Daily Dilemma Plus Beef Bone Broth and Barley Soups

Shaken. Oh, and stirred. Whomever you voted for on November 8, this election has left a lot of us shaken and stirred up, to boot.

How plan the day when the president-elect snubs the Constitution, a delightful friend has invited me for coffee and pie, religious do-gooders chisel away women’s rights, and a mere twenty minutes’ drive could have me on stunning mountain trails in bright sunshine? img_0064“I arise each morning,” E. B. White said, “torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and an inclination to enjoy (or savor) it. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Hard, indeed.

The Solace of Honest Work

For now, the swish and swish is all there is. The wooden handle of a rake with its metal-tined delta is all that I, who have come soul-tired, need. That, modest strength in my shoulders, and the blue tarp onto which I toss leaves with a swing that despite everything can’t but be joyous. It’s the swoop of a dance, the flinging of a scarf, the scatter of crumbs to ducklings.

I rake leaves, though I should be saving the world.

Writing across Genres… or Not

Toggling. I think that’s the word. It’s got a good ring, anyway. Attending to one thing here, another there – specifically writing across genres – is giving my new meditation muscles extra gymnastic training. As I bounce between diverse projects with varying levels of responsibility and reward, I’m trying to keep in check all the concomitant emotional dashing about that my mind’s been doing lately. (I’ve taken from my foray into meditation – novice of novices I am – permission to write about my mind as a kind of third party. It seems a little weird but kind of fun, too.)

Harriet Tubman – Her Money, Your Money, and the $20

Harriet Tubman chuckling in heaven. That’s what I’d like to think as her response to the news that her face will grace the front of our new twenty dollar bill.

With no small bit of humorous irony, grace it will.

Portrait of abolitionist Harriet Tubman

Portrait of abolitionist Harriet Tubman

See, in the case of Harriet Tubman, her money was your money and yours and yours and yours. I’m not just talking about her years of enslavement. Even after she was free and could make and have money of her own, Harriet Tubman gave it all away in acts both small and grand. She used it, unfailingly, for others.

To Work with Heart

quote Marc-Chagall_I-And-The-Village_HD_768x432-16x9May the work of this day bear the print of your heart. Ah, Marc Chagall, thank you for this and for so many wonderful paintings! Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised to find Gibran’s The Prophet illustrated by Chagall, as it was Khalil Gibran who said, “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”

Writing in a Closet

I have been writing in a closet lately. It’s not that I don’t have another, actually quite wonderful place to work. But that other place is a super old building (tough to say – early to mid 1800’s?) that’s not quite water tight, and it’s been a rainy summer. Besides, the view from there is great – a hummingbird in the echinacea! the mailman! the neighbor is leaving! is arriving! So. I’ve been working in a closet. And I love it.

Worship in the Sunday Morning Not-Church

Sunday morning, and everyone else is at church. Well, not everyone, exactly, and that’s just it. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about not-church church. This morning, post beach vacation at the in-laws and suddenly solo for a few days, I feel adrift. The writing projects, both fiction and non-fiction, that have so energized me or at least have kept me from wrecking havoc somewhere else (my latest house project left an heirloom rug weirdly textured in irregular streaks), seem dull and lifeless this morning. Or maybe it’s just the company – mine alone. Which brings me back to not-church.

New Year’s Lament

It’s not worth listing why I can’t complain. I can’t (complain; or make lists, for that matter). Yet, while everyone else seems to be embracing the new year with the energy of clear purpose and PowerPoint-able goals, I’m having drinks with Lord Languor and Princess Peevish. I know it’s time to sober up and show them the door; but alas, I’m weak. (Jan. 2).

Toward the end of the last year, which I will nostalgically refer to as 2012, I was humming along. Finished a rough draft of Novel #1, and,… Ok, that’s about it. But then, like some backcountry alpine skier, who snags an errant boulder, I flipped. Now I’m filing my nails, reordering the cupboards, and walking in circles. Literally. (Jan. 3).

Tech Stress

I love technology… when it helps me. I do not love tech for tech’s sake. So when things go wrong, I get really stressed out. I have a new computer, the old was running slower and slower and was awfully heavy to tote. But switching to the new required hours and hours under Best Buy’s fluorescent lights hostage to the people I’d paid to make the transfer of data. It was agonizing and turned out to be impossible for them to handle precisely the things that I knew I’d have trouble managing. So it was a bust of a lot of time. I like my new computer (faster, lighter), but it turns out that there’s some internal glitch with its wi-fi features. Occasionally I simply cannot get online. The time one spends trouble-shooting these things can end up being a lot more of a work day than work itself; and that makes me a little batty. But what’s to do? One’s hands are tied…

Snapshot from the Office

Now that I’m again safely ensconsed in my office and seated at my desk, the golden retriever’s work of exuberant greeting and following from room to room is done. So he’s sleeping soundly on the floor behind me. The pound hound, a guy who prefers the outdoors even though (short-haired and prone to shivering) he has to wear a big blue blanket-jacket, wanders in and out of view. Meanwhile, we girls are busy. I at my work (or soon to return to it, I promise), and the retriever-setter mix industriously tearing a tennis ball into its smallest bits. The trick, I see, is peeling off the fuzzy outer layer to get to the rubbery material that must I repeat must be rendered into centimeter-sized pieces. Whatever your work, rest, or wandering, may yours be a satisfying day, too.