Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not  equivalent. I desperately wanted mercy for Jimmy Dill and would have done anything to create justice for him, but I couldn't pretend that his struggle was disconnected from my own. The ways in which I have been hurt-and have hurt others-are different from the ways Jimmy Dill suffered and caused suffering. But our shared brokenness connected us."

                                  Bryan Stevenson,  Just Mercy

If you want a thoughtful, heartbreaking and beautiful book, try this one.

In the Bay with my children and grandchild. Gratitude for sweet family and many comforts. Good food, jigsaw puzzles, blessed rain.

May justice and mercy prevail on Earth.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Waiting in the airport to go to California. Meeting Eden in San Fran where we'll pick up a car. Whenever I get together with my children, I relax. They plan, they drive, they cook. I act like a proper grandma and do whatever I want.

I've learned the trick of checking my bag at the gate. No cost and I don't have to lift the damn thing over my head into the bin.

I'm really hungry. Too bad. Airport food is, as we know, way expensive and not very good. When we landed in Lucca, Italy, the airport had an expresso bar and wee pastries. Diane declared that was the best coffee she'd ever had. Of course this was after an eleven hour flight but still. No Starbucks or Quizno anywhere.

I'd love to go back to Europe. Don't know if I'll be able to afford it again.  Eastern Europe with Eden. In the meantime, there's snow in the mountains and for Christmas, I want Houston to go skiing with me. Maybe Mt Rainier, a most exquisite place. Winter NW foxes. Shaggy peaks. Quiet.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The sump pump is going on and off as the rain rains on all around. Grey and cold. Still in bed at 10:30. So far I've ordered The Big Book of AA from Amazon, looked at the Social Security page to see how to apply for benefits next year (do I want to apply for benefits next year???), researched degenerative disc disease for my daughter (ug) and thought about, in a very circular way, how to finish the remodel on my damn house. It is very livable now but the basement is not rentable at all.

Retirement. Oy, when to retire? I got a call from the answering service a bit ago and someone is in early labor. Not looking forward to losing a night's sleep. Don't want to be on call anymore. As much as I love my work life, call is so...wearing. I've declared that age 70 is my limit. One of my partners is an ND and she's needing to have a clinic day to see patients which, selfishly, I'll be impacted by. I've been encouraging her to begin to see clients as a doctor and she's finally doing it. But.

The Dalai Lama is saying maybe he's the last of his line. The NYT had an interesting article about him at 80. The Chinese has effectively invaded and destroyed Tibet and scattered the Tibetans. As we all know, this leads to cultural destruction, a time honored tradition of all conquerers. We are all wanderers and immigrants, layer upon layer of civilizations in the substrata. Our layer will be full of Barbie dolls, cars and disposable diapers.

Yesterday I learned that a former client is very sick with cancer. She has a young child. My dear Jude continues to improve after treatment. She's even starting to eat again and she can walk around the block. Big improvement.

It's time to take myself to my cushion and offer it all up. Today the word is equanimity. Upekka in the Pali language. It is what it is, with wisdom and kindness.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Been a while since I've been here. Moved a lot of art from the basement to the actual house. Now putting it up here and there. How I've missed the photos and landscapes and abstracts and so on. Some of it mine, some my daughter's, some from friends. I won't have enough wall space to hang everything so I'll have to rotate.

The plumber came over today to give advice and an estimate for the basement. Ug. She said to keep the bathroom, just give it a spruce up. I think it needs dynamite but ok, I'll go with it-new drywall, new fixtures in the shower, a sliding door instead of a hinged one. Ok, that works. As for the kitchen, I'm to look for a counter top with sink already installed. We have recycled building warehouses in our town so I'll be haunting the aisles looking for something that will fit. And she said, build out the MIL kitchen first so I have a kitchen while the upstairs kitchen is being torn down and rebuilt. Good idea!

Dealing with anxiety, situational anxiety. I hate it. I want it to go away and never come back. I think there are tigers who will eat me and I will DIE. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Can't say more than that right now.

Made it through Thanksgiving. Hardly thought about Geoffrey. While sorting through basement detritus, I found a few pictures of him, and other dead folks too. At one point I made a shrine to all who have gone on but there are too many now, doesn't stop, the parade of the dead. My dear Jude is getting better but boy howdy, cancer treatment sucks.

Kindness begins with me. Right here. To myself and to all beings, I send loving kindness. So much suffering in the world. May it all be touched with kindness. May we all be free from suffering. Everywhere.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Neighborhood rock, um, art with bunnies

Still in bed and dealing with work stuff in my pajamas. Difficult situations with clients. As they say, comes in waves. On call today and tomorrow. Then I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner for six? seven? people. Hope the babies let me sleep Wednesday night!

It finally got cold in Seattle, felt like it never would after the weird sunny summer we had. Reluctant to put on layers and boots and slog through the mud in the yard. A pathway is in my future.

Talking with my siblings. Attending AlAnon meetings. Whew. It seems like the healing never ends. My sis told me she's always wanted a relationship with me and now we have one. After 47 years. I counted. A whole new chapter unfolds.

Now thinking about the next remodel project. Kitchen or MIL? Or both together for more fun fuckery. The kitchen because it's gross and I do like to cook. The MIL because it's a revenue stream and maybe the future home of my GF.

My knee is miraculously better. After some serious work on the IT band, which hurt like hell, by the way, it is practically all better. Danced on it on Sunday. Signed up for the Vancouver half marathon next year. I've done it twice before. Beautiful route in a beautiful city. I'll have to train. 13 miles is a long way. I'll walk-run it.

Ok, time to get up and deal.

Sara called to say that their hot water heater died and the plumber won't install a new one until they've rid their basement of the rats. Blech. Ah, the ratty problem. Been there. Ask me all about the life cycle of the rat. I know it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

This photo is the back of my house. Daycare colors, right?

Vancouver was grand. Yes, it rained and we didn't care. We laughed a lot. We ate sushi and Malaysian food. We went to the movies. We went to the market on Granville Island where the chocolates and bakeries were food porn. Towering stacks of strawberries. Local cheeses. Reminded me of the markets in Paris.

We were on the 10th floor of a high rise overlooking Stanley Park. And on Sunday there was a dusting of snow on the mountains. We had an amazing view of the park and the ocean and Whistler.

I didn't want to come back. At all.

I have an actual living room with painted walls and a rug on the floor and a couch.

