Saturday, September 30, 2017

Easy Spaghetti Carbonara

In LOVE Again

We just fell in love with a dog at Dog Orphans in Douglas. We played with him for a few hours. I couldn't keep my hands off of him! It was Love at first wiggle. He is a quiet handsome shiny muscular black Labrador. He was a stray from Georgia. The Humane Society named him Milton. He has a huge brow and an adorable ass. He's built like a tank with short shiny fur. He had a fuzzy magenta toy in his mouth when we saw him. He has a Labrador shine and wiggle, and Lab feet and Pitbull forehead and muscular ass. He has airplane ears. He was mellow and adorable. He's all black with splash of white on chest and pepper speckled toes on his right foot. We played fetch with him in the courtyard and he added the beige ball to the magenta fuzzy already in his mouth. "He runs like a tank. He's built like Popeye," I said. "Let's call him Romeo if we are chosen," I said on the way home. The kind lady said we'll be notified by Tuesday. How will I wait that long?

Hole in my Soul

There's a hole in my soul that can only be filled by a dog.

Michael Fine

Health professionals also need to take a knee. We also have a moral obligation to object, to demand a health care system that is personal, rational, affordable and just instead of the wealth extraction system we've got. Maybe it's time to for us to wear our white coats backward. Certainly, it is time for us to stand up, speak out, and act up together, and bring health care profiteering to its knees.

Dr. Michael Fine, MD, Writer, Activist

Last Night

Last night I stepped out to cover my salvaged wooden table with a blue tarp and a beautiful black shiny cat came over to say hello. My husband rushed me inside before I got any ideas. Looking for a new dog and a cat shows up!

James Booker: Please Send me Someone to Love

Whole album

Dog God Rescue

I am dying not having a dog. Patience is not my virtue. I have filled out applications to many dog rescues and now it's time to hang on. Today it's raining and the pool is closed and I am already climbing the walls.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Two Dog Memoirs

Suicide Season is Approaching

Nothing but writing rests me

“It is very funny, but you do not always have to see people to love them. Just think about it, and tell me if it isn't so.”
― Kate Douglas Wiggin, The Bird's Christmas Carol

“There are certain narrow, umimaginative, and autocratic old people who seem to call out the most mischievous and sometimes the worst traits in children.”
― Kate Douglas Wiggin, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

“Nothing but writing rests me; only then do I seem completely myself!”
― Kate Douglas Wiggin

“There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”
― Kate Douglas Wiggin, New Chronicles of Rebecca

“The soul grows into lovely habits as easily as into ugly ones, and the moment a life begins to blossom into beautiful words and deeds, that moment a new standard of conduct is established, and your eager neighbors look to you for a continuous manifestation of the good cheer, the sympathy, the ready wit, the comradeship, or the inspiration, you once showed yourself capable of. Bear figs for a season or two, and the world outside the orchard is very unwilling you should bear thistles.”
― Kate Douglas Wiggin, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

“Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers, and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world.”
― Kate Douglas Wiggin

“Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility.”
― Kate Douglas Wiggin

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hunting for my next Dog Friend

The pool was closed when I got there. So I headed home and stopped at the dog pound. I had a nice visit with animal control officers Tiffany and Doris. They gave me a print out of all of the local shelters with on site dogs.

Truth Stranger than Fiction

Half a Life Without a Dog

Red Clay Ramblers

Queen of Polka Dots

Dog Love

I am part of the pack of canines, I need to walk sniff and run in order feel okay in this world. I need dog love to fill the Swiss Cheese holes in my heart. My daily dozen hours of solitude doesn't hurt so much when peppered with DOG LOVE.


I feel so empty without my Lily.

My Bicycle

My bicycle is serving as my friendly companion.

Joyce Glassman

"Artists are nourished more by each other than by fame or by the public. To give one's work to the world is an experience of peculiar emptiness. The work goes away from the artist into a void, like a message stuck into a bottle and flung into the sea."
Joyce Glassman Johnson

It's the birthday of writer Joyce Johnson (books by this author), born Joyce Glassman in New York City (1935). She ran away to Greenwich Village when she was still a teenager, and got to know people at the center of the emerging Beat Generation. Her troubled, two-year affair with Jack Kerouac is recounted in her memoir, Minor Characters, A Young Woman's Coming of Age in the Beat Orbit of Jack Kerouac (1999), which won a National Book Critics Circle Award. She has also published Doors Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters 1957–1958, the letters she and Kerouac exchanged during their relationship.
- Writer's Almanac

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ram Dass

“If you think you are free, you can’t escape…”

Posted September 26, 2017

You realize as you start to come into awareness that you are experiencing other things as if you are them, rather than in a dualistic way, as if you are separate from them. Prior to experiencing that plane of existence, when you’re still seeing it as separate, you experience things like sympathy, kindness, pity, caring, however these are all dualistic concepts, and the term compassion is something else all together.

The term compassion manifests when you come to the plane where you see everything is all part of one thing. You start to ask, “Well whose suffering is it anyway? Whose helping is it anyway?” And the whole idea that, “I’ll help you,” is seen as nonsense. It’s like the left hand is caught, and the right hand pulls it out and the left hand turns to the right and says, “Thank you!” It doesn’t work that way, because they’re both part of the same body. Who are you thanking? You’re thanking yourself, so that on that plane, you realize it’s not ‘her’ suffering, or ‘his’ suffering, or ‘their’ suffering. It’s one level, you go up, and it’s ‘OUR’ suffering.

Then as it gets depersonalized, it’s just ‘the’ suffering, and out of the identity with the suffering comes the compassion.

Awareness arises in relationship to the suffering; it’s part and parcel of the whole package. There’s nothing personal in this at all, and in that sense, you have become compassion instead of “doing compassionate acts,” instead of being somebody that “does compassionate acts.”

There is no longer being compassionate, you are compassion.

It’s a very tricky place we’re talking about. I mean, what I’m experiencing in my life as I slip in and out of these planes in helter-skelter fashion, I will admit, is taking my awareness into a place where stuff is happening around me all the time. I’m not doing anything. I hear the Tao statement, “One does nothing, and yet nothing is left undone.” One does nothing, and nothing is left undone.

What I want to say to you is to remember that the game is about becoming free of suffering, and if you’re going to free another from suffering, and this is what has haunted me, and spurred me, is that you yourself cannot be caught in it, or you end up getting them caught like you’re caught.

Like if you’re trying to help somebody see through the way in which the cultural mythology has had us in a conspiracy of agreement to define reality a certain way, you’ve got to be free of that in order to be able to know you’re in it.

Gurdjieff, the Russian philosopher said, “If you’re going to escape from prison, the first thing you must appreciate is that you are in one.”

If you think you are free, you can’t escape – do you hear that predicament? It’s a bizarre one.

-Ram Dass

Whole Life

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
― Roger A. Caras

“If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.”
― Roger A. Caras

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”
― Charles de Gaulle

Pure Love

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
― Johnny Depp

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”
― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog

Dogs are our link to paradise

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
― Charles M. Schulz

“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”
― Marilyn Monroe

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”
― Mark Twain

The Love of Labradors

I have a thing for the Labrador. I tell people I am part Labrador myself. They love exercise! They love FOOD, WATER, PEOPLE, and all animals.

Feel the Loss

It's inspiring to swim laps with 87 year old swimmers! Lest I think I am old. I might need to alternate my swim days with bicycling or running or long walks.

Sammy-cat is enjoying being center stage. His favorite toy is a frayed bootlace. He is a bird cat. He actually purred when I picked him up!

I can't really cheer up, Lily was my best friend.

My best advice to myself is feel the loss deeply. Think about what she gave to people.

Life without Lily

Last night we moved the dining room table so my husband could climb the ladder to hold the ceiling up with duct tape. After cutting strips and attaching about 25 strips we were done. When we moved the big round oak table back in place we saw Lily's favorite squeaky purple ball. Bill picked it up and squeezed it. We both cried hard. "Let's go for a walk anyway," I said. And so we did. We walked over to Saint Germain and said hello, and walked by Poop Alley and through Bouley Field. "Our life has huge holes in it now," I said. "She was perfect, she loved everyone and all dogs. I don't know if I will ever heal the sadness of losing her."

