29 December, 2008

gold rush

This week continues to be a very rich 
(and painful) trip down the mining shaft here in the Superstition Mountains
The weather, mountains and the flowering desert
are healing even as the wounds are revealed,
and cleaned.
The intricate strands of our web are revealed
in more detail with each conversation, 
each interaction,
And the red rock vibrates with gratitude.

27 December, 2008

practice, practice, practice

Dear One (out of Two or more),
I'm practicing seeing people's glory:
their courage, their various challenges,
and their ability to trust the process
to make mistakes 
and learn from the experimental nature of the process.
Like skiing, skating and everything else:
no one does it perfecly the first time.
It's easier to do this when I'm on vacation
feeling relaxed and carefree.
One day at a time
and not knowing what tomorrow brings.
Creating the experience by exercising choices,
even when it means not chosing.
It is quite an elegant design.
And I never tire of the dance,
the shifting landscape 
as we move from one step to the next
supported by more unconditional love 
than we can ever imagine.

My definition of love 
has morphed into something relaxed
and a little more spacious, long distance.
Did you do that?
I seem to have developed this ability to love from a distance,
without wanting to be with someone to love them.
without needing to like someone to love them.
To be non-judgemental while still owning my preferences.
Freedom from imposing my preferences on others.

I feel lighter,
and free from compulsion to save, rescue,
or do the "good girl" thing.
I feel like I don't have to please my parents.
Or be in the middle of their relationship as a mediator
or a buffer
a human de-militarized zone.
Even my eating compulsion has been manageable,
knock on wood.
And I walked
while practicing Brahms!
I love vacations-
this could be a whole new thing for me!
for tonight
I'm dreaming only about
about my vacation in London
with YOU!
Meet me on the astral plane,
Yur Mum

lies about death

There is truth in personal experience.
Yet it must allow for differing personal experiences
without falling into conflict.
This is where evolution comes in
and we struggle to transform basic instinct
to allow for seemingly conflicting truth.
In the face of all this dying I want to scream:
"it's fake...
they're not dead.
You just don't know where they are anymore
because it's not fitting your expectations.

The environment my Dad lives in here in Mesa
can be depressing, misleading, unless you see the other end:
the babies, the fresh incarnations.
When I hear him talk about his Grandpa Huffman
and his cattle businessand his longing to work in the same area
I am humbled by the patterns of manifestation.
I is the most elegant and lovely of all dances.

So, I'm still practicing seeing the glory,
today, at 7 am, in the middle of a senior's park pancake breakfast.
With Dad's friend, Dick, believer in spirits and psychics.
Listening to an aged keyboardist accompanying himself,
singing music that speaks to that particular crowd.
Dick took concertina lessons in college
from Betty Wolf, Cowgirl Betty, of Deuchmeister fame.
And still remembers her buying him a beer 
after he finished each lesson.
Perhaps she needed it more than he...

Our glory is not only in our accomplishments
and to be present to out own creative process
and to recognize our own power.
To be fearless in the face of certain death
without excuses or denial.
To live each day as if it were the last.
Minimal medication.
Zero need for protection.

My Mom can't work her phone
much less a laptop,
much less a CDplayer,
much less the dishwasher.
Do we get someone to come in
and watch a movie with them?
To turn things on and off.
To babysit, to clean take out the garbage.
It doesn't have to be this painful or complicated.
And it can be a whole lot cheaper than a nursing home.
Unless she starts to wander off
but I don't think she'll last that long.
Overdose is an issue.
Depression is an issue.
She's cold
and old. 

3 haiku

Witness the struggle.
Opening your heart, without
controlling outcome.

No expectations
but learning. Watching your love
struggle to evolve.

