Monday, August 14, 2017

Today's revelation:

Making it work every day - Be a conduit, not a barrier.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fantasy Pet Assignment

My 9 year old student and I came up with a 5 minute timed write where the subject would be our fantasy pet. She wants a gerbil desperately, and has been working her parents for months on the subject.

Writing requires inspiration, so I suggested my young charge use her pet desires as a subject for her writing practice. She was delighted, and got right to it. While she writes, I also write on the same subject.

I set the timer on my phone and put pen to paper, realizing immediately that there is no animal I want to take into my daily life and care for, pay for etc. The fantasy which materialized for me was a cheerful, talented and friendly assistant who could:

Clean my house, weed my garden, cook lovely soups, do my laundry and format my computer as well as do my taxes and tell me good jokes.

My fantasy is that I could pay this person twice the going rate, and enjoy their company more like a friend than an employee. We could talk about books, plan parties, go for hikes, share meals and give me piano lessons.

That is my fantasy 'pet', not really a pet. I have always thought pets need a job, so my fantasy whatever has a job, which pays their bills and gives them a sense of usefulness and then when it is time to move on they have a good reference and I find another person who would like to learn the job.

We could even build a barn together....well, not a barn so much as a studio because I don't want to keep animals. My fantasy animal is a wild songbird who lives in my yard all the time and sings to me every morning.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

First Day of February

I am done, done for the day
a sweet relief washes over me as I sit
back to the fire on a wind chill night.
Stare out the window, into space, as though I could see into the future
What must I do, where must I place my heart
When Valentines Day comes.

I bought a new pitch fork today,
an excellent tool.
It lays outside by my new raised bed, I must go out in the bitter cold
to retrieve it, and soon,
I will have a tool shed, my carpenter is cutting the new clean boards for it now.
I will pay him my tutoring cash.

Inside my shed will go some plants, a chair
to sit in while I stare at my plants when it rains.
Maybe inside my shed will be an altar,
with candles and pictures of Grandmothers, Abuelitas.
There should be flowers and dried herbs hanging about.

Evening, soothing evening light descendes into gloaming
My house is quiet
I eat tuna salad, get my back warm, remember how
the world can be a soft place, even so.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Visiting Sharon

Almost 3 year old Kaitlyn and I run down the long hall at Overlake Terrace Assisted Living Center where my parents, Kaitlyn's Great Grand parents have lived all her life.  We are running, and getting the energy out before her family takes to the road for the 3 hour drive home.

I remember as we run the long hallway, that Sharon lives in this section of the facility. Sharon is one of the first residents I met when Mom and Dad first moved here 3 1/2 years ago. Sharon arranged the real flowers on the dining tables. Sharon is spry and cheerful, she loves to talk about our hometown, Portland. She loves to hear about my life and share her own. We are both teachers and have many things in common.

Sharon disappeared from the regular dining room a few months ago. My Mom said it was her memory. Sharon now has to live in the 'transition' Section. I internally grieved when I realized she would not be around to chat with. She made my visits positive and interesting. I thought of her as a friend.

As Kaitlyn and I run I realize we may find the kitchen area where Sharon sits in the transition area. There she is, and I call her name. Kaitlyn is wearing a pink ballet dress with roses and a full tulle skirt. All the residents turn to look. We go to Sharon and give her a hug. I look into her eyes and ask how she is doing.
 "Hanging in there..." she says with her signature smile. Her eyes light as she watches Kaitlyn bounce around the room. The residents in the room are happy, even as the happiness is tinged with the strange realization that youth is a reminder of age. Yet the residents all light up when they see my little grand daughters. It is as though time stands still, or does not exist. We love what we love, we love life in every form, we savor what this means, to have lived at all, and then to be aware enough to watch the next generations rush ready into the world.

Before Kaitlyn and I return back down the hall, she gives Sharon a hug, and Sharon makes a sound like a person being massaged, a resonant "Oh" sweet with content. My little ballerina and I wave to the room, and walk back through the disguised doors, painted to look like one is entering a garden. We have to find a staff member to put in to code to open them. We return to watch Nama gazing upon Kaitlyn's little almost 1 year old sister Adelyn. My mom, remembering babies, the nine she had. The precious first year when they are vulnerable and rapidly growing, small and adorable.