Monday, September 25, 2017

Comes Floating Back

“People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.”
― James Baldwin

Then You Read

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”
― James Baldwin

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
― James Baldwin

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
― James Baldwin

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be”
― James Baldwin

“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
― James Baldwin

“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”
― James Baldwin

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”
― James Baldwin

“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
― James Baldwin


“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. ”
― James Baldwin

“People don't have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears - not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.”
― James Baldwin, Another Country

Love and Danger

“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
― James Baldwin

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Baldwin, James

“People can't, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“You write in order to change the world ... if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

I had the urge to quote James Baldwin to the headless woman.

“To accept one’s past – one’s history – is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.”
― James Baldwin

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
― James Baldwin

Urban Flower

“My favorite urban flower, the baseball box score.”
― Roger Angell, The Summer Game


“This was a new recognition that perfection is admirable but a trifle inhuman, and that a stumbling kind of semi-success can be much more warming. Most of all, perhaps, these exultant yells for the Mets were also yells for ourselves, and came from a wry, half-understood recognition that there is more Met than Yankee in every one of us. I knew for whom that foghorn blew; it blew for me.”
― Roger Angell, The Summer Game


“What the dead don't know piles up, though we don't notice it at first. They don't know how we're getting along without them, of course, dealing with the hours and days that now accrue so quickly, and, unless they divined this somehow in advance, they don't know that we don't want this inexorable onslaught of breakfasts and phone calls and going to the bank, all this stepping along, because we don't want anything extraneous to get in the way of what we feel about them or the ways we want to hold them in mind.”
― Roger Angell

Cowboy Breakfast!

Toast, ham, garbanzo beans, eggs, broccoli, homemade granola + coffee. Giddy-up!

Hot Head: Short Hair

I cut my hair again. It needs it every 3 weeks but on those third weeks I trim it daily. My hair is 1/8th of an inch long. Women tell me I have guts. I tell them I overheat every time I have an emotion which is 88 times an hour. At this moment my eyebrow hair is longer than the hair on my head.

trapped by their own lies

Mental Fitness

Any older wannabe runners out there, I say do it. Start slow running is as much about physical fitness as much as mental fitness.
Cathryn, started running at age 65

William Faulkner

“When I began the book, I had no plan at all. I wasn’t even writing a book. Previous to it I had written three novels, with progressively decreasing ease and pleasure, and reward or emolument. … One day it suddenly seemed as if a door had clapped silently and forever to between me and all publishers’ addresses and booklists and I said to myself, Now I can write. Now I can just write.”
- William Faulkner

Begin Again

When you get out from under wanting to be approved of, or admired suddenly there's space in your heart and mind to begin your life.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Baking Calzones

The oven is on 500 degrees and I am baking spinach calzones and sourdough rolls. The kitchen shades are pulled and the AC is on. It's 90 degrees out.

Local Farm

We drove to the BIG APPLE orchard early this morning and picked up a half bushel of apples, green beans and broccoli before the multitudes arrived.

I am still in shock living without Lily.


I did not have love from my family this is why I have always adopted animals. They are my true family.

Apple Pie, Peach Pie

Today is baking day and it's going to be 90 degrees!

I am vacuuming and rearranging the furniture. This is what happens when there's been a death in the family.

Run, Cycle, Walk, Swim: Tips from Olympic Coaches


I've had my radio turned off for a year due to disgusting corrupt national and local politics. I've discovered that I don't miss it.

I have plenty of music and a spacious garden growing in my head.

Zeynep Tufekci

People who use the platform to keep in touch with loved ones may forget that the site makes its money by serving as a conduit for whatever messages people with money want to push at us. You’ll rarely hear the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, mention that when he offers lofty statements about how his company makes the world more open and connected and brings us closer together.

While it does help us communicate and stay in touch, it also does much more: Facebook has become the go-to site for anyone hoping to reach a big audience — whether to sell shoes or to sell politics, and it’s become profitable by doing so. That is because most of its systems are either largely or entirely automated. This lets the site scale up — it is up to two billion monthly users now — and keeps costs down.

Facebook also saves money through community policing, relying heavily on its users to do the legwork of flagging inappropriate content. Policies are enforced unevenly. For example, many people use Facebook pseudonyms, which violate the site’s “real names only” policy. But whether such users see their accounts suspended often depends on whether they’re reported by other users. This means those using pseudonyms to protect their identities while posting about human rights violations in repressive regimes and are flagged by members of those regimes may face consequences for breaking the rule, while others go unnoticed.

Human employees are expensive, and algorithms are cheap.

Tehya Sky

Why Wanting Doesn't Work & Desire Does

Posted September 24, 2013
Ram Dass on Want vs. Desire

by Tehya Sky

Receiving cannot happen in the vessel of wanting.

This is our meditation right now.

Everything has a vibration. When you embody the energy of wanting, the vehicle of your being takes a particular shape. The shape of wanting. And in the shape of wanting, nothing can be truly received. Love cannot fit into this shape, prosperity cannot fit into this shape, peace cannot fit into this shape.

To truly receive, you must be formless. You must be open to the energy you are calling in, and then be able to receive and hold it. To be one with it. Only when you are one with “something” are you truly receiving it, only then are you truly intimate with it and only then can you truly know it, truly feel it. Only then can you dance with this energy, be moved by this energy, and only then can the chemistry of you plus this energy be revealed.

If you are wanting another person, there is no space for the other to meet you. There is only a tense vehicle of anxiety through which the stream of truth and fulfillment cannot flow. If you are wanting to feel different than you feel, there is no acceptance. And when there is no acceptance, there is only resistance and therefore, no possibility of transformation. There is no intimacy with the moment, no journey to unwrap the gifts.

And who can truly want? If there is nobody there — no person inside the person — who is wanting? Your pure essence can only accept, and the essence of your soul can only be inspired. The fountain of this inspiration overflows into the purity of desire.

Pure desire is divine fuel that attracts that which you are desiring. Its song floats towards its resonance like gorgeous dancing smoke, luring its focus into manifestation. When your mind is too involved and attached, it is in wanting, which is very different. When the energy is the pure passion of your soul, detached and in surrender of what will be, it is desire. Desire lights, desire is a microphone to God. It is the primary feeling that triggers manifestation, and its presence is a mandatory ingredient in alchemy.

Do you want your life to conform to the fictions of your mind, or does moving into divine openness feel more fulfilling, more true? Here is the rest of the meditation for you: Relax as you watch the burnt branches of wanting snap in their futility. Breathe deeply as the old season cycles out. Enjoy the precious feeling of opening as space clears for the warm golden rush of desire to carry your visions to realization. Every moment is an invitation home.

-Excerpt from A Ceremony Called Life, Tehya’s newly released book via SoundsTrue


Ram Dass - Tehya Sky

Tehya Sky is a metaphysical coach and healing facilitator to people all over the globe. She travels the world holding the “somatic prayer” workshop Dusting Off the Magic Wand, where movement merges with prayer, writing and ritual for a deep melting into our truest, most powerful heartbeat.

She is the founder of Way of the Heart, a practice focused on bringing our energy down from the head and home to the heart, remembering how to listen and rediscovering just how juicy we truly are. She is also the author of a new book ”A Ceremony Called Life: Spirituality Demystified, Deconstructed and Turned On.”

Fried Eggs and Leftover Chili

Some mornings after my coffee I need a cowboy breakfast. This is one of those mornings. I fried 2 eggs and heated up the leftover spinach pizza topping and leftover chili combined. Perfect. Maybe later I'll make peach pie and calzones. What's a weekend for?

Remembering Lily

One more day

When we drove to the vet to the last Friday appt before closing time we hit two clusters of traffic and then the car coughed and died next to the Braga bridge. A dangerous spot. Cars were zooming by shaking the little 1995 Honda. Now I feared for our safety. I had a sturdy 2 gallon jug of water and began feeding lily water from the large plastic lid. She was drinking it! Amen. We called the state police and triple a and told them we were in a dangerous spot. We waited. We called the vet and said our car died. We'll try for tomorrow.

Waiting in the blazing sun buffetted by the zooming cars, felt like a very long time. When the triple a guy arrived he put out a cone and directed traffic away from us. Then the flat bed tow truck arrived. We were parked against the guard rail. I was afraid to step out towards the cars until the triple A man assured me we could do it safely. Bill and I carried Lily making a sling from our purple towel, stepping into the road between the flat and the guardrail and then up three steps into the air conditioned cab seat. Amen. When we got inside I was relieved. Lily was the happiest I'd seen her all day. She was loving it. She was on our laps and Derick the Providence based triple A tow truck guy was very kind. We have our dog, we were on the way to the vet, sorry about the dog hair.

A car accident happened behind us just as we were leaving the spot.

