Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Look Closely

There in the river an egret stands
The egret in the river
There on the other side of the river Harbor Seals sleeping
The seals so far away and easy to miss
There in the horsetail grass a frog rests comfortably
The perfect froggy camouflage on a sunny day

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sunshine and Minus Tides

It finally happened. The fog and clouds left us. The morning sun has been rising in a clear blue sky. Luckily this break in the usual foggy summer pattern coincided with a significant -2.0 tide these past few mornings. So, we headed out to Trinidad Beach to walk to the beautiful beds of seaweed.

We drove 15 miles up the coast and got there at 7:30 about an hour before the lowest tide. Of course I had to stop and photograph this sea foam, but really I just love seeing Roger heading out to the tides.
The light was crazy out there and really hard to photograph anything. The sun was just coming up over the hills so there was lots of shadows and blinding brightness everywhere.

We headed north, going around the glimmering pools left behind by the retreating tide.
I'm not even sure why we wanted to see the seaweed gleaming brightly in the morning light.
Maybe just because we could. Because it was sunny. Because the tide was low and our spirits were high. Then we sat and had the tea and toast we had brought with us and watched other people arrive to take in such a beautiful morning.

PS-- It feels absurd to post photos and write about how lovely it is to take early morning minus tide walks when our country is carrying on in the most outrageous and horrific way. We don't know what to say that hasn't already been said by so many. We walk in our glorious freedom while children are being held in camps separated from their parents. The truth of this is so profoundly disheartening. That this is what our country has become is shattering and heartbreaking. What then must we do?

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Skinny Kitty Cat Story

Our Facebook friends already know this story, but we wanted to share it here as well. I posted this on Friday there:
We've all heard the "crazy old cat woman" stories, and this morning Roger and I met one. We were out for our usual 7:00 am neighborhood walk, when we noticed the saddest skinniest little cat on a driveway. It looked so bedraggled and forlorn. I went over to it to pet it. I could feel all of its bones. It had unbelievable crap in its eyes. It made me feel so bad, we walked home fast, went to the market and bought two cans of cat food. We drove back to the house to find the cat, when the front door opened and the crazy old cat lady came out. Oh yes, she has many strays she feeds. There were empty food bowls strewn about the yard. I went into her back yard and several cats ran away, but the skinny black one came over to me. I opened a can of food and fed it. Roger stayed out front talking to the cat lady. Yes, she feeds them, but definitely not enough. We're going to bring her a bag of kibble every week, and I'm fighting the urge to go and get that skinny black kitty cat and bring it home.
It received a lot of good, kind, supportive, and thoughtful comments. One was from a woman we know locally who recommended that we contact someone she knew who does cat rescues around our neighborhood. She gave me her contact info; I messaged her and so began a day of communication. She was out trapping cats, dealing with kittens, and all kinds of other kitty cat issues. Her work is full of kindness and support. She helps people get strays neutered/spayed; she connects people who find cats in need of medical support; she delivers food. She couldn't get over to the skinny cat's house on Friday, so we promised we would head over there on Saturday, bring more food and find out a little more details of what was going on with the cats.

Skinny cat eating the kibble we had just brought over
On Saturday, we learned that the old cat woman has five cats, one is hers and four are strays. She feeds them all as best as she can. She knows nothing of their histories, whether they need to be neutered or spayed, if they've had their shots, etc. She was very grateful for the food we had delivered.

We reported that information to the helpful cat lady. She made it over to the old woman's house on Sunday morning. She wrote me this note. I changed the name to initials so as to keep the old woman's identity private:
Hi Robin, I went by to see CB and the cats. I spent some time with them. The cats that I saw are all elderly. I think they are too old for spay, neuter. CB says she hasn’t ever had kittens, which tells me they are most likely fixed. They seek shelter under her house, so that makes me feel better. I think they could benefit from good cat food, and CB was grateful to you for donating food to her cats. I agree, she’s a bit limited by finances and energy (she’s in her 80’s.) The old black guy on her porch is a lovely cat, he’s just very old, which is why his appearance is a little alarming. I looked at him carefully, and his eyes are goopy, but his nose is clear, which is a good sign. Rehoming him would be too traumatizing to him at this age. 
I have to say I was so relieved that the skinny black kitty cat is really too old to be rehomed. I was still fighting the urge to go and get him Sunday morning. He really is very sweet. I posted this follow-up on Facebook:
I would like to hope for every crazy old cat lady there's a good and kind cat person who goes around neighborhoods trying to make life easier for old strays and kittens. The latest update on the kitty cat saga is that the skinny cat we saw last week is very old and would not benefit from rehoming. His eyes are goopy but his nose is clear (doesn't that sound like song lyrics?), which is good sign. The good cat lady spoke with the old woman who was appreciative of the kibble we dropped off yesterday morning. We will continue to supply food weekly. We are relieved and our hearts are lightened by this news. Friends, if you see an animal in distress please help when you can and find those with hearts so big they do the real heavy lifting.
We went to the store after getting the update and bought 12 cans of food and another bag of kibble. We will help on a regular basis. I'm not a big fan of outdoor cats and strays, but college towns often have issues like this when students leave and people move on and let their kitty cats stay behind. It's not their fault. So, we help as best we can. And, that's our skinny kitty cat story.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Poem On A Wednesday

