Monday, September 30, 2013

more NRU

****crazy weekend that included too much time in a hospital and then going through with the overnight I had planned for my parents means I didn't get to post this when I was supposed to....

Happy to post this article about Patagonia calling out consumerism ... yup, may sound counterproductive to their bottom line, but they are standing by what they believe when it comes to the environment.

I am including these families in my metta meditation ... as I struggle to reconcile my anger at the doctors in the hospital where my sister died, I am trying to draw inspiration from the compassion this man's family is applying in their situation. May they have the strength to bear this loss; may they continue to face each day with the courage of their convictions; may they be at peace, and may Jose Antonio rest in peace.

This is a heartbreaking piece on a woman trying to fight criminals who got arrested by the feds in Mexico. She is not unlike Urrea's heroine in Into the Beautiful North, except with tragic results. I hope this news coverage will help to shame the Mexican government into a reversal.  They cannot claim that they care about the war on drugs and criminals in our media while they are doing this at home.  And as a now US citizen, I hope that our government is also taking note of this treatment.

Yikes and super yikes ... I have a friend who gets a lot of grief for her decision to choose different hairstyles at different times, and when she went natural, we talked about it a fair amount. I was so excited for her to not have to be subjecting herself to so many chemicals -- and any style of hair looks great on her.  She loves to do her hair and doesn't mind the work and time involved ... so what is it to other folks.  If I had to endure the number of comments she does about her hair, I would have hurt several people already.  So reading this piece about telling a seven year old to change her hairstyle appalled me.  Ugh ... what they need to do is get those administrators some therapy time.  They all need to talk about why their standard of beauty only includes certain looks.  Ugh, and double ugh.  So glad Tiana has such lovely, supportive parents.  Dad said, "But the way I teach my kids is regardless of what people say, you be yourself and you be happy with who you are and how God made you."  Love him.  Thank goodness for those parents ... I think they were right to move her to another school as well -- they don't need apologies, they need people not to harass their daughter.

I am wondering when the networks would respond to the ultimate bullies.  It is a wonder we deign to call ourselves a democracy. I just cannot fathom how bullying results in so much results for the GOP.  As we come upon the shutting down of our government because the GOP has lost every attempt to make health care reform go away ... there are just too many examples of their bad behavior - it is not just partisan, it is petty, adolescent and worst of all tolerated by too many people.  Bullies, go home ... and others, stand up and let bullies know that this behavior will not be accepted.

Friday, September 27, 2013


I can tell you what it felt like to lose my brother -- like my heart was broken into a million little pieces.  So many tiny pieces that even if I tried to put it back together like a puzzle, it will never be the same.  There will always be slivers that didn't make it back in; the contours no longer what they once were.  Things feel different. Words have different meaning. Colors a slightly different hue.

The first issue I had to confront was that losing my brother meant losing the person who believed in me most.  Over the last year, I have had to convince myself that I could take up the slack, that I could believe in myself as much as he believed in me.

Sometimes, I do. 

I have been impressed with my ability to stand up for myself, to congratulate myself for work well done, and even for work just done. 

These are small victories, but, in a way, they are also monumental.

When my heart shattered that morning, I didn't have hope that a reconstructed heart could be of any use to me. 

Turns out I was wrong about that.

Losing my brother forced me to realize that over these years, I have been building the ability to believe in myself -- though I may have been relying all this time on his belief in me to forge my own.

But, if you ask me what it feels like to lose my sister, I couldn't tell you.

I don't have words for it. 

My heart was not even back in my body when she was ripped from us.  Shock.  I think sometimes I am still in shock.

Most days, I just refuse to believe that she is gone.  I still pray that she is coming back -- somehow.

It's not logical. 

I know she is dead. I know she was cremated. I know that she has been gone for five months. 

And yet, I allow myself to imagine that she will wake up, like sleeping beauty, if we could just find the right antidote.

In some ways, it is just the constant replaying of those awful days in the hospital. 

But, it is also different.

When I was there in the hospital, I had to force myself to believe miracles were possible.  And that we deserved one ... if that is how miracles happen.

I prayed ... for the first time in such a long time, really praying in that asking for something unrealistic way -- you know because it is the only way that you can ask for something unrealistic.

And I believed.

When my nephew asked me, "Auntie Anna, you think my mom can get better?"  I didn't hesitate. I said, "YES."  Because I did think that. I did believe that.

I remember saying to my little sister on the phone, when she called me to tell me to get on the plane, "this can't be happening, this can't be happening." 

It was as if I said those words, I could make it not happen.  I could turn back the clock. I could make that stupid ER doctor admit her. I could force there to be some brilliant, out-of-the-box thinking doctor there to save her.

Only if I believed was there any hope.

So, I did. I believed.