It feels weird to be living in the living room. After the cave bedroom where I was for a year. Houston asked about curtains in the new bedroom and I don't want to put any in there because I want light. Born in February, I'm a natural melancholic.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I'm sitting under my beloved angel lamp which finally has power...

And the living room is painted, and I have paint all over me. There is a rug on the floor that's been rolled up in the basement for a year. Furniture all rearranged. I have to figure out how to hang pictures with lathe and plaster and picture rails.

And Houston and I are going to Vancouver tomorrow for the weekend. Yippee!!!!

My knee is not as wrecked as I thought but the PT person says 6-8 weeks of healing. Whaaaaa. What about skiing?? Or swimming. Or even walking. Sheesh.

It's supposed to rain all weekend so we'll bring boots and raincoats and umbrellas and books and knitting (well, I'll bring knitting) and we'll watch dumb TV and sleep in and well, you know. And eat fabulous food and walk in Stanley Park.

No dogs. No katz. No clinic or births.

I just might sleep for 12 hours a day.

My grandson is turning 13. How in the world did this happen? He was just born.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Last night the rain let up enough so that Houston and I could scamper to the hot tub and get in it. The moon was sliding through the clouds. After all, it was Halloween and a perfect All Souls moon.

It is so interesting, falling in love. I turn it over in my hands like an intricate shell. Who is this person? At our sort of age,  we've got a lot of weather in us. And time. And suffering. And wisdom. And yet. We're tentative, the back and forth dance. And yet. We can't always be on our best behavior. That game has to slip sometimes. And there we are, revealed in our mistakes and small cruelties and shame.

I told her I've signed up for the full catastrophe. Why not? The biggest challenge is to stay right here and not go galloping off into the future or the past.

This brief life. This too brief life.

I've decided to rejoin my family after 47 years. Major, I know. Being disowned really fucked me up.  (duh) and now I'm looking at my remaining siblings with tenderness and love. They have persevered with me and I've been holding them at arm's length. The folks are dead.  My youngest brother committed suicide in 2007 and this year his anniversary is Thanksgiving day. Ug.

Brevity, dear ones. Let it propel us all to increasing kindness in our lives and make amends where we can and are called to.

Let peace begin with me.

Monday, October 26, 2015

I'm in the kitchen at the birth center listening to a momma in labor. She's been here all day and she's getting louder now as darkness falls over the city. Mammals have higher hormone levels at night so we birth when the predators are sleeping, or so they say. We're ancient, you know. In spite of soap and bath water and Glade plug-ins.

I've been here all day seeing clients in the prenatal clinic. Babies and moms and dads and toddlers. We've got a few babies who are struggling to gain weight, to nurse properly. Little babies don't have a lot of reserves so we stay on them til we figure out what is wrong. Low milk supply? Sucking disorder with a tight frenulum? Back when my kids were small, you shoved a boob in the baby's mouth and hoped for the best. I was so sore for a while. No instructions on proper latch or position. We know more now but still some babies need donor milk or some formula and some mothers just don't want to nurse, for a variety of reasons. Reminds me of the recent NYT article that talked about the disservice done to mothers who don't breastfeed. We make them bad or wrong. Honestly, you don't know, looking at a bottle fed baby. Perhaps the kid was adopted. Maybe the mom has to work.

Today I talked with my young colleague about buying the business from me (gulp). I need to find someone to 'value' the practice so I know what to ask for, price-wise. In the next five years, I need to stop being on call for births and 'retire' from that end of midwifery. I could still do some clinic and keep my hand in training students. But the night call is, shall we say, difficult. In five years I'll be 70, jeezus. How on earth did that happen. And I might want to spend more time with the ones I love, including my honey. She remains my honey, after almost three months!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Much time has gone by. I know.

Still here. Got sick again, so tired of being sick. I went on a 6 day retreat and spent much of it sleeping. It was so glorious to sleep and sleep and sleep some more. And have someone else do the cooking. My dear teacher, Adrianne was the dharma teacher and she gave me full permission to do whatever I needed to care for myself. Of course, on day two, I stepped out of bed and turned my knee just so so now I've been hobbling around with a elastic knee thang. Got a hitch in my giddiup.

The planet keeps turning. We've had about a billion babies. Yesterday about 3AM, Lynn called to tell me she had a 'situation'.  From a dead sleep, I snapped upright. Wha??? Apparently, a young lady who lives a mere three blocks from me was pushing and I would probably miss the birth but could I get over there NOW? Yeah, sure, ok. I threw on my scrubs and ran out the door. Stupid Mapquest sent me to the wrong house. I staggered up the stairs with my heavy gear to see someone peering at me through their blinds. I ask if it's 4010 Burn Street and they say no. I mean, a wild looking woman on their porch at 3AM. You'd say no too. So I go back to the street and start walking, looking for a likely house with lights on. There are no visible house numbers. Then I see someone opening the door a crack and I head for it.

I drag my stuff up another flight of stairs to find the momma lying on her (white) couch with a baby on her chest. The dad and the doula helped deliver the wee girl. Placenta is still in so I get to work, getting out gloves and scissors and meds and such. My student arrives with the other midwife and together we tidy up and finish the birth. The grandma had two hour labors too.


I saw them today for their 1 day home visit and the mother is radiant. Really. She's so happy to have her new girl and her family around her.

Last night I spent time with my dear Jude, who is in the midst of cancer treatment. We decided that cancer treatment is time spent in the hell realms. She said if they offer her more of the same, she would refuse. Dear sweet woman. She's on oxygen and a feeding tube. I read to her until she got tired.

From one world to another. Today my hot tub was installed. Tomorrow I hope to plug it in, fill it up and heat me some water so I can sit on my new deck in my new tub (with my new honey) and contemplate the night sky.

Pray for Peace

Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekhina, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.
Then pray to the bus driver who takes you to work.
On the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus,
for everyone riding buses all over the world.
Drop some silver and pray.
Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.
To Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, pray.
Bow down to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.
Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: Water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.
Making love, of course, is already prayer.
Skin, and open mouths worshipping that skin,
the fragile cases we are poured into.
If you’re hungry, pray. If you’re tired.
Pray to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.
When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else’s legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer as the earth revolves:
less harm, less harm, less harm.
And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
or delivering soda or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas–
With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.
Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth, another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.
Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your VISA card. Scoop your holy water
from the gutter. Gnaw your crust.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.
~Ellen Bass

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Another shooting at a school, this time in Oregon. Are we becoming inured to it?  We're helpless? Nothing will happen? Nothing will change? Gun laws won't change, can't change?

