Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Time flies. I was scanning my list of Bookmarks this afternoon and noticed I still had this Blog address. If you're here, browsing, please enjoy. Also, please note that for several years now, my NEW website address is Hope to see you there (you can still find most of the old posts transferred over).

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Website of My Own

Pulling on my big-girl pants, I step into a whole new adventure--my very own Word Press website! Thank you to web designer extraordinaire, Blake Webster (really, that's his last name) at Media Design. I'll be posting from the new site, so please join me over there:

Thank you for following me these last several years as I stumbled and splashed my way into the world of blogging. I hope I've provided you some moments of entertainment, inspiration, reflection, or just a short escape. There's a Comment feature on the website, so feel free to stay in touch that way.

Remember, I firmly believe that we are all unique expressions of the creative spirit. Shine on!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Affirmations and Fortune Cookies

I’m an avid reader of a friend’s blog, Life in Z-D (check out the link) . This week she wrote about the use of affirmations. I’m a believer. My refrigerator door sports slips of paper and magnets with phrases like, “You are here for a reason,” “You can do it,” You are a magnet for peace,” and my favorite, “You are a unique expression of the Divine.” On occasion, I been known to avail myself of a Tarot reading, a Rune throw, or a Medicine Card pull. I’ve worked with psychics and those who channel other entities. My belief is, all roads lead to Mecca.  I’m also a Virgo, which comes with a slice of healthy skepticism which I prefer to think of as a tool for discernment.

Having finished a sumptuous dinner of dim sum, prepared lovingly by my two friends and myself last Saturday, we succumbed to packaged fortune cookies with our green tea ice cream for dessert. Now usually, I take those fortunes with a grain of salt, and a big laugh. Like the one that read: You’ll take an ocean liner cruise and meet the love of your life. I don’t think so. After a brief boat ride in Belize out to a prime snorkeling spot, I realized that I’m prone to seasickness. One is unlikely to meet the love of one’s life while heaving over the railing.

This night, however, that little white piece of paper contained the words: A big fortune will descend upon you this year. Well, okey dokey, then. I can turn that into an affirmation, say it everyday, then just get out of the way and let it happen, right? I mean, it has potential. I am hoping to launch my first novel this summer. It could be a success. I taped the slip of paper with those optimistic words I will now affirm on my refrigerator door, along with the others.

Uh oh. Here comes that Virgo-thing, stirring up trouble. “Yeah,” it says, “fortune landing upon you might also mean you could be hit by a Brinks truck. Money descends in all sorts of odd ways upon people.” Geez. “Or, what about an insurance settlement for totaling your car or getting maimed?” Enough already.

Let me rephrase that: A big fortune will land upon me this year, bringing joy, peace, and mental and physical well-being. Okay, Virgo—have a go at that one.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mayflowers and Bugs

April showers bring May flowers. What do Mayflowers bring? Pilgrims. This was my mother’s way of combating years of ridiculous knock-knock jokes when my siblings and I were young. As I look back, much of what she said contained embedded lessons. Who knew? I thought she was just being a dorky mom.

At the risk of seeming obsessed with weather (see last month’s blog), it’s raining—again. And what do May showers bring? Bugs. Bugs that usurp my living space. A turn around is fair play (another Mom-ism) I suppose, since I spend much of my time outdoors.

However, I don’t kill bugs outdoors—that’s their turf; I am but a visitor. My spiritual path is one of unity of all things—except apparently, bugs. Well, some bugs. Diligently, I catch spiders, big moths, and other crawlies in a glass, slide a paper envelop underneath, and safely, gently transport the little creatures back outside (where they belong). I shoo flies back outdoors.

It was to my personal horror this morning that I reached over and whacked a tiny moth that had landed on my bathroom wall. First of all, I did it with some arcane impulse that had nothing to do with mindfulness. Whack! All of a sudden, this little life force that was doing no harm (except perhaps munching holes in my linens—but truthfully, I had no proof of that) was removed from the world of the living. No warning. No time to say its goodbyes or reflect on its life (okay, so I anthropomorphize here).

The point is I did it without even thinking. The evidence—a left-over smudge of gray powder from its wings—stared at me until guilt motivated me to wipe it quickly from the wall. I did at least have the common courtesy to say a little blessing for its truncated life as another manifestation of creation with intrinsic worth. I still feel bad.

Mosquitoes are another matter altogether

Friday, April 13, 2012

Start Where You Are Today

Today, I’m feeling soggy—absolutely done-in by days of unrelenting rain. It’s the kind of weather that could bum me out if I let it There’s a very real condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder that actually does “do-in” those who suffer from too much meteorological gloom (and a lack of vitamin D). Those of us who are not biologically impaired by weeks of gray skies and saturating rain, however, stand a better chance of turning around those bummed out feelings.

