Monday, October 21, 2013

First Monday home

Today was good, not exactly restful what with laundry and the exterminator and client phone calls, but good.  I enjoyed being on my own in the house for a good part of the day.  Also, being newly home is a time for fresh starts and new experiences. I just got back from my first Tai Chi class EVER. It was offered as a free trial for a six week series at the school where Liam takes kung fu. I liked it. the price is reasonable for six weeks and I think I will give it a try. I liked the slow cleansing pace and the gradual shifting of weight from foot to foot - good for my balance. As for the specific forms, forget it! But I'm in the sweet role of being a complete beginner. I'm not supposed to know what I'm doing. Feels good.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Home again, home again jiggedy jog. Our drive back from Texarkana was uneventful. except that we were able to use it constructively regarding our book plans, which keep fleshing out. We made it back before sunset and arrived to pumpkin carving and tacos cooking. Ruth carved a scary Medusa pumpkin and Liam a funny basic jack and they tested both of them out in my closet, the darkest place in the house. Family dinner felt good, especially giving Liam his gifts of fruit stand north Carolina apples and a picture of his pilot great grandpa in full gear in plane. He was thrilled with both. At this point the suit cases are back in the attic and the trip clothes drying in the drier. Real life here I come, but with flame leaves and silver mists swirling in the back of my mind.

Bob and I also talked about life style changes we want to make - healthier life style.  I am exercising less than I ever have, and that is dumb.  I don't like the way it feels.  Both of us need to lose weight and focus on healthier eating.  I want to reduce my stress and feel safer and more relaxed.   WE also agreed to schedule at least one three hour work pereiod a week on cleaning and moving more thoroughly into our room - 2:30 to 5:30 on Mondays.  The presence of this scheduled time feels good to me.  I want more order in our physical and temporal lives than we've had of late.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bob and I had a good if slightly tiring travel day. We're in our last hotel and it's a fine one. Bob gets our rooms through Hot Wire and has gotten us some great deals and a variety of comfortable, pretty rooms. Tonight we're in a Courtyard in Texarkana, happy to be off the road where football crowds from football crazed states including Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas are either celebrating or consoling themselves. Our room is gorgeous, all... very modern with reds and classy curved lamps. I feel fancy. Tomorrow I'll have to clean my own room. And also will get to enjoy the comforts of home. We listened to audio lessons about how to appreciate great music from a company called "The Great Courses." I am learning so much, and feeling reassured with what my mind can still take in. I also finished one knitted scarf and started another one in the car. And Bob and I have a decent rough outline for book two - so I have lots to be satisfied with in this moment.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Today was definitely wildlife day. Bob and I had the treat of observing a meadow full of elk both in the morning and in the late afternoon, when they were much more active. The Smoky Mountain herd has about 160 elk and a large group of them hang out in the Cataloochie Valley, which is where we saw them. It is bugling season, and we were treated to that sound a number of times, especially from ...the impressively large male who was king of the harem. Another male had clearly been rubbing his antlers against a tree and was wearing a branch eith which he had become entangled like a crown. On the way out of the valley we saw grouse, more wild turkey, and even a quick glimpse of a black bear in a tree. 
We also spent several afternoon hours hanging out in the group camp site where our book characters will have an adventure.  It is perfect, isolated and wildish but with bathrooms.  It also has a creek running through and  a delightful variety of trees, which we used a book to learn to identify.  We probably made a funny picture, Bob in his traveling reclining chair with books in his lap and me running around picking up leaves and pinecones to match against the pictures.  It was a blast!
 Tomorrow and the next day will be driving days, not quite as much fun, but we will have our audiobooks and each other's company and memories of a great family,wildlife and fall color trip.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The moon rose full over the Smokies tonight in lavender sly.  I'm not being hyperbolic.  the sky was really lavender.  I've never seen lavender sky, even without a full moon, or sky as softly silver as the clouds beneath tonight's moon.  The moon has been waxing our whole trip - now as we head home it begins to wane.  Such is life.

