Sunday, February 28, 2010

Convos of the Like-Minded, Outside of DC

Evidence of civilization outside the District.

Anyone who has known me for awhile understands how strongly I believe America's founding fathers put a serious masonic force field around the District of Columbia, to make the capital feel more important, impenetrable, mighty. It's a force field that affects the mind - well - my mind anyway, a force field that leads me to believe somehow it's not possible to ever get out of DC. From my perch on Capitol Hill, Bethesda seems as far away as Pennsylvania, Annapolis might as well be an island out in the Atlantic.

The force field, as I perceive it, is twice as strong around old Washington City. Especially powerful is the masonic force field that encircles Capitol Hill. Sometimes it doesn't even seem possible to get to Dupont Circle because that would mean leaving the Hill. I'm telling you, masonic force fields pack a serious wallop.

But force fields of the mind, even those laid out over the landscape by the Masons, can be dispelled simply by stepping onto the Metro train like I did yesterday on my way to a party at a friend's house in Annapolis. By the time I got off the train at New Carrollton, Maryland, I was able to remember that Annapolis is not an island in the ocean but a beautiful town only forty-five minutes away from DC.

Hey, George Washington, Pierre L'Enfant, Andrew Ellicott, et. al. No matter how powerful your magic was, the truth is that not only is it possible to leave DC, but it's important for those of us living in this pressure cooker of a city to get out on a regular basis, to gather with friends, eat, talk, drink. It always does me a world of good. Oh yeah.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Policy vs. Reality

One of my clients yesterday was a soldier just back from Afghanistan. He is a beautiful, wonderful person, loving father, dedicated husband and a real warrior in the best sense of the word. He isn't just a foot soldier but isn't a general either, somewhere inbetween. His rank means he "sees action" as they say, but isn't always out there shooting at other people.

He didn't say a lot about what happened, but what I was able to surmise from what he did say stopped me dead in my tracks, derailed me from my customary world view. For instance, he told me he had pulled a muscle during what he called a "hard helicoptor landing," (one that broke the landing gear off the helicoptor, can you imagine?) He said his back still hurts because "the body armour weighs eighty pounds," so even riding around in a jeep is painful. He wasn't bragging. What he told me helped me figure out what to do once he got on the table.

I asked him if he had culture shock, my euphemism for PTSS. He said yes, when cars stop suddenly at stop signs, he reacts since that's the way suicide bombers drive. Loud noises make him jump. He isn't sleeping well. He hasn't been back all that long, so he's still adjusting. It must really be a bitch trying to act "normal" in the wake of what he has just been through.

What stopped me dead in my dogmatic tracks was his attitude about being deployed and his sense of what's happening in Afghanistan. He didn't say much, but he did say, so gently, that he believes in what he was doing there. I am an extreme pacifist, against all wars because I believe all violence begets more violence. In the case of Afghanistan, I think we have no business being there, that it's an effort in futility, that we should get out asap.

Yesterday I was confronted by someone who has actually been there - three times! - someone with firsthand experience of the situation, someone who has lost friends and colleagues. Listening to him, really listening, as well as working with him on the table, opened my mind and heart. It was so powerful.

I hold fast to my lofty ideals, all high and mighty in the sweet comfort of my luxurious American lifestyle. It's so good for me to come face to face with someone who has experienced the reality of what is, to me, policy I disagree with. That soldier made me think hard, question everything I hold dear. It's good to think, it's always good to question, to wonder. You can't imagine how grateful I am to have had this encounter.

All I can say is wow.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Three men and a pregnant lady

Today is one of those days when I really look forward to going to work. One of the neighbors, a marine who has been in Afghanistan for the past eight months (his third tour) has returned home all in one piece (thank God!) and is coming in for some bodywork. He is a really nice person, lovely actually. He's not one of those soldiers who sits at a desk; he always "sees action." I can't imagine how anyone musters the courage to do that. It will be, as it always is, an honor and a pleasure to work with him.

Another client on today's schedule is a pregnant woman whose fertility doctor told her (before she got pregnant) that her eggs were "inferior." Why would anyone say such a thing? It's rude, hurtful and demeaning - and - he was WRONG!

And I'll see a friend/client who exchanges gift certificates from his fabulous housewares store for massage, plus a neighbor who doesn't care what kind of music I play while I work on him, so we always crank up the ipod and rock out during his sessions.

It's a good day to work for so many reasons. The snow continues to melt in spite of today's howling wind and chilly temperatures. While the blustery day unfolds, my clients and I will be warm and snug, inhaling the sweet smell of essential oils, listening to music, breathing, oh yeah. Life is good and I am grateful. Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You are what you eat.

Oh yeah, spring is just about here!

