Saturday, March 30, 2013


 Sadie died last night.

A decade ago she arrived from the woods of Missouri, at first so catatonic that Jess and Mike would hold her in their arms and she wouldn't dare move. Beagles are the gentlest of dogs and they rarely fight back when harmed. And shelter dogs come with neglected and traumatic histories. But over time they make their gratitude clear and such was the case with Sadie. She would have nightmares from time to time, but she fit into the family of Jess and Mike with adorable quiet wonderful charm.

She had been sick, but she was not expected to die. We shudder with sadness. To my daughter and son-in-law and three little boys who are Sadie's family, she will live in your heart. And ours. Always. 

In life there is no getting around loss. It is finally Spring in New England. In just two days the crocuses have opened,  pansies are planted, the sky is no longer dark at five o'clock. Here at # 9 it's time to (gladly) turn to the yard. Two days ago, we began with this tree. Last year a tree specialist told us what could not be prevented: it will die. We could buy several years by cutting out infested areas including the center branch. He did that and then installed wires to hold its width together. 

But this winter a six inch wide six inch deep hole appeared; woodpeckers knowing full well the trunk is soft and vulnerable. The picture you see is the aftermath of Mr. Tree Specialist cutting out more infestation. 

We feel terrible for this tree. It is huge and old and stately. But it will die. We are doing our best to provide care for as long as it will benefit and we can afford, but there is a reality that must be faced. Everyday, it will die a little more until there is no care to be had.

I hope we will not be living here when that time comes. 

Which brings me to another truth. Life goes on. Good things happen too.

Eight years ago JB and I and Jess and Mike bought our houses at the same time. Now, we are by some co-incidence, doing that again.  

Jess and Mike have found the house of their dreams. I think they will raise their children there and stay put in this historic warmth for perhaps their lifetimes. The thought of my daughter and her family living here gives me such comfort. Huge comfort. 
And JB and me....

We may settle here at some point, in Provincetown, just a block from the bay, in a simple house large enough to welcome others;  our families, our friends. 

The yard is the size of a postage stamp. I will be able to keep up with it and I will be able to put my own postage stamp of design and creativity to selected shrubs and perennials and of course zinnias and a few tomato plants. And at some point, not yet, I will create a daily schedule to my liking: I will write and walk the beach and teach little boys about life near the sea and perhaps I will design and hold some workshops here. 

I will do all this as long as time and circumstance allow. 

 Sadie died last night. And like that tree my Mother is withering, not by her choice. And I have a friend who has miserable cancer and it sucks. Sometimes things don't go well. 

And sometimes they do. That is life.  Affirmations and positive thinking and good wishes may or may not help--I don't really know--but I can't numb my way through living or dying. I can't and I won't.

Wishing you the best, always

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Maybe you can see that on the porch in the winter months there is a view of the bay across the street. JB and I are buying a house in Provincetown, a house that we will probably settle into one day and where my daughter and son-in-law and grandsons can come and make themselves at home. 

The thought of owning our own house in a coastal town where single family homes are at a premium has been exhilerating for us. But it has not been an easy ride. We are emeshed in the land of high finance and capital gains and complicated loans. I know: what a petty reason to complain when many cannot afford one house, let alone two. (Actually we can't afford two either, but as long as my Mother resides in a good rest home down the road, my primary residence must stay put.)

I am trying to speak a financial language I know nothing about: reverse exchanges and cash out refi's and conventional and unconventional loans and on and on. The mortgage guy we've trusted for years dropped the ball on this one, and we've had to scurry, fearful that we could lose the only perfect house we can afford.

It should be okay. But not yet and not without angst. I could wring a neck. I won't say who, but if that fricking commitment letter doesn't arrive in the next half hour, I'll be screeching.

Meanwhile, I am sitting at my desk and something snaps in my knee. I mean snaps! Torn minincus. I am on crutches, walking without grace or agility. Walking as little as possible.

Meanwhile, a favorite niece is arriving from Seattle tonight at midnight for a few days because she's had a tough time and needs support. No vicodin pain meds for me. I need to be present.

Meanwhile, my daughter Jess and her family have found the house of a lifetime: a Victorian that is as beautiful and warm a house as I have ever seen. Every part of me is in full prayer that this will go well for them; that it will be easier than our surrey through the purchase and sale of a house. 

Meanwhile, my Mother is doing well some days and hallucinating others. She is at risk of falling because she tries to walk when she cannot. 

Meanwhile, I have decided to stop my work as a psychotherapist by the end of May. I have one more mini career in me (more on that some other time) but it's been hell telling my clients I will be leaving. 

Okay. That's all. How am I doing?

Well, it's been crazy. So many good reasons to look ahead with so much gratitude. But jeez louise. My head spins. Not a quiet moment. Not able to work this week when I wish I could have. Not able to settle into the look of the future.

This is a post all about me. I am writing it for my own good. No sympathy needed :^) 

Maybe I'm just affirming, and sharing, that life can be a bitch and a half even through the good times. Maybe it's helpful to know that, to accept that, to curse it, to BREATHE through the smoke.

Thanks guys!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Security and Passion.

