Wednesday, August 16, 2017


New poem by Sherman Alexie on August 16, 2017

Thank you to Beth at Alive On All Channels.

... We will be courageous with our love. We will risk danger
As we sing and sing and sing to welcome strangers.
©2017, Sherman Alexie

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sheila Atim

Irish playwright, Conor McPherson

So much going on for all of us.  Doing the best we can.  Saved by beauty, by music, by friends.

Sending love.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mandala #27: Awake

Hoping you can see the slideshow I put together this morning after finishing my 27th mandala since beginning this series on September 17, 2014.

Update (July 31, 2017):  Mysteriously, the video of high water at Whatcom Falls that didn't appear in previous days is now suddenly viewable.  I have looked back to that post numerous times in the past month, only to find an empty space where I wanted the video to be. Scroll down to July 7.  It's another new morning here, and I'm getting ready to take a walk to the bridge underneath which the water flows through.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


"outside the windows" (scroll up the page to read about jarvenpa's life)

One of the first blogs I read and commented at was written by a woman whose blog name was jarvenpa.  She lived in a fairly unpopulated area in Northern California, not all that far from the ocean, in an area that I am familiar with and which is dear to me.  It was dear to her, too.

Just now I learned that she died at age 67 of a heart attack a little over two years ago.  Her last blog post was in the winter of that year.  I didn't get any more updates from her on my blog feed but would visit her blog anyway, wondering why she had stopped posting.  It never occurred to me that she had died.  Her posts had become less frequent.  She had many responsibilities.  A full life.

For some reason, today, I went to her blog again.  For some reason, I clicked on the name of her friend, ocean lady, who told a Buddhist story about a turtle.  I had just read Colleen's Turtle Musings.

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
(John Muir)

jarvenpa is dear to me.  She shared her heart with us.  I'm grateful to have known her through blogging and for the connections we all continue to make through our blogs.

"...I’ve stayed up, haunted, through many a long night. And I wouldn’t have missed it. And…well, in the moment, the air is sweet. The bees have gone into their hives for the night. Some I love are dead, some are far from me, but right here the cats are purring, my littlest kid sits with his papa, the dog is smelly and loyal and content, and life goes on. For now, that’s enough."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Age 98! / Alive-Alive O

Ferlinghetti: On Bob Dylan being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature

This morning, I watched above video which was featured on the Doonesbury video archive yesterday. One of the last things my mother mailed to me, a few days before she died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack in December 1994, was a newspaper article about Lawrence Ferlinghetti. My mother wrote poetry until 1966, at which time she stopped writing poetry and took her first watercolor class.  For the rest of her life, she expressed herself through the visual arts.  In the days after she died, I found that she had been reading a well-worn copy of The San Francisco Poets, by David Meltzer.

Haven't been posting much, due to trying to achieve basic survival as a self-employed medical transcriptionist.

Although I was making some headway, that all changed (for me and thousands of those of us who make a living as medical transcriptionists) on July 27 when the worldwide computer virus, first affecting the Ukraine, took down the speech recognition software provided by Nuance Communications, used by 86% of hospitals in the United States.  Nuance also hires transcriptionists to work at home for poverty wages for many of these hospitals.

Many of us who barely make a living doing this challenging and emotionally rewarding work that is at the bottom rung of the medical profession were without work for a full week.  Although Nuance's speech recognition software is still unavailable to us, many of us who are independent contractors have been hastily retrained on clunky back-up software that has not been used for years.  We are back to transcribing every word that is dictated.

We are faced with a tremendous backlog of medical dictation that must be transcribed in a way that takes up to twice a long as with speech recognition and is the source of repetitive motion injuries.

And yet, it's been a beautiful summer so far.  Sunny, breezy.  Although I have not had the energy for much walking or my yoga practice, I have made sure to spend time with friends when I am not working.

Many of the current events in the world are disheartening but we are:

Saved by beauty:

Holding steady.

Perseverance furthers.  Have not been able to post videos on my blog for some time, but today I was successful.  This is from one of my rare walks in the past week or two.  High water at Whatcom Falls
(Hmmm ... the video shows up here on the editing page but not in Preview).  Perseverance furthers.