At least I am. For some people, it's all about what they don't eat. I have a friend who is so allergic to peanuts that if she eats even a fragment, her throat closes and she has to jab herself in the thigh with adrenlin, so as to not die from anaphylaxic shock. I know people who are dairy-intolerant. Eating a bite of cheese gives them hideous stomach cramps and diarrea.

Let me stop right now and say THANK YOU GOD for making me so tolerant of so many kinds of food! Wow.

After eight weeks during which I ate no wheat, this morning on a whim I walked to Peregrine Espresso, drank a latte and ate an almond croissant. Just like that, I broke my wheat fast. The croissant was not especially delicious which was, I admit, kind of disappointing. Now in the aftermath I am not suffering. People with allergies to wheat told me I would feel awful if I went back to eating wheat, but so far I am having no reaction at all. I feel like I had a nice breakfast, that's all.

I remember during the 1970's when I worked my way down the food chain until I was "macro-biotic" which is I believe what veganism was called back then. I didn't do a good job of it since at the time I didn't cook. I did not combine foods to make complete proteins like you're supposed to. My strategy (not a wise one) was to basically not eat anything. I remember the day all that ended. I was on vacation visiting a friend in Monterey whose landlady was a nurse. She took one look at me, sized me up, and invited me to come have dinner with her that evening, along with the friend I was visiting. Immediately I launched into a long list of what I didn't eat: no meat, dairy, sugar, fruit juice, refined grains, bleached flour, oils, etc. etc. etc. She nodded and smiled.

At dinner, she served me a plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans slathered in butter. My jaw dropped. I stared at the food as if it had just arrived from another planet. When I looked up at her, she was gazing fixedly at me. She said, "Eat every bite." A switch flipped inside me and I did. When I tell people that story, they always ask, "Did you get sick after that meal?" Actually, I did not. After two years as a very strict non-lacto vegetarian which was for me some kind of eating disorder, all those forbidden foods tasted good; I had no reaction other than a happy sense of satisfaction.

Not eating wheat means I don't eat processed food much anymore, and that I DO eat a lot more vegetables, many more home cooked meals. I can't grab a sandwich or a slice of pizza any longer, which is a Very Good Thing. After today's wheat-fest, I'm going back to the wheat fast, not because I have to, but because it steers me in a more healthy direction. I am so lucky to be able to choose what I do and don't eat, so very lucky. A salute to my constitution and digestive system. Bravo!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stranger in a Strange Land

There were no heads on these or any of the other mannekins I saw at the mall yesterday. They used to have heads, hair, and fashionably hostile expressions on their faces. I wonder when headless mannekins became the new standard? Especially weird with the binoculars, eh?

I went to the Pentagon City shopping mall yesterday because I had to go to the Apple store to check out new computers. My beloved old G4 ibook, which still works perfectly, is so out of synch with contemporary standards of computing that I realize I have to buy a new macbook - or be left in the dust.

It's hard to say what was most harrowing about the experience: contemplating spending that much money all in one fell swoop, the idea of becoming unplugged from the internets (God forbid!), or the bizarre nature of shopping malls, maybe particularly the Pentagon City mall.

What I remember best about Don Delillo's great book White Noise was his description of the shopping mall - all the echoing voices and battling store musaks, the chrome and glass and mirrors reflecting multiple versions of the people, and the way the protagonist in the story feels like king of the universe, sending his children out to shop. Because I so rarely go to any shopping mall, whenever I have to, the experience hits me hard. I couldn't help but think of Mr. Delillo's brilliant description yesterday. He was dead on.

The idea of a 'Pentagon City' is strange, isn't it? A shopping mall named for the military hub of the U.S. is even weirder - at least to me. The Metro journey to the mall takes me past the Pentagon subway stop, a place of dense, heavy vibes that is full of billboard ads for computers that can be dropped from planes or hit by bombs without breaking. Is that a good thing? I've seen big, colorful ads boasting about the virtuosity of war planes and other weapons of mass destruction, too. The billboard I saw yesterday from the window of the train featured a desert landscape. The headline was, "They're gone before you even know they're a threat." The Metro train took off before I could make out the company logo so I have no idea what they were selling. Unnerving, though, don't you think?

After checking out all the computers, I've decided to order one through the internet. The macbook will be shipped directly to the house on Tennessee Avenue which will save me from paying the outrageous sales tax and also guarantees I do not have to return to Pentagon City Mall anytime soon. Thank God!!

The Spirit of Justice in front of the Rayburn Building. I'm glad she has a head!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Live simply, but be complicated

Melting snow is not terribly photogenic, hence this recycled pic from right after the twin blizzards.

