Friday, February 27, 2004

I am surely crazy.
I decided to learn to carve wood, and typically enough, not just a little whittling project, but a Native American Transformation mask. I tried for years to get the poem out that related to the symbolism these masks have for me, and never succeeded. So what the heck, I'll carve one I impetuously decide. First I order a book which shows how to do it. I get the book and laugh hysterically at the folly that made me believe I could do this. Do I give up? NO. I sign up for a 3 hour class called beginning wood carving, go to the class, show no particular talent whatsoever at it, and do I give up?
Ha. The catalog arrives for the institute that I wanted to take a poetry workshop from (with Kim Stafford! Wow!) and in what must be fate playing a massive joke on me, there are two carving classes offered that are teaching exactly the type of carving I need to do to make this mask. So without thinking, I sign up for both. I am talking about this with my ex last night, to be sure our schedule with the kids allows this, and it finally sinks in, I've signed up to spend 8 full days of my life this year dedicated to learning something I have no obvious ability in, or need to learn. Time is so precious...I ask myself what was I thinking???? But further down in my gut, I admit that I trust this impulse. The little voices which whisper "what if you hate it from day 1?" get resoundingly told to shut up. But it's still crazy.

Masks shown carved by David Boxley

Thursday, February 26, 2004

My home computer is still without internet access, so we have a slight interruption in the supply line for da blog.

Today's request is for patience.
It's been three weeks since I last ran into him at work, it's a huge building, and I'm not even sure where he sits. I've had plenty of time to build up my nerve since the last hallway chat, resolve I will ask him his full name, suggest lunch, figure out once and for all if he is single, and interested, or just one of those really magnetic people. The next time I see him. Which takes three weeks.

He is standing outside as I walk up.
He is talking on his cell phone.
I wave, one of those silly little playing the piano keys with your fingers kind of waves.
He smiles.
I walk past him into the building acting like I haven't already imagined his shoes lined up in the closet next to mine. I walk past him like someone who has only talked casually in the halls three times in as many months and didn't expect anything more.

I say nothing, and settle in to wait some more, because I can't interrupt a phone call-if I do interrupt a phone call, it will be obvious that I've already imagined his shoes lined up in the closet next to mine, and really it is so absurd to feel that way about a total stranger.
What part of your body do you feel patience in?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Due to some file error messages, I'm doing some housecleaning on my home computer. Scanning and defragmenting the disk which allegedly points out the errors and puts it all back together in a more orderly fashion.

Would that I could take all this stuff that floats around in my brain, and do the same thing. Its all there you know, I don't really so much learn new things at this point as recognize that I had just ignored some very useful bit of wisdom for the last 30 years and wonder why it just now surfaced. And those error messages are nothing new either. Why didn't I delete them the first time they showed up!

From the length of my article today, you'd think I'd done a complete disk copy over in commonbeauty's series on vice but I am grateful for his generous offer to host my thoughts. I'm flattered to be writing in such good company!

Monday, February 16, 2004

Where do I stop and you begin?

Love for me has been one huge mess of blurred boundaries.
I'm afraid I didn't consider that, once I had settled down inside someone else's psyche, it might leave little room for me, and sometimes crowd them. I wonder now why everyone else's thoughts, feelings, motives were so much more interesting than mine. I am sick to death of walking around wishing that someone was as interested in rooming with my psyche as I am with theirs.

During my marriage counseling, I described wanting a mate that couldn't wait to talk to me about their day, that wanted to know what I was thinking, someone that was not only comfortable with my infiltration, but that wanted to infiltrate me. Actually, the word infiltrate just occurred to me now. My husband said I was being idealistic and naive to think I could find that. Besides, who would want to share that level of intimacy? I guess I look back now and wonder if I was too idealistic, or worse yet, oblivious to the problem I caused ranging unconfined. Years later and I think about why I would have wanted to uncover every darkened corner in his head. What was it that needed to have every frikkin hope and fear exposed for me to see? Do I really want to put myself and someone else through that now? But isn't there more to a relationship than a discussion about the weather report? At least every other week (or something), some feelings shared, opinions voiced, risks taken?

