Hot Wings and Kitty Litter

My daughter loves the fried chicken nuggets in a spicey sauce from a local Chinese-American restaurant. Amazingly, sometimes it is the only thing she can keep down due to her current health challenges.
When visiting her and her wonderful family, and finding out tidbits like that, as well as that her nineteen-month-old son has a large vocabulary and knows many gestures of sign language she has taught him, and that her remarkable husband is installing solar panels as well as digging water lines for their home, I was humbled. Then a larger sense surrounded me: I was part of their family. I helped feed my two grandsons, herded the dogs, weeded sagebrush and nasty pokie weeds to clear space for a garden, fed the goats, and then chased her two sons while their parents did household and farm tasks.

Family, belonging, meaning.

That sense of peace and belonging enveloping me felt lovely. Even as I have my own fulfilling life, it is much more solo and four hundred miles away from them. That sense was a pleasant surprise. To be part of their small community, not an external visitor. Ah, finding the right words to express this now.

Yes, my poppies are blooming. As are my foxgloves and the myriads of daisies. I write this while listening to David Garrett’s spectrum of musical expertise on his violin. Commitment, talent, meaning.

It was not only when hot wings had climbed to the top of the priority list of urgent things to retrieve, they were about to be out of cat litter. With four cats, that is a definite imperative.

So off drove my son-in-law on the forty-minute drive to town to get both the mandated items. As I dug up more weeds and kept an eye on the boys, ages four and a half and one and a half, as they filled buckets with dirt, dumped them out, and ran through it, I had to smile as I thought of my own priorities. Cat litter was in the mix as well, yet this being with my family was now it. They wanted my help. I loved doing it. I rescheduled my trip to France to be here, happily. Priorities, commitment, love.


O la la, yes, Paris is fabulous.

Venus de Milo at the Louvre. I look forward to the next trip. Sitting at a bistro and watching the people, seeing the cars, taxis, & busses swoosh by, hearing the voices of people talking as they jaunt along the sidewalks, zooming along when riding in the Metro, eating a caramel crepe on the Eiffel Tower!
Breathing in and being in the ambiance of Paris.

When they were building the Glass Pyramid at the Louvre in late 1980’s, which is now the entrance to the spectacular museum, they discovered during the excavations there were ramparts and streets below the ground. Which according to our tour guide, that no one prior to the excavations had any knowledge that the ramparts were there and had been for centuries. The Louvre was built as part of a palace and fortress in the 12th century.

Safety, history, legacy.

From Paris, I will then take the train out to Langres, about a three hour, scenic ride through farmland, villages and the countryside. Langres is another ancient city, dating back to the 3rd century.

Much of my family history is there. And family. Getting to know and build relationships with my cousins who live in and around Langres is a joy and a wonder.
Cousins, walking the ramparts, seeing and being where my great-great grandparents lived.

Family, belonging, history.


Peace, love, and light to you.



Text and photos (c) copyright Mary Dessein

A Path to Besançon

When I saw an orange-breasted robin wrangling a worm up out of my lawn a couple days ago, I thought I have worked hard for things, too. Haven’t most of us? How many times did the bird have to do that to get a decent meal?

In looking at the abundance of irises in my yard, I saw the blossoms in full bloom and the tight buds yet to express their beauty to the world. Potential. Present and imminent for the future.

Wrangling. Abundance. Potential.
Working toward a goal.
The robin wrangler captured my thoughts. There are a myriad of birds in my world. When I sit on my deck in the evenings as the sun sets, listening to all the chirps, tweets, caws, hoots, coos, warbles of those birds, it is like I am connected to Nature, to the real world.

Working on my novel, being present for my family, going to a concert, helping a neighbor, mowing my lawn and weed-eating. I am connected to Nature, yes? A story-line in my novel took me to the town of Besançon in southeastern France (pronounced behzansan). Quite the history there, and it was way fun to be led to a new discovery.

Such a wondrous part of writing: the characters and events often reveal themselves as I am writing. I am sitting at my computer trying to wrangle the next event or conversation out of my thoughts. Then the character downloads it into my head. Another cool part is that when I try to create what I think should happen or what a character should say, there is the part of me that says, “That is not working,” or “That does not feel right.”

I have learned to pay attention to that part. Yay, it’s about time!

Thanks for reading~~ The foxgloves may be next: they are getting tall and are full of buds.

Bravery, Gratitude, and a Talking Horse

A dear friend texted me the other day to tell me how much the essays in my book, “When I Was a Rock Star,” encouraged her and thanked me. Being valued is a great way to start my day. The essay she referred to is ‘How Do You Be So Brave?’ which is about kids who have medically complex health issues at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Dr. Stanley Stamm, who founded the pediatric cardiology department at Children’s and pioneered treatments. One of his caveats, “Treat kids like people, not patients.”

These kids have to work to be alive every single day, some in order to take their next breath.
And they do it.

My dear friend has bought six copies of my book! One for herself and five as gifts. Yes, I am very grateful.

This amaryllis is something, right? It usually blooms end of April/early May. Here it is blooming the end of February. This amazing plant is about forty-four years old. Yup! and it was a start from my Aunt Margaret’s plant those many moons ago.

