Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Everywhere Tall Trees

Tahoe 10-11

The stretch to the sun, the stretch to the center of the earth, and the sheltering cool in between. Secret hidden places for treasures and firm holding branches—houses in the air. Feathery leaves trap mysteries in my mind and catapult them into the future.

Rows of stately soldiers guard country roads. Lonely isolates in flowering meadows stand moody, marking time in aloneness. Companion trees link arms with knowing glances, intimate breathings—sharing ground, sharing air.

Everywhere trees.

Solid oaks, assertive with chests puffed, mock gale winds. Supple birches, evanescent green and whispery white, sway and flex with storms. Up on the mountain, pines all buffed up bristly, dare intrusion, while maples filled with dripping sweets flaunt green today and fire red with tomorrow’s frost.

Down by the river, willows droop with tears from countless sorrows, long sucking fingers in the dirt. Alders hover close, leaning to the water’s edge to catch a vain glimpse reflected in dark deeps.

My apple tree offers sweet, sometimes wormy, fruit and a lofty perch. I retreat to write and meditate, pleading mother-calls unheeded. I weave dreams in the branches and trust secrets to the leaves.

No one else would understand.

On hot, steamy days, I hop shadow to shadow to cool my feet and cool my head.
Barefoot steps quick quick on hot packed dirt, but slow to freeze frame under sheltering tall trees, the long dance home in desperate darts and lingerings.

Aged elm branches spread a welcome for my childish floors and walls, my odds and ends.
Barely a whimper—long dagger nails pierce—sacrificial lamb.
I homestead in crooks and climbs with soda crackers and Jell-O tea—sweet communion.

Barked, brawny arms hold the rope that swings my feet to tippy touch the lowest leaves. Back and forth and back and forth with pumping legs and flagging hair, then jump! I’m flying! I land with a thud, all laughter and grass stains. Then, up again. I wind and wind and wind. Branches groan. I twirl and twirl and twirl, then stumble with drunken pleasure.

Everywhere tall trees. Leaves pressed brittle, photos captured, admiring peaceful pauses taken in busy days—

I breathe the memory and the now.


Foster Park 10-11

Jackson Lake 10-11

Seattle 8-11

Sequoia 8-11

Tahoe 8-11

A Child’s Snow

Tractor treads in fresh white snow,
perfect form with heel and toe.
Angels fallen, rise again,
thoughtless sins of little men.
Fence posts peeking, winter’s quilt,
woven cold with crystal silk.
Words in vapor down the hill,
carve a path both loud and still.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Forever Dance

It has been Their dance all along—Their communion, Their intimacy,
Love enfolding Love enfolding Love.
And I have been invited into the quadrille, the waltz, the glorious and shining ballet.
clumsy me, two-left-feet me,
stumbling, graceless me—
and hardly dressed for the occasion in these tattered, faithless rags.
Twirled and happy swinging,
embraced, breathless with joy
in heaven-sent robes,
in Spirit-scent robes.
. . . It feels like we will dance forever.

Blog-in-Cheek Thought for the Day!

Sequoia '10

If you say something funny in a forest,
and there is no one there to laugh,
is it still funny?

Random rest stop near Mt. Shasta '10

Posted in Humor, Photography, Poetry, Thoughts|Tagged , , , |23 Comments|

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More Rockin' Monsters!

I found a few more monsters that were hiding out!

This one below is still on the loose, but seems more tame. :-)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Monsters Rock!

I told you monsters lived at Red Rock Canyon!  Now here’s proof!

He looks presidential!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

And today's--->

I Could Eat Sherbet

2-22-12 sunset

Crystalline strands threaded across this sherbet sky.
If I had a big enough spoon,
I think I would eat you up!

