Saturday, June 26, 2010


William Ernest Henley
1875 (p.1888)
Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Invictus (defined): unconquered

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


a "L" family pet

When our Small Group got to question #4 Sunday night, I surprised myself with my answer.

It's LL. We worked together for 13 years, starting when I was about 34 and my children were 4 and 11 years. She'd been married a bit longer than I (though was just as young when she married) and her daughters were just a bit older. She'd traversed quite a bit more life than I and she helped provide road maps for some of my journey.

I remember so may stories--good ones... when LL dealt with her junior high daughter's slamming her bedroom door by taking it off the hinges. When she'd threaten her highly-accomplished husband with a short trip to the nursing home. When she'd state that in the next life she wanted to come back as a L family dog. When she'd tell brutal truths about political figures she'd known; when she'd talk back to her staid boss, setting him straight and establishing her boundaries. LL recounting that on the way to her parent's house they'd always stop at the corner gas station to use the bathroom. (Rhetorical, not true--I think. My own mom's house cleaning was less than pristine, so I could identify.)

We share a love of good food and cooking.  We shared recipes and when entertaining we'd lend cooking and serving utensils. We took cooking classes together and had many adventures in Chicago. One time we flew to Albuquerque to visit a mutual friend and visited Santa Fe for a cooking class.

She taught me fashion and exposed me to the Apparel Center in Chicago for opportunities to buy at-cost, and in the process introduced me to her spectacular friends the JZ's. The female JZ is bawdy and blunt, with a keen eye for style. The male JZ is dapper and dauntless, and handles his female counterpart with equanimity. They live a lifestyle by the lake that is both modest and enviable. A visit to their home is a favored treat.

We've shared weddings, funerals, celebrations, fears, failures, and lots of life.

During our small group evening, CA injected, "Have you told that person how significant they are to your life?" A great question. I hadn't, but did on Tuesday when we met for our twice-weekly speed walk at HB. LL was stunned, then pleased, then normal. We moved on with our fast-paced conversation and advice-giving. The 50 minutes flies by, as always.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou
(Thanks, Mary Schmich, for sharing these words in today's Chicago Tribune.)

Too true.

I've been on the receiving end--left feeling devalued and ashamed, unnecessarily--and, please forgive me dear Lord, I've been on the giving end when I should have been ashamed and didn't own it until much later. Sometimes too late.

I trust that some of my words and actions have fallen on the right side of how I've made others feel, I know I've had my share of warm, fuzzy, appreciative, life-giving feelings imparted from others.