Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dear ones-

I've been away on retreat and a dharma training that is over, at least for now. I am hoping to get invited back but I won't know until June.

But.

Today is Thursday. It is bright and sunny and the dog is sighing at my feet. I've planted peas and spinach in the hopes that the weather won't be totally weird and refuse to nurture little sproutlets.

I have a Black Lives Matter sign in my living room window. I'm currently reading "So You Want to Talk About Race" by a local author, very smart and thoughtful book. I'm not saying any of this to pat myself on the back or be told I'm so woke or anything. I am saying that I am a serious student of both Buddhism and injustice in all it's forms.

And then this happens:

As I was waiting in the Burbank airport  on Monday(Hi Elizabeth!) for my plane back to oh-so-white Seattle, I got a frantic call from my daughter, who had arrived in Seattle earlier that day with her boyfriend. Eden is dating Darius, a lovely, nerdy Black man who works in IT and reads books about wine and speaks slowly because he has a slight stutter.

Apparently a neighbor called the cops because there was 'suspicious activity' at my house and a Black man who was probably a burglar was in my back yard. Four, count 'em, four squad cars, came to my house and thank gawd, Eden answered the door to four of Seattle's finest. They announced that they were investigating a burglary and they had body cameras and audio equipment. Eden lost her shit, of course. Actually, she remained calm and told them she was the daughter of the owner and the Black man was her boyfriend. They went away after neighbors came out to see what was going on. This was all in the middle of the day. Darius had taken a walk (!) and someone decided he was an unknown stranger and of course, he was walking while Black.

My first thought was to leave the country and go somewhere where this doesn't happen. I believe I muttered, "Fuck this fucking racist country".  But obviously I need to stay here and continue the good fight.

I called neighbors to see if anyone called in a 911 call. Nope, no luck. Today I went to the nearest cop shop and spoke to the rather defensive desk cop about the situation and what to do. She couldn't give me the source of the call but she gave me the 'community relations' guy to call. I did, got his VM. zI thought about the local news stations...

I have white  friends and I have friends of color. I do not want my friends of color to be harassed when they come to my house. I don't want anyone who is non-white, female, queer, disabled to be denied their human rights. Period. At all.

My next step is to draft a letter for my neighborhood to tell the story and give them my name and phone number. Call me, don't call the cops. Calling the cops is what gets folks killed. I'll leave letters  in mailboxes.

I've had all kinds of folks come here when I'm not here, to stay here, to use the hot tub, etc. No white person has ever been harassed 'walking around in my back yard".

Any thoughts, dear reader? I won't let it go. Can't.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dear hearts,

Today is my birthday and I got a facial, a haircut and best of all I did this:

I have loved XX skiing since 1975 when I learned how. It is the most excellent sport. It warms you up. It uses all your muscles. It encourages you to visit beautiful snow covered mountains. It feels like flying when all the conditions are right. And today all the conditions were perfect. The snow was new and groomed. There were hardly any other people. The SUN came out. And I was with Holly, my buddy who is my fellow traveler on all things outside. It was the most excellent day. Well, my right knee was complaining and at one point I was moaning a bit in pain but hey, I'm 68 and still moving. AND I told a few folks that passed me that it was my birthday and I got sung to twice.

Today was very fine and I'm glad I'm alive to feel the cold air and eat a mitten-full of snow with my best friend. And move my body that can still move.

BTW-my hair stylist daughter told me if I want my hair to grow, I can't cut it. I endured for as long as I could but today I broke down. Now I actually feel better without weird hair sticking out everywhere. And it will grow. It will.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Oh dear. Yesterday, I said to Felix, the power poodle, that I was so tired of fighting with him. When he's on his leash, he practically pulls my arm out of the socket so that I have a perpetually sore shoulder and neck. After today's chiropractic appointment, I went to the pet store and bought him a harness instead of a collar as I had heard that this might help. I asked the nice older lady about 'anti-anxiety' meds or something as I have been using homeopathics with no discernible difference in his behavior.

She recommended CBD drops or in coconut oil. Whaaaa???? So I'm game. She tells me how much to give him and 'You can't give him too much!' And there's no way he will be stoned... I believed her. I dutifully measured out a teaspoon in his food and he gulped it right down.

Oh dear. My dog is high. Right now. He's standing and swaying in the living room. I feel so guilty. I've told him it'll wear off soon. No really, he's staring out the window and swaying a little. He's looking confused too.

I've done a terrible thing. He is wagging his tale when I talk to him but he's definitely not my normal hyperactive, loony tunes dog. I wish I could enjoy this moment of peace but I just feel guilty.

PS. It's snowing here and so pretty.

I am such a bad dog owner. Bad, bad.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My birthday is in a week. I'm on perpetual hold with the department of health, trying to track down my midwifery license. A T & T threatened to cancel my phone because they hadn't been paid for 3 months. All because I'm no longer the business owner and all the accounts have changed. In addition, I got an astronomical property tax bill last week. I don't know how we are supposed to retire and support ourselves. I will continue to work in the clinic but I am ambivalent now about attending births anymore. It's hard to resist when I've delivered all the kids in a family but damn, it's tiring. I could just work a clinic day a week and take call if there is someone on vacation.

Bla bla bla.

My neighbor's bamboo is invading my back yard. I spoke to them about it but they like the privacy screen and they aren't really interested in removing it. They offered to hire the guy who painted their house last year to see if he could dig it out. Um, no. Bamboo is a beast to remove and then you have to dig down 2 feet and put in a barrier. And getting it out is tricky. I'm afraid i'm gonna have to hire a bamboo expert who will be costly and, well, see above. One contractor suggested I hire a lawyer but nope, life it too short for that kind of conflict.

