Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Supper

I was half listening to a program and the speaker posed a question, “If you could select a last meal, what foods would you choose and what memories do those foods bring up?”

Before he posed the memory part of the question, I was amassing a feast of chocolate ice creme, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, milk for cookie dipping, and other treats.  Once the memory part of the feast was added, I immediately jumped to turkey drumsticks.  I was four years old and eating Thanksgiving dinner with my family.  The drumsticks were my personal portion of the turkey.  I had already eaten one.  Another large drumstick was sitting in solitary splendor on the side table.  I was looking at it with gustatory lust.  My aunt said, “You’ve eaten enough.  You can’t have that drumstick.”  

A contrary little thing, I wasn’t hungry.  I didn’t want to eat any more - I just wanted that drumstick and I didn’t want my aunt to tell me no.  I grabbed it and took a big bite.  I showed her!  Later that night, I got sick and threw up everything I’d eaten.  I was so ashamed of my greed and rebellion.

When asked for memorable food - my first memory always goes back to that turkey leg.  I am still trying to learn to be less contrary and greedy.  I don’t eat turkey legs anymore.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lost Voice

There was a little girl who loved to dance and sing and shout.  She would dance her way around town and sing about all the joys and shout out to her friends.  

Bumpity bumpily bump bump about town she would go.  Fa la la, fa la la, fidgety fa la la la la she would sing to the sky.  

One day a new thing came.  It had fuzz between its toes.  It cried and everyone said shhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t upset the baby.

The little girl would dance and sing and the new thing would cry and the big ones would say shhhhhhh.  

bumpily bumpily bump - shhhhhhhh.

Fa la la, fa la la fidgety - shhhhhhhh.

When she asked them to return the shhhhhhh monster, the big ones laughed and said that “one day, she’ll be your best friend.” 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Be Nice, Be Kind

Today as I was walking, my mind was running a million miles through all the issues and problems in my little world.  I was trying on various solutions and resolutions.  I was setting limits and goals.  I was everywhere but on the road walking.  I was trying to figure out how to do my best.

“Be nice, be kind” my mom’s voice resonated in my head.  I always thought I was supposed to be nice and kind to everyone around me.  Today I realized I need to start closer to home.  I need to be nice and kind to myself.  By this, I don’t mean that I get to be greedy, hateful, and spoiled.  What I mean is that I need to accept myself, just as I am.  Awareness is dawning.  

 Penny - a beautiful apricot colored rose with wonderful fragrance
Pebble - the friendship of my neighbors to each other
Ponder - how can I stay mindful, how can I stay the course

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Growing up I remember my dad outlining detailed social justice plans.  He wanted everyone, especially poor people to “get a fair shake.”  He was against large tenement housing, rather he suggested that subsidized housing be mixed into “normal” neighborhoods.  My dad spent his youth trying to fit in. 

“I worked really hard so that I could buy argyle sweaters to wear to school.  I went to Lowell and argyles were the popular thing to wear.  I would take the bus to Pacific Heights and get off and walk home to the mission so that no one would know where I lived” dad said.

My dad joined the army when he was 16.  He dropped out of high school to enlist.  I wonder if the pressure to fit in got to be too much, or if he was feeling patriotic as it was during WWII.  My dad was a smart guy.  He was always coming up with solutions.  As a kid, when he would give me a solution, I hardly saw the problem.  Now I wish I paid better attention.

I am a dyed in the wool Democrat.  I feel a keen sense of fairness that only seems to emanate from the Democrats.  I don’t follow exact planks and platforms, but the Democrats are for the little man - the Republicans are for the machine - at all costs.  This is what I learned from my dad.  It is what I feel in my gut.  It makes me blue.

  • Penny - hammock in the backyard
  • Pebble - my grandson giving me his dragon to display on the mantle “forever”
  • Ponder - does bad manners and meanness HAVE to be used in politics?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fantasy vs Reality

What are you dreaming about?”  asked my Mom, my teachers.  I seemed often to drift off to fantasy land as a child.  In those days it was about solving great mysteries, or being the first woman president and bringing peace to the world, or just about becoming an adult so that I could control my life.  

I still day dream.  I travel to foreign lands. I have a seat at Dorothy Parker’s Algonquin Round Table.  I drive a really cute AND fast little convertible along the California coast. I find a solution for the homeless that provides them with dignity without adding to their problems.  I spend an entire week reading books and eating oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and milk.  I walk the Pacific Crest Trail - with no blisters or bears or mountain lions.

There is so much to explore.  Thank you God for giving me a great tool to see the many and varied possibilities in this world.  Thank you for letting me adventure on.

  • Penny - the warm hello from my neighbor.
  • Pebble - the grey haired fellow who gave his shopping cart to the lady with the cane.
  • Ponder - which dreams to I want to make reality?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pennies: The beautiful cloud patterns.

Pebbles:  It was over 100 degrees out.  I saw a person handing out water bottles to the indigent on the street.  What a kind soul.

Ponders: How much practice does it take to stay in the moment?  When mastered, it that the day we are called home to God?

First Day of School

Today my granddaughter is setting off for her first day of sixth grade.  She is busy picking out the exact right outfit, putting all the required papers in her backpack, and wondering who of her friends will be in her class this year.  It’s only the middle of August, but already fall is in the air.  The buckhorn trees are turning brown, the fields have are golden.  Cherries, apricots and peaches are a memory.  The markets are full of melons, grapes and apples.  The temperature is still hot, but the summer light is gone in the early mornings, replaced by cool breezes and different shadows.  