Saved by music:

Hope to have time soon to catch up on your blogs.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A young family / My nephew's girlfriend, my nephew and my great nephew

My great nephew turned 3 years old at the end of May!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Day After Memorial Day Meditation

"... I began to think about all the people who had been silenced during my lifetime and throughout history but who had found ways to speak without words."

While Remembering all those who have died in war and its aftermath throughout history, Bob Dylan's song came to my mind:

"... Let me (us -- am's translation) walk down the highway with my brother (our brothers and sisters -- am's translation) in peace ..." (Bob Dylan lyric)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Redemption Song, by Bob Marley

Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty
We forward in this generation
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Have no fear for atomic energy
'Cause none of them can stop the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look? Ooh
Some say it's just a part of it
We've got to fulfill the Book
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy
'Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it's just a part of it
We've got to fulfill the book
Won't you have to sing
These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever had
Redemption songs
All I ever had
Redemption songs
These songs of freedom
Songs of freedom
Songwriters: Edwin Hawkins / Edwin R. Hawkins / Bob Marley
Redemption Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

You Can't Hurry Love

I've been listening to a copy of "Triplicate" that I put on hold at our public library.  Waited over a month for my turn to listen.  It's much better than I had expected.  I'm listening to it in my car only.  I'm on my second listen.

Don't know how long this will be on YouTube, from "The Triplicate Tour":

Bob is sounding as good as I've ever heard him.  You can't hurry Bob either.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Rainbow and Sacred Grief and Fierce Grace and Reconciliation After Death and Our Golden River and The Beloved Community

Thank you to Robert at The Solitary Walker, for posting the following from D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow on his Facebook page.  It is a bit of synchronicity that I read this passage this morning, the 9th anniversary of the death of the man that I met when we were 17 years and whom I loved, mostly from a distance, for 42 years and with whom I have found reconciliation and peace through his death.  When R and I were 20 years old, he was drafted and spent the year in Vietnam, and I spent the year waiting for him as well as participating in protests against the war in Vietnam.  One of the things we did after he returned was to go to a protest against the war, during which Joan Baez sang. During the time R was in Vietnam, I read The Rainbow.  It was this passage that engaged my full attention all those years ago:
'And then, in the blowing clouds, she saw a band of faint iridescence colouring in faint colours a portion of the hill. And forgetting, startled, she looked for the hovering colour and saw a rainbow forming itself. In one place it gleamed fiercely, and, her heart anguished with hope, she sought the shadow of iris where the bow should be. Steadily the colour gathered, mysteriously, from nowhere, it took presence upon itself, there was a faint, vast rainbow. The arc bended and strengthened itself till it arched indomitable, making great architecture of light and colour and the space of heaven, its pedestals luminous in the corruption of new houses on the low hill, its arch the top of heaven.
And the rainbow stood on the earth. She knew that the sordid people who crept hard-scaled and separate on the face of the world's corruption were living still, that the rainbow was arched in their blood and would quiver to life in their spirit, that they would cast off their horny covering of disintegration, that new, clean, naked bodies would issue to a new germination, to a new growth, rising to the light and the wind and the clean rain of heaven. She saw in the rainbow the earth's new architecture, the old, brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away, the world built up in a living fabric of Truth, fitting to the over-arching heaven.'
Most of you are familiar with my story.  Today I need to tell it again and see how far I have come this past year.
These last few months have been an unexpected and particularly difficult part of my grief journey, which began in 1971 with R's return from Vietnam and the violence that led to our separation and my inability to accept that the physical separation was permanent, until his death in 2008.  Although the bookAmbiguous Loss:  Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (recommended to me through a community grief support group in 2008) was immensely helpful in acknowledging my grief, a turning point came in the last few weeks as I was reading a book called Sacred Grief:  Exploring a New Dimension to Grief, by Leslee Tessmann. 