I sat in the hot tub at my pool and talked with the usual old folks which I am becoming. Senior housing, the cost of senior housing, free gyms, don't get sick. It was depressing. One lady has had breast cancer, another has diabetes. One guy comes with 2 frozen water bottles. He sits in the tub with one bottle on the back of his neck and he drinks the other one. When both bottles are empty, he gets out and goes home.

Wow.

I'm just complaining here.

2 hummingbirds visit my feeder regularly. One (I think the male) has a ruby throat. They are both iridescent green. They make a 'chip chip' sound when they are hanging on a branch.


https://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/crossroads/own_words/KavehAkbar/




Friday, January 26, 2018



Doggone it. I just listened to this song that came up randomly in my play list.

Early this morning I volunteered to count the homeless for the State wide annual count. From 2-6 AM. I figured, hey, my work hours suck most of the time anyway.

I was in a team of three, a guy from Vashon Island, Gregory, our guide who is a homeless man with intimate info about the area we are canvassing and me. We had flashlights, hot tea, gloves and hats and raincoats. We were given maps of the unincorporated city which we deciphered with the help of the dome light in the car.

Gregory talked almost non-stop. His knowledge was vast and complicated. We learned that there are camps deep in the woods that line the freeway where local cops can't or won't go to because they are so remote. Two men died of exposure with the cold snap in December. Pretty young girls get hooked on meth and they lose their looks. Renton, the city where we were, has three meals a day for 'unhoused' folk. There are places to shower and relax if you're a family with kids. Otherwise, the shelters kick you out after 6AM so you have to find warm and dry places to hang out until the shelters reopen.

Gregory lost his housing after losing his 30 year job because of an illness. Sometimes he stays with his mom ( but her apartment is too warm at 70 degrees), sometimes he has an apartment. He was going for a job interview the coming week that he was excited about. He explained that there were folk who preferred to live outside-no rent, no landlord. One encampment even has a generator, heat and light. He seemed quite impressed with this situation. When my Vashon Island partner asked him about his wishes for the future, Gregory said, "Oh, I want an apartment of my own!"

Seattle is cold and dark and wet, for many days a year. Be well and safe, all my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's been a week. The women's march in the cold wet Seattle streets. We met in my living room for poster making and tea. We ducked out of the march to warm up and eat Thai food.



The next day I headed over to Bainbridge Island to see my dear dance teacher. I walked on and managed to take the wrong ferry and went to Bremerton. Oops. I came back to Seattle, got on the right ferry and about 10 minutes into the ride, witnessed a woman my very age step over the railing and fall into Puget Sound. She left a pair of shoes and a note and she said to a group of young women who were standing nearby, "I'm going now."

At first I couldn't believe what I was seeing...then people were screaming and running around, yelling for the captain to stop the ferry. These are giant vessels, not easy to stop. Someone threw a life preserver in the water near her but she was far away by the time a dinghy went after her with a rescue crew. They scooped her up and brought her back the the ferry. We headed back to Seattle where she was met by paramedics and an ambulance. 

I'm exhausted today. What cheers me is to look at my living room carpet sparkling with glitter from our women's march signs. Right now I'm writing this post with a down comforter on my lap and the dog beside me. My body is tired and sore and so is my heart. 

This morning I gave a talk about the 'undefended heart.' It's hard, comrades, to stay open to the world as it is. We do our little part to understand the roots of suffering and to heal ourselves, for the benefit of all beings. The woman on the ferry is with me today, her gesture, the shoes she left behind and the sobbing teenagers who watched her flight. How hard it is to stay here and feel the pain. We know. We're holding you in kindness. May you be well. May you be at ease. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dears,

I haven't been here for a while. On retreat in California, another desert retreat, this time with women (or womyn or womxn). We've been having a lively discussion about the proper word. Womyn was coined back in the day by white liberal feminists, according to the internet. Womxn is more inclusive of POC and trans persons so...like Latinx is not gender specific as is Latina or Latino. Whew. And asking what pronouns a person prefers is encouraged because we make assumptions, don't we and we can be wrong.

My trans friend is just a woman, end of the discussion. Actually she said, "I am a fucking woman".

We're all getting ready for the women's/womxn's march on Saturday. We're meeting for signage at my house and taking light rail to the rally. I missed the march last year because I was in Burma but I'm going this year. I hope the turnout is huge. The MLK rally here was sizable. I was working.

Last night I went to a training to count the homeless in King county next week. We form teams, one of us is a formerly homeless person and we hit the streets at 2AM. From 2 to 6 we move through encampments, find cars and RVs to count. We don't disrupt folks, or wake them or invade their spaces. They apparently have algorithms to assess the numbers. The tally is rather complicated. I learned that King County has the third highest homeless population in the country. Very depressing.

Gosh, I sound so lecture-y. Well, the county is going to hell.

In other news, I spent some time with a road runner while I was in the desert. He/she/they was, um, running along and he stopped to eye me. I just sat down on the sand and talked to him. I admired his feathers and his long legs. We sat in companionable silence for a good bit. My father's ghost is always with me when I encounter the wild. I didn't hear coyotes this trip but I know they're out there. The desert is very special. In the winter it is tolerable; 70's during the day and 40's at night. So hardy, those plants and animals.

This momma is in a tub of water, making noise and breathing loudly with contractions. I will miss being at births but I do love my soft warm bed. And my poor knees are so achey now. I'm a regular old woman/womyn/womxn now. With friends who are half my age.

Two films: The Shape of Water and Call Me By Your Names. See both to be sustained by the goodness of humans, even in heartbreak.

I'll be with all my sisters and brothers on Saturday. We must look honestly at one another and stand up for what we know is right. See you there.