Monday, June 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Monday Musings

Ah, the power of love and connection.  We had a wonderful weekend with friends up from the Bay Area.  Our doggies love them and they love our doggies.  Harmony and Happiness.

I think the best kinds of companions can hang with each other for a couple of days, with plenty of social time, and down time, good food and in-depth discussions.  We had all this and more.  These are people I've known for almost 30 years.  They love my husband, and he them.  It's a match made in heaven.  And it was a balm for my soul to have everyone together, laughing and kidding.  I felt creative in the kitchen for the first time in weeks, and enjoyed cooking for everyone.  The guys took off to shoot photos in 100 degrees.  But they got some great shots of the sunflowers fields around here, and played on the computer with the images.  They made some fine ones.  Heat doesn't seem to bother them.

Me?  I was out watering at 8:30 this morning, and already it was too hot unless I was in deep shade.  I'm miserable in the heat.  Que sera sera.  I must be vigilant with the summer watering or plants will drop dead.  Yesterday I picked a ripe strawberry while watering and popped it into my mouth.  The warm explosion of fruit induced an eye roll.  Right next to the strawberry pot is the fig tree, and it has lots of baby fruit on it this year (it's second year).  I want to keep that well watered because I adore figs.  And if all these little babies make it, we will be in fig heaven.  Hmmmm....perhaps bird netting is in order?

The table grapes (red and black) are in the ground now.  Being quite young and tender, they need careful and consistent watering as well.  The hope is they will robustly take over the little canopy frame we put up to hold them.  I had hoped to build an arbor of sorts, but this free frame came our way and could not be refused.  It looks rather weird right now, but I imagine it with grape vines swamping the metal poles in a couple of years time.

The temps got to 108 yesterday and they'll probably get close to that today.  It's a day for laundry to dry on the line.  Free heat!  Clothes dry in no time at all.

No doubt, when hanging the wet laundry, I will be musing about the uplifting weekend I had, while looking for fruit on the lemon tree.  And looking forward to the family visiting this coming weekend.  My grandson will be 5 in August, and he is as adorable as ever (right?).

It's a good Monday.  A good start to the week.  May it be for you as well.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Well, they've gone and done it, haven't they?

The stock market in the UK is plummeting, and here in the US as well.  People are panicking, only making the situation worse.  Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.  Leave it alone.  Breathe.  Watching PBS News Hour I got a little more information on the majority's choice to leave, and turns out it's more about anti-globalization that I had imagined.  The rhetoric thus far had been about "them damn immigrants!"  It's still about that, I believe, but it's also apparently a backlash against giant global corporations and markets that deny a country its democratic processes.  But what do I know?  It's going to be a little nuts in the near term.  And don't touch them stocks, boys and girls.  Leave 'em where they are.

And how about those House Democrats and their sit in?  Many are mocking it as a worthless stunt, but I personally was inspired.  How else does a minority in that house of thieves get heard?  I listened to many of the speeches and I was deeply moved at times.  I'm sick and tired of a few GOP members blocking any kind of gun control measures.  Blah blah blah.  We have all been here before.  And likely will be again, and again.  I wrote to House Speaker Ryan to give him a piece of my mind.  I was polite, but angry and firm.  What I really wanted to say to him was "FUCK YOU!!!!" but that wouldn't have been at all productive, now, would it?

Health wise, this was an extremely sucky week.  I have been sleeping an inordinate amount and am still exhausted.  My blood sugars are absurdly high.  I have had dreadful sinus headaches.  Each day I feel as if I am walking through gelatin.  And not a pretty, colorful, molded affair either.  But today, ah, today.  I had a massage and not only did it do my body a good turn, it had a very positive impact on my mental state.  It feels like a miracle.

                                  photo by Laurel Harris
I have energy again.  Ah.  I feel awake and alive.  Positively participatory.

And the cherry on top, I got a message from my daughter.  Her friend had her baby boy this a.m.  This dear woman who has been in L.'s life since High School.  The world now spins around mommy, daddy, and baby, but they are in a world of their own for the time being.  I remember the blissful bubble of birth, the radical change that comes with a rush of hormones and complete love.  May they stay in that bubble for as long as possible.  The world can wait.  The world can be a really crappy crappy place.  Which is why, when good things come along, we've got to grab on to them and celebrate like nobody's business.

