Sunday, May 30, 2010

My awesome buddy Santana at left.

Bringing the horses in from pasture, whip cracking! (all photos are copyrighted)

Well, here we are (I am particularly proud of the photo at left) at the Vee Bar Ranch near the foot of the Snowy Mountains in the Medicine Bow Range in Wyoming. This is truly the land where the deer and antelope roam (I saw them today with my own eyes... roaming) surrounded by purple mountain's majesty. I mean, this is the real McCoy. Breathtaking scenery, real cowboys and cowgirls and a ranch family that's been on this land forever. This is not one of those trail ride ranches. You gotta really ride here (rode through a nearly 3 foot deep wah today, fast rushing water, kinda spooky) and after over two hours on my horse, Santana, (he hums Black Magic Woman all day) I get off bowl legged and eager to pee. When the horses pee they all pee together, the entire herd coming to a dead stop wherever.

The wranglers at the Vee Bar, male and female, are serious people. Helpful, cheerful and full of stories. They ride in rodeos and I learned today that the big belt buckles I always made fun of as some kind of male macho thing that were a dead giveaway to, er, smaller things, are actually prizes awarded at rodeos and worn more with pride than arrogance.

I have an hour break, and am headed for a badly needed nap (it's wicked windy here, but at least the sun is out, and as you can see, plenty of snow still on the mountains), completely exhausted here in the lodge after lunch. Chef even made me some gluten free pasta, bless him. T I should have brought the cords and wool hat! Foul weather gear a life saver.

A little pooped folks, bareback riding to follow nap, god help me, but wanted to send out some photos if I can get them to load, slow internet. If they don't work, i'll load them later. No cell phone service of course. Back atcha tomorrow...

Ride em, cowgirl!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

This is Kitty Boy. He is my writing companion. We are snug in front of the fire in the main lodge and happy as clams.




Gotta go put my boots on.. You know which ones I mean too, dontcha?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mighty surf at high tide (click on pic to see detail)

windy day high surf


And we bid a fond farewell to Brigantine, at the Jersey shore. I've had the best time here, and the last two days have been the most sublime weather you could ask for, barefoot evening walks in the warm sand, squishing my toes deep in the soft beach, warmed by the sun, calves working mightily against quicksand sinking. I spent much of the last week reading like there was no tomorrow, novels mostly. Solar by Ian McEwan, That Old Cape Magic by Rick Russo, Divining Women – again, a few others as well. I loved all of them. McEwan never ceases to amaze me with his limitless, perfect wordcraft and sharp insight into human motivations; and Russo's book was wonderful, funny, more gently critical of human shenanigans than McEwan, but penetrating and revealing nonetheless. We do betray ourselves rather blatantly if one only cares to notice, to look a moment longer. Yet so clever, we think we are, not quite ignorant of our true intentions, camouflaging our desires.

So it's off to Beantown where we have taken a flat. First flat in thirty years, should be fun, different to be the tenant for a change. Moving day June 1. But not before mum heads out for a bit of rolicking fun in the saddle at the VeeBar Ranch and I can't wait. Flying to Denver Friday. Then puddle jumping to L a r a m i e. I mean, just SAY that town's name. La-ra-mie! There's no way that won't be fun. Life is really the most amazing adventure, no matter what you're doing at any given moment, if you simply have the eyes to see it. You just NEVER know what's around the next corner, and if you think you do, you're kiddin yourself.

I'd like to thank first and foremost Miss Marcie for lending me this art filled place of respite; the girls at Aversa's Bakery for letting me be so picky about my bread and always tolerating that pickiness with a smile (New Jersey people let you be way more picky than merchants in Maine who feel you should take what you get); the nice checkout gal who suffers with migraines at Joe's Market; the local librarians who got me everything i asked for all the time; the carwash fellas; the Post Office gals; The crazy bunch of checkout characters at the Acme; Ed the lawn guy who loved my new boots; Tony and Av; BEST FOOD IN TOWN who always knew what i liked; and John G, a new friend, and old and new friends who came to visit. This has been a wonderful spiritual oasis for me in the middle of my wandering desert. I am still wandering, but feel more so than ever that

All who wander are not lost.