The world is turning.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I’ve started re-reading some of the books I loved and kept from when I was younger.  I think education is wasted on the young.  I remember plowing through these books trying to determine what my teachers would think were the important parts.  I seldom stopped to try and understand or test or evaluate the content for myself.  Now I find real enjoyment in these reads.  I find that I’m more enchanted and engaged.  

For example, I’ve been reading Walden.  I am in harmony with Thoreau and his love of the wilderness.  I have my personal Walden Pond that I’d love to spend two years living beside.  The way he resonates with my thoughts and feelings has obscured the fact that there is a certain arrogance in his observations.  The cult of poverty is not the perfect solution to excess, it is only another way.  I realize that I need to be careful of wholesale adoption of ideas that are in sync with mine.  The more valuable are probably those I resist.  Those will lead to more insight.

Rucker Lake, CA

Yet, any friend with a wood lot that they’d let me mind for two year - let me know.  I’d be glad to undertake the challenge.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Miscellaneous Questions

If God creates everything and puts us all exactly where we are supposed to be, then everyone is in their right place.  Why should I believe that someone is following the wrong path when they make choices I don’t agree with?  Why would their religious path to God be wrong?  Can I tell a red rose it’s supposed to be white? 

When I am ranting against other’s beliefs and choices, maybe I should be looking inside instead and try to figure out what exactly I’m afraid of.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Poverty Consciousness

While reading, my mind was wandering among to do lists, family and friends I should call to get in touch with, things I’m avoiding doing, housework I don’t want to do, when suddenly the words “Poverty Consciousness” jumped from the page.  Growing up, my family seemed always on the edge of financial insolvency, a nice way to say that my parents had frequent conversations about bounced checks and which bills to pay and which to hold off on.  Poverty was always in my conscious thoughts about money.

What I didn’t know is that we were rich in so many other ways.  We were a good sized family of 7 with a house to live in.  My mom and dad spent lots of time with us and involved us in their pastimes like art, music, and golf.  We had lots of friends in the neighborhood and spent hours and hours playing in the streets and fields around our house.  Everyday started with breakfast and ended with dinner, all around the kitchen table.  We had riches others only dream of.

Today’s values seem to be based on what you can acquire, where you live, how much money you have.  We don’t seem to value loving our families and friends, growing strong communities, taking care of the things we do have by maintaining and repairing them, and exploring and revering the world around us.  Real poverty is found in the pursuit of “stuff.”  Real wealth is found in being mindful of and giving to the people, things and world around us.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Eye of the Beholder

Walking in the morning helps me to center myself for the day ahead.  I try and stay mindful and enjoy the movement, the cool  air against my skin, the birds, the sky, and gold of the sun as it washes across the tree tips.  I love the morning beauty.  

But, I realized this morning, I always have this little asterisk in my head.  It says, the morning is beautiful except for the power poles.  Often I think, this is so pretty - too bad there are those ugly  power poles and wires.

This morning I realized that I’m very biased.  I am only looking at beauty from one point of view.  Those power poles are beautiful.  The workmen who put them up were probably really proud of the great job they did and how now all those who live in the area can have power, phone service and cable. 

Beauty isn’t the only area where I’ve been imposing my personal standard as THE standard.  I’m going to have to be on the look out for my discriminations - I have lots to learn.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Sunday I saw a film about San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach.  It was a great reminder of gentler times.  Playland was sort of like Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, but with more fog.  The Fun House was my favorite and apparently the favorite of many attending the movie.  We all giggled and laughed at the same places.  

There were five story wooden slides you rode down on a burlap sack.  There were moving walk ways with steam shooting up at random moments; a great big rotating barrel that you tried to get through without falling down; a spinning wooden platter that you tried to stay on, but would get shot off of; mirror mazes and fun house mirrors.  Laughing Sal was queen of the party and her fellow clown guests hung out all along the walls and ceiling.  

A simpler time, but so much fun.  Memory lane is a great place to spend some time and all the sweeter when shared with new friends who’ve been down the same road.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I need to give up my arrogance of intellect.  I need to get closer to feeling and live less in my head.

Most of my life I’ve tried to be “smart.”  I refused to learn to type when I was in high school because I didn’t want to be pigeonholed as a dumb secretary.  When I started to work in an office in the early ’70’s  I was a PBX operator (telephone operator - like on Lilly Tomlin’s laugh-in).  One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy . . . because “girls” were allowed to be secretaries, receptionists, and telephone operators and I didn’t know how to type.  When I realized that secretaries made more money than PBX operators, I spent every spare minute typing envelopes and following the lessons in a book trying to learn touch typing.  

None of this had anything to do with what I really enjoy.  I’ve always wanted to write, but I’m afraid to expose my thoughts.  I was too smart to try and work at any field near my true passion.  Now that I realize that being smart is a rather dumb pose.  I am going to try and explore painting with words.  For me, words have a color, tone, and musicality.  This blog will help me exercise my skills and exorcise my fears.

Friday, August 3, 2012

While walking today, I saw what I thought was a penny.  It immediately brought a smile and a feeling of happiness.  See a penny, pick it up.  All the day you’ll have good luck.  It was just a mark on the pavement.  I still had that little lift of happiness  for the “almost” penny.  

So, why can’t I find a penny everyday?  It doesn’t have to be made of copper and stamped with Lincoln - it could just be a small spot of joy.  If I pick up that spot of joy, all the day it can bring me happiness the same way a penny does.  As soon as I pledged that I would find my daily penny - I found a real one on the ground.  I picked it up.