Dance under the night sky.  Whoop it up with your friends.  Laugh at the absurdity.  Eat really yummy food.  Get a hold of your lover and express yourself.  Call your puppies to cuddle around you while you put up your feet and watch a movie.  Sleep, knowing that for a little while anyway, it's all okay and it will all be okay.  Or it won't, but I don't have to borrow trouble.

Here's wishing you a good weekend.  May you have your moments of joy and wonder.  And if your time is sucky, well then, know that it shall pass.  It always does.  From my heart to yours.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Musings (On Dreaming)

I had quite the odd dream last night that stayed with me long after I awoke.  My friend Robin and I were staying at a hotel in Florida (which is odd, because Robin doesn't travel by air).  We got into the elevator to go to the pool and the elevator got stuck.  Being the only two in the box, we joked and laughed and knew that at some point we would be extricated.   And indeed we were.  When we stepped out, however, the hotel was completely rearranged and we had a hell of a time finding our rooms.  Half naked in our swim suits, with our towels, every place we went just seemed to get us more confused and lost.  People were looking at us a little bit strangely.

Turns out, we had been stuck in this elevator for nineteen years!  We called home, to notify family we were okay, and people were dumb struck.  They figured we'd died all those years ago.  Then, the looks on their faces when reunited: utter shock.  We were frozen in time while they had all aged appropriately.  Some strange catastrophe had occurred on earth, and most people had deathly white  faces and their eyes looked to be glazed with cataracts.   We had, by a simple twist of fate, escaped this world wide disaster.

What an odd and eerie dream. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016


What a stinkin' week.

This photo was taken by my husband when we were in Barcelona in May.  Happy times, for sure.

I think I may be experiencing a let down after such a marvelous 3 weeks in Europe.  Back to the same ol' same ol'.  Granted, my 'same ol' is pretty damn good, and I know that.  Honestly.

I can list a number of things that have got me feeling down and defeated.  But the particulars are not of any importance.  Something, clearly, broke the camel's back yesterday and I experienced the dreaded explosion. 

But Saturday night we will celebrate under the full moon, and Sunday we have a birthday lunch with the family.  Order will be restored.  Flexibility and durability are just around the corner.  I can feel it. 

I do, of course, recognize that I have much to be glad about, grateful for, and content with.  The Dharma says there is the duality of the eight worldly conditions: Profit and Loss, Success and Failure, Praise and Blame, Pleasure and Pain.  This week I fell off the Middle Way path.  Sometimes it is difficult to walk it, but who said it was easy?

Here's hoping you have a good weekend, with plenty of ease.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Not Terribly Eloquent

But real. Real feeling. And, let's add, FUCK LAWMAKERS in Washington DC who accept bribes from the NRA and continue to allow these murders to happen.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Musings

Blast from my past.  My sisters and I are looking rather disheveled and weary.  Must've been a long photo session.  The smallest one, the brunette, looks like a factory girl out of central casting.  They used to put them to work early, you know.

Many children growing up these days will have not only still photos, but video with movement and sound so when they are in their late fifties they can hear what their childhood voices sounded like.  How amazing.  Wish I did.

This picture is about 54 years old.  I've got some even older that feature my mother as a little girl.  A recently uncovered trove.  Imagine how she must feel, at 81, looking at her little four year old self!  I'm spinning in my head with all this passing time.  I'm dizzy with it.

Stop This Train
By John Mayer
No, I'm not color blind
I know the world is black and white
I try to keep an open mind
But I just can't sleep on this, tonight
Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But, honestly, won't someone stop this train?
Don't know how else to say it
I don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own
Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But, honestly, won't someone stop this train?
So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game
To find a way to say that life has just begun
Had a talk with my old man
Said, "Help me understand"
He said, "Turn sixty-eight
You'll renegotiate"
"Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in
And don't think I couldn't ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly, we'll never stop this train"
Once in a while, when it's good
It'll feel like it should
When you're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'Till you cry when you're driving away in the dark
Singing, stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know, I can't
'Cause now I see I'll never stop this train.