I, for one, feel more found than I ever thought possible.

So there.

Ok, let's saddle up for the Garden State Parkway! See you in a few.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Need we say more? No.

But do read this excellent essay on Common Sense2 by Cousin Lynn re sports idols and war. Keeping the tea baggers and other strident opponents of nonsense in mind while those who know better remain silent, I quote from Lynn's piece:

Martin Luther King Jr. said:

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

Hey there, sportsfans. Ms. Lexi visiting in the jardin al la plage today.
Nice to have her here. Going to go walk the beach and work off some of this yummy cinammmon toast.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Matisse's Pastoral was stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art on Thursday at 4 in the morning along with four other major works estimated to be valued at over $100 mil. Police don't know if it was an individual or a gang organized heist as the thief entered through a side window, cleanly sliced five painting from their frames and was gone in a flash. It was hours before they discovered the theft. We are fascinated by stories of art theft, stuff we're not allowed to even touch, much less steal, but not as much as the Europeans are. For them it's different. Here's the reason I bring it up.

If this were to happen in the US everyone would be ranting about security, looking for somewhere to place the blame, talking about insurance, an outrage. But the as the BBC reports, the Deputy culture secretary for the City of Paris saw things differently as do most Parisians I'll wager:

"To get into the museum by disassembling a window, choose five specific works and then slip out unnoticed by the guards. That is quite impressive." (my bold)

Can you just imagine a US paper describing any heist as "impressive", with a hint of admiration in their voice? Mais non! Because Americans are too politically naive, too lacking in an appreciation of finesse, a light touch, to appreciate the genius, the simple artistry, of a good, clean old fashioned what the hell heist of precious articles only the very wealthy can afford to own. And why no love here for the thieves? Well, because deep down most Americans feel robbed these days. Recent american heists of note (the looting of Treasury to bail out Wall Street, shenanigans of Bernie Madoff, etc.) are all rather tawdry, clunky. No class or artistry there. No deftness. No vicarious sense of peasant class rebellion. Just greed, deception, stupidity, and a willfully ignorant, asleep at the wheel, wimpy, scared populace.

Yet another reason why I can't wait til I can afford to live in Paris for an extended period of time.... (dreamy eyed now.....floating off....)

Here's a nice quote from my new pal John G. Excellent food for thought, and I may steal it from him.

"What if everything you thought to be true about life (or whatever) turned out not to be true? When would you want to know?

That's just bril if you ask me..

Is 70 years old.

Today, if Dorothy were to encounter men with no brains, no hearts, and no courage -

She wouldn't be in Oz -
She'd be in Congress.

Here's one from a viewer. Well done, that. Thanks, Marcie!

Had to share this with you all. Looks like Mo Dowd really took a lot of heat for her column about Kagan's marital status the other day when she demanded to know "When does a woman go from single to unmarried", as in FOREVER UNMARRIED, as in OLD MAID. I could not believe the comments below this one. Vicious attacks by women as well as uptight men insisting Mo's "old maid" status (pulleese! These people would kill to be Mo) has made her bitter just because she questions our society's habit of describing women as either 'single' or 'unmarried' when no such delineation exists for men. Is it not true that it's the first thing they ask about a woman and the last thing they ask about a man? ("They" being people who insist such info is essential. Potential bosses, for example. )

In fact, if one uses "single" or "unmarried" to describe a man, either word is taken as a positive, isn't it? Either one connotes he's "eligible", a 'bachelor" i.e., It's a good thing, it's open season on that guy, a "find"). Not so for the gals. "Unmarried" ( followed by the silent "Alas!") applied to women implies you either couldn't get a guy or you lost the one you had because YOU weren't good enough to keep him. (No lie, I have heard people say this!) The intention is also to engender a certain amount of sympathy for the woman so labeled, especially beyond a certain age, like perimenopause. Women beyond the age of maturity are still defined primarily by their marital status. It's hard to imagine men being so defined, isn't it? I vote for a new moniker for women who are not married, for whatever reason – a box marked: "Moi - F". It's clean, simple, and says it all. "I am me, female, so take a hike." Mo's point is well taken by anyone with an open mind, but the narrow (or should we say 'simple') minded have more sway in the US these days. As evidenced by:

