Looking back and thinking forward

Month: February, 2008

Boxes and wires

Happy Leap Year!


A friend sent this video clip via email. Happy end of week and beginning of weekend!

Ramblings and rumblings (Update)

Feeding the hungry birds and squirrels, deer, fox, raccoon and opossum. The snow is a flutter with all the creatures of Fairmount Park’s woods. I stand by the window and look out at the bird feeder. It has become quiet – ominous. My eyes travel downwards to a large hawk-like bird pecking at the snow. But, no. It is not the snow, for I see wings fluttering and feathers flying in the air. I pull up on tiptoes and see blood, red as can be, spilling out on the white, white snow as the hawk suddenly flies upwards carrying the struggling, dying bird in its talons. Refilling the feeder today, I wonder, “Why do I feed the birds, drawing them here, only to be torn to pieces? And yet, the hawk needs to eat too.”

Thinking about how much easier it is for me to express myself on the blog than in a company of family, colleagues, friends, or acquaintances. I called my sister today. I really wanted to talk. And yet my tongue got tied and I sat silent, listening. Putting back the phone into its cradle I felt a tinge of blue-ness, hole in the soul, and not knowing why or where it rose up from. Sitting with a gathering of people last night and having so much to say but allowing so little to slip out. I wonder, “Why am I silent in the presence of people when I have so much to say? Am I afraid that what I have to say might be dangerous? For whom? For them? For me? What?”

If only I had allowed myself to have all three children. My life would be full of family and grandchildren and things a-happening. If only I had allowed myself to keep all the weight off that I lost over and over again each seven years or so, it seems. I would not have to deprive myself again and again in that humiliating counting out the calories game I play – constantly chastising myself for desire. If only …

Ada peeks up at the bed as I wave the sheets airing before smoothing them down. I see her eyes and ears from across the way as I tuck in the sheet at the foot of the bed. My love for her knows no bounds – even hurts. I stall, knowing that she wants to dive under the sheet and play hide and seek. Up she jumps, predictably, and hunkers down pretending I can’t see her as I pull the sheet over her head, participating in the game. She lays low and still and I say softly, “I love you kitty-girl. Come out when you’re ready.” Walking out the room I look back to the little lump in the middle of the bed. I think, “I love your predictability, Ada.”

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Uncovering the shame


This just in from a friend:

I was reading your blog this morning … You words also made me realize that there is so much work in living well … sometimes … I keep wondering when the feeling of “mess” goes away? When does it ever feel okay? When does it stop feeling like an uphill climb and I forgot to wear my shoes? Maybe never. Maybe the trick is learning to love the journey no matter what the road reveals. Some days I think I have learned the trick, but then other days I feel maybe not.

Words, words, words

Talking of the Obama’s words, words, words and no action shtick …

It seems to me that Senator Barack Obama has taken an amazing amount of action. Hasn’t anyone noticed the number of volunteers and people turning out to help, donate, caucus, and vote? The shining eyes, hopeful faces, young and old, women and men, all colors and creeds. That doesn’t happen by itself. Ever since I came to America twenty years ago I have become more and more dismayed by the apathy and cynicism, and ghastly voter turn-out. I have never seen a movement quite like this one. This does not happen by itself. It seems to me that Obama is working pretty hard – over-time, sleeves rolled up, and all the night shifts. He is more than ready on day one. Indeed, day one is long past …

Every sentence Barack Obama states is full of meaning. Substantial, intelligent and well thought out meaning. He does not sound naive or empty to me. Indeed, I do not believe he could speak in this manner without a solid foundation of knowledge, wisdom, and insight. I have heard great speakers in my field: Marian Wright Edelman and Bruce Perry are just two who spring to mind. Their words, ideas and speeches are full of inspiration based on substance, knowledge, and depth. They inspire people to change mind-sets and give us hope and vision for a bigger, larger, deeper picture.

That’s precisely what we need in a President. If Senator Hillary Clinton wants to roll up her sleeves and work the night shift, that is admirable indeed. I suspect that Barack Obama is already doing just that! He doesn’t look like he has had much rest this past year.

