Tuesday, December 28, 2021

 We have 6? 7? inches of snow here. Yes we do. And freezing temperatures. On Friday I had a sore throat and so I went on the hunt for a covid test. Ha! You try it, the day before xmas. I went from one site to another, to no avail. I finally found a test (for $250!!) by the airport. All the other cars in the parking lot were Mercedes and Teslas. And me in the Honda. 

Now I just have a wicked cold but no covid. Kenny is positive for covid but he's holding up. We check in each morning. I went to the store yesterday bundled up to the eyes because I was out of everything and a couple was standing outside the store laden with bags. They asked if I'd lend them my phone as Uber wasn't picking up. I declined then thought what the heck and asked where they needed to go. Not far away at all. So I drove them home to their kids. They gave me a twenty which I refused but they insisted. Insisted. 

I've lost touch with reality, honestly. I'm all snotty and fuzzy-headed. I let the dog out and he tracks snow through the entire house. I'm trying to work but it seems impossible. I've canceled Teen Feed for this Friday. Too many cancellations and covid is raging and it's 23 degrees here. No one should be driving anywhere. The TF staff was very gracious. We're on again for April. Kellie already bought 3 hams and she thinks she'll just drop them off at the church. I can't even think about kids outside in this weather. It's criminal. Unconscionable. While I sit here in my warm house. 

The hummingbird feeders froze and one broke in two. I bring them in at night so they can thaw out and then hang them out again in the morning. I'm gonna spread more bird seed outside for the chickadees and juncos and crows. Heck, whoever needs some food. 

It's supposed to snow again on Thursday. By then I will be well enough to get my skis out so I can tour the neighborhood. 

I might be losing my mind a little bit. Hopefully only the parts I no longer need. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

 Charles Dickens describes Scrooge as "a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint,... secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster."

I so love this description of Scrooge as I ready myself for the umpteenth viewing of the glorious black and white version of A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim in the lead role. His delight in finding that he's not dead (yet) is such a transcendent scene. 

Have I ever been a Scrooge? Surely I have as a human on this earth. We all have. And some of us have had the great good fortune to be able to serve and care for others. It is in giving and receiving that our hearts open and expand. 

My neighbor told me today how much money she makes. It was rather a lot and I instantly thought that money can certainly ease life. But more and more money is just...numbers as an old girlfriend used to say. 

I have a house to live in, a furnace that works, warm clothes and plenty of food. Lucky. I am lucky.

I met Ajahn Kovilo, a young monk, down at the market yesterday morning very early. He walks there during the week with his begging bowl, a big metal bowl covered with a brown cloth. I brought warm rice and veggies and chocolate to give him. He eats once a day before noon. This is part of his practice. I parked my car and walked along in the dark and cold morning. I had knitted him a hat to keep his bald head warm. (Temps here are going down below freezing). As I walked along, I saw folks under sleeping bags on the sidewalk. There were few people out. As I hit the corner of the market, the smells of cinnamon, smoked meats, coffee and spices filled the air. I waited for him to appear and down the sidewalk he came, in his cedar colored robes. He was unhurried, socks and flip flops on his feet. Seeing him there was almost like an apparition. In Asia, monks and nuns are everywhere. Here in the US, not so much. Cultures, worlds, centuries collided. 

I'll go again next week. 

Over my desk is a photo of my cousin and her young son. They are both gone, to homelessness, mental illness and suicide. My brother is next to them. He too is gone. Then there is Allison Streeter, a block of a woman who swam the English Channel to France and back THREE  times. My grandson is there, as a baby and a high school grad. 

Where am I going with all this? Not sure. 

Why are we here? To love Keith Richard, to make art, to care for our loved ones. To be kind. In spite of or because of. To be kind. To wake up, like Scrooge, on any morning, and realize we're finite and what we do, how we live, matters. 

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Monday, December 20, 2021

 Dear Friends-

The rain is raining all around. 

It falls on fields and trees.

It's raining on umbrellas here.

And on the ships at sea.

                                Robert Lewis Stevenson

For days and days and days and filling the mountains with snow. Yesterday was sunny and we all went out dazzled by the brightness and the blue sky. Last night just off a full moon inside a wide ring. So much crazy weather and loss of life everywhere but here the gray and wet so familiar. The old Seattle with puddles and streams and rivers of water over the roadways.

As the year ends, ready for a few more busy clinic days. Before work, I will be going down to Pike Market, a busy market on the edge of Puget Sound to offer alms to a young monk I have met a few times. He travels to Seattle by ferry very early to stand in the market with his bowl and his robes. He and another monk are offering weekly Dharma talks to the community and their aspiration is to find land on which to provide a Thai forest refuge for themselves, other monastics (including women) and the lay community. I have sat with them twice. They are both Westerners who trained in Thailand and returned here to build a community in the PNW.Very exciting. 

Oh, offering alms means I will bring a lot of prepared food as he eats once a day...I remember well the daily meal we had when I was in Burma. 

After feeling purposeless for so long and with the winding down of my health care life, I am energized by the thought of starting my chaplaincy studies and engaging with this new community. The monks are so sweet. One if them graduated from college in 2012! so he's what? 30? Beyond their teaching, their earnestness has really touched me. Their desire to live the way the Buddha did but in the West is so touching and so...crazy. In the East, monks and nuns are everywhere and the community takes care of them, feeding and clothing them. In exchange, they offer the teachings freely. I guess most faiths have this component. Buddhist monastics are not able to handle money, drive, cook, etc. They rely on the community for everything. Transplant that to the West. I can only imagine a lone monk in ocher robes standing in the market with the tourists and the regulars swirling around them. 

Just had a dinner with a few friends and it was so joyful. We laughed so much we cried. As the virus may shut us away again, it was delightful to spend an evening with beloved people. 

What, you may ask, is this? Eden is in S Africa supporting a group of women who are walking a labyrinth for seven hours for seven days chanting a mantra, oh and painted red. On seven continents. It's an art/environmental/justice piece and Eden is cooking and supporting the project. And she's not my hippie child. The other one is. 

I continue to be amazed by my children.

Love to you all in the dark and rainy season. 

Monday, December 13, 2021


I've been accepted into the chaplaincy program and I mistakenly paid for the entire first year. Oops. I fortunately had enough money in my account to cover it. In March I'll be attending the first retreat and meeting my fellow classmates. 

In the meantime, I better take in all the movies and read all the fiction books and go for all the hikes and see all the friends that I won't see for two years. 


I got a rejection letter from The Sun today. And you know what. The short story I sent them was just fine and well written. My old writing teacher would always say, "Believe in your work, love your work." She's right. 

Carry on, dear friends. Make your art. Make your beautiful art. I'll go learn how to be a chaplain. 


Friday, December 03, 2021

 Dear friends-

Well, I've applied the the Buddhist chaplaincy program and waiting to hear if I get in...talked with my friend Rachel about one of the questions and now I have doubts about how I answered. 

This is called....*anxiety from being inside for two years*.  It is not mindfulness or calm or peace or any of those words. Jeezus. 

Another friend and I met for lunch and we went to a cathedral nearby to look at the stained glass and the Mary statues. Both were beautiful. Yes, it was a Catholic church and boy they have some pretty real estate. I reminded myself that the church ripped off pre-christian cultures and appropriated seasonal change festivals and Earth mother images to get the peasants to come along. Oh, and they burned a bunch of people, mostly women, for being witches. There's that. We won't even mention pedophile priests. 

I have been thinking about organized religion in general these days. The creation of false divisions among people has caused unimaginable suffering. Depending on what we believe, we are either friend or foe. And therefore worthy of clobbering. Listening to a news report about Northern Ireland and the new rise of Sinn Fein, I'm reminded of the conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants in that part of the world. 

