Sandy – in memoriam

Here is my beloved Sandy – picture taken last week. To people who don’t know him well, like we do, he still looks OK – bright eyed, soft shiny fur, healthy appetite, but a bit on the thin side all the same. But to us, he has lost his spark and spends most of his time asleep and seeks human companionship all the time – a lap to sit on, the edge of the dining table when I am sorting the post, my lap or my desk if I am working at the computer.

 We have had to take the very hard decision to have him put down as he is very ill. He will be buried tomorrow at the top of the rockery beneath the peach coloured azalea. May his spirit rest in peace and walk the rainbow path to another life.

PS he died in my arms this morning. There was no need for the vet to give him the final, fatal injection. The one he gave him to put him to sleep prior to giving him the final injection was enough. He just stopped breathing while I held him in my lap stroking him. He was ready to go and for that, I am grateful  that I had the courage to go through with it. He will be much missed and grieved over for a long time to come.

Here are some of my favourite  photos of him:



a rare moment of togetherness (only in cold weather) with his former companion, Pebbles

favourite “working” position

Shared Pain is Painless



Hope is something we cling to when we’re down,

but what if the task is too severe,

the future bleak,

and life has lost its zest?

“I know what you’re going through,”

people say.

You say “They don’t”

“I feel for you.”

“They can’t.”

“Things will be better.”

“They don’t know.”

“Do something to keep your mind off it.”

“How can you?”

“Don’t dwell on it.”

“I’m not.”


What can I do for my friend

when she’s in constant pain?

I can be there when I’m needed,

Open my heart to her suffering.

I can be understanding, forgiving

if she is not always cheerful.

I can keep her in my prayers

and I can love her.


To ignore another’s pain is heartless.

To share another’s pain is painless.


Vi Jones

©January 20, 2006

Revised for Bo June 20, 2007

Wintered Womb – For Bo

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From The Wintered Womb

Underneath the thrice ploughed, fertile, fallow field
Impregnated within a wintered, woven, womb
Of richly composted humus
I lay seeking sustenance, nourishment from
The oxygen filled wintered mist that
Drizzles, seeping, replenishing the amniotic fluids
That trickles through the membranous umbilical cord
Fertilizing, greening,
Ensuring a bountiful spring harvest.

I wondered what I could post here for you Bo, and then remembered a poem I wrote that helped to sustain me during a difficult time. Today I offer it to you with love, a reminder that if you take it quietly, lie within the wintered womb, a greening does take place.

In Rememberance


In Honor of all our losses

Of the loved ones we miss

those with two legs and those with four legs!

There is not one among us who does not know of what I speak.

Who has not shed tears of grief or offered love with open hands.

May we be granted peace.



(image courtesy of Ian Britton at

In Communicado

Woe to the status quo,
the rigid stone,
the hard bone,
the bough break,
the stand still.


Venus is in
communicado with
and the heavens
with sparks of


For the love of
Saturn melts in
the light, –
transforming –
in communicado.


The rivers flow,
nature aglow,
light at night,
sparkling stars
adrift, the
crescent moon,

Heavens above,
scrupulous love.


(copyright Imogen Crest 2007.)

Rumi – Excerpt “Of Being Woven”

“The way is full of genuine sacrifice.
The thickets blocking your path are anything
that keeps you from that, any fear that you may be broken
into bits like a glass bottle.

This road demands courage and stamina, yet it’s full of
Who are these companions?
They are rungs in your ladder. Use them!
With company you quicken your ascent.
You may be happy enough going along, but with others
you’ll get farther, and faster.

Someone who goes cheerfully by himself to the customs
house to pay his traveler’s tax will go even more
lightheartedly when friends are with him.

Every prophet sought out companions.
A wall standing alone is useless, but put three or four walls
together, and they’ll support a roof and keep grain dry
and safe.

When ink joins with a pen, then the blank paper can say
Rushes and reeds must be woven to be useful as a mat. If
they weren’t interlaced; the wind would blow them away.

Like that, God paired up creatures, and gave them
friendship.” — (Poet Seers, see link below.)

from Rumi Site here…for further reading. UNESCO dedicated 2007 as Rumi’s year.

