09/01 Direct Link
of loss
of loved people.
finality of death fully plumbed:
perhaps and maybe forsaken.
wondering, “was their grace in my love?”

of love
of loving people; knowing I will lose them,
and me,
and there’s no maybe about it.

of age
of innocent optimism worn away.
sadness in a detached acquiescence
that perhaps and maybe will never be,
that what “is,” is absolute and inevitable;
burnt into asphalt.

of fear
that there is no antidote to sadness,
that perhaps and maybe exist only in past tense,
that what might be,
already is dried into slate pallets.
09/02 Direct Link
A birthday passes unmarked. I see it as I lift August over to bring September up on my handcrafted, family calendar. A niece, lost to us for the time being, has turned 22. Her mother, my younger sister, wrote a while ago that she’d kicked her daughter out when she wouldn’t work, or go to college. My sister snidely described her oldest daughter as narcissistic, a characterization which surprised me, for from my perspective, her own persona is reflected in that same pool.

They’d been clashing quite a while. Both too much like one another; both needing separation to grow.
09/03 Direct Link
Seriously trying to watch/listen to the R’s plead their case. Until now it was about their agenda, but at this moment Rudy J touts the untruths he can dredge up with the help of the whole R machine to denounce, undermine, defame Obama.

He did his job, but there’s nothing remarkable to remember. Same old shit. And Mutt’s bit, my God - he’s taking the country back to the dark ages in his diatribe. Then Mama Barracuda insists she’s got what it takes: hockey mom, PTA officer, small-town-mayor and one-year-governor. Haughtily she dismisses, even mocks the credentials of her competitors.
09/04 Direct Link
Seriously trying to watch/listen to the R’s plead their case. Until now it was about their agenda, but at this moment Rudy J touts the untruths he can dredge up with the help of the whole R machine to denounce, undermine, defame Obama.

He did his job, but there’s nothing remarkable to remember. Same old shit. And Mutt’s bit, my God - he’s taking the country back to the dark ages in his diatribe. Then Mama Barracuda insists she’s got what it takes: hockey mom, PTA officer, small-town-mayor and one-year-governor. Haughtily she dismisses, even mocks the credentials of her competitors.
09/05 Direct Link
Always there’s the unspoken sadness: that which is unplumbed because I don’t know it, and that which I’ve hidden away, never to be seen nor touched by anyone but me.

Through all this writing of 100 words there are few personal nuggets left unearthed. Most have been exposed, alluded to, admitted, or made the central theme of one of my entries. Still, there’s some mystery of me left unwritten, and there it shall remain; my business, no one hurt save me. I’ve forgiven myself my trespasses, and throw no stones. It’s the unknown-to-me window I wish I could see into.
09/06 Direct Link
Spinning starts; whirring like teletype.
Machines of a negligent party oil their nasty engines. Ebullient in an inbred belief that enough are gullible; that deceit is the antidote to truth.

Soon the untwining, the laying naked of their lies. The exposure of an unready, though highly tutored wannabe, with as much substance as the original Barbie.

Gently now, gently...want to see them twisting in the howl of their own hot breath; of their fanatic religiosity.

Evoking the image of strange fruit, in my heart I wish to see their lies hung to dry in the light of true change.
09/07 Direct Link
Five o’clock, sun filters from the west through fir and maple branches which shelter the deck. Sprinkling system cranks up to create a cooling effect bringing the small birds out to gather and chatter. A dozen bushtits swarm the suet feeder, sending a lone chickadee to the little water basin nearby. Gray squirrel walks the now damp gravel path under the stand of holly.

It’s been a three frog day. Sunday; when so much that that sustains me through a busy work week must be accomplished. Also a day to “take care of L” and here I sit, lovin’ it.
09/08 Direct Link
Fear that the spark is snuffed, that love once fiery strong has dimmed into a low glow. It is his obsessive compulsive behaviors. His drinking. Every night he rages at his shadow side, and I become the unintended victim. The next day he is totally unaware of his night rants. He is sweet, helpful, humorous, even loving; I’m exhausted, and numb.