Still basking in the afterglow from the recent performance of my metaphysical blues song, Start Where You Are Today (if not from the “glow” of the sun), I’m reminded that by changing our thinking we can change our experience of life. Sounds simplistic, but is not for the faint of heart. Borrowing from the lyrics of the song, we perhaps can’t change our circumstances (or the torrential rain outside my window), but we can change the way we experience them. It also reminds us that we need to start somewhere—preferably today. Corny as it sounds, today really is the first day of the rest of our life. Just try changing yesterday.

There are examples too numerous to site of people overcoming seemingly unendurable circumstances by shifting their perspective—Viktor Frankl comes to mind (Man’s Search for Meaning), a prisoner of war with no real prospects of survival who became an esteemed philosopher and inspirational teacher. But, that’s a really big example. What about us regular-folks?

What about those of us who feel weighed down by an elongated season of rain? Day after day of no sunshine, temperatures that never rise above fifty degrees, ruts in the driveway that get deeper and deeper with the onslaught of water, potted plants that have drowned and hopefully gone on to a better place—we become morose, lethargic, eat more carbs than we know we should. We drag ourselves to work with a lack of enthusiasm and an attitude befitting Eyore. Can we just “snap out of it”? Possibly not—but perhaps we can think our way through it to a less stressful experience of it.

To look at our thinking, we have to notice the stuck spots, the places of self-sabotage. Back to the song—a guy is sitting at a stop sign waiting for the light to change—talk about self defeating—with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake, wondering why nothing is happening. Have you ever been there?

His question of angst is “Why try, we’re all gonna die anyway.” Well, yes, it’s true—we are all going to die. A whole generation of kids who grew up in the era of the bomb shelter in the back yard held the same question. I guess the focus should be on what would you like your quality of life to be between right now, and then? The guy in the song rails about the role of fate, and the admonishment to not push the river—it flows by itself. Again, this is not about controlling the outcome, but rather influencing the process by which we get there. The journey—not the destination is our focus.

So, what are the good things that can come out of all this rain? Even though the ground water is backed up like a bad sewer right now, over time it will seep deeper and deeper into the earth, reaching those tree roots and dormant plants that have been waiting for this miracle of nature to kick-start their growth cycle. My lilac bush has burst into bloom, despite the torrential rain weighing down it’s branches. Trees and plants are good. Imagine a world without them. They need rain.

On rainy days, I’m less likely to busy myself out in the world. I become more introspective; I move at a slower pace; I rest my body more deeply than when I’m running about “getting things done.” Slowing down is actually good for our health.

Natural beauty is its own reward. The dusty greens and musty yellows of the dry season are pretty in their own subdued way. But, the vivid colors that emerge after spring rains are enough to make me dizzy. The neighbor’s plum tree glows with pink flowers snuggling close to its formerly bare branches. The lavender color of my lilac along the back fence soothes my senses. The dust-free green of the vines that will soon spout clusters of purple wisteria, glisten as they gracefully drape from the tree boughs. The deep rust of the redwoods, saturated with water, are not seen anywhere else in nature’s colors.

I’m sure you can make your own list that will help add some balance to the scale of coping. For me, I’m still looking forward to sunshine—which I know will arrive, eventually. In the meantime, I feel a little less hostile as I pop an extra vitamin D, grab my umbrella, and head out into my day. Hmm. The air actually smells pretty good.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Play Time

Tension mounts as my editor and I make final decisions about layout and design. So many little details required to bring a manuscript into publishing form. What kind of font do I want, and should it be consistent throughout? What do I want the first letter of each new chapter to look like? How about point size? Will my target audience (many of us in bifocals now) be able to comfortably read a 12 point? What about the size of the book? Can it be easily stashed in a bag or purse to be carted about for moments of leisure reading, or stress-reduction reading while waiting in a long line at the bank? Will the cover convey enough to grab the reader’s attention? What about the colors? Do they catch the eye? On and on.

As exciting as all this is, I find it stresses my body. My shoulders inch up toward my earlobes; my breathing is shallow; my hands are clammy. There’s a lot of hurry-up-and-wait after each decision. I need a distraction. Ah, I’ve got just the thing. I’ve always wanted to learn to write a 10-minute play—they’re big out here at the moment.

