Saturday, December 26, 2009


I came across the following while doing a Tarot reading with my sister this weekend, and felt a strong tug to post it here.


“You are not accidental. Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it. That’s what gives you dignity,
that the whole existence will miss you.”

--Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game of Zen, p.5

Someone here needs to digest this, I think. Is it you?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wildly Interesting

There's a hole in my living room floor. My living room floor is an old pine subfloor, likely dating from 1904 when the house was built. Why, after over a hundred years, this house still has a soft-wood subfloor in the living room is beyond me. (And notice I’ve not done anything about it either.) One day several years ago when I was on Living Room Layout #12™ (I like to rearrange), I leaned back in my current computer chair and the leg of the chair went straight through a known weak spot in the floor. I won’t regale you with an account of my resulting awkward descent to the floor. This post is about the hole that resulted.


Periodically, Bubba, a formerly feral one-eyed cat, will escape out the back door and immediately go under the house. He'll bat his paw up through the floor to play with the other cats or get our attention, and even the kids can pet his cheek with a single finger through the hole in the floor, while ordinarily he won't let them anywhere near him. And when I’m not looking, they will drop stinky pieces of tuna or other meat in the hole. This does not please me, although Bubba appreciates the efforts.

There may or may not be another unknown cat living under the house. Just because I’ve seen the same cat running in and out from under my house for months does not necessarily mean anything and I refuse to add him to the list of cats who already live with me. (Yes, I’ve finally been approached by a stranger in a store saying, “You’re the cat lady, right?”) The under-the-house cat is unofficial.

It’s not just the cats under the house who are drawn to the hole. Here is a view from above:




Before I shoved my camera at the hole with the flash, I lived in blissful ignorance. For in addition to the above, there are also some unidentifiable lumps, old chewing gum, a pencil stub, too much hair, a KEY (no, no, please no), and a full-sized towel. This is not a large hole. The towel mystifies me.

But this picture takes the cake. Does anyone else see the evil demon alien baby in there or is it just me?


I’ve named it Fluffy.

Yes, the wildly interesting thing in my life is a hole. There is something profound in that somewhere.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Good Day's Work

“The Master gives himself up
To whatever the moment brings.

He holds nothing back from life;
Therefore he is ready for death,
As a man is ready for sleep
After a good day’s work.”

--excerpt, Tao Te Ching 50, Mitchell translation

Do you fear death? Will you have any regrets at the end? Do you spend too much time at work, too much energy worrying about money, too much attention on what others have that you do not? Or do you live for today, milking each moment, tasting the stars, smelling the laughter, relishing the contrast?


I'm not perfect. I worry about money, I wonder how my kids will be affected by their father's absence, I cry about hurts. But more of my time and energy go to enjoying my kids, basking on my Tempurpedic bed, vibrating in pleasure with a cat's purr, savoring a gluten-free lemon wafer cookie on my tongue, feeling the joy from pleasures I know will arrive. I want even more of this.

How about you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Science of Tao

"The evolving energies of Tao have been compared to quantum theory in physics. Subatomic energy patterns—the scientific equivalents of chi—are the creative force beneath all existence. This energy is not quite a particle, a predictable, solid form of matter. It’s not quite a wave, an action or process, but a combination of the two."

--The Tao of Inner Peace, Dreher, p. 139

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Step Back

"Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity."

--Tao Te Ching 9, Mitchell translation


I'm selling my house and have my heart set on another, which is in such a position as to be easily snatched out from under me. I've put my intention to attract that house out there into the universe, and now am striving to let go. I'm not fixating on it, worrying about it, or stressing about it. Before I can buy another, or even make an offer on the one I want now, I need to have an offer on my house. I've been packing and cleaning and arranging and "staging" my home to sell, and while there is always more cleaning to do, I can let everything else go. The right people for this house will come, just as the right house will wait for me. I cannot make any of it happen sooner by fretting about it, or complaining about the passing time, or worrying that the best scenario may not play out. I know all will happen just as it should, regardless of whether it's in line with my own dream. I'm just going to do my work, and step back.


"Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner."

This is pretty self-explanatory, but I just felt compelled to emphasize it. Perhaps someone out there is meant to reflect on it.

Namaste, everyone. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Good Stuff

Seven strangers and their kindness played an integral role in my life today. Thank you to the older gentleman, the first to stop for us today when the car broke down in the middle of nowhere. His cell phone wouldn’t work, but he returned about 30 minutes later with water for both humans and dogs, and snacks for the children. Thank you to the group who stopped for us—to the man who was very concerned, the woman who loaned me her cell phone to call AAA and engaged my kids in conversation, and the woman I never met who waited patiently in the back seat of their car. Thank you to the state trooper who stopped while we were waiting for the tow truck, and gave us water and gave the children police badge stickers. His calm energy was reassuring, as was his promise to swing by later to make sure we’d gotten picked up. Thank you to the tow truck driver, who checked his rear view mirror frequently with a questioning look to make sure I’d give him a thumbs-up as we rode in our car on his flatbed. Thank you to the office worker who let me use her phone and was exceedingly patient with my combination of writing and whispering as I tried to communicate our situation through my laryngitis. All of these people brought goodness into my life today, and I hope they found goodness in their own days as well.


My life is often heavy on the yang, and the universe brought some unplanned yin to balance things out today. I had plenty of time to sit and breathe and wait and do nothing today. On the side of the road, waiting for someone to stop so I could call road service, at the mechanic’s shop while my car had an alternator transplant, and then at a big box store while they worked to get my cheap new pay-as-you-go emergency cell phone connected. Without a voice, I never even mediated in the kids’ bickering, nor sang them songs or read them stories, and as a result I was able to see just how well they can fare on their own, and how compassionate they were to me in my sickness. My down time today has only made me more eager to get home and tackle school, work, homeschooling, and more. Thank you, universe!

My children found joy in our travel day gone awry, and enjoyed the grasshoppers on the side of the road, savored the oranges given to us by a stranger, rode high up on the flatbed of a tow truck (strapped in their car seats, of course), luxuriated on cushy leather couches in a waiting room, and made sand castles in the motel’s volleyball court this evening. They all enjoyed our unplanned adventure today and never complained about the delay in arriving home, even though we have been gone for almost a month.

Haagen-Dazs. Enough said. Mmmmm.


Friends and family offered support and kindness and understanding, even when my day’s adventure resulted in inconvenience, disappointment, or expense to them. Money was borrowed, visits were cancelled, and whining was tolerated. You all know who you are. Thank you. I love you.

We are in a motel room with cozy beds and plenty of comfort. We loved this motel last night as well, and are making the most of the extra night instead of focusing on our lack of continental progress. Soft beds, content critters, full bellies, and a fresh start tomorrow. All of it very good stuff.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Clear the Way

I'm getting ready to sell my house and am preparing to declutter as soon as I get home. (I'm on my fourth week of being 1300 miles from home.) I came across the perfect passage in a book I'm reading (interesting how often that happens, isn't it?). Here are questions to ask yourself when going through the chaos in your home:

"Seven 'Clear the Way' Questions

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Do I need it?
  3. Does it support who I am now in my life?
  4. Does it act as an environmental affirmation for me?
  5. What positive and/or negative thoughts, memories, or emotions do I associate with it?
  6. Does it need to be fixed or repaired, and am I willing to do so now?
  7. If it's time to let it go, am I going to sell, lend, or give it away, and when?"

--Home Design with Feng Shui, Collins


Tao of Cats, I

"Of all animals, he alone attains the Contemplative Life. He regards the wheel of existence from without, like the Buddha. There is no pretense of sympathy about the cat. He lives alone, aloft, sublime, in a wise passiveness."

