28 June 2010

First Embrace

This post is in response to The Inferno prompt: embrace. It is offered in the hope it will be helpful to another woman who has known the taste of  such regret.


First Embrace

I wish I could say I knew
what was happening in my body.
It is my body. I am a nurse.
The pain was intermittent, insistent,
signaled something wrong with my pregnancy,
sent me to the hospital.
But I'd never felt it before
so I turned on my stomach
to ease the pain as I waked off and on
through the night.

I wish I could say I knew
what was happening in my body as I woke that night
and urgently went to the toilet.
A nurse had put a container covering half the toilet.
"Why?", I wondered.

I wish I could say
I picked up that tiny girl
in the white plastic container,
held her and whispered what I thought:
"I'm sorry I failed to carry you long enough for you to live."

She looked so perfect as I stared at her
but she didn't breathe or move her limbs.
And all I did was stare,
never touched her.
And for every day thereafter
I wondered how I didn't do this simple thing-
embrace my daughter,
name her.

I wish I could say that I told that secret
sought help for that remorse
magnifying my grief,
forgave myself, didn't have guilt
that sleeping on my stomach caused the miscarriage,
didn't have nightmares for years 
about forgetting crucial things.

What I can say
is that it took until I was 50
in therapy over another loss for all that to come flooding back.
I grabbed the chance to do it again,
do it as I wished I had done it then-
hold that baby in my arms
greet her, say good-bye, name her-
name her wish, name her love,
name her free.

Mary H Warren

*Thanks to Vikki North at The Red Chair Gallery for her art piece which so beautifully illustrates this poem and which she kindly agreed to my using.

And thanks to Ruth at Rumi Days for the synchronicity of the Rumi poem today "The Bright Core of Failure" which speaks directly and beautifully to this experience.

24 June 2010

Theme Thursday: Triangle (2)

The first post (below) on the theme "triangle" is light hearted and fun. This, on the same theme, is more serious and heart felt.Please also see: Gay and Gray: An Elder Hero for Gay Humanity at Time Goes By.

Triangle Foundation of Michigan:

Mission Statement

It is the mission of Triangle Foundation
to promote equality and to secure
freedom from violence, intimidation and 
discrimination for LGBT persons
throughout Michigan.


Vision Statement

We envision a society characterized by a
strong commitment to universal civil
safe communities, workplaces,
and schools;
stable families; and
self-reliant LGBT individuals.


Sounds like a vision we can all debate and perhaps support, right? The kind of thing we might discuss in a variety of settings, maybe pro, maybe con. Theoretical. But what about when it becomes more personal? Then where do we stand? What about when it's our daughter or son, our granddaughter or grandson, our niece or nephew, our sister or brother?

 That precisely is why we must face our own biases, challenge our prejudices, educate ourselves with facts instead- because every LGBT individual IS a daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson, niece, nephew, sister or brother.  Or maybe they're ready to emerge and are listening to our language and beliefs, watching our behavior to see if they can safely do this with us. And if they only hear negative judgments, how will they trust us as loved ones they can confide in, and, more importantly, how will they think and feel about themselves?

 All our children and grandchildren are listening and watching. What do they hear and see about their present or future selves? 

Lovingly dedicated to Judith and Kim.

Theme Thursday: Triangle

I don't know how to put my accompaniment under the video posted below for Theme Thursday "triangle" so here it is, inspired by PattiKen.
This is James Blunt singing a (funny and pertinent) parody of his song: "You're Beautiful" on Sesame Street.

Sneak Peak of James Blunt on Sesame Street

22 June 2010

But Wait- It's an Emergency!

Some things never change wherever we live. Day before yesterday at the beach I was in the sea with John. I was ready to go back to the umbrella when he encouraged me to stay. "Let's talk." I like to talk, like to hear John's take on things, like that he was extending this invitation so I said: "Sure!" "Will this count for later?" he asked with that eager, hopeful look in his eyes. I laughed right out loud!

