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Year Three, Day 281: Remothering

My heart is still aching.  I am reading about Nikolas Cruz. There is no question about his guilt.  It is a matter of life in prison or the death penalty.

He has been broken since childhood.  His life was an open plea for help.  Hurting animals, loner behavior, cutting himself, acquiring guns and ammo, posting on social media about his intentions to shoot up a school.

But apparently no one responded. He was like a voice crying in the wilderness.

I am wondering if he is indeed remorseful. I am wondering if now he will finally get help, if indeed they give him life in prison.

Our society bears the guilt for this.  No, we did not pull the trigger, but we failed him.

I saw an article which connects kids who grow up without a good father figure in their lives to men who commit violent acts.

Yet another strike against him.

I saw my son today. He grew up without his father.  My heart has ached for him since he was young.  He has a sweet spirit. But he has struggled.  Today I bought him a phon…

Year Three, Day 280: Healing the Wounded

It is late Friday night. Baby Gracie is sleeping soundly in her crib. Honey Dog is curled up in her doggie bed. My daughter and her husband have gone to bed.

I am sitting in a recliner listening to the rain bounce off the roof of the trailer. It seems to fit perfectly with the saxophone lullaby DVD that Gracie listens to at bedtime.

Usually I feel comforted by the rain. But tonight I am feeling restless. There is a forecast of possible snow tomorrow. And low temperatures in the 20's through Tuesday evening.

I am still processing this latest shooting. My daughter told me not to dwell on it; not to let the darkness consume me.

It has partially consumed me. I ache, not only for the victims, but for the shooter. It seems to me he was crying for help. But no one responded. And now it is too late. How many people feel isolated, lonely and misunderstood. People that are outcasts and misfits? Thankfully most of them do not resort to violence. But is it possible to reach them? To make them…

Year Three, Day 279: A Good Exhale

Today was a better day than yesterday. It was a day of comfort. I let go of all anxiety. I revisited the rituals that I have developed that are soothing to my soul. Very simple things. To keep me in the present moment.

I slept in. It was my day off of Baby Gracie duty.

I allowed myself the luxury of staying in bed, getting caught up on the news.

Of course there was more about the shooting; the victims, and the shooter. But I felt the need to know. It gives my prayers substance. As I declined in my pajamas, I took out my knitting. I had forgotten how calming knitting is.

I inhaled.

I exhaled. I can't remember the last time I had a good exhale.

I did a load of laundry. I made a few phone calls. I hooped.

Then I took myself out for lunch before an afternoon of teaching piano.

I got to work early. I noticed a difference in my students today. I noticed they all seemed more subdued. Perhaps even vulnerable. And more focused and interested in their lessons. Had they heard about the shoot…

Year Three, Day 278: Dark Times

Today is a low day.

My heart is aching for the victims of yesterday's shooting in Florida.  My mind is reeling from all the opinions being plastered all over social media. Debates about gun control, more help for the mentally ill, more work done to prevent bullying, more accountability from the community to report those displaying suspicious behavior...

But in Parkland, Florida, there are grieving families and friends of the 17 people gunned down. I cannot imagine their pain.

One positive note is that the shooter was arrested. Alive. 

Most of the shooters in recent history either killed themselves, or were shot by the police.

Perhaps understanding his motives, his mindset, his life, family and friends will shed some light on how to prevent further tragedies.

I know, I know: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Indeed.

But the continued slaughter of innocent life is incomprehensible.

I could go on and on. I have before. As many of you have.

I wish I could ju…

Year Three, Day 277: Hitting the Floor Running

I left home at 6:20 a.m. this morning. I do better if I hit the floor running in the morning.

I was particularly happy to discover an espresso stand at the Gateway Transit Center.





I am cutting back on Lyft rides over the 205 bridge to Vancouver. Most broke am I!

I can make the trip by Max and bus if I wake up and get myself out the door in a timely manner. And the C-Tran bus in Vancouver accepts Trimet bus passes.
Aside from money saved, my attitude is better if I get moving first thing in the morning.
I spent the morning with Grace while her mom went to work meetings. Then we went out for lunch and did a bit of laundry.