But she didn't wake up.

And here we are five months later, and I am still thinking/hoping/believing that I can get my sister back. 

That I don't have to be the oldest.  That I don't have to worry about how to hold my family together.  That I can go back to safely being the in case person.  That my nephew doesn't have to go to sleep every night knowing that his mom won't be there.  That my sister can celebrate her 30th wedding anniversary next week.

I don't know how to do this ... so, I breathe in and out. I get up every day and do the work I am supposed to do. And I pretend that this is not happening... until I can't.

But I drop right back into that denial just as quickly as I can because reality hurts so much.

Denial.  That is my coping strategy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Poetry Thursday ...

No, no te dejeis cerradas
las puertas de la noche,
del viento, del relampago,
la de lo nunca visto. 
Que esten abiertas siempre
ellas, las conocidas.
 Y todas, las incognitas,
las que dan 
a los largo caminos
por trazar, en el aire,
a las rutas que estan 
buscandose su paso
con vouluntad oscura
y aun no lo han encontrado
en puntos cardinales.
 Poned senales altas, 
maravillas, luceros; que se vea muy bien
que es aqui, que esta todo
queriendo recibirla.
Porque puede venir.
Hoy y manana, o dentro
de mil anos, o el dia
penultimo del mundo.

La voz a ti debida
[I leave out the accents because the computer doesn't know what to do with them; I know where they go, don't worry.]

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

News Round Up - back again, sort of ...

My NPR app was piling up with pieces I hadn't heard, so I spent some time with it ... and it turns out that there were some stories there that I wanted to share:

I am super excited to read this book, even though after hearing the interview I could only remember whose new book it was and not what it was about. I will report back if I get *free time* to read it sometime in November...

I remembered as I listened to this piece that someday I want to write a book about the women who became nuns in the 1950s and 1960s... again, in my *free time* sometime after 2018.

Then I stumbled onto these little gems:

James Patterson putting his money where his mouth is... people so rarely do this, it is remarkable and even if it weren't about independent bookstores, it would be of note.

I didn't even know that there was a tiny door controversy in Golden Gate Park. But I ****love**** this story.  I am so excited about this man and his son worrying about how the faeries will get their mail!  I will be adding their blog to my daily blog watch, who could resist?!

This man certainly deserves more than a certificate from the city. I am glad that others are reaching out to help him -- and, yes, he did what we hope anyone would do.  The problem is that everyone does not ... and homeless folks are always getting the side eye for asking for help, for looking disheveled, for reminding us that there but by the grace of god, go we...

I am so impressed with this list of MacArthur Geniuses ...  wow, just wow... congratulations to all of them ... and thank you for taking up for those who cannot take up for themselvesWow.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

American Dreaming, part 158

This story is awesome.  Read it.

Now, tell me, do you still think that immigrants are a bad deal for America?

Do you still think that denying the right to work to young people raised (and educated) in this country is the right thing to do?

Imagine if this young woman could drive legally... just how many US citizens might she employ in one of the foreclosure capitals of the US?!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Team Will

So, thanks to my friends' hulu+ subscription, I am rewatching all of The Good Wife as I edit papers and wash dishes and do my neck exercises (that is to say when I am not doing other work).

I have decided again, that I am Team Will ... regardless of how hot Chris Noth might be... Alicia should be with Will, no question about it... obviously, this is not a consequential revelation.

Just how I am dealing with all of the pressure and stress: *watching* shows where I already know what will happen as background noise.  I have to keep the mind from having the time or inclination to think about anything other than work.  Those other thoughts inevitably are rabbit holes from which I do not emerge unscathed.

In any case, love this show, and well worth the re-watching exercise.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Greg's Growing Garden - try 5?

Here is the latest try with Greg's seeds.  I actually harvested parsley, cilantro and red dandelion last week.
This is the green chard and red dandelion.
This red beets and parsley and cilantro. I have to replant the red beets but I haven't had a free minute.
This is the cilantro and parsley...


There are comfort food and clothes and bedding ...
and then there are comfort music and movies.

I have been indulging in just about all of it.

One surprisingly comforting habit is watching soap operas.

I can't really explain it except to say that growing up there wasn't a time that our family life didn't include my mom's "stories" and all of the families contained within those stories.  They had trouble, plenty of trouble often of their own making.  We watched in horror as they walked into the same old tired traps, rejoiced at the moments of happiness, and shook our heads at their madness.  And, I don't know if we were glad it was them and not us, or if we quietly understood that we all have troubles.  But watching them now, even though they are not the same ones my mom watched (they were cancelled! the horror!), there is some connection to that innocent past -- where terrible things only happened on tv to people who were only characters.  And for the most part, those characters survived the horrible troubles ... and even when they were dead, they were never really dead. Characters could come back, sometimes in the body of a changed actor, or as ghosts who could have real interactions with the other characters.

