Monday, December 31, 2012

while recognizing...

that our time on Earth is full of discord, confrontation, and irritation. Also loneliness, grief, and shame.

It's supposed to be that way, right? That's why we're here. To learn to deal with all that. Acknowledge, live with, integrate, and embrace it. Transcend.

Yeah, working on that.


so happy ...

to share this time and place with you.

Let's work together to create peace, love, and harmony.


Wishing you a transformative, challenging, interesting 2013. Hey, that's why we're here, right? If everything were all unicorns, rainbows, and glitter, then we'd be on The Other Side. This is Earth, live it up!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Roasted peppers

are big in New Mexico.

Unfortunately, didn't get to try them there, as every restaurant I went to cooked them in lard or added meat.

So I came home and roasted peppers. I've roasted peppers before, and they're OK, they're good. What's the big deal?

Yesterday something happened. I put some sliced red peppers in the oven, 425 degrees. Then I got engrossed in a puzzle. A jigsaw puzzle, 1000 pieces, artist's rendition of The House of the Seven Gables. Such an old lady thing to do, I know.

I used to love to work on jigsaw puzzles with my mother-in-law. She had one going all the time. So peaceful, doing puzzles with her.

Well, I hadn't done one in years. Then at the nursing home with students, I started to get sucked in to the puzzles, always set up in the common room. I mean, I didn't neglect my duties, but at odd moments I'd stop an put in a piece or two.

So I bought myself this puzzle. Something to do over the holiday break. I spread it out on my kitchen floor and did yoga poses as I searched for pieces. I was completely obsessed; hours melted away as I plunked in pieces.

What does this have to do with peppers? Oh, yeah. They burned. I was so absorbed in the puzzle, I forgot about the peppers for a bit and when I went to check them they were black on the edges and stuck black to the bottom of the roasting pan. I scraped them out, disappointed and hungry. Nibbled one. It was good.

They caramelized like long-cooked onions. The burned peppers were deliciously transformed, incredibly sweet.

Oh. Roasted peppers. I get it.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tao & Longevity

by Huai-Chin Nan...

is the book my sister gave me for Christmas. It's about meditation, a bestseller in China. Started it, very good. Will update you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

8 car accidents

Saw 8 car accidents today, Christmas Day. 7 were on turnpike, 1 on highway. Saw lots of tow trucks, no ambulances.

Looked like people slid off the road. It was snowing hard, temp right around 30 degrees.

I drove south to pick up my son, brought him to my house for several hours, then took him north. It was wonderful to have him here, pure joy, actually. We ate some food and exchanged gifts. We ate current/fennel crusty bread with vegie cream cheese and Eskimo-produced wild caught and smoked salmon. Also peppadews, pickles, and olives. And eggplant hummus. I made tea. He brought cookies; he made the cookies! Gingerbread, no-bakes, and linzer-torte cookies. A man drove by the house on a snowmobile as we celebrated the holiday. A snowmobile, right on the street. The snow was coming down pretty good right then.

Drive carefully, people, so we can have lovely times with family. Thank you.

Christmas morning meditation

I'm up early, the sun just rising now- spreading a pink-orange light through lavender-grey clouds. It's cold out. Frosty.

Been thinking about how much I love to be in a meditative state. I don't usually sit cross-legged on a pillow, eyes closed. Instead I get there during Reiki and yoga. Realized that's one of my favorite things about Reiki and yoga.

Reiki: I go deep, losing sense of my body, time & space. I open my eyes periodically to check on the client: safe, warm, & comfortable? Yeah. Close my eyes and go back to nowhere, nothingness. I love it there.

Yoga is similar. I close my eyes, breathe, and move. Part of my mind listens to the teacher's instructions, and follows the familiar instructions, moving into the familiar asanas. Move, breathe, stretch, breathe, adjust: repeat. My mind is quiet. I focus on muscles and breath; mind is blissfully quiet.

I don't care if the asanas are perfect. I do the best I can, striving for alignment, grace, and stretch. I don't need to be perfect, I just want my mind gone ~ for the moment.

When my mind is quiet my spirit comes alive. I feel peace, connection, and love. Sometimes here are visions of cosmology, loved ones, or symbols.

