Monday, January 28, 2019

Monday Musings

Here I am in the land of chill.  67 miles north of Denver, we were spared the twelve inches of snow they received last night!  It is terribly cold, however, and picking my grandson up from school today was a - er - ah challenge.  Even with gloves, a hat, a vest and a scarf.  I was flabbergasted to see small humans running around in just pants and t-shirts!  All the adults there to pick them up were bundled up tight.

After I dropped him off at school this morning, I made my way to a coffee shop that turned out to be pretty deserted.  Good coffee, and a chance to sit in the sun that was streaming in the large windows.  Interesting shadows on the floor triggered a cell phone photo (left).

I'm here helping out my daughter for the week, as her husband is on a business trip.  My grand daughter gets off to daycare at 6:30 a.m. if you can believe it!  She likes it and doesn't hesitate when it's time to get dressed and go.  Thanks to daycare, she is also now adept at using utensils to eat her food.  No more fingers unless something spills off her spoon or fork.  A big change just from a month ago.

I'm getting some social time in, too.  Tomorrow it's brunch with a friend and Thursday it's lunch with a woman we met on our trip to Morocco in December 2017.  Back at home, I hope that the hubs is scheduling dinner dates while I'm away.  He had dinner with my folks last night, poor fella.  Actually, all went well.  I'm just a tad burnt out on the parental front.

I miss my Lucy, and I now know what the deal is for flying with dogs.  I spoke with a young man at the Sacramento airport who was traveling with his miniature Australian Shepard.    He gave me the run-down, and I think I'll skip airplane travel with her.  Ir costs a hundred dollars, and the dog must be in a crate that fits under the seat.  Lucy wouldn't stand for that.  I fear she would cry the whole way.  Best to avoid all that.

Anywhoooo, that's what's happening today.  Hope you have a great week!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Musings

I was looking at Van Gough's painting of his room, and eyeing the contents carefully: his self-portrait, the hand towel hanging from the wall, the woven seat chairs, the bare floors.  Any room, really, and easily translatable today.  So I grabbed my cell phone, turned around, still in my chair, and took some photos of "my" room/guest room/office.  Lucy is still buried in that mess of blankets.  She sleeps in, very late, often nine or ten in the morning, luxuriating in the warmth of hours of body heat that have radiated into the covers.

Today's morning is bright and blue and crisp outside, in great contrast to last night when a storm blew in.  It prevented viewing the blood red moon and eclipse, but I knew there would be fantastic photos of it this morning, and indeed there are.  I've never been good at photographing the night sky.  I promise myself that one day I will learn how to do this.  Who knows?

I was sent a poem this morning that I initially hesitated to read: Women Who Workshop.  As it turns out, I enjoyed the poem very much.  My reluctance to read it stems from my weariness of workshops geared to self-exploration and improvement, often for women.  Not that I haven't benefited from these offerings in the past, but I have it up to my eyeballs at this juncture.  At my age, I figure, rightly or wrongly, what I have is what I get, and it doesn't aid in my day-to-day life to engage in day-long lessons in a group structure.  I realized, though, after reading the poem, that there can be great benefit and psychological/emotional leaps forward from doing this kind of work, and I should not belittle it.  Someday I might even engage again.

Lifelong learning is a good thing.  These days I prefer it to take the form of photography classes or memoir writing groups.  Those are plenty self-exploratory without the framework of self-improvement.  So, anyway, on to the poem, and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. day to you all.

Women Who Workshop 
A scarf from India
A top that's Loose around the Middle
Very, very, very Sensible Shoes
And an Unceasingly Kind expression
(The uniform of individuality).
You, the Bright-Eyed.
You, the Generous volunteer.
You, still working out That Stuff with your dad.
In hotel ballrooms and
Church basements and
Yoga studios and
Campgrounds and
Korean spas and
Montana ranches, Bahamian Beaches and the
Herbalist's office
You are becoming.
It's so becoming.
You, becoming.
And you've learned to
Bring a sweater and a
Thermos of hot water and
Lots of extra tissues.
You have stood in a circle
You have lain prostrate
Your bookshelf groans with
Helping Insightful Books and
Your Journals burst with line
After line
Your becoming.
You're becoming.
You are becoming.
(so tender-hearted)
With your Full-Moon Necklace and your
Chakra-Balancing Necklace and the
Beautiful Gold Ring that you
Hand-forged in that Post-Divorce Workshop
Out of the engagement ring from your First Marriage and the
Wedding band from your Second
Now you marry only yourself.
Standing before your Altar
You promise to
Honor and
From this day forward.
You recognize that some might call it an
To spend time and money on
The Issues That Challenge You.
But those people can screw off (compassionately)
Because the Rush of
Self-realization when you finally put That Betrayal behind you
The poem you wrote about your daughter that
Still makes you cry
(And OK, fine - that delirious eight-day affair with that Yoga Guy -
Sweet Heaven he was gorgeous - and so bendy - )
Cannot be matched by anything that can be
Found inside your own condo.
You have found freedom.
You have healed your Inner Child and
Embraced your Inner Queen.
You are even developing a side-long glance
Relationship with the word "Crone."
You are curious - becoming - laughing - becoming - stretching -
Because as the wise woman said If You Stop Stretching You Die - sharing -
Because that's what Heaven's Children do -
Rejoicing in your growing awareness that no Workshop Intensive
In the world is better than your own becoming
Coming to be.
© 2011 Samantha Bennett