The magic of television does not exist in this world outside the television, but it does offer a space where I can at least remember that uneasy peace.

Sometimes there is not enough comfort, like bubble wrap, to contain the potential for pain.  That is what it feels like right now ... but I am stocking up on mac & cheese makings and emergency chocolate and tv shows I can binge watch while I can't sleep. 

Wish me luck...
The Daily Affirmations had this to say about comfort (months ago, really, but I just got around to reading it)...I am not sure that demanding of others is really my issue, but I am sure Jennifer has a point.

 I define comfort 
as self-acceptance 
when we finally learn 
that self-care begins 
and ends with ourselves, 
we no longer demand 
sustenance and happiness 
from others. 
~ Jennifer Louden
Comfort Pics - CA beaches

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Poetry Thursday, remembering delight and pain

When you 
are sorrowful 
look again 
in your heart, 
and you shall see 
that in truth 
you are weeping 
for that which has 
been your delight. 
~Kahlil Gibran

I still cannot believe you left us... miss you so very much.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Trusting your Gut

As I consider my future, what's right, what I should do, how do I put myself in the world, I have noticed that I am not the only one wondering if it is right to trust your gut reaction to situations.

This story from NPR about the way a judge discusses recognizing that his viscera were incorrect.  I particularly loved the wording because I have been seriously contemplating that phrase "visceral reaction."  It is literally a gut reaction as the judge points out.

Here is what the Daily-Om had to say about it back in July

What is your gut telling you? Do you trust it?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

sometimes the stars know

"You might feel like all of your emotions are going to spill out of your mouth at any moment today -- and so what if they do? You'll be surrounded by people who respect and admire you. There is nothing you can say or confess that will make them change how they feel about you! You have much too much good credit built up with them already. So don't be afraid to speak the truth today. People will listen and be affected by it. Compassion is all around you."
After a long day [last Monday] of feeling at every moment like I might need to sit down, head in hands, and cry for a long time, I came home and read this. I needed to know someone understood, even it was just the syndicated astrologer.


for inspiration

When you are struggling to see the good in humanity, read this story about the love of one man for his wife and the answer he received to his plea for a kidney for her.

This little guy was saved by a friend of mine ... he felt so safe with her, he decided to hang out. 

This is another one of those reminders that humanity (even when directed at animals) bears rewards, sometimes in the form of a little friend for the afternoon and sometimes in the form of a kidney for your beloved wife.

Keep showing your humanity, maybe your reward will just be a smile and a hug.  It might be just what you needed.

Monday, September 16, 2013

football season blues

Have I ever mentioned my deep dislike for football season? Well, if not, then it is well overdue.  If pre-season were not bad enough, we are now full swing into college and professional football season.  A mere yuck does not suffice. 

I am wandering around on a Sunday only to run into all the *fans* dressed in their favorite jerseys.  And in the evenings, there is hardly a broadcast channel not stuffing football down our throats. 

All I can think about is how I can keep my nephew from ever playing this sport.  His brains are far too precious to be wasted on such a ridiculous "sport."  I cannot understand how anyone who professes to admire the *skill* of the players can stand to watch their brains be mashed.  And still call themselves fans and admirers. 

I heard an excellent piece on nor about twenty years ago on the subject of football and its latent homosexual tendencies … just wondering how many of these folks would still be willing to wear their jerseys if they had heard that piece. 

What would my jersey say?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rainy days and Mondays...

It has been raining all week.
 It might as well be Seattle, except it's Albuquerque.

I continue to refuse to carry an umbrella, so I make do.  I wait out the rain, lucky I always have a book or a journal or something to do.  Or, I turn one of my many book bags into a makeshift rain cover and carry on.  Or, if all else fails, I just walk through the rain, after all I do not melt.

Yesterday, however, I felt like the sky was crying the tears I couldn't manage to make fall from my eyes.

Like a small child fighting sleep, I resist the tears that well and therefore cannot get any relief.

I imagine the relief on the other side, but I can't convince myself it will be alright ... the tears will fall, you will brush them aside and life will go on.  I see myself in the tight ball on the couch or clutching at the floor wildly or simply becoming a puddle on the floor and I can't. I just can't.

I was thinking, if I have learned anything in graduate school it is to believe in myself.  But there are some beliefs I can't seem to grasp yet.

There is always tomorrow and rain in the forecast through the weekend.

The blessing of relief may come yet.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Quote Thursday

Bosque Trail, June 2013
What happened yesterday is history. 
What happens tomorrow is a mystery. 
What we do today makes a difference 
- the precious present moment. 
~ Nick Saban

Sunset from my porch, June 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


On this day I remember to be thankful - in the midst of the chaos of that day two of my friends did not make it to the towers and were saved. And I found a message in that craziness: live life now, you may not get tomorrow. 