Reading Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. He's coming to Town Hall here but already sold out. Astonishing book.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

In bed (again) with a rotten cold. I just finished with a rotten cold only to get another one. And this time, I'm quite grumpy about it. I have things to do, places to go, babies to deliver! I think flying isn't good for me but it's the fastest way to get from place to place. Recycled air loaded with germs in planes.  What's up with my immune system anyway? Too many years of sleepless nights???

I sound like an old man who has smoked for 40 years. Felix is terribly bored with me so I'll take him for a walk in my sweats.

The hot tub is being delivered next week. Last night I got up and took a bath. Water, the great soother. With a hot tub, I'll be able to immerse myself without throwing water away every time.

Beautiful day outside. Time to take the Felix to the park and shop for food which will miraculously heal me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Just home from a daytime birth, lovely with the great-grandma, grandma, two sisters and their kids there.

Pretty pretty babies this family makes. So nice to have a normal birth in the daytime, no less. 

I'm home and eating leftover pho with added veggies. And I think I'll have a lie down even tho I didn't lose sleep. Flew to southern California over the weekend for this:

Damn, it was hot and dusty. The wedding was swell. The best part was my sis and ex-husband were there---and we had a grand time dancing and hanging out, admiring my brother who raised the bride from the time she was about 4 years old. He walked her down the aisle and what a proud man he was to be hosting her wedding. 

Annie and I roamed the wee town, went to the movies and found a massive swimming pool (50 meter length!!!) to cool off in. When you're used to 25 meters, 50 meters is an enormous distance. Loved it. We talked and talked. We made a pact not to let time and distance get in the way of communicating. Annie, I know you're reading this, ain't it so?!

Life rolls on. I am about to have a deck out the back of the house. I will step out my bedroom door into the hot tub. Yeah!!! So what if my debt is eternal. 

My new sweetheart is more and more wonderful. She came and got the Felix for a run today while I was working. He seems actually tired. And she continues to like me. She left me a note on my pillow...

All in all, a good day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dear hearts-my house is lime green, deep pink, sky blue and coral.

It looks like a preschool.

I don't care.

When I figure out how to transfer pictures from my phone to my new computer, I'll show you.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Today I have ferns in my antlers too.

The sun is highlighting the clouds through my bedroom window. I still give thanks I'm not living in the cave anymore.

Hugo took a trip to the vet as he has lost a hideous amount of weight. The vet gave him fluids and drew blood. He's got a 'confusing' blood panel and he could have pancreas problems or a heart issue but there is nothing to do for either. After I brought him home, he ate huge amounts of food. Actually, every time I see him, I feed him. Lola is pissed off but her figure is a bit more svelte. Anyway, a sign that Hugo was feeling better was the wee pile of entrails on the kitchen floor this morning. Sigh.

I am having a blast with my new g'friend. Yesterday we went to a quiet suburban lake so she and her friends could paddle board and I could kayak. She came over to help me load the boat and it was SO MUCH EASIER with two people. I've been so used to doing everything by myself, it's been challenging to a) ask for help and b) have help offered out of the blue. I've been running my business, managing the home front complete with a remodel which will never be done and caring for myself and assorted animals alone. Mostly, it's fine. And then I start a relationship with this new person who is offering to be part of all this and I'm flabbergasted. Really. I don't know how to act.

She brought up all my art supplies from the basement so now I can put my studio together.

She likes me. She thinks I'm great.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hanging at the birth center, waiting on a momma who just met us last week and here today on her due date in labor. Whew. She transferred after seeing the 'birth center' in the hospital where she was planning to deliver. Nope, too much like a hospital. She wants a nice peaceful experience away from the hospital vibe. Now her insurance might not cover us (arghh) but she's here, she's lovely and we do free care sometimes.

She's walking up and down stairs with her man and her sister. Moaning with contractions. Felix is spending another night with Randy, the best dog person in the whole world.

My house painter almost fell off the ladder last week and now she has scaffolding. Sheesh, no more episodes, ok? We were all there: her son, my contractor and I.  We grabbed the ladder and coaxed her down. She was hanging from a soffit on the second floor. She said my voice was the one she listened to because I used my birth voice on her.

Lights, radio, double locks, don't fail me now.

And blue doors please. Sky blue doors.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It's a new day at the Coyote household. There will be motion detection lights in the back yard and keyed locks. There are timers on the lights and locks on the gates in the front. Before I get an alarm system, I've done what I can.

I replaced my computer. Had to. I did leave the dog alone tonight because I'm at a birth.

I'm digging up the yard bit by bit, turning over the sod and breaking up the clay. We took out the sidewalk so getting to the front door is interesting, especially after it rains. Yes, rain, beautiful rain, lovely rain. I have one dahlia in full bloom, a gift from the previous owners. It's huge and bright red. Dahlias, the hussies of the flower world. Big and brassy and fabulous.

Hugo, my gorgeous big cat, has gotten quite skinny. He was such a killer for the summer but not recently. I fear we need a trip to the vet. Maybe he's just old. I've had him for 12-13 years and who knows how old he was when he showed up in my back yard.


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Thievery and mayhem

Dear thieves who broke into my house, hosed my dog so he'd stay back and flooded the floors with water, stole my computer, my grandmother's silver, my grandfather's gold ring, my Kindle and a few other pieces of jewelry---

You must be desperate. I've stolen in my life. I've stolen food when I was homeless and poor. I've taken things that weren't mine for the taking.

I told a lot of people about the theft and their reactions were like this:


"I'm buying an alarm system for my house."

"I'm so sorry."

"Do you have motion lights?"

"Go to the pawn shops and or Craig's list and look for your stuff."

Dear thieves-Thank you for not hurting my dog or trashing the new walls or breaking windows. Both the katz are here and accounted for. Thank you for dropping a lot of jewelry in the driveway as you fled. Nothing valuable but gifts from friends. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to back up my computer. I have an external hard drive that I used as recently as May, hooray for me. Thank you for reminding me that my business is doing well enough to pay for another computer, and for that I'm grateful. Thank you for the opportunity to talk with my neighbors and to warm them to be safe and lock up.

The second precept encourages one to "refrain from taking that which is not freely offered." Apples on the ground are freely offered? Discuss amongst yourselves. The second precept also discusses generosity as the two go hand in hand.

