England My England, Part II

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Travel | 7 Comments

Christie’s adventures continue with connections nearly missed, rekindled and newly made

The tiny train, a toy really, shunted me from Derby to a station near Nottingham. I had missed the last London express and the ticket seller assured me that the only way to get back that night was to pick up the express from Nottingham. I was deposited in the original haunted railway station. The quaint brick waiting room with its fading pastel scalloped façade and boarded-up windows looked spookier in the murky darkness than the station for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Beyond the station I could just about make out fields and woods, i.e. middle of nowhere.

Acting more confident than I felt, I set off down the deserted platform towards what I thought would be an information board. The driver of the departing train leaned out the window and yelled “Oyup luv, you better get crackin’ up them steps and o’er t’other platform, London train ‘bout to arrive.” I looked down the line to see a light getting bigger and closer. Read more

England My England

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Family, Travel | 10 Comments

Leave the pomp and circumstance behind, and take a walk on the wild side with Christie

I just returned from my first visit to the UK in five years. Nothing much has changed as far as I could tell. The nation was a bit tired from celebrating Kate and Wills wedding bash, but most seemed to agree it was a superb demonstration of British pomp with a liberal dash of the moderne. The unexpected day off courtesy of more PR conscious royals and a wobbly coalition government cheered the nation; and everyone was appreciative of Beatrice and Eugenie’s efforts to incorporate vaudeville into the day.

Clever Cat, who is about to visit the Sceptered Isles herself, asked if I saw any theatre during my trip. Hah! I visited my family. Now honestly, isn’t a visit with your family the best theatre ticket in town? Comedy, drama, mystery, it’s all there. Not that my family is any different from anyone else’s; a group of people thrown together through biology and desire, well-practiced in their eccentricities.

I spent a glorious few days with my sister in her new Cornish home. I really envy her retired life with all the conveniences and benefits of a social welfare system that is ailing but not yet dead. Baby boomers across the Pond are quietly enjoying their “golden” years trying not to feel too badly that they are probably the last generation to experience these joys. Read more

Dream the Night, Seize the Day

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, spirit | 9 Comments

Dreamtime Sisters by Colleen Wallace Nungari

After being jolted awake, thousands of miles from the epicenter, Christie remains alert and open to dreams of all kinds

It is very hard to write this post. We are all profoundly disturbed by what is happening in the world and I feel puny in my attempts to sort emotions and thoughts coherently. Perhaps I should just simply tell you what happened to me in the last few days.

At around 1:00 a.m. Thursday night, I jolted awake, heart pounding and feeling a sense of complete dread. I was not having a nightmare I was in the middle of a lovely dream visit with my Dad. I could not imagine why I had received an urgent message to wake up. I reached over and turned on my radio and heard the first reports from Japan. Immediately I thought of Freddy in Hawaii and the threat of a tsunami. The next thing I grabbed was the phone. Freddy was in no immediate danger; it would take hours for the tsunami to reach Hawaii, but in that moment I needed to connect with him and know he would be prepared. Read more

Retreat and Advance

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Courage, Relationships | 9 Comments

As Christie checks in, her mind checks out — a new year, a new approach

New Year’s Eve celebrations have seemed less than satisfying in the past few years. Most parties are filled with couples and at the stroke of midnight I am the one standing off to the side gamely smiling. So I decided I would try something different, a personal 24 hour retreat to contemplate the year past and the year about to arrive.

On Friday afternoon I took myself off to an expensive local hotel and checked in. When I handed the completed form to the desk clerk, she read it through and stared at me. “You live in St. Paul?” I nodded. She gave me a piercing look and handed over my room key. As I walked to the elevators I could feel her eyes on me, and the little bag I carried. It was not until I reached my room that it dawned on me, Crikey; I’ve been put on suicide watch in a luxury hotel! I wondered if I should go back down to the desk and assure them I was sound in mind and spirit. Then decided that I may not be that convincing.

I was here to think, and not think. To let thoughts come and go and travel where they may. To examine some of my irrational fears, search for prejudices and pre-conceptions, try and discover what I wanted in my life and what steps I needed to take to make it happen. All this I would have to do while ordering room service every hour so that no-one would break the door down to see if I was “okay.” Read more

Winter Comes Again

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Group Posts | 7 Comments

fresh snow piled high along a cleared walkway besides a house

A neighbor’s kindness brings warmth to Christie’s Minnesota winter

The promise of a blanket of snow thrills me and fills me with… hope. The world outside becomes quieter and quieter as the snow deepens, it is time to go inside and contemplate the year past and the year to come. When the sound of a snow blower interrupts my thoughts, I look out and see my neighbour Scott making sure the entire sidewalk around my house is cleared. I am reminded what a privilege it is to receive and give help. We all feel and do better when we take care of one another. I promise to give and ask for more help this coming year. Who can imagine what new growth will appear when the snow melts in the spring?

Hey Big Spender!

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Environment | 9 Comments

Christie explores a modern dilemma: is time saved actually time well spent?

The whole idea started when I was standing at my kitchen sink washing a badly blistered finger and cursing enough to make Snoop Dog blush. I had spent 30 minutes yanking the pull rope on my gas mower. The grass grew another half-inch while I over-exerted myself, sweat stinging my eyes and puffs of blue-reeking smoke burning my lungs. Enough! Gas mowers are supposed to save you time and effort. I dragged the dying beast to the curb, wrote “FREE” on a piece of cardboard and went inside to clean my wounds. The truck pulled up while I was at the sink. Sayonara El Toro.

I was not quite prepared for the clothes dryer to give a screech and die. Shall I buy another? Or shall I try and do without another time-saving machine of post-modern living?

It was about this time that friends passed along a wonderful read, Drinking The Rain written by Alix Kates Shulman. Ms. Shulman writes about her life and of her self-imposed exile to an extremely basic Maine Coast cabin. After a particularly stressful and difficult visit to the local store for food supplies she muses on “saving time/time-saving.” Her muse visited me. If I am saving time, who and what am I saving it for? Can time actually be saved? If you have been following the progression of quantum physics from string to membrane (or brane) theory to parallel universes you know we could go a lot of places with these questions. Read more

Sex and Politics, the TV Show

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Politics | 7 Comments

The Debates: (L-R) Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Gordon Brown

From “Bigotgate” to shades of Kennedy/Nixon, Christie Healey gives the play-by-play on the recent UK elections

As I sat eating my breakfast this morning, I thought of Mr. Brown. Gordon Brown, a man whose brilliant background in accountancy could not save him from miscalculation of the odds. I imagined him at the 10 Downing Street breakfast table last Friday, the eviction notice hovering in his mind. He must have thought, “Where did I go wrong? He waited years for this gig, suffering in silence while Tony bounced all over the world like Tigger only to be given the old heave ho at the first opportunity.

The last two weeks of the adorably short UK general election campaign have been nothing less than stunning. The changes for Mr. Brown were foretold upon England’s foray into that most American of primetime shows, “The Debates”. Our brusque-toned dour Scot was pitted against the Liberal Democrats’ youthful and articulate leader, Nick Clegg, who puffed deep breaths of fresh air into the stale clichés of British politics. Even the Conservatives’ front man, an urbane and typically toffee-nosed type, managed to look like one of the stars of Mad Men compared to the rumpled, haggard Mr. B. Read more

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