Taking Comfort – Spirit Lifters


1. Reread passages of books and single poems that have moved them
2. Spend even a few minutes beside a river or stream
3. Lie on the ground in dappled light
4. Sitting on the porch shelling peas
5. Knitting something
6. Peeling something
7. Walking or driving for an hour, any direction, then returning
8. Beating drums and dancing
9. Greeting the sunrise.
10. Sitting on a bridge with legs dangling over.
11. Sitting in a circle of trees
12. Drying your hair in the sun
13. Potting plants, being sure to get hands muddy
14. Beholding beauty, grace, the touching frailty of human beings
15. Feeling the grass between your toes.
16. Smelling the rain on the wind.
17. Petting a purring cat.
18. Rocking a baby to sleep.
19. Diving in the ocean and crying out loud “Heil Atlantis!”
20. Climbing a mountain from one side and then go down the other side (it amazes you how different things look)
21. Eating freshly home baked bread with a lot of butter
22. Watching children make soap bubbles
23. Start the day with dew covered cobwebs in a meadow.
24. The smell of bacon cooking and coffee brewing over an open fire.
25. Waking up to a chorus of birds outside the window.
26. Having a cat jump into and curl up in your lap.
27. Seeing a doe in your back yard and having her watch you instead of running away.
28. Having high tea with dinky sandwiches and fruit cake.
29. Seeing a friend who has been away for a long time.
30. Eating Spotted Dick pudding smothered in Bird’s Custard.
31. Napping: (with someone you love spooned behind you; or with a two year old tucked in front of you with freshly baby-shampooed hair under your nose; or in a big recliner in front of the fire when you’ve just finished a perfect novel; or under a big puffy comforter on a rainy day when you really ought to be outside running errands.)
32. The first smell of fall. (Walking outside and finding that in the night the air has changed and there is a subtle tiny chill and smell of crispness that means fall is beginning. Now if you search the green, green of the mountain you will find that, sure enough, there are tracings of gold brushed through the emerald and olive and jade that you didn’t notice yesterday.)
33. Being the only one awake in the hush of a very early Christmas morning.
34. Waiting for the house lights to dim, the curtain to go up, the trumpet to sound, the flag to fly. (The anticipatory feeling before a play, a dance or music concert to begin. I’ve been on both sides of the curtain, both are enchanted. It is the sharing that is magic.)
35. Riding a Roller coaster! 🙂 Especially the half second at the top before you go down.
36. Finding the right words. (You write a sentence that is almost. It kind of goes around a corner, but doesn’t quite make it. It is halting, it is frozen, it is wobbly, faltering, broken, fragmented. Then you look at it again, you think it, you taste it, you wiggle it, you smooth it, you do who knows what to it, you change a few words, you move a comma, a erase something, you add something, you move something and suddenly it flows, it fits, it harmonizes, it tallies, it lines up, it WORKS. Eureka! Banzai! Hallelujah! Magic.)
37. The laughter of Children. (The laughter of my circle of daughters coming from the other room. For years it was a daily occurrence, now I must wait for special occasions. They are women now, not little girls, but they laugh just as hard.)
38. Hugging someone or something you love, then close your eyes and don’t talk just let the feelings seep right in.
39. Light a burner and put in some nice fragrant oil. Let it go for a few hours and take in the fragrance. It will linger with you for quite awhile.
40. The sound of my son’s laughter and the way his eyes light up with joy after a good giggle. 🙂
41. Listening to my grandmother’s voice on the phone and the memories that flow when she describes the days gone by.
42. Pictures from the north reminding me of home.
43. My spirit is lifted when I find my friends here on my computer.
44. Painting each other’s faces with face paint and dancing down the street barefoot.
45. A visit to the Japanese Bath-house with a friend. Luxuriating within the steaming hot water and gossiping. Drinking green tea with snack.
46. Clear memory of magical childhood places
47. Publicly hugging a tree. A group hugging does wonders for the soul.
48. Standing blowing bubbles in the garden with other adults.
49. Having a child theme luncheon with close friends.
50. Listening to the audio book version of Out of Africa. I always find Karen Blixen’s writing uplifting.
51. Receiving a home made journal.
52. Receiving an envelope with articles, carefully clipped out of the paper, especially for you to read.
53. Making and sending a close friend a journal to retreat to during a difficult time.
54. Make a Milagro for someone.
55. Tasting delicious words: Soothing, Lengthen, Liquid, Lyric, Mellow, Moon, Cello, Whisper, Soft, Bliss
56 The feel of dew damp grass on bare feet in the moonlight
57. Singers whose voices are old trusted friends that smooth and sooth, a sweet sail to the past, a balm with which to face the future. (I love you Gordon Lightfoot!)
