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The Crack in the Ceiling


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The "Wu Word" Blog


Approximately two weeks ago to this day, I tried whiskey for the first time in my life.  I thought I was going to burn up in flames.
It was Jameson whiskey.  Because, as my Whiskey expert friend advised me, if you are going to have whiskey then you have to have the best there is.  I totally got that.  To me, that is like dessert- if you are going to have dessert, then you are going to have the absolute best there is.   Fat.  Butter.  Sugar.  I get it.  When that drop of whiskey liquid touched my tongue and slowly slid down my throat, a slow turning burn began to fill my entire body.  Mind you, that was a sip…no, no…pretty much a drop of whiskey.  The whiskey was so pungent and so infused with an earthy, rustic, and fuel-like taste that I could not tell the difference between the dancing fiery flames of the fire pit under a sky full of stars in front of me and myself. 
As you can well tell, I am not much of an alcoholic beverage drinker.  My first introduction to alcohol was wine coolers, and that already in itself made me quite wild because I LOVE sweet and fruity.  I guzzled those down like water and would end up dizzy and sleepy.  I tried a shot for the first time just five years ago.   I tried vodka for the first time on my 34 birthday—I didn’t have to pay for it, so why not??  As a child of 10-years-old, I remember that my grandfather had a thing for XO Hennessey.  I remember downing that so fast when my aunt gave me a small swirl that I looked down with blurry vision as to if I had withered down into a bunch of smoldering ashes. My aunt scolded me: “No, Mary, you aren’t supposed to down it like that.  Not so fast.  You are supposed to nurse your drinks.  Gentle and slow.”   Suffice to say, I go for the solid food and not the liquidated beverages when I am at a social gatherings.  People offer me wine, cocktails, and even as something as simple as a sweet non-alcoholic beverage and my quip is: “I’m H20 Happy and a cheap date.  H20 Please.  Fill it up.” 
But there was something about Whiskey.
I think it is because Whiskey was a starting point depth of conversation with a very good and close friend of mine who I went glamping/camping with two weeks ago.  She promised she would bring the whiskey on our weekend trip while we meticulously checked off must items to bring, and then she suggested: “You should probably bring a sweet beverage to ‘chase’ the whiskey taste down with.”  Confused, I asked: “Why does whiskey need chasing?”  She laughed and said, “Well, it may be strong for you so you want to drink something after it that tames down the strength of the taste.”  I was even more intrigued by whiskey then.
Under a milky midnight dark blue black sky dotted with stars that spilled over so bright that I could actually count and see them, I fulfilled three of my ‘Live List’ items: 1) Glamping/Camping, 2) Be so close to the stars that I feel like I could touch them, and 3) Drink whiskey WITH s’mores over a fire with my one and only friend who introduced me to the magic of Whiskey.  But, unbeknownst to me, that weekend that I spent with my friend was laden with ventures, newness, and processes that surprised, shocked, and exhilarated me.  We used a propone gas stove for the first time to make rich and cheesy Mac N’ Cheese.  We walked to the greatness of waterfalls in the company of Mother Nature.  I went on a see saw for the first time in my life, and realized that the soothing up and down motion could only be accomplished with my friend; You can’t have a see without a saw and a saw without a see.  We grilled veggie burgers and crab cakes and toasted buns.  We made our own fire with flames so high that we were in a hypnotized and mesmerized trance with our glasses of Whiskey in hand and smoldering s’mores and marshmallows coming out extra roasty toasty.
And this is where my kinship with Whiskey lies. The newness.  The process.  


