FB popped this “memory” up today. This division holds true in society, but I’ve felt an invasive touch of persecution too, in my own little world. It’s strange to apply it in this way, but it sadly fits. Here I go… 😌
My experiences are my truth and I am bound to them, gratefully. Keeping grace while defending the reality of my existence is not easy. That may be bit dramatic, but it can feel that way when being told your truth is anything but.
Sometimes I have to clench onto the “unreal” things I’ve experienced spiritually and emotionally since Jason died because others “reality” can’t understand it. They try to take it away and reduced it to nonsense because it doesn’t fit into their belief system, but that’s not really the challenge.
I can’t change another, but I don’t want to repeat their behavior by shutting them out. It was the same challenge with my husband. I think that’s the big test for someone claiming to keep an open mind.
We are all entitled to our thoughts; it’s about respecting another’s voice while knowing I can’t and won’t change my truth to fit their needs. I can stay true to me AND embrace those that don’t understand it. That’s it, the skill to master, the one that can make all the difference. I’m still working on it and thankful for the role models in my life that demonstrate it.
Immersion of beliefs can free caged minds, if we let them in. It’s where I am, open to what crosses my path, keeping a piece of what feels right to me and letting that which doesn’t roll by.
There is room in us all for the mysterious and the defined. The understood and the unknown. Our held beliefs as truth and the possibility there’s more than we know.
I am building my new house and without question the foundation will be stronger than ever. The wolves can huff and puff but this house won’t blow over again.
Have a blessed day; may you find something good in all the realities around you.
A Dog-P bouquet for Jason, because I’m feeling pissy about the love of my life and mother fucker that left us 9 months ago today.
I liken much of the last few months to a lousy day at the beach; crunchy with debris you can’t wipe off, unprepared for changing weather and getting tossed around by waves. Some are big, some small; they knock you down and roll you around but you get up, wipe off and keep strolling along the edge of the tide until the next one knocks you off your feet for a second. That’s not to say there isn’t sunshine and good stuff, because there is, it’s just not always bright enough to cut through the haze.
A few weeks ago, the unexpected sight of his headstone was a riptide. It pulled me back so quick, so powerlessly, I never caught a breath before I was under water. Rolling, tossing, lost in time and space not knowing what is up or down, breathless and weak from battling forces beyond my control. It ripped me back 9 months and it fucking sucks. I didn’t see it coming.
I’m finding a repeat of the first nine months happening, only quicker. Moving through it all again, in days instead of months, nearly 3 weeks have past and I’m not back to the place I was comfortable enough to function well in just a few weeks ago. I am again overly emotional with returning anxiety attacks. And it fucking sucks.
We’re coming up on a new season too, apparently that means new triggers. Like corn. Yes the vegetable, Jason and his damn corn. It was one of his few specialties that he always made his way. Now it’s on display in the store and I see it and suddenly hyperventilate and start crying and feeling sick. It’s fucking CORN! Emotionally charged produce… really? REALLY? Needless to say, I haven’t been shopping much. It really fucking sucks.
This time around, I have more anger. I haven’t really been angry, I suspected because I had been angry for years; abandoned, betrayed and pissed off about it, I went to counseling then to handle it. Now, it’s creeping back; it’s that fucking headstone, it’s his, done and done. And guess what, it fucking sucks.
I am fermenting. Not just over him, but at the systems, the continued loss of more and more people, the memes that tell the suicidal they just need to talk or that tell me I should have listened, acted or done differently because suicide is the problem of the living who don’t help the suffering. You know what, fuck that shit. FUCK THAT SHIT. Just fuck it, because it fucking sucks.
I did everything I could and knew to do and he did everything he could to run from it. But I don’t need to explain that to anyone, I know it in my heart and so did he.
