Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Poetry

The Balinese believe we are each accompanied at birth by four invisible brothers, who come into the world with us and protect us throughout our lives. The brothers inhabit the four virtues a person needs in order to be safe and happy in life: intelligence, friendship, strength, and poetry.
-Elizabeth Gilbert

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Listening

Today I am listening to the wind blow around a tin can, reading, grateful for the silences.

Laundry Cannon

This morning I was standing in the yard with Honey when I heard a boom that sounded like a cannon firing off. We both winced. I looked around and noticed my neighbors laundry basket full of clothes upright in the parking lot. Then I saw my neighbor drop another basket off his third floor porch, splitting the plastic. He drove off with three full baskets. End of the year laundry.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Age

The forties are the old age of youth and the fifties are the youth of old age. -Edward Hoagland

Monday, December 22, 2008

Peace Town

Nelsa Curbelo, a 66-year-old former nun and schoolteacher, took on the toughest young criminals in Ecuador’s most violent city—and won them over with love.
"Everything in society tells us to distrust others. I think it's the other way around. We need to profoundly trust in those around us, in their potential and in who they are," the grandmotherly Nelsa Curbelo Cora says. In 1999, she walked into the violence infested city of Guayaquil, Ecuador to BE peace. Through her grassroots work, many of Guayaquil's most dangerous gangs have disarmed, agreed to abandon violence--and now work together to rebuild their community!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

It is snowing rapid tiny snowflakes and I am baking tiny round sourdough pumpkin raisin breads.

Apes

It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.
H. L. Mencken

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow

The snow is gorgeous and still falling. It looks like whipped cream weighing down the branches of the evergreens. Neighborhood sounds are muffled.

Dark Dude

I spent the night reading Dark Dude, Oscar Hijuelos' new novel! I recommend it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Time

The seat of my office chair, in use for twenty five years, is wearing out, my office rug is wearing out, and I am wearing out. As the Chinese say, "It's later than you think."
-H.L. Mencken

The World

The world is always ending; the exact date depends on when you came into it.
-Arthur Miller

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Poet Mary Oliver

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver

When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
-Mary Oliver

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dream

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.
-Vincent Van Gogh

Ouija

A woman came into GiGi's Woonsocket shop and bought one of my favorite paintings called Ouija! What a great feeling! I feel appreciated and understood.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Titles

Mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, friend, these titles don't work for me. Bill points out that I am unusual because I am not tribal. He's right but I am communal. In my world people are people, not roles. It may be awkward for the folks who need the definition of a role to get their bearings but this is not how I navigate.

Remember

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
-Vincent Van Gogh

Deed

A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.
-Vincent Van Gogh

Dare

One must work and dare if one really wants to live.
-Vincent Van Gogh

Inner World

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.
-Gandhi

The Exotic

Brave Combo has a new CD just in time for the holidays. It's called The Exotic Rocking Life! Check it out!! Dance, dance, dance!

Marsupials

I have always been fascinated by marsupials. Yesterday I found out more on Wikipedia.
Marsupials' reproductive systems differ markedly from those of their placental mammal cousins (Placentalia). Females have two vaginas, both of which open externally through one orifice but lead to different compartments within the uterus. Males generally have a two-pronged penis, which corresponds to the females' two vaginae. The penis is used only for discharging semen into females, and is separate from the urinary tract. Both sexes possess a cloaca, which is connected to a urogenital sac used to store waste before expulsion.

Pregnant females develop a kind of yolk sac in their wombs, which delivers nutrients to the embryo. Marsupials give birth at a very early stage of development (about 4–5 weeks); after birth, newborn marsupials crawl up the bodies of their mothers and attach themselves to a nipple, which is located inside the marsupium. There they remain for a number of weeks, attached to the nipple. The offspring are eventually able to leave the marsupium for short periods, returning to it for warmth and nourishment.

Clean The Machine

Walking many miles and sleeping many hours brings poetry back into my soul.

