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]


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]


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


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.


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]

Purse Dust

It is in the details, the minutiae, that we discover and begin to understand another's life. So much meaning in such tiny things.  Purse dust, I call it.

And the first time I understood it was a day when I was full of resentment, frustration, anger, and grief.  An ordinary day, really, for so many. The day of moving a grandmother, an aunt, a dad, out of their home and into a safe place. A retirement place. A place that may or may not actually become a home, again, for them. A day of sadness, driven by hope. Pin pricks of hope that there might be new connections, less worry, less responsibility, more life. [read more]

Two Questions about Grabel's Law

One Answer About Grabel's Law

The daily mull generally deals in questions which do not have final, simple, definitive answers.

This time is almost an exception.

Some time ago, I posted a little essay on Grabel's Law (you can find it here) :

Two is not equal to three, even for very large values of two.

The law, as most of you who find your way to this post will already know, is fairly famous on the internet and even on T-shirts and mugs.

At the time I wrote about it, I had no idea who Grabel was, or what the law's origin was, and I could find no evidence of either.

The post got a lot of attention, and a lot of comments, including one from a student who claimed to have heard his professor (Arvand Grabel at Northeastern University) actually state the "law" in class: [read more]

Patriot Notes

Minimum Wage, the Gold Standard, and Willow Whistles

My adult son recently gifted me with a pocket knife.

I hadn't carried one since I was a boy, and it took me back to my first knife, and the very first thing I learned to carve: a simple whistle.

You start with a small branch, cut off a section, notch it, slide off part of the bark, carve out a hollow and a flat spot for your breath to go through, replace the bark, and if all goes well it makes a very pleasing sound.

Of course, you have to know what you are doing, and you have to actually do it.

That's the difference between a whistle and a piece of a branch.

But if you expend the effort, and do it right, you have something more valuable than a piece of branch.

I was thinking about this the other day when a friend suggested that we ought to return to the gold standard. [read more]


No Digging for Worms         

Earthworms have their own business, and it is holy.
They are lacing through debris, making it clean.
If you see them when you are turning the earth to plant a bulb
or root out a weed, let them return to their dark home.

They bristle their way through their loamy world
 with tiny hairs all along their body, bringing air to the soil.

The mystery of their own breathing is in the slime that coats them. 

In the night, above the ground, under the moon, or under the stars, or under a thick blanket of cloud,

they find a mate.  Each worm is male and female, complete unto itself. But still they need a mate.

Regeneration is their holy business.  Turning and turning, they revive what has decayed, what is dead to us.  [read more]

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