Meditation. Been there? Nice place to be.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Reiki Nurse goes international: recent sales noted in Spain and Germany.

More Reiki light around our Earth.

Merry Christmas Eve, dear readers. 

Occupy Joy

Occupy Reiki.
Tune in to joy.
Settle down in peace.

on the flipside

Having second thoughts about that whole pocket-sized nuclear weapon idea.

Got another idea.

How about Reiki and yoga for every teacher? Every staff member, principal, and every student. Teach peace, love, and connection. Teach meditation, therapeutic communication, and negotiation. Teach detachment from the 3rd dimension sense of isolation and emotions like envy, resentment, and rage. Step back from negativity.

Tune in to joy.

Be a conduit for joy.

Yeah, teach that. Arm teachers with love.

NRA- guns in school

Fab idea. Marvy. Sure, why not? Keep everyone safe and all that.

All teachers should take gun classes and carry a rifle. Or handgun. Automatic assault weapon.

Why stop there? Staff and principals too. And what about the kids? Yeah, they should have guns too. Just give everyone a gun. You get mad, POW. You see someone shooting, POW POW.

But wait, maybe guns aren't enough. How about grenades. Do they make pocket-sized nuclear weapons? Yeah, how about that. Welcome to kindergarten. Here's your own personal nuclear weapon. You feel threatened, see someone with a gun, toss this and duck.

Yeah, that's what we need. More weapons, more angry conflicted people, more fear. Great solution, NRA.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Stretched out and back like a rubber band. Be here, nowhere else. Just breathe, just be.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

too busy to blog

Syllabi, tests, Moodle & Blackboard pages, booklists;

Holiday parties, cards, shopping & wrapping;

Reiki & yoga:

Just breathe.

Monday, December 17, 2012

give a book

for Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa.

There's still time. Just click on the book covers to the right.

Merry Christmas from Maine.


First big snow of the season. Flakes are swirling, piling, and drifting.

I scooped the driveway, deck, and steps. Now sipping tea, enjoying the white stillness.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

a search for meaning

In difficult times I remind myself to stay centered, stay calm, and search for the spiritual meaning.

We count on the natural progression of life: birth, school, love, work, children and grandchildren, continual learning, retirement, review, and finally- after a full and rewarding life - - a gentle death.

That doesn't always happen. Sometimes people die violently, young people, children: that's shocking and upsetting. And what possible spiritual meaning could there be in that situation?

We mourn now for the families in Connecticut. Why did this happen? How can we bear it? What are we supposed to do about it?

For now, let's just stop. Sit. Listen.

Listen to the snow fall. Listen to your loved ones breathe. Listen for answers from your heart. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

gas gauge

Here's a weird thing. The gas gauge on my car works, but the illumination does not. At night, with headlights on, I can't see the gas gauge. I was told that it would be difficult to fix; one would have to dismantle the dashboard: time consuming and thus costly.

It's been this way for probably two years.

Last night it worked. I drove at night, an hour north for a meeting. The gas gauge was illuminated. How beautiful it was.

After the meeting I got back in the car to drive home. No illumination.

Except for the stars, those shooting stars, those long slow trails of light. But no light over the gas gauge. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

6 shooting stars

and a deer. That's what I saw on my way home tonight.

The first one was cool, but after the third I suspected that I was hallucinating. I pulled off the road to look at the sky and saw three more. Evidently it's the Geminid meteor shower.

The deer I saw once I got back to the city, just a few blocks from my house. The houses thin out and there's some woods on one side of the road, fields on the other. I saw a deer there last year too. I'm pretty sure there were two deer tonight, saw one for sure and the ghost of another. So probably two.

I went north for a meeting, up in the foothills. There was snow on the ground up there, and ice in the parking lots. We don't have any of that down here. We don't have all the stars either, too many lights here. I saw the Milky Way, Pleaiades lit up like a Christmas tree, Orion, and the Big Dipper. Lots of stars, some falling from the sky. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Solitude and serenity

If, as the critics say, Winslow Homer's paintings are all about conflict and solitude: crashing waves, starving man in lifeboat, solid woman staring at horizon, ravens attacking fox, and winter rocks...