According to the cosmology of Thomas Moore (who is responsible for the title of this post), it's OK to be complicated. It's OK to be sad, too. Being "normal" doesn't really do much for anyone except deaden the connection to the soul. Being present, according to Thomas Moore, means being aware not only of what's right in front of your face, but also hanging out with memories, hopes, worries, and the imagination, all of which accompany us every second of every day.

Almost 100% of the time, when I read his books, my head is nodding yes, yes, yes. Yesterday a friend returned his book Original Self that she had borrowed some time ago. When a borrowed book comes back to me, I tend to leaf through it, remind myself why I bought it in the first place.

My head has been nodding. Yes, yes and yes. Moore and James Hillman, and other "archtetypal psychologists" - at least that's what they used to call themselves - are very interested in human depth, more interested in soulfulness than cleverness or stability or "success" - whatever that means - in life.

It's such a relief to read someone who believes, as I do, that people are very complex, and therefore endlessly fascinating. I don't have to understand everything or maintain control over my life, according to Moore. The very idea of control is a fantasy, he says. I couldn't agree more! I'm allowed to be confused which also makes possible states of awe and wonder - as well as possibilities outside the limitations of the status quo. Splendid indeed is the multiverse of Thomas Moore. Oh yeah!

It is melting, though ... took this shot yesterday.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I had a friend in San Francisco who could feel earthquakes coming. She really could, even the little ones. We worked together at the Symphony in adjoining departments. She would stand up and shout EARTHQUAKE!! after which, sure enough, 45 seconds later, the jolts and waves became palpable to the rest of us.

Was her inner gyroscope so sensitively balanced that she could actually sense the earthquake before it got going or was it some kind of earthquake psychism? I'm more likely to believe she could smell them coming. However she did it, it was kind of miraculous.

Yesterday I felt the first minute streamings of upwards moving energy that mark springtime in Washington DC. The snow has receded enough to reveal small patches of badly mashed down grass here and there. I didn't see even a single blade of grass that had a hint of perkiness, but I felt the rising, very faintly, coming from beneath.

The Persephone myth is one of my favorites. It makes perfect sense that the ancients would imagine her, at the end of her six month visit with her husband Hades, coming up from the underworld, bringing spring with her. In winter here in the American midatlantic, the life force recedes to somewhere deep underground. The stillness in winter here is exquisitely perfect. As the daylight lengthens, life force energy once again emerges, slowly and tentatively at first like the Munchkins after Dorothy arrives, later full blast, like ... like Old Faithful.

What I'm thinking this morning is that since my timing is so pathetic, it's a good thing I've learned to pay attention. Observing the shift of the season is all I need in order to get in alignment with what's happening.

Something is definitely happening. Spring is just around the corner. Oh yeah!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rhythmically Challenged

Red light

Timing is everything. OK, not everything. Actually, dark matter is almost everything (or about 96% of the known universe, say the scientists who measure these things). Though, that said, dark matter, like every other physical thing, travels through time. So timing, while not everything, is pretty damn important.

You see what happens when I sit around ruminating too much? Sheesh.

My timing has never been that great. I've quit various people, jobs, cities and experiences just before something really great was about to happen. Or I've persevered in situations long after they passed their expiration date. There's such a gracefulness to knowing when to keep going, when to stop. It's a gracefulness that escapes me, that's for sure.

I can't tell a joke because of my faulty rhythm. I can remember the words, of course. I remember them exactly - but my delivery lacks that je ne sais quoi of great timing, hence when I tell a joke, people mostly blink, perhaps frown slightly and stare at me, expecting something more.

Poets and actors have great timing. And of course anyone involved in music had better be tuned in to the cosmic rhythms, or else.

I wonder if good timing has a genetic basis; if so, my DNA has a big ole blank spot where the rhythm should be. Hmmm .... Right now I'm thinking about the turning of the seasons and how to shamanically align myself with the coming of spring. Spring is a time of upswelling energy. Just like the bulb flowers and cherry trees, I would like to do some dignified, mid-life blossoming this year. But, even thinking about spring energy is premature, isn't it? It's still February for heaven's sake, and though the snow is slowly trickling down the gutters, and the angle of bright sunlight climbs higher in the sky each day, there's not a trace of upswelling energy - not yet. How can I get into alignment with something that hasn't happened yet? See? My timing sucks. Oh well.

Green light (I know, it looks blue. Don't know why.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Predictions: a CRAZY spring

On the counter at Peregrine Espresso yesterday.

The twin blizzard snow is melting - kind of perfectly in fact. Lots of sunshine the past few days, in addition to temperatures of around 40 F. have brought about a nice, leisurely melt, a good thing for everyone. A slow melt means that the streets don't turn into slushy ice swamps, and it's good for the rivers, too, since people pour salt and toxic chemicals on the snow which eventually get washed out into the Potomac and Anacostia. The rivers are better able to accommodate a slow accumulation of poisons, so this slow melt is just right.

