Wednesday, September 20, 2017

This morning we had a baby boy after an exciting ambulance ride. O the firefighters and medics were so nice and gentlemanly in their black shoes and uniforms. And that momma was the hero of the story, pushing out a baby who was FACING US and his head wasn't tucked down but straight up-if you must know, she had to push extra hard to get him out and she did. She just did. The ordinary extraordinary women I am privileged to hang out with, it's astounding what we can do because we have to.

Then tonight I answered a call from a woman who is miscarrying the only baby she has ever conceived. She was crying and I was listening and comforting. Nothing to do except to grieve.

The great wheel of life. At the end of it all, I hope I can look back and see I did a good job, not a perfect job but a good job. A good enough job.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Watching Ken Burns first installment of 'Vietnam' on PBS. Please tune in. I had no idea how long that country was under siege, how many presidents had their eye on the 'situation' and sent $$ and troops covertly. What is it about us humans that we must take other countries, people hostage? Why do we do that? Endless misery.

End of this month, my clinic will once again feed homeless kids in a church basement. I think we're going on 4 years we've been doing this. I have my regulars, folks we've delivered who show up to make a mess o' food in a truly decrepit kitchen. I mean. The burners on the stove are iffy, there aren't any decent knives and the lino is, well the floors need replacing. We make it work, time after time. I do a Costco run, we always have food left over and we feed hungry children.

Going on two retreats in October. I'm beyond weary. We lost a baby and I'm holding so much grief. I want the silence of the forest, simple meals made by someone else and a little bed I can sleep in. No cell phone, no internet, just the quiet dharma hall and my beloved Canadian teacher leading us in chants in her wobbly voice. Refuge, I'm seeking refuge. Someone asked me tonight if I was doing a 'spiritual bypass'. Quite the opposite. I'm not looking to transcend the pain, rather to go deeply into the pain, to hold it with tenderness and love. The loss of a child is a profound loss. All over the world are parents who have lost children and there is a web that connects them all. Grief levels us, makes us more compassionate.

As our very planet suffers, we who are made of earth and sky, we open to the pain of it all. Precious, our lives. How we spend our time. How we treat each other. How we treat ourselves. It's all we have, in the end. Staying open, letting the pain open us in ways we hadn't expected. Softening to love and wisdom and grace.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

It's gonna happen. I'm selling my business at the end of September. Sara and I will sit down with lawyers and the BANK and sign a large pile of papers and then they drop a check into my bank account and we shake hands and toast and hoo-boy.

The first time I bought a house, the procedure was about the same. It was me and my realtor and the escrow guy and the BANK and legal pad sized forms in triplicate. I went home after and went to bed. Even though I was signing on to a piddling amount of mortgage, to me at the time, it felt like I was signing away my first born. Gha...

Anyway, this process has taken about a year. And the end is in sight. I am so ready to be done. I'll still work but the business of the business won't be my responsibility anymore. I can't wait.

Here at the birth center with a family in labor. The parents are deaf and they are here with an interpreter. A very expensive interpreter. Which insurance won't pay for, natch. I've made the commitment to provide an interpreter in honor of my deaf mother who had nobody with her for the births of her four children, not even her husband. She didn't sign but that's not the point. Every woman deserves to be supported in her language when she's laboring.

There's a memorial for a baby this Saturday. I can't say much here but the whole community is heartbroken. I'm heartbroken. I'd like to go live in the woods now. With the bears and the deer and the wild birds.

In these times, may we all find peace in our hearts and lives.

Monday, August 28, 2017

I'm indulging in a bit of anxiety/nervousness/fear mongering etc. I brought soup to work today that is, ah, inedible so I ate the avocado and the apple sauce and decided I was satisfied.

I hate dealing with money. I'm done being the boss. I don't wanna do it anymore. I want to be done, to give the responsibilities to someone else, someone who likes to deal with money, who is good at it and not intimidated. Why don't I have faith anyway?? Sometimes I do have faith and other times I don't. Ghaaaaa.

I have two tats on my forearms. One side says 'right now' and the other side says 'it's like this'. A saying from Ajahn Sumedo, a teacher of Buddhism. Cuz it's true. And there's not a thing we can do about it.

Sometimes I'm so anxious and triggered, I want to run off into the wild to be eaten by a bear. Other times, I'm good.

I sure as shit would be happier if we didn't have the ongoing fuckery in the White House.

May all beings in the path of the hurricane and the floods be safe.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Here we are, brown grass in Seattle because it hasn't rained in a long time. In Seattle, that's weird. So weird.