The new KFC campaign to get folks to buy their deep fried chicken and then the corporation will contribute fitty cent (or some such token) per bucket to breast cancer research/ awareness. The irony is unbearable!! Deep fried meat – MAJOR no no for anyone wishing to prevent breast cancer. I saw this ad on TV and thought I would lose my mind!! Bucket after PINK bucket spread out for "The Cure". Again.... pulleeese! I wondered at the time if anyone was going to cry foul on this one and publicly disenfranchise (pardon the pun) KFC. Happily John Robbins over at the HuffPo saw the forest for the trees and called them on it. Please send this link along to everyone you know and help get a buzz going about this fraudulent campaign to convince people to buy and eat the very thing that's killing them. It's shameful they should get away with this! (Shoutout to the T on this headsup.)

Burns me up... the face of misogyny not very well disguised... They think we're all suckers for sentimentality, for tragedy. So empathetic we can't think?

Are we??

For those of you, happily a limited crowd, who like to say I never read stuff by the other side (I read their bs all the time!) there's this from The American Conservative. Worth a read as I think the guy is onto something. Were I to paraphrase his argument, I would say that, while he insists you are what you were brought up to be (the powerful, "those with influence", tend to be conservative, i.e., to 'conserve', or hang on to and not share what you have), it boils down to you are what you eat! (See KFC)

See what you think. And I like the word "eunomia". It's a nicely phonetic counterpoint to the "anomie" that's gripping the nation.

And let's put this one in the Fun Column today. Here's a little nugget of info for those of you who've always wanted to know really where the North Star can be found in the night sky. Move your cursor over the sky. Have fun with it.

Later, alligators.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New camping gear below, not too hard to take
Howdy, folks. Sorry I'v been out of touch, but a big week here at the Jersey shore, a place that, despite all the complaining I do about trash and selfish people, is full of good people as well and I am going to miss it. As you can tell from my pictures.

Two things happening have me so excited I can't deal at all. First of all, today I mailed that manuscript to New Yawk City to Rick's agent, and I do hope the guy reads it, likes it, and wants to sign me. But if he doesn't, hey, like the Marvelletes told us way back when: there's too many fish in the sea (uh huh).

Secondly, looks like I am on my way a week from today to cowgirl camp, complete with, are you ready, the "camping gear" (see photo) I ordered from Zappos last night that arrived this morning, fit perfectly and was on sale for half price!! After all these years, I finally got me a pair of Frye boots. I mean, does it get any better than that? I wore those boots for two hours today, even showed them to the fella mowing the lawn. He totally got where I was comin from. The camp folks said I had to have cowboy boots, I mean, you spend the whole day in the saddle and need a shoe that will hook into stirrups... a recent email alert from the ranch suggests you bring plenty of Advil.... hmmm... for sore bum muscles, also mentioned something about a high of 55 and camping... uh... what the hell have I got myself into? Got some good goatskin riding gloves at the local hardware store today (they're gardening gloves) that'll be perfect for holding reins all day and a little chill in the air.


Cannot WAIT!

I am psyched.

Send out the good vibes for the ms in NY will you all? I pray the guy reads it for starters. Think he will. I put Rick's name on it.

ok. Cousin Lynn's coming for cookout and sleepover cause we have a lot to talk about.

Does life get any better than this?

I doubt it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In case you missed it, the SNL folks nailed the oil disaster nicely. Great stuff. You gotta laugh to keep from cryin. Coco thinks you should have a look at it. She is very upset. She has friends in the Gulf who have had enough!

Friday, May 14, 2010

"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." So said Irina Dunn back in 1970. And there are plenty of gals out there who, at one time or another in their life and with great conviction, know just what she meant. One of them must surely be the writer Kaye Gibbons, whose Diving Women I have just this morning finished reading; my cup runneth over. I believe Kaye is the only writer I can recall whose penetrating eloquence will evoke such irrepressible, spontaneous, grateful yawps of "yes!" from my mouth every few pages. Lewis Lapham's essays have been known to affect me the same way. It's the same reaction women the world over have when they find themselves reading the words of some courageous soul who dared to speak the truth: Thank you! we breathe. Thank you for telling the truth.