The only people who are still really bitching about the snow are those who like to drive around in their cars all the time. The truth is, after two weeks of unplowed streets, it's clear (at least to me) that most people really don't need a full time car. We could live well on Capitol Hill with half the number of current cars. Just sayin'.

Last week the idea of spring was surreal. This week I'm beginning to understand that it is indeed on its way. Within the month, the trees will pop, the bulbs will burst out of the ground. I predict that people here will be even more spring crazy than usual after our wonderful, snowy winter. I think the bulb flowers will be beautiful (they like a good winter) and the cherries? Oh man.

We've got a ways to go, but at last this week I can understand that spring is on its way. Oh yeah!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lessons Learned

I had a blog before this blog, way back in the prehistoric age of blogging six or seven years ago. Blogging was new to me, so it isn't surprising that I made so many ethical mistakes on that blog. I used the blog, in part, to work through my split with the path of wiccan spirituality I had been a part of, so I did a lot of spleen venting there. Ahhh the finger pointing and accusations, ahhh the criticisms. It was - at times - quite intense.

My blog family from that time consisted of people who were also brand new to blogging. We had to all learn, the hard way, not to name names, what was OK to mention in blog posts and what wasn't. We learned quickly (at least I did) that it was very hurtful to be criticized by other bloggers, that it was too revealing to be named publicly, etc. There was definitely an "in crowd" in my blog family at that time so hence a lot of It-Blogger name dropping, i.e. "at lunch the other day with DC Cookie ..." etc. I don't think anyone in my current blog family makes these mistakes. I love my current blog family! Thank you all!

One thing I really love about blogging is that there are no rules, no overlords censoring what gets published, so we have to learn for ourselves through a journey of discovery individually and collectively, what is ethically OK and what isn't. I'm not the only blogger from that era who regularly had to take down entire posts because they were hurtful or offensive to other bloggers.

When I closed the old blog and began this one, I believed I had worked through all the ethical dilemmas of blogging, but I was wrong. Yesterday I inadvertently offended a Really Famous Blogger by assuming she wrote but did not read other blogs; that assumption based entirely on an article she wrote for the NYTimes a couple of years ago. Because I couldn't find a way to contact her directly, I will apologize here: Emily Gould, I am so sorry I treated you as a metaphor instead of a real person. Lesson learned!

Ethics here and everywhere is an ongoing process. Man ... that was interesting!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Will to Blog - please explain!

From my ex-blogger friend's tumblr page:

The will to blog is a complicated thing, somewhere between inspiration and compulsion. It can feel almost like a biological impulse. You see something, or an idea occurs to you, and you have to share it with the Internet as soon as possible. What I didn’t realize was that those ideas and that urgency — and the sense of self-importance that made me think anyone would be interested in hearing what went on in my head — could just disappear.

Emily Gould - Exposed - Blog-Post Confidential

This is a great article for anyone who has (or has had) a personal blog. I certainly never experienced with my old blog (nicolasix) the kind of exposure she did from her blog and her time at Gawker. So I admit it seems kind of silly that I should relate to this. But in maintaining my blog over the years, I nevertheless wound up feeling nearly all of the same emotions and conflicts she describes. And it’s comforting to hear that somebody who has had such “success” with blogging (as opposed to remaining in relative obscurity) has struggled with the same things.

The text in the first paragraph comes from a TEN PAGE article in the New York Times (link available on the Notsolinear page, linked above). The second paragraph was written by an ex-blogger friend, someone I know personally. He's a doll. Even though he's no longer into blogging we stay in touch on FB, have a drink or two or three whenever he's in DC.

I don't know about all of you, but I wasn't able to relate to much of what was written about Ms. Gould's blog. I have definitely felt inspired by blogging, almost entirely from what I read on other people's blogs rather than by my own posts. My thoughts were already inside my head, so writing them down as blog posts is actually not inspiring. But reading other blogs, reading what people who comment on my blog are thinking about? Now that's deeply inspirational! I love all our different points of view coming from all our different experiences. I love the things we have in common, too, no matter where we live or what age we are or how our lives are shaped. The synchronicity factor among blog friends is really cool, don't you think so?

Ms. Gould's sense of urgency/compulsiveness is also something I don't relate to. I know I post almost every day, but I also brush my teeth every day. I meditate every day. I put on clothes every day. Are those compulsive activities? Doesn't ring true for me anyway.

It must be hard work for bloggers who post but do not read other blogs; too much information going out into the internets, but nothing coming back in? Sounds lonely to me; no wonder she burned out. It's ironic, at least to me, that I have never heard of Emily Gould. As popular as her blog allegedly was, it wasn't big enough to include me.

