Archives for the month of: March, 2013

I think it’s going to be a clumsy day. I can tell by the feel of my feet as they move across the carpet and how my hands grasp the coffee cup. I tumbled my coffee over onto the floor this morning. It wasn’t a long ways down; it got the couch first. “Jesus Christ!” I bumbled. My mother used to say that a lot. I don’t say it often, but I wasn’t in the mood to drop an F-bomb. I went calmly to the sink. I was just settling in with my keyboard, too, but had to stop to clean up my clumsy mess. I’m still enjoying my cup of coffee and am ready to brew another pot in the mini Mr. Coffee.

It started raining again. I felt it in my bones. Usually the pressure is first felt in my teeth and then it reaches my head: A human barometer. I know there are others out there. It’s a strange thing.

Thanks to Nancy Brady’s (Nan’s) blog about postcrossing I have discovered this wonderful site that allows you to send and receive postcards from around the world. She previously wrote a blog about her discovery of postcrossing, but it wasn’t until her blog, “Postcrossing and Irony” that my curiosity and memory was awakened, taking me to my youth when I used to have a couple of short-lived pen pals. Postcrossing, is not a pen pal site, but I like postcards and I know I won’t be able to travel the world, so this is my little way to do that. So far I’ve sent a little over a handful and have received post cards from Germany, Russia, Taiwan and Norway.

Nan sums up the experience quite well here: http://redroom.com/member/nancybrady/blog/postcrossing

Read all about postcrossing at their website: http://www.postcrossing.com/

Today I will place postcards in the mail to Germany, Ukraine, Russia, and Republic of Belarus.

I stepped away to refill my coffee and the little round milk lid flipped into the coffee cup. It truly is going to be a bumbling, fumbling Thursday!

I’ve been reading The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. It’s the story about a mother and son who start a “book club.” Knowing that her life is coming to and end, they make the most of it by sharing their love of reading. I’m almost half-way through the book. I love reading books about books.

On a personal level, this book is offering me a missing perspective about my mother’s experience with chemo-therapy. As a child, I went with her to many doctor’s appointments and I saw her pain, but she also had a way of deflecting it, of acting out in anger to those around her. This book offers me a glimmer of something–my mother was a private person and she didn’t discuss the details of her illness with us. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office when she found out she had breast cancer. The doctor looked at me and then to her to ask if she wanted me to sit in when he explained to her about her illness and the prognosis. She left me sitting there. I knew this was something terrible. So many doctor’s visits. So many other things. Even today, when I visit my uncle, he tells me my mother didn’t tell anybody anything.

This book somehow connects me to my mother’s experience, even though the cancer is different. It provides a little more closure and understanding of what she was going through, that my young self, all those years ago, couldn’t completely comprehend.

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Beauty is…
Watching a sunset on a warm summer night.
Listening to raindrops pitter pat.
Kissing in the rain.
Watching a deer family nibble grass.
The mountain.
A butterfly flying freely.
Waking up each morning to birds chattering.
A sunrise.
Wispy clouds.
Hawks flying high in the sky.
The flesh of cactus fruit.
Wild flowers peeking out as you round the corner on a hike in the hills.
A tiny sparrow appearing when I’m feeling blue.
Nighttime–the moon and stars.
A butterfly’s metamorphosis.
Life’s many mysteries.

We went to Carmel on Saturday and it was a wonderful time. After checking into the hotel, grabbing two sandwiches, our blanket, and a bottle of wine, we headed straight to the beach. It was slightly windy and cool. I had to go back to the car to get our sweatshirts, but it was still wonderful visiting the beach.

**
Little bits from the road (3/23/13)

Seagulls
circling together–
a sea of musical notes.

**

Time doesn’t always make
sense to me. It speeds by. It
stands still. I don’t notice it until
I start counting backward, back
to when mom died. Then, it sinks
in–just how much time has
passed.

Right now–I’ll experience
today again and again for as long
as God allows me. Time really is memory–
nothing more, nothing less. This is the
time that matters to me.

**
Last night (3/26/13)

The moon looked glorious last night,
almost full. I saw it low and round, the
color of warm honey. That’s when I went into
the grocery store. When I came out and started
driving home, the moon was nestled between clouds.
The faintest bit of pink hugged the right edge–I wanted
so much to paint what I saw.

I saw an abstract
whimsical clown in last night’s moon.

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When I read with S, the first grade student that I read with, we finished a story about an egg that a boy found and watched hatch. “What does hatching mean?” he asked.