So here’s a Dogwood and Peony bouquet. It smells pretty, despite its name. The dogwood flowers kinda glow like moonlight on the water. Maybe it’ll brighten my day… or it won’t. It’s a process I’m in, high, low and ever shifting like the tides; full of floating garbage I am trying to clean out and life I am trying to preserve. “Life’s a beach” they say, it was just a cute T-shirt until now.
Smoosh Smoosh fucker. You did what you wanted and that fucking sucks. 😢😠☹️
I’ve been cooking a bit for a friend (the “boss”) who has a bounty of hunted, caught and harvested foods on hand and it has become an unexpected way for me to connect with food again.
It’s not about my career, I’m ready for a new direction; it’s about me and food. It’s a very personal relationship that has been deeply wounded by trauma and physical ability, but healing is happening in these solitary afternoons in someone else’s kitchen.
I was planning to make turkey sausage today using one of the recently slaughtered farm raised turkeys and I needed it boneless for the grinder. I decided to test my chops, and my disgruntled hand, and debone the whole damn bird. I removed all the bones, except the wings, leaving the skin basically in tact. I was going old school, back the beginning.
I didn’t need to do it, but I wanted to. I may never have another chance. I mean how often do you have a whole turkey you need to carve raw?
It starts with a slice down the spine using a sharp boning knife, then slowly separating the skin and meat away from the carcass without breaking through the skin anywhere except the neck and legs. The real test is the breast bone, there’s only one chance for a showpiece finish. Spoiler alert… I did it! My hand is only a little worse for the wear too.
As I mentioned, my intention was to make sausage; until the boss walked in. “I thought you were roasting it!” “No,” I said with a smile, “sausage!” Back and forth we went for a few quick rounds of remember this and what about that. Ultimately, cravings win every time. I can do this.
When I arrived that morning I noticed a jar of marinara on the table. I assumed it was a hint, so I decided to make him venison sausage and pork meatball angel hair pasta for dinner. There were savory sausage patties in the freezer I had made previously (my venison story has yet to be told).
His sister had also made fantastic meatballs with his pork, so I pulled some from the freezer to use too. I think he would have liked that. The reason I mention it is that I already had onions sautéing with venison sausage while the turkey debate was underway. Now, there shall be no pasta and I have to shift gears to roasting the boneless turkey. I can do this.
The beauty of his kitchen is limited supplies. Not too many options and back to basic pantry resources; it helps to keep my mind from getting overwhelmed. I found a bit of brown rice in the cupboard and decided to cook it al dente and stuff that bird!
While the brown rice and venison pilaf simmered, I diced some organic spinach and carrots to toss in the mix. A bit of color in the final dish.
I seasoned the inside of the bird with some salt and pepper, parsley, nutmeg, and a few thin slices of butter along the breast meat. I keep a little supply kit of some herbs and ingredients I like around too, including some sprigs of amazing wild mountain oregano and thyme from Greece. A dear friend brought me back bunches from her recent trip. Oh yes, that’s right, I also sprinkled those on the bird!
Once the rice was al dente, done but able to handle more cooking, I took it off the heat and let it cool a bit. I then piled in as much as possible into the center of the bird, shoved some in the leg pockets, then stretched and pulled; overlapping the skin alternately like a shoe lace. As it turned out, the oregano has a very sturdy stalk which worked perfect as a skewer to secure my franken turkey’s backside together.
I lightly oiled the outside of the bird just before going in the oven, then I noticed a colorful plate of fresh veggies out of the corner of my eye, waiting to be added to the now stuffed rice mixture. I decided it would make a perfect accompaniment as a side salad. There are no mistakes, only menu revisions.
In the bird goes… but the oven is questionably luke warm. I turn it up, thinking maybe it’s just off a bit. After 30 minutes at 550* I can reach in and grab the pan. This is not gonna happen.