Don't believe every
thing you hear, it's not ultimate
but relative truth.

boxing day

Dear Daughter,
Watching you and your grandpa converse via skype
was like opening a lovely present beyond imagination.
Some of us dream about getting a pony for christmas,
going to disneyland or Hawaii,
or some other exotic trip or experience...
but the simple experience
of sitting in an ordinary coffee shop
in Mesa Arizona
observing you two
(three counting your brother)
is worth more than a trip to the moon.
I wish I had taped the event
but I wanted to savor each subtle shift
in your exchange. I find myself fascinated by simple experiences
which in the past I had not entirely appreciated.
Good teeth.
Hot tea.
Walking without pain.
Talking articulately.
No diapers.
All these pleasures will be gone one day-
either all at once 
or one by one.
But gone, you can put money on it.

Grandpa's place seems wonderful,
but maybe because I'm on vacation.
And everything is being taken care of for now.
I don't even feel responsible for taking care of anyone.
Or makeing anyone's decisions
or giving adice.
I'm trying to just focus on listening
to whoever is around me and myself.
It's all good practice.

23 December, 2008

champagne haiku

Champagne today at
Laduree to celebrate 
your first Brit paycheck.

a mother's confession

I like Alex.
I know he's a great dancer
and makes you laugh.
But today the matchmaker in me,
was tempted to "fix you up"
with a 25 year old man from Kenya.
When I realized he was muslim
and I switched over to "fixing him up"
with Salma.
He has brothers living near you 
in the East End...
He started telling me about his girlfriend
so I wisely decided to stay out of his love life.

There are amazing people on the planet
living very simple lives,
paying their bills and driving fork lifts,
drawing blood and living in places like Fridley...
having car accidents 
and playing soccer.
Traveling to Ethiopia to see their parents.
Or Rowanda to learn how to improve 
the orphanages in Somalia.

When I'm at Access I think of my Uncle Joe
and how much he loved Somalia
and didn't want to leave.
The day came when it was too dangerous to stay.

Some days it is impossible to miss the glory in humanity.
And on those days, 
it is gratifying to be in flesh
and to participate in the dance.

21 December, 2008

Sunday tea at Laduree

There was a chill in the air
when I arrived at Laduree Harrod's.
Chosing a table in the front area near the windows
I ordered Jasmine tea immediately.
Sipping quietly, I perused the menu.
I decided to splurge
and get a decadent, "full meal deal"
I started with Scottish smoked salmon 
served with salmon eggs whipped cream.
What can I say?
Very pleasant.
Would I order it again?
Yes, but after I had tried everything else on the menu.
This was followed by Salade Bonaparte.
More smoked salmon, more salmon eggs 
and a some-what weird seaweed tartare-
a double dose of Omega-3s and
Easily finished as all because the servings are petite.
I'm definitely not ordering it again.
I wasn't bad, just not worth repeating.
Lucky for me I had room for two desserts:
The Carre Chocolat and 
Saint Honore Rose-Framboise.
I will definitely order both of those winners again!
Something about the combination of the zabaglione cream
and the chocolate macaroons was so heavenly.
Their textures are complimentary 
and the variations in chocolate flavors subtle but compelling.
They were served simutaneously
so I was able to alternate between the rose/raspberry delight
and the dense chocolate.
Unfortunately, there are no words to describe the experience.
All I can do is urge you to join me on my next trip to Laduree
and share the pleasure.
In the past, I was one of those women that prefered sex to food,
but today the sensual gratification was far beyond 
any sexual experience known to humans.
To be continued... 

lost in the past

I want to learn from the past 
but I don't want to live there,
so I'm shifting the domestic abuse 
material and memoirs to another blogsite.
WORK IN PROGRESS will be specifically
for material to be used in the book on domestic violence.
This will include interviews, memories, research, 
statistics, resources, references to other blogs and websites.
LOVE LETTERS will be for other pieces
on other subjects to other people.
Domestic violence is a choice.
Why do people make that choice?
Is it a lack of conflict resolution skills?
Is it a lack of awareness 
of the inner conflict that's happening.
and our projection of that into the outer reality?
My intention is that the piece is more about conflict resolution 
and mediation rather than domestic violence.
There is a piece of limiting changes or growth
in a partner to maintain status quo 
or to control the targeted partner.
I imagine one site will be darker
and this site will be more about the future 
and creating a warmer, more detached, healthier life.
A reminder of my loving intentions
and my attempts to witness suffering without judgement.
And kindness in the face of attempts which appear to be failures.
And my own determination to be in healthy relationships 
for the time I have left.

