I know I did.”

I join with and quote Shirley Callaway, because I love the encompassing warmth of her words which are in my heart too, “I send light to all who cherished him and his brilliant work.”
Rest in peace, dear Robin Williams.
Job well done.

Day In Haiku

June 17, 2014

Energy rising

Hitting heights only to fall

Inevitably

Quote For The Day

December 29, 2013

“Once you have become awake and aware, you can never go back to where you were, how you were, no matter how you may try.” Florence Ondré

Open Letter From The In Between

December 28, 2013
Today, while I’m a bit more rested, coming down from holiday crush to try to be superhuman; having taken silent time, I’m closer to sanity and further away from a slip and fall to match my dear Tom’s. (we do everything together..lol)
Invisible ice will bring you to your knees.
Did it slow me?  Hmmm. yes, in some places, not so much in others, but I did have to make some clear choices as to where and how to expend my dwindling energy.
Grand kids came first, cooking came second, family activities and then somewhere after, came me with  visions of juggling dancing in my head and circus music circling my cerebellum.
It was a fun time with the children and their joy is always worth everything!  I am always glad to be tired from making the kids happy.  It was thus for my own kids and now it is for my grands.  Nice to see the threads weaving through the tapestry.
In my going within, I took a look at what seemed to be wearing away in my own life and missed certain voices and visits dear to me.  it seems time is speeding up, people are speeding up, lives are speeding up.  You can hear it in the impatience in voices and feel the voids of connection.  It bruises the energy, these hit and run relationship behaviors and leaves one feeling unimportant and empty. The question arises, “How meaningful am I to a person who only calls or returns calls on a day labelled, holiday?”
With these ruminations, I’m thinking there was more purpose in slip and falls and nonstop preparations with a physical body becoming more challenged as time goes on its own merry way.
I think the gift of this season for us all might be revelations in the re-evaluations; the questioning, “Who & what is important to me?  How can I better shepherd my energy and have more balance?  What can I let go of to choose more personal closeness?”
I have more questions than answers at this moment and that is a good place to be..open to what comes on the brink of a new year.
For those with whom I did not get to connect, for those who called with well wishes, I thank you and please, know you were all thought of fondly and sent best wishes from my heart to yours.  And it is in that chamber you are always held in loving light.
I’m grateful to know that I express this on a daily basis unreservedly…no holding back or saving for a holiday or rainy day.  I’m a sandy survivor.   I’ve lived through enough rain to float the ark!
As our physical connections change- especially with personal distancing of so many wonderful electronics, may we remember to give each other our best gifts of spending time with each other; in person for those geographically near, or a personal call where we can actually hear the essence of our voices for those farther away in miles.
And may we remember to give each other our full attention when in each other’s company, putting away our smart phones to honor each other with full focus and behavior that says, “You are important to me.”
For we all pieces of God in action;  worthy of this honoring…..and we are gone too soon.
May Angels bring you highest good beyond your wildest imaginings in this coming year and I know they hold you close as this old year merges into the new and exciting energy manifesting.
In Light and Love,
Florence

Wonder Full Whirlwind

December 28, 2013

Wonderful whirlwind….so much preparation for holidays and no matter how early I start, the time whirls into the wind of  ‘OMG! Will I ever get everything done that I wish to.’

It is a cyclone cycle of joy and fun, high energy and bone wearying exhaustion.  And oh, how fantastic it is to give everything you’ve got to make your rounds, to give gifts to your loved ones and those who benefit from cheer, heart generosity and the gift of your time and attention; to see the smiles; hear the shrieks of unbridled glee of the children opening and playing with presents and yums at the sharing of creations of a holiday meal; then sink into the glow of sighs of holiday warmth well done; ending all with a wealth of gratitude in every tired cell of your being.

It is a time out of time, each solstice: each pre year’s ending melding into new beginnings and, for me, while I’m stirring batter for homemade baked goodies, I’m stirring memories in between singing seasonings into culinary creations and silence into the rhythm of simply being.

