Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Monday, May 31, 2021

5/31/21 RMB Memorial Day Fact

 5/31/21 RMB Memorial Day Fact

 

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Exactly two months have disappeared by since my last letter. Forgive me if I ramble in catching up.

April’s adventure was moving, box by box, three friends, all on the slower side of 55 spurred one another on, joked, laughed, shed a few tears for the beloved desert home that will be missed, then shared meals to celebrate each day’s work. Finally, sore and satisfied, within our allotted week, the mission was complete. Now Teddy works daily at unboxing, rediscovering treasures and recreating “home” in her new Bear’s Den.

In May I got my first pair of reading glasses ever. Hence, reading is more fun. I got new regular glasses for the first time in 10 years. Hence, driving is more fun. I look from street signs to store signs, finding some readable that were not before.

I finished the enlightening Animal Magnetism and now Cakewalk is next up, along with a few other books on tarot, healthy recipes, and Pimsleur’s Spanish II.

For Cinco de Mayo I received my first covid vaccine and on June 4th the second awaits me. Too many lives have been lost to this virus and it brings to light the many that have been lost for other reasons, diseases, wars, crimes, etc. I can’t help but feeling that we are the cure, our minds, our motivations, our efforts, we can make this world, all our lives, better.

Today is Memorial Day. Wikipedia says:

On May 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC, formerly enslaved African Americans honored hundreds of Black soldiers who were killed in the Civil War and buried in a mass grave. They unearthed the bodies and gave each a proper burial and held a parade in the soldiers’ honor. This memorial honoring of Black fallen soldiers is believed to have been the first Memorial Day before it later became a recognized holiday.

Kind of adds to the echo of black lives matter, not necessarily the movement, but the fact.

 

June is calling, may it ring in joyfully,

Loraine

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

3/31/21 RMB Words Emotionally Absorbed

 

3/31/21 RMB Words Emotionally Absorbed

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

While still enjoying your Animal Magnetism, I am also reading A Little Bit of Tarot and just finished Badass Habits by Jen Sincero.

I recently listened to the audio book Barefoot Executive on cd in my car. The author Carrie Wilkerson is like an Energizer bunny in business. Her drive is inspiring and she shares tons of how-to information about getting your business started. Her motto seems to be “if I can do it, you can do it”. However, it dawned on me that each of us is so individual and so unique none of us can accomplish something JUST because someone else accomplished it.

We each have our own hurdles, our own issues, our own skills, motivations, etc. Until we re-package all that we learn and mesh it into our own magical force, one that takes our uniqueness into account, what we accomplish from the knowledge gained is stunted by an invisible force.

Whatever we learn, whether from the Barefoot Executive or Jen Sincero or Mike Dooley or history or anywhere, needs to be digested for it to be of its ultimate value. It needs to be consumed on an emotional, physical and mental level. That information, inspiration, knowledge and education must be mixed into the elements of oneself, as one would mix dough for bread. You can’t take the base of flour and toss all of the other ingredients on top, slide it in the oven and expect a loaf of bread to rise from that heap.

Yet that is what we do, what I do, when I read tons of books. I acquire bits of info, tack them on my mental corkboard and hope all of the pieces will one day fall into place, that I will lose weight, have my own business, get my house in order, etc.

It feels as though there is a door or perhaps the proverbial window to the soul, that needs open to allow the message to seep in deep. Words read and noted on the mental corkboard are helpful, but words embraced and absorbed are transformative.

As we grow, we are trained by nature and nurture to be strong, independent, and complete. In that process of completion, the exits and entrances are sealed up tight. It is why falling in love can sometimes feel painful, the heart literally aches for the object of affection because those barriers must be breached to allow the relationship to flourish.

It is why our mystic skills and our 6th sense is often muted, they need that window open to breathe. I will be more conscious of this in the future. While reading, I will make an effort to absorb concepts.

I can relate to Jen Sincero’s writing, which feels down to earth and allows for individuality in her suggestions and guidance. Wisdom resides in her words, with a little spice mixed in to boot.

Letting words in,

Loraine

Sunday, February 28, 2021

2/28/21 RMB February’s Full Moon

2/28/21  RMB February’s Full Moon  

 

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

I’ve arrived at Animal Magnetism in my mission to read all of your books. This one tugs at the heartstrings and enlightens the mind. Your observations of animals and our interactions with them are told in delightful and tender stories. It is a work woven by the love of animals and I thank you for it.

As February nears an end, last night’s full moon sends it off in a wave of glory. Bold and bright she lit the night sky on my drive home from an evening shopping trip. Native Americans call her Grandmother and last night she beckoned to be remembered, to have her beauty recorded.  