Fall trip - first week

Bob and I have been on a road trip for a week and a day now, visiting family, seeing eastern fall, and doing research for our next fantasy book. (We actually finished the first complete draft of the first book before we left home, just barely) I love road trips and writing and Bob's family and have always wanted to see the Smokey Mountains in the fall. so at this moment I'm a winner on every count. I've been posting a bit of our progress on Facebook, so some of this letter is old news to some of you, but I want to get it all together in one place and to those of you who don't read Facebook. I'm also adding a bit, especially about the family part..
We started out last Wednesday after work and, thanks to the beginning of an interesting Tennessee audio book called The Rosewood Casket made it to Louisiana awake, safe, and entertained.
Thursday surpassed imagination - riding down bayous fast in an open boat with Bob, our environmentalist guide, and his wonderful dog. I learned so much - including definitions. A swamp is a flooded forest and a marsh is a flooded meadow. Bald cypress trees grow two ways - wide at the bottom like a teepee and not so tall if they are mostly in water and tall, more traditionally tree like, if on land. I love the look of the "teepee" cypress trees. My peak experience was the time I spent out of the boat . feet on the spongy ground, alone in a little stand of big old bald cypresses. I loved the quiet, the smell of them, the filtered light. Both Bob and I are sad that there are no remaining stands of really tall old bald cypresses due to irresponsible logging and lightening strikes. I was also shocked to find out that people shoot alligators in the swamp for fun and just let their bodies rot. We saw two. Our guide said he loves some individual people very much but that as a species we aren't very good. I'll take that to Ruth's parenting language. I know we have goodness in us, but many of us sure aren't very well behaved a lot of the time. Many of the things I've seen on our trip confirm this feeling for me.
For example, it started out rainy today so Bob and I started inside in the Cherokee Museum in Cherokee North Carolina. It is a well done museum which filled my mind with interesting information (like that the Appalachian area is called the seed cradle for the northern American and Canadian forests because it preserved seeds that repopulated this area after the last ice age) and broke my heart with its presentation of the Trail of Tears. The scene in which a dinner table set with a chicken and carrots served on good dishes was abandoned because the Cherokee family who had sat down to dinner at that table was forced by soldiers to leave for Oklahoma with only what they could carry brought me to tears. It reminded me of scenes enacted in Jewish homes in Poland and Germany in the 1940's and in too many places, too many times. I wish that we humans could get it that we are more the same than we are different regardless of religion race or any other identifying characteristic and that none of us has the right to trick cheat or bully any of the rest of us out of land or any of the other good stuff of life.
Over the last few evenings - after dark stopped sight seeing, I've had an unusual chance to see both some of the best and some of the worst of humans - I've been talking by IM with KK about Dr. King's letter from the Birmingham Jail. I am glad that her school is using that great letter as a focus for literary analysis and I'm more glad I reread it. It has been too long. The focus on individual conscious and doing the right things for the right reasons gets me thinking hard about my life and focus now. I am especially stirred by the observation that time is neutral. It just passes and doesn't heal anything on its own. We have to work together to use time to create healing of all kinds of problems, personal, societal and global. Of course there is still the issue of figuring out what the right actions are at any given time.
The family aspects of the trip showed me how good people can be when they make good choices. It is wonderful to have married into a family that honors and delights in all its generations. Bob's Dad and mom were genuinely surprised and delighted when we turned up as surprise visitors for his dad's eighty ninth birthday celebration cousin Hazel and Jim's beautiful country house outside Nashville. We enjoyed great meals and conversations, serious and light. I even got in two visits with precious year and a half old great niece Micha who is a picture of health and joy - with curls and a burgeoning vocabulary and a sweet sweet smile. People can choose love and do it right. I'm lucky to be frequently among such people.
And then there has been fall in the Smokey Mountains - a new treat for me. It would have been on my "bucket list" if I believed in "bucket lists".
Highlights of early fall across Tennessee included bright red vines (ivy-like) climbing up trunk of tress whose leaves were still green and the way many of the tall trees started turning gold from the tops down. I also didn't know Queen Anne's lace bloomed in the fall, but I saw some near Knoxville..Fall color intensified as we drove into Virginia. I observed that the trees turn not only top down but outside in. It was beautiful to see whole huge trees green at the heart and gold around the edges. I feel that way about aging sometimes, as young as ever in my deepest places but much changed on the surface - both in terms of the wear and tear of aging and in terms of the things I've learned and the experiences I've made part of myself. I'm content tonight to be an autumn tree in good company.
Fall on the Blue Ridge Parkway blew away any expectations, even though some of the Parkway was closed because of the Government Shutdown. Nobody can shut down tees, and oh there were trees dressed in every shade of gold and flame. All the colors of the ground were warm - from softest rose flowers to brightest scarlet tree, and the colors of air were cool - all blue and white and smoke.
I really never have seen anything like the crazy quilt of color from overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and nothing like the quick and capricious way the mist can blot out color in an instant. At one point I stood on an overlook looking at a big triangular mountain covered with spruce. I walked away for a minute to look at a flaming maple and when I turned back toward the mountain it was GONE - completely erased by mist. Good reminder for me that what I have is what I have right now.
I am always happy to see wild turkeys and we've seen them every day since we left Virginia, sometimes six or seven at a time. We also saw a big bull elk today outside the visitor's center at Smokey Mountain National Park (open now).
Today after the Cherokee museum we ate local barbecue (yummy) and entered the Smoky Mountains National Park. I saw a visual phenomena I have never seen and don't even know if I can describe - sunbeams shining through branches in such a way that they radiated out from a central glow and for just the last few seconds before they vanishedd, each ray showed all the colors of the rainbow! Bob tried to catch it with the camera but it disappeared too fast. It will never disappear from our memories though.
Also this afternoon I managed to walk (slowly) the steep half mile to the top of Klingman's Dome, the highest mountain in Tennessee. I climbed it in thick fog, which made the presence of the carcases of the giant balsam firs killed by an invasive species of insect, particularly haunting. The death of so many trees among so much beauty, especially when caused by an invasive species, scares and saddens me. I mean we all die, even trees, but the circumstances of these deaths don't seem right. Even in the presence of death, it was also beautiful up there high in the fog, especially when I got off the main paved trail and walked a little way on a trail with an intriguing name (The Mountain to Ocean Trail).
So that is what we are up to - an inner and outer adventure that I am loving.
We have more ahead of us in the Smokies tomorrow before starting travel days home - hopefully listening to more novel and to a cool audio class about learning to understand the historical context of classical music. I'll never catch up with Bob in that are of knowledge, but it is good to learn more.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rain today. I enjoyed an absence of heat. The moon which was new at Rosh Hoshannah is a waxing crescent now, a fat little boat sailing into tomorrow. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks and I think I have memories of that terrible day and the weeks with followed with mingling with concerns for our world today, especially regarding Syria. I keep thinking of the outward progression - peace in our hearts, our families, our communities, our nation, our world.

