Friday, December 30, 2011

They're gone, my children and my grandson, back to California. I wander around finding shoes, boots, books left behind. And the kitchen floor is an amazement of sticky, twiggy, bits and pieces of meals and detritus from the yard. So. On my knees to the cleaning god with my rag of fury.

Maya and I went to uh, a dance thing called Ecstatic Dance, which happens, apparently, every week. People come together to dance for an hour and a half to world music, blues music, etc. And it is a community. She's been dancing in San Rafael so she found a group here and she convinced me to go.

I sat on the side as people trickled in. Low lights. A large shiny new dance floor. Women in floaty skirts. Men in loose pants. Stretching and chatting. Then the music started, slow at first. The old hippe in me compelled me to get up and start to sway. Midway through, the music was jumping and so was I, sweat splatting to the floor. Then the music slowed down again until we were finished. Maya hopped around, bobbing and jumping.

I have no idea what happened. I might go back. I love to dance and I never do anymore. Except in my living room.

Cleaning the house after the family leaves. And a solitary walk.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The kinder have all left to find snow for the children to play in. First, there is the question of snow, which we don't have much of this year. But enough. Then no one has any sleds. So. They rent them in the Mountains but they don't have reservations for today. That means a trip to Target on the way. And there is the small matter of permits for two cars, which we, thank the lawd, could down load via the magic of the internet. And Eden didn't have snow clothes, coming from LA, so I gave her mine. Mittens and earmuffs and scarves.

Then I decided I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay in my bathrobe and read the paper from yesterday instead of breaking my leg in a sledding accident (or standing around in the cold watching others hurtling along and banging into each other).

Eden gave us the most beautiful photo of swimmers, wavery and blue and ghostly shapes. Dreamers in the water.

Last night was grand. Eden trashed the kitchen with her wild cooking. Nothing was safe, not even the ceiling. I was the dishwasher/counter clearer. Somehow, this morning the kitchen looks normal.

They'll come home later and eat leftovers. I think I'll make them a giant stew for dinner. Or my special lasagna. Or perhaps I'll do nothing at all today.

Right now, it's the katz and me. And the New York Times.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

When we had our theft in October...and my laptop walked away, I didn't see anything else missing. This morning, while making a bed for Milo, my grandson, I looked for the handmade quilt, just his size. I can't find it anywhere. I looked in all the usual places, then unusual places. It's gone, like my laptop. Now I'm imagining the thief wrapping my laptop with o so many hours of hard poetry work with the only quilt I've made for myself, hours of hand stitching all walking away from the house to become...a dog bed, a gift for a girlfriend, a disguise on the street...

The pattern is called 'birds in flight'. Fitting, don't you think?

I topstitch my quilts by hand. I know, I know, all those fancy sewing machines can stitch on quilts now. I see them all the time. They're cheating. The pleasure of quilting is quilting, holding the quilt on your lap and making each stitch by hand, thimble on your middle finger to push through the layers and pricking your fingers under the quilt to know you're all the way through. I've ended up with scarred fingers on my left hand after a long quilt making.

All my children have quilts I've made. I wanted one for myself. It's so many hours...

I have a partially made quilt waiting for me. Guess I'll get it out and begin again.

Sometime, visit a quilt show with quilts from long ago. Marvel at the hours and miles of thread. In the day, women quilted 12 stitches-10 stitches to the inch. A lot of stitches. And many spools of thread. Quilts were made at 'bees'. Quilts were made alone. Women would make a quilt with clothes from someone who died. To mourn. To remember.

Friday, December 23, 2011

This is what I love. Della is at least an hour old. We're doing her newborn exam.

Tomorrow the younger child arrives, trailing clouds of glory. I'm in awe of my children. They are beautiful and talented and so much more hip than I'll ever be. Ever.

Tonight the final two episodes of Dexter with my neighbors. We shriek and groan and hide our eyes. Naughty fun. A serial killer with a tender side. Just in time for xmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why, when you have two scratching posts in the living room, do the katz insist on sharpening their claws on the rug (or the furniture). Why? I threw a pen at Hugo this morning. He looked at me like I was insane.

They were set here on this earth to DRIVE US CRAZY. It's working.

A tiny rant. I only subscribe to one magazine, The Sun. It's gloomy, the writing is often brilliant, there aren't any ads and the editor also publishes black and white photos. I've submitted poetry and a short story three times, to no avail.


This am while lounging in bed, I read Sy's notebook (the ed.) and he mentioned that he uses viagra, or the generic brand. Eesh. I don't care about this. Save it for some other publication, mister. I know he can write (and publish) whatever the hell he wants but jeez. he often talks about making love to his wife. That part is ok. It's the mention of drugs to 'enhance' that bothers me to beat the band (as my mother would say). Perhaps I'm channeling my mother this morning. In her world, such things were impolite. In poor taste.

Gawd. Maybe I'm turning into my mother.

The sun is out again so I'm going for a walk in the cold. We have sun this winter, very odd. Tomorrow, Holly and I will once again go hiking on Tiger Mountain. We found a trail called the Meandering Trail. We're gonna find out if it goes to the top. Or not. we're not goal oriented. We talk along the way about Buddhism and her ex girlfriend. At some point we decide to turn around. And hikers are usually a democratic bunch. No pushing and shoving. Unlike swimmers. Male swimmers. They have something to prove. They splash and knock you on the head as they pass. Because. They have to get to---the other side of the pool?? Whoa, as Keanu Reeves has so famously said in The Matrix.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I cleaned like a mad woman yesterday because Deb went back to work and I HAD THE HOUSE TO MYSELF. That's right. And I stayed in my jammies until 4 PM. Plus I wrassled the tree into the living room so now it smells piney and holiday-ish in here. No ornaments or lights, just a tree by the couch.

Every year (almost) I sing in the sing-along Messiah at the Unitarian church where they pray to the Unit. They are nice people, social justice and all, really very nice people. But kinda boring. I tried to go there for a while. They had great music and (snore) sermons and a whole lot of nice people. But. My darkness was too dark. Buddhism is dark and difficult, much better for me. Those retreats I go on...they're not like a sunny picnic day. You sit in a room with other silent people. For 45 minutes. Then the bell rings.
Then you walk outside for a while. Then you come back in and sit down for another 45 minutes. Repeat until mealtime or bedtime. The demons come, yes they do.

So the Unitarians weren't MY people, you know? However, they bake roomfulls of cookies and they make hot cider for all the singers who show up. We sing all the parts and there is an orchestra too with little kids on violin and a kazoo player and a trumpeter who mangles 'The Trumpet Shall Sound.' And there's a raffle and door prizes and it lifts my heart, it does, to fill up a room with glad shouting. I don't even mind that I'm among strangers. And I lose my place. And I can't sing very well. It's democratic. Just join in.

Oh, and the director is hot. That certainly helps.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy birthday, Keith darling!!!

We had four, count 'em, four births in 24 hours. Sheesh. And my midwife partner is at the birth center with yet another momma in labor and another momma waiting in the wings....

They all wanted an instant peer group.

Today we put up a tree in the house, the first time I've had a tree in ages. It's such a mess of needles but the guy at the tree place managed to put the tree in the back of my wee car so I didn't have to worry about it falling off the hood and causing a collision and ruining someone's Saturday with dented cars and the police and the like.

I bought Deb's 23 yo son a flying helicopter that runs on batteries. The boy toy department is so weird with transformers (?) and all manner of guns and space aliens.

I went to the yarn store yesterday and next door was a gamer place and there was a huddle of young people in black commiserating about some dark game. The girl among them was wearing six inch high boots and a a purple dress and a pointy-hemmed black coat. The boys just looked like geeks. But online they are flying wizards with impressive magic swords and mythical beasts who zap the giant sand spiders and segmented fanged worms. I had The Jungle Book and Little Women as a kid. However, my parents bought several books of Greek and Roman mythology which I read, because I read everything in the house. Medusa was a pretty mean gal, what with turning folks into stone and even in death, growing cacti in the desert from blood dripping from her neck.

I still wish I could fly.

The whole family arrives on the 25th. Then the house will be stuffed full of people and noise and food. We'll eat together and play Apples to Apples and visit the house around the corner with the zillion lights running on a generator and go to the mountains so we can play in the snow. Maya will cut my hair. I'll get to hug and kiss my dear ones with missing them mixed in because we don't see each other enough, ever.

Push the sadness down into a corner, at least for a while.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I am waiting for my student to arrive so we can go to a birth at dark-thirty. I've been trying to avoid this situation for 2 days but we're having a baby pile-up and I can't duck any more. So armed with cough drops and wearing my sweats ( don't effing care that I look a mess), we'll wade in and grab that wee critter.

