Monday, December 31, 2007

Just beyond Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, hordes of gulls are massing as if ready for a war protest. Millions of them on the water, circling in the air, mixed with a few pelicans.

Crowds of people stand at the shore watching, waiting for what? The grand finale? I drive slowly and almost hit the car in front who has stopped to make a left turn.

The water is choppy, huge waves are crashing on the rocks. A cold wind is blowing.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Last minute shopping at the Monterey Whole Foods before the cousins come. I've been doing last minute shopping for days and now I think this is the end. They are due to arrive at noon and will need lunch.

As I take my bag of food to my car I am quickly annoyed that I have to return the shopping cart to the front of the store. There are no convenient places to drop off the cart by my car.

Whole Foods is so expensive shouldn't they help with the cart. I am working myself up to a big funk as I put the bags in the backseat of my car and walk back to the store.

Now that wasn't so hard, was it? I think I am annoyed with the Whole food prices and with my desiring their gorgeous foods.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Large globs of bird poop are oozing over the window and door handle of my car. I look up at the pine tree to try to spot the bird but I don't find it.

On the side of the street is an slow water leak. A steady stream of water has been flowing for the last couple of weeks. An orange plastic cone sits near this leak.

I finished reading FLORENANA, a German Woman's pilgrimage to the Galapagos in the 1930's by Margret Wittmer. Very satisfying book.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The 6year old girl is madly jumping and dancing on the mattress that I have just moved to the meditation room. Music of the Nutcracker suite is filling the room.

The 7 year old boy is making stuff with his worm making science kit on the kitchen table, spilling liquids as he creates concoctions.

I'm trying to create order in this chaos and laughter.

The cousins are coming, I shout, but no one listens.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Finally I went to a late afternoon movie where most of the audience were not old. JUNO. The theater was full of all ages including teenagers. I loved it.

In the morning I had to be out of my house for several hours so my house could be cleaned. Spent time at Lover's point shivering in the cold wind.

Triangular shaped seal noses floated in the rough waters waiting for the tide to recede and expose their favorite rocks.

Two skin divers and six harbor seals were floating in the harbor.

A solitary white egret hovered in the lee of a rock island covered with gulls.

A solitary boat with the sails down was circling a buoy off the point.

My house is clean and I saw a wonderful movie. Hurray.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

We go to Nepenthe in Big Sur for our Christmas lunch. The adults are enchanted with the huge vistas of the ocean and the mountains. The kids focus on the color crayons. The seven year old car sick boy falls asleep on the bench by the table. We cover him with our jackets. The six year old princess talks and colors and eats a hot dog.

We tell stories to each other about our lives and dreams. We feel so grateful to have each other today.

We enter the gift store as if it was a museum, we can look and touch but we're not buying anything. The store is filled with color and flash, toys, books, soaps, candles, drums, cloths. Scents, sounds, colors, movements are beguiling.

We want everything, we want the atmosphere of the store to magically be recreated in our homes.

We leave with empty hands feeling strangely satisfied.

Monday, December 24, 2007

(Picture - Wayne Thiebaud)


I drag the garbage bins to the street for the Tuesday pick up and quickly load them up with newspapers and trash. Later I realize that perhaps they will not be picked tomorrow, Christmas day. Duh!

At lunch I watch waves of pelicans flying over the shore. Groups of 10 to 20 slowly moving their wings as they glide past. The day is warmer.

Two blue herons are now standing together in one old nest in the gully

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Last evening as I was sitting in the living room reading I noticed that my nose was cold. I tried to warm it with my hands and then the book was blocked. Cold nose or continue reading? I opted for the cold nose.

I woke int he middle of the night with the moon spotlighting my bed. Way too light for me to sleep. I twisted and stretched until the earth moved my bed into the shade.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

(picture-Charles Rollo Peters)

Most of the time I don't even see the century old gnarled pine tree by my front door. I rush by to get into my car, to pick up mail, to take out garbage. Today I stopped and looked, really looked and was grateful for it's presence.