In each moment, Earth time constraints dictate what will and what will not get done while elastic Universal Angel Time reminds me all is in divine order and, while I give full concentration on tasks at hand, focus being in each now in the chaos of creativity.
As I go a bit crazy, feeling like I’ll never get it all done, my dear Tom says, as he helps lift pans and bowls my now older, physically challenged hands cannot and mops up my tears, the floor and my arms and hair from the frustration of flying rosemary sage stuffing, “No worries, it’s the same every year and every year you do great!”

I feel and look like I’m stretched thin and wild in every direction, yet this year, this Christmas after last year of no holiday celebrations after becoming homeless in the devastation of superstorm sandy and a full year of physical and emotional displacement, within, I have a river of deep and abiding silent certainty that in change there is still the light of love guiding me and all of us to some higher good…better behavior and boundaries, healing, choices for closeness and the release of that which does not feel comfortable or honorable in every corner of life.

No more sameness for same sake.  This season, for me, it has been a time of cessation and reflection in the middle of the doing doing doing; a clear look at myself and others and a letting go of facades to home-in on happiness.
I give to each of you dear ones, on this day after Christmas and pre New Year’s Eve, my heartfelt wishes for health, happiness and wealth in all areas of your life… And room for change where Angels make their magic! 

Of Magnetic Memory

December 28, 2013

Today I saw a saying that spoke about not waiting until funerals to show we care and I remembered that when my mother retired to her Florida home, she placed a ceramic magnet on her refrigerator that read: “Appreciate Me Now and Avoid The Rush.”

I always loved that one.  It showed me that a) she was aware that she was worth appreciation and b) knew the worth of what’s important in the now.  With her gone from my life in this dimension, I still smile each time I think of that magnetic reminder.

Thanks Mom. 

First Snow Of The Season

December 13, 2013

Kids are the most wonderful beings who are forever giving adults new ways to see things from these pint sized perspectives!
Just love seeing how on a snowy day they can dream up a variety of ways to have fun with even a smidge of snow leftover from a full flurry storm!
My grand daughter, Selia, started with making little snowballs and lobbing them at me when she got off the bus from kindergarten. Then at home she changed her wooly mittens for the waterproof ski gloves and we made a small snow person.  Next we had a game of tushy target snowball throw and when 3 yr old brother, Jack, padded onto the porch in his stocking feet to point to my boots and say he thought they were “beautiful,” I went up to see if he wanted to put his boots on and play.   He said,” Nope. just wanted to say, “beautiful.” …and back inside he went, while his mom, Hope, and I cracked up.
Selia and I resumed the next game of snow stomping, making tracks with our boots, yelling as we went,” stomp stomp stomp!” Out pops Jack again and I go up to him to ask if he wants to put his boots on and play with us.  This time it’s a ‘yes’ and the next game becomes make little snowballs for the neighborhood cat, then see how far we can throw snowballs across the street and, ultimately, on to their own science project, ‘let’s throw snowballs into the water near the curbs to watch them melt away to liquid nothingness.’ Ahhh!   A fine time was had by all as we satisfactorily trudged, fun filled, up the steps; shedding outerwear on the porch bench and entering all rosy cheeked happy into the warm light of home! 

Thanksribukkah

November 30, 2013

Woke up this morning in the afterglow of yesterday’s lovely, simple and fun Thanksgiving/ Channukkah afternoon.  I can still hear the laughter, see the smiles on everyone’s faces and smell and taste the delicious racks of ribs my son proudly cooked on his beloved bbq/smoker.
(right here is where I ask my dear vegetarian friends to please turn away. avert your eyes! please, don’t judge me)

Picture a tall, happy looking guy standing outside his garage in the freezing cold; bundled up for winter; scarf wrapped around his neck, hands gloved and a nice knitted hat covering his head and ears (ok. it was a bright yellow wool ‘minions’ hat; one half of a two part set knitted by his wife for him and his 3 yr old son for their duo costumes on Halloween, but it did lend the chef a jaunty, humorous air to his serious business of seasoning)

Not being much of a rib gal after Tony Roma’s closed, this newly acquired culinary artistry escapes me…until yesterday….