There's no way I could feel more grateful for my blog friends and family, especially after reading this honkin' hulkin' NY Times article. Blogging is for readers as well as writers. It is a social network, yes, but I also think of this space as a gathering place for photographers, artists and writers, a twenty-first century salon. It is not a place for the impatient, not a great application for those with fractured attention spans. We write, yes, but we read, too. We even read BOOKS here within this blog family, entire books. No wonder I can't relate to Ms. Gould.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Par-tay Day

I went to Mardi Gras once, long ago at the end of high school. Drove down to New Orleans from Kansas City with my at-the-time boyfriend. We were young, stupid and blinded by drugs, as well as depressed by that long drive south through Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana en route. During the 1960's, the south was a truly frightening place, a sad landscape.

What I remember about Mardi Gras is vague. It was loud, as I remember. Colorful and crowded. The more drugs I did and the more I drank, the less I liked the scene. Finally after a big argument, my boyfriend and I got back in the car and drove home. Pfffft.

Fast forward twenty years to when I went to Carnival in Trinidad with my at-the-time husband. Now THAT was a blast. Colorful, crowded and LOUD beyond belief, Carnival in Port of Spain was so much fun. I was not doing any drugs, sipping rum drinks, yes, but not overindulging. That helped a lot. I love steel drum music and calypso music, so that helped me enjoy myself, too. We bought coconuts and roti from street vendors, walked for miles, attended the calypso monarch contest, and danced our asses off, just like everyone around us. It took me a week to catch up on sleep, but was well worth it. I cherish that memory.

Mardi Gras is never a big deal in Washington DC, especially this year. That's OK by me. Still, I wish anyone who celebrates a rowdy Mardi Gras. Put on your costumes, let your neck hang heavy with beads, eat a po' boy or two, oh yeah!! Cheers!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Snow Queen

In the evening, when little Kay was at home, and half undressed, he climbed up on the chair by the window, and peeped out of the little hole [made by a warm penny pressed against the frozen glass]. A few snow-flakes were falling, and one, the largest of all, remained lying on the edge of a flower-pot.

The flake of snow grew larger and larger; and at last it was like a young lady, dressed in the finest white gauze, made of a million little flakes like stars. She was so beautiful and delicate, but she was of ice, of dazzling, sparkling ice; yet she lived; her eyes gazed fixedly, like two stars; but there was neither quiet nor repose in them. She nodded towards the window, and beckoned with her hand. The little boy was frightened, and jumped down from the chair; it seemed to him as if, at the same moment, a large bird flew past the window.

--from The Snow Queen by Hans Christien Andersen

We won't be getting another three feet of snow, but between 1" and 5" tonight or tomorrow. I am in awe. All this snow - wow.

What to do? Get the shovel ready again? Squint up into the sky? Shake my fist?

Nah. Instead, I decided to re-read The Snow Queen. When I picked up the volume of Andersen fairytales, the book opened automatically to that story. I've read it so many times. Gerda, the heroine, is young and completely innocent. She cries all the time, gets scared, but never gives up. I love that! Every major role in the story, including the villain and all the people who help Gerda, are women, and we aren't talking sweet, lovely stereotypes, oh no. Witches, shamans, little robber girls - oh yeah - these are some high powered female characters. The only male presences, in fact, are Kay, the little boy who gets kidnapped by the Snow Queen, a young prince (who by the way does NOT marry Gerda), and two animals, the reindeer and the crow, who help Gerda with her quest.

Oh snow gods I bow deeply before you! More snow? OK. If snow in the forecast guides me to read The Snow Queen, then it can't be all bad. More snow?? Why not? Bring it on. Yeah.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cupid's Revenge

Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy your chocolate, snuggle up with your lover or partner or husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, yes? I say YES.

Mid-February is a great time to celebrate a holiday of love. Love generates heat and energy, both of which are much needed at this time of year if you live in the northern hemisphere. As cold and snowy as February can be, it is the very beginning of spring mating season for birds, sheep, goats and other animals. Because we humans are also animals, we catch the vibe, too. Oh yeah.

Romance has never been my best thing, sadly. I was good at falling in love, once upon a time, but never great at staying in love. That idea of "till death do us part"? I never got it. I was unable to promise to be monogamous, even in marriage. Oh dear how those hormones bedeviled me! Yikes.

Now, in middle age, it's quite likely that I could be a really solid and serious partner, though given my advanced age of 57 (!!) it's quite likely I'll never get a chance to try. Hey. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, not at all. What I'm actually feeling today is a sweet tenderness for all of you out there who somehow were able to mate and stay mated. I salute you all! Bravo and brava!!