I think that I am somewhat of an intelligent and insightful person, with flaws and weaknesses like anyone else. I do not always walk my talk although I try hard to. I don’t believe I’m being taken in by Obama’s rhetoric. For what he says makes absolute sense to me, deep in my guts. Yes indeed, I want a person at the helm who does not fear talking to our enemies, and who is prepared to say things that challenge me to think or change my world view – mind-set. I am so tired of Hillary’s long list of what she can do and all those drawn-out policy plans, hysterically shouting them out to me as if trying to prove her competence.

Right now I want, nay, desperately need to be inspired, filled with hope, and have tears of relief wash down my cheeks as Obama states those dreams and ideals that have been shoved down somewhere dark for years, buried under endless, hopeless, soul destroying evil and fear mongering.

So, all you folk out there questioning whether Obama is a man of substance. Rest assured. He knows what he is talking about. You can check out his ideas here, if that’s what you need.

I, for one, am convinced about "the fierce urgency of now." I urge us all to have the courage to reach out and embrace the moment (um) without fear or cynicism. Rather, with open arms, minds, and hearts.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Blog hopping

Where is the black mouse?

Quote of the day:

No matter what you are doing, keep the undercurrent of happiness. Learn to be secretly happy within your heart in spite of all circumstances. Paramahansa Yogananda

Well, I simply cannot find Ada’s little black leather mouse. She loves to play with it. In fact, she has learned to bat it with her paw each time I throw it in the air. She raises her paw and bats it right back at me tirelessly, over and over again, never missing a beat, for almost five minutes at a time. She must have chased it into some dark corner of a closet or under some piece of furniture, while I was away at work, or shopping for groceries. I have searched all over the place. She sits quietly and watches as I crawl around on hands and knees searching under tables, chairs, sofas, beds, and in the hall and linen closets. I grunt and groan and carry on as I crawl around, sometimes straining my neck in the most outlandish positions to see if I can catch a glimpse of the toy creature.

This little mouse in particular has deep sentimental value because it belonged to Charlie‘s cats and was one of those small pieces of his life that I inherited after he died. Each time, Ada plays the mouse into a secret hideaway, I crawl around the apartment searching for it almost as if I am searching for Charlie himself. Whenever I discover the little black leather mouse I feel a tremendous sense of relief. Because of the memory of Charlie, as well as a sense of achievement. A reminder that I still have it in me to resolve problems of any size or nature.

This morning, during my mouse explorations in our bedroom I contorted my body behind an old chest, which holds Tom’s sweaters and secret Christmas presents that he collects during the year. And there, nestled underneath the chest, in a dark corner was … no, not the mouse … but Tom’s wallet. We had thought he had left it behind in the movie theater over the weekend when he went to see No Country for Old Men. It was such a headache and a nuisance and Tom so hates to lose things in any case. He had contacted all the relevant credit card places and was heading out the door to apply for a new driver’s license when I called out: "Here’s the wallet!"

Ada watched the antics of the morning, yawned, stretched and returned to her bed by the computer to sleep while I write this story. Oh well, I will search again for the little black mouse later or tomorrow. Who knows what else I might find, I mean, apart from the odd fallen cashew nut while watching the election coverage on CNN?

My companion’s new bed


Ada Mae


Sleeping while I work

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Invisible

Happy Valentine’s Day (Update)

Always an important day for me as I think of my friend Jan’s birthday. She in Italy, me here. Souls somewhere in the middle. I called her this morning but had to leave a message. I wonder if she is out working with all those olive trees in her back yard. I have been reading aloud from Natalie Goldberg in the graduate course on early childhood literacy that I teach this semester. She reminded me to write. Just follow my thoughts and write without stopping for ten minutes or so. Choose a topic, she suggests, and then write non stop whatever comes to mind, body, heart and soul. And so, here I am writing about Valentine’s Day, I guess. Most of my memories about this day are connected to the past 20 years living in America. There are cards and chocolates all over the place, pink and red hearts abound. I always think about those people who are without a companion or partner at this time and how it makes them feel. Most people I know could care less about Valentine’s Day. My nephew even knows someone who calls it Valentime‘s day. We will go out to dinner tonight and this morning I gave Tom a card from Ada. After all, she loves him dearly. She especially likes to sit on his stomach while he lies in front of the TV or when he is all laid back on the sofa reading the Times. Hm … I think I will buy some chocolate kisses today for the students in my undergraduate educational psychology class this morning. They will have been having fun at their field placement site because I am sure the school they are working in will be celebrating the day. All the children drawing hearts and giving out cards. My mind wanders to the children who will be left out, excluded, and who will feel cold and lonely on the inside while smiling – or trying to – on the outside. I pause in my writing to think of those children, wishing I could wrap my arms around all of them. When I was Director of the campus child care center back in Buffalo almost 4 years ago, sometimes we would go out to the Anchor Bar for beer and Buffalo wings. Many of the teachers were single women and hated Valentine’s Day. And so, we would gather at the Bar and share the pain with food and laughter. Ah, those were the days.