It's beautiful fog and dim lights now.

We'll never get a tree for the house at this rate. I'm planning to spend more time in bed. It is SO inconvenient to be sick

Friday, December 16, 2011

Came back from retreat and promptly got sick. Croaking and coughing. The retreat center was in Silver Falls, Oregon, very beautiful and cold. My cabin was either the frozen North or 80 degrees. But there were many hikes in lovely old growth and icy trails. A bear sighting in October so I didn't take the long way around. Imagined a bear huffing up behind me and chewing off my head. The largest animal I saw (heard) were raccoons growling. In the blackest black night. Whoa, black night.

the fam comes next week. My younger has informed me she'd like a slouchy knitted hat, just finished the socks/hand warmers for the older child. Sigh. So I'll go get some wool and whip up a problem.

However, there are two women in labor today and I might have to prop myself up and go to a birth, snuffling and cough-y and all. Cough drops. A face mask. Inspires confidence for sure.

It's midday but I'm gonna sleep in case I'm called away. In my clothes.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I've been too busy at work so all I can do is come home and lie on the couch. But yesterday we put up lights and they look purty.

If the cat barfs up all her dinner, does she get to have another dinner? I remember nursing a child or other and she'd barf up her whole meal. Then she'd want more. Fortunately, I always had more but I'd think, lordy, what a waste that last half hour was.

In other news. I go on retreat tomorrow for 4 days. And we're riding the train, oh joy oh rapture. The train is the best form of travel ever invented. I'll be watching for cormorants and hawks. They like the train track pathways. And there are the poor little houses along the track. And the people who live in them. Their lives and stories and red shoes.

Monday, December 05, 2011

A fat girl born this morning. Surrounded by both grandmas, friends and the poppa. Mom was kneeling on her bedroom floor and I gotta tell you. My knees aren't what they used to be. I think someone should make me a leetle stool I can sit on in front of/behind the momma so I'm not squishing my knees and hobbling around after.

Abby was still practicing at 68. I wonder if she sat on a stool or wore knee pads like carpet installers. Of maybe she made women get on the bed so she wasn't crouched down on the floor somewhere. This is why we have body workers and hot tubs. And ibuprofen. And young students.

I had my young student do a bit of exam this morning. So she could feel the baby coming down with pushing. She was excited to feel this. I love this part of teaching; watching students do something thrilling for the first time.

The baby came out with her hand by her head, like she was waving at us. Beside her fat cheeks. Beautiful and pink. Women are stronger than they know.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Today is brilliant sun. My dearheart is in pain from surgery and headed for a nap. Or a lie down on the couch. I've dressed warm for a bike ride on the Interurban trail, a long, straight bike trail next to the train tracks. I have a handful of almonds for a snack.

Today I'm gonna dedicate my ride to Abby and Geoffrey while my heart pumps and my legs push the pedals. Our brief life. How did we spend it?

Then Deb and I will put up xmas lights and cheesy plastic candy canes. I've always refused to glitter up the house but this year, what the hell.

However, I can't compete with my neighbors who run a generator for their light extravaganza deluxe cheese fest. (see above)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

For right now, I'm gonna go for a walk along the lake and look for unusual birds like muskovey ducks and golden pheasants. I'll pretend I live on an estate where we collect exotic animals and we have an arboretum full of orchids. We have tea at 4 and dinner at 8 where we dress in tuxedos and evening gowns. There are butlers and servants. I have a dresser who helps with all the hooks and eyes. And I wear my hair in a big floaty pouf with real diamonds on long pins.

You never know if you'll see someone you love again.

Why is it when someone dies, people say that person is with Jesus or is in heaven or both? I don't find that comforting but I guess some people do. Please don't say that about me when I die, okay? Or if you do, be ironic.

Jesus was a guy and heaven is the botanical garden on Oahu near the North Shore. I swam under the waterfall there. They have Buick sized philodendron growing up trees. And tropical plants from SE Asia. Dream flowers. Plants with arms and hands. No cherubs. Not one.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I feel so sad I could eat paper. Instead I ate two brownies then I felt sick. There is no cure for this sad, this desolate, this loneliness. Abby was my family, the one who didn't throw me out. She kept me and cared for me and told me I was ok the way I was. After all this time, I'm trying to believe it. All the meditation and incantation and poetry can't take away the shock the cold the ghosts who haunt and point and turn away.

Abby, dear woman.

I will never disown a child of mine. Never. What kind of mother does that? How hard must her heart be?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fuck November. Just when I thought November had worked her worst anniversary because my brother died, for fuck's sake, on November 26th, I learned via the magic of the internet, that Abby, one of my oldest friends died today. November 30th. I went for a long walk in my hood, stopping to sob under trees and by fences and near barking dogs. If someone walked toward me, I crossed the street. I had a wad of wet toilet paper for a companion. Abby was a midwife like me and I've known her since I was 18, a fucking long time ago. And she was twisted. And the stories live in us and now I can't retell them with her.

She was supposed to tell me before she died that she was fixing to die. I wasn't supposed to hear about it on the internet.

Fuck November. Next year, I not doing November. It's cancelled.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last night, Deb, Dexter's sister said, "stay tuned for another episode of what the fuck." I love her character. She swears more than any woman on the silver screen. And I love the F word. So does she.

Yesterday, Dr Teeth called to let us know the cancer was contained, no positive nodes. This is the best ever news.

Today I actually brought my laptop to the dining room table because I'm serious about working. I have a towering pile of poetry to re-insert into my new computer. Never ever forget to back up your work.

From here almost all the leaves are on the ground.

Relentless, the great cycle.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today a baby girl, bigger than we expected. The mom had to push real hard to get that puppy out. But she did it.

Rant below (you don't have to read if you don't want).

This mom chose to birth in the hospital, for reasonable reasons. I could hardly stand myself, wanting to MAKE EVERYONE BACK OFF and let her be. Sheesh. The docs are residents and have to get their hands on/in/whatever. Just let her be and watch what unfolds. Listen to her cues, not the effing monitor. Women in labor have a language, a dance. Honor them and learn it, for Pete's sake.

Nothing worse than the docs fussing around the baby across the room while the mother asks over and over, "please give me my baby..." I wanted to punch things.

Came home and slept. Deb downloaded all the Harry Potter movies, all eight. I'm hopelessly in love with Harry Potter. I want to watch them all, one after the other. I really wish I had a wand. And a cloak of invisibility. Yeah. And some spells. I might blow up some shit. And disappear...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This is where Holly and I hiked today. Deb stayed home with the cats. Holly and I found a little tree decorated with Christmas ornaments. We had the wobbly legs on the way back. Sometimes we want to hike for hours but we're too weak. I'm just grateful I can still be outside crossing streams and standing among the trees.

Geoffrey, today was for you. 11/26/2007

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Deb's gone for a lie-down so I'm gonna sneak out and walk in the blustery rainy wet. I'll go down and say hi to the ducks. And the geese, tossing around in the lake.

Odd to be idle, not making food for my friends. they're making food for US. I think that's the way the circle works.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Be still my heart. Deb's home and in the downstairs bedroom. This is what she does. She staggers out to the bathroom. She sits on the couch for five minutes and eats a bit of rice pudding with a wee bit of tea and some probiotics and arnica. Then she staggers back to bed for another four hours of sleep.

Tomorrow we're getting two Thanksgiving dinners. Yeah! Love my friends.

The new gutter has stopped leaking. I don't believe the evil gutter company came back and fixed it. ( I threatened to report them to the Better Business Bureau) but it is just sitting there, not leaking and it's been raining buckets. I think fairies fixed it. Because I lost my debit card yesterday and left the car window down last night (what? you think I was a tad distracted?) Now the car keeps locking the doors and the windows won't roll down. Maybe if it all dries, it will be ok? O, and the seat was soggy. Um, well, Deb is sleeping now and she's gonna be ok so who cares that the car keeps hiccuping and locking the doors, over and over.

May everyone everywhere have enough to eat tomorrow. May all have a warm place to sleep and be safe.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deb's ok and the surgery went well. She's got oxygen prongs in her nose but so beautiful. Dr Teeth was chipper and toothy. He's delighted with her and himself after five surgeries today. I bring her home tomorrow and I'll tuck her in with comforters and the cats and some soup and all the people who love her.