Even Buddhists. All religion is populated with human beings. And we are fallible, especially the ones who claim to have inside information or direct lines to some supernatural being. So many charlatans over so many years. And we follow them, hoping for redemption or an answer to our sorrow or some kind of certainty. 

What is it about us, that we long for a belief system so we don't have to think for ourselves. We don't have to face our own aging, sickness and death. I don't mean to be morbid here, just realistic. When I met the boy in the boat on Ganges across from the burning ghats, I understood that we humans can have vastly different ideas about our own mortality. For some of us, it's the promise of heaven. For others it's reincarnation that keeps us going. Sin, unskillful actions, commandments or precepts, all are exhortations to behave, in one way or another. 

There is also the opportunity to be kind, respectful and loving. Because it is who we are. We are the worst and we're the best. Just as we can understand how others can kill and revile and do hateful things, we can also choose a different way. Eden and I were talking about the show, "Call the Midwife", running for many seasons on BBC. She asked why we love it so. We have watched it together, tears leaking from our eyes. I realized it's because the characters; the young midwives and the nuns, are kind. They are working with poor women and their babies and they get entangled in the families and the community. They show up, caring beyond their duties as medical folks. We can all think of people like them. We are people like them, maybe not all the time, but we know what it means to be kind to others, just because it is the right thing to do.

Ok, I put a coat on the dog. He was shivering on the back porch and it's time for a long walk. He feels humiliated wearing a plaid blanket on his back. Silly Felix. 

May all be warm and safe.

Friday, November 19, 2021

 I'll say it here:

If Kyle Rittenhouse were Black, he'd be doing time.

And he's still a child and he took two lives and he has to live with that. And somehow it was ok that he was carrying an AK 47 or some horrible war weapon. 

Sweet baby Jeezus.

Milo turned 19 today. He has no notions of carrying or learning to use a gun. We, his family, would NEVER allow it. Never. 

Round 3 of my "silent" retreat. It started last weekend while my daughter and grandson were here. Then the clinic needed me to do visits, then there was a birth, today there may be another birth AND there is a concrete cutter in my basement with a giant saw cutting a huge hole in the foundation in preparation for the new window. Directly under my little sitting bench. It's very loud, of course it is. 

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha etc.

That's it. I'm going swimming in the pool (85 degrees), taking the dog for his walk and coming back to meditate in the midst of all of it. 

It's all perfect. It's all a mess. 

As Maude would say (in Harold and Maude) "Ah, life."

Don't forget to eat your vegetables. 

Love you..

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Some babies I have caught, one yesterday while I was supposed to be on a silent retreat (ha!)

Milo and Eden last weekend. We had so much fun. I love them to the moon and back

Me and baby Maya on 48th and 10th in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, 1973. I was 23 and Maya was a few months old. I love that girl so much all over again.

 Dear friends-

I am going to apply for a Buddhist chaplaincy program and I hope I get in. I haven't been this excited in a long while. I have had an ongoing interest in secondary trauma with the childbearing year and this will give me the opportunity to write/finish my book/thesis/whatever this is with the help and support of a program that advocates for social justice in many areas-environmental, social, racial, women's issues etc. Chaplains go into prisons and jails, work with the homeless, all the disenfranchised and wounded in our world. This particular program serves in many underserved areas as volunteers. 

No proselytizing btw. Anyway, not a thing Buddhists do. We don't go door to door. We don't picket in front of abortion clinics. We're hopefully not obnoxious. I loved school and I want to be in school again. Yes!!

Anyway, I'll let you know if I get in. It's 2 years and a whole lotta work. Oh, and money. Not too much but hey it will be there if it's the right thing to do. I know of the director. She's rad. 

I love you all. 

Saturday, November 06, 2021

 Went to a birth a few nights ago. Saw them today for a check up. This momma had a c/section the first time around and a vaginal birth two mornings ago. She is so happy, so content. I swear, helping a woman heal from a surgery she didn't want is so powerful for her. C/sections are important and useful and when properly utilized, lifesaving. However, there are way too many in our modern world and women often feel ripped off and traumatized. Until the day I die (and maybe beyond!), this midwifery work has been about honoring and respecting women and their bodies and their knowing. A woman who feels ok about her birth, however it went, is a woman who hopefully felt listened to by all who went on the journey of birth with her. And that means medical folks, family members, her partner and the family dog. When women are discounted and disrespected when laboring and birthing, the hurt and pain go deep. 

This mother felt triumphant. She got to feel everything. She got to push her baby out. And for her, that was important. Her first baby was breech so she never even had contractions. Boy howdy, she felt contractions this time. The walls of her room were covered with affirmations of love and support. 

This baby was a whopper, by the way. Almost 2 pounds bigger than her first child. 

In other news, Clark and I went swimming this morning and we froze our tootsies off. Rain, wind and water 54 degrees. We stayed near the shore and called it pretty soon after we got in. Took me more time to get my booties, gloves, cap and wetsuit off that I spent in the water. I'm still shivering. Then the sun comes out, then it starts pouring again. 

I guess I should turn on the heat, huh.

Made a yogurt, egg, almond flour cake that was so boring, I almost threw it away. It sounded good but yuck. It needs more sweetener and lemon juice and zest. I'll try again. 

I have to make granola for my beloved Milo who will be here next Thursday. And homemade bread. What do teenage boys like to eat besides junk? I think they eat about everything. I started a quilt for Eden and I will be working on it right in front of her. She won't know it's for her. There is a knitting project I started last winter that so intimidated me I put it on the shelf. Might be time to get it out and cry a little. 

Ok, I'm getting into the hot tub. It's not raining at the moment. In the winter working on quilts is a wise move cuz you're sitting under them. Pretty cozy. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Got my booster yesterday. Yuck. I feel terrible (and lucky, of course). Tired, headache, sore arm, all signs my immune system is firing up. 

Should I tell the story of a new chiropractor I went to (twice)? I'm sure he's a Trump guy. He went on and on about his knowledge of pregnancy and his wife and their births and no, none of their kids are vaccinated for anything. He did wear a mask for my visit. The second time I saw him a few days later, he mentioned the 'mess' Biden is leaving the country in. I responded 'mmm' but mostly kept quiet. Oh, and he played barbershop quartet music including a rendition of our national anthem. 

And his treatment was really good. He took a thorough history, his adjustments were spot on and so, well, shit.  Oh yeah, he takes medicare. I made my way through a long list of providers on the official Kaiser page and all of them, except him, refused me. I mean, Medicare is a government program, right? Cognitive dissonance is a thing, isn't it?

Anyway, I have to find someone else. 


The hole in the yard I mentioned earlier. We ran into a large concrete pipe. Of course we did. Now I'm entertaining plumbers who will route it further from the foundation for $$ or $$$ or $$$$. I'm waiting for another company to show up right now. I also got a bid for replacing the crummy shower in the MIL-the most basic, lowest price and that came in a $6000. 


I could forget the whole thing...but I can't. Not ethical. I need to make the unit safer and more functional. 

It's only money. As an old girlfriend used to say, 'it's only numbers.' 

Friday is Teen Feed-this month weird menu; mac and cheese, corn muffins, hot dogs with all the stuff, tacos and James cookies. Milk. Apples. Raw carrots. Baked potatoes. Whatever we can do. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

John Prine - Boundless Love - The Tree of Forgiveness

 Dear friends-

Milo and his auntie Eden are coming here to look at schools from the 11th to the 15th. To say I am excited would be an understatement. 