I find myself so full of despair lately. This land on earth that I call "my country" is heading down a path so terrible I simply cannot believe the times we are living in. And yet here we are. I was reminded of the poem by Wendell Berry 'The Peace of Wild Things" because those first lines are where I am. So, I go looking for the peace...
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives might be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence  of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Photoshopping The Grandkids

It's funny how things get started. We were watching our grandson Ian a few weeks ago while his mom ran some errands. She had put out a box of Legos and said, "Have fun!" So, we did. Roger built something and decided to put a little plastic Yoda in it. I said, "Hey it looks like Yoda is meditating." Ian said, "We meditate at school," then proceeded to sit cross-legged on the floor, hands in that classic meditation position, eyes closed. I loved it! A few weeks later both grandkids came to visit. I mentioned to their mom how much I loved seeing Ian meditating. Delilah shouted, "We meditate at my school too." Then she, Ian and Roger sat on the floor together and meditated. I couldn't resist taking their photos. But when I downloaded the pics, I didn't like the light in the living room or the crayons and kid books strewn about on the floor. So, this is what I did...
 ...I photoshopped them meditating on top of the earth with the moon in the background. It was a fun way to spend a foggy cloudy day. The perfect cosmic diversion.

Then the grandkids came by for another visit just the other day. We were hanging around, drawing pictures and looking at rocks, when I remembered the photo I had made of them. So I grabbed the computer and said, "Hey kids, take a look at this." Well, they loved it and immediately wanted me to photoshop them into other scenes.

Delilah posed like this and wanted it to be on strawberry ice cream...

...and Ian posed and wanted to be on a penquin.
They thought I could do it just like that while they waited. I had to tell them it takes a bit of time to make this happen. But I did get to it a few days later and made these. Delilah wants to also be put on a rose, and Ian wants to be in a tractor. I'll do it for them because that's what crazy grandmas do. They photoshop the grandkids into scenes they love. I also hope it will teach them to question the validity of images they see. Because I know they know these moments never happened in real life... or did they?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Fence Art Update

Back in early April I wrote a blog post about our fence art and wanting to make a dragonfly with wood and marbles to put on it. We learned that wood and marbles don't work so well together for outdoor art. Luckily some of our commenters recommended silicone caulk (the best part of the internet is the sharing of such helpful information. Thank you all for that). So we began an experiment with some different caulks. Not all of them worked, but one did quite well. We left our little marble experiment out in the weather. As you know from my last post, the weather has been damp, horrible, gray, cool, wet and lousy. That one marble with the silicone caulk stayed put while others fell away. So, we decided to glue down the marbles with that caulk and get that dragonfly ready for the fence. We took our time  gluing, doing the tail on one day, two wings on another, and then two more wings on the next. We and the dragonfly were finally ready for the next step.
Here is Roger attaching the tail to the fence on a beautiful sunny Sunday.
Here is a bit of a close up of the heart and dragonfly together. Lit by the sun.
This is what the fence looks like now. We have a plan to make two small ladybugs between the dragonfly and the sun. And then...not sure yet, but something crazy beautiful.

Yes, the sun finally reappeared on Saturday. It was a day "for the glory." The 50th anniversary of the Kinetic Sculpture Race is happening on this Memorial Day weekend. It's been warm and beautiful. We spent some time watching the race as it came through our neighborhood. I smiled more than I have in months. Tears in my eyes and a smile as broad as can be. I'll post some photos of the those stunning kinetic sculptures later this week. Ah sunlight and delight together. For the glory!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gray

The skies have been gray. I wouldn't call it cloudy; I would call it bleak. It is as uninspiring as anything I've ever experienced. It's been like this for more than a week. We even skipped two significant minus tide walks because the winds have been fierce and the air wet with precipitation that isn't exactly rain...but is.