Monday, September 09, 2013


At this time of year Jews have a custom called tashlich where we leave our bad habits and defects of character in a body of moving water, like a creek or river in the form of bread crumbs. We let the movement of the water carry the old unwanted ways away and of course we have to work not to restart the same patterns all over again. I love how seriously Liam takes this practice at four and a half. At sixty three there is a lot more to leave in the river. This year I am working especially on moving away from the need to have people understand and appreciate my motivations and reasons for what I do and say. I want my message to be understood of course, but it is feeling more and more like ego to need my motivations to be understood - one more face of defensiveness and the need to be seen as right.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

New beginning

This is just a gesture at this point, but hopefully a meaningful gesture.  The new year has come in
- with thunder and lightening if not rain or cooling and a gorgeous sunset tonight.  Many I know are suffering greatly, more than usual.  There is also the joy in our house of a child delighted with starting "real" school.  I enter the high holy days with a strong sense of determination to live a sweeter year, more mindful in  little and big ways, and more intentionally connected with people I love.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I feel a surreal tonight , accutely aware of paradox and how fast circumstances can change. We are really having a good family evening with the very fluffy cheerful activity of decorating cupcakes central. I am deeply content with KK as she works well on chemistry homework and plans to get a good night dleep before choir competition tomorrow and touched by Liam's tenderness when he offered me a b...ite of his apple together. And Bob works hard on local politics and Ruth and I got a great consultation on landscaping from Colleen Dieter this morning. And bombs went off in Boston this afternoon and brought celebration and horror, terror and courage, contempt and heroism dancing way too close. And I know there are way too many places in the world where this would not even be news.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Family Monday

