Thursday, December 20, 2007

See that smile? I am so happy. Clark gave me two days to myself at a hotel for my birthday. Alone? Why is that so wonderful, you ask. Because what he gave me was a writing holiday! I was able to work on my novel with no interruptions or distractions. It was the best gift ever. I am at about page 250 and I have high hopes that this new year will bring a completion of the first draft and a rewrite. Here is a small sample of a work in progress (this is the first page)

Karma quickly threw her engagement ring into the sea as her friend watched supportively and without surprise. Their skirts beat around their knees. Their hands were raised to shade their eyes, but they seemed to salute the ocean which had just swallowed the tiny flash of light that dropped from the cliff they stood on.

“I tried to warn him!” she shouted into the wind, squinting against the sunset that bounced off the heaving surface of the blackening water below.

“You did.” Her friend nodded and put a hand on her shoulder.

They stood like that for several moments. Their hair and clothes wildly waved as the sun dropped into the ocean. The surf undulated loudly against the sand below. The girls looked down at the fragmenting and rejoining of the water, from droplets back into a whole again, a strange and furious struggle to be apart, only to be one body, time after time had a hypnotic effect, endless and pointless and melodic. Breaking out of a trance they turned away from the edge as seagulls screamed above them.

“That was a nice ring.”

“It was.”


“It might be best.” Karma smiled appreciatively at her friend. The water in her eye receded as she blinked. Not one tear. Not over this. Not right now.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Going back in time...

Ahhh...its Christmas time again. Nothing else takes you back like the Holidays (except maybe a Delorean)- The snow is coming down hard out there and Harry Connick Jr. is singing from my family room. We have decked the halls, trimmed a tree and I have done all my shopping. Now I sit in Yule time coziness and remember the good old days at Storey Lane; helping dad paint Christmas windows at local shops, the roaring fire on the high hearth, the giant, haphazard tree- with the large colored lights, hairy and sparkly with fake icicles, (sometimes my little brother and I were allowed to pick the tree because we both had December birthdays), the paper nativity when I was very little and later a fancy, porcelain one, the large, half melted candles wreathed in fake pine, handmade ornaments from aeon's of childhood crafts and school projects and other ones- each with a story ( ie; the fancy mirrored ornaments Heidi gave Mom one year and the paper ones mom bought at the Willows on a shopping trip with me when I was little- the the one Sarah was grounded from- I remember crying because she could not come. The painted, sculpted clay ones of Santa and stockings from Tim, and the Styrofoam snowmen the older kids made when they were little ), our record collection- beloved and familiar, the perfect soundtrack to the season. There are too many little details to put them all down...I can see it all very vividly.The big kitchen always cluttered with Holiday baking filled the house with delicious aromas. Our family would deliver goody plates and carol for hours and hours- and there were some people we visited whom we would only see annually as we caroled to them. I remember Christmas Eve, fraught with the intense excitement of childhood...we would sit around on the orange, rust shag by the fire, listen to Mother read a Christmas story and Dad read the Bible account of Christ's birth with a resounding, deep voice, trembling with emotion. A large felt tree on the wall had a pocket for each of us with our names on it, and by Christmas Eve they bulged with notes, service coupons and sweet thoughts from all of the family members. Very often my offering to my parents would be a coupon like - "Will do my chores without complaining for a week!" "15 minute foot massage" or "Free hugs"...I can't remember ever being asked to make good on those or ever really collecting on any I received- but the expressions of appreciation often included were wonderful to read. We all sat around reading them, glowing inside because it felt good to be loved and told so. Hanging stockings,(which for many years were my Dad's long, white, tube socks) on the metal hanger Dad made and putting out a plate for Santa, were the last things to do before being ready to all zoom upstairs and snuggle together in one room for the night- some of us in sleeping bags. It was thrilling to cram together and try to sleep, hearts pounding, imaginations running wild, while the older sisters sang and told stories to help us sleep. Some how, even with the distinct jingling of bells on the roof, we found a way to sleep at last. In the morning , too early, we ran in a stampede of joy, down the stairs and waited in a wiggly mass at the sliding door to the kitchen/dining area, which led to the family room. It was the only day of the year the hollow, wooden door was pulled shut. My parents materialized like staggering ghosts and opened the door...entered first, to set the mood with Christmas music and to stand waiting with a camera. For some reason I have a distinct image of my Mother in a faded pink night gown- squinting against the light, but smiling. Youngest to oldest we ran through the dining room into the family room. What wonders to behold! The tree, lit up, fire crackling, stockings in a long row on the stone face of the fireplace, which were now gloriously and magically lumpy and corpulent and the floor was nearly invisible under an impossibly large and colorful array of gifts. What followed was the disemboweling of the stockings and taking turns, tearing open the presents, and ooohhing and awwwwing for each other. Always enthusiastically thanking the giver whether it were a pair of socks or something really cool inside the festive wrapping. In the background a wonderful breakfast was being born under the guidance of expert hands. It was a day of laughter, hugs, giving and fun and food. The rest of the day the extended family gathered to feast and play- new toys and things to show and share, every year the same, every year a little different, always Christmas.
Being a December baby I love this time of year all the more. My first Christmas I was placed under the tree two weeks after I was born...I guess my siblings could consider me one of their best gifts- tee-hee!The presents recede into the fog of my recollection, except the magnificent hand made ones by Dad- a big rocking horse, a boat...But, mostly I remember the feeling, the belonging, the predictable, surprise of it. Now, I try to pass the delight, love and stability of Christmas on to my own children, and I relive my past through their present joy. Traditions bring happiness back to the future. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Me at the Helm

My Uncle Don has everything and charm, too. As a kid we loved family vacations visiting him because he was so affectionate and had such exciting stuff! We did not have a lot of anything but siblings. Time with Uncle Don meant, delicious foods, resorts, plane rides, private islands and yachting. Here I am at the helm of one of his yachts. He always made me feel special. I think back and realize that I was able to experience some wonderful things that most people raised broke would never have because he was willing to share. If everyone did that- nobody would feel poor. I am grateful to him and anyone rich willing to enrich the lives of others. Tee hee. Good times.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Who can "vouch" for schools as they currently are?

Vouchers…should we or shouldn’t we? It is probably a moot point because it won’t pass anyhow. However, just for fun let’s kick this around. I can afford to be a little objective and dispassionate because I home school my kids and would thus be unaffected either way.

