Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Year's Blue Moon Not So Rare, But the Palindrome Two Days Later Is

(Click title link for article) New Year's Eve there was a blue moon, the second full moon in a month. It isn't actually all that uncommon, but is still cool and only happens on that particular night every 19 years.

Then on January 2nd, as my FB friend Sophie Pyle cleverly noted, the date created a palindrome: 01-02-2010 which reads the same both backwards and forwards. (Is forwards a word?) And it turns out that this is rarer than Haley's Comet passing by, which happens every 75 years or so. While it's true the previous palindrome date happened on 10-02-2001, the one before that was 620 years earlier, on 08-31-1380 -- cool, huh?! There will be 36 in all this millennium, the final one falling on 09-22-2290.

So what does that have to do with a hill of beans? Not much. Just trying to avoid getting down to the inevitable review of the last year, which is probably best left alone, unpoked and unprodded. Very briefly, there were a few lows and anyone who knows me knows what they were -- no need to rehash any of that here. The one that rankles most today, however, as I reread this poor neglected blog for the first time in ages and look ahead with resolutions in mind, is the fact that I cannot honestly say I'm writing a novel any more. I was writing a novel and now I'm not. Hopefully in 2010 I will start writing a novel again. That would be a good and happy thing.

As for highs, well luckily there were plenty of those too. My beautiful, ever-changing and growing girls, the wonderful friends, great trips, races run, happy clients and Leadership Arlington all made for a full rich year, capped off with the decision to start a new job working for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) downtown. Starting on 12/2, the day after returning from Thanksgiving in Spain, was a little challenging and hectic, with the holiday season suddenly upon us as well. But all new jobs are like that, and now I start the new year fairly well settled in and really excited about the work and challenges ahead.

As always in my incredibly lucky life, I have so much to be thankful for and so little room for whining. (Although god knows that's never stopped me, ha!)

I received a fantastic book from my friend Marisa for Christmas: The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship by Don Miguel Ruiz. It has some wonderful, sensible and most important, do-able advice for minimizing the drama and stress that invade so many relationships, mainly because of fear.

So as these crazy arctic winds whip the chairs off my porch outside and send tree branches crashing into the windows, here's my short list of resolutions for 2010 (in order of difficulty): drink more water; get back to the damn novel at some point this year; think about others at least as often as myself; and move forward with a heart full of love and forgiveness, aware of and overcoming my fears -- to live in the NOW, laugh and be happy, no matter what life flings this way. Piece o' cake, right?!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer Begins to Have the Look...

by Emily Dickinson

Summer begins to have the look
Peruser of enchanting Book
Reluctantly but sure perceives
A gain upon the backward leaves --

Autumn begins to be inferred
By millinery of the cloud
Or deeper color in the shawl
That wraps the everlasting hill.

The eye begins its avarice
A meditation chastens speech
Some Dyer of a distant tree
Resumes his gaudy industry.

Conclusion is the course of All
At most to be perennial
And then elude stability
Recalls to immortality.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Too Soon for Solstice

Hard to believe summer is almost here, with the solstice just two weeks away. Especially since we've had SO much rain all spring, to the point where I fear the ground and gardens will remain permanently soggy.

Also sad to think that in just two more weeks the days will begin getting ever so slightly shorter again, an idea that completely deflates me each year on the longest day, especially this one where it seems like we've barely emerged from winter yet and haven't had nearly enough sun and heat to make even the distant idea of autumn in any way welcome. We need weeks and weeks of hot steamy days and equally muggy nights before that even begins to sound appealing.

I kicked off summer with a camping trip in upstate New York where I discovered that schlepping a ridiculous pile of belongings someplace, cooking over a fire and sleeping on the ground can be amazingly fun if you have the right gear (and fellow campers who know what they're doing!). With those awesome self-inflating mats that go under your sleeping bag, and with a new lightweight, easy-to-set up, waterproof tent from REI I was as cosy as a bug and slept for 10 hours the first night -- unheard of even in my own bed at home! The whistling wind and waters of Lake George lapping just outside, as well as a gentle, misty rain we woke to the next morning, all contributed to sleeping like the dead.