Only one thing to do, the birds coming home with me. Fortunately there’s leftover for the bosses dinner. He had pulled some local salmon he caught from the freezer for me to make today too, so before leaving, I whipped up a lightly battered fish and chip meal with homemade cocktail sauce. He says it’s a favorite. Warmed up and served with that spinach salad I unexpectedly made and wallah… his dinners ready
Once home, the bird goes directly into my oven. After about 20 minutes at 425* the backside was golden and crisp; I broke some of the longer oregano sticks off and flipped the bird. The breast was now up, lightly golden and ready to be a show bird when done.
It cooked about another 15 minutes at 425* and at the timers buzz it was perfectly golden but needed time for the center to get properly heated. I dropped the oven down to 350* and covered it loosely with a brown paper bag. He prefers that I don’t cook with foil.
I basted the bird a few random times as well, mostly to grab a quick “quality control” sampling of the drippings. It cooked another 30 minutes or so until a minimum 165* internal temperature was reached in the thigh and the rice center. After about an hour of cooking, I had a speculator feast for the senses.
Any roast should sit and rest about 20 minutes before carving. I could dig in, but I don’t have the heart to cut into it before he sees it tomorrow. It’s a special dish for sure. Traditionally ballotines (and galantines) are often served cold, though the rich pan drippings and crunchy bubbly skin is seducing me. Maybe he won’t notice just a nibble.
It’s maybe a not so random road that life puts us on. Who knows how we got here, it certainly wasn’t planned, but it’s truly a win-win-win. My friend , the “boss” can enjoy and share amazing quality food he worked hard for, cooked deliciously by a retired classically trained French chef (me!) and I will hopefully find a new life long love affair with food.
I’m not tapping into the artery of politics these days but I have to say…. I TOLD YOU SO.
For every oil spill you hear about assume there is 100 you don’t. They don’t know or they don’t want you to know, or merely current regulations don’t require them to report it… to anyone. For decades “small” spills have quietly happened as these corporations and their lackeys have become in the financial majority with the influencing vote and no intention of doing anything but keeping that status.
When they say small insignificant spills happen with “no” impact, only a mere 20 gallons or so, keep in mind that in WA if I discard a quart of car oil improperly, because of possible environmental hazards, I could get a huge fine and even jail time. There is nothing insignificant about crude oil in your soil, just ask a farmer. Or a worm.
One silver lining to my current day to day life is the absolute necessity to check out from the mundane drudgery of the political circus. The TV chaos. The anger. It’s all too much for me. I’m too tethered to an ethereal world of energy right now, and those surges of negativity and oppression, plutocracy and egocentric annihilation of those deemed lesser than by a holier-than-thou few is unbearable.
As a result, I’ve checked out. Despite that, however, a few current events have eeked into my bubble. You know; mass shootings, deadly (insert natural disasters here), threats of war, sex scandals, shock and awe. The headlines and the footnotes are more than I can manage, more than any of us should have to manage. Constant overwhelming surges of agony from all over the world. And this is all small stuff; merely specks that survived the sieve around my existence.
It’s important to note the big stuff that’s not getting through; the marketing of it all. The promotion and televised chaos of it all. The mismatched mangled incompetent and incomplete telling of it all. The declarations of blame before anyone knows what happened. This stuff is absent, it is not missed.
It is gibberish and nonsense that adds nothing to the quality of my life and quite clearly detracts; evidenced by a physical irritability that is intensely present when I hear minutes of (pick a news source) blathering on about a man and his dancing ponies. If they really wanted to stop him, they would talk about the people doing what’s right in the country and silence his name. Like a spoiled child, no attention is often the key to changing their behavior. But that’s not the industry objective, selling stories, that’s what they are there to do.
But I digress.
Today, I see a blurb about the Dakota pipeline. A cause I was very passionate about and resolute in its harmfulness. I am still inspired by the coming together of millions of global activists and ordinary people to challenge this corporate act of greed that trampled on the sacred lives of generations.
This pipeline was a travesty against humanity in many ways, the least of which was how they illegally (and successfully) battered, abused and maimed the civic minded protestors, going so far as to pass a law allowing protestors to be run over by a vehicle if they are in the road. Extraordinary people who came together and lived in extreme conditions for months and years to stop this potential environmental assault; and it all started with one woman’s will to protect her sons grave from being decimated.