I am still experiencing crippling fatigue. Perhaps a bit less today, but still - most tired am I!
As we were bringing our cart full of dirty clothes into the laundromat, I greeted the attendant, who is normally very friendly, always coming over and visiting with Baby Gracie.
But today, she barely mumbled a hello. Her eyes were glued on the bug screen television on the…

Year Three, Day 276: My Heart

I almost passed out running for the Max this morning. The bus pulled up to the station.  I told myself that Samurai do not take elevators as I trudged towards the stairs.

I should have taken the elevator.  Halfway up, my chest tightened and I became short of breath. Then I noticed the Max was about to depart. I needed to make it to the Parkrose Transit Center to catch my bus to Vancouver so I could help my daughter.

So I speed walked to the Max, clutching my heart. I made it on time. I slumped down in the seat and dug in my purse for my inhaler. After a few moments, my breath returned.

Luckily today was my free coffee day at Starbucks. I figured a Venti Blonde Almond Vanilla Latte with only one pump of sweetener would get the lead out.

It didn't. I feel like I could lose consciousness at any moment.

I know. Most dramatic am I!

My daughter took one look at me and sternly ordered me to make a doctor's appointment. She told me to highlight my fatigue, shortness of breath, lighthe…

Year Three, Day 275: Zzzzzita

I saw a coyote Friday night.  I walked home late in the evening.  I had taught piano classes and then stopped at my favorite little Mexican restaurant.  Friday's special is fish tacos, rice, beans and a drink for $6. 

I usually linger, reading and people watching until after about 8:00 p.m.

This leaves me walking 3/4 miles home about 9:30 p.m.  On a road with no sidewalks, very little street light. And no bus service after about 6:30 p.m. I usually walk on the side of the road, in the bike lane. I listen to Clyde Lewis on my radio. And I pray that no one swerves off the road and sends me to meet my maker before I'm good and ready.

I actually look forward to my walks. But walking in the dark is probably rather foolish. 

Thank goodness for my Samurai revelation. 

So, there I was Friday night, so incredibly pleased with myself. Walking briskly in the dark with my backpack on my back, ear buds in my ears and batlight illuminating the path in front of me and hopefully making me qui…

Year Three, Day 274: Doppelganger and Samurai Bowling

I have a twin stranger in town. The first sighting was at Laurelhurst Park by one of my students and his mom. The second was this morning at Starbucks. I missed her by just a minute or two.

It was quite early. I was on my way to church, after which I was meeting my daughter, son-in-law and Baby Gracie for bowling. I had slept better than usual last night. But was still bone tired.

I approached the counter, looking forward to a Blonde Soy Vanilla Latte.

The barista smiled at me.

"You need something else?" She asked cheerfully.

"Excuse me?" I muttered, my finger poised in mid air over my cell phone. That certainly was not the question I expected.

She smiled and repeated her question.

"I just got here", I said. I was a bit confused.

"Oh!" She shook her head. Now she was the one looking confused.

"You have a twin! Identical! Her name is "G". She just left a minute ago!"

I told her I have heard rumors that I have a stranger twin i…

Year Three, Day 273: James and the Piano Ninja Code

My mother told me to stop blogging about her this morning.

"What?", I asked sipping my coffee.

She told me that her sister called her concerned about her high blood pressure.

"How did you hear about that?" she asked.

"It was on Zita's blog!", she said.

They got a good chuckle out of it. I told my mother not to worry. I never mention names on my blog.

Then she told me she wanted me to share a picture of James on my blog. It is ok to say his name. He is a cat.  Her very arrogant cat!

He has quite the attitude. Kind of like a cross between her favorite actors: Al Pacino and Denzel Washington! 

Speaking of favorite actors, I shared with her my new obsession. The Samurai.  I told her it started with my watching "The Last Samurai"  with Tom Cruise, one of my favorite actors.

She looked at me thoughtfully, sipping her coffee.

"That explains the hair", she said.

My mother is quite the character. Kind of like James.

But my Samurai obsession …

Year Three, Day 272:: The Batlight

When I think back on my life, the most prevailing emotion I recall is fear.

Now I perceive it as anxiety.

It can be paralyzing. Perhaps that is why I find visualizing myself as a female Samurai warrior to be so empowering.

