Friday, May 07, 2021

A Friend to Many

This morning I learned something very sad... sudden and sad. Teresa Kasner passed away, just yesterday. It was unexpected, and I cannot imagine the shock and grief her family, and friends must be in. Her dear friend, Betsy, reached out to Teresa's blogging friends, on Dayle's behalf. Dayle was Teresa's husband of 51 years. Teresa called him Chef Dayle, when sharing the many dishes he fixed, the breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and Teresa always made them look and sound amazing, even a sandwich was appreciated and extolled in her posts. I am going to miss reading about those meals, because through something "everyday," she reminded me of the love and care we receive in even simple things, and to take notice, celebrate those gestures and moments. Teresa could make anything a noteworthy thing, and celebrated each day, and every person, all occasions, with grateful, admiring intent. She was a new friend to me, and I am already changed and inspired by her life, by her bright perspective, her many talents, and how she seemed to possess endless energy for raising people up, seeing the best in a flower, a view, a jadeite vase. Not only did she comment on my blog, leaving me her signature ((hugs)), sharing a bit of herself, and engaging with me, she would also email me, to go in depth on subjects, like goats, and crochet, offering encouragement, and practical support. Did I mention the endless energy? She posted regularly, often, and it was always something fresh, something full of her interest and enthusiasm, whether she was rearranging her beloved jadeite pieces, making another holiday display, or celebrating a grandchild, a new flower blooming, on an adventure with her husband, she put her whole heart and convictions into her blog, into her life. She was an artist, in many mediums, and an active, enthused member of her community, and I am heartbroken as I think on all of the ways she will be missed... on how much I will miss her.

It's customary to annotate our relationship to someone, how we know them, like a qualifier, as though we are ranking our position, or implying the relationship is conditional. I would have said, "My blogging friend," until now. But, now I think of it, I don't feel like just a blogging friend, and I as I think of all of my blogging friends, I feel keenly that so many of those friendships are too dear, too meaningful to qualify, to make smaller than they feel to me. Teresa was a generous friend, an inspiring friend. Even the distance between our homes, her in Oregon, along the Columbia River Gorge, and me in Southern California, didn't feel so great. When I discovered that Teresa had a role in Vista House, just one of the beautiful and treasured experiences I have enjoyed in Oregon, I felt the distance shrink. I took her invitation to heart, and was looking forward to her offer of a personal tour of Vista House... I wouldn't have hesitated to accept any chance to know her better, to spend more time with her. I imagine all of her many friends, and especially her family, are wishing for more time in her sweet company. I hope her husband, and family, find comfort in knowing that her memory is dear to many, that so many of us celebrate and honor her memory, and are grieved to lose her. She is remembered, admired, appreciated, loved.
When I see jadeite, or an especially lovingly arranged collection on a dining table, holiday decorations, I will think of Teresa. I will think of Dayle finding her a good deal on more pieces, and the two of them bringing home something new. I will miss her regular posts, news, updates, her uplifting spirit. I will miss the anticipation of someday meeting Teresa in person, of seeing her newest crochet project... and more, but just now, I am feeling another wave of shock and disbelief.
Her last posts... her birthday, and being sick, made me concerned and sympathetic, but I could not imagine she would not rally. Even being in the hospital hadn't dampened her spirit, and I took heart from her typical cheery focus, and mindful advise to us all about the risks of Nsaids ("Apparently my use of Nsaids such as Alleve is what did it. So, be careful and try not to use them.") When a few days passed, and there wasn't a new post, I thought, She's wise to take it easy, and recover. And yesterday, I noticed that it had been 6 days since her last post, and that really struck me, and I did not want to think it could be anything bad, not really bad. So, I imagined her and Dayle driving to the coast, and her taking photographs of the shore, and pretty things, like the ones I remember when I was first getting to know her. I don't want to remove her name from the list of bloggers that I visit, but it will be a painful reminder to see more and more days pass, and no news from lovely Teresa Kasner. And. It will be hard to know that I won't hear from her, won't have another of her thoughtful comments, a ((hug)), some of her uplifting words, and kindness. So many friends will be missing her comments, her good spirit.
Teresa, thank you. I never shared this with you, but I have a small jadeite piece, a gift from a friend. Today I brought it out and picked sweetpeas from my garden, for you. And I wish I told you this, but I'll say it now... you made me want to be a better person, and I think you are lovely, and your way of celebrating everything, and connecting to so many people with so much kindness, with your whole heart, has to be about the finest of way of living I can think of. You are a friend to many. Thank you, for being a friend to me, too.