At the time of my divorce, there was someone who seemed very happy to share this version of a relationship with me. But not in person. It seemed like a better deal than my marriage though. A person who couldn't wait to talk to me, long distance, or a person who never talked to me over the dinner table. In the end I walked away from both.

I guess I can't figure out what a connection between two people looks like if it doesn't include some curiosity, some overlap, some blending. I suppose the trick is for both people to have balance in the equation, so one does not swallow up the other. I think tonio was commenting about that a few days back here. It describes one aspect of what happened to my marriage. The part I share some responsibility for.

But how much of the "house" that contains your relationship do you need to keep to yourself? John Welwood says "to fall in love is to feel the basic openness of our being." I want to be asked inside, rather than shut out. I'd like to be a polite guest, not the sort that trashes the hospitality.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Call it my anti-Valentine's Day post. Unless you want to send me a Spongebob Valentine's Day card, in which case I might have to change my whole outlook on love this week.
A Triage of Silly Poems, in honor of Lekshe

Love or Altoids

Pass me the mints
She said breezily
Wondering if a kiss
Would ever materialize
In place of this
Sanitized affection

(Pic link courtesy of the Center for Interactive Advertising)
Muse on a Diet

When inspiration deserts you
When your muse takes one glance at the menu and orders
A new venue
When an hour after being seated
The busboy still hasn't filled your water glass
When McDonald's drive thru sounds appetizing
That's the time to announce your new diet.
Give it a fancy name
Attribute it with life saving properties
Then loudly order tangerine jelly bellies and

Staring rudely down the cleavage
Of your well dressed hostess
Fashionably early make your excuses
Leaving behind the torn out page of a telephone directory
"Plastic surgeons"
Too Much Coffee

But on my way over the top,
(and to be sure, I didn't stop at the dry cleaners)
A memory impaled me
(well surely I turned pale)
Of careening down a Las Vegas thoroughfare
Backside bared to the passing fancy
Of coffeeshop patrons and
Gamblers blearyeyedupallnightemptywalleted
Good Morning Good Morning we hollered
As the neon flickered off
While our brash stash flash
Lit up the strip
Sometimes caffeine is worse than liquor
Care to join us in the buffet line?

(pic link courtesy of Fun Ideas)

Thursday, February 12, 2004

A truly beautiful piece of writing by Antonio Savoradin evocative of mood, place and color.

"I don't know what it is that drew us to the shore: the scent of salt, that which flavours tears, blood, the amniotic comforts of the hushed womb, vibrating with some imagined beat or breath."

Some sound out their own rhythm. Some are lucky enough to listen. Go click that link now, and hear the whole "song"!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Do you have a routine for how you visit favorite blogs?
I realized today that I feel much like a neighbor going from house to house, looking in on each garden to see what has been added or pruned or bloomed. Sometimes the neighbor has guests out in the yard, and I visit with everyone for a moment, then the dog and I walk on to the next one, admiring the hyacinths, inhaling deeply the smells of newly turned soil, dampened leaves, and freshly mown grass. Joey (he's the dog) finds the most treasured dwarf pine, or mound of ornamental grass, or delicate lily plant, (notice the preference for low mounding plants) and pisses like an open fire hydrant on it. I feign dismay, pull him along, and secretly congratulate him for finding the highest priced plant in the yard to pee on. Dog has expensive tastes in urination. Note at the next house the unmistakable smell of a pot roast on hour two of roasting in the oven, the scent drifting out over the brick walkway that winds to their bright red door. Joey sniffs the air too, dogs are lucky, they can drool without embarressment. Turn the corner, and note the interesting garden art created out of discarded yogurt containers built into the shape of a sphinx. I circle the basketball hoop, return on the path I just followed checking for lost earrings, and arrive home refreshed and relieved I didn't have to use the pooper scooper on Madge's perfect lawn today.