To Bev and Patti; thanks for the support and the hundred and four hours at the hospital. Bev and I went to St James cathedral and sat before the lady holding the baby Jesus with the huge ceiling overhead. We lit candles. I didn't do the holy water thing although I've always wanted to. Hell, I'd go to confession if Deb could heal faster. I have a lot of sins so I'd keep the priest pretty busy. I'm not sure which sins are the worst. There's parking tickets and premarital sex and lying. It's so hard to sort them out.

Deb is sleeping the good drugged sleep and tomorrow she can come home. Where I can watch over her and keep her safe. Sleep well, my darling girl.

And my partners are taking care of the ladies and the babies, bless them.
Today is surgery day. Armed with ipod, living will, durable power of attorney, slippers and the NYT book review, we head off to the hospital. O, and a list of phone numbers for me to call after the Dr walks down the hall toward me removing his paper hat. He'll be wearing A) a smile B) a grim expression C)a noncommittal straight mouth. That's why Bev will be with me so we can hold hands. Like in the movies.

Except that this is actually happening.

The day is wavery and cold. Fallen leaves. Empty soccer fields. Pearl gray sky. Seattle at her most atmospheric.

May all beings be held with love today.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A new Marcel the Shell!!!!!

So this is where we were today. We went to the pass but, silly us, there was snow. Duh. No driving in snow. No snowshoes. Not enough warm clothes. We came back down the pass and found a secret trail we named after ourselves. We allowed other hikers to use it because we're like that. Magnanimous. We don't allow poaching, however.
Holly and I are going hiking today so pray for us that we don't end up in a ditch cuz of the ice and our fingers don't freeze off. It's too beautiful a day to stay inside. I know Radish is checking on fish so we're gonna see about the mountains and the leaves at the top of a trail. Pictures to follow. That is, if I don't fall in a ditch or end up transfixed by the brilliant.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Milo turned 9 this very day.

His mother gave birth to him 9 years ago this very day. He had two parties today. I gave him a Swiss army knife. He's a boy with a knife. For whittling. Everyone needs a good knife.

Happy birthday, Milo.

Love, Nana
It is most cold out and there is a cat yowling out there. It makes me crazy. I call and call. It might be a tuxedo I've been seeing around the hood. The pound says they have no room because of a 'hoarding' situation, someone with 47 cats, now all at the pound. Cats need a warm couch and regular meals and some humans to pet them and tolerate their shenanegans.

Surgery on Tuesday. Then we find out if it's better or worse.

I went swimming today. If you cry into your goggles, the seal breaks and you get chlorine in your eyes. Just an FYI.

I'm not crying mostly. Because I need to be strong and shit. And anyway, we'll know more on Tuesday. After Tuesday.

Tonight we went to the movies and ran into the oncologist with his kid. Weird. He has very white teeth and a big smiley smile. See you Tuesday, Mr Teeth.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We went to the one year anniversary of our local veggie restaurant tonight where there was bubbly and chocolate for all. And we're looking at surgery for my honey, got the biopsy results today. Fie. On. It. All.

So I had two glasses of wine and a bunch of chocolate vegan cheesecake and I didn't take my phone with me. I left it at home. I just hope the babies don't want to come tonight. I'm needed here, under a fuzzy blanket, watching the Borgia series.

They were truly the first crime family; poison, garrottes, sharp pointy knives, the works. And the Borgia pope had a bunch of kids and concubines. Wow.

It's raining and blowy with a hidden moon. May all beings have whatever they need to be safe and protected and warm.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The NYT came today, faithfully on my porch. I snuggled in and came upon several pages of the Penn State scandal. Gawd in heaven, of whom I do not believe. The closed ranks of men in power make me sick. Ill. The game must go on? Really? We'll just wear a blue ribbon to remember the victims?

Don't get me started on the Catholic church. Don't.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two true things

Number one.

I went swimming in a purple suit that was so sad and stretched out and chlorinated that it hung off my ass so bad and as soon as I got into the locker room, I removed it and threw it away. A lady in the shower room applauded. Really.

Number two.

I am a wedding officiant and today I married a couple who wanted their wedding day to be 11-11-11. Their kids came. I delivered their kids. The mom told me she'd have another one but she probably shouldn't because of her complications with the last one. I, uh, couldn't remember any. She said I saved her. I did? Wish I could remember that! Maybe her perception is a tad different from mine. I bet that's it. I'm just an ordinary person, if midwives are ordinary, that's me. And not perfect. Not even close.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

So now we wait for the test results which, they tell us, will take an effing WEEK. I know that pathology can look at something right away. I worked for Fred Hutch, I'd hang around in the path lab waiting for specimens. They look at stuff while the patient is lying on the table.

BTW, path labs are in the underground part of hospitals. They are creepy; no windows, no art but some photo books with extremely icky photos of 'conditions'. And the lab rats sit in front of microscopes looking at specimens in thin slices and they diagnose infections, benign tumors and the big C, which we're all afraid of. And pathologists are, um, a unique breed.

A most brilliant fall day full of sun and gorgeous leaves. Reminded me of the East Coast falls. Long ago and far away.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Just because

When it 's cold and nasty outside, I go to the pool to swim and sit in the sauna. Today, the sauna was full of the old ladies who are in the aerobics class. They were all talking at once and enjoying the heat, heating up enough to sweat to face the cold rain. My goggles kept leaking so it must be time to buy another pair. And my swimsuit is hopeless, so I better get another one of those too. I order suits on-line from the discount swim store. Women's suits are awful expensive and they last for three months until they fade and bag and rip their seams. Men can just swim in their leetle butt suits but we have to cover up. Not fair.

And yet, the sky is pewter grey with light behind it. It's making the leaves shimmer with gold.

When can I run away from my life? I think a sandy beach would be grand about now. My sister's birthday is soon or now. Happy birthday to you, Annie dearest, in your northern clime. Where the weather is truly big and pushy and tests your mettle. I hardly remember what it's like to drive in snow and ice.

This weather calls forth baking, an apple crisp I think. I bought two kinds of apples yesterday; ambrosias and sweet Louises. The sweet Louises were crunchy and thrilling, blushy and fine. As an apple named sweet Louise should be. Apples are the queens of fruit.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

I'm back from a wee retreat in Oregon, the house is effing freezing and my honey is sick. Suffice it to say that she probably needs an operation and we're worried. But brave in that effed up TV way, hearty and suave.

Actually, we're just scared so we hold hands on the couch and watch Nurse Jackie.

I can't really say more. It's too close to G-day and it's seriously freezing in the house. The cats are trying to sit on my head.

I'm going for a long walk with all my clothes on, even my pajamas.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


I saw this at Seward Park today. The only WEb site I could find was from Scotland. It's a Blue Pheasant.


I saw it. And no, I wasn't on any substances.


Today was a most beautiful day. I walked and walked along the lake in the clear air and sun and leaves all colors I felt like walking far away to Tacoma or Oregon or Marin County to see my daughter or farther to LA to see my other daughter. I could walk forever. Until my feet fell off. Or the blisters came. And the streets would be lined with people cheering me on and feeding me cheesecake and root beer. Like Peace Pilgrim or the guy who runs all night with a cell phone and money. He calls ahead and orders pizza and eats it while he's running. When the sun comes up, he calls his wife to come get him (wherever he is). He runs a hundred miles.

Then I made brussel sprouts with garlic, coarse salt and olive oil. I fed them to my honey who hates brussel sprouts except for mine. Mine she'll eat. Leetle mouthfuls of health. Wee cabbages.

I swam yesterday. I swim a lot. I know this because after a while, my bathing suits fade and stretch and bag down my ass. Then I get new ones from the cheap on-line swim store. The suit I have now has a tiny problem. My breasts aren't exactly contained. They sneak out the sides while I swim and I think the vision is that they float alongside me as I freestyle along. Anyway, I have to haul them back into my suit when I climb up the ladder and the suit is mysteriously shrunken. Maybe my breasts absorb water while I swim and they expand. That could be it.

A woman comes to the pool with her disabled son. They get into the deep end and she pushes him to do laps. He does an interesting version of the breast stroke, bobbing up and down. And he says, 'uh-oh' about every 2 minutes, non-stop. He sounds like a bird call. And then his father gets into the water too. His father is a handsome East Indian man with muscles and a grey beard and a long grey braid. He stands in the shallow end and watches. The mother smiles and kisses her son. And he sings, 'uh-oh, uh-oh' over and over.

Another swimmer wheels over to the lift in his wheelchair. The lift lowers him into the water where he puts on flippers. He stays by the wall and unbends his body. He wears a careful expression and stays in the water for a long time. He's always in the water after I get out.