Her call was heard around the world and it changed lives forever.
Previous leadership merely hit the pause button on the pipeline for proper research; something quickly removed by the successor. Private militia armed with weapons and dogs moved in and stood guard against unarmed citizens, driving them off their own land. The media said nothing.
Sometimes there was a mention here and there about a famous person who spoke out, maybe a nod that there’s was some hubbub at all. Nothing of the thousands of veterans who gathered to protect their native brethren, a promise they swore with honor to protect our countrymen and land against all enemies foreign and domestic. Or the thousands who marched in front of the White House, camping in the parks for days.
Ordinary people were compelled to preserve history, not repeat it. They stood peacefully against the tyranny and virtual slaughter of a people in our modern day. There was little mention of the tribes that gathered and stood together representing clans from coast to coast. Incredible ceremonies with thousands of strangers living communally in peace and with intent to stand for their rights to have clean water. Clean water for all of us. This was not a native experience, it was a human experience; joining people from all walks of life and all over the world.
It seemed the media didn’t deem these stories worth telling. I believe, it’s all part of the grand scheme of a terrorist regime – yes I called them terrorists. They certainly create a sense of terror in me. It’s not one man at the top, it’s a conglomerate of powers that set the agenda for their rule; which requires witless chaos and distraction so people don’t rise up or even realize they can. From the owners of media empires to the owners of political chiefs; they want us to think we are at their mercy… but please don’t forget, THEY are at ours.
Again, I digress. See how easy it happens!
For me the lowest of low was watching this new president stand at a podium on the new pipeline that was battled to the bitter end. Standing in front of oil cronies and angry white men he gloated about industry growth and oil futures and said he thought people might be upset. He thought someone might complain, but nope, not a peep. Everyone is happy with the new pipeline. With a dropped jaw and a stale tear I was sickened.
Unbelievable. Despicable. Disgusting. Immoral. This was our new leadership setting their agenda and those are the feelings it emoted, constantly choking from the foul taste of watching things our country has fought and died for being swept away like fast food crumbs off the shirt of a loudmouth tycoon.
In my current state of being I am trying to live without judgment. I am trying to let people be as they are because I was graciously gifted with the ability to let myself be how I am, in grief and transition, from moment to moment.
I was encouraged to allow the process and live things as they come, not worry about what should or shouldn’t be because there was no judgement. It was a liberating, life changing, philosophical gift. I have been thrown onto a new path in my journey and it is not an easy road. Everyday is a new day and a new chance to be better for it.
When I encounter the idiocracy and detrimental absurdity of the going ons in the political world these days it immediately fills me with judgement and anger. As mentioned, this something I am trying to live without. But these are not ‘let them live their own life’ situations, people or problems; these are national and global crisis that will only be better if we make it happen. Alas, as is my life these day, rather than firing all my guns, I have instead made some key reflections.
One, same news different day. Other than players and places, very little has changed. I realize the last 123 days since Jason’s passing would likely have been filled with that constant negative energy had I not turned it off. Truth is, our life was like that before he died; whether caused by his emotional stress or my political ones (or everyday relationship stuff) it was ripe with negativity. Hence, my bubble. I need balance.
On a side note, about all the effort while little has seemingly changed; I was recently asked if it was worth it. “Wasting” my time on the political soap box I climbed on, when I could have been spending that time and energy on my now deceased husband. Beyond the utter shock of the question, I could only say of course it was worth it. I wanted to say I was inspired and motivated by a cause unlike ever before in my life. Jason was proud of me and encouraged my participation; from homemade Bernie Bling to becoming a delegate or creating my own protests. He may have rolled his eyes, but he helped me make my signs. He may have ignored the babble, but he helped me build the podium.