I send an e-mail to my writer’s group list-serve: Anyone have any pointers on how to write a 10-minute play? In a day or two, I’m bombarded with all sorts of wonderful tips and information, resources and leads. Okay, now I’m engaged. Book? What book? For better or worse, here’s my first attempt. Disregard formatting; the translation was lost in the cut/paste process to my blog. Hope you enjoy:


Jen/Blaire (same actor)
Martin/Stanley (same actor)
Beautiful Woman

The couple’s kitchen

Early morning

(MARTIN is dressed in a business suit, briefcase in hand, and is ready to leave for work. JEN wears a tattered housecoat and slippers. She sits at the table. Her hair is in rollers and she holds a mug of coffee.)

JEN: I’m sorry about last night, okay? I’m just not feeling it. (Pause) I’m trying . . .really, I am, but—

MARTIN: (He turns to her.) I know you are. I think it might be time to get professional help.

JEN: Therapy? (Beat.) You think I need to see a therapist? We can’t afford that . . .unless I get a job, that is.

MARTIN: Jen, we’ve talked about this. The last time you tried to work, you fell into a pit of depression.

JEN: I was working at K-Mart, for God’s sake.

MARTIN: We’ll figure something out. (He bends, kisses her on top of her head.) I’ll see you this evening.

(MARTIN exits. JEN blows her nose, wipes at her eyes. JEN extracts a phone book from a nearby table and thumbs through the Yellow Pages. She lifts the receiver on the phone and dials.)

JEN: Hello, my name is Jennifer Walsh, and I’m looking for a part-time position. (Pause) Yes, I have hostess experience. (Pause) A Masters Degree. I studied and lived abroad for several years. (Pause) Currently? (JEN sighs.) I’m a housewife. I’d really like to do something a little more meaningful. (Pause) You are? That’s wonderful. Yes, I’d like very much to come in for an interview. (Pause) Would it be terribly rude of me to ask what this job pays? (Pause) It does? (She flashes a big Victory sign in the air.) Thank you so much. I’ll see you tomorrow. (Stage goes dark.)

(The next morning, MARTIN and JEN sit at the breakfast table. MARTIN reads the paper. JEN is dressed and her hair is brushed. She quietly eats a bowl of cereal. MARTIN puts down the newspaper and looks at her. JEN averts her eyes.)

MARTIN: I have a meeting I expect will run late tonight. I’ll catch a bite at the office. No need to wait up.

JEN: Okay.

(MARTIN scoots his chair back, grabs his coat and briefcase, kisses JEN on the top of her head and leaves. JEN quickly clears the table and dashes out of the room.)

(Stage goes dark. Next scene is at MARTIN’s office. He’s at his desk, and turns to the audience.)

MARTIN: I don’t know what’s gotten into her lately. I swear, she’s just turned into a cold fish in bed. (Pause.) A co-worker of mine suggested I start seeing an escort. He did that when his marriage started to slump, and it helped him through. (Pause) I don’t know . . .I’ve never been unfaithful to Jen. (Pause) Although, he said it didn’t involve sex, just some affection. I mean, is that too much to ask? A little affection and understanding?

(Stage goes dark. The next scene is an upscale parlor. A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN welcomes MARTIN into the room.)

BEAUTIFUL WOMAN: Good evening, Stanley. I’m so glad you’re here.

(BEAUTIFUL WOMAN leads STANLEY to a plush couch and hands him a glass of champagne. She takes his credit card. Soft music plays in the background.)

BEAUTIFUL WOMAN: Please make yourself comfortable. I’ll send Blaire right out.

(BEAUTIFUL WOMAN exits from a door behind MARTIN.)

(Moments later, JEN, dressed to the nines, wearing evening make-up, and a fancy coiffed wig, enters, approaches MARTIN from behind,slides her hands sensually down his neck and over his shoulders,nuzzles the back of his head.)

JEN: (Whispers seductively.) Good evening, Stanley. My name is Blaire, and I look forward to spending the evening with you.

(MARTIN turns to face her and recognizes JEN immediately. Both face the audience in a moment of shock. Turning toward each other, neither registers recognition on their face.)

(BLAIRE slithers around in front of STANLEY, sits on his lap, and gazes lovingly into his eyes.)

BLAIRE: Tell me something about yourself, Stanley.

STANLEY: I know it sounds like a cliché, but I don’t think my wife understands me. I don’t feel like she finds me attractive anymore.

BLAIRE: (Strokes STANLEY’S cheek as he speaks.) A handsome, well-built man as yourself? What’s not to find attractive? (BLAIRE leans back and makes a slow, visual assessment of STANLEY.) You’re obviously a man of means and good taste. Why, any woman would find you desirable, Stanley.

STANLEY: The only woman I really care about is my wife, and she no longer wants to make love with me. (STANLEY looks suddenly abashed.) Oh, no offense. I mean, you’re absolutely beautiful—stunning, in fact.

BLAIRE: We women are temperamental creatures, Stanley. We need to feel valued and appreciated, for more than just our abilities to manage a household, or put food on the table.

