Saturday, October 30, 2010

"The More Routine, The Less Life" Agree or Disagree?

     I was walking the dogs early this morning and I saw that quote on a card in the window at Copperfield's.  My first reaction was one of agreement.  Three cheers for busting out of the routine!  But then, I had to step back and consider the notion that routine offers me so much life.  My job is routine in that I get up every day, Monday through Friday, and take myself three blocks to work.  I have my stuff I need to do but my work there makes my life.  And there is also the routine of after work and the weekend.  That is my life.  Michael, Alex and Meg, bike rides and walking the dogs, reading and painting, laughing with friends and family - all of this is often routine but is also life.
    Busting out of routine?  Is that the way to live?  Yup, sometimes.  Embracing the little moments that are part of routine? Yup, that's life too.  I suppose I could use more of the busting out but I also know that I love my work, I love my life at home, and I consider myself incredibly blessed.  What more can I ask of life?  Is a trip to Nepal or New Zealand, or even San Francisco, essential for me to live life?  Do I have to "do something" every weekend or even one weekend a month to live life?  I think not.  I certainly want to be alive but I can know I am alive when I am tending to the emotional needs of a 12 year old.  I can know I am alive when the bike ride tells me that.  I can know I am alive when my face lights up and I dance while I am painting.
    Disagree.  Life is as much about the routine as it is about leaving routine behind.  Find it where you live it.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ten Things That Light My FIre

My friend Stacy recently posted a blog entry in which she delineated ten things that make her extremely happy.  She threw down the gauntlet:  What are your ten things?  I am accepting the challenge.

My favorite things are in no particular order and are not limited to the following:

1.  Sometimes when I am painting, the colors and the shapes make me laugh and skip and sometimes dance a bit.  I don't understand it - they just do.

2.  When the temperature hits 70 to 75 degrees and the sky is clear and blue and I can push myself into the moment to soak up the sun, I imagine that this is heaven.

3. When the day has been long and difficult and my body craves rest, crawling under the covers (no matter what time of day or night) , and completing relaxing on our most comfortable bed feels so right, so valuable.

4. Take that 70 degree temperature and transport me and it to the coast - add in the lonely foghorn, the seagulls, a slight breeze, a good book and time for a nap - I am happy.

5.  6:00 am bike ride, seriously good music, clear sky, no traffic, and lots of energy - I know I am alive.

6.  Alex, Meg, and Michael all  here at the house, all light and laughing, all smart and kind, pizza on the table, bit of wine in the glass, warmth, history, and family - those who have lived my daily life with me for many years now make my life worth living.

7.  Memories of Fellowship and home, summers and Christmas, brothers to embrace, a sister to mirror, family gatherings -  anywhere when laughter and love are all that matter.

8.  There's a moment on a school day when a kid smiles and says hi and I say something goofy to them and there is a connection - bingo! The work makes me part of something bigger and that makes me happy.

9.  Ellie on a leash and the work day behind me, we stroll downtown - just to get out and meander, notice the trees, notice the flowers , wave to the neighbor, breathe and be.  Who could ask for more?

10.  Back to laughter - laughter so hard that the tears come -- that indescribable time with friends when bonds are cemented and you know you will climb any wall to save your friend.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ball Game

TV talking
about baseball
baseball  summer nights
playing in the field with warm skin, short pants, and dust
dirt and sweat
alive and alive as a child can be alive
lights turning on
summer night light moves
over the house
breeze bouncing with orange tree blossom
Vin Scullly on the radio
Mark and KFI in the kitchen
summer nights that turn into deep sleep
safe and sweaty
and now Giants baseball
just for fun
no sweat
no hot night
talk about tension and how that boy can run
and love California and the boats in the bay
and the notion that life is baseball
baseball life is ups and outs,
runs and fly balls out to left field
catcher to catch what life pitches
and some umpire to rule on the close calls.
we all  strike out
or walk.
and we all need a fan or two,
a seventh inning stretch
and  a home run
from time to time
take me out to the ball game

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Isabel Way

Try writing
the Isabel way.
Write whatever wants to be written
grateful for the moment,
the moment that is.
Write the moment when the fall sky shatters
and  the dark starts caving in.
Carve the moment when the clock ticks, the siren cries,
and the baseball flies across home plate.
Bury the moment which is scared, which is dying,
which is calling, which is mine.
And what is the moment
but silence anyway.
Look into the core
of the world, the steel of the eye.
Examine your father's face
and avoid the tragic
and find the magic.
Hear nothing.
See everything.
Stay awake.
Be kind.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


     Today is the October I know.  It is warm, quite warm, yet the leaves are straggly and some brown and yellow mingle in with the not so bright greens.  I rode the bike early this morning but at 6:30 am it was still very dark.  And by 7:00 this evening , the curtains will close and the lamps will go on. October means that summer's light is disappearing and the late afternoon October sky has a harsh edge to it.  October's light is in no way soft.  It is edgy and sharp and reminds me of lightening.
     Spiders are everywhere!  Big spiders in webs on the front porch, on the back deck, hanging from the rose bushes, strung across the steps - not here two hours ago and yet very much here now.  Spiders!  I found one in the shower this morning and there were tiny ones near the kitchen window yesterday.  I need to paint spiders.
      I can hear the crowd at the soccer game down at the school.  Little kids in soccer uniforms were running and playing as they made their way down to the game earlier and now I can hear the cheering.  This will be the background noise for much of this weekend day.  Very familiar, very okay, and I am glad I am not there!
      October is not my favorite time of the year.  I think I miss summer and I know the edgy light bothers me.  I don't like the dramatic shift in temperature most days - with mornings being cool and damp or even clear and chilly but mid day becoming hot, dry, and sparky.  I think Octobers are also like Mondays..... the school year has just begun and it is a long haul until summer's relative freedom.  Be that as it may, I can still appreciate the colors!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Computers - Yes or No

     Ugh - my computer is misbehaving.  I have installed and uninstalled and reinstalled programs up the wazoo - to only further frustration.  Makes me long for the pre computer days!  Can I go back there?  What would I miss?  Daily email chats with my sister.... silly texts with my daughter.... serious emails with sonny boy.. convenient planning with friends..... reading news on line .... that one isn't so big deal.  I have always been a daily newspaper reader.  Grew up in a household where money was tight but where two dailies were delivered:  LA Times (mornings)  and San Gabriel Valley Daily Tribune (afternoons). But I like browsing the newspapers!
     What else would I miss?  Sending emails to people.... playing with photographs without the expense of developing film.... touring the aisles of Amazon, reading book reviews and thinking about books......looking at photos of babies and little kids on FaceBook.  Would I miss FB?  Nah, not so much... it is kinda fun but no big deal.  I like that I can stay in touch with people and find out what is going on with them but it is not my life line, my must have.
    I would definitely miss the word processing elements of computers.  I love the ease of writing, the ease of corrections, the copy and paste features.  I love blogs and reading and writing them.  I love the feel of the laptop in my lap and my fingers dancing over the keys.... so much friendlier than those silly old typewriters.
    Okay, so I guess I give in and say yes to computers, yes to MacHenry (my Mac computer).  If only I knew everything about taking care of him.....