Thursday, January 14, 2021


I am still fascinated by the treasures that fall from our Torrey Pine trees. And this time I found a pine nut that was split... I thought someone was tossing pistachio shells in my State Park. They're edible, not the shells, but the meat inside the shell. The Kumeyaay stoneground piñon, and chia, acorns, too, to cook and eat. And the pine needles can be woven into beautiful baskets. I wasn't thinking about any of this, sitting beneath the trees. I was still feeling shell-shocked by what we now recognize as a failed coup instigated by Trump, and supported by more than a few insiders at the Capitol. Between the rising death-toll of the pandemic, the long months of staying home, the still ongoing collision hassles, and my personal struggles with healing... no, I'll stop. I saw these shapes and textures, and sat there, appreciating their look, their feel, and very much wanting to feel better, wanting to move forward, to grow.

Here is one of the native plants I added to the front garden, beneath those two Torrey Pines. It's sage, white sage, and for some of us it is sacred. My Mother showed me where it grew, how to recognize it, use it, appreciate it. It's a plant that I connect with my childhood, with good memories, and good places. For as long as I can remember I have had some around my home, around my fondest recollections. To have it growing in our own garden makes me feel happy, lucky. I am so eager for this plant to grow, and thrive. I will still visit the California foothills and mountains, and hope to bring the fragrance home with me, brushed on my skirt, swept on my open hands as I walk the trails, but I look forward to using what I grow, what I tend and protect, at home.
Look at Heidi. She's the one that looks like a big pigeon. She's such a sweetheart. Next to her is Pepper, our Silver-laced Wyandotte, who was once a chicken run bully, but has mellowed with age. I have to remind myself that it's only since late summer that we have the five new hens, Heidi, Willow, Dolly, SweetPea, and Thistle. Last spring, and getting our new chicks, Ventura, Maya, Puanani, Penelope, and Lucia, feels like ages ago! Now they all, mostly, mix and mingle, and display their unique personalities. Thistle, for instance, still likes to hop on my back or shoulders, so does SweetPea.
Speedy delivery! The first career I ever imagined for myself was to clean windshields at a gas station. I was six. It seemed like an ideal occupation, and I even figured out I’d need to bring a step ladder. Now I’m all grown up, and I want to deliver packages, be a travel blogger for imaginary trips, and operate a skating rink & movie theater.
In the hopes of shaking off the weight of worry and shock, of the things I cannot control, I am starting over, again? once more? Again, and once more... new lists, new goals, new hope, new plans, new determination. In the midst of the holidays, I ordered a journal my friend Susie published, and I admit I was thinking it would be a nice gift, and I liked the art, but I didn't pay too close attention to the theme. Well, it came, and I set it aside and promptly forgot about it, but that, it turns out was for the best, because it's a perfect gift, for me, now. From BoyGirl Party, "Growth," a journal to welcome personal change. Perfect. Timely. Welcome. Much needed. I cracked it open two days ago, and dismissed my aversion to ruining beautiful blank pages, by begininng. I wrote my name, added the date, turned the pages, and went right into responding to the prompts, making goals, reflecting, writing notes... starting over, for growth. Susie Ghahremani's book is turning out to be an ideal blend of open spaces for my own ideas and processing, and structured pages with quotes to inspire, prompts to guide, suggestions to motivate. The journal matches my readiness to receive guidance and structure, to make myself accountable, and simply start over. And I do mean simple. I am not aiming super high, not initially. Where it said, "Make a commitment here," I wrote, "Take down the Christmas tree." That was it. Just one thing, overdue, and basic. Furthermore, I gave myself stars and triumphant horns blaring when I got it done. This morning? Make the bed. I changed the sheets, and have laundry going, and I was very thorough and mindful, but it's a pretty simple accomplishment. More stars for me!
Feynman helped me make the bed, then Cairo came to give it his approval.

Monday, January 11, 2021


There is a particular headache that came with the collision, a pain that persisted for months, and now shows up a few times a month, or after any prolonged time getting things done. It takes a heating pad, rest, sometimes an Ibuprofen, often just lots of time, to get the pain, the tightness, to retreat. It intimidates and depresses me, because I know that sometimes, if I can't rest, or find a remedy, it leads to my neck, shoulder and arm locking up, very painfully. I still can't turn my head fully left, but the headache is the first sign of worse to come, and I dread it

Yesterday, I needed remedies. To tackle the headache, I started with drinking more water, hydrating. Then I tried slow, deep stretches... my neck, my back. I took deep, slow breaths, closed my eyes. Not doing it. So I made a cup of tea, and thought about how I love the warmth, the cup between my hands, the steam, the mild sweetness, and familiar taste. I took deep, slow breaths, closed my eyes. Geoff convinced me to take a nap, take an Advil. So I went upstairs, stared at my bed, and felt a little defeated about crawling into it at midday. I opened the door to the balcony, and noted that the air was warm, the temperature of ease and comfort. It might feel like less of a deafeat if I napped on the balcony, I reasoned. I gathered more remedies around me... my atlas and bicyle notebook, more pillows, the tea, even a cat. I set up Audible to read aloud a sleepy story for 15 minutes, and I settled in, hopeful.
An hour later, with no relief, I decided to turn to my feathered therapists. Admittedly, I can't always tell what they are advising, but I am pretty sure they prescribed movement, sunlight, and distraction. This seemed reasonable enough, so I invited the goats to come out, too, because they provide plenty of distraction and humor.
Some remedies are a bit circuitous. But I appreciate that hearing the delirious squawk of happy hens makes me happy, and watching them settle into dust baths, foraging, and ambling merrily across the lawn brings me empathic bliss, and thankfulness. The goats provide an odd kind of comic relief, and they do "bad" things, but mild, innocent bad things, and it's oddly consoling, satisfying to face issues and troubles that can be addressed and managed. I can't fix the myriad problems in the world, but I can stop the goats from eating the bellpeppers. Success! I still have the headache, but I am laughing, feeling appreciative, amused, distracted. A kind of success!
I decided to fulfill a wish, a vision... to watch the goats visit the stone steps up to the deck. (If I could get a dozen or so large rocks, small boulders, in our garden, for them to climb and play around... that would be phenonmenal goodness.) Geoff was up there, making structural improvements to the benches. Come on, Goats! But the shy goats were hesitant, so I went into the pantry to get their favorite bribe. I keep a bag of Trader Joes Flaxseed & Veggie corn chips just for them. They will follow me anywhere for chips, or licorice. So, really I should call the chips a headache remedy, too.
The headache didnt retreat until overnight. It turns out time was the most effective remedy, well time, and chips and goats and chickens, and tea, an ibuprofen, a nap, an atlas, the pillows, a bike ride, chatting in the driveway, and laughing.