We came home relieved and giddy glad to be alive exhausted drank 2 beers and ate dinner.
In the morning Lily was energetic and happy. Going out on a good note we drove back to the vet. The tumor was bigger. We knew what was best. She was so strong and athletic even until the last moment.
We will miss her.

The car started up fine and the mechanics so we decided it was divine intervention. We got one more day.

Lily was so strong in heart and lungs it took extra dose of tranquilizer. That was sad.

Would you like the ashes? no I have plenty of hair to remember her.

Her big stretches.

Be kind, keep wagging, walking swimming and sniffing and do not be afraid. Do a happy dance when your friends come visit but don't hump the bed.

Climbing over her in the kitchen while making coffee
Rushing home to let her out.
I was her servant and glad to be. She came first.

She was my medium.

SAD NEWS: Lily passed away Saturday. Bone Cancer. We've been grieving since Tuesday when we got the news thinking she had a pesky sprained ankle. It was a tumor. She was my best teacher guru and lover of life. So I am grieving and thinking about how many lives she touched and what a gift she was to all. We stitched a community together. I've been on bicycle making the rounds. We're all terminal on this bus, The Titanic! The question is how do we want to go down. Fiddling and dancing or racing across the boat pulling our hair out.

Beloved Lily, the Dalai Lama of Woonsocket.

I lost one of my dearest friends yesterday. My beloved Lily the Labrador Amazon long legged beauty friend to all lover of life and people and all dogs Lover of every moment. She was my best teacher. When people stop me to meet her I'd tell them she was my spiritual leader, personal trainer, friend to all Ambassador to Woonsocket. Her meaty paws on athletic frame dictated the journey each day although we both liked routine routes for checking in on our neighbors. She was a gentle horse in a canine supermodel body. she was my vehicle. My transport though the world. We walked everywhere and everyone bent the rules inviting her in: city hall, post office, and schools, "Is she a service dog? No but she is to me. We weathered the recession, loneliness shared solitude early morning and most of all we created and wove and knitted a community one 'wag and greet' at a time. I could tell by her body language when she was itching for her walk and she always convinced to keep on sniffing walking greeting playing outside.

Where are you going? Wherever she wants to take me.

How best can I honor her?

Put on my running sneakers and face the world in her honor. Be the athlete, friend to all with as much courage kindness and grace as Lily

Today I started walking and had to get my bicycle. I rode to all of the places I usually walk and saw all the folks I was missing the past few weeks.

I saw a baby opossum when the dumpster guy lifted the dumpster. Did you see that? Yes I did he said smiling. He crawled back into his apartment! The hole next to the rock. I thought it was a rat until I saw his cute pink nose!

On Tuesday night we took Lily to see Dr. Belinsky at Sakonnet Animal Hospital in Tiverton RI. And he noticed the bump was not swelling but a mass. He took an X-ray and could tell by the negative that it was bone cancer. She's in pain but hiding it well. He gave us pain medication for her to take and said he wanted to see her in 2 weeks to see how it was progressing. On the way home we realized the gravity of his diagnosis. The next day she chilled out. Thursday the walk through the back yard was not satisfying her. She pulled me down the street to the park. Coincidentally Sylvia and her terrier Lucy were sitting outside. We sat together. It was a beautiful moment. Sylvia asked me How's Lily's leg. I said. I can't talk about it. Sylvia said I understand. We chatted about a few things and in her 80 year old way asked me again, Hows Lily's leg. I said I can't talk about it. She said I understand. and we chatted some more. Then she asked again and I looked at her and said. It's not good, she has a bone cancer and the mass on her leg is a tumor where the growth is rapidly spreading. Sylvia's eyes teared up and she looked away. But she's having a great day today and she dragged me to the park. I'd rather she have a great last day than a bunch of horrible ones. Sylvia wiped her eyes, agreeing. I don't know what I'd do without Lucy, she said. I know, I've always felt the same way about Lily. Hey but we're here together right not and this is a beautiful moment. You're alive I'm alive and Lily and Lucy are happy. We're all terminal on this bus. We're all on the Titanic together. Are we going to go down dancing and fiddling or go down panicked, racing from one end of the boat to the other. I said.

"I'm not going to die, I'm in denial, " Sylvia said. You may want to talk to Pastor Gene about that.

Our pets are our teachers, gurus spiritual advisors. Love them, love people, love life like there's no tomorrow.

If I die tomorrow will you take care of Lucy. Absolutely. I'll be Lucy's Godmother.
And you know where the key is, just come in and take her, she said.

But you are not dying tomorrow. I'm taking you to Champs diner.

We can buy a muffin and linger all day, Sylvia said
My treat
Oh then I won't buy a muffin.
Sylvia, I have a gift certificate a friend gave me in December for my birthday.

Let's use it!
We laughed.

When we learned my Grandfather was dying my step-father scolded me for weeping.

"He's not dead yet!" he shamed me. I have begun the grieving process after last nights diagnosis of my best canine friend.

When I was 5 I would curl up with our Scottish Deerhound Teddie and whimper hoping she would claim me as her pup. Nothing has changed. I have been looking for my true mother in all of my canines.

I'm a Jewish Labrador, just like my Brighton Beach grandmother: I like food people and swimming!

For the past two summers I have used the back room as my office. "My summerhouse" I said to a friend who stopped by to drop off a book. It's messy and chaotic with books papers and chairs and a lawn mower. In the center of the room is my white enamel table serving as my desk. It's a small room and on the ground floor perfect for my older dog to reach the yard. There's a big air conditioner for quick cooling my dog and me, and the garden hose and clothesline are right there.

The past two nights allergies allergy medicine and anxiety over Lily and then tears over Lily woke me up. She has bone cancer. Her right rear leg has a bone cancer tumor and the prognosis is not good. We were at our beloved vet's office last night.

This morning I clipped the leash on her and we walked through the yard. Lily pulled She begged me to step out on the street so we did. "Okay we'll go round the block" I thought. On the way home I noticed my neighbor, on Elbow street had planted about 16 sunflower heads along the granite wall in the park in front of his house. He was walking with his young daughter across the grass. "It's beautiful" I said.
"Why should I make just my garden beautiful, when I can make the world beautiful?"
"Absolutely," I said, "This should be engraved in stone, on an archway entrance to the park. Can I quote you?"
"Yes you can," he said turning the corner. He told me that he once owned a flower shop in Apponaug RI.

This is what Lily brings to my life. It's because of Lily I stop and meet all of my neighbors. Because of Lily I can feel and give love. She is my medium. She leads my trail in the world.

She is our City's canine ambassador, always loving to all people and all dogs. Her visits have a way of always cheering people up., making the world more friendly. She willingly takes a bath and loves going to the vet. Her only adversary is shiny polished linoleum. She's never minded vacuum cleaners, fireworks or thunder. If you obstruct her path she will refrain from passing and wait until you move the broom or chair.

She loves the library because she knows I'll be right back. She quietly waits and gets pet by everyone. She's our library lion.

Every day is travel just walking out the door, with Lily.

This is part of life. This is the risk of love. Love and keep on loving. Trust the universe will continue to provide opportunities for love and companionship.

Not having a canine companion is like opting to live without gravity. I did not take Lily for granted. Every day was the best day of our lives. Wind snow sleet rain we were athletes together addicted to the long walks. "I see you everywhere," the public works guy says raking the field. "She demands it, and it's good for me too. She's my personal trainer."
"You know everyone," Sylvia says. Lily introduces me. "You're the dog lady," a woman said to me online at Joblot. "Yes I am." Most people don't recognize me without her. I don't recognize myself without her. "She's my guru, my spiritual advisor," I'll say to anyone who will listen.

She is ten an a half this month. I adopted her when she was one and a half years old. She was at the humane society and had been given up twice. We were both refugees from Westchester.

When I complain about all of my flaky friends who can't make plans I realize my best friend is always at the ready. We go out and walk the city and harvest some sidewalk stories. Lily turned me into a writer and a friend to the city.

I am crying because she has been a perfect friend to me and I fear I will have a gaping hole in my life forever in the shape of her. But I have to trust the swirl of change and hope that I can love again.

We got through the recession, depressions, winters, loneliness, the crack house, parking lot PTSD,

Is she a service dog?

All of my dogs have visited me in my dreams.

Building a Life After Lily

Maybe I will walk the city at dawn in a red hat. Maybe I will roller-skate through town and stop for coffee at Barbara's diner. I LOVE my City of WOONSOCKET and downtown is the energy that re-charges my batteries. In the late afternoon I love to walk to Harris Pond and see the sun set over the water.