Fully dark here. Wild and stormy. 

Thinking about the last few years of my mother's life. She was 'no trouble', according to the nursing home staff. She smiled a lot. She said 'thank you' a lot. She was undemanding. Dignified, as she had hoped. Tonight, my thoughts of her are soft. And that is an improvement. 

There is a large hole in my front yard. There were hordes of ants under the hot cover. My beloved grandson is coming here, all tall and skinny of him. And Eden!! How did I get to be so lucky. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

 My sister married her 75 year old Steve yesterday. We were all virtual and I missed the whole thing. Funky wifi, couldn't access my password, you know, the usual. So this morning I called her and we told stories and laughed and laughed. Stories about getting lost, making mistakes, going in the wrong direction. Her wedding story, so beautiful and too much food and sweet wedding bands and her 6'4" husband who has to lean way over to kiss her. She comes up to his chest. 

I cried too. For all that we have lost, collectively. All the weddings and funerals and birthdays and graduations and new babies. All the events that make a life. When we are together again a common refrain. I've never even met Steve although he has made my troublesome wonderful sister so happy. So happy. 

Right now, the dog and cat are just not enough. Annie has a video on her FB feed of a woman in France in a town square standing with a blindfold and arms outstretched to give hugs to random strangers who pass by. So many people approach and they hug. Left me a puddle. 

It is Indigenous People's Day or whatever. One day, huh? Wow. 

If the pool is open, I'll swim there. If not, will I go to the lake? It's mighty cold and I don't like to swim alone. 

My tenant is gone and Jim just dropped off a new window for the basement apartment. Yes, friends, a wee remodel. You know I love those. But the basement with have light! and a window the tenant can crawl out of if the unimaginable happens. It will be splendid. In the meantime, dig a giant hole! Obliterate the interior wall! Don't run into the gas main! Cut a square in the foundation with a concrete cutter! Mess! Dust! Noise! Yeah!

Can't wait. 

Now to roll down the hill to see if the pool is actually open. 

May you all be well and safe and hugging the ones you love. Be kind, always be kind. 

Saturday, October 02, 2021

 It is beautiful today, clear, crisp, red and yellow leaves. Clark and I swam this morning toward a rippling shining path made by the sun on the water. I have acclimated to the cold with my wetsuit. I wonder how much longer I will swim this year. Clark told me he swam until 12/21 last year. Brrrrrrrr! 

I have also figured out how to don my wetsuit without help. It is a sight, I'm sure. It would help if I were double-jointed. 

Dear people. I danced in a room with others for the first time in forever last Wednesday. It was heavenly and boyoboy was I creaky and sore. I hadn't realized how much stretching is, um, vital to the body. Our teacher gave each of us a bag of epsom salts at the end of class. Most appropriate. 

My tenant is indeed moving out. I want to enlarge a window down in the apartment and my contractor/friend Jim says that windows are back ordered 3-4 months, like everything. And apparently the price of wood is astronomical. Well, we've burned up millions of trees. Nervous about no rent money for several months. And $$ for the window install, including concrete cutting. That aughta be fun, not to mention the mess. 

We're hit the grim milestone of 700,000 dead of covid in the US. Amazing for a virus that was "just gonna disappear, like magic."

In other news, please watch "High on the Hog" on Netflix. It's wonderful. 

I've taken to carrying my laptop around with me, like a baby. As choices have gotten skimpier and skimpier, I still need to have voices. I mean, really. How many times can I watch Outlander? 

I've started a quilt for Eden. She does not want a 'traditional' quilt. Sheesh. I gave her a Jacob's Ladder when she left home. Blue and White. So this time I'm making something up. At the moment I don't like it at all. We'll see how it goes. Quilting is very much like painting, many colors and shapes and fretting and walking around etc. And they take a while. I have no use for machine quilting. I'm down with doing it the old fashioned way. Besides, sitting under a quilt all winter sewing little stitches is one way to stay warm. 

Today there's a rally for reproductive rights downtown. I have a new baby to visit, ironically. Feels like all the progress we've made is being undone. 

Time for me to get into horrid traffic to see the new family. In the midst of all the troubles, new babies are so delicious. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

It's a fall kind of day. I got my teeth cleaned. My dental office is  a lovely place. I listened to folks laughing behind me as I sat in my chair. Both dentists are so nice and their staff seem happy to be at work. Not a usual dental atmosphere. 

My friend Frog was here for a few days. Came up from Eugene on his motorcycle. Big ole bearded guy who looks 70 now because he is. 

My tenant is indeed moving out. Time to go into further debt to get mold abatement services in there and hire Jim (!), my former contractor to build out a new window or enlarge an existing one. Involves concrete cutting, among other things. Fun!!! Beth, my gardener/painter friend will help restore order and repaint. I have the several many cans of leftover paint in garage and cellar and maybe some of it will be of use. 

Fall is well and truly here. The leaves are turning and we actually got rain with more on the way. We've been so dry, so dry. The grass is as brown as California, kinda scary. The fires have started to die down too, at least up north here. 

I've already swum (swam? swimmed?) in the pool today but meeting friends for a lake plunge at 4 because I AM CRAZY.  

I have figured out that swimming is the antidote to anxiety/fear/despair. At least in the lake I am concentrated on ***damn it's cold***and if it's very choppy and rough***damn, don't drown***

I'm not planning to drown, I promise. 

My blood sugar is not budging. Try as I might. I may have to go on meds (shit). I just might be that person. Too many years getting up at odd hours, stress of my baby-catching job, and disrupted sleep. Messed up my cortisol levels. 

Ah well, Reading Ted Koozer the poet who has a recurrence of cancer (age 82) on Rattle, a platform that sends me a poem a day. Bless him. 

At the Cancer Clinic

She is being helped toward the open door
that leads to the examining rooms
by two young women I take to be her sisters.
Each bends to the weight of an arm
and steps with the straight, tough bearing
of courage. At what must seem to be
a great distance, a nurse holds the door,
smiling and calling encouragement.
How patient she is in the crisp white sails
of her clothes. The sick woman
peers from under her funny knit cap
to watch each foot swing scuffing forward
and take its turn under her weight.
There is no restlessness or impatience
or anger anywhere in sight. Grace
fills the clean mold of this moment
and all the shuffling magazines grow still.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Hello dear friends-

My tenant has informed me she thinks her physical issues are due to mold in the basement. After a bit of reading, I'm not sure that mold is much of an issue as mold is everywhere but what do I know. I have never seen mold in the basement either before or after the remodel. There are services that diagnose and treat mold so stay tuned. 

Anyhoo. If she moves out, I will be 1.) alarmed as I depend on her rent. 2.) relieved, as I can install a larger egress window and bring in more light, which will cost $$ but will give me peace of mind and 3.) I can find another tenant who is less noise sensitive. Housing in Seattle is very difficult, esp with animals and I"m fine with tenants having pets...so, there you have it. 

Ah, the joys of home ownership. 

In other news, there is no other news really.

Clark and I have a standing date to swim in the morning. He couldn't make it the other day so I went alone. I wore my wetsuit for the first time this season and it was weird. Wetsuits make you very floaty and it's hard to kick. I'll have to remind myself how to swim when I'm more buoyant. 

The garden is winding down. Leaves are turning colors. Both my kids are in Croatia. Haven't heard from either of them. I hope they are having fun and are staying safe in this here old suffering world. 

Waiting on my health care office to answer the phone. Booster shot? Flu shot? I'm here in the neighborhood so would be convenient to go now. I could grow a long white beard like Rip Van Winkle waiting for them to answer. 