A toast to love! Cheers!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


There are good birthdays, bad birthdays, and every kind of mediocre birthday. Lord knows, I've had plenty of all of the above. I've heard the song, made the wish, blown out the candles so many times, or so it seems.

Fifty-seven years ago, the day I was born, it was Chinese New Year's Eve, just like today, though in 1953 it was new year's eve of the year of the Dragon. I was born four hours before a solar eclipse, when the dark moon was at its very darkest, and the lunar nodes aligned exactly with the moon and sun. It was Friday the 13th, too. What a day!

My mother could not have been having the best time; my father was hospitalized with a torn Achilles tendon and therefore not working. Of course he would be treated differently now for the same ailment, but in the '50's, who knows what they did? There was no such thing as sports medicine then. McCarthyism was the toxic political movement of that time, the Tea Party Activists of the 1950's. Both my parents were politically active liberals and suspected Communists, hence it was hard for them to find work. I was their third child, so there were many mouths to feed. I'm guessing my mother was worried that day. Who wouldn't be?

It was a brutal era for childbirth. I'm certain my mother was strapped down, flat on her back, and drugged out of her mind. (One of my many unsubstantiated theories is that the Baby Boomers got into hallucinogens so intensely because all of us were drugged at birth. As adolescents and young adults, we sought the solace of the womb through marijuana and LSD. ... Makes sense to me.)

Dr. Grey, the attending physician, did not resort to yanking me out of my mother with tongs, even though it was a common practice back then. Thank you, Dr. Grey, wherever you are. And thank YOU, Elizabeth, my dear mother, for bringing me into the world. I know it wasn't easy, and I know I was never easy. Thank you, thank you, wherever you are, too!

Ah - but that was then and this is now. Who says the "good old days" were better than now?? I am healthy, hearty, and mostly good humored at age 57. I am not ashamed of my age; quite the contrary, I am impressed I'm still here. I like my silver hair and feel more comfortable in my middle-aged body than I ever did as a hormone-riddled younger person. My personality is better suited to an older body. I have arrived!

Today I will work a little bit, read tarot for customers at my roommate's card/gift shop this afternoon, then have dinner with my roommates tonight. Life is good and I am grateful.

Another year bites the dust. L'chaim, y'all!

Drago, one of the 88 constellations and my Chinese astrological sign.

Friday, February 12, 2010


It's interesting that during our double blizzard, people did not build snow citizens as they usually do, but instead, they created shelters, igloos and forts. Seems so right.

Brother Sun is so powerful, wow. He was out in full force yesterday, gazing down at all the snow. Also, the ambient temperature rose to almost 40 F, well above freezing. And the snow began to melt. I wasn't at work for very long, but the change in the altitude of the snow mountains was clearly visible when I walked across the street on my way home. Brother Sun, I salute you! Wow.

Melting snow and reflections on C Street SE by Eastern Market.

Before I went to work I took a nice walk down to Eastern Market. We human beings are so predictable - everyone was smiling, radiating his/her own version of sunlight. We can't help but dance in shamanic alignment with the weather; it's how we're wired.

Human exuberance was as palpable as the aqua dazzle which turned my mind to spring. My forecast is that spring will be extra wild after the cold, snowy winter. This is as it should be - a real winter followed by an extra crazy spring. All is right with the world. Amen.

Snow mountains at Eastern Market, a man drinking what I thought was milk, but the sharp-eyed NanU pointed out is really a Coke.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Enough is Enough

The sun is shining this morning. I feel like Noah when the dove came back to the ark with an olive branch in its beak. So it really isn't going to snow forever! Miraculous. Hallelujah!!

In a little while I will put on my LL Bean lined jeans, pull wool socks up to my knees, get into my ugly waterproof shoes and go take a walk in the aqua dazzle. I need light and air, I need to connect with the frozen dessert of a landscape that is Washington DC. I've got cabin fever, people, I do!

We had a nice peaceful blizzard day yesterday. Not by plan but simply because it worked out that way, each member of the household settled into a place in the house away from each other. We read, cooked (one at a time), turned wood on the lathe, read blogs, that sort of thing. During the afternoon we each enjoyed just one perfect screwdriver, shaken in the cocktail shaker with fresh orange juice. It was not a big par-tay day. Instead, it was a peaceful day of retreat.

I think we surrendered to the storm, each of us in our own way understanding that any other strategy was futile. But today the sun is shining. GET ME OUTTA HERE!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Make it stop

If I still lived in Tahoe, or if I was a citizen of Vail, Denver, Bozeman, Minneapolis, Chicago, Oshkosh, Cleveland, Boston, or Buffalo, this would be completely normal. Those cities are prepared for blizzards; everyone knows how to deal with them. Here? We are the city of flip-flop wearing, bike riding, summer people. We know how to navigate through the crushing humidity of our summers (so hard to imagine right now) but this? - yet another huge blizzard? We are flummoxed.