It's Joe's last full day here, and a sweet day. I like having him here on an ordinary day in the midst of all our Monday off to school routines. It has been so healing for me to have this visit, all of us clearly acutlely aware of Heidi's absence and mourning her, telling lots of Heidi stories, hard and happy, and also playing board games with Liam, enjoying meals, sharing plans and ideas for the rest of our lives. The statement I've heard so many times that we humans need to be able to speak the names of our beloved dead to others who care about us and about them has been a defining truth of this weekend.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Cousin Day

We had another great family day - cousins of al sizes tumbling like puppies all over back yard and trampoline along with an uncle and aunt - amazing dinner Chris prepared to all tastes. All must have tired themselves out as I seem to be the only one awake in a quiet house - before midnight even!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Visit from "Funny Joe"

Today my is full of family. With Bob's brother Joe visiting I've dropped all other activities for a few days, a real minivacation. At this moment Joe and KK are sitting together on the couch while he shows her video he took of her dance class this morning. Earlier Liam introduced Joe to his world of archery, sword fighting, and board games. We all had delicious lunch at hula hut on the lake. Tomorrow Joanna's family will join us for an even richer family day. Heidi's absence brings tears at times, and memories, stories, and pictures of her bring smiles and more stories. Loss hurts, and love really is stronger than loss.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Windy Monday

It's super windy here, which I generally like, but  Ruth and Liam found it too windy even to fly kites.  When I went out to KK's little house to wake her this morning Liam's swing on the pecan tree was swinging as if giving a ghost baby a ride - both amusing and a little eerie.  This afternood I heard that thereare major fires south of Manor where Chris teaches and also north of town, making the highway is so smoky it was  hard to see.  Ruth saw seven fire trucks while out and about today and there are branches down all over and have been significant but not overwhelming power outages.I hope this wind doesn't lead to much destruction and death.
Bob and KK and I went to a school board meeting this cold windy evening to hold up signs and thank the board for putting a proposal for a designated dance facility with an appropriate safe for the knees floor at the arts high school into the next bond proposal. It was a new experience for me, my first school board meeting, and a chance to see KK very grown up with her dancer friends, figuring out ...where we should sit and holding up her 'thank you" sign enthusiastically. I was especially impressed with her managing all of this on a day whe her pain level was very high. I put her to bed after the meeting like a little girl and felt an overflowing tenderness for her. I also felt gratitude for having the opportunities - like going to the school board meeting - a second time around because she is in our life on a daily basis. I think the co housing, having her and Liam in the family, keeps me feeling younger than I would in a family without every day children.
Dorothy quote of the day is "The only response to feedback, whether one likes it or not is 'thank you'. No defensiveness in ths presence of criticism or complaints. No deflecting or minimizing praise. Just "Thank you." Later internally one can evaluate the feedback, run it by one's inner mirrors, decide what to act on and what isn't a match, but in the moment the only answer to feedback is "thank you". I have fond memories of Dorothy, at summer workshops playfully tossing a funny stuffed turkey (the turkey award) to anyone who argued with feedback, especially throwing away compliments.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


It's the Jewish holiday of Purim - started last night. It's a holiday during which we are supposed to take ourselves lightly, laugh at ourselves, understand that trying hard to get everything right doesn't always do it. So people dress up in crazy costumes and read prayer services backward. We do all kinds of crazy things to mix up reality and pride a little. Last night life did that for me wit...hout any effort on my part. Bob and I went to the symphony and , as we headed back to our seats after intermission the turquoise silk balloon pants I was wearing fell right down around my ankles. Fortunately the embroidered Indian tunic I was wearing over them was midcalf length and I hitched them up so fast even Bob didn't see what happened. But still, it was a good Purim lesson for me. I lost my pants in public and the world didn't even blink.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Circle of Life

It is the first birthday of Micha Jaasma, the youngest Member of thriving family.  She is walking, charging ahead, soaking the world in with huge blue eyes.  Heidi has been dead almost five months.  A year ago she knew how bad her cancer was, but she was still planning and enjoying hikes, loving and laughing, cherishing each day and hoping for a miracle. A year ago my friend Mary,known as Chia died unexpectedly, after a long rich life.  Two days ago my mentor Dorothy Satten died after a long life which she lived fully, richly, generously until she was all used up.  I recognise the ebbing and flowing, waxing and waning of life force around me and within me.  None of us knows how long we have, who we'll see again and who we won't.  I want so badly to live this way, fully present in every moment, but I don't.  I get distracted and don't do the most important things first.  I leave "I love you", "Thank you." "I'm sorry." unsaid.  Perfection is impossible even in mindfulness. 

