Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All Your Own

leap into the magic that is all your own...

                                                 february 29. 2012


Monday, February 27, 2012

A Certain Way

We, read I, tend to think that things need to be 

a certain way 

before we (I) can 

do my work
feel good about my life 
practice yoga

One must have a writing studio overlooking the ocean, a clean desk with a simple vase of daisies before one, read I, can write the book...

In order for the marriage to flourish,
we, (i) need a husband who will tend to 
all the messy details of our life see finances taxes
maintain an athlete's body
grow a full head of hair
no snoring

Yoga, to be truly beneficial
is best practiced in 
a sun-splashed studio
wide wood plank floors
a green plant in the corner
candles incense possibly chanting 
and yes, fancy pants


this is all wrong. Not true. at least not all of it...

Case in point -

Room 318; standard college classroom. 

The tables pushed back, piled high with backpacks
paper plates with half-eaten sandwiches 

there had been a celebration!!!

students (I've never met) + me

We sit together
snow falling outside
square windows

tiny smile on face


practicing pranayama

in room 318 ~

everything I imagined it would be.

and more.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We Do Act Surprised, Don't We?

Claire and I sang our song in the car this morning.

If you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And then the bus came.

Later, after the day was over, we sat on the sofa and talked about Andy, our friend who died suddenly last Saturday.

That's 2 friends in a month.

"People seem so shocked when someone dies, unless they're really old. Even then there's a surprise to it."
"It happens to everybody," Claire said, "it's been happening for hundreds of years. Thousands."

We do act surprised, don't we?
But we come in when we come in, 
and leave when we leave.
Even if we don't understand it.

the mystery is the mystery.

I want to write a note to my family...

If I should suddenly 
drop dead, 
just know 
you're really 
occasionally naked
I've been so lucky to know you.
I love you.
Have fun. 
Try not to worry.
Do what you love as much as possible.
Don't ever let the bastards get you down. 
Hint: the cage is not locked.

This is good advice for the living.
No need to walk around like a trapped animal.
Start small and go from there.
Sing at bus stops.
Lie down when needed.
Go ahead, eat the ice cream!
Send out the writing.
Be brave.
Give thanks.

Keep an eye on us, Andy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Main Instruction

As I said before, 
the main instruction is to lighten up. 
By taking that attitude towards one's practice and one's life, by taking that more gentle and appreciative attitude toward oneself and others, the sense of burden that all of us carry around begins to decrease.

 ~ Pema Chodron (from Start Where You Are)

   (* Claire with daisy crown, circa 2004)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In A Puddle Of Rose Petals?

I love to eavesdrop.

Some may thinks this is wrong, or rude 

And by the way, is that woman nude?

I can't help it. 

I eavesdrop respectfully...what's a playwright to do? 

Sometimes, I want to jot things down, 
it's a memory thing, but can never seem to find a damn pen 
which is sorry for a writer but 

so what?

Like the woman I heard the other night,

Yea, I was drinking Chardonnay in a gay bar at 3 am. So what?

or two women talking

So, I know this really nice guy. He's a radiologist.
Okay. What else? replied the other.

The guy walking down the street in SoHo a few years back, I just can't forget him,stood on the sidewalk with the dumb-baseball-hat-to-the-side look, ranting at a woman with him

I just wanted some fucking peace

I crossed the street...

Chatting with a painter at a loud, noisy gathering.
We were talking about art 
and children 
and vibrators? 
although not in connection with each other, 
it was one of those wonderful, twisty talks, 
here there 

when she landed with this,

If I'm outdoors, near water, painting... I can't help it. 
At some point I strip off my clothes and go skinny-dipping... 

Sounds logical to me. 

I've returned to my roots: listening and jotting. 

and sitting on the sofa watching the sun make squares on the rug.


This is "Stormy, The old dog in the truck" 

soon to be a motion picture...

Claire and I met him on Friday outside the health food store. Stormy's been on This Being Alive since Friday... (I had no idea)

This old dog didn't say much, at least not with spoken word,
but he had a very very Zen vibe, unbelievable really, 
so Zen, we wanted to bring him home, 

and maybe sit at his feet in a puddle of rose petals?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

¡Que viva el amor!

I hadn't noticed the hair until I glimpsed in the rearview mirror at the bus stop. 

"I'm looking a little like that guy, Bruno Mars, Claire."
"More like a Who from Who-ville, Mom." she said.
"I guess I should've worn a hat."
"Ah, who cares, Mom," she said, patting down the wild piece.

Earlier we did our sit thing. 

It's very simple. 

I set the timer on the stove (so we don't miss the bus).
We sit on the sofa, 
my arm around Claire, 
heads leaning in, touching.
We don't usually speak.
We breathe, sigh, lean in closer.
Stay until we hear the beep.

When Jesse was little, we'd take baths together and make up funny stories about our neighbors, Helen and Dale. He was a harmless drunk. Helen was a gnome-ish woman who didn't smell too good but she was very kind and we'd chat on the communal back porch whenever I watered my plants. Back then, I didn't have the luxury of sitting with Jesse at the bus stop. First off, she walked to school. Secondly, I'd be driving to my teaching job in New Jersey. 

I loved those baths.

Claire was feeling her usual nervousness about school.

In a 6:45 in the morning philosophical moment I said,

The whole thing isn't what we think it is. I mean, we project all this worry and apprehension onto our day but really if we lift our vibration to peace, love and joy, we're good.

Yes, I said, lift our vibration
Mom never mentioned this when I was a kid. 

"So, hang out in the peace love joy zone. I'm gonna try it."
"Thanks, Mom."
"Really? You don't think the vibration thing is a bit too...?"
"No, thanks. Really."

The bus came.
I got a peck on the cheek.
She leapt out of the car.

I whispered my usual morning send-off.

"Don't let the bastards get you down."

And I love you.

¡Que viva el amor!

top photo of Charmlee Park, CA courtesy of Michael

Sunday, February 12, 2012

La Vie N'est Pas Triste

My Spanish Daily Calendar read:

 Me iria bien un poco de ejercicio

I could use some exercise  (always)

which is a bit more upbeat than

Eso no te pega

That doesn't suit you

So, we took to the river and veered off the path 
to tromp through a corn field...

This was very fun. 
More fun than I thought it would be.

The wind was sharp.
I ran, pretending I was a slalom skier,
hopping between broken rows of corn. 
This was very fun since I have never slalomed, only in a corn field.
Michael pulled his hat over his ears. and hopped too.
Chewy chased his green tennis ball.

Claire pushed into the wind, 
with Mom's Teach Yourself French book, 
tucked under her arm.

La vie n'est pas triste.

We left the field and stumbled upon a sorta path along the water, climbing over and under fallen trees.

A flock of silver-white birds flashed up above the trees.

La vie n'est pas triste.

Life is not sad.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Before You Speak


T= is it true?
H= is it helpful?
I= is it inspiring?
N= is it necessary?
K= is it kind?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Call Me Madonna

I don't care...

Madonna ROCKED the Super Bowl Half-Time show. 

Note to self:
Sing in gospel choir


As soon as she dropped out of sight into a cloud of smoke, Facebook lit up with comments. 

I had to check because I knew they were coming...

Lip-synching? Really, come on, Madonna.

She is over the top. OLDER but still hot.

Dear Universe: Please let me grow old gracefully. 

Not bad for a woman her age.

Botox is not my friend.

Apparently, women of a certain age should not be cavorting with very ripped men dressed like gladiators. 

Seems like a perfectly healthy activity to me. heart healthy

oh, critics are a dime a dozen

Two weeks ago, Claire and I were watching the red carpet at the Golden Globes. The dresses, the dresses.

Rather than talk about the actors' body of work, the commentators kept asking about the womens' bodies.

Do tell? How do you get a body like that?

I stay active, but really I prefer to talk about my work.

No, really, you look amazing. Weights? Pilates? And turn around so we can see your...

These days, a size twelve is considered PLUS. Really?
Forty (or is it thirty now?) means hot is out.

Learning to love my own face in the mirror 

is one of the tag-lines of this blog. Wonder where that came from?

If only I'd jump on the billion dollar band-wagon of defying age lines and wrinkles, I DEFY YOU, CROW'S FEET, and hired a personal air-brush artist to tend to me before setting foot out the door...maybe I'd look better for a woman my age? 

This isn't new stuff. It's been around for eons. Men get better looking as they age. Women, we're screwed/

But I defy that...or something like that. 

I look and feel better now than when I was twenty. And dammit, call me Madonna, but I am getting myself a pair of thigh high black boots because honestly, I've always wanted them. 

And, I've got my mother's gams. so I've been told... 

gams = great legs

But it doesn't matter. 
great gams, or not
thigh high boots
shake your booty
dance the polka...

Be hot, or not. 

You're only as hot as you  feel?

even if every magazine in the check-out line tells us we're not unless we do 

X Y Z 

and what is hot? and maybe you could care less

If I hear someone say, she looks good for her age, one more time, I'm gonna pop them. Right in the nose. And if it's a guy with his belly hanging over his belt, I'll sock him in his doughy gut. hard.

A friend wrote,

I wanna be Madonna when I grow up!

Me too. 

At least for half-time.

~ thus ends my Monday morning rant.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's Not That Complicated

This is really not very complicated. Simply stop making excuses and look at your life. Decide if it is what you want - and change it, if it is not.
- Chandra Alexander
I'm loving "my Chandra" on this Ground Hog Day. She has a way of cutting right through the morning fog when I wake to mumbling about paper piles on the kitchen counter, how I want to live by the ocean but how can that possibly happen, and the middle-aged loop of...did I miss the boat, did I miss the boat, I think I missed the damn boat accompanied by there's not enough time, not enough time to do, see, go, make the film, learn Spanish, to to to...
what boat? 

I get it, Chandra. 
It's not complicated. 
Stop making excuses.

Change doesn't happen in one fell swoop, as Mom would say. Change happens by taking daily baby steps. most of the time...

Sometimes it hits you like a 2 x 4 and you're in change mode, whether you asked for it consciously or not. 

But back to baby steps.
Baby steps are good. 
They add up. 
Next thing you know, 
you're running across the room. 

Or skipping through a field in France. 

Baby steps move you forward. thanks Katie
Then you can LEAP like a gazelle? or Chewy, the big-eared dog?

note to self: it's not that complicated.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Whether Or Not It Is Clear

Feb. 1st

You are a child of the universe, 

no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

- Max Ehrmann

Yesterday I spotted this clump of snowdrops. 

The tiny white flowers caught me by surprise.

This morning, is mild, spring-like? Claire is on the bus. Michael visiting his mother in San Diego in celebration of birthday #86. 

Johnnie Collins my fabulous mommy-in-law is 
and as always, colorful. 
Even when things seem suck-ish ? she finds her way to laughter

She is an inspiration in remaining young at heart...

Happy Birthday, Johnnie-girl. 

I need to get up, shower, walk big-eared Chewy and get to work.

get a move on, chicken little!

This Being Alive, will be three years old come March 1st...


I miss showing up here every day. 

balance time ease do what you can

Mom always said, You can't make every set, dear.

but but...

I will go forth today - 
sure that events will move me in the right direction 
even though I can't see what's around the corner.

- Mom's Meditation Book

go gently, dear readers.

let your heart lead your way.

photo of Venice Beach courtesy of brother, Rob.