When God Winks

I am currently reading two books: “Book of Shadows” by James Reese and “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” by Alice Munro.
I always have several in the backpack.
The count was three as of earlier this evening before I finished
When God Winks” by SQuire Rushnell, a belated birthday gift from my sister
(actually, wicked belated :mrgreen: ).
WGW is a book that explores the deeper meaning of coincidence in our lives.

God Wink
; a personal signal or message, directly from a higher power, usually, but not always, in the form of a coincidence

My sister bought it for me simply because she and I are intensely familiar with God Winks.
There’s this.
Or this.
Or this.

The book goes on to explain that these instances of coincidence (or serendipity, if you like that better) are signposts from the heavens that we’re on the right track; cosmic signals that we are not alone.
I’ve had many “winks” in my lifetime.

A few years after I began writing, I entered a contest at Writer’s Digest.
Ten people could win $100 in WD writing books and a year’s subscription to Writer’s Market, a WD site that helps find a home for that oh, so lonely priceless manuscript.

Months passed and I forgot all about the contest BUT I was still writing.
I remember sitting at the computer one day and staring at the damned blinking cursor thinking, “What the hell am I doing? I can’t write. This is stupid.”
Feeling disgusted and totally unoriginal, I closed Word and checked my email.
Spam.
Spam.
Spam.
Word of the Day.
Spam.
Writer’s Digest.
Writer’s Digest?
Hmmm.
I opened the email and started yelling.
I won.
Ask my wife. I NEVER WIN ANYTHING. Truth.
A wink to be sure.
And hey, I’m still writing, right?
Now I pass the pen to you guys. I love coincidence and I love winks.
Tell me about one.
Come on, now. You have at least one if you really think about it.
If you haven’t, you’re not looking hard enough. 😉

MMM

 

A Beautiful Goodbye

It was in this post that I mentioned a moment of clarity that I’d experienced with my mother when she was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.
I like to think that there are times in our lives when, for whatever the reason, we are deserving of a small gift of the soul; something that catches us off guard and lifts the spirit; an experience that simply says, ‘carry on’.
If you’ve visited Smoke and Mirrors before and have read any of my writing, you could conceivably finish this post for me.
I think.

Lately, I have been keeping close tabs on my father (my sister, as well) for reasons I have chosen to keep private.
That said, I visited him last Sunday around noontime to feed him lunch.
He tends to eat well whenever my sister and I feed him simply because we’re able to be patient. It’s a wonderful feeling to know he’ll nap the afternoon away with a belly full of food and that we had a small part in it.

He ate well for me on Sunday: pot roast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, vegetables and the softest dinner roll I’ve ever held in my hand.
I wasn’t sure if he would even finish his dessert but the bastard ate all the Banana Cream Pie and didn’t even ask if I wanted any.
(I tried it and yes, it was very good)

I cleaned him up and we sat by the window in his room.
A slice of winter sunshine found him and I think he enjoyed the warmth of it.
I spoke with a few of the nurses on the floor who told me that he’d had a very good night.

“Walter? Oh, no problems with him. Sweet man.”

With my questions answered and my father fed, I went back to his room and bent down so we were face-to-face, and kissed his forehead.

“I love you, Dad.”

He just stared at me.

“I know, I know,” I said, “You love me too, right?”

He lifted his tired hand, smiled and gently stroked my cheek.
No words were exchanged but no words were really necessary.
For a brief second, my father was really ‘there‘.

When moments like this happen you have to soak them in because they’re oh, so rare.
It’s the stuff of the soul.
Small gifts, my sister said.
Maybe they’re not quite as small as I’d originally thought.
I walked out of the nursing home and felt the winter sun on my face and I smiled because it felt a bit warmer than it usually does.
Maybe that was a gift as well . . .

~m

12 things my daughters have taught me

Having three girls, there are things that as a man you just know, or don’t know.
I’ve been thinking about this for sometime and have come up with a list of things they’ve taught me.
Sometimes it’s just observing their bizarre womanly ways and sometimes I get a hands-on lesson.

  • I can spot a Vera Bradley handbag from 100 paces. (yeah, I know. Scary)
  • Orlando Bloom is hot, but Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) is way hotter.
  • Folding laundry is quite natural now except when it comes to folding a bra.
  • “I love you, Daddy,” loosely translated means, “I need something and you will get it for me.”
  • Girls can be downright nasty to each other.
  • Nothing dries tears quicker than a trip to Hollister.
  • They know the ins and outs of Itunes way better than I do.
  • They can use the T9 word when texting on their cell enabling them to send me the “Gettysburg Address” in less time than it takes me to text the word, “Ok” and hit send.
  • There are countless stars in the sky, but every one has its place.
  • Never honestly comment on a new hairstyle. Just say, “It looks very nice.”
  • Not all facial moisturizers are created equal.
  • Patience. (4 women getting ready to go out for a Saturday evening is excruciating)

Look for a future post and update.
Learning about women is an ongoing process and I’m still a beginning student, apt but beginning.