58. Waterfalls, fountains, rushing streams: air and water joined in joy
59. Traditions: the cultural traditions that we do because they have always been done, the old traditions that go back several generations, the family traditions we have done our entire lives, the blending traditions where two newly weds knit two families together, the new traditions that we just made up last year. The brand-new traditions that we made up just now!
60. The smell of a new doll, an old book, newly cut grass, fresh snow, pink champagne, hot bread.
61. Dancing. As a very young child, before anyone tells you what dancing is or isn’t, what is right or wrong, what you can or can’t do; when you choreograph your own dance to the music that plays in your head and you don’t care at all who was watching. At four years old, standing on your Daddy’s shoes. In rooms full of flashing lights and pulsing music that beat in your blood, where other moving bodies became extensions of an experience. At a bar on a hardwood floor where the clean, classic notes of Chopin stretch you to the peace of precision. With children on a summer lawn while sprinklers rain and the music is laughter. In the moonlight, in the dark, anywhere at all, in arms of someone you love. With other women in celebration, mourning, exploration, fellowship. Barefoot in a mountain meadow where the air is so thin you practically fly. On a stage, sending the experience of your joy of movement into hearts through eyes and ears. Alone in a room lit by a one candle, finding that, after all, you can still hold all of the above in the center of your own single flame.
62. Indulge yourself. Take a hot bath with mounds of bubbles. Have your nails done. Buy your self a new CD. Make your favorite dessert. Spend a day in bed with your favorite book. Spend a day in bed with your favorite person. Get out your favorite childhood toy and hug it. Call your best friend from High School or College. Write in your journal with crayons. Rent a movie just for yourself.
63. Indulge yourself the other way. Get a juicer and make yourself fresh juice and healthful smoothies. Take a yoga class, a dance class, a kick-boxing class, a karate class. Take a long walk and practice deep breathing. Make a list of healthful foods you really enjoy and go on a buying spree. Go out to an expensive Health Food Restaurant. Get a massage, facial, or spa wrap. Go for a bike ride with a friend. Rent or buy roller blades and remember what it was to fly. (Anybody besides me old enough to remember skate keys?!) Go dancing. Practice progressive relaxation. Meditate.
64. Get a notebook and make a list of all the things you would like to do before you die.
65. Plan pretend vacations for all the places you wish you could visit.
66. Have a henna party. Hire a body painter or Mehndi Artist to do everyone’s hands or feet, or tummies or backs.
67. Go for an old fashioned swim in an old fashioned swimming hole with a swing made of vines. Take an inner-tube and float around with a straw hat over your face. Consider drinking lemonade.
68. Walk to the closest grocery store. Buy a popsicle. Walk home.
69. Have a Wine and Cheese Party with a difference. For the Wine and Cheese Party, each guest brings a different kind of Wine and Cheese and everyone samples all the different brands. Following the same procedure, the combinations are endless. My children went wild with ideas, some of which were just too wild, such as the infamous Moonshine and Coon party. Here are a few other ideas: Beer and Pizza Soda and Chips Tea and Cakes Whiskey and Cigars Champagne and Fruit/Chocolate/Chocolated-fruit Coffee and Doughnuts Milk and Cookies
70. This is the Cross Family U.S. Government End of Fiscal Year Party. It could also easily be adapted to be a Pay Day Party. Before midnight the refreshments consist of saltine crackers, a can of pork and beans and water. After midnight we serve a huge full course meal including filet minion, champagne and caviar. Yes, it is not subtle. Yes, it is too true.
71. The simplest is often the best. Watch a sunset.Smell the roses. Lay on your back and watch cloud formations. Hold completely still and feel the wind on your face. Kiss your own palm and say, “I love you.”
72. Write a research paper just like you had to do in High School, except write this one on something that fascinates you, about which you want to find out as much as possible.
73. Have a beauty pageant with paper dolls. You can cut out the swimming suit competition and keep the talent section if you want! Your paper dolls can also have a rodeo, be involved in a corporate spy ring, government coup and insurrection, travel on a flying carpet to far off lands, perish in a volcano, be preserved behind glass, be carried off by huge birds of prey in a vast primeval jungle, keep their faces in jars by the door like Eleanor Rigby, clone themselves in the scanner and wear Band-Aids to the office. After you are through playing, put the paper dolls in a book where, hopefully, you will forget about them until the next time you read the book when you will have a fun surprise and want to play again.
