Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sarah's Olive Garden

Sarah had been named after Abraham's wife, Sarah, from the book of Genesis.  So, as she was growing up, her mother used to read her Bible stories about the amazing Sarah, what she had endured, and how special she was to God.


Sarah's mother was quite the story teller, so she began to embellish the stories and describe Sarah's special retreat where she sought solace and renewal at those times when Abe got to be a bit much.  Like when he was carrying on with Hagar when Sarah knew all along God would not abandon her.  And look at all the trouble that tryst with Hagar has caused ... to this day!


The point was that Sarah had this special refuge in a lovely olive garden she had cultivated herself over the years while Abraham was off doing "guy stuff."  She always went to her special olive garden to renew her spirit after particularly difficult times.  Not just with Abe, but the whole primitive set-up back then in umptee-ump B.C.

Our contemporary Sarah is all grown up and actually just retired from her fabulously successful career in the fast-paced marketing field competing with such slick guys as Don Draper  and his grey-haired side-kick who got his best ideas when hallucinating on LSD.  It was a hard life, especially for a woman, but Sarah was a pistol and bailed out after getting her last CLIO award.

So now ... Sarah is a retired woman of a certain vintage.  Fortunately, unlike men who just get old, women are like a fine wine and get better with age.  More witty and charming and articulate on practically any subject.  That's partially because the foolish men think Viagra is the answer, when in fact, if they would improve their mind and expand their knowledge of something other than sports or erections of man caves they'd be ever so much more appealing.

However, like everyone else, Sarah has good days and bad days.  And, as her namesake, she spends both the "UP"days and the "DOWN" days at her own olive garden ... which is actually an extraordinary chain restaurant coincidentally called The Olive Garden.

The multitudes also flock to her special retreat because the food is so fabulous.  Everyone orders the bread sticks which are FREE -- and simply to-die-for.  There is a hint of sweetness in the dough, and they slip just the right amount of butter inside of them and some magical stuff on the outside.  So, no one can "just have one" and your fingers are shiny with heart-healthy olive oil.
Then there's the entrees, which are numerous.  Some of the best are the short ribs in Marsala with tortellini (that they don't carry anymore, but WE can change that, can't we?!).  It has portabello mushrooms, but if you are unable to eat mushrooms for some reason, they will give you more of the melt-in-your-mouth short ribs. 
Or there is the Tour of Italy which is divine and has three different Italian favorites:  Chicken Parm, the ever-so-healthy Fettuccine Alfredo and the best ever Lasagna.  All on one HUGE plate for a surprisingly low price.  And ... if the diner has very low cholesterol, he/she can order extra Alfredo Sauce which they bring in an oval bowl with no spoon ... so you just pour it all on at once.
One other entrĂ©e that is off-the-chart delicious is the Filet Mignon, especially when grilled to perfection and served with garlic mashed potatoes, slathered with Creamy Marsala Sauce.  AND ... they will even bring you an extra helping of the Marsala Sauce, which is surely the nectar of the gods.
They have an extensive appetizer menu, but an outstanding choice is a double order of the Mozzarella Triangles (not wimpy sticks) which are prepared after you order them ... so they come to the table steaming hot.  Then, when you cut into one with a fork, they are so full of cheese that it oozes out and you find yourself scooping it up with the tines of your fork lest a single particle remain on the plate.  They come with Marina Sauce or Ranch.  Although the first bite should be in its natural state in order to savor the essence of the perfection of this simple fare.
Our Sarah, however, is certainly not one of the masses.  Our Sarah normally dines alone except for the time she was accompanied by her friend who helped her pick up the gorgeous walnut and cherry 36 string lever Dusty Strings harp.  Since they survived the Parade in Seattle for the Triumphant Seahawks, they ordered so many different items, the table was covered with delectable food.
Other than that, Sarah dines alone.  She celebrated filing for divorce with a double order of Mozzarella Triangles and a glass of Prosecco.  When she drove her new car off the lot, she headed right for Olive Garden, of course, and that day lunched on the fillet that melted in her mouth and filled her with even more pleasure than she thought possible.
But it is the memory of the last time Sarah sought refuge at her local Olive Garden that will forever remain in her mind and heart.  Something awful had happened to Sarah and she was devastated.  It was difficult for her to even drive with the tears that flowed from her broken heart.  But she made it.
As always there was a crowd waiting in the lobby to be seated, but the crowd parted for Sarah as if she were Moses and they were the Red Sea.  Barely able to speak, she told the hostess that she had a terrible day and needed a small private place and could not possibly wait.  The hostess was so touched by Sarah's plight that she guided her to the one remaining booth in the Lounge where thankfully children are not allowed.
Then she called over the waiter, Christopher, who looked as if he stepped out of the pages of GQ, and he took over with the practiced ease of a true gentleman.  He sat across Sarah for a moment, eyes filled with sympathy (although just the sight of him had already perked her up) and he took her order ... which is never simple because Sarah has complex tastes.
Because of her broken heart, Sarah decided it was a situation that deserved a chilled Sapphire Martini straight up with olives on the side.  Well ... Monica, the bartender ... performed some kind of magic with ice crystals and presented Sarah with the best Sapphire Martini she had ever had -- including the one at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco.  The ice crystals were subtle yet the martini was perfectly chilled.  After taking the first sip, Sarah thanked all the deities she could think of and then slipped Monica a well deserved tip for her magic.
After Sarah was feeling loved and safe and renewed in her Olive Garden on that special night ... Tatiana the manager came over and knelt next to where Sarah was sitting.  She expressed her deep and genuine sympathy for whatever had transpired that evening and then gave Sarah a hug.  And even arranged transportation home for her with a sweet, handsome young Opera Singer, Jared.
Can you imagine getting that kind of treatment from any eating establishment?  Of course not.  Because Olive Garden is not "just" a restaurant ... it is Sarah's refuge and source of solace and place of celebration ... as it has been since that very first Sarah waited around until God bestowed upon her a fine son, Isaac, who went on to have a significant life.
The only confusing part for me as the narrator of Sarah's story is why all the big to-do over a son.  I mean a daughter is ever so much better!  But back then, the world was run by men, who screwed it up even worse than they're doing now. 
Fortunately we are on the verge of the New Order of Things, marked by the Return of the Glory of Women which will bring peace and prosperity to all the people of the world.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Are You Off Your Meds Again?

