Friday, August 31, 2007

Last day of the ten day visit. The kids go to the beach with some of the adults. I stay at home waiting for the plumber. There is blockage and sewage is bubbling out of the ground by the mail box. Long slow day. Unexpected heat, dirty dishes, laundry ready to be run through the machine, everything on hold until the pipes are fixed.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

20 years ago I planted a plum tree in the back yard. Every August sweet plums grow. I watch from my deck waiting for them to be ripe. I have to catch them on a certain day. If they are on the tree they are bitter If they are on the ground they are full of bug bites. This year I have missed that special day and now they are all on the ground. I have to buy plums at the store. too many distractions, not enough attention and the ripe moment moves on. Next year I will be more attentive.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

beach house

My house has turned into a beach house, a vacation place, with adults and kids coming and going. This morning we again went to Lovers Point, It was too cold at Asilomar beach. We are into day 5 of a ten day visit. All the adults have their own lap top computers and spend some time every day in silent communication with the rest of the world. The kids have toys, baths, sand, turning on the front hose, flooding the sidewalk and driveway. We seem to do parallel cooking, everyone fixing what they want. I have finally adjusted and am enjoying this beach house experience with my family.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lovers Point

We went to lovers Point Beach this morning. Sun was out, the two small boys were ready to play with the water. We joined the other women with young children, spreading blankets, buckets, snacks, sun screen. The boys approached the water and the mild lapping waves in their own different manner. I found a small piece of tree shade to put up my chair. The sea gulls were waiting for any chance to grab careless food. To the boys the sun is a friend, to me it is the enemy and I struggle to find the sunless spot. Came home tired and satisfied.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

birthday party

How is it that a birthday party for a four year old child can be so exhausting for me. We gathered with food, good will, humor and celebrated Will's birthday and now I can hardly move. the parents were kind and thoughtful. The relatives were fun. I have no complaints at all today, I just need to lie down for awhile.

Friday, August 24, 2007


In the middle of afternoon rush hour traffic, I was driving to Target to buy children's supplies. Stop and start traffic, windows down. I'm listening to Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man", singing along with the CD. I happen to look over to my right and see two young men sitting high in a truck looking at me and laughing good naturedly. It is so startling to remember that I am not invisible when I am in my car. I turn down the music and stop singing. I wish I could have smiled and kept on singing. Maybe next time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

second grade

I picked up the two children at school yesterday. The older boy is now in Second grade. We talked as we waited for his first grade sister to come.

He said he was so happy being in second grade because he can now boss arouud the first graders. I asked if he liked it when he was bossed around last year. he said no. But now he does like it because he is the person doing the bossing.

He ran off to stop me from giving him more unwanted advice and taking away his fun. I keep thinking I should do something but I am not sure what. Whatever I do is another form of being bossy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One more day until the babies come. Except they are no longer babies, they are talkative 3 and 4 year old boys coming with their parents and with their aunt.

I am busy rearranging the house, setting up beds, buying washable color crayons.

My biggest fear is that I will get too tired, maybe if I just remember to take naps I will be fine. I love these kids and their parents. I am glad they are coming.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

shady trees

I had to be out of my house all morning while work was being done. I ran errands, picking up a print order, making copies of the monthly calendar, picking up a check, then I went and parked under the tall eucalyptus trees between Lake Elestero and the Cemetery.

It's a comfort to know that many relatives are buried there and that I too will be buried there if I die. IF I DIE? or more accurately when I die.

I used to hide out in this shaded spot when I was a social worker and feeling desperate. Listening to too many painful stories, understanding how little control we actually have in our lives. Here looking out on the cool water, sitting in the shade, watching the various families and tribes of birds, all seemed well. I was glad to revisit and remember this shady grove.

