Aug 15, 2016

so delicious, so unfriendly

Yesterday our neighbor drove his tractor up the road and mowed our far field. Every year he's done this, just because he wants to, no payment accepted. He waits until late summer, when the nesting birds and baby deer will be out of the tall weeds.
This year, a new glitch, he hand pulled each parsnip plant, they had gone to seed, and put them in his front scoop thing to take home to his burn pile.
I am so glad he did this! its such a scary plant, and is spreading everywhere. he said he once brushed against it and had weeks of pain and cortisone shots (more than one!).
But i did wonder about the burn pile idea, which you ought not do with poison ivy.  have to look that up.

Apr 10, 2016

mixing mind with miksang

My first miksaang experience, so far loving it, an online class taught by Miriam Hall.  Now we are at the lesson on space. And then on to dot in space.
Like Alexandra Horowitz in her book On Looking, i walk around my block that i've walked so many times, but now with each lesson i walk with new vision, or with new aspects calling to me. Colors, light and shadow, texture and pattern, noticed for themselves, not as an attribute of something else.
   Experiencing space and photographing it are two different things. The sky...easy!  And so seldom boring. A field -- not so easy. It becomes a photo of a tree, or of tufts of grass, or a hill. The road, looking down it, is still a busy picture of things. But looking straight down at it...there is space!  Is space in a photo just sameness?
   We're talking about what you see in the picture. I looked down AT the road at my feet and did not exactly experience spaciousness, but did experience not-thing, not-object, not-pattern. It is surface, but not texturey nor patterny. It is a dusting of powder and sand ground down from mountains and boulders by the miles high ice of the glacier over thousands of years and piled by our rivers and lakes to be dug out and spread on this dirt road. There's space for you! But is there someone who can show that in a photo?
   Still, the photo i take of the road is quite calm, easy on the eye, pleasant, even nice, a spacious experience.
   Ok i will try some more today. I only took 75 pics on my walk around the block yesterday (one mile half on dirt road and half on 2 lane paved road.
   Oh, and also, the idea in my mind of Dot in Space brought to my attention several astonishing things i had never noticed before on my block -- pictures that are not space nor dot in space really, but hmmm maybe in a way they are.

Mar 19, 2016

early morning with camera and without it

Not much gets me out of the house before breakfast, but this morning i wanted to try taking pix in the slanty morning light as part of the "light on objects, front, side, backlit" segment of the miksang class.  I actually was dressed and out the door (ok no earrings) by 8, wearing a hat with a brim (the better to see the camera screen) and gloves with bare fingertips. I took about 2 pictures and within 5 minutes was back in the house putting on heavy wool gloves, scarf, wool toque covering my was bright and sunny, but all of  25 degrees F.
I did go for a long walk, noticing all the flashes of perception and inspiration i could have tried to photograph if i'd been willing to take my hands out of my pockets.
Back at home i sat on the enclosed porch (60 degrees!) with coffee and english muffin and just drank in the sunlit trees woods and fields. It actually hurt to be so aware of the colors and the light on objects and on its own, the shapes and textures. No wonder people fiddle with phones and cameras and everything else. It's painful to live in open awareness.

Jan 10, 2016

Your child is perfect and you are a perfect mom!

Several conversations this week in which I pointed out that mothers always feel they could have/should have done a better job.  It seems to be part of being a mom that you always feel any problems your kids have are your fault or your lack in providing the parenting that would have maximized their potential.
This used to be believed as fact -- I worked at a psychiatric hospital on a children's ward, and there was a weekly therapy group meeting for the mothers, who were considered the source of most of the problems the kids had.
Now we know better, but don't actually believe better -- one conversation this week was about the parents of a teen who murdered some neighbors -- and why didn't the parents pick up on their child's murderous tendencies!
But murderers aside, I've been thinking about why moms feel regrets --
I've noticed how often very young children and grandchildren are considered to be brilliant and precocious, merely because from a crying feeding pooping critter, they miraculously and brilliantly learn all on their own to WALK and TALK and THINK!  It is always truly amazing to see this process!
So every child seems to have the potential to be brilliant, achieve great things, make lots of money, be happy.
But like the poem about kittens
(The trouble with a kitten is that
it eventually becomes a cat ((Ogden Nash of course))
and babies and toddlers eventually become PEOPLE
and we all know what PEOPLE are like.  Mostly not brilliant, successful, happy.
So mom has failed.