Im my situation, what is being offered to me? Forgiving the thieves, who are probably between the ages of 11-17, according to the police who were here. Allowing myself to feel sad that I won't be passing along stuff from my maternal line to my children. It is just stuff, after all. Continuing to be generous in all the ways that I can. Generous with my time. Generous with my resources. Generous with my love. I hope I don't sound hopelessly naive. I'll still lock my doors. I'll consider hiding my computer when I leave the house. But I still need to forgive my younger desperate self the food I stole. And the unseen young (probably) men who entered my house, riffled my underwear drawer, and made away with some objects I was hoping to give to my children.

Those young men have learned to break and enter. What else will they learn as they grow up?

Saturday, August 29, 2015



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Our poor Eastern Washington with huge wildfires, the smoke so thick the air in Seattle has been bad; hazy, hot and red suns in the morning and red moons at night. Firefighters have lost their lives. Houses have burned up. Of course there is no mention of all the creatures who have died. And the forests-all those trees. Great suffering in all ways. Relentless hot days, day after day after day.

I am performing a wedding on Saturday. Rehearsal dinner and run-through tomorrow. The young couple moved their ceremony from Eastern WA because of the all the fires and evacuations. They say it will rain for a few days. We expect the rain. We welcome it. It's part of our collective mystique.

And I caught a cold after a birth I did on Tuesday. Guzzling all sorts of symptoms suppression and tea and tylenol-the usual stuff. As long as I can get through the service without sneezing, coughing or blowing my nose.

I went to the lake early this morning with my kleenix and cough syrup to meet Houston on her paddle board. When Felix and I got there, she was nowhere in sight. Eventually she appeared, coming silently across the lake. Lake Washington is huge, y'all. A mirage woman on the quiet lake.

Even though I feel crappy, gotta go water my wee plants in my p-patch.

Then back to bed with my hankies and movies.

No contractors for two weeks. Exterior paint and then the deck gets built. Then a break while I figure out how to re-do the kitchen cheaply. I might just tear out everything and live in stud cavities. I'm used to it. And when you have an actual house, you have to clean it. Lola has already herked up a hairball under the bed on the new floor. It's like getting a dent in your new car.

Now I can relax.

Friday, August 21, 2015


I'm dating someone who is a open water distance swimmer.

Hoo boy. I swim just fine but she left me in the dust, er, in her wake. A little dot of bathing cap way ahead of me. It's ok.

She paddle boards.

She likes me.

I like her.

There's a lot more I could say but for now.

Let's see how this goes.

(a moment of silence for Beth's tattered love life)

In other news, I have officially moved into my new expanded house. I reorganized the kitchen and there is a big bare floor in there because now the table is in the dining nook. I hung up pots and pans. I shelved jars that have been sitting out for a year. (and dusted them off). The dust is terrible but I keep at it. I moved my office into the old bedroom and now the living room is HUGE. I sprinkled plants around the house. I have two new closets and have yet to figure out what to put where.

The office shuffle is always interesting. I find photos that send me back. Pics of the kids in grade school. Friends that aren't alive any more. Stacks and stacks of poetry that I wrote. My book. My chapbook. The legal case I've been asked to testify in as an expert witness. Stuff. So much that working really interferes with my art life.

Still to set up my studio. The giant canvas I stretched has been in the garage getting dented and dusty.

When I wake, the sunrise is what I see.

I got a p-patch!!!! I went and turned over the soil in my 10X10 spot, pulled weeds and cleaned out the tool shed. The site feels a bit neglected but I'll fix that! I planted cabbage, kale, parsley and leeks. The clay soil under a thin layer of compost was so hard I threw clumps I couldn't break up against the rock wall. I so love to garden. The second time I was there, some kids were hanging at the picnic tables smoking weed and talking. So weird to walk or drive around Seattle with the smell of grass everywhere. Soon it will be commonplace.

Off to  bed. Tomorrow is a p-patch day with my new flame.  I like the way she smells. I think that's a good sign. Spicy. Faint cedar-y.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Zen dog

Today I took a shower in the tiled shower in my bathroom. For the first time. I might take another shower tomorrow.

We contemplated a glass shower door that was gonna cost a bundle and wouldn't be installed for three weeks. Jim put up a temporary shower curtain and curtain rod and I said, "Well, what's wrong with this?"

Hey, we don't have to spend over a thou for a shower door, by golly!!!!! Curtain rod and shower curtain, ta-da!

I think I want a shower curtain with Elvis on it. Or Darth Vader. Or kittens with bows. My bathroom is currently too, um, perfect. No kat barf. No clumps of fur. No random animal parts.

I know. I want unicorns. Or rainbows. Or The Terminator.

The weather here is altogether too weird. I think it's the influx of Amazon people. Don't ask for a reason but I'm sure I'm right.

Sunday, August 09, 2015


I took a bath yesterday. In my bathroom. I moved a dresser into the new bedroom. I moved a giant plant into the loft. There are bits and pieces to do still.

Andrew and his dad (XOXOXOXOXOXOXOX) tiled and it's beautiful.

Meanwhile the babies role along. One of them scared me last week but all is well.

I unpacked two boxes of toiletries and I must never buy sunscreen ever again. Eight tubes? Really?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I am officially a badass

The annual Seafair thang in Seattle. Navy war ships make their way from the base in Bremerton and we were there to greet them with our scary kayaks and peace signs. The aircraft carrier was enormous. And I'm not kidding. 

The fearless crew in front of a war ship. (I'm taking the photo)

The tip of my wee kayak and our other leetle boats. The catamaran had a huge sign that said PEACE FLEET. As you see, the water was choppy and there were police and Coast Guard boats warning us away. As if we could do any damage. David and Goliath, y'all.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It dumped rain and then stopped so we could see and hear the incomparable Mavis Staples outside at the zoo. She's 76, y'all, and a short dynamic bundle. She covered a Talking Heads song (!) among other splendors. The sun went down on cue and we headed for home after shaking ourselves out to some very fine music.

And Patty Griffin too.

Now that's a concert to sit in the rain for.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I'm waiting in the Sacramento airport for my flight. Surreal to drive through the hot, flat fields of drought afflicted California at 80 MPH. My rental car had about 2000 miles on it and it was FAST.

At the lodge, there was much swimming and eating and more swimming and eating. And a game of Risk and Rummicube and Pokemon. At least one viewing of Ratatouille. The adults made mountains of food and did mountains of dishes.

Adele and I had a brainstorm and made this cheesecake with cream cheese, yogurt, eggs, pancake batter, lemon zest and sugar. And a plethora of fresh fruit.  It was gone in 3 minutes. 