Experience the Experience

I don’t write a poem to express an experience. I write it to experience the experience.
-Eavan Boland

A Little Brave

“I think it’s a pretty good rule not to tell what a thing is about until it’s finished. If you do, you always seem to lose some of it. It never quite belongs to you so much again.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

When an aspiring writer once wrote him a letter asking for advice, F. Scott Fitzgerald responded: “You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn […] Literature, even light literature, will accept nothing less from the neophyte. It is one of those professions that wants the ‘works.’ You wouldn’t be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave.”

Secrets to a Single Cup


Maybe I will be dog-less for a while. Maybe I will shower my attention on my cat and my bicycle and sewing machine. Maybe I will assemble a fish tank. Maybe I will never adopt again. Maybe Lily was too perfect for me to have another dog and not feel the comparison. Time will tell.

Motion Cheers me Up

I treat my seasonal depression by walking outside. It works! The scientists have discovered daylight is very good for the brain and to treat bipolar depression. Swimming is something I love and I think of it as similar to Tai Chi or yoga but in the water. It only costs one dollar to swim at CCRI pool if I go between 10AM-11AM. The pool is huge and clean and there are lifeguards and nice people there. As long as I am in motion I can cheer up!

Junko Ogawa

The Emptiness is a Teacher Too!

When I got up yesterday I was hoping to find the black and white dress for a dollar but it was gone. I was hoping to find the black and white dog but he was gone. I took a long walk with Natsuyo to Edgewater Drive and afterwards I decided I need to calm down and feel the loss of Lily. The emptiness is a teacher too.

We have overripe and bruised peaches that need to be saved! We have bread dough that is ready to become calzones or loaves.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

Home-Concocted Spinach Pizza

I just made semolina sour dough spinach pizza. I greased two medium-large sized cast iron skillets and spread the dough out thinly. I let the dough rise while the oven was preheating to 500 degrees.

For the topping I chopped and simmered in olive oil; capers, green olives, 3lbs chopped spinach, raisins, hot sauce, red onion, ham, grated Parmesan cheese, two heads of freshly chopped garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.

I baked the olive oil coated crusts first and then added the topping. We ate the pizza slices with ice cold sips of Pinot Grigio and my neighbor Robin's garden tomatoes and cukes drizzled in balsamic vinegar.

The topping is super intense. Perfect over a cracker-thin crust.

Demented Valentine to the World

Rare And Strange Instruments
The Stranierofono is a PVC bass clarinet played via a keyboard (yes he made it!) on an accordion, for a one-man band performance, by his creator Mark Di Giuseppe. His website
More about Rare and Strange Instrum

Soaked and Roasted Garbanzo Beans
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Spicy Roasted Garbanzos This recipe is light, incredibly easy to prepare and you can use your favorite spices.

Author: Minimal Eats


2 cup dry chickpeas (200 grams)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (one lemon) or two limes*
2 tsp paprika
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoon curry


Soak the dry garbanzos overnight.
Next day preheat the oven to 350-375 degrees F.
Put garbanzos in a bowl and add lemon juice, spices and mix using your hands.
Place the spicy garbanzos in an oven sheet with baking paper and put it in the middle rack of the oven.
Let them roast from 40 to 45 minutes. Check and shake every 10 minutes.

Colorful Roasted Vegetables


Mac N' Chili Comfort Gloop

Gloopy Mac n'Chili Cheese Comfort Food

Harvest Lunch

Peaches and yogurt
Tomato cuke and red onion sandwiches on sourdough toast!
And perfect pesto on toast, veggies, or pasta.

Embrace...All of It

How do you learn to embrace your aversions?

Ram Dass

When you begin to awaken, you see how caught you have been in the prison of your mind about certain reality… and how caught everybody else seems to be.

That awakening begins a journey and the tendency is, because you realize how trapped you’ve been in the prison, to push against it and develop an aversion to the things that have caught you, even when it comes to your own desire system.

And that’s part of what is called ‘the ascent’, the way into, and higher doesn’t mean better, it just means more Metta [loving awareness], more Metta, and each one embraces the ones below it in that hierarchical sense, because you’re so yearning to have the freedom of feeling and awareness to be somebody who sees the storyline unfolding without being so trapped in it all the time, that you’re yearning to come up for air and you start pushing against it.

What happened to me in the mid-seventies is I got incredibly high from all my practices, but I realized that I was not free, and the reason I wasn’t free was because of the aversion I had to what I pushed against, because free means free from pushing against anything! Free for all of it, free to be at every plane…and I recognized that I had to re-embrace the form, embrace mother, embrace shadow. I can go through every different metaphorical system you’d like to play in. Embrace, embrace, embrace… all of it. Embrace the evil. Accept the fact of what nature is, on this plane, without losing these awakenings that I had had to these other planes.

-Ram Dass

Rainy Friday

I drove to the CCRI pool and had a great swim. I saw friends there and showed them how to use the swim flotation toys for variety. On the way home I stopped at Murphy's gas station for ten bucks of gas. After lunch I mixed up a batch of granola. The Sammy-cat ate my toast while I was washing the dishes. Life is strange without Lily. I feel like I need to get rid of all my clutter and start my life over again.

Murphy's New Gas Station

New excellent gas station, MURPHY'S on Social Street. Owned by MURPHY! Non corporate independent guy. Bill found him and loves him. Spread the word.

Murphy's Petroleum Gas Station
1023 Social St (opposite Charles Street)
Woonsocket, RI 02895

Lily was My Guru

My sympathy to you.... those creatures are close to our hearts and teach us some wisdom without putting us down...

Peace to you and to Lily

Fr. Dennis

Feeling the Loss

Other pets

Surviving pets may whimper, refuse to eat or drink, and suffer lethargy, especially if they had a close bond with the deceased pet. Even if they were not the best of friends, the changing circumstances and your emotional state may distress them. (However, if your remaining pets continue to act out of sorts, there could actually be a medical problem that requires your veterinarian's attention.)

Give surviving pets lots of TLC and try to maintain a normal routine. It's good for them and for you.
Getting another pet

Rushing into this decision isn't fair to you or your new pet. Each animal has their own unique personality and a new animal cannot replace the one you lost. You'll know when the time is right to adopt a new pet after giving yourself time to grieve, considering whether you're ready, and paying close attention to your feelings.

When you're ready, remember that your local animal shelter or rescue is a great place to find your next special friend.

Lars Fisk

When you make public art, as Mr. Fisk does, you learn to be economical.

Home with Magnetic Walls

Paul Krugman, My Guru

Opinion | Op-Ed Columnist
Cruelty, Incompetence and Lies
[Paul Krugman]

Paul Krugman SEPT. 22, 2017

Graham-Cassidy, the health bill the Senate may vote on next week, is stunningly cruel. It’s also incompetently drafted: The bill’s sponsors clearly had no idea what they were doing when they put it together. Furthermore, their efforts to sell the bill involve obvious, blatant lies.

Nonetheless, the bill could pass. And that says a lot about today’s Republican Party, none of it good.

The Affordable Care Act, which has reduced the percentage of Americans without health insurance to a record low, created a three-legged stool: regulations that prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, a requirement that individuals have adequate insurance (and thus pay into the system while healthy) and subsidies to make that insurance affordable. For the lowest-income families, insurance is provided directly by Medicaid.

Graham-Cassidy saws off all three legs of that stool. Like other Republican plans, it eliminates the individual mandate. It replaces direct aid to individuals with block grants to states, under a formula that sharply reduces funding relative to current law, and especially penalizes states that have done a good job of reducing the number of uninsured. And it effectively eliminates protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Did Graham-Cassidy’s sponsors know what they were doing when putting this bill together? Almost surely not, or they wouldn’t have produced something that everyone, and I mean everyone, who knows anything about health care warns would cause chaos.

It’s not just progressives: The American Medical Association, the insurance industry and Blue Cross/Blue Shield have all warned that markets would be destabilized and millions would lose coverage.

How many people would lose insurance? Republicans are trying to ram the bill through before the Congressional Budget Office has time to analyze it — an attempt that is in itself a violation of all previous norms, and amounts to an admission that the bill can’t bear scrutiny. But C.B.O. has analyzed other bills containing some of Graham-Cassidy’s provisions, and these previous analyses suggest that it would add more than 30 million people to the ranks of the uninsured.

Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, and the bill’s other sponsors have responded to these critiques the old-fashioned way — with lies.