But here is what I know to be true…any bureaucratic or government organization is about power and self preservation, even if they claim to have altruistic intentions. The other thing I know that, albeit ugly, capitalism works. Money is power. If the schools have the money they have the power (the individuals at the top, anyway) and if the children do, then they are upgraded to consumer, and thus have clout. Would the voucher give under privileged children a choice for once? It would appear so. I suppose if the special needs children or the immigrant children suddenly were armed with money there would magically appear out of a vapor a “product” that suited their needs. Supply and demand. The “one size fits all” of a public school cannot work in today’s society of diversity and growing numbers. I think there should be schools all over. All shapes, sizes and kinds to fit the needs of children of every ilk and disposition.

Would vouchers leave special needs children behind? Behind where? In the public schools where they are stuck already? Not if they have the dough to go somewhere better. (This concern is an example of where it seems the schools are more interested in staying in business than whether the children get what they need.) I question why the schools are fomenting the argument that all our hopes and dreams for a brighter future would be shattered if there were a voucher. Well, there isn’t a voucher now- where are all these great programs the possible voucher is preventing? Also I have heard the argument that schools would loose money when they loose students- I guess so- however if in the unlikely event that half the students opted out the school would only have the other half to afford educating. The scale would probably balance out. I suppose there would finally be some incentive for schools to be very good and competitive. And the free money they get whether they were any good or not would suddenly be something they would need to earn.

On the other hand- it could be a huge disaster if people were allowed options- chaos might ensue if we did not have the steadying hand of a government institution to maintain the status quo. I think it is important that we stay unemotional in the face of conjecture on either side. It could work and it may be a bust- at which point we scrap the whole idea and go back to the way it has always been.

Most people agree that some change is needed. The complaint against the current state of affairs has led to this idea of vouchers in the first place. But, change will rarely come about without a catalyst. With 30% of American kids dropping out before graduation and about half of the graduates going on to college one could argue that it is good enough, or one could argue it could be better. I guess we won’t know until we try.

In the end I have to say that it very well could be an awful idea to have a voucher…but I just can’t help smelling a rat when fear and false compassion are used as the argument to keep in business an institution who have long been incompetent and ambivalent, while the tip toppers are glutting themselves on ill gotten monopoly money. It has never been the public school system that has been great, it has always been outstanding teachers, individuals and students who have succeed in spite of it; I guess it is because of this that I have no particular loyalty to the antiquated, socialist regime we are all so afraid to let go of. Much in the way the Chinese fear loosing Communism- it is all they know and they have always been told they would fall apart if left to their own devices in a Democratic society. (Okay, that may have been an overblown comparison.)

Is a change risky? You bet. But that is what America has always been about from overthrowing the King onward…If the voucher bites the dust that is okay. It is just nice to know that somebody somewhere is getting creative and bucking the system. Or we can keep hoping things will change without actually trying anything new. Failure in risk, if it comes, is always a sign of progress.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


To have a pet monkey was unusual enough; to have it live in her shirt was even more bizarre. My aunt kept her pet like a child, close to her chest. It wore small diapers. It nestled there, peeking out like a scared little man, between her large, augmented breasts. I remember thinking it must be like a water bed in there for her cleavage monkey. As children, we were frightened and fascinated by the wide eyed, hissing wild thing tucked into her shirt. It became a part of her in our minds.

My aunt was tall and leggy. She wore tight jeans, low cut shirts and high heels. I thought she was like Cruella De Ville billowing in fur coats, smelling of perfume and cigarettes. But, she was young and beautiful. Her face was always made up, and she jingled and clicked when she walked. She modeled. One time Jose Canseco tried to pick up on her behind stage at a fashion show while she changed the monkey’s diaper.

It was good that she joined the family for a traditional campout. All the aunts and uncles and cousins and my grandparents were glad, I think. She did not do a lot with us in those times. The grownups prayed for her and exchanged meaningful looks behind her back. Bits of stories trickled down to me and the other children like fables with warnings. Had she really smuggled drugs from Hong Kong in her enormous hoop earrings? We knew she had come home from that trip with the monkey. Was she held at gun point by a black man? Did she sleep with men? These things were incongruous with my life, they did not happen in my family. But she had come to camp with us with lips outlined to look larger and eyes traced in black. She smiled a lot and gave us gifts and sweets. I struggled with my unsanctioned admiration of her.

I agreed to walk her monkey in the woods. I held the leash with trepidation and pride. I felt cool and anticipated the fun. Bright rays of light shot down through the trees like stage lights as our stroll began. I tugged gently at first on the leash and the little creature responded hesitantly. His round eyes were demanding and suspicious. He wanted my aunt. He needed to retreat to her bosom. I was in charge and continued to pull him along. Attempting to dominate a wild thing, I stumbled onto a realization: a leash cannot save you.

I became uneasy when I heard the deep purring sound, but before I could even assess the situation there was a blur of brown flying toward my face. My arms flailed to block the attack. I could feel the painful pinch of the monkey’s teeth on my arm through the sleeves of my sweatshirt. In self defense I flung the tiny body away from me. To my horror the monkey hit the ground and bounced back immediately before I could even draw a breath. Repeatedly I thrust the assailant down, but each time he sprung back, undeterred toward my face. I was losing. My attacker was beyond reason, his eyes bulging, baring his teeth as he screeched and clawed. There was only one thing I could think of doing to keep the monkey at a safe distance. I grasped my end of the leash, tossed the angry creature off me one last time and swung my arm quickly and deliberately. I rotated my arm like a windmill around and around my head.

The element of surprise was on my side. The monkey helplessly flailed at the end of the leash as it rotated above me. I felt as if we would lift off the ground. I almost laughed out loud in relief as my enemy became dizzy at a safe distance. But, my moment of triumph was short lived. The monkey began to curl around, grabbing at the leash. Then, in terror I watched as I realized what it was doing. Hand over hand it pulled itself toward me on the leash, wild faced with fury. In my panic I could only let go of the leash- hoping the outbound flight would buy me time as I turned and fled in the opposite direction. As the monkey screamed through the air like a deflating balloon, I ran and did not look back until I heard nothing but my own heart pound between my gasps. When I reached the camp I was safe… my aunt was there to intervene. She laughed and gathered the monkey as it trembled with rage. She patted and cooed at it until it was soothed. I was shaken and she joked about it until I could relax. Once out of danger the absurdity of the event struck me.