20 December, 2008

Ist christmas apart

Dear Daughter,
If memory serves correctly, 
this is our first Christmas apart.
How did I miss that!
For many years, 
my conflict was between wedding anniversary
and Christmas celebration.
Now that has been resolved.
Adam and I will have moo shu
at shuang chen
and then I will go, alone,
To sing at Midnight Mass
and the 9:30 on the next day.
And I will be thinking of you.
And missing you in a new way.
Knowing that you are with people who love you,
even adore you, but are not me.
It is and always was my goal for you
to move out and be on your own.
Independent, yet interdependent.
At least until you have children 
and then my intention is to be available 
to play with those babies...
Until then I want to travel and grow my life
in all the ways I set aside
while I was working on my marriage.

I remember when I first held you
and felt an overwhelming desire
to protect you from all harm,
to give my life for you, if necessary.
Ditto your brother. 
Most mothers feel the same, of this I am sure.
Last year I wasn't even there to protect you from those bullets
And this year, an ocean separates us.
Life is just like that: intention and reality.
With learning in between...
Today I learned how much I miss you.
And how important it is to let you go.
See you in our dreams.

16 December, 2008

so beautiful, so cold...

Dear Daughter,
Winter, and the snow is fresh and light.
It sparkles like the sunlight dancing 
on Lake Harriet in the summer.
But now the lake is solidly frozen, 
and covered with snpwdrifts.

In the midst of this frigid beauty
I am haunted by the descriptions of your students:
their poverty and neglect.
It resonates with that phrase JK Rowling used at Harvard:
"as impoverished as one can be without being homeless."
I think of England as the civilized world,
and so the idea of rotting teeth, mal-nourishment
and open sores which do not heal are disturbing to imagine.

I look at your brother and remember a time in Krakow
when I was told he would not survive his respiratory infection.
We had traveled so far, while homeless, and unemployed,
and I felt a failure.
I lived on dreams and empty promises.
Words spoken to seduce me into compliance.
A fantasy and an illusion built of smoke and sand.

This is the anniversary of that time of  moving to Poland.
And our struggle to endure in spite of poverty and illness.
You refused to be left behind with your Babcia.
Walking everywhere, you accompanied me
first to nearly empty stores with rude sales staff.
Then to cafes with menus filled with items 
that were "sold out" or "unavailable"

Still we were wealthy by comparison with our American dollars
and knew we would never starve.
Cold, yes...but never hungry.
The black market was designed for people like us...
And we used it. 

Slowly we repaired the decaying apartment
and by the time Spring came
your brother was healthy
And you were eavesdropping 
and translating the conversations of the strangers around us
who survived their initial shock 
of seeing Americans living in their midst, as Poles,
and apparently by choice.

So much has changed since that time,
and we live in a new world.
Yet children are still under-nourished,
and sick.
I believe 
you are making a difference 
in the lives of the children you meet each day
simply by showing up for work,
and giving them your loving, compassionate attention.
Your sense of humor
and curiosity.
Remember: all it takes is one person.
One little starfish.
Only one to make a difference:
(or Alex)
Sweet dreams, my super-heros,
Your Mum

14 December, 2008

check these out

Dearest and Darling Daughter,
I have been holding our conversation in my heart
as I blog around.
And ran across a tango blog
which had JK Rowling's commencement speech
and commentary by the tango dancer
who had attended the ceremony.
I was moved to tears,
not always an easy task,
and imagined you having a conversation with her,
as you had with me,
describing your experience in the British school system.
And I was also touched by her insights re failure.
And imagination...
There is something of you in her story 
and heroism. 
Hope you are feeling better each day,
Your devoted Mum 



at myself!
I've been telling myself that I'm bad
(not the good kind of bad)
because I don't blog something everyday.
Like a student who doesn't turn in her homework.