This post might be very boring. Casey has moved from a houseboat to a step van to -poof-. She's waiting to emigrate to Portugal. I just bought her paddle board and I'm not sure I'll ever use it. I'd rather get rid of stuff than acquire but I'm helping her get outa Dodge. She' taking off for Colorado to see friends, no real responsibilities or belongings. 

Hope you are all well and vaccinated and enjoying another season is it comes to a close.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

 Welp. I'm going to a cabin in the woods on Camano Island tomorrow with the dog and some books and food and a sleeping bag. We'll spend time on the beach and on the trails and sitting on the deck listening to the silence. 

I found this place last minute on Hipcamp, which if you don't know, is a site for camping, glamping, etc on land owned by ordinary folks who have some acres and maybe a view of the water. There are cabins, tree houses, river banks, woods and open fields. It's a way for rural folks to make a bit of clink and a way for us city folk to share in their lives. 

My cabin owners have chickens (Mary!), goats and a horse. Felix is welcome to accompany me. Camano Island is about 1 1/2 hours from here, pretty, sweet and away from the noise and energy of Seattle. Plus Rebecca lives there somewhere. 

I'm ready to leave today. I loaded up with books (natch), notebooks, pens, a bit of music until my phone dies (no electricity in the cabin), some food, boots and random clothes. 

I already feel relaxed. I'm NOT driving to Oregon to sit in a bone dry forest with fires lurking all around. 

In other news, I'm reading about pruning things. The garden is out of control. The daphne and salvia and lavender and what's this called? are all monstrously monstrous giant round bushes. I must harden my heart and whack away. to give the smaller, more polite plants a chance. 

I can get a booster shot on September 20th. Or so I'm told.  

"Charlie Watts" R.I.P. The Rolling Stones The Last Time

Sunday, August 22, 2021

 Well dears. No trip to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. The park rescinded all permits and closed all the entrances because of fire and smoke. Judith went anyway to see her family. At first the plan was for the locals to look for a campground. When that failed, they went for an Airbnb. So I said nah. Not flying half way across the country to stay in an airbnb with Judith's family who are, I'm sure, lovely people. I was looking for an outdoor adventure. Maybe next year...

Maya is going back to Cave Junction in Oregon at the end of the week and I think I might go there. I do remember the terror of last year, driving home through two horrendous fires on I-5. Right now it looks ok. I'll decide last minute and either stay or go. Our new normal. Fires? Air quality? Covid rampaging? 


Meanwhile I'm watching an old Eddie Izzard comedy special. He's totally in drag and making fun of Americans for not knowing any history. We do deserve it. Comedy helps with everything. That and swimming at 8 in the morning with my beloved Clark. I'm starting to think about my wetsuit again as the water gets colder and colder. But what freedom being way out in the water, rocking in the waves. 

Tomorrow Holly and I hike to Annette Lake. Beautiful. 

Monday, August 16, 2021


By Roger Reeves

It turns out however that I was deeply
Mistaken about the end of the world
The body in flames will not be the body
In flames but just a house fire ignored
The black sails of that solitary burning
Boat rubbing along the legs of lovers
Flung into a Roman sky by a carousel
The lovers too sick in their love
To notice a man drenched in fire on a porch
Or a child aflame mistaken for a dog
Mistaken for a child running to tell of a bomb
That did not knock before it entered
In Gaza with its glad tidings of abundant joy
In Kazimierz a god is weeping
In a window one golden hand raised
Above his head as if he’s slipped
On the slick rag of the future our human
Kindnesses unremarkable as the flies
Rubbing their legs together while standing
On a slice of cantaloupe Children
You were never meant to be human
You must be the grass
You must grow wildly over the graves

Friday, August 13, 2021

 Well, we missed the birth but her husband stepped in and caught his daughter. Experienced parents, water off a duck's back.

In other news, lotsa grapes for the first time! And the elderberries are ready to pluck. But you know what. It's too effing hot to do anything except get in the lake and stand there (well, I swim to the buoy and around). Felix and I have already been there once but there is another trip to the water in our future. 

I called Mary M to tell her that her governor is an idiot. As if she didn't know. Insecurity and anxiety is our new normal, right? 

I am checking my blood sugar and finally deciding to take statins for my cholesterol. There are only so many things I can do, diet and exercise wise, that fix anything. Especially with family genetics. It's disappointing that I won't be able to say I'm not on any meds...sheesh, just like a real old person. 

And can we talk? I've lost 10 pounds in the last year so I'm 138 pretty reliably. Why are my boobs so big? Why? Eden convinced me to order 10 bras of different sizes and designers, try them on and send back the ones that don't work. She told me to use a credit card ($700+!!!) I'm waiting for the package to arrive. She is a clever girl so I trusted her. 

She's much better, BTW. The surgeon told her to begin PT and she can begin to use her arm. The dog is gone and now she can take jobs (with help from her cousin Sarah) and begin to have an income again. I've been so worried about her. I know you know. 

Went to Ventura with my women Dharma friends and we walked on the beach and talked and talked and hung out. I also saw the inside of a famous rock star's house because Rachel was staying there. To describe my amazement and astonishment would be an understatement. You know when you act like everything is normal but you are faking it. I tried hard to be cool but it was a bit of a stretch.  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Alice in Wonderland? 

Tomorrow I facilitate a memorial for a baby who died. I wrote something but it's all inadequate. Showing up is really all we can do. Sometimes we're just hanging on. 

With the folks I mentor, I've been asking, "Who are you?" It's a really good, unanswerable question.

Who are you, really?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

 This is Hardy. He's three day old. Bless his little life. As our hearts ache for another family, we have this.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Dear friends-

There are so many ways hearts can break. Driving home to Seattle yesterday, I learned that we had an incident at the clinic. I can say no more. I can say no more. 

We are unutterably sad. 

This time of cataclysm, large and small. 

 The unshielded heart hurts and compassion is awakened. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

 Dear friends-

Right now I'm in the Cascade/Sisikiyou National forest in Oregon. with dear friends Traci and Brian and their kids Hazel and Hucksley (my midwife babies) Traci is an old friend of Maya's from junior high. We were all headed to Manton Cal for our annual time at the lodge where there's a pond and a fabulous house with all the things. We eat, swim, play games and hang out. 


Fire season is upon us and if we're not in immanent danger, there is smoke. Lots of smoke. I was headed for Manton on day two with Felix after an interesting night in a Motel 6 (egad) and was driving by Ashland where I knew Traci and all were camping. I hesitated and then thought I'd stop in to say hi. And I stayed the night, unprepared for camping. I squeezed into their tent and swam in the hot springs pool.

Because Manton was getting smoked out. 

Worry. Worry. Worry. 

So we last minute got an airbnb near to Ashland and took a hair raising drive up to this nice cabin way the fuck up the side a some mountain with a long lake (except the lake has dried up). 

This morning I woke early and went outside. Smoke. Shit.

So I got the other adults up and we decided after much internet searching to stay for today. The air has cleared out and the sun is shining so we're gonna stay. Maya is coming here. 

For now, we're putting together the annual jigsaw (this year it's two chihuahuas humping, I shit you not). I didn't choose it, honest. We're gonna go for a hike, the dog has had his morning ball throwing session and blessedly, we're all together. There are lots of deer and fledgling robins in the rafters over the porch. It's very quiet. Very quiet. 

Fires all around us. All up and down the West coast. 

Our poor planet. 

We must be kind. We must be activists for global warming. As you all know. 

May all of us be safe and protected. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

SUMMER OF SOUL you must see

Dear friends-

It's currently 61 degrees in Seattle  with overcast skies. After prevaricating for a month, I've decided to risk it and travel down to Manton, Cal on Thursday. It's very hot there and very dry. Felix will accompany me. I'll either camp out somewhere or get a cheap hotel room that accepts dogs on the way down and back. 