And another --->

How to Spend More Than You Make

Being rich is highly overrated. Not everyone wants to be a millionaire (Cue music!). There are a lot of us who are quite content to barely get by and whine. Wealth is too much responsibility; and personally, I chafe at the stifling confines of a budget.
Here are ten helpful hints to follow if you would like to join the two or three of us who would rather spend more money than we make.
  1. Always go grocery shopping when you are hungry, preferably with kids. If your own kids are unavailable, or have perhaps grown up and left home, borrow the neighbor’s.
  2. Buy a treadmill (or any other high-ticket workout item) that you’ll never use. It works well as a clothes tree; and eventually, if you’re lucky, you can sell it at a loss on Craig’s List. If by any chance you get murdered by your Craig’s List contact, your spouse can sue the Internet and have even more funds to squander.
  3. Plan to give birth only to girls. That should just about take care of the problem right there.
  4. Give birth to kids smart enough and disciplined enough to go to college, but have enough income just so you don’t qualify for aid.
  5. In the heat of summer, run the air conditioner cooler than your husband would like with your children’s windows wide open.
  6. Go to a pet store that has all those adorable little furry bunny things “just to look.”
  7. Never plan meals in advance, and always buy more perishable produce than you could possibly eat in one week.
  8. Buy bell peppers in packages of eight at the membership discount store. The seven that spoil will add color to your compost pile. Truly a waste!
  9. After your compost has rotted, make sure and spread it on the garden plot, but don’t bother to plant. Besides being too much work, you’ll be in some weird way supporting corporate farmers who form the backbone of this country. It will almost feel as good as government subsidizing.
  10. Never plan a vacation. Be spontaneous. Maui is nice this time of year—all on the card.
If you follow these carefully researched guidelines, you should have less than enough to be happy for the rest of your life. But if at the end of the month the figures still don’t add up, put the kids in braces.

I post the same on both blogs, but I'm a little behind here. Agh!

How To Gain Weight and Keep it On

Not everyone wants to be lean and lithe dressed in long skinny pencil skirts and shapely tops. Not everybody wants the stares and admiration of an adoring public – to be drop-dead gorgeous. Some of us want to be “pleasant” with the comfort and invisibility of moo-moos and bulky blouses. Besides, a little extra weight smoothes out the spaces between the wrinkles.
The following ten tips should help you counter the thin culture, gain that extra twenty, and keep it on.
  1. Never work out with weights or even carry heavy packages. There is the danger of increasing muscle mass which raises your resting metabolic rate, and then you might burn extra calories while watching TV or reading a book, which could not only cause tremendous guilt but could cause you to lose a few pounds.
  2. Walk your socks off. Walk, walk, walk. You will have a healthier heart, but you’ll not lose a pound. The only thing thinner will be the soles of your shoes.
  3. Invest your retirement in liquid diet drinks. Not only will you not lose weight, but if you supplement with a few Snickers bars here and there, you’ll gain substantially.
  4. Join a gym. We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, and also just looking at all those hard bodies in leotards is good to tip the scales a couple of pounds.
  5. Speaking of scales, weighing yourself everyday is a guarantee you’ll not lose a gram, and you’ll have the satisfaction of watching that little black arrow creep higher and higher. Perseverance pays.
  6. Have babies—lots of them. Make sure to watch what you eat and exercise faithfully; that way you’re guaranteed not only to finish your pregnancy with an admirable weight gain, but you’ll also have that lovely bulge of elasticized skin to droop over your belt, should you ever be brave enough to wear one again.
  7. Have a mid-life crisis with plenty of whining about the mess you’ve made of things. A good healthy dose of depression coupled with an extra large bag of chips and soda should not only be good for an appreciable weight gain, but the aluminum in the soda can might just promote enough memory loss so you don’t care.
  8. Recycle all your low-fat cookbooks. You’ll help the environment and recover the taste of real food.
  9. Buy an expensive outfit for that special occasion coming up; and it’s a sure bet that by the time you need to wear it, you’ll have gained enough so it doesn’t fit.
  10. Heap bitter insults on your skinny friend who by changing from regular soda to diet soda lost fifteen pounds. It won’t necessarily help you in your quest, but it will feel really really good.
If all else fails, age gracefully. You’re guaranteed to pack on at least ten pounds a decade, so just be patient. I know I’m really looking forward to that one—the culmination of all my dreams.

