Word fog

Coastline-Big Sur, California

Words, even if they come from the soul,
hide the soul,
as fog rising off the sea covers the sea,
the coast, the fish, the pearls.

It’s noble work to build coherent
philosophical discourses, but
they block out the sun of truth.

See God’s qualities as an ocean,
this world as foam on the purity
of that.

Brush away and look through the alphabet to essence,
as you do the hair covering your
beloved’s eyes.

Here’s the mystery:
this intricate, astonishing world
is proof of God’s presence even as
it covers the beauty.

One flake from the wall of a gold mine does
not give much idea what it’s like
when the sun shines in and turns
the air and the workers golden.
Jalalludin Rumi


Snooze mode

The ‘Mewses’ and I are in snooze mode. Be back soon!

Snooze mode

The ‘Mewses’ have their own page

I have 2 orange tabby cats, named Marco and Polo. They deserved their own page which they got today. To see them click on the page tab at the top: ‘The Mewses.

Feel free to submit captions for their photos.

Junk mail: It used to be a tree!






I love trees. I love them for the shade, for their beauty, for their ambiance, for the fruit, for cooling my house in the summer. Here is a beautiful tree the way God intended.

 My mail box I’m not so crazy about. It’s probably just like yours. Full of junk mail every day. When I got a 5 lb. Staples Office catalog today, I’d had it. I called to get myself removed from their mailing list. They said it would take 4 weeks and I still might get another one.

Every time I get the mail (i.e. 95% junk) I think “these used to be trees!”



This is a junk mail tree. Some artist’s attempt to be creative with all that garbage.

I like the first tree better.

I am trying to figure out how to recycle my paper. It’s not easy. We’re not in the city limits so they don’t pick it up. There’s only one place in town that takes paper and they have ‘conditions’. Not sure what they are yet, because I’m still carrying it around in my car in a plastic bag. The recycle place is on the other side of town and with gas at 3.89 where I live I’m not sure how the carbon footprint measure out.

After a bit of research I found a group that reduces the junk mail for you. Actually there’s a number of them, but this one has a really cool wiget. It’s called GreenDimes.com 

Has anyone used this service? There are 3 levels of ‘care’. One is free, so I’m thinking to give it a try. It’s been written up in the NY Times and Business Week, and featured on Ellen and Good Morning America. Here’s the basic idea. 

GreenDimes reduces credit offers, insurance offers, sweepstakes offers, coupon mailers, charitable solicitations and retail catalogs that your household receives. We can’t reduce mailings you receive as a result of a relationship you have with a company or organization. These include magazine subscriptions, bank statements, brokerage statements and school alumni mailings. Please contact those organizations directly to manage your mail with them.
Has anyone had any experience with GreenDimes or other services like this?

What does a left-brain person do for fun?

Right brain vs. left brain test

This whirling dancer will spin both clockwise OR counter-clockwise depending on which side of your brain is most active. She will whirl for you if you double-click her.

This is an amazing visible detector of the right vs. left activity. It is so incredibly accurate. I can watch it spin one way, then when it seizes up, it might be going the other way. My brain flips back and forth with amazing speed these days. I guess this is good, since I need both sides in a big way. Just taking care of the nitty gritty elements of getting through a day of life require large chunks of my left brain.


Looks at parts

However, the writing process requires my right brain and I catch myself letting the “switch” flip when I have a moment to spare. I have to force my Left side to stay in gear, rather like a parent telling a child ‘finish your vegetables first, then you can have dessert.’


Looks at wholes  

Why is being in my right brain is so relaxing? Why can I spend hours here, playing around, writing mostly and not get tired. I could never stay up ’til 2:00 a.m. entering receipt amounts in Quicken, or preparing a profit and loss statement for our accountant. I know there’s a good reason for this, but I’m wondering if naturally left-brained people feel that way about being in their element. I mean how does an accountant relax? What does an actuary do for fun?

Gosh, do they even blog? I’m starting to feel like meeting a truly Left-Brainer would be like a cross-cultural exchange.

I’m looking for a word…

This post is about gardening, but not in any kind of traditional sense. It’s about a subtle, quiet transformation that has taken place over that last few years. It starts with a horse, Yasmine, a white Arabian that was given to us for a while. Beautiful, but too strong willed for neophytes like us. So we had a stack of oat straw that stayed out in the corral after Lynne came and took Yasmin to her horse ranch.

That’s one part of the story. Another part is the 2 acres of property we bought used to have a railroad easement along the roadside. Gone were the tracks, but the rocks, weeds and purple star thistle were abundant.

That’s the 2nd element of the story. I have a thing about experimenting and watching things happen naturally. We are surrounded by prune and peach orchards. All my farmer/neighbors had star thistle on their property too. They sought to eradicate this thorny pest with RoundUp (doesn’t touch it) or burning it (didn’t work).

Hmmm. There must be better way I thought. I researched what to plant that would crowd out the star thistle. Too much work. So we spread the 20 or so bales of oat straw out over the Centaurea calcitrapa -covered easement one summer and I forgot about my project to eradicate this noxious weed while I went on to other things.

I don’t know how many summers it took before I noticed the star thistle was gone. It must be like a bad habit or some annoying person that disappears and you don’t notice the absence. But I did finally realize that we now had oat grass growing out there because it now required mowing. But it was pretty and blew nicely in the wind.

Now, maybe 5-6 years after the fact, I had an amazing revelation. The neighbors don’t have star thistle anymore! Not across the street. Not even way down the street. It’s all oat grass!  I know how Mrs. Rhumpius felt!I always thought someday I’d plant wild flower seeds out of my pocket. It turned out to be oat straw! It’s even medicinal. I could harvest it and take a bath with it if so inclined.

What’s the word I’m looking for? The transformation of something that was so barren and ugly, thorny bordering on noxious into a beautiful, natural grassy plot that spread to the neighbors in such a quiet unobtrusive way. While we were all tearing around trying to make a living, this phenomenom was happening. This transformation that did not call attention to itself, but it took me by surprise today to realize how far it had spread. I keep thinking there’s some word, or some concept that describes this (other than miraculous, of course).


How do you get in the writing mode?

I’ve love to hear what processes writers use to get down to work. Do you have a routine? A  favorite time to work? Does everything have to be quiet? or can you write anywhere, anytime?

After 9 months of working on a children’s book, I find that I am going through scenes in my head just about anytime. Especially while driving. I try to prepare myself for these moments now by grabbing my notebook when I leave the house….just in case something brilliant happens. So in between the bank and the grocery store, I might be ‘listening’ to a conversation between my protagonist and antagonist. Notes scribbled at stoplights and in parking lots.

Since I am required by law to spend most of my day taking care of our business, doing the books, paying the bills, keeping things organized, I am forced into staying in my Left-brain. Stuffing things into boxes, real or proverbial. 

But when I’m done being a responsible adult I get out my box of writing toys and play. The right side of my brain has a lot more fun! I love my characters and the more I work with them the more they let me know how they will act. I’ve heard this same phenomenon from published writers so I guess I’m not crazy. 

But what gets my right brain kicking when it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and it’s my naptime! That’s the lowest energy point of my day. How can I possibly write when all I want to do is sleep? The answer? Coffee and chocolate. It works every time. A cup of coffee and 65% cacao. Just a couple of squares….and it’s medicinal!

For better or worse, Starbucks is on my route home from town. They must have known I lived just up the street. When I go in and get my Americano, I also pick up their trash– used coffee grounds. They go into my garden and front lawn. I have a very perky front lawn now, but more on that in another post.

So, what is your writing process like? How do you get into your right brain?

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