This has been something of a five day reading jag. A reread Middlesex by Eugenides, and Amsterdam by McEwan. Excellent, fine reads, so very different in style but both read so long ago they seemed fresh and new, inspiring as I get ready to do more editing on my story, anxious to be finished with that so I can start the next one. Reading jags replaced Scarlett variety crying jags decades ago and are my way of gearing up for a writing jag. (I recall one woman saying, "I write in order to talk without being interrupted".) It's a kind of conversation I have with other writers since they're somewhat thin on the ground in my neck of the woods at the moment. But Kaye... I swoon when I read her. Just swoon. A fan letter may be necessary to clear my mind.

So, after yesterday's litany of complaint, let's carry on to more entertaining news. I understand the phone companies will no longer be printing phone books. No doubt they will try to pass this off as "going green", their contribution to saving trees, but it's a foil for penny pinching. We will need to pay now one way or another to get someone's number. I recall in high school being told that if one visited France the tissue offered in public rest rooms was simply the pages of old phone books. Way to recycle is what I say. Leave it to the French to be that ahead of the curve.

I also hear tell that Bert and Ernie are no longer roommates on Sesame Street; the gay thing. As though proximity (two twin beds within a few feet of each other) bred wanton sex. Anyone who watched fifties TV can tell you that simply isn't so. And Cookie Monster is now Mr. Health Food. Um... isn't the name, the fact that his appetite for cookies is monstrous, enough to imply a negative side to eating too many cookies? Not to mention his loopy disposition. No, I guess not. This new breed of witless children need a road map for everything, every relationship. The Dos and Don'ts of subtleties. And Irony? Well you can forget that..

Need a laugh? Here's a marvelous video my son showed me the other day. Absolutely hilarious. Again, something that moves me to whisper thank you! to whatever clever congregation of folks put these kinds of things together for our not so guilty pleasure.

Facebook fans! Check this out. You think these are the good guys cause they're young? And here's my question. For a company with NO income stream, what on earth could possibly make it worth billions to these folks so eager to get their hands on a piece of it? What kinds of information are on Facebook that would make it such a valuable commodity? Who might be desirous of availing themselves of such information as Facebook can provide, to which tens of thousands of people a day contribute information? The NSA? nah. Why would they do that?
Why would all these companies try so hard to get a piece of this action?

Incredible to think anyone who uses Facebook for personal rather than business reasons might expect privacy of any kind. That's, as my kids used to say, just plain dumb.

Finally, sisters are doin it for themselves, right there under the Vatican's nose. And I say yeah, sistahs. My favorite bit in this one?

Mrs Longhitano, who says she has always wanted to be a priest and played with communion wafers as a child, has accused the Vatican of preventing women from fulfilling their vocation.

She liked it better than dolls. I bet her makeshift vestments were snappy. Very Italian, of course.
As always, your comments are welcome below.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

That there is the Atlantic City skyline on a cloudy day. A cloud that, despite the clear blue out my window, hangs over the nation with seemingly no intention of blowing out to sea any time soon. So on this day there is good news and bad news. Let's get the bad over with, shall we? And a cautionary note: If you're one of the people on the verge of despair wonderin if the answer to the dismal economy and appalling, endless search for a job might be retraining at one of those dubious bastions of post secondary education bleating at you through the telly screen to "gain new skills for today's rapidly changing job market", think again. Read this woman's story in today's Times. Makes me so mad I could spit!

The paternalistic (when has it not been so? and when does paternalism not smack of condescension?) and willfully chipper White House seems determined to keep its 'children' (we citizens) from seeing the truth: that the US economy has been permanently and irretrievably hollowed out like an October pumpkin to the sole benefit of an upper class (and their minions) of corporate/financial fat cats enjoying ever greater profits and productivity, despite permanent layoffs, as they hail each other, speeding away to offshore banks, unable to mask their disdain for the weak, lazy ex-workers with their slow American waddle who trusted the system and are now left cryin in their beer, mopping the bar with worthless Enron stock options.

