Tag Archives: death

Three Wise Women: Gifts From My Personal Magi

102320091313-WDW-DAK-Expedition-Everest-Single-Rider[pullquote]My friends have entered into an unwitting conspiracy on my behalf – a conspiracy designed to help me see that this is not a time of bell, book and candle…[/pullquote]

“Clock, keys and Light…. clock, keys and Light….”

These words represent ordinary objects routinely encountered in everyday life. But last night, as the ritual annual viewing of “Love Actually” provided a flickering yet sufficient glow for the addressing of Christmas cards, “clock, keys and light” morphed into something akin to one of those pesky “ear worm” songs (Like this one. You’re welcome). Virulently pestilent, “clock, keys and light” repeated itself over and over in my mind with a cadence similar to that of “bell, book and candle”, a phrase used long ago to describe a once-popular method for the excommunication of sinners from the Catholic Church. When used in an excommunication ritual, the “bell” represents a death knell for the sinner’s soul, the “book” is shut to represent cutting the sinner off from the teachings of the Church and the candle is extinguished, leaving the sinner in the darkness of damnation.

(“Bell, Book and Candle” is also the title of a film, a romantic comedy starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novack. I recommend it, if only for the delight of hearing the actors utter one of the great cat names of all time – “Pyewacket”. Go on and say it now. “Pyewacket. Pyewacket. PYEWACKET!” See how delightful that is?)

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You might say that I’ve suffered something of an excommunication recently. Early in September, the bell tolled for the death of my 19 year career at Too Big To Fail. After having handed in my badge, the door slammed behind me and I no longer had access; I was shut out of that institution forever. Darkness descended, sort of a radio silence. I no longer know anything about the day-to-day doings there, or of the people with whom I’d enjoyed daily contact for so very many years.

Whereas “bell, book and candle” are punishments, “clock, keys and light” are gifts. They came to me from some of the intended recipients of the cards I was addressing last night, which is what prompted the chanting inside my head. Oddly – or perhaps not – all three items arrived in the mail within the last month, and all three were sent to me by people I met online. One woman hails from Colorado, another from the Midwest and the third right here in Florida. Ironically, the Floridian is the only one of the three I haven’t actually met – this, despite the fact that until last year, we were at most 30 minutes apart by car.

111220102241-Tinkerbell-tiny-clock“Spotty” is from Colorado. I met her on an internet forum in connection with our mutual love of all things Disney. We’ve attended a few meets together at Walt Disney World, most recently during the inaugural Princess Half Marathon, which she finished despite a very painful knee. Spotty is the one amongst these three online friends with whom I’ve spent the most face-time. The fact that a good chunk of this face-time occurred in a tequila bar should not, in any way, be construed as a commentary on the quality of our interactions. It was fabulously fun face-TIME and therefore, Spotty is naturally the giver of the clock. The clock arrived on November 12th. It’s a tiny, shiny, perfect little gifty-treat, a memento from some anniversary celebrated by Disneyland in California. The face of the clock bears a portrait of my favorite Disney character, Tinkerbell. I did not save the SMS text exchange that preceded its arrival in my mailbox, but I have a vague recollection that Spotty was performing a purge of possessions when she found the clock, and since I am known elsewhere on the internet as “Tink *~*~*”, it made her think of me. I was touched at her thoughtfulness in asking to send it to me.

121120102945-Tinker-Keys“GPC” is a blogger who hails from the Midwest; you can find her at Shedding The Wolf. I originally met her online as “Sandpail Gail” on a forum dedicated to discussion about Sanibel and Captiva, the magical sub-tropical islands which lured me to relocate to Southwest Florida from Da Loverly Isle Of Long. It’s an unfortunate hallmark of the times in which we live; GPC has also been recently “excommunicated” from her career, so we can definitely relate to one another’s current respective plights. In the surprise package from GPC were two key blanks that can be cut to fit the lock of my choice. They are pretty much the same size as my current house keys. These gifts arrived on December 11th and like the clock, they also bear the visage of Tinkerbell.

121420102967-Let-There-Be-LightLast but certainly not least is “Maidenshade”, my fellow Floridian and kindred spirit – so kindred, I’ve actually friended her on Facebook, which is something usually reserved for people I’ve met and spent time with. “Maidenshade” is the name of her business, where she hand-crafts beautiful lampshades and night lights. One day last summer, I was accosted in the aisle of a local home goods warehouse by a massive framed piece of art. It’s a bold and stunningly modern departure for the woman whose home is filled with ornately carved antiques. However, I was inexplicably drawn to it. I knew the moment I clapped eyes on it that the large expanse of bare, white wall over the garden tub in The Palace (my master bath) would henceforth be barren no more. I posted a photo of it to Facebook and now Jen has cleverly gone and made me a beautiful night light to match. I took delivery of it on December 14th and immediately installed it in The Palace, marveling at how impeccably made it is.