What's wrong with this picture?
By simply believing your child is perfect and your grown up child is perfect as they are (with of course always room for improvement) you can believe yourself a perfect parent!  It seems to me there are cultures that do believe in this way.

And BTW another reason Christmas is so great -- we celebrate the birth of a child.  The birth of a child is always cause for hope, every child is possibly our savior, the hope of the world. 

Dec 16, 2015

getting in yet another tangle about time

What would our minds be like if the sun didn't rise and set each day?
I know, i know, it's really the earth turning, and we wouldn't have gravity etc blah blah, you can work out all the details of how there could be such a situation.
All i'm wondering is, what would be our concept of TIME.  would we measure it by how fast we walked, or by the time it took a rock to fall from a cliff, the time it took a seed to sprout or a plant to grow?  
We think ahead in series of days. 
Maybe we'd invent clocks even without having had sundials and stonehenge?  No we don't have the stars either, that's cheating.  No seasons.  Ok so what is time then?  
Meet me when the.... What is 'when'
Do we only have time because the earth turns relative to other stuff in the universe?

Dec 10, 2015

a grant to watch hoses

i'm thinking it would be of great value to the human race for someone to get a grant to study hoses.  to set up cameras to film them full time.  not just hoses, but electtrical cords, strings of xmas lights, string, skeins of yarn, ribbons, you know what i'm talking about!
maybe it should be crowd sourced, camera kits could be given out and the citizens of the world could record the storage of these items.  
we will never know WHY they become entangled, unless we learn to communicate with them, but we can at least seee how they do it and when.  do they entangle just when you go to get them, or just when you store them, or slowly over time.
or, oh dear, perhaps like that poor cat in a box, they only entangle if they are not being watched, in which case the camera surveillence would be a waste of time.
but wait!  maybe not!  then we would know how to keep them neat... just never leave them unobserved!  

Nov 22, 2015

My Cinderella Complex

Always i have disliked cleaning the bathroom.  But i also like a clean bathroom, so i do it.  For years i never realized there are people who like to clean a bathroom.  Once on a retreat i ended up taking the bathroom cleaning job.  What a look into my own mind!  How angry at having this job, yet believing it was only fair that i took a turn.  How sorry i felt for myself on my hands and knees washing the floor, confused as usual about what product and which rag thing to use on which part of the room.  Only then, when i began mentioning it to people, did i find out some people LIKE this job. So now on retreat i always sign up to chop vegetables, which, because i like it, gives me no insight, but i have no guilt about not taking my turn at the worst job.
At home my method for cleaning is: notice it is needed, and plan it for the next day. Spend the next day thinking i need to now go and clean the bathroom. Late in the day, realize i have not done it and now it is dark and not much day left, grab the cleaning supplies, and do it.  It ends up only taking about 1/2 hour but has used up parts of two days!

Oct 8, 2015

Hearing Aids are not like Eyeglasses

  This was not the first time I'd had a conversation with someone whose partner or parent had hearing aids and never wears them. I got to thinking about it...maybe people think it's like glasses.  The expert tests your hearing, and then programs the aids to your hearing profile, you go away, and that's it for awhile.

  Trouble is, it ISN'T like that!  It's more of an art, a cooperative effort, and it is an effort.  It takes time, attention, and work.  Otherwise they are uncomfortable, which may be felt as physical discomfort when it is actually discomfort from things sounding subtly weird or harsh.

  I've had hearing aids for at least 25 years, and I've gotten more aware and demanding. Now I like trying out new ones to see how the technology is progressing. (Yes, you have to buy them, but the ones i try usually have a generous trial period of several months, and i've gotten extensions).

  When I'm trying a pair, I have to of course go to various restaurants, a movie, concert, lecture, meetings, parties... try them in every setting.  A trip is great, to see if finally I can understand the announcements in the airport...nope, still can't even now.  I have to nudge someone near me and say "what did they say?  what row is boarding?"

