Bus ride

The  girl with the blue hair

the color of the rhododendrons in my old Oregon

neighborhood gets off at the stop

right before the corner lot where the guy

parked his truck when he didn’t want to pay

for closer parking

The squat building that I barely noticed then

I now recognize as a windowed dumpster

filled with sagging poster ads and

haphazard haystacks of PVC pipes

skirted by concrete and asphalt 

the bed for parking spaces marked by phantom lines

price tags for opportunity

A slim steel box stands sentry near the street

to be fed by folded dollar bills crammed

into its multi-slotted mouth

I recall the guy’s chagrin and our 

skinflint’s hike down the scorched but shaded

sidewalks to the ballpark 

where even the cheap seats cost too much

My bus glides by here every day now and I

am thankful that I wasn’t worth the price

of tickets or convenient parking


“Are you a writer?”

“Are you a writer?” the author asked as I handed her my books to sign. They were “my books” because the young(er) man with the barely discernible grey streaking back to his slightly sloppy man bun, had given a “Buy first!” directive at the conclusion of his author introduction. His words, having received a flittering of insider-ish laughter, fluttered down upon front-row me. I already held the author’s works in my lap, because I had nabbed them from the nearby display table to peruse while waiting for the reading to commence. I knew I would purchase them. These days I don’t need permission to go to book readings or to buy books. 

Now I was handing my guilt-free purchases to the woman who had made the words come to life with her friendly, slightly drawling voice.

I’m sure her question was prompted by the fact we had been introduced by her college friend and fellow-author, Jennifer. Jennifer and I are new friends and members of the same book club. She is a published author and the reason I came to this reading (instead of road-tripping to Tombstone, another of my guilt-free choices for the day.) Jennifer can answer that question affirmatively. Most affirmatively. I’ve read her books, too. But me?

No. Not the way these bonafide authors’ experiences define this question. Still, I fumble at the pleasantly proffered query.  As I am sometimes prone to do, I fall back on my hallowed status of Mother. “My daughter is,” I say, surprising myself with the confidence of my assertion.  I know my daughter’s grad school Creative Writing pursuits, while likely appreciated, are of little significance to this author. But, to me, there is a voluminous intricately woven world in those pursuits. I know how I influenced those pursuits. This is no prideful, self-congratulatory knowledge. My daughter’s writing comes from the wounded life I passed on to her. Her own keen sensitivities perceived the word-nursing I applied to my own pain.  They nudged her towards the academic realm shared by the hand that slides my signed purchase towards me.

This morning I wondered if I could find my password. I almost felt like a traitor, returning here. I couldn’t even remember my last entry. The one I wrote after my last visit to the same bookstore. image



Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove, your sad call
Carries me to my long-ago
Cool spring days, caliche roads
Lavender crocuses around tall pines
Long front porches and tricycle races
Stick horse stallions standing
Ready for the charge
Butane tanks and large corrals
Barns and sheds and cattle troughs
Fragrant dirt in tractor tires
Sharp and shiny blades on plows
Cat poop in the sandbox
Marching on the playhouse roof
Silver silos
Azure skies
Skunks and mice and Bassett hounds
Cows in the garden and
Bell peppers stolen
Life and death and legacy

My Great Experiment

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  Henry David Thoreau

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Escape a false sense of community. Reconnect with my inner instincts and aspirations. Use my gifts. Stop wasting time. Make more time for face-to-face relationships and “old-fashioned” correspondence (think e-mail). These are some of the reasons which prompted me to give up Facebook for an indefinite amount of time (a year?).  Commence eye-rolling if you must. I know it might seem selfish. It might be an inconvenience for some. It might not make sense.

I don’t know if my experiment will bring me the things I seek, but so far I have maintained my reading goals (see my new “Reading Log” page for what I’m currently reading), face-timed for two hours with a friend I hadn’t talked to in nearly 20 years, and written in my journal almost every day.  I have had lunch dates with friends and family members and appreciated the interaction in ways I had come to take for granted.

When I recently messaged another dear friend  and mentioned that I had spent my morning reading, writing and thinking about future blog topics, she celebrated the “fog clearing” for me. She has agonized with me through this past year’s turbulence.  She has shared my sorrow and bewilderment over how I lost any desire to read or write – two of the treasured mainstays of most of my life.  And with her perceptive observation of the “fog clearing” she has assured me that there is hope that my experiment might truly turn out to be great.

Some things never change…

Some things never change, but then again, sometimes (almost) everything changes. Since my last post over 16 months ago, my life has been touched by nearly every major life-impacting event known to womankind. I thought about listing here all these tragedies, conundrums, and milestones, tempted by the shock value of their individual and accumulated status. But ultimately, that’s not really my style. Or is it? Maybe it should be. Maybe the newly transparent, vibrantly vulnerable woman that is emerging from the wreckage needs to boldly acknowledge my journey. Maybe I need to acknowledge my membership in the various tribes of which I now belong.

No. I just spent half an hour chronicling that tribes list here. At Number 17, it stopped feeling right. So I deleted all of them. But that doesn’t change my desire to put my stories out there – out HERE on my blog – not just in a shocking list, but in meaningful, redeeming ways. Because, despite all that is new, altered, damaged or rejuvenated in my life, my soul is still intact, with many of the same longings, loves and aspirations and convictions. It is truly a near miraculous reality and an evidence of grace beyond my mortal comprehension.

I’m still me, the “woman that never sleeps,” the lover of the quotidian life and the stories that reveal its sacred beauty. I hope you’ll stop by occasionally and join me in my marveling.


Morning Prayer

Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today

that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness

rather than the fruits of sin.

Let me use disappointment as material for patience.

Let me use success as material for thankfulness.

Let me use suspense as material for perseverance.

Let me use danger as material for courage.

Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering.

Let me use praise as material for humility.

Let me use pleasures as material for temperance.

Let me use pains as material for endurance.

– John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer, Twenty-Fourth Day – Morning