I don’t remember my aunt before her monkey era. I doubt I would have childhood memories of her at all if not for the monkey. The other adults were only a watercolor background to my childhood. She stood out. I do recall when the monkey left. He had matured and become very aggressive. He grew fangs and raged with hormones. One day the monkey bit right through my grandfather’s hand as he fed it. They sent the monkey away. Ironically, the new owners trained him to be the hands for a paraplegic man.

Around that time my aunt got rid of her awful husband and began coming back to church. She stopped smoking and causing a ruckus. I never asked her the details of her life back then or what had caused her to lead such a lifestyle. But, she came out of it- probably slowly in reality. It only seemed suddenly to me as a child because the change was dramatic. Only the residue of her former wild life remains in her sometimes crass and loud manner. She is kind, generous, resilient, and a crusader for the underdog. But, I think she was always like that, even when she was “bad”. She has always thrived on chaos but has sublimated to be the mother of a large family who runs her own business. Experiences like she has had may leave scars, but it also can bring wisdom and pluck. I enjoy being around her, in fact she is a friend. Of course, she is flawed like the rest of us and she is monkeyless.

As I have grown older, when I think about the monkey I wonder what vices I carry in my bosom, nourishing and cherishing them only so they can turn on me and those I love. What does it take to put them down? Will I outrun them? Deep down I know I’m not all that different from her. My mistakes have been different ones but only by degrees. Many of my virtues are untried, I have never had her beauty, money or career. Would I have been any different in her shoes? I honestly can’t be sure.

My aunt was the example all the parents used any time we made a mistake. “This could happen to you…it only takes one step in this direction so beware.” I can see their fear and as a parent now I understand it. It is easy to imagine worst case scenarios when children rebel and that was what my aunt represented for all of us. But, when I think of my aunt and see her life as it is now I feel differently. Now, she exemplifies hope. She is living proof that we can fall hard and far, but thank goodness we can come back and leave the monkey behind us.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Bite of Brownie

Sometimes a bit of chocolate goes a long way. Here I am eating some of my whole grain, agave sweetened brownies...a totally guiltless pleasure. Recently I have been thinking a lot about that. It is possible to have both discipline and fun. It is too bad the world is careening out of control in pursuit of pleasure no matter the cost. Look where it has taken us. Every vice is born of self indulgence.
Can't we all just indulge responsibly? I submit that we can-with some forbearance, a little brains, a little ingenuity, and an open mind- we can find a delicious solution.
Give me the right brownie and nobody gets hurt.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baby Jack

Things a little baby taught me...
Sometimes our greatest joys come wrapped in sorrow. Love is stronger than perfection. There are no bounds to a parents love. I know now, more than ever that God, as a parent, can love me intensely, flawed as I am; weak as I am. Gratitude for the small things - the things we take for granted.
As time goes on I can really look back and see progress and the blessings all along the way. Struggles, in a way, are a gift. They teach gratitude and endurance and strength. Compassion and patience can only come through adversity...the Lord gives us everything we need in our survival kit for life.
Last year I did something I have never done before. I sent a letter to a local politician. I actually got a kind reply. I found this on my computer and it brought back some emotions I had nearly forgotten.

October 12,2006

Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Utah Governor’s Office
Utah State Capitol Complex
East Office Building, Suite E220
PO Box 142220

Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220

Dear Governor Huntsman:

Last December our third child was born. As far as we knew the pregnancy had progressed normally and well. But, when our little son Jack was born there were some upsetting surprises. Jack had multiple birth defects and has not grown at the rate he should. At almost 10 months old now he weighs 13 pounds and has some developmental delays. Jack cannot sit up on his own. or crawl like other babies his age. You can imagine the worry and heartache we have been through these last months. The local early intervention program, Kids Who Count has been such a blessing! When unexpected things happen it is so easy to be overwhelmed and not know what to do. KWC have been our guidance and support. To have a child with special needs can feel lonely and confusing and just having people who can come and offer their expertise makes everything more manageable. Also, we have seen the benefits of this service. Jack is able to roll over and sit with assistance now. Something I worried might never happen. His O.T. and nurse have been such a blessing in telling us what to do and helping us to help Jack reach his potential. Children with special needs are amazingly sweet and special. Jack lights up the room with his smile and his two big brothers love him, as do we- so much. We are so thankful for the assistance we have received with our precious baby.

Early Intervention Programs such as Kids Who Count need funding to continue the invaluable services they provide to families like ours. Loving programs like these exemplify the true meaning of charity. These programs make a difference. Each child is treated as an individual. Their progress is tracked, goals are set and guidance given. Time is spent with every child – there are tools and resources and wonderful people involved. None of this can be cheap to do. What a wonderful way to put money to work. These are the kinds of things that keep society civilized.

I understand that the Department of Health is requesting additional funds for the Baby Watch Early Intervention Program. Please include the full amount they are requesting in their budget- it is being passed along to benefit our special little ones.

Thank you for the public service you do. I know you keep all of us in mind in all that you do.


Jo etc...

Monday, October 8, 2007

A fragment - a ghost from writings in my past

I found my old manuscript...from my first novel attempt. This is taken randomly from the middle. I think I will go back and do a rewrite of this book once I finish the current one- I can see it better now after taking a break from it. This is one scene I want to rework, but it is fun to see in its raw form.



Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

So I went to the Muse concert with my friend and woke up deaf. It was a fascinating study on the power of music on human behavior. We had a good time- (Terri provided ear plugs) The opening act was Juliette Lewis and the Licks- she was such an old school poser- but she sung her little heart out, bless her. I like her better as an in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Matt Bellamy is the singer and lead guitar for Muse. I have to say that his piano stuff blew me away- he was classically trained before he turned rocker. It was like witnessing Jekyll and Hyde...fascinating.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Caught Between Worlds

There are not enough hours in the day to read all of the books I would like to read. I can easily devour any number of novels, histories, psychology and philosophy books. While, by the way, attempting to write my own. This has always been my dilemma.
I remember the summer my reading really kicked in. I was probably ten years old. I had started to read a book called The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Inexplicably, I could not put it down. I finished it quickly and eagerly. So one of my older sisters gave me Little Women- I made short work of it and the seven others in the series. I spent a lot of my reading time in a tree fort in the backyard. Well, technically it was just a wooden platform nailed up in the branches of the mulberry tree, but, the surrounding branches served as the enclosing walls. On my back , with the book on my chest, I lost all sense of time- I even tuned out where I was. I remember the sounds of the yard coming through to me as if under water as my mind surfaced from the pages reluctantly, as the sunlight became too low. The dog barked, the bugs hummed and I would close the book and think for awhile- hesitant to wrench my mind out of the world the story had woven in my head. Time stood still while I traveled through the world and through history in the embrace of the mulberry tree. Around that time I realized I had my own stories to tell. I filled one notebook after another with stories and characters born of my imagination. I felt compelled to write, but the feeling would come and go. The call of my books would always return and I would have to re immerse myself n the pages of somebody else's story for awhile before returning to my own.
Now, I sit at a computer and write, surrounded by the siren song of other books. Not to mention the song of demanding children and household duties. I feel keenly grateful for a childhood that was set aside for me as my time to do so much reading, filling my mind with things long forgotten by my conscious mind but contributing to the whole I would become. I tell my children now to read and read and read. Because they have more time for it now...and nothing they read will be wasted; like raindrops filling a bucket. In the end that bucket fills up even if the individual drops are no longer distinguishable from each other or remembered.
There are days that I would give anything for wooden platform up in the branches of a Mulberry tree. Of course, now, I wouldn't mind if there was a comfy chair on that platform. But I suppose I will have to settle for my chair at a computer, while my sons yell "Fire in the hole!" and throw things at the back of my head. The book of their lives, of their childhood is one that I am both reading and writing. The two worlds have collided and I write my own story in the spaces between.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Novel Idea

I am currently half way through the first draft of the novel I am writing. This is my second attempt at a novel length story.The process is erratic and manic. There are the nights when the storytelling comes easily from brain to hand to screen. Other times I flop and wander about mentally like a fish out of the water and into the fog. This particular book is a safe distance from my inner sanctum- so that theoretically it should not be as painful or risky. But, even though this is more like telling a story than executing magnificent literature, I worry over details like I would with my own children. I want it to turn out, you see. So, I spend the late night nursing this newborn babe of mine...hoping it will grow up to be something worth while. Something that contributes, even in some small way- even if only to entertain. We shall see. Half done, and going nuts. When it is finished and shined up pretty- I will take it out and try to pawn it off on someone. And if that works- I may even pull out my first attempt, polish that up and do the same. Here's to doing it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Once upon a time, long ago, but not very far away lived a family of eight children, and their mother and father in an old barn of a house at the end of a street against a field of horses. There were six daughters and two sons and they lived happily together though they were very poor. They did everything together. They sang, played, camped and worked. They were friends.
The sixth child was a girl. She was content in the warm bubble of love that surrounded her family home. It didn't take much to thrill or entertain the children. A tent in the family room was more than enough excitement for them. A place where all of them could be themselves. Her little brother by 2 years, and older sister by 2 years, were all the friends she needed as a child. Then, one day she started school. Although she was a good little girl and eager to learn, she found it difficult and confusing to be in such a hostile environment. The adults were ambivalent and the children there were fickle and cruel sometimes. There were expectations and a status quo to uphold.The chain link fence around the school yard made it plain what sort of institution she had entered. A soulless, lime green existence punctuated by shame and humiliation stretched out before her for twelve long years. Her little brother grew away from her and her older sister became trapped inside a beautiful body. She, herself,began to change in bits. She hardened and steeled herself against caring too much. She lost herself in books and writing, sheltered in fiction. Somewhere in the tenth year of her sentence she had become a mere shadow of herself. Why had this happened, she wondered. Her life was good. School was Ok. What had she lost? How had she lost it? That is when she fled. In the snowy wilderness she communed with her past self and the diamond stars and God beyond. She walked bare footed in the snow and howled with coyotes. Everything felt familiar. Being cast out from a happy existence was not new. The winter cold turned her inside out and she found a small girl hidden, shivering in fear, seated at a peeling desk on linoleum tile. She brought the girl to the fire and asked her to sit. She let the girl cry and told her it was alright. Soon they were both smiling. In a canvas tent amidst sage brush and bitter bark she learned to smile inside again. After that everything was easier. She realized there was nothing wrong with struggling and striving- it did not have to make you unhappy. Whenever things were hard, whenever home seemed far, she could put up a shelter and look inside for strength and for herself. And that was Ok. Comfort is something you can pack along with you in the wilderness and happiness can be there as easy as it can be found in your own family room. Things were good and things were bad. But she strove happier ever after.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Trailing Clouds Of Glory

When I was 19 years old I went to school in England and had sublime experiences there. I thought I would share with you- something I wrote about years ago describing one experience. Young and immersed in English Literature- I was at my most fecund point for sensation and introspection. Without further blah-blah here is 19 year old me....