Obama appears irrepressibly upbeat (and often seems exhausted by his efforts in that area) about jobs growth. The Times article implies it's a lack of certain skill sets (or automation) as well as (maybe just a little) the continued offshoring of jobs that is killing US workers. The proportionality of these "causes" isn't clarified, but if it's really skillset shortage, how is it that productivity is up to record levels? Yet Obama is determined to finance retraining opportunities despite knowing full well that in this lean and meaner "economy" (as in 'stingy'), the demand for new skills moves ever faster than the workers are able to retrain. Perhaps designedly so. And even after you, in good faith as you sip the KoolAid passed out at job centers, borrow money to retrain yourself from the same, ruthless banks still refusing to lend to smaller companies so they can hire, it's such a buyer's market for employers, that they want a year's experience in your new field before they'll hire you-- your new costly training be damned! As if the recent graduates of DeVries Institute and the like were in teh same boat as the lucky children of well connected upper middle class parents, the ones who comfortably and with ease finance summer internships on the Hill, on the job training for the privileged. Every deck you can imagine is stacked against wage workers now. And they are 4/5 of the American workforce.

It's enough to send you tearing out to the garage for a pitchfork. This baloney about retraining is a lie. We heard the same crap in the seventies and the eighties while the corporations and manufacturers were exporting jobs faster than you could say " service economy". Retraining so the corporations wouldn't go offshore for better trained workers? Fiddlesticks. They're just buyin time til the next generation comes up to the plate, with no knowledge of the hoaxes Corporate America (we capitalize them now, are they not men? sayeth the Court) laid on their forebears, and absolutely no sense of history or their place in it. But they can work a remote. They can sit at a screen for hours without becoming bored. Never aspiring to something better, more meaningful. It's Henry Ford's dream redux, but on a national scale.

The country is hollowing out as the cancer of over consumption, greed and wasteful living eats it alive, its citizens quickly divided into the haves and the have nots of excellent credit, those who will suffer permanently and those who, because of the savings that very suffering affords them, will come out smelling like a rose.

And was it not ever thus? "A Republic, if you can keep it." Franklin knew people were lazy, greedy. But we were supposed to be the hope of the world. The Great Experiment which, through trial and error, brought fair government policies to bear in order to ensure its citizens equal opportunity, meritocratic pay; work hard, learn much, find reward in a just society. This was the aspiration, at least of those who bought the idea and strove to see it materialize.

Poor President Obama. I 'd like to like the guy, he seems affable enough. Affable? Is that the best we can do? Where'd all that fire go? Where's the leadership he pretended to? There's something there I don't trust. Never have. Agree with Ken Silverstein or whoever it was in Harper's (post note: sorry, it was John MacArthur) who said ages ago the guy was Clinton/DLC all over again, or some such. Changed his tune too often during the campaign, along the margins, then entire paragraphs, until he stuck that flag pin in his lapel and it was all over. Me, I voted for the one man who never, ever lied to me. Who for years honored me as a citizen by never assuming I'd prefer a fairy tale to the truth. Yes, I'll admit it was tempting to vote for the first - half - black president, but I realized that was a kind of hubris in itself, wasn't it? Thinking we could put the past behind us with one lousy vote after so much damage had been done, the ghettos worse than ever. And choosing Rahm.. well that's just too big a disappointment to believe. Rahm and half of Wall Street running the show? The foxes aren't just guarding the henhouse now. Like Hutus, they've hacked the hens to pieces and are feasting on barbeque of the remains.

For pity's sake, the Dems have enough votes to nominate another genuine liberal light to replace Stevens. The ONLY justice who saw clearly in 2000 and was brave enough to cry foul with a loud voice. I wanna know what Kagan's view of Bush v Gore was. You think anyone will ask her that? Doubt it. Whether she has the legal mettle to impress progressives really hinges on her view of that one decision. Can she see the forest for the trees? THAT is the question. Bush v. Gore is NOT settled law, so it's fair game for the Judiciary committee. The majority opinion themselves said that decision was NOT to be understood as setting any precedent. ('Scuse me, folks, but isn't that your JOB? Your stated Constitutional function?)

I don't care if Kagan's fun to play poker with. People voted for Bush cause they thought he'd be fun to drink with. Well, in a nation of people addicted to one thing or another, it's a no brainer that half of them will vote for a fellow addict. And what will we get? A consensus builder? Please. This is a sellout; The Bland leading The Bland. Obama's forte.