Home after a long birth and so tired. Beloved family and baby.

Want to hide out and read Anne Lamott and eat blueberries. Don't want any more horror from the idiot in chief. Not a choice to withdraw and stay 'safe'. We must engage, stand up, face our demons, resist injustice.

No choice. Not now. Too much is at stake.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Yup, at another birth. This momma isn't even acting like she's in labor but she is. Some kind of pain threshold. We're hanging out in the living room while she, her partner and her friends are all in the bedroom talking and laughing. And she's at least 6 cm dilated. Go figure.

Gearing up to go to the Bay area for my next facilitator training. I'm supposed to give a presentation on the lineage we're in. What happened after the Buddha woke up anyway? 400 years of oral tradition, monks and nuns reciting the suttas. In Burma they still memorize the suttas. And there are hundreds of them.

Anyway, I have permission to create a visual aid so I'm gonna make a flow chart with Gautama at the top and then the stream of all the different types of Buddhism. Is this boring to report? Probably. I don't care. Well, the Christians have all their denominations and sects and whatnot. There's vipassana and zen and Tibetan and so forth. And they argue and debate and discuss. When Buddhism came to the US and the West, it morphed again.

As a teaching, there is great flexibility and inquiry in Buddhism. There is so much to know! I do feel like I've been slacking in the studies department. And now, it's all I want to read. There are scholars, mostly monks and nuns who have the time...while I'm staying up all night in other people's houses waiting on their babies.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Once again, I'm waiting on a momma, this one her 4th baby so she's an old hand. She predicts when this one will come so I'm sitting on the couch wondering if I should just wander over there and hang at her house. It's dark now and there's no traffic, thank the goddess of all things birth-wise.

I must say, D Trump continues to be a horse's ass. No transgender in the military because their health care is so expensive?????? My therapist says there will be an uprising and we'll all take to the streets to save our democracy. Ok, I'm down with that. What's most interesting is that we go to work, we sit on the train looking at our screens, we buy food at the co-op, we get gas, we go swimming, we tend our gardens and walk our dogs AS IF LIFE IS ALL NORMAL when it's so effed up and we're hoping that those founding fathers got it right with three branches of government and the system of checks and balances and so on.

The NYT published the constitution in their Sunday paper. It's huge and takes up four pages. I taped it to the wall so I could remind myself what it says, especially those pesky amendments.

Cuz what's at stake-EVERYTHING. I know there is outrage everywhere we look, and I mean everywhere. My fear is that we will go numb and hide out in our neighborhoods and that is no way to behave if we're gonna weather this absolute fuckery.

In other news, Diane, my ex and I went to the lady spa and soaked and steamed and ate fabulous Korean food in our bathrobes. Well, why not? And we saw normal woman bodies, young and old. Not everyone is 18 and 110 pounds. What a relief.

I'm gonna go get in my scrubs and take off this terrible bra. Gawd, I hate bras so much. There must be a comfortable one out there but I've never encountered it.

BTW, while doing a birth a few days ago in my nice clinic clothes, I hoisted myself up on the bed and apparently caught the hem of my pants on my foot and basically pulled my pants down under my ass. Fortunately I was wearing colorful undies and I quickly (with my gloved hand) pulled up my pants and no one was the wiser. Fashion disaster narrowly averted. Well, those pants are very comfortable with a stretchy waistband so it, um, happened.

The parents and the baby didn't mind at all.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hello dear ones. I've been buried under an avalanche of babies. I'm profoundly tired. Even after five days away with my family, I came right back to work and had an all nighter birth and I'm at the birth center now with another momma. And clinic. And the usual shenanigans with my staff. We had, as my student deadpanned when I asked her, 65 babies in a month. We didn't have that many but it sure felt like it.

My clinic practice is almost sold. Sara, my sweet partner, is buying it. I've finally seen the purchase and sale agreement and it's 44 pages of legalese. Sheesh.  Non-compete, loan default, etc etc. I know that Sara is the perfect person to take over. She's smart, intuitive, kind and very skilled. So amazing in one so young. I'll still be here as the grande dam of whatever. I'm having trouble imagining myself not going to births anymore but I'll tell ya, after the past month, I could sleep for a year. I get home, water the gardens, feed the animals, walk Felix, eat, fall into bed, get called out at 3AM, do clinic, repeat.

I went swimming today in the lake. Lake Washington is 29 miles long and very wide. It's a wonderful big lake and I love it. Today it was chock full of yachts, roped together. Seattle has, alas, become a city of millionaires. I remember with great fondness the Old Seattle, funky, a bit seedy, unpretentious and slow. Now it's a hip happening place. And I've become an old woman with arthritic knees.