--Andrew Lang


Wabi Sabi

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There's a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”

-- Leonard Cohen

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in natural, imperfect simplicity. Wabi-sabi is quiet and modest, a humble beauty waiting to be discovered and appreciated. Wabi-sabi is in thrift stores, not Walmart; aged wood floors, not brand new carpet; wrinkles and blemishes and imperfect teeth, not the American airbrushed media model. Wabi-sabi is evident in the lines on your face that show all the times you have laughed, the stretch marks on your belly from the babies you have carried within, the age spots on your hands that show the years you have spent gaining wisdom. It is the misshapen ceramic pot your six-year-old made, the off-key songs you sang as a child, the marks outside the lines of a coloring page. It’s the cracks in adobe, the rust on metal, the frays on your grandmother’s quilt. It’s the patina of perfect imperfection born from age and wear, in art, in nature, in ourselves. Wabi-sabi is all that is modest, humble, and lovely.

Awesome kids’ book for all ages

What if you could learn to be content with your body, your life, your self exactly as they are today? What if you could see the perfection in all your perceived flaws? How would your outlook change?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Standing on Tiptoe

"He who stands on tiptoe
doesn't stand firm.
He who rushes ahead
doesn't go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
He who defines himself
can't know who he really is.
He who has power over others
can't empower himself.
He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.

If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go."

--Tao Te Ching 24, Mitchell translation


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday's Good Stuff

Three kids laughing hilariously and simultaneously with delight in their mother's antics.

The initially disappointing wine that tasted lovely when mixed with diet 7-Up.

A chubby-tummed water-baby thrilled with her first professional swimming lesson.

A big brother comforting his little sister.

A cool overcast day that left no droplets on my glasses.

The surprise of my favorite gluten-free cookies on the supermarket shelf.

Financial aid closer on the horizon.

A nine-year-old choosing to do math problems in bed at night.

Cute dogs leaning into under-the-collar scratches.

Stolen moments alone.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."
--Thich Nhat Hanh

I've found this to be true at times in my life, and would benefit from remembering it more often. When I first discovered the power of smiling at the world even when I felt no joy inside, I was in my early twenties and tired of feeling so down all the time. I implemented a "fake it 'til you make it" mentality as an experiment, since sharing the authenticity of my depression for years had gotten me nowhere. To my shock, my relationships improved, the world looked brighter, and my smiles became more and more authentic.

It hasn't always worked for me since then, but at the time it was a pivotal point in my life and I've never forgotten the power of smiling first, then feeling the joy that follows.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday's Good Stuff

The heat wave broke, and my clothes are no longer sticking to my skin.

My little redheads, giggling and running while holding hands.

The laughter of the big girl, and her bright blue eyes.

The smell of flowers on the air.

Eternal familiar cackling.

Comfortable and soothing re-runs.

Growing kittens with fat bellies and bright eyes.

The nap in the embracing recliner.

Communities changing and growing in laughter.

Kids everywhere in everything, learning and laughing and touching and thriving.

Favorite music.

Intelligent adult conversation.


Monday, July 13, 2009

So long. Farewell. Goodbye, Suki.

During months languishing in the alley, naked without her tags, empty of children and laughter, Suki had to content herself with glimpses of her family peeking at her over the fence and occasionally coming out to pet her and reminisce with her.

Now, Suki's long wait is over. After discounting junk yards and demolition derbies as incompatible with Suki's spirit, we decided to donate her to the nonprofit La Puente, where she will be reincarnated into funds to help the homeless. She hitched a ride on a tow truck, and we followed behind in the Subaru and remembered all the other times we'd seen Suki on a tow truck (and there were a LOT of times). After the necessary paperwork, we bid her farewell with smiles and waves and petting and bumper-sticker reading. She was happy.

Goodbye, Suki.

The End.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

River Sprites







Motel Sleepers

Leo and Sophie started out on opposite ends of the bed (laying cross-ways), but ended up snuggled together in the middle.



And Marian slept in the walk-in closet. (Boy, was I shocked to see a walk-in closet!)

I love my kids!

(Leo got his cast off the next morning.)_

Good Morning, Sunshine








And good morning, Coot.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Leo and Me

These were taken during our one-on-one time in the motel the night before his apppointment with the orthopedic surgeon and his hard cast.




Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009