Sacred Grief.  "Fierce Grace" was the way Ram Dass spoke about it. Patti Smith has some healing thoughts about it here, and I thank Sabine for posting that just when I needed to hear those words spoken out loud by a woman who has survived many losses.
The painting at the top of this post was painted by me in 1999 soon after learning that R had been diagnosed with throat cancer and was recovering from a major surgery to his neck and throat.  We had not seen each other for 13 years at that point and had not talked for 9 years.  He had a lifelong struggle with drugs and alcohol and anger issues and for my well-being, I needed to keep a healthy distance from him, but something prompted me to call his mother in December of 1999.  It turned out that he had moved back in with his parents because of the cancer.  His mother handed the phone to him. The painting is titled "Reconciliation Dream."  
R's cancer returned in 2001 and went into remission again in spring of 2002, at which time he began to use drugs and alcohol again, and I had to distance myself from him for my own well-being.  
After having a brainstem stroke in September of 2007 as a result of alcoholic drinking, R spent the last 8 months of his life in a VA hospital.  I would not have known this except that, once again, I was prompted, against my better judgement, to contact his sister, who told me that she knew that he would love to hear from me. Two months before R died, I dreamed that we were connected forever by a rainbow, although we could not touch each other in a physical way. In the distance between us, a rainbow was created.  I wrote him a letter, in which I related the dream.  His brother, whom he asked to read the letter to him, said that R was deeply moved by my dream of us. 
In the last week of R's life, I drove from Washington State to be with him in the ICU at VA Hospital in Palo Alto, California.  Because he had MRSA, I had to wear a face mask, hospital gloves, and a protective gown when I visited with him.  I could touch him but only through hospital gloves.

Words and music by Pete Seeger

Sailing down my golden river
Sun and water all my own
Yet I was never alone

Sun and water, old life givers
I'll have them where ere I roam
And I was not far from home

Sunlight glancing on the water
Life and death are all my own

Yet I was never alone

Life for all my sons and daughters
Golden sparkles in the foam
And I was not far from home

Sailing down this winding highway
Travelers from near and far
And I was never alone

Exploring all the little byways
Sighting all the distant stars
And I was not far from home

Sailing down my golden river
Sun and water all my own
Yet I was never alone

Sun and water, old life givers
I'll have them where ere I roam
And I was not far from home

Yet I was never alone
And I was not far from home

From my self-published book, in which I put together, soon after R died, my paintings and poetry from the previous 42 years: 

"Both of us sustained war wounds.  Something in us died young.  We were not alone."

I know this for sure today.  We were never alone.  There is a beloved community that Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned.  It continues to grow, despite all odds.

(As I was finishing this post, the phone rang.  It was my old friend, Yom, who came from Vietnam with the first wave of refugees in 1975.  I was one of the first people she met after arriving in Bellingham.  She sustained war wounds, too, but went on with her life in a way that I was unable to do.  We met in a factory, here in Bellingham, where we both did industrial sewing.  I felt an immediate connection with her because we were the same age and had been deeply affected by the Vietnam War.  The man she had loved had died when his throat was slit by a Viet Cong.  She just happened to call today.  We talk every few months.  She has been happily married for many years.  She and her husband adopted a baby Vietnamese boy who is now a thriving American teenager.  There is much joy in her life as a wife and mother and gardener.  She continues to work part-time after retiring. I am grateful for her friendship. This day has been filled with synchronicity, beginning with the quote from The Rainbow on Robert's Facebook page. Astonishing that Yom would call today of all days.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hexagram 58 / Tui / The Joyous Lake that I have not fully acknowledged

Between my living room and porch and the
mountains to the east, there is a 14-mile lake.  I rarely
mention it.  I'm not sure why I have paid so little
attention to such a beautiful lake, except that for
so many years, I missed the ocean so much that I
could not get excited about a lake. That is changing.
I've been walking a short  distance along its shore
as part of my walking route in the last few weeks.
There is also a 6-mile round-trip trail along the
north shore of the lake.  Next time I walk there,
I will bring my camera.

Hexagram 58 -- Tui -- The Joyous Lake on a cloudy
early morning a few weeks ago:

You've seen the mountains on the other side of the lake
before.  Here's a spring view of them:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Walk of Life

Above is a photo from early May of 2016 at West Beach of Deception Pass State Park, about a hour's drive south from Bellingham.

April 16, 2017, is a sunny day on the coast in Mendocino County, California.  It's a cloudy day here in Northwest Washington State, but the birds are singing and there are flowers everywhere and people out walking.