Lake Windermere
I will never forget the first glimpse I had of Lake Windermere. The bus leaned from side to side as the narrow road wound through a lacy canopy of trees. As my vision out of the dusty window gently rocked, the shining waters peaked out from the trees between the hills, a mist rising from its surface. The wistful hand of beauty cupped my heart and presses it, forcing a slow sigh from my lips. Green and more green was this tucked away gem of creation. Its sudden glimmer in the early sunlight came through the soft vapor of an English morning in answer to every fantasy I had ever had of an enchanted world.
The coach as they call it, came to a stop up on a hill where a white house nestled in verdant coziness. I was at Rydal Mount. William Wadsworth lived there from 1813 until 1850 when he died. It began as a farm cottage in 1574 and I could almost feel the centuries of life it had seen. Additions to the house in the 1700s made it worthy for a great poet, and it remains virtually unchanged. The Wordsworth family still owns and uses the house when it is not open to the public.
Doorways shorter than I am accustomed to were like picture frames for phantoms…reminiscent of a time when people were different in ways and stature. My feet caused the wooden floors to creak as I entered the rooms of the historic house. Antique furniture placed neatly on the worn floors sat empty, watched by portraits of their former inhabitants. Shelves of leather bound books perfumed the air with age and reflected the mind of the man who once poured over their now yellowed pages. In the kitchen I was captivated by the stained, uneven stone floor which was part of the original cottage. I tried to imagine the people who prepared simple meals there at the hearth with only the glow of the fire to illuminate their work.
Wordsworth believed that a garden should be an extension of nature. From the house a sloping stretch of lawn ended in a tumble of trees and brush, enticing me to explore. As I did I discovered a trickling stream and moss covered stone steps embedded in the earth that carried me up and down a woodsy hill which overlooked the lake in a sylvan paradise. I was keenly aware of beauty all around me and nature liberated. As if on cue a bird sang somewhere and a light rain began to fall through the cool, misty air. I walked along a path with a pleasure that felt indulgent, wanting to melt into the trees and float endlessly in time. I found the small “summer house” on the hill where the poet would sit and write, inspired by the beauty and tranquility that surrounded him. It was like a square gazebo made of gray stone with an entrancing view of Lake Windermere. Sitting there where Wordsworth himself had sat, I understood his poems and passion for nature as never before. I felt his spirit there in the woods while listening to the whisper of the wind as it flitted over a carpet of wildflowers and bushes, and watched the blue gray sky slowly swirl above the placid water in the distance. My skin was alive with sensations as the cool rain blew lightly into my face in tiny drops. But even as sensory as my experience was, it felt almost more spiritual than physical. I had a strange paradox of emotions, hollow and full, poignant and joyful…in this tangible mirage. Lines from Wordsworth‘s poems celebrating these ethereal wonders that nature provoke came to my mind.
The best description of my experience was an overwhelming home sickness. Not for America or even my family, but that greater place of which my soul must be unconsciously reminded when I experience beauty. Imprinted on my spirit is the knowledge of my heavenly home forgotten in this veil of mortality. How it must yearn for home when a touch of the familiar splendor is felt in this lesser sphere. This is the joy and sorrow I felt when awakened to an aesthetic world when I first saw Lake Windermere; touched by the insights of a brother who lived before me when he said:
“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.”

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Wildflowers are what they are. They are not necessarily cultivated or protected. But their unpretentious beauty and spontaneity is what makes them wonderful. They can tenaciously grow in rocks on the side of a cliff or in a meadow, or in a neighborhood. Imperfect and sometimes considered a weed; they are unapologetically themselves wherever they spring up. Scattered color and fun in unexpected places.Their whimsy combined with their strength makes them what they are.
I have a sister named Heather. Here she is putting my socks on. In a lot of my childhood memories she is my mom. Nurturing comes easy for her.With her tireless and cheerful nature she provided endless hours of fun and adventures to me and my younger siblings. The nature park, the backyard, under the table...anyplace was exciting if Heather was there. And she taught us, too. Her creative imagery always made the lessons stick. Her mind works in metaphors and analogies...presenting deep connections to my young mind. Come to think of it, I still think in types and shadows...she probably has something to do with that. At night she cuddled and sang to us in her bunk bed. She spun magical stories of fantasy and legend as we would lay in rapt excitement; safe, loved and entertained.
If there was ever somebody you would want behind you it is Heather. A quixotic champion and fearless warrior, she will always encourage and tell you anything is possible. She finds good and beauty in situations seeming bleak- on the stony cliffs of life. She was born with an instinct to protect and a stubborn desire to succeed. She meets life head on and with open arms. Sometimes that backfires.
Someone like that is not always understood. As adults we sometimes have a hard time getting in touch with that innate part of our nature. Often, as we age, creativeness is viewed as overly dramatic or childish and optimism seems naive. Anyone sensitive and open to more love and verve for life is also more vulnerable to deep sorrow and hurt. Survival demands we evolve away from that as we grow. That is what losing innocence and our childhoods is all about. Giving up those joys in order to protect ourselves from, disappointment, pain, failure, looking foolish, or being tricked. We become jaded and expect less than the spectacular...shreds of faith slip from our grasp because we believe it is not safe to keep our feet in both worlds; the child and adult. But despite what we give up and despite our efforts, we are still subject to the things we fear and try to protect ourselves from. So we end up only avoiding the good things in life.
We all like to act like a kid again- let our sense of fun and hope out for a run now and then. And I have learned to do it more and more. Life is wonderful despite it all. We were born to smile and be delighted, be curious, have big dreams and love easily and often.
I see Heather bravely straddling the gap...letting her inner child bloom where planted in her grown up life. Focusing all that energy and creativeness toward the efforts of her adulthood and having child- like fun doing it. She is a very good example of courage and light hearted living; whimsy and strength. She is either nuts or brilliant. Whichever it is- Heather is a splash of color, imperfect, unpredictable, unique, beautiful. She is a wildflower.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Jamie's wild hair days. With a big zero on his shirt. Actually none of this is true. It is all an illusion.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

There comes a point in every good party when people begin swinging from the rafters. Believe me, if anyone can attest that non drinkers have all the fun, it is me. My family parties harder than anyone and none of us drink. Recently, at our family reunion, near to midnight one night, my little brother began whooping and swinging from the rafters. Also one of my big sisters began waltzing around to a love song about cookies. At some point several people began a Bollywood like dance routine and of course there was guitar playing and Johnny Cash songs sung. Beginning to get the picture? In a group where everyone accepts and loves you it is okay to get silly and let out your inner maniac without liquor to soften the blow. And in the morning we all remember it fondly and those vulnerable, nutty moments actually build intimacy. True bonding and without the hangover.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thoughts on Apricots