Monday, August 20, 2007


It's 7 p.m. and I am tired. It's too early to go to bed but I am too tired to read. Maybe I can watch some TV. Ugh, that's no fun.
Maybe I am tired because I was up at 5 a.m for an early morning sitting at the center. But I am content, life feels good.
Went to a afternoon movie with a friend, saw Death at a Funeral. A British comedy set at an upper class funeral. I did laugh a lot but now I wonder why. There was a lot of poking fun at disabled people, dwarfs, gays, women, men, drug addicts, old people. And I laughed but I wouldn't recommend the movie. Life is too short to laugh at other people. Surely there is some better way to laugh.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

birthday parties

Went to a friend's birthday party last night, sitting outside in the Carmel Valley warmth, bar-be-cue, conversations, jokes. I drank one beer when I arrived, I felt relaxed and confident and talkative. Then I drank Hansen sodas. I do have a fear of drinking too much and keep close watch.

I've been attending these August birthday parties for years and know most of the participants They make birthday parties look easy and fun. I had given up on my own birthday parties but now I am beginning to be inspired. Maybe parties are really meant to be silly and talkative and full of good food. Maybe I just didn't understand before.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some days I don't know what to say here.

The wind continues to blow the long thread of worms through the air. People in my neighborhood walk around with brooms held up high to push the worms away.

I'm reading Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler, a wonderful collection of unromantic essays about living in China.

We had a half day sitting this morning, lots of birds feeding on worms, kids riding scooters and us sitting in silence and awareness. Good day.

Friday, August 17, 2007


For many days I have said to myself that I will cull my books, go through my stacks and shelves and remove books.
Thinking about it feels easy and yet every time I move to start this project, I am distracted.
I don't seem to be able to step over the invisible line and actually remove old books so that the new books I keep acquiring can be taken off the floor and placed on shelves.
It hasn't happened yet but I am hopeful.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Shadow of the Wind

I just finished this book, a 500 page mystery story set in the time of the Spanish Civil war. It's a coming of age story of a young man who is trying to discover the mystery of a previous generation writer. The story twists and turns through family secrets, hidden motives, murder, torture, obsession and war.
Did I like it, I don't know, I got caught up in the drama of the story and didn't want to put it down. I am glad to be free from it tangled webs and yet the images have a strong staying power.
The message is to not lie and to not keep secrets, they will come back to haunt you and your future family.
I need to sit out in the sun and shake this story from my mind.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Long thin threads hang from trees, buildings, lamp posts, threads crawling with wiggly worms, or what we call worms from the oak trees. Probably they are pupa's.

From a distance they look like beaded curtains but when you walk in them they cling to you and the rest of the day you are finding these worms on your clothes, in your hair, on your skin. I shudder every time I have to pull one of them off me.

Are they harmful. My body acts as if they are. They are definitely creepy and one of the scourges of nature in my neighborhood.

The Oak trees look dead now that all their leaves have been eaten. I don't want to be eaten by the oak worm.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sam Farr

Friday night I went to the town hall meeting with our representative Sam Farr. I have attended for years.
This year outside the city hall there were a group of mostly old women standing on the curb wanting Bush and Cheney to be impeached. They wore bright clothes, waving signs and chanting and screaming, Impeach Bush and Cheney while cars drove by and sometimes honked their horns.
Inside the mostly old men were conferring together and when the question mike was open, each went up to insist that Farr understand and investigate the war crimes of Bush. They clutched documents in their hands that supported their views. Don't you understand that Bush ordered the destruction of the world trade center. Don't you understand that Bush wants to be a dictator. What is wrong with you that you don't understand this and do something about it.
Standing still at the side of the room was a person wrapped in a black cloak, wearing a white scream mask, carrying a scythe, next to a signs saying IRAG and I SEE DEAD BODIES.
In the midst of this drama the rest of the group talked about health care, affordable housing, bad bridges, how the government actually works, veterans issues, agriculture.
Sam kept his cool and was polite and willing to listen to everyone. I do wonder where the young people are.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Last night after lying in bed for several hours I realized that I had forgotten how to fall asleep. How could I have lost it. Twisting and turning in my bed unable to push that last button to sleepland.

I got up, fixed a snack of cookies and milk and read for several hours finally going back to bed. The next think I knew the beeper was buzzing and it was 6am. Time to go to the Hospital for work.

Now how did I do that? Will I remember tonight where that button is?