And I found this interview from 2011:

"Mary Oliver: What I have done is learn to love and learn to be loved. That didn't come easy. And I learned to consider my life an amazing gift. Those are the things."

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"15,000 Years Later"

1.  Nikki McClure's paper cut:  15,000 Years Later.

2.  Coast Redwood seedling on my porch.  Ordered on-line from Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California.  Arrived in my mailbox on St. Patrick's Day.  Planted in memory of my father who died on St. Patrick's Day in 2003.  I hope that my seedling lives 2,000 years, if not 50,000.  The three redwood seeds that I planted in December did not sprout, but I have followed my intuition as did the man in my dream from last December.

3.  "Another, more beautiful America is arising ..." (Rebecca Solnit)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mothers and Dolls and Horses and Daughters / "Music is the best way to communicate"

Still thinking about my unbridled laughter mixed with tears in response to the video of the runaway horse, along with the one of the Tyrannosaurus Rex making a snow angel and making its uneven way through the snowy landscape and how those tears and that laughter relate to experiencing some peace in connection with my mother, who died in 1994.  If she were still alive, she would be 101 years old on April 30. Maybe not peace.  Maybe just losing my fear of the Tyrannosaurus Rex mother and meeting the gentle looking child that my mother was as she held her doll.

1.  My mother as a 4-year-old girl in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1920, holding a beloved doll.  My mother said that she always wanted to have children, from an early age.

2.  My mother as a young woman in the 1930s in Los Angeles.

3.  Me in our apartment in San Mateo, California, with my red horse, 21 months old, Easter Day.

4.  Me at 2 years old with my red horse.  My mother did not seem to like me and my sisters or my father, and I did not like dolls or ever picture myself being married.  When my mother brought me to a toy store and asked me to choose a doll, I angrily refused to choose a doll.  I remember that moment so clearly.  I wanted a boyfriend from a very early age but believed I would never have one because I was unloveable, that no one would ever want to marry me.

5.  The orange horse with the purple mane and red-violet bridle that I drew when I was 5 years old.

6.  My mother, my youngest sister, and me just before I turned 8 years old, when I was starting riding lessons at Rohn Stables, not far from where we lived in Redwood City, California.  I was not afraid of horses, but I was deeply afraid of my mother's anger.  When I saw the movie "Jurassic Park," around the time my mother died, the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex reminded me of my mother.  I could not imagine growing up and having children and being as unhappy and angry as my mother seemed to be.

I've probably posted all these photos before.  I am seeing them with new eyes.

"Music is the best way to communicate" (Toumani Diabate)

Friday, March 24, 2017

We shall be released in unexpected ways

When I was a young girl I took English horseback riding lessons at Stanford Riding Academy.  My mother was a natural born horsewoman and wanted her three daughters to have the wonderful experience she had with horses as a young woman in her 20's, but none of us inherited her gift with horses.  One of the many horses I rode was named Beau. Beau was very much like the horse in the YoutTube video in that he had a mind of his own.  Beau ran away with me on several occasions and once stopped abruptly, and I flew over his head and landed on my feet on the ground in front of him.  Shaking in my boots, I climbed back up on Beau.  I clearly remember my tears and frustration.  I wanted so much to be good at riding horses like my mother, but I simply didn't have what it took.

It's been a long time since I laughed in the way I did watching this video and the one on my previous post with the Tyrannosaurus Rex making a snow angels and wandering off into a snowy landscape. Something is shifting inside me, with the arrival of both tears and laughter.

I would not have found the horse that made me laugh if I hadn't searched for, found, and listened to the video below.  For some reason, the horse video in the sidebar caught my attention.  Who knows why.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A medical term. Plicate: being folded, tucked, or ridged, especially like a fan. Not to be confused with placate.

Still thinking about The Neverending Story and Bob Dylan's Neverending Tour and Charlie Chaplin and "The Dictator."

And current events.

In the end of the book, Bastian cannot remember his own name, but Atreyu (his mirror image) steps in and makes a promise to complete Bastian's unfinished stories.

A younger friend of mine commented that she was mourning the disappearance of Bob Dylan as she listened the cuts that have been released from "Triplicate." She said she was grateful to have all his previous work to listen to.  She asked me for an explanation.  I don't have one.