But the babies are still delicious. Every one of them.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Some more babies in the last few weeks. Very hot today in Seattle. And it's Pride weekend here. Just sat in the park watching the humans in rainbow glitter, tutus, tennis shoes, face paint, dyed hair. All magnificent and beautiful. Oh, and platform shoes. Always worry about those, waiting for someone to topple over. I once saw orange and white platforms that were 3 feet tall. The man/woman/person was standing on the street in Austin in front of a bar. I couldn't understand what I was looking at...until I could.

Honorable mention: dogs wearing their Pride swag.

I will spend the day enjoying my queer self, at home with my animals. I might even take a nap. In my youth, I was out there reveling in, well, revelry. Now I'm happy to enjoy my garden and being off call. I'm grateful we homos can have our weekend and some legal protections and the right to marry and care for each other when we're old. Of course there's more. Transgendered folk need protection too. They are humans and deserve the same rights and protections that others enjoy. And can we stop with the bathroom issue already? What a dumb thing to pay attention to. Whatever.

So whoever you are out there and however you identify, I hope you feel loved and appreciated today just as you are. Warts and all.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The humming birds have returned! They are hanging out in the front garden as there are more flowers. I hope they visit the back too because I have a feeder for them with (apparently) yummy sugar water in it.

I am in despair over the last few weeks. I know you know. I went to dance today and broke down. Our poor creatures suffering. Not just the polar bears but all of us. As our clueless 'leader' continues to bring us closer to Armageddon.

I bought a broadside which I brought home today:



manhood meets donny boy

                                                                                  The beauty of me is that I'm rich
If manhood be a hand, boyhood be a discovery
we be see want grab take
but only within arms reach
but yours be vice grip on silver spoon
                                                                                    When someone challenges you,
                                                                                    fight back. Be brutal, be tough
If manhood be a hand, your be fist clenched
white-knuckle death grip around the neck of a dove
yours be standing on street corner of a city block your own
and still be shuffling the deck in a game of shells
                                                                                       Listen, you motherfuckers
Yours be slapping hands away from volume knobs
so you can turn it all the way up
be fingers as earplugs and you "lalalalala"ing all the way home
                                                                                         I don't want to use the word
                                                                                         "screwed' but I screwed him
your manhood stamps your name on treaty
never honored, but always enforced
your manhood be fork in the road
my way or highway litany of demands
                                                                                        I have an attention span
                                                                                   that's as long as it has to be
your manhood be in need of a manual
a hands on course
but none exists in 140 characters
                                                                       A little more moderation would be good       
                                                           ....My life hasn't exactly been one of moderation
                                                                         
manhood be an open palm
be a dove set free
be question marks and quiet tones
be boyhood's big brother applauding in the audience
be nothing to prove
                                                                                                 Everything in life is luck
you orange trickster, brer rabbit in comb-over
your sleight of hand slips of tongue
leave us sloppy mouth agape and used
                                                                       I feel like a great and very brave soldier
you man-handle business
strike blows, cut corners, kill dreams
legend only in your own book
you might be no steel drivin man
tighten the vice on the silver spoon
choke the air out then smile, big
                                                     assure us
                                                                                     Believe me
                                        you are the answer
                                                                                     Believe me
                                                     assure us
                                                                                     Believe me
                                        you are our gift
                                                                                     Believe me
                                                                                     No one better than me


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dearies-

Sitting at the birth center waitin' on a baby. Seems like every week when I'm on call, someone goes into labor. That's ok, I am a midwife after all.

The weather here has decided to get warm and sunny. The poor vegetable garden is pathetic. I planted greens and it was so cold they all bolted because they thought it was fall and they better hurry up and make some babies. So, I'll start again with starts. The peas are invincible however but when I think about last year's garden bursting with everything I planted and this year's sad wee plants..I actually watered today because it got hot enough.

I cleaned out my garage today and while that's not much of an accomplishment in the mess of the world, I feel good about cleaning up my little patch. And besides, my friend Casey keeps reminding me that she would be delighted to live in a tiny house next to my house and the garage would be just perfect for a tiny house re-do. Gawd. That's all I need, another remodel.

I put various useable thangs out in the parking strip and don't you know, they are mostly gone by the time I left for the birth. A box of odds and ends, light fixtures, hinges, nails and screws. Picture frames, a big umbrella. It's the free stuff that people give away. Someone can use it. Better than sending it all to the dump.

