Wednesday, December 1, 2010

more feathers

Carrying on with the "feathers" theme, Chuck has taken up residence in and around our back yard. As near as we can tell, Chuck is either a young male or a female pheasant. My friend Judy from church, who's a bird watcher, confirmed our suspicions when I showed her the pictures I took. I think he likes our yard because there are plenty of places to hide, and his presence satisfies my goal of having a wildlife-friendly yard. Judy said that young birds aren't always that savvy and don't always do the safest things, but I think our yard is actually a pretty good choice: no pesticides, plenty to eat, lots of cover, and chickens for company. We've been keeping a plastic bowl full of chicken feed right outside the coop for him (her?) to eat. There are some critters that I wouldn't want in my yard, but having a resident pheasant is pretty cool.

(Chuck's hiding there in the center of the picture, partially hidden by a branch of the red-berried shrub. Sadly, after the hard freeze last week, the red berries are now black. They were one of my favorite parts of winter. They ripen in November, and when they're ripe they exactly match my kitchen floor. The shrub dominates the view out my kitchen window, but this year I only got to enjoy the flood of scarlet for about two weeks before the frost zapped them. There'll be nothing for the robins to eat in January, either. Usually that shrub [a Chinese cononeaster, in case you were curious] is a bird buffet.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

hope is the thing with feathers

So yesterday at Mass Father Christopher built his sermon around the first line of an Emily Dickinson poem, "Hope is the thing with feathers". And, because I have more nerve than common sense, I wrote a poem that refers to her poem.

Hope is the thing with feathers
flashing past the sun,
catching your eye and giving you a reason

To reach out
and flick the clouds away
fingernails smooth
since you finally learned
not to chew them.

But you can't stop your knee from bouncing
180 beats a minute
-should have one skinny leg-
it pistons away
a pop-off valve for

Your soul

gives the thing
with feathers
a place to perch
(patient haven)
while you glare at the sun
and clouds surge.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

today I am thankful for...

I am thankful for the hour in the morning before everyone gets up.
I am thankful for the best job in the world.
I am thankful that my back doesn't hurt.
I am thankful for my friends who are like sisters and my sisters who are my friends.
I am thankful that my kids put up with me and that my husband still loves me.
I am thankful that we're all still at it, plugging away, learning and laughing and loving each other.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


It's not that I am unwilling,
I'm just not ready to give up.
Don't expect to make a killing,
I just want to make the first cut.

Jim Keller/ The Fentons

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Freewrite Exercise: What have you lost?

I have lost flexibility. I'm sitting in my desk chair with my left leg stretched out in front of me, resting on a second chair, because the hamstring is tight and the sciatic nerve is twanging all the way down to my ankle. It's been irritated since my yoga practice yesterday morning. Guess I did too much down dog or something.
The yoga is important, though. It may be the most important thing I do. Lately I've felt like the area from shoulders to hips is becoming a solid block of immobility. It's painful to bend, even worse to try to get back up. This stiffness is the result of the after-effects of back surgery, the fear that I'll move wrong and blow the disk again, and a heavy helping of just getting old. The expression, "set in your ways" is starting to feel very familiar.
That expression implies a level of complicity on the part of the accused. "She's set in her ways" suggests that she has a routine that she's comfortable with and that she's not motivated to change. Speaking as "she", I'd like to suggest there may be more to it than that. If there are ways that I'm set in, likely they're the result of choices from the past catching up with me. Any lack of flexibility now has as much to do with the needs of husband and kids and work dictating my actions as it does with any age-related mental fixedness. I simply can't get up and do whatever I want.
For the most part that's ok, although at times I feel sad for the girl I was, who didn't know what she had when she had it. I hope that age has given me the wisdom to appreciate this moment in time before it passes. While the yoga practice stretches the body, it teaches patience with limits, and as the body maintains a level of flexibility, so too will the mind stay open to new ideas. My routine might not change, but I hope my ideas do.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

first yoga

Took a yoga class yesterday. Ok, it was a gentle yoga class, just a few postures done with great attention to form. It was the first movement that I've been able to do in months besides activities of daily living and walks around the neighborhood. I'd tell you it felt good, but that wouldn't cover it. The connective tissue between my clavicles and sternum tickled. My ribs felt light. The muscles between my spine and shoulder blades were humming. My jaw felt like it wanted to slide open, fall down on my chest, and stay there. The feelings lasted all afternoon.

Last week I had a massage. The massage therapist was able to work deeper than she has before, and as she worked I could feel her pull tension and tears out of the knots of muscle. Afterwards I drank lots of water to wash those feelings out of my system. The yoga class yesterday was a continuation of the massage. Following the class I had the frequent urge to sigh, to let go of the tightness I don't even realize I'm carrying. Religion may save my soul, but right now I believe yoga may save me from myself. Namaste

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today I.... almost 48 and hate getting old. I keep waiting for the epiphany that 40-something models and actresses seem to always describe in magazine articles. "Now I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin. I don't worry so much about what other people think." Or thereabouts. Actually, now I feel invisible and fat and it's expensive to keep from having grey hair. Not that I'm whining. Other people can think what they want. compulsively reading all the Stephanie Plum mysteries, all of them, in whatever order the libarary can get them to me. Gives me something to do while I wait for the next Sookie Stackhouse book. A good book has to have romance and laughter. A little sex and the occasional succinct observation about human nature are ok too. my work, almost always. tripping on the fact that my 12-year-old can look me in the eye. amused by the fact that my 10-year-old was able to figure out part of the theme to the movie Halloween on the piano....although if I hadn't learned that fact at noon when I was asleep after working the night before, it would have been ok.

....can walk with very little discomfort, and I only needed tylenol twice. I'm still not past the "oh my God I'm so thankful I can move" stage.

....would like a date with my husband. Maybe for my birthday?