Thursday, May 06, 2021


Blogging helps give me perspective, and I am not stating this with conviction, like something I am always mindful of. No, I thought of it just now... maybe not for the first time, but it feels like something I need to pay more attention to. The particular perspective is to do with what kind of week this has been. My spirits took a deep dive, when another chapter of the Never Ending Drunkladydriver Drama was laid before my feet, two weeks after I was encouraged, to "put it all behind you, now!" It's absurd, ridiculous, frustrating... all of those descriptions of aggravation mixed with trauma, and it's really pulled me into a mix of disfunction and dark thoughts. So, perspective? Well, I begin blogging by taking photos from my phone and formatting them for a post, and that's when I saw that a week I would have called bad, and hard, wasn't all bad, as evidenced by flowers, cats, reminders of a pizza night with friends, seeing Saturn in the pre-dawn sky... not that I have a photograhph of Saturn in the pre-dawn sky. One good moment, a picture of my daughter sharing an art day with me, or the first blooms of rockrose, leads to reflection, to recall, and suddenly, like when fog evaporates, I see things more clearly, more fully, and more good memories come to mind.

Tasha is on the verge of forgiving me for the whole incident with the baby goat. And about the baby goat, that's become, how to describe it... a sad mess. The feedstore returned her to the breeder, and the feedstore won't call me, or take my calls, or when I do reach them, they insist it's out of their hands. So. All of my good intentions about working with them, and doing whatever was best for the goat, have been totally disrespected, dismissed, and my favorite feedstore of 21 years is treating me like an invisible nobody. It has been suggested that I fight this, but I honestly don't have much fight in me, not after the thrashing I've taken from aforementioned Never Ending DLDD. And what can I possibly gain? They refunded the payment. And they don't have the goat. It really comes down to me asking them to care about my feelings, to acknowledge that I wanted to have the goat, and get her good care. I can't force a business to like me, or to honor an agreement that was made in trust, in hope. I believe the breeder is doing, or did? the best for the goat, and I console myself with the belief that being cute and sweet, she will live a good life, somewhere. But it hurts... I wanted her to be ours, and I was doing all the things that I trusted and hoped were best. At the very least, I thought they would be decent enough to let me know how Grace is doing, if she is recovering. Ha! I was thinking this could turn into a happy post, all about how good things outweigh bad, and gratitude, but I needed to not let Grace Hoppper's story hang in the air, untold, ghosted. It seems she wasn't meant to be our forever goat, and I hope that she is well.

A bird built a nest on the header of the Smithy shop overhang. I couldn't see into the nest. But some bird sure made her nest pretty, with alyssum, woven in the grass and twigs.
So. What was that, again? Perspective. Right. Whether it's my issues, or sad news from family, or friends, or God, just reading the news... it gets to me. All of the struggles, and challenges, the losses, and injustice, and I should stop listing these things, because it's endless. I make a determined effort to practice gratitude, to be mindful of the good news, to take slow, deep breaths, but. I guess, sometimes even happy thoughts, affirmations, tea and candles, can't keep the weight of the world from bringing me down. These last few days got really weighty, so I would have readily declared it all a bad week. But, like I said, my photographs reminded me that it hasn't all been bad. I think Saturday was actually really lovely. We had a long overdue socially distanced get together in the driveway, around campfires. The owls were calling, and I even saw a couple of bats flit overhead. Maria has been sharing more digital art lessons with me, and I have even had some painting success. A whole day with cats being adorable, and cuddly is a world of good, so are bird nests, flowers, and meaningful talks. I am thankful to have found some relief from a strong round of frustration, depression, anguish. Seeing good things, acknowledging the blessings... it's like coming up for air, and realizing that I can breath, and even stand, with my head above the water. I confess, though, that I have another idea that has been sort of pestering me. It is this, if I can explain it well... maybe I need a break from tea cups and happy thoughts, maybe I need a raw scream, loud crashing rage. It's possible all of my attempts to heal through happiness, to stay bright and cheery, to feel only gratitude and humility, is keeping me from confronting the real pain and fear I feel now, and have felt on impact, or at any time in my life when something traumatic tested my confidence, hurt me, frightened me. Somewhere I learned to be small, to keep pain quiet, to not fuss, or ask for more than my due, which is always less than I might want, otherwise it's greedy, needy, vain. My compulsions to obey, to cooperate, to be kind, and supportive, to consider everyone, and anyone, before me, might not be... healthful? Fair? Sometimes, I talk to Geoff about my deep thoughts and other musings, but mostly, they stay in my head, or maybe pop up here, where, for some reason, I feel anonymous, unseen. I imagine it's ok to say things on the blog, because if someones does hear me, they are free to walk away, and I am not asking anything of anyone. I haven't figured this new idea out. I am still turning it around and considering it, but I thought I'd try to begin to put it to words, and I am increasingly comfortable with the idea that I could really enjoy pumelling something, breaking and shattering stuff, that it might feel like a release, a manifestation of letting pain, for which I have no words, be expressed and pushed out... out and away from where I have been holding them in, where they have been clinging, and gnawing at me. I would love to scream.
There is beauty all around me, and I hold it dear. I think I could hold the beauty dear, and closer, if I weren't wrapped in, and holding on to, so much pain and fear, like a thick armor. This armor is familiar, and I have been mistaking it for a kind of protection, but it's not working. This isn't how its meant to be. Do you know what, and I am addressing myself, I guess... it's very hard to let go of familiar things, even when you realize they are harmful. I see, something needs to change. How to do it?