Rolling anxiety with increased infections, wildfires and all. 

Jeff Bezos took an 11 minute spaceship ride. WTF. I just saw the doc "Summer of Soul", terrific film with archival footage from the "Black" Woodstock. It's a series of concerts held in Harlem in the summer of '69 with an astonishing line-up of musicians. Stevie Wonder (age 19!), The Staple Singers, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone !!!!!!! The moon walk happened that year and there were interviews with Black folks. Of course, they questioned why money spent on space exploration wasn't being spend to house and feed people. Well yeah. 

But here we are, reaping the results of our collective greed and grasping. 

In other news, Deanna and I have decided to demolish the strawberry bed and feed the soil and start over. Strawberries give it up after about 3 years so we will start over. We do love strawberries. The blackberries are ripening here. I still have jam from last year and I don't know if I will make jam this year. I might just pick and eat and wait for Deanna's plums so I can make plum jam instead.

Judith and I braved REI yesterday for freeze-dried dinners for our trip to the Boundary Waters in August. It's a canoe trip for five days. I have most of the stuff I need from previous backpacking trips. The outfitters are supplying the food and after reading the menu, I realized I'd have to bring my own food. After this year of intestinal drama, I need to avoid pretty much everything listed.  There are no veggies but a lot of meat and pudding. Oh dear. I don't mean to be a food snob but...I am. 

Be safe and well, dear friends. Wherever you live on this suffering planet, perhaps offer gratitude for all the living beings we coexist with. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

 Elizabeth took me to Huntington Gardens, a gorgeous big park in Pasadena. Mostly swooned over the Chinese and Japanese gardens, especially the bonsai. 

And we hung out and talked. But mostly just being with a person I have known and loved for years, all virtual was so remarkable. Like the first time I hugged someone during the pandemic.

I want a piece of Rebecca's apple pie. Pie heals. Pass it on.

Monday, July 12, 2021

 This is Maya, my beautiful angelic older daughter. She has a reservoir of calm and peace and equanimity that helps all in her orbit. I have loved her before she was born. When I think of her, I remember my hand on my belly as she rolled around inside me. How mysterious that was. How magical. Because the hospital back then whisked babies away from mothers, I didn't hold her for 10 hours. And I didn't see her naked until we got home. When we did, I undressed her completely and laid her body against mine. I had to own her, smell her, feel her. Like the mare licking her newborn foal, I had to be an animal and declare, "This is mine, I made this, I own this." And I did. I made the heart vow to protect her and care for her. Forever. 

She moves with grace and beauty in this world. 

Friday, July 02, 2021

 That there is a photo of Felix in our woods before the terrible heat wave that struck the PNB such a terrible blow. It's warmer in Seattle than LA where I am right now. Eden is doing so much better, still dizzy from the concussion but cranky and funny and adorable.

I met Elizabeth! We've been blog friends for, she says, 10 years and she is as splendid as you would expect. She took me to an enormous park, Huntington Park, with a Japanese Garden and a Chinese garden and bonsai garden and a corpse flower that was about to open. It was so beautiful. I have been staying in an area of LA full of 'old money' homes with the most extraordinary gardens. In the midst of a horrible drought, people have green lawns and lush flowers. E said that all the pick up trucks we were seeing  belonged to the gardeners. Of course she's right. 

Which reminds me. How is it we go on with our ordinary lives while we are witnessing a dying planet? Is it denial or magical thinking or the resilience of our species? Or all of it. We keep making art and babies and dinner. All we truly have is this moment and then this moment and then this. Our beloved children, the strangers at the airport, the woman who walks by Eden's house every evening with her little black and white dog, all yearning for the same things; connection, love, acceptance, forgiveness, a comfortable pillow. 

Tonight I read about bodhichitta,  the heart/mind that is awake. Fortunately for us, there is always an awakened heart within us. We can access it any time. When I'm feeling especially grumpy or critical or depressed, if I can remember that that awakened heart is here right now, I can begin to turn to another way of thinking or behaving. When I met Elizabeth yesterday,  my heart leapt. Literally. I bathed in the kind regard we have for one another. Can I expand this for strangers? For those I feel ambivalence for or dislike?  Can I treat everyone (and all living things) with kindness? 

Dear ones. The open vulnerable heart is a great force for good. Being here with my child, I am reminded of the lengths parents go to protect and care for their children. Can I shine that light on the lizard on the wall, the pomegranate tree by the road, the tomato plant by Eden's front door?   

Much love and kindness to all.  

Sunday, June 27, 2021

In honor of Yogi, the best dog in the world

 Kenny, my angelic neighbor, sauntered over last night and asked if I had any use for an AC. Whatttttt?????

He borrowed my wheel barrow and came back with an AC and tools for installing it in my bedroom window. Most of my house is 90-ish and my bedroom is a delicious 74. 

I did spend most of the day in the lake. As I will be spending tomorrow as well. 


What the actual fuck. 

BTW the dog and cat have melted. Completely. Poor animals covered with fur/hair.

Friday, June 25, 2021

 Face timed with Eden. Face timed-what have we come to, is that a word?

She's ok, trussed up but says she fed herself today with one hand/arm. And she told a very funny story about the Rumanian doctor who removed the staples in her head; heavy accent, bright costume jewelry, painted nails, about 60-ish, tut-tutting the staple job, blamed it on the young intern and called Eden honey, as in 'oh honey'. Reminded me of her Hungarian grandmother. As much as my former Hungarian in-laws used to anger me, I admired them. They were survivors, made it to the US as refugees and rebuilt their lives in upstate New York. Their two children went to Harvard and Columbia. Steve, my ex, became a doctor (I know, a stereotype-my son the doctor). But they left Budapest with nothing, just the shirts on their backs. Steve's dad once showed me the backpack Margaret, his wife, made for 6 year old Steve to wear as they escaped the communists that had overtaken their city. 

I was an asshole back then. I was young with two small children. I wasn't Jewish and I had daughters, not sons. (yes, I heard that the day I gave birth to Eden) Still, with hindsight, they suffered incredible losses and they survived, they survived. As so many do in this world. They weren't perfect but they loved their grand daughters. And Eden has honored them by her Hungarian cookbook. May it be published!

In other news, we're experiencing a heat wave. The city is freaking out. It's amazing. Seattlites. LOVE to discuss the weather because it's so...um nothing here mostly. Rain? OMG. a bit of snow-apocalypse now. I will admit, it's mighty hot here and we have ourselves to thank for the heating of the planet but we'll get through this bit. Kenny came over with two fans under his arms to offer me as he was getting AC. And I have a standing invite if it gets too much in my house, even the dog is invited. 

My solution: go swimming and wear my wet suit until it dries out, then go swimming again etc. Not me wet suit as in neoprene, just my regular polyester suit. Felix swims too and retains wet hair. Sheesh. 

I will admit. Felix is pretty limp.

Well dears. I must water the garden as the sun goes down. Tomorrow an early swim and then a quiet day. And a visit to a new baby :-).  I ma have to go jump in the lake one more time...

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

 Just got the word. Surgery tomorrow at 7 AM. And I'm not going back until next week. I let go of being there right away. It'll be ok, she'll be ok. My midwife brain says go now but I can't. Sweet baby Jeezus. 

Let all the benevolent beings protect and watch over her. My beautiful girl.

 Dear friends-

Back from LA and waiting for Eden's surgery to be scheduled. She's been to a few appointments and she needs one more x-ray before final approval. Sheesh. 