Both Cassidy and Graham insist that their bill would continue to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions — a claim that will come as news to the A.M.A., Blue Cross and everyone else who has read the bill’s text.

Cassidy has also circulated a spreadsheet that purports to show most states actually getting increased funding under his bill. But the spreadsheet doesn’t compare funding with current law, which is the relevant question. Instead, it shows changes over time in dollar amounts.

That’s actually a well-known dodge, one that Republicans have been using since Newt Gingrich tried to gut Medicare in the 1990s. As everyone in Congress — even Cassidy — surely knows, such comparisons drastically understate the real size of cuts, since under current law spending is expected to rise with inflation and population growth.

Independent analyses find that most states would, in fact, experience serious cuts in federal aid — and everyone would face huge cuts after 2027.

So we’re looking at an incompetently drafted bill that would hurt millions of people, whose sponsors are trying to sell it with transparently false claims. How is it that this bill might nonetheless pass the Senate?

One answer is that Republicans are desperate to destroy President Barack Obama’s legacy in any way possible, no matter how many American lives they ruin in the process.

Another answer is that most Republican legislators neither know nor care about policy substance. This is especially true on health care, where they never tried to understand why Obamacare looks the way it does, or how to devise a nonvicious alternative. Vox asked a number of G.O.P. senators to explain what Graham-Cassidy does; the answers ranged from incoherence to belligerence to belligerent incoherence.

I’d add that the evasions and lies we’re seeing on this bill have been standard G.O.P. operating procedure for years. The trick of converting federal programs into block grants, then pretending that this wouldn’t mean savage cuts, was central to every one of Paul Ryan’s much-hyped budgets. The trick of comparing dollar numbers over time to conceal huge benefit cuts has, as I already noted, been around since the 1990s.

In other words, Graham-Cassidy isn’t an aberration; it’s more like the distilled essence of everything wrong with modern Republicans.

Will this awful bill become law? I have no idea. But even if the handful of Republican senators who retain some conscience block it — we’re looking at you, John McCain — the underlying sickness of the G.O.P. will remain.

It’s sort of a pre-existing condition, and it’s poisoning America.

Portugal may be winning the war on drugs — by ending it.

Portugal initially was scolded around the world for its experiment, as a weak link in the war on drugs, but today it’s hailed as a model. The World Health Organization and American Public Health Association have both praised decriminalization and a public health focus, as has the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

“I’ve hit rock bottom,” Brito told me despairingly. “I’m losing the person I most love in the world.”

His girlfriend, Teresa, is begging him to give up heroin. He wants to choose her; he fervently wants to quit. But he doesn’t know if he can, and he teared up as he said, “It’s like entering a boxing ring and facing Mike Tyson.”

Yet for all his suffering, Brito lives, because he’s Portuguese. The lesson that Portugal offers the world is that while we can’t eradicate heroin, it’s possible to save the lives of drug users — if we’re willing to treat them not as criminals but as sick, suffering human beings who need helping hands, not handcuffs.

The Minute You Look Up

Speeding the Awakening

by Ram Dass

All beings are involved in an evolutionary journey. In the course of history, and far into pre-recorded history, beings have been getting lost in the illusion, and awakening out of it. Some beings have finished their work and have awakened out of illusion, the illusion that is involved in birth after birth, not only on the physical plane, but on every other plane as well. When these free beings finally emerge from the illusion through grace, through the help of other beings who have escaped, they are faced with a choice. That choice is whether to merge back into God, or to resist that merging and remain in form on one plane or another; either to take birth again on the physical plane or to make their substance condense on a lower astral plane in order to do ‘work’ for the relief of suffering of other beings.

The way in which these free spiritual beings help us is to speed our journey back to God. They don’t turn us around. If you’re aimed away from God they won’t interfere. But the minute you look up, the minute your despair concerning the possibility for worldly gratification is great enough, you turn inward or reach upward towards God. And at that moment these beings (the true guru) are called forth by your prayers, by your cry for help, by your seeking for God. And then they shower upon you the grace of their presence, and the vibratory rate of their presence speeds up your journey incredibly.

On the physical-psychological plane, it’s apparent when one is around such a free being, that such a being is a perfect mirror for oneself, since they themselves are not attached to being anybody; who you see them to be is merely your own projection. Being around such a being allows you to see the way in which you are creating the universe. That mirror helps you gain the perception of your own attachments which ultimately allows you to become unattached to any models you have of the universe, and to truly see the guru who is none other than God, who is none other than Self, which is the unmanifest Absolute.

The guru is constantly confronting you with where you’re not, with where you’re holding your secret stash of attachment. For people who are still much attached to their senses and to their thinking-minds, the guru manifests the teachings on the physical plane. It may be through a person, whom you call a guru (that is, they may embody themselves on this plane for that purpose), or it may be just through a set of teachings that they may create for you out of your life ‘web’. Though they are not manifesting on the physical plane they manipulate the substance of your karma in such a way as to speed up your awakening, once you have reached up for God.

~Ram Dass

The Walk, The Wind, The Day

Last night we walked all the way to Edgewater Drive running into neighbors and telling them about Lily. She's in heaven part two. Part one was here on Earth, I said. Robin ran over to us and gave us a package of tomatoes and cukes she grew and a card signed by her whole family and a plaque pendant about our beloved pets. We were so moved.

We ran into Doreen and walked with her telling her the story. We ran into Celeste and told her too and Janet. By the time we were heading home it was 8PM and dark but I didn't mind. I had a jar of raisins, almonds and sunflower seeds in my shoulder bag for times like this, and we picked up a few fallen apples and cut off the bruises and ate them, right off the tree! Delicious tart and refreshing.

When we got home we warmed a bite of chili, had fresh tomatoes on toast, and a slice of Boston Cream pie. Sammy-cat grabbed the pie-plate's edge and flipped it over onto the floor. We reassembled it, plucked out a few obvious hairs, and put it back in the fridge.

A gust of wind blew our fan off the windowsill onto the floor walking us at half past midnight. When I woke up the dawn light was illuminating the sky. It was 6:15. We had overslept two HOURS.

Michael Faraday

from Writer's Almanac today:

Today is the birthday of English scientist of electromagnetics and electrochemistry Michael Faraday (books by this author), born in London (1791). His research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying an electrical current laid the basis of our understanding of the electromagnetic field. He made some of the most major discoveries in physics. Albert Einstein kept a picture of him on his wall, along with a picture of Isaac Newton.

Faraday used his reputation and his skills as a chemist to push for better environmental conditions. He studied industrial air pollution and wrote a letter to the Times of London calling for a cleanup of the Thames. The British government tried to hire him to help create chemical weapons for use in the Crimean War, but Faraday refused for moral reasons.

He gave a series of 19 Christmas lectures to young people at the Royal Institute. His teaching style was approachable and playful; he would ask students to question why the most basic scientific processes happened, such as why ice floats in water. Faraday said, "That point of self-education which consists in teaching the mind to resist its desires and inclinations, until they are proven to be right, is the most important of all."

Faraday refused several major honors in his career. He was offered a knighthood, which he declined for religious reasons and said he wanted to be "plain Mr. Faraday to the end." He refused to be the president of the Royal Society when the position was offered — twice — and he also rejected a burial in Westminster Abbey after his death.

Michael Faraday made such important discoveries in physics and chemistry because he resisted his assumptions until he could prove them with facts. He said, "There's nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right."

I Love this Poem


by Charles Rafferty

The darkness takes refuge beneath our bed again, and it doesn’t matter
that the sun has risen a minute sooner than it did the day before. We
have curated a warmth merely by lying here, and we take turns hitting
the snooze button. The dog has not complained. The birds will not die
down. We wait for the eggs to cook themselves.

