Friday, October 26, 2007

Gaye Elaine Pammett — "Climb Every Mountain"

Every year it is with great sadness and anticipation of reliving the loss that I count down the days until the anniversary of that day — Oct 24th, 1980 — when we all got the shocking news that my dear sister, Gaye Elaine Pammett, was tragically taken from us. In that moment, listening to my Dad on the phone who called up broken-hearted and in a state of shock, I knew that life as I knew it would never be the same... though I could not imagine what it would be like continuing to live my life without her.

click here to see this image Full Size This year, on the 27th anniversary of that day, I've made a slightly different version of the "commemorative" picture that we used at Gaye's memorial service, just because I wanted to do something to honor her memory — to make her more present in my day-to-day life.

We came up with the phrase — "Climb Every Mountain" — back in 2005 when our church decided to create a "memory garden" as a fund raiser so we could repaint the First Parish Church (Unitarian Universalist) in Groton, Massachusetts. I used the phrase on "Gaye's brick" in that garden as a metaphor for the life she lived and the example that she provided to many others.

click here to see this image Full Size How sad it is that my children never got to know Gaye. How amazing it is that they are now old enough to be living away from home; Gaye has been gone — at least her physical presence on Earth — almost the same number of years that her shining light and radiance brought joy to everyone that she encountered.

When I look at the maple tree we planted in Gaye's honor, now growing in our back yard since 1998... every season of the year, but especially the Fall colors, remind me that her spirit still lives on in my heart, as it will forever. Gaye — I still hear you, in the wind bringing your reassuring presence to me. Thank you. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Waterskiing in October -- New England Fall Foliage at its Peak

My legs and shoulder muscles are still aching after I spent last Sunday afternoon waterskiing on the lake in front of D'Anna's — Martin's Pond, in North Reading... But oh, was it worth it!! — Just look at a sample of the New England Fall Foliage at its Peak: click here to see this image Full Size Moreover, it was an unseasonably hot and sunny day — albeit past mid October — so we just had to take advantage of it even though the group of us got together ostensibly to help D'Anna wash and put away his Ski Nautique speedboat for the season. Of course, the entire lake was rimmed with fabulous Fall colors like this, but the 10 snapshots that went into this panorama only show about 15% of the lake. If you click on the panorama, you see it much bigger than above but apparently even the "full size" option in Google's blog still only gets you an image that's one tenth the actual size. A more satisfying choice would be to download or view the full panorama here; it's (6055 x 864 pixels). Viewed in full height, about half way along the horizontal scroll, you can see D'Anna's boat trailer where we launched the boat from his yard. Not shown in the picture is all the drama around the truck suddenly having no brakes just when we needed it to launch the boat. click here to see this image Full Size

There are many more pictures (here, in Flickr) of the other men who skiied with us... but this is my blog so I'm going to feature myself (on the right): my 2nd time up on D'Anna's wakeboard. As you can tell from the "Oh, Shit!!!" look on my face, this picture was taken just before I fell on my a**s. I didn't actually do as well, this time, as I had my first time on the wakeboard (last August). But it really is a blast so I'm looking forward to getting better at it next year. Wakeboarding is "just like" snowboarding, not that I actually know because it's really my two girls who know all about that.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was when John Brigham successfully dropped one ski — slalom on his first try — as you see below in my YouTube video clip. Look closely at the beginning of the video clip and you'll see that he starts out on two skis. He drops one, and then makes it around the entire lake, going in and out of the wake, never having even tried slalom before; amazing !

click here to see this image Full Size The video clip has an audio track, but it's really just the noise of D'Anna's (340 horsepower!) inboard, so you might wanna mute your sound for this one. Initially I thought it was "by design" that Google filtered the "bad sound" out, but it was just that my mute button had gotten stuck.

Either way, the better "voice" is what you see in John's face as "he really does it" !!!

Featured in the Flickr Album "Waterskiing in mid-October -- New England Fall Foliage at its Peak": LaBarge, D'Anna, Pammett, John Brigham and Esteverena.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Journey from "Friend" to an Enduring Masculine Relationship

Today I find myself still on a high from my recent experience of sponsoring a man — my "Best Man" — as a participant in an intensive weekend of transformation that I know will change his life, as it did mine starting 2.5 years ago.

This "Best Man" had watched from a distance as I did my weekend, then my LD and many other growth experiences that I did with "my men" throughout MDI in New England since May 2005. But he'd long maintained that "this was not for him; he didn't want to have more men in his life... he wanted to find a female partner that he could make a long term commitment to".

But all that changed when Quest and the Family of Women put on a BBQ in mid September (alas, the amazing Dylan-inspired Flash story in my "$11 bill" blog entry is not longer available) to "bring together" people who would not normally get together. My "Best Man" came with his girlfriend and they got to talk to men and women who'd been part of the Sterling community for ages; finally he heard about the SMW from men other than me, and noticed that there were a lot of familiar themes to what they all said that rang true with things I'd been saying. He began to see that maybe this wasn't "just Pammett's thing".

And the rest, as they say... is history !!

Reconnecting with my man after his weekend — seen here when we stopped to drop off a bouquet of flowers — was a great joy and a significant growth experience that I will never forget. Seeing my man really get that he has the power to manifest his own life, as only a man can... was such a rewarding experience.

And all that leaves me feeling like patience and persistence has finally paid off. You can lead a horse to water, but he drinks when he's fuckin'-well ready to drink. And not before.

Thus continues our "long journey"... We've got many more milestones along the way but now I know that this will definitely be a turning point for me; my life will never be the same again.