For all those whose lives were changed by that day, may you find peace and continue to heal. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

World Suicide Prevention Day - late entry ....

I saw the note that it was world suicide prevention day ... and said a little prayer for my cousin and my aunt and my cousin's dad and all of those who loved him so much ... and I thought, it's private. Don't post about it.

And then I read this.  She says it so much better than I could.  So read it.  It will be worth your time.

We have had so much loss this year, and the one hope I cling to is that I no longer wander in the darkness that whispers that leaving this world will solve the problem.

It has been such a long, hard struggle ... and I can't remember exactly when I realized that I never had to go there again.

I know that in the face of loss in the last past 12 months, I have whispered in my own ear, "Live!"

May we all hear the angels whispering life.

Bosque Trail, 2013

RIP Cal Worthington

I grew up on Cal Worthington commercials and his various pets named Spot.  When I was home this past spring, I was surprised to see that he was still on the commercials.  He seemed ancient when I was watching those commercials over 30 years ago.  Turns out he as 92 years old this year, and he died this past Sunday.  Apparently he was active and full of life up until the last day.  May he rest in peace.

The obituaries I posted here are more complete than the first one I saw, and happily one included a photo. 

Borrowed from who borrowed from Worthington Ford Inc.

Monday, September 09, 2013

On Staying Upright

In my family, we are good at steadfast.
We are good at strength and toughness.
We are generally good at follow through, especially if it is in someone else's favor.
We are good at anger and passion and joy.
There are limits to the emotions we own easily or readily.
But we are not so good at soft or vulnerable.  We mask hurt with anger and prefer to lash out than to ask for help -- at anything.
We are competitive -- maybe that has something to do with wanting and being willing to help others but not asking for help ourselves.

We are not so good at sad or showing pain.

Other people love our toughness.  It makes us good targets, excellent targets. But that is another story for another day.

So, staying upright is easiest when I am working for someone else ... not on my own things.
I am good at keeping commitments to others, so I established a writing schedule with a friend so that I will focus on work when we have agreed to work together.
It works, mostly, though, work ethic doesn't really answer how to deal with the grief when it comes.

So, I am working on handling it by just sitting with it.  When the tears roll, I try to just let them, not to feel or understand or question or wonder how long they will last.  I don't know if that is staying upright, but it isn't falling down and not getting up...

Friday, September 06, 2013

New Moon and the Stars

From Brezsny:
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Germany's Museum Ostwall displayed a conceptual installation by the artist Martin Kippenberger. Valued at $1.1 million, it was called "When It Starts Dripping from the Ceiling." Part of it was composed of a rubber tub that was painted to appear as if it had once held dirty rainwater. One night while the museum was closed, a new janitor came in to tidy up the premises. While performing her tasks, she scrubbed the rubber tub until it was "clean," thereby damaging the art. Let this be a cautionary tale, Aquarius. It's important for you to appreciate and learn from the messy stuff in your life—even admire its artistry—and not just assume it all needs to be scoured and disinfected.

Yeah, art, messiness, and cleaning it all up or wallowing in it. That about sums up my life right now.

I have stopped saying that I am ok or fine. I realize that most people who ask do not really want to know, but practicing saying that I am not ok helps me to come to grips with just that fact.

I don't need to pretend to be ok... it doesn't serve me to seem totally ok and over it ... not that anyone owes me any special treatment.  Just that I am not ok, and I don't know when I will be.

Most days I am hanging in, by a thread, but I am upright and moving forward, one step at a time.  
NM sunset
For the new moon, I smudge, and I set my intentions for those aspects of life I want to call into my life.

This time around and I went full force, smudge, candles and written intentions to be burned in the darkness of the new moon [I usually reserve burning for the full moon intentions of letting go...].

May you set your intentions for the new aspects to visit you in this new month of your life. 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Quote Thurday ... on survival.

If you're 
going through hell, 
keep going. 

~Winston Churchill

 Oh, Winny, there is no other way.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Lately ... no news is good news

My life is such of late that I haven't even been able to bring myself to share any news articles or anything else.

This afternoon, seeking refuge from my own reading, I found this article and felt the need to share it.

It is the story of 28 farm workers and 4 flight crew who lost their lives over the central valley on a flight meant to deport those farm workers to Mexico. 

It is heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time ... read it to the end.  That is what got me.

May they all rest in peace.

My news...
this week I wrestled with demons, and no one won and no one lost.
some days the grief seems harder to bear and other days it is the crushing weight of responsibility that makes me bend.
in lucid moments I understand that I am not responsible for others' feelings, grief, recovery, etc.

They say it will get better ... I keep waiting.