Thursday, November 13, 2014


What has happened to my writing? New job, 13 year old son training to make the national team, six days of soccer, and big changes at church.

Still, isn't it interesting what we let go of and what we hang onto for dear life? I am happiest when I am reading/writing/creating and I've done very little of that during the last three months. Periods of disequilibrium are OK if they lead to a
renewed commitment to things that are vital. I hope that is what is happening as I emerge from a time of upheaval and change.

Years ago, I attended a week-end yoga retreat at Kripalu. I bought a deck of reflection cards that I have used ever since. Today, I drew a card that told me to trust my process, however chaotic. As I am trying to teach my students to trust their intuition, I will remind myself to do the same.

I may even pull out my knitting needles, blow off the dust, and get the newest member of the family properly shod;)

May we all slow it down, just enough to be in it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 7, 2014

Catching up

Summer is here in all her glory! It has been a time of transition for me as I leave one job and say goodbye to many dear friends but join another in a new endeavor. I am fearful that I care less about being nice as I get older but this friend knows me well and probably figures I have some other qualities that will see me through a new beginning;)

We just returned from an idyllic few days in New Hampshire where cupcakes, sand castles, and of course "the run" happened:

Tendinitis is keeping me from moving well but not keeping me grounded. It seems like there is a price to pay for many pleasures at 50....dairy causes grumbling, runs cause stiffness, and caffeine causes heart palpitations. I'm going to have to bring out the B list of vices because you have to have a few to remain trustworthy. I think what I need is a pick up. Bad for a family car, bad in the snow, and bad for the environment. That should cover me until I'm 60.

Emma and I had the great joy of going to the UU Assembly in Providence. Unitarians in a herd look like a group of easy going hippies until they see a hummer. Game on Philistines, game on.

Sister Simone Campbell give the keynote address on standing up to injustice, together and she was amazing. Walk toward Trouble. Then 5000 of us walked down to the river to participate in the water and fire ceremony. An amazing night.

Summer is the time to read and I have a few good ones on the docket. Jimmy Carter's new book on the oppression of women, a biography of Thomas Merton, and Neil Gamion's Ocean at the End of the Lane.

I hope to sink into it all like my husband the Zen master;)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's day musings

I'm reading a new (to me) Anna Quindlin book called Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake..a memoir and sharing of her wisdom.  I like her writing and I like her wisdom.  As I was reading, it struck me that hitting 50 really sparks the desire to start spouting advice to whomever is listening.  And you, dear blog readers, are kinda  a captured audience.  Mostly though, I want to get something written down for my kids because I'm not sure they are currently paying attention, what with puberty and all.  It's my mother's day present to myself.

Here goes:

1.  Emma told me the other day that she figured out you either break up with people, or you marry them.  Break up until the cows come home...until you figure out that bright, shiny, and loud has got nothing on steady, quiet, and loving.  Your future is greatly impacted by which wagon you hook your star to....and if I may be so bold, your dad is a pretty damn fine prototype.  As I type this, he is picking up your cousin from college in the rain.  Steady as he goes.

2.  Hang on to your friends.  Especially as you continue to break up until the cows come home.  They will see you through it all and you will circle back around to each other, no matter how far you travel.  Being with them feels like being home.

3.  Family is a big deal.  I left a chunk of mine down in Texas and as they have aged, I have pined for them.  I had to leave to figure that out so I'm going to request that you figure it out without the leaving.

4.  Hang on to being a Unitarian Universalist.  As Luke says "We include everyone except people who do not include everyone."  Standing on the side of love, compassion, and the right to figure out what we believe ourselves is part of your New England heritage.  Even though you asked for a gun after our last youth group trip:)

5.  The Greeks had this ideal that you should balance intellectual pursuits, physical pursuits, and spiritual pursuits.  I think as long as you define those things for yourself, it is a good place to check in...Am I in balance? 

6.  You are going to hurt people when you are young pretty substantially.  Forgive yourself and vow to do it less as you get older.  I have found a spiritual practice has helped me with this.