It gets more amazing: it blooms once a year, sometimes three stalks of blossoms, sometimes just one stalk. When my mom died eight years ago on September 2, a single stalk came up with a single blossom on it.
I have no explanation for it other than this is some remarkable, perceptive plant.

Another dear friend gifted me with a remarkable book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charles Mackesy. “We don’t know about tomorrow,” said the horse, “all we need to know is that we love each other.”
“We have such a long way to go,” sighed the boy. “Yes, but look how far we’ve come,” said the horse.

How far we’ve come. Each of us measures this in different ways, hopefully we do indeed see it.

Another talking horse: Mr. Ed.
Remember this fun television show from the ’60’s? Some of you do!
Our family looked forward to it each week. We got our first television around 1961. Mr. Ed, the talking horse who spoke only to his owner, Wilbur, was played by a gorgeous American Saddlebred, who’s name was Bamboo Harvester, and his voice was done by an actor from westerns, Allen Rocky Lane.
Mr. Ed had a mind of his own:
“My mom didn’t raise her horse to be a jackass.”
“You don’t have to say your horse told you. Tell your friends it was your cat.”
“Quit gabbing and bring me some oats.”

Okay, I’ll quit gabbing~ Thank you for reading.

And my book, “When I Was a Rock Star: Thoughts on Being Present on the World” with the foreword written by fabulous musician, Dmitri Matheny, is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book!

Rambling, restless thoughts.

Here we are in 2024. Forty years since George Orwell’s novel, 1984, cautioned us to beware how truth and facts can be manipulated. The novel was published in 1949, his last completed novel. My, oh my.
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” George Orwell, 1984.

I hearken back to the song, “Christmas in the Trenches,” by John McCutcheon, remembering the remarkable event in 1914 World War I; truth, genuine humanity.
“We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” George Orwell, 1984.

Ah, today would be my Dad’s 104th birthday. 2024. It is fun to remember him, how he supported my various endeavors, as well as tried to teach me to play golf then gave up as I was a bit random and dangerous with swinging golf clubs. He took me out in his log truck for first time when I was about 8 or 9. He taught me to be safe and enjoy the excitement at the same time. I even got to climb to the top of the load of logs! Wow!

Humanity. This mosaic on the wall was a delight to find as my friend and I walked the streets of Langres, France, last year. It is on the corner of Rue Claude Forgeot. We could see no identification or information on it as to who created it or why or when.

Time and effort.
O la la!

To my knowledge, my dad never traveled outside the U.S., although he was born in Saskatchewan. His family was in Seattle by the time his younger brother was born about a decade later. He was stationed in the U.S. during his Army time in WWII.
Dad, and my mom, would be pleased that I am such a blood donor. Yup, I’ve donated gallons over the last few decades. They were big advocates of leaving the world better than you found it and modeled that behavior by their own volunteering and giving. Ah, humanity finds it way to us, hopefully.

2024, May this year bring you challenges to grow from and joy to bloom into.

Sea shells via intuition

We had been at the off-leash dog park, my rambunctious pup and I. He’d had a good series of gallops, so I was feeling guilt-free that I had a bunch of quiet time, for him, of online tasks to do when we got home and practice for the open mic I planned on going to.
As I crested the top of the dramatic Keystone Hill Road and headed down the 11% grade, I could see the beach in the distance ahead of me. Ah, a walk on the beach, pick up some more white rocks for my garden bed, and listen to the waves swooshing in.
Nope, my do-it brain said, I had things to do. Yet a calling inside me beckoned: it is early yet, the beach is right here, Pup is happy now. Go to the beach.
So I did.
The tide was in, which left a narrow path of beach rocks between the wall of driftwood and the incoming waves. Within a few steps along the beach, I saw a long-lived sea shell there among the rocks and picked it up. What a gift!

Finding sea shells was always special when I was a kid with my folks and my Grandmere as we walked the Mukilteo or Kalaloch Beach.

What stories could this shell tell? It had clearly been up down, and all around for quite some time.

Recently, I heard Karl Olsen of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland sing “Christmas in the Trenches.” Went right into my heart. His excellent voice and rendition of this song, written by John McCutcheon. An event on Christmas, 1914 that I believe we need to remember and explore. To hear John talk about it a bit then sing it:

My grandfather was stationed in eastern France during World War I, which is part of the impetus for the novel I am currently working on. His being there is how this part of my family got here, how where I am and who I am came to be. Oh, to talk with him now.

Walking along the beach, the waves washing up over my boots a few times as I reach down for those white rocks calling to me. I find another shell! How cool is that? Enjoying the walk as I balance myself on the unsteady rocks, hear the waves swish up to me, and keep seeing ‘one more’ white rock in front of me. Then I spot another shell! Woo-hoo! What a remarkable day this is.

Seems about time to head back to the car. I am nearing the logs and driftwood to climb over and there is a fourth shell! Indeed, this is a day to be remembered! Hi Mom. Hi Grandpa! Hi Grandmere (my mom’s mother)!

Indeed, I hold these shells wondering where they’ve been, what beaches have they seen and washed up upon, what creatures and how many lived in them. And what they would tell me if they could.

How fortunate that I listened to my inner voice. I am blessed indeed.
A wondrous, health-filled 2024 to you. Thank you for reading.