Sunday, November 30, 2008


Have not been feeling well. Slept most of yesterday. Woke up early this morning with a mild headache. My eyes have been bothering me. May have figured out what the problem is and hope to feel better soon. Will be seeing an ophthalmologist early on Tuesday morning.

Have had a series of vivid dreams, including one where I was walking in a California landscape (rural San Mateo County) and saw a grizzly bear crossing the path, not far ahead of me. The bear was moving from left to right, unlike the bear in the California flag. I googled for images of grizzly bears, but none looked so much like the one in my dream as the one in the California flag. In the dream I felt terror and began to run away from the bear, although the bear wasn't threatening me. It was only crossing the path in front of me. My running away caused the bear to begin chasing me. I escaped the bear by running into a house that was some kind of institution. Later in the dream I was at a lake. A tank-like makeshift boat pulled up to the the shore and then continued to the right along the shore. The front of the boat was like that of a diesel truck. The back of the boat appeared to be Scotch-taped. Something happened inside the "institution." I spent the rest of the dream there but cannot remember anything of what happened there.

From UNATTENDED SORROW, by Stephen Levine:

As a teacher of mine once said, "The mind creates the abyss and the heart crosses it." Love is the bridge.
(p. 63)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

talking about what is not broken / thanksgiving 2008

Variations on a Theme by Rilke

(The Book of Hours, Book I, Poem 1, Stanza 1)

A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me -- a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day's blow
rang out, metallic -- or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.

(Denise Levertov)

("Emily Dickinson with Paintbrush" -- pastel drawing on paper by am from the early 1980s)

(handwritten thank you and update note from RTN while in the stroke rehab unit of the VA hospital in January 2008. Many thanks to his sister for sending it to me)

Here are some notes about a song first recorded in March of 1966:

"I think I was on the road . . . I think I wrote it in Kansas City or something, on Thanksgiving, yeah I'm pretty sure I did . . . I was invited over to somebody's house for Thanksgiving dinner but I didn't go, didn't feel like doing anything, I wasn't hungry, I stayed in my hotel room and wrote this."


Then go see Bev's beautiful clip of a Water Ouzel and a waterfall.

And "Thankful" on Loren's blog.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Last night I dreamed that I finally found a job -- harvesting carrots that were drifting in with the tide on a steep ocean beach in the winter sunshine. Some of the carrots were the size of telephone poles. Not a problem. I worked hard. I worked alone, feeling strong and healthy and useful. Grateful to be employed.

As I was going up the hill on my way home from my daily walk in Whatcom Falls Park this morning, I remembered the dream. It cheered me up.

I've felt off balance since Veteran's Day and have been experiencing two physical symptoms that show that I am feeling deep distress -- my skin itches and I have a stiff neck. My hands have been getting numb at night again, most likely the result of having been trying to increase my typing speed in hopes of being employed as a medical transcriptionist. Folly?

I'm feeling discouraged and at the same time encouraged by my funny hopeful dream.

"How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?"
(Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blue Scholars -- Back Home

"Bring 'em back home,
for my brotha's and my sista's who been gone too long we say;
Bring 'Em Back home, and I don't want to have to keep singin' this song,
We say; Bring 'em back home, for my brotha's and my sista's who been gone too long we say;
Bring 'em back home, and I dont want to have to keep singin' this song."

(with thanks to my nephew)

Sunday, November 16, 2008



Come all you starry starfish - living in the deep blue sea
Crawl to me I have a proposition to make thee
Would you walk the North Sea floor to Belgium from England
Bring me word of a Banjo Man with a tattoo on his hand

The spokesman of the starfish spoke as spokesmen should
If'n you met our fee then certainly we would
Should you cast a looking glass upon the scalloped sand
You'll have word word of this Banjo Man with the tattoo on his hand

Oh come you starry starfish - I know your ways are caped
Maybe it's because you'r astrologically shaped
Converse with the herring shoals as I know you can
Bring me word of the Banjo Man with the tattoo on his hand
The eldest of the starfish spoke after a sigh
Youthful as you are young man you have a Wisdom Eye
Surely you must know a looking glass is made from sand
These young stars are fooling you about your Banjo man

Oh come then aged starfish - riddle me no more
For news I am weary and my heart is sore
All on the silent seashore - help me if you can
Tell to me if you know of the Banjo Man

All through the seven oceans I am a star most famed
Many leggies have I lost an many have I gained
Strange to say, quite recently, I've been to Flemish land
And if you are courteous I'll tell you all I can

You have my full attention - I answered him with glee
His brother stars were twinkling in the sky above the sea
So I sat there with rapt attention on the sand
Very anxious for to hear of the Banjo Man
I have seen this tattooed hand through a ship's porthole
Steaming on the watery main through the waves so cold
Heard his tinkling banjo and his voice so grand
But you must come to Belgium to shake the tattooed hand

Gladly would I come - O gladly would I go
Had I not my work to do and my face to show
And I rejoice to hear he's well but I must go inland
Thank you for the words you brought of my Banjo Man

I walked along the evening sand as charcoal clouds did shift
Revealing the moon shining on the pebble drift
Contemplating every other word the starfish said
Whistly winds they filled my dreams in my dreaming bed
(lyrics by Donovan Leitch)

(Have been unable to download YouTube videos to my blog for awhile now)

(RTN had a tattoo on his hand. He taught me some banjo picking. I listened to this song by Donovan Leitch over and over in 1967, the year we turned 17, never knowing at that time if I would ever see RTN again)

(The watercolor, gouache and pastel image on watercolor paper was made by me around 1984 and is called "Woman with Her Hands Full.")

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008


"The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind."
(Maya Angelou)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The Infinite Goodness has such wide arms that it takes whatever turns to it.
(Dante Alighieri)

Have been studying 7 hours a day, Tuesdays through Saturdays, in hopes of being employed again in 2009. For now, there's not much time at all to post on my blog or visit other blogs. Thanks to all who have visited and continue to visit. I miss having the time to travel to my favorite blogs on a daily basis. At best, I can post and travel on Sundays and Mondays and will try for that.

(click on photo to see Oboe's whiskers and toes)