Friday, January 18, 2019


I've been lost in a post surgical haze and malaise. My surgery was more extensive than expected, so I spent the night in the hospital, and I'm glad I did. I needed my pain managed. I was sent home with some narcotics which I used to the full extent of the medical parameters allowed. Consequently, I was pretty incoherent when awake, so I spent much of my week asleep. Just as well. Getting back up and about has been a struggle: I just don't want to do it. I'm too tired, too much in pain (I got a second RX), and frankly too easily discourage by so many things.

I am slowly clawing my way out.  Baby steps.

I am feeling extremely nostalgic, melancholic, and wondering just what the hell I'm supposed to be doing in this life.  I've been looking at the past, picking out those happy memories, like the Women's March in D.C. two years ago at this time.

In addition to the marching (exhausting), I got around to see a bit of Washington and the various marvelous museums there (currently shut down).

I adored seeing Julie Childs' kitchen at the Smithsonian.  Do you think she could have imagined, cooking away, that someday her kitchen would be in a national museum of renown?

Or that a movie would be made about her life?

We never know how, in the end, our lives will be remembered.  If they'll be remembered.  Which brings me to the sad passing of poet Mary Oliver this week.  Yes, her poem When Death Comes contains themes I have been stirring around in the sludge of brain matter in my head.  It's all too enormous to fully contemplate.

We also lost a neighbor this week, just a few doors down.  A prince of a fellow, the founder of a local food chain known for it's organic products and "health food store" aesthetic.   He lived here for five years, and was widely admired for being so humble and friendly.  His son put a large framed photo of him on his hallway shelf: years ago, at the helm of a sailing ship, smiling broadly.  A small note thanked us, his community, for being such good friends to their dad.  I plucked a white chrysanthemum from my bouquet and placed it below the photo.

So, here is my sad offering of a post, my "TGIF" for you to read. 


When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Monday Musings

Well, shoot, boys and girls.  I have started a clear liquid diet today in preparation for a stomach surgery on Wednesday.  That's right.  Wednesday.  I'm having my fourteen year-old gastric lap band removed and the surgeon wants a completely vacated stomach.

I have the following on hand:  three kinds of broth, lime jello and gin.  Hahahahaha.  I do have gin, but I think it is ill-advised to drink it.  You may feel badly for me, but who you should really feel badly for is my husband.  I'm going to be real cranky before this is over.  Hell, I was cranky yesterday as I was anticipating this fast of sorts.

I did have a bit of a mental breakthrough this morning, an 'a-ha' moment when I remembered that as a young woman, I would often fast for 24 hours because I believed in the health benefits of that.  There came a point in the fast where I would feel exhilarated, high you might say.  So, I'm looking forward to that this time around and I'm full of hope that it will happen.

Meantime, I have lots of nuisance tasks I can take care of (schedule the car for service; call the cemetery in Monterey and straighten out some incorrect record-keeping; call my health provider and have an incorrect charge removed from my bill).   If I really want to go big, I can work on my story about the 812 Cinema for my writing group.  I received some useful feedback and suggestions for enlarging the story.  We'll see.  I've also got a list of movies on Netflix that are calling out to me.  That's pretty tempting.

I watched a Coen brothers movie last night, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.  Those Coen brothers make some weird-ass movies that are intriguing and appalling all at the same time.  Like a car wreck you just can't look away from.  This movie from 2018 is no different.  A series of short stories of the American Wild West that turns the traditional narrative on its head.  Some of them are downright creepy.  But these brothers manage to turn 'creepy' into 'darkly funny.'

The next couple of days are bound to be 'darkly funny' around the Big House here.  Yippee.

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...