Tuesday, November 28

Say What?

I am a big fan of Say What?, broadcast Sunday mornings on NPR. It's a weekly dose of wit, wisdom and tom foolery, usually instigated by Paula Poundstone. I always learn something, especially new vocabulary words (which you know makes me hot!) and this past Sunday in a complete break from the show format, I learned something that literally had me rolling on the floor...involving Texas and Poetry!

Did you know any Emily Dickinson poem can be sung to the tune of The Yellow Rose of Texas? Really...it's true and if you don't believe me, here's a little ditty by the Belle of Amherst to prove the point:

The Day Came Slow

The day came slow, till five o'clock
Then sprang before the hills
Like hindered rubies, or the light
A sudden musket spills

The purple could not keep the east,
The sunrise shook from fold,
Like breadths of topaz, packed a night,
The lady just unrolled.

The happy winds their timbrels took;
The birds, in docile rows,
Arranged themselves around their prince
(The wind is prince of those).

The orchard sparkled like a Jew,
--How mighty 't was, to stay
A guest in this stupendous place,
The parlor of the day!

Pretty funny huh?

Thursday, November 23


The sun has returned
this Thanksgiving morning,
warming Mother and child

I am a pauper, indebted to your rays
of respite from dark awakenings...
restored, even if for one day

I am thankful for you,
with all our starts
and stops
and starts anew…
you remain as constant as breath

You are the banquet table
on which I feast,
‘tho yesterday, there
lingered only the slightest taste
of you in my mouth

It was enough to sustain me
when there was but dust
on pantry shelves

I am grateful for gnawing hunger
entreating you break
fast in brilliance over the Ridge,
through barren arms of a forest once green
hastening o’er a meadow of sparkling gems
spilling into my soul

Wednesday, November 22

de profundis

de profundis

out of the depths
comes a cry of the heart
a lava flow of fire and ash
scorching the landscape
creating anew
a path never before imagined

Sunday, November 19

If I Scream in the Forest, Will Anyone Hear Me?

When balmy gulf breezes blew just right, I could hear shrill screams from the amusement park, located 5 miles east of our house. This sound conjured images of teenagers with arms raised above their heads, anticipating the moment when gravity would rip them from the security of their perch at the precipice of the wooden roller coaster. From our front yard, I could also see the loftiest fireworks shot off at 9 o’clock every night, framed by the tops of our neighbors oak trees. If not for the oppressive heat, ever-present humidity and mosquitoes, I would have sat in the front yard until the park closed, smiling at the sounds of life as it floated in on night air.

Like the anonymous thrill-seekers I heard in the night, I would stand in line for what seemed like hours to experience 2 to 3 minutes of adrenaline-laced fun (?). What I can admit today is that most of the time I was terrified. As we would inch closer and closer to the inevitable, I would scan the perimeter for an escape route, my eyes darting left to right as I nervously shifted my weight from foot to foot. I could feel a greasy ball of fear growing in the pit of my stomach.

On one particular visit to the park, I found myself waiting for an agonizingly long period of time to ride Greezed Lightnin’…the latest loop roller coaster the park had installed. I soon realized from my vantage point in line I could watch the entire operation from start to finish. People being loaded, strapped in and cars slowing inching, click by mechanical click, up the 80’ vertical climb to the top where they would be jettisoned at breakneck speed on shrieking rails towards a loop that would slingshot them at 60 mph skyward only to fall prey to gravity and experience the entire thing again, only this time backwards. From start to finish, the ride only lasted 33 seconds…I know because I timed it.

I learned a life coping skill that day that is the centerpiece in my arsenal against fear. If I stand still long enough in the face of what terrifies me, watch, analyze and intellectualize it in repetitive motion, I am no longer afraid. On that hot Texas summer day, I stood in the same spot long enough to be able to anticipate every twist turn, bump and jolt I was about to experience, hoping that someone, somewhere west of the park would be standing outside at just the right time to hear my shrill scream and smile.

Wednesday, November 15

No Words

Mary Oliver is a poet whose work is always nearby. It's fluid, graceful, breathtaking, funny and at times tragic, just like life. A new book of her poetry has just been published entitled Thirst. In it, she captures once again the beauty and mystery of nature, but also speaks to the profound grief and loss of Mollie, her partner of more than 40 years.

I don't know Mary Oliver personally, but when I learned of her loss, I was stricken with sadness. In sharing the news with fellow admirers, their reactions were the same. She very rarely revealed their relationship in her published works, but when she did, I felt deep joy, awe and reverence for the sanctity of their union.

