19 Aug 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: EveryDayStuff, poetry
CK is in Toronto this week for a team meeting. It feels like she barely returned from Hong Kong.
As the weather warmed in our new neighborhood CK finally found a Good Walk. Suitable for both dogs and humans wanting a good bit of exercise. We’ve been trying to walk together with the dogs as many evenings as possible. Trying to wedge some time in the Busyness to get some time together, a bonus because it is doing something for our good health together.
When she’s away I try to keep up the walks for the dogs and I. Tonight we even spied a dead bird along the way. I had to laugh at this find making me think of CK, but we’re definitely the type to be curious about such a thing. Were she here tonight we could have taken turns holding the dogs at bay while the other got a closer look. Having a supportive partner makes all the difference in life.
I wanted to share this walk for my Love, who I am hoping is well asleep. A poem for a late evening in mid-August is the result of that desire to share.
August Evening Walk
We walk to the park.
Really, the dogs
Pulling toward the
Covered in grass.
We arrive at the
Time when the
Last orange of
To the pale
When the sparrows
Give over the
Hunt to the bats
And the frogs
Begin their songs.
As we return it
is I who cajoles the
Dogs along toward home.
Pausing here and there
To watch them press
Against cool grass.
05 Aug 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: EveryDayStuff, gratitude, relationship dynamics
Today CK left on a business trip to Hong Kong. She’ll be attending Wikimania. She’ll be gone a week, home for 6 days, and gone for another week. September may see another week-long trip as well, although we’re planning a week together in Toronto to celebrate our third anniversary and she’ll be all mine!
Work was busy, but free from any meetings so I just focused on catching up. I was out early for acupuncture. It felt like not much during and immediately after the session, but about an hour later I was hit with a wave of anxious energy. Mom was in a funk too, understandably since it is the year anniversary since her last husband died. Regardless, it left me feeling unable to cope with dinner. I suggested we go out to get a bite to eat and I could pick up fresh basil to make a pasta dish for us tomorrow.
Mom wasn’t too disappointed when I hurried her through the market to get only the basil and some sesame stick snacks she likes on her salads. I was briefly distracted long enough to grab some fresh figs, but I reminded her we wanted to get back home so I could take the dogs for their walk.
CK has been walking the dogs up to a nearby park. It is a good walk and we’re relieved to have found a walk we enjoy. It takes about 40 minutes at a good walk. We go down to the park, up and around it, and back home.
Dickinson Park at Sunset
I’d promised CK that I’d make the effort to walk the dogs. For their sake and mine. I also promised to try to cut back on working 12-14 hour days, especially when she isn’t here to frown at me and suggest that it is bed time. I’m trying. I only worked a couple of extra hours this evening.
Mom and I got home from dinner and the market. I put on light-colored clothing, walking shoes, put the dogs into their harnesses and we set out. I was in a rush-walk mode, certain make CK cough, because I didn’t want to be walking home after dark.
We got the park and I nearly turned back before the big climb up the hill. The park really is just a big, grassy hill with a small play structure at the top, and a fantastic view. The dogs were antsy to complete the walk they know so up the hill we went despite the falling dusk.
I’m glad we did. We got to the top and got to meet a neighbor from the area. She told us that if we’re coming to the park we’ll eventually meet most of the neighbors since everyone brings their dogs there. She laughed and laughed at Dora, she’d grown up with dachshunds and the site of Dora really made her smile.
It turned out her 16-year old dog came from the same amazing shelter where we’d adopted Dora from. She’d had her for 11 years and they’ve been coming to the same park for that long. Her dog has cancer she told me, so she’s trying to come to the park as often as possible since it is such a happy place for her dog.
I offered my sympathies, my wish that they all may be at ease during this difficult time. I wished her peace and offered my name. She told me hers in return; this might be the one time a human’s name sticks when I usually just manage to remember the dog’s name.
It made us late starting back. I could see CK’s worried face. It was worth it though. The talk with the new neighbor was just the reason we went any way, just the reason the dogs convinced me to climb the hill (I nearly always need convincing).
