Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shadowlands and a Great Big Fire

Okay...photographed just now, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, waiting for a movie I've wanted to see to begin on TV...a movie called Shadowlands, based on the life of C.S. Lewis.  Just got back from the barn where my horse is, and I'm freezing!  The temperature started dropping while we were at the barn, and is now much more winter-like.  Fun, relaxing day, though, with the horse and two of my three sons.

Tonight is one of those nights that rarely happens...I just learned I will have several hours alone.  Completely alone.  It is so rare that I don't know what to do!  I am stunned; deer in the headlight time. 


I love movies, so that was my first choice; usually it is too late or we are too tired by the time we can sit down to watch one, and we end up watching  an episode of "Hawaii Five-O" (now there's a re-make!) or one of the CSI's.  Or I could clean our room with my free evening, which looks like a crime scene and was "wrapping central" before Christmas.  Or I could do some work...hey, did I say that? Ugh.  Dishes?  No way - besides, the hubs did them while I was up at barn. 

So, it's a movie, and it's just me, and I'm really content.  Just one thing...how do you work the fireplace flue, and how do you search for movies on FIOS?? I forget...

Celebrate the hours you can claim for yourself, and don't always clean or work them away.  These hours all strung together and these "tiny, inconsequential" choices about how to spend these rare hours make up the quality of your interior life.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011


The dinner has long been eaten, "Elf " has been watched, the cookies polished off and the stockings gone through (two out of three made it back to the mantle.)  My family is all around me, and everyone is sleepy, well-feed, and just glad to be together.  It is the state of being called Christmas.

You don't know, from year to year, what changes wll take place in your family, and as you age you learn to appreciate the precious faces around you even more.  Judgement fades, as you realize that acceptance is a big part of love.  If you are lucky enough to have no illness, no death, and no calamity visit your door, you have every reason to count yourself lucky and blessed, especially at holiday season.  Around the globe there is so much pain, anxiety and death that we in America are lucky to have the kinds of strife we have - even a bad economy and political divide pales in comparison to starvation, natural disasters and genocide.

At Christmas we are reminded to help the poor, and Jesus meant constantly, and as a mission in life.  It is actually about the poor among us.  Jesus asked us to help widows, orphans and the poor.  I am reminded  to see how I personally can do more for the truly poor; why have so many other things gotten in the way?  Is there any more important work?  As our parish priest pointed out today at Mass, we come from the ages of saints whose work was the poor and the state of our souls...this is our inheritance.  What will we do with it...squander it, or live up to it?

May peace and joy stay with you this season, and throughout the year.  God bless us, everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Christmas Horse

Here is my horse Nello's "official Christmas photo - 2011", and he is anxious to share it with everyone!

As you can see, Nello is adorned with a Christmas decoration affixed to his halter - which he tried to eat - and the photo was challenging because Nello likes to close his eyes when stationary, his theory being that it is never a wrong time for a nap.   The only reason that he is looking at me with eyes open is that I crinkled paper near him - which sounds like a bag of carrots opening.

As you can see, he is fuzzy, having grown his winter coat.  It keeps him nice and warm on trail rides or just standing in his paddock, enjoying the sun.  Nello's current favorite pasttime is trying to stand as close as possible to a mare named Allie, whom he is in desperate love with.  He moons over her, standing pressed to the fence, watching every move she makes.  (She likes him too, thank goodness!)

We have been together for 8 months now, and we are enjoying every minute.  Nello is happy at his new barn, and is affable to anything I might have planned - except for getting on his back.  He has a new maneuver, when I am attempting to mount up; swinging his hind quarters away from me.  This started when he had a terrible bout of arthritis, and was trying to tell me he couldn't handle a rider.  Now that he is better he has adopted this move as a permanent one, so we are working on it - it is important, in the horse world, for the rider to "win" every argument, so I have exhausted myself trying to climb aboard this fellow.  He is slowly getting better.  The funny thing is, he swings his head back at me while he is doing his signature move, as if to send his regrets about his behavior.  I'm not buying it, Mister.

He is my Christmas present, my source of relaxation, my down-time, my investment in myself.  I am grateful every day that I took the plunge and bought this carriage horse who had never had his own person until now.  Nello was always a "throw-in" in a sale of other horses, or part of a carriage team, with no identity or recognition of his own.  He was almost put down a few years ago, as he was on a working farm and he was not serving a purpose, due to an old injury that was quite serious, although it healed well, thank goodness.

So, he has a sweet attitude of compliance and gratefulness that many animals who get a second chance have - and makes himself a pleasure to be around.  The people and horses at his barn love him, and he is truly spoiled with treats, pats, and baby-talk (which he melts at, when he hears.)  He loves carrots, apples and cookies, is fussy about hay, is afraid of trailers, gets energized by wind, and loves to have his back scratched. 

He is perfect for me.  Merry Christmas, boy.  Thanks for the amazing ride we're on.

Monday, December 12, 2011

$10,000 Bet? C'Mon, Mitt!

Well, instead of being out at a party or out shopping and mingling among carolers and revelers, Saturday night found me happily stretched out in front of the fire, anxiously awaiting the latest Republican debate, on ABC. 