7.  Try some crazy ass things that will lead to a scar or two.

8.  Get arrested for protesting or March on Washington, whatever fits your style.  Believe in the power of standing up against oppression.

9.  Surround yourself with people who make you laugh.  Things are just not that serious, no matter what.

10.  Tell the truth even when the telling of it feels like it might ruin something.  I fully expect one of my friends to tell me this list errs on the side of pompousness.  They will forgive me because it's mother's day, of course.

Finally, always love each other.  You two are my greatest accomplishments and I am so very proud of who you are!

And a big shout out to my mom, for teaching me all of the above:) 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vacation Musings

April is National Poetry month and I needed some vacation time to delve into verse. Thanks to @OxfordJournals for providing access to several articles on esoteric topics. The following is an excerpt from TS Eliot's Four Quartets:

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing fa├žade are all being rolled away —
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing —
I said to my soul, be still. . . (pp. 27–8)

I am again reminded that poetry distills the spiritual and is so necessary.
I also checked out from the library The Complete Works of Emily Dickinson, which is a slog thru- mud. Confound her use of dashes--

Spring is coyly emerging in New England which means the venerable mud run:

April is also a month of birthdays. My sister and I failed to collaborate for my mom's present and each sent her the exact flower arrangement from the same company. I also called to wish her happy birthday on the wrong day. I claim head injury/and or stroke;). I also sent my Republican father a book of collected short stories from NPR's The Moth. Children are always trying to get their parents to join them on ground they feel is sacred. See me, see me,

Finally, my husband and I have acquiesced and are taking badminton lessons. Very nuanced game except when I play it.

Found time. May we all have it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Micro Aggression

Roving Reporter, who will eventually have her PhD, and thus will need a new title on this blog... Doc-ed? is currently reporting on the latest trends in institutional policy and sociology.

Micro Aggressions are the small, cumulative acts that wear down one's soul.  So for example, it is not being called a slut or a whore that gets to you but rather the assumption that you like being addressed chest level or that you need help carrying a big box to your car.  Or that you enjoy making less than your male colleagues, don't know crap about putting together a basketball bracket (thank you Duke for confirming this one at my place of employment), and love to cook and clean.  Cultural micro aggression adds up over the years and that is why people over 50 are SURLY!

I couldn't write about last week, last week because it took me a week to calm down.  I don't know if the micro aggression I experienced at a Herb Chambers Honda dealership was directed at me because I am a mom or a woman or if they do it so routinely that it just lands on who it lands on but I am still quite angry a week out.

For starters, they said they inspected my car, charged me, and then somehow forgot to inspect my car.  This wasn't a problem until I was stopped by a police officer several weeks later and then proceeded to argue with him:

Officer:  Ma'am do you realize you are driving with an expired inspection sticker?
Me:  I absolutely am not.
Officer:  Yes, you are.
Me:  No, I had it inspected several weeks ago and there were no problems.
Officer:  The sticker is red, expired, and not in our system.
Me:  Those lying sons of bitches
Officer:  Check in with your garage and get that taken care of.

Now here is an interesting philosophical intersection:  did I not get a ticket because I was female?  I really don't think so.  I was argumentative, pissed, loud, and not at all traditionally feminine in my presentation at 6:30am.

I called the dealership, the guy on the phone looked up my record, apologized and told me to come in at my convenience and they would take care of it.  A pain, but stuff happens, right?
I get to the dealership, and instead of putting the new sticker on, they "retest" the car and this time it fails.

Apparently, they charged me for inspecting the car the first time around, but did not inspect it.  A pain, but stuff happens, right?
This is when things got dicey.  The service manager acted entitled, unapologetic for the original screw up and then had the audacity to tell me I could not take my car.
I grabbed my keys, had an unsavory exchange, encouraged them to call the police to stop me and got my car.

The issue according to Honda was that I needed a new airbag for 1, 096 dollars.  The  issue according to my regular mechanic was a sensor light for 271.00.

Again, bs repairs leveled at me because I'm a mom who is uber concerned about safety?  Wrong mom, gentleman.  Told I couldn't take my car off the lot?  Wrong woman, gentleman.