People who erroneously view themselves as "normal" (since there is no such thing) love to make fun of those of us who are passionate in our beliefs about what we "know" will happen.  It might be as simple as believing you will meet President Obama, or predicting which party will win the White House in 2016.

In both cases two different people asked, "Are you off your meds again?"  And of course I have to laugh, because expressing outrage would be unacceptable.  That would be exhibiting one of the two by-products of being bi-polar.  One is difficulty "filtering" what we say, which is a real pain in the butt. 
But the second by-product more than makes up for it, because our brains process much faster than "normal" brains ... which is terribly handy when conducting business transactions.  By the time the "normal" person catches up, they realize that we have already closed the deal in a way that is favorable to us.

Both of the people are friends, and their comments were said in jest no with malice.  Without thinking, of course, about all the sad things that happen to real people who actually are "off their meds again."  But then, how could either of those people possibly know how many people are "out there" with brain chemicals that are screwed up through no fault of their own? 

It's no different from the child born with severe Scoliosis, or with some hard-to-pronounce disease that they must have the courage to deal with through no fault of their own.  Or the child born with CP or autism or with a deformed limb, or blind.  None of those kids volunteered to be given this extra challenge in their life.  And no one born with a mental health issue choose it either.  Nor did they do anything to cause it.


Some of us believe with all our heart and soul that something we want more than anything will happen because we put all that passion and belief "out there in the universe."  Some people scoff and say "oh how ridiculous is that?!"  But instead of being deterred by the nay-sayers, we manage to find people who care about our believing so strongly in our vision that they offer their help and support.

This is actually happening with me now.  I have found some property that I believe belongs to me because I will be the perfect steward and care for it with all the love and strength that I have.  Instead of being sadly neglected as it has been, it will be nurtured and turned into a lovely peaceful refuge for me, for deer and bunnies and eagles and birds, and a little boy who loves to climb trees. 

The helpers in making my vision come true range from wonderful ladies who say Norwegian prayers over a "good luck" candle bought for $1 at ACE hardware.  To a special man, living with pain every day because of old college athletic injuries, who kneels down and plants 21 "lucky" sweet peas under a cherry tree loaded down with gorgeous white blossoms.  With the finishing touches done by a kind man who willingly staked up a wire lattice to support the sweet peas and then created a protective barrier with chicken wire held in place by a dozen wooden stakes he hammered into the hard ground.

Then there was the man who works for Skagit County who gave me a copy of the papers I needed to understand all the very complex issues with this piece of land.  When I asked how I could repay him for his kindness, he handed me the folder and said,  "Just go buy your home, Dorothy.  That's all I need in return."

Another person who is helping with the home I will live in one day, visited the site, waved his arm in a broad gesture and declared, "Yes!  I can see it says Dorothy all over it."