Whiskey (perhaps like all ‘hardcore’ and ‘strong’ drinks) requires the brutal and arduous process of malting, mashing, stirring, grinding, fermentation, hot and high heat, distillation, and darkness.  And, most of all, time.  And, even after all that time and challenging processes, that rustic, earthy, and strong as strong can be Whiskey may not come out as intended or hoped for.  Or, it can come out stronger than ever imagined after a most vicious and time-consuming process.  But, that is what it is all about: The Process. 
We are faced with newness and challenges every single day that require the power of our minds to process and then execute OR maybe not do anything.  Some newness and challenges slam us right in our face.  Others creep up on us and knock us down so suddenly that we are crawling and struggling until we can get back on our feet to walk again.  Everything/Everyone is a process.  More often than not, the process can be hard and as hurtful as hell on earth.  It can also be another process on top of a process and even on top of that of just when you think you are there and finally being blinded by the light at the end of a dark tunnel that you can be sucked and brought back in to such pain and suffering that you have to restart and rebuild to heal and fight to come out stronger.  A friend once said to me that if a certain process is not working then you have to break certain patterns and come up with a new process. Life requires that flexibility, adaptability, and bending to not break. We work to be firm in our convictions and decisions with what we are faced with in life, but to always tread gently, carefully, patiently to trust the most difficult process.    It is about HOW you do it and the ‘HOW’ comes from our minds and how incredibly powerful the mind is.  It is about trusting the process. 
What were or are some challenges and difficulties you can recall that required quite the process?  Have you had to break certain patterns in order to start a new process?  Are you giving yourself time to heal and rebuild?   When were you like ‘whiskey’ of coming out stronger from an arduous and brutal process?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary ;-) 


I have never been much of an outdoors, nature, and down in the dirt digging, and Mother Earth kind of girl.  I think the main reason for this is because I grew up with physical limitations that often placed me in the sidelines wishing, wanting, and wondering rather than out there to actually do, active, and engaged in the game and glory and beauty of Mother Nature.  When I got my hip replacement in 2013 AND after about a year and more of recovering to learn to walk again and undo what I had been compensating and doing ‘wrong’ just about 30 years of my life, my whole world and life changed for the absolute better.  I never thought I would reach a point of saying: “Why didn’t I get that hip replacement sooner??”  But, I did reach that point. And, I remember my starting point was when I was outside down in the dirt in the vicinity of my outdoor patio to try to figure out and plant perennials, sunflower seeds, and tomatoes and cucumbers.  There is something so soothing, comforting, and relaxing with knees bent being down in the dirt to drop little seeds with hope and faith that they will blossom and bloom. Dare I say that it is almost being in a prayer pose and just having faith that what you plant will actually grow and work out to something better and more beautiful than you ever could have imagined. 

I am sad to say that I was always very good at starting my potted plants, but I was absentminded and careless with the upkeep and maintenance.  I remember cucumbers, sunflowers, and tomatoes starting to grow and then I would forget to water and they would droop sadly to their eventually demise and death.  Disappointed and dismayed with myself, I let go of the possibility that I could actually grow anything. 

Then, I befriended a woman who I saw as a garden guru.  She showed me her fresh blueberries, raspberries, lettuce, tomatoes, and array of colorful flowers outside and her potted rich green plants inside that she watered and positioned to face the sun streaming through her impeccably clean and clear windows.  This friend also introduced me to weeds.  Gosh almighty, she HATED weeds.  She was fixated on weeds to the point of plucking them out whenever she would see them and not just purposefully on her own property.  When she saw them, she would announce: “There’s another one!  Take it out!”  Then, her soil-encrusted hands would reach down to that weed and off it went.  Recently, I heard this friend’s voice again how horrible weeds are when I was in my sister’s community garden that was embedded with fat zucchini and plump cucumbers.  As soon as we walked into the gated community garden, my sister gave me garden gloves and a hoe with specific instructions: “Remove all the weeds!”  So, there I was down in the dirt thinking how far I had come since 2013 to actually have the beating and blazing sun in my back as I yanked out weeds.  I soon got to huffing and puffing with drips of sweat running down my face wondering why I was subjecting myself to such work on a Saturday morning when my sister asked gleefully: “Isn’t this therapeutic?  Are you having fun??” 

I did not answer because I was ready to pass out from the heat and asked pitifully: “So, like, when are we eating again?” 

My sister’s response was: “Just think of all these weeds as the people who come in uninvited and unwanted and you have the power to remove them.  Just like that.” Write your post here.


