Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Love Letter

No more blog awards from me (probably with a few exceptions). I would risk excluding someone who shouldn't be excluded and that would not be good.

If I were awarding this blog award, this would be why:

Thank you for being such an important part of my life. Sometimes I blog an hour a day. Sometimes I don't blog. But either way I know that I receive astute and funny and thoughtful and perceptive  posts and comments and connections from people I care about. I have learned so much about the world and  countries and lifestyles and I have learned that in the deepest and simplest way, we are all on the same path.

 To write and be read means a lot to me. Because of my blog I have learned and am learning to be a writer. And not just that. I use my camera. I notice things. I share. My blog is like having my own  newspaper column. I have a structure and a reason and a means for feedback and support. All precious.

 Honest to god, the comments I receive give me a dopamine rush. As good as chocolate. 

 I rhyme here on  my blog:
I'm not a bump on a log
Or stuck in a fog
Or a cranberry bog.
I think now I'll jog
With my dog. 

I have found some actual true real wonderful talented friends from the blogs. It's not a fluke. I don't have a baseball team of close friends in life but I have good friends. And a surprising number have come from introductions here.

So please, if you will: take this attractive insightful not-a-blog-award award and post it up somewhere or maybe hold it to your heart from me. I am thankful for you.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mish Mash Update

This is Chase. He is a six year old Greyhound who stopped racing last May. He is able to reach 42 miles a hour in three seconds and if he were to take off after a squirrel, he would be dangerously gone.

Greyhounds are only allowed to race from age 2-5. I'm told 25,000 greyhounds 'retire' each year and 18,000 are adopted, meaning the remaining 7000 are put to sleep. So there is a great need for rescue. I am still surprised JB and I have adopted a greyhound, a breed we know so little about, and I'm very glad. 

Chase is an elegant and unfamiliar dog. His skin is thinner than mine. His legs are unbelievably foldable. He is smart and peace loving and he could not be more gentle. He cannot be off leash unless he is in an enclosed space. He sprints and then he sleeps.

We met Chase because I had a dream that I had a dog named Chase. When we saw his name in Pet Finder, we drove to Connecticut to his foster family.

Chase needs a little extra medical attention but so what? JB and I can do that. It's already nice to have him around. He has lived a life of strict routine as a race dog, and he is not going to have strict routine with us. But we will come to know each other and love each other and I think it will be very good. (Wieneke: these pictures are for you xo)

 This is my friend Tracie performing near me last week at a combination bar and music shop not far from my house. Tracie is one of the five or so singer/songwriters in my Big Yellow writing group. JB and I and a few other friends clapped and clapped after every song. It is very cool to have friends who are musicians. 

I would like sympathy. THIS is the stairway I must climb, to the TOP floor, to see a client. I am too old for this. Quite a job, don't you think? :^)

In contrast, this is the view from my kitchen window. Until Chase arrived last week there were five robins hanging in the bird bath and around and about. I've loved watching these and other birds so much. But not a peep in the last week..... 

Once a year I pull out my watercolor and paint something. I copied this restaurant scene from a magazine ad. When I wrote down what I wanted to do on vacation this summer, I wrote "Paint A Tree." So I painted this tree. 

THIS is where I currently am again. Back in Provincetown. For a lost weekend with JB and Chase. ♥

Been a good week or so. I'm happy for that!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blah Blah Blah

My second writing piece from the weekend. This one was also kind of fun. :^)

an advance p.s.: I can't get my fonts larger and I don't like this layout. 

I’ve given up.

You know those people on Facebook who poss a dozen nuggets of inspiration at at time? I read them with an upturned eye.  Might as well unfriend me because I not only won’t benefit from your effort to show me the path to a happy life; I will growl at you. There is no sound on Facebook proper and for that reason I am glad you take no offense. 

Just today: 

When the world says ‘give up, hope whispers ‘try it one more time.

Not every day is a perfect day, but every day is a miracle.

You get there by realizing you are already there. 

and today, my personal least favorite: 

Don’t be afraid to rock the boat. If someone falls out they weren’t meant to be in your boat.