  So what I do now is make a chart or spreadsheet of PLUS, MINUS, and INTERESTING and during the day I add things like "couldn't hear man with deep voice very well" or "traffic sounds too loud" or "aids screech when i hug someone" or "i could understand the movie mostly!" or not, etc.  Then go back to audiologist and tell her.  She'll tweak them, then you go home and do it all again until between the two of you they are as good as you can get them.

  Or else she recommends trying a different brand... yes there is a difference in the sound of a brand, kind of like stratocaster vs gibson if you know what i mean. 

  So all i'm saying is if your partner isn't wearing them, you'll have to drag them around on outings and quiz them about the specifics of what they are and are not hearing, until they get the idea and start to believe that they are part of the solution and things can get better.  Otherwise, we deafish folks just start turning off our attention and smiling mysteriously when people are talking, and we don't even realize it!

Jul 22, 2015

Roxanna Eden

Feb 17, 2015

Mike's coming home soon

One morning he woke up as a giant palmetto bug. This is not what he had been right along.
His wife woke up and was on the wrong train, traveling a route completely different from her planned trip.
Their daughter's husband turned back into a scorpion and was banished from the house.
Like Harry Potter, their grandson was protected by the love surrounding him, and remained the angel he had always been.
What evil forces had been angered or awakened?

Jan 25, 2015

birthday musings, is the best yet to come?

it's my birthday!  started out windy dark snowing hard.  now the sun is out. i wonder what it was like the day i was born?  i think mom told me but i've forgotten.
in the book Americanah, which i read recently and liked very much, there's a sentence about how Lagos doesn't revere old buildings as other countries (USA, GB) do, but just tears them down to build something new, and that is because Britain, USA, etc see there best as in the past, whereas Lagos sees their best as yet to come.
in terms of my birthday, something to think about.  how much am i revering the past, how much letting it go as i look forward to the future?

Mike in November

nov 27 2014

doing tonglen for mike this morning.  brought up some questions about what we want from a friend, and will we still be their friend when that is gone?  then thinking of Mike as a teacher, what do we want from a teacher ? made me think of chogyam trungpa taking off his robes...wearing a suit...he was then rejected as a teacher by both students and friends.  How did some of his followers and friends make the switch?  and when he lost use of one side of his body, how did some people continue to be his friend and student?
i thought of Mike, and what I just read about the perfect situation for a writer and scholar being prison. 
and i thought about 5 telling me how z got a new massage client who remarked it was the first time she'd had a quiet (non-talking) massage....and she keeps coming back.
mike is still our teacher if we can learn.

Jan 19, 2015

reading Writing a Woman's Life

nov 11 2014  (i keep finding these posts i never posted)

i've been re-reading and old book i saved to see if i want to continue to give it shelf space. lots of Writing a Woman's Life goes right over my head now that i am so long away from scholarly thinking and writing. the book is amazingly interesting; not as out of date as i'd hoped...the put-down term Chick Lit comes to mind...
i did come upon a phrase that reminded me of a recent discussion about a woman who had been asked to leave the opera in France because she was wearing a veil over her face.  The discussion had to do with whether France is saving women from religious oppression of womankind, or is it denying them religious freedom.  The sentence in Writing a Woman's Life is p.41/42 : 
To put it differently, as Elaine Marks does, American feminist critics see women as oppressed by sexism, "their voices unheard within the dominant culture," whereas for French critics, women are repressed, equivalent to the unconscious, and therefore not representable in language.  
 think about this difference...and if in the case of repressed, how to determine what is repression and what is personal preference!
later: almost finished Writing A Woman's Life.  it is like reading history, and making more sense of it all. it's like "Oh so that's what happened,"
one of the women in my book group is waiting to read it. she loved the mystery we are reading for the group, "Death in a Tenured Position" and wants to know more about Carolyn Heilman and her writing. 
she mentioned she is in another book group in town, of younger women (probably in their 40s and 50s as compared to ours -- we are in our late 60s and 70s) and they are reading Gone Girl.  i said i'd started it but didnt get very far and did not like it nor want to read any more of it. she was amazed and said same thing happened to her.
her theory is that it is an age thing.
in which case it is a good example of something Heilman mentions, that we take things to be personal often not realizing they are political or historical (sociological?)