Friday, June 10, 2016


And what a week it has been.  My man Bernie lost in the California primary.  I saw it coming, but the spirited rallies gave me some hope of an upset.  I'll vote for HRC over Trump, because those are our real choices.  Sure, I could vote for someone else, or a write in, but I'm realistic here.  This is no time to stand by while a fascist gets elected.  Seriously, now.  The shit storm will get real bad if we allow it to.  I'm going to be strategic.  If I want a third party, or a overhauled Democratic party, that's work to continue as we go forward.  Here's what my very savvy step daughter has to say about it:

"To my Bernie friends - I've watched your passion from afar for months now. I love the values that have fed that passion. I'm jealous of ‪#‎feeltheBern‬ and that bird thing. That was so cool. The rallies looked amazing. I join you in the desire for a much better nation, one that cares for the dispossessed, rights historic wrongs, and protects the future. That's why I've been a Hillary supporter: she is smart, hardworking, and wants the same things we want. Do you want to have a beer with her? We'll I'd love to, but some of you might not and that's ok. You can have a beer with me instead and we won't talk about politics!
Now that Hilary has won the California primary and clinched the nomination, I am begging you to bring your passion, enthusiasm, and awesome hashtags in support of her candidacy. She will do an amazing job - and your passion and participation will have effects down the ballot in ways that will enable every branch of government to do what we want them to do: work for the people. I work for the unwanted child of the federal government: I see firsthand everyday the direct effects of our electoral choices. Let's get Hillary into the White House and a Democratic House and Senate. Then we'll get things done. ‪#‎Imwithher‬"

And then we have the Brock Turner thing.  Enough said.

Today marks my last birthday of my fifties.  Cards, gifts, and Facebook greetings are pouring in and that is so much fun.  Birthdays are losing their excitement and emotional punch -- and that's okay.   We're having a family celebration later in the month so everyone can attend.  Steve presented me with concert tickets for Joan Baez in Oakland!  Woot!  The past decade has sped by in so many ways, and makes me even more conscious that so will the next one.  Carpe Diem

I leave you with this quote from Mark Twain:

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Of Primaries and Priviledge

Today is the California primaries.  At long last, Californians have a say in this election.  Fittingly, I was up most of the night with a wrenching bad gut.  Swell.  I vote by mail and so my vote was tallied two to three weeks ago and I've had my say.  What is going to happen is anybody's guess.  In this strange through the looking glass election anything it seems can. and does. happen.

I have sworn to not post any political rants on Facebook.  I can only manage this because I made a bet that if I did post something, I would pay $20 to the person who spotted it first.  I needed a little financial incentive.  Of course my dear friends, and I mean that sincerely, piped up and asked "Have you won the lottery?" I guess I've been a little more vocal than I had thought.   The arguments and discussions I was getting into on Facebook were leading nowhere and it just became exhausting and I knew I had to stop.  Cold Turkey, baby.  That's how I roll.

And yet another out rage has taken the place of politics: the Brock Turner sexual assault case in Santa Clara, CA.  A slap on the wrist for rape for a white privileged private school punk rapist molester felony criminal.  A walking piece of garbage.  The only uplifting thing about this case is the widespread public outrage and condemnation of Brock Turner.   Rape on college campuses is nothing new.  It has happened to people I know.  Rape off of college campuses has happened to people I know.  I know the distress a victim goes through when questioned on the stand in court.  The constant implication that she somehow brought this crime on herself .  How is it still OK for a victim to be asked what she was wearing or how much she was drinking?  How is that still permissible?  Many years ago, my father was brutally mugged and beaten on the streets of San Diego.  They never caught the guy so there was never a trial but I can't imagine an attorney asking my father, "What were you wearing when he mugged you?"  Never the implication that if maybe he had a few drinks at lunch then he was just asking to be mugged as he walked back to his office mid day .

Rape culture is the dance partner of privilege.  They sway to the sounds "I. Me. Mine."  All through the day.  The culture is changing, and it is a slow hard slog.  Too many women are still discouraged from reporting assaults because they know the anguish that will bring upon them.  I leave you with this great letter written by Matt Lang, posted on FB:

I've been drunk many times, even in the presence of promiscuous women who were also drunk, and I managed not to rape them, so I don't think drinking and promiscuity are the problems.
This here is the problem: some guys are entitled pricks, and they're entitled pricks because their fathers and coaches and friends taught them to be entitled pricks. Because they are entitled pricks, they think they can have whatever they want, and that their worth is defined by what they have and what they take.
Alcohol has this capacity to unlock what, deep down, we've always wanted to do. For me, that means, occasionally, running naked in places I probably shouldn't, like through libraries or deserts (remember for next time: deserts=cactuses). But even at my most intoxicated, I've never lost sight of the fact that rape is wrong, because I was raised to know it's wrong. No amount of alcohol can depress that value.
Brock Turner and his ilk were never taught that. They were taught that they can have what they want, when they want, including women. And that's called being a man. Brock Turner thought he was entitled to a little "action" any way he could get it, and he thought that long before he got drunk. The alcohol didn't introduce that thought, it unlocked it. That thought: "I can take whatever I want, including her", was planted and watered by a whole, rotten village.
It is right that we shame him, and his father, and the friend that came to his defense, and the judge, and every other entitled prick we meet.
Just as importantly, we need to love our boys, and teach them the dignity of the body, and how to live through disappointment and confusion, and how to navigate confusing feelings, and how to separate feelings from action, and how to communicate and listen. We need to redefine for them what it is to be a man, that their worth doesn't come from that which they have and take.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday Musings