Today I am saved only by one true nugget:

You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

I have not earned the right to be righteous. A time ago I too looked to affirmations for comfort and clarity. I too shared them with others, although as an aside, six in a row one after another is a bit much, don’t you think so too? But I yearned for a vessel to float my confusion and who wouldn’t welcome the simple compass of assurance? 

How many meditations, ashrams, workshops, silent breakfasts, prayer chains, tarot cards, solstice gatherings, yoga poses, goddess channeling, dragon slayings, and floatation tanks have I experienced? Ask me. 

Many. Enough. I am an optimist who looks at the world with eager hope and willing hands. I have seen plenty, felt plenty, wandered plenty. 

Look at me and you will see a woman who luck has coveted. I have everything I’ve aspired to. I am healthy, I have roots, I am loved, I have a bank account. I am smart and wise and I know my way. 

It must be my age. I still think hope floats and hearts bounce.  But I see that the landscape ahead requires different provisions. 

“A happy childhood is poor preparation for human contacts.” 

That observation is not mine. I told you I don’t have the right to be righteous. That observation belongs to Colette, born in 1873, the same Colette who also said “On this narrow planet, we have only the choice between two unknown worlds: One of them tempts us, ah! what a dream, to live in that. The other stifles us at the first breath.”

I am not beneath offering up my own affirmations when the time is right. Though I would never roll out six at a time. 

My point is this: sometimes life is easy and sometimes life is hard. there is no way around that. The simple easy is often common: planting a garden, kissing little toes, reading Hemingway on the couch. Complicated easy is still easy but maybe risky too: being swallowed by passion, the long awaited trip to Africa, the job that delivers but also demands.

And simple hard: staying in shape, honoring fences, steadying when the wind blows.

But complicated hard: that is when the road to enlightenment misleads. I tell you what you already know: there is no redemption in wrestling grief, in watching Syria on the nightly news, in finding a lump, in watching your father die. Hard is hard and sometimes that’s what the world is and what your life is and all the affirmations in the world can’t change the fact that sometimes you just have to get through hard as best you can.

If you’re lucky, there is consolation. The sun has never refused to rise again, sooner or later.  

Ah! The sun also rises. Should I put that on Facebook? Now what I would I hope for if I did that? 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Passion by the Pound

I wrote two pieces this weekend at my writers' retreat. I had the most fun writing this one, my first short story in a long time. I hope you like it xo 

It was unusual to hear her alarm: the first time she’d set it since she moved to Bangor. But she was going to be there when the doors opened, so there would be no chance of missing out.

She chose a purple lightweight top that matched her fitted jeans. She wiggled into the sandals she had bought in Harwich the last day of the trip, just before Brady left for grad school. She decided upon the slightest mascara and a satin plum blush, not something she normally wore, but she wanted to look long and slim and shimmered today. 

She arrived at the market at 10:03 am and was surprised that there was no line. She was not sure whether to go directly to customer service or to the cashier line, but instead she stopped the lanky teenager in the grocery section, stacking avocados just so.

“Excuse me,” she said. “Where do I find the passion special? I’d like three pounds.”

The boy nodded. “Oh the passion on sale for $ 4.99 a pound? It’s not us. It’s Bernasky’s Market down the street. Just a block from here.”

She was chagrined. So much for a reliable alarm clock when she had the address wrong. She walked through the swinging doors and on to the sidewalk where the sun was strong. 

“Oh damn,” she thought. She hurried her pace until she reached Bernasky’s and sure enough, there was a line. Five people ahead of her, four women and one man who looked to be in his early 30’s, John Lennon glasses and a neatly trimmed beard not quite hiding the nervous twitch of his upper lip.

Most of the women were her age, except for the one who looked like a plus sized Joni Mitchell. Bigger Joni stood in line, holding her purse in front of her with both hands, her legs swaying softly to keep her nervousness in check. 

The line moved quickly and before she knew it she was sitting across from  a woman with grey wild hair and kind eyes and a clipboard. 

“Are you here for the passion special?" the woman  asked.

“Yes, I’d like three pounds.”

“Oh dear, I’m sorry. We have a limit of two pounds per customer.” The woman smiled at her. “But that’s okay. Two pounds won’t last you as long but it’s just as potent.” Then the woman looked at the clipboard. “I have to screen you before we can sell you the passion at the sale price. State law.”