I also got the pleasure of getting to watch bats swooping and diving around the park. In the evening, when we often are there, we watch swallows doing it, but being late meant the bats were coming out. I love bats and laughed with delight several times as one would flutter past.
We walked back home so briskly the dogs gave me wondering looks. Dora’s sleeping on the sofa beside me. I’ve been working a little and listening to music.
06 Jun 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: EveryDayStuff, garden, gratitude
Yesterday kind of sucked. CK left for the Bay Area for a few days. We’re doing this full-court press at work trying to tune up the application stack, complete with vendor-dispatched consultant. I’ve already put in 40+ hours by end of day Thursday.
I’m giving up teaching my yoga class. I’ve had to cancel so many times this year, most of those related to caring for Mom. Some due to the car accident last year. It hurts so much to give up the thing that brings light and joy at the end of a stressful week. Teaching centers me in a way like no other Practice.
So off I go into Thursday, thinking merely, “At least the week is nearly done.”
There were finally some successes with the work stuff. That and some ongoing respect for me as a profession from the consultant has gone a long way toward making this grueling effort bearable.
I stopped at the market to pick us up dinner, “Hot Woks”, and get fresh flowers. I’d been informed that this market, easy to get to on the way home from my office, gets fresh flowers every Thursday. Fresh flowers around the house is an indulgence that I so enjoy.
Today I picked out a few things to be wrapped together, having them hold the bundle while I got dinner. When I came back out one of the women who works there held out two more bundles of roses to me. They are a little browned on the outer petals, but otherwise still fresh. Being slightly faded, they were going to be tossed away. I laughed in delight and surprise, saying of course I’d love more flowers!
Only Slightly Faded Roses – June 6, 2013 – Portland, Oregon
Bemused at this lovely gift in my day I arrived home to discover another gift. The lovely man who maintains our landscaping built a fountain in the pond today!
Simple Stones and Water – June 6, 2013 – Portland, Oregon
A fountain! It is an amazing gift. He knew I’d wanted to do a water feature to help move the water, getting more air in, and also have the wonderful sound of it. The water sound would help mask the sound of the freeway in the distance.
Now we have one. He has a Kwan Yin he’s adding to adorn the top stone.
14 May 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: Haiku, poetry
Native Irises – May 13, 2013 – Wilsonville, OR
Spring brings irises.
Each rising from the water.
11 May 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: Art, grief, Inner Critic
Back in January I finally decided to sign up for a workshop with Seth Apter at one of my favorite little, local art shops, Collage. Today was the day.
It has been hard this past several weeks. Igal’s death has been a dark pall over the bright flowers of spring. I was really quietly pleased that despite the grief, anxiety, PTSD triggers, illness, exhaustion and busyness of April, I still managed to put together 30 poems in 30 days.
In the cleaning, sorting, distributing, and dealing with Igal’s apartments, which his closest friends took on, some of his things were sent to, or set aside for people. I helped in the initial days, the apartment was easier to deal with than the meetings to plan his memorial. In the final days our friends decided some things should be brought to us.
Japanese ceramics, a collection that seems to have no theme beyond being pleasing to Igal at some time has been brought to CK and I. I look forward to serving festive dishes, particularly Japanese ones, on these beautiful dishes. At future Thanksgiving dinners it will give me a way of continuing to include Igal, despite his being gone from this life.
Igal’s Lovely Japanese Dishes
In January, when I’d decided to attend the workshop, I had so looked forward to discussing my ideas about it with Igal. He had encouraged me to explore using acrylic medium for my artwork. At one of our infrequent, but wonderful Art at Koehler Haus days, Igal sat with me and shared his acrylics to help me learn how to use them.
Another gift of our friends was a decision to bring Igal’s art supplies to us. Today I had Igal with me; I brought his paint box with me to class and used many of his acrylic paints and glaze in the start of my project today. I am so humbled that our friends thought these things should come to me.