So Maya asked me to bring cream cheese, eggs, fruit and yogurt. Well, in the wilds of I-5, there is NOTHING but a Costco where one can get enough cream cheese, etc for the Great Flood. I bought a 48 ounce container of cream cheese. And yogurt. And 24 eggs.  So needless to say, we had no shortage of ingredients, except for the crust and no flour. We did have pancake batter which worked just fine. And ginger snaps which we crushed up for the crust after deciding that the date, crushed nuts idea was better as candy (and the kids agreed). So voila- we made a beautiful cheesecake that we were very proud of. 

We also put together two jigsaw puzzles, the second one in record time because Brian told us we'd never finish it. Who says I'm not competitive??

It was an artistic masterpiece of, um, unicorns, dolphins, and elephant, a camel, a rooster (?), pink fish, half-naked dancing girls---well, it was breathtaking. That girl Hazel is one of 'mine' and thats her momma and her big sister. Love them.

While searching for the 'best' puzzle to bring (ie. most tacky, with the most non-sequiturs) , I was standing in the big store in front of the display of jigsaws, from 50 piece to  2000 piece thangs. It was a toss-up between the row of dogs wearing hats and ties with binoculars and cameras around their necks and the aforementioned, uh, parade of nonsense. 

A lady of a certain age sidled up to me so we could talk jigsaws. She was admiring the variety and such. Then she asked what I did with the completed puzzle. Well, I put it back in the box?? Nope, she glued the puzzle together and hung it on her wall, in fact she had so many, she had to rotate them. Oh boy. I just couldn't tell her I was looking for the worst puzzles for our annual outing. That Adele and I have bonded over a puppy puzzle that had gerbils and butterflies in it.

Oh dear. 

It has cooled down in ye olde Seattle. I'm back at work soon enough. My house, dare I say it, is  approaching fulfillment and I can almost move my bed into the light-filled bedroom. Bathroom tiling this coming weekend (ach, Seafair with attendant deafening noise). 

Those beautiful people at the top of this post are my people. beloved people. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015


It is so hot here. The grass is brown and crinkly. I water my poor plants daily, sometimes twice.


I have finished floors and a working faucet in the bathroom. I've actually brushed my teeth and washed my face at the bathroom sink. Week after next, I'll have tile and a shower.

The katz are lying about limply. The dog and I go to the lake where we take turns swimming. He swims, I tie him up to a log and I go in, repeat. The trick is to get my core temp down enough so going home to my very hot house is bearable. Because the last owners installed windows that open sideways, I can't leave them open. Anyone can walk by, step over the sill and ta-da! Some day, I'll replace them. Is this the end times?

My blessed neighbors are allowing me to cut down the massive arbor vitae hedge that borders our property. This is so exciting. I'll have south light. The living room will lose it's gloom. As for the cave-bedroom where I've been living for the past year, I'll be moving my bed into sunlit digs soon enough. The gloom room will become a) my office where I'll never go, b) my meditation room where I will go once a day, or c) a spare bedroom which will be used occasionally and where the katz will undoubtedly sleep and get hair all over the cover.

Then there are the boxes which have been sitting around for a year, hither and thither. What's in them? Do I even care anymore?

I had a massage yesterday with a new person. She came in the room, all diminutive bits of her and she proceeded to give me the massage of my life, hoo-boy. She named off the muscles and attachments as she went, while I groaned and wept silently. My various parts were rearranged afterwards. I've been living with random aches and pains, taking the daily ibuprofen and ignoring the elbow, knee sacrum trifecta. Because I have to work. Because I can't stop just because things hurt. Because. I'll go see her again, of course. And add yoga to my routine. I have to move or else I freeze in weird shapes.

I fell into a heat swoon and took a wee nap just now. It's too frickin' hot in here so Felix and I are heading to the water.

Ah, Scotland...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My dears:

Yes, that is stain on the floors. Next week, they'll be sealed. The last week of July, the tiling in the bathroom will be finished. Some of the lights work and some of the plumbing. I'm breathless with anticipation. 

I spread a yard of compost over the front yard and today I planted delphinium, ground cover, lilies, hebes, azalea and a few plants I thought were pretty and I don't know what they're called. I bought a new shovel. 

Dinner last night looked like this:

because of this sweet man (and giant cauliflower) and his wife, my friend Joanne:

A friend here in town has been given a grave diagnosis so I'll be helping out. My sangha has gotten good at phone trees and potlucks and rides to the doctor. 

For two days after getting home, I wept at the slightest provocation. Raw, I felt raw. Not just jet-lag but raw to the touch. And gradually, my skin has grown back and I'm beginning to feel more normal. Waiting to attend a birth, probably tomorrow. 

Brevity. That's what I'm so present to. The days fly by, plants grow and bloom and wither and die back. Those bloody block houses are springing up everywhere in our town to house the influx of techies, blots in the neighborhoods of modest two bedroom bungalows, all with low profiles and outdated kitchens. My electrician who has faithfully worked on this house for the past year told me a developer bought a lot on her street and a month later, there was a completed block house, at an inflated price. No yard, no porch, just a featureless block with windows. I've attended births in those houses and in condos where the space is all vertical, three floors with a room on each floor. Surely there is a better way to house people in dense neighborhoods. 

Then there's a house like this in Scotland. Did I mention, I left my heart in Scotland and no, not because of the whisky but because of this:

And this:

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Eden going for a Yorkshire pudding and declaring, "Mom, I've made a terrible mistake."

Saturday, July 04, 2015


I staggered up the hill from the light rail with about 435 pounds of luggage because, of course, I came back with more than I left with. My filthy white dog greeted me at the door but he is lying limply on the floor because it is feckin' hot in Seattle.

Apparently, animal control visited while I was away. And I found ANOTHER complaint from a 'neighbor' about my dog running in their yard ???????????? WTF??? He wasn't even HERE.  My dog person had him for three weeks. Naturally, I'm terrified they'll come and take him away.  This is the third complaint. The first time I had dog(s) so I called them and told them I have one fenced-in dog. The second time He was on the neighbor's property (?) so I stopped walking him down the street. Does someone not like me? He does bark at people who walk by but he's behind a fence, sheesh.


Anyway, I'm too tired to post any pictures but I will. I'm moving to Scotland  because it is gorgeous. Paris was, well, Paris and full of French people. London was the same, only full of English people. Some many beautiful places we visited. Hanging with my girls was fun too but man, I'm really tired right now and I think it's the middle of the night where I just was so I think I'll have a lie down and tell you more stories when I've sorted myself out (and sorted out the dog).

