Tuesday, April 24, 2007

For Lou with love

You're Gone Again

You're gone again...

another plane

to catch

before sunrise

before my eyes

are re-delighted

with your smile.

On our front porch,

potted pansies brag

up their little faces

what they know of

Spring and promises.

While hyacinths are deciding

which perfume to release,

you pass back yard daffodils

wearing nothing underneath

their see-through yellow costumes

heads bobbing, in garden gossip.

Forsythia bushes stretch their

freshly blooming stems

towards still-bare trees

above, sketching the sky.

As you glance through

the garage window,

Buddha sees you off,

his unconditional

peacefulness, his loyal

presence and friendship

solid as ancient stone.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My first commenter!

Wow...someone actually made a comment on my blog. This is so cool, I mean, if you have the time and interest in communicating this way! Zoe's blog is fabulously interesting. She hasn't updated lately; but promises she will.
We met her in Taos at The Writing Salon but she lives in Thailand. Her life lends itself to action; I can see why she liked the screen writing classes. When I read about her stopping in a pub on the way home from work, forgetting to turn her mobile phone back on and discovering 14 messages from The Boyfriend, who was locked out in the Bangkok heat, well, let's just say I felt better about missed calls when Lou's out of town. But I'm never in a pub. Just hard of hearing. Pardon me? Anyway, fun to read something from another part of the world.


Birthday Season

Birthday Season


We call it Birthday Season in my family

starting with April 6th: Peter.

My first memory:

"You have a new brother."

Amy: April 12th. John and

I were teenagers. Mom's last

two pregnancies seemed

embarrassingly late. We

were having friends over

listening to music, practicing

the new dances. Who knew

then how much we'd come to

appreciate and love them.

April 16th, me. How amazing

that my husband, Lou and my

sister Mary's husband, Steve would

be born four years after me, 3 years

before her: April seventeenth, 1952.

Then the musicians:

April 23rd: Bernie, eight years after me,

eleven months after Mary. He was six

when the Beach Boys had their first hit,

seven when the Beatles came on the scene.

April 25th: Brian Heveron-Smith. Mary's

middle child. We have Chip in March then

Mary and Scott, Amy's husband, in May.

There are a flurry of cards, emails, phone

calls as the season ramps up every year.

I still remember the day John pointed

out to me that April was exactly nine

months after Mom and Dad's wedding

anniversary. So, that explained it:

They were celebrating!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Massacre

Like everyone, we are sick at heart over the tragic massacre at Virginia Tech. From CNN we now hear: fellow students said the 23-year-old English major had written two plays so "twisted" that his classmates suspected he might become a school shooter. "very graphic" and "extremely disturbing." "It was like something out of a nightmare," someone wrote in a blog. "The plays had really twisted, macabre violence..."
What can we do to prevent this from happening again? A person's words, his writing, are coming from his head, his heart. This happened at Simon's Rock 15 years ago. If authorities and school administrators are truly trying to prevent another similar tragedy, where is the follow-up to help or remove a person who is writing in such a way? This is a real scream for help.
And why is it no big deal when a student buys a gun and 50 rounds of ammunition, no questions asked?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Seventy Years of Silence

I read about you, Sr. Teresa Maxwell;

your obituary caught my eye.

I saw in the news, in March of this year

that your earthly spirit died.

You were born in Nineteen eleven,

the youngest of sixteen.

Did you choose a silent order as

it promised to be serene?

You took the Habit in

nineteen thirty three.

You made your Solemn

Profession in 'thirty-seven.

Were you able to be wordless

through those years by

envisioning God in heaven?

I imagine seventy years of silence--

I think I'd have gone insane.

Yet when I think of all that I've said,

so much of it is inane.

As life goes on, I promise you Sister,

I will remember your choice.

You gave up what we take for granted--

the sound of your own voice.

When life makes me surrender something,

I'll bow to you in my selfish mind.

Sister, you were a Carmelite nun,

and you lived to be ninety-five.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Coffee at Java's

It's Not Just The Coffee

I know you think it's a waste of money going out for coffee, Maureen; but please re-consider. It's not just high-priced coffee. It's a social life for people who work alone all day at a computer, or own a one-person business, drive a cop beat, or sit in on endless conference calls, or raise little kids.
A quiet breakfast at home with NPR can be comforting; but if you want stimulating variety in your life, find a nearby cafē and make it your clubhouse. The right coffee shop is Cheers minus the alcohol!

After early morning sittings at the Zen Center, we stop at Java's on Gibbs Street for coffee. It's an art gallery with unique music on a good sound system, excellent coffee and baked goods. Mike, the owner, brings arm loads of flowers from the public market. He buzzes around keeping the place looking inviting from morning till night. His beautiful barristas: Tiffany, Amber and Melanie make us feel like family.

We've re-connected with some old pals like Jerry Laufer, a blues harmonica player and jeweler who knows and ministers to everybody. Through "The Rev" and others, we've gotten to know the policemen who stop in, other business owners. Our cousin, Bill Carpenter might drop in with someone from the County in a suit. We love seeing my nephew Brian or other Eastman Music School students starting their day. We catch up with other musicians we know about upcoming gigs, make plans for the weekend.
Each coffee shop has a different personality. At The Women's Coffee Connection on South Avenue, everyone seems to come in with their best friend and not connect to anyone new. But they do great work, hiring and training women recovering from addiction and Peruvian crafts hand made by women.

Boulder Coffee, so named not for Colorado, but because there are actually boulders in the basement and no one knows how they got there. Twice cars have driven through the front of that shop! They put up a huge sign "Bruised but not Broken, " rebuilt the front, re-opened again. A great community resource in the Highland Park area, they have good music at night, art openings, a Summer neighborhood festival.

It's worth visiting Daily Perks to see Bernie Lehman's realistic, yet magical, artwork hanging on dark orange walls. A variety of good music, easy on the eardrums, is available weekend nights at a decent hour for a small cover.

Sadly, the tiny Patrik's Kulinary Creations has disappeared; the yellow building at Benton and Goodman is for rent. Too bad. The place was immaculate, the scones were hot and delicious and Patrik has the best laugh of anyone you've ever met.
I got stuck at a Starbucks near 12 Corners in Brighton once because my car was being repaired nearby. Everyone in there seemed to know everyone else. Very friendly--"How did your math test go?" "Good luck with the interview!" "Great new shoes!" I'm not kidding. It was like being in the lunch room in building 147 at Xerox, minus the hot peppers and clean-up duty.
It was different from Java's where the greeting is more like "Hey 'sup? Can you believe this?!" (pointing to some D&C or NY Times headline), making plays on words, puns. We jump start one another's sense of humor in the early morning. Sometimes you need that push - that, and the thick foam on a skinny latte with two shots.
You better call me next time you're in town, Maureen. I'm taking you to Java's for a chocolate chunk scone, a latte and some laughs.