I look at my photographs and they seem to be all about serenity and solitude: solid quiet studies of light and dark, rarely people, sometimes a heroic dog, architecture, travel, and food. 

Christmas cards

Obsolete? Too much work? Superseded by email?



The guilt. I feel like I should create a beautiful handmade calligraphic photo-endowed Christmas card and send out with a personal hand-written message to each friend and family member.

Not going to happen. I haven't got round to opening the cards I received 2 weeks ago. Or was it three. I know once I open them I'll have to answer them and that sounds like

Now don't get me wrong, I care about you. There's no excuse for the way I act and feel. But perhaps an explanation. A multifaceted explanation: I work 50-60 hours/week, time off I explore the beautiful state of Maine, that flat tire, Secret Santa at work-must shop & wrap, laziness, sloth, apathy, attempts at a social life,  Christmas-aversion, writer's cramp (no, that one won't work, scratch that), OK no excuse. I'm sorry.

I have all the best intentions. Boxes of cards are stacked, waiting for personal notes & stamps. Also waiting: spring syllabi, dust bunnies, travel plans, Reiki clients, and piles of laundry. So, group email Christmas greeting OK with you? 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer. Thought I didn't care for his work. I'd seen pics in books and catalogs, ho hum. Coastal landscapes, so what?

Saw an exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art today and wow. Blew me away. How could he so completely capture the smell, feel, and sound of the Maine coast with... take a closer look, scattered daubs of paint?
It seemed like magic to me.

From across the room I could see the power of the wave. Violence, Maureen said. "The wave is violent. Dave says 'powerful', but I say 'violent.'" Dave is Maureen's husband and they are in Portland celebrating Maureen's birthday.

We had brunch at a funky downtown bistro; coffee & breakfast burritos all around. We walked to the museum and admired Paul Akers' Dead Pearl Diver. I was again surprised at the breadth of the collection: Matisse, Rodin, Renoir, Hartley, Ipcar, Cassat, Picasso, Indiana, Nevelson, Monet, and Calder.

But it was the Homer exhibit that surprised me. Oils and watercolors. I was enthralled with the foggy coastal scene. How could a flat grayish-brown blur be so compelling? Rocks, water, and sky are so difficult to capture- he did it- and conveyed violence, solitude, and fortitude.

I especially like the ones with people- and they were mostly women: strong working seaside women. They wore long skirts and slim boots as they hauled fishing nets and traps. Their facial expressions were chiseled, far-seeing, focused, and serious.

I looked at the paintings from as far away as I could get, then slowly approached, as close as I could. It was an optical illusion. From afar: a perfect scene. like the ho-hum magazine photo of the Maine coast. As I approached, the scene broke up into planes of light, rectangles of rock, a cloudy froth of sea-foam, the smooth flow of a receding wave, or a bramble of seaweed. Closer and it was blobs of paint, swirls of color, scrapes and ridges.

There were two with animals. One was a flock of Canada geese in flight. Two were on the ground, at least one was dead. Both? Maybe one was keening the loss of it's mate. The other painting was a fox in the snow. Ravens seemed to be threatening, perhaps attacking. Again: violence, grief, estrangement.

Most paintings were dark, desolate, and conflicted. Yeah, I liked them. Who knew.


Went to kirtan this evening.

Wasn't sure I'd go. So tired. Possibility of freezing rain and sleet. So sad about Fluffy. Need to get out: out of my head and out of my house.

Stayed up past midnight reading a good book. Jumped out of bed around 6 this morning and decided to head out to the dreaded Wal-Mart for Secret Santa presents. A work thing. My recipient likes Santas and detailed plastic table decorations. Spent about an hour selecting gifts for her and stuff I needed for the house. Got to the register: no wallet. Left it home because I was shopping online last night. Forgot to toss wallet back into purse. I asked the clerk to save my bag and trudged out to my car, in the cold drizzle, empty-handed.

Had a flat tire.

Drove slowly to the garage across the street and squirted in some air. How much? No clue. Til it looked better. Drove home for my wallet, then onwards to my tire place. Hours later I had my Wal-Mart bag and a new tire.