We shared similiar ideologies, although politics was not a conversation we often ventured into. Bernie ignited my spirit and called on the activist within to get up and participate. True love doesn’t put out a fire in someone’s heart, it fans it. Jason fanned my flame. This was my journey, for all its ups and downs and I had the blessing to merge it for 15 years with his. I don’t regret a thing.
OK, number two, I still care. Very much. These things I fought against are still worth fighting for. Only I can’t do it the same way now. I have merely conceded to the people on the frontlines who can do what I cannot. I send them my will and hopes to carry into the many battles ahead. I have not surrendered the cause.
Three, this too shall pass, I can only hope sooner than later. Whatever the rhetoric is today, as we have seen over an over, it does not mean it will come to fruition. Out of the ashes of despair bloom beautiful flowers; and what is done can’t be undone. What I can do is try to create my little world in the way I want the whole world; full of love and dialogue, kindness and momentum towards positive things.
From where I am sitting, I see a big picture. I see legal action that started immediately finally getting it’s day in court. I see strangers helping strangers and pure energy flowing all around and through us. I hear the cries of people now feeling the consequences of the actions they did, or did not take when they had the chance. Becoming aware is a growing pain like any other; it hurts, and once done there is no going back. Life is like a magnet, in order to function properly there must be positivity and negativity; without that balance, there is no connection. It will take a connection to ourselves, each other and the planet to save us all. Sounds tough but all that is required to do it is the decision to do it, the rest comes quite naturally.
I will fight the good fight, love hard and sleep well. Today my good fight is this, tomorrow it may be simply doing what is expected of me. But whatever the battle, big or small, I will rise with a positive vision of the outcome, live authentically to accomplish my goals and speak my truth.
I have been blessed by the love and life I was able to share with Jason. All the people he brought into my world, all the dreams we shared, the laughter and kisses, squirrel fives and smoosh smooshes.
I’ve felt the highest highs and lowest lows of my life with him, for him, because of him.
If you knew him, you miss him. He was once full of life and joy; he was generous to a fault. His laughter filled the room while his smile brightened it. The man I buried was a different man, he was suffering and in pain, we all were.
So much of the last few months has been processing that, who and what he became, how he chose to go. The good memories are starting to flicker more often in the movies of my mind.
I witnessed two of my friends wed the other day and saw the way they looked in each others eyes. It flooded me with that moment Jason and I shared the promises, the looks, the love. I think the hard stuffs only just begun.
I called Jason’s daughter first to let her know of my plan. I wanted to be sure she knew she will always be my family. She gave me love and said someday she would be married and change her name too. Family is what you make it, not who shares your name.
It is yet another day that I will lay my head down a different person than when I awoke.
Hi, I’m Terra Nicolle, it’s nice to meet you.
Now a widow, my married name isn’t who I am anymore. My maiden name isn’t either, that was a long time ago. I couldn’t really move forward being tagged by the past. I’m also feeling at this point that I belong to no man; neither my father nor a husband. I am an independent woman. So I decided to use my middle name as my last name; with a tweak.
Part of this process was to search for history and meaning of names, because I’m curious about that kind of stuff. That’s when I discovered the Kabalarians. They believe in a mathematical calculation of your name to determine if it can help or hinder your ability to fulfill your destiny which is based on your day of birth. Fascinating.
I’d never heard of them before, so of course I promptly started my complimentary name report, followed up by a casual free phone consultation with a lovely older lady in Vancouver Canada. It’s a small group of followers I think, but I figure I’ll take all the insight I can get.
Turns out, the picture painted of me was pretty spot on; highs and lows, ins and outs. I entered various names of my past; time and again the results resembled who I was at that point. Then I got to Nicole, my possible new last name. It was quite clear, no, no, no. The forecast was a dismal image of a life unsatisfied.
So I played with the spelling; after all each letter has a numerical value that changes its outcome. I tried using a Y, a K, even both; I mean how many ways can you spell Nicole? Turns out quite a few and none of the results were good.