I feel today as a woman scorned, and you know what they say about us.

A rapper whose name i've forgotten said: Wars are won by those who endure.

Who here will endure? What will be the quality of what remains?

I believe I've worn you out today. The good news I mentioned upstairs will just have to wait.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Requiescat in pace, David

We extend our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of David McLaughlin who died on Friday, May 7. Will remembers him as a friendly, patient teacher and carpenter whom he liked a great deal, and I will remember him as a creative spirit, curious and intensely interested in everything, and a delight to talk with. He will most definitely be missed, and that in itself is a tribute to his spirit.

Friday, May 7, 2010

So just because I am such a child and can't keep a thang to myself...

I am going here to do this for a week, just 25 minutes from Laramie, Wyoming on May 28 and I may bust a gut from sheer wantonness and excitement before then.

And huge thanks to cousin Lynn (who I am soooo glad to have connected with, a wonderful writer, who gave me the link to the WWGI that gave me the link to Page Lambert's writing, riding – uh.. what shall I call it? – camp for grownups?

I used to ride when I was young and wild, just galloping away, no style, pretty crazy, and am now older and wiser, i.e., terrified of horses, but Ms. Carlotta, my heroine, will need to be embarking on a long ride through the desert southwest on a horse in the sequel to my as yet unpublished novel, so I figured I best get on a horse and get over myself.

The week is devoted to tuning into the intuitive way horses communicate with us and maybe writing about it. I hope to slide right into that trust and communication as I let go of my fears, kind of an equine bungie jumping for me, and learn to trust the horse and hold the reins more loosely, as it were. Maybe even write something worthwhile about it. Meet some good people. Stare out at... well.. anywhere that's near a place called Medicine Bow, you figure it's gonna be pretty worth staring at. I have always wanted to go to Wyoming!! This is a dream come true.


I'll never be able to contain myself til then. I even get to fly on a prop plane. BTW, anyone considering flying out west anywhere, don't even bother with any airlines but Southwest. Man, those people know how to take care of you. I saved a lot of money (compared to so- called travel sites) by booking directly on the airlines' (Southwest and Great Lakes Air) websites AND had loads more flight options that worked much better for me. I called both airlines' Customer Services and they were amazingly helpful. I mean the kind of service you used to get most places, but no more. (T says Southwest is the T-Mobile of airlines.)

Italy and all those Botticelli's will just have to wait. I'm goin ridin'.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is this the face of evil or what? Anybody know who this guy is? It's former ousted congressman and wingnut radio talk show host J. D. Hayworth. and if you want to see a picture of what has often been called The Ugly American, just study this sucker's face and look carefully into his blackened soul. Hate oozes from every superenlarged, evidence-of-a- bad-diet (as if his girth weren't a dead giveaway) pore. What was that character's name in Animal Farm? The head honcho piggie? Just springs to mind without effort , doesn't it?

And here's why we care : he is John McCain's opponent in the Arizona Senate race and may well win on a platform of stinginess, hate, and bigotry. As if McCain weren't scary enough with his flip flopping George III variety madness and bloodless mutant wife, now we have a whole new variety of wannabe politicians comin at us screamin Who's your daddy?

Shades of Gleichschaltung and the declining Weimar, people. Like my Nanny used to say: Dontchoo fool yo'self!

Be afraid, be very afraid. Any minute they may decide they don't like the color of your eyes either.

ON a lighter note...

You know I have a thing for old motels... as you may have noticed from the last several months of blogging here. The one above left (just west of Atlantic City on route 30) is only one of the many I've seen all over the country over the last several months. Their intense poetry to me just demands a photoessay book: Abandoned America. Such despair on their faces. Like forlorn children, something betrayed. You just sense (and do NOT slam me for a moment of sentimentality here please) that someone, whoever actually built the place, had an enormous urge to hospitality. An impulse to offer friendly respite to travelers, and maybe to find a smidgen of comradery thereby, contact with the world beyond the motel, stories from afar, the human mystery of wanderlust. They were looking for friends, and were of a kindly nature these motel owners. For how could you be a success in that business if you weren't built that way?