~m

I will return

I’m currently dealing with some issues regarding my father and haven’t been anywhere near the blog.
I apologize for my absence here (and on blogs that I frequent) but know that
things are alright and that I will return as quickly as possible.
Thanks for your continued visits and your patience.
For now, I shall remain MIA . . .

~m

So Much

Like me, so much like me
you are oceans deep, my silent little girl

A face that’s like a saving grace; it’s a prayer I will always pray
I know you as well as I know my overly complex self,
and I am forever in love with you
as I was 18 years ago

@8:11am . . .

If these words turn you crimson, then so be it, that makes you real
You are my hurricane on the water, my own personal blizzard of ’90
And you’re like me, sometimes so much like me
And just maybe
that’s a small, good thing

Happy 18th birthday, Jenna
You are a true diamond in the rough
Gráim thú . . .

~Dad

And she likes John Mayer . . .

the memory of Him

I realized something unsettling and bit surprising after the last visit with my father.

I’m having some difficulty in loving what’s left of him.
Don’t get me wrong, I hold his worn and trembling hands, maybe rub his back if the situation allows but inside I feel almost nothing. And it bothers me, and hurts the soul.

Everything I loved about my father was on the inside – I understand that, but in some ways, I feel hypocritical and shallow for going through motions that seemingly resemble love. But for now, I love the “memory” of him.
I used to love the way he signed his name: Walter Murphy – clear, precise, orderly; bold black hand-written lines that typified his organizational mind, his once brilliant mind.
Even when my mother would guilt him into making a tossed salad for a camp cook-out, you could tell by the way it was put together that my father had made it.
I love the fact that he was a man that loved his family passionately, though we were only shown glimpses of that paternal love.
He used to laugh so hard sometimes that tears would trickle down his cheeks, affecting my mother in such a way that she would usually pee her pants from watching him laugh. They were made for each other, I think.
Living inside a disease like Alzheimer’s has as many advantages as disadvantages; life goes on and you subconsciously forget about the pain.
But like the snow in the winter and the falling leaves of autumn, time doesn’t forget.
It taps you on the shoulder in subtle ways, maybe to help us remember what once was.
I visited Moonbeam’s blog last night and was incredibly moved by this post.
I understood its content and felt its bittersweet sorrow.

Unlike Moonbeam’s post, this one wasn’t difficult to write because it was written many years ago.
I think I’ve edited the damn thing ad nauseum. On the inside . . .
Sometimes it just takes a tap on the shoulder to put it down on paper.
Thanks for the tap, Moonbeam.
And Dad?
Maybe I’ll see you in my dreams tonight . . .

~michael

Some Children See Him

It was many years ago on a Christmas night that I paused to look in on our girls before I went to bed. They were sleeping and hopefully dreaming of sweet things.
At the time, we’d put a radio in their room so they could drift off to dreamland to some soft music.
Though this Christmas night was very long ago, I remember it vividly.
As I turned to make my way to our bedroom, my ears soaked in whatever was playing on their radio.
It was a beautiful solo piano piece.
Standing there mesmerized, I realized I had goosebumps up and down my arms.
(a rarity for me, musically speaking)
This song, whatever it was, was something special.
When the song finished, I went back downstairs and called the radio station in Boston and actually spoke to the (obviously) lonely DJ.

“What was the last song you played? That solo piano thing?” I asked.

“Yeah, man . . . wasn’t that beautiful? It’s called, “Some Children See Him”, by Dave Grusin.
It’s off the first GRP Christmas Album. Nice stuff.”

I wished him a Merry Christmas and told him he’d just made my holiday.
I think he liked that.

Fast forward to tonight.
I’m sitting on the train listening to my Ipod when this song comes on.
It’s James Taylor singing Some Children See Him.
Goosebumps, folks.
The sad realization came to me that I never really ‘listened’ to the song.
Tonight was a very different story.
Hence, this post.
Here are the lyrics . . . (much nicer if you have the tune to listen to)

Some children see Him lily white,
The baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
With tresses soft and fair.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav’n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
With dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
With skin of golden hue.

Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
And, oh . . . they love Him, too

The children in each different place
Will see the baby Jesus’ face
Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
And filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
And with thy heart as offering,
Come worship now the infant King.
‘Tis love that’s born tonight!

For me, the holiday season can be summed up in the very last line of the song:
‘Tis love that’s born tonight’.
Christmas has very little to do with gifts, Mistletoe, jingle bells or EggNog;
there’s so much more that we may never see or feel simply because we’re all too busy Christmasing the way we “think” we’re supposed to, the quintessential celebrations we unknowingly try and mimic based on oh so many HDTV and jewelry commercials.
Yes, some children do see Him but it’s through eyes that understand the true nature of the Christmas holiday.
It’s never been about ‘the stuff’.
It’s about offering your soul, granting forgiveness and selfless acts of the heart.
I pray that my eyes will see Him for who He truly is.
I pray the same for the commercially blind living in this surreal marshmallow world.