I am thinking about studying martial arts again.

Last night, my little flashlight ran out of batteries. I have just begun carrying it. Makes more sense than hoping and praying I don't get hit by a car on the walk home in the dark. On a road without sidewalks.

But as I considered stopping to buy new batteries, a thought popped into my head.

"A Samurai would be better prepared"!

That was all the incentive I needed. I hightailed it to Wal-Mart in search of a big, powerful flashlight. Preferably one that could be used to protect myself, should the need arise.

And lo and behold; the "Batlight"!

Just what a commuting Samurai grandma needs!



And on that note, I wish you a happy Friday!

Love,

Samurai Z

P.S. Here is today's hooping video. Day 232!






Year Three, Day 271: Like a Samurai!

I am still in Samurai mode.  It empowers me and gets me through my day!  As I walk down the street, I hold my head up high and walk purposefully, keeping my eyes open and being vigilant.  As a female Samurai, I may need to protect  my loved ones without any notice!
It has helped me with my eating. I think, "I must eat for fuel. To be lean and strong. To protect my family. Like a Samurai!"

Ok. I know. I sound a bit wacko.  But it is all good fun.  And I have lost another pound! I am hoping to win the weight loss contest with my daughter. We are having a race to see who can lose 10 lbs the fastest. So far I have lost 2.6 lbs! 

I talked to my daughter on the phone today. She has lost 2 lbs. But she just got back from an intense workout session with her sister.  And she is only 27 years old. I am going to have to step it up!

I have had a lovely day today. It was my day off from Baby Gracie duty.  I miss her the minute we part, but it is nice to get a full night's rest.

I st…

Year Three, Day 270: Onna-bugeisha

Thursday, February 7, 2018. 10:30 a.m. I've had a lively morning with Baby Gracie so far. She is sleeping much better, thanks to her mama's patient sleep training. And the addition of a bit of baby oatmeal mixed with breast milk at her evening feeding. I have been with her the last several nights. I make sure she also gets her bedtime story, Good Night Moon.

She woke up 8 a.m. in good spirits. We did some baby stretches and read some more books before her mom and dad got up to get ready for work.



Then I fed her, burped her, changed her diaper and we had a nice tummy time session.

She started getting a little fussy, so I put in a "Baby Einstein" DVD and rocked her. She fell asleep almost instantly. It is so lovely rocking a sleeping baby. So I watched her DVD about baby animals before putting her in her crib.



I actually watched the DVD once again while she slept. Baby Einstein is very peaceful. Grace is mesmerized by the DVD's. They have primary colors, music and …

Yeart Three, Day 269: Zita, Urban Warrior

As I was packing up to leave the home of my first student's house this afternoon, his dad looked at me and said, "Zita, you are looking like quite the urban warrior!"
I laughed out loud! I told him he was not the first to mention my get up.
"Don't get me wrong", he said. "It is very cool. You look like you are prepared for anything!"
He pointed at my fanny pack, with the window for my bus pass, and the Starbucks cup conveniently lodged in the cup holder. And he motioned to my sunglasses perched on top of my head.
I told him my son-in-law insisted on buying me an ergonomic pack. With side straps to help support my back.
What I didn't tell him is that after watching "The Last Samurai", that my secret wish was to be a Samurai! That might be pushing it a little bit.  It would be nice if my piano students' parents believed me to be sane.
Relatively.
But I have been reading about Samurais. I even downloaded a few books onto my Kindle.…

Year Three, Day 268: Samurai Do Not Eat Cheetos

I am still reliving the movie I watched with my son-in-law last night. "The Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise. I must admit, I agreed to watch it with him because I adore Tom Cruise. Almost as much as Tom Hanks. Plus his hair is long in "The Last Samurai". I'm a sucker for handsome, tough warriors with long hair. And a vulnerable side.

But this movie proved to be more than handsome tough warriors. I was mesmerized. I was intrigued. I was inspired.  My mind keeps going back to the scene where my favorite line is spoken. By the son of Samurai master as he is watching Tom Cruise' s character, Nathan Algren get pummeled in combat. He tells him "too many mind". Later, Algren takes a moment to breathe and center himself, apparently emptying his mind. And he and his opponent ended their battle with a tie. The Samurai were incredible warriors, but the movie also brought out their human side. Their loyalty and their discipline.