At least I am.

DC's snow removal equipment is ancient and rusty. Much of it doesn't even work, so there is no way they can clear the streets. It just isn't going to happen. So we're stuck, housebound again today.

We're going to watch Pan's Labyrinth in blueray this afternoon. I'm re-thinking the snowtini idea; maybe I was just encouraging the weather gods to let loose. For today I'm going to make lemon drops - just as potent but the lemon will be a metaphor for sunlight shining into today's blizzard. We'll play a Scrabble-like game called Bananas (as we did last night). We will take it easy with each other today, because our moods are not completely cheerful.

What does not kill us makes us stronger. Or so they say.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who knows?

According to the cosmology of Reya, weather is the emotional body of the Earth. Though there are general currents and flows to the weather, you know, rainy seasons, winter and summer, etc. the specifics of how these seasons and currents unfold is almost always unpredictable, similar to the complexities of human emotions.

Though we might know we're generally cheerful or moody, our own emotions can change on a dime, sometimes for no discernable reason. I believe that's why we value our rational function. It makes sense whereas our emotions are completely crazy.

As far as the emotional body of the earth, even the Farmers Almanac doesn't always get what's about to happen, even the woolly caterpillars and fluffy squirrel nests and gigantic rosehips are sometimes wrong (though the green world and non-human animal world is often closer to the mark than the smartest meteorological minds.)

Sometimes we guess right, but still it's hard to say why a certain winter is colder than others or why in one winter there will be so much snow in - say - Washington DC when my powerful and wounded city hasn't seen a real snow in years.

I know, it's El Nino out in the Pacific that's causing our crazy winter. OK. But what caused El Nino? And - how come NYC isn't part of the pattern? This is a watery planet and I know that the conditions in the oceans create large parts of the weather, but it doesn't account for everything. It's like saying you're in a bad mood because of PMS. Yes - and no. Sometimes the PMS and the resulting crankiness is better, sometimes worse.

Earth is not an even-tempered planet. She gets in moods, she does. Or maybe I could blame the weather gods for this onslaught of snow. Do you think? I know I will have plenty of time to think about it since tonight and tomorrow we are going to receive yet another foot plus of snow. I was in denial yesterday but this morning it is overcast and smells of the white stuff.

Maybe the weather gods would like cooler heads to prevail in DC, hence all the snow. I like that rationalization, oh yeah. What do you think?

Monday, February 8, 2010


Thirteenth Street NE where it crosses Tenneessee, just north of Constitution Avenue, at 10 a.m. yesterday.

The sunshine yesterday turned the landscape into an aqua-white, sparkling, sculptural environment, the likes of which I have never seen since I've been here. Snow looks white, but in sunlight, it's aqua. I checked even without my sunglasses (that was painful!) to make sure it wasn't the shades. Nope. Snow in sunlight is aqua.

I didn't notice anyone's mood heading south yesterday. Why is it that I continually forget how intrepid DC citizens are? They play the hand they are dealt, always, even when they don't like it. I saw a few people driving around, perhaps just to show that they could. Or maybe they're so used to driving around that they couldn't stand to let the whole day pass without getting behind the wheel.

A client and her husband built a gigantic, authentic igloo in Lincoln Park that I'm going to go take pictures of in a minute. How cool is that? Somehow they had on hand a saw that cuts snow, at an angle, so the blocks fit together perfectly, creating igloo structural integrity. Of course such a thing has to exist, but I'd never thought about it before.

I had a busy day working with shoulders aching from all the shoveling and igloo building, a great day. Today will be just as busy. The mood in the house here on Tennessee remains convivial. The camaraderie continues! Sweet.

Our front yard yesterday a.m.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Wow. What an event! The snowstorm has at last finished its reign over the midatlantic. Those of us left in its wake are in awe, restless (because house bound) and wondering how long we'll have to contend with these huge amounts of white stuff.

The initial stages of any big natural event are awe-inspiring. Snow is beautiful, unlike floods or big fires, hurricanes or tornadoes, hence most of the people I saw yesterday were really happy to be out, slipping, sliding, and at times plunging knee deep into it. There were huge snowball fights at Dupont Circle as well as in Lincoln Park yesterday. People went sledding on the Capitol grounds even though they aren't suppoosed to. It was a convivial scene.

Today is very cold so the snow will now be hard, icy and sharp. Many people are without power which means many will not be able to watch the Superbowl and that's not a happy thing for we privileged Americans. I expect tempers might begin to flare today in households all over DC which is one great reason to go to work. Three of my clients have not cancelled, so I'll be busy, a Very Good Thing.