“That’s okay,” she said. She knew this part already.

“There are five questions. Don’t worry about the perfect answer. It’s not really a test.”

She nodded. 

“The first question: do you have experience with astonishment?”

How should I answer?, she thought. Should I just say ‘yes’ or does she want to know specifics? Keep it simple, Brady had told her so many times. 

“Yes,” she said. “Quite a bit.”

“Good,” the woman said. That is a definite prerequisite. If you don’t know how to be astonished, the passion won’t work. We have people come back looking for refunds even though we told them upfront no refunds. We want to make sure about the astonishment.”

She nodded again.

“Next, do you have any physical limitations?”

Oh dear, she thought. What does she mean? Should I tell her that sometimes I am frozen in place or that when it’s the best I cry? 

“Do you mean am I healthy?” she asked.

“Well, kind of. Passion is powerful and it moves quickly. We want to be sure you your body will hold up.”

“Oh yes,” she answered. “I’m more than fine.” She almost laughed out loud at that. My body is definitely more than fine, she thought. In fact,  passion makes me stronger. 

“Okay, good.” The woman leaned forward, just a little.

 “Question 3: Do you understand that passion is a natural resource and must be handled with reverence”?

This question caught her off guard. She had spent what seemed like all of her life seeking answers to so many questions and never once had she trounced on reverence. She was upset with herself that her hunger too often governed her choices, true, but she knew reverence.

“Yes I understand,” she said. Her voice dropped and the woman noticed.

“This makes you sad?" the woman asked.

“Yes,” she answered. Oh what the hell, she thought. Why not say. 

“I’m here because I’ve been unable to afford passion. When I saw it was on sale today I couldn’t pass it up. It’s awful to live without it. It’s one thing to never have it because then you probably don’t know. But to have passion, to feel how it overtakes you and then lose it, that is very difficult.”

The woman with the grey hair put her pen down and put her hand on the clipboard.

“Honey, I wish I could give you three pounds. But I can’t. I can only give you two. It should be enough. I have some concern that your sadness might dilute what you hope for. This is not a guaranteed product. It requires abandon, in a way. You know?”

“Yes, I know,” she said. She looked directly at the woman. Wild grey hair and kind eyes. “Is this organic passion?” she asked her.

“Yes, the woman said. “I’ve used it for many years. It’s never let me down. But when you’re not sure I’ve found it’s best to start with a small dose and let it build up.”

“How so?” she asked.

“Well,” the woman said, “Obviously, the recipe for physical passion is the best. Oh my god. Pity anyone who has not felt that.” She smiled. “At first I didn’t know about other passions. Marshes with ponds and cattails. Foxes at the horizon. The right kind of telephone ring. You’ll only need two tablespoons to get to that kind of passion. That’s what I mean. Two pounds will last you.”

"But I don’t recommend starting with fireworks, if you know what I mean. That can take up to a cup and if you choose the wrong person, that could even void the sale. And we can’t give refunds.”

She nodded. Thank you,” she said. 

“Two more questions, honey.”

“Sure,” she said.

“What do you know about astral projection?”

It was her turn to smile. “I know where you’re going with that question. Out of body passion, definitely. I treasure that. I could be swept up and tossed into the middle of the universe and my last feeling would be total mindful peace. But I know how to come back too.”

“Oh that’s important. To come back. God is in the details.”

The woman leaned toward her again. “Last question. Do you know the policy on sharing?”

“Yes. No passion without sharing.”

“That’s right. And that seems to be tricky for a lot of people. Passion is such a private thing, after all. But a conscious attempt to keep it to yourself doesn’t work. There is some community required. Otherwise, it’s just a transaction. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” she said. 

“Okay, take this receipt to register number four. Oh wait, do you want paper or plastic?”

Finally confident that two pounds on passion at the sale price of $ 4.99 pound was now hers, she spread her arms and grinned wider than she had since Brady went to grad school.

Ma'am,” she said. “Neither. I’ll tuck that passion under my breastbone and I’ll carry it with  me right now, past the broken picket fence across the street, past the snow cap hydrangea in front of the fire station, past the little dog with one eye who wags when he sees me. I”ll carry my passion with me under my breast bone and I will use it freely. Even though I’ll save some for the earth to move right under me.”