I pause again in my writing exercise, because Tom has appeared at my door this early morning. He has a card for me! Hurray! It reads: "Sweet Heart" on the front, the letters encircled by pastel colors in orange, green, pink, purple and yellow. I smile and laugh and clap my hands. Imagine that if you will. I think my ten minutes are up. I am thinking of all my friends far and wide, Cyber or virtual, my darling son, family members of all types shapes and sizes all over the country and world and wish us all much loving, without exclusion. I wrap my arms around us all and wish us a Happy Valentine’s Day.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets
: Stand in wisdom

Update – February 15:

Well, yesterday was a regular working day that included a small accident on the Highway on my commute home. Luckily no damage to me but small nicks and breaks to my trusted vehicle and lots of fear and shock and amazement about the miracle of life!

I finally got through to my dear friend Jan to wish her a belated Happy Birthday. We talked at length on the phone about the corruption of politics and our hopes for Obama. We talked about writing too. Jan is such a writer! I told her about my post and how I thought she might be working with her olive trees over there in Italia. Actually, she said, "I was under the olive trees – hoeing out deadly weeds." She added, "I’m never lonely when I’m hoeing under my olive trees because of endless conversations I am having with myself."

You see? Such a writer!

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Harsh and exciting (Update)

Message of hope

Quote of the day:

Obama gives us content, conviction, and commitment. Frank Paynter

He was there!

In memorium

Mozscreenshot4Just in from Dick and Nelle:

February 12, 2008

Tramp died peacefully today and returned to the land he loved and guarded for over 12 years.

Enthusiastic hiker, lover of children, eager camper, reverse dustmop and talented frisbee player, Tramp was dedicated to his extended family. He was found in the desert by Bob and Helen Jacobson and spoiled shamelessly by them before coming to his adopted home. 

Tramp loved the outdoors—whether roaming Fidalgo Island, camping at Neah Bay, hiking the Cascades or summering in McCall, Idaho. 

We will miss Tramp’s loyalty and love.

In lieu of flowers, give your favorite puppy an extra pet.

Presenting the pianist as a bass player …


And here:

Could a mother be more proud? Because they are playing his compositions, you see.

A letter to Bill Clinton


Quote of the day:

Tired of bein’ so screwed up, so screwed up, so screwed upAnnie Lennox

Over eight years ago, Bill, you screwed up. Badly. Really badly. And you delivered us into the hands of George W. Bush. I had such hopes and dreams for your presidency. But, you broke my heart and the soul of the nation. You said sorry. Yes indeed. You apologized. And many of us forgave you. I know I did.

But now, you are doing it again.

I am a baby boomer too, Bill. Just like you. And for the longest time I did not understand what it meant to be an adult. Until quite recently, in fact. If I can do it, so can you. Don’t you think it’s time to become an adult, Bill? I mean, think before you speak or act, man. Get out of the way.

I don’t care about Hillary. She made her bed with you a long time ago, made her choices and stood firm by them. That’s all right by me. I trust and respect her judgment and life choices. She is a life sister, no doubt about it, and I wish her well.

But, I have moved on – towards integrity and hope, and am sick and tired of being sick and tired. Am looking forward to a time when the name Clinton becomes part of past history, when we can sigh and shake our heads in fond memory as we tell old stories.

If you want to carry on carrying on, doing and apologizing, doing and apologizing, enjoy yourself, Bill.

But, I am joining Barack Obama and all those people out there, who are getting busy. Right here, right now, the future is upon us, and I intend to grab it
with all I have. There’s a nation and world to heal – lots to

It’s sad for me, a loss, as I bid you farewell. There is always a feeling of loss when we give up a life stage.

For now though, I’d rather go with a guy who admits that he did inhale.