Friday, May 29, 2009

these are my babies ...

So what are six of your favorite things, you might ask me. Well .. let me tell you. They are Kyra and Megan - sisters who are very different and yet love each other. They are Blaise and Flora our Indonesian living kids, and Alaska and Zoe. Do any of these pictures say 'personality' to you?

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So I was gardening tonight, and there on the wall was a fairly intimidating spider... classic long dancing legs, round belly, hourglass red mark ... and I knew what to do.


Which I did and he rescued the widow, carried it far far away, to widow somewhere else.

Life in Eden is imperfect.
We have an art show in our student center lobby, and one piece is, affectionately and appropriately dubbed, "the man with the hole."

Our student worker got bored last night and gave the man with the hole a tour of the place, including conversation.

"Marilyn, I just feel kind of empty." I laughed...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

on attracting men

I was young. I was cute. Even if I wasn't cute, I was young. And men look at young women. They check them out. They gaze, imagine, evaluate, estimate, long for and follow the curves and movements of young women.

Not so much older women. A nice anonymity follows age. An invisibility. I don't notice it until I am walking with a young woman (usually my daughter) and feel the eyes of men sliding past me to land upon her.

I am not offended. Let me be perfectly clear about this. There is no lament in my soul about this reality. Neither is there relief - in fact MUCH LESS than relief. The gazes of men are gone, their absence unnoticed and the space well taken up with life.

So it was a surprise to me this morning walking into St. Joseph's Hospital East that men were, well, gazing again. And not just gazing, pretty much drooling. Not one, but two men collided opening the main door from the inside so I could walk in. The male heads of the whole waiting room turned to follow my steps across the tile floor. A man almost leaped sideways to let me onto the elevator ahead of him, eying me closely while asking me what floor number I would like him to press. His smile stayed lit, mischievously, all the way to the fifth floor.

A male nurse made eye contact and commented flirtatiously. Another man made a joke and opened the ward door. I was 'Suddenly Marilyn.' Visible. Wanted. Noticed. And carrying a box of fresh Krispy Kreme donuts.

So much has changed!

I am my beloved's

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…but at four thirty eight in the morning?
I feel the familiar warm hand on my face and neck, caressing
- and I stir, resisting the pull from my own world of dreams
Mumbling in my ear a tumble of words I don’t understand but know every meaning, I recognize, from years sharing this bed what will come next.
A warm body next to mine, pressing in … demanding
The kiss, wet and hot, unwilling to be denied
And in truth now, I am awake
- duty is mine. So

I swing my feet out of bed
Swoosh Walter into my arms
Toss her out the front door
- hmmm the air is beautiful and still this morning
And try to go back to sleep.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

on the way to the circus

My daughter just told me my blog is pretty depressing ... that I should lighten it up a little. And I told her that I couldn't lighten up today. I have one more blog to write that is pretty depressing.

So here's the thing. Yesterday on the way down hwy 68, during the high traffic time, no shoulders, cars in both lanes, I drove past a little section where there are five small homes, probably built for migrant workers, lining the road.

Two little kids were playing on a lawn with a puppy and just as I passed, their little beagle trotted onto the highway in front of me - and in slow motion, I hit it. There was no way to avoid it. There was no pull off to stop. I couldn't breath. I looked in my mirror to see the beagle spinning into the ditch and the kids screaming.

So that is the image seared into my mind this morning.

I have these thoughts. We hurt each other. We hurt each other even when we don't want or intend to. That is how life is because we share this planet. Probably more often than we admit, hurt is not caused by malice. I think from this that I need grace from you. I need to know that when I hurt you you will give me grace. And I need to do the same.

And what happens has many viewpoints. A point of view is only a view from a point, really.So my experience of that puppy's (probable)death is different from what the children experienced, and what the parent's of that children experienced. I think we need to be humble and listen to find out how life is for other people. (I have always been amazed that siblings raised in the same family and house can have experienced life so differently.)

And finally, I am thinking that life is fragile - much more fragile than we percieve. We need to mark our days, treasure our people, play with our puppies, and when the time comes, have a really lovely funeral.

So tomorrow lightness. Today, I am still the beagle slayer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

my best

The best things of today -

- I ate three ripe strawberries from my garden
- I bought six shirts from Kohl's ... buy one get one free. So I bought three shirts, really.
- I talked to Robert and Tracey and it made me smile.
- My sweet peas are up.