Kinda Thinkin'

I am kinda thinkin’ that the neighbor’s tree trimmer may have previously cut hair for new army recruits. Either that or these are Star Wars characters in hiding. What do you think?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Stranger

The man at the entrance handed me a bulletin from the top of a large stack. He gave a vacant smile—a smile saved up all week long for Sunday strangers. His eyes focused somewhere just above and to the right of my forehead. It made me wonder if there was a fly caught in my hair.

The music grew louder as I crossed the foyer and entered through one of the sets of heavy double doors to the sanctuary. Slipping into a back pew, I glanced around. The church was old with dark mahogany and stained glass, the pulpit a million miles away.

The congregation was in the middle of a song, led by a golden-robed choir with bright faces and sure voices. At the close of the song, a smile in a suit encouraged the people to spend a few moments greeting those around them. The lady in front of me, broad and floral, turned from side to side and finally back to me. She was evangelical with cleavage. “How are you? God bless,” and just like that she was gone, apparently seeking out the more familiar. My words caught on my teeth, then hung there with nowhere to go.
I sat alone. I listened. I left alone.

How could I have sat with so many of you and yet felt so alone—so unknown? How could I have breathed your breath and still felt so apart? Why so present, yet so separate?

How is it possible week after week to approximate intimacy, and yet week after week to come and go—untouched, unloved. There are those of us who move outside the circle, cosmically alone.

To us, community is a guarded jewel judiciously given out in sparse neat packages. Fellowship is a hidden mystery that as refugees from the outside, we can only glimpse at with longing.

If we are a community of believers—the body of Christ—then when you touch me, you touch Christ. When you welcome me, you welcome Christ. I am no angel, but this morning I visited your church, and you entertained me unaware.
(The above story is fiction, but not. It happened to me, though the details are different; and it happens far too often in far too many places. The stained glass is from the church where I grew up in Ontario, Canada. No one felt like a Sunday Stranger there mainly because of my hospitable and loving Mom.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

To Fall into You

When life is turned inside out, we see what fabric we are made of.  The seams that hold us together, weak or strong, are at least seen for what they are–ragged, shredding bits that look so uncommonly neat from the outside.
I’m falling apart here.
My soul is tearing into blood red pieces, held together only by salty tears, clenched fists, and breaths of poems and prayers.
My anguish forces me to offer up control I thought I had.
My desperation makes me fall into You—
the place I should have been all along.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

James Jam

Count it all joy . . .
1, 2, 3, 4

when you fall into various trials,
5, 6, 7, 8

for you know that . . .
9, 10

Okay, I’m starting over.

You know that the testing of your faith . . .
1, 2, 3, 4

5, 6, 7, 8

9, 10!

Can I just skip to the “lack wisdom” and “ask God” part?
11, 12, 13, 14, 15

will receive the crown of life.
98, 99, 100!

Whew! Made it!

Oh, no, here it comes again. Count it all joy . . .
1, 2, 3, 4

when you fall . . .
5, 6, 7, 8        [sigh]

Lilly's Snow Day in the Desert


Well, I told you it was snowing. The hills around are covered!

We didn’t get much sticking on the valley floor. It was cold in the upper atmosphere, but still about 37 F deg close to the ground, but if you look really close in the next picture, there are tiny accumulations by the fence–proof positive. Look really really hard! And though my camera doesn’t pick up the falling snow very well, you can see the blurs of white. Do I sound like a transplanted Canadian who loves her snow?

Also, another Cooper’s Hawk came to call in the middle of it. Of course, he parked himself on a different side of the fence which makes it harder to get a clear picture through the harsher angle of my window And he sat by the area of my window that I didn’t clean on the inside. I am not Mlle Housekeeper, of course, but my excuse is that it is behind my computer screen and 2 stacked wire cubbies. I will sacrifice for art, though.