I cooked and cleaned and watched Netflix with my girl. She showered a few times and I combed out her tangled hair and braided it. What a tender thing to do, comb long wet hair. I haven't combed her hair since she was a child. 

Her cousin has been very helpful and present. Today I'll buy another ticket to return, probably next Monday or Tuesday. The less said about air travel right now, the better. Fortunately LA has a few small airports so I don't have to fly into LAX, a huge behemoth. 

The pull to be with her is so strong. Watching her be in pain is so hard. My dear friend and dharma teacher Mary visited me and we sat on Eden's dinky deck and laughed and chatted, was a relief to step outside the caretaker role for a minute. I am of course thinking of all the caregivers who tend to a loved one, day after day. Heart wringing. Persistent. 

This morning I'm meeting Clark for a lake swim, the first of the year. I better get going. 

Love to you all. 


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

 Dear friends-

Last night I got a call that no parent wants to get. Eden, my younger daughter, was in the ER after an incident with her poorly controlled rescue dog. She'd already gotten a bloody nose from being pulled off balance by her dog who lunges at other dogs, people, etc. This time she was knocked down, sustained a concussion  and a broken collar bone and a laceration on the back of her head. She lost consciousness briefly. Her friend was calling me to let me know where she was and to tell me that they are recommending surgery because the broken bone could potentially puncture her lung. 


It was the middle of the night. The first flight I could get was this afternoon so I'm anxiously waiting to leave the house, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning out the litter box, scrubbing the toilet...you know, to stay busy. Thank goodness for credit cards. I called family to let them know. Her dad and my brother are stepping up to help her financially because she's self employed and who knows when she'll be able to work again. Thank goodness for them. Nancy, who just house sat for me, responded to my midnight text with -'sure, no problem, I'll stay and care for house and dog and cat'. Thank goodness for her friendship. She has two daughters too. She knows.

I'm trying not to cry but I just start up. I hate that I'm so far away. I'm grateful that we can fly again and I'll be there tonight. Our babies, we can't keep them safe, can we? Felix knows something is going on. He's very quiet and staring at me. 

I return on Sunday. My objective is to give the effing dog back to the shelter, get my girl set with visits and friends and food and trips to the doc, you know, all the things. 

We do anything for them, don't we?

I don't even know what I packed. LA is very hot. I don't care. I just want to get there. To hold her and tell her it's gonna be ok. 

In the ambulance I held you in my arms

you were small and limp

wearing a nightgown with light blue flowers

I thought you might die

sirens pitched through country roads

I was making deals

please take me 

I can go in her place

take me

I knew then I would do anything

mothers do this

they give all the bread to the children

so the children might live

they stand in front of soldiers with guns

they swim across with the baby on their back

everywhere, mothers are holding out their arms

walking forward into the burning fields

saying, take me so she might live

Sunday, May 30, 2021

 Dear friends-

Today I took my last vancomycin. The last one. I'm still drinking aloe vera juice and taking probiotics but no more antibiotics. Hooray! I walked all the way to Kubota Gardens with the dog and boy it was hard. I ran out of steam. I'm just hoping my strength will return. 

I pulled up all the spinach in the garden as it was bolting. Of course I ate all the leaves. I've also gotten strawberries, not so sweet because we haven't had many sunny warm days. Still it's such a treat to pick strawberries from the garden. 

I'm rewatching Glee, surely a silly campy series with singing and dancing and queerness and bullying and all. 

The elderberry is once again making oceans of tiny blossoms which will be berries for syrup. I'm ready. I have honey and spices and ginger. 

Some friends and I are getting together tomorrow in their yard. We're all vaccinated so we can hug and sit around mask-less. It's so weird to leave the house without a mask now. I know I can but I still carry a mask because I want to be in solidarity with those who are not vaccinated.

I volunteered at another vaccination site yesterday. We served folks from Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Vietnam and Honduras. We have loads of translation services. One of the volunteers from Kenya brought a boom box with great music and I danced, of course I did. We were outside under white tents. 

It's gotten much harder to reach people. We are now dealing with hard to find folks and vaccine-hesitant people. About 50% of Washington is vaccinated. What really hurts is throwing out vaccine at the end of the day. 


Tomorrow is Memorial Day. I don't know what we celebrate on that day. My dad was in the Navy. Many many humans have died and/or fought in wars, endless wars. 

I do know that for the first time, The White House recognized Vesak: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/vesak-white-house/

I do love me some Joe Biden.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


Sunday, May 23, 2021

 An update on the sorry state of affairs over here. I'm better. Which means I no longer have terrible cramps and an unmentionable bowel situation. I am wrung out and weepy. My naturopaths have me drinking aloe vera juice, swallowing green tea extract, various probiotics, vit D and calcium and eschewing gluten :( and dairy :((.  How does one live without bread? And pie? And cookies? etc. 

They did give me a recipe for congee, which is the most delicious food in the entire world. It's white rice cooked forever til it's mush and then you add sauteed veggies and some ginger and broth and soy sauce and slurp it up. It honestly soothed my whole body. And I ate it for three days. 

I do lie around for hours. I make myself take one reasonable walk with Felix. The weather has been prefect, about 55, partly sunny and lush. I'm eating from the garden. No raw veggies so I steam the lettuce and spinach. I just can't let them go to waste. I am a wastrel. I could be writing the GAN (great American novel) or at least a book of poetry but instead I scour netflix et al. for anything I haven't already watched. Lying on the couch drinking tea and bemoaning my fate. 

I meet with my Year to Live folks tomorrow. I told the teacher I might have taken the assignment a bit too seriously. Next week I'm doing another vaccine clinic (I'll be fine. I've done two already and I wasn't feeling so hot for either of those.) I think I suck as a sick person. I vacillate between feeling useless and depressed to contemplating the meaning of life, all to no avail. I don't want to talk to my friends because they want to know if I need anything and I'm good. I don't want to talk about it. Then I think about my many friends who have/are dealing with chronic conditions or cancer scares and I think I'm just an asshole. 


These are my unvarnished thoughts, y'know. I don't want advice. I don't want to complain. I just...float here in this sick/healing body with foggy thoughts and hyper sensitive feelings. 

If I'm perfectly honest, I'd say I'm waiting, being patient and trying to be kind to this uncertainty, this off-kilter physical experience. I'm dizzy, unbalanced (literally) and unsure of my strength. Before this happened, I would launch into the day, ride my bike, swim, walk and hike for miles. Garden and water. Give myself daily tasks to write and meditate and do good deeds. Now I'm emptied out. Depleted. I do think about what it is to die, the withdrawing of the elements from the body. Not morbid here. Honest. Just a reflection on the corporality, the frailty of the body. Its' impermanence.  

Floating, that's what I'm doing. Floating. Taking the time to really look at the present moment without my usual distractions. Maybe in the world but not of it. Interesting. Very interesting. Untethered. 

What is important? We've been there for over a year. What matters to us? What really matters? I'll be coming back down the mountain and maybe I'll have some stories to tell. 

Monday, May 17, 2021


Just got out of the hospital. Why, you may ask? Well, remember the two week regimen of horrid antibiotics? Well, a side effect is an overgrowth of C diff, which is another nasty bug that causes a type of colitis. I'd been babying myself, probiotics, yogurt etc etc thinking I just needed to restore my poor gut flora while my gut got sicker and sicker and more painful. I'd call the clinic and I'd get an appointment for  three weeks away (!!!!) Finally after a night of fevers and horrible cramping,  I dressed and drove myself to the ER. When I got into the exam room with a doc, I just started crying. Not to be a drama queen but from pain and fatigue and relief. I was there for 8 hours, got labs, another CT, an IV etc etc. They wanted to send me to the hospital in an ambulance but I got a friend to take me.