The baby I'm waiting for is sure taking his time. Much to the dismay of his parents. It's something that can't be helped.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's a day a melancholy day with silky warm air leaves and rot and pumpkins already falling in on themselves the wild buzzing always in my head it's tinnitus it's ghosts it's Thanksgiving when my brother couldn't wouldn't survive another year day minute breathing so he. stopped. breathing. all by himself I'm in the shed under the beeches in Pennsylvania their luminous bark not enough light for him to stay awhile longer I'm sitting with him the rakes and empty paint cans his witness to the rope that finally didn't let him down let him down too late every year he takes a place at the table where the empty plate sits he's the end of each sentence he's the spaces between the words he's the music we no longer can hear.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Holly and I went into the grocery store dressed as jellyfish and no one looked at us. Why? What's the matter with people? They looked away politely, like we had scales or burns or three arms.
Come on, it's just taffeta and shiny tentacles.


Maybe it's the tentacles. They are the non-stinging kind even if they got caught in the car door. We jumped around for the floaty jelly-like effect. We thought we were hilarious. We were.

So all you grumpy people at Puget Consumer Coop, get a kick out of two women dressed as jelly fish, sheesh. How often will you see such a sight? Maybe never again. Too bad for you.
If I sweep all the leaves off the porch, does that count as raking?

Sometimes being a midwife is difficult. You have to give people bad news. And they don't want to hear it. And they want to shoot the messenger. Or you didn't say what you needed to say in a skillful way. Sigh. it's not part of the job I like. I wish I didn't have to do it. Sometimes I just want to take a bath all day and get water all over the book I'm reading.

And drink tea.

And have the servants take care of the laundry and the cats.

Tonight I'm going to a party with my friends. I'm going as a jellyfish, blue or pink, I can't decide.

Patti will have eyeballs in the soup and spiders in the pie. I know her. She's like that. There'll probably be brain sauce and skeletal biscuits. With fingernails.

James said he's not coming as a grumpy old man.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Down the street there is a local gym owned by local people. The owner guy has muscles as big as Buicks and I'm not even kidding. There are trophies and statues of big Buick-muscle guys in the window. Where, you ask, is this heading? Just because I'm (ahem) of a certain age with gray hair and collegen-less thighs, or was that cholesterol-less thighs, anyway, I know how to lift weights so back off, mister. Plagued by injuries, our plucky heroine hauled herself up out of the ditch and continued the race, running sideways on her broken ankle.... But wait, I did have a sprained ankle last year and a torn hamstring.


I ventured into the gym with a free ticket for a workout. I even sweated. And I didn't hurt myself on the treadmill like that time (April, you know). It's a very funny story about, um, programming the treadmill incorrectly and flying off the back and landing on my ass ripping a big hole in my shorts AND getting back up on that horse and finishing the workout, goddammit. At a college gym. With college students ignoring me. Mortified, not me. Except when I saw the large hole in my shorts back in the locker room.

So, now I 'go to the gym', as in, "gotta run, I need a workout before I go home." Fortunately, most of the people who go there are normal looking. And it's not all guys. Not that I have anything against guys. They can tend to sometimes take up a lot of room with their bench pressing 5000 pounds and groaning and popping out in rivers of sweat.

I don't care that I'm only lifting 20 pounds. My muscles are puny. But, I tell yah, if a 10# baby is stuck, you should see how strong I can be. Adrenaline is my friend.

And we made 75 jars of grape jelly and it is so purty on the counter. If you lived near me, you'd get some for Christmas. And it's effing good.

I had today off and tomorrow too. I can hardly believe my luck.

Geoffrey is haunting me this year. Don't know why. I can't avenge you, baby brother. It just never goes away, the sadness.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My dear friends:

We had six babies last week. They all arrived safely. We went home and slept for a hundred and fourteen hours. Yesterday, my honey and I made grape jelly again and the kitchen is a huge mess of spilled jelly, sugar and mysterious splotches on the stove. And some of it didn't jell, whhhhaaaaa. Which means, decanting, recooking, more pectin and sugar and boiling hot jars and lids and burns on hands and fingers.


I washed the last batch of clothes with a leetle bottle of peppermint oil so now my clothes smell of peppermint. Very strong peppermint. When you have a honey who NEVER empties her pockets, you wash all sorts of things. She now has a very clean wallet too.

Fall in the Northwest is my favorite. Sock-making season. Jelly making season. Lying around an reading the paper til 3 PM. All the cats on the bed at night.

I don't have anything interesting to say. And I don't even care.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm off call, trala, trala.

Grape jelly making in my future. And artist behavior. I have a giantfuckingnormous canvas in my bedroom with no paint on it. What was I thinking? The garage is big enough to work in there but it'll be cold. No matter. I've never made such a big painting. It's worrisome.

Monday, October 17, 2011

This is where Holly and I hiked yesterday, Tiger Mountain in the clouds.
Dear babies,

I attended a birth on Thursday, Friday and today. Thank you all for being healthy and beautiful. Now I'd like a bit of a rest, k?

Love, Beth the midwife

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The third miracle

Get the monster out of your body

---Patti Hansen

something's not right
sky hidden behind an ominous slick
my face has slid onto the dash
the cats float
their shiny pads illuminate the night
a poisoned retinue

remind me how we arrived on this island
did we fly or swim
my body transparent
are we orphans now
who will take in the mail

thickets perfume the verge
drift toward a lighted caravan
in silk slippers and a course necktie
watch slap slip behind a painted curtain
it's not how I was conceived

management has closed the museum
wings untether from the lacquered passenger pigeons
they are flying toward the speckled windows
we fall back into their angelic arms
rise into the dusty light

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A baby girl this morning. Up all night. I slept on the couch in my bathrobe this afternoon. I don't know what it is. If I sleep on the couch, I'm not really sleeping, just resting. WTF. If I get into bed, that must mean I'm really tired and it must be night and I should brush my teeth and get into my jammies. Even if it's bright day with the sun in the window.

I put in a movie and all I remember are the credits. Clean, Shaven, a truly creepy and beautifully shot film about mental illness. I'm gonna try it again after I've 'rested'.

I now have two poems in my new computer. Two. And they are saved in Google docs. Dreary and boring to admit this but I back up, like seeing a tsunami, you gotta back up, way up. To the top of something really tall, like a mountain.

I'm too tired to continue here. Off to beddy. It's dark so I can legitimately lie down. In my bed. My sweet soft delicious bed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

National coming out day? Where have I been? EVERYONE should come out. Mass confusion ensues.

What, another chance to sell greeting cards and roses???

Forgive me for my well-deserved sarcasm. Blame it on the land of my birth, the dreaded East Coast.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today I'll write a new poem on my new computer. Then I'll effing BACK IT UP. I surveyed the perimeter of my house looking for other ways for thieves to enter. All windows locked, doors double locked. Some day I'm living in the country and I'll never lock my doors or my car. And I'll never mow the lawn neither. A tree will grow in the living room and vines will hang in the kitchen. We'll eat lunch with the raccoons and the deer will lend us a hand in the garden.

That's it for now.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

it's all impermanence-or whatever

Dear Readers-I've returned from my California adventures. My LA daughter lives in a hobbit house behind a real house. I will need pictures of the passionflowers that drip down over her doorway when I figure out my new computer. She has a garden and a leetle building where her bathroom and washer/dryer are. And she has plants and cacti and a fire pit and a clothes line. I loved being there. And she'a a lover of fine food so we ate all kinds of different food, Persian and Korean and Central American. She's becoming a chef, food inventor with her lust for new and interesting and delicious.

Then to the Bay area with daughter the other and we saw the Picasso exhibit at the new DeYoung, truly a gorgeous museum. We also walked around Haight street and tried on boots. Lovely buttery boots that made us feel sexy and invincible.

The retreat was again in the glorious Spirit Rock with heated floors and California groovy food and wild turkeys and deer and frogs and turkey vultures. Silence.

In the airport, we found out that while we were gone, our house had been broken into. And my laptop was stolen. Crap. When they tell you to back up your work, they mean, back up your work, dummy.

So I' ve been in serious grief since Sunday. I don't even know what was lost yet. I guess the only fortunate thing is that I've downloaded most all of my poetry. But. Crap.

Javier Sicilia, a Mexican poet, has been traveling Mexico with the Caravan for Peace With Justice and Dignity after his son was killed by a drug cartel. He stopped writing poetry in protest. And he's moving people all over the country. Bless him.

I'll survive the loss of my computer. What I was most concerned about when I heard something had happened at home was that a kat had been injured... And my computer was seven years old. Maybe some child is using it for school and it's not in a pawn shop somewhere.