“I know you will, honey. I can tell it’s working for you already.”

“Yes,” she said. “That could be the sixth question: Do you know it kicks in as soon as you are ready?”

“Have an astonishing day”, the woman with the wild grey hair told her.

Oh yes, she said. Oh yes oh yes oh yes

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Before She Left

Tomorrow night I begin a weekend with my Big Yellow friends, writers, songwriters. There will be fourteen of us and two will stay here in our semi annual version of a pajama party. JB has gone to Provincetown and I will introduce Chase our sweet dog to my friends. This morning before I left for work I watched JB:

Possibly in her nightgown
she stripped the beds
washed the sheets
picked up her side
for me
the house
now ready
she filled the pillbox--
 Chase who comes
with his own pill box.
She poured my coffee
would have spread my toast,
solved my Mother's broken hearing aid
mailed her taxes
read me my horoscope
licked closed a card (to me)
upright when I get home
And also maybe
tonight at midnight
I may find
a melting Hersey's kiss
on my pillow.

She has been forsaken:
myself reckless
in search of
the opposite
of ordinary.

I ask her sometimes:
Do I give back?
And although she is honest enough
to pause first
she says, Oh Yes, You Do.

It is not simple
and Settling.
I lean on one and I long;
and on the other, I fit.

what I learn from her,
Is this my chance to be worthy,
Even when I know
I don't know
at home and anywhere
what comes after grateful?

happy weekend,

Monday, September 10, 2012

Breakfast, 1921, Fernand Leger

thanks to tess kincaid at the mag for a very strange prompt. Here is my food driven breakfast inspired poem: 

You don't kid me,
Those are not eggs
I can see right through
Those wide jelly legs

And don't think I think
Your hair is jet black
served over easy
without much intact

Yes the setting is poor
for much atmosphere
Still I can still break the bread
But no, not the fear

When you pour me a  coffee
served up strange and straight
I know you expect me
To reciprocate

And so I will:
See, I've brought you some scones
In case you forget
You're not really alone


Sunday, September 09, 2012

A Day in the Country

It's beautiful where I live: five nearby colleges make it an urban cultural center but mostly there is farm land and country roads.

Would I slow things down enough to have time to hang dry my laundry? And if I did would the scent and feel slow things down even further?

Lots of butterflies today. JB and I visited the gardens of four local artists, a local fundraiser for the center for the arts.

It's not summer anymore. In this part of the world, the transition from summer to fall is a most beautiful time of year. Today was a most beautiful day. So much is wrong in the world these days, but not the sky.

I want Mr. Ryan and Drew and Baby Logan to have a tree house like this. It didn't look hard to build, not that I'd be building it. But the idea will now percolate in my head.

"Grow and live across the land
Remember the scent roses make
Never forget the magic of a garden ?"

i love this idea

I love this sweet house

 And finally, it was a day when the country outsmarted the GPS. JB and I drove down a road to nowhere and then turned right to nowhere before we backed up and turned around to somewhere.
I don't get authentically lost often enough. It was good.

I wish you a good sky butterfly labyrinth laundry line kind of week.


Friday, September 07, 2012

A Nice Story

Here he is.


The seventh dog of my life.

Off the race tracks last May.

Calm for a first day. 

Very sweet.




A commitment is made.

A decision.

To be known.

A new chapter in the household.

It would be better if we both had tails

But I  do have my own version.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

Stella & Chase

Dear Stella, 

We've put your bed back out.

On Friday a tan colored greyhound named Chase will come to live with us. It has been lonely since you left us last December, and we hope we are able to offer Chase all the comfort and safety you found with us. And we hope he is able to give us even half of what we got from you.

We miss you, Stella. I keep hoping you are alright without us. I know you have had something to do with our adopting Chase.  

Two months ago I had a dream about a dog named Chase. I woke up and thought, 'that's a cool name."  I was surprised a month or so later when there he was, a dog named Chase listed on the Internet through Pet Finder. We drove to Connecticut to meet him. 