On Monday night, the writers group to which I belong gathered to share our words. It's a small group of women and men who savor language and life and when we come together, there is always laughter and sometimes tears. One of the members entered into the group a bit timidly, not truly believing she belonged. I was privileged to have read some of her poetry and knew full well not only did she "belong" but we could all learn and grow from her words. She too, a lover of the work of Mary Oliver, offered this poem...the profoundness of which I have no words. Thank you Linda Z, for allowing me to share your words, dipped with grace and compassion, with the world.

For My Friend
Mary Oliver

This great ocean
It's called loss
And grief and death

And yes, it's called

It's our common christening
Where tears are shed
Or not shed
Where we drown
A million times

Only to find
That we've been invited
To float

Monday, November 13


I've been thinking about exposure. This train of thought has been inspired by the seasonal push and pull of leaves off the trees, down gullies and over ridges. The trees are so dense where I live you truly cannot see the topography of the land, nor what may lie 10 feet into the woods, be it a listing and abandoned barn, a 3 story house or a pack of coyotes in concert to the moon.

We shed, I understand 40 pounds of skin in an average lifetime, but wouldn't it be delightful to have a shedding season, just like the leaves in fall or winter coats on animals in the spring. It would be much easier for us to see each other for who we are, underneath all that camouflage.

I wonder what I might look like.

Wednesday, November 8

Makes Me Glad to Be Alive

Go to this website NOW...Puppies Behind Bars.

Seriously...I mean RIGHT NOW!!!

My two favorite subjects...

PUPPIES so damn cute you want to kiss their faces wearing red lipstick



What an amazing organization...makes me want to break the law just so I can train a whole litter of these cuties! I mean...look at those paws.

Saturday, November 4

I Could Knit a Puppy

Hair...most of us have it. We fill our world with pets who have hair, which means our homes are filled with it.

My dog has full access to the furniture in my living quarters. Who am I kidding? She has full access to the furniture in the entire retreat house! Between the two of us, we leave our calling card, in the form of hair, pretty much everywhere.

Each night I flap the sheets and comforter and brush off as much dog hair as possible before I crawl into bed. Once a week, I hang my comforter outside in the sun and sweep/beat the dog hair off with a broom. It's a fun ritual and for a few days my bed smells like the outdoors, but by day seven, I'll be honest, it pretty much smells like a dog.

So, this morning, I'm sitting in my big comfy chair in the sun drinking coffee and reading emails. Mocha is curled up behind the chair taking a post-hike nap. She wakes up, comes from behind the chair and stands in front of me for a pat on the head and to see if food has magically fallen from the sky onto the floor. That's when I notice 3 or 4 very long, very curly blonde hairs hanging decoratively from her chin.

Hmmm....it might be time to vacuum!

Thursday, November 2

What's the Difference?

What is the difference between wounded and injured? I hear these words used interchangeably on NPR reports that drift into my office on radio waves.

When someone is writing a news story, how do they decide which one to use? What does one convey that the other doesn't? So, I started thinking about it. I scanned my brain for an answer. Here's what I came up with:

To me, to be wounded means someone/something has inflicted bodily harm upon someone else, i.e. "The wedding party was wounded when a suicide bomber detonated himself outside a temple in Tel Aviv." Whereas injured carries for me a tone of accidental injury , i.e. "A woman was injured when she dropped a bowling ball on her foot."

Now, I don't claim to have a firm grasp on the English language, I almost used cadre incorrectly in a sentence yesterday, so I consulted several references and here's what they had to say:

To injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success, where as to wound implies an act that causes bodily injury, especially the puncturing of one's skin.

Hmmm...the difference is still not clear to me. I suppose I'll need to pay closer attention to how others are using them.

Which is Funnier?


Chuck as Princess Leah



Chuck as Darth Vadar



Chuck as Yoda

I'm going on record that this is one of the best dogs ever and here's the woman who (lovingly) exploits him: Dooce

Leave your vote in comments!!!!!

Wednesday, November 1

Show Me Your Belly

I live for the moment when someone reveals their true self to me. It happens so quietly, so quickly, so fleetingly it's easy to miss if you aren't paying attention. It's the moment of absolute honesty when there are no walls, there is no pretense, no sarcasm, no synicism and it's always the moment when I fall head over heels in love.

I guess I've been lucky...it's happened twice in my life. The memory of those moments haunt me at times. Should it happen again, I wonder if I'll notice.