These people may not dictate my identity, but they had my attention. After many variations, I tried an extra “L” and that was it. Nicolle. Nee-coal-l (ooh Lala). They suggested it brings balance and stability needed to be fulfill my destiny. It seemed right. It felt right. So hey, “what the L”.
That was the clerks line at the courthouse when I mentioned the numerological inspiration for adding the letter. I stopped by for information and a court date, but he said the judge can do it now. There was no hesitation on my part; bing bam boom, gavel down, paper stamped and walla.
It was mere hours ago I slid down the edge of a slope; sobbing, face in hands, stomach in throat. I could barely breathe at the realization I had “forgotten” the significance of yesterday until THE moment it became significant. Was it him reminding me? Perhaps it was my body, so changed by the tragic moment it viscerally etched that time into my being. It was the moment that path ended, literally a dead end.
I am crossing many bridges to find a new path. It seems mine are made of cobblestone, no matter how well I walk it’s impossible to move forward without wobbling. They have all been surrounded by an ever changing landscape. Moment to moment it shows me something different; sometimes terrifying and sickening, mostly enlightening and beautiful. Today I saw it all, I felt it all. I want to share what I was left with after crawling out of the ravine and crossing this bridge of shame and grief.
I am so blessed.
Blessed by the family, friends and well wishers that send me love.
Blessed by my ability to connect with so many emotions.
Blessed by the signs I receive from all around.
Blessed to have loved and been loved by a man so true that I could ever feel this way.
I finished the art piece I’ve been thinking about for quite sometime. It’s finger painted upon the place I laid him and spent nine minutes trying to revive him.
Nine is the number of endings.
Friends gathered and we played some darts, the board still had Jks writing from our last game. Then I started breathing. And stretching. And I was overtaken by a lightness, a pulling up and a flexibility in my body I’ve never felt. Literally an inch longer. I could lay my fingers on the ground. I was suddenly a new being; something heavy was lifted from me. It was unreal. Then I won the dart game.
We spent a lot of time in the space. Jason was “there”. His daughter was “there” (she lives out of state). It felt brighter. More relaxed. Like a place we were welcome. It held all of his creativity and love and that’s all. A place we can move forward in.
Like the day he died, the person I was when I awoke is not the one that will be laying back down. Life is crazy. So is death.
My hat was from our great trip to Alaska and the sweatshirt our Birch Bay expeditions.
The shell is from our wedding. My brother carried our rings in it. It holds some sage, San Paolo wood and Himalayan salt crystals.
The wings are my hands, where I placed them on his chest.
The feathers are the hawk I was so blessed to see take his spirit on earth.
The heart is all the love we lived together.
The JK is the brand I gave him, his mark on all he created.
The splatter, well that’s just splatter. But then, we looked closer.
My friend saw it first.
We feel a message left for us, permission to “Chill”.
We see an angel. Specifically I see a coiffed Poodle with wings and a halo. Why not. And it’s heading to a black hole.
Jason would say, and said hours before he left, “I’m from the stars and I’ll go back to the stars.”
I think we have been shown his passage.
Safe journey my love.
I’m on a new journey too.
Today it occurred to me that the moment I realized yesterday was two months, was THE MOMENT (or close enough). Same time I found him. I was at a register and the receipt wasn’t printing. I was waiting and boom saw the calendar and whomp in the head. Knees buckled. Instantly nauseous. I tried to hold it together while they figured out the glitch (Jason I’m sure), it took a few minutes. Today I checked, it was printed at 4:20, I mean come on.
It just left me feeling sick. Sick he’s gone. Sick life is better in so many ways after he’s gone. Sick that I didn’t remember it was yesterday. Like he had to thump me and say “don’t forget”. Because I forgot. How could I do that? How could I? It’s just so awful.
Time is tediously slow and brutally fast all in the same moment.
I miss you so much puddin’.
I’ve been wanting to go make an art piece for him. I think the time is now.