Thursday, January 19, 2017

Treasure Hunts Me



 I met Bridget one time on this side of heaven. It was the summer of 1997. She was a Diva for sure---FaBuLoUs yet completely down to earth. I remember standing together, talking outside her parents' Branson hotel while she smoked and smoked. In that moment I mentioned how gorgeous her wedding ring was, and she launched into this story about hiding her real big fat diamond from court collectors. I liked her immediately.

It seems like an ordinary enough conversation...one that might even be forgettable (especially with my funky memory)...except that we were talking about sparkly diamonds, the human side of bankruptcy and I was there on my honeymoon.


I met Bridgette because her mom was friends with my mom.
For my wedding, Bridgette and her parents (Rhonda & Chet) gave me and Cody a gift certificate for a free stay at their hotel. We finally used the certificate and took our "honeymoon" when Chloe was several months old. I remember driving into Branson (Cody's childhood vacation grounds---the place of our first vacation together in 1994) and stopping to eat at Ruby Tuesdays, sharing a gigantic frozen margarita with a plastic goldfish in it. We then went straight to the hotel to sleep for a few days. We ended up leaving Branson early because both of us missed being away from our girl (the reason we were sleep deprived) so much.

Bridgett's mom Rhonda, is also a FaBuLoUs human. She and my mom took a road trip together in 1994 where Rhonda got my (then 42 year old) straight-laced mother to pose for a photo with some random "hot cowboy" at a gas station---she even gave Mom her lit cigarette to complete the rebellious look. It really is an epic photo; one of my favorites. Apparently they got into all kinds of shenanigans during that road trip which included seeing a Branson Wayne Newton....

In 1996 Rhonda threw me a fancy wedding shower at the Rolling Hills Country Club. A few of my friends and all three of my grandmothers dressed up for that shower. We ate a meal and ate delicious cake with Navy frosting detail that thoughtfully matched my wedding colors. It was a generous thing to do for me, the broke girl who changed my white wedding date a few zillion times that summer. Somehow Rhonda knew I would want to remember having a fancy wedding shower...and a honeymoon trip.

Last night I stood over a box of Bridgette's jewelry, disentangling chains and earrings and rings because she is not here to do it herself. I grew sad as I handled her things, and I considered her short life and her mom Rhonda. What must it be like to bury your husband and your only child within months of each other? I will continue to ask myself why this treasure made its way to me---and what I am supposed to do with it. I believe I've already received three more treasures from Bridgette: Don't worry so much about your weight, Remember me, and Remember/Pray for my mom.

I read a quote by the Dali Lama yesterday: "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." I am sure Bridgette and Rhonda are not saints (we have mutual friends ;)) yet I will always remember the FaBuLoUsNeSs, the human kindness they both continue to extend to me in this lifetime. These are a few of the beautiful things I will wear in Bridgette's honor. I will enjoy re-working and bringing new life to some of the other pieces.
Coral and jade rose pin. Carved moon faces in sterling.

These are my favorite things from the box. Gray button pearls and a gold starfish pin. The 1970's silver-plated shell locket has glace Aliage (a Chypre parfum) in it--- I am wearing both the scent (a tiny bit goes a long way) and the locket today. The gold dolphin earrings have the most amazingly pretty/realistic swing action in motion when on the ear. The Ammonite...well, we all know my favorite poem by now...I intend to set in silver. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stretchy Bracelets

     I never made stretchy bracelets because of my love for the toggle look. Maybe I'm getting too old or too busy to be fumbling around with my jewelry---whatever the case, I am excited to wear these new pieces:

