Tuesday, January 29, 2013

There are (is?) going to be eight more episodes of Call The Midwife. Be there or be square.

The real life of a midwife is not glamorous, no matter what you think. Unless you think losing sleep, whole days of sleep, wearing bodily fluids in your hair, on your watchband, on your arms (which you notice in line at the bank) and of course, all over your clothes while driving home after a 34 hour birth trying not to crash into oncoming traffic is FUN, then glamour it is.

I'm basically done with cold drippy gray etc, especially after the sunny warm California experience which only makes my current reality more painful. Yes, rain is good for plants. Got it. And moss. And trees.

Maybe I'll go down the street and get a pedicure. Having my legs rubbed while reading trashy movie star mags is a small indulgence. I'm sure it heals the limbic system.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

We switched the office with the bedroom today and I'm beat. We took a huge bookcase and put it downstairs in the 'new' office but first I emptied it out, mostly on my bedroom floor. Even though I've been up and down the stairs with armloads of books all day, there are still a massive amount, artfully arranged in my room. I look like a hoarder. And I recycled. I am giving books away, even though I love them. Many books. Because I won't read them again.

And then there are the books I must have. The shelves of poetry, of course. The outdoor books, trails and skiing and hiking. Ramdom beautiful fiction and nonfiction. Books I need. To reread. To reference.  

Of Human Bondage- W. Somerset Maugham
The Red Pony-Steinbeck
The Bluest Eye-Toni Morrison
Black Tickets-Jayne Phillips
Art Objects-Jeanette Winterson
Cloister Walk-Kathleen Norris
Stones From the River-Olga Hegi
All of Arundhati Roy
Presumed Innocent-Scott Turow
Wind in the Willows-Kenneth Grahame
All of Raymond Chandler

There is a lot more. This is what I can see from my bed.

I have wealth. In books I have tremendous wealth. Right now my bed floats on a sea of books.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I have recovered the will to live. I worked yesterday and today. I even took a walk today. With the dog.

Our beloved Brenda, office manager, gave her notice yesterday. Crap. I have a lead on someone who sounds great but sheesh, we have to continue to roll with changes. The only constant.

I am eating rutabaga and tuna for dinner. Not together. With an apple/blueberry crunch leftover. I don't care what you think.

I suppose you all watched West Wing when it came out and I am woefully behind the times making my way through the gazillionty episodes of terrific writing and great acting. And it's politics. A liberal president and his staff. Stockard Channing is the First Lady and her mouth bothers me. Please tell me she hasn't had 'work' done. Besides her chestnutty colored hair which, I'm pretty sure, ain't her real hair anymore. My hair is sparkly gray and I think it's beautiful. Like Joan Baez:

Or Emmylou Harris.

I actually look like Penelope Cruz with glasses.

Tomorrow I'm going to have an ultrasound on my gallbladder. Fun, you're thinking. My doc waxed rhapsodic about the gallbladder laparoscopic procedure. Gave me chills but not the good kind. I've had pain all my life. Whenever stress strikes and my eating is irregular, I'm bound to suffer. I've even limped into the ER holding my middle and I'm spotted as a 'gallbladder'. I've read about the symptoms. I've been as good as I can be so I avoid attacks. Doesn't matter. And I'm over it. Really. I've taken to hoarding vicodan so in a crisis, I can get through the night. Damn, it would be swell not to be a slave to this pain anymore. By the way, old outdated vicodan is still good. Anything with tylenol in it is no good out of date. But don't throw it down the toilet. Pharmacies have places where you can bring your retired meds so they don't end up in salmon or the food chain.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I fear I will never be well again. Governor Cuomo of New York has declared a state of emergency because so many people are sick with the flu.

I have an impressive hacking cough and now (fortunately) codeine cough syrup. I begged off clinic today and gave my call away, at  least until Wednesday night. It would be unwise for me to attend a birth right now.

I have been sick for about a month, with a reprieve to go celebrate Maya's birthday with her.

I'm done with being sick.


Sometimes, being sick is an opportunity to get caught up on my reading, divest myself of any responsibility, have hot brandy with lemon and watch crap TV.

Now I'm just bored.