I now understand the appeal of camping, which had completely eluded me before. Why lug everything to some remote place and make extra work for yourself, only to sleep uncomfortably on the hard ground with the most rudimentary and disgusting bathroom options. And I admit the outhouse was the one unpleasant challenge, but I just held my breath, shut my eyes, and powered through -- kind of like doing burpess, ha ha! And that one negative was totally offset by the plusses: no phone or internet; the peaceful sounds of nature all around us; hiking, kayaking and hanging out by the fire; and revolving the day around preparing for and eating our simple meals was incredibly relaxing and restorative.

We have a fairly quiet and uneventful summer ahead, with the exception of a couple of fun trips later this month. Maddie finished her finals on Friday, and heads to Maui, HI with a friend and her family on the 18th for a week -- lucky her! On the 29th I'm heading back to Montana with Jane and Mel for a series of concerts Jane put together and I've helped promote. It's called Four Musicians Rendezvous and includes R. Carlos Nakai (top native American flute player), Will Clipman (Western percussionist), our friend Jack Gladstone (Montana's Blackfeet Indian troubadour) and Lee Zimmerman (well-known cellist), who will play together that week in four shows: first at Glacier as part of the Music in the Park series; then at Pablo, a reservation; then a house concert at Jane's which should be a blast; and finally at our friend Bill Montgomery's place outside of Whitefish called Stillwater Landing.

Bill is a huge music lover from Seattle who built the coolest outdoor stage on Stillwater Lake, and another one indoors in an airplane hanger. People fly in on seaplanes, land on the lake and pull up to his dock. You can camp there on the grounds as well, and musicians from all over the country come to play in this beautiful setting -- it's awesome. Click on the link above to check it out.

Also on the agenda in Montana is of course to get some writing done. I picture myself sitting on the deck at Achewa, looking out on the glorious view of Flathead Lake and the Mission and Swann Mountains, laptop in hand, and inspired as usual. Liza, Henry and Brian have been waiting a long time -- I have to get back to their story and hopefully inch closer to its resolution. Life and my business have dominated these past several months and my novel got shoved to the back burner. A major summer goal is to get back in the groove on that, and dare I say finish it by the end of the year. The worse thing about setting this type of goal is if I don't meet it, I will feel like I have failed again. But without a deadline, it's so easy to just drift along, always busy, always pressed for time to write. So there it is. Throwing down the gauntlet on myself, argh!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spring ramblings

Wow, I think this is the longest I've ever gone between posts since starting this blog. How to explain it? Well, the good news is my business has really picked up, seemingly in direct response to the tanking economy.

Lately, I am at my computer from 7 or 8 a.m. until after dinner many days and never seem to catch up. I often wake in the middle of the night in a panic that I've forgotten something, or to add three more things to the to-do list ever swirling in my head. But it's all good -- bring on the business! I can't afford an assitant yet but the fact that I desperately need one must be a good sign, right?

Also, training for spring races, taking a few weekend getaways, having houseguests and a big Easter dinner, and parenting a new-driver, kickboxing, crushed-with-schoolwork but still finding time to break all the rules 16-year-old somehow manages to eat up the rest of the time -- go figure.

For the first time in my life, I go days without returning phone calls from friends, or even my mother. And worst of all, I haven't written a single word of my novel in more than two months. I was so guilt-ridden by this distressing state of affairs that I took a leave of absence from my writers group -- I couldn't stand the pressure! Twice in a row it was my turn to submit pages and I had to defer to the next time, and then do it again. I finally had to concede that this novel, as much as I love it and am committed to finishing it as soon as possible, is a hobby right now and has to take a back seat to growing my business and the rest of my hectic life.

I honestly don't know how other writers do it. You will immediately think to yourself: it takes discipline. But it also takes time! I already get up at 5:00 a.m. to exercise most days, and I fall into bed at 10 p.m. -- after usually spending a couple of important hours with Maddie (and Gossip Girl or American Idol, yeah baby!) -- completely fried. And OK, I admit I'm not giving up Friday night happy hour either. I often vow to write on Sunday mornings but end up either going for a nice run, bike, not-so-nice swim or walk with a friend, sleeping in or reading the paper for the first time all week. I refuse to give up that bit of genuine leisure time either.