Dear neighbor who is complaining about Felix,

Come talk to me, ok? I'm sure we can work this out. He's harmless but loud. I have a sturdy fence. What the hell is your problem?


Beth the responsible dog owner

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I leave the day after tomorrow. I'm still in bed in my tee-shirt.

I went and exchanged money yesterday. There's squatty guy with a white beard sitting behind bullet-proof glass in a downtown cubby. You hand him a wad of cash and he gives you a smaller wad of pounds.

My contractor and I talked about food of the UK. It's horrifying. Haggis is something you can eat in Scotland. Offal in a sheep's bladder? Yum. And don't ask for Scotch. Ask for whisky, duh, you're IN Scotland so of course, it's Scotch whisky. And that's whisky without an 'e'. Ireland has whiskey.  No veggies, apparently. No greens, anyway. The beer or stout is warm. Expect fish and chips.

What do I do now? Make sure I have directions to all the airb&b places. Decide what clothes to wear. Look at the weather channel again for suggestions? Hot? Cold? Rain?

Saturday, June 06, 2015

It's warm here in the (formerly) gloomy Northwest. We are lying about while the sun streams in the dirty windows. The new windows have splattered paint, coffee, what-all and the front windows, at least the one I can see, has dog nose juice all over the bottom.

Raven, Lynn's son, is house sitting and here is a partial list for him:

Hi Raven:

Welcome to my house.

Every day:

Water all the outdoor plants. There are several in pots and they will get especially dry. There are two hoses which I drag around. Don't forget the garden by the cellar stairs. Obviously, the laurel hedges don't need watering...or the bamboo (grrrrrrr). With this warm weather, the plants will need a daily watering as they are trying to establish themselves.

The cats, Hugo and Lola, are fed in the evening. I give them a scoop of wet food and a scoop of dry food. I've left the phone number for the vet but hope you won't need it. The cat carrier is in the basement by the sauna. Hugo has the disconcerting habit of bringing in his prey (birds and rats), eating them and leaving a few 'gifts' for you to clean up. They also herk up hairballs, grass and semi-digested food. Here are a bunch of rags for cleaning up after them. Be sure their water bowl is always full.

The litter box is currently under the stairs. I clean it out every day. When the can is full, I take it right out to the garbage can. There are plastic bags under the sink. Once Jim starts on the floor, the litter box will have to come in to the kitchen (sorry) and Hugo will be blocked from going through the cat door. You may be letting him in and out through the front door until the floors are done.

The toilet upstairs works fine. Otherwise, the basement bathroom will be where you'll go for showers and a toilet. Sorry it's so ugly down there but it all works. Once the floors are laid and wet, you'll be inconvenienced by having to go through the front door to get to the basement bathroom. I leave the door unlocked down there but there are keys to the locks if you want to lock it.

The bathroom may be all done before I come home. Exciting! Although there may not be a shower door...Jim can tell you if it's safe to use the shower.

At least weekly, water the indoor plants. I will water them just before I leave but again, with the warm weather, they will dry out too. There is a jug under the sink which I use for watering them.

WIFI is lolahugo and the PW is felix123.

There are towels in the closet and the sheets are clean. If you want to do laundry, the washer and dryer are in the basement.

Any food I've left, please eat! There is a Red Apple north on Beacon. There isn't much nearby but down the hill is the Rainier Beach Community Center with an awesome pool and the library is near the pool.

In the bedroom, in the cabinet is the TV with a VCR/DVD player. There are 4 remotes and I bet you can figure out how to use them...I couldn't begin to explain.

Light rail is at the bottom of the hill and if you want to go to Columbia City, it stops there. There's a movie theatre, a farmers' market on Wednesday and a PCC that is a short hike from the light rail. There's also the Columbia City Bakery with much yumminess.

Bless you Raven, for agreeing to do this. I wouldn't. 

Thursday, June 04, 2015

I have a stretchy bandage thing on my right knee and I've wrapped my right elbow with an ice stretchy thing.

Getting old is not fun. Injuries take way longer to heal.

Ibuprofen is my best friend.

And besides, I'm about to traipse all over the UK and I can't have aches and pains and a trick knee and tennis elbow.

I fear I need knee surgery. The last time was a blast, and I do mean boy howdy.

Off to sit with my vipassana people.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Go see this movie:


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday dance morning. The back door has stood open so the paint can dry. A fierce sunset yesterday. The rooster across the street expressing himself.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I saw the most remarkable thing this afternoon. My lawn is riddled with moles and mole tunnels. They are impossible to get rid of and so I'm tolerating them until I seriously begin gardening out there. Anyway. I was walking toward the front door and noticed two full grown moles THROWING DOWN.  They were rolling and tumbling and biting each other, flipping the dirt around. They have these flipper front paws? hands? and they're BLIND. I moved one of them to the other side of the yard and they --poof---disappeared into the ground.

They have glossy black fur and stubby tails. They're kinda cute except for the general mayhem and my yard is wee small. I looked up 'getting rid of moles' on Google and one solution involved two shovels and a sledge hammer (ouch). Or mouse traps and salami. Nope, not that one either.

Anyway, sorry Hugo missed all the fun. He's good at rats but moles, not his forte.

It's a regular wild kingdom around here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I'm way tired but I'm going to dance tonight anyway. We've had 6 babies in the past 7 days, whew. And they didn't all come during the day after a 4 hour labor.

I have new yellow marmoleum floors in my bathroom and in the laundry room. I might get a sink soon in the bathroom---here I do a happy dance while the dawg looks on uncomprehendingly.

There is a finished remodel coming along and it will be done this summer or someone will be severely punished, I don't know who yet but I'll think of someone. Maybe a member of the Bush family because undoubtedly it is their collective fault.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Where I spent the weekend. There are two eagles in the center of the photo sitting together on a post. I'm in bed and because Felix ran around on the beach and in the water all day, he and my room smell like a swamp.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Day two with a family in labor, been quite stressful but not able to discuss it here-privacy reasons and all. Suffice it to say that I've had about 4 hours of sleep and woke up crying. Well, I thought about things and then cried a bit. After talking with both partners, a buddy in Olympia and my doc friend.

Then I wandered around a bit in the remodel, looking at a few painter's holidays in my tee-shirt until Jim showed up.