But seriously, I do have a "path" I follow through the blogs I read, a route I take daily, a route I only take weekly or so, and a conscious choice to explore a new path every few days, following another blog "trail" 4-5 "houses" away from the familiar one. Unconsciously, I've organized a route based on my "feel" for how the blogs flow from one to another, and fallen into that routine now. How about you? What organizes your route? How much does it vary day to day?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Done, you wait as I slowly untangle
Piece by piece, I strip myself off your board

Finish peeling and packing up
Start to say goodbye
Look up and realize
Even though you played along
You had nothing to put away

You keep your scene static
While I choose characters, outfits,
Then devise an elaborate plot
To explain their presence

I don’t know how to stay in my box
This I admit
But love is sticky and mobile
So I cling to your form an extra moment
Before re-collecting myself to go home

Monday, February 09, 2004

I was rereading a section of Aama in America today where the author has not really coped with his mother's death, and the reality that you can lose a person who loves you and whom you love without there being anything to do about it.

Within an 18 month period of my life not so many years ago, I recognized my marriage was the loneliest place on the planet, met a soul mate, divorced my husband of 16 years, realized my soul mate was using me as a substitute for intimacy so that he could stay! inside his empty marriage, moved on, met another man I fell madly in love with, realized that was a terrible mistake and broke up, allowing him to tear my heart into little bits on his way out the door, and during most of this timeframe sat at my mother's bedside as she died from an undiagnosed break-down in her digestive track. One of my closest friends and confidante during all of this (you know who you are) gently and repeatedly reminded me that things were moving too fast in my life. Too much to absorb.

For a few years there, I thought I was ME encountering the WORLD and felt this incredible sense of finding MYSELF! But now looking back, I was just me reacting to relationships which took me all over the map, emotionally, each redefining my image of myself from the outside, but really did not help me work out the nature of ME.

Dale has an interesting post on the idea of what defines the reality of our identity in the world, and some of the comments talk about the importance of relationships in their endurance far beyond the scattered bits and pieces of self that blow away upon our death. I have such mixed feelings about this now. I know I'm not always very clear about where I start and the other person stops. I like this feeling of integration and how it expands my window in the world. But its so easy to lose track of which part is me. When so many relationships died in such a short time, I realized that I could claim only a few pieces as "mine" walking out. Certain things I had to recreate into "mine without his," others I had to simply bury in a drawer for a while, and some I realize I cannot reclaim. Its so much easier to let someone else define me. Especially if its a definition that's more loving than my own for myself.
The book excerpt called to me this week, because lately when I look for ME, I find my Mom instead. Not in the "oh Mom would disapprove of this so I can't do it" or in even a conscious way. But rather in how I act as a mother to my own kids. I mean of course, obviously, who do we mirror but our parents, once we become parents. But how do I explain... It's not the decisions or the way I play or what I talk about with the kids... Its as if I'm trying to recreate the feel of my mother in their lives. And I wonder why. So they don't forget her? So I don't? Because I haven't let go of certain things? Because the relationship persists beyond the person's death? Or is it as simple as wishing my kids remember me the same way I remember her?

When I was very small, I used to fidget with a ring she wore much of the time... a rectangular light purple amethyst stone set in a simple solitaire setting. I can see so clearly the way it looked against her skin, the shape of her finger and how much give it had to turn when I'd play with it on her hand. I guess it calmed me, connected me to her in some way because I remember it in such detail. What will my kids recall? I work so hard on the "important" things, being a good listener, teaching them kindness and a work ethic, treating everyone and everything as sacred. But it isn't going to be those things they remember best I think. Maybe it will be, as Dale's readers recall, the hours reading aloud and playing board games. Or the wacky pink halloween wig. Or the smell of a certain favorite homecooked meal. Or playing with the same amethyst ring on my finger.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Wrote this quite a while ago, but it seems appropriate today for entirely different reasons. I hope its just food poisoning. I hate being sick.

