8 months

Jasper golf course wild elk and Canada geese 018

Michael was the realest of the real. He would have been completely undaunted by the things that cause me to sputter and puff. I had a strong feeling of him going out to the back tonight with Selkie… he’d just want me to stop whining and put one foot in front of the other and get the stuff I want to sell sold. I have hoped for someone to help me and its just not helping that what I have tried has not worked out. I have to try differently. Michael wouldn’t want me to just give things away. He really cared about the value of things both as a buyer and as a seller. My attitude would really have bugged him and somewhere in the fabric of the universe I recognize that echo of disapproval and need to move on.

Today one bad thing happened– Selkie got a fox tail in her throat. I took her to the vet twice but since she wasn’t symptomatic I talked myself out of it. She made herself throw up right after it happened and I thought she was ok then when I came home later she coughed a few times and I knew it was still there but when I took her back in tonight there was a two hour wait. Tomorrow I’ll have to face up to that huge expense… better than the worry. Somebody needs to create a non-toxic foxtail tenderizer.

One good thing happened– I bought my 30 day rail pass on Amtrak to circle the US in August with eight stops! I am excited about the unknown adventure of that. It seemed like it would be a huge hassle but the woman on the phone helped me immensely. Thank goodness for people who are helpful!

The best thing these last few days has been having Orien home. Her presence just completely sways me away from lost or alone feelings I might have. Inhabiting my life has felt really good these last two days, despite my foibles with vehicles and Selkie’s health. Minnesota 033Nederland 019

I love looking at my pictures of him– especially from when he was healthy.


Memorial Day

mike 003mike 006This morning I did the Woody and Friends show on KZFR, our community radio station. Because it is Memorial Day I had collected smatterings of songs to play… I don’t order them before a music show I just let them line out as they will and I’m always grateful to the fates when there is a flow and coherence. Today was a definite A minus and that’s about the Best of what I can do with the time I can allot to a show but I wanted it to be good for Dave Guzzetti, whose show it is.

Near the end of the show a woman, who seemed a little tearful, called and said she didn’t like what I had been playing. She said the songs were disrespectful on this day. Earlier in the show I’d tried to say how important it is/was for me, for both Michael and I, to Honor Vets Not War. What has really torn me up these last few hours isn’t the vision of all those decaying bones, hair and teeth decomposing all over the world, nor all the containers sitting on counters, like mine. It’s the fact that only some people will be able to divorce themselves from war. So many young people are in a difficult time of their lives when they go into the military after high school… half or fully estranged from their parents, without direction, without jobs, money or security and with huge self esteem and libido issues. When they are killed those back home remember the good things about them and put their “sacrifice” on a pedestal. Everything about their loss tears at your heart… like the #1 country western song in 2013 about a dad who drives around his son’s old truck, tearing around in it.  People remember their fathers and uncles through their “service”– the photos of them when they were young and vibrant with life. It’s just about impossible not to be exploited by the Love for the individual who has gone on… to sort it emotionally and mindfully from the cold reasons for that war fought for Manifest Destiny, for oil or resources or for regional control. (Almost never for defense.) That young person is a drop in the bucket, expendable yet so very dear and special in hindsight…. multiply that by thousands, by millions… who were they all? What complex reasons did they have for fighting? They bought the recruiters’ rhetoric or their number was called or about to be called in the draft (like Michael,)  but their individual stories are complex– to make dad proud, to prove manhood to the girlfriend, to escape from a narrow, constrained life with little promise.. a little of a mix of things?

This woman who didn’t like my music choices said to me, when I said my husband had died from military related Agent Orange cancer, “He did it (served in the military) for you.” (In other words, he’d gone to Vietnam to save America.) Nope. I can’t speak for Michael but my take based on the circumstances he told me about are that it wasn’t working that well between him and the girl he liked who he’d followed to the University of Wisconsin, he hadn’t made it as big as he had hoped in football and he was going to be drafted if he didn’t enlist. It was carefully thought through… He was a survivor and already had a good idea that this war in Vietnam was not going to be a cakewalk. He wanted to impress the folks back home and he wanted to have some control and do some of the things, macho things, he wanted to do (rather than be drafted,) and to not buckle down in college. I doubt if saving southeast Asia from Communism (the Domino Effect so touted by cold warriors,) figured in, even one  percent.

