Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Life: Part 2

 My friend Gordon's self portrait (do you see him?)
 Robert Cardinal's Martha's Vineyard painting embellished by kj and JB mantle flowers
 the yard
 Ah Provincetown
 for you Dad: I'm growing them...
 Cookie breasts
 someday I am going to rent one of these Truro/Cape Cod flower cottages and several more for family and friends
 for lo
drew climbing where no way could I reach him

and a lesson best learned asap: now now now.

I hope you've enjoyed this. There may be more....


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Strong Arms

Is anybody else finding themselves uninspired to blog lately? It's summer here in New England and that means less computer and more flower time. I miss many of my visitors and followers even when I don't have much to say.

This poem was written several years back with an overflowing heart. I'm posting it now because I still feel this way, in fact, about many wonderful loving people in my life. I hope I do justice to what it means to be a faithful and fanciful companion in this sometimes complex and uncertain life. 

What's the last kind thing you did for someone else? Mine was yesterday: I have a client who cannot let himself enjoy one moment in one day. He has children and he cannot enjoy them; in fact he thinks it's best for them for him to be tough and hard so they will be prepared for life. I told him that many people get simple joys from their children. I played for him my three year old Drew's rendition of "Red Red Robin" complete with made up words when needed, and ending with his clear voice saying "love, love, love, love and be happy." How I wish I knew how to transfer it from a text video to here, because Drew's effort is heartwarming. My client got it. I could tell. I hope it helps him this week.

Strong Arms
I will catch you in the free fall
Should life become a grinding haul.
I will help you to your chair
Where you can play some solitaire.
I will stand in front of words and trains
Anytime they cause you pain. 
And anything that blocks your step
I will beat back to safety’s depth.
You’ve done all of this for me
With simple generosity.
You complement all that I lack.
I just hope I give it back.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oh My

I should be in bed already. The last few days have been a whirlwind of problems: interior rain (never good); unexpected costs (money should not be this important);a sore back (too much lugging); two bumps on the head (moving too fast);gorgeous new maple floors but a metal door that wiil no longer close. A decision to adopt a sweet greyhound named chase, just one month off the tracks, who is showing signs of seizures and maybe worse (we will wait with hope). All this too much too fast too confusing too hard. But. My friend Anne's surgery went swimmingly well and it is summer and my Mother is laughing again and I love my family and there are flowers in my yard and my book is being written and I still love mr. Sushi and I still love Provincetown and the sea and my blog and a good haircut. Nothing new drainpipes and a little slowdown won't cure. And how about you? Love kj

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I have learned something very important in my job as a psychotherapist.  I have learned it most from the children I treat, but it's true for adults too.

We don't need the whole world to care about us, to like us, to admire or need us.

What we need most is  just ONE person who believes in us and just ONE asset that makes us stand out a little from the rest of the crowd

One person: could be a parent or a teacher or a counselor or an uncle or a neighbor or a boss.

One asset: could be coloring, singing, writing, building, cooking, sports, gardening, long division, miniature golf.

This is how self esteem takes root.

I work with some very poor kids who attend some very poor schools. Some have present parents and some don't. In a way I am advocating the principle of the high school football captain: he has status among his peers just because of that one asset. 

If we--you, me, our communities and countries--can look at success through this simple lens, I am convinced we would all be healthier for it.

Believe in someone. Help her/him feel good about something unique to them. One asset. 

You may or may not be around to witness the bounty of your gift to that person, but I am pretty sure he or she will never forget. 

It's a simple approach, really. It might just be getting a passing grade in a history class. And since I've figured it out, I've become a much better therapist and a much smarter gift giver.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Barn

 The barn has been in their family for three generations. It's a barn that's in every sense still a barn.

Our friends invite us during the summer and we kayak and canoe and cook impromptu dinners.

 We walk to the lake

Besides for magical dragon flies and we sometimes see a magical monster or two

And lest you think it's a little barn, this is a partial side shot. It's a big barn.

Sometimes at dusk we go outside and look at the house across the street as one, two, six, ten, twenty bats at a time fly out from its chimney, dozens, maybe hundreds.  We stand still and they fly so close but never touch us. It is incredible to see those bats emerge.

I had a nice weekend. I hope you did too. :^)


Friday, June 15, 2012

Animal Wednesday on Friday and So What by Emily Rabbit

Hello everyone. It's me, Emily. As you may know I am working hard to make money so I will always have jellybeans and gummy bears whenever I want and I will not have to depend on kj who thinks I should have to earn my jelly and gummy money.

In addition to the Mean & Green Avocado Company I am opening a grocery store! Here are the special deals for this week:

Order more than 100 frozen avocados and I will give you 50 more for free. You have to order before I tell you what the price is. This is a good time to be thinking about what mean people to throw frozen avocados at. I am being forced again to tell you not to throw them at anyone's head, but  a well placed frozen avocado aimed at the back of a mean person's shoulders and maybe even lower than that is a good idea and you will fell better afterwards as long as they don't chase you and if they do, don't forget to run very fast.