Made rice for the potluck. Did corpse pose (savasanna) on the couch for 30 minutes. It got dark. I fired up my GPS and headed out.

HI hi hi. Look at the food, Got a plate and sunk into a comfy couch. The host, Ashok, asked me, "Do you want to relax, or do you want to work? Oh, you want to relax."

I jumped up, "Oh no! I want to work. What can I do?"

So I hung up coats, organized the food (salads on the kitchen island, entrees on the table in the kitchen, desserts in the dining room), and jiggled the toilet handle. I also moved coats and shoes to the other closet (they piled up so fast in the entryway), answered questions, and got to meet lots of people. I'll tell you, taking coats is a great job for shy people.

Left to myself, I would hover on the edges. Observe. Step out for fresh air. With jobs, I talked to everyone.

Suddenly, Pierre was there. He's a friend, a fellow Reiki practitioner. Hi, Pierre! Hugs...

We celebrated Ashok's 25 years in the US. "I came to the US in 1987 with $100," he told us. Now he has a gorgeous home, his own business, and lots of friends.

Then the kirtan started. Kirtan is chanting the names of Hindu gods. You don't have to be Hindu to chant, as Ashok explained. People of all faiths are welcome. Kirtan is spiritual music. It's community. It's sound healing from the inside, and from outside. It's sound and movement, call and response. Sometimes it's quiet and slow, other times fast and loud. Some people dance.

There were talented singers and musicians there. They played harmonium, classic guitar, drums, and flute.

I sang for Fluffy. My voice joined the community of voices. I shook a purple egg, making a rattly sound. I felt like a musician. I even swayed a little.

Afterwards I helped clean up. I tossed plates and cups, lugged garbage bags outside, swept the floor, and consolidated the leftover food. There was another woman cleaning too. She washed dishes and wiped tables and counters. We talked and joked as we worked.

Out of the blue she said, "What's your maiden name?"

"Why do you want to know?" I asked. Cautious.

"We went to art school together! I recognize your voice," she said. "Michael Moore, Uris Ubans, Sheila, and Willow, remember?"


That was how many years ago? Lots. She's my age? How come she's so beautiful and I'm so old?

We were art majors. We drew, took photos, and made pots.

She was wearing silver jewelry that she made herself. She looked chic and sophisticated. All those years ago, now here we were cleaning a kitchen as the kirtan wrapped up.

Life sometimes goes around in circles.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

lots of 2s

Just realized, Fluff died on 12-2-12 at 2 pm.

What is "2" in numerology?

According to Michael McClain

The number 2

2 Positive Traits

Cooperation, adaptability, considerate of others, sensitive to the needs of others, partnering, an arbiter or mediator, modest, sincere, spiritually influenced, a diplomat.

2 Negative Traits

Shyness, timidity, fear, self-consciousness, drown in detail, depression. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Egg McMuffin

I went to the Chester Greenwood parade today. Got an Egg McMuffin on the way and shared it with Fluff. She ate some and that was good, as she hasn't been eating or drinking much the past few days.

She slept in the car as I stopped at the Farmer's Union to buy fresh, free-range eggs: $3.00/dozen. She slept in the car as I shopped at the craft fairs. I got little gifts for my Secret Santa at work. There were some really beautiful items there this year- complicated beaded jewelry and silver bracelets. There were charming felt cupcakes... but what does one do with a felt cupcake?

Then I went to visit my friends Betsy & Dave. I love their house: so warm and comfy. It's all wood floors and walls, Persian carpets, comfy sofas, a wall of plants, a ceiling of baskets, cats & dogs, and my good friends. While I ate a last piece of Thanksgiving apple pie, Betsy made Fluff a scrambled egg on toast and Fluff ate most of it.

Betsy and I went downtown and toured the octagon house. The local historical society is hoping to purchase it, and hosted an open house today. It's an old 8-sided brick house full of antiques; it already looks like a museum. Different local businesses took over a room- and decorated it for Christmas. There were beautiful floral arrangements, hot wassail, and cookies.

Today was good. Tomorrow I will be snowed in: will alternately shovel snow and read a good book.