So, to break the spell of utter doldrums we made ourselves go for a walk. We went to the marsh because it's close by and doesn't require a back-breaking climb through the rocky cliffs to get down the the windy bleak beach. It was gray there too, of course. Hardly any cars in the usually packed parking lot. The birds are all hiding and have been for a while, tending to their nests and probably wondering if they should move someplace sunnier. Even the little crabs have disappeared. I think they must be half way to Mexico by now. Seriously, though, no birds. Well except for this one.

It was behaving just like a White-tailed Kite. We watched it for a while, hovering hovering flapping its wings and hovering hovering. I even made a little video of it. But a White-tailed kite against a gray white sky doesn't exactly make for great photos or videos. While we were out there a man we had seen many times at the marsh came over to us and told us that we were watching a Marsh Hawk (a Northern Harrier). He said that he had been videoing it yesterday and it kept swooping at him. He thought it was going to claw his eyes out. He showed us the short video he shot on his cell phone. It really did swoop at him big time. Really close to his face. It was wild. But he was wrong about the bird we were watching. It was a White-tailed Kite. I didn't tell him. Maybe the bird that dive-bombed him really was a Marsh Hawk. We all get to dream.



Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Mother's Day Birthday

Every now and then, Mother's Day falls on my birthday. This is one of those years. Today I am 66 years old and it is Mother's Day, my first birthday without my dearly beloved mother. I found a website that lists all the Mother's Day dates. The calendrical concurrence of Mother's Day falling on my birthday has happened ten times in my 66 years: 1956; 1962; 1973; 1978; 1984; 1990; 2001; 2006; 2012; 2018, and the next one won't be for 11 more years. Will I be here to celebrate my 77th birthday in 2029? Part of me has serious doubts about that. We'll see. If I'm still around, if I remember, and if we still have this blog, I will certainly do a post very much like this one. In fact, as I type this I think I may just make a copy of this and schedule it to appear then. Wouldn't that be funny? Will the planet still be habitable in 2029? Will the internet still be a thing, or will survivors be living in caves drawing on the walls and watching the batteries on their cell phones run out?
Yes, I photoshopped my mom and me on this cave wall. Days of future past.
Stay tuned. Happy Mother's Day to my mom who I miss with all my heart, and to all the mothers out there. 


Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Trying To Find Words

I can't seem to find any words to write lately. It's a quiet time, although I could scream bloody hell about you know who is destroying our country. But I'd just be adding my quiet insignificant voice to the millions who are already shouting. So instead I've taken a few photos, and really these are just a few things we've seen since we've been home.



I'm hoping for atmospheric optics to lure me out and dazzle me with awesome views of our skies. I'm hoping for the flower starts we just planted to bloom into something that will take my breath away. I'm hoping for the veggies and herbs to grow into something so delicious it will inspire me to write a poem. I'm hoping someone who will remain unnamed will be impeached.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday

My twin brother sent us this photo of a mandala on the beach in Capitola. What a beauty.
On Tuesday we saw a bird's answer to this artwork. We call it a "birdala."
Left in the low tide mudflats by busy feet. Imagine.

Monday, April 30, 2018

We Are Home

We are home. Now I don't have to worry anymore about being stuck in southern California during and after an earthquake. Having been in two of California's big earthquakes (Sylmar and Loma Prieta) it's one of the persistent fears I have whenever we are traveling. An earthquake would be horrible in that crazy over-populated chaotic traffic-jammed highway of a place even on a good day. I also think about earthquakes whenever we drive through the Gaviota Tunnel. I quietly chant to myself, "please don't shake, please don't shake" while we are driving through, and on the other side I'm grinning from ear to ear. We made it!

We are home. After 17 days on the road, we pulled into our garage with The Beatles singing "The Long and Winding Road." It just worked out that way on the playlist of "L" songs, and it was perfect. We used to be younger, when long and winding roads didn't completely wipe us out and make our backs hurt. This aging stuff takes some getting used to. We're starting to think about no more long trips, or at least breaking them up the way we did on our journey home from the beach house. We stayed at our very first airbnb in the pleasant little town of Ukiah. It was a nice way to break up the trip, and there was a full kitchen. So we could cook, if you call turning on the oven and putting in a frozen organic veggie pizza cooking. Still, it was so lovely to have a quiet night to ourselves.