My letters have slowed while I find myself wondering more and more about which words would or could contribute the most. Our world is swirling in a mix of emotions stirred by politics and a deadly pandemic. Anger straining to be heard is causing a thunder that drowns out our neighbors, sisters and brothers. People splinter away from one another, dividing into paths that each group thinks will lead them to a more perfect world. Or maybe they are not thinking, they are feeling and taking impulsive action.  

That sounds sad. My goal is to uplift spirits. Yet I feel the need to recognize the angst. It reveals the need for positivity.

And on the subject of positivity, I came upon the work of two young actors that play characters in the series Wynona Earp, Katherine “Kat” Barrell and Dominique “Dom” Provost-Chalkley.

The love story of their characters is celebrated, and I find that refreshing. It’s a celebration that work like yours made possible. The two ladies playing the role’s of Nicole Haught and Waverly Earp are “out” and the onscreen duo are affectionately called WayHaught.

Dom has created the Start the Wave Organization which “focuses on building an inclusive online community that empowers individuals to find their unique path to create positive change."

How’s that for positivity,

Loraine

  

Friday, January 1, 2021

1/1/21 RMB New Year Treasure Hunt

 

1/1/21  RMB New Year Treasure Hunt

 

Happy New Year Rita Mae Brown,

Whatever the days may bring in 2021, we can bet there will be some magic tucked in unexpected places.

Consider this a treasure hunt for over the next 12 months. Watch for these things, or make up your own magical finds.

Seeing a kitten pounce.

A full moon glowing in the night.

Toddlers laughing.

A neatly stacked pile of clean clothes. (so I’m easily moved)

Sounds of the wind, the sea, a lake, or leaves rustling.

Gentle falling rain.

Reading the last page of a good book.

Time spent walking with a friend.

 

Endless possibilities await, opening doors to the light that shines from within. And from that light, your path is made clearer, joyful and invites you to celebrate life.

 

Happy 2021,

Loraine

Sunday, November 29, 2020

11/28/20 RMB Happy Birthday Words, Lexie and Toast

 

11/28/20 RMB Happy Birthday Words, Lexie and Toast

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Rita Mae Brown,

I determined to write a letter on your birthday. Yet, the words, they don’t come easy. The ones that will leave an impact; that will mean something; that will be worthy of the space they occupy.

I sit. I think. I go get a snack. Sit some more. Think some more.

While awaiting creativity to flourish, I tap Google Play on my phone to tune into some Spanish music. Google Play is no longer a thing, but it refers me to YouTube Music.

Hmm, I tap Spotify looking for my past attempts to create a play list with plans to add Spanish music. Spotify gives me a line about “something” going wrong and wants me to reload the app. Nope, annoyed I go elsewhere for my musical enjoyment.

I start a mission to find YouTube Music, but land on plain old YouTube, search for Spanish Music and boom, I’m set.

While Enrique Iglesias serenades me, I eat my morning snack of cream of wheat and toast. Actually, it is half cream of wheat and half cream of rice with some coffee creamer and honey mixed in with a gluten free milk.

The ingredients I thought would mix well have melded into an over-sweet glop. I eat it anyway, because the words have not formed, and it is the thing in front of me to do. I read in a dabbling sort of way Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass Every Day.  

The toast is good. While enjoying it, a small thud impacts my outstretched legs and I look up from my book. Lexie The Kitten, our family’s newest addition, peeks up at me.

A silky black body with wide eyes moves to the napkin and toast. She thinks perhaps she has found a treasure. She sniffs the remaining half piece of toast, which I pick up and begin munching. She is not deterred in her quest and tastes a crumb, immediately deciding this is no treasure at all and she disappears as quickly as she appeared.

Then the thoughts form and the words flow and I realize that what is important is that you know someone is thinking of you on your birthday…and that treasures abound everywhere so if there isn’t one right there in front of you, leap away and go find one!

 

Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving too,

Loraine

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

9/29/20 RMB Helen Reddy Rest in Peace

 

9/29/20 RMB Helen Reddy Rest in Peace

 

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Do you remember a time when you didn’t know what you didn’t know?

It’s hard to imagine such a time in these days of internet answers at our fingertips.

It must have been about 1974. I was nine when my dear Auntie Mary and Mother presented me with concert tickets to see Helen Reddy. And I had no idea what I was in for. It was in the days of daytime shows like Dinah Shore and Mike Douglas. I’d seen her sing and quickly acquired all of her records with my birthday money.

A trip to our Spring Valley Kmart with my stepfather was particularly fruitful. From that venture I came home with three albums which I immediately began playing on the turntable non-stop.