Avocado slingshots are now available in the produce department. $ 49.99 with a one year guarantee.

Lori Hats will soon be  available in the cosmetics department but I don't know the price yet because I haven't asked Lori to knit the hats yet and she might not realize yet that she will be rich if she sells her hats here at the Big Bunny Market.

I am also planning to have a special on multi colored rabbit pellets, ah, I mean jellybeans, but first I have to wait until the Board of Health finishes its inspection of the market.

The Big Bunny Market is conveniently located next to the Little Eataly Restaurant. If you come I will show you personally how to fall down on the floor and cry from your stomach while kicking your feet high up in the air.

Emily Rabbit

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ten Years Later

Last Wednesday I walked into a work setting I had walked out of ten years ago. 

I had been a consultant to a department of twenty people or so. I answered questions, gave opinions, and helped them make decisions, as much as possible based on what I called "soft landings." I stressed fairness and creativity in their work and mine, which involved interviewing and understanding and then evaluating what was real and relevant for people who had encountered some kind of significant illness or disability. And before I left I had a chance to teach those principles to the whole organization--about 200 people in five U.S. locations.

Ten years later. I walked into that office and reconnected with probably ten people I hadn't had even one contact with in all this time. And it was wonderful. 

Forgive me, I don't say this to brag. But one after another they told me I made a difference. They told me they have never forgotten what they had learned from me. 

Many showed me little doodads I had given them: a little inspirational postcard, a little wind up toy, a clear extra large glass marble I had given everyone for Christmas, a little plaque of a shooting star. I had forgotten that I made this part of my consulting presence: I'd bring interesting or inspirational objects to my desk and if somebody liked it, I'd give it away.

Ten years later. There was more. Every single person I embraced looked BETTER than they did ten years ago. The age range varied, probably from 35 to 50; people had married and divorced and had children and battled illnesses and faced loses. And they looked good.

Maybe the best part was the smiles. We were so glad to see each other.

This is a crew that I will now do a little more consulting work for, with pleasure.

But most of all, they told me I had made a difference.

I am paid well to do this kind of work, but nothing mattered more to me then, or now, than making a difference. 

Ten Years Later: I went 'home' again and I'll be damned, it was pretty swell.


Friday, June 08, 2012

A Poem

When I write poems I often find myself writing about hard things that even though they're hard don't escape or negate hope. This is one of those poems. I wrote it fast and forgot about it. It was published on a writers' blog and just now I read through a third of it before I realized it was mine. Too funny: a poem by myself to myself :^) 


I wish you could

I could tell you to breathe,
To grit and push
To enlighten and endure
And enunciate the edges
While the sun bounces off the peninsula, 
Or the way one word can soften the harsh corners.
It’s nothing to pull up that reading list
Of Thomas Moore and Oprah and two kinds of Grahams,
For a snap of a moment to guide you to the stillest point
where facts and futures reduce to one sentence, maybe two,
Then fall into a portal or a mantra, and please, an explanation, finally, 
that shows how empty gets filled, 
how questions stop confusing,
please something to assure  that acceptance reigns and destiny divines.
For a time.

It’s as simple as you wish it to be
For a time.
But I kid you not, lest it’s best you know:
The road’s rocky, the trip’s tricky, 
The ache is real.
The lump in the shower, the call at midnight, the pinkest slip?
Who said it: We grow, we grow. stronger each time?
Perhaps, and so what?
The drips of recovery can deplete
And when that happens you might stop being sure.
And what about that: when you toss your hopes to hell?
What then? When time and years alter hope, meld it into something 
That will rend your heart as surely as the sun sets and rises?
Children are kidnapped, for god sakes.
Or that first betrayal! In time it will heal: time is the medicine of destiny;
But never enough. There is no enough in such a matter.
But wait--An alternative:
You can lose.
You can let fate wrestle you down 
Right there on the mat of goals and wishes.
It might look dire, 
To have packed your suitcase and parachute only to leave them both 
at a bus stop to nowhere;
to venture off with a faith that looks like zany circles 
not reassuring lines.
But there is a but.
When there are no answers
The questions don’t matter nearly as much.

And when you stop questioning
You just might find
Your own brand of astonishment,
Waiting and ready 
to confuse you with its own abandon.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Animal Wednesday: Uncle Kitty

First he purred, because he knows that purring relaxes JB and for that matter mostly all humans. But then he told JB that he was very upset that area behind the Magic Cottage has become a piled mess of old leaves and broken branches. His tail got caught in a pile of twigs and he was nearly stuck there for an hour until he chewed through the top twig.

Uncle Kitty told JB that he called the Department of Public Works to file a complaint.

"Uncle Kitty!" JB said, "You reported me to the DPW?"

Uncle Kitty looked guilty.

"I was advised to..."

"By WHO, Uncle Kitty?"

Uncle Kitty looked chagrined.

"It seemed like a good idea."

"But WHY, Uncle Kitty?"

"She promised me jellybeans."


"She told me I should purr first and then ask for candy."

"She didn't....!"

"She did."