The race for the Presidency is my Superbowl, as I often remind my husband Fred, in an attempt to show him the importance of these debates - and happiness they bring to me - as we near the first primary.  He just shakes his head and throws another log on the fire for me, and freshens up my hot chocolate.

Here is my question: why does Mitt Romney always look so uncomfortable?  I do believe that he will be the nominee, and I will volunteer for his campaign locally if/when he gets The Nod.  But why does he look so stiff and uncomfortable?  Is it because he is not a politician right now?  He was our Governor, and did not look uncomfortable at press conferences back in the day, speaking on any range of issues.  What is it about the campaign trail that makes him itchy/sweaty/unable to respond?

I cringed when he offered his hand to Rick Perry and asked to bet him $10,000.  Mitt...what he heck?  Do you know how much money that is to us regular folk?  If we had $10,000 to run around betting, we would probably stick with the President we have!  (Just kidding).

Advice to Mitt:  a) practice not smiling at the candidate who is speaking, but looking stern.  b) please write this on your hand: everyone is not wealthy!  Keep it real!  c) argue and go after other candidates; it's "Go Time" now.  No more fawning smile when Gingrich is speaking. We are beginning to picture each candidate arguing with China, or Iran, and we need to see focus and will, and a little something called gumption.

Mitt, please find your center.  And no more betting...except on yourself, as President of the United States of America.  And let that confidence shine through!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

During the many years I authored a weekly newspaper column, I took special pride in my yearly Christmas column; I thought about it for several weeks, and prayers went up to God to inspire me with a Christmas thought that He wanted my readers to think about - take myself out of the creative equation, so to speak.  Although I have retired the column and am on to other writing, I like to think that occaisionally my column pokes it's head out and says, hey; remember me?  Especially the Christmas columns.

So today I post my favorite Christmas column, and the one that I truly felt I had Divine Help with.  Please enjoy it, and take it for what you will...

                         Enjoy the shopping, visiting, and happiness the season brings!

                          Love, Deirdre

Friday, December 2, 2011

Republican GOP Candidates Round-Up

Dear Readers: here is my candid, kind of hurried, and pretty uneducated assessment of the current field of GOP candidates, for your review:

1. Jon Huntsman - great hair, nice smile, good sport...not going to be President, but a good cabinet member who would foster across-the-aisle communication.

2. Ron Paul - this former medical doctor will not be the nominee either, but is an important voice on the campaign trail, and his supporters are fervent believers.  As a Libertarian he is focused on human rights and financial market reforms.  Reminds me of Frank Perdue, the chicken magnate.  I enjoy him in the debates.

Rick Santorum - will not get nomination either.  Seems nice, loves to bring up coal-mining background and family tree, sometimes to excess (like Bachmann).  The only practicing Catholic in the field who also has a good relationship with Protestants, he could bring in the religious money...but will not be our nominee.

Rick Perry - perfect for Texas, not so perfect for the Presidency.  He might be an interesting choice for an Ambassadorship...to a country that already likes us.  He has done good things in Texas, and is firm on border control, which is a very important issue in race.  I believe he is honest, and has a nice self-depracating sense of humor.  Bad memory, though ("Vice President Bachmann, how many nuclear missiles do we have again?")

Michelle Bachmann - would actually make an excellent President, but I don't think she has (or will receive)the mainstream support to garner GOP nomination.  She loves this country, and is a fighter!  She would be an excellent VP nominee on any ticket, and would bring in the vocal and not-to-be-discounted Tea Party vote.  Accomplished, well-spoken woman who could be President someday.  I believe that she means what she says, and does not mince words, or back down.  She is my first choice.  The wardrobe could be a little more hip, Mish...

Herman Cain - Oh, Herman...

Newt Gingrich - Roaring back after a 13-year absence from politics, I predict a fight until the end for the nomination between Newt and Romney, with Romney pulling out a win by a hair (a hairsprayed, perfect hair).  Newt has personal baggage (leaving a wife with cancer??), and has a quality that is kind of snarky, almost - he can make someone look like the biggest idiot in the world; someone who is simply not worth his time.  This man is the smartest man up there.  He is probably brilliant, is very scholarly, and a pretty shrewd businessman. He would do a fine job as President, bringing us back to the Constitution, which he has studied for years.  He gets my vote when Bachmann is out.  The account at Tiffany never bothered me a bit; good for him (and his wife!!)

Mitt Romney - meet the GOP nominee.  He is a flip-flopper that feels entitled the the Top Job.  We will nominate him for our economy; we need jobs badly, and I believe that the country will believe that Mitt can deliver jobs (he once saved a whole Olympics!!) Romneycare will be a hurdle, indeed, but I feel that he will receive the nomination because he can beat Obama, and will appeal to the most number of folks across the land.  Republicans (including Yours Truly) will throw all their support behind him, and he hopefully will win the Presidency.  I still can't believe that Obama ever received the Democratic nomination, let alone the Presidency (Hillary would have been so much better!!!), so I believe that while the smart choice would be Newt, the actual choice will be Mitt.

There you have it.  I don't have a great track record with guessing, so Herman Cain will probably end up being the nominee, teehee.  Have a great week-end, and thanks to all who visit this blog!