Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Am I?

Am I old?

I am overweight and my back hurts. I have a titanium knee and I've lost stamina.

But am I old?

My friends are raising the subject more than I'm used to. I hear wisdom cautioning that time is precious. I hear concern that anything can happen.

I can't keep up with my grand kids. I have to brace myself to hop up from a seated position.

I worry that I might not wake up from anesthesia.

I like to cook more than ever and I like to cook most for my family. I'm pulling my papers together just in case.

Does any of this make me old?

I will turn sixty-seven in August. That is three short of seventy. Seventy is old. Isn't it?

I only work at what I choose. I worry less.

Am I old?

Am I or am I not?

Here I am and the time is now. Here. And Now.

I have goals.

Write this book. Get it published.  Acclaim.

Write another book. Same thing.

Influence my grand kids to be astonished. To notice. To be kind.

Stand in front of a moving train for my Jessica.

Smile in the morning: Hello dear JB. How did you sleep? Let's have a good day today!

Teach. Workshops. Develop my own. In Provincetown. By the sea.

Hold tight to my sexual sensual self. Passion. Wild passion for years ahead.

Landscape another yard. In Provincetown.

Back to Italy. Back to France. Forward to Elsewhere.

Does this sound like I am old?


Does it even matter?


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Musings

It began when Jessica was three. She's spent every Christmas Eve and Easter Day with her father. 

For the first time, this morning, I've regretted that early decision to equally share our daughter on those holidays. I hope my regret is temporary, fueled by the fact that I am alone today. JB is in Provincetown gaining some well needed rest from a recent illness. Jess and her family are at their home two hours a way. I was there yesterday and I know all is well in their household, which means the world to me. 

Today I am here alone at my home where I have looked forward to a several days on my own and where I will write and garden.

I didn't know I would feel lonely. 

And I want that feeling to be okay. I'm not quite there being content in my aloneness but I want to be.

This is not to say that I have not celebrated the coming of Easter and finally Spring. 

Mr. Ryan and his brother Drew left yesterday after two jam-packed sleep-over days and nights with me, their Gram. It is a role I find delightful and invigorating and exhausting. :^)

We walked to the park and fed the goats.

 We visited a scary Easter Bunny who didn't talk but nodded. Mr. Ryan asked how he (she?) managed to get entry into people's houses on Easter morning. Did the parents open the door? Nod No. Did he (she) use the chimney? Nod No. Did he (she) get in through the garage door code? Nod Yes. Personally I did not think that was a good answer. 

We explored.

And relaxed.

We colored eggs.

We bowled. Candlepins. This was a discovery: a local bowling alley in existence for 56 years where you kept score the old fashioned way on a sheet of paper and had the benefit of no electronics except the pin setter.

We ate spaghetti. (This is Drew.)

I am alone and I belong to a family and both of these facts are one true thing. Today is not my childhood memory of a new Easter hat and coat, patterned leather shiny shoes, and my Mother's honey ham and scalloped potatoes. Today is a day when the people I love are happy and content and the sun is bright and the rest is up to me.

Happy Easter if you happen to be celebrating. And happy Spring if you happen to be on this side of the continent. I hope you belong somewhere, and I hope the people you love are well.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


JB and I are having our fill of fun decorating our Provincetown house. We bought this wooden screen for cheaps and took a chance it would make a fine bedpost. We bought the bed covering at the same discount store and we are giggling over how classy clever it all looks.

 The kitchen is another matter. The ceiling is low and there is nothing short of a serious rehab that will make it what we envision. So that means time to save money for remodeling. Probably two years worth of time. But that's alright. 

We will (must) be renting the house out for multiple weeks this summer and preparing for that is (mostly) fun too. We're shooting for cozy comfort with a touch of seaside whimsy. 

I know full well we are lucky lucky ducks to have this house. It's a block from the ocean and it's cute.

And we've just begun. 

Happy Spring in this part of the world. What are you up to? I'd like to know. 


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Ulingan in the Philippines

I've known about Ulingan for several years. To live there is to live in squalor and poverty with pretty much no way out. There is no economy, no jobs. 
This is a description from National Geographic:
Thousands of urban slum dwellers including these in the Ulingan community in the Philippines capital of Manila (map) live amid filth and swirls of toxic smoke as they eke out a living making charcoal from wood scavenged from nearby garbage dumps and construction sites.
The conditions of slums near Manila Bay are unhealthy enough—the Ulingans live next to a rubbish dump. But the rudimentary process of making charcoal in open pits exposes the squatters to harmful emissions such as as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and soot, as well as chemicals when burning treated wood. The result is a myriad of respiratory illnesses and heart disease.

Of the hundreds of pictures I've seen of Ulingan, almost every one shows the effects of charcoal everywhere: on feet and bodies and clothes, everywhere on the ground. There is nothing green. Nothing.

I learned about this community from Sidney Shoeck, a photojournalist of the highest caliber and integrity who is dedicated to the Philippines. (see my sidebar for his blog). 

Through him I have also learned about Project Pearls, a non profit organization doing everything it can to help the children of Ulingan have access to education and to help the families of Ulingan have access to basic needs.

These are not people who feel sorry for themselves. Like most Filipinos, they are a proud  people doing their best.

Sidney is currently doing a series on his blog that highlights 50 mothers. I've taken the liberty of sharing some of his photos because I know he won't mind.

If you're looking for a cause to support through money or prayers, Ulingan is damn worthy. Google it and understand what it's like to live there, what it would take to thrive there. Believe me, these photos are not selected as the worse. Every inch looks like this. And I've not included the charcoal smoke that permeates the air. 

Why am I introducing you to Ulingan?

You know why...