Some background so you can appreciate this too: Talking is the way to my heart, hence John's favorite question before making love: "Have we talked enough yet?" He's a tactile and visual guy so words need not be exchanged at all as far as he's concerned. But in our 36 years together, we've both learned what's important to the other and have fun accommodating.

Fast forward to yesterday when John had an agenda of "sex later" and was trying to jump start the process. Guys- you gotta love em!

But wait, this is serious! Yesterday Mental P Mama posted the Aquarius (that's me) Horoscope for 6/21- 6/27 and it said that Mercury is "remaining in your romantic and creative sector until Friday..." That's potentially problematic given the short time frame but the alarming part is that it then said: "this is the last activity in your romantic and creative sector for the year." For the year?! And this is only June? For the year? It is an emergency!

So, it turns out that John had the right idea. I asked him if we shouldn't actually have a long-term affair with each other given the astrological outlook. Guess what- he agreed!

20 June 2010

Dear John on Father's Day

Dear John,

When I thought of what gift to give you this day that celebrates fathers, I decided to give the gift of my thoughts, feelings and words.

In the time span of 33 years your fathering shines brightly. You have given of yourself to our daughter and now to our grandchildren in a selfless way. I have seen the times where you fought old messages, deep programing and unworthy examples to do this in an authentic way in tune with your values. You blazed new trails to do this and, yet, did it gracefully. I want you to know that I saw this and know some of the cost. I want you to know that I admire you and thank you for doing this. I want you to know that our daughter had a uniquely loving, supportive and graceful start as a result.

You did what you needed to do at every stage of your journey so far to become aware, grow and change to become your best self in relationship to those you love. I honor this choice of yours, I respect this choice in light of the difficulties you overcame to make it, I celebrate the father and man you've become in the process. And you're a fun Dad!

You often say: "When values are clear, decisions are easy." Yes, the decisions are easy but carrying them out is often not easy. Carrying out deep values demands more of us than we think we are able to give and then we find the resources to give it anyway. You've done that. I've watched you do that. I am inspired in that glimpse of how to be a best self to be better myself. I'm grateful for that inspiration.

So, Dear One, here's to you in this your loved role of father and grandfather. I salute you, I celebrate you, I love you. The happiest of father's days to you!

Hugs and kisses galore,

17 June 2010

Theme Thursday: Camera

I asked my husband for a recommendation of what to write about the Theme Thursday topic "camera". "Since we're learning Italian, why not write about the meaning of 'camera' in Italian (room)", says he. Then I read Patti's site (PattiKen and the Muses) and she's done it first and well!

So, instead I wanted to explore the concept of the camera loving certain subjects. I've heard that in the past: "Oh, the camera really loves her!" But I've never understood what that meant until my granddaughter came along and now I understand. The camera LOVES this child.

From an early age, in the most unlikely of places (the rain forest of Trinidad), they have found each other, the relationship has been forged. The camera has found her and is happy.

16 June 2010

Let's (Really) Talk

Sometimes we need to stop, clear away other responsibilities, make time, set the time and just talk. Yesterday was such a time for John and me. We can tell it's time when little things become way bigger than they really are. Like when we're arguing about which piece of mail should be left on top of the pile, each of us defending our opinion! It's probably definitely not about the mail pile. When I'm feeling misunderstood and under-appreciated, chances are he is too (he was).

So we finally sat down outside on these yellow chairs with a glass of wine and talked about what's really going on in our heads and our hearts. It started as silly bickering but finally shifted into the deeper sharing that brings us closer. It reminded me of the song by Angela Lansbury in "Beauty and the Beast" that describes the fight to be right and the line: "...then someone bends unexpectedly" which someone must do so real listening, sharing and loving can happen. It did.

Sometimes it's John who bends, steps one small step off the reiteration of the same complaints and instead picks up on what I might mean in what I'm saying. Last evening, it was me who took the step. I heard John say that he had an unexpected reaction to an important email. "You did? What was it, sounds like it might have been hard for you." It changed the whole dynamic and we started really communicating with each other rather than defending our positions.

