Thursday, August 29, 2013

Late Entry ... Poetry Thursday

Life shrinks 
in proportion 
to one's courage. 
~Anais Nin 

Bosque Trail, June 2013
This quote was one of the first ones that came across on the daily affirmations on loss that I signed up for after my sister died.  I can't always open the emails.  Thirty or so are sitting in my email right now, unopened.  But this one begins to give me courage to open them ... to begin to deal with the grief that lies just behind my eyes every moment of every day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Love *preview*

I am working on something for you on love, in the meantime, I am sharing these two stories about love.
Something we stumbled onto in Italy, summer 2012

I read this story yesterday, and tears streamed down my face... I was particularly struck by how lovingly and compassionately the daughters were taking this tremendous loss.  Going together was clearly a gift for their children as much as it was devotion to each other.

I saw this on my AP feed this morning, and the waterworks started again.   I celebrate with all those couples who have been waiting so long to share their lives *officially* -- I am not worried about the backlash and I don't care that it came about because of a court case.  Though I am still quietly rooting for that county clerk down in Las Cruces who didn't wait to do the right thing.  I would certainly vote for him

Happy weddings all! Toasting to all the happy couples and lighting candles for that other loving couple who recently passed together.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Poetry Thursday ... on God and medication

We Might Have To Medicate You

Resist your temptation to lie
By speaking of separation from God,

We might have to medicate

In the ocean
A lot goes on beneath your eyes.

They have clinics there too
For the insane
Who persist in saying things like:

"I am independent from the Sea,

God is not always around

Pressing against
My body."

From: 'The Gift'
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Full Moon Ceremonies

On the full moon, you let go of the things you don't need any more ...

So, I am planning on sitting with what I can let go off right now ... and performing a little ceremony to help me let go.

May the moon allow you to let go of what you no longer need, of what is no longer serving you.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another News Round Up - Silver Lining Poking Through

If you need a reminder that forgiveness and second chances are necessary ... listen to this piece.  It should prove that you cannot always judge a person by the actions.

In my free time, I have been worrying about the starving sea lions in California -- yes, because I don't have enough of my own troubles.  So, I was very happy to read this piece about two little guys who are doing okay ... but just in case, they are monitoring the sea lions' movements.  Do you think they need the ACLU?

The research that shows that libraries are very popular with the young ones (not the babies, the twenty-somethings), and the notice of the demise of reading, in general, was very premature.  I am continually amazed that libraries have figured out how to be relevant to these new and continuing readers, and newspapers cannot do it.  I have some ideas, but I am not sure who to send them to. 

I guess beauty can add a silver lining to much of our troubles... here's a guy that is trying to match beauty with message and create a silver lining ... I am not sure from this report if he is getting the message across, but the beauty seems to be shining through.  Maybe we can just reach for that.

It is harder to see the silver lining on this story as it is heartbreaking, but this young man's resolve and earnest try to do well after not having been well equipped by a school system that gave him A's for effort.  It is a cautionary tale about how we encourage students -- grades should not be an encouragement in and of themselves, they need to be backed up with the skills students need to succeed in (not just get in to) college.  Also, who was counseling this student when he applied to universities.  It is a testament to Berkeley that there were folks there willing to work with and help this young man. I wouldn't have guessed that to be true given my interactions with Berkeley people.  

A happy ending for the puppy found swimming in the middle of the SF Bay.  This is the kind of story I would have sent to my sister... and it breaks my heart that I cannot do that, but I hope that she is looking down at this and smiling.

Friday, August 16, 2013

the stars say...

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "Until we have seen someone's darkness, we don’t really know who they are," said author Marianne Williamson. "Until we have forgiven someone's darkness, we don’t really know what love is." Your assignment, Aquarius, is to seek out the deepest possible understanding of these truths. To do that, you will have to identify the unripe, shadowy qualities of the people who are most important to you. And then you will have to find it in your smart heart to love them for their unripe, shadowy qualities almost as much as you do for their shiny, beautiful qualities.
 According to Rob Brezsny, this is my assignment for the week ... today it seemed particularly apropos... I'm tired and I can't really figure it out right now, but seeing the darkness of others was a little too easy today, understanding it, a totally different thing...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Poetry Thursday, on anger

Holding on to anger 
is like grasping a hot coal 
with the intent of throwing it
 at someone else -- 
You are the one who gets burned.
 ~ The Buddha

Albuquerque Sunset

I am sure this is true, but I can't seem to let go of the coal ... and I wouldn't know where to throw it anyway.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

If I could ...

...say how I am feeling, I guess I would.

I have tried to write about it, but it does not seem to be working.

I am here, and posting what feels comfortable -- and so far that is poetry and articles.

Sorry ....

Monday, August 12, 2013

More NRU

This will break your heart, but I am so thankful for this mother's gift of honesty.  I don't know what the answer is... and neither does she, but she is certainly correct in saying that it is a conversation that we must have.  Not, of course, to the exclusion of the gun control discussion ... but, yes, we can't get anywhere without this discussion.  And, let me say, that this is, indeed, the kind of discussion that academia can help us with.  I saw Tanya Luhrman talking about her comparative work on mental illness, and I think there is something about the way we deal with it that is causing the problem.

I read these two pieces on some low income students at Ivies ... with pain and elation.  On the one hand, I wish that it were not true that they had to go through this.  On the other hand, I hold a tremendous amount of hope reading their words. I sincerely hope that they both hold on to their ability to see and tell it like it is.  Being at the Ivies tends to soften views on the harshness we see when we get there... hold on to that edge.