Everything I read about C diff is pretty scary, it can return, it is contagious, it can kill ya. We're hoping for the best-it doesn't return, its just a dread memory but at least if it does come back, I know what it is!!

BTW conscious sedation is the bomb.

Jeez and we just started being able to hang out with each other. 

Raining here. I love the way the plants glow with the water they ingest.

Thankful for my many friends who helped out over the last few days. They are the best. 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

 Dear friends-

Happy mother's day to all the mothers out there, whether you have human children, fur children, beloved chickens and gardens and/or you regularly 'mother' yourselves. In fact, all of us. 

Micha visited with May, who is her beloved foster baby. May is 7 months old and a fat and happy babe she is. Micha told me she has never loved anyone as much as May. Don't we know that feeling!! May's extended family is going to take her 'home' after a futile search for the birth dad. Apparently the birth mom is MIA too. Micha is facing heartache, oh boy. Comes with the territory, doesn't it?

My computer is not letting me post photos (sigh). I'll have to mess around to see what I can do about that. Apps invariably want you to pay something. Or if stuff is 'free', it is terrible to navigate. Meanwhile the second richest man IN THE WORLD hosted SNL. The first host on the spectrum, ok, that's good, but jeez. Billions of dollars so he can build a rocket ship. I will continue to be astonished at unbridled greed and heartlessness. 


One doorway to compassion is through our own suffering. We are aroused by the sorrow of others because we too have been there. The rich suffer when they contemplate losing their vast wealth. Not a problem I think I will ever have...

I did another vaccine clinic yesterday. It was the Asian counseling center near my house and wowza. What a beautiful building filled with modern Asian/Pacific Islander art. Just splendid.

Nancy's birthday was yesterday and we met in the park where we always meet for her birthday. We sat on blankets, ate cookies and read poems to Nancy. It was a great blustery day with a soccer game going on, people with their kids flying kites and dogs chasing frisbees. 

I visited a 3 day old baby this morning. A fat, pretty boy with lots of dark hair. And his happy mother and mother-in-law. So sweet on mother's day. 

Time to walk the dog. I promised hours ago.

Much love to all. 

Friday, May 07, 2021

 Dear friends-

Wednesday I went to the Ethiopian Muslim Association mosque. We vaccinated about 60 people. The Imam guided us around, taught us to take off or cover our shoes, cover our heads. The interior of the mosque had a carpet that is designed for individual prayer rugs and there was tape on the floor so folks would be safely spaced. We women and men were set up in different rooms with screens  and folding tables. My companion Lauren and I chatted together between giving shots. She's a public health nurse. Some of the women were scared, most were stoic. Several had two scars from smallpox vaccine. All of them were refugees with identification cards. 

We were fed lunch from a local Panera. During lunch was a call to prayer. How beautiful, the words in Arabic. Men and women came in and knelt down praying. 

I know woefully little about Islam, nothing really. So I will study, at least to have some idea. 

I'm taking a course in comparative religions from Harvard, free to audit. The focus is Buddhism and I'm learning so much. All the different schools from Pure Land to Tibetan, so different from one another. 

Humans are a mystery, right?

Tomorrow I again attend a 'pop-up' vaccination clinic for half a day. 

I continue to be amazed. 

Sunday, May 02, 2021

 Dear friends-

I wished a bunch of people a happy mother's day and my daughter told me it's next Sunday. My response-the early bird catches the worm.


And so it begins, right?

Waves of the pandemic, like waves in the ocean. Some bigger, some smaller. Some knocking us over and tumbling us around. And so on with that metaphor. 

We are thinking it's maybe over but it's not, not for a long time. I knew that last year, I just knew. This illness would grab us and shake us and threaten us in spite of vaccines and health precautions and all. And so many of us would die. 

The spring continues to bless us with her beauty. Maybe I'll get more than a handful of grapes this year. Judith and I went to Cougar Mountain to hike and we saw wild bleeding hearts and trillium and tracks of a deer. Felix got gloriously dirty. 

My sister called and asked if I still performed weddings and of course, I still do. She wondered if I were available next October and of course I am. She then told me she's getting married. WTF. She's been dating this guy in Florida for several months and he's a retired teacher from the Bronx with kids and grandkids and he's a widower and he is very fit for a 74 yo guy who bicycles and likes to dance and she sent me a photo of the two if them on New Year's Eve. And she's been totally silent all this time!!! He came on the phone and I said, Brooklyn? The Bronx? He replied, "two block from the Yankee Stadium." Annie's attended a Seder already. He's a very tall, slender man with his arm around my sis. 

Whaddya know. I am delighted for her and jealous too. I'll get over it. I mean, how lovely to find someone during the plague years to play with. Going to Florida was a smart move. So I guess I'll be helping them with a wedding in the fall. I got excited about going to Florida (Mary!) but they think they'll be in NYC. 

And that's it from the Pacific NW. Wednesday I vaccinate some folks. 

May all beings find happiness and the causes of happiness.

May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May all beings experience the joy that is without sorrow,

And may that joy never leave them.

May all beings live in balance and in harmony,

freed from greed and aggression,

Believing in the equality of all that live.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021


I just started a 'program' called A Year to Live. The book is by Stephen Levine. With my dear friend  and Dharma teacher Mary Stancavage. On Saturday she led us in a meditation that set our 'death day', 365 days from 4/25/2021. We have daily practice and we'll be meeting once a month, until we die. 

One of my writing group called it 'morbid'. Granted, I'm two days in but I have thought often about this season. Spring. Will this be my last spring. How can I enjoy it completely. Last year allowed spring to unfold for me in the most intimate and illuminated way. Daily I attended to buds unfurling and weeds flourishing. The vegetable garden was bountiful. The elderberry was prolific and lush. With the fear of death hovering over us all, moments were more brilliant, our very breath life giving or life ending. 

Right now from my window a crow is perched on the top of a maple tree. Unconcerned with the ending of her life. We humans know we will die, just not when. But I know when (hypothetically). I want to be ready to meet it. I don't want to be like my friend James who struggled and suffered and was overcome with fear at the end. 

As I said to a therapist many years ago, "I don't want to be afraid to die because I was afraid to live."

Much love

Friday, April 23, 2021

 Dear friends-

I was diagnosed with a nasty GI bug and put on 2 weeks of horrid meds, which I have completed. Made me feel terrible. Still dealing with the repercussions. There will be a recheck to see if I'm 'cured' and then life goes on. At this point, replenishing my poor gut with fermented foods and probiotics. 

My healthcare provider offered NO help. I know you know. If we want to know what is wrong with us and we want to improve our health, we have to be proactive and do it ourselves. Dr Google helped me to understand what the bacteria was and suggested ways to recover. That's why so many of us visit naturopaths and acupuncturists and chiropractors. Western medicine is so inadequate. 

Of course, western medicine has made amazing advances, for example-vaccines for covid. But who has access to vaccines? Who gets to live and who dies? The inequities are so obvious. I'm lucky. I got vaccinated early. Unlike so many of my fellow citizens. 

I've registered to help with the vaccination effort in Seattle. Just waiting for my 'assignment'. I've asked to work in my neighborhood, which is largely Asian and immigrant Somalis and Ethiopians. 

I guess I'm just angry this morning. 

In other news, I attended another birth yesterday with our young midwife, Emily. It was the family's fourth baby. A strapping boy. She's a pediatric resident and he's a stay-at-home dad. They plan to return to Alaska to work in the Alaskan healthcare system. I'll go visit them on Sunday to see how they are doing and check in on their babe. I wish every mother had access to the type of care we provide. Back in the day, I thought that home birth with midwives would change the world. Ah, my young self. 

