Thursday, May 27, 2010

Milk Bones

Today, as I drove back from lunch, a falcon flew across the road just in front of my car, a white mouse in its beak.

For a moment, because I was feeling preoccupied with my life's little dramas, I wondered if it was some sort of omen, a metaphor for something. And then, only half seriously, whether in that metaphor I would be the falcon or the mouse :-)

Tonight as I walked my dog, the nice old lady who sits on her porch and talks to the passersby called to me. She lives alone. Her children live far away and her husband died years ago. "I have water for the dogs," she said, "And Milk Bones." She doesn't have a dog.

I walked up her driveway to chat a minute, and to my surprise my finicky dog not only accepted the Milk Bone but laid her head affectionately in the old woman's lap.

"A robin built a nest outside my back door," the woman told me. "Between the two lights. One of the baby birds was flapping, flapping, flapping its little wings, and it fell out of the nest, onto the patio. I watched it, just lying there, trying so hard to fly. Its little legs were like sticks, but with the mother's help, it crawled away under the bushes.

"The mother will take care of it. As long as no critter finds it, it will be all right."

"Life is a struggle," she said. "From the moment you're born." She smiled and shrugged as if to say there was no help for it.

As I walked away, she called to another neighbor, and I saw that woman head up the driveway to chat a moment.

At home my roses have burst into glorious pink blossoms. The hydrangea, planted three years ago, has finally put forth some buds -- hundreds of them. And the little peony managed a second bloom.

The cat lolled in the driveway, and the dog lay down in the thick grass nearby. It was a perfect late-spring night. I let go of the things that had been bothering me and just let the beauty of the evening soak in.

We all have our struggles. Sometimes we're the falcon, sometimes the mouse. Sometimes we're the baby robin, flapping desperately just to stay alive.

Sometimes we're the person left all alone, through no real fault of our own.

There's no help for it. We can sit inside our empty houses, letting life pass us by, or we can buy a box of Milk Bones and set out a dish of water.

When given the choice, choose the Milk Bones.

The peony's second effort. Hard to believe this is the same plant as the one below.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Redemption Cakes: An Allegory of Tastiness

In anticipation of the "Lost" finale last night, I made some special treats:

 Cupcakes that were half angel food-half devil's food, topped by an "ocean" of blue cream cheese frosting and a Reeses' cup "island."

I'm still processing the show, but the cupcakes were heavenly.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nature vs. nurture

This is me with my two older sisters, visiting the Florida Keys.

Is it any wonder I have no fashion sense?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Synchronicity II

I'm starting to wonder if the converse of the post below is that when you're off track, the universe keeps whopping you upside the head until you get the message.

It might explain a lot ...


Last week I read a wonderful article in O Magazine by Martha Beck. I think almost everything Beck writes is wonderful, but this one struck a chord with me. It was about using visualization, particularly vision boards, to make your dreams come true.

Beck admits, as do I, that the idea seems hokey. But she also says it works. (I’ve been a believer ever since the book Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain wrought huge changes in my life a decade or so ago.)

The idea is that once you commit fully to an idea, and form it completely in your mind, it seems to find its way to you – sometimes in surprising ways.

Last night I had coffee with my friend Whitney. She’s an immensely talented writer who not all that long ago decided to commit herself fully to making her writing dreams come true. She’s been doing the work and taking big steps in the right direction.

And the universe has responded with some pretty amazing encouragement.

I told her these gifts – seemingly out of the blue – mean that she’s on the right track, that when you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, the path seems to clear for you.

I haven’t seen a ton of that for myself lately, but I realize it’s because I haven’t fully committed. I’ve been hanging back, letting my fears restrain me from genuinely trying for what I want.

In the last few weeks I’ve been downright stuck.

But when I left Whitney last night I felt energized, and more committed than ever to my own writing and my own dreams.

Then this a.m., I received an email with this quote:

"Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become.
Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be;
your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil."
                                                       – James Allen

Maybe the universe is encouraging me, too.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Two summers ago I bought a peony. Not a full plant, just one of those sad plastic bags that contain a root and a handful of soil. It was a whim -- had I been thinking more clearly I would have just gone to the nursery and bought a big, healthy plant. But I fell victim to the gorgeous picture on the bag, and I grabbed it up.

I brought it home and planted it, and lo and behold, it eventually emerged from the ground. I was very excited. That is, until my neighbor's teenage son stood in our flowerbed to trim the bushes that were reaching over from their side of the fence. I'm sure he never even noticed the tiny thing just an inch or so high, and it was demolished.

The next spring, though, it poked its head out again. It lived! I nearly cried when I saw it. And then I got the numb-brained idea to move it to a "better spot" in the same flower bed. I dug it up and moved it, realizing too late that I'd made a big mistake. At the hands of my mistreatment, the poor thing vanished again.

I was sure I'd finally done it in for good.

This year, though, it emerged yet again, and, with no interference from silly humans, it put out its first bloom.

I'm so glad it did.

It smells as wonderful as it looks.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blame it on the wind

Remember when we were kids and dandelions meant, 

  not a blight on our perfect suburban lawns,

but an opportunity for wishing? 

Go ahead, make a wish and blow the seeds away, just this once.

And when all those dandelions come up next year it will be, not defeat, but a proliferation of wishes.
(Just don't tell the neighbors it was you.)

What are you wishing for?