Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Advice in the New Year

"Write your sorrows in sand and your gratitude in granite"

This comes from a wise and far away blogging friend, who sometimes writes in letters and a language that I don't understand, but not this time. We live in different countries and are influenced by different cultures but after many years of blogging, we know each other's heart.

I will remember this advice so well that I'm hoping it may have the same effect on you.

Happy year ahead, with love

ki-jaana-main-kaun --thank you for sharing, my friend hdwk xoxo

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mish Mash Musing

This time of year, I miss the way blogging use to be. Before Facebook, I and about 30 or 40 connected folks would blog weekly, often more, and share all kinds of small and large thoughts and talents and going-ons. I loved connecting with my blog friends all year, and especially sharing the holidays together.

I felt like I had a reason to take photos, to write poems, to share what wisdom I might trip upon. I miss so many people! 

For what it's worth, this Christmas and the wrap-up of this year is ending with hope. There's been real and potential illness swirling around me and my family for a number of months and that takes its toll. But we're all okay--improving daily, and I am nothing if not grateful. So this Christmas I have no complaints. 

I have holiday advice if you have an interest:

1. Expect nothing. Not community, not civility, not presents, not well being. And then let whatever good happens wash over you.

2. Give. This always makes me feel good. Find someone or some reason to give and offer your time, your money, a gift, a surprise, a meal, a donut, a kind word. You'll be the better for it. Guaranteed.

3. Wait to worry. My old standby mantra. Don't worry a minute before you have to. Because if you wait, chances are the reason to worry may have morphed or lessened or maybe even disappeared. 

That's it from me. Thanks as always for stopping by my beloved blog. I'll be visiting you too.
And thanks for the friendship. It counts for a lot.

Happy happy holidays with
Much love,

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Mom

There was never a time
Those last seven years
When your smile was lessened 
By any fear.
You moved to a place
Far away from your home
You knew not a soul 
And you moved in alone.
A walker, a wheelchair, your memory gone
Yet whenever you saw me it was like a new dawn.
You'd ask, “How did you even know I was here?”
And I learned the right answer, I learned to be clear:
“I will always know Mom, there will never once
When I don’t know where to find you, not a day or a month.
Always you'd greet us, so happy and kind;
Every day you lost memory, but never your mind. 
You died with such grace, Mom,
No complaint or false fright
We watched you breathe softly and pass into the night.
It’s been two years already, 
 I’m so proud who you are
And I know there’s a card game
Taking place on a star.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It appears that I am writing again, regularly, and happily. I've had a reason to look back at my words over the last few years and some of them may find their way to my blog. Like this one, which is kind of topical for me since the holidays are here and I think about certain people who have come and gone. I'm no fan of that. 

Divine Justice

Twice I’ve tried and failed. I hate regrets and I have two big ones.

Through an intermediary I send word to my first deep and true love. It is 25 years later and I calmly see my part in the painful bitter betrayal that choked us both. The response back is a non response: a dollop of vanilla variety silence. If I read into it, the non words are clear:  ‘I am ignoring you. Leave me alone.”

The second regret is less complicated but equally unfortunate. I lost a good friend to a bad decision, one that was not then and definitely not now worth anything close to the cost. It’s been four years. I’ve sent a couple of cards and left a couple of phone messages, apologizing, lamenting, hoping for a reconnect. I’ve gotten word back, olitely and indirectly, that the time is not right… maybe some other time. 

I am looking for redemption and find it buried in rejection.

Isn’t that just the way sometimes? You have to let go of someone you wished you had gripped harder or softer. You have to accept what you can’t make right. That’s your only chance. 

I’ve phoned my friend Dory and we’re sharing a double scooped hot fudge sundae in downtown Northampton. It is a warm breezy Sunday night in June and gratitude skips around our ankles. Dory has made a few regret calls herself lately, with similar results. 

We are two minds now less emcumbered by several less people. 

It’s a divine loss and the ice cream is also divine. Just ice and no heat. 

Isn’t that just the way sometimes?


Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Can't Say Why...

this is herring cove in Provincetown at sunset. I can view a similar scene
just about every night and I am reassured of holiness.

I should say something,
this week knowing
how much has changed
in the flick of a ballot.
I am not a fan
of the man. 

Anger builds and fear swells. 
This country damaged and misled:
I should tremble but not yet I don't 
I should despise but not yet I won't.

Crazy, I believe the worse won't stand
Crazy, I believe this trouble gets us truth
I'm sorry we are all so pained
But I'm betting in the end we gain.

I can't explain why or how I am reserving judgement about the terrible miscarriage and mistake of electing Donald Trump as America's President.  For some  reason I think he is going to blow the lid off the racism and fear-mongering and divisions that have festered in the land for some years now, and for some reason I think a majority of people--decent people--are going to scream and insist 'Enough' and 'No More.' I don't know what that will look like--how severe the correction will be--but I believe there will be a correction that is already overdue.

I'm sorry the USA is putting us and you though this, World. It must be our Amrican nature to roll the dice. This time that recklessness will break our hearts, but I don't think the damage will drown us. 

I can't tell you why I think this way. But for some reason I do.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Am I an Elite?

It could not be a more beautiful Autumn here. I am writing every day, benefiting from the ocean air and sunsets, and planning for a huge renovation of our kitchen and second floor. We will have to move out of our house for three months this winter and soley by luck, we've found an affordable two bedroom incredible place to stay, directly on the bay. I will watch the tides and the weather coming in and changing with the eagerness of a puppy.

