Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good night

white bone tired
cold damp dark tired
could fall asleep right now tired
headache tired
achy WTF tired
eyes happy closed tired
go away tired
when is the weekend tired
I don't care tired
jaw rigid tight tense tired
pajama tired
silence tired
neck on a spring tired
and it's only Tuesday

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making Friends With Winter

    Okay, so we aren't to winter yet but the question is already being posed: How do I make friends with winter?  How can I embrace the cold and ice, the grey dampness, the early darkness?  I have never been a fan of winter but it won't go away until it is ready so how to embrace what is?  Well, for one thing, get the right clothes.  I am not just thinking of warm clothes but also, frankly, stylin' clothes.  The cold weather usually has me feeling like a truck driver - bundled and teddy bear-ish, heavy shoes and fly away, electrical hair.  Bleh.  Meg got me into some cool boots that fit well and that helps - out of those truck driver hiking boots and into the "I've got power" boots.  She also has me wearing skirts more (with tights) and that definitely makes me feel less like a truck driver.
    Of course, there is also the natural world - admittedly, the stark beauty of fall and winter can be very persuasive.  I can be held captive by fall's brilliance and then winter's bareness.  The ice and rain make the world even more visually interesting and I can remember to keep my camera with me at all times.  Eyes open is the way to make it through the dark times.
    And November and December have the holiday mood to either bring me down or bring me up.  The plastic commercial stuff - thumbs down.  The cigar stands and traditional music can either add to the ride up or push me off the edge - depending on the mood of the moment.  The cold and rain make the inside warmth and colors more appealing and maybe that's why the whole Jesus's birthday thing was created. I am not really coming up with any new ideas here.  Once again, the bottom line is everything changes.  Bundle up and before you know it, February will crack winter's shell and we will begin to feel spring.  Yahoo!



Saturday, November 27, 2010


lies that were
and a life that is
covered in deceit but not lasting
long that way
roller coaster ups and downs
cracking, breaking, shattering
scattered like shards of bone
clean white and dead
and the life that was
is gone

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Change Is Good But It Sucks Too

Ten reasons why change is good:
1)  Change shakes things up and changes the cadence.  You know you are alive.
2) It opens doors and lets in fresh air.  It can warm life up or chill life out.
3) Your world is broadened when things change.  Out of your routines you go.
4) Sometimes change makes you happy.
5)  Change can be invigorating and exciting.
6) New routes can lead to new discoveries.
7)  Change often provides perspective on the past and direction for the future.
8)  Small change adds up.  You can cash it in for bigger things like bills or a better life.
9)  No one ever grew by staying the same.
10)  Change can bring new people into your life.

Ten reasons why change sucks:
1) Hey!  I liked my life just the way it was!  Don't mess with it!
2) Change can be exhausting.  More sleep needed.
3) Change can be frightening.  What now?
4) Sometimes it leaves you feeling empty - for a while.
5) Sometimes it makes you angry.  Why me? or why this? Life is not fair.
6)  Sometimes the new route turns out to be too long or too short or too boring or too hard.
7) Change can cost a fortune - in so many currencies.
8)  If things are good the way they are, change will probably make things less good (at least temporarily).
9)  Change is difficult and sometimes a person just needs to take it easy.
10) When you stop changing, you die.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Caretaker: Part 2

    In the last post, I thought aloud about how enriching and satisfying the role of caretaker can be.  It also occurred to me that my own children have had very little experience in this role.  For one thing, there are only two of them and their age difference was not sufficient enough to make one the caretaker of the other.  And, again, there were only two of them - no little siblings to watch over.  Our friends tended to be couples with kids about the same age or older than ours so our children didn't even get a chance to care for the small children of friends.  Their dad and I were self sufficient and the kids  seldom, I am sure, thought to take care of us.  Sure, they made cards and acknowledged occasions but Michael took care of his chores, I took care of my chores, and the kids pretty much did their handful of obligatory chores and their homework.  Somehow, I doubt they ever thought to take care of us in the way that kids in big families often pitch in as a necessary caretakers for parents or siblings.  My kids didn't even have an abundance of pets.  We had a couple of kitties but these were outside animals who essentially only required food, water, and attention.  In short, they went into young adulthood with few opportunities to experience the role of caretaker.   I wonder, now, how much my grown children have missed by not being able to take care of someone.  I wonder if it is harder for them to ask for help because they don't realize how wonderful it feels to be able to respond to someone who needs you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Importance of Being a Caretaker

