Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Souls Day

Today, of course, I remember my mother, in all her crazy glory. My mother was larger than life, extravagant, exciting, maddening, funny, smart, kind, and unbearably self-centered. Her desire to help others came from a deep need to be loved and accepted, and the more she pushed her help on people, the more we pushed away, furthering her own loneliness and isolation. It was a lifelong tug of war for her, and a painful one.

The one time we really had fun together, as adults, was when she traveled with me in Japan. Then, she was at my mercy, finding herself in a place so foreign, with a language she couldn't begin to grasp, she had to rely completely on me to get us around the country, order food, arrange for places to sleep. She was able to just relax and let me take over, and for the first (and only) time in our lives together we were equals. We could relax and enjoy each other's company, enjoy the country, just BE. If only we could have kept it that way, the next 15 years together would have been delightful instead of an intense struggle.

The world religions teach us that this life on earth is just a blink of an eye -- there is so, so much more to come. I choose to believe that Mom has found some peace at last and that her soul is at rest. I can see her now for who she was, can see how her harsh and unforgiving childhood shaped her, can see her deep need, always unmet. On the day she died I placed lavender oil on her forehead, feet, and hands, anointing her, easing her passage. Today I can give thanks for the mother she was, with all her faults and shortcomings. She shaped me, and I am grateful.

Monday, October 29, 2007


self portrait, oil pastels on paper

Friday, October 26, 2007

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

It's suddenly cold in Austin, like sweater weather. Took my by surprise, along with a lot of other things this month. I like seeing my breath in the morning, burying my hands in my pockets. I need a hat, though.

It's been a month of surprises, not a month of Sundays. I've stepped off the yellow brick road and onto my own little dirt path. I like it here in the woods, with the trees and the dirt and the stones. It's ever so much more peaceful than the penthouse I was locked up in. Think I'll leave the horny back toad alone, for now, he's damn good company. Funny the shit that can happen to you AFTER you get sober.

I'm reading a lot of poetry; this is what heals me when I'm wounded. Mary Oliver, Marge Piercy, Mark Strand, Anne Sexton, Billy Collins. They are my companion books, travel in my bag. Nice thing about poetry volumes, they're slim, and they enjoy taking trips.

I thank God for my friends, for the poets, for the trees in the woods. And I wait to see what the day brings me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I see you're looking for an update. (Yes, I see.)

Last night I dreamed I was in my childhood home. Everyone had gone somewhere for the day, some sort of outing. There was a fence, with dogs behind it, and I thought I was safe, but through the fence tore one of those dogs, big and brown, monstrous, coming right for me. I thought for sure she would kill me.

Instead she spent the day threatening me, toying with me, stalking me. I called 911, begged for the police to come, and sent my family away to safety, one by one, my sisters, my cousins, as they returned from their day. I couldn't understand why the police did not arrive -- it's not a big town, not a lot of crime, surely they would rescue a girl trapped in a house with a vicious attack dog? But it became clearer to me as the dream went on, as the day went on, that the police believed I could handle it on my own. That there was no rescue.

Meanwhile there was me alone in my dark house with this dog, sniffing around my ankles, showing her teeth, tugging at the hem of my jeans. The dog is talking to me. I'm serving her juice and cookies. It's just me and the dog in the house, my house. Just me and my mother, the dog, the killer.

I wake up.

I know people who have had visits from the dead in their dreams. Nice visits. Sort of, hi, everything's fine over here in the afterlife, I love you, be well visits. Maybe some day I'll have that sort of visit with my mother -- dreaming or awake. It was a week ago today that we took her off the respirator, said goodbye, watched her breathing get shallower, the capillaries in her cheeks bright and pink. I said goodbye and left before it was all over, I couldn't be by her side like I was for Polly. It was too much to ask of me to be with her while she crossed over that threshhold, after everything that's happened.

My mother, the dog, the killer, is dead now, and I'm still stuck in that house with her, like it was yesterday. There's your update.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I think the answer is not to photoblog. It's enough, just keeping up with the writing. I'll post pictures here as well, when I can. Just added the Twitter box to the sidebar. I noticed it on Tim's blog a while back, and then it was mentioned on MyRagan in a blog. That's me, the early adopter. I've been spending my days checking out marketing and communications websites and blogs, doing whatever networking I can do, reading job listings, and tinkering with Photoshop. It's good to be done with the temp job and have some time to play.

