Sunday, December 27, 2009


A few images from a bright, blissed-out morning at my house; family in black & white.


Double holiday happiness: Oscar & Grayson at Nana's house.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Tree-hunting was a success on Friday, as was shopping for baby-visitor supplies (the Philly Phamily is coming for Christmas!), and much-needed bed linens suitable for the uber-cold weather we've been having. But the best news is the return of my repaired 50mm lens!! FINALLY, I can find an interesting depth of field and set my aperture for macros.

I experienced a terribly painful flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis on my 59th birthday last week. Um, yes... 59. It's a particularly significant birthday for me as it's the age my mother was when she died; her mother and her mother's mother died at 60. To be approaching the age that my foremothers' lives ended makes me feel simultaneously vulnerable, anxious and curious. And to have been given a fairly serious diagnosis at this age--my mother's diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) was at 59--gives me a lot to think about at night when the world is silent.

I've wanted to write about this all week, but until today, moving my swollen wrist and hand over the keys was unthinkable--if not impossible. And I want to write about this experience with a degree of objectivity--as a way of documenting my life as a writer and photographer with a disabling illness. I don't want to sound pathetic or whiney, but I do want to be honest about my feelings. Aging sucks when you don't feel good.

What's important to me about the return of my 50mm lens, is the way it makes a greater artistic sense of the world more accessible to me. I love the flexibility this modest little prism provides my eye, and it is a perfect metaphor: keep your aperture wide to let in all the available light; find beauty and meaning in the small things.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

finding light through the fog

I've started a simple yoga series at night that is decreasing my stress load, and getting my long, brisk walk in everyday again has helped me sleep better and longer at night. Turns out, our immune systems do their work while we sleep. If we don't get enough sleep, the immune system doesn't get a chance to do it's best work. Sheesh. Where was I when this piece of information was being distributed?

As someone fairly practiced at burning my candle at both ends (with a little bit of extra melt in the middle), I'm amazed at the difference a couple of weeks worth of a solid nights' sleep can do. I've hated to miss a party and been the first one to arrive at poetry events and open mics all over town, and among the last to leave for years. Now I'm finding that I'm really enjoying the increased solitude, the chance to just slow down and set limits for myself--who knew??

Thursday I wrote a new poem. Today I left the apartment very early with the camera and braving black ice, shot pictures around the foggy, frosty neighborhood before anyone but the squirrels were out. It was silent and peaceful. Tomorrow I'm meeting Miss J for coffee at Petisco.
Three day weekends rock!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Continuing List of My Best Stuff

Creosote, sawdust, and charcoal,
campfire coffee,
morning light slanting in smoke
through evergreens;
the view from Lone Pine into the sudden hot
basin of the Southwestern Desert;
ice-plant spikes whipped against bare thigh,
the sunburn blaze of Mission Bay,
the furious wriggle of small stingrays underfoot;
losing my mother’s tourmaline ring
in the clipped grass of a neighbor’s endless lawn;
river pilots hopping freighters downstream
from the Astoria-Megler Bridge, storm or dry,
the same view in the fog, Washington disappearing
and reappearing, a ship run aground on the Columbia Bar;
Christmas shopping in the snow;
swimming naked at midnight in the neighbor’s pool
when they were away;
the sweet knock of intoxication with musicians;
sex on the beach near Yachats, or was it Reedsport
in the middle of the day, in sight of the road;
laddering sixteen feet into an apple tree
at five-thirty in the morning, picking fast;
standing-room only at my mother’s memorial;
silver rings with polished stones;
the nest of my children, and then theirs, burrowed in.