Sunday, March 31, 2013

Into The Desert

Thus begins the diary of a trip into Death Valley. In many ways it was an ordinary camping vacation. In other ways it inspired thought and ideas and being. Follow along if you will. Just as it took 5 days to make the trip, it will take several days to blog about it.

Spiritual and religious tradition tells of leaders and prophets who went to the desert to pray, find enlightenment, be strengthened in their faith. In Christian tradition, not only Jesus, but also people known not only for their faith but also for their place, the Desert Fathers, the Desert Mothers, found solace in those empty spaces. 

Today we enter the desert in a whole different way. We drive in ~ in cars, RVs, in our case in a truck towing a camper.

We come to isolated areas that are still marked off in camping sites. We come to clustered camp sites where the people next door greet you with energy and smiles. If you don’t have them for yourself, personal amenities like toilets and sinks for washing your dishes, are just around the bush on the corner. 

In spite of all this 21st century paraphernalia, there is something about driving into the desert. The road stretches out ahead, straight on forever until it disappears between two hills. On either side great rocks are thrust up out of the flat sand, still bearing marks of the trauma that pushed them there millions of years before. The sky is wide and barren. The landscape is mysterious and huge.

Everything shrinks next to the size of the environment. Telephone poles just off the road look like toothpicks stuck in the sand. A car coming toward you down the road is a tiny dot until it is right upon you. You feel that your large truck pulling what seemed like such a large camper has shrunk to a miniature size as it moves across such a landscape. And your soul acknowledges that you are in a different place. 

What will you find here? What changes? What enlightenment? What knowledge or wisdom you have never recognized in yourself? The desert has been waiting for you for thousands of years. You are only a blip on the time of its existence. It will accept you though and offer you peace and wisdom, blessing and calm if you will but listen. It is worth the drive.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fasten Your Seat Belt!

Tradition has it that deaths come in threes.

Yesterday two family friends died ~ different ages, different circumstances, good men, sadness in our souls.

Please, be careful out there. Fasten your seat belts. Take care. Stay with us. We love you.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two Different Lives

Sylvia Plath died 50 years ago, age 30, by her own hand. Her two young children slept in the next room. She left behind poetry and writings that explore the darker side of life. Literary critics have picked apart her words trying to find the reasons for her life and early death. Two new books about those very things have just been published. 

When Plath died I was 20, married, in college, still three years away from having my first child. I am not famous. No one examines my writings to discover any deeper meaning. And yet ~ I have had daughters and watched them grow into lovely, accomplished women. I have been and am loved by two wonderful men. I have a wonderful family and eleven (almost 12) amazing grandchildren. I am in touch with students of mine from when I directed a high school drama program in the 70s. I go to the gym three times a week, hike, swim, read, write, and watch movies. I have a deeply spiritual background and meditative practice. I laugh. I cry. I am always grateful to see the sunrise. I have been touched by many lives and have given love and friendship in return. 

I feel sorry for Sylvia Plath who became so depressed that she thought it better to die than to see another sunrise. Famous she may be. And she lost out on a Lot of life. I am grateful for Susan. Famous she may Not be. And she has seen, experienced and continues to enjoy a Lot of life. I’ll take me. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#29 and Counting

We arrived at the DMV at 1 pm without an appointment. We took a number - 45 - they were working on 88 so they had to go to 99 and then start over again. With 45 in our pocket, we went about two blocks away and had lunch at one of our favorite lunch cafes. 

Returning to the DMV about 2, they were serving #6. To keep a long story short - at least shorter than the amount of time we spent there - there were moments of rushing through numbers when people weren’t there. And then they serviced #29. 

For whatever reason, #29 stayed on the board for an hour and a half or more. They took people with appointments minutes to hours later than their time. One lady (of the three who were working there) went to lunch. #29 stayed on the board. Some of us sitting in our little area began to chat ~ and then laugh ~ and laugh some more. #29 stayed on the board. I became almost giggly and had this extreme urge to stand up and lead everybody in singing camp songs. 

Meredith and I had a great text conversation about the new Pope. Then she had too much to say to text and called me. I paced up and down in front of the DMV and we had a great phone conversation about the new Pope and some other topics. #29 stayed on the board. 

When after almost 2 hours, #30 was called and a young man named Lance (he was wearing a name tag) jumped up, we all applauded and cheered and laughed. It was still another 2 hours before we (#45) were called - it was about 3 minutes to five. A young woman who had been sitting with our group, had gone outside for a bit when they locked the door at 2 minutes after 5. They were Not going to let her in. When we left by the back door, Dean held the door and I called her around. We left. I can only hope they called her number and took her. She was not the last number in the waiting room.