If I could live my life over, I w…

Year Three, Day 267: The Last Samurai

My son-in-law and I just watched the movie "The Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise. I had never seen it before. It is one of my son-in-law's favorite movies.

I can see why. I am so moved. I cannot blog tonight.

I have no words.

Except to wish you a peaceful evening.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Love,

Zita

P.S. I will leave you with today's hooping video. I am no Samurai, but after 227 days, I have shown myself that I have a bit of discipline.




Year Three, Day 266: A Party Animal!

It is quite late Saturday night. I just got home from my nephew's birthday celebration.  He gave me a ride downtown afterwards so I could catch a bus home. I didn't want him to go out of his way. So I told him to just drop me on the bus mall on his way home.  We have really nice chats during these drives.  I am jumping up and down inside my brain with excitement. He is going back to college, majoring in engineering!  It is the perfect major for him. He is highly intelligent, but introverted. He dropped out of college the first time around.

I didn't want show too much enthusiasm. All the kids in our family are a tad rebellious. Myself included.  We like to make our own life choices.  We don't like being told what to do.  A family curse, I guess.

So I listened to his plans and asked a few questions, inserting a few "cool!" comments and told him I would be happy to help him with anything, just ask.

I wanted to do a happy dance as I exited the car.  So wonderful…

Year Three, Day 265: Simple Solutions to Life's Little Dilemmas

This will be a short post. It is late and I am most exhausted!

I had a wonderful day. I spent the morning through early afternoon with Baby Gracie, my mother and my daughter.  Much female bonding.

Gracie and I have quite the connection. My daughter cannot even nurse her when I am in the room because she pauses every few seconds to turn her head and look for her Zma!  It fills my heart with joy to see her eyes light up to see me.

My mother, who had not been feeling well for several weeks came and visited for a few hours.  Her doctor has adjusted her blood pressure meds. She has returned to her upbeat, positive, spunky self.  Thank goodness. I was beginning to worry!

I did many activities with Gracie after her mom left for work. But it is my  mother who has the magic touch when it comes to rocking Baby Gracie to sleep for her morning nap.



I even took my mother's advice today.  I am one of those stubborn daughters that usually does not take their parents advice.  But today when I co…

Year Three, Day 264: Wildlife Encounters

As I got off the #33 bus this afternoon near Johnson Creek, I saw the #75  bus pulling up.  It was my transfer bus. I had a moment of panic. I almost asked my driver to honk, so I could madly jump off the bus and bound across the street waving my umbrella at the #75.
Then I took a breath.  I thanked my driver and strolled across the street. There was no hurry.  I notice that I make many foolish mistakes when I operate in hysterical mode.
I am so glad I took that breath and waited. Because as I approached my stop, I saw a flock of ducks near the Springwater Trail. They were so beautiful. My cell phone camera does not do them justice. I approached them quietly, taking many pictures. They quacked at me and slowly waddled towards the creek.  
I do feel blessed when I encounter wildlife in the city! Another God moment, telling me to slow down, breathe and enjoy His creation!






Seeing the ducks on the Springwater Trail reminds me of the beginning days of this blog. I was living with my daugh…

Year Three, Day 263: The Message of the Hummingbird!

I saw a hummingbird while walking to the music center the other day.  I stopped in my tracks as it hovered in front of my face for a moment, flapping it's little wings furiously.  Before I could blink, it whirred off into the sky. 
I felt blessed. I smiled. I have had several hummingbird encounters over the last 28 years that I have lived in SE Portland. Time always stands still as I witness this miraculous little creature. I can't help but feel that God is speaking to me.  Showing me His power in the creation.
I did a quick search for "hummingbird" online and discovered they are truly miraculous creations.  They are the smallest bird on the planet. They flap their wings so fast, which allows them to hover.  In fact the flapping of their wings creates a humming sound, and that is how they got their name!  They can fly in all directions:  up, down, left, right, and upside down!  
My faith in a creator is strong, but seeing this little creature gave me goosebumps. How…