74. Write your favorite quotations on the wall. Always include this one of mine: “Go that way, real fast. If something gets in your way, turn. (Savage Steve Holland) It is profound.
75. Try to remember the nasty rhymes and sayings that children said when you were little, especially ones that made you feel bad. Turn them into nice rhymes and sayings. “Pink, pink, you stink.” “Pink, pink, think, think, you are as bright as indelible ink!”
76. Say to yourself in the mirror: “The Force will be with you, always.” Call up someone who will understand and say it to them on the telephone or go to their house and tell them to their face when they open the door.
78. Read A.A. Milne out loud, paying special attention to Pooh’s “hums.”
79. Keep a gratitude journal. Simply ‘count your blessings.’ This is a great way to fall asleep at night.
80. Eat dinner by candle light. Have a candle-lit blanket-picnic outside under the stars, or inside under the ceiling. Have a candlelight picnic bubble-bath. Champagne and foods from the whipped cream category are appropriate bubble-bath picnic fare. Do you know that they make EDIBLE blowing bubbles that taste like candy? It’s true. Have a candle-lit pizza-picnic at midnight sitting crossed-legged on the kitchen table. Have a full candle light dinner with china, crystal, silver and linen – all set up on a card table in the back of a pick up truck parked underneath the stars. Have a candle light picnic in the snow: start by scooping out an round indentation of snow and lining it with at least two space blankets. Put regular blankets on top of these and it is plenty warm to sit on. Picnic’s on the snow, under the stars are quite magic. Igloos are much harder to make than you would ever imagine. Have a floating candle light picnic in a swimming pool or lake using floating candles. Mellon is the perfect food for a wet candle-lit picnic. Cut the top off of a cantaloupe, honeydew or small round watermelon. (You’ll want to cut it a little more than half.) Scoop out the melon with a melon-baller until the rind is empty. The empty half rind will float. Put the melon balls back in, being careful not to overload. If you don’t fill it too full it will still float. It is fun to mix the three kinds of melon in each rind so the colors are pretty. You can buy plastic glasses that float when you put them down in water without spilling the liquid inside which are fun for wet picnics. Always remember: a romantic candlelit dinner is always as close as the small scented candle, bic lighter and package of M&M’s that you put in your pocket before you went out for that walk. (Candle-lit dining ideas brought to you by ThePrincess&TheFowl)
81. Find life quotations that are important to you: “This above all else: To thine own self be true.” (William Shakespeare) “Go Slowly, Breathe and Smile” (Thich Nhat Hanh) “Follow your bliss” (Joseph Campbell)
82. Invite a friend over to drink champagne, wear hats and bake 83. Go into the night with several friends and a camera. Take pictures of each other all over town. Get them developed and Make identical place mats, collages, or wall hangings for everyone.
84. Start a progressive or circle letter with friends and/or family through snail-mail. With a progressive letter each person adds to a long letter which keeps growing and getting bigger. With a circle letter, each person writes a one page letter and when the envelope comes, they remove their last letter and add a new one.
85. Eat a rainbow. Everyone knows that you are supposed to eat five fruits and vegetables a day, but a fun way to approach the whole thing is to think of “Eating a Rainbow.” Colorful fruits and vegetables provide the wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that the body uses to stay healthy, energetic, maintain a healthy weight, protect against the effects of aging and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Besides, rainbows are luscious. Read the book “The Rainbow Goblins” by Ul De Rico.
86. Do something seasonally backwards. Play tennis in the snow. Bake Christmas cookies in July. Have an Easter Egg hunt in November. There are places where you can ice skate outside in the summer now and even ski on synth-snow during warm weather. Many former Olympic sites have summer activities on site. OR, you could go visit a friend on the other side of the world where they are doing the other season anyway!
87. Drop Pennies. Most people know about “See a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck.” If you leave a penny on the ground every once in a while, it will bring someone luck sooner or later, if only from your thought.
88. Celebrate Trees and the Earth. Celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day with the zeal that you do other holidays of the year. Have a huge dinner dedicated to the trees of our world and to our mother earth. Exchange gifts with earth and woodland themes or give gift certificates to charities that support ecology and protection of resources. National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates according to their best tree-planting times. International Earth Day will be March 20, 2005. Plant trees. When you plant a tree in your yard, plant another one for the world – in your neighborhood, on the side of a highway, on a green way, in a reforestation project for example.
