No Quiet Life of Desperation but one of Dangerous and Noble Things

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

I discovered the poet Mary Oliver reading the newest autobiography by Diana Nyad.  She overcame  horrific childhood abuses by proving that she was strong and special as a young woman –to realize with age that she didn’t have to be a special person but live a life that was special.   At the age of 60, she decided to swim to Cuba, a life long dream–after not swimming for  30 years as a long distance swimmer.

At the age of 10, she felt life was racing past her.  At 60 she knows life is zooming by.  She tries to be in the moment, not dwelling in the past or gazing toward the future.  So I ask myself, “What will I do with the possible  last 20 good years ?” as Mary Oliver asks in the quote in Diana’s book, 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ ‘ 


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2016- The Word for the year is “More”

During yoga classes at two different studios, the teachers said, “Think about what your are doing right and focus on that aspect of life which is positive and move toward it.”

So I want to do More of the good things.  More prayer, meditation, service.  More exercise.  More time with friends.  More time reading.  More time with family even if it means less international travel destinations. More time learning –to speak French, play the piano, and cook new things.  I watched the Holiday Baking Show and realized that I didn’t know know of the items the bakers were making.  More time laughing and having fun and enjoying my blessings.   IMG_1632IMG_2500

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Good bye was the word for 2015.

I didn’t post a word for 2015.  If I did, it would have been “Good Bye”.   Good bye to my mom in February.  Her health rapidly declined since the summer of 2014 and she died February 4th.  Good bye to my daughters moving during the summer to new homes and careers on each coast.  But good byes can be also the results of hellos and positive changes.

2015 was hello to long time friends and family.  I said hello again to my best friend when I was 15 and the years fell away.  Hello to friends from college visiting after we both raised our families since the last visit.  Hello to health for a young family friend that battle cancer earlier in the summer.  Hello to visiting the National Parks in the SW.  Hello to sharing island life on Kauai with a friend from home.  And good bye to living with an adult child room mate and hello to being an empty nester and the next phase of my life.

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Fighting the Second Law of Thermodynamics


get-organized-e1264574319461-436x245Most people know the first two laws of Thermodynamics even if they never set foot in a chemistry lab in high school because of the use in popular culture.  Energy is never created nor destroyed and the universe grows more random.  The second one is often paraphrased as “Nature abhors a vacuum”.  In chemistry, a gas will expand to fill a space.  Water will flow down hill, fires will spread.

Anyone trying to downsize and organize, or even just organize is fighting this law and using energy to do it.  When space was opened when an adult child left home, it became filled with items that were stored elsewhere.  I realized that guests, including returning family, couldn’t use the drawers to put items for use while they stayed.  Displacing one object means removing another, the chain continues.  And then add the dimension of “temporary storage” for people no longer living in the home.  The item is wanted but no room for it in current living situation.  Or maybe needed if a life situation changes.   Time to create more cellular energy by eating lunch…



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Floating on the Waves from Japan

Japanese float

Japanese float

I recently read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book, Gift from the Sea.  If you haven’t read it, she goes to her sister’s  beach home and writes about life’s transitions.  I am not longer part of the sandwich generations.  My aging parents and in-laws have died, the estates are settled.  My well educated and accomplished offspring have found positions in their careers and have or will be establishing their own households.   Ironically the household items that have been moved across states  that were part of their inheritance, have no place in the current new domiciles.  Neither do childhood beanie babies, troll dolls or prom dresses.

I  have a strong need to organize and clean my environment which finds me moving items to locate others, groaning inward when something needed is lost in the detritus of my life.

I long to be free, bouncing across oceans like a float no longer tethered to a Japanese fishing net coming to rest in the cold sands of the Pacific Northwest.   I can live for weeks out of a small suitcase when exploring new countries but anchored at home.  A thoughtful gift last Christmas was the best seller, “The Art of Tidying Up” which I will revisit soon. The cooler and shorter days arrive with the heaven sent rains, extinguishing the fires of late summer. I will organize both my inner and outer environment to be able to float on the waves of life.

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Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing… Keith Green Easter Song

Nun behind the walls of the Carmel of the Holy Trinity Covent

Nun behind the walls of the Carmel of the Holy Trinity Convent

Last night I heard the bells loudly ringing from the Carmelite Convent. The Order moved from New Jersey to build a convent in Spokane Valley. They ring their bell softly for call to prayer because of the neighbors surrounding the convent.  I  sometimes hear the bell on a summer morning when my bedroom window is open.   The community is still slowing rising.  Normally they are drowned out by the diesel truck warming up, dogs barking at people walking dogs before work, and high school students talking on their way to school. I am transported to being in a small town in the Tuscan hills.

Last night, just before 10 P.M.  they were raucous.  I thought at first, “Were the sisters in danger and trying to alert the community?”  But then I thought, “Even if they don’t have a cell phone, they must have a way to summon help if someone was invading their privacy or safety.”

I read this morning the Raul Castro met with Pope Francis yesterday and was so impressed that he said, “The Pope and I are both Jesuits.  I will start going back to church.”  After 50 years of Communist persecution of Catholics,  I understand why the sisters were ringing their bell with joy last night to share  the news with the community, the only way available for a community of cloistered sisters!

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“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning, stays young.” ― Henry Ford


    My daughter enjoying playing Christmas music at the piano.

    I have resumed my piano lessons.  My eldest daughter shared at my mother’s funeral, that the reason she can play for enjoyment today is “Grandma made me practice day after day, year after year and didn’t mind listening to me practicing.”

    I don’t know if she came to the realization that listening to someone practice like her mother, slowly, section about section, wrong note by wrong note, legato and then staccato, accidental sharps and flats,  isn’t enjoyable as a mastered piece.

    Practicing yoga and practicing the piano as an adult are very Zen like.  I have to go slow to go fast.   Breaking the practice of each into small steps helps.  In yoga, I may just work on breathing through my nose the entire class because when exercise because more challenging,  everyone takes in more air through the mouth.

    With piano, my note reading is very strong.  I listened to my daughter’s teacher, Joyce, when she said that she wanted the girls to see a note and think, “That’s a C and be able to play it without going through the entire scale.”  I see the note on the keyboard.  My mom said that piano is so much harder than typing because fingers hit different notes in pieces and you only hit one key on the keyboard at a time.    I would add that you don’t have to master crazy rhythms either where it is hands together, left, right, together like in the piece, Largo and the Can Can but once you get that down, gorgeous music awaits.   The book, Outliers,is helpful because I need to know that if I want to be successful I have to put in hour after hour. So time to practice and practice and practice…

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