I drove to Pacific Grove for a perfect bear claw and coffee and a warm spot in this cold day. I ran into a friend and we agreed to go to the movies this afternoon to see ATONEMENT and sit in another warm building.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Met a friend this morning to write at our local congregate heating site, The Works Coffee House. It was frosty outside. I am looking for warm places in the morning so I don't have to heat my drafty house.

In the hospital parking lot most cars are clean and unmarked even though we are in the middle of a war and an election.

I did see one "We are making enemies faster then we can kill them."

I put my shoes on my head and walked away.

(picture-David Hockney)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I pick up the mail at the post office at 6:30 am on my way to the zendo. My eyes immediately find the right box, in the midst of rows and columns of boxes. It's dark and the building echos my squeaky footsteps.

On the way out I buy the NYT and pickup the Coast weekly to see what new movies are coming into town on Friday.

The rain is coming down and my fleece jacket gets wet. I don't own an umbrella. I am not sure why.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I park near the Paris Bakery to meet with my friend. Actually I over park in the hour parking space. I over park by three hours and still I didn't get a parking ticket or even a mark on my tires.

A miracle.


Outside my kitchen window are two nasturtium plants grown from seeds I appropriated from a garden on the waterfront.

Today on my walk I am looking for more seeds but instead run into old friends I hadn't seen for years.

The sun is out after days of rain.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


For the fourth time I trip on my unpacked open suitcase. I just don't want to admit that I am back home.

Rain falling, creating puddles in my driveway.

A friend and I eat breakfast at Rosine's in downtown Monterey. Here there is Christmas trees, lights, decorations. We wish Buddhism was so colorful.

The garbage cans are emptied even in the rain.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I arrive early to set up the zendo for 7am sitting this morning. Turn on the heater, set up the altar, light the candle and the incense, lower the lights.


I ring the bell three times.


Ten minutes later another person enters and joins me for meditation.

We sit and then chant and put everything away.

On the way home I notice two blue herons standing on top of the pine trees in the gully by my house.

All is well.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I'm back, limping out of my car as I try to get all my body parts to work after being crammed into my car for many hours.

The visit with my two sisters and one brother, and two spouses went well. We mostly remembered that we were adults, more then adults, seniors. We ate, read, endlessly talked, walked, slept.

One conversation that kept circling the room was about upcoming and past travels. I sometimes felt that maybe I had been adopted since traveling for the sake of traveling doesn't appeal to me. But they each look and sound like me so I am glad to know that I belong to this tribe of siblings and spouses.

Friday, December 14, 2007

On my way to Bolinas for a weekend visit with my siblings. I have packed up the car with supplies that will take me through the city and up the mountain and down to the sea.


Although it may only take a couple of hours I am prepared to survive for months, or at least weeks.


I wonder what I have forgotten.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

At the beach late in the afternoon I saw an older woman with two preschool boys and several bags of bread. They were tearing pieces and throwing them on the sand for the clustering sea gulls. The gulls moved closer and then backed away as the little boys carefully tore the bread and then tossed it several feet away.

In the background several men were hitting a ball over a net.

Two guys were dragging a catamaran into the surf.

It was a good afternoon for a walk.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Met with a friend at ZiZi's,cafe that has replaced Bay Books. ZiZi's includes a ultra modern chrome and glass coffee house also a health spa and a women's clothing shop.

We drank hot chocolate. Rick read excerpts of his daily journal to me. It was vibrant and alive. I became self conscious about reading mine. I have fallen into slacker habits with my journal writing. I'm encouraged to do more.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I talked Sunday night on Buddhism to an Interfaith Study group. The assignment was to tell about a Zen teaching that was meaningful to me. The assignment was not to do an overview of the tradition.

I spoke on the koan Nansuan Kills the Cat. However the participants wanted to know more about Buddhism and Zen then about the koan.

I spoke, answered questions and had intense conversations and in the end I could not remember a thing I said. The short term memory was just not working.

People thanked me and were kind so I guess I said something interesting. Maybe that's why talks are recorded so one can hear what one has said.

This talk is gone forever.

