Five minutes to think is a kind of home.

Cooler weather.

 

I like it.

 

Can go walking when I feel like it instead of break of dawn.

 

Zooey wants to go walking right now.  Some days, I’m trying to sit still, backing a migraine down my throat.  And Zooey looks at me like her walking heart is in her throat.  There are squirrels going unchased, that look says.

 

My brother-in-law Ron just started working from home and I wonder what he will notice about his house.  Does it feel peaceful?  Do the grandkids stop by and snack from the freezer?

 

It’s odd that most of the time, the house is full of music and food and great family energy, and that feels good, but this is great also.

 

When I am here alone working, it is quiet.  Zooey likes to sigh loudly to say Why Aren’t We Walking Right Now?

 

The cats rush around the house and I come out to find Thomas on the dining room table!

 

Being here alone makes me want to get up early and meditate.  Not for a long time. Maybe five minutes.

 

Five minutes of breathing is a kind of home.

Published in: on August 26, 2016 at 9:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Write about it.

Sometimes you reach out and there’s no there there.

Write about it.

Where there used to be something solid, there’s nothing.

Write about it.

They used to love you. They don’t.

Write about it.

Maybe they didn’t love you. You only imagined it.

Write about it.

Maybe nobody loved you.

Write about it.

Maybe the whole world is crashing.

Write about it.

Flying is not dangerous they tell me.

Write about it.

Driving on the 405 is dangerous, much more dangerous than flying.

Write about it.

There is a monarch butterfly in my yard.

Write about it.

The butterfly is mightily glad to be winging it around a yard.

Write about it.

The waves have froth on the top of them some nights.

Write about it.

You can’t wish yourself out of existence.

Write about it.

I don’t fly again for a few weeks, but I drive the 405.

Published in: on August 21, 2016 at 7:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Leda and the Swan

 

 

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still

Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed

By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,

He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push

The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?

And how can body, laid in that white rush,

But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there

The broken wall, the burning roof and tower

And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up,

So mastered by the brute blood of the air,

Did she put on his knowledge with his power

Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

 

 We saw Michael Collins this weekend.  A good movie which gives you a great sense of the fight for Irish independence.  We’ve been to West Cork, but next time we’ll go to the town where he was killed.  Ireland is a country with a big story. When you drive around it in small cars on small roads, Ireland seems like a magical country, very thick green hills and fields.  When you’re there, you don’t want to leave.  But, I find that when I visit other countries on a writing retreat, it’s easy to romanticize the country, because I’m not working while I’m there.  When I flew into Los Angeles this trip, I was sitting by a couple who were coming to LA for a fun trip.  I gave them ideas—Venice Beach, downtown Los Angeles, the Getty.  It was a little depressing to explain that everything would take three hours to get to.  You can walk around Boston, you can stroll San Francisco, you can subway and meander around Manhattan.  Or you can endlessly drive the Los Angeles freeways.  Oh for a little country like Ireland where you could drive from one small town to another.

 

Published in: on August 20, 2016 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Los Angeles a thicket of heat

It’s hot.

The whole city surfing the heat.

Sun showers down on our back yard.

I’d like some rain, some moisture, some damp sweetness.

So much of the time in Los Angeles, it’s thick dry heat.

When I’m in other cities, I love the rain.

If I ever leave Los Angeles, it will be for a cooler place, a dreamier place, a place with damp sweetness.

Published in: on August 19, 2016 at 10:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bad travel habits

Jazz.

Tuna.

Sleeping.

Walking.

Fruit.

 

Most of us eat differently when we travel, drink differently; some of us listen to different music. I still eat a lot of fruit, but when I travel, unless I am eating out, I live on tuna and fruit.  That’s it.  I buy the tuna at little deli places and I buy the fruit on the street.  When people complain about how expensive New York is, I laugh.  I am not wishing I could be eating something else, I am very happy with my choices.

I used to get the cooked chicken off the street, but sometimes that makes one queasy.

 

I listen to jazz when I travel on my iPod and my Pandora.

 

Travel means

 

Tuna

Jazz

Bad movies while working

Walking everywhere

Drinking water

More sleep than at home.

And of course, I miss everything and everybody in the home front.

 

When I get home, I need to hire a gardener.

The bougainvillea, wisteria and trees are taking over the house.

In months, they will come in the doors and windows, under the tiles of the roof.

Trees will sit at my dinner table.

Published in: on August 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

“I will never betray my nakama!”

The Japanese have a word for a friend who is so close that they are part of your life/family.

Nakama is a good word.