If you don't reveal yourself....

Today's Dorothy quote is "If you don't reveal yourself, people will invent you." This one really influenced me to be more transparent in my communications and behavior. I find it so true. It's so easy to tell myself stories, sometimes negative or critical, about what motivates another person or what she is feeling or thinking. When that person tells me what's really up, I find the story I've .invented is almost always a little (or a lot) off the mark. Human communication is hard enough, really knowing each other is hard enough, without having to interact with a made up character who has made me up. I want to be clear that I'm not talking about full immediate disclosure of everything that's ever happened to me, just an authentic presentation of what's going on with me in the moment - like telling a client, on a day when I'm tired, that I am unexpectedly tired from staying up too late helping KK with homework, rather than letting them think I'm bored with them or burned out or somehow terribly sick.

Friday, February 22, 2013

If you don't change direction...

For the next few days I want to share some of the pieces of wisdom I got from Dorothy Satten, the helpful quotes that run through my head as I live my life. The first is "If you don't change direction you get where you're headed." Fast, slow, dancing, crawling, hopping, enthusiastic or fighting and screaming, the mode doesn't change the destination But turning your feet just a degree changes it dramatically.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Death of Dorothy Satten

One of the wisest and kindest (as well as most brilliant and effective) people I have known and learned from died yesterday. I remember she used to say that when she died she wanted to be all used up - to not have held back but to have lived and been generous with all she knew and was. She sure did that. I don't go three hours most days without applying a life lesson she taught me. And I know I'm one of many. Thank you Dorothy. You were and ever remain a blessing.

Dorothy and her husband Mort taught me invaluable psycho drama techniques.  They taught me so much more though, about how to live and love and work and play. They,along with Martha Perkins and Carl Kirsch, are my professional "parents" and I will honor them always.  I regret that I didn't continue my relationships with them more actively after my period of studying with them was over.  I hope I gave enough love and appeciation back to people who truly helped me build the life I have today.

Among the lighter lessons I learned from Dorothy were how to wear a beautiful shawl with grace, that I can wear my hair long as long as I please, and not to pat people when I hug them.  Just to hold on.  I'm holding on to my memories of both her and Mort today and feeling the glow of rememberance more than the sadness of loss.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hope and action 5

The "don't forget to sing in the lifeboats" quote has been staying with me. I'd love to hear some stories of how some of you, or people in your lives, manage to connect with the strength of life force when plans have been shattered and directions changed against your plans. My example of the rainy day birthday was a small scale example. I think maybe much of the living richly and not comes in the extent to which we are able to stay in touch with life force (song) in big and small ways when the tide turns against us. I can see KK doing this right now, working so hard to keep sleep, exercise, eating, medicine taking and attitude in order to deal with a diagnosis that tests her dance dreams and her quality of life. I sure saw Joe and Heidi turn to the mountains and each other to find joy and strength while fighting cancer. I wonder how and in what circumstances other people do it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hard days

Some days are harder than others for no good reason. I keep tripping over my feet schedule wise today at work and it embarrasses me. Sometimes trying harder doesn't make performance better, which I hate. Real is better than perfect. Really. Got to remember that today. Real is better than perfect.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Hope and action 4

Hope and action 4 - Voltaire wrote "Life is a shipwreck and don't gorget to sing in the lifeboats." That seems very true and helpful to me. I don't know many people (maybe a few) whose lives have gone as expected without some major detours and shipwrecks along the way. Mine sure hasn't. I like the idea of singing in the lifeboats, finding the joy and maybe not always joy, maybesometimes a sad or angry song but a song all the same , wherever we find ourselves. Avery light example of this phenomenon occured today with Liam's fourth birthday party, which was outside at the park, four families with four four year olds and a two year old. It rained, and then didn't and then did agan. The helium balloons on which Ruth had carefully painted faces, all fell to the ground when the barometric pressure dropped. We pitched a tent, hid the food under the picnic tables, brought towels from home, and everybody had a great and memorable time. It would have been so easy to have let the weather "ruin" the party.