pill bug
balled up

Friday, February 06, 2004

Some days are harder to face as a mother than others.
I would gladly pull the switch on the man who killed that 11 year old in Florida. Forgive my hatred and anger. It isn't just a girl, or a family, or a neighborhood that he has destroyed. Every time a parent lets a child walk free in the world, there is the fear of losing the most precious person in the world. For me, this takes a huge muster of courage. And despite the remote possibility of harm in the place where we live, in the daily lives we lead, it's still like the very heart of me walks out the door in her footsteps. If it were in my hands, I'd gladly personally remove from the face of the planet anyone who could do such a monstrous thing as grab and murder a child.
Damn reason. I heard her mother beg. I want revenge for the pain he caused.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

A prayer...
An email brought a suggestion worth passing on... If you use herbs in cooking like I did in the lavender apricot cake, and then pull them out, it is a nice idea to offer them back to the earth rather than just tossing them out.
A thought...
commonbeauty is planning a series of posts on the seven deadly sins. The concept of "sin" is one of the things I am least patient with in some Christian teachings. I say "some" because the New Thought Christian church I attended for a while did not buy into the concept of sin. But I know many Christians think that man's fundamental soul is marred and without taking Jesus as the savior, there is no hope of redemption. I cannot buy into the concept of sin, because the way it is used seems to take the normal range of good and bad choices people make, the normal range of weak and strong wills, the normal range of emotional states, and assign a judgement to the "lower" end of those ranges of variability which denies the natural bell curve of behaviors, and then require a particular act of redemption which ignores the weighting of those behaviors "good" to "bad" and simply seems to brand a person as inevitably fallen.
commonbeauty was amenable to changing the term to vice, which is surely more glamorous and for me more palatable. I'm sure it will be an interesting series, worth checking in there to see what comes up.

And a song...
Dusk in My Backyard
San Miguel, N.M. by Keith Wilson

The long black night
moves over my walls:
inside a candle is lighted
by one of my daughters.

Even from here I can see
the illuminated eyes, bright
face of the child before the flame.

It's nearly time to go in.
The wind is cooler now,
pecans drop, rattle down-

the tin roof of our house
rivers to platinum in th early moon.
Dogs bark & in the house, wine, laughter.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Deepak writes about the loneliness of waiting for Spring today. My own version of that sentiment. And strange how he can be so far away, Bangalore India, from Portland and yet snap a picture that could have been taken out my back window. But his is better!
Maybe we aren't really so alone, at least in what we experience.

(I pulled the pics. Deepak explained why they wouldn't load and I need to start from scratch)

Monday, February 02, 2004

I made a birthday cake for a friend in my women's spirituality circle yesterday. It turned out yummy but it fell apart because I tried to move it out of the pan before it had cooled enough. I'm always making things up, combining recipes. I liked how this turned out, it was a very light spring-like flavor, a good way to celebrate Imbolc too. During Imbolc, which is a time of creativity and lighting the flames of things new, Wiccans call on Bridgit for help, she helps with poetry, writing and other creative arts. In Welsh she is called Cerridwen. I am of Welsh decent.

Here is the recipe for the cake. If like Lorianne you are looking for signs of Spring, give it a try. Or if like me, you are trying to write a decent poem, light an orange candle and ask Bridgit for some editing. Or check out some of the tips from poets on Kurt's The Coffee Sutras pages.

Apricot Lavender Pound Cake

For the cake:
1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake mix (Duncan Hines does not use animal fat in it's mixes!)
2 6-oz jars apricot baby food (you can also puree canned apricots)
1/4 dried lavender flowers
1/2 cup very hot water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream
4 eggs

Soak lavender flowers in hot water at least 30 minutes. Pour through a strainer saving the water and throwing out the lavender.
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients including the lavender water and mix with an electric mixer 3-5 minutes. Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup lavender blossoms
14 oz can apricots including juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup margerine or butter
a few blossoms for decoration

In a saucepan, bring the juice from the apricots, the sugar, margerine and lavender to a boil. Boil for 1 1/2 minutes. Pour through a strainer to remove the lavender pieces. Place apricot halves decoratively around the top and middle of the bundt cake. Pour glaze over all, then sprinkle with the blossoms (for this try and use only the prettier purple part of the blossom.)

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