I knew every song and sang them in a whisper on my walk to elementary school a couple of miles away. Her self-penned Best Friend, about being a friend to yourself, was a particular favorite and one that I’d lean on often in trying teenage years. She was the angelic voice of compassion and inspiration that drove me when I was lost and comforted me when I was down.

I’d never been to a concert and that night it was all very new. With my Aunt and Mother beside me, I watched and breathed in every note. The image of her gliding from side to side on that stage, singing her heart out, is as vivid today as it was then.

Rest in peace Helen Reddy. May your spirit live on and your work continue in all its magical ways.   

In celebration of your life,

Loraine

Friday, July 31, 2020

7/31/20 RMB Friendly Stray


7/31/20 RMB Friendly Stray 

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
As I approached a stop sign at the end of my block, a woman waived at me. I slowed my car to avoid a dog in the road, a tubby bulldog mix. At first, I thought she was trying to call him home. We both asked at the same time, “Is he yours?”

I told her no, he was not mine. But as soon as I rolled down the window he jumped up and panted in my face, with a telltale wiggle that implied a there was a tail wagging with abandon at the other end.

I don’t know if she heard me or not. Maybe she saw the dog’s reaction and figured he was my problem now, either way.

I’m not one to get friendly with strange dogs, especially muscular husky ones with giant teeth and big mouths. I told him to get down and he did so quickly, proceeding to travel in a circle around my car looking for an entrance.

I didn’t want to move forward because I could no longer see his stout body and didn’t want to hit the fellow. I put the car in park and got out to contemplate what to do. He came running. Reluctantly, I opened the back door and up he soared without a second thought. At least that got him out of the street.

As he sat there in all his splendor, so proud if himself for getting in the car and up on the backseat with head held high, I examined his chain linked collar. No tags. He was obviously trusting and kind.

I got in the front seat and in a flash that big mouth was panting beside my head. He had hopped his front feet to the console between the two front seats and was ready to watch the road with me.

I nudged with my elbow to push him back, afraid his plan might be to jump into the front passenger seat where my sister’s take out meal sat. “You can’t get up here.” Push. “Get back there.” Push.

Neither push budged the friendly beast an inch. I slowly took the right turn, keeping my arm there as a meager blockade. When I got to my driveway, I called the sister. I figured she could bring me a spare leash and take her food out of harms way. I planned to travel around a few blocks and hopefully find his home.

Another car drove by before I could finish the explanation and the sister was left hanging on half a story while I waived down the car. It passed me, but then slowed and the shiny white car with tinted windows backed up.

I asked, “Do you live around here?”

The nice man replied “No”.

In a sad face, I said “Oh,” and figured it couldn’t hurt to ask, “would you happen to know who this dog belongs to?”

“What dog?” he said and leaned over to see when I motioned to the back seat. “No, I don’t know.”

I explained how he had gotten into my car a few houses up the block. And when I say up, I mean up. I live on a very steep street.

He said “Sorry” shrugged and carried on up the street.

I continued my story with the now curious sister on the cell phone as I sat there parked in front of my own driveway.

The white car rounded the corner again and made its way back up to me after driving around the block. The nice man pulled over next to me and said, “They’re looking for him up there. I told them to come down here. It will take a while for them to get here.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you so much! I’ll wait for them.” He smiled a big smile and as he drove, away I yelled after him, “God bless!”

A rag tag crew of young men found their way down the hill to me. At first, I was a little reluctant to hand my happy friend over to just anyone, but he obviously knew them as they approached. “Missing something?” I asked and one of them nodded. I figured that if they were the owners of him, they must be doing something right, because he was so friendly.

There was someone in a Jeep with them and he offered to take the guy and the dog in his car. Maybe he was just a passer by offering to help. The guy declined and leaned over to walk the dog by holding his collar. I hoped he didn’t have far to go.

We caused a bottleneck in traffic with my car and the Jeep that was in the middle of the road and another car parked on the other side. A few cars were waiting to pass so no more words were said. The Jeep moved along.

As the cars passed, there came that nice shiny white car with tinted windows. The man smiled at me and this time as he passed, he was the one that yelled out “God bless.” We both laughed.

Together we did a good deed. But something else happened too. See, I’m white and the man with the big smile in the shiny white car is black. It felt like there was an added element of our working together on this minor mission.

At first, I thought he came around the third time just to be sure they found me and their dog. Later, I wondered if it was so he could respond in kind with “God bless” to me.

As people protest and shout and demonstrate the vital importance that Black Lives Matter, something tells me it is equally important for us all to do the little things, to help each other, to reach out in a neighborly way.

Neither one of us did it to prove a point, but everything we do, every day, proves a point. There was something unspoken within us that recognized the importance of our joint effort. God bless.

For whatever God or Goodness you worship, God bless,
Loraine