Friday, February 08, 2013

First Hint of Spring

I expect another freeze, but the first hints of spring are present here. I saw my second redbud blossms today, just a few on one tree across the street, still shy, and the earliest white buds on a few fruit trees. The rain has fallen off and on all day and the earth soaks it up.

Awareness (easy times)

Today was not a great day for awareness.  It was the kind of day on which I tend to say "i'm chasing my tail."  Nothing was wrong except that I was never truly present in any moment.  I half watched Liam as he showed me break dance moves and ate my dinner without tasting it. I thought about how to answer Bob before I heard what he was telling me. And I realised that I got by with that kind of sloppy awareness because nothing really hard happened today.  I coasted because I could.. In the hardest times we slog through,  foot in front of foot, every effort conscious.  I didn't apply that kind of intense mindfulness  today.  I don't think I apply it enough in general  in easy times. So I trip over my feet and get too easily distracted, startled, ahead of myself.  My resolve is to apply awareness even when it isn't absolutely essential to avoid falling on my face. My goal is to remember to take one step at a time even when the waxing moon rises bright and the wind chimes sing of springtime.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Hope and Action 3

 I'm reading more in "learned optimism" and thinking about the sentence "The very thought "Nothing I can do matters" prevents us from acting. This hits home especially because KK just read Elie Wiesel's holocaust story, "Night" for school and wrote an essay about why it matters if we stand up to what we see as harmful acts on personal, community, and global levels. It touched me to sit with her as she came up with examples, like avoiding and countering gossip, that a teen can take to prevent victimization of others in daily life.

Action for what we perceive to be good has always been a high value in our family, and it never really occured to me that one could feel that personal actions didn't matter. I feel a little more empathy tonight with people who don't pick up litter when walking in the neighborhood or don't write that letter to the editor that they feel needs writing or speak up to protect a weaker person who is being treated unjustly. I am so fortunate to have been raised to believe my actions make a difference even though every action doesn't bear immediate or visible fruit every time.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


Bob and I are up way too late but happy, doing a good deed. The whole family was struck by a bag for contributions left on our door this afternoon. We get these from time to time, usually for the local food bank. This time the not on the bag said "We don't want your money, just your shoes, any size, any condition." for shoeless people in Africa. I only had two extra pairs of shoes, gewnerally ...keeping myself to just a pair per season plus western boots and hiking shoes, but Bob had a trunk full of old shoes and now they are all out on the porch in bags ready to go. A skeptical part of my mind wonders how they are going to get to Africa and how much it will cost to get them there, and we do take shoes and clothes to local resale shops regularly, but somehow this felt right. The children in our house went through their shoes and really didn't have extra - one pair of outgrown choir shoes from KK, but I liked the directness of their being able to try to make a gift of their own, as concrete as shoes.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Good moment

KK felt better after class than before and left with her Daddy smiling and all caught up with everything. I worked all afternoon and feel good about progress, including successfully using a hack saw on some big branches. Bob and i walked dogs together. Chris is cooking for us now. It feels good in the house at this moment.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Hope and Action 2

 I like the definition of optimism I'm getting from "Learned Optimism" that optimism isn't believing that nothing bad will happen but that when it does one will not be powerless but able to cope. That fits the way I think. Believing bad stuff won't happen just feels stupid. Bad stuff and good stuff both happen every day. Believing I can cope and learn and hopefully use all experiences however difficult for good does feel reassuring, like something real to hold onto. I had never thought of that "can cope" attitude as being a definition of optimism.


Weekend is starting after a sweet shabbat service last night. KK is up working on a last math assignment with Bob and otherwise caught up, able to go to dance class with her favorite teachers and will spend most of the weekend with her Daddy. I want to spend this time helpful around the house and catching up with my own writing and thoughts.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Hope and action - 1

 With KK ill I'm making February "hope and action" month regarding my musings. I like that this phase is starting at midwinter, half way from winter solstice to the first day of spring. I'm ready to move toward flowers. I am starting to read the book "Learned Optimism" and love the quote at the beginning

yes is a world

& in this world of

yes live

(skillfully curled)

all worlds

ee cummings

"love is a place"


Hope and Action

Hope and action - 1 - With KK ill I'm making March "hope and action" month regarding my musings. I like that this phase is starting at midwinter, half way from winter solstice to the first day of spring. I'm ready to move toward flowers. I am starting to read the book "Learned Optimism" and love the quote at the beginning

yes is a world

& in this world of

yes live

(skillfully curled)

all worlds

ee cummings

"love is a place"