By the way, while on retreat, I saw a stag there for the first time. I always see the does and fawns, by now they are yearlings. But I saw a buck, twice. The first time he was coming out of the mist-like a magic dreamy deer. The second time, he was standing on the hillside right beside the door of the zendo. I've decided to grow a pair of antlers and get sticks and twigs in my fur. And be wild.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tomorrow I leave for the wilds of California, first to visit my LA daughter (who said the all her friends 'adore' me-really?) and then to the Bay area to see daughter the older with Milo, the golden grandson and Shaun, the son-in-law, also golden. Finally to meet up with my sweetie at Spirit Rock for a six day silent retreat. O you who read my blog know that I am a regular retreat-goer. It resets my mental/emotional/spiritual muscles to be in silence, the longer the better. I was gone for most of July on retreat this year. Already thinking about 2012, travel and retreat adventures that I can a) afford b) be gone from my midwifery practice for a while without total collapse of my fellow midwives.

Speaking of which, Anne, the new midwife from Florida is HERE, hooray, hoorah! She's taking the licensing exam as we speak. As soon as we get our ducks? babies? jelly beans? in a row, she'll be able to see clients and go to births. Thank gawd and all the leetle birdies in the sky.

We met yesterday for several hours. I fed her homemade apple sauce and we talked about the state of the world. I think it's gonna work out fine. And my sister's name in Anne AND her sister's name is Beth {{{shiver}}}

Anyway, she sold everything and moved across the country. Whew! I hope she continues to like our climate...otherwise, we'll have to send her off to Mexico regularly for some heat. Or East of the mountains, a truly beautiful and terrible place, home of the mighty Columbia.

All I did this summer is look at Mt Rainier. Sigh. I didn't hike there even once. For shame. I did, however, swim in Lake Washington over the weekend.

It's raining, the most beautiful sound. I planted bulbs and many plants over the weekend. They are enjoying this weather. I love rain and gloom and sweaters and rainboots. And then it becomes TOO MUCH and we get loony.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

We had our monthly dinner-East Indian this time and we made a complete mess in the kitchen, every pot dirty. But. The food was wonderful. Vindaloo, spinach paneer, dal with chutney, banana raita, homemade chai. Cardamon seeds, cumin, ginger, garlic, hot peppers, lime juice, o yum.

The mailman said he'd be back for dinner, our house smelled so good.

And we ate outside. After dark, we lit candles. We told stories. There was much laughter. I loved everyone at the table. Lovely. And I read my terrible babies poem. Under duress. I'm not one of those people who drag out my latest poem and make everyone listen until their eyes glaze over. Honest.

Next week I leave for LA to see one kid, then to the Bay area to see the other kid. Then a six day retreat. Among the deer, vultures and dumb turkeys. Love the turkeys. And to think they were almost our national bird.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So I'm polishing up my baby poem and I'm having the darnest time with a title. Sometimes titles come first, sometimes way later.

I kayaked on the lake today for 2 hours. My honey helped me load and unload. It was so gorgeous and empty. There was nary a boat. One water plane took off in the distance. I paddled and drifted and looked at the bottom rocks and weeds and followed a few swimmers, one in a wet suit. The water felt warm enough to swim in, sans wet suit but maybe he was swimming from Mercer Island...

We took a kat to the vet today. The other kat who was supposed to go made himself scarce. Nowhere. When we got home, he was spread out on the bed with that look on his face. What? Did you need me for something. I love the way they make themselves as big as Great Danes so you can't get them into the cat carrier. I've learned a trick, however. Upend the carried and lower them down in. Ha! Then the pitiful mewing all the way to the office. I hate pap smears. They hate anything to do with shots and teeth cleaning and flea inspection. Fie on the vet, they say, fie.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Was just reading poetry and found one I was SURE I hadn't written because it was pointy and ugly and wonderful and surprising so I called my friend poet and asked her if she'd written it. Really. I did. She told me no, she hadn't written it but wished she had. And why would it be in my poetry folder anyway. I think I wrote the first line and then fell into a trance and wrote the rest. Then the more I read it, I decided I HAD written it if for no other reason because there are babies in the poem. Not-nice-babies.

Sometimes I impress myself with my own writing. Even if my sentences aren't grammatical.

Some things are just not that important.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We had a party in the park with cake and marimbas and balloons. It was a potluck too so people brought beautiful vegetarian food. It was our midwife party, an annual thing. No one went into labor. The very pregnant ones came and looked wistfully at the babies in front packs and back packs and strollers. And the air was so clean from the RAIN we had last night. Clean shiny beautiful rain. Everything was sparkly and gleam-y. Once a year we have a party and invite our clients. I love to see them, see how they've grown and see how their parents are faring. Parenting is effing hard. We always make jokes about baby spew and sleepless nights but deep in the night when your kid won't give you a break, you will reconsider your commitment-no hitting, no shaking, no leaving in a basket at the nearest church.

Then one day, they're grown up and doing things like buying cars and having their own children and having lives, all without you.

Good night all you babies. Tonight, be kind to your parents and sleep soundly. For hours.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

O heaven, the radio playing a Haydn cello piece. O heaven, o joy.

I gave the one legged guy by the Safeway three dollars. I wish I could have given him one hundred. I know where he sleeps, beside his fake leg.

It's fall. I bought bulbs! all colors including black and purple parrot ones, only a few because they were expensive. It's a gift to the neighborhood, for all to enjoy.

The katz are looking at me expectantly. Sleek critters that they are. But they've left the hummingbird alone, she who comes every day to the lipstick plant, still in flower.

My heart leaps up, every time I see her, with her chipping sound and her magic wings. I've gotta figure out a way to feed her this winter. Away from the predators I live with. Maybe we can fix a second story feeder out the office window.

May all hummingbirds find enough food this winter. May all beings have enough to eat every day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A dear man is dead. My heart is broken.

May you join your sparkle brothers, sweetheart.

Love, Beth

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This here photo is for you, dear Radish. She's workin' on an airplane!

I only have one existential question for today.

Why do cats throw up on the rug (or bed/chair/couch) when a bare floor is inches away and so much easier to clean up?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For some reason I'm thinking about Steve Buscemi an actor I've loved ever since I saw a movie called Parting Glances about the AIDS epidemic before AZT and having HIV was pretty much a death sentence and my friends were dying and we were helping them to die taking them to the doctors and the hospital and standing by the bed when they turned off the machines and watching the heart monitor go dark and flat and Steve played the part of an HIV positive gay man and he was so manic and clever and ghostly and funny videoing himself for his family while hitting himself on the head with a big dildo I have watched that movie about one hundred twelve times I don't know why I'm thinking about that movie tonight but I am.

Good night forever, my darling dears. James and Jim and Tommy and Alison and Richard. I love you always.
I've been in a daze. After I asked the SBJ (sweet baby Jesus) to hold off on the babies, another momma called in labor so off I went into the night. It was a lovely birth and the grandma made us a Columbian breakfast. She spoke no English but o man, there were these corn pancake things filled with cheese and mango and hot chocolate...I broke my vegan vows, hell yes.

Plus, their dog Melo, sang to a few songs they were playing. He'd cock his head and howl. They were playing a bunch of Brazilian beats, very dance-y and drummy. The baby cried for a good long time after the birth. As soon as they put on the play list from the labor, she stopped crying. Really. She heard those Latin beats and stopped wailing to listen.

Since then, I figured I'd missed about a thousand twenty hours of sleep so I've been sleeping at night and napping during the day. And my partner midwife came back from Jamaica all tan and relaxed and she went on call. Thank gawd.

I have the best most kick-ass awful job. Bliss and wrung out at the same time.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Please sweet baby Jesus, don't let anyone else have a baby til tomorrow when I'm off call. I'm way too tired from all the baby festivities and I fell down coming home from the dentist and I'm covered with bandaids. This is a sad fact of extreme fatigue and aging while in flip-flops. I skinned my hands, my knees, my wrist and my (?) thumb.


Monday, September 05, 2011

We went crazy yesterday and pulled up massive plants that were taking over the yard. There are many bags/boxes/crates of yard waste on the parking strip now and denuded flower beds waiting for bulbs and leetle trees and other lovely plants like hebes. I love hebes. They are polite and flowery and they don't feel the need to effing dominate like some plants that believe they have to take over the world.

Don't get me started on bindweed. Back East where I'm from, we call bindweed morning glories and they make the most beautiful blue/purple flowers and we are kind to them (and I tried to ingest the seeds once because I thought they'd make me high-don't try this at home, please) so obnoxious bindweed with their boring white flowers and their ability to cover everything is not my friend, not now, not ever. Unless they have psychedelic properties, which they don't.

