Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some Favorite Photos

One of my myriad interests is photography, and that's something I want to share with everyone. The hard part is choosing which ones are my momentary favorites, to post here. Today I'm thinking Spring -- so let's go with that theme.

This golden California poppy grew in my front yard when I lived in the Napa Valley.

This lovely grove of aspens
grows at Difficult Campground,
near Aspen, Colorado. I camped
here for about a week back in
1983 during a solo two-month
bicycle tour of the Colorado
Rockies. That's a blog subject
all by itself, for a later date.

I really love this photo of the flowering fruit trees and the wild mustard growing in a vineyard along the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley. It's not every year that residents are treated to this sight. It all depends upon Mother Nature's weather whims. And of course, as with all of my photos, this one brings back memories of a wonderful slice of my life. There have been many.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Archer

My horoscope this morning read "You must avoid making rash decisions. The pressure may be on to move one way or another and, if you choose not to do anything, you will probably find you've missed out." Now, I'm not one to get overly serious about horoscopes, in fact I rarely even look at them. Not sure why I looked this morning, but the message was clear.

For weeks now I've been hemming and hawing about a little cottage for sale in my hometown of Cedartown, Georgia. It's lovely. It feels like home. I want it. I even made an offer on it about three weeks ago but it was new on the market and the owner wasn't interested in negotiating, so I decided to wait and see if he'd feel differently after a few more weeks passed. I'd show you a photo, but I don't want to jinx anything. In the meantime, I've been fraught with indecision, wanting the house but trying to act rationally rather than emotionally, and in the process I've been looking for every tiny flaw and every possible reason not to buy this lovely cottage. Clearly, it's a scary thought to me on some level.

Back to the horoscope -- I know I'm not making a rash decision. I've thought of little else for weeks now and I feel that I've covered every possible positive and negative point that exists about this house. It was the last sentence that got my attention. I've been choosing to do nothing, waiting for some kind of sign that this was the right thing for me to do. Silly me -- the 'go' sign in my gut has been there all along. It's the mind that's been doing all the arguing. The question is, will I miss out through choosing to wait?

This morning, I emailed my real estate agent in Georgia, asked him to check and see if this house is under contract yet. If it's still available, I will make another offer next week and I'll make one the owner should be more willing to hear.

If it's been sold, I won't have lost it through inaction. It simply was not the right place for me and another, better place will present itself soon enough.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy New Year!

What an astonishing year 2008 has been for me! In all my 66 years on this earth I cannot think of another year more filled with meaningful accomplishments in every aspect of life. I am grateful beyond words and I move into 2009 filled with peace and harmony, joy and hope. My Buddhist persona wishes these same states to all beings, including you as you read these words. May you be filled with love and compassion, peace and harmony, joy and hope, in 2009 and beyond.

2009 looms large, filled with all that joy and hope but not without substantial potential for disruption and drama. You see, it's time for me to retire and move forward into the 'third age' of life and I plan to do it with gusto.This is the time, but Oregon is not the place. I need to return home -- to Georgia. This was my goal when I first began thinking of retirement 5 or 6 years ago, but life interfered and I took a few wrong turns along the way. After my personally transcendent 2008, I've come full circle. The time has come and Georgia is the place. My job now is to make that happen, and you can expect to read much in the way of indecision and turmoil as that process moves forward.

Why Georgia? It's home, yes, but I haven't lived in my hometown of Cedartown since I was 10 years old, and while I'm no doubt related to half the county they are distant relations, unknown to me and likely to stay that way. The original and still primary intention is genealogy research. Seems like half the country is getting into that trendy pursuit, but I've been at the game for about 25 years and I take it somewhat seriously. So much so that if I were not so lazy I'd work to become a licensed genealogist and try to bring in a few bucks that way. Fortunately for me, both sides of my family have a couple of hundred years of residence in the state, and they all migrated south from places like South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, all of which are within easy driving distance for further research. I'm sure you can expect to read the successes and angst of this research on these pages.

A newer, secondary purpose for this move is the discovery that instead of living out my life in some cheap, subsidized apartment, I can actually afford to buy a home of my own! This realization stunned me. A real home, a place that's mine and not dependent upon whims of landlords and neighbors. A place where I can have a garden, a dog and a cat, a genealogy research room. This thought fills me with a sense of permanence never before felt and almost incomprehensible in its fullness. I've done the research, laid the groundwork with loan pre-qualification. Now I just need to find the courage to do it. More stories of angst and joy to add to these pages!

Spirituality is another subject that is always at the forefront of my thoughts, and I hope to share much of this with you as well. No religion -- I rejected religion and spirituality for the vast majority of my life. A little over 4 years ago, when my life was once again falling apart at the seams and I had no direction, I decided to try meditation as a healing avenue. Over the years, I'd tried many methods of fighting my personal demons and none of them had worked for long. Also, I'd never forgotten something a co-worker on Orcas Island, Washington said in passing a few years previously. She said, 'the happiest people I know are Buddhists'. I decided it was time to look inside for answers, rather than outside. I tested meditation methods and practices, read about Buddhism, and most importantly, I put what I learned into practice and here I am today, a happy person about to enter my third age of life filled with joy and hope. Buddhism, by the way, is not a religion. It's a philosophy, a way of living that focuses on goodness and generosity, living in the present, and helps us let go of past conditioning, fears and attachments. Without it, I would not be where I am today, and 2008 would not have been so extraordinary for me. You can be sure to read more on this subject in the future.

I leave this post as I began it, with gratitude and joy.