I did my Curves (Think: exercise gym) and Trader Joe’s (Think: awesome store in CA) run, not because I am so committed to exercise (though I am committed to TJ’s carrot muffins and organic produce) . . . but really, it was an excuse to get out and take the long way home past the aqueduct and closer to the hills. Camera at hand!

To top it off, the snow covered hills to the south and southeast were alight with clouds and color from another beautiful sunset.

We must have gotten more snow in the night because hubby said, as he went to work, he could see the lowest hills are now covered. I don’t have the car today, but I see a bike trek or a walk in my future!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I don't need a dog whisperer . . .

I don’t need a dog whisperer; I need a dog yeller!

Okay, I know he’s from Texas, but that alone should not be reason enough for the bizarre behavior our wonderful pet displays.

We bought our tricolor collie off the Internet, which is maybe a bit risky given we couldn’t really see how he interacted with his siblings and parental units.  However, he has been a lover—an ideal pet and so perfectly spoiled!  That is until we changed the flooring.

When we took out the carpeting and put hard floors in, all of a sudden he became afraid of his dog bowl.  We really didn’t realize he wasn’t eating till a friend commented on how skinny he had become.  With his big fur coat, the gradual reduction in weight had not really sunk in.  Hubby thought I was filling his bowl; I thought he was.

Panic mode.  Rescue mode.

He went from only pure (expensive) dog food—no scraps—to food laced with eggs, feta cheese, and beef gravy!  (Okay, don’t tell my husband, but I did accidently regularly drop food he might like just a bit as I prepared meals.  But that is a secret!)  We coaxed and cajoled (Yeah, they are synonyms.  It’s for emphasis!) and got him to eat out of our hands, and eventually the bowl.  Problem solved.

At least you would think.

He got some kind of intestinal bug.  We think it’s from his disgusting habit of licking other dogs’ urine.  His tongue lolls out of his mouth, his eyes glaze over, and he drools as if in some kind of drug-induced stupor.  I’d say it is a doggie sexual thing except he does it with bird poop, too.  Like I said, he’s from Texas!  (Kidding.  Don’t throw things.)  The gas he got from his addiction made him think that he was being chased by demons.  Or else he’d look at me as if I’d poked him or something and take off out the door!

Expensive vet type pills took care of those demons, but amazingly the demons were cast out of his butt and into his water bowl!

Current dilemma:  He will lick water from the sprinklers and off the concrete, and occasionally even drink from his bowl as if nothing is wrong.  But more often than not, he will lie in front of his water and whine.  Or bark.  And look ever so pathetic.

Solution:  By going over and standing by the water, he will drink.  But apparently some doggie demons only come out with exotic rituals, which in this case means you lean over (must hurt lower back or it doesn’t work), put a finger actually touching the side of the bowl, and then he will drink.  Or at least till the bowl gets about halfway down.  Then somehow the waves . . . or his reflection . . . or the dip in publicly traded stocks stirs the water and he jumps back!

So since Caesar the Dog Whisperer is not available, and I’m not so sure a whisper is what we need anyway, we are thinking of lacing his bowl with antidepressants for dogs (which come in little cat-shaped pills).  And if that doesn’t work, we’re back to yelling . . . at each other!

P.S.  Don’t tell us to get a stand for his food and water.  Done that.  Returned item.

Don’t tell us to buy a fountain that circulates refreshing water into the bowl, simulating a Canadian mountain stream.  Well . . . you know.

Don’t tell us he will drink when he’s thirsty.  Held out as long as possible, but the SPCA was doing drive bys.

Don’t tell us to change the bowl or get a rug or put the bowl outside.  Tried and failed.

And remember:  This is the dog that was attacked a few days ago by a pit bull boxer type big muscular meanie, driving me into hysterics trying to club the dog with my bicycle and a pine tree!  Okay, I was trying to hide behind the pine tree.  When we get ready for our rides now, me armed with an 18” steel pipe that gives me hand cramps, he looks at me with the same jubilant eyes that he always has had.  Me, I’m still in shock and fighting nausea.   But give him a bowl of water to drink . . . and my neurotic goes into hysterics! 

Help me!