121920102989.jpgWhy am I writing about these gifts? Well, it’s like this. I saved the return addresses on all three packages so that I could record them in my contacts list on my phone and send “thank you” notes in the form of Christmas cards. Last night, I assembled all the essential implements of Christmas carding and laid them out on the blue suede damnsofa – the requisite smelly candle (it’s called Yankee Candle “Sparkling Snow”), the seasonal entertainment (the aforementioned DVD of Love Actually – although, Christmas music can also be used), the cards with scenes like Santa posed inappropriately beneath a palm tree, the pens, stamps, return address labels, phone with the contacts list and a cup of Tazo decaf chai.

The first three cards I wrote were for the recipients listed on the return addresses I’d ripped from the packages containing the clock, the keys and the light. And as I was writing, the phrase began to sing in my head – “clock, keys, light…” – which eventually transformed itself into “Time! Answers! Illumination!”

Implements of Christmas cardingMy friends have entered into an unwitting conspiracy on my behalf – a conspiracy designed to help me see that this is not a time of bell, book and candle, not a time of death, imprisonment and darkness. It is, rather, a period in my life rich with gifts. Time, unfettered by work-a-day obligations, is a gift. Time permits me to explore, to discover answers that have lain locked behind obligation and practicality, to open the doors to my secret (so secret, it’s hidden even from me!) calling and illuminate what lies inside.

How did you all know just what I needed, and in just such a combination that would capture and keep my attention and fire my imagination? I think you are all remarkable, but I bet you didn’t – know, that is. There’s another explanation, however – episodic Memos From The Universe. That’s what this is. And I thank you all for answering whatever call from the Universe it was that you heard, which has led me to relax, if just a little, and believe, if only for a day, that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at this time, doing pretty much what I’m supposed to be doing.

Love and joy to you all, my personal magi 🙂

She’s home


I had that dream I always dream sometime after someone I know dies – the dream that tells me they are moving on. Sometimes it is only a matter of a few weeks until they are ready to go. Others take months.

I dreamed of Lisa. I believe it’s been three and a half months. She’s ready now. In my dream, she was alive again, returned from the dead. Well, not really. Apparently, we’d all been mistaken and she’d never really been dead to begin with. I knew that this would happen again, but it’s alright because the possibility of coming back yet again is always there.

She was wearing a plain dress with a skirt that would be good for twirling around. I hugged her, hoping she could forgive me for some transgression, and I was sorry I could not go with her.

I think of her each time I go to the beach, as though all oceans are connected, as though somehow she will come floating in towards me on the next wave.

I realize now that I’d been looking forward to being able to be friends with her instead of colleagues. I feel disappointed for myself that she died before the layoff happened. I miss her 🙁

Sent from my Nokia N97

Not enough rocks

09022010594-North-I275-Tampa-BayWritten on Thursday September 2nd 2010

Worst. Day. EVAH.

* Drove 2 hours to Tampa. The scenery is nice, so this is not terrible, once in a while. All the way up, I kept noting to myself that this was the last time that I’d pass this way on my way to the office. There will be plenty of times that I will pass at least some of that way to get to Orlando, but I’ll never go to the office again.

08222010448-Ziplocked-Career* Surrendered laptop and 19-year career, the latter of which fit neatly into a 2 quart Ziploc bag. No, I don’t still look like that. You know when that picture was taken? Back in the early 90s, I went through chemo and my hair all fell out. I flat out refused to have my photo taken for a badge because I knew I would not always be bald. So after about a year and a half, that’s how far my hair had grown out, and I consented to having the badge photo taken. I’m guessing this was early 1995!
09022010601-Guadalajara-Cantina* Went to lunch with friends at favorite local hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant
* Thought often of Lisa, whose memorial service was held today. Only I could not go, on account of having to surrender today.
* Left office and no sooner did I get on the highway then I noticed – too late – a bazillion Florida state troopers lying in wait. Speed trap!
Traffic violation
* Cop let me off with a minuscule fine compared to what he could have – I suppose because I’ve never in my 50 year life EVER been pulled over for a moving violation before. That was really nice of him. I burst into tears when he told me and confessed that I’d been laid off today. He could not have been nicer. I think I actually said to him, “I mean, could this day get any fucking worse?”. Um, yeah…
09022010604-Sunshine-Skyway* Got home, raised garage door, was prepared to drive car in, noticed the snake was back. Yes, AGAIN – the BIG-ASS snake, not one of those little pencil snakes. This is what I get for going organic – frogs fling themselves at my lighted windows each night, anoles squeeze under the screen doors and poop all over the lanai, and snakes decide to like my house best. He wasn’t moving out of the way, either. What to do – run him down with the RAV? I did that last time. I don’t want any more bad Karma. Played with lowering and raising garage door, and he got scared and slithered off into the bushes. I bet he’ll be back.
* Got online and found that a beloved member of my cyber-parrish has died after 10+ years being acutely ill. Christi is finally free of all this earth put her through. But I can’t believe we will never pray and banter and commune together ever again. Well we will, just not here.

“Sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks.” 🙁

I shall practice what I preach. I told a friend today that loss happens to make space for new stuff to move in. Lost my job, lost my manager and mentor and friend Lisa, lost my perfect driving record, lost Christi… that’s an awful lot to lose. Whatever it is that’s coming, it must be huge 😯

Oh and I forgot to buy milk. 🙄