On a much lighter note, this story is about a small town outside of Madrid (Spain not NM) and the issue they have with dog people not picking up the poop.

I wish that our elected officials had this much integrity -- to stand behind what they believe and do something about gun control.  I know that this is a drop in the bucket, but it is more than nothing ... and the fact that the citizens did it matters ... now we need to use that same fire in our bellies to get the elected folks to understand that we mean it.

The Los Angeles Times has been teasing me with this story for what seems like weeks ... I hope you can open it. It's a winner.  Sending lots of love to James, his mom, grandpa and siblings: that is what family is all about.

I love bears, love them. I wish I had seen them in the wild ... and am hoping that it will happen some day. I loved this story about how the SoCal Bad News Bears came to be... that redhead momma with her two cubs will steal your heart any day.  This town in northern NM has an interesting relationship with the bears, too.

UPDATE:  Forgot to post up this one before I published...  This man's story begs us to also reconsider what we know, don't know, and do for people with autism.  Why can't we figure out how to build on people's strengths?

Friday, August 09, 2013

pollitos and baby hueys

When my sister was in nursing school, she had a friend that raised mallards, yes ducks. I am not sure if she always had them or just happened to have them, but we ended up with two.  One male, who stayed with us at our house; and one female, who eventually went to live with my sister.

When they first came to us, they were so little, they swam around in my mother's laundry room sink.  They were so fuzzy and cute, and they were inseparable.  Quickly they grew, and my sister took hers, Ping, to live in her backyard.  Ours cried and cried... so sad to be separated from his sister.  We decided to call him Baby Huey after the cartoon character that never matured though his body seemed to grow.  
For the past year and a half, or maybe two years, I have been a writing coach ... first for the boot campers and then for writing groups.  I have had more or less success with some of the campers and groups ... it has taught me more about my own writing process than I think I was able to help others.

The most ridiculous thing about this, though, is that I was the coach to these folks who were light years ahead of me in the PhD process.

Perhaps more ridiculous than that, I became so invested in their doing well (read *finishing*) that I have come to think of them as my pollitos even though I am the one following them. 

By rights, I guess I should just be thinking of myself as the baby huey, following along and calling loudly for my parents to come back ... pick me up, take care of me. 

As I write this, I feel very much like that baby huey

... alone with my writing, the rest of the group fledged out.

Honestly, though, I am so proud of their work ... and to have watched them grow as writers, but mostly as colleagues.  To think, I have seen no less than seven of them finish manuscripts/present and defend dissertations.

Looking forward to the celebrating with the first one to have crossed that PhD finish line this week. And to celebrating the other three in the months to come.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Poetry Thursday

Along the Rio Grande

And Joy is Everywhere;
It is in the Earth's green covering of grass;
In the blue serenity of the Sky;
In the reckless exuberance of Spring;
In the severe abstinence of gray Winter;
In the Living flesh that animates our bodily frame;
In the perfect poise of the Human figure, noble and upright;
In Living;
In the exercise of all our powers;
In the acquisition of Knowledge;
in fighting evils...
Joy is there Everywhere.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Picture me, like a baby Natalie Wood, saying over and over again: 
I believe, I believe, it's silly but I believe

At least I am trying to believe.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


RIP Patricia Lyons Simon Newman Gilband of Chicago.  And tons of love to Scott Simon and his family.

I was confused by the short version of this piece that showed up on all the wire feeds, the NY Times version explains why it was such a good thing for Dr. Aslan.  I saw the Jon "Stewart" interview with the other John, and thought ... wow, if only I had time to read something for fun.

An interesting way to fight against the intransigence of the banks ... not sure how it will work out, but I appreciate this city taking on the fight for its citizens, seems like they really get the "in this together" idea.

I am not sure I agree with the argument that no one should ever eat meat, but I do think it would be great if folks better understood the animals we do eat.  Regardless of how you feel about meat and animals, it is a good read.

This was a lovely piece that is a great companion to the movie, Fruitvale Station ... and all the crap that has happened with Trayvon, etc.

Wondering if this will make it to Univision... I am interested in watching.

I love that this story suggests we can do things that bring back our wilderness ... we are not only destructive. It also pushes us to think about the interconnectedness of lives, species, etc. There is hope for us, for our planet, for the rest of the living things on it ... but only if we act, deliberately and from a place of awareness.

It is really not often that I get to read such a loving tribute to an alumnus from my alma mater -- mostly because I don't think most of them are very laudable. This man sounds like a keeper ... and I wish his daughters peace and comfort as they grieve his loss.  May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

through it

The thing is
there is only
one way ...
through it.

There is no under it
over it
around it.

Just through it.

And it is like a swamp.

Even when I am
deep into the

I think of what
my siblings
would want
for me.

And I see
the glorious
and I wave at
the small child,
and I talk to
my turtle.

And I remember
that life is good
even when
it hurts.
Sunflowers Tim planted for Greg

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Happy Birthday to my favorite Leo

Happy Birthday, baby sister... even in our times of trouble, there is room to be happy.
Here are some lovely memories...

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Love & Emily, Poetry Thursday

We learned the whole of love,
The alphabet, the words,
A chapter, then the mighty book--
Then revelation closed.

But in each other's eyes
An ignorance beheld
Diviner than the childhood's,
And each to each a child.

Attempted to expound
What neither understood.
Alas, that wisdom is so large
And truth so manifold!