There is one fruit that stands out to me. Not that it is my favorite, or superior to other fruits. But, I have a deep attachment to it. Apricots. Roundish, like a small peach- golden to orangey, the outside is slightly velvety and the smell...sweet and summery. I sigh. When I was a kid my family owned an apricot orchard out in Brentwood, California; it was a forty five minute drive from our home. Winding through yellowed hills in my dad's old pickup truck, the ride seemed agonizingly long to me. The only point of interest along the way was the eyeball rock. At some bend along the road there was a large round rock that somebody had painted to resemble an eyeball. Occasionally it would be repainted by a new hand- but it was always an eyeball, looking back at me on my way to the orchard. We would arrive, bouncing across the furrows and dirt clods, filling the air with dusty clouds. Each trip the orchard looked different.The trees would start leafing, then blossoming with intensely sweet blossoms and then the thick dark canopy of leaves would be dotted with green, then light orange fruit. I remember long days in the hot sun. The heat, a corporeal presence, flies buzzing around me, and the tired boredom that would sometimes over come my young mind. We would climb long ladders up to the branches that hung heavily with apricots; Blenheims, highly prized for being sweet and tart, and Tiltons, larger, firmer and tangier...The whole family would fill buckets, flats, and eventually the back of the truck. While the stillness of the heat was only broken by the sound of insects and the rustling cornfield lining our orchard or a song or two from a sibling, somewhere muffled within a tree. Sweat would trickle down my back or into my eyes. From the top of the ladder I would catch myself staring in a stupor for, who knows how long.The dark twisted wood of the trees looked scaly and slick. A startling blue, cloudless sky bore down and we would retreat for a water break. Sometimes the older kids would have fruit fights. I remember well the time my big sister got hit with a green apricot by my brother. Her revenge was...sweet. She took a large, squishy, over ripe apricot and dropped it down the back of his pants, giving it a good smack to make sure it splattered. Wow, was he mad! But, mostly the days were long with work. Sometimes there was a tent for us younger kids to relax awhile, never quite out of the heat. And at times a nearby farmer or wanderer would come through and join us around a campfire. In particular, a homeless man with a trailor, he had shabby clothes and long hair. He played the guitar and sang us a song he wrote called Living in the Bay Area. I felt sorry for him. He left with some apricots. Many people did. There were sometime migrant workers helping.We would have U-Pick days... a parade of families and if I remember right, elderly people would come and grab a bucket, then pay dad and go away smiling, with plans to dry, can or juice their fruit. But, the sweetest memory was the way we sold them out of our house. In the "Blue Room" we had an old swamp cooler in one window. The door had to remain closed. Flats brimming with fragrant apricots were stacked almost to the ceiling, with a walkway left down the middle. The only cold room in the house. I would walk slowly between the stacks, breathing in the cool, delicious air. On a very hot day I would sneak in, perhaps with a sibling, and lay down on my back looking up at the towering boxes, lovingly embraced by the smell of apricots. There were always some for us to eat. The flavor is hard to describe, because it is all its own, sweet, floral and sometimes slightly tart. Apricots have a particular fan club.People came, sometimes the same people for years, until the season was over and the stacks grew shorter and every box was sold. And in the fall Daddy would trim the trees and sell the firewood. We would eat apricot jam, dried apricots and apricot fruit leather through the winter. Sadly, as often is the case, we had financial reasons to sell the orchard, I can't remember when. In a way, we lost more than the future investment of the land which would have been large. The apricots had been a blessing to us.They were yummy, brought a small income and I am sure our skin benefited if nothing else. But there is something else, which selling the place didn't take from us. Apricots brought our family close. We learned to work together in that orchard, and we felt closer to the earth, aware of the seasons, and the harvest. My parents harvested much more than that sweet fruit, they also brought in a cash crop of memories, love and lessons in that old orchard. Anytime I eat an apricot, I remember and harvest again.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

As many of you know I am into whole grains (Brown rice, unrefined flours, etc) and no refined sugar. I have found this to be both healthy and liberating. If we are more conscious about what we put into our bodies we will also be more aware of our environment and our own place within it.
"So what the heck do you eat for dessert?", you ask. Surprisingly- the foods I have found are yummy and easy to make. I will post some of these recipes if there seems to be an interest. What I will say is the agave nectar is a versatile and delicious sweetener- I use it for ice cream, cookies, cakes and candies. I order it from Amazon to find a cheaper price than the local Health Store. My sister and I have been using it for years- long before anyone knew what it was or before Oprah made it a a more familiar name. Here are two recipes that can easily lead to more. Thankfully my children love it also.
1 cup Whipping cream
1/3 C Agave
Tbls vanilla
Tblsp butter
Dash sea salt
Combine in nonstick saucepan- let boil until golden brown. This recipe can be modified with more or less of any ingredient- I never measure anymore.
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 ½ sticks butter (3/4 C)
1 C brown rice syrup (found at Good Earth)
½ C Agave
3 eggs
1tsp vanilla ( Or more)
1 C flour (white wheat flour or ½ red wheat, ½ barley or br. Rice flour, Tapioca flour, combine any you like) I like using half Brown Rice and half Tapioca flour.
Chopped nuts optional
Melt choc and butter together, stir in sweetner (adjust to taste some prefer more of one than the other)- Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and nuts ( or grain sweetened choc chips). Spread intogreased foil lined 13by9 “ pan. Bake 350 for 30 min (give or take a few Toothpick should come out fudgy- don’t overbake. Cool and cut up.
Pour Carmel over it brownies and eat!
Stay tuned for homemade vanilla ice cream!

I came from Storey Lane...

Autobiographical Fragment

There were eight of us kids, now all grown, all parents ourselves. We came together for a trip down memory lane with our mom and dad. Prodigal Californians returned, driving slowly down Storey Lane.

“Oh, my- look at what they’ve done to the Baines’s yard.” somebody pointed out, marveling. Our neighbors the Baine’s had lived by us for years. They were Indian and had a restaurant that failed; not before they had hosted one of my sister’s wedding parties. Their home had smelled of curry, onions and body odor. Their grandmother lived with them. She spoke no English and would come begging at our door for food sometimes, in loose silky clothes. Her wrinkled, toothless face framed in draping fabric. The son was younger than me, but had grown much bigger one summer and had forced a kiss on me. I remembered how he used to run home crying to his mother to tattle on me and my brother. There was a lot of fighting and crashing of furniture coming from that house. But, we were friends. After they were evicted their property was left in a dingy, tumbling mess. It stood, shining like new now... the yard was park like and blooming. And next door was our place.

The big, blue, drafty house on the cul-de- sac where we had lived for years and where half of us had been completely raised. Like wanderers into some kind of alternate reality we found ourselves there again, intruders in an intimately familiar place. We were allowed inside to haunt the halls like ghosts. Floating across the threshold greedily searching...there used to be mirrored tile on the walls veined in gold and some orange and brown striped wallpaper in the entryway. I had always wondered why my parents hadn’t taken that junk down. Now I felt like a blasphemer in a tomb. Rather tastefully put together now... the old place had gotten a face lift in its midlife.

