Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Cardinal, Again and Again and Again

The cardinal has been knocking at the window almost every morning while I meditate. Once he's got my attention, he hops from one swaying branch to another. A surefire way to make him take flight is for me to hold up my camera.

Ahaaa! Later on in the morning I saw him at the window again and this time I snuck into the living room from the dining room door. I crept closer and closer hugging the wall and took a series of shots. This was my closest photo.

When the world is still largely winter brown, it's wonderful to have this splash of color.

But it's more than that. The cardinal has become something I can depend on. As they say, a feathered friend. (The cardinals have been coming all winter.)

One problem though. It's hard to stay focused in meditation when the tapping begins. I try to compensate by meditating for longer periods of time.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


A dear friend and neighbor, Ginny Wilber, will laugh if you say that you LOVE her paintings. She has been painting for more than five decades, and at least one of her paintings won "Best of Show" when she entered competitions years back.

I happen to love the way she paints birch trees.
She has painted dozens of landscapes and portraits and they hang in her home in Spencertown.
Often when I cross the road and visit her and her husband, Ken, she and I gab and gab about art and painting. She tells me that when she 
and a friend took painting lessons together years ago, they would have a great time 
laughing and painting 

Today, Ginny is in her eighties, and she is still painting birches, no matter that she has trouble standing. The painting below is her most recent birch painting, and it has already been promised to Ginny's granddaughter, who loved the painting as much as I did. (I told Ginny about all my stories about red cardinals battering at my windows!)

Try to get Ginny to call herself a terrifically talented painter, and she will laugh and say it's just 
what she loves to do. 
One thing Ginny does is encourage me to paint. I show her my crazy abstract paintings
and she
always tells me to keep painting no matter what anyone says! I have been in a bit of a painting funk 
lately, unable to get myself to the easel.
Last week when I visited Ginny she had a wonderful suggestion. She said that I should
put my acrylic paint
in a straw and just blow it onto the canvas! I am going to see if that works!

Meanwhile, thanks to you, Ginny, for all our "arty" conversations, and for so many years of wonderful friendship. You are the best neighbor in the WORLD!! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring's Springing and Singing

Finally it's here. Hard to believe. In our yard it was winter-looking even on Sunday.

The pond still had some white ice.
The small glacier in the backyard was still the size of a long sofa.

And then. Whoosh! Monday's mild temps erased the ice. The glacier was no bigger than a dinner plate.

There's a hint of spring in the lawn. Green shoots have popped up everywhere, and amidst the crusty brown leaves appears the first purple crocus!!

The birds are doing their sweet singing, and those wonderful spring peepers are making a racket, which always sounds a bit extraterrestrial to me.

One other thing: the cardinals are coming back more and more frequently. Just now, the red bird was knocking so hard at the window that he once again caught my attention.

More often than not, the red bird is now accompanied by his pale green girlfriend.

Together they sit in the tree branches facing each other and fluttering their wings.  I'm wondering where the nest will be. It's hard to imagine, but wouldn't it be amazing if it showed up right outside the window!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Disappointing Results from Colorado's Marijuana Dispensaries

So we are going to Colorado next week to visit our amazing daughter, Lindsay, and while we are there we will definitely visit a couple of marijuana dispensaries. It's really quite mind-boggling to think that you can walk into a store, say, the Fresh Baked marijuana dispensary in Boulder, and select your clear little baggy of weed and have it weighed and then after it's paid for you go home and invite your friends over to smoke.

I never was much of a marijuana smoker, but one funny thing I haven't told my daughter is that back in the 1970s (yes, way back then) when I was living in Berkeley, I had marijuana plants
growing on my window sill. I was no druggy but everyone I knew smoked marijuana in those days, and sometimes we ate it in brownies too. I remember going to a concert with my friend Greg and eating a couple of bites of a brownie first and then getting so stoned that I couldn't remember the concert the next day.

One disappointing thing I have to tell my daughter: she's been saying for months that the state of Colorado is getting rich by taxing marijuana sales, that the state has so much money coming in that they don't know what to do with it.

Alas, yesterday's New York Times reported that the amount of taxes being collected by the state of Colorado aren't as high as officials expected they would be. In February of 2014, the governor of Colorado projected that in the first year of legalization, $118 million in taxes would be collected on recreational marijuana. Now it looks like the real figure will be more like $69 million.

Part of the problem is that legal sales of marijuana aren't what officials expected they would be. That's because customers of medical marijuana have been slow to switch to the recreational drug market. The reason? Medical marijuana is taxed at a lower level.

Still, it's quite an amazing thing that Colorado has done, legalizing a drug that is less dangerous than alcohol.

Will keep you posted on our visit next week.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


By Claudia Ricci

and stops
for reasons
too mysterious
to ignore.

One day, you sit down at your computer and out pours
A perfect little poem. Your heart soars and you send the litte gem
-- your adorable child --
Out into the world and wait for the applause.
Ah, you say, I am quite the poet. I am 
An ARTIST, sigh, what a glorious thing it is to
To imagine yourself sitting in a sunny café in Paris
The tower soaring above your
Your head is adorned in a beret
You are penning poems all day long
When suddenly with no warning 
along comes a nasty spell
that lasts more than one day
one week
one month
OMG one year?
Before you know it,
you are dead inside 
because you cannot write a thing.

The well is absolutely dry
The soul shrinks
The heart is wrung out
Like a dishtowel after
The dryer spins is spinning
so loud you feel like you are inside!

"NOT FAIR" you shout you scream
You try everything you know 
But the mind will not budge
You think you are going
You ARE going crazy and

So what do you do besides wait and drink and smoke 10,000
No, silly, you don’t smoke.
You sit there feeling yourself choking
What is the word for living and dying all at once?
You beg you plead please God
Please just one more just one more
and then one morning 
even before
you wake
out of nowhere comes a voice 
“You will write again today!”

Did somebody actually say that?
If I didn't then WHO? 
Did I say that
Smooth road?