Monday, December 31, 2012

Trumpets & Poetry for the New Year!

I return to this collection of poems by the great, Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz as a way of saying goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013, and with trumpets sounding, too. This poem called Tidings from Bells In Winter says much of what I feel about life and humanity. Milosz' words float in from someplace outside of time. What are we moving toward, I wonder? And what will we take with us to keep present?

Here is Tidings in full.  

As for trumpets sounding, I also returned to an early photo of my son who fell in love with the instrument in fourth grade. He's nineteen and still playing.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wishes for You

Wishing you slow time. Stillness. Time to stretch out on a tree trunk.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Adjusting to new normal

Trying to balance regular life this week following slaughtered innocence, blood, tragedy, confusion, anger, hope, faith, prayers--is hard. Change. Create a better American way of life. Brady Campaign. Dianne Feinstein's bill to ban assault weapons. Better mental health care to support families. Writing. Baking chocolate chip cookies. Chicken soup. Friends. A rose quartz for emotional healing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

America's sickness: our narcissistic love of Guns, our fear of Mental Health issues.

Maybe we could not have stopped an insane, sick, psychotic person from carrying out mass slaughter of innocent first graders, but I believe we can do much better.  We can retard these lethal seeds from thriving in our culture, seeds that spawn disturbed, young, white males who are flipping out and murdering strangers in public places. Instead, we can support families dealing with mental health issues, who need help, who need many more options to deal with kids whose coping mechanisms are broken, injured, defective and potentially dangerous to themselves and others. And we can ban owning warfare weapons by parents, a sensible measure to protect our neighborhoods.

Assault Weapons are for war. Not entertainment.

Americans are afraid of mental illness. They can't "see it" so they are terrified of it; and worse, they believe they will catch it. It's a taboo worse than AIDS. We can change our understanding and support of these kinds of illnesses. Solutions are out there. But mental health coverage is egregiously inept in America. It doesn't cover costs of these types of illnesses. Basically, mental health coverage in America is like offering a package of band aids to a patient who needs a kidney transplant. Sad, but it makes me almost glad I had a fatal BONE MARROW disease in my 20s because I got help. Hundreds of people were happy to save me and find a cure. If I had suffered a developmental disorder or mental illness, my story would be a lonely one and one I wouldn't want to tell.

Freedom demands responsibility. It demands leadership. It demands working together. We can make changes. We have to.  Here are clear, simple words from my friend and colleague, Keith Cronin (author of Me Again). And further down, a few links that I hope you find useful.

"When we decided that your right to enjoy a cigarette on an airplane or in a restaurant was not as important as our right not to die from your second-hand smoke, we changed the laws. I submit that your right to shoot at targets and certain wild animals might not be quite as important as our children's right to go to elementary school without having to worry about being murdered. So I think it's time to change some laws. 

It's no different than any other responsibility that has life-threatening consequences. Over the years we've changed the legal age for drinking. And in some states, for smoking and driving.

Bottom line: When we observe-repeatedly and consistently-that people are unable to handle a certain responsibility that brings with it life-or-death consquences, it's time to change a law. I'm not being "political" here; I'm being practical. When you see that something consistently isn't working, you make a change."

Keith Cronin, writer and colleague.  (Author of: Me Again)

Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence

LINK TO ARTICLE written by a mother who asserts "I'm am Adam Lanza's mother" and open your eyes to a hidden problem for our families, your families, your neighbors, your siblings. It's not pretty.

LINK TO article about Calif. Senator, Dianne Feinstein, who will introduce bill to ban assault weapons.

Link to EMAIL to contact Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

"These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children...We're going to have to come together to take meaningful action...regardless of the politics." Obama, 12.14.12

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Latkes Lessons anyone?

What's more delicious than Latkes, which are really pancakes made of shredded potatoes, onions, egg and a touch of corn flour, patted together and fried in hot olive oil? Not much in our opinion. Tonight, my son peeled. My husband sliced onions, and I mostly watched, then happily sat down to eat the scrumptious results.
These are the potatoes, peeled and sliced thin  a la  food processor.

These are  the sliced onions. I think they look like a strange fish cut in half. 

Must drain liquid from the sliced potatoes. We used Maine potatoes. 

Wrap sliced potatoes in a clean dish towel and keep squeezing out that excess liquid.

Ready to begin forming pancakes after potatoes, onions,  egg and touch of flour are added. (My son used corn flour. It worked great.)

Plate full of heaven with a side of candle lights. Happy Chanukah!
P.S. Sour cream and  applesauce also required!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Marking the Day in December

It's been two years now since my dad died (December 13, 2010).

My dad looking for action, and maybe a little trouble, too, flying down this snowy hill.

Last year, I was full of words to mark this date that leads to forever. 

This year, however, brings silence. Maybe I am digging deeper into the quiet earth of remembrance seeking to locate lost items that have been with me my whole life. 

Well, yes. There are those horror stories and difficult moments; but, surprisingly, those multitudes of good memories, wise words, moments of beauty and—je ne sais pas—are winning out.

It’s true about goodness rising.  It’s lighter. It’s  stronger. It floats. It’s true that beauty is larger. It expands, it multiplies over time.  

I'm learning that ugliness & disappointment & destructiveness shrink and shrivel. They do. (But, I can only speak for myself and my experience.)

So, this time around I consider this odd process of loss, of losing a parent--how bizarre this mixing of time and emotions somehow can produce new revelations like milkweed seeds bursting from a pod, seeds of love bursting from a daughter’s heart.

I miss you dad. Hope you are still gardening.

In the yard, tending to his flowers and shrubs, where my dad was happiest.

Season of Lights

The days are so short right now, I'm thankful for all these festive lights brightening the streets of Boston. It takes the early darkness to a different place.

More day scenes of the season's festivities.

Entrance to Boston's Public Garden

Commonwealth Mall

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Budapest - 1990s

Budapest--Mansions like this one recalled an earlier, prosperous era. Who lived there? What happened? Why? Those questions often plagued me when I lived there in the mid-1990s. This photo is from our family album of pictures taken from that time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Window Box

Street art. Love the gaity and expressive pop of these wheat-colored reeds.