And then there's Facebook, my newest time sucker, made even worse by the glacial slowness of my wretched computer. Every week I vow to buy a new one, then chicken out on spending my precious hard-earned savings just yet and put it off for another week or month. So instead I wait five minutes for each FB page to load, and since I now check it (or respond to other posts and comments) at least twice a day, that's another hour shot -- I won't say 'wasted' because I love Facebook madly and think it is the greatest and easiest way to keep in touch with people.

So, with spring races done and most of my current work projects finished by early June, I'm hoping things will slow down enough that I can get back to Liza and co. and crank out another 50 to 100 pages this summer. That would put me close to finishing the first draft. I could return to my writers group in the fall with new material for them to merrily eviscerate. That's the plan, anyway -- we shall see...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dead Mice and Cat Poo

OK, so what is it about early spring that brings out the gross factor? Not to mention the false hope one gets as the sun starts coming up earlier and earlier, until it's already getting light as we start our run at 5:50 a.m., only to be slammed back into pitch darkness from beginning to end when we had to turn the clocks back two weeks ago. After so many cold dark days all winter long, it's a little demoralizing.

Even the cats still don't want to go outside. This weekend I discovered our black cat Fanny (Miss Kitty Fantastico, named by Cassie after the Buffy the Vampire Slayer character she resembles) has been using one of the planters in our family room as a litter box. Mystery solved: I'd been finding random pieces of cat poo on the rug, and then on Saturday saw it scattered around the base of the peace lily. On closer inspection, I realized the pot was full of poo -- yuck!

Then yesterday I found a dead mouse on my dining room rug. Lucky for me I was with a friend, who very kindly and helpfully threw it in the outside trash. Unluckily however, Maddie discovered another one in the family room later, with no friends around to save us. I told her to cover it with a paper towel and I would get it soon. The two cats had other ideas -- they thought a rodent under cover was another super fun game, and playfully tossed it around the house some more as Maddie watched, aghast. After searching every room, I found it curled up on the basement stairs.

Picking up a soft dead mouse, even in a paper towel, is a horrible, cringe inducing act. I shuddered and literally almost got sick as I wrapped my fingers around it, cupped it in my palm and ran outside. I imagined it was still alive and moved slightly as I held it, which was like those moments in a horror movie when the bad guy you think is dead suddenly opens his eyes and lunges. Or Glenn Close in the bathtub. I shrieked and jumped like a cartoon of a woman with a dead mouse -- cliches become so for a reason, right?

Now this morning, another dark run from beginning to end, in the damp, foggy gloom. Fanny has probably pooped in the planter again, and no doubt mice are trying to sneak in as I type. Enough already. I want sunrise at 6:00 a.m. I want my cats to go outside and keep the mice out as well. I am so totally over winter and cold and poo and dead animals in the house. Call me crazy.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Meatrix

This is awesome -- a simple tale about where the meat, eggs and milk most people eat come from. Watch it!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Can This be Right?

From an article called How to Kill a Palestinian by Dr. Elias Akleh on

The Israeli spokesman, Nachman Abramovic demonized Palestinian children stating "They may look young to you, but these people are terrorists at heart. Don’t look at their deceptively innocent faces, try to think of the demons inside each of them … I am absolutely certain these people would grow to be evil terrorists if we allowed them to grow… would you allow them to grow to kill your children or finish them off right now? … honost and moral people ought to differentiate between true humans and human animals. We do kill human animals and we do so unapologetically. Besides who in the West is in a position to lecture us on killing human animals. After all, whose hands are clean?"

Human animal mentioned by Abramovic refers to the Judaic religious belief that Jews are Gods chosen people; the elite and the pure-blooded, while all others (non-Jews, Goyims, gentiles) are animal souls incarnated into human bodies to serve the Jews. Killing a human animal is just a sport like hunting deer or birds.

Another Israeli spokeswoman, Tzipora Menache, stated that she was not worried about negative ramifications the Israeli onslaught on Gaza might have on the way the Obama administration would view Israel. She said "You know very well, and the stupid Americans know equally well, that we control their government, irrespective of who sits in the White House. You see, I know it and you know it that no American president can be in a position to challenge us even if we do the unthinkable. What can they (Americans) do to us? We control congress, we control the media, we control show biz, and we control everything in America. In America you can criticize God, but you can’t criticize Israel"