We are home. The front and back gardens need so much weeding. Our rain gauge showed that we had gotten 5 inches (12.7 cm) of rain while we were gone. The weeds and every green thing in the yard loved it. But sadly the dahlias suffered from our absence. We weren't here to protect their new leaves from the onslaught of slug and sow bug hunger the way we did last year. So now we are trying to make up for lost time. We're hoping they will bloom again this year.
We are home. We are taking our early morning neighborhood walks. The weather has been quite rainy since Thursday. We haven't even had a chance to get out to the marsh yet to take a look around at the spring flowers and birds there. We're planning to go on Monday when the weather promises to be sunny. We did get a burst of bright sunlight on Friday, so I ran out to see if there was a rainbow, and yes...yes there was. I was so glad.

We are home.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Still On The Road

We've been on the road since April 9th, and for a bunch of homebodies like us, that's a crazy long time. Several months ago Roger contacted his far-flung siblings and suggested a long overdue family reunion. It had been six years since they were all together. So, we booked the family beach house for the week of April 21st. We didn't know then that we were going to be at my mom's memorial on the 14th, so what started out as a plan for family fun suddenly had to be extended for other sad journeys.
The upside of driving back from the southern part of the journey was the ride through the rich green spring time of California's lush productive valleys. The breathtaking skies and rolling hills were a heart-soothing balance to the heartbreak of memorials, a necessary reminder of all that is still and always beautiful.

My twin brother traveled the same highway north after the memorial and was also renewed by the views of our rich earth. He photographed this on his way home.
On our way north we stopped and spent the night in Pismo Beach, a lovely quiet little town on the central coast. The hillsides were bright yellow against the blue skies.
We don't often stay in hotels, but we decided to just have a quiet night before the reunion began. The hotel we stayed in was right at the beach, so of course we ventured down to take a look around. That's when we noticed this.
We had never seen such crazy white stone before. I thought it might be erosion repair work, but it wasn't. It was actual rocky cliff face. So, of course I had to google around to find out what we were looking at. Turns out it's called tuff, a light, porous rock formed by consolidation of volcanic ash. I found one website that described the formation:
Pick up a small piece lying on the beach and crush it in your hand. Notice how powdery it is, and if you look very closely at the individual grains, you'll notice that they are angular. This rock is a tuff. It was made from ancient volcanic ash that landed on the ocean and settled to the bottom building up over many years. This ash was eventually buried to depths sufficient to produce temperatures and pressures necessary to petrify it into the tuff, was later uplifted, and the erosion exposed it for us to see today. There was enough ash generated to ultimately create tuff hundreds of feet thick in this area.
I wish I had picked up some pieces of this tuff stuff. I didn't. But I did photograph a large rock of it that had broken off.
The next day we headed north to the reunion, where we still are as I type this. We're staying until Wednesday, and then begin the long drive home. It's been quite a journey. We're tired, but seeing the beauty of our earth is our way of healing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: One Month Gone

Memory Board 1 at the Memorial


Memory Board 2


Monday, April 09, 2018

Fence Art and Sky Hearts

We've been getting ready for our long journey south for my mom's memorial. So much to do, photographs to gather for the poster memory board we're going to put together. It's heart tugging in every way.

Here is something we've been working on for distraction. Roger and I started on this project back in mid March. We have a lot of old fence boards that he thought would make a lovely dragonfly for the fence art project. I thought so too. So he cut the boards and laid them out. As soon as I saw it I wondered about adding some of the flat marbles we've found in the yard and around the house here. We think they're from the bottom of vases of flowers, and mostly get discarded at the end of the flower splendors. So we gathered them and tried this:
After Roger cut the wood, and we laid the marbles on it to see how it would look, I thought I should google around about mosaic and wood. That's when we learned that it's not a good idea at all for outside art because wood expands and contracts in the weather. All those marbles will fall right off. We tested it with a piece of wood and some other pieces of marble, two kinds of very strong glue. And guess what? After all the rainy weather, the marbles do fall right off. So, we may just make this for someplace inside the house. It really was fun to put it together. I could see us trying other projects in the future.
In the mean time Roger did make a heart and a peace sign from a barrel metal hoop. We're starting to really like adding stuff to the fence.

Sometimes the clouds will lift our spirits with shapes like this.

If you keep looking up you can see heart signs and be reassured by the beauty of our skies. Life goes on and there are miles and miles of travel ahead.



