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More than I Knew About Myself -- and Less

The things we are told about ourselves and our family history shape who we are.   [read more]

We Need to Have That Conversation

The act of caring for plants, digging in the dirt, has also become a journey into my past.  Pulling a weed here, trimming a dead branch or clipping spent blossoms, I am making a more orderly, accessible garden. And while I am doing all of that, in my head I am weeding and trimming old conversations, events, trying to make sense out of what could have been said or not said, what could have been done differently, what would have fit the place, the occasion, better. I want a clearer picture of my particular past, and a deeper understanding, but I often find myself without the proper tools, wandering in a kind of wasteland -- weedy, overgrown, and barren. I am wounded by old thorns, find myself sticking in the mud of ancient, acerbic, family relationships.  [read more]

How to Cook an Artichoke

Today the news is full of predictions. The end of natural food sources, the end of water supplies, the grim fact of more global warming than previously predicted, the unsolvable conflicts in the Middle East, the immorality of the corporate world. So my choice is not to focus on any of those particulars but to get right down to the business of offering my experience with cooking artichokes. How mundane. But I think you will see my point as you read along. [read more]

Venturing Forth

Some people slip easily into new ways of being. I am not one of them. It takes me some time to find out where I fit. I am cautious. Those critical voices in my head crank up the volume when I am on the edge of a new thing. Sometimes those voices are so loud that I am frozen, immobilized by fear. Paralysis sets in when whatever I am about to do, to try, to undertake must answer to all of those interior nay-sayers.

006 [read more]

Who Told You That?

I have a friend who tells me, on occasion, I am

"a walking compendium of old-wives' tales and misinformation".   This analysis usually follows when I have suggested that something she has told ME might not actually be the case. Neither one of us is ever convinced. Sometimes we dig a little deeper in our own defense and one of us says "Well, who told you THAT?!" I am at the age now where I can't remember who told me what, and if I do I don't like admitting that my source, on reflection, may not have been reliable. I suspect she feels the same about what she so roundly defends when I ask her about the origin of her information. We've both tried the "oh I read it somewhere" ploy, but since  neither of us is likely to remember where we read it, that doesn't hold, either. [read more]

Making Time

What makes you feel young? Kids don't have to worry about this -- they just are young, of course. Young adults don't have to think about it much, either. They are still young. And it seems to me that young adulthood gets longer and longer, and that is a good thing. My granddaughter expects that I will live to be 100, and that would give me another 28 years to the finish line.
When you are young, 28 years seems like a very long time. For me, at this point in my life, time is ever-changing. Some days it seems like there is a lot of it. Some days just whiz right past. I spend too much time thinking about what I should be doing when it seems there is too much of it, and too much time thinking about what I should be doing when it whizzes by. You get my point? This seems to me to take up too much of the commodity I'm trying to savor. [read more]

My Hero: Women's Day

A few days ago I had the pleasure of perusing books at Children's Book World, a West Los Angeles bookstore that is filled and overflowing with amazing selections. There was an entire section devoted to women who had made huge break-throughs in science, art, literature and human rights. It was hard to tear myself away, but I had a lunch date and it was time to go. So I left my purchases to be gift-wrapped (because they still do that) and rushed across the street to meet my friend. [read more]

Inspiration

I am told, by someone who knows her stuff (my granddaughter), that if you put a golf ball where a chicken can find it, the chicken will be motivated to lay an egg. Her first-grade class is raising chickens, so what she tells me must be true. Now that is a new fact for me, and I am very glad to learn it. Should I have a chicken that is not laying any eggs, I will know just how to remedy that. Inspire the chicken with a golf ball!

That got me ruminating on what inspires me to do anything -- like even what inspires me to take a walk, bake a biscuit, or pull a weed. Of course the writing part of me is always sniffing around for inspiration, and unlike a pig after truffles, I'm not always sure that what I turn up will be the real deal. There seems to be a lot of mysterious alchemy combined with dogged determination to get things going. [read more]

Holiday Preparations

Bringing out the bears is something I do each year with a little fear, and a great deal of joy. antique toy bears

The bears came to my mother from Sweden sometime in the early 1980's. They were sent, along with a huge box of other heirlooms, because the last of the Efverlund family had died. It was the first real contact my mother had with the family in Sweden, and she was in her 60's. Her father was the youngest of seven children, and he was the only one to leave his family and have children. All of his brothers and sisters lived at home until they died. [read more]

Great Expectations

I can never wait until after Thanksgiving to start the Christmas music. It isn't always appreciated by those who are circling in and out of my living spaces. And it isn't as if I am religious anymore. I am not pushing any particular message except to support goodwill and good cheer -- and a setting aside of any pressing issues that are, in any case, beyond our control. Goodwill and good cheer I am heartily in favor of, and will continue to champion. I won't be solving global warming or war in the middle east just now. [read more]

What Can't be Said?

Living for a long time is not easy. Your consciousness has to be challenged, your intellect too. Never mind the physical. Your body doesn't respond as it used to, you are slow. You sometimes get really tired. But because of these things you may be given the opportunity to sort out some things. Reflection is a big important word, and I would like to use it here, but I think sorting is really more about what I am doing these days. Not only the stuff in my life, but the stuff that has made up my life. I try to write about what has shaped me, and find it to be more of a list of what happened, than what I want to say. I fancy myself a writer, but I think that is just the container I would like to put my life into. Maybe I'm not a writer. Maybe I'm something else other altogether. But if I write about what I am thinking, I want it to be real. [read more]

Timing

I am beginning to think I have left it too late. The writing life, I mean. moon [read more]

Patience

What if you went to Hawaii and fell down some stairs in Kauai and broke a rib just halfway into your trip?
You might pack yourself in ice that night, take some ibuprofen, and the next day climb back up those same stairs and get in the rental car and drive to Hannalei to see the view. Of course you probably would not know that your rib was broken just yet. But since you seemed to be breathing fine, and the pain was not THAT bad, you just might as well get on with it. Some would say you were "rolling with the punches."
And the next day you might take a river tour in Wailua to see the cave where so many destination weddings have been held. You might listen to the Hawaiian Wedding Song and thereby renew your wedding vows with your beloved of almost 43 years. [read more]

INTO THE CANYON: A Chapter Book for Grown Ups

INTO THE CANYON: A Chapter Book for Grown Ups - Chapter 9

   

'If we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us out of the imminent night'  D.H. Lawrence

 

When Kate returned to the table, she found Cliff deep in thought over his drink. 'Penny,' she said.

'Penny?'

Something my kids used to say -- short for "penny for your thoughts.'"

'Ah. I don't think they're even worth a penny, frankly.  You okay?  You were gone quite awhile.'

'I was watching the tropical fish.  They don't look happy, to me.'

'They've got it made! Gourmet fish food and a clean tank -- what else could they want? No hunting to survive, no fear of predators! We all should be so lucky!'

'I'm not so sure about that.'

'What do you want to drink? I wasn't sure if you'd want more wine or something a little more exotic.' [read more]

INTO THE CANYON: A Chapter Book for Grown Ups

INTO THE CANYON: A Chapter Book for Grown Ups - Chapter 8

'Alas, she who cannot see the bars of her own cage will find it difficult beyond measure to escape.'  anonymous [read more]

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