Jan 11, 2015


i love this quote...  it got me through xmas this year.  so often Garrison Keillor is not at all what people think he is...  he is totally not from Mayberry. but we do all go through it together even if we are going through it by ignoring it or rejecting it.

"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together."

Jan 9, 2015

farewell to second life (for now? forever?)

little by little Second Life and First Life conspired to bring me out of the virtual world.  complications with SL's software quirks brought down TSMGO, The Show Must Go On, and i couldn't find anything as fun.  i quit working, so my scheduled changed.  the people i knew and loved dropped out of SL as their lives changed.  Osprey died.  yet i kept my land for lucy and mudpie, kept premium membership, my homes. the software changed again and changed again and mesh came in and who knows what now.  i finally this year dropped my premium status gave up my land and homes, and at my new house in First Life , out in the wilds, the internet is sooooo slow it is hardly worth peeking in now and then. so i'm cutting the cord. 

when i log in for some reason now, i am like Rip van Winkle.  everyone is a stranger, nobody from before is around.  i am wearing out of date clothing, out of date body in fact!  i've come from the past.

Remembrance of summer in the old house

i must have written this draft at our old house, when i still had a job, and it was summer!!

i think of my father when i adjust the bamboo shades on the porch. because the strings go around little cleats!  i love tying the string around the cleats and love knowing how to do it. it makes me think of my father and sailing and the cleats someone invented that you didn't have to make the knot around (boo!)
i like pulleys too, and the shades have pulleys. it's a chore adjusting all the windows and shades before i go to work. and then everything is open in the evening to let the cool in.
Vermont people who laugh in the face of 30 below 0 Farenheit get crazy when it is 90!  they never heard of drinks with ice in them, cold washcloth on the neck, wearing shorts and sandals (not black) and a hat, sitting in the shade, or god forbid, keeping the windows and curtains closed!
they want to let a little air in!  BUY AN AIR-CONDITIONER they scream!!
i can't imagine why my friend thought 85 degree weather was a good day to bake a pie, and then complained because her house was so hot, and would not believe that her rayon dress was not the coolest clothing she owns!
 mostly they wait it out. my neighbor used to take a cooler and pillow out back and sleep on his trampoline!
best place to sit out the afternoon heat is on a rock in the middle of the frigid stream.
when it's gone on being hot for more than a week, i have run out of summer recipes, and cool clothes to wear to work!
but i love it....all too soon we will have good sledding weather back!

Nov 11, 2014

A whale's memoir

i found some drafts of posts i never posted.  this one for some reason i was thinking that if a whale wrote a memoir it wouldn't be all that different from mine, even though at first i thought whales didn't do much but swim around and eat, but then that's what we do isn't it then?

A whales memoir would be the same as ours.  Where i was born, my early years, friends, parents, aunts, innocence and feeling safe until one day everything changed.  As an adult, new friends, finding a mate, starting a family or not, why i decided to try for a leadership role in the pod, or decided not to, and how that went.  The joy of my body, of movement, of the group, the beauty of the world, how i loved to  sing.  Great meals i had, interesting places we visited, strange sights we saw. Terrible danger i was in and how i survived, battles of  various kinds and what i learned from them and how i was hurt.  Would there be regrets and longings?  Sorrow at loss of mother, friends, siblings? Fear of death?

Sep 9, 2014


many many years ago i spent happy hours in Second Life and started this blog as my Second Life blog.  gradually SL changed and people more and more used their SL as an extension of their first life, instead of a way to play with personalities, bodies, worlds totally different.  my blog too became a blog of my first life, mostly because my FL became more interesting and i spent less time in SL.  the last couple of years i've spent almost no time in SL, but kept my land, my houseboat, my stuff, because i loved it.  but yesterday i finally did it.  in the interest of not spending money on something i don't even use, i gave up my houseboat, abandoned my land, and reduced my avatars down from premium to freebie accounts. 
this was soooo sad!  especially taking all my stuff out of my cozy houseboat... my plants, my bed, my tea set, my woodstove. 
but now i feel liberated!  i can go into SL and wander homelessly as i did when i was a noob, sleeping in parks, changing clothes in libraries, wandering into people's weddings.  i don't even know if there are still libraries in SL.
now that i pay nothing for SL, we'll see if i use it more!