Beginning the Workshop, with Igal’s paint box.
I was so nervous this morning before heading to the workshop. All the usual feelings of inadequacy, of “pretending” at art. CK gave me a kiss before leaving, encouraging me.
Our instructor, Seth Apter, was great. He immediately assured us that we would most likely not finish! Such a relied to be assured that 54 small collage pieces was a tall order indeed!
We quickly got to work on applying black gesso to all 52 playing cards and a piece for the front, another for the back.
He reminded us right away to not forget to work on the cover and back pieces, on book board, pieces in addition to the 52 playing cards. The black and the beauty of metallic, gold acrylic inspired me to create a small Enso. I will admit that it felt really very good when Seth complimented it, showing it to the other workshop participants, and recognizing it as an Enso.
Cover with Enso
Next we were encourage to apply some layers, at least one, of acrylic paint. My colors were all fairly rich and dark, against the black gesso they mostly implied a suggestion of color, which was pretty lovely.
Layers of Acrylic Paint Over Gesso
Then we were to set aside one side for adding text. Eventually my book will have poems by Hafiz and Rumi appearing on these pages. To the other side we received instruction on how to mix the acrylic paint with glaze to make sheer, translucent layers of color over the black gesso.
Layers and Layers of Acrylic Glaze
Next came time to apply collage layers. Here’s where I felt a little lost. I’d thought I’d seen the boxes of paper and emphera I’ve collected these past handful of years, but I only found the small box of the smallest scraps. Given that we’re altering playing cards, it was really just fine, but I still wish I’d found my awesome paper stash!
Next Step, Collage!
All too soon the workshop was over! I am only a quarter or a third of the way done! I really can’t wait to get my office fully together, my chair out the box, so I can create!
Just Barely Begun!
Today is all “wrapped up” and I’m already thinking about making a book of Mary Oliver poetry in this form. I’m also really intrigued by Seth’s inspiration for this workshop; making one card a week for an entire year. Seems like a great way to combine collage, altered art and haiku into a project.
Hafiz / Rumi Altered Playing Card Book – Day One
30 Apr 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: 30-Poems-30-Days, Haiku, poetry
Swirls of Pollen – April 29, 2013 – Portland, OR
Heron still, watching.
Hoping to glimpse hiding fish.
Pollen swirls, ripples.
30 Apr 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: 30-Poems-30-Days, poetry
Rusty Heron – April 29, 2013 – Portland, OR
Spring comes in with
Small bursts of color.
Snowdrops give way
To crocus, which greet
The sweetness of the daphne.
Days grow longer,
Warmer and soon
The world is bursting
In colors from the camellias,
The blaze of azalea, and bright
Torches of rhododendron.
Not to be out done, the
Leaves put on new, bright
Green and ferns uncoil
From the moist earth.
28 Apr 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: 30-Poems-30-Days, Basho, Haiku, poetry
Frog Swimming – April 26, 2013 – Wilsonville, OR
With a plop
I turn to see
A frog surface,
All around the
Are great numbers
Of tiny fish
Rushing from my
Other poets have
Described it better,
Yet still, that “plop”
Of a the frog surfacing,
Inspired poets anew
**Here’s Bashō’s haiku about ponds and frogs, as translated by Alan Watts:
The old pond,
A frog jumps in:
27 Apr 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: 30-Poems-30-Days, poetry
Advice I – April 14, 2013 – Portland, OR
Here we find one another.
Still breathing in
And laughter still
Rising to the surface.
Yes, there remain
Sharp, narrow places
Between many of
(most of the breaths)
Out in sighs.
There is also the
Sense of having
Not where, exactly.
Just the feeling
Of having made
That the Buddha
There is a way,
But reminds that
The going can
26 Apr 2013
in Uncategorized Tags: 30-Poems-30-Days, Haiku, poetry
Sakura Clouds – April 25, 2013 – Wilsonville, OR
Clouds of sakura.
Delicate petals drifting.
Softest, sweetest snow.