When I got home from Esalen, I opened a card from a friend who I've known for 30+ years. We tried to be girlfriends a few times but it didn't work. Then her marriage fell apart and she sought me out for comfort, which I was glad to give. We saw each other a bit, hung out, went to dinner, that sort of thing. This was about five years ago. She's busy, I'm a midwife, schedules are hard.

I saw her less and less. I tried to schedule dinners that I'd have to cancel. So she just decided to unilaterally 'release me' as a friend because I'm not the kind of person she wants as a friend.

Wow. That's all I can say. As someone who was thrown out of her family at a tender age, I don't get that. I haven't changed. I haven't become an ax murderer or a Republican. I can go for months without talking to people I dearly love. I don't put them out of my heart because they don't fulfill my concept of what a friend is. Or meet all my expectations.

I'm far from perfect. I can be mean and cold and distant. And I can be generous and kind. No reason to kick me off the friend list.

I have just had my nightly cough syrup. It's delicious. I wonder if I will be visited by any more rock stars. Or Johnny Depp.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yesterday Deb went to the pharmacy and got me some codeine cough syrup. And I conked out. And dreamed that the Rolling Stones were standing in my living room waiting for their rooms. My staff and I were running around making beds.

They were young and beautiful.

I saw them when I was fifteen and from that day forward, I was no longer a Beatles fan. I was a Stones fan. Mick Jagger singing 'I'm a king bee, buzzing around your hive...' and swinging his jacket around-I fell into a swoon.

Because my phone no longer works properly, I have to brave the A T & T store for one that does. Shite. I guess phones don't like raw egg. I'm a greasy, sick mess so I'm gonna put on a big hat and scarf, all my warm clothes and stuff myself with cough drops. The codeine has to wait until I'm home and not driving.

Foggy and cold out there. I'm not at Esalen anymore, thats for sure.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The picture is the natural hot springs bath house. Nakedness everywhere.

My dears, (written on 1/16)

I came to Esalen with a cold, one I brought from Seattle. I bravely followed the retreat schedule, meditating in the morning and evening, eating greens picked the same day, soaking in the hot springs.

My cold turned to bronchitis with fevers that ran up and down the fever scale. I was burning up, then freezing, then lying in a pool of sweat. During the fever night, I went through my familiar catastrophies: I have AIDS, I have cancer, I have AIDS and cancer and pneumonia. I wanted to wake my roommate to take me to an ER but and ER is far on winding roads that, as you might recall, fall into the ocean. And my roommate is sick too although she's not dying. I could go next door and get Kelly or Terry, plead with them. Perhaps I should just wait til morning when they find my cold dead body, eyelids not quite closed. I lived to morning and my roommate drove me to the nearest clinic where a nice nurse-practitioner listened to my lungs and gave me antibiotics and sinus stuff and cough syrup.

I still sound like a TB ward but I feel better.

Then there's Esalen. The monarchs have arrived and they're swooping everywhere. 'Their' tree is close by, where hundreds of them have gathered.

At dawn, from the hot pools, I saw dolphins in pairs having breakfast among the kelp. And sea otters. And a lone whale came in close to breech. A necklace of pelicans flew along the cliffs in formation. Just now a young woman from the retreat brought me homemade tea with comfrey, limes and ginger.

Kindness everywhere.

Ok, there was a naked diggeridoo concert at the baths last night. California ridiculous, I haven't lost all my marbles or sense of the absurd.

My dears, (written on 1/11)

I am in paradise. No. Real paradise. Mt Rainier has a lodge and a destination called Paradise. And it is beautiful, a snowy jagged place.

This current paradise is called Esalen. It's in Big Sur, California, on the edge of the ocean. Perched on the edge above cliffs and rocky coastline. The hot springs are in the cliffs and the bath house is marvelous. At night, I lie in a hot bath and have the starry heavens for entertainment. There are many pools to choose from; hot, very hot, warm, cold plunge. Heated floors in the shower room. The shower room has sliding doors so if you want an ocean view, you can open a door.

The meditation hall is tucked into a cleft beside a roaring creek. The hall is round with elevated benches and recessed lighting. I go there in the morning before breakfast.

