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Monday, March 23, 2015

A Sunday Evening Hello ~ 13



My Sunday Hello From NYC With A Love Letter to My Family and More

Hearts broken…

Right now in this moment a mixture of emotions is running through me and my family as we celebrate and yet grieve all at once, a remarkable woman, who has etched her soul upon our hearts deeply, as she lays her body to rest, knowing her spirit will live on in many ways, reverberating her beautiful love like a butterfly taking flight. She has planted seeds that have sprouted and will live on in each of us, in all we do but saying goodbye is hard. Moments, minutes, to months and beyond our goodbyes will linger until we meet again. So much love to you, Luella Vanosdell.

Goodbyes are tough, excruciatingly unbearable in which you could easily lie to yourself and say, “I’ll get through this, it’ll be alright, just you see, time will heal this pain.” But the pain you must feel, there is no escaping it. Many goodbyes have torn me up over the years. I never did NOT shed a tear as the last school bus pulled away, with the end of another school year fading in the distance. Running back into the classroom, slowly releasing, grappling at my chest as I tried to catch my breath, trying not to make a sound for what would come out would echo off the walls of the barren room is a shrill that would be worse than fingernails on the chalkboard. I loved my community of little learners with every ounce of energy that I could give, and they had given back tenfold in innumerable ways. Even the goodbyes of loved ones passing, of lovers parting, of furry friends laying limp in your arms, grief is so incomparable. Leaving Arizona was one of those goodbyes.

As each day came nearer and nearer to leaving, the looming goodbyes were painfully apparent. As each visit with my family was elapsing, I couldn't take my eyes off of them, even upon departure, having the knowiness that it will be some time before I may see them again. 
I remember vividly, backing out of the Arizona driveway, with my chest heaving in tears after saying goodbye to my daughter, Lindy. I felt as though I had swallowed my heart. I only drove a short distance until I stopped and put my head against my steering wheel, sobbing with a wail that echoed into the quietness of the car, with poor little Penelope pushing her nose up against my hand. I wanted to scream as I tightened my grip upon the steering wheel. I hated saying goodbye.

It was almost 30 years ago, when I backed out of a driveway, very similar in emotion as this, when I headed out West to Arizona from Chicago, alone for a teaching job taking with me then too, chunks of my heart, watching my mom and dad waving goodbye. I had a gift, a gift I have now too, and that is the gift of my families love with me, pushing me on, guiding me, empowering me to keep striving for what is calling inside of me to do. For they are a part of my creation, every joy, every earth shattering Freakazoid panic, to every enlightened discovery, is shared with them, for they are always by my side, invisibly but solidly anchored in my heart. Each step I take, they are with me; Drew, Lindy, Abe, and Mark.

Hearts filled with LOVE…

There are moments you wait for all of your life, desires, emotions, to live and experience love through. NYC has encased within it, many miracles, as I follow my own inner ramblings as the adventure keeps unfolding but you can’t do it alone. Sometimes I have lapsed, forgetting how much I want this change in my life, losing the courage, the strength, and wallowing in deep fear. I had a few who were a constant support, who in turn when I couldn't do it for myself, I did it for them, my family.

Knowing I had someone, that being Mark on the other end of the line, waiting to hear from me each night as I made my way to NYC, to sweet surrendering of unwavering faith from Abe as I laid upon the hotel bed literally not knowing what 1 + 1 was anymore, to Drew’s voice on the phone always excited to hear from me, and my Lin Lou, texting me and texting me, bleeding her emotions all over the phone, wrapping my soul in her love, knowing I was finding my way for all of them, as I was finding my way for me. Talk about a powerhouse of reciprocated love!

My family silently, has been my glue to where I can not see me without seeing them a part of me in all I do. I thank them in ways that only God can be the witness too. As much as I need to be here, as much as I need to breath, I need them as they need me…beautiful.

To this very day, Mark has been my best friend with hours and hours of phone conversations, Drew, Lindy, and Abe unbeknownst to them, my ocean of love that feeds me, seeds me, inspires me to keep discovering more of who I am, their mom, Jane. Even though we are apart in distance and in time, (yet love is timeless), our love is strong. Our worlds are simultaneously spinning. We do not know what each day will bring, or how each moment will transpire, or when we will see each other again, we know we matter, and we love, we are not separate.

A very special thank you to my sister, Leenie, who was the bookend (that very few people would want or were), the witness to the struggle, the racking your brain end, the unknown, the disappointment, the heartbreak, the uncertainty, with the devastation of one part of your life ending, her personal love and support were and still are a gift, a true gift of love.

Where has my life taken me up to this point with whom I’ve known and whom have known me? With one, a definite rip in the tapestry as time and space expands, yielding a loss, a grief, but a new found welcoming of gratitude for each thread still woven into my journey of life. Many others a new found closeness, as I awaken with each word I type here, bringing us together in moments of sharing oneself, discovering newness for life once again. I thank you all! Not only have you found me, I’ve found you! Valves that have been rusted, valves that were only seeping have now been blown open. Thank you all for what you share here on FB, your world, your thoughts, your love. You amaze me and bring touchstones to my heart.

