Saturday, December 1, 2018

It's Holiday Season!

Dear Friends,

Tis the season to count our blessings. It’s easy to forget in the aftermath of fires/floods/tornadoes/shootings/and loss of loved ones. We’ve all counted our losses. Some more than others. These days I’m ready to start over.

One great blessing of 2018 was moving to my downtown Santa Barbara digs and finding a groovy job. But since I’ve had my place and my job for eight whole months, I’m ready for something new.

Generally, this means shopping. But my Christmas dollars were spent on ONE GIANT MUSIC GIFT, so it’s off to the 99 cent store. I can use the walk and it’s fun shopping for one my favorite things: Kleenex. I love the 3-pack version with different sayings. “Summon Your Strength.” “Find Your Fearless.” “Believe In Yourself.” I have packets scattered throughout my home, office, purses, and car. Once at Unity Santa Barbara, a woman was sneezing so much that I gave a pack from my purse. A handy way to be there for a friend, or stranger.

But before my walk I’m sitting on the front porch in my pj’s and robe to call a friend. Or maybe write to a friend, or maybe read a book. Or maybe just sit and stare while sipping a second cup of tea.

Holiday season has begun, so I’m taking care of myself.  Whatever is happening I know one thing. If everyday’s a gift, then it’s Christmas Tonight.
May you and yours have a blessed, magical holiday.
 Love Dorothy 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love and Purses

This year is the 3-year anniversary of my Mother’s passing. She’s on my mind because traditionally, she would send a funny Valentine with $10 and a note to treat myself to lunch. This Valentine’s I am celebrating Mom’s and my shopping trips by hunting down the perfect $10 purse! In addition to cruising stores like TJ Maxx and local consignment shops, thrift store shopping is something I still do with my family. (I know there’s an uncruised thrift store calling to me.)

Holidays can be hard to handle if your loved ones have died. Here’s a partial from today’s passage of Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman.

"If there is one thing grievers know, it is how changeable our moods can be. One moment we are relatively calm, in control, keeping our grief at bay. The next moment we are overwhelmed, our equilibrium shattered. Anything can send us off-a fragrance, the words of a song, an article in the newspaper that reminds us of our loss, the first sign of spring-and our loved one not here to share it. Even minor holidays-like Valentine's Day-can send us reeling...Our lives have been shattered by loss. Of course it will take time for the pieces to come together in any coherent pattern.

I will be patient with myself, honoring the seasons of my grieving, trusting I am on my way to being healed."

Here’s to love and purses.

For those who can't go shopping with me, visit my Pinterest page Decadence to virtually shop through my favorite bags.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


It’s a week after the Montecito mudslide. The town is uninhabitable and the residents and neighbors are grieving over the deaths and the loss. The 101 freeway is still closed. There are dozens and dozens of agencies and fundraisers assisting those affected by the disaster. I want to help too, but feel confused by the choices.

Confusion over choices means STOP. This allows me to separate anxiety about my own life’s challenges from my neighbors needs. For instance, during the Thomas Fire I left the area to take care of myself, but set up my room rental in the event that my housemate knew someone who needed to evacuate for a few days.

Help Welfare Hope Donations Volunteer ConceptBeing an expressive arts facilitator, my initial response to assist was to grab a group and teach them how to relieve stress using crayons, collage, movement and journaling. But I need this for myself first. Discussing ways to assist with friends and letting the ideas marinate has created space around my reaction to just do something already.

This process of intention, inquiry, reflection, research/discussion of ideas, then back to reflection is an excruciating process for a do-do-doer such as myself. It also makes me feel like a grownup. The only action required is to pray for help on helping.

Finally, a breakthrough in the most serendipitous way.

Yesterday a friend called while on my way to walk on the beach. I pulled over and chatted while strolling through a tree-lined suburban neighborhood. On the way back to my car was a familiar landmark: a church listed on the Red Cross website for an upcoming blood drive.

Initially I had rejected this idea because my ego wanted to help out in a bigger, bolder, creative way. But this is not where I am at. I’ve done large creative projects as a donation in the past but today is not my past. And I've just had a magnificent dance with procrastination regarding my own projects, which yielded these insights.

  • Showing up for myself is the only way to help.
  • Donating blood is enough.
  • When procrastination invites me to tango, I’ll watch Tim Urban’s comedic Ted Talk on the topic. Or not.