     I scored these beads last year on the last day of an estate sale and have not had the chance to wear them yet. I paid $4 (50% off) which is a total shame to admit. I knew I'd found a treasure the instant I picked them up...the heavy feel is one of pure grounding. I have not identified the two stone carved beads. They are cold to the touch, not super shiny like marble and have tiny mica flecks. Quartz? Ideas?
15mm Blue Coral, Rutilated Quartz, and Stone (You really should click on the photo and then click again to see detail)
     Our friend Travis and his family visited from Redwood City, CA over the Christmas break. As they were leaving I complimented his wife Veronica's pretty blue stacking stretchy bracelets and she took one off her wrist and insisted I keep it. I had never met her, so there was/is no way she could possibly know how many times I have done this very thing. I was so charmed I couldn't speak! (For God's sake, when I went to China I lined my backpack with leather bracelets for the sole purpose of giving them away. I still hope those bracelets connect me back to the people I met someday.)
    The bracelet Veronica gave me "holds" essential oils---and I have loved smelling whatever it was she had on it---maybe a tea tree? I intend to find out. Anyhow, I gathered the holding beads were porous lava stone and decided to make a few of my own. Now I just have to decide which ones to send back to California.... 
Apple/Tiger Coral, Lava Stone, Fossil Stone and Chalcedony

     The black and white stones (below) were part of a 25lb auction lot---the best purchase I made last year. I bought the lot shortly before the Excel incident. I remember sorting and cutting my way through the massive tangled mess one knot at a time---an active metaphor for what my brain was trying to comprehend. I remember spreading it out over half of the basement floor for weeks thinking, my family should be mad at me and why are they being so cool? (about the mess). Even now as I type, I get nauseous and sick to my stomach...memories come back...so much to process...still. That time really changed me forever; I am healed when I make something lasting/pretty from it all.
  A little something I read about black and white marble: "Zebra Stone is a dolomitic marble in which the banded appearance is actually foliation caused by the heat and pressure of metamorphism." Fitting.
Zebra Marble, Lava Stone (the blue reflection in silver is my fish tank!)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Stationary and Website

I finally got my business cards ordered. I went with gold metallic accents! They are so pretty that I had to buy matching stationary and envelopes.
Had to put this quote about change on the back. Refrained from putting Alchemist (instead of LCMFT) after my name....


I also finally had time to update my personal website www.melaniecloud.com. I chose to buy my own .com before I moved from Empac so people can find me directly by my name. There's a link to the ACFC site on the contact page and links to my psychology today profile on each page. 
Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Glory! Love Like Frickin' Bazinga!

Since everything I attempted in the studio failed this weekend, I figured I'd drop some pretty goodness here. Well, I guess it didn't fail but it does mean I have to fire my kiln for the 3rd time...and each time I run it the process takes 12 hours. It's not very fun to open the kiln hoping for one thing only to discover nothing happened in the 1250 degree oven over 12 hours. Anyhow, here's the pretty, encouraging stuff:

My parting gift to Empac was this collage which incorporated most of the doodles I drew during meetings over my time there. I called it "Love Like Frickin' Bazinga" because of the few words I actually doodled on, those made the most sense.

And this poem. Wow. What more can I say? God knows I needed it when I "found" it. In true visual/kinesthetic fashion, I had to write it out to know it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My first day at the new office

The space looks complete with art on the walls.
My first day was a typical day of 1sts. How to code my sessions for the office staff? How to record a 45 or 60 minute session? How to consult the TOVA test? Email? Schedule? I went to write a physician and I needed letterhead. I went to print said letter and I had to figure to which printer to print. I went to fax and I had to learn using a new machine. I met several new clients and saw one familiar face.

I even experienced a form of my grandmother yesterday---I went to print and I was offered the most heavenly pumpkin cake dessert. Joann offered it to me, told me about how the condo she in which she recently cooked only offered a broiler pan so she had to make-do, cut a generous slice, warmed it in the microwave and added whipped cream before I could even refuse. No kidding, it was like someone popped right off my genogram and fed me. I probably would have cried if she knew me better.

It is a little strange to get back on the long-term horse...no more meeting people and holding back lest there be any bonding...and yet it feels so right. Mondays are scheduled to be my longest day---from 9:30am to 8:30pm. Yesterday I came home, ate dinner, and even had the energy to go on a long walk. I think I'm going to love this next phase of life. It feels good to know why I am doing what I am doing---I've had to rule a few things out over the last five years. Today I experienced feeling settled, something for which I've been hoping now for several years. Today I am Psalm 40.