When I left Maine my principle complaint, aside from lack of cultural stimulation in the area I inhabited (good for writing, bad for stimulation) was that in the over 15 years I'd lived there I hadn't made any real friends. I once talked to a shrink in Camden town and she said all her patients complained about that too. In fact, it was their most common complaint about living in midcoast Maine. It's pretty suburban really, and once I moved off the island to the mainland, it felt not unlike the Philly suburb I left in order to move north, only the scenery was whoa better. Still a small town was a good thing in some ways for kids and pets. And I accomplished a lot there, but still, when I left I felt that given the years there, true friendships, the kind of folks who always get what you mean, especially your jokes, accept you unconditionally, and are loyal to a fault, were thin on the ground.

And now I"m homeless, more or less. And I have so many friends, people I feel really "get" me, I can't keep up with the emails! Go figure.

Whatever it is, I love it. And thanks for everyone who emails me with encouragement and rah rahs and love.

So I am working on a couple things:

My mind, I've come to recognize, is like some cable telly spin doctor, constantly interpreting my thoughts and experiences to myself. I'd like to stop spinning my own life to suit my preconceptions and just live it. Stop feeling the need to interpret everything, and just be. This is hard to do, simple, but hard.

For only that day dawns to which we are awake, said Mr. Thoreau.

And I'd like to unlock whatever part of my heart decided many, many years ago, to keep that little wall of fear around it full enough to function as a moat.

My new mantra, and it's an imperative sentence, is this:

Unlock, my Heart.
Unlock, my Heart.
Open wide
and let life in.

Breathe deep.
Now deeper.
And breathe again...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do forgive me, everyone. Busy, busy day today. Shall post first thing tomorrow after walkies in morning. kiss kiss

ps... guess what this is? Are the girls to become cosmopolitanites?
(is that a word?)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Me and all my wonderful cousins on the course at Essex Fells after lunch following my Uncle Bill's funeral yesterday, complete with military honors and taps. He was 95 when he died on Wednesday and had lived a good long life, primarily, I'm told, on a diet of ice cream, sweets and laughter. We all loved him and will miss him. My mother worshipped the ground he walked on, her big brother. He's walkin those endless green golf links in the sky now with his wife, Doris, and most likely his brother Doug and my mom as well. God love em all. (As I recall, that was Aunt Doris' favorite expression, God love em. She was a happy woman.) The thing I will remember most about my aunt and uncle was how often they smiled at one another. They were a genuinely happy, truly loving couple. Love and laughter in their eyes every time I saw them. Bordered on a mischievous twinkle, as though they were co-conspirators in some great secret. To love like that is a great gift. A perpetual act of mutual faith that for some reason strikes us today as larger than life.

I once knew a nun, Sister Mary, the principal of Villa Victoria Academy where I taught French, who was perhaps the most optimistic person I'd ever met at that point in my life. No matter what you said to her, her response was always "God Love ya". It took some getting used to, someone, an advocate with amazing constancy, insisting to God that he/she love me no matter what came out of my mouth or what I was thinking every second of the day. Eventually she said it to me enough times that I came to expect it and to believe that God did indeed love me and that Sister Mary was the instant messenger bringing me that happy news, news I sorely needed at the time. Now that I think of it, when do we not need that message, that the Universe, God, the Mind that runs the show, loves us, and that, like the Beatles tried to tell us, Love is all you need?

I'm still workin on swallowing that idea whole the minute I get up in the morning and letting it work in and sustain me all day. And daily I fall seriously short. You know, I can't imagine why it's such a hard one for us to live all the time. But it really is, isn't it?

As always, we can turn to wise Yoda for the answer: (Revenge of the Sith was on TV today)

The fear of loss is a path to the dark side. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.

Riiiiight. No so easy.

One trick to doing that may be to ask, what do I have left if what I fear to lose is lost to me? If you can live with that, you're good. But even that doesn't get to the root of the problem. It all comes down to faith, that the Universe is Love, at the very least a mathematical perfection, and that we are part of that. It's a kind of faith and acceptance of what is. The Be Here Now school of philosophy. Hard to do when everything around you demands an answer to "Well, what then?"

Let it be?

more later....