Fruit Crate Labels

Dover books published a book of fruit crate labels. The graphics are so inspiring. Typography meets illustration with a bit of humor.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Serenading Skaters

I walked Honey through town and saw the skaters in the park. I want to serenade them with my accordion on the huge empty stage overlooking the rink! The parks department loves the idea. I'll have to convince Bill it isn't too cold at 23 degrees. I'm not sure our instruments would forgive us.

These long nights are perfect for baking and cooking. Last night I made chocolate pudding pie in a whole wheat crust. Tonight, apple pie.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Light Mood

This time of year I often become a Grinch. My mood usually descends in November and hangs low until January. But so far my big walks in the daylight have kept me from despair.

Body Hug

I love wearing leotards and tights. I love the way it squeezes me all over. Body girdle. Body hug. I feel like leaping and dancing as I take out the trash and wash my dishes. I do!

Hoop Letter

Last May I wrote a letter to the family on the reservoir, a house we walk by every time we walk through Blackstone. I noticed that they had a basketball hoop laying down next to their trash cans for years. I asked them in my letter if they were interested in parting with it. One day last month when I was walking Honey the woman who lives there came rushing out and said I got your letter, my son and I discussed it, you can have our basketball hoop, Merry Christmas! I thanked her and told her we'll use it! Bill and Craig picked it up and put it on the roof of the car and set it up. Now it's freestanding in our small yard. Honey loves to play she traps the ball and bites it and barks a lot. It's a great way for all of us to have fun breathing fresh air!

Appetite

I have been helping Honey transcend her queasiness by taking her for a three mile walk. When we get home she is enthusiastic about eating. Ironically my medicine for my lungs made me ravenous and so the walk helps me find my way back to center. I have great sympathy for people who have to take medications that alter their natural rhythms.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Shadow

We saw the documentary Inheritance last night on WGBH public TV on POV Point Of View. It's a must see. Here's a description of it from the WGBH web site:
Imagine watching Schindler's List and knowing that the sadistic Nazi camp commandant played by Ralph Fiennes was your father. Monika Hertwig (shown), the daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth, has spent her life in the shadow of her father's sins. Inheritance follows Hertwig as she seeks out Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, one of the few living eyewitnesses to Goeth's unspeakable brutality. The women's raw, emotional meeting unearths terrible truths and lingering questions about how the actions of parents can continue to ripple through generations.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Warm Wind

Sleep is medicine. I had two nights of 12 hours of sleep and woke in good spirits. I am baking a raisin pumpkin bundt cake. The wind is blowing a warm 60 degree air and a rainy mist. Honey ate her rice mixture food out of my hand. I am ready to walk the loop in my yellow overall lobster rain pants. For the first time in weeks I am not ravenous. And for this I am grateful.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Gray Day

Today the cold is painful and I am not welcoming the gray sky. I am in the pink cozy chair covered in a red blanket with a fresh book of poems. I keep thinking about sewing heavy curtains to keep out the cold. I'm moving into my Winter mind.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Metaphysics Anonymous

A storefront mission in a slum
Where we come together at night
To confess our lifelong addiction
To truth beyond appearances,
Of which there are clues everywhere,

Or so we tell ourselves.
Estranged from family and friends,
Busy tuning pianos on Saturn,
Looking for a moonbeam in a cucumber,
If you were to ask us.

The unreality of us being here,
An additional quandry we are cautioned
Not to bother our heads with
As we wait with eyes lowered
For coffee and cookies to be served.

-Charles Simic

The Music of Words

I love the music of words and the colors of foods. My orange pumpkin bread is decorated with polka dots of magenta cranberries!

I played my first Polka, on my accordion and it made me smile.

Contagious Mood

...a cheery next-door neighbor has more effect on your happiness than your spouse’s mood.
-The New York Times

“Your happiness depends not just on your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people you don’t even know who are one, two and three degrees removed from you,” said Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and social scientist at Harvard Medical School

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday

This morning, the first snow.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Neighborhood Artist

Yesterday while Honey and I were out walking we ran into Father Onisie who invited me to his woodcarving studio, in the neighborhood mill building on our street. It was fun to see the carvings he is working on and the art made by some of his friends. I have always been a huge fan of religious art of all cultures even though I did not grown up with any religion. Maybe that is why I love it so much.

