Things have been wildly busy lately. Too busy. I know that I create some of my motion simply to distract myself. This is a stressful, grief filled time of transition for me. If I slow down I begin to think, to cogitate (as a father of one of my friends says), and it nearly paralyzes me. Lately I have been waking in the middle of the night and wrestling with the thoughts that during the day I do not sit quietly with, so they come during the night when I have no choice. I think of my mother and her journey into death, I hardly even know what it means. It is so huge and forbidding to think of not having here with us. It takes my breath away, literally. I stare into the moon soaked night and let the tears roll out of me, like exhales of grief sent silently on their way, a prayer of sorts. I am a bird in a storm with my head tucked under my wing. I will get through this, but right now I just need shelter, even if that shelter is my own wing.
I am going to fill up this post with odds and ends of stuff, etc., miscellanea that I bumped into while wandering around the internet.
I am not really into games on my iPhone, or even my iPhone for that matter. It is sort of a necessary evil in my life. However, every once in a while something will come along and inexplicably captivate me. So it is with the “game” Neko Atsume:Kitty Collector. If you are not familiar with this, as I was not until a NY Times article lured me in, it is very basic and slow moving. And addictive. And obsessive. And compulsive. The whole point is to get cats to come visit your yard and leave you gifts in the form of fish that you can then use to buy gifts for the cats, rinse and repeat. There, I have already spent too much time on this and have embarrassed myself. Go try it, or not. Oddly satisfying.
My friend Lizzy Meyer has a wonderful consulting service that I recommend, highly. Whole Horse Consulting is a well rounded consulting service that focuses on holistic health and well being. Lizzy is magical, intuitive, authentic and compassionate. She knows her stuff, she has a solid foundation that serves her well. That is my baby in the picture, having a conversation with Lizzy.
Every Mother Counts is a non-profit dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for women around the world. I happened upon this organization when I fell down a rabbit hole that combined charity organizations and running marathons. It is worthy of investment and has a worthy cause.
Of course I had to galavant around the vegan blogs. My passion is snooping out tasty vegan recipes, assessing and compiling the yumminess to be had. Sometimes I actually harness my will and get some of the recipes to the table. Here are my favorites:
There is so much going on in my life right now. All over the map, some wonderful and affirming, some difficult and challenging. It is hard for me to focus for very long periods of time, in other words I am scattered (perhaps a smidge of Adult ADD, though I abhor labels for just plain old everyday behavior). This is not to say I am necessarily stressed, but more just bouncing around. I exercise, A LOT. That helps, A LOT. I try to spin (on a spin bike, not just wandering in circles) for at least 45 minutes at least 5 days a week. Take that built up emotions and confusing feelings, you don’t stand a chance against endorphins! I also take time to have some thoughtful quiet time, or at the very least to hold meaningful space in carrying out a task. Folding laundry can be meditative, unloading the dishwasher can be peaceful and taking a shower can be calming. Most importantly I find that I can ground myself with my daughter, my husband and my animals. The contact and chemistry that we exchange is healing. Breathe in and breathe out, be in the moment. That is how we get through these times.
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.
Driving cross country after getting my mom settled in back at her house gave me plenty of time to think. I’ve traveled this highway hundreds of times over the years. They’re mostly joyous journeys back and forth across the West. Some have been tough; the time my heart was broken by my college boyfriend and I listened to Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks on loop, the time I contracted Giardia and thought I might perish in the desert, the time I knew I was leaving a friend in rehab to fight her dark monsters. This highway has been a vein running through my adult life. Now it’s going to take me on another journey in my life, saying goodbye to my mother over the next several months.
I should feel quite blessed that this is my first direct experience with hospitals in general and cancer in particular. Of course I’m not talking about ER visits for broken bones or delivering babies. But here I am now, we each must accept our portion of the underbelly of life.
There’s a very particular smell and feel on the type of ward that my mother is on. I can only describe it as stale and too close for comfort. This is a very nice hospital. My cousin who is a doctor (and has spent plenty of time in hospitals) has remarked that it’s the cleanest and brightest hospital she’s been in. Still, it’s pretty gloomy.
My mom is rebounding unexpectedly and inexplicably. I think this might be a common story with older cancer patients. As her oncologist is persistently pointing out, apart from the cancer she is remarkably healthy. Small comfort, but I’ll take it. She may come home today. Or not. It’s just so hard to determine whether she is ready.
I had a call in the middle of the night. Those are rarely good news. My mother was admitted into the hospital, ICU, with what appeared to be a systemic infection and/or liver failure. I jumped in the car and drove out to California, across great swaths of breathtaking beauty in the high desert. If I could’ve fueled my car with tears the tank would’ve always been full.
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under the trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or the stars shining so
quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in the spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim-the rocks-the motion of the waves-
the ships with the men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
Photograph taken from Asher Svindensky’s site from an article on eagle hunting in Mongolia, truly miraculous.
Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.
-William Carlos Williams
This winter has been especially busy and especially gorgeous. It is as if the Universe understands that I need a major distraction of natural beauty to pull my head from the work at hand. And here it is, right in my backyard everyday. Working with kids I always (and I do mean to use a superlative) try to remind them of the grace and beauty they have surrounding them, the fortune that fills their lives. We will go on an adventure, skiing around the mountain, to find the best place to raise our voices, “on the count of three”, and just shout out a big, loud, simple THANK YOU up into the sky. We usually end up in secret hideaways in the forest, with squirrels chattering at us and glittery spindrift working the sunlight like prisms. At that moment I take a big breath and remind myself that all the hustling and hard work is so worth hearing those voices raised up in gratitude, with mine mixed in. Thank you, thank you, thank you.