I set up my Psychology Today profile this morning. Will you read it, offer suggestions and tell me if I should consider changing something? Thanks!

I ordered a custom frame for this piece yesterday. I love how the frame brings out the warm tones. Now I just have to wait 2 weeks.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Painted Feather Pillows

Pillows and a soft blanket were the first things I looked to buy for my new office. I found these soft but crunchy feather linen pillows at Marshall's...and because they needed to be more blue than gray, painted them with a mix of Permaset Aqua colors. Once painted, they actually exceeded my expectations. Yay!


Hello, MARI symbols!

Making headway

No wall hangings yet but curtains raised (thanks to Cody) with a new extender rod on the way. Furniture pared down and rearranged. Pillows and soft throw ready to be squished into. Fish tank almost ready for fish. The rolling filter attached on the back makes the most perfect waterfall sound. I did not turn on the fireplace yesterday for fear something would happen and no one was there to help me figure things out..but I will get right to that tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, can you believe I already have 7 appointments on my first day!?!

When it comes to transitions, well, I always give it my best.
Aside from working like a farmer, this means adopting and reciting the mantra, 
"Be gentle with yourself."
It is this exact mantra that allows me to aim for my best, and still love with grace through sub-par. 

I know that practicing this mantra in my own life allows me to practice it with others. 
I am not the only one "fighting a great battle."

We must each take care of ourselves; no other human can give us the esteem we require for ourselves and others. 





Friday, October 28, 2016

Transition


I happen to like change. That said, there's still a taxing reality to moving through transition.

Remember all those videos I recently posted about California? In early September we learned Cody was losing his job---or being transferred to California. We went and we checked it out...and it wasn't our thing. So, we came back to Kansas wondering what was next.

In all this process, I have only freaked out twice, because I have known change was coming. Lots of dreams, lots of confirmation. It turns out that change in Cody's job, effects change in my job. Hmmm...do I sound systemic? While I am sad to be leaving the amazing team at Empac, I am so.incredibly.excited to be returning to private practice. I even bought www.melaniecloud.com and brought it up to basic speed.

Here are a couple "before" pictures of the office I am taking over in one week. And though my friend Lacy (who is transitioning, herself) has done a great job with the space, I am excited to make it my own. Instead of all the bright colors (short-term energy) I have had at Empac, I think I will go back to the healing blues and greens (long-term therapy + safety). Doesn't it have great bones? I have a fireplace in my office---what a dream!


I move in on the 5th, and I start seeing clients at Adult Child and Family Counseling on November 7th. Don't worry, I will still be taking my 41st birthday off that week.

In the meantime, I am saying goodbye to great co-workers, colleagues and clients. Wish us all luck!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday Battleships



I train at a conference for state-wide workers on "Dealing With Conflict" today. They re-named my training, "You Sunk My Battleship." (Insert sassy 3 beat drum line here.)

Friday, September 30, 2016

A new poem, a mile high

I love flying. I love defying gravity at take-off. I love guessing the moment the wheels completely leave the earth, and I love feeling the wheels touch down on the tarmac at landing. I purposefully let my body go limp so I can take in the full ride---skips, lurches and all. I look out planes similarly to how I look out at the ocean. Maybe it's the novelty, the O2mix or the trance-like attention commanded by wave after wave of new sensory input? *bing* Whatever the case, I especially love how a shift in perspective ushers in new experiences, new treasure for those of us who are present in those moments.

Great limestone bones lie dormant
within calligraphic blue shadows
and my spirit hovers
just this side of an ancient and indecipherable code
still
I look with wonder and long for the whole story.


This sky-down blue lake had just a few white boulders (?) at the top edge. I just checked the GPS on my camera and it looks like this is Pyramid lake. Wowee! (Even Marilyn Monroe swam there once.)
And how about this view North of Sacramento? That river runs all the way to Sacramento.