We moved the dogwood from the front of the house where it never bloomed to the back of the house and it is covered with blossoms. It needed to be cooler and out of the sun. What do we each need to thrive? 

Apropos of nothing, here is my new Website: mayasgarden.org.

I think it is very pretty. 

May you all be well and safe today. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Dear friends-

I'm back from the wilds of California and Oregon.  I drove many miles in my spiffy new car, blasting tunes and stopping occasionally to pee. Can I say? There were LOTS of folks without masks at rest centers, Safeways and gas stations. WTF. I know many of my fellow brethren distrust vaccines but jeez. How hard is it to wear a mask?? I know, I know. But the numbers of dead are so huge, our little brains or compassionate responses cannot handle it. Unless we know someone who has died, some of us just don't care. I can't comprehend the numbers but  I care, of course I do. Signed up to help with the vaccine effort here in the great NW. I give shots, I can give shots or whatever they want me to do. 

Driving through southern Oregon and into California, the views were breathtaking. Literally. I kept saying, 'holy shit'. Bluest skies, and mountains, some still with snow. Just gorgeous. Mount Shasta area, damn. Every time I drive through there I think I want to move there. I did also pass through burned acres, many burned acres. 

Eden was surprised to see me. She was confused, thought I was her sister at first. Hot springs, Pinnacles National Forest and a stop in Eugene to see old friends. Loved it all. 

Unfortunately I also got news of results from my endoscopy. I have H pylori, a nasty bacteria that causes ulcers and stomach cancer. Awesome. Many of us, maybe 1/2 the population harbors this dread bug. Anyway, I'm taking 5 pills twice a day for two weeks. Yuck. One of them makes my mouth dry and taste nasty. Fun times. Until I'm done with the treatment, there's no point in taking yogurt and probiotics. And I feel less than stellar. In fact, I'm planning to spend today in my bathrobe. I have to make myself take the dog out. But I'm grateful I have a diagnosis and it could be way worse. I've helped my friends who have had cancer and THAT is truly terrible. 

Anyway, I'm glad to be home. It's a typical day here, grey and rainy. I must admit, being in all that California sunshine was lovely. But the magnolia are blooming and so are the daffs. 

May we all enjoy our bodies, in whatever shape they are in at the moment.

Monday, March 22, 2021

 Dear friends-

I would like to complain and then I'll stop, k? 

It's cold and rainy here. Every day. Ug. I am a tolerant woman but sometimes it's just too much. My sister who has braved northern NY for years is now in Florida and planning to move there. I get it. Florida summers might be a bit much but she breezes out of the house in shorts and sandals while I'm up here gearing up in rain clothes and boots (again). Sigh. 

And I'm to 'isolate' until my endoscopy tomorrow. Covid test negative. Well, there's that. 

It's not dribbling outside. It's actually raining big rain drops. I know, first world problem. But day after day, c'mon. 

Because I can't leave the house until my procedure except to walk the dog (there's nobody out there, trust me) I have one day to get myself together to leave for Cal. 

Oh gawd, I am truly whining. 

In other news, I give a bit of money to causes I care about. They are monthly donations that come out of my account automatically. You may know that I facilitate two weekly meditation groups and one of the participants sends me money for each session. I always offer these sits for free and I told her she didn't have to send money but she does, every week. So I just pass it on to Buddhist nuns, a Dharma teacher and the Duwamish tribe (for 'rent') as I am living on their unceded land. 

See how that is? 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”                                                                                                                                                      MLK

It adds to my understanding of karma, which I partially understand. The idea of passing it on, passing it through. That how we are in this life affects everything with implications for the future, our descendants and theirs and so on. And we're reaping actions from the past, sometimes the long past. Maybe there is 'instant karma' but I think that is a truncated understanding. 

We don't know how far and wide our goodness and generosity will travel. I do know it feels good to do good. To be a good person. I have often said that I don't know about enlightenment (or nibbana or nirvana or whatever). I aspire to be a mensch, a yiddish word for good person. 

I'm starting to counsel women who have had traumatic birth/postpartum experiences. I remind them that I'm not a therapist and I don't charge for listening. That is what I do, listen. I had my first person last week and I have another woman before I leave. Trauma lodges in the body and telling the story can help. I don't try to fix it or minimize their experience. I listen with kindness. There is so much pain in this world!! In a tiny way, perhaps this activity can alleviate a bit of suffering. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

 Dear friends-

I'm listening to Gabriel Byrne reading his memoir, "Walking with Ghosts". Beautiful writing with an Irish brogue. 

I talked to Dena, my brother's wife a few days ago. We told each other to stay in touch. What does that mean, stay in touch?

I talked to Eden this morning. She has a new dog who has behavioral problems (ha). She noted that we talk to each other more now. And it's true. As hard as it is to change the habit of a lifetime, the pandemic has changed my ideas of self preservation and self protection. Just as my brother turned his back on all of us, I did the same thing to my younger siblings. And, I now know, to my kids too. Parting from them was so painful and in those years when they went back and forth between their father and me so unbearable, I would close up...

So here I am, a mother who regularly talks to her kids. Eden's month with me loosened up our relationship too so that connection is more solid as well. 

I'm in a writing group now so I'm writing much more. It helps to be with others who are writing. One woman knows her word count (!). I fear I don't understand the relevance of that but maybe it's a publishing thing.

Time for a spring walk with Felix. He is sitting by the back door looking out. It's his Buddha pose. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

 Dear friends,

I am reminded anew that my/our childhood was, in a word, fucked. My older half brother is in a memory care center and he is currently dying. I have not laid eyes on him since the 80's when my youngest brother invited all of us to visit him in Philly to meet his new wife and step kids. It was there that I learned that Dave (oldest) was told that his mother was dead when he was a child. Later found out she was very much alive and he tracked her down and developed a relationship with her. Stated that he hated both our parents, especially our mother. At the time, I thought, jeez, they're both dead. Now after all this time, I know how the damage done has long lasting effects. Dave effectively stopped communicating with the rest of us and we all scattered to our separate lives.

Geoff, youngest brother, spend that weekend completely drunk, as was his custom. Needless to say, it was not fun. My sister and I escaped as often as we could, to drive around the neighborhood and get away from the drama. 

So learning that Dave is not long for this world, I reached out to his wife. I have no quarrel with her, remember her as someone who was kind and loyal to Dave. There is much more to Dave's story (military school, jail time) that I won't go into here but suffice it to say, he survived by leaving and never coming back. We all did in our own way. Too much toxicity. 

All this to say. I've been thinking about him ever since my sister called with the news. Memories of him when I was quite small and the 'golden child'. He might have hated me, envied me, I'll never know. I idolized him, esp when he was in high school and I thought high school was the height of glamor and sophistication. I do remember several scenes of abuse and cruelty involving my mother and him. 

In the last several years, my middle brother has made a concerted effort to befriend and repair our fracturing. Dave wanted nothing to do with us. Geoff was gone to suicide. But we three-me, my sister and Dirk, have made an effort to connect and communicate. It has not been easy. But we've seen each other, we call each other and we stay in touch. I think all those years of pain and sorrow kept us running. Now we've decided to stop and stay. Before we too shuffle off this mortal coil, we can say we are family together. We may be weird as shit but we survived, we made lives for ourselves and we didn't perpetuate the damage. 

Dave's wife may not want to talk to me. So if she doesn't, that's ok. I can write to her, to apologize, to offer her good memories of her husband of over 50 years, to connect. And that's something.