I did not get here alone and my loved ones are with me, always with me as yours are with you.
Love, hugs, and doggy kisses,

Jane and Penelope

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Sunday Evening Hello ~12



My Sunday Hello from NYC,
Now that my landing gear is fully extended, use of Google Maps almost non existent, timing of subway departures in sync, a symphony of sirens, horns, and the steel hum from the underground tunnels along with the conglomeration of street performers a beautiful melody, views of the skyline still breathtaking, I am a little restless and struck with bouts of missing my family this week. Maybe it’s just a sampling of the winter blues coming to an end? Whereas, I have to say, it has been an interesting week here in NYC. With inklings of spring and then a blast of snow and back into inklings of spring. My height of joy this week came from celebratory news from a friend, long and overdue in our worldly timing of things, although well deserving, to the lows from a change in plans(long overdue as well), to a fun-filled weekend with an afternoon in meeting and hearing talented authors and artists present their new books at my favorite bookstore, Books of Wonder! 
When you feel like you’ve conquered Mt. Everest(being my move to NYC), you just want to sit at the top and enjoy it for awhile but No, not me! These breathers, the in-between times, are hard when you feel like you just made the first few laps around the race track and you are in the lead…you want to keep going, right? I guess I’m trying to be patient, because I can feel the creative energy pulsating, inner excitement rumbling in my tumblings, as I wait for more fun changes to come. It’s gradually starting. Today, I came across a couple of books to read for research so to say, for my own stories, mixed in with some of the picture books I was searching for at the library. Odd, yet I know differently. Odd things excite me and there are no accidents! Furthermore, I keep hearing my inner voice having conversations with me about my writing, thoughts about things to write, streaming in spurts like a pulsating water sprinkler. Usually when I’m NOT at home to write! It looks like my stories are going to be placed on the front burner again now that I am gliding into spring and feeling at home. Yeah!
A question asked a lot is about my job or what kind of work am I doing. I’m dying to tell a little here in a bit, however, I wanted to share one of my opportunities that got the ball rolling for New York, and it started with a call.
The call was like preparing for a final exam or better yet an entrance exam into the illustrious domain of children’s publishing (in which I created a fantasized world of working in), as I propped my laptop up upon several books, just the right height so that my aging lines on my face appeared diminished, turning on my Skype. I was so nervous preparing for the interview and had a hard time taming down my anxiety over the 24 hours prior to it, and especially that very same morning having to be at work at 6am, preparing for an ad set. I wore myself out. My computer screen lit up with an incoming call, as the president of the literary agency came into view. 
We chatted more in a conversational flow with moments of intellectual adherence to the purpose of the call, ending with an exchange of a definite interest in having me on board. I was given a few writing assignments over the next couple of days that ended with a hitch, an invitation…could I come in and meet with her in person? She needed someone to start right away and I was in Phoenix. I knew then that if what opportunities that I thought I really wanted was in NYC, then I needed to be in NYC. A week later, I voiced, “I’m going to New York.” And a little over two weeks after that, I was on my way.
An agonizing two months had gone by leading up to this Skype interview. I was grasping at straws, hoping to not pick the short one, while teetering between Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, and New York, prepared to go where the opportunity would take me. That would make sense, right? Offers started coming in from Boston working for Follet (an educational product company), no more than an entry level position, in their bookstores. I really desired to have a job offer, that would be my deciding factor on where I ended up. Nonetheless, just as I am writing to you, almost in a backwards story telling fashion, my life seems to go. No! Move first, Jane. Then secure a job is how I played this one out…IKES! Maybe I did originally pick the short straw!
The groove of the magnetic pull towards NYC, clicked into place shortly after that Skype call and had me linked in at the tail end with great centrifugal force, like in that crazy game, Crack the Whip. Little did I know what I was looking for and the direction I intended to go, that the centrifugal force would veer me off into something totally different.
Yes, I have a job, one that I would not consider earning money for. I only work four days out of the week, with three day weekends, and here in NYC you get paid every week. My weekly pay is enough to where I can nearly make my month’s rent by the end of the first week. Not too shabby, plus I get to visit bookstores, go shopping, read lots of picture books, attend events at the library, made an appearance on TV, create and paint artwork, make little fun snacks, do research and work on my writing, catch a few good shows, pet chickens, learn french, mingle with teachers and administrators, sing to my hearts content, get smothered in hugs, discover what makes children's hearts sing, plan and go on trips around the city including riding the Roosevelt Island Ariel Tram and play! This job feeds nicely into my career as a writer where I am filled to the brim with love and inspiration while being captivated inside a child’s world. Yes, many wonderful perks along with paid holidays, and a monthly metro card that keeps me hopping from place to place whenever I just want to pick up and go. I do love my job and it keeps me busy for now as I kick my own butt into gear with my writing.
As for Miss Penelope, she is probably tired of hibernating or calloused from laying around or delirious from bouts of cabin fever by now, barking at the bit to go on more adventures, anything except having me read stories to her. Reading, “The Biggest Kiss” to her had me in stitches! She knows the word kiss and just when she thought I was done bothering her, I would say kiss. She eventually bailed out on me and went under the bed. She thinks I’m nuts! 
We, meaning she and I, interviewed a dog walker yesterday, that came to meet Miss Peeps. It was a mutual attraction and possibly a good combination indeed why momma’s away, to keep her happily content and empty bladder free until I get home. We have this ritual of going to the local pet shop a block away every Friday, after I make it home. She nearly drags me for a whole two stores as she prances right on up and into the doorway. It’s a good thing she is on a leash or she may be sitting there a while before I can catch up to her! We mosey into the store, chatting away with our friend, and it’s not before too long, Miss Penelope has her bully stick picked out and away we go, with an extra in hand for the week. 
I will never forget the days when I first arrived here, staring out the windows into the city, stunned each time, realizing I’m in New York. Who would of thunk that my Goodyear, Arizona job would of led me to their largest store in the nation, three floors to boot with a walkie talkie in hand, falling in love with the people just as much as I am with the city. 
Big hugs and doggy “Kiss”es from,
Jane and Penelope