Monday, April 02, 2018

Starlings In The Wall

Roger heard something and I tried hard to hear it too. Nothing. He got up and walked over to the wall in our bedroom, put his ear to it and whispered, "There's something in this wall... maybe a critter... some dripping water.. I don't know what, but I hear it." I went outside to listen. That's when I heard it too. Something was definitely making noise in the space between the exterior and interior wall of our bedroom. While we were in the yard, wondering out loud about what was going on, it flew out. A starling. Well, we were relieved it wasn't a mouse or a rat, but not sure what we should do about a starling building a nice spring time nest in there. I looked down at the ground and saw the remnants of the wire screen vent in the eaves there. Bummer. Those birds had found a way in and made it even better for themselves.
We tend to have a "live and let live" attitude about most things, and most especially about birds. But we seriously wondered about having a non-native species like a starling in there. What kind of trouble would be enabling? So, I wrote a dear friend who is a true birder and asked her. This was her response.
1. Introduced species. 2. Keeps a very, very filthy nest. Hauls in a lot of material (fire hazard) and toward the end of the nestling period allows the babies to defecate freely in it. Think stinking, soggy mess that I wouldn't touch without rubber gloves on. So there's that. But 3. often has chicken mites. Chicken mites are very bad medicine. They infest the nest and will come through the walls and infest you...wait until you see the pair outside together and wire that space off. They still have plenty of time to start another nest elsewhere. (PS-- this is slightly edited)
So, Roger went out and got the ladder to measure the space that he needed to cover. When he had the right piece ready, we made sure the birds were out. We banged on the wall, we talked, shouted, waited, banged some more, talked some more. They were definitely gone. He covered the space. We agreed that if we heard any sound from in there, he would open it up and wait til that bird left. But we never heard a single sound again. We were so relieved to say good bye to those birds. It's a good thing one of us still has good hearing. Yikes!
We're still taking our early morning walks, trying to tip the scales toward beauty and away from grief and sadness. A city sunrise is a good beginning. Working on tipping the scales everyday as we plan our trip south for my mom's memorial and Roger's family reunion. Life goes on... life goes on. Sigh.


Monday, March 26, 2018

A Week Goes By

It's been a long week since my mom's passing. We had one day of sunshine, and then it rained and rained and rained. Not much to do but stay inside and write the obituary. My mother read the obits in the newspaper everyday. She loved the stories, the details of people's lives. So, we absolutely had to honor her memory with her own story and photo.

On the only day of sunshine we went for a walk at the marsh and saw our first Swallowtail of the season. That was a lovely sight.

Then, later in the day when the clouds came in, there was an iridescent and corona display that was particularly beautiful. I loved seeing that, it lifted my spirits.

A few days later, on Thursday we had two little earthquakes. I posted this on Facebook:  
I'm not a particularly cosmic-look-for-signs kind of person, but I had been thinking that I would know when my mom was fully gone from our earth. It would take an earthquake, and that's just what happened. Yesterday, on the fourth day after she died, there were two little shakers, a 4.6 in the morning and a 4.7 in the evening. Her two steps into the universe were so big it briefly shook our earth.
In the Jewish tradition, we sit shiva for seven days after the death of a loved one. And so I have been saying that I've been sitting shiva in my mind.  And now the mourning is done.

The weather forecast is for a sunny week. We will walk and see the world anew.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Grafitti From The Gods

My mother passed away Sunday evening at 7:40. Just like that the long struggle was over. My twin brother and my sister, who were at her side, said she opened her eyes for a brief moment, breathed her last breath, and then shuffled off this mortal coil. Even when it's expected, the finality of death stuns. We went for our walk early Monday morning just as the sun was rising over the mountains. Rising on the very first day without her. We walked the neighborhood and came upon this sidewalk graffiti. "I missed you Mom." There it was already in writing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Another Year Goes By

The Potato Story

This is the third time I've reposted this story. It is now 26 years since my father is gone. He lives in our hearts as brightly as ever- missed, remembered, and loved always.

I first posted this thirteen years ago on the blog.

My father died of liver cancer on March 14, 1992 (Sat, 9th of Adar II, 5752). I offer this post in his memory.

In 1993, as the first anniversary of my father's death approached I was quite inconsolable. My family was still grief-stricken; my father provided a lot of the emotional glue that held the family together. He was a very kind, gentle and sad soul who derived what joy he had from his wife and children.

