Looking back and thinking forward

Month: December, 2009

From time to timelessness

2010 – a new decade – I feel as if I should be writing something about summing up the past decade or something like that. In fact, I am itching to write something … just don't know what … the past ten years feel very far away. In fact, I have to scratch my brain to remember only this past May and June – such significant months for me this year, in so many ways. One thing for sure that has happened to me this past decade is that I have become older. Time has taken on new meaning for me. Moments are more fleeting than ever before, the past becomes less important, the older I grow. And yet, if I start to sum up the past decade I am able to see some accomplishments, progress, perhaps? Although the nature, the essence of the concept of progress surely eludes me …

Here follows my decade 2000-2010 list:

  • I wrote three books, and two blogs
  • Changed profession, and got promoted
  • Moved to a different state
  • Lost one or two, but mostly made new friends, while strengthening old friendships
  • Became an Internet junky
  • Lost weight twice and gained it back once
  • Travelled a whole lot!
  • Presented a whole lot!
  • Lost my dearest friend to Cancer
  • Lost my youth
  • Found a new therapist, and realized that life is most certainly like an onion – I peel it off one layer at a time, and often I weep (my version of Carl Sandberg's quote)
  • Wrote an article of my dreams
  • Worked out and worked out and worked out
  • Lost my Molly Mabel cat, but regained my darling Ada Mae
  • Lost a professional empire, gained a new professional life
  • Lost old myths, found new realities
  • Cut my hair – I mean, really cut my hair
  • Lost an old Hibiscus and gained a whole new one which blooms and blooms and blooms all winter long with gratitude at having been found
  • Was very, very ill which made me appreciate life so much more
  • Played Internet Scrabble with Shimon for 6 of the past 10 years … and we are still playing …

I know there is more to add to my list. I will probably need to add items that come to me during the course of the day as I head out to enjoy the end of 2009. For one thing, I am finally giving up my old stick-shift car (I have been using a stick-shift since I was 16 years old, 44 years ago when I first received my driver's license back in Bulawayo). Yes indeed it's true, this very day, I am purchasing a new car – just like my trusty old one – only this time it is automatic! And has all those new-agey-type features: automatic locks and on and on … 

So – Happy New Year to one and all, in the meantime – may we all experience Happy Days ahead!

Peaceful easy feeling

Quote of the day:

"Peace isn't an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it's an experience that's expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened" (2009, page 87). Pema Chodron

Tree goes up. 

Creates light and warmth, 

good will, and a festive spirit. 

Gifts amass underneath developing 

into a crescendo of intensity and expectation. 

Tree comes down. 

Creates space, breathing room, 

re-entry into the ordinary, airy, 


The old and familiar 

somehow looks renewed and refueled 

– ready – for the new Year.

Sun streams through the window 

on a cold, bright winter's day.

2010 is almost here.

A year ago on Mining NuggetsHappy New Year.

Who knows …

… What tomorrow will bring?


Setting goals,
creating expectations,
making resolutions - 
fantasies of the mind. 

Being in the moment 
what I plan to work on 
in the year 2010. 

Being present 
here and now. 
One moment, 
one hour, 
one day at a time. 
One smile, 
one grimace, 
one fear, 

one joy 
at a time. 

Quote of the day:

“We might wonder, How do I learn to recognize I’m caught? How can I see what I do without feeling hopeless? How can I find some sense of humor? Some gentleness? Some ability to let go and not make such a big deal of my problems? What will help me remain present when I’m afraid?”
Pena Chodron, “Taking the Leap” (2009)

Still one of my favorites …

Gathering my angels (Update)


It is that time of the year to gather round my angels. 

Here are two that Tom and I bought fifteen years ago – one for each of our apartments. He chose the burgundy one (faded now), and I the peachy colored (below). This year, my angel gets to head up our tree. 


There are a number of angels that I have been collecting over the years:

Well, I have always thought that Ada is some kind of angel. This one I bought in an airport store years ago when I was missing my cat while traveling for some conference or other. Each year she shares our tree, even with a broken ear.

I found this antique angel made out of tin, in a quaint little store in Buffalo this past summer. She is complete with halo and trumpet. Just above her hangs a tiny angel made of straw. I found that one in Ten Thousand Villages, just up the road a-ways in our own Chestnut-Hill. 

Update: Oops. I nearly forgot … And, from the same store [Ten Thousand Villages], featured in the picture below, is a tiny little tin Angel (made in Kenya).


Each year I purchase Christmas tree ornaments from UNICEF. Many years ago, I found this delicate angel, in their catalog. She adorns the top branches of our tree every year since.

The angel with the blue rose. A student gave her to me at the end of the semester almost twenty years ago at the University at Buffalo. It was such a generous gift and gesture that, at the time, I did not have the heart to tell her I was a Jewish Atheist. 


Trudging through the snow up to my knees, I just had to feed the birds of Fairmount Park in my back yard. They were gathered on the bushes puffed out and trembling with cold, waiting for me. It filled my heart with joy to throw out cups full of bird seed for them. One little sparrow came down to eat even before I was finished. 

Perhaps Tom should 
string me up on our tree! 
I must say it feels kind of good 
to be a sixty-year-old angel 
of the birds, 
with wet pajama knees this morning. 
I am not a religious person 
by any means, 
but for some reason, 
all this snow brings out 
the spirituality in me …

‘Tis the week before

Last year was certainly a Christmas to remember. It bathed me in warmth and security, the likes of which I have never known before. It strengthened and buoyed me up forever. It was a time I will never forget. 

Looking back, I realize that I have changed quite a bit this year – at least physically:

From …


To …

Photo 17
Although, as I look at different photographs of me lately, I cannot quite recognize me. How did I get from being a youngish woman to an almost senior – so fast? "Where have all the years gone?" I wonder as I stare in the mirror, or at these photographs above.

I went from being a fifty-some-year-old to a sixty-year-old woman – over night, it seems – at midnight, to be exact, accompanied by my best friend, Jan and my darling son, Gilad, in a small bistro in Paris. I became tenured at work, completed another book, made friends and amends with all kinds of lost loves, strengthened some new friendships, and returned to therapy. 

Changes stir emotionally. Indeed, I feel strong enough to take on some uncomfortable feelings – hence the courage to return to therapy. As I describe my emotions and thoughts to the new therapist these past weeks, I feel as if I am getting to know me all over again. Stories about my past seem so far away. Here and now is a whole new me to discover! It looks like there is some fun to be had this fast-approaching new year. 2010. It has a good ring to it. A decade since the millennium change. New pieces of Self to uncover. Perhaps, even, different professional paths ahead. Who knows?

This Christmas looks to be very quiet this year. Just life partner and me, with Ada pitter-pattering between and among us. 


I wonder … may the quiet of the season give us some space to uncover a new us?

Winding down

Teaching Tamarika

New Image1 

Semester drawing to an end

New Image2

Chanukah b’bayit

Night falls – time to light the third candle
Cold and rainy – wintry dark without
Let there be light


What I learned in school today


Quote of the day:

One thing I learned tonight was the "terrible two's" represent such a wonderful development of bravery and the beginning of autonomy – they are being brave not bad

With permission of Kristen Melanski (Graduate student in my early childhood class this semester: Issues and Challenges in Early Childhood Education, who recently wrote this quote to me one evening in response to my request: Write down one thing you learned in class tonight)

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Political odds and ends