15 December, 2011


Someday I would like to own a bookstore near this patisserie near Borough Market in London. People would stop by after shopping and sit and browse and peruse the latest selections. I wouldn't care so much if the weather wasn't sweet because of the books. All my favorites, and especially, ones that I have always wanted to read but didn't get around to opening. Perhaps we would have "tea of the day" and people could sip tiny cups of the hot potion while they decided which books to take home. I would pretend I was living in "Black Books" without being as rude as Bernard. In the meantime I am content to be where I am, providing massage services and speaking for children in the child protection system. It's a roller coaster and I used to self medicate with pastries such as these. Then I reached my limit. So I backed off the carbs, the caffeine and sugar. And fat, my best friend. And Surly Bender.  I didn't think it was possible and I was wrong. And not for the first time did I realize I was mistaken. Tango class was on the schedule tonight and yet when I had an opportunity to work, I decided to do it. Now I am too tired to go to class. C'est la vie. One minute you are planning an inexpensive bookcase project and then, whoops, the whole wall needs to be re-wired! One minute you are planning to live in a brick house with a fireplace in Linden Hills and then, wham! You find yourself living in a tiny apartment right off the freeway juggling childcare with a man who beats you up after he leaves your two year old alone, asleep in the car, parked on the street, in the winter. And then he tells you your 6 year old daughter was watching the baby from the window. It was never my plan to live with a man who hit me across the face in front of our kids. But it happens.

14 December, 2011

Margarita Weds

Fans of alliteration and tequila, such as myself, will try to find a tequila drink which starts with "W." They might end up here wondering about the benefits of mixing kahlua and tequila. And they might wonder about floating the whipped cream left over from a chocolate roulade. Sounds elegant to me, festive, a great way to dress up the Sauza for the winter. It could be garnished with chocolate shavings. Hey, you might even serve it with slices of the chocolate roulade garnished with more whipped cream and fresh berries. Reality is: I am sticking to the famous fabulous lemon fast. And I feel better, cleaner, lighter and more willing to look at some of my eating patterns. I do comfort and reward myself with sugar and fat, washing it down with jasmine tea. I look forward to the caffine rush, and many of my activites are centered around eating, snacking really. Not cooking healthy meals for myself, sitting down and then being finished with it, but grazing, nearly constantly and using food to mask my emotions. I tend to identify anxiety as hunger, which seems silly now that I am looking into it's deep dark eyes. And now I have a chance to sit still and look for the source of my anxiety.


After I brought it inside my hibiscus put out two more flowers as if to say "where am I?" It's a question I ask myself each day, more than once. When the drama is gone, I notice it's absence. It's like being in a bar with ear drum splitting rock music and then stepping out into the winter snow falling quietly, drifting down with something like reverence. I look at the empty space where the grand piano used lived with stacks of mail, music scores, half eaten snacks and presents from groupies desperate to ingratiate themselves with their instructor. Like many cult leaders he did not hesitate to use his position of authority to his own advantage. I do not wish for that scenario to return, but I did notice that it was gone. 
Gone, like our dog left too long on his own, out of a crate, entertaining himself. While living alone, working 60 hours a week, I realized I could no longer manage our family dog as I had while living with a husband, available for his many ever  growing demands. 
My landscape changed again when I accepted a position at a chiropractic clinic. The work was grueling and satisfying at the same time. Mainly deep tissue work to repair auto injuries I would leave each evening to soak my throbbing hands in hot salty water before applying ice packs. And then it would start all over the next day. Gradually I learned to avoid injury while using techniques which were effective in releasing dense injured tissues. Seeking a position with opportunities to collaborate as partners in integrative modalities, I began offering in-hospital services for postpartum parents. And each day I come back to the question "where am I?" After working in hospitals all over the metro area, they are starting to look alike. 
For over 22 years I lived in an identity that no longer seems to exist. The definition of family has altered drastically for my children and me. And while it has been a relief, it has also been an unending (at least to this point) process of grief and recovery. Mostly wondering "where am I?" I trust my journey, just like I trust that you have to drive through Winnemucca to get to Tahoe on interstate 80. But you don't have to spend a lot of time there unless the freeway is closed. Some days I feel like the freeway has closed and I am stranded in a hotel with nothing much to do, but wait. So I write, or sleep, or watch silly TV shows like "The Big Bang Theory."
I am chipping away at the remodeling of my house. Bookshelves are in process even as I type. My precarious finances offer another opportunity to trust my journey. And I try to remember to stay present to my fears and shattered dreams. I build new ones with people who have a little more insight and interest in collaboration. Client consultations are important to me. and the possibility of building those kinds of relationships motivate me to make the effort.  I am here, even not knowing where I am, I can be here. Over and over, moment by moment I can be here. Without knowing where I will be next, I can be right here, right now, as present as I am capable of being, for as long as I can manage. 

11 December, 2011

Bowling for birthdays

It is good to get an early start when it comes to building large motor skills. Some of my earliest memories are of the bowling alley in the rural farming community of my youth.  tbc...

Rock Camp for Dads

09 December, 2011


My daughter doesn't miss much. She is a champion at games where you compare two pictures and list what is different from the first to the second. So I wasn't surprised when she asked about the hand prints even before she was in the kitchen. Noticing them from the dining room she used a one word question, "Hands?" At first I wasn't sure what she meant, it had been two weeks since I had come back from the deathbed of my GAL child. And the drama that followed as the biological mom bullied her way into the directors office and demanded his body be embalmed and released to her rather than the foster mom distracted me from the memory of the child himself. After numerous phone calls and e-mails I was told there was a meeting set up for December 21st to find out how this happened. My daughter works in a school that this child may have attended, had he been returned to his biological mom. I described the nurses making the hand prints, watching them manipulate his hands, one by one, with the tubes and restraints, onto the ink pad and then to the paper. After repeating the process several times. The nurse kindly asked if I would like one. As she handed it across the table, I glanced at the form on the bed. In a few minutes the doctors would come in with the respiratory therapist and remove the tube that had kept him alive for the past two weeks. The last time I had attended a death I was struck by the simplicity of the process. It was just as Sogyal Rinpoche described: you exhale. And you don't inhale again. The biological mom keeps declaring her love for this child to anyone who is willing to listen. Yet over and over I see people so caught in their addictions and compulsions that love, if this is love beyond ownership, is not enough to keep their kids safe and healthy. I watch my daughter plan her wedding, pursue her teaching license, become a dog owner. With gratitude I listen to her in my kitchen near the bookshelf which holds my various mementos, including the hand prints of a dead child, a child I feel I may have failed. But for the moment, even in face of my possible failure, I feel complete.