“My room is an office now.” I commented, looking with a strange detachment at the cubical I had called my own- had grown up in like a veal fattened on life. The window gaped at me in recognition. My, how I’ve grown. The pomegranate tree pressed its leaves against the glass from the outside as if for a better look. That window; I had leaned out of it in the darkness of night in secretive discourse with my best friend. The walls had been peach then. I had painted it myself with one of the boys who swore he loved me. It wasn’t my room now; white walls, bookshelves, a desk and a staring computer. My posters of Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, John Wayne and the other silver screen idols were gone. What had become of them when Mom and Dad packed up my childhood and moved? The worn wood floors had a new gleam to them. Who are you? And what have you done with my memories? I felt myself ask vacantly backing out into the hall. Everyone pressed around each other peering into every room, yet somehow alone in our thoughts. The foolish and oft heard “Didn’t this used to be bigger?” irrelevantly crossing our lips.

The “blue room” where the bookshelves and polished baby grand had been was no longer blue. The family room with the high hearth and river rock wall we would climb was neat and clean. No more sunken rust colored couches and friendly, hideous shag carpet. The fireplace was swept spotless. It would usually be mounded with ash. My dad taught us to love a roaring fire. Sometimes I hated this house and wished it looked better then...but now I quietly cursed it for being different. The big kitchen where we had gathered and eaten and celebrated so much seemed like a jilted bride, all in white, the familiar counter tops worn and chipped, no aroma of dad’s concoctions. Up the stairs in single file we drifted. We had run down these stairs dozens of times on a Christmas morning and to the call for dinner, or the knocking of the door. Oh, the streams of friends and family that had flowed through our doors. The laughing and shouting and singing had evaporated.

We snapped our cameras and smiled and gestured. Out in the back yard some trees were gone. The big plum tree stood embarrassed, as if caught in the act, brimming with fruit about to ripen for another family; our beloved pets of the past pushing up the green grass all but forgotten.

“I’ll be darned. That blasted fig tree is finally producing.” My father shook his silver head. It had never born figs before. I gave an ironic smile. Here were my five sister, two brothers and my parents, standing all together. I saw my older brother smiling at my older sister and she smiled, too. I wondered when that had happened last. It was inevitable that we should all be smiling and hugging. I was surprised that I didn’t want to cry. It was all a dream and the sense of loss at waking had begun to retreat and fade. The old place didn’t seem real... it was strange and almost unrecognizable in a way. Like when you meet someone who reminds you of a loved one... hey, doesn't she remind you of so- and-so. As we prepared to go and wandered out into the front yard my eye caught something; an old metal wheel on the side yard that had always been there. As kids we thought it was a wagon wheel. It was in fact, a bull wheel from an old fashioned printing press, chipping several layers of paint. I climbed on it and rolled it as a child. It was the same. That hit me for some reason... like Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes. This strange place really was my home. That ridiculous wheel- was it evidence of pioneers before us or an omen for my future? I squeezed my nearest sister’s hand tightly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bits of Me...

Bits of me...
Falling dead leaves
I hibernate and wait
There was something I lost
I had it. It was me.
Where did I leave it and when?
Left behind in my youth.
Never seen again.

God has carried me through the blackest, aching midnight. In palpable sorrow, regret and pain. My tears run like rivers to His sea. The living water engulfs me, and He pulls me up to walk across it.

I dreamed of surgically attached wings.
My stiff ascension- an agonizing relief.
From above all was small.
They can have it.
Swarm it, consume it.
I glide over it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Convenience and Profit...Is it worth it?

Beijing authorities yesterday shut down a dim-sum booth that was
discovered stuffing its steamed buns with cardboard in an apparent
attempt to offset the rising cost of pork.

Disturbing??? Well...try not to think about it.

The cost of profit is high- the cost of saving money is very high. If anything is likely to back fire it is money love. Only a world that loved to make or save money so much could justify so much damage and insanity. Very bad things are condoned in the name of money. You know what I mean- I think everybody knows. I am as guilty as everyone on some counts.
The price of convenience is also high. I wonder how convenience has become the priority over all else. The saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention- but I would say that laziness is. We put up with a lot of pretty awful things to avoid inconvenience. Everything from our children's education, health, the environment, morality, etc. have been sacrificed on the alter of ease.
Thank goodness we don't have to think about what is really going on, right? Who cares if they stuff spring rolls with cardboard soaked in animal fat and chemicals? What is really in the food we eat? What is big business doing to the environment? How do certain groups benefit from the philosophies they sell?
How is all of this effecting us anyway?
So, pollution increases, our health worsens, and... we continue to use our gadgets, eat our prepackaged food, heap our waste into mother earth And that is only the physical manifestation of what is happening spiritually on a global level. We buy into destructive attitudes and behaviors; excess, self indulgence, disrespect of life and laws and materialism is served up as the caustic meal-deal du jour . The fibers of our families and society shred and our children are given a raw deal. The media and politics, encased in a fluffy spring roll... the garbage we swallow without question. Killing us softly. Because it is so much easier that way.
Why does it continue...?
One of the best analogies I have ever heard is that we can put a railing up around the cliffs edge or have an ambulance waiting at the bottom. Nobody wants to bother with the time, energy and expense of building that isn't convenient and it has a price... when we would rather go zipping by and not think of it. So here we are, in the clamor of our day, the air filled with the metaphoric screams of sirens from every corner and it is a good thing, and a convenient thing that somebody invented earphones. Drown it out, baby, and keep eating those spring rolls.
OR... start to think about it. There are good books and films being made as a backlash to our George Orwell existence. Explore and fight back against the apathy, starting with you. Because nobody will do it for you- that wouldn't be convenient or profitable. Happy hunting!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rambling thoughts on cavorting with Hindus and Sieks

I was in a Siek temple, where sitting in solemn contemplation I saw that I was the only one there who was a white Christian. Astonishing. I have learned a bit about the ten gurus and how the tenth guru became enlightened and began the Seik religion out of an older Vedic religion. Seemingly so different than my own. But deeply embedded in this religion, followed by billions, I have found a startling familiarity. Krishna and Christ have a similar story. Both of divine descent, both hunted by an evil king who, fearing a prophecy, commenced the infanticide of an entire village, hoping to nip the child god in the bud. An avatar is a divine being in human form...they come for various reasons. Krishna is loved for his beauty and guileless nature- he escaped being killed by a dark serpent, hiding in a bucket carried on somebody's head...across a parted lake. He is also known as a butter thief. To test if somebody will be forgiving and generous he steals butter to stir up will I react when my butter comes up missing?
Hmmm... And like Christians they honor virtue and family and self mastery...and respect for life, which are typical of most religions. Those are good things. It is unfortunate that there are the extreme exceptions who fuel so much anti religious fervor. Certainly, having those beliefs are more likely to help society? Right? Because the opposite doesn't sound pretty- or functional...