"Security and passion are two separate fundamental human needs that spring from different motives and tend to pull us in different directions.... We all need security: permanence, reliability, stability and continuity.... But we also have a need for novelty and change, generative forces that give life fullness and vibrancy. We’re walking contradictions. What is true for human beings is true for every living things: all organisms require alternating periods of growth and equilibrium.” 
From Mating in Captivity by a sex therapist named Esther Perel.

Hmmmm. I'm writing about this very contradiction. It is a core part of my second, almost finished novel. 

Security or Passion? I'm curious: if you were choosing which way you'd like your life to lean, which would you favor? 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Gary, Janice, and a Little House

Big news! JB and I will sell our sweet little condo in Provincetown and will buy this sweet little house in Provincetown. Single family homes in Provincetown have been and are absolutely out of our price range but somehow destiny has found us this place and it is perfect for us.

I am reveling in sharing the news with my friends. Below is an email exchange with my friend, Gary. JB and I and Gary and his wife Janice have good times together.

In a message dated 3/13/2013 3:02:56 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

hi gary!

click on the link below to see our new house! we got the loan and will get the equity loan, so all is well. the reverse exchange process begins tomorrow. the house is perfect for us, short and long term.

whew! exciting.

thank you now and always for your help and friendship. 

hope to see you and janice soon

love karen
On Mar 13, 2013, at 3:36 PM, bfs1040 wrote:

I love good news.  It's great to shake life up a bit.


On Mar 13, 2013, at 4:24 PM, Karen Jasper  wrote:
Gary, did you look at the house? it's adorable!

interesting how things work out :^)
                              On Mar 13, 2013, at 4:27 PM, Gary wrote:
                  Yes I picked outta room

                              On Mar 13, 2013, at 4:30 PM, Karen Jasper wrote:
                       :~)  the room is yours, but no wild parties after 2 am.. 

                              On Mar 13, 2013, at 4:27 PM, Gary wrote:

                                     That eliminates Janice

I love my friends!


Tuesday, March 05, 2013


I will never ever forget her.

Renee died three years ago this week. I have written about her before but in no way can I convey her uniqueness. She had dozens of us proclaiming love for each other and for her on her blog. She wrote about living with cancer and the bats in her stomach in the most honest and heartwarming way. 

Do yourself a favor and spend some time at  Circling My Head. Go back to 2009 and hear Renee herself waxing about life and love and family and art and forshitsakes. She will make you laugh and make you cry.

Everyday I love her deeply. Renee is one of a kind. 

This was one of her favorite poems. No wonder.


 Here is Mayfly,
It is her first day on earth.
It is also her last.
Mayflies only live for one day.
But is she sad?
Not at all.
She is happy to be alive!

This isn't any old day.
This is the best of days.
She lives for each moment.
She sees the world begin,
She hears the crack of dawn.
And bathes in its golden glow.
A billion buds burst open.
All for her!

She tastes her honey.

Mayfly sees eggs hatch.
Babies born.
Lambs learning to stand.
The business of ants.
The dizziness of children...
The loveliness of things.

She feels the sun's warm hug.
The kiss of summer rain.
The magic of the rainbow.

It is her wedding day.
Trees throw confetti.
There are games on the lawn.
Breezes blow, bells chime.
Birds sing!
She dancesto the music of the universe.

Mayfly lays her eggs.
It is a peaceful night.
The best of nights.

She makes one last wish:
'Little ones, may all your tomorrows be as perfect as my yesterday!'
Mayfly watches the moon come up and the stars go out.
And is thankful for her wonderful life

Friday, March 01, 2013

Where I've Been

Strange times. Faces in trees. Sad moments. Great joy. This has been my last few weeks. 

I have traveled to Arizona for the memorial of a father, a brother-in-law, a professor, a good man, a quiet man with a mile wide smile. 

 He was an Iowa farm boy with a gift of brilliance; 'Doctor' to his university students who came to the church by the dozens, on a Saturday afternoon when there were so many other places they could have been.   I sat behind his daughters, who in this same church a decade ago mourned the loss of his wife, their Mother. And I sat beside my partner JB, saying goodbye to a man she had known as a teenager, heartbroken for herself and for her family. 

 It takes a long day to travel from New England to Arizona. So we stayed on after the memorial, a few days on the road, to a spa, to unwind, to catch our breath. Change is underfoot and it is both uncertain and predestined. It is too soon to speak in detail, maybe even too soon to even know what all the details are. But JB and I are in a whirlwind. If you know me and know some of what I refer to, please: Ssssh. Not yet. 
a new definition of on line.....

We headed for the Camel Back Inn in Scottsdale. Wow.

I average one massage a year. This time I had two. And a manicure and a pedicure. It was indulgence without caution. It was wonderful. 

 And chocolate fondue for lunch. In our spa robes. 

And mile high guacamole. 

So now I am back home. For the first time, today my Mother didn't recognize me. She was sure I am her sister. She is not the same as a month ago. I worry. I miss her.  But too: I have reason to be thankful. There are new possibilities. I am lucky to be able to chase them. My knees may knock but JB and I chase anyway. We're a good team like that. 

Life is hard. But not just.