- Charles Rafferty from The Smoke of Horses. © BOA Editions, 2017.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

James Phelps: A Spectrum Approach

A Spectrum Approach to Mood Disorders: Not Fully Bipolar but Not Unipolar--Practical Management 1st Edition,
by James Phelps

Editorial Reviews

“[A] tremendous resource to help differentiate between cases of mood disorder or bipolar disorder. Dr. Phelps is a respected and highly-experienced physician. He presents a thorough and convincing explanation of the nuances of accepting that a broad spectrum of mood disorders does exist. Professionals who acknowledge this will be able to use Dr. Phelps’ book to provide patients with the focused, in-depth treatment they require.”
- PsychCentral

“Dr. James Phelps bravely enters territory that academia has largely neglected―the nebulous region between full bipolar disorder and major depression. . . . [A] must-read for any health professional involved in the treatment of affective illnesses, including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, and therapists.”
- Psychiatric Times

“Engaging, wise, and superbly practical, this book addresses the complexity of the subject matter while providing an accessible guide for a range of health professionals to improve the treatment of mood disorders. The author integrates research and decades of clinical experience with a refreshing candor, inspiring you to think. The value of this book lies not only in the empowerment of the treating provider, but also in emphasizing the empowerment of the individual seeking treatment.”
- Lea Burns, PsyD, Primary Care Psychologist, Samaritan Family Medicine Resident Clinic

“How we think about recognizing and treating mood disturbances profoundly impacts how we treat them. And nowhere is there more confusion in clinical psychiatry than at the meeting point of mania and depression. James Phelps’ impressive new book A Spectrum Approach to Mood Disorders goes a long way toward ending the confusion and helping the mental health clinician take a balanced and reasoned approach to the treatment of the many patients who show a range of mood disturbances over time. It should be mandatory reading for everyone about to prescribe, or take, an antidepressant or mood stabilizer.”
- Charles Raison, MD, Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Chair for Healthy Minds, Children & Families; Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison

About the Author

James Phelps, MD, is director of the Mood Disorders program at Samaritan Mental Health in Corvallis, Oregon, which serves a five-hospital system. Prior to joining Samaritan Mental Health, Dr. Phelps held a private practice in Corvallis while writing an internationally known website,, and teaching across the U.S. He is recognized as a national expert on the topic of bipolar disorder, and has published more than 15 books and journal articles pertaining to mental health.

Ram Dass: Finding Balance

How do we find balance between embracing our humanity and letting go of our attachments?

by Ram Dass

I remember being in India as a renunciate and thinking, “Well, the thing that has obsessed me for the last 25 or 30 years is sex.” I mean, since puberty until I was sitting there, I thought, “My god, think of the amount of time I have spent thinking about sex… Will I get enough? Who is it? Will you? Won’t you? Can I? Can’t I? …Do I really wanna spend the rest of my life doing that?”

And so there I was in a renunciate environment and I decided it was time to really let that one go.

So I was there doing a nine day ceremony, a Hindu ceremony and it was very formal. At the end you take a coconut and you throw it into the fire, keeping in mind that which you want to let go. I decided to throw my sexual desire into the fire. I threw it into the fire and I felt pretty proud of myself for doing this, and also a little frightened. Then the next day there was a fire ceremony burning Ravana, who was the bad guy in the Ramayana in the Hindu Bible of that particular lineage. Ravana is the bad guy and in this town square they build this huge replica of Ravana that’s about two stories high or something like that, and it’s made of straw. Then they put the fire to it and they lit the fire right in his crotch. I thought, “Well, this is sort of a second opportunity to give it away.”

It was Yom Kippur at the same time, so it felt like, “Alright, well I’m covering all my bases.” I went through the rest of my time in India floating along. Here I was, this soul floating.

When I left, I went back through England, and I remember the moment it happened. I was on a double decker bus in England, and I was going along feeling very Holy. I looked out the window and I was just watching people go by, when I felt my eyes lock on one person and continue to follow the person down the street. I saw what was happening and said, “Uh-oh, didn’t get rid of it just yet. It’s still there.”

It wasn’t until later that I realized that was the wrong trip anyway. I didn’t want to get rid of it, I wanted to become it. I didn’t want to be not human, I wanted to embrace my humanity.

Now, let that resonate with you, when I say, ‘embrace our humanity’ and ‘love your stuff’ and your personality and all.

The predicament is that we are such a psychologically oriented culture, that you’ve got to go a little bit through that cycle to get to the point where you can come back into your humanity. If you try to stay in it and get free at the same moment, you tend to con yourself.

There is the need at some stage in your sadhana (spiritual work) for either removing yourself or for disciplining yourself in order to extricate your awareness from such thick identity with personality, because everything in this social world most of us live in reinforces our identity with our roles and our personality.

-Ram Dass

Les Arbuckle Sax Oasis and NEW BOOK

Les Arbuckle was my saxophone repair man until he moved away from Dedham MA to California. He has just published a book. I am so proud!

Saigon Kids: An American Military Brat Comes of Age in 1960's Vietnam
by Les Arbuckle


"I was totally enthralled with Saigon Kids and found it to be a wonderful account of Southeast Asia . It is a timely, warm and at times, humorous account of two completely at-odds cultures. You won't be disappointed. Les cleverly captures the sights, sounds, language and smells of Saigon during a unique period of turmoil for both the South Vietnamese and in-country Americans. I highly recommend this read for an enjoyable and fascinating journey. “Saigon Kids” is an accurate overview on what it was like to live in this Vietnamese City. I know because I was there.”
Lee Hansen, AFRS Saigon Radio Disc-jockey, 1963-65

"This is a vivid, beautifully written coming-of-age memoir set in Saigon during the tumultuous year that led to full-scale fighting by U.S. troops. It's also a hilarious white-knuckle tour of misadventures that, had they any idea, would have done in Les Arbuckle's parents."
- Laurel Delp, Writer, Editor
About the Author

In the years between his birth in 1949 and his nineteenth birthday, Les lived in Texas, North Carolina, Florida, New Mexico, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Hawaii and Vietnam as a dependent of the US Navy. His father, Bryant Joseph Arbuckle, was a Chief Journalist who managed the Armed Forces Radio Station in Saigon, Vietnam, from June, 1962 until June, 1964. After a stint with the 50th Army Band at Fort Monroe, Virginia Les attended the Berklee College of Music (BA) and New England Conservatory (MM). He is a professional saxophonist living near Boston, Massachusetts with his wife, Joyce Lucia. He has performed with a variety of musical acts including The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Lou Rawls, Bernadette Peters, The San Diego Symphony Summer Pops Orchestra and The Artie Shaw Orchestra. His recordings for the Audioquest label and he is featured on the recordings of well-known jazz musicians Kenny Barron, Mike Stern, Cecil McBee, John Abercrombie and Victor Lewis.

Ban the Leaf Blowers

This may sound silly but we must do this.

Leaf blowers are not just air pollution, noise pollution, inconsiderate when used to blow sand and dirt into the neighboring business or street, they way they are used, but they also damage people's cars, cause asthma attacks and are generally a disgusting invention.

City of Woonsocket please ban the leafblowers, at least during business hours.

Inquisitive Smart Toddler, High Up

S and J are lovely people. Perfect neighbors. Their toddler, Junior is very smart too and super cute. Junior climbs on their chair or the picnic cooler to be high up on the porch to connect with Bill and me or anyone below. A few times I have worried he could climb over the railing and fall off the porch. The parents usually catch him and scold him with long paragraphs about fire trucks that he does not comprehend and occasionally, by accident they'll step away leaving him alone. I am worried, perhaps these climbable things should never be on the porch to tempt him.

Ram Dass: Still Here

The soul depends on the Ego's drama for its teachings. We have to be in the word to learn from it.

Ultimately I had to learn my Soul lessons through karma-yoga, which is using everything in life as a spiritual path.

- Ram Dass, Still Here, Page 80

Katz on Dogs

When tiny Clementine first crawled onto my shoulder and licked my chin, I decided I had to work harder so that this dog's life would be easier and my rewards greater. I had to listen to myself as well as to the authorities.

Training, I came to believe is individual idiosyncratic. Nobody can tell me how to train Clementine without knowing something about me, my family, and my animal-thronged environment.

I am a difficult man, impatient and distracted and easily frustrated. I make countless mistakes. I'm preoccupied and can barely remember to turn off the stove before I destroy a teakettle. Meanwhile Clementine is curious, alert and responsive.

But I am learning. These dogs have taught me much, as have other people's stories.

I believe strongly in the effectiveness of positive training, also known as "auto-training" or "positive capture": giving a dog a chance to succeed, then rewarding him rather than yelling at his mistakes. It works for killer whales, why not dogs?

We don't need to be pulling, shouting at, and shocking our dogs so much. Yet I am not an entirely positive person. I often lose my temper, speak to my dogs grumpily or impatiently, communicate my wishes poorly, or imprecisely, and then get angry.

If I'm having a bad day, the dogs are the first to know. I am continuously working on this, but I suspect these shortcomings will always be with me, just as other people will have their own handicaps.