Our Christmas visit is at and end. We hug the kids and say goodbye. Their Dad, hugs his Nama who held him when he was just born, and then on the first night when he was wakeful. We have our chain, chain of life, time and love. We remember the wonderful times. We remember to look for lost friends wherever they have landed in the world.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


I mow my wet November post election lawn
ruthlessly at the lowest setting, despite
 cautions from gardeners to go high,
I am not feeling high.
Now those weeds and grass are
an inch above their lives,
like many refugees and immigrants.

I enter social media again, and post stuff
stuff I think is really crucial now
when confusion reigns.
I had left this world for many months -
and will leave again, maybe tomorrow  when
the wine has worn off.

Having a sexual encounter with a full grown adult because of
mutual attraction is far different
forcing a 13 year old illegal immigrant in a whore house of
models hoping to get a break
from a cadre of rich men as their jailers.

I think all day of little girls, so boisterous and free-
I vow to stand and fight this sickness
led by a sudden dictator
the christian without a conscience.

They said, in Catholic School,
to guard against false prophets,
men of low moral standards, posing as leaders.

Now it has come, and I can hear the nun's voices asking me

"If you had to stand up for God,
like Joan of Arc, could you do it?"
Mettle not metal.
I wondered when I was 7
what that would be like
oh, but things are better now it could not
happen to me.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fall 2016 With Adelyn James

The trees are colors, yellow, orange and brown,
The leaves shine in wetness, the air is warm, tomatoes still ripening
ever so slowly.
Nine month old nieta, grasping the umbrella handle in her
amazing, tiny, perfect hand.
What gratitude I feel to the Goddess when I look at the perfect fingers of
my nietas.

We walk down to the chicken house and say hello chick chick chickees.
She watches them intently, registering every movement.
I think she knows them from another plane which she has
recently arrived from.
We drop pinkish tomatoes into the pen, and stand while they
peck eagerly at the juicy seeds.
She touches the round smooth fruits like a ball,
yet no, she is my smart nieta, she senses this lovely bit of color in our walk
is more cool than a toy.
She draws her tiny fingers across the taught skin to know this thing we have just picked
from the yard.

We walk the road, and soon
her little sparsely haired head droops into sleep.
My feet turn up the hill to home.
I try to extract her from the Bjorn baby pack, with out awakening her from her
much needed nap.
She folds softly into her baby sleep.
I gather my things
to head back down the road
Being with what 'is'.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Last Thing

         The Last Thing ~ 
                                                                            For LaVonnne, two years gone

The last thing you did before
I left you and said goodbye,
the thing that one never knows is the last -
You borrowed my sunglasses while driving me to Miami airport
because you had
 misplaced every other one you had.
(this would not work if they had been prescription)
I left them there with you in Florida, my cheap sunglasses, my only pair.

You in your work truck, driving the easy macho way you always had
laid back, in control.
Just like you drove your Mom's maroon '65 Impala in high school,
 even sometimes when we played hooky from biology.
Flipping the steering wheel effortlessly, me watching with awe,
 I had not even applied for my permit.

You always knew where you were going,
you always had a  plan or 2 or 3.

On that last visit we floated in the warm Atlantic (my first dip in that sea)
We sat in some neighbors swimming pool telling our funny stories and drinking cheap beer.
We got to hang like girlfriends of 37 years.
We got to laugh and yell on a jet boat ride
to watch illusive alligators to which one was never supposed to feed marshmallows
which your odd boyfriend had.

We got to sit at night and talk about our parents.
You loved my parents, especially my distracted Dad.

I was your maid of honor, we got stoned while we dressed,
after I helped you arrange the somewhat awkward head piece you had bought,
and then I held you and talked you down when you cried
about how your brothers were treating you on you wedding day.

Now you are gone, a sudden heart attack,
you fell and left us just like that.
It was so like you. No fancy explanations needed.

I can't believe it isn't possible
to call you up and gab like we did every few months
to keep in touch.
No facebook crap, we did the real thing
We talked on the telephone.

Thank god I took the east coast Amtrak down to Florida in 2010.
Thank god we had the last laughs, and I got the last chance
to loan you - my romping wild friend - my sunglasses
to help you see better on the wide freeways.
The last thing I could do for you in person,
for the last time.