Thursday, January 31, 2013


Discouraged this morning and trying to shift my feelings. The last couple of days have been awful for KK with extreme pain. After all the years of being inspired by the beauty of her dancing movements it is especially painful to watch her struggle just to sit up in bed or walk to the table. She isn't even at a therapeutic dose on her main medication yet, and I know there is lots more to try in terms of both life style and medication, so I know there is lots of hope. I'm just bummed at the moment. It's hard to watch someone I love suffer and not be able to do enough. I do know she is listening to our guidance about stress reduction and I know she feels our love, so that is something.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Awareness 2

It's daytime now and I can see out the window behind me the devastation still left from Hurricane Katrina. The walkway I thought we would be able to take to the beach was damaged by the storm and there are still broken buildings between our two year old hotel and the water. I can see a lovely barrier island on which there are many dead trees, no doubt storm victims. There are also live trees, which remind me that life force comes back even after a great storm. My insight  that I cannot ever know the whole story of a person or place from what I am shown in a given moment is deepened. Last night I saw only luxury and now I see a history of fear, devastation, destruction, death, hope, courage, and restoration in this spot -and of course, still luxury.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

January Theme - Awareness (Awareness 1)

I am sitting up late in the living room of this awesome hotel suite ten floors up with the winter night sky and the Gulf of Mexico at my back. It is absurd that we are paying so little for such astonishing luxury. And I feel a little embarrassed that I find this luxury level quite so delightful. I've been running around like a kid smelling the soap and sitting in all. the chairs, feeling the textures of the pillows, admiring the molding on the ceiling. I took a long bath in the black marble tub and am even wearing the incredibly soft white robe from the closet. And it's all fun. And at the same time I'm thinking about themes suggested like "simplicity" and "less is more" and "letting go" and laugh at myself a little. I am aware of the paradox in myself. I want to live simply and lightly on the earth and am aware of how greatly privileged my life has been compared to the lives of most in this world, and yet I really enjoy luxury and comfort when they fall into my lap. The awareness of that awareness gives me my theme. January is a beginning month and awareness is a beginning. Action and growth spring from awareness. So it is my intention to focus on being as aware as possible this month and on sharing one awareness a day here.

Mysterious luxury room

Bob and I are on our way home from our good family trip east and are currently in this amazing bizarrely discounted suite in a beach casino hotel in Biloxi (count on my husband for finding an incredible deal but he has outdone himself this time. We'll have to take pictures.) but we have this suite with a bathroom bigger than our bedroom at home and a fancy living and dining area and a luxurious bedroom with king bed and a beach view and easy beach access for two night's for less than your average roadside motel for one night. Wow! And we even get a tour which hopefully will let us see an endangered group of non migrating sand hill cranes Saturday morning before we head home. I'm feeling very spoiled.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Rosy Hope

I love the roseate spoon bill and this picture seems hopeful to me for the first day of a new year - new life, beautiful color, and hope rising.
Photo: Good Morning :)I

Words for the day and the year

Start - Simplistic word I focused on today. And ironically a lot of what I started on was finishing- keeping commitments I've made to myself and others. It felt good to write a big stack of letters and thank you notes, cards of support, sympathy and celebration that I have been carrying around half done. It felt good to stitch up the sides and choose buttons for a bunch of little knitted purses which were only rectangles in 2012. It feels more important that I've started talking more out loud about my personal battle against contempt - in my own spirit, in others' words and actions, and in the policies of our institutions. I've climbed up on my soap box on this one and don't see myself climbing down any time soon. Time to start.
And since I'm starting, it feels good to try something new. My friend Sandi Hand Scranton wrote about choosing a word for the year ahead, to clarify purpose. Thank you Sandi for the thought. Contenders in my mind were attention, resilience, and acceptance. The winner, though is respect, which I see as the opposite of contempt. I want to respect my own needs and limitations and those of others in my life. I want to respect the fact that every...body has a story and I can't know everything about where anyone has come from. I want to respect that at the most basic core level all humans, regardless of gifts and circumstances have equal worth. And I want to learn to speak up respectfully against behavior which is disrespectful. I'd love to hear from the rest of you if you have a "word for the year" what it is and why.