There are vast gardens that supply the kitchen. I walk through one of the gardens to meals. And the meals are ridiculous with choices. Bounty and more bounty. Just now I came through the lodge and some of the kitchen staff are gambling with chips and Bob Marley in the background.

Over all, the sound of the ocean as she comes and goes.

I am trying to figure out how to stay here and let my brain turn to mush. It would.

Would that be so wrong?

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm sitting in the San Jose airport listening to Mozart's piano concerto #23 in A and I might bust out crying. Or else I'll lift off on angelic wings.

My ears almost exploded during the landing because I'm still so congested. And I left my belt after effing security so my pants will probably fall down all week.

I'm heading to Esalen. After being sick all week, I'm well enough even if my pants fall down around my ankles. I have a plan. I brought all my bandanas for nose blowing. I'll tie them together and make a pirate-y belt. Johnny Depp would approve.

So dear ones. I'll be out of range of computer and phone for a week. I'll be on the edge of the BIG ocean off Highway One. One slightly ominous email from Esalen...uh, there are delays driving to Big Sur because a parts of Highway One fell into the ocean. That's really what the email said. "...fell into the ocean".


I brought three books. Jeanette Winterson's The World and Other Places, Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (very Quebecois) and Going on Being by Mark Epstein. I figure I'd hit several tones, snooty murder, high-faloutin lesbian writing and a bit of Buddism/psychotherapy. And all my music. It's a miracle of technology that all the music I own is with me.

No, I didn't bring any poetry. I stand in front of my poetry section and I realize I'd have to fill a suitcase with books. Who is your favorite poet? What a stupid question.

I did my first interview for my book. Yikes. I recorded it. Now I have to transcribe it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

This morning, I though I might die but tonight I might make it. This morning I woke with a croak for a voice and a terrifying cough. After making my way through two boxes of tissue and taking several horrid tasting concoctions like 'lung health' and 'immune defense', I now know I'm not yet ready for the grim reaper.

And Maya and I are obsessively listening to The Book of Mormon and texting each other small quotes. Here is a favorite song:

Very disappointed. I have a wicked cold AGAIN. WTF? Coughing and sneezing and snotting. The dog steals my used kleenex and shreds it in the hall.

Absolutely pathetic. I was well for what, two weeks? My immune system is shot. And Im supposed to leave again for California on Friday.

Hurry up and get better.


Monday, January 07, 2013

I have the tiniest wee-ist scratchy throat but I can 't get sick again, I can't. I have things to do. Work to work. Play to play. Poems to write. Etc. Maybe it's because I didn't sleep last night.

I bought this beautiful black coat at the thrift store I could wear to California. Northern Cal can get quite cold. Today, I went to see the chickens and let them out because I left the house at dark thirty and  they'd been 'cooped up' all day (hahahahahahahahaha) One egg which I put in my pocket on top of my phone.

Yes, duh, the egg broke all over my phone (still works, thank gawd) and leaked out of the pocket and into the lining. What a dope.

I've done this very thing before in my other coat. A washable coat, not a black wool coat that will now smell like terrible eggs and be all weird at the site of the mishap.

No more eggs in pockets, ok?

Saturday, January 05, 2013

 I went out dancing and a got drunk, accidentally. Just two Rob Roys and the bartender didn't know what they were. Ha! My lips are numb.

I danced to terrible 80s music. With a bunch of lesbians. Sometimes I have to find my tribe and dance with them. Although one drink would have been sufficient.

Now I'm in my jammies watching a Danish murder detective series. In Danish. With subtitles. How drunk am I, you ask. It all seems like an existential inquiry into the meaning of the brevity of life and the distance between painful birth and painful death. With subtitles. And stabbing. And big sharp knives. And the Beastie Boys.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Friday and the rain softened up the ground. Broke the ice on the chicken water. Anxiety is at bay right now, who knows when it will resurface.

Anxiety. My old friend. Makes me feel insane and crawly. My head explodes.

Most of the time I pretend I'm not anxious. Then all the closet doors fall off and the monsters escape.

PS. Yes, that's my beautiful Maya.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I was here today. It was the most glorious and beautiful ski. Besides, we ate hot blackberry pie from the Copper Creek Cafe on the way back. The BEST way to begin a new year.