Jim had seen me at my most attractive-nasty pajamas, wild hair, sleep deprived, just basically gross.

The wrath of god, as my mother would say.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

By the way-

Holly and I saw these marvelous people Saturday night:

Hugo has moved on to birds. Well, a bird. I found the head, the legs and the wings and a pile of feathers. I don't like this about katz, that they're such animals. I'd prefer the rodent killings, frankly.

Lola never catches anything. Except for worms. She is a champion worm catcher. Takes a lot of skill, you can be sure.

Two rooms are painted, all the trim is done except for the baseboards. The floor guys will be coming soon to do the bathroom and the laundry room. Today I'm painting the studio and the hallways. I'm pretty good at cutting in if you don't look too close.

Just saw The Salt of The Earth, a docu about French Brazilian Sebastio Salgado, the photographer. Essential. Gorgeous. He spent years photographing wounded areas of the world; Rwanda, the Sudan, the plight of refugees, gold miners in Brazil, firefighters in Kuwait after Hussain lit oil wells on fire. He wearied of all the suffering and destruction and turned to natural landscapes, including his home that had been decimated by drought. They planted thousands of trees and remade a forest filled with birds. Remarkable traveler and artist. Wim Wenders directed.

The UK nears. I think I have all the directions to the various airb&bs. I have a house sitter. The dawg will go to camp with Randy. Lynn is back from her travels and back at work. When I get back, maybe there will be a new house to come back too. All done. No more dust. Painted.

And it will only have been A YEAR since we started this madness. And there will be no next time.

Time to swim and run the canine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

There is evidence that the trim guy was here today. As in trim around the windows and doors and baseboards. There might be floors soon. I gotta paint the bathroom and then figure out the high bits where we'll need scaffolding. Holy shite.

Watched a documentary, actually a 'duckumentary' of a Western Buddhist priest in LA who rescued a baby duck, a flightless duck. She was already a bird person but had never had a duck before. The duck grew up, like babies do and proceeded to poop all over her apartment. And I mean all over. She had towels and plastic everywhere. But she snuggled her duck who was totally imprinted on her. He would lay his head on her shoulder. Her adventure was to find a new home where her duck, Lewie, could live, preferably outside with another duck. Hugh Hefner's mansion grounds houses all kinds of birds and animals but the crested crane had it out for Lewie so no dice. Lewie eventually found his new home with a lady outside LA somewhere who had a lonely Peking duck (and a whole bunch of other birds) who needed a companion.

I must admit, I thought of you, Mary, while I watched Lewie's story. The Buddhist priest had gotten worms for Lewie, which he LOVED but she had a hard time feeding them to him so after he moved out, as they say, she had a container of earthworms that she's now caring for.

All of us were taken out to lunch today to a swanky restaurant by one of our grateful clients. It's only taken about a year to get us all in one room. The food was delicious, we laughed a whole lot and her one year old son was surprisingly patient. We 'caught' both of this mom's babies on their houseboat. She admits that things are getting a bit tight in their living quarters.

There was something so special about a bunch of ladies laughing and telling birth stories in a circle. Feels so ancient, like our ancestors have done for centuries. Passing the wisdom around; discussing circumcision, birth control, sex, baby penises, breastfeeding, birth in all its' variety. heaven only knows what the table next to us thought if they could hear us talking.

It's been a good life. And I'm fortunate to be sitting in that circle still.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My two favorite women

I painted my new bedroom/office/guest room today.

I know. Amazing.

I wash the floors daily because there is so much drywall dust, we know at a glance where the dog/katz/I have been walking.

I might even paint the living room. It's white. The white has gotta go. I'm thinking a warm creamy color.

I'll still put up my photo of Benedict. He's weird-dreamy. I can't explain it.

I'm leaving for Europe in a month. OMG.

I shaved my legs today and put coconut oil on them. When I saw them today, they looked like alien legs. Since I don't have a proper bathroom or a tub or shower, I got out a large bowl with warm water, sat on a chair and soaped up with my foot in the bowl. My legs are very freckly, something I don't remember having but is undoubtedly a consequence of stupid tanning practices from the past. Baby oil anyone? And my skin is wrinkly and saggy because I'm, well, sorta old.

Even so, Patrick at the gym tried to kill me and Luanne, my gym buddy, today. 150 jump ropes, 1000 meters on the rowing machine,  100 sit ups and a bunch of other exercises that left us lying on the floor groaning. I did learn from Luanne that bigger boobs make your stomach look smaller. It's about proportions.

My printer is acting funny, prints half a page and then moves on to the next page. I'm afraid I need a computer geek over here to try and fix it.

I reprinted a wedding ceremony for some friends and got all choked up reading their vows. We're so tender sometimes and weddings are where we can express it. Our best hopes. In spite of the odds.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Beautiful day again for visiting babies and walking in the woods. Sara and I drove to Tacoma last night to dance. It was late. We got stuck in traffic. We found the yoga studio up a flight of stairs, weird little room with too many people and very HOT, one small fan. But we danced and danced. We danced for all the babies we delivered while Lynn was away (14 at least), we danced for the late nights with no sleep, the worry about certain clients, the inevitable losses and sorrows inherent in our work, the beautiful births and sweet tired parents.

Sometimes it just has to come out of the body, the stress and pain and joy and all of it. We who stand beside the great rolling waterfall of life and death, witnessing. Holding and guiding with as much compassion as we have for ourselves and the whole suffering world.

Peace and kindness rain upon us all.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Some day there will a bathtub that I can get into, just stroll into the bathroom and turn on the water and wait a bit and then get in and soak. That sounds so nice.

My daughter called to tell me her cat is dying and needs to be put down. She was weeping and we talked about Little Boy, with his sister, as her first babies. Our animals are especially hard when they are suffering. Of course we worry and fret when our children are hurt or lost or in danger. We do what we can for them. But our dogs and cats are different.

She wondered what to do with Milo, her son. I told her to have him come with her to the appointment. He's had his share of pain already but he's old enough to be open to his beloved animal's death. And Maya can let him see her distress. And they can be comfort for one another.

The great circle of life, as Maude would say.

Meanwhile, I'll be going back tomorrow to North Bend to see the baby living under the shadow of Mount Si in the piney woods. With elk and bunnies.