- Jon Katz, Katz on Dogs pg xxii

Jon Katz: Katz on Dogs

Training methods fail, I believe, if they don't take into account the owner's psyche as well as the dogs, and the particular environment in which both parties live. There's something almost sacred about the private space between a dog and its owner, something intimate. Dogs see us in our most unguarded moments. They see traits and actions we shield from other humans. It seems impossible to understand what a dog will need without knowing something of this relationship.

The person who trains his dog well isn't really seeking only to induce a creature to sit or lie down. Training isn't about power or control; it's a dialogue between two species. The dog lover is literally forging his relationship with the animal, showing his dog how to live in the world.

Jon Katz, Katz on Dogs, from the introduction xxii

Life Fitness

When you develop physical fitness, you’re developing life fitness, too.

Dreams Are...

Clear Your Mind: Run for your LIFE

Now I am Insane

I always equate the name Jessica with Butterscotch! I have no idea why. It's like synesthesia kinda, perhaps an associative thing.

My childhood friend Jessica had butterscotch colored hair! She brought me to Rhode Island when I was 17.

Butterscotch rescue?

Do I swim, walk, run, change bed sheets, buy bananas, meditate, sit with notebook, eat yogurt. Lily was my priority.

Now I am insane. I am laughing. I just have to adjust to my new Swiss cheese life full of HOLES. But not rush to fill them....

Sammy-cat is my new guru. What is he teaching me? Love bites!

Chelsea Gibson


Morning Thoughts

New excellent gas station, MURPHY'S on Social Street. Owned by MURPHY! Non corporate independent guy. Bill found him and loves him. Spread the word.

Murphys Petroleum Gas Station
1023 Social St Charles St
Woonsocket, RI 02895

The CCRI pool is my new Mecca. I need the water and the people.

Yesterday I was an unmoored mess of indecision head noise and tangle late in the day. Why? I usually walk Lily to keep my brain aerated. My Lily walking routine under the sky is the medicine for my emotionally swirly nature. She embodied routine and LOVE. She grounded me. Now I feel like a kite or a helium balloon.

So, I walked to the library and my 4:30 meeting at City Hall. So nice to walk but now I was walking my rainbow umbrella.

Woke at 12:30 AM 1:30AM 2:30 AM as the wind blew stronger wind through my fan. I tossed and turned and sweat and thought about Lily. Then I overslept.

Now I know why people go to DINERS. Loneliness. I must go to Barbara's Place She was IN LOVE with Lily. Lily was the guardian of solitude. Sammy is doing a good job!

I took Sylvia to CHAMPS on Front St and she remembered it from her childhood. Have you been?

Sammy cat has his creamsicle self parked on the table beside. He is a people cat. Has been nibbling me affectionately and wagging his tail.

I am still in my "country house" back room office for the summer. Until the weather gets cold when I will return to my studio.

I am trying to grieve well. Who knows whats next?

I am encouraging my younger brother to have the rest of his life by HIS CHOICES.

Today is Rosh Hashanah have an apple slice dipped in honey for a sweet new year!

Labradors as Guide Dogs


Francesca Marinaro is a proud Labrador owner with eleven years of experience as a guide dog handler who is passionate about dog training and informing the public about handling and interacting with service animals and pets.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Life-Lessons from Lily

I am trying to meditate on the lessons Lily taught me. She wove her wisdom into my being.

Greet the day preferably outside under the sky

Walk downtown, greet everyone

Walk to the pond and up on the hill for a view

Keep wagging and walking

Go out for a good sniff a few times a day

Stretch often

Use body language to communicate

Run in your sleep

Exhale audibly

Enjoy the moment.

Dance and wiggle and run around when your friends show up!

Swim in the pond

Lay down in mud puddles.

Ask for a cookie after a nail clip or bath

Follow your nose.

Dry your ears

Rarely bark

Be fearless and LOVE going to the vet

Be still around the mean ones.

Stand your ground if you have to

Be kind, but not meek

Love everyone

Cathy Nicoli Dancer, Writer, Teacher Extroidinaire!

I think one of the best things about riding a bike is that it allows me to observe multiple events in succession, moments not necessarily connected in any other way but the order of my gaze. In the car, I feel much more separated from the daily life of others and I hate the way it keeps me still for so long. I love walking too but it is too slow to have moments of juxtaposition connected in succession - the time is more realistic than surrealistic. I especially like biking through parks where a diversity of cultures, ages, and activities are happening. Today, the reach of a toddler seemed to be orchestrated with a series of teenage girls posing in nature for what I assume is the ceremony of senior pictures. A pile of shit on the path that I had to ride around seemed poetically connected to having to skirt a couple so entrenched in their argument that they didn't even notice they were blocking the path. And this tree and resting crow in silhouette seemed to ring with the image I saw just a minute earlier of the grandmother on the park bench observing me observing her as I ride by. Biking is a meditation in how images bounce off of one another and make meaning. Biking is poetry just as much as it is a form of transportation and exercise. This is one reason I love to hop on my bike and go!

-Cathy Nicoli, Associate Professor of Dance and Performance Studies at Roger Williams University

Day Four: After Lily

I'm spinning like a top. I have no appetite. I need to re-read Gail Caldwell and Carolyn Knapp my favorite dog-loving writers. I have been crying and playing with Sammy aka Mr. Kitty. He is sitting next to me. Mr Kitty is also my name for one of the local characters. I like to write about what embarrasses me.
verb: embarrass; 3rd person present: embarrasses; past tense: embarrassed; past participle: embarrassed; gerund or present participle: embarrassing

cause (someone) to feel awkward, self-conscious, or ashamed.
"she wouldn't embarrass either of them by making a scene"
synonyms: mortify, shame, put someone to shame, humiliate, abash, chagrin, make uncomfortable, make self-conscious; More
discomfit, disconcert, discompose, upset, distress;
show up, discombobulate
"his parents would show up drunk and embarrass him"
be caused financial difficulties.
"he would be embarrassed by an inheritance tax"
hamper or impede (a person, movement, or action).
"the state of the rivers will embarrass the enemy in a considerable degree"
make difficult or intricate; complicate.

early 17th century (in the sense ‘hamper, impede’): from French embarrasser, from Spanish embarazar, probably from Portuguese embaraçar (from baraço ‘halter’).

I am introverted, I process in solitude. I am fragile as glass. I get nourishment from words, poetry, and being outdoors in motion walking or bicycling, or swimming. I love solitude. Lily was my companion is solitude. My cat has taken to sharing this with me. He is inches from me now on my desk. Sitting on my calendar. I love people. Somehow walking made me extroverted defined by the activity. Life on a leash. The linear park. I never desired a dog park. The world was my park. We need not run free we just need to run or walk or swim. Freedom is between the ears or in the heart.
Stand outside in daylight to align your circadian rhythm. Lily was the daily reason. I am going to continue this habit. Now I understand why people go to diners. So they will eat. I love to cook but somehow I can't eat alone right now. But I have "Gink" the cat to protect me from the abyss of a solitude without a pet. I feel lucky. I have books. I have furniture curtains and plants providing silent partnership if I am quiet enough to feel them.

I slept well and dreamed a lot. Skin crawling from pollen. Noisy dreams that I can't remember details or plots but Lily was there. Dreaming of Lily on day 4.

The humidity is smelly.

What did Lily teach me? Go out and sniff have a routine, love life, greet everyone with a wag and kindness. Be under the sky every day at least for a few hours and maybe even 4 miles if you get into the flow which we did nearly every day. She made me a writer by taking me for a walk after a morning of writing.

She was my spiritual advisor and my transportation a way to move through space. She was trained before I got her and most days I let her decide where we were going. Sometimes we struggled if she wanted to keep to the same walk and I wanted to turn onto a new street. She usually knew best. I'm sure dog trainers would not approve but she was my canine guru not my child.

Now I have my bicycle, my legs, and maybe I will run through space. I do not like cars at all. In my mind they are hostile, equal to military tanks. Also, I space out easily. I need a Flinstone mobile where my body is propelling me. That's why I love my old three speed bike. It's friendly, not zoomy. And never complicated. I have an old wicker basket. Maybe I need a bell. I have my own voice for a bell. I can stop on a dime and have a chat. It's like traveling by a low flying helicopter and much quieter. My dragonfly, bumble bee, horse. My grandma Sophie rode the same bicycle on the boardwalk. She loved it. Hers was blue, mine is black.