That made me stop dead in my tracks.  All this time I had never understood why weeds were the mortal enemy of all enemies.  I actually felt bad for the little suckers that everyone appeared to hate.  With that one statement from my sister, I finally got it in my own way that these gardens are like our lives with certain plants, flowers, or veggies that are just like people that we put our energy, work for, and focus on to grow.  There are also the weeds that are unwanted and uninvited that can do damage to our lives/gardens, but they invade and impact us to teach and show us our need to focus on the non-weeds in our lives that really require our time, energy and efforts.  We often struggle and have to work even harder to remove these weeds because we may not realize our own worth or have the strength to leave or let go.  It takes energy and efforts to take care of the relationships that are worthy, but it also takes just as much energy and efforts to put an end to the ones that no longer are worthwhile to us and to realize the ones who are the non-weeds and really worth it all.  To make room for the worthwhile, you have to remove what is not worthwhile.   If only we could distinguish weeds from the non-weeds and realize who to spend our energy and efforts on versus not and, this, is the most challenging part of all.  

‘Weeds’ are people in our lives who come in uninvited and unwanted that posses their own impact of teaching and showing us about our worth and strength to have to remove them to keep on moving forward and caring for the people who are worthwhile.  Who are some weeds that have come in to your life to invade?  Did you remove them to make room for those that need love and care?  Are you struggling to remove them?  Can you decipher the ones to spend your energy and efforts on rather than those who are really ‘weeds’?  

And, yet, after all this of dirt, seeds, plants, flowers, produce, and weeds, I think about how much my own life has changed with a hip replacement to get in touch with my earth girl self to get down in the dirt to pull out those unwanted weeds to make space and room to plant and nurture those that can bloom and blossom with time, faith, and care.
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,
Mary ;-)


The Crack in the Ceiling

A couple weeks ago, I flicked on the bathroom light switch where a warm glow of spilled over into my foyer.  That is when the crack in my ceiling caught my eye. 
My eyes bugged out in horror with the perfectly hair-lined crack that began on one side of the wall and then veered sharply to one side and seemed to be continuing in a straight path almost to the opposite end of the wall.    I thought: “Well, this is it.  The ceiling is going to come crashing down on me.”

These past few months, it has been one household issue after another.  It had been one issue after another.  It was never easy.  It always felt like a fight.  It felt like everything was falling apart.  It felt like everyone was falling apart or at their seams ready to rip into shreds; Me at the top of the list.  I tried to keep one of my good friend’s words of wisdom in the back of my mind: “Just be thankful that it is things that are falling apart, and not people.  Things can be replaced.  People cannot.”  It had been a year thus far of tremendous losses and issues, and I was about to lose it with this latest one.  Something different was switched on in me with this crack in the ceiling.  In the past, I had panicked and cried.  Now, the switch was flick on to this: I was annoyed, I was fed up, and, I was downright pissed off.

Sometimes, I think to myself that it would be just so much damn easier if I had a boyfriend, significant other, husband, or just someone/anyone living with me so we could go through it together, or, better yet, that person could be the handy person of all time to fix things for me rather than me having to figure this out all on my own of finding someone reliable and affordable to fix this stuff.  However, I have come to realize that people can’t drop everything to come to your rescue because they may need some rescuing themselves.  Everyone is dealing with their own stuff and probably need some saving and sanity as well.   In the end, we all have our own plates of problems and have to handle them on our own.  For the first time I saw that crack in the ceiling and stared at it with conviction that it was growing bigger until the ceiling caved in on me, I sat for a silent moment to really think about what I was going to do to fix this problem—and, to fix a problem, you have to know what exactly the problem or root of the problem is.   

First I messaged friends and then friends of friends.  One did not want to get involved.  The other could not get involved.  Another did not have the time.  Finally, I turned to strangers to make recommendations on someone to take a look at this crack in the ceiling.  One by one, the recommendations came flooding in.  Too many options.  Too much confusion.  I bit the bullet and just went with the first recommendation.  That’s how I met Michael.
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