I turned back to when the duckling first began to crack out of his egg and said, “well, see here, it means the duckling is breaking out of his egg. He’s ready to come out into the world.”

“Where’s the mama duck?”

“This little story only gives us a part of the story. The mama must have gone away and left the one egg there to hatch.”

“How do you know the mama duck left the egg. Could it have been the dad that left it? How can you tell if animals are mamas or papas?

“Well…” I started to smile, looking at S’s animated face, full of energy, curiosity, and wonder, standing at this point, but still at my eye level while I was seated.

“Maybe you should ask your parents.”

“We have two dogs. I asked about them.”

“What did they say?”

“They said that they chose.”

“Ah, so that’s what they said. So they didn’t exactly answer…”

I was trying to keep it together, but I reverted back to what happens in uncomfortable situations, where I know how I can tell the difference between a boy dog and a girl dog, but I can’t say it to this first grader, so I start laughing, but I can tell he’s not taking it personally or badly. And luckily he didn’t think it too strange that I burst out laughing.

When I had gotten the nervous laughter out of my system, he said, “No, really, how do you know?”

“You know what? This is a very good question, S. And I’m going to try to find a book that helps explain and shows us how we know.”

“That would be cool! Yeah, if you can bring a book next time, but you don’t have to. But if you find one…”

**

Our reading time came to a close and I walked S back to class. On the way to work, driving down the road, past some apartments, I saw a female turkey with her feathers spread out in a full fan. She stood still, trying to get the attention of two male turkeys that were at the edge of the grass. Who knows how long she would be waiting.
**

When I got back to the office, I wrote a quick email to the public librarian asking for any books that may discuss the differences in female and male animals, differences that relate to their plumage or other such characteristics, something appropriate for a first grader. I appreciated their frantic search; they weren’t able to find exactly what I was looking for, but did point me in the right direction.

In the meantime, I did a quick google search for a few animals that I know have visible differences: mallards ducks, lions, deer,–and sometimes, with certain animals, you really can’t tell. So that’s all I have for now and we can ask the school librarian, but I didn’t have time last week.

For now, hopefully, he’ll be satisfied with what I’ve got when I see him next, which is not much. At least I can provide him with some pictures of ducks, deer, and lion, that show one way we know.

Silly squirrel, climbing up the telephone pole. I see you hop to the wire with a shake of your busy tail. You skitter across in a punctuated frenzy, taking me back to memories of my old home where you greeted me in the mornings like my own personal alarm clock.

I could hear you scurry and race around the great pine tree. I could hear you–the bark under your scratchy feet and your little voice–chirp chirp whirr. We’d fill the water bowl every morning for you. We’d hear when you’d tip it, metal against concrete, as the empty bowl would tip back, sounding the bell.

I would open the door and you’d scurry up the tree, sit there at a close distance watching me watch you. I’d put your bowl down and you’d wait for me to step back. I watched you from the screen door, right there; that screen between us was enough for you to feel secure. I’d watch you with your little hands, gripping the bowl. You’d shove your head down then bob it up real quick to make sure I wasn’t going to catch you, and sometimes you’d keep one eye on me as you drank your water.

Silly squirrel, I miss you.

Indian Prayer

“Great Spirit,
Grant that I
may not
criticize my
neighbor
Until I have
walked a
mile
in his moccasins.”

Two nights ago a restless sleep pushed itself upon me. I filled that space with thoughts of a story from Kitchen Table Wisdom about a man who used a visualization technique to help ward off his illness. Together with that story, I reflected back to a class. The teacher took us through a guided imagery to find our power animals. She turned off the lights; many of us took to the floors, laid down, made ourselves comfortable; others stayed in their chairs. It was a small class of no more than twelve. She put on a CD of drums and began guiding us with her voice. First we were to ground ourselves, knowing that we were grounded by the tree, then we were instructed to go down–down, down, down that trunk in search of our power animal. “It will come,” she said. And if it doesn’t, that’s ok. Don’t force it, just be.” The drums beckoned us. The drum. A heartbeat. A familiar and enticing call.

My animal didn’t come. I imagined a dolphin, but I forced it. Dolphin didn’t come of her own accord.

Two nights ago a restless sleep came upon me and these moments connected their dots. I didn’t force, rather I asked gently, for my power animal to come to me. Two appeared. First a crow, which was not a surprise. But the second: A unicorn. That was a very pleasant surprise. When I saw these two beautiful creatures, the space of restlessness grew into peace. I imagined these two: crow and unicorn there by my side to help me continue in my own healing and offering their guidance to me on my journey.