I think Chase has had it easier than you did, Stella. He is five years old and he just stopped racing in May. We're told he'd not been mistreated: well adjusted greyhounds run faster. He's been in a foster home since he left the track. Not like you, abandoned and so sick on the streets for a month or two before you were finally rescued. And another two months before we found you in the shelter and you came home with us. 

Your broken back and your preference to quietly hide didn't stop you from healing. I hope that's how it will be with Chase, with his epilepsy and irksome back foot. 

I can't imagine he will be as easy and soulful and graceful as you, my beloved Stella. From the first day, you never asked us for anything, you waited and watched so patiently. For seven years you were always so gentle and grateful. I hope I will love Chase too, Stella. We are ready. But I will never ever lose one molecule of the love I have for you. You live in my heart. 

Please keep an eye on us, He may need your help. We might too. 

And yes, I know: maybe we will rescue one more shelter dog. One more wonderful dog who deserves kindness and love. We just might. I know you will find that dog for us too. I went to the shelter to look today. I just may go again next week. 

Please give my love to Rosie. And Nicki. And to my Dad. I look for you in my dreams, Stella. I look for you everywhere. I will never forget you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


I've found the deepest words come from the deepest place.  This week's image from The Mag brought me back to such a place, so here it is. i added a line and I'm pleased about that. 


How far is too far?
Sometimes, after midnight,
I stretch my fingers so they extend like perfect pencils
And I try to imagine that in the act of drawing lines and circles
I can span the distance and straighten fate
Like red  hot  steel
So that it curves around your driveway
Instead of around our destinies.
I;m not complaining, you know.
How lucky can a person be to 
Live with a heart that deepens and expands
Through this connection that 
Despite every outage and short circuit
Sparks its way into distant light
And  guides and replenishes 
The little chair by the door.

I will never complain.
I learn to wait:
It’s a winding train
On its way to fate.

There will be times when fate vacations
And so will we.
There will be times when we forget altogether
And pass the sugar only to chuckle 
That we’ve forgotten that even with extra wooden slats
there’s not a  kitchen table in the universe
that can extend that far.

And there will be a time, or two, when the phone rings 
Probably Before sunrise
And as the receiver lies flat 
 one of us is on a plane,
not to rejoice but to rejoin.
When my daughter was little
I thought about the end of the world
And I wondered if I could reach her 
In time.
 I wondered who I would race to
If there were only seconds before the island
Closed shut.
I didn’t know then that I would ask these questions
For all of my life.
I didn’t know then that 
I will one day close my eyes,
And so will you,
And hope that in that moment
We have one last riotious laugh.

I didn’t know that loving you,
Meant that life would then be lived
In a certain absentia.
Not less full, or wonderous,
Not less engaged or enigmatic
But a little like the melancholy
Of a dark sky missing one star.
It’s only one star,
One among thousands,
But in the great scheme of things.
It’s a black hole with neon flashes.
But we own this sky,
Me and you.
And then, blue angels standing guard:
It’s me.

This post was inspired by The Mag. There you'll find some fine writers and poets. Thanks for the privilege.



Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Animal Wednesday: Emily Rabbit Shows A Picture of Herself and Writes a Poem

It's me Emily, how are you?
I thought I would show you what I do
While people worry and carry their cares
I  relax and throw avocados and pears.
 Frozen vegetables make missiles to throw
at mean people who think they are so in the know.

This is the first time I've shown you a shot
Of what I look like and who I am not.
If you don't know me already I will tell you right now
I'm a smart little rabbit, not a grass munching cow.
I eat jellies and gummies and my Uncle Bunny is famous:
he knew Janis Joplin and the cookie guy Amos. 

You should fall on the grass when you can't have your way
Then kick your feet  high and  slowly display
a boo hoo boo hoo boo that starts slow to a scream:
Just cry from your stomach when someone is mean.
It usually works, but in case things go bad
Pretend you are innocent and don't waste time being sad

And one more thing just in case you don't see
You should lie on nice grass and stretch out just like me.
If you don't have a tail, so what? stretch yourself out
And don't be afraid to have a good pout.
Okay, be nice, but maybe charge money
To teach grumps and grouches how to be sunny.

Sincerely Yours
Emily V.V. Rabbit