I used to think some old people were pissy.  Now I retroactively applaud their reaction to a lifetime of micro aggression. Stand up to injustice, wherever you experience it.

I hope to be back to a place of equanimity next post::)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Covenant circles

The UU's do a lot of things right. I am pretty fond of our 7 principles, which you can find here:

This winter, I was asked to join a covenant circle which is a cross between a focus group, a salon, and a consciousness raising group. We practice deep listening and honor each other's narratives. You also get to know members of the congregation in a pretty meaningful way. As an extrovert, I'm kinda digging it.

Interestingly, I tried to talk about my grandmother tonight and could not stop crying. I did not kinda dig that. I think I might be a crier. Today, I cried three times: once at work after sitting with a student who is struggling with cancer; once watching the news about Boston's fallen firefighters, and severely while I was trying to describe what my grandmother means to me. I never cry in front of clients. Maybe it bottles up and discharges after the fact. I have never thought of myself as someone who cries easily but rarely a day goes by that I don't cry.....which means I'm a crier which means covenant circle is raising my it or not.

I have the great luck to be in with someone who loves Emily Dickinson, he brings a poem of hers each week. This one is new to me:

I reason, Earth is short--
And Anguish--absolute
And many hurt,
But, what of that?

I reason, we could die--
The best Vitality
Cannot excel Decay,
But, what of that?

I reason, that in Heaven--
Somehow, it will be even--
Some new Equation, given--
But, what of that?

The Tibetans have a word Zifi that means "shine on"

That's all we can do, really;)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Don't make me shoot my horse

As I was sitting in my stalled car (ambient temp outside 17) waiting for the tow truck, I had this song running through my head:
I paraphrase but I did find myself sitting in a large automobile, watching the days go by.....and this was not my beautiful life!   But it is, because I can't bring myself to trade in my dying car.  To whit, she recovered after a brief rest in front of the Broadmeadow apartment complex and is scheduled for a checkup tomorrow.  Can she be saved?  It will probably take a new transmission.  Everyone, and I mean everyone is done with her.  Except me.

This could be a Texan thing but she does kinda feel like my horse.  She is steadfast in the snow and does not get pushed around by fuel efficient ponies.  She takes tons of gear and every dent and scratch has a damn good story.  Like the time she was crushed by a tree and we had to wait 3 months for a new top from the Midwest.....only one in the country.

So yeah, it might be time to start thinking about a more reliable car but let me say for the record, my heart is with the old one.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lake Placid

I'm not sure what to say about the last couple of days that will not smack of hyperbole but I will start with THE BEST TWO DAYS EVER!

Luke was asked to train at Lake Placid in the classic winter sport of Badminton:)

We got to go along for the ride.  Yes, we were the only family who stayed overnight in the OTC (Olympic Training Center).  Yes, I was the only mom who got in the bobsled but his embarrassment was a small price to pay for THE BEST TWO DAYS EVER!

A huge shout out to Coach Chong for making this all happen and for his sang froid in dealing with my absolute giddiness:

Coach:  Was that you in the cardio room at 8:30 last night?
Me:  Yes, is it just for the athletes?
Coach:  No (Bit of a heavy pause), good for you

A certain someone who was indeed in the cardio room teared up looking at a signed picture of a luger from 1982.  You could feel the Olympic energy, I swear it!

Lake Placid is magical, and we went into hyper overdrive and saw the ski jump, ran, skated. bobsledded, and skeletoned.  Scott and Emma also fit in a bit of soccer.

I dropped out of college for a bit to see if I was good enough to make an Olympic cycling team.  Oh, I was not even close but I will never regret that dream.  This week, as we watched all athletes compete in Sochi, and visited the Olympic Museum in Lake Placid, and watched our bobsled driver smoke a butt....Magic, pure magic.