~m

Creamsicle Moon

A creamsicle moon frosts the twilight treetops somewhere in the distance . . .
a dark and serene sky, the canvas
I need a sliver of this star-filled tranquility for thousands of reasons
and my soul sleeps

It’s at the corners of Solace and Hope
that I realize the Boulevard of Dreams is gridlocked, my mind cries out for home
searching desperately for an avenue out . . .
and my snow-covered soul sleeps on

A dying creamsicle moon gives birth to the ever-reddening dawn
and somewhere a candle flickers, a baby cries and
an already fragile world offers up a ray of hope that shines on my soul,
still fast asleep
but searching for that elusive sliver of tranquility
and a reason to finally believe . . .

~m

Boston meme (4Lass)

boston-sunset-700.jpg

Lass hit me with a tag several weeks ago to do a meme.
And though I’m not big on meme’s I figure I owe her one.
Lord knows, I’ve managed to snake my way out of a few of them but this one was actually interesting in many ways.
And the fact that Lass is a good friend and has been on my blogroll since I started this whole blogging thing.

Without further ado here are a few of the “bests” in my area.
I’ve decided to give you a tour of Boston (my second home).

Best Place to Eat:

This one is almost impossible to answer in a city like Boston.
There are just too damn many great restaurants.
If I had to pick a few I’d have to say L’Osteria on Salem Street in the North End. This is your quintessential Italian bistro. When the warm crusty bread and salad make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven, you know the meal will knock your socks off.

After having the Veal Piccata, I’m still searching for my socks.
Another incredible restaurant is the East Coast Grille in Cambridge @ Inman Square.

It’s mostly a fish type of place but beef dishes are over the top (ask my wife).

This funky little place is unique. Period.
I had Grilled White Pepper Crusted Tuna with House Pickled Ginger, Aged Soy Sauce, Pacific Farms Fresh Wasabi, Grilled Vegetables & a Spicy Bok Choy Salad.
This meal had me moaning (once again, ask my wife).

I can’t wait to go here again. My birthday is in January so . . .

There’s the Rattlesnake on Boylston Street with the best damn catfish Po’ Boy I’ve ever had in my life.

I’ll wrap this up with Al’s State Street Cafe with their State Street Special: prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and thinly sliced plum tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar served on a crusty French baguette.

Hungry yet?

Best Shopping Mall:

Not really a mall but a wonderful place to hemorrhage multiple Franklin’s; Faneuil Hall
Click on the link and take a “virtual tour”.
If you’re a woman, send hubby to the Union Oyster House.

You’re going to be a while . . .

Famous Landmark:
Should be plural for Boston.
Driving into the city via the Mass Pike the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square greets you (and every other Red Sox fan).

After that the Pru (Prudential Center) and the John Hancock buildings can’t help but catch your eye. They’re huge and stunning. I take them for granted. Shame on me.

There’s Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church and last but not least Fenway Park.

Best Tourism Attraction:

The Freedom Trail

Symphony Hall

&

Fenway Park (again)

This list could go on ad nauseum.

Best Place for Kids:

Museum of Science
is a pretty safe bet.
It’s huge, loud and a ton of fun.
(once you find the effin’ place)
The frozen “Duck Pond” on the ‘Common” is great in the winter months for skating, the summer months for swimming.

Popular Outdoor Activity:
Walking, running, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, ice skating, roller blading.
It all happens here.

Breath-taking views:
Top of the Pru doesn’t suck on any given night and a four hour ride north of the city will put you in North Conway, New Hampshire in the heart of the White Mountains.
On a clear, fall day the view is spectacular.
Ever seen leaves explode in technicolor?

Only Found In:

Yawkey Way (Fenway Park)
You haven’t lived until you’ve walked this stretch of pavement on a Red Sox gameday.
The smell of simmering sausages and onions is a sacred thing.

The Zakim Bunker-Hill Bridge is a magnificent structure that connects Boston to Chelsea and beyond; awesome during the day, a religious experience at night.

Berklee College of Music; my alma mater. Scary. Cool school.

Newbury StreetBoston’s very own “Rodeo Drive”.

Though this list could turn itself into a book, I’ll stop here.

Should ever you find yourself in Boston, drop me a line.

I’ll meet you at Foley’s for a Guinness or three.

~m

~m(assage)

Yvonne took very good care of me today.
I can’t begin to tell you just how good the massage was but should you ever find yourself in the New England area? Call me.
I thoroughly enjoyed an hour+ of some serious massage (and stretching)
Quiet, nice tunes, peace and endless muscular sanctuary . . .
Nice.
We had lunch at a quiet little Thai place in Webstah afterwards and agreed that even dogshit would taste really good with a great peanut sauce drizzled on it.
Thank you, Yvonne for making my first day of vacation so incredibly and phucking enjoyable.
My wife thanks you for omitting the “happy ending“. :0{ )>
I will sleep well tonight.
Peace and Out, folks . . .

~m