I felt the need to mark that anniversary by drawing on several different traditions -- burn a yahrzeit, build an altar, place stones on a grave, make an offering of his favorite things (photographs of his loved ones, mystery novels, food). So, an elaborate blending of multi-cultural ritual was conceived, and in the center the yahrzeit burned for 24 hours to mark that awful day. Roger and I took a dozen roses to the Capitola Wharf at Monterey Bay (where my father's ashes had been scattered), and tossed a rose in one by one and recited out loud how well my father was loved and remembered.

The following day, after the yahrzeit had burned out, we disassembled the altar and put everything away. I took the food offerings and buried them in the yard. It was the beginning of a closure of sorts.
Roger and I jumped into spring that year the way we always do. Lots of flowers and vegetables to plant. I typically do the flower gardening and he does the veggies. Our yard faced Monterey Bay with one of those 180 degree views of the entire expanse. There is a narrow public footpath on the bayside of the house, where lots of friendly people walk by on their way from the cliffs down into town and back again. There were often bike-riders, families, sweethearts, people walking dogs, and late into the night revelers from the nightspots below. People always commented on our garden, and we had conversations about the flowers and vegetables nearly everyday.

That summer everything bloomed and fruited as expected, but an errant potato plant showed up in a border bed reserved for flowers. We were quite intrigued by this and tried to imagine how a potato came to be in that part of the yard. We assumed some passerby, with a bag full of groceries had inadvertently dropped it there or one of our gardening buddies was having some fun with us. Maybe it had been there all along, and conditions were now perfect for it to emerge. We could not find an acceptable explanation. How ever it came to be there, we harvested it one day, and had a wonderful breakfast of new potato home fries and poached eggs. And that was the end of that.

In winter of that year, as my father's birthday approached, the gnawing sadness returned, and I missed him fiercely. My siblings and I had decided we would honor our father on both his birthday and the anniversary of his death every year. So, on December 19th, I created the altar again: photographs, novels, his favorite foods, and a yahrzeit candle. After the 24 hours of observance had passed, I looked at all of those offerings and wondered what I would do with them. I would put the photographs back in the albums, the novels back in the bookcase, and the food offerings (carrots and potatoes) I would bury in the yard. And that's when it struck me: I had buried the potato in the flower bed. It had been from the plate of food offerings I'd made on the first anniversary of his death. I was stunned by how deeply I had buried that memory along with the potato. Not even the potato plant itself could coax to consciousness the memory of my actions.

Now, the planting has become part of the tradition. Every year in my father's memory I plant potatoes. Sometimes they are standard russets, sometimes yukon gold, or new red, or yellow fin, and once it was a lovely bunch of peruvian purples. Tomorrow, I will be planting potatoes again. PS-- The yahrzeit candle is burning. The potatoes have been planted. It is 2013, and I know all these years later that love lasts forever.

And now it is 2018, and we will be planting potatoes tomorrow. Love does last forever. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Do Go Gentle

Sunday morning walk at the marsh
Over the years I have often come to the same conclusion that Dylan Thomas was absolutely wrong to wax eloquently about not going gentle in that good night. Are you kidding me, Dylan? That's about the worst death bed advice I have ever read. Maybe there is a lofty interpretation of what those poetic words mean, but to me they are the opposite of what we should hope for our dying loved ones.

"Please do go gentle," those are the words I think all the time now. It is a quiet wish for my mother who is doing her own bit of raging, pulling the bandages off the newly placed pleural catheter (the device that will help drain the fluids from the pleural cavity around her lungs). We knew there was the possibility that she would do that. It was one of the things that made some family members vote "no" about having it placed. What do we expect from a 92 year old woman with Alzheimer's at the end of her life? Decorum? Rational reasoning? Considered behavior?
Enjoying pistachios at my sister's
She has been having good days and bad. On Thursday, the day before the pleural catheter was placed she sat on the couch in the family room and noshed on pistachio nuts, looking as placid and happy as one would hope. Then came the minor surgery on Friday, minimum anesthetic, home within two hours of the procedure, and chaos. Sunday morning the bandage was on the dresser. The tube was exposed. She was not going to hear a word about behaving.

Going gently is a wish for all the days she has ahead. It is not merely a death bed wish, but a wish that everyday is calm and easy. I think we must all learn this mantra to Go Gentle. Why rage when you can embrace calm for all the time that's left.

Don't listen to Dylan. He was all wrong.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Free The Buddha

For more than a year we've seen this Buddha statue trapped in this crate. We walk by and shout to the wind and sky: Free the Buddha, Free the Buddha!

Free them all! LOL!