89. Run through the sprinklers. This can be a simple afternoon diversion in a hot back yard paddling in your small rainbird sprinkler with a popsicle or two or a wild midnight adventure with a group of daring friends to charging across vast athletic fields or golf courses where huge sprays send fast sweeping arches of water cascading into the moonlight. (I’m not sure if you can actually get arrested for midnight sprinkler running, we never have, but then we live in a strange town. If you are concerned, you could check with your local authorities!)
90. Swing. Go to different elementary schools and playgrounds and swing on all the swings. Decide which ones are the best. Watch Kenneth Branaugh’s version of “Much Ado About Nothing.” It has a beautiful example of an adult swing in it . . . as well as a really luscious picnic in the beginning and an enchanting shower of rose petals being strewn from the castle windows over the heads of the dancers at the end . . . it also has the added benefit of being a total delight all the way in between. Delicious.
91. Did you know that the olfactory tissue with which you smell is identical to the tissue in your brain where memory is stored? Make a list of smells that bring memories and vice-versa. What memories are brought to you by the smell of: Nutmeg? Pine? Baby powder? Newly moan hay? Old Leather? Violets? Cookies Baking? The sea? Watermelon? Floor Wax? New Crayons? Sawdust? Dogs? Cats? Farmyards? Glycerine and Rosewater? Garlic cooking in olive oil? Fingernail polish? Cotton Candy? Fresh Paint? Lilacs? French Fried Potatoes? Lemons? Dill? Peaches?
92. Make a Sidewalk Chalk Painting. Sidewalk chalk is therapeutic because it is colorful, huge and temporary. You know that what you paint will not last which is a great exercise in the here and how. You can also actually feel the chalk transfer from the piece in your hand to the rough surface of the sidewalk. It’s a very tangible kind of painting. I recommend viewing “Mary Poppins” as an accompaniment to a good day of Sidewalk Chalk Painting.
93. Feeling ripe for my purpose to unfold.
94. Having a good laugh at something my mother says. She can make the most ordinary moments into extremely FUNNY anecdotes!
95. Having a stimulating conversation with a stranger
96. Feeling even a hint of a breeze in the desert.
97. Blushing!
98. Getting a letter from my father (the only one who still writes via snail mail)
99. Giving someone every ounce of my ATTENTION.
100. Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty. Donate to a charity you would not usually support, put your shopping trolley back in its appointed place in the parking lot, place a coin in an expired parking meter, as you go about your day, pick up the litter you find on the pavement, give another driver your parking spot, send a letter to a teacher you once had letting her know about the difference she made in your life, order a mail-order gift, anonymously, for a friend or someone at work who needs to be cheered up, go to an AIDS hospice or hospital ward and see what you can do for one person, slip a $10 note into the pocketbook of a needy friend (or stranger), next time you go over a toll bridge pay the toll for the car behind you and don’t forget to thank the toll taker, laugh out loud often and share your smile generously, if you are the boss, bring your secretary a cup of coffee in the morning, if you have a person with an infirmity living near you, offer to do the grocery shopping for him or her.
101 Waking up and feeling positive because I am truly at peace with myself
102. Learning a new skill (I just learned the Heimlich maneuver)
103. Getting a true bargain! This summer was the summer of august silk camisoles with fairylike dragonflies at the bust… for a song…
104. The smell of the desert after a rain.
105. Choose a character from amongst these portraits that you identify with, colour it in and add it to your visual journal.
106. Finding out your “Baby” is pregnant- Yup!! My daughter Kimberly, and her husband Michael whom many of you know got married last year, is pregnant. Dennis (my husband) and I are thrilled to say the least.
107. Celebrating the High Holy days (Yom Kippur), which is the Jewish New Year, with Mom, Dad, Sister and her family. Going to temple,(Synagogue) with them.
108. Holding a soft squirming puppy in your arms, who is licking your face with abandon.
109. Shopping at and orchard store for fall decorations and buying a little something for loved ones [and myself :)].
110. Caramel and candy apples for the children, straw wreath with scare crow attached for the adults.
111. Reading a funny email and starting my day with a laugh and a smile.
112. Feeling good knowing there are so many people here for me, all of you included, so I rarely if ever, feel alone.
113. Saying something nice to someone and having them say something nice back you you.
Random Acts of Kindness
More Random Acts of Kindness
Join the Australian Kindness Movement.

These Spirit Lifters first appeared at the Soul Food Cafe.