I know California is broke, and the DMV is one of the places where the government comes face to face with the public. A few more employees at the DMV would go a long way to improving our image of Sacramento. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Yummy Birthday Lunch

Trinity turned 8 last week ~ and a family tradition is that the Birthday Celebrant gets to choose 1) what to have prepared for dinner or 2) where to go to eat. We went down and took them to lunch and Trinity chose her favorite Chinese restaurant, King's Buffet. I gave her a crown to wear so everyone would know she was the birthday girl. I'm not sure how much longer that sort of attention will be tolerated although her grandmother (!) has always been very blatant about it being "my day". We had a delightful time with the word "cute" being said several times by Grandpa.

Mama Susan and Grandpa on one side of the table.

Trinity, Michelle and Akira on the other. Dad Marc was working. 

Knowing it was her birthday, the owner (also a friend of the family) brought over a special birthday dessert: tempura-fried bananas with whipped cream, Jello and chocolate sauce. Yum!!! Big enough for all to taste and Trinity was generous in her offering. 

In front of the fish tank - beautiful large fish, beautiful family. 
As Dean and I comment often, especially when we have been with grandchildren, 
we are very blessed.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

So Grateful for this Perspective!!

A FB friend posted this, It is the second time I have seen it. The first time, I was gratefully stunned and then practically levitating. Here I am at 70 and until this came around Every “rape prevention” suggestion I had ever heard had been what the Woman could and should do. Now those are important and this is brilliant!! The photo on this version is by Dimitry Yakoushkin.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lost Sock

Lonesome Sock

I have lost a sock. 
Such a simple thing, a sock.
Big house.
Two people.
Reasonably responsible adults.
Dirty clothes hamper fed every night.
Laundry done once a week. 
Same this week. 
What happened to the sock?
Everything else was there. 
Where did it go?
Up the leg of a pair of pants we
haven’t worn yet? Maybe. 
Somewhere there is a sock. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Reflections on The Bible

 I think I finally have it ~ why movies or tv shows depicting Bible stories are never really satisfactory. They are either totally over the top or so under-played that it is actually bad acting. We either have Moses on the mountain with a flowing beard that can’t possibly be real, raising his arms to the heavens and appearing strong and powerful or stumbling down the mountain with tablets he can hardly lift and practically falling into Joshua’s arms, Somewhere in between there was a man ~ a man who struggled with a vision from God and allowed himself to be guided in a way that set God’s people on their path for thousands of years. 

The desire of movie makers seem to be to create a character that matches the ideal that people have of these Biblical folk or else to show them as so human that regardless they lose their humanity and become caricatures. I think maybe we do better to read the stories, interpret them for our time and place, and let them occupy the movies of our minds and hearts. I will, however, watch the rest of the History Channel’s The Bible - if for no other reason than to see what they do with Mary and Jesus. And probably comment about it here. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

LOL ~ :D

Oh my I just had a good laugh!! I am scrolling down the home page of the LATimes and see this headline: Lack of sleep could lead to cranky genes, study finds. 

LOL!!! Really??? Mothers of young children all over the world will be So Glad to know their lives have been affirmed by a study. Grad students in chem labs and libraries and in front of computers will be So Glad to know their lives have been affirmed by a study. Ordinary people who for some reason haven’t slept well for several nights and snap at their spouse or co-worker will be So Glad to know their behavior has been affirmed by a study. 

OK ~ I guess there is some scientific interest in the fact that a gene may actually have tendencies to crankiness. But, come on, folks. Did we really need a study? Heheheheheheh ~ I love it. And here’s another headline for you: Laughter makes you feel better. I certainly do anyway. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Silly Me

When I first started the gym program at my physical therapy office, I was told we weren't allowed to use the machines unless a therapist was present. This was fine. Usually we received a call telling us when they would be there if arriving later than the usual 8 am. I went to gym at 8 or shortly after and if I needed to, I did my non-machine work until the therapist arrived.

Then the man in charge said, "Oh, no. Those in the gym program signed a release when they joined and so they may use the machines any time." Oh - OK! Because the lab in the same office opens at 7, I found myself being at the gym by 7:30 or so. This has been going on for about 2 months.

This morning, Oso still groggy from anesthetic, Dean and I both having a bit of a restless night, I didn't look at the clock until 7:15. My first thought was, "well, I won't get to gym this morning." Now, why not? I could still have been there by 8 or shortly after, a time that used to be perfectly acceptable. Now, it is too late. I didn't want to have to rush ~ and even with no definite plans for the day, it felt like it would be a hurried, late morning. Silly me. Ah well, I will pull on some boots in a while and take Oso on a walk through the woods. It will do us both good and help clear the anesthetic from his brain.