In another month, I will no longer be the owner of the clinic. I'll get a whopping check, pay down my debts, invest the rest and life will go on as before. We are easing a new midwife into the practice. She is another naturopathic midwife and a great woman. She has been unfailingly steady and helpful, filling in here and there, whatever is needed. And she's organized, something the rest of us lack. She'll be coming to this birth later on to birth assist, help clean up, whatever we need her to do. She's been seeing babies in the peds clinic which is growing exponentially.

I'm so happy to be leaving the clinic to Sara, my spiritual daughter. It is thriving and healthy and we have such a good time working together. I am hanging on, I really don't want to leave...

But if I'm gonna become a dharma teacher or something like that, I need to devote myself to study and contemplation. I have plenty to draw from, my life as a baby catcher. So many lessons and stories, funny, sad, terrible and wonderful. I want to be of service as along as I still have my marbles.

Good night dear ones. There are the night workers like us, while the rest of the world is asleep, waiting for some to die, some to be born. The endless wheel.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

IT'S SUNNY AND WARM

FREAKISH,  I TELL YOU.

I turned the heat off.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Today I went to the garden store to cruise plants. It's a bit pornographic, the way I behave. Or maybe I  have bee tendencies but I'm looking for colors and smells and curvy figures.  There were birds chirping and I thought they were playing some bird chirping audio but no. There by the cash register was a large round stainless feeding trough hung with a warming light and a bunch of baby chicks on bedding inside. They'd just come in the mail (!) from Kansas. The box with holes in it was still on the floor. They were hungry and thirsty, stepping on each other and falling into the water. The gal in the store said she could hear them at the post office ( I bet!). Anyway, I hung over their enclosure and watched. So soft and fluffy and weighing practically nothing. Gladdened my mood.

I bought starts and seeds and headed for my p-patch, the city's answer to those of us who need gardening space. They provide water and tools and a small plot of fertile earth.  I have learned so much from my SE Asian neighbors about how to intensively garden. They grow around and among different plants. Vines grow up corn stalks. Smaller plants grow among larger ones. And they have veggies all year round.

My strawberries were looking healthy and so were the weeds, which I pulled out. I planted spinach and lettuce. I like that spot for squash because it takes so much room to grow. The beds by my house have peas and beets and beans and more lettuce. I'm so glad to be able to walk out and harvest food from my yard.

My yard right now


The back yard just got the walkway and now it's time to fill in with more plants. My friend who has been helping with the heavy lifting says I should feel glad to come home and see my garden. And I do. 

I'm all up in being a student, y'all. I'm studying dharma books and instantly forgetting what I've read. I give my first 'talk' this Sunday and I just might disregard my notes and speak from my heart. Yikes. I could talk for hours about midwifery; history, efficacy, shortcomings, data, etc etc but dharma is...different.  Feels more important to be authentic and of course I can't talk about what I haven't experienced. And that's the truth. 

So wish me well. The topic is racism and American Buddhism. In 15 minutes. No problem. Ha!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Cold but daffodils and cherry blossoms. Had a salad of collard greens from last years garden. My friend Casey is in Uganda with MSF, helping support Somali refugees. Such suffering in this world. The cycle is endlessly repeating.

Danced with my dear fellow dancers this morning. Generation of joy essential in troubled times. Went to a gallery with a buddy yesterday-all artists responding to the Trump regime. My favorite: The Trump sandwich-white bread, baloney, I.C.E. berg lettuce with American cheese and a small pickle.

Got my taxes and fell on the floor. I owe a massive amount. And a miracle happened. I didn't have a panic attack. I didn't lose sleep. I didn't become completely unhinged. I stayed calm. I knew it would be ok, somehow. Because it will be ok. In the grand scheme, it's a minor thang. Soon enough, I won't own the business anymore, my income will drop precipitously and I'll be living on a tight budget and it 's all ok. It really is. The eight worldly winds. Can't avoid 'em. Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and pain, fame and ill-repute.

Be well. Take heart.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

We had a wee babe earlier this week and dang it all, I was worrying about her, nothing big, more subtle and I sent them to the hospital this morning and don't you know, the baby has a heart thang which needs surgery later on. So subtle. I mean she looked good and was pink and clear lungs and good tone but there was something...

I believe there is much that is unseen in this world. I'm sure there are tree devas, for example. I could go on but I'll spare you my hippie musings. Anyway, a disembodied somebody was tapping on my shoulder, fussing at me about this baby. So I paid attention. As I often say to my students, "It never hurts to have another opinion. What's the worst that could happen? There's not a thing wrong with the child and they'll just sent her/him home." Better to be too cautious than not cautious enough.