Watching my grown son lovingly lavishing his attention to tending his culinary creation at the finish line of 8 (count ’em, 8!) hours of basting, turning, temp checking with the precision of a surgeon, was enough to rope me in to at least trying this entree again.

He proudly took me into his kitchen and showed me his impressive array of spices, sauces and rubs; explaining his process of how he chooses which for what reason and how he makes his own combinations for just the right flavors of sweetness and spice for each rack.  I listened with respect as he described the stages of the cooking and reasoning behind each to bring about perfection.

In honor of tradition and with permission from the my son, the host, we’d brought a small roast turkey with trimmings. (and honestly, for me, just in case I didn’t fancy more than a polite bite of ribs…I mean, two whole racks of ribs! Who’s gonna eat them on Turkey Day?)

Under the heading of ‘O ye of little faith,’ he opened the promise land lid, plated those babies and ‘ta da’d’ them into the kitchen with the flair of Guy Fieri  confident in his grillwork or Moses parting the sea.

They looked falling off the bone delectable; tantalizing, scintillating, aromatic and tasted tender, sweet and woody smoked.

I went from ‘oh, I’ll try them because my son made them,’ obligatory to bbq sauce mustachioed convert with the first mouth watering bite.  I found myself thinking, ‘Will two racks be enough?’

It was a stand up feast in the kitchen and those bad boys were gone before you could say, “Let’s eat!”

Wow!  All those hours to make/minutes to devour; leaving only the scent of enjoyment, the sounds of lip smacking contentment and smiles on our sauce smeared faces.

Later that night, my nose still filled with mesquite and honey, I wished for more.  Turkey, my tush! I only yearned for what was gone but not forgotten.  We’d split the leftovers; the usual turkey for sandwiches, the sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and cranberry sauce.

And all I craved was wispy dreams of ribs.

As easy laughter and warmth of the day spent in happy camaraderie came floating back to me upon awakening, I realized what a gift my son had given all of us in the invitation to gather at his home.  His was the same labor of love as mine was when, for all his growing up years, I got up at 5 in the morning to start the turkey roasting for as many hours as the bird’s pounds determined, in order to create a fine meal and the custom of giving thanks…. with the grace of the extra ingredient of every really good meal and family tradition…the ingredient of love.

And on this historic, double holiday of Thanksgiving and Chanukkah which will not occur for another 70,000 years, I am filled to delicious, overflowing heart warmth as I share the threads of light we pass along, each in our own way, to one another other; to our children and our children’s children; opening our hearts for better than the best we can imagine in all outcomes… Happy, healthy history with what changes may evolve.

For and from me and mine, to old and new ways of celebrating the good in life…. here’s wishing you a moment in history where new meets old…Happy Thanksribukkah!

On The Edge

September 3, 2013

by florence ondré

edge?

what edge?

never saw it coming

nor going by with warning’s thrumming

on the edge, a familiar lost place

when overshooting boundaries of the human race

it’s usually a line i have not seen

a hint…a clue..a filter screen

to tell me, ‘stop..halt…not one more step

or it’s the pickle again, up to your neck’

mostly, it’s after i’m over my edge

that i see once again, i’ve tromped past my pledge

to practice taking things more slowly with ease

so that on approach, i can feel edge’s breeze

denoting an appropriate place to desist

a moment in time when i can resist

being too busy; a human doing

who dashes past neon flashing clueing

“lookout.  slow down.  here it comes once more.

you’re in danger again to your very core

of flying over the well-placed edge

beyond the wall; way past the hedge ”

before you know it, i’m flying high

and in the blinking of an eye

i sigh with recognition, backward-looked

on the way to crashing; my goose well-cooked

oh, to be more in tune with where edge is

within me so i can clearly see

when i’m about to approach the goal

in order to save both body and soul

from unnecessary loss and pain

to simply breathe in; be still; remain

on the spot where awareness wakes

then i’ll save myself some hard heartaches

all this can be accomplished when i know

where my edges are and use the word, ‘no’

as a wand of wonder to myself and all

then choices are mine to fly or fall…….

with lessons in each option’s clarion call.

Quote For The Day

August 15, 2013

“What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.”
~Voltaire


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