Aug 1, 2014

Mom and Dad Clocks Ticking Along at New House

I have two clocks that tick, one treasured by my mother, one made by my father.
My mother bought hers in an antiques shop near Annapolis when my brother was a baby. It was moved at least three times in Maryland, then to Florida and three more moves there, then mailed to me in Vermont, where I have moved it once now.  I had it in for repairs before the move, it had stopped, but it was nothing serious. Some of the wood decoration needed regluing, too. Now it works perfectly, except for two tiny missing wood bits, and one mysterious left over wood bit, oh and I haven't been able to calibrate the time, so it keeps relative time, But it ticks beautifuly and tocks too as the pendulum swings, and it bongs with a very lovely tone. Clocks like this are musical instruments, as much as is a violin's casing or a guitar's wood box.
The other clock Dad made from a computer circuit board, which he thought was beautiful, which  indeed it is, altho possibly toxic. He got a clock mechanism, a brushed aluminum display box frame, and made nice looking clocks for all us kids plus some for the church bazaar.  Mine has survived a number of moves, too, and then hung for years on my wall as art after it stopped working.  At this new house, I stuck in a battery just for the heck of it, and lo and behold, it started right up.  It ticks to count the seconds as electric clocks do.  Keeps good time, too!

Jun 12, 2014


a friend needs this photo online so that it has a URL

Apr 20, 2014

Amazing Gadget!

use it to hold harmonica around my neck while i play guitar and sing.
use it to hold up a book or manuscript while i type.
and -- used to hold ipad while i read ebook or do facetime!

Apr 19, 2014

it's a description, no it's a brand!

people love the tiny pictures i take with my instax mini camera .  when they see the tiny picture coming out of the camera, they say "oh it's a polaroid!"
and i say "no it's a fuji" and they look confused.
so after a year or more it dawned on me, they don't know polaroid as a brand, they know it as a process.  so it's kind of like if they said "hand me a kleenex please" and i said "sorry i only have Puffs"

Apr 18, 2014

wigs and perception

i went to see a friend who is in the midst of a series of chemo treatments.
she had a cute new wig.
it was grey like her hair, or almost like her hair.
just for fun i tried it on, and to our surprise it matched my hair perfectly.
she said she'd give it to me when she's done with it.

i came home and told john about it, told him it was the same exact color grey as my hair.
he said with surprise "your hair isn't grey"
curious, i said "what color do you think my hair is?"
he said "it's blonde, of course!"

i wonder if when he looks at me i'm also 25 and don't have wrinkles!

Apr 17, 2014

inside a dog

my brain when i am ignoring it, keeps busy and entertains itself in many ways. 
often with a song.
often the song it hums to itself is an attempt to send a message.
sometimes i notice and it's fun to figure out the message.

the past few days it's been telling me a joke, whenever i bother to listen to the brain-chatter.
here's the joke:
"Outside of a dog a book is man’s best friend because inside of a dog it’s too dark to read."
usually attributed to Groucho.

like the brain-song messages, it turns out to be a koan for me. i'd been filling out my application for Sacred World Assembly and got stuck on the question about the Sakyong Mipham as my vajra master.

i will for sure then be inside the dog. 

i've been inside the dog before, as a christian in my teens, and yes it was too dark to read. once inside the dog it's so natural to twist everything and make a religion out of it, heehee.  to twist everything to glorify and justify that inside this dog is true and perfect. 

so the question for me is how to be inside the dog and still be able to read. or is it to have the courage to be inside the dog and give up reading?

Apr 2, 2014

washing dishes by hand

when i was a child and we moved to a house with a dishwasher, it seemed like a luxury.
i don't have one, now, and neither do, wow, quite a few of my friends if i think about it.
most of them say they enjoy washing dishes by hand.
so now that is the luxury, isn't it?
having the time to wash your dishes by hand while your mind roams free for awhile and your hands play in warm soapy water.
it's twice as nice when someone joins you and dries.