My beloved husband recognized a new dimension he thinks he's entering that scared him in its implication. I got to hear about it and him and it was so much more interesting and vital than whatever we were doing before that point. It brought me closer to him and more supportive of him in the difficult choices he now gets to make. I love that part of being a life partner, the part when I get to see the world through wholly other eyes and have my world expanded.

In 36 years of marriage we've had this experience many times but it's always thrilling to me. It's built up my trust that we can do it yet again when we need to- once I get over myself and my friggin persistent need to be right! "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" I ask myself. My higher self knows the best answer.

It works for us. What works best for you?

11 June 2010

100 Word Challenge - Epidemic

This post is in response to the prompt: epidemic given in the 100 Word Challenge
temporarily hosted by LouCeel and inspired by his post on the same topic.
Oh the difference 42 years can make.

Florence Nightingale was born to a British family in Florence, Italy. She moved back to London as a young girl and fought her family's expectations in order to become a nurse.

In 1854, during the Crimean War, she realized that in the crowded and dirty hospital conditions, the epidemic of cholera was killing more soldiers than injuries. Florence helped create the modern techniques of nursing that made contemporary nursing possible and started a school for nurses in London.

She was the first woman to receive the "Order of Merit", the highest honor awarded to a British person, from Queen Victoria.

Florence Nightingale was both a nurse and a statistician. She used her knowledge of math and statistics to show the British government that providing better conditions for sick and wounded soldiers would help them win the war. She became known as "the Lady with the Lamp" based on the rounds she made of the soldiers at night.
Florence brought hospital hygiene and basic sanitation to the care of the sick. The school she started was the first secular nursing school in the world.

The Nightingale pledge taken by new nurses was named in her honor. International Nurses Day is celebrated yearly on her birthday, May 12 (1820).

I'm excited that this 100 word challenge is also my 100th blog post!
And it's on the topic of nursing, near and dear to my heart,
since I spent 36 years as a nurse before retiring last year.

I'm celebrating both by a brand new blog look
inspired by my love of reading and my new home in Italy.

10 June 2010

Theme Thursday: Candy

This is my favorite photo of my grandchildren.

Such a tender moment, sweet as candy.

The MEME Continues

This versatility award came to me courtesy of Nan at Things I've Found in Pockets which, if you haven't checked out, you owe it to yourself to do. She's the mother of 3 sons and has just moved from Trinidad to Bournemouth, England. I had the great good fortune of meeting, hanging out with and coming to really like her and her family in Trinidad where my daughter lives. She's a wonderful writer, an all around great person and she cracks me up!

The rules are simple: Thank the person who gave you the Versatility Award, Tell 7 things about yourself that others might not know and, then, pass the award on to other bloggers whom you love and, I suppose, find to be versatile.

1. I lose track of time. Often. As in, I really have no idea whether 20 minutes have passed or 2 hours. I get so focused on my reading, or my conversation, or my companion, or my writing, or my shopping that I loose all sense of the clock. Even when I'm getting ready to go somewhere, I usually end up either being late or inappropriately early. I've developed a few strategies to handle this so I can get to appointments on time but it continues to amaze me how often it happens. I'll hear myself saying to my husband: "Oh, I lost track of the time." He just laughs. He never does. Ever.

2. Even though I don't clean my house until I have fluffy dust bunnies dancing about, I like to iron. Go figure.

3. I ran a marathon last year to celebrate my retirement. I finished 7th in my age group.

4. After 36 years of decorating with green, blue, peach, turquoise, etc., I chose RED and gold as the primary decorative colors in the living room of our new apartment. It's a lovely brownish red and a buttery gold that is so different for me and so sumptuously snazzy!

5. I listen to traditional Irish music. Not the americanized Irish music but the west of Ireland, passed down through generations, foot-stomping and heartbreaking real traditional Irish music.