The camaraderie that is typical immediately following a natural event will no doubt begin to fade sometime today as it dawns on folks that the 2 feet of snow outside (looks like 4 or 5 feet because of drifts and piles made from shoveling) is not going to disappear magically in the next few days.

I hope I'm wrong about that! We shall see.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow, No Vodka

Taken around midnight last night. It has snowed a lot since then.

I am in awe of nature. I am. I am in awe of our busy atmosphere swirling and moving around us and above us - and in us every time we breathe. I am thunderstruck with amazement at the way the oceans get mixed up with the sky and then somehow, miraculously fall back to earth as small six sided crystals.

The snow continues to fall. It is truly incredible.

My plans for today include trudging through the white stuff to take pictures, shoveling, of course. I'll also spend a lot of time today metabolizing all the wine I drank while we played Tripoli with the neighbors last night. Somehow, I was on a winning streak, something that never happens to me. Winning is fun, who knew?

OK. A little bit too much fun, perhaps. Today I'm paying the price, but I'm not remorseful. I see why people who live in Russia drink so much and I also now understand, for the first time in my life, why people like to play games. I get it.

Friday, February 5, 2010


They say it's going to be one of the top five snowstorms in recorded history here in DC - predictions range from 20-24" which is a LOT of snow for the midatlantic. I saw on the news last night a bunch of pictures of empty shelves at supermarkets; I guess when we see a big one like this coming, the appropriate response, for southerners living at sea level, at least, is panic.

I have four items on my last minute shopping list for today: chocolate, coffee beans, wine and leeks (for potato leek soup). Naturally I toyed with the idea of more snow martinis, but considering the probability that the snow could fall for 48 hours, I think that could result in a legendary hangover I believe I can live without. Wine and chocolate should provide all the intoxication I need. Oh and coffee, of course. Of course.

We're assembling a list of possible activities to keep us amused here in the house on Tennessee Avenue tomorrow. We're going to play WII with the neighbors, so that should keep us occupied for awhile. One of my personal goals is to read every blog on the sidebar, catch up with all my favorite bloggers. That could take nearly 48 hours since I read so many blogs. What else? Chess? Board games? Make-do karaoke? Ideas anyone?

One thing I know we'll be busy doing is shoveling. When they say two feet of snow what it looks like to my eye is three feet of snow. I will photodocument, I promise.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Lost Art of Aging Gracefully

In Nora Ephron's best-selling book, 'I Feel Bad About My Neck,' she laments the sorry state of her 60-something neck: "Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to if it had a neck," she writes.

The above comes from an article on aging gracefully published on WebMD. All the sites I looked at on this topic (until I got depressed and stopped researching) are based on the assumption that everyone should try as hard as possible to "delay" aging. What does that mean? Time marches on whether we like it or not, yes? So what it really means is, "pretend not to age." Right? Am I missing something here?

If you start with the assumption that aging can be delayed, then it's no wonder all these sites, even the allegedly medical sites, are full of clumsy anecdotes about people who are trying to slam on the brakes, or dig in their heels - and who - OF COURSE - can't. Hence the pathetic stories full of self-loathing awkwardness. There is no grace in that strategy, yet it is promoted, over and over again. What is up with that?

Me? I think aging gracefully is all about accepting the relentless forward moving arrow of time, being OK with that. To me living gracefully at any age requires cultivating qualities that help during every stage of life: an open mind, self compassion laced with humor and light heartedness. I'm not talking about the heavy handed humor of Nora Ephron, oh no. (The article goes on to explain she has used botox and other harsh procedures on her face which probably means she looks really weird. No wonder she's so bitter.)

My question is, where's the line between aging gracefully and "letting yourself go?" In fact, what does it mean to "let yourself go?" A friend suggested it's all about self care - you must eat well and exercise. I think there's a grooming component, too. I'm thinking about people who stop getting nice haircuts, who completely give up on make up (what? not even a little lipstick?) or stop bathing regularly. I think that constitutes "letting yourself go." Also should add, I think people of any age can "let themselves go."

But what do you think? Any theories or opinions?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Real Winter

We had more snow last night! And we're supposed to get snow over the weekend. Wow! This is more snow than I've seen the entire time I've lived in DC. I love it! Snow is pure and clean, photogenic, so cheerful compared to what we would usually be seeing: dreary rain falling on a greyish, muddy landscape. Snow makes everything look lacy and delicate and sculptural. I am a fan of snow.

Please remember that I don't have to drive or commute, that I have waterproof boots and good winter clothing. And I like to shovel. If my situation was different, I might not be so entranced.

As it is, this beautiful snowy winter is just one more thing I like about 2010. Oh yeah!