Steve wrote me a limerick:

I have no mojo
But I have new shoes and thus
Old lady mojo

sleeping with the music on

When I was a teenager, eons ago, I engaged in various acts of disobedience. Case in point is listening to the radio. We were not a family who listened to worldly music, but this was the era of the Beatles, the Who, the Stones, one hit wonders and all the rhythm and blues artists who could melt you soul. I was hooked. Quietly and privately hooked.

So I procured a very diminutive transistor radio and plugged it in between my mattress and the wall with the radio hidden under my pillow. (When a teenager starts making her bed, parents, look out!) As I lulled to sleep I listened to music at a volume that even the mouse living under my bed could not detect a sound trying not to be a sound.

The music from heaven would play until I heard a song I loved. The wait was delicious. Then, at the exact moment the song finished, in the breath between the last note and the next song's first beat, in the pause before a bad flavor could ruin the finish of a whole meal, I flicked the power off. And the song would play over and over in my head and my soul smiled or danced or languished in love, depending on the emotion evoked.

Last night I came home late (seems to be a nightly ritual in this graduation season) and went directly and wearily to bed. Do you know the kind of tired that is overwhelming but your brain, on alert, still thinks you are on your bicycle racing on a tightwire strung over a six lane bridge?

So I did something instinctual. I reached over and flicked on the radio. World Cafe was on WUKY and the music was funky and fun. I listened and waited. The moments were delicious. Then Leonard Cohen came on and sang, "I'm Your Man." In the breath between the last note and the next song's first beat, I flicked it off.

And fell asleep. Smiling.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

my daughter's post

This is what my daughter wrote last week... I am proud of her.

ranting & raving

there was a headline in the "news" today that said, "kirstie alley vows to get her bikini body back!".

kirstie alley is 58. why should a woman who is 58 - or 28 or 18 for that matter! - need a "bikini body"? surely as women we have more to offer the world than that? surely our lives matter more, mean more, have more fulfillment in them than that?

when i am 58, i want to have a life that is so full and joyous that it wouldn't even occur to me that swimsuit season is coming. i want friends & grandchildren & curtis & my brothers with their families; i want meaningful work & thoughtful conversations & new ideas; i want to be so much more than the sum of my physical parts!

this made me sad today. for kirstie, and for all the women & girls who can't seem to look beyond the size of their jeans to see where & why they matter. frankly, it's all too often me, too. india arie, in one of her songs, sings, "i am not my hair/i am not this skin/i am the soul that lives within".


Saturday, May 2, 2009

just another day in paradise

So it is not my birthday. Really one day is enough of that nonsense.

Today was getting up at 6:15 and racing off to help facilitate a fiveK race, eating a McDonald's egg mcmuffin and taking one for my friend, standing in the rain and cold wind to cheer the runners on. And then coming home to clean the garage, make a rhubarb pie, eat a piece, and then another piece of rhubarb pie, have a nap, eat another piece of rhubarb pie, talked to a buddy, and watch a very cheesy movie with BS my main squeeze.

I had this thing when I was a kid that when something was going to happen that I wanted to have happen very very badly, I was sure I was going to die. Actually die. Expire. Be killed on the way. Today felt kind of like that. I had a day like that. I was so happy here that I thought for sure the house was going to burn down or I was going to have something terrible happen.

So happiness and terror - kid emotions - cotton candy and monsters under the bed - that was my day. And I loved it.

I also decided that I have to have some adventures. I haven't done anything that could put me in an embarassing or ridiculous position for a long time. Too long. Have to work on that.

Friday, May 1, 2009

it pays to advertize

My office this morning is full of birthday stuff. Birthday balloons, birthday banners, birthday riff raff. Hard to be subtle, but then when am I subtle? I decided to list some of my blessings this morning.

First - I have people. My main person, Big Steve. Who has made me laugh and given me an interesting bicker anytime I needed it for most of my life. BS and I have a tribe of dear little people and lovely big people. And - most important - I don't have ANY lost people. I have all my people in my life. We are all over the world, but we are together.

Second - I have friends. Lifetime friends and this time friends. I am not alone.

Third - I have a life. My work sometimes matters. Sometimes it doesn't, but that is par for the course. I go home to a kind environment that I love to be in. My soul is peaceful and strong. I actually like my life immensely.

Last - and of course, there is much much more - I have hope. I have hope because I honestly do believe there is a God and there are movements in this universe that are beyond me and lavish with meaning. When I wait I am not waiting for Godot. I am waiting for movements of grace, be they whisper small or, rarely - like finding Mark - earth shattering.

So today, with my office full of birthday flotsom, I am smiling and quite okay with having lived more than half a century. Whew!