Every day a brilliant green humming bird visits my yard. Then it sits at the top of the lilac and makes it's chipping sound. Their beaks are as slender as needles. Humming birds only live for 2 years because their metabolisms are so fast and they die of heart attacks because they run so much energy. I think they are actually devas of the bird world and without them we cannot dream properly. Or at all.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Sometimes, the only thing for it is to go on a bike ride forever and get all sweaty and grimy with only a banana and water for sustenance. Then when you finally decide to turn around to come home, you realize the wind was at your back which is why you thought you were such a damn jock, riding so fast and so far. So you struggle home in a pathetic gear, whining and whimpering all the way because the wind is pushing you backwards. However, you can have a reward like a whole bar of chocolate.

I, uh, washed my glasses in the washing machine and they did not do well with this treatment. They are mighty scratched and one of the side pieces snapped off. So I'm getting some new spiffy ones that will make me look like Penelope Cruz. Even her bust line. Which reminds me.

I took a test online to determine my bra size. Please understand. I was a flat chested teen and a flat chested adult until, o, about 45 when menopause began to wreak havoc. And I got breasts. I wanted breasts when I was 15, not at 45 when I could give a shit. But no, breasts I got and breasts that needed support. So I tried many things: underwires (yech), sports bras (uni-breast look), and flimsy cotton-y 'bras' that couldn't hold up cotton balls, let alone my substantial girls. So I guess I'm a 36 C, good gawd. And I haven't yet found a satisfactory bra. Bras suck, actually.

On my way back from my glorious bike ride, a young man crossed against the light in front of me in my hood. His pants were completely underneath his ass (with underwear on) and his shirt was half on and half off his upper body, sorta like he leapt up because there was a fire and ran out of the house while dressing and hadn't had time to adjust his clothes. (??????) I know I'm and old square, but WTF? Anyone?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

First, I'm gonna complain a wee bit. I got a TICKET for running a red light, nabbed by a CAMERA on Broadway. WTF. $124 smackers too. And I was doing the Lawd's work, well on the way to a baby. Not fair.

And besides, I went to birth this early AM, birds cheeping and the fog rising and a glorious view of Queen Anne and the Space Needle---then an all day clinic. My student and I were so punchy we were laughing at poop jokes and swearing out loud in visits. Our clients, bless them all, didn't mind. They think we're heros or crazy or both.

I mean, would you want this woman at your birth? Extreme fatigue + poop jokes + swearing (and silent farting) + slurring some basic words like cervix and uterus. Gawd.

Cassandra, you are a birth goddess and Megan too. I thank all the birthing goddesses everywhere that you are young and resilient and your adrenals are intact.

Love, your old, used up teacher.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I thought for sure I posted here more recently that I had...but time gets away from me when in baby land. All the babies are once again thriving, their parents are in love with them and they are also wondering what the fuck happened to their lives. They used to shave and eat regular meals and go to work and wear clothes without baby spew on them. We tell them and we tell them and they don't listen.

I think the not listening part is pure survival. If new parents really knew how seriously effed up their lives would become, they mighta used condoms, two or three condoms, many condoms.

And then there are the planned pregnancies. Ha, I had one of those. (hi Eden).

With hindsight and the fact that my kids are all grown and I didn't kill them, parenthood was the best ever. But, man, those first few months when you're dragging your ass around the apartment in curdled milk stained shirts and maternity pants because your regular pants won't come past your knees and your hair is rat's nest, it's not for sissies, I tell you. Somehow, you make it past the dreaded (((thoughts of killing, maiming, exposing in the snow the baby) thoughts and you all live happily ever after, until the teenage years, when you get to relive your own shame and humiliation through your child.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Two births back-to-back. I had time to come home, take a shower, eat three bites of my vegan mongolian beef and get back up and go on out to the next birth. Up all night. My honey is home today and she came in with breakfast at 2PM. All the cats wanted to be on the bed so they were. A few tussles ensued. Mostly, I just want to cry. Everything feels too close or tender or breakable or I don't know what. Too too.

Maybe I'm just tired.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I attended a birth recently and the momma screamed bloody murder and thrashed around and pushed out a gorgeous wee babe, just like in the movies (the ones I hate because births are always portrayed as horrid messy screamy messes...but there you have it. After the momma laughed (well, she laughed the next day when the whole thing was a bit fuzzy).

Really, the mom is beautiful her own self and we declared her a fierce goddess warrior with monster growls. Watch out.

After all that, I had to have a lie down. Damn, women are strong.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Today was our Rainier Community festival and parade. AND because we're 98118, the most diverse hood in the COUNTRY, ahem, we went down there in the heat. We heard Eretrian music and watched women dancing in their long veils. We watched the Aztec dancers with massive feathered headdresses. And several Mexican dancers from different areas of Mexico. We heard the Vietnamese national anthem and watched women dressed like flowers and butterflies swaying and gliding in circles.

Someone had a basket of pug puppies for sale. No, I said, no.

It's so hot, the katz are tolerating each other and lying in the living room where a breeze occasionally comes through.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sometimes there's nothing for it but to walk to the lake and ponder the vagaries of life. The geese are grown now and they got their lake back after the hydroplane madness.

All the babies are fat and happy, spitting up and burbling in their leetle shorts.

Another day in midwife land...there's a massive pileup of babies itchin' to come on out. I'm gonna go gird my loins ( I first typed girl my loins, maybe that's the right expression) with a walk and a shower and a wait by the phone.

The katz are rolling and play-fighting in the garden. Then they come in and get twigs and dirt all over the comforter, which is white. Never have white stuff in a cat house. It's a dumb idea.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

After being gone a month, I had some serious catching up to do, especially reading the Sunday NYT. So I had a stack. I have made it through everything except for the Book Review. I have 5 Book Reviews to read. I save them for last, like dessert. If poetry is reviewed, I grump and gaffaw because, well, they only review 'established' poets, whatever that is.


There's a new book about Vita Sackville-West and her lover Violet Everett that sounds excellent. After I'm done with Life-ah Keith and I are like {{{this}}}} now and the third Dexter book (trash but so delicious).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

For Jumping Around in Your Livingroom

Dearly beloved, we're gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life, it means forever and that's a mighty long time but I mean to tell you, there's something else, the after world. A World of never ending happiness. You can always see the sun, day or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly know the one, Dr Everything's Gonna Be Alright....cuz in the next life, things are much harder than the after world, in this life you're on your own. And if the elevator tries to bring you down, GO CRAZY.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

At a long birth over the last few days, off to bed.... that moon pulling on the babies to come out and be a Leo, surely a fine zodiacal sign.

One almost red tomato in the garden.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I just had dinner with my gay husband, James. It's his birthday and I fed him minestrone and beet salad and molasses cookies. We talked about high-falutin' stuff like Buddhism and meditation and visions and dreams and we only dished dirt a little because, well, because that's what we DO.

Then he got in his leetle blue car and went home. He is dear and beautiful and I only wished I'd met him about 30 years ago.

The sky is gray and pink and closing in. The clothes on the line will just have to dry tomorrow.

I just read the first Dexter book. Definitely not Buddhist. I basically couldn't put it down. I read so fast my eyes swam over the words, like Nancy Drew books when I was a kid. The equivalent of hopping from one foot to the other, real fast.
There's this laurel tree in front of my house, well very close next to my house and it has to go. So the tree guy came over and we discussed how and when and I told him to be careful of the trillium that grow at the base....very careful because trillium grow in Upstate NY, land of my birth, and it's a bit of home, nostalgia and far away so when I first moved into this house and found trillium growing in the yard, I was so pleased, so happy to see them and therefore I'm the keeper of the trillium, endangered as they are. They grow in Seward Park too and I look for them every spring. I didn't see any this year and if thieves didn't take them, maybe the weather was too weird so they stayed away. But. They are close and big by the laurel and the tree guy better be very careful or else I won't pay him. And worse.

I made beet/carrot/apple salad from our beets (!).

One or two beets
A few carrots
An apple
Apple cider vinegar
Olive oil
Fresh dill

Grate the beets and carrots. Cut the apple up fine. Mix together. Add a splash of vinegar and a bit of olive oil. Add salt to taste. Throw on chopped dill, about a tablespoon.


Check your tongue and hands for brilliant beet color.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Eating cauliflower "mashed potatoes" from our own cauli!

Head of cauliflower, steamed
Into blender with (soy) milk, a blob of (fake) butter, salt

Blend to ultimate creaminess

Eat with great satisfaction and yummyness.

Have a second helping without guilt.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

You can read me here and here.
Dear all.

