Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Beautiful Light In The World

Received this email from my brother on Jan. 20th. about our friend, Catherine...

Hi all,

I wanted to let you know that Catherine is in intensive care at Morristown Medical Ctr. She has been diagnosed with Leukemia.  Rolf doesn't have a lot of information at the moment. He sounded exhausted. He did say he is very impressed with the medical care and they hope to determine the type of leukemia in the next day or two.  Right now they're trying to stabilize her. 

I'll keep you posted.
Love, Dave 

Then two days ago...

Hi all,

Catherine died last night at 10:25. I don't have anymore information at the moment e.g. Funeral. I will keep you posted. 

Love, Dave

It was very sudden. She was supposed to stabilize. Then we'd visit and she'd get better. We go along, mumbling about the toothpaste stuck in the sink, or the dog needing to be walked, or the checking account not up to par and then a sudden thing happens

and I am stopped in my tracks

I could be

drinking tea with a friend
napping with my husband
calling to tell someone I love them

We all know this. I know this. And still I lean towards the worrisome places and dissatisfaction about my life as it is. 


Dad says, 

Live with joyous ease and delightful uncertainty 

This is my daily practice. I fail often but keep trying.

What about... "or that it’s been decided that if you lie down no one will die."

-Robert Bly

What about that?

Catherine was 
a hugger 
a laugher
a magician with a sewing needle
a wife, mother, friend. 

A very kind and gentle woman.

She is a beautiful light in the world.

photo: courtesy of my brother, Rob, in California...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nothing Startling

Dad and I have been playing phone tag. 

He doesn't always hear it, tucked in his pocket. 
He could use Chewy's big ears.

Today's final message...

Hi Bets
All is going along
Nothing startling
I think I'll go back to my nappy
love, Papski

nothing startling.i'll take it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Game Of Tag

You're It

As a myriad things and 
    Playing a game
        Of Tag

Has kissed you and said,
        "You're it -

I mean, you're Really IT!"

   It does not matter
What you believe or feel

For something wonderful,

Major-league Wonderful
     Is someday going


          - Rumi

peace be with you on this Sunday morning...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Until The Sun Moved

When the 3 hour work meeting got cancelled due to potential weather issues, there is a God there is a God, I staked out a spot on the window seat with the following items...

cup of tea

and stayed until the sun moved. all morning

After a bowl of oatmeal
another cup of tea
and a brisk walk with Chewy,

I landed here, in Claire's cozy room... 

to curl up with Owen, our orange cat 
and Steve, the big bear.

I brought to the daytime chill-fest
my pillow
and a folder full of writing dating back to 2005.

A Chinese proverb from an old Zen Calendar fell out of the folder:

To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable,
but to be certain is to be ridiculous.

I am definitely NOT ridiculous

And this, from the writer, Erica Jong:

How To Save Your Own Life

* Renounce useless guilt
* Don't make a cult of suffering
*Live in the now (or at least the soon)
*Always do the things you fear the most; courage is an acquired   taste, like caviar
* Trust all joy
*If the evil eye fixes you in its gaze, look elsewhere
* Get ready to be eighty-seven

Renounce useless guilt + trust all joy 

are 2 of my favorite mumblings. 

Practicing the one increases the other.

                      guilt is not > joy 

There are mucho projects I could be tackling right now. But they're not going anywhere. Today, I wrote myself a permission slip to 

chill with Owen and Steve the big bear   

and the dog barking  Must be Ellen, our mail carrier/person

and not feel bad about it, darnit!

ah ha! staring out the window is good for your mental health

Friday mantra:

renounce useless guilt/ trust all joy 

repeat often 

xo b

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Means By Which We Arrive

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

in memory...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jughead Too?

I'm so dizzy 
my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool 
it never ends...

has been looping in the busy Betsy brain for the past few mornings. As soon as my eyes open, I've been greeted by The Archies? 

Jughead too?

After years of musical mind, I'm more curious about the tunes that show up, enjoying the obvious messages they're trying to send me. And then seeing what, if anything, 

I want to do to change my tune.

In the spin of post-holidays/New Year beginnings, I've lost track of my quiet self. Thanks to a flexible work schedule, I'm taking this morning to curl up with Owen, our orange cat, upstairs on Claire's bed. 

Sounds of the turtle tank gurgling, 
wind whipping around outside. 

Chewy and I walked down the street under the gun-metal sky, tiny flurries swirling. A fat hawk sat on a branch right by the road but I scared it off with my talking out loud to myself. A crow, riding out the wind, cawed. Called? It felt like a call to wake up to the moment as The Archies tried desperately to stay in the loop.

I'm so dizzy  but the wind and trees bending, birds tucked above me swaying, my feet walking, one two one two just walk the dog just walk the dog come back to right here come back to right here made the needle skip and the record stopped. can I get an amen?!

And now this quiet moment with the cat and Washington's turtle tank trickling water and Chewy checking out the downstairs, jingle jingle of his collar. 

For the first year and change of This Being Alive, I never missed a day. Now I find that I need to let go of that self-imposed deadline, and show up when I can. The desire is to be here more often than not, but I want and need to create more balance and ease in my life; work, home, writing, resting, mothering, marriage, not necessarily in that order.

I still haven't found Dad's Important Papers which is another sign, like the crow's caw, to slow down and work from my center because

dizzy and spinning sucks.

So, here I am on this Friday ramble, 

wondering how you are... 

What things are on your mind and heart...

May you find some space 
to take a quiet moment 
and be with yourself. 

pause now
listen to your own breathing
in out in out

peace and blessings to you 
and your families 
and this sweet, beautiful, old earth.


photo of snowy frog prince from Oct. 29, 2011. No snow since. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

When I Grow Up #7

When I grow up I will travel around the world or maybe work. When I get married my husband will be very cute and funny. I will have lots of animals in the house. I will drive a very big car. My husband will drive a big truck. I will work and my husband will stay home with the kids. I will have two boys and one girl. I can't wait to grow up. 
By Dana Nolan (2nd gr.)

When you're a little kid, you can't wait to grow upWhen you grow up, you have a hankering for a do-over. But all we have, I keep reminding myself again and again, is this moment.

In this moment, I'm glad to know I can show up here, even if I don't come every day like I used to, even if I'm tired, or worried, or really happy about putting my pajamas on at six o'clock at night. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that this growing up thing happens too fast...way too fast.

thinking of you tonight, dear reader. 

xo b

[Photo of an itty-bitty Claire holding a brand new baby. circa 2003?]

For my #1 "When I Grow Up" Fan...Did I share Dana's piece already, Leigh Ann?

Friday, January 6, 2012

That Is Where We Are

“Wherever our attention is, that is where we are. Our attention, our awareness, breathes life into that which it rests upon. Place your attention on something, and it grows in your life. Take your attention away from something, and it fades away.
...Work, money, worry, shopping, exercise, lip balm, Twinkies - the list is endless. None of these items have power in themselves; their power is derived from the power of our attention.”  
~ from Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates

I have a feeling I've shared this quote before. It's one of my all-time favorites. It caught my eye as I was scanning the study for Dad's Important Papers in the Brown Envelope. I've been walking around saying, I can't find the envelope I can't find the envelope...

Needless to say, I can't find the envelope. 

Where am I placing my attention?

ps. all mojo/prayers/chants welcome in finding the damn envelope!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Éste Será Mi Año.

I'm having a spell of misplacing things. 

my reading glasses (while looking at glasses in the pharmacy)
Dad's important papers in a brown manila envelope
a lens cap must be in a coat pocket
underwear? in the laundry basket that never gets emptied?

I prefer to use misplaced rather than lost. It's more hopeful. Besides, I keep hearing Maura Laura (pronounced Mauer Lauer?) say ~

nothing is ever lost in God's universe.

Mower, or Mauer, or Maura was the building manager for Michael's apartment complex on Carmelina Avenue in warm, sunny Santa Monica. 

Mauer Lauer was a dark-haired smiling woman who made us a fancy going-away breakfast in honor of Michael and I driving east to start our life together...

Thermometer reads: barely thirty, yesterday fifteen.

Why didn't I move to Southern California again?

So, this is a rambler, I know, forgive me. It's hard to concentrate in the winter. I'm a bear, in a woman's body. I should be sleeping until the snowdrops magically appear, all green and white and full of hope.

But, in the spirit of the new year I'm not worrying about lost, misplaced, glasses or important papers. 

liar liar pants on fire.

They will reveal themselves. Or I'll get another cheap pair at the CVS. Glasses can be replaced. 

the underwear concerns me

Important papers? Who's the saint of lost things?

Repeat after me...

Éste será mi año. 

This will be my year. ❤

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Choose Tingling

Claire did a lot of sighing at the bus stop this morning. It was dark, cold, and the first day back to school after a lovely, long break. I sat with my ski cap pulled down and offered up a few possible alternatives to the day being a complete freak-out. 

"You might try accepting being freaked-out," I said.
"Really, Mom?"
"I know, sounds weird, but it's a new strategy I'm trying. Just sharing."

It's hard to get back in the saddle. 

Before we headed out, I read, much to her chagrin, a passage from her book.

Mom! That's mine.

It's a book called today i will by Eileen and Jerry Spinelli; two fine authors who put together a year of quotes, notes, and promises to myself...

January 3

There's something about a blank page that makes me tingle. - from Jazmin's Notebook
                                                                                                                     by Nikki Grimes

You can take those words- a blank page - literally, or you can take them to mean any aspect of your life that is empty, a blank space. We all have blank pages in our lives: a thank-you or an apology not yet expressed, a forgiveness not yet offered, a challenge not yet attempted, a vegetable not yet tasted. Do the blank pages in your life make you tingle? Or retreat?

There's a stack of blank pages in my life. Some of them, frankly, don't exactly excite me. But others do. Today I'll pick one out and fill it in.

When it comes to writing, I love blank pages. But in life, I admit to not always tingling over the empty space in front of me. Quickly filling in the blank pages is my attempt at security. 

isn't that what we all want? to feel secure?  safe? to already know? maybe not.

Maybe it's having a kid on the cusp of her teen years with so much before her. Maybe it's my own middle-aged self with so much behind me, but so much before me too. I'm getting back in the saddle. Today I begin a new chapter in my work life. stay tuned. 

A blank page. 

And still so many other things I want to do...

learn spanish  
write more plays
meet new people
go to new places
make a short film
laugh a whole lot more
take things less seriously 
swim with dolphins
anything that leads to more joy and less worry thank you, poet Marie Howe

today i choose tingling. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Be The Wish


New Year's Day. 2012

We did our traditional
sending of the wishes 
down the river.

Chewy decided to 
be the wish ?
and jump, ears first,
into the new year. 

Peace and blessings 
to you
and your family 
and this sweet beautiful old earth

Happy New Year. 

be the wish...

xo b