I am also following the human and political drama of the American Presidential Election. I do not support the candidate who targets Muslims and Mexicans and speaks with uncensored vulgarity. Still, I try to dig into how he can possibly have the support of so many Americans. I know at least two dozen decent thoughtful people who agree with him and I find that boggling. 

The candidate likes to point fingers at the 'elite' who are rigging the election against him. "Washington insiders," "Not regular hard working Americans," "People who read the New York Times and watch CNN."

I don't live in Washington DC and I read and listen to all kinds of commentary and news, including the Times and CNN. Am I a regular hard working American? 

I think so. 

I'm a college graduate and I'm white and along with JB we have income and savings that got  us a second home for a time and allowed us to get our daughter through college. I don't worry about making rent and we find ways to travel as we wish. I'm older now so I work only part-time, on my own terms. I spent a recent five years in the middle of an impoverished community serving white, black, and Hispanic families. My Father was a mason who left school in sixth grade and my Mother was a seamstress who came to the USA speaking only French and dropped out of school even earlier. I grew up in a middle class industrial town in Massachusetts, my family owned the house my Father and uncle built themselves, I went to a state college, I started my own business, I'm quick to volunteer. 


When Obama was elected to the Presidency, I accepted, with relief, that the melting pot of different nationalities and races and religions and sexual preferences won out: that the melting pot would finally take root. I knew there was an real and mostly white anger that the country had changed, that manufacturing and employer loyalty had fled, that people on entitlements seemed to have it easier. I knew that but I thought the majority of Americans had spoken democratically and decisively. 

I was so wrong. That anger simmered and Donald Trump has now given it a legitimacy that borders if not crosses race baiting and violence. It's US and THEM.

He blames the problems and the differences on the elites. 

Based on education and income, that must be me.

But that must be him too. And all of government. And all of our educational institutions. And all of Congress. And the Generals. It looks to me like it's everyone but the powerful mostly white males who like to rule with authority and are not interested in nuance or balance. And it's not the folks who feel like the wrong direction has ruined the country.

It's not the folks who have felt powerless, who long for job security and a time that won't be coming back again no matter who is President . This man says he will take the country back to the 1950's. Back to when jobs were permanent and unions had clout. Back to when black people were second class citizens in silence. Back to when the United States had no interest and no need to collaborate or cooperate with other countries. 

It is my hope that the damage already done settles down and enough people understand we have to heal. 

Am I an elite? I must be; I qualify. But I don't feel a whole lot different than most other people I meet and know. I'm likable and fair and it shows. 

My biggest fault is that no matter how hard I try I cannot understand how and why good people I know continue to support a man who is pretty much a pig.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A September Song

I look at this scene almost daily.  It is a view from my side yard, where JB and I sit, a block from the bay, and where I imagine what it must be like to live in a treehouse.  

I haven't said much lately about the land by the sea where I now live. That's because I stepped away from the the rhythm of the ocean tides and the pink-orange colors of sunset at Herring Cove. I stepped away because of real problems but no longer.  I've still not returned--not yet--because I am consumed with finishing a novel I started writing six years ago. I am into that lovely zone of timelessness when one is doing something one loves and because of that, I have to push myself away from the manuscript. 

And this too: my daughter and her family have bought a lake house in Maine. They've watched the sunrise and sunsets this summer, and every night they speak about the beauty of that. Their young children  each morning walked into a back yard that is a beach, a beach yard with a hammock and kayaks and a small boat and rocks to fish from. I don't know if I've ever felt as content for my Jess as I do now And I say this after eight weeks of surety that she had cancer. (Misdiagnosed!)

Because of that surety, in a panic I found a studio apartment near her so I could help with the kids and help my daughter when she lost her hair and became too tired to move. I had to sign a one year lease and that has turned into a blessing--the apartment is adorable and cozy and convenient. We never would have spent the money to rent it had the circumstances not been critical, but now that we have, I can be here a couple of days a week, hanging out with my grandkids, learning to play the guitar, writing, writing.

There was a sophomoric time in my life when I longed for a soho-type loft. With this place, I have it.

The reason I'm writing this post tonight is not for any of the reasons I've just talked about. I'm writing because I visited my 99 year old Godmother today. Our visit was about planning a party in late October for her 100th birthday.  I'd asked her for  a list of people she'd like to invite. In her best handwriting she's written out names, addresses, phone numbers, an explanation of who is who. 

My Godmother is an amazing woman. She lives alone, she gardens, she feeds birds and squirrels in her driveway, she cooks and bakes, she reads the newspapers every day. Today she showed me an article on Koko the ape, his daily routine and how he mourned the loss of his pet cat. 

And she told me how she remembered me as a fun little girl, how I crawled into bed with my grandmother when she was sick and how I visited my grandparents every day, evaluating if the supper menu was better than my mother's. I asked her if I had been a good kid. She said yes, yes, you were.

I am organizing this 100 year old birthday party in late October. I asked my godmother if she wanted to speak at the party and she said, 'maybe, but mostly I want people to meet each other.'

I want that too. Her family was separated when she and her sisters were orphaned so I don't know her sisters or nieces and nephews. I don't know her friends. She gave me a list of 40 names today. I expected 15. On her 100th birthday she will celebrate with all the important people in her life.

I'd say that will be a great gift.

Happy September, everyone. FYI: the optimist in me has made a comeback.