My trusty, capable property attorney didn't believe at first, but reluctantly agreed to help me anyway.  And just since this morning has revised his stated chances of my succeeding from 1% to some much higher number.  And two weeks from today will help me submit my offer which will ensure that I am in the proper queue to be chosen by a nameless institution to be the new owner of "my" place.

And two people in another state, who don't know me from Toto, both understand why I care so much and have extended a helping hand in my endeavor.  One of them was kind enough to email me documents while on her lunch break -- twice because my server "lost" them the first time.

And the other person is a real bonus, because we're both fans of "Breaking Bad" but he knows how it ends and I don't ... since I've been too busy to watch the 3 Netflix DVDs I've had for 5 months.  This young man said, "You have to call me when you've watched the final episode." 

And he went on to tell me that the amazing actor who played Walter White's son with CP, actually does have CP, but with therapy and much hard work, can speak better and walk without crutches.  So he is "acting" to ensure this character has a firm hold on our hearts as we watch this amazing series.


There are other people, like me, who feels so passionate about something that they believe anything is possible if you believe it with every fiber of your being.  Only no one asks them if they're "off their meds."  Lucky them. 

But lucky me, too, because I've seen extreme cases of people who are either "off their meds" or some doctor, out of ignorance, has screwed up and put them on some terrifying drug that is not right for them.

If a woman is bald as a result of enduring the painful and overwhelming side-effects of chemo because she has cancer, she has our immediate sympathy.

But if that same woman just acts strangely because the chemicals in her brain are messed up through no fault of her own, the police call her "one of the crazies" and most strangers look the other way instead of reaching out in compassion to see how they can help someone who is overwhelmed and suffering.

So ... perhaps the next time you are tempted to say in jest or seriously ... "are you off your meds?" ... you might just stop a moment and think how hurtful it might be if you referred to someone with a physical disability as "here comes the gimp" or laughed at someone with CP struggling to speak and walk ... without realizing that the person's brain is perfect.  And they know exactly what they want to say and where they want to go.  They just have some mysterious "disconnect" through no fault of their own.

Why is such a simple concept as kindness so difficult for people to grasp?

One would expect it would be as natural as breathing.  Some of the new-agers talk about "random acts of kindness."  Why make them random?  Why not internalize being kind as something you simply do without even thinking?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

This is All about Love

**Written by Guest Blogger Lisa Fresolone **
edited by Dorothy Haase
Note:  Lisa has a bunny blog "Little Bun in the Big City" where she writes about "two groovy little lops in the Big Apple.  Pete Haase, Rabbit's Guy  (aka RG) wrote a bunny blog "A Houseful of Rabbits" daily for seven years.  Dorothy Haase, Bunny Lady (aka BL) had a more behind the scenes role. 
Both blogs are well known in the mysterious and wonderful world of bunny bloggers and they share many common followers.  To those of you who are not "bunny peeps" ... well ... prepare to be amazed at what you are missing about this magical world of bunnies in which we all reside.
This blog post was originally written and posted by Lisa after she and BL spent a while talking a few years ago.

 This is all about Love

"Before I begin, let me warn you that it may seem strange, at first, that I (who write about "two groovy little lops in Queens") am writing a post about two buns loved and lost from the Houseful of Rabbits (in the Pacific NW).  All will be revealed in time my friends. (Yes, that's a Chili Peppers quote).
Actually this may just sound really strange. And you may even be tempted to think BL and I are off our rockers.  But I ask you to read my story and then judge for yourself.  In any event ... here goes:
Scooter was a big, sweet bun that BL bought for her granddaughter, Tara.  Rejected by the Granddaughter's parents, he stayed with BL and RG at the Houseful of Rabbits.  BL loved him very much; he would often snuggle in bed with her and lick her face.
Unfortunately, Sooter was ill-fated.  He contracted a debilitating parasite in his brain, and in the summer of 2005, he had to be put down to save him further suffering.  BL was distraught.
(Look familiar?  Just wait.  Story gets stranger.)
Later, Stanley came to join the Houseful of Rabbits.  He was originally intended as a gift for RG's daughter, but he was unhealthy so BL thought it best to keep him  He struggled with illness for most of his sweet little life.
One day, BL was snuggling with Stanley in her bed, when she felt Scooter's presence there with her.  He was clearly reassuring her that he was ok; he was in a better place; and he was no longer suffering.  She was relieved, and was finally beginning to heal after the loss of Scooter.
But was it possible?  Scooter and Stanley had never met, yet BL was sure that she had felt Scooter's spiritual energy through Stanley.  Perhaps the answer is that, although the two had never met yet in this life, they were in fact ... soul mates.  Two live intertwined.  Two bodies, one spirit.
This is Stanley.
If you want to know what happens next, click on Read More below: