Monday, June 7, 2021

And I love the rain



 June 7 • 2021

It's raining today and I can't stop smiling.

I took Chewy for a walk this morning in the spritzing rain. He pinned his ears back to keep the rain out but it wasn't raining hard so I don't know what he was playing at. It wasn't raining that hard, but I used an umbrella anyway - funny since I have a thing for getting soaked in the rain.

It's not quite the kind of rain that I remember when Claire was five. We lived in Pennsylvania. The sky had been dark and threatening, then it burst open, yes like a bucket had been tilted, and we tore outside in our bare feet and ran screaming around the big green grassy yard. Puddles forming in the dips in the grass, we jumped and crashed in the water, big trees all around, so much green.

It's not quite the kind of rain storm that hit in an earlier house in Pennsylvania, on another June day. Michael and I had our friend, Penny over to the house. Her beloved husband, David, had died the week before and there were no words to hold the grief we all felt. Especially for Penny. That summer evening the rain clouds moved in quickly. Thunder claps rattled the house. There was lightning. And then, the rain came down, yes, in sheets. And the three of us ran out the back door, yelling and screaming down the sloping back yard, tall pine trees swaying in the wind, rain soaking us through our clothes. 

Oh, so many rain stories:

• Out on the Sunfish with Dad in a scary rain storm in Little Neck Bay, me thinking we were going to die. Yes, a tad dramatic, but it was a helluva storm to be in a tiny sailboat. 

• Camping with Claire and my brother, Rob, in a torrential rain storm out in Montauk, tent walls crashing on us in the middle of the night. 

• With our friend, Bill Paden, at the Jazz Festival in Delaware Water Gap, the rain hit so fast and hard, our jeans were soaked as if we'd stepped out of a shower.

• Jesse with her red wagon and a big umbrella out on the sidewalk - a kind of rain fort

... + so many more

When it rains, I hurry to bring my inside plants, outside.

May it rain all week, easy and gently, so the parched earth out here in California can lap it up.

It's June, and not April, but I love this poem and today made me think of it.


April Rain

Let the rain kiss you

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid


Let the rain sing you a lullaby

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk

The rain makes running pools in the gutter

The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night

And I love the rain.

- Langston Hughes


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

I'll Start With Bear


                     June 1 • 2021

I'll start with the Bear.

Bear came walking out of the woods just as my brother Rob turned off the highway onto a country road in Pennsylvania. I've always loved bears. A favorite memory is seeing one in our back yard (we lived on two acres in Pennsylvania) scratching on the maple tree. As soon as my daughters spotted it, I flew outside in my bare feet and followed it from a good distance. It meandered through the yard, the tall trees, across the road into a more wooded place. My daughters thought I'd lost my mind. I needed the bear vibe.

Living in in Southern California, we don't have bears walking through the tiny back yard. But there's all kinds of other wildlife. At the ocean, whales, dolphins, seals. Out my desk window: lizards, birds, rabbits, squirrels, hawks, hummingbirds, chihuahaus in colorful vests,

 + the coyotes wandering the neighborhood at night. 

I saw one recently while walking Chewy, the big-eared dog around nine at night. They often travel in packs, but this one was standing under the street light. Seemingly alone.  Once Chewy got a sniff/look of Coyote, he started barking. Coyote stared, then took off. 

                  this is not a coyote

Today I went to my beloved library, recently opened after fourteen months with its doors shut. My return a few weeks ago to shelves of books is another conversation. But today's magic was when I saw Turtle staring at the wall outside the doors. Totally get that, Turtle. Later as I was leaving, Turtle was quietly on its way back to the pond where all the other turtles hang out. 

There's the May story about the mourning doves who built a nest on my friend's garage light. How Pink (that's the dove's name) sat and sat until two hungry chicks hatched. How I came to my desk every morning and watched her. 


See Pink (during her first nest-in) behind this
napping squirrel? 

Mary Oliver wrote in her poem, When Death Comes:

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world in my arms." 

            the babies

        xo b 🐝

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

we don't make leprechaun traps


           March 16 . 2021

1. I saw Keith Richards in the Ralph's Market the other day. It's hard with the masks and everything, and it probably wasn't him because he lives in London or somewhere else, but there were his eyes, the hair wildly sticking up above the bandana around his head, the craggy face. Thin legs. Keith was carrying a red basket. Keith wouldn't push a cart around. He doesn't eat enough for a cart. I saw a flash of yellow before he headed to the register. I couldn't really see what was in the basket, maybe bananas. 

I'm no portrait artist but you can kind of see it, right?

2. My friend, Monica sent a picture of her daughter's leprechaun trap. 

Claire said, I never made one of those when I was a kid. 
I said, That's because we don't catch leprechauns.
Claire said, Oh, my 70's Mom!
Because people who grew up in the 70's left leprechauns alone to live their lives.
Anyway, I said, I'm pretty sure my Dad was one.

Two things. 


Thursday, January 14, 2021



Wednesday, was the day I planned to write here. Wednesday is my designated day to post since this new year started. Once a week. Be consistent. Even if it's a little something to share with the lovelies. Write something. If you're not sure - today is Thursday.

But yesterday slipped by watching the SECOND IMPEACHMENT hearings of the current inciter/insurrectionist in the Oval Office, taking a walk, rearranging my potted plants like a Queen's Gambit chess board, making rice and beans for dinner. I never made it here.

Last Wednesday, five people died, a police officer's head bashed in by a fire extinguisher, windows smashed, the rioters were looking to hang someone. Mike Pence? Nancy Pelosi? 

Maybe a trial and execution on the Senate floor by Q-Anoners? some have been voted into Congress

The rioters stormed (and meandered) through the Capitol Building as if on a self-tour. Trashing things, peeing on carpets, taking selfies, some with Capitol Hill police! It's now appearing that people working inside the halls of Congress, maybe Republican Senators/Congresspeople might have aided in this domestic terrorist attack. AOC was in hiding with Republicans during the attack. She was terrified they might "give up her location." 

Not a take-your-daughter to work kind of day in the good, old USA.

After all the violence

147 Republicans STILL challenged the counting of the electoral votes. 

After all the violenceStill, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley pushed The Big Lie. They should be expelled from the Senate. Even after a SECOND IMPEACHMENT for inciting violent insurrection, Trump still sits in the Oval Office, blowing kisses to his violent marauding militia, with his finger on the nuclear codes? 

But hey, 

Our free and fair election was finally certified in the small hours of the morning.

All kinds of investigations are underway. People have been arrested. Black and brown people spend years in jail for a couple of joints in their glove box, for taking a right-on-red in the wrong place. Sometimes they get shot. And killed. Everyone knows if this had been people of color in a peaceful protest, buckets of blood would have been shed. 

So,What about these treasonous fuckers, their ugly, bulging, sometimes smiling faces burned into our psyches? What about the people who left the riot, flew home, refusing to mask up, chanting on the planes? These people must be jailed for a very long time. Feed them gruel for all I care. Unlike the born-again Republicans who want to put this behind them, feel it's best for us to move on and heal the country, I want to see the head of the beast and the rest of it, chopped into a gazillion tiny pieces. My cup of anger is refilling daily, like the Professor's bottle of port in the Cary Grant/Loretta Young classic, The Bishop's Wife.

This is going to reverberate for a very long time. The desecration and violence on video for all of us to watch, threats of more to come as we prepare for the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris there's still Covid, thousands of people dying a day. 

But hey, 

There are thousands of National Guard troops sleeping on the marble floors of the Capitol. An ordinary day. All is well in America. None of this surprises me. It does, however, sicken me. I've had a painful sciatica that seems to have come out of nowhere, you think? That morning anxiety/panic in my chest upon waking, which plagued me for years, is back. 

The behavior of Trump and all these other crazy, delusional people is that of an abuser. 

Let me scare you, dominate you, gaslight you until you shiver like a mouse.Watch me smash windows, carry Confederate flags 

Do you quiver when the assholes in their trucks with all the flags flying drive by? 

The abuser loves that the best. None of this is normal. 

No. But I do feel vomit in my mouth.

Like the eloquent guest on the news said, "These people are Vanilla Isis." ☑️


Things blew up. WE have blown up. I'm feeling the anger that my black and brown brothers and sisters have always felt. It's not new to me. The painful, racist, crushing, big lie world has always pained me, especially as a little girl. Sometimes, anger is healing. Sometimes, fighting back is the only way forward. I don't know what to do. Be extra kind to my cashier friends @ the market dealing with the crazies who bitch and argue about everything (including masks), speak my truth, speak up when this kind of evil has become normalized. What a four years, five years, 400 hundred years.

Speak up. 

Speak up. 

Speak up. 

Be kind. 

Be kind. 

Be kind.

How to end this Thursday check-in? Like last week, I was all about updating you on The Vivies. Maybe sharing something on planting bulbs and writing. You know, self-care and sending peace, and being the peace you send. I'm still for these things. I still need to plant my bulbs, and plan for my upcoming classes and send more New Year's cards. Regular stuff. 

But wow.

I'll end with this message found among my email this morning:

Noticing that everything is interconnected,

that love and light exist amid the 

darkness, and that not all is lost can

nourish us on our paths.

- Rose Zonetti

love and peace from The Vivies 

+ me. xoxo

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

My Cup of Anger

January 6 . 2021

I'd planned to report on Big and Little Vivie and their amazing growth spurt over the past week. Today's check-in had nothing to do with Trump, the villain who will not go away, inciting his delusional minions to storm the Capitol Building during what should have been, AND WILL BE, the final fucking certification of this presidential election. The final certification of the already certified electoral votes from each of our United States. 

My cup of anger runneth over right now.

I woke to Michael telling me the good news about Georgia, I just feel better, he said, and I did too until the news took a turn. A very bad turn. There seemed to be little urgency to keep the mobs from storming the Capitol steps, and then breaching the building. Raging thugs pushed their way into the Senate chambers, rooted around in desks, took pictures of themselves. All I could think of as this unfolded (and continues still) was the innocent people, families with children, peacefully protesting in Lafayette Square back in June when out of nowhere they were being chased by police on horses, tear-gassed, run down so Trump could have his picture taken in front of St. John's, holding a bible?

So Sad.
Deeply Disturbing.

Voices everywhere are rightfully asking as this day has unfolded: What if these "protesters" (see rioters/looters/inciters of violence) were people of color? What do you think the pictures on the news would be then? What do you think the response from law enforcement would have looked like? 

If this was a Black Lives Matter rally, 
people would have been 
pepper sprayed, 

As I write this, darkness has fallen on the east coast. The mob remains. 

Trump said, "We love you" to these rioters. He called them "very special people." Remember "there were fine people on both sides." Trump needs to be taken out. Now. He is a clear and present danger. The news is saying the Senate will reconvene at 8pm. Let's trust the process will be completed. But this is a day that will go down in infamy. The people who voted for Trump and follow his cult and came to riot at our Capitol have shown themselves to be dangerous to our country. There is no mincing words any longer. The Republicans in the House and Senate who still believe this was a fraudulent election are complicit in this day of sedition and violence. 

Oh my. I am not a political writer. 
And yet, we are all here together. 
And this barely scratches what's going on.
We can't hide from any of this.
My heart is breaking, again.

and, thank you Georgia. 💙

Let me leave you with this photo of Big Vivie opening her arms to the morning light.

                                                             sending peace and love.
                                                                          xo b


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Renaissance • Mr. Darcy + other things

December 30 • 2020

 I woke thinking it's Saturday - okay, it's Wednesday, close enough - and splashed water on my face with my glasses still on. I was daydreaming about things -mostly my plants and writing and taking the dog for a walk. And the word, renaissance which popped into my head on Monday (2 days ago). It feels good to say ~


After drying my glasses, I dug in the junk drawer for the measuring tape to see how much Big Vivie and Little Vivie have grown from a week ago. Big Vivie is now 22.5 inches tall. Little Vivie is 18.5" They're going to burst open into blossom sooner than I expected. 

RENAISSANCE is a French word meaning rebirth. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary offered the word's history and etymology (in brief): French, from Middle French, rebirth from Old French, renaistre to be born again, from Latin renasci, from re + nasci to be born

So, yes, I'm thinking a kind of rebirth would be lovely as we leave this year behind. And it's always funny to me because the whole-end-of-year/new year moment is simply one day to the next, yet it has such a hold on us - I go to sleep, usually before midnight, or maybe bang some pots and pans @ midnight on the porch before crawling into my cozy bed. Sleep, dream, lose track of the days, and then wake up and it's a new day - I'm still me, nothing noticeably miraculous happened at the strike of midnight, yet most of us feel the metaphorical turning of a new page. 

We long for the new-ness. I know I do. (and still, I hold onto the familiar)

Like a good Jane Austen story (Claire and I have been deep into them on these winter nights) -Newness and familiar comforts are a marriage, a dance - take Ms. Austen's characters...the dancers barely touch, gaze into each other's eyes as they pass, hands skimming over hands, a gentle skip up the center of the dance floor, circling back under a canopy of lifted arms and hands. A constant give and take. Oh the sexual tension, dear Jane! The unrequited love, words unspoken until a bursting forth usually on the coastal cliffs, wind blowing loose hair, and someone finally speaks their truth! 

Speak up! Share your heart!

(See The Dashwood sisters, Charlotte Heywood...thank you, PBS/Netflix~ )

                   Is it any wonder I wash my face with glasses on? 
                                                                               Oh what a good laugh I had! 

This wandering mind. So many wonders to think on: plants, birds, pink clouds, dogs, children riding bikes, the lone seal swimming at the beach, love, peanut butter and honey on toast, the world of Jane Austen or James Bond? (we watched one the other night)

and then... there are the horrible things. 2020 has been full of tragic, crushing moments. This global pandemic, George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, so many names/say their names, the final days of Trump, conspiracy theories, daily horror and madness and loss. You may have suffered great loss and unwanted changes this year. 

It's so easy to lose hope. But we mustn't. Ever.

Some comfort, some Mr. Darcy, see Pride and Prejudice, who does come around to love Elizabeth but what a tough, weird nut to crack - (even if it is handsome Colin Firth) - and a glass of red wine is perhaps an answer, at least for an evening.  🍷

Comfort is necessary more than ever these days - offer it up to yourself daily.
Here's to a renaissance when the clock strikes 12:00.
                     (tomorrow night, Thursday it is!)

For you, 
for me,
for everyone, 
+ for this sweet beautiful old earth.

love always,
b xo

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

My Kind of Math

This morning I was writing about growing things and overall how much better it makes me feel when I'm doing it. This reminded me of my life as Ms.J, second grade teacher. It made me think about how I spent five days a week in a room full of seven year olds, no aide, no extra help, sometimes parents would come in for a craft, or party, but for the majority of the time, it was me and my kittens. It was a lot of energy in that room with the big windows and wide sills. The cubbies spilling out with folders and pencil cases and snacks. And other stuff the kids would bring to play with at recess. 

They were the most creative,energizing,and exhausting years of my life. 

I loved those kittens. (still do, wherever you are - xo)

Every Christmas my mother gave me a bag of paper white bulbs (oh I miss her) and from that tradition I gave them to my students in the New Year. Each kid got a bulb - well you can read the scratchings in my journal entry (above), written in a flush of memory this morning. A wonderful memory of that big sunny room with all the window sills filled with pots of paper whites. The scent was overwhelmingly sweet once all of them bloomed. In pre-No-Child-Left-Behind and other craziness put in place, I taught math and science using journals and rulers and crayons and plants and other stuff like that. I'm sure we had math workbooks,  good for straight up computation practice, but getting out our science/math journals and documenting the growth of our paper-white bulbs - that was my kind of math. 

It was only 7:30 am

Life is so much more charming and simpler than we humans make it. Especially in the world of education. It's not that f*cking complicated to engage little kids (and ourselves) in life-long learning. For the paper-white project, all we needed was our notebooks and simple tools: 

Kids could be out of their seats at the window measuring, comparing their bulb's growth to a friend's, or going down the row sniffing each one while looking out the window. I was big on bar graphs because visually they're the easiest to understand and you can have a lot of fun doing it in different ways. I'm not sure where I was headed this morning with this one, see below attempting to illustrate my amaryllis, now split into two - Big Vivie + Little Vivie. The proportions are way off, I mean, the pot isn't that big compared to the flowering bulb, and honestly, I shouldn't point this out since I'm writing about second graders, but amaryllis's, at least until the flower blooms, bring to mind a penis, or two - come on, they're totally phallic! Plus I grew up in a house full of naked brothers and to this day, I see us squished in the bath tub together, laughing and carrying on, bubbles for beards and big white hair, plastic soldier's bayonets poking me in my chubby thigh.

not sure what happened with this graph?

You don't need to be a green thumb to grow a bulb. This amaryllis came in a pot with the disk of compacted soil - all I had to do was add water, fluff up the soil, and plant the bulb. Then, find a lovely spot, not too hot, not too cold, for your bulb to follow the light. 

                                                        I measured the two Vivies this morning. 

As illustrated from my scientific, mathematical calculations and life-like drawing - Big Vivie is ten inches + Little Vivie is seven. How many inches taller is Big Vivie to Little Vivie? 

Do the math, people.

As we enter the final week of this year, may your holidays be blessed + safe + healthy. Scott Peck opened his book, "The Road Less Traveled" with this sentence: Life is difficult. We all get that. Yet, we don't have to add (+) to the difficulties. Why not grow something instead?

An idea
A deeper love
(A deeper love for)Yourself

...or a simple bulb in a pot of soil. Maybe start there. 

It's too tiring at this time of year (especially this year) to take on more, don't you think? 

Grow something.

  love b