Now we have endless and permanent war, a surveillance state, trade agreements which trump unions, sovereignty and the environment… complete corporate control, not to mention a “voluntary” poverty draft.  Who and how do we fight? Sign me up for the non-violence corps and give me my husband’s Veterans for Peace button and I’ll be on with it. mike 002


Without a doubt

Or, In a World where people are killed for belonging to the wrong tribe or being part of the wrong religion without a doubt a slight by an in-law should count for really very little but still that’s what I snuffled around with today. The “poor me” meter hit the bells and the clanging left me practically deaf but then the good started piling up and my head unclogged…

I want to do an Amtrak 30 day loop to see family and friends and had figured in a very mellow two day stop with M’s family but when I wrote to see how that would be I got uninvited because I’d “spread Michael’s death all over the internet.” (If it went viral it was news to me.) At any rate it made me remember how he wanted me to post about his illness… I was the one that was hesitant… then when he was dying I had hopes that the combined force of our love, prayers, thoughts would assist his soul and at the end the stark reality of him wrapped in my friend’s weaving was just so jarring and difficult I could not resist the cold terminal reality of him, my dear lively husband, shrouded and still. Apparently it offended them terribly. And there it will be. I gave them the ultimatum to recognize the fabric of our connection or don’t. I assume it is easier for them to just stay the course so that’s that for my relationship with his family.

Soon after that my cousin wrote from St. Paul about how excited they were I was coming and it just felt completely redemptive. Tony, my lost mechanic, finally wrote about why he hasn’t shown up (not why he didn’t tell me why he didn’t show up,) and that helped me clear some air.  Dan showed up to work on the project that Tony had dumped and finally tonight in a purely angelic act, Max and Elliot showed up to move my wood pile out to the edge of a back field so I’d be free of ugly rat habitat!

Without a doubt those hinges of suffering swing. Without a doubt the shifts can be sudden and surprising.

I’m grateful that tomorrow Flora, Zenon and I are tackling another area that needs a redemptive removal. Today I saw in the shifts of the day some sort of cosmic symmetry… something to use if I had the facility of comedic timing or just the good sense to write it down for future musing. AKA More blogging Michael’s death all over the internet! IMG_8182


A Story of Stuff

Resting in something other than those depression chemicals. Got some work done on the shed (Thanks to Caroline) and took some stuff to the thrift store. M cut off or got rid of the base of two expensive chairs the  thrift store wouldn’t take so I have to throw out two perfectly comfortable intact office chairs. Waste really bugs me and so does the lack of creative mind to think what to do with them as an alternative.

Another thing that bugged me this week is that we are forced into stress about water.. who can imagine not having water to drink, bathe in or garden with? Well, it’s heading this way thanks to greed and water transfers and severe drought. A perfectly dry storm of blame and frustration. Our well is down 35 feet. My land partners want to deepen it. I say no…that’s what everyone is doing. We need to fallow land. They say no. I have no sway,  a frayed nerve and so did not meet about it… now no word.

People doing important work are needing money. I’m shelling out as best I can but can’t/haven’t sold any of the stuff that Michael bought last year in his creative adaptation to his illness. It’s so much easier to give stuff away!!! I’m held back by the lack of participation from men-folk I’m relying on who can’t be cajoled, paid, traded or asked politely to make good on promises. I’m not as frustrated as it sounds about that though… my immediate focus today is, “Will Cebolla show up to put the steel mesh around the base of the house to complete the rat proofing?”

Today’s immediate frustration was with my radio programming… I couldn’t get my first guest on without help… I’m so tired of my Murphy’s Law affliction. I need ADA accommodations! I’m a good interviewer and lousy engineer. It’s just a fact. It  has been an amazing week with three shows in three days… all interviews… all important. Not one frivolous, what-about-them-Yankees moment… I’m de-stressing now by writing. When I complete this I’m writing on paper, the old fashioned writing we all remember, about Michael and the Vietnam War. Vets for Peace is taking letters to The Wall, the Vietnam Memorial, for Memorial Day. My heart, linked to the memories of my dear one’s words has to be there.