Now I'm surfing around,
reading other peoples 
and realize they don't write something everyday!
Some people haven't posted anything for weeks!
Some people have posts saying that they are shutting down!
And that they are just too busy.

It was so funny when I realized
how hard I was being on myself,
and for no good reason.
So I stopped.
My new assignment will be to notice 
when I'm being too hard on myself,
and stop.
There are so many opportunites
in my life for self-abuse 
that it is no great surprise I ended up
in an abusive marriage.
I set impossible goals with unrealistic expectations 
and then stress myself out trying to reach them.
Even when I succeed, I am too exhausted to celebrate.

I am going through a process of recognizing 
how incredibly overwhelmed I feel much of the time.
Too much.
Luck for me, I can teach myself to let it go
And not care about it so much.
I have so much I want to do and watch and experience
I feel like a little kid who knows she needs a nap 
but can't bear to miss any opportunity for activity.

09 December, 2008

starting over

Life happens. 
We plan to exercise and we do it.
One workout activity at a time. 
Then we look back over our exercise journals 
or calendars and realize we're on a roll. 
We're feeling great, looking good, our clothes fit better, 
and people start to notice the change. 
And then a day comes it just doesn't happen.
Maybe you wake up with a sore throat 
or your grand-daughter is visiting from London and you skip a day. 
Maybe you skip two. 
Or you break your toe and you have to sit out for a week.
And then when you try to start back in, it hurts.
You have many options to explore
and this is when cross training is helpful.
Maybe you decide to switch from walking the mall to swimming, or yoga.
Take a break from tap dancing but try a Tai Chi class.
And if you're still stumped, call me. 

05 December, 2008

friend of foxes on facebook

Oh, Honey, 
How can we learn to make any decisions at all 
unless we make some stupid ones 
and some mediocre ones 
and some brilliant ones...
Personally, I have made,
and plan to make, stupid decisions, 
sing the wrong notes and words, 
stub my toe (like your Gramma), 
pack the wrong clothes 
and keep on playing with the divine process of making decisions 
which is really just about creating my life and my world of experience.
Try to remember your amazing brilliant decisions 
(there are more than I have time to list-
but tell me if you want a list!)
And, girrrl-friend, don't be kicking yourself about the decisions
you judge to be stupid. 
You and I don't know which is which,
We just know what feels good.
And which ones hurt.
The ones that hurt aren't always stupid 
but that doesn't mean they don't hurt
And vice versa...
The pleasant ones aren't always smart-they're just pleasant
Smartest thing you ever did: reach down 
to put those boots in the trunk.
How did that happen?
If you can figure that out, 
everything else will be
a piece of cake from Laduree Harrods, 
Milky Way, 
The Universe.
More later.
In the meantime, be gentle with yourself,
I love you.
I miss you.
And I'm so proud of you, 
you shining creature, you friend of foxes...

04 December, 2008

It's the shoes...

A day without tango,
is a day without swollen feet.
It's actually not the dance that does it:
it's the shoes.
How can something so cute be so uncomfortable?
And not right away but gradually,
so you don't notice until it's too late?

All in all a truly remarkable day...
It helps to think about it from the question:
"if this were my last day here what would I want to do?
Who would I want to talk to, where would I eat lunch
or have tea, would I really skip dessert?"

02 December, 2008


Dear Husband,
Domestic violence is frequently a long term, repetitious pattern 
not a one time incident.
It wears many faces: 
abandonment, intimidation, threats,
cruelty, and neglect, 
simply not responding to a request for attention, 
or sexualizing a teenager's physical development...
even trivializing their developmental achievements 
or having unrealistic expectations causes trauma. 
Ignoring their pain and suffering, 
deliberately limiting their appropriate growth with rigid boundaries, 
or neglecting their health care needs.

With sorrow I watched you create your current relationships
with your daughter and son.
I enabled it, even as I tried to prevent it
and share my observations.
I hope you will find courage to open your heart 
and transform the current estrangement.
With affection,