Go to Lake Placid if you get the chance.  It will remind you of your dreams and your age, all in the same second.  BEST TWO DAYS EVER:)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snapshots from a snowy day

Another glorious snow day. Everyone home safely, three channels of Olympics and all the great poetry here: Maxine Kumin recently died who was best friends with Anne Sexton. She wrote this when Sexton committed suicide:

How it is

Shall I say how it is in your clothes?
A month after your death I wear your blue jacket.
The dog at the center of my life recognizes
you’ve come to visit, he’s ecstatic.
In the left pocket, a hole.
In the right, a parking ticket
delivered up last August on Bay State Road.
In my heart, a scatter like milkweed,
a flinging from the pods of the soul.
My skin presses your old outline.
It is hot and dry inside.

I think of the last day of your life,
old friend, how I would unwind it, paste
it together in a different collage,
back from the death car idling in the garage,
back up the stairs, your praying hands unlaced,
reassembling the bits of bread and tuna fish
into a ceremony of sandwich,
running the home movie backward to a space
we could be easy in, a kitchen place
with vodka and ice, our words like living meat.

Dear friend, you have excited crowds
with your example. They swell
like wine bags, straining at your seams.
I will be years gathering up our words,
fishing out letters, snapshots, stains,
leaning my ribs against this durable cloth
to put on the dumb blue blazer of your death.
--Maxine Kumin

I found in my husbands closet a pair of slippers that my grandmother knit for him. Her way of communicating was to make something for you. These slippers said welcome to the family. My husband has kept them all these years. He has an active way of communicating without words, as well.

My mom sent me beautiful tulips and irises for valentines day. They brighten up this snowy day. Things are good. A glorious,snow day.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Happy birthday love

We headed up to Vermont to celebrate Scott' s 50th.....or 32nd based on the number of things I was actually able to pull together for the birthday bag.

Conditions were a little icy on the mountain but our glasses were so fogged, we couldn't tell. And you know what? We kicked ass. Well, Scott did. I was trying to "be the snow". Turns out it is tricky to ski when you can't see. But 50 teaches you to flourish under less than optimal conditions. Happy birthday love!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It is so cold, it burns

I have the polar vortex blues.   I just finished a very long winded book about the futility of  time "The Magic Mountain" which certainly did not mitigate the existential angst.  Heart palpitations brought on by stress are not helping all the much, either.

What does one do to emerge from a philosophical funk?  I have opted to take on a more active role at church, including joining a covenant circle to get to know a few congregants more deeply.  I'm working hard to get the director of religious education ordained as a minister.  Apparently individual congregations can "call up" a member and ordain them.  It is like getting called up from the minors to the big game, except that congregations rarely do it....a Quixotic task always takes one out of oneself.

I'm going to try to go on a bobsled run in the near future and attempt to get my husband 50 things for his birthday.  So far, I have 27 and that is counting a six pack of beer as six things.  I have a new pair of black cowboy boots (thanks mom) that I am wearing every other day so New Englanders can  wonder if I am training for a rodeo in the near future.  I have added a new yoga class with another sassy older teacher who takes no yoga excuses....and hands me excessive amounts of props.

I continue to go to work, against all odds.  Nuff said.  

But most of all, I am trusting that when the light and the heat return, when the polar vortex is a cold, dark memory that my balance will be restored.  What the hell, polar vortex.  What the hell!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dear Blog

Hey there, you are looking good.  Have you lost a few words?  No?  Listen,  I have been meaning to write but with the holidays and the kids birthdays, you know how it goes.  Yes, that's right, I usually do write about that during this time of year.  What?  No, I have not been writing with any other medium.


Listen, there is no need to go all Caps and get over excited with exclamation points.  I can explain Twitter.  Easily.  In fact, so easily.  And so quickly.  It's not you, it's me.

  Don't be like this.  I'm here now, right?  Droning on and on and making my circuitous points.  I hope there is room in my writing life for both you and Twitter.  In fact, I am starting to experience Twitter fatigue as I had to sort through many posts about the Golden Globes and which star flipped off which camera.

In the end, this is a letter of apology.  I am following pithy comedians, British football, Joyce Carol Oates, and the Huffington Post but I need more.  Although you feel a bit bloated and over wrought, you still give me the space I need to meander toward truth.

So I am back.  Short and sweet ain't always a feat.

Happy New Year!