Maybe I need to let people love me without my dog. And let myself love people empty handed. Maybe that is the lesson now. Will I be swallowed up and lose my center. Not if I keep my centering habits: writing in a journal reading, waking early, swimming baking cooking feeding telling stories, listening to stories, going to the library every few days. Doing my art writing music baking, loving.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Good Therapy: Articles by Darren Haber





Darren Haber, MFT, PsyD, is a psychotherapist specializing in treating alcoholism and drug addiction as well as co-occurring issues such as anxiety, depression, relationship concerns, secondary addictions (especially sex addiction), and trauma (both single-incident and repetitive). He works in a variety of modalities, primarily cognitive behavioral, spiritual/recovery-based, and psychodynamic. He is certified in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and continues to receive psychodynamic training in treating relational trauma, including emotional abuse/neglect and physical and sexual abuse.

Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues

“Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small, but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Home is the nicest word there is.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

“There's no great loss without some small gain.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness -- just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder, Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues

Laura Ingalls Wilder

“The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”

― Laura Ingalls Wilder

Comfortable with Not Knowing

Why should we ask why?

Kwan Um School of Zen
Published on Jun 24, 2016

An audience member ask Zen Master Bon Haeng


Dear Friends and Family,

Last week I wasn't able to explain because I was GRIEVING the passing of our dog LILY. Lily of the Blackstone Valley. Lily's ankle was swollen and she needed a visit to my beloved vet of nearly 40 years, Dr. Pete Belinsky. We went to Tiverton Tuesday night. The X-ray showed bone cancer tumor where we had originally thought she had merely sprained her ankle. She came back home with us along with a bottle of pain medicine. She passed away Saturday.

So I've been sitting Shiva with the community who loved her. She was the Dalai Lama of Woonsocket!

My religion is kindness.
-Dalai Lama

She loved everyone and she loved life and she was my best teacher.

I've been pedaling my bike to all of our old haunts and some people know right away, seeing me without her. I have been invited into peoples kitchens and I have accepted every invitation.

Now that I have grieved I have been helping others grieve.

She was a pillar of the community. "She's part of the City" the public works guy said to me when I was picking up glass last spring to prevent injury.

She was my cow, race horse, spiritual advisor, my LOVE medicine and dearest canine friend.

Cheers to the Jewish New Year if I don't see you this week. Enjoy.

Love to all,


You Are Already Complete

Providence Zen Center Dharma Talks

Habit Awake

Exploring the Space Between Thoughts
Providence Zen Center Dharma Talks

Mike's Spaghetti Weather Site

Part 2

Ram Dass on Discovering Your True Work Path (Part 2)

Posted May 5, 2017

Years ago I went to a silent meditation course, and I had a roommate. It was a 10 day course and we couldn’t speak to each other. We shared a room, and I was a little sloppy and his corners were all neat on his bed and his clothes were all lined up, and that’s not my particular preoccupation.

So I started to feel that he was thinking I was a real slob and he really didn’t like me, and I was probably snoring and disturbing him, and I got to feel he really hated me. Within the silence, you can play with such wonderful paranoia, you know, and I just decided – I mean, by the end of it, I hated him for hating me, you know.

We came out of the retreat, and the first thing he said to me – the first thing was, “I can’t tell you what an honor it’s been sharing this room with Ram Dass,” and I just thought, “Oh. Shit.” I wasted those ten days, hours just being absolutely convinced he hated me, filling my consciousness with it when I could have been getting enlightened you know?

So the next time I went on retreat, we had a few minutes, and I said to the guy who was going onto the upper bunk, “What do you do?” You know, I wanted to know everything quick so I wouldn’t have to spend all day worrying about him.

He said, “Vice President of industrial loans at a bank,” and I asked him what he was doing here. He told me that he had also had the same position back in the 60’s, but thought, “Geez, I don’t know, but I want to get stoned and live in commune and I want to write poetry.”

So he left his family sooner or later, and wandered around the world for years. He said, “Then I was with a beard and a sweater and I was walking down a street in San Francisco and I met the President of the bank. He said to me how fantastic it was he should meet me on the street, that I was the best they’d ever had, and would I come back? So, I just thought… why not? I bought a tie and I shaved and I went to work.”

I asked him if it was different when he went back than it had been before, and he told me, “It was entirely different. Before, I was busy being a Vice President of industrial loans, and I was meeting potential borrowers. Now I go to this place, and I hang out all day with these beings and the business we do together is industrial loans. But what it is, is beings meeting beings.”

See, his identity was no longer in his role. He fulfilled his role but he wasn’t lost in it. And that has a lot to do with how you play it in the business world – whether you can up-level it or whether you get caught in it.

I’d say it takes a lot of truth with yourself to hear the kind of work you can do, where you are in your own development, because it’s hard to acknowledge that you really want money and the things money can buy, and by making believe you don’t want them sometimes, you end up deceiving yourself and picking up something that is not your true being and you end up angry and frustrated because you picked wrong. So there is a process of being very honest with yourself about what you need at that point.

-Ram Dass

Part 1

Ram Dass on Discovering Your True Work Path (Part 1)

Posted May 3, 2017

Many, many years ago, many incarnations back when I was a professor at Harvard, I used to run a course called “Career Decision Making.” It was interesting, because the students at Harvard all had these models of doctor, lawyer, business, graduate school of business, or something like that. We’d start the course by having people fill out a questionnaire and talk about what turned them on the most. It would be interesting that somebody would say, “Well, what I really like is being out in the woods by myself for long periods of time.” Then they would think about their career and they’d think, “Well, now should I be a doctor or a lawyer?”

When I’d say, “Well, have you considered being a fire spotter in the woods? Working in the forest?” I mean, Harvard just doesn’t have much in the curriculum for that, you know.

It was interesting to start to lead with your wish list of how you would like to live, how you would like to serve, and then start to tune very, very slowly.

If you have that option, you’ve got to be ready to fall on your face and make mistakes. That’s a very important part of this game of hearing your uniqueness. Because what you listen to until your mind is really clear is always colored by all these kinds of attitudes, prejudices, cultural preferences and so on.

So you hear something and you make a choice and you start to moving in a direction and then you feel a moment later, “Uh oh.” So what becomes interesting in consciousness is the lag between the moment you realize you’ve done it again to yourself, and the moment you correct it. The inertia is your stubbornness of ego-will or something.

Remember Gandhi leading the march of all these people and he said at one point he was going to stop the march because he anticipated violence. His lieutenant said, “You can’t do this, Mahatmaji. There are people here that have given up their jobs, left their homes, to follow you….” and he said, “Only God knows the truth. I know only relative truth. My understanding of truth, the truth I understand shifts from day to day, and my commitment must be to truth, not consistency.”

And a lot of people are very afraid in career planning because of the term “career” even, to deal with the inconsistency of growth and the chaotic look that you may have if you keep changing your game. Many people that start to be a teacher, and then they don’t want to be a teacher, or they start being a doctor and then they don’t want to be a doctor – they grow through these things. I find the culture is more and more accepting of that kind of fluidity.

What you begin to hear are your unique needs, not only economically in terms of style of life you need, but also in terms of what kind of people you want to be around, what kind of qualities you want to develop in yourself.

-Ram Dass

Shankman's Link: Contraceptives and Cancer

Today is the birthday of Canadian-born American pathologist Elizabeth Stern Shankman, born in Cobalt, Canada (1915). Shankman was one of the first scientists specializing in cytopathology, which is the study of diseased cells. Her research made it possible to detect cervical cancer before it reached an advanced stage, a breakthrough in women's health that enabled early cancer detection and treatment. Before Stern's discoveries, cervical cancer was nearly always fatal.

In 1963, Shankman published the first case report linking a specific virus, in this case, herpes simplex, to a specific cancer, like cervical cancer. Shankman showed that a normal cell advances through 250 distinct stages before reaching an advanced cancerous stage. This allowed the development of diagnostic techniques and excision of abnormal tissue, which reduced the fatality rate drastically.

In 1973, Elizabeth Stern Shankman was the first to identify a direct link between prolonged use of oral contraceptives and cervical cancer. Her research was also deeply concerned with the health care of lower-income women, predominantly black and Hispanic, who typically could not afford proper care and often did not want to be examined by male doctors. She worked with Los Angeles County family planning clinics to pilot studies in which women were offered free transportation, baby-sitting, and trained health care workers to encourage women to attend the clinics for health screenings. Shankman knew that the highest rates of cervical cancer occurred in the poorest areas of Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Stern Shankman died of stomach cancer in 1980. Before she died, she spent months assembling her research, studies, ideas, and statistics so that scientists following in her stead could use her material to save more lives.
Writer's Almanac