Friday, August 10, 2007

hand washing

The big news in the hospital today was HAND WASHING. We each received a flier with huge red words saying wash your hands. You are being watched. Then in bigger print, this means doctors too So it must be serious.

Professional people with clipboards were roaming the halls.

I made a point to do public hand washing in front of anyone who wanted to watch. For the first time I had to wait my turn to use the sink. Yes, my hands are clean.

And the patients, how are they? Just fine. I actually found time to visit folks between sessions of hand washing.

No loose germs at the hospital today. sigh

Thursday, August 9, 2007


There is a mouse living near my kitchen. He comes to visit regularly taking bites out of fruit left on the counter. Little chunks missing from the fruit with the outline of teeth. Surely it's a mouse. What else could it be.
I have a "have a heart" trap that I have used in the past to catch and release these critters. I set it up with a spoonful of peanut butter. All mice love peanut butter.
Over the week the peanut butter has harden in the trap. It is only today that I think maybe I should put a piece of banana in the trap but I am reluctant to give up on the peanut butter plan. I am stubborn. I want to make the mouse like peanut butter.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

oak moths

My overgrown yard is a haven to the birds. Seeds, bugs abound.
I notice as I go out to the garbage area early this morning that the oak trees look dead. The oak moths have eaten though the leaves, leaving skeletons of ribs hanging from the branches. Sitting here writing this I am pulling off tiny wiggling caterpillars from my clothes, caterpillars that jumped or fell on to me this morning.
It's pretty discouraging in this dry season to wonder if the trees are going to die or will they come back to life with renewed vigor and green leaves. The pine trees are the last outpost of wild green in my neighborhood.

Monday, August 6, 2007


I went to the movies this afternoon with a friend. We wanted to laugh and eat popcorn, but instead we saw the Bourne Supremacy. Of course I had agreed to go and I knew what it was about and still in some ways I enjoyed it, I didn't laugh, I cringed and slunk down in my seat as the violence moved through the air.

It was like being hit by lightening, my nerves are jumbled and jumpy. All my nerve passageways have been cleared of any clutter as the adrenalin raced through my body. My friend and I decided that we would not tell where we had been.

I noticed in the theater that most of the matinee audience were seniors. Don't we get enough violence on the News hour? What is wrong with us. Maybe we are fighting fire with fire.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sitting in my house Zendo in the afternoon. Window is open, the sun has just replaced the fog. Quiet.

voices from the neighbors


You don't have to yell.



Saturday, August 4, 2007

The gang of first and second grade boys have created a fort, clubhouse, junk pile on the edge of the street under some small live oak trees. They have scavenged the neighbors junk piles finding treasures that only they can see. They race up and down the street on old bicycles, rusted scooters. Their moms make sure they wear shinny new helmets.

The neighborhood high school is gearing up to start next week, alarms, fire drills, sound system, new yellow lines, cars, delivery trucks.

I warn the boys that the high school kids return next week and they need to protect their clubhouse.

They hear that sharks and elephants are coming to torment them.

Later I see the trash piled in wagons as the boys diligently move their fort to the safety of one of the boy's yard. These little boys know that they are vulnerable to the older boys and are learning to take care of themselves.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

early morning

Lying in bed in the early morning just before I get up to go to the zendo, windows open, cool fog, sounds of the birds echo in the darkness, a dog barks, a car starts up. It's hard not to wish that it was always like this.
I turn on the light and stumble across the books and clothes piled on the floor. With the light on I can see how confused my life becomes when I am inattentive.
All night I had a live beeper resting by my bed. I did not get called although I was aware that at any time the hospital could call for the duty chaplain to assist in an unexpected death. I returned the beeper this morning.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Princess Diana

I love Richard Diebenkorn's art.

This afternoon I was laying on the couch reading THE DIANA CHRONICLES by Tina Brown. Everything you would want to know about the British royal family. Since I loved the movie The Queen, I knew I would love this also. But soon my eyes were closed and I was napping. So easy to fall asleep in the afternoon. I could vaguely hear myself snore, drool wet the pillow. When I awoke an hour later I was groggy. A cup of tea and some fresh air and I am back to Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and poor Princess Diana. I hate to say it, but I do love the book.