I recently was loaned a book of old family photos which feature, mostly, my mother.  I remember seeing these photos many years ago (like maybe 30) and am delighted to be able to scan them to digital images.  It makes my heart glad to see this spunky, funny kid smile out from the past.  1938, and 1939 to be exact, at least these pictures are:

The porch photo reminds of something from the Lil' Rascals.  The studio portrait shows she had a wicked sense of humor,  even then.   The oldest of 5, her last sibling came along when she was in college.

While my mother and I had some strained years when I was a young adult, we are on a good footing now, and have been for many years.  It's good to have her as a friend, to share a drink and a meal and talk about good times.  My husband is really good at getting her to laugh.  Sometimes the tears come up in her little crescent smiling eyes, and her smile is spread as wide as can be.  She recently turned 81, which is pretty darned good considering she has been living with Parkinson's since she was 65.

I guess I'm at that age where family ancestry finally seems important.  I just joined and have been looking around on the site.  Not a fan of the Church of Latter Day Saints, but they do do a great job in genealogy.  I just don't want them to posthumously baptize me, like they do.  (What is up with that?)  I've already contacted someone on the site, who is the niece of my paternal grandmother.  

It's good for me to be reminded that many came before me, and that many will come after me.  It's important for me to remember that my stiff and slow moving mother was once an imp of 3 years of age, knit hat and sweater keeping her warm.  Cuddling in her father's arms.  All dressed up for her birthday party with the neighborhood girls.

I wonder if, some day, my grandson will be looking up my information.  Will he find and read some of the scandalous posts I've written?  What will he think of his grandmother's life?  Will he pass on the information to his children and grandchildren?

Damn but that big ol' wheel just keeps on turning.

Speaking of big ol' wheels, see this recent discovery in Britain.  Talk about your ancestry.

Friday, June 3, 2016


This week began with Memorial Day and the resulting contemplation of life and death, war and peace, honor and depravity.   Always a tough one for me, the gal who flies the stars and stripes outside in honor of the holiday.  We just inherited a wonderfully made US flag from my parents, who are off-loading in preparation for an eventual move to the retirement community.  Never been used, it hangs pristine at the front of the house.

It's bound to be a rough few months before the presidential election.  I'm balancing on the razor thin edge.  My dark side is ever present, lurking beneath the placid surface, threatening to explode.  We are in strange times.

From Sally Mann's "Hold Still":  …I see both the beauty and the dark side of things, the loveliness of cornfields and full sails, but the ruin as well.  And I see them at the same time, at once ecstatic at the beauty of things, and chary of that ecstasy.  The Japanese have a phrase for this dual perception:  mono no aware.  It means ‘beauty tinged with sadness,’ for there cannot be any real beauty without the indolic whiff of decay.  For me, living is the same thing as dying, and loving is the same thing as losing, and this does not make me a madwoman; I believe it can make me better at living, and better at loving, and, just possibly, better at seeing.

I counter the weight with walks in the cool of the morning, a soak in the hot tub, the love of my dear husband, and always good food.  This is when and where the little things matter most.  Matter only.

A friend is traveling through Provence just now.  He's sending pictures of towns we were just visiting, food we supped on, wine we drank, cheese we devoured.  How I want to be back there, magically, without the hassle of air travel.

I work to recreate it here, now.  The heat has been unbearable, and so any work in the yard takes place in early morning.

We have brought in olive trees and table grapes to plant.  Lavender is blooming, just as it is in Provence.  The smell is intoxicating.  Grounding.

The water fountains gurgle, the spa bubbles, the buzz of the hummingbirds draw my eyes upward.  This, right now.  This.

Have a lovely weekend, and peace be with you.

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...