A word that holds much love in its belly.

In movies, love and friendship are easy, almost effortless.

Everything happens in two hours.

You care about someone.

You hang.

You travel.

Goals, dreams, maybe you go to each other’s weddings,

maybe you stay at each other’s houses.

You call each other.

To lose nakama is to lose a piece of you.

I am of the belief that you cannot lose a nakama.

If you lose a friend, they were never a nakama.

I am grateful for the dear friends I have and for the casual friends,

the sporting friends, and the literary friends and the friends who want

me to do stuff for them.

But here’s to nakama.

May we all have a few.

Published in: on August 14, 2016 at 5:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chicago

Some cities are male, others are female.  San Francisco and Los Angeles female.  Chicago and New York male.  Chicago smells like coffee and vodka and dark paneled board rooms.   I like the Russian food, and walking by the lake; I like the bookstores.  Red Hen has switched to national trade distribution.  We were fortunate enough to have an excellent fall sales and we’ve switched distributors.  I liked the Chicago sales group, and I liked going to Chicago.  I’ll miss them, and I am training our Operations Manager to do sales so that I’m not the only one going to Nashville for sales meetings.

I’m not a fan of country music, and that’s what I think about when I think of Nashville.  I plan to discover some good restaurants and a place I can walk.  That’s my main goal in cities.  Where can I walk and think?

I told Mark I wish he could come and he said then he won’t be able to get “the list” done.  And that is true.  How can he work on my list and go to work and go on trips with me?  He’s only one man, he can’t be three men.

I would like to write, teach, work at the press, do the travel for the press and sleep.  That’s five women. Now what would he do with five women?

 

 

 

Published in: on August 10, 2016 at 6:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Crisis Management

My cousin’s daughter wants to work in Crisis Management, a growing field.

What you do in crisis management is containment.  A crisis occurs, and then you must put into a box, but once the genie has emerged from the bottle or Pandora’s box is open, it’s not easy to put it back.

Crisis management is a difficult and challenging field.  Outside experts help companies navigate crises.

Part of the reason these experts are effective, is that they are not emotionally involved with the crisis.

Human beings like to make decisions with their hearts and heads and sometimes our stomachs as well.

Experts help us make head decisions rather than heart and stomach decisions.

I like to think about which part of your body should make decisions.

I like gut decisions.

In my small experience with crises, I learned this.  You do not know who your friends are until you have been in crisis.

Life is a series of lessons.  I am glad for the ones I have learned.  I have much more to learn.  I wish my cousin’s daughter the very best with her chosen career.  Crises help us to grow as human beings.  We grow from challenge.  I am glad for the great friendships I have.  I feel very lucky.

Published in: on August 8, 2016 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

The travels and the dreams

Back from Colorado.

 

Mark made salmon and asparagus with Hollandaise.

Then watermelon.

 

We saw the pictures of Tobi in Fiji with her brother. She told us about all the adventures.

 

Then, quiet and we decided to watch the movie Steve Jobs. Genius wrapped in pathology.

Napoleon thought he was God.

 

A day or two to catch up on the work.

 

To be successful, you have to have a bit of swagger.

If you have too much swagger, then people want to pull you off your wooden box. At that point, you fall on the floor. Banging your forehead.

 

I’m still recovering from forehead cracks.

 

Hitting the road Wednesday. And there are dreams in which I master grace.

Published in: on August 7, 2016 at 7:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

I can buy whatever I want, she told me. And what she wants is a tuna fish sandwich.

I can buy whatever I want, and I can do whatever I want on the disability check they give me, my friend tells me.  She’s been on disability for most of her adult life for a host of medical problems.

And what does she want, that her disability check can buy?

She wants a tuna fish sandwich. And egg salad sandwiches. And tuna casserole.  She wants television and she is fine with getting only one channel.  NBC has everything I need, she says.

 

I live in Los Angeles and my needs are not as simple.  I want music and time to write, I want friends and lots of books to read.  I want blueberries and smoked salmon, the New Yorker and the New York Times online, I want big ideas to walk around in, I want smart people in my life so I can hear what they have to say.  I want time outside to see the caterpillars and the rose buds bursting. I like lemon honey and the Hollywood Bowl, trips to San Francisco and trips to France.

 

My friend, with her tuna fish sandwich might be accused of having a small life, but her life is quite happy.

 

“I have arrived. I am here. My destination is in each step.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh says.

 

I am thinking of happiness in steps. And, because I want to be in shape, spiritually and physically, I plan to take a lot of steps.

Published in: on August 2, 2016 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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