Bare Trees And Sunshine

I love Bulgarian folk singing. It sends chills up my spine transporting me to a forest of bare trees and wolves.

I love bare trees and sunshine and the long shadows of Winter.

Body Wisdom

When I run and dance my body wisdom sharpens and I trust it. I am not a head propped on top of my body. I am a body with knowledge integrated into my knees thighs calves abdomen belly chest arms face and fingers.

Hello Ladies

Last night I went up to Wright's Dairy Farm to say "Hello Ladies" to the pregnant cows in the maternity barn, and pick up some milk. The sun was setting and the bakers were whipping out Christmas cakes behind the frosty bakery window. On my way home the Court Street Bridge was lit up with red and green holiday banners and little white lights.

I got to play my accordion all night at a friends musical birthday party. We even played a polka!!!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Towards The Light

The dawn sky is amazing this morning. I have been going to bed at 8PM and getting up early. I love to wake in predawn darkness and know my day is moving towards the light. Yesterday Honey and I jogged and she ate her food heartily and I got rosy cheeks.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sunshine Walk

I just walked Honey through downtown Woonsocket I saw my favorite Beacon School kids painting on The Cakery window! Honey and I said hello and kept walking down South Main Street all the way to Pound Hill Road in North Smithfield. We walked to Phoenix Rising Horse Farm going around the muddy horse trails. We met lots of dogs and then we walked home via Providence Street. I took a detour through River Island park so Honey could drink water while I examined the skating rink. When we got home I unearthed my ice skates! Free skating every day! C'mon down! There's a guy on St. Barnabe Street that sharpens skates in his basement workshop. His place is like a museum. He has autographed pictures on the wall of all of the champion Woonsocket hockey players! He also has some of the first skates ever made! Going there is almost more fun than skating.

Time and Space

Time and space have no boundaries when you are communing with a good book. You can have tea with Tolstoi and dinner with Dostoevsky! I love the book Episodes by Pierre Delattre. Reading it inspired me to write. Right now I am reading Brenda Ueland's book, Me. I prefer memoirs and letters over fiction any day except some fiction feels so authentic it captivates me the way honest memoirs do. The Fire Eaters by Bill Cobb is a book I reread every few years. That book changed my life along with The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. But in general I gravitate towards the memoir or books of letters because my imagination is wild enough. I am always eager to read honest writing.

Grateful

I am very happy tonight because Honey ate her food! She had been disinterested yesterday due to the antibiotics for Lyme Disease. We had rehearsal last night so when we got home at one am she was off schedule. This morning we were coaxing her with our home cooked Hills recipe kidney diet prescribed by our beloved vet of thirty years, Dr. Peter Belinsky. Apparently Chocolate Labs are prone to kidney disease aggravated by Lyme Disease.

Last week I found out what my high school friends have been up to all these years. It's fascinating to discover many of us are doing exactly what we loved back then; writing, directing, acting, painting, playing music. Vivian Schiller is head of NPR! David Warren is director in LA for Desperate Housewives, Walton Ford is a very famous artist in museums and galleries and collections around the world. Eve Sicular has two thriving Klezmer bands in Manhattan. These are all friends from grade school and high school. It's so exciting to see how they have blossomed over 30 years. I am so proud of them. Reconnecting with childhood friends has been one of the highlights of my year.

So many of my childhood friends suffered outrageous abuse. How is it that we did not end up committing crimes of rage and end up in prison? I am extraordinarily lucky that I have had the courage to look at my upbringing over many decades and continue to heal through writing, painting, and performing music. Now I make my life about what I want it to be!! I wanted to be a singing and dancing actress (and rockette) in 4th grade. I am closer to that than ever before! I love giving back, celebrating life by using my gifts.

Playing bari sax and singing are the best medicines for asthmatic lungs but I still have to take my inhaler a few times daily (albuterol) and low doses of prednisone to counter the inflammation.