I've returned from the wilds of Vader, Washington along the Cowlitz River and the train tracks and the deer and raccoon and the dharma hall and my musty little cell and terrible food (gruel) and a nameless pond where I saw g-d. Well, I saw teeny fish and salamanders and two kinds of water striders and dragon flies and koi and polliwogs and and a blooming waterlily. I lay on my back and watched how the undersides of the leaves rippled when the reflected sunlight hit them while the bugs made overlapping circles on the surface of the water. Raccoons visited at the water's edge. A kingfisher came to fish. A hawk sat in a snag at the other end of the water. I became four years old, completely absorbed.

Then I came home and hugged my sweetie for about a whole day.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm back on retreat for another 5 days. This time we are going to (gasp) talk and write. I read a book by Jason Siff, Unlearning Meditation, and so intrigued I'm back to the woods.

The 15 days I was gone it rained and was so cold I borrowed socks. The damp crept in. And the guy cooking was, uh, awful. When you're sitting for several hours a day in silence, meals are a real highlight. I lived on peanut butter and tea. Complain, complain.

Very fruitful. Encounters with a doe and her fawn, a raccoon family, a beautiful slender stripey snake, a toad (!) and a lime green spider on a purple thistle. Slant light through the trees and rain on the zendo roof. Wide paths with wild flowers. A daily hike along the power lines very far into the forest where I stepped into mud over and over. My tangled mind that gradually became clear.

This time I'm taking food and chocolate.

By the way, Life, by Keith Richards, is fantastic. I'm listening to it on CD read by (((swoon))) Johnny Depp and some chap with an accent. Essential reading and/or listening.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meet Lola, cat of mystery and suspense. She loves me. I love her. Without her I am nothing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm back. My family is in town including my beautiful grandson with the golden hair and skin.

What has happened in Norway is so breathtakingly horrible I can't write right now.

Sometimes what lives in the minds of others is dark and broken and vile.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Yesterday I worked in my clinic for 12 hours. I can't think after 5PM. My brain freezes up and words won't float to the surface so I stumble and bumble and my eyes water. Clients don't seem to notice. As I was saying goodbye to the last client and her son, one of the homeless men who lives up the street under the viaduct came in to tell us a pickup truck parked outside had it's lights on. We assured him that neither of us owned a truck. He supposed that the truck could be jump-started if the battery went dead and he seemed reassured by this idea. He said his 'Indian money' hadn't arrived yet but he didn't ask for anything from us. He was just being neighborly.

There is a small community of homeless men who live right beside the parking lot up the street. They have some furniture and a stove. They're very quiet. Sometimes the cops park in the lot and sometimes I see them in the encampment. Mostly, they leave them alone. All around are condos; young people with small dogs on leashes, babies in $300 baby strollers, and researchers at Fred Hutch, the huge research center across the street. So much money. The Gates Foundation is in the building across from us.

Tomorrow I leave for two weeks on retreat. Talk about lucky. I'm going to sit in the woods in silence with a bunch of other retreatants while others cook our meals. All I have to do is follow the schedule, if I want. We pick a chore. Maybe I'll work in the garden or clean the bathrooms.
In the hall, you can hear the train whistle off in the distance. There are deer and raccoons and bunnies and frogs. I've been there many times. During afternoon breaks, I'll go visit the creek and the hand hewn bridge a father dedicated to his children. I won't write (well, not officially) or read or talk, except during interviews. I'll eat sparingly and go to bed at 9:30.

I'll sit with my own damn self. No distractions except for the ones I invent. And I'm very clever so I invent a multitude of distractions. Finally the mind quiets down. And who knows what's there, lurking.

And back home, the babies will keep coming and the men under the bridge will hopefully be safe and protected from harm.

Monday, July 04, 2011

I'm sitting with my feet on the coffee table eating baked beans out of the container. They're from the health food store and they're very good. They're cold. I don't care. I can eat with my feet up on the furniture. I can eat cold food if I want.

The whole city is at the park on blankets eating chips and potato salad and burned animals. Women in burkas eating watermelon with their babies under an umbrella. A clutch of Guatemalan kids at the water's edge with sand toys. Frisbees. Footballs. Loud music from the boats in the water.

July 4th once again. I always forget what holiday it is. Babies don't know about holidays, or day and night or 'special date nights'.

Anyway, there will be the sound of fireworks/gunfire in the 'hood tonight. Children in the alleys with leetle noise makers that scare the bejeezus out of the cats who hide for two day. And no birds sing, well, it is night. Maybe that bit was a kinda melodramatic.

Yesterday I went for a bike ride along the Burke-Gillman trail which winds along for many miles by the lake. I stopped at Magnusen Park to pee and hang out before riding back. The lifeguards all had red blankets around their shoulders, the lake was choppy and waaaay too cold for swimming with our arctic spring.

Even so.

I watched a chubby kid in baggy shorts walk down t0 the edge and into the water up to his armpits. Then he swam the length of the roped off water by the diving raft. I remember my brother jumping into frigid water and staying there until his lips turned blue. He was fearless and so interested in the joy of swimming, cold water was no impediment. I was a wimp, whining by the edge of the pool, the concrete lip scratching the backs of my legs. I didn't really learn to love the water until my late 30's. Now I swim way out to the buoys in the lake when the water is warm enough...and I don't fear drowning.

Today there will be more kids, chubby and skinny, in the water adults wouldn't tolerate without a wetsuit. Childhood vigor.

I watched a documentary last night called "Little Man" that was so disturbing I can't write about it yet. It's about a couple who hire a surrogate to have a baby for them using one of their eggs. He's born at 25 weeks and survives, with great effort, technology and money. Oy.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

the natural world

For two days now, I've been living a backyard drama. Home from visiting babies and hanging in the yard when a cat streaks by with a BABY ROBIN in her mouth. I chase her while another cat gets into the act. We're scrabbling under the bushes while the mother bird does the anxious chirp from the fence. I manage to get the baby away from the cat(s) where they have gone to hide in the cellar. Sheesh. The baby is stunned and looks dead but I can feel her heart beating away. I pat her fuzzy head. She begins to perk up and pretty soon is looking ok. I scout the yard for a high place to put her so the effing cats can't reach. I choose a fork in the apple tree where she sits for a bit. Then she tries to fly and lands on the ground where the big cat pounces AGAIN. So off we go. I chase. I grab his tail and retrieve the baby who does the 'I'm really dead this time' routine. Again, she comes to so I walk across the street to my neighbors and ask if they have a bird cage where I can put Lucille safe from effing cats. They don't but Pete remembers that there's one in my garage so he gets it down and in she goes.

In vain, I look for a safe place. By now the crows have arrived too. Gawd. Finally, I take the cage to my neighbor's yard on the other side of my fence and put the baby on top of the cage so her mom can get to her. She tries flying and lands on the ground. But no cats this time. Just crows. So I'm yelling and waving my arms like a crazy person and they leave.

Back to my yard and pretty soon momma comes back to the fence with a worm in her mouth! Hooray for motherhood. She chirps away so I escort the effing cats into the house where I feed them and utter curses at them. She flies into the grapes and comes out again worm-less.

Today, again the back yard. Momma arrives and begins her chirping while looking directly at me. Really. So I assess the situation, shoo away the cats, she comes back with another worm and ducks into the grapes again. We're raising Lucille together. It's very tiring. And if I find bits of baby bird in the basement any time soon, there'll be hell to pay.


Friday, July 01, 2011

When I paint, this is how it looks.

By Beth Coyote

It's July 4th weekend, and all the rocket/fireworks/gun lovin' folks are readying themselves to make nighttime noise to scare the cats and dogs and crickets, except for Jimniney Cricket who wielded at parasol (why, we ask, does a cricket need an umbrella, for fucks sake). And the babies are lining up to make their grand entrance, all of them, regardless of their due dates. Who pays attention to due dates anyway? Bombs bursting in air?

All I want to do is lie on the grass in the sun and have my servants refresh my margarita. And live the life of leisure I deserve. I talked with a midwife who's older than me (and never you mind how old THAT is) and she said she's never retiring. I have a plan. I'm gonna retire. I will retire. When is another matter.

I just got Life, the book by Keith Richards, read by (swoon) Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley. I got the audio book. Oh yeah. Ms Moon suggested it and I obeyed because she is usually right about most things.

I just looked at the galleys for two books/journals I'm being published in. Just leave the bags of money on the porch. By the geraniums.

I could do that today. The babies will just have to wait. It's me and Johnny, er, me and Keith.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's a crappy, bad, terrible day. I have a headache and bad memories and I want to drink and smoke and lie on the ground and yell. Or cry. Or yell and cry. Sometimes it just sucks. And I can't be more specific either. I can't. I won't.