STANLEY: Oh, I do appreciate her. She’s brilliant—much more educated than I am, really. She’s a great conversationalist. And funny—we used to laugh so hard over the smallest things. (STANLEY looks away, lost in thought for a moment.) She’s detail oriented, excellent with money management, can multi-task like nobody’s business, and she’s beautiful.

BLAIRE: She sounds rather amazing.

STANLEY: She is rather amazing, now that I think about it.

BLAIRE: Have you told her that lately? (BLAIRE now straddles STANLEY and moves suggestively closer.)

STANLEY: (STANLEY runs his hands slowly up her sides and over BLAIRE’S breasts, and draws her even closer.) No, but I will. I promise, I will. (They kiss.)

(Stage goes dark. Next scene is in the couple’s kitchen the next morning. MARTIN is in robe and slippers, and JEN is in a sexy robe and slippers. Her hair is brushed. They hold hands over the breakfast table, gaze into each others eyes.)

MARTIN: Last night was wonderful, sweetheart. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed making love to you.

JEN: It was, wasn’t it? I’ve missed you too. I don’t know what changed. All of a sudden, whatever was blocking me seemed to just drift away.

(They smile, lean over the table to kiss. They sit back down to finish their coffee.)

The End

Friday, February 10, 2012

Some Thoughts on Bicycling

It wasn’t a lie, exactly. When my physician asked me how much exercise I get a day, I said I usually bicycle or walk daily, for twenty minutes to half an hour. For a “senior” that doesn’t sound so bad. Then again, my friends are out on the tennis courts, or whacking balls on the golf course, or long-distance bike riding, or hiking up mountains . . .

So let me explain myself. I do actually prefer biking over driving when I can. No gas to buy, no pesky parking places to look for, and I can navigate through traffic quickly on bike. It takes longer to get somewhere, yes—actually, it takes MUCH longer the way I do it.

I bike much like I walk. And I meander, or lollygag, more than walk. So in twenty minutes or half an hour, though it seems like a good commitment to physical exercise, I don’t really get all that far, and I doubt if my heart rate would reflect “aerobic.” BUT . . .

Let me tell you about the sensual joys of moving slowly through the world—particularly at night when the drier, warmer smells of day are done, and evening moisture awakens subtle aromas. As much as I dread winter, when it’s dark before I even leave work, I’ve found that I treasure those slow night rides home on my bike.

In the evening, the settling-in smells carry on the moist night air—a roast in someone’s oven activates my salivary glands; the green smell of wood shavings from a neighbor’s remodel project reminds me of the houses my grandpa used to build when I was a child; the boughs of a cedar tree I pass under are reminiscent of my grandmothers hope chest at the end of her bed; the smell of burning logs in a fireplace is a quintessential expression of hearth and home coziness. The earth takes on a mushroomy aroma at night, and the scent of fog as it moves inland reminds me of cooked rice.

Also, in the evening you can see cars coming a whole lot easier. And the stars—oh my; on bike it’s like riding under a sparkling canopy. One evening I was so mesmerized by all the twinkling, I risked a prolonged look at the night sky and whammed right into a dark blue recycling bin left sitting a couple feet from the curb. Lesson learned—now I stop to star gaze.

The scents of day have their own imprint as I lazily ride the distance between work and home. In the morning, I catch a whiff of bacon as I pass by a neighbor’s home. There’s a collective smell of “traffic” during the commute hours. Dryer sheets scent the air from someone doing an early load of laundry. Narcissus, reminiscent of kindergarten paste, wafts up from the borders of the sidewalk.

Then there’s the sheer joy of being on my bike, a fifty-eight year old Schwinn that I got when I was seven. At that time, the bicycle weighed more than I did. Somehow, it survived decades of cousins learning to ride, and returned to me via my parent’s shed when I was an adult.

Originally mint green and lavender, it has undergone a couple of repaints—including Pepto Bismo-pink—and is currently a lovely sea-green. There’s a synergy that happens when I climb onto the seat now (how did I ever reach the pedals when my legs were child-length?). I become a slightly zany old woman chuckling with delight at having her old friend back in her life, and at the same time, I am that innocent child given her first taste of freedom that only a bicycle can provide. Ah, the memories we’ve shared.

There’s something good to be said about relics—the human and the mechanical kind. We’re living pieces of history moving through the world. I’ve been stopped many times at the grocery, or the laundromat, or just on a street corner by adults who with a smile of reminiscence say, “I used to have one of those when I was a kid,” or teenagers who muse, “Wow, they don’t make those anymore, do they?”

No gears, no fancy hand brakes. Just life at a slower, easier pace, the way it was meant to be lived.