The quote above has been with me a long time, but today it wanted to come forth. I try to keep it close to my heart as I walk through life, one step–one breath at a time–open to all the wonders and differences of life.

I see a woman or is it a little girl…She stands at the river’s edge, watching life flow right by. Pushing pause, rewind, play, fast forward. Eventually, she stops pushing all the buttons, allows the river to flow on by. She knows that’s best. And she watches and then decides to dip her toe in to test the water.

Should she jump into the river,

flow on down the current, alongside the gentle, moving water?

She pulls her toe back and finds a pebble, holds it in her hand ready to throw it, then stops, puts it in her pocket.

She begins to take off her clothes,

then she stands there feeling the sun on every inch of her body.

She hears the river calling to her. She walks in, squats down to meet the river, allows her body, mind, and soul to be pulled. She becomes the river.

I write with my heart,
but the pieces are scattered,
stuck in the pages of another time,
sealed in a book somewhere,
dripping out in small drops of rain.

(March 11, 2013)

**

When I walked by this tree, I saw a little face in his trunk. The first time I noticed it, I smiled wide. I had my camera with me, but didn’t feel that I had time to stop. “Next time”, I said to myself. I walked by that face a few times before I finally snapped a photo. It’s nice to know that the very simplest things can bring a smile to my face and even induce laughter at the thought of it and what reaches me and when. I love when life surprises and provides these little gifts. This here is a photo of that tree that tickled my being into laughter.

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“Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.'”
–The Talmud

This morning I’m in a quiet space.
I woke early,
soaked in the darkness of the early hour–
listened to the morning
hum itself into lightness.

I’ve been carrying this Talmud quote around in my mind lately. It makes me smile when I think of it and all the angels out there bending over each and every one of us. I came across the quote on a greeting card many years ago. I bought the greeting card and posted it to my bulletin board of inspiration; it’s become a part of me.

This morning, I sit and find myself within the white space of the canvas…both literally and figuratively. I used markers to draw on the small canvas you see here. When I started coloring it in a week ago, I was certain that I would color every inch of space. Over the past few days, I’ve stared at this simple, but colorful series of lines and strokes and something inside of me says, I need that white space to stay. It’s not meant to be all colored in. Sometimes, we need that white space amongst all the noise.

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Yesterday was a good day. I felt that I was cleansed of…don’t know where that thought’s gone.

Today’s a new day.

But yesterday keeps reminding me…it was one of those days where your writing in your head and the words are streaming out like a kaleidoscope–turning round and round, seeing so many fragments of beauty, spinning and spinning, but you can’t stop and then you pull into the parking garage and you’re hoping your paying enough attention to the road because you keep turing those words around, trying not to lose them. It’s like panning for gold, so many thoughts, which one’s to keep, which one’s to let go, back into the stream of consciousness. Sometimes there are so many fragments, that you become overwhelmed and you realize that if you sit down, time will click on by–you’d love to sit there and pound it all out, but then it will be time to go to work–sooner than you hoped–because when you’re writing, your in your bliss and sometimes you don’t want to start because you may not have time to finish and refine and get it right, hear it right.

**

Like a painter, sometimes I paint the same mountain with words. Over and over, looking for the truth of that moment, and this too with memories, nature, whatever may be at my fingertips and within the day’s beauties. Sometimes I keep painting the same images over and over as they reveal sides of myself that I may not have noticed before. I take the diamond polish it, hold it up to the light, keep working it, knowing that I must continue, even when it feels like I’ve said all before.

**

I observed a teacher in a preschool setting last week and have a paper due about the experience as it relates to the qualities of the social/emotional environment for children. I waited until the day of to finish. But I’ve been writing it in my head since that day, knowing that I wasn’t procrastinating, rather my thoughts were percolating. I feel good about it. It’s done. On to a new day.

There has been some crazy news related to childcare in the past week. Shocking. In one instance a caregiver tied up a two year old because the child wouldn’t take a nap. She later showed the photos to her colleagues. One of the colleagues happened to be the child’s mother. I have trouble wrapping my head around this. How/Why does this happen? The other incident involves a caregiver that put sleeping pills in the children’s sippy cups–or along those lines. Unbelievable.

**

It’s not officially spring yet, but I think it’s supposed to reach 80 degrees over here in sunny California. Yikes! I’m not sure I’m ready for the heat.
Happy Thursday!