6. I have lived on the east coast (MA, NY, ME), mid west (NE) and west coast (CA), the island of Antigua and now, Italy. That's one way to become versatile.

7. I had a vision when on a retreat at 19 years old. It was this- we are all one- all beings of all species for all time.

I like Nan's approach to passing this on in which she invited anyone in her blog list to pick up the Versatility Award and run with it. I'm eager to read more about those who pick it up. You're hereby invited.

09 June 2010

"One tiny spot of beauty..."

Friends, we are traveling together.
Throw off your tiredness. Let me show you
one tiny spot of the beauty that cannot be spoken.
I am like an ant that has gotten into the granary,
ludicrously happy, and trying to lug out
a grain that is way too big.

I follow Ruth's blog, Rumi Days, which posts a Rumi poem each day. I've come to look forward to the inspiration I find there. I had taken some photos today about the small pleasures gathered on my balcony and this part of a Rumi poem seemed perfect as the lead in.

My balcony is a tiny spot of beauty. I feel happy there. Here's what I'm grateful for today:

Roses from my rose bush. It was a gift from my neighbor. It continues to give beauty and lovely scent.

Geraniums and begonias in pink, red, coral,
blooming boldly in the warm Italian sun.


sweet and red,


on my cereal.

Tomatoes growing on the plant that was barely 6 inches high when I planted it. I went away for a week and they were just marble sized beginners. When I watered them today, I was surprised how they've grown and how many there are.

If you can't tell, growing my own veggies is entirely new and such a kick for me!

The soft evening light on my current favorite view from the balcony.

It's an ancient stone house on a hill surrounded by fields, vineyards, olive groves.

This vista fills me with peace.

Thanks for letting me show you my tiny spot of beauty. I hope it brings you happiness as well.

08 June 2010

Can You Relate?


I really laughed when I saw this on a blog! I was looking at a photo of my grandson, ever the curious explorer, and thinking that curiosity about life is such a great attitude to foster. Then I saw this and a blog idea was born! I mean, I like a clean house and I like to eat but everything else seems more important to me in terms of how I allocate my time. I'm not curious about cooking or cleaning and I am about so many other things. I live in Italy and want to explore Italy and Europe now that I'm here. So when I think about what I want to do for the day, or weekend or any stretch of time, it's not cooking and cleaning.

My husband does the cooking in our family and he reads cookbooks and magazine recipes, thinks about food combinations, plans meals, shops for the food and prepares delicious meals spiced with love. I don't, ever. When he's away and I run out of the meals he's left for me, (I know, I'm REALLY fortunate) I do something quick and easy, mostly salads.

My way around the cleaning is to keep our home neat, nicely decorated and homey. I actually enjoy going through home decorating magazines and stores and getting ideas to try. So, it looks clean if you don't look too close. Good enough for me. Of course, when company is coming or when it really needs it, we clean the house together, but quickly, and move on to other more important activities.

Current activities more important than cooking and cleaning: reading, writing, talking with family, talking with friends, outings with family or friends, walking, running, hiking, gardening, going to the beach, going for adventures of any sort, traveling, exploring, seeing new places... well, you get the picture!

Is it a case of defective girl genes or do other women resonate with this?

05 June 2010


Well, here I am in Germany. I'm visiting friends from Maine who used to live in Dusseldorf and are hired back each year to sing with the opera here. Since I live in Italy now, I flew over to see them, the city and attend the opera as well. The weather, which is dicey usually according to the locals, has been spectacular. I've walked all over, had time with old friends and met new friends and just in general had a great time. My morning walks or runs are by the Rhine River. The Old City is closed to traffic, pedestrian friendly and lovely. I've met ex-pats from the states or the UK who have lived here for years. I'm reminded of my experience in Italy with the unique combination of locals, ex-pats from all over and all manner of combinations of couples, countries and languages. It's stimulating, expanding and so interesting. The advantage of international living. This is my first time online since last Tuesday, though. So, I'm just touching base and will be back home on Monday to get back into the swing of blogs and contact with other internetties! See you then.