All I know is that I keep hearing the sound of Bob Dylan's voice in my mind and my heart.  That's good enough for me.

Playing with words today.  Triplicate.  Threefold.  Triptych.  Fans. Covers. Prayers like rhymes.  Liner notes from "John Wesley Harding":

There were three kings and a jolly three too. The first one had a broken nose, the second, a broken arm and the third was broke. "Faith is the key!" said the first king. "No, froth is the key!" said the second. "You're both wrong," said the third, "the key is Frank!

"... With your holy medallion which your fingertips plicate ..."

Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
With your mercury mouth in the missionary times,
And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes,
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes,
Oh, do they think could bury you?
With your pockets well protected at last,
And your streetcar visions which you place on the grass,
And your flesh like silk, and your face like glass,
Who could they get to carry you?
Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I put them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?
With your sheets like metal and your belt like lace,
And your deck of cards missing the jack and the ace,
And your basement clothes and your hollow face,
Who among them can think he could outguess you?
With your silhouette when the sunlight dims
Into your eyes where the moonlight swims,
And your match-book songs and your gypsy hymns,
Who among them would try to impress you?
Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I put them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?
The kings of Tyrus with their convict list
Are waiting in line for their geranium kiss,
And you wouldn't know it would happen like this,
But who among them really wants just to kiss you?
With your childhood flames on your midnight rug,
And your Spanish manners and your mother's drugs,
And your cowboy mouth and your curfew plugs,
Who among them do you think could resist you?
Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?
Oh, the farmers and the businessmen, they all did decide
To show you the dead angels that they used to hide.
But why did they pick you to sympathize with their side?
Oh, how could they ever mistake you?
They wished you'd accepted the blame for the farm,
But with the sea at your feet and the phony false alarm,
And with the child of a hoodlum wrapped up in your arms,
How could they ever, ever persuade you?
Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?
With your sheet-metal memory of Cannery Row,
And your magazine-husband who one day just had to go,
And your gentleness now, which you just can't help but show,
Who among them do you think would employ you?
Now you stand with your thief, you're on his parole
With your holy medallion which your fingertips fold,
And your saintlike face and your ghostlike soul,
Oh, who among them do you think could destroy you?
Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Seeds of a longer post on Bob Dylan

Spirit on the Water
Spirit on the water
Darkness on the face of the deep
I keep thinking about you baby
I can't hardly sleep
I'm traveling by land
Traveling through the dawn of the day
You're always on my mind
I can't stay away
I'd forgotten about you
Then you turned up again
I always knew
That we were meant to be more than friends
When you are near
It's just as plain as it can be
I'm wild about you, gal
You ought to be a fool about me
Can't explain
The sources of this hidden pain
You burned your way into my heart
You got the key to my brain
I've been trampling through mud
Praying to the powers above
I'm sweating blood
You got a face that begs for love
Life without you
Doesn't mean a thing to me
If I can't have you
I'll throw my love into the deep blue sea
Sometimes I wonder
Why you can't treat me right
You do good all day
Then you do wrong all night
When you're with me
I'm a thousand times happier than I could ever say
What does it matter
What price I pay
They're braggin' about your sugar
Brag about it all over town
Put some sugar in my bowl
I feel like laying down
I'm as pale as a ghost
Holding a blossom on a stem
You ever seen a ghost? no
But you've heard of them
I see you there
I'm blinded by the colors I see
I take good care
Of what belongs to me
I hear your name
Ringing up and down the line
I'm saying it plain
These ties are strong enough to bind
Now your sweet voice
Calls out from some old familiar shrine
I got no choice
Can't believe these things would ever fade from your mind
I could live forever
With you perfectly
You don't ever
Have to make a fuss over me
From East to West
Ever since the world began
I only mean it for the best
I want to be with you any way I can
I been in a brawl
Now I'm feeling the wall
I'm going away baby
I won't be back 'til fall
High on the hill
You can carry all my thoughts with you
You've numbed my will
This love could tear me in two
I wanna be with you in paradise
And it seems so unfair
I can't go to paradise no more
I killed a man back there
You think I'm over the hill
You think I'm past my prime
Let me see what you got
We can have a whoppin' good time.