What are you up to?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

to photoblog, or not to photoblog

I'm trying something new, but it might not make much sense. I've started a second blog, just for photos -- big city photoblog. Is it overkill? Should I just post photos here? Dunno...stay tuned...

Friday, June 08, 2007

I Am A Camera

I am in love.

With my camera.

Also, my husband.

And also my camera.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Contemplation Station

Reading Richard Rohr's book "Everything Belongs." It calms me down. I'm especially un-calm lately, a product of having just gotten married, lost my business, broken up with my mother. It's a time of shifts, and shifts make me nervous and tired. So I'm sitting in this particular place, where decisions need to be made about life and work -- decisions that will affect the next few years -- and I'm trying to be less freaked out and more contemplative. Rohr writes:

This "I" fixation, the I that I think is me, is the one that will die when I die. This passing self of images and who I think I am is ephemeral and impermanent. It is revealed to be a creation of my mind, a mist or illusion. My novice master called it a cobweb. He would hold out his hand and blow a puff of air. He said, 'That's Richard.' Tomorrow it may be gone. (Everything Belongs [The Crossroad Publishing Company], p. 85)

It's going to take some more work to get comfortable with the notion that "I" am a puff of air. But that is the path to peace, I think.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Married: check
Unemployed: check
Still okay: check, check

Hey, wow. that was fun.

Oh, and?

New camera: check, checkity, check check check.

My husband is the greatest man in the universe.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chips and Dip

Yesterday my car ran out of gas. Javi was with me, home sick from day care, and as I struggled with the gas can (what is it about gas cans? they mystify me) that I had lugged back from the Shell station he said, "Mama, you're doing the very best job you can do."

It's been a tough week -- I lost my job, I've got pre-wedding anxiety, I am really trying to get a house fixed up to move into, and I find myself paralyzed by exhaustion and lack of funds and anxiety about what's coming next. Ten months ago, I'd be steeping in anger and resentment, and berating anyone and everyone with the story of How I Was Done Wrong. I'd be going to bed sick and waking up nauseated. I'd be short with my kids and mean to my partner. I'd be a train wreck.

So maybe my last post was wrong, maybe I have made some progress. Yes?  I'm not wallowing in self-pity, and I'm not trying to lasso everyone else into my circle of misery and commiseration. I'm scared shitless, to be sure, and have had a few choice words to say about my former client. But still. I'm here, I'm standing up. I'm trying to do the next right thing. Life is sweet, really. Life keeps going.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

our own radishes and walnuts

When looking to feel better about myself and my circumstances, it's perhaps best not to read through my blog archives. My problems are my problems are my problems, ever present. Myself is myself. Always with the exhaustion and the kids and the lack of proper finances. Always with the scrambling and the pain of the crazy mother and the loss of -- whatever.

So I'm thinking, then, maybe it's time for a poem, as that always seems to help.

In The Month of May

In the month of May when all leaves open,
I see when I walk how well all things
lean on each other, how the bees work,
the fish make their living the first day.
Monarchs fly high; then I understand
I love you with what in me is unfinished.

I love you with what in me is still
changing, what has no head or arms
or legs, what has not found its body.
And why shouldn't this miraculous,
caught on this earth, visit
the old man alone in his hut?

And why shouldn't Gabriel, who loves honey,
be fed with our own radishes and walnuts?
And lovers, tough ones, how many there are
whose holy bodies are not yet born.
Along the road, I see so many places
I would like us to spend the night.

-- Robert Bly

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I've entered an alternate universe...there's a snowflake on my little weather desktop thingy. A snowflake!

This being Texas, we're having a major ice storm freak-out down here, and the whole city is pretty much shut down -- has been since yesterday afternoon, and looks to stay that way through at least tomorrow morning. Allison brought me an icicle in bed this morning, then complained that it was too cold and asked me to warm it up. I took her outside when the actual snow came falling down, but she just cried and wanted to be brought back in. It probably didn't help that I almost wiped out and dropped her when I slipped on the icy porch step. Still, it's lovely. I love to see actual snowflakes coming out of the actual sky, even if the only real accumulation seems to be on my car and house rooftops. I'll take it.