The Beach on Christmas. For Dad.

20160730_192241My father loved to the go the beach on Christmas Day.  When I lived in Kansas City, he would call on Christmas and tease me that he had just returned from the beach, and then he would ask me how the weather was in Kansas City?  He always rubbed it in, which I didn’t mind, because I loved Southern California just as much as he did. Continue reading


Saturday Morning.

Slept. Woke. Checked time on cell phone. 6 AM. Pushed away dog’s face licks. Snuggled into covers. Pushed away dog nibbles. Got out of bed. Peed. Put on coat. Attached leash to dog’s collar. Walked around buildings. Dog peed. Startled by walker. Dog barked. Apologized. Returned home. Removed leash. Crawled back in bed. Slept with dog 2 more hours. Woke up. Prepared pot of coffee. Showered. Redressed in PJs. Dog nibbled on ankles. Changed clothes. Attached leash. Walked around buildings. Dog peed. Avoided man walking dogs. Gave treats. Walked more. Dog peed. Returned home. Poured cup of coffee. Picked up laptop. Sat on porch. Typed. Sipped coffee. 9 AM, called mom. Inquired about night. Received report of good night’s sleep. Mom responded to dad in another room. Dad needed attending. “Can I call you back in a few minutes?” “Yes, of course.” Mom called back 5 minutes later. Chatted about nurses. Planned my trip to farmers market. Listed items needed: yellow beans, summer squash, strawberries. Ended call. Texted list of items to phone. Sipped coffee. Returned to typing.

I don’t understand …

I don’t understand why some dogs bark at all other dogs.

I don’t understand how anyone would think Donald Trump should be the actual president.

I don’t understand why it’s harder to lose weight than it is to lose your mind.

I don’t understand whether it’s better to have high expectations or low.

I don’t understand why people judge one another so harshly.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to recognize our shared humanity.


Thoughts about being 12

[NOTE: I found this tonight in my drafts folder from 2011. I wrote it when my youngest son was 12.]

I headed over to the park to make an appearance at my son’s sixth grade picnic. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining the wind is blowing. There is a certain perfection to days like these, when it’s just so sweet and easy.

No hurries today. I laid under the covers late this morning. The house was quiet. The breeze was blowing outside. I could only hear weekday sounds — the birds and the breeze. No lawnmowers or gas trimmers. No cars driving down the street. It was a sleepy, quiet late Thursday morning. Even the dog was sleepy, wondering what I was doing here. I would have thought he’d be more excited to have company, but instead he gave me a look of sleepy irritation and ambivalence.

Yesterday we were milling around in the storm shelter for an hour and a half during the tornado warning, trying to reach our children on their cell phones, trying to hear what the weatherman was saying, trying not get anxious, trying to stay peaceful, saying prayers, making small talk, walking in circles, sitting down, leaning against walls, smiling at each other.

But today the tornado has passed and it’s a beautiful spring day –green grass, green trees, flowers, blue blue sky.

I drove over to the picnic and watched him hang with his friends. He would only acknowledge my existence with a nearly imperceptable nod in my direction. At 12 years old, he has a love/hate relationship with mom’s attention. Sometimes he’ll eat it up; othertimes, it’s an embarrassment.

I have only one memory that I can place in my 12th year–a summer daytrip to Universal Studios. It was 1978. I remember sitting on the very large furniture that made us look 10 inches tall and I remember my dad being called up to the stage to perform a scene. He pretended he forgot his lines. Later he confided in me that he was kidding, he hadn’t forgotten his lines. Now I wonder why he would do that? Was it funnier to forget the lines? I remember, he did get a laugh.

At this time, Happy Days was very popular, and Mrs. C — Marion Ross — was signing autographs at a booth inside the park. I wanted her autograph, but I was upset about something. I can’t remember what, but I was crying. Mrs. C asked me how old I was? I told her I was 12. She said, “It’s tough being 12.”

This is one of those strange memories that sticks in your head. And all throughout this year that Luke has been 12, I have often thought to myself, “it’s tough being 12.”  How did that little line from Mrs. C attain such a place of prominence in my brain? Was it because it came from Marion Ross that I filed it in the wisdom-dispensed-by-an-actual-celebrity-mom-file in my brian? Maybe I just remember it because it’s true. It is tough being 12.

Your hormones are all haywire, body is all awkward. You’re either tall or short or skinny or fat or pimply or clumsy or weird or nervous. You’re still innocent and accepting. You still eat up the compliments and yet you are sarcastic and just a little bit jaded. You try so hard to look cool like you don’t care, but you do care. I love this age, now that I don’t have to be it.


Flats of various colors and designs

Tank tops with cardigans

Curly hair

Long legs

Coffee – no sugar, no sweetener, no flavoring


Fresh flowers


Classical music

The Jam, English Beat, Violent Femmes








Home cooking

A good cry









Asthma inhaler

Two sizes too big



Cold beer

Ginger ale




Critical eye



Being loved

My Disappearance

Over the course of the last two years, my life has been in flux. I moved 1600 miles away from my home, my oldest son and my best friend.  I left a 25-year marriage.  I gave up a 10-year career.  I have ceased to be a presence in a number of people’s lives, and they have ceased to be a presence in mine.

To some who love me, or used to love me, some friends, some relatives, quite a few colleagues and coworkers, and a handful of neighbors, in a way, I have disappeared. I no longer live next door. I no longer work with you. I no longer see you in the coffee shop each morning. You no longer read my words. You no longer stop in my office on your way down the hall. You no longer consider me your sister-in-law or your wife. We are no longer Facebook friends. I am no longer your lunch buddy or your team member. You no longer wave hello. You don’t see me at church. You don’t see me walking my dog down the street.

I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but it’s kind of weird.

I have a deep sense that I don’t know who I am anymore, and I’m starting to wonder if I ever really did.

I am in transition. I didn’t anticipate that this phase would last as long as it has or reach into as many areas of my life as it has reached. I had no idea when I started this journey two years ago that I would be where I am today.

This is the most important time of my life. I can feel it. Yet sometimes I am gripped by fear that I might let this moment slip through my fingers. But I have a sense that I won’t, that I’m not. I have a sense that something is happening within me that is momentous, even if it is only of consequence to me.


Realizations Upon Separation

30 days after move-out day, these are the lessons I have learned:

  1. Levelness is not as necessary as I was led to believe. Over the course of the last 30 days, I have succeeded in hanging things from the wall without a level. They are relatively straight.

Note:  Listing will be expanded periodically, as new insights are revealed.

Seek Not for Love

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.–A Course in Miracles

My task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it.

My task is not to seek for creativity, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it.

My task is not to seek for health, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it.

My task is not to seek for friendship, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it.

My task is not to seek for fortune, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it.

My task is not to seek for energy, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it.

My task is not to seek for authenticy, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it.

My task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all that barriers within myself that I have built against it.

Today I’ll defer to the dog


My inner critic has run amuck, haranguing me with disapproval. I am resisting its critique of my worthiness and capabilities. Then I remember, don’t resist. What you resist persists. Observe without attachment. Observe without attachment. But I have attached and internalized its assessment of me.

I’ve got to shake this mood.

Take a walk. I grab the leash. The dog is so happy he knocks himself over with his exuberant tail wagging. We take off down the street–a mile and a half round the corner, up the hill and back. The sun is shining. The weather is perfect. We both feel good and happy and fulfilled.

I am back to work. He naps on the floor beside me. For the rest of the day, I’ll defer to the dog’s judgment of my worthiness. He thinks I’m pretty spiffy. What else do I need?

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Post