Being triggered (I think that's what they call it in therapy) is no fun. NO. FUN. Your life flows backwards to the time, the day, the bunch of days when you were scared and depressed and barely functional. Barely. And it went on for TWO YEARS. Like a sentence in hell. Never ending hell. And nothing worked to make it go away. No drugs or behaviors or other people. You're stuck with your shitty self, waking up with a pounding heart and no appetite and other lives swirling around you, oblivious to your pain. As if you're the center of the universe anyway. And you still have to go to work and take care of your kids and you pretend you're alright when other people ask. But you know you're not alright and who knows if you'll ever be alright again.

My honey is so nice to me. Even if I don't feel like I deserve it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another True Story

Today was Pride in Seattle. After an absence of several years, I decided to head on down (since it moved to downtown I've had my doubts) with friends. My pals the Dharma Buddies were in the parade so I thought I'd join them, especially my gay husband, James. After all, I'm a good Buddhist and in that spirit, why not march down 4th Ave, past Nordstroms and See's Candies and Bed, Bath and Beyond, etc surrounded by thousands of rainbow bedecked queers and their friends/families/dogs/recently released persons.

As some kind of cosmic joke, our contingent marched directly behind the Can-Can float. I gather that the Can-Can is a bar where much debauchery is enjoyed. Anyway, their 'theme' was called Ass Cream and it featured a giant pink ass with a slide coming out of the, ah, asshole and emptying into a water-filled wading pool. But wait, there's more. On top of the float were several scantily clad persons who spent the entire parade shaking, wiggling, humping and slapping their and each others asses. One woman did cartwheels and splits and had a technique for vibrating her thighs and butt that left the audience in tears.

Then there's us, the meditation group, two gals and five or six older gentlemen wearing Buddha shirts...

Directly behind us was a transgender group of smiling wo/men and (men/wo) in heels and polite skirts.

James, my gay husband, brought his strapping and beautiful son (straight) and g-d only knows what he thought. I don't know what I think.

The best part of the day: a gaggle of super heros on roller skates. Batman, Robin, Cat Woman and Spidey. And the guy who always comes with a megaphone and a sign to yell about the baby Jesus and how we're all going to hell was oddly subdued. Maybe he was stunned into silence by the Ass Cream extravaganza.

(I hurried by the dykes on bikes because I get the vapors around women on bikes and my honey was home sick).

So that's it for another year of Pride. And to all gals who put electrical tape on your nipples, I hope you're recovered and didn't hurt yourselves when you removed the tape. Ouch.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Time to lie down. Baby came at 8:30 while his brothers and poppa watched. Slid right out, no damage.

Man, when it's easy, it's so easy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

For some reason, I subscribe to Poets and Writers, where the fancy writers live. I read their ads for low-residency writers schools, contests for poets who will then go on to achieve success and fame and $$, and articles about finding the right editor.

Meanwhile, the generator drones on in the horror house across the street. What are they doing over there? Constructing a meth lab or a grow basement for marijuana? The siding is falling off and the hedges continue to flourish in the yard, obscuring their illegal activities.

A mom is in early labor, has taken her boys to the park where she'll count contractions and call me when 'her back begins to ache'. My equipment is in the car and I've showered. So much for Friday therapy and a pool swim. I'm on alert. When she calls again, I'll speed over the West Seattle bridge and haul my 100 pounds of stuff into her house. There we'll wait for her third boy who'll be as pretty and rambunctious as her other two.

In the interim, I've noticed that my magnolia has some dead branches so I'll get the saw and loppers and whack away. By the time the birth is happening, I'll be covered with dirt and branches; looking like scary mother nature. O, and some slugs. Slugs are part of nature's plan. I don't know which part. They're in the same category as snails, raccoons and wharf rats.

Must I pray for ALL of life?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In my next life, I want to be Katherine Hepburn.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My hands smell like earth because I generally begin weeding with gloves on and then at some point, I throw down the gloves and weed bare. It's so satisfying. Of course, my hands look like shit for a few days but who cares.

After my bike ride today, when I was all stinky and sweaty, I stopped by the nail place and had my toenails painted for $17. They're pink. I was thinking about Radish the whole time and wishing her toes could soon have a 'treatment'. And, of course, I got caught up on my pseudo-stars and their 3 million dollar dresses and their abs and boob jobs and so forth. Where would we be without People?

Anyway, the lady painting my toes was probably saying to the other employee, "Dang, this white lady sure smells and she hasn't shaved her legs and eewwwww". I mean, are we supposed to shower and shave before we go to the nail place?

My children once told me they had to learn about make-up from OTHER PEOPLE because I was such an au natural hippy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I still haven't stretched my canvas. It's so big I don't know where I'm going to work on it. Sometimes, I only look at the dogs on my walks. One German Shepherd was 1/3rd of the way out the window, her tongue trailing along like a flag. She was enjoying herself, every bit. A blond poodle filled the window of the car. And the beagle bayed at nothing because that's what beagles do.

I go on call tomorrow.

At night, very late, I go outside to walk on the cold grass and sit with my garden. Even in the dark, the peonies are open.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

*******My car is ready, my car is fixed******* This is music, celebration, the noises of cherubim. My very own car with car smell and random sporty stuff in the back in case I want to hike, swim, bike etc. Crumbs from numerous snacks and nutty bits and an umbrella and notes about music I heard and wrote it down so later I could look it up and my own cup holder and pre-programmed radio stations and the spare change slot where I put $$ and cents for the folks with the cardboard signs and my little statue of Quan Yin on the dash and bumper stickers and scratched up bumper and ding in the windshield it's all perfect like real life a bit bumpy and brilliant and being a lunar eclipse in it's own celestial group my car my blueberry car.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just got home after an all night birth. Clinic starts in an hour. People say, "How do you do it?"

I have no fucking idea.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Today is perhaps the LAST DAY I will ever teach students in a classroom. My brain is picked clean. I wished them well. May you all be well. May you be open-hearted women who explore your and the suffering of others with kindness. Listen carefully. Leave your judgments at the door. Remember you will die one day too. Be humble. Be brave.

There are men swarming the deck. Sean amassed a crew. Banging and pounding and power saw noises. My back and neck need attention from the car accident. It's hard to turn my head to the right, difficult to look behind me when I park.

I'm going to offer the banging men some beer. The day is brilliant and the red head has a terrific sun burn. And no hat. Sheesh. Soon, I will have a deck that won't kill anyone. Sturdy and strong and handsome. Like my son-in-law. And one day, my grandson, Milo.

Uh-oh, cursing from the yard. I hope there is no blood. I better check. I'll wait on the beer...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'm about to gesso a big canvas. I don't know if I have floor space. Pollack had a big studio so he could lay stuff on the floor and he could make a mess. I'm so lucky to have a studio but right now it's too small.

Ive been dreaming a lot. In one dream we were being chased by a bear. We locked ourselves into a triangularly shaped chicken coop. It was very crowded. We were all pressed together. The bear wasn't fierce, just intelligent. He was examining the fastener on the door of the coop, made of chicken wire and bits of wood (pretty flimsy, if you ask me). Then we were running down a steep meadow, brilliant with wild flowers. The bear was chasing us. I felt that we should be quick because the bear might want to eat us so there was a sense of urgency. Then I woke up and thought about bears, how beautiful and strong they are.

I was cooking dinner by the tide line in Glacier Bay, Alaska. We were on a kayaking trip. My companion said very conversationally, "Uh, about 200 feet in front of you is a bear." Indeed. She was sniffing the air and looking about for the cooking smell. I threw dinner into the water, gathered up the rest of the food and backed away. We put stones in the cook pots and banged them together and talked loudly. The bear drifted off into the bushes.

Later that night, as I tried vainly to go to sleep, I thought about the bear, the natural world and what wildness really is. Wildness in the heart of us, wildness with prickers and claws and blood and teeth. Wild wildness.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I am having a day of unabashed sloth and torpor. I read Sherlock Holmes and lay abed until 1:30!!!! I'm about to wander the neighborhood and make my way to the bakery because the banging and drilling is afoot in my yard where the new deck rises in cedar-ish glory.

A friend left an invitation on my door to come hear her read from her NOVEL. I might go and hear her because I am a friend of the arts and only a wee bit jealous. I'll try to dim my green glow and applaud politely at the right moments.

I am nearing the point where I unfurl a large canvas, cover it with gesso and begin to noodle with glop and paint. It has been percolating for several weeks and it is time.

Other than that, I will continue to remain relaxed and dreamy. Productively dreamy.