Rain and sun, rain and sun. Back and forth, in the faithful weather of the NW.

Off to my sangha or as MLK would have called it, my "beloved community."


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Grand Canyon is, well, grand. We had sun, rain, hail, snow and thunderstorms. In short, we had everything.

I heard a young lady say, "They all look the same!", referring to the many canyons in the south rim. No, they don't.

Waiting on a baby. The house is quiet without Felix. He's with Randy, his buddy and dog sitter. It's like not having the kids for the weekend.

I'm a reader now. I am reading Taming the Ox: Buddhist Stories and Reflections on Politics, Race, Culture, and Spiritual Practice by Charles Johnson. I'm reading Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein and Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg. I just bought three books of poetry by David Whyte. I have piles of books in every room. I'm in the 'improving my mind and understanding' phase.

Soon enough I leave for a long weekend in LA to sit/study with the Against the Stream folks, a Buddhist group that I've been sitting with. I'm beginning a facilitator training with them that extends for 18 months. I'm trying to be a smart Buddhist. So I read. Four Noble Truths. Eightfold Path. Three Jewels. Four Divine Abodes. etc. etc.

I hope everyone is hanging in in spite of the daily news shenanegans. Some kind of cosmic playbook we are having with goofus in the White House.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

in here the windows are too close to the ground
you dare not leave them open
imagine
a person stepping over the sill
unannounced
uninvited

your finger is swollen
just one
you hold your hand over you head
the x-ray was so beautiful
calcium formations carpals and metacarpals
you remember from anatomy class

Caroline's cough is from the mets in her lungs
breast cancer won't stay gone
now it visits her liver
sternum, spine

She's remarkably calm
what did you expect
hysteria
loud cursing
instead she lets her ex-husband drive her home

you remind her
let him love you
let it in
he's doing the best he can
I miss them so much.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

 Yes, it's a tree growing through a store in Bagan.
And this one is for Maya, my stylist daughter. Although a beauty saloon would probably ask patrons to leave their 6 shooters at the door.

 Little monks praying before the main meal.

Um, Beth the nun in nun robes with the sweet nuns at the monastery. I managed to lose my grip on robe layers daily.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

I blame it all on the POTUS

The other day I was waiting to get to the scone/cookie case while my dear coop bakery person was refilling the shelves. He turned, saw me and asked if I needed to get by him. I was having a floaty bliss day and NOT HURRYING from place to place. I was actually moving slowly and deliberately, paying attention. So I said, "Nah, I'll wait for you. I'm in no hurry." And he replied, "Yeah, it's just cookies."

So I'm using this whenever I'm getting upset about insignificant things-my computer doesn't load fast enough, the freeway is clogged up, I forgot to take out the trash.

It's just cookies.

You're free to incorporate into your lives.

You're welcome.

Friday, February 24, 2017



 Sunrise over the Irriwaddy River and the monks dharma hall at Kyaswa Monastery. Ma Kamala and me just before I disrobed. Ma Kamala radiating loving kindness. A small well tended Buddha in a pagoda near the road leading to Bagan.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weather Report

The weather is horrible here on Judevine Mountain.
It's dark and cold all winter. Every day, rain and snow

beat on your head, and the sun never shines. Then
it's spring and more rain, and ice and mud too. And

after that, the black flies eat you alive, and then the
deer flies, and then the mosquitoes, and then it's fall

before you even noticed it was summer. Then there
might be a couple of weeks of decent weather and

then it starts to rain and snow again. It's just awful
living here. I don't think you'd like it here at all.

You'd better find your own miserable place to live.
                                                                -David Budbill

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Stuff all around the house, partially packed. I'm not bring much because I'll be wearing the same thing for three weeks.

Finished the typhoid meds, ug. Packed antibiotics, malaria meds and xanax (natch) for the 36 hour plane ride with stop overs, gha..... did I ever say I'm claustrophobic? Well I am a smidge. So riding in a jumbo jet with 120 other people AND if I should be stuck in the center aisle, well you get the picture. They do let you watch a bunch of first run movies on a wee screen but that gets old after a while.

Will I be warm enough? Will I be too hot? Will I go crazy sitting and walking for 14 hours a day? Will the dharma teacher be sweet or severe or cranky? Will my fellow retreatants drive me crazy? Will I drive myself crazy?

All will be revealed.

For the benefit of all beings, I go forth.

And bless all the beings who are marching on January 21st in DC and all over the country. I am there in spirit. It's historic, women.

My daughter is going to DC with her bud Traci. Go represent, ladies.