   I grew up as the oldest daughter in a large family.  I think it is for those two reasons - oldest daughter and being in a large family - that I have always been cozy with the role of caretaker.  As the oldest daughter, I learned early about taking care of younger siblings.  I also learned early on that sometimes we are called to be a caretaker for parents or older siblings.   When my son came on the scene, I was not at all intimidated by the care and feeding a newborn.  Seriously, it felt very familiar to me since having little siblings and being a community babysitter had given me plenty of experience.  I also remember that, as a high schooler, I could see my mother's exhaustion. I could also see the stack of dirty dishes in the kitchen which would be sitting there when she came down to the kitchen to make my dad's breakfast at 5:00 am.  It was not uncommon for me to clean up the kitchen and wash the kitchen floor before going to bed myself.  I wanted to make her morning.  I wanted her to start her day with a happy moment.  Again, as a high schooler, I would - really! - spend Saturday nights baking  a chocolate cake for my older brother, who would arrive home at 10:00 pm after putting in a twelve hour plus day working at the local grocery store.  I was so jazzed to do that, to bake the cake and then to wait up and watch Mannix with him for an hour.  He generally seemed happy to have the cake, the tv program, and the attentive little sister.
     I went on to become an elementary classroom teacher, a mother, and a middle school guidance counselor.  Recently , I found myself reflecting on this role and its value to the individual and to society.  What I realized is that being the caretaker is good for YOU, not just the person of whom you are taking care.  When my mother had a pacemaker implanted a few years ago, she stayed with me for about three weeks.  I took her to the hospital the day of the procedure and then remained in her room with her as long as possible that evening.  The next day I brought her back to my house, and made sure she was a comfortable as could be.  Over the next few days,  I did all those little things to both help her recover and help her be comfortable.  It was surprising how good that felt to ME.  I felt needed, appreciated, stoked that I could make her feel better.  In a way, caretaking is selfish.  Yes, the caretaker does help another person but he or she also is given a gift of sorts.  The caretaker can know they are doing the "right" thing, the thing that makes a difference to other people.  Certainly, this can bring an internal smile to most good people and that internal warmth has got to go somewhere.  How about out into the community?  How about that ripple effect?  How about the caretaker's self satisfaction turns into goodness in the world?  How would THAT be for our society?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


    So here it was Thursday 5:00 am.  I was out on a brisk early morning walk with two very active, very happy dogs.  As I walked,  I considered the tasks in front of me for the day.  I also noticed the yards, the homes, the sky, the foliage.  My thoughts drifted to Thanksgiving and then to the upcoming weekend and to my kids, my friends, my life.  Happy, happy happy.  Downright perky!  And it was just the top of the day.
    As I was coming into the home stretch, I saw a man approaching us on the sidewalk.  Aware that the dogs were a tad feisty, I  stepped into a driveway to allow the guy to have the sidewalk.  He was maybe thirty years old, lots of dark hair on his head and face, wearing athletic clothes,  with ear buds dangling but not plugged in.  As he approached I greeted him with a perky "Good Morning" and he scowled back, "Can you keep your dogs off of me?".  Mind you, Ellie had bounced up as he walked by but had not touched him.  I replied. "That's what I am trying to do!" and gave Ellie an extra little attention.  What I noticed, though, was the instant deflation I felt, as if someone had just taken away my good morning.
      That downward dive lasted about a block or so as I regrouped.  It occurred to me to wonder what had been going on in that guy's life.  Perhaps his girlfriend kicked him out yesterday or he was hungry or he was pissed because he wasn't a morning person and he didn't want to be out taking a walk at this hour.  It also occurred to me that now I COULD go home and be cranky with Michael or, if I had little kids at home, scowl a bit at them because my good morning had been seized away.  I do believe that I have a choice about these sorts of things, though.  I refused to get caught in the ripples of that dude's cranky morning.  But someone else might have been carried away by his cranky ripples and that's the way negative stuff spreads out in the world.  I recovered within a block but someone else might have taken his scowl and moved it further along in the world.  I would rather create ripples of smiles and cheerfulness.  Life is just better that way.  Agree or disagree?

Monday, November 1, 2010


    Like a bunch of other people in the greater Bay area, I have not been a faithful  Giant baseball fan for years and years and years.  But because I am married to a guy who pays attention to the Giants, I have been made aware of their accomplishments (or lack of same) for years.  Again, like so many others, I started paying serious attention in August when things started looking up for the Giants.  As the season began closing down, I became more familiar with individual players and their stories.  And then I got hooked.
    I got hooked on their stories.  I got hooked on their humility. I felt their determination.  I got hooked on their teamwork.  NO one is the star.  Everyone is the team.  There is something wonderfully delicious about being a part of something much bigger than you are.  Those players might inspire the rest of us.   Embrace something bigger than you are.  Become part of a team that won't stop believing.  Be a misfit.  Be a winner.