My friend, who is a Hindu, has said she will reject nothing that is holy. She asked me who Christ was, and I gave her the cliff note version. She decided he comfortably belonged with the other 40 million, deserving deity and joined me at my church one Sunday. It was simple. Good is good and she politely joined the worship. The Sieks are more like me, she said. They believe in the one creator God and have a code of right and wrong they live by devoutly. They worship in their temple with covered heads.
So, here I sit with a brother... a man I could never speak to, but if I could I may find quite a bit in common with, as unlikely as that may be- a white, American, Christian female and her seeming opposite. I am sure that he has feelings and thoughts about life that I have had. We aren't really prepared for that. We don't expect it and are surprised to find that others are as human as we. But, I look for it eagerly. I find it reassuring.
Somebody who did not bother to know would only see his outside and think ignorantly that they beheld the enemy. Some don't bother to sort out facts...I, too have had people assume wrongly when they go on hearsay or scanty factoids about my religion.This "enemy" welcomed me, fed me and serenely sat beside me in a place of worship. If we would all stop trying to point out how different we all are we might just like being alike.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A childhood memory

Lady Bug Hill
I was an elf in the field nearby,
I tunneled through grass and mustard
Flowers as tall as my dad.
My kingdom had hills and a pond
Full of tiny frogs
And the bigger kids were brave warriors,
Kings of Lady Bug Hill on quests.
Collecting flowers and bugs,
Sword fighting with sticks like curved bone,
Shouting with triumph.
Like Rome my happy place is gone now,
The field housed magical secrets,
Children’s summer adventures.
Housing like headstones mark where fun
And make believe lived.

When visiting Chicago...

High Rise Spiders

No natural enemies so high,

The birds don’t even fly up there.

They seem to drop out of the sky,

And cling where no one else would dare

To grow up large upon the glass,

All because we fear to fall.

Dangling washers only pass,

So unmolested still they crawl.

Nightmares tickle at my mind,

Each time I look out at the view.

Up in my tower safe I find,

No place secure, no place is true.

Doorman, locks or padded cell,

Cannot escape arachnid hell.

GRASS (Down to the root of the matter)

It bakes in the sun like a mangy, flee bitten dog, patchy, weedy and dry. The worst lawn in the neighborhood in my own front yard. How did it get there? I would prefer the lush, thick, green variety , yet there it sprawls, dying on the ground in front of my porch. There is probably some theory about people with yards like mine but I probably don’t quite fit the mold. No cars are up on blocks and rusting at the side of my house and I have a full set of teeth. I am fairly educated, well traveled, and hygienic. Yet…the evidence is there- the corpus delicti- rotting in my yard.
My defense isn’t even long enough to ramble on about. I simply do not bother with it at this point in my life. But what does that mean? What is that indicative of? It occurs to me the real issue is that certain things we think matter to us in reality do not. If I really wanted the grass as nice as my neighbor’s- it would be. But there is something I want even more…to not be bothered with it. To not have to work on it when I do not feel like it.
This train of thought leads me to self analysis. I used to be unhappy with my weight. Wanting to be thinner- while actually preferring to eat whatever I want in any quantity and avoiding rigorous exercise. But, one day, losing weight was more important- so I did. There are other things I can point out in my life that I changed or did differently when it became more important to me. Sometimes it takes just that last straw or something tragic to change our priorities. Other times it only takes self realization and a desire for something better.
I try to identify the red flags when I am not owning my choices. If I find myself dissatisfied or bothered by the same thing for a long time it is usually because I am procrastinating or letting other things take precedence. So I should either deal with it or shut up. But, why is it that we do what we do and then try to blame other things or people for where we are. Wouldn’t it be more empowering to take the situation in hand and change it or let it go- whichever the wisest thing to do is- rather than complain, feel put upon, victimized or helpless? I say, YES. It is actually easier to not be lazy and whiny- we are just afraid that being proactive will be hard.
I know that sometimes people are afraid to even commit to change something or own something- because then they would feel more guilt if they can’t or won’t follow through. They should actually fear more the consequences of doing nothing and leaving their fate in the hands of other people or of their circumstances. Or not fear at all- is messing up really worse than not trying?
Do you ever get tired of hearing other people complain about the same thing forever? Not that you don’t feel for them- but, it gets old in other people, doesn’t it? Someone upset about a job, relationship or whatever. As if they have no input. If you wish you could have a better relationship with a family member- guess what? Your wish came true! You can have a better relationship- if you want one and are willing to do what it takes. Seems hard- but it gets easier. Just think- the next time you are mad or frustrated and you are directing it elsewhere maybe you’re really misplacing your own guilt and frustration toward yourself- for being too lazy and whiny to do what it takes to improve the situation. So is it more important to be happy or be wronged? Empowered or victimized? You can tell what people cherish and want by what they do and what they do not do. Loving that misery? Triumphantly the martyr? If you claim to want happiness than prove it by being happy.
Look around you- there is proof everywhere that things can be different- so it is possible. I think one thing that makes someone a great person is what they overcome and how happy they are- not how perfect things have gone or how many blessings they have. Can we even appreciate blessings we don’t acknowledge? I saw a Holocaust survivor cry with happiness for all his blessing during an interview. Think about that.
Its true- there are some things beyond our control. But it is amazing how our attitudes can even change those things. Empowerment and positive thinking are contagious- unfortunately so are their opposites. If nothing else you always have the power to be OK with whatever the thing is that you’re bent about.
So, yes, I confess I do have a horrible yard right now. But, that’s OK. I own it. Someday it will look better- I know it can be when I see the green lawn next door, but right now I am putting other things first. So I don’t need to blame anything to take the pressure off of me- because there isn’t any pressure on me if I don’t put it there. I choose not to. The cool thing is- on any given day I could do something about it. But today I choose to write about it. Breathe out and say “Oh, well…” it feels good. Own it. Move on. Mow later.