Then, it’s back to the jobs around here that have to do with mobilizing stuff. I said to someone today… well, there’s the “Story of Stuff” and the “Story of Michael’s Stuff.” Wish I was a cartoon… they don’t get achy…they are pithy and right on and aren’t confused, technologically illiterate nor whiney (oh, that’s not true, lots of cartoons are whiney so maybe there is hope for me despite too many words?)

ps Full disclosure– OUR stuff.



Mothers Day


Orien called this morning and talked quite a lot about her life and what she’s been doing and what she intends. I am always spellbound when she opens up to speak openly to me. My mind catches every word of it and I appreciate her unreservedly. Her dad Sheldon took me to breakfast and that made me feel like I was appreciated and that was also good and after that the third good thing happened– I got myself out the door, onto my bike and over to Dance Church. I felt the pain of “Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child” and the resonant chants near the end opening up my chakras and allowed me to breathe through my entire body like the vessel we all are. At the circle at the end we acknowledged how some of us feel closer to Mother Earth than to our own earthly moms and one woman told of all her Foster Moms… good and bad who had helped her shape herself into the woman she is today. I felt complete and at peace with the Mothers Day theme.

Later in the day I played Scrabble with my friend who is always looking for a woman for a romantic relationship. He has settled on another woman (in a long line of hopefuls) and although that would not be something ever between us it made me feel invisible… usually I feel like his sister but today I felt dismissed because he hoped she would be coming over and was eager for me to leave. Gosh, the power of this mythos! Even I have been feeling it lately… dreaming about men, wishing I could be truly held.  Must be spring and that procreative leaning! Blessings to the Mother’s energy as she keeps the living lit up however she can… even the old fragile old ones feel the longing.

My neighbor killed himself.. I just found out when I stopped for a little yard sale his impaired homeless son was putting on… it was that old stark truth shining harshly out through a rather surreal lens. I wandered through the strength and beauty of the wood, rocks and nature he surrounded his little house with and the garbage of the downfall… that too. The post isn’t letting me put up photos of the beauty I found today… only the little figurine I bought from Duke’s son. Let It Be Mothers Mine… mothers of invention… mothers of earth reclaiming and birthing, constantly feeding and constantly expelling. All the brave mothers.


Not much to say

IMG_6033 I gave away the hot tub. To another veteran. IMG_6943Next certainly will be the cab-over-camper.

I got lonely at some point today. Sensing the raw vacancy of that. I’ve been over the same ground lots of times so maybe it isn’t worth saying again. I visited a sick friend today… she’s not dying of cancer either. We are so engaged in living I’m not sure where the luxury of not preparing for death really becomes notable. Death itself isn’t so hard for a meditator… or so we think… but for those of us still here parting from all the “thingnesses” a person leaves behind is still tough, despite a certain endurance that builds in with time.

I don’t like to go out at night, especially alone, so this is the time, when I am a little tired and dulled. that time stretches and the silence closes in. When I sense into it it’s as transparent as cardboard. There is a texture like a headache… some kind of vacuum for freshness and aliveness that taps back just the fiber of my own complaint.


Friday night

‘Think I’ll write out of nothing pressing to do. I’m on the porch, with a low sun and it is comfortable with plenty of spring still left to enjoy. The Friday night car races are loud, as always. I have some little starts to plant out and I will do that soon.

I’ve filled my dance card as much as I really want to. Tonight I could go down to hear Ha’Penny Bridge play in the Downtown Plaza Park but I dun want to. No one but me and Selkie… I took her to the DeGarmo Park dog park today. It is right next to the freeway and seemed really boring. She couldn’t even get into going after her ball. The other dogs and people she stayed relatively away from… How odd we all are. She’s had so many problems with foxtails here on the land I thought it was worth trying but I doubt we will go back.

It’s the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam war. I can’t help but think that Michael’s cancer was triggered by Agent Orange. Over 58 thousand Americans killed and many many more Indochinese… and so many more since as a result of war trauma and illness caused by the war. For what? I’m so sorry for all of it and feel like the nation should just come to a halt to recognize the anniversary plus the 70th since the end of Nazi Germany.

I feel the space of the non-war space around me but the roar of the racecars seems like the veneer of ignoring. In this evening quiet (otherwise) with only the sounds of birds… I realize how the past and the present blend in us. Time and space of my own life anyway. I can remember sobbing about the war when I was 18 as if it was yesterday. I remember the room and the heaviness of knowing it was wrong was as accurate and painful as it is today.

M in uniform