Tonight Sara and I are going dancing in Tacoma. Music and dancing, the masters of the stars.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The ghosts of spray painting

Today's baby:

Josie AKA 'Pike' with a few of her siblings and her momma, of course. Sweet daytime birth. Complete with elk browsing in the yard. We were WAY out there by Mount Si, down a dead end dirt road. The momma's fourth baby so she knew exactly what to do. Beautiful to watch her move instinctively through her labor and she knew just when to call us. 

In other news, the brawny men put the massively heavy cast iron tub on the curb with a 'free' sign on it and just now two scrawny guys with a ratty pickup truck came and somehow wrangled it into the truck bed. I watched, cringing all the while. I wouldn't offer to help as I was afraid I'm be pinned underneath after they dropped it on me. If you've ever watched piano movers work, you know what thoughts go through your head...

Felix is with Randy overnight at doggie camp. No wonder the house is so quiet. 

The remodel is moving along. It really is. Walls are being primed. By Friday those guys will be done. Then floors! And trim! I'm even cautiously thinking about paint colors. Imagine. 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

I'm back after a 14 baby month. It's officially May now and I've caught up on sleep AND Lynn returns next week, thank gawd. I've been sooooo tired, I crawl into bed with my clothes on to wake some time later wondering if it's morning or night. We did have some splendid babies.

Eden came and went. 

I got walls and ceilings:

and the rest of the house is more dirty, dusty, covered with white powder with guys swarming banging and loud music etc. Insulation too.  There is the beginning of a garden. I unfortunately accidentally killed the dogwood with the evil week whacker that tried to take off my leg last year. It wrapped itself around the trunk and stripped off all the bark (sob!) I stood and apologized and it told me it didn't mind. 

Saw Wild Tales last night. It is Argentinean and I laughed so loud my movie companion told me to hush. It's so wrong and brilliant and darkly funny. All worth it for the wedding scene. Please see it and let me know what you think. Not a Hollywood film, that's for sure. 

I bought a huge cat house/tree, carpeted thingy because I'm sick of clumps of hair, cat vomit and detritus that they bring in from outside and leave on the couch. Including this:

I know, it's only the paw. Hugo the beast has dispatched with the rest of the, ahem, body. It was lying neatly on the kitchen floor, not on the couch. I think Hugo wants me to see it and admire his prowess. Which I do, of course. 

I have hoses at my house. I didn't have any spigots so I was hauling water to my garden in a big orange bucket. Hoses are a real luxury. Right now I have gratitude for my life; the sun coming in the back door for free, the animals I live with and quiet, the green trees waving their countless leaves in the green belt. In spite of Baltimore or Nepal or my homeless friends standing by the freeway off ramps or out on I-90 in their tents. 

Listening to 12 Years a Slave. Couldn't see the movie but I can listen to the story in his own words. 

We must be kind to ourselves, to one another. We must. It is the only rule. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Terrible terrible news from Nepal, Katmandu where I've traveled and circumambulated the stupa there in the center of town. The chaos of power lines overhead, the thin children, the skinny dogs, the cacophony of horns blaring, the stink of stagnant water, garbage and diesel fuel exhaust. Bright colors of the saris. The displaced Tibetans praying in the square, spinning hundreds of prayer wheels. And now an earthquake adding to the misery, the disastrous heaving and parting of the earth, toppling buildings and tearing roads apart and crushing families.

O if I could only go there right now to be part of the relief. Haiti was the same way, the total destruction, so many injuries, not enough medical support.

How did the Kopan monastery fare? The sweet nuns rolling fragrant powder into incense sticks, giving us chai and cookies in their temple.

May we all be safe and well. May we be held in love and compassion.

Eden left for LA this morning. Always letting go of our children.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My friend Heidi made this video: hilarious, especially the music.

I'm sleeping all night. NO BABIES ALLOWED.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two births yesterday, at another today. My student and I are sitting in the kitchen looking over Puget Sound, expansive view with the Olympic Mountains on the horizon. The momma is in her bedroom being quiet and still, wanting privacy. The tub lady is setting up the birth tub. This mom caught her last baby in the water, wants to do that again.

The two year old is being entertained by her big sister.

Yesterday's big baby boy. Today's baby is a boy too. Tonight I hope to sleep all night. That would be so great.  

I have kitchen envy here. Besides the million dollar view, the kitchen is tidy with cupboards galore and a sink and a dishwasher and lighting. I could go on. My kitchen is more Nepali, a pot on a fire ring on the floor. With goats and entrails. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sara and me and baby Christina


Holly and I headed up to 'our' hiking trail on Tiger Mountain (well Holly whined about my short leash because of my call schedule) so I managed it, a few hours outside the city in the beauty of the new forest growth. Trillium! Young fern fronds! Trees down and sun blading through the boughs.

Before we get there, at the trailhead, homeless encampment #4 along the paved road. A generator, porta-potties in a row, a kitchen, a lounge with a flat screen TV, an office and wooden pallets with tents and tarps, homes. A man and a boy, father and son? They smiled at us and petted Felix. The boy was working on a computer. A woman with a small dog. Fragments of their former lives. All under the forest canopy beside the freeway, warm spring air, nettle shoots and leaf buds on the alder.

Writing this though my heart breaks, breaks with the thrush song in the pines and my brothers and sisters living outside in such circumstances. I still haven't found a way to hold all the sorrow and joy in one place. And so unexpected to to find a homeless camp at the edge of the woods where I go for solace. It no longer works to 'forget' that we are always in the slipstream of change, that we aren't separate from all that is. The great birth and the great death, the brief time we call our lives.

As Larry Ward, a dharma teacher said recently, "Who are you? The Dalai Lama knows who he is. Do you know who you are?" It's not enough to have our saints and heroes. We must be ready to respond in the present moment.

Holly gave the guy in the office a few bucks. We talked with the woman with the dog. I am you, sister. I could easily be where you are. I offer you kindness. May you be well and safe and happy.

Friday, April 17, 2015

I sent this child off to Waldron Island to harvest seaweed. We fell asleep watching Sherlock last night. There is nothing like having a child you've sent out in the world come back for a visit. Nothing like it.

Before this was taken, we'd had a session at the gym and after a yoga class. I got to introduce her to my buddies. I fed her a big breakfast. I slipped a few bills in her pocket. Never ends, does it? That mix of pride and worry and tremendous love.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

One of my heroes has gone.

I heard her speak once at a conference. With towering white hair,  she came on stage, bosom preceding her (as my mother would say, 'like the prow of a ship'). And yes, she talked about the 'psycho-sexual experience of childbirth' in her clipped British accent. I've never been the same since.