Monday, December 10, 2007


We stood outside the Temple, 15 minutes early for the study group. It was dark and cold. Where was the person to open the door? Finally we went to the front door and pushed and it opened setting off a horrendous screech, the alarm.

We looked at each other, what do we do now. We closed the door and moved towards the parking lot, shivering in the cold. We waited and waited endlessly discussing whether we should go in with our fingers in our ears.

Would it be better for the police to find us outside or inside. No brainer, we stayed outside.

The Rabbi zipped up in his sports car, jumped out, and turned off the alarm. He called the security service and whispered the magic pass word. He wanted to know the details and it was clear that somebody, not us was in trouble.

The rest of the evening was wonderful, full of kind and thoughtful people and conversation.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Storm is over but still it is mighty cold. Had a zen sewing group at my house this morning at 8am. The heater had been on for two hours but still it was 59 degrees in the living room. We wore our jackets while we sewed.

But now in the afternoon the sun is steaming into the living room warming my body. It feels so good to be warm again. I lie on the couch reading my second mystery story as I cough and blow my nose. It is good to be alive.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Quiet day as I struggle with this cold. Sat in the sun on my front stoop for half an hour this afternoon reading a mystery story.

It's amazing how comforting it is to read mystery stories when I feel sick. I have a stack of serious books next to my bed but what I really want is the comfort of a story that confronts the chaos of the times and resolves it.

Also I ate some of my brother's gift box of Godiva chocolate.

UMMMMMM

Friday, December 7, 2007

I have a cold and I feel like a baby, lying in bed staying warm. My telephone has been on and off, hasn't quite worked right. Feels like it is being jammed by some outside activity.

Since this is a military town I immediately think it's some secret military experiment. Just up the street, the local elementary school has been turned into a secret military school to study terrorism.

This morning my phone now works.

A huge wind storm blew in last night. When I went outside to pick up the morning paper my three aluminum chairs had been swept off the porch.

back to bed now.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It was just the next thing to do today. A clinic appointment for bone density and mammogram.

I asked the technicians questions about the amount of radiation exposure. I am nervous about reaching that tipping point in radiation exposure.

My eyes filled with tears and I fought to hide them in this conversation. I tried to describe my radiation treatment 6 years ago in neutral tones, to match their voice. I knew I was sounding like a cry baby.

Maybe there is no way one can be neutral about a past painful experience.

I had the tests, maybe for the last time.

sigh

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

so where are all the bumper stickers on cars now. I walked through the Hospital parking lot and didn't see any, I did see one Obama sticker in a back window and a few yellow ribbons to support our troops.

We vote in two months, we have endless TV coverage but have we given up on taking a stand on our bumpers?

Maybe the cars no longer have identifiable bumpers. The new bumpers blend in with the car.

I saw several old cars and trucks with silver bumpers but even these cars were nude.

I miss bumper humor.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I overheard at the store a woman say she had no money because the satellite was down. And then at the gas station, I had to pay in cash because the satellite was down. I asked the clerk where the satellite had gone and he gave me a puzzled look. He pointed to the sky and said to me in broken English, It's down, it's down.

I went to the bank and got money just in case we were headed for some emergency.

Is the satellite being down some harbinger of what?

Sigh

Monday, December 3, 2007

Met a friend in the early evening at the elegant East Village Lounge, soft world fusion music, low lights and most of the tables occupied by single individuals in rapt attention to their open lap top computers, their faces bathed in the light from their screens. The silence was broken by the occasional cell phone one sided conversation.

My friend and I met to talk and to write.

It felt like we were in a science fiction world.

This morning a single heron stood in the old nest in the tall pine tree. I look every day as I drive past the gully.

Yea!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I went to my favorite pottery store the first day of the annual sale. The store was filled with potters who were anxious to sell their wares. I was the only customer.

While I was carefully looking, several of them asked if they could help me, did I want to talk to the potter who made the pottery. I kept saying no and backing away.

Finally I said to the fourth person who came up to me: I AM A SHY SHOPPER, IT IS BEST NOT TO TALK TO ME.

Oh, sorry, sorry. No one else approached me.

I bought two pieces and was very happy.