Friday, April 22, 2011

The next "Yes"!!!

Happy Earth Day!!!  I remember that first Earth day. I was expecting my first child and was part of the tree huggers.  My husband was completing his forestry major at Oregon State in Corvallis Oregon.  40+ years!!

As part of my new life, I am developing a few new personal rules to get myself to the next "Yes".   The first one is "should" means "NO"!!  If I say to my self  "I should  go to the grocery store," I don't.  I look at the other options and pick the one without the "should." attached.   That does not mean I am not getting the essentials done.   Groceries  are being bought, bills are paid, and laundry is getting done.  I am just following my interests since I have the time now.

For example, I decided I wanted to learn to bake French baguettes.  You know those great crusty loaves of bread.  So I did.   It was the next "Yes."  The first loaves were a little too close to being doorstops because in the two day process, I forgot to let the dough rise enough times.   Helps if you pay closer attention to the directions carefully noted in the recipe.  I also learned two more lessons.   One, some cooking thermometers are made more of plastic than is obvious at first glance and melt in 500 degree ovens. Two, even hot water poured in a hot Pyrex baking dish will crack it.  Who knew?!   The next batch of French bread was much better!!!

My next "yes" was making scones! I can now make a mean apricot, raspberry or cranberry scone.

So I am living my life right now looking out for options.

One of my fun new choices has been to watch Oprah as she completes her last season. I make myself a cup of Chai and sit down to watch the entire show.   Such a luxury and it gives me ideas to consider for the next Yes.

On one show this week, the options for retirement expanded when a recently retired woman gave birth to her grandson as a surrogate. Kris Casey was so joy filled to do this for her daughter and son-in-law   Wow, giving birth or being a surrogate was not anything I connected with the word "retirement".
I don't think this is the path for me but what I loved was the clarity Kris Casey had about her own personal next yes.

My next "yes" came together tonight as I looked up Director Tom Shadyac's website about his new movie "I AM."   (He is the director of Ace Ventura, Liar, Liar, Patch Adams and other great comedies and yes, he was on Oprah.)  I remember watching this man talk about giving up his "Hollywood style life" for a lifestyle that felt right for him and thinking it would be fun to meet this guy.   On his website, I found out the film is only being shown in selected theaters and cities.  To my astonishment,  one of the cities was Minneapolis tomorrow night  and  the director Tom Shadyac is going to be at two of showings!!
Hmm...  seems like a sign  that says "YES" to me.

So I have tickets to the movie "I AM", dinner reservations at a nearby bistro and my wonderful friend Ann who is interested in everything to enjoy it with me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The first leap into flight

I have just taken a leap of faith into the world outside of a 9-to-5 job. For the first time in my life, I am not responsible. I just paused to look at my writing and was fascinated by the sentence “I am not responsible.” That phrase can be taken several ways. First, I am not responsible for any one else's life at this point. The kids are well launched in their own lives. Second, I am not responsible for following other people's rules or other people's expectations or other people's agendas. Now this is both encouraging and terrifying. So this blog will be exploring the day-to-day transition into my new life and to add my voice to the world.

The other day I was mulling over what was getting in my way of actually writing the first post on my blog. I realized I didn't have a clear view about where things were going to go. I wanted to be more specific about my purpose, and my hopes of what I could accomplish. Just then a car pulled out in front of me and there on the license plate was the word "CLARADY". I laughed and thought “Well, that's about right! I am getting clearer but I still think I need a bit more time.”

Part of me felt I should just start the blog and follow where it leads. As if in confirmation, I found this quote by Audre Lorde. “While we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.” Hmmm, do you think this is a sign?

The final confirmation was yesterday when I was listening to a CD by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I heard her say “Perfect is the enemy of done.” And here I am, wide awake in the middle of the night writing my thoughts out into the world.

I have been retired for 4 1/2 months and been traveling, recovering from the that nasty virus that was going around and organizing my home. I finally have time to put my own house in order by doing those things that we put off when we're working full-time. My files have been updated. I have thrown away warranties for appliances I haven't had for 10 years. All of those recipes I've torn out of magazines and printed off the Internet have been three hole punched and put in a binder. I can open my cupboards without anything falling out! I have renewed my friendship with the library and have been reading like mad. In fact, the most frequent call I get nowadays is the automatic voice message saying that I have another book on hold at the Hennepin County Library.

I chose "My Dumbo Feather" as the name for my blog because I wanted to have something to hang onto as I venture out into the world of blogging. I find myself intimidated and amazed and encouraged that there are more than 77 million blogs speaking their unique voices into our world. Too many people have been silent for too long and I have to admit, I have been one of them. I so love the story of Dumbo with his friend, and the encouragement and faith his little feather represented. It seems obvious to me that with ears as large as Dumbo's, flight was inevitable. Clearly, Dumbo could not see that just as I cannot see where this blog will lead me.

Though out the years as a parent, friend and therapist, I have given "Dumbo feathers" to my family, friends and clients and watched them take those transitional objects out into the world. I wanted those Dumbo feathers to serve as support until faith and belief made them unnecessary.

I have collected a number of Dumbo feathers in my day. In fact, sitting on my desk right now is a small clay angel with a quill, poised to write made by my friend Kara and a small green glass stone next to a small note book to write my creative ideas from my friend Sharon. My most recent feather is a handwritten note on my computer that says “You can call Virginia.” I met Virginia, Kara and Sharon at a creative writing retreat in 2007  with so many wonderful creative women and that put me on the path to this blog today. Hi, everyone!! Look at me, my ears are flapping.

So I send these first words out into the world and hope they take flight and bring joy and hope and fun.