Fear that the numbness has become my normal. I don’t even cry anymore. Just retreat to the guest room to escape his verbal vomit.

Enduring love, or love endured? Approaching 39 years married and 41 years as a couple.
09/09 Direct Link
Keeping one hand on the handle, he shuffled sideways trying to keep up with the grocery cart. Small of frame, he seemed only faintly aware of his surroundings. “He could be my father...” I thought as I observed his faded, though clean clothes.

Graying hair, which at one time had been combed back with water, now flopped upon his forehead. Bluegray eyes stared at an unseen spot between anyone around him and the floor. Fear, or pain, or both, ached through wave and particle, as the half-full cart of groceries, tugged by a middle-aged woman, continued it’s slow transit homeward.
09/10 Direct Link
Invariably, just before our anniversary, I will get so angry at Creighton I consider divorcing him. It happened in the night when he started talking such shit that I began to lose it. All day I stewed about it, so when he called me at work, at the regular time, with his cheerful salutation, I was dumbfounded. He didn’t remember anything he’d said!

Still smarting from the barbs, I queried him when I got home. Disappointed in himself and contrite, he won me over, and I let the subject drop.

He chastens himself continually; more than I ever could/would..
09/11 Direct Link
So it comes as no surprise that last night my mother and her mother were woven into my dreams. The one detail I remember is that I had to keep them hidden from one another, though I was happy to be with each of them. Their reason for entering my dreams is always to instruct and nurture me. I pay attention when I awaken from these visitations.

Both women were married to their first husbands over fifty years. Both tolerated their own marital stress, and enjoyed deep contentment in their family’s. Both imbued me with a lasting commitment to marriage.
09/12 Direct Link
On the corner of the kitchen counter stood a slim brown bag. Leaning against it was a small white envelope with her name written in his bold print.

“Happy Anniversary,” he chimed as she swept into the room, beagles bounding at her knees begging for their customary ‘welcome home’ biscuits. “Oh dear, I’m not ready yet,” she exclaimed, digging in the pantry for canine treats. “Can we wait until later?”

Within an hour another brown bag perched on the counter with a color-flecked envelope bearing his name in her neat cursive script. Ah, the informality that thirty-nine years together brings.
09/13 Direct Link
So much happening; anniversary of 9/11 just past with all the memories of devastation, all the heartbreak of lost opportunity for our nation. A hurricane the size of Texas engulfing it, swamping Galveston, and the ever-present tension of KarlRovian liemongering and the fear that a good man, taking the high road, will be squashed in the GOP machinery. GOP - gawdwful odorous platitudes, gimmicky officious plunder, gratuitous ornery perpetrator, grafty odious predator. Mix and match, you get the idea.

Tonight, in classic C&L form we’ll celebrated our anniversary with friends, also long time married couples. Not quite Zoom & Zonk!
09/14 Direct Link
Lovely sunny days followed by clear cool nights mark the drawing down of summer. Holly berries shift from deep green to chartreuse with hints of pale orange tucked in at the stem, heralding the entrance of autumn.

Though still in the wings, autumn is dressed in full regalia. Maple leaves begin to wither, as their bracts of seeds ripen to brown. Hydrangea heads, once the blue of Aegean seas, now nod into lime green.

Tomatoes ripen faster than they can be eaten, and beheaded basil frantically burgeons with new seed. Abundance rushes forward as though trying to overcome summer’s demise.
09/15 Direct Link
Finally I keel.

After nine days battling some unknown bug that has me “blowing mud” several times a day, I stayed home so I could get it checked out, and regain some energy.

It’s either viral or bacterial. I declined the offer of antibiotics until the test results indicate that’s what I need. Two days until those come back. Who knows, by then it may all have passed (so to speak).

So I picked a dahlia, set myself up on the deck table, and spent most of the day drawing. A needed afternoon nap reinforced my understanding that I’m unwell.
09/16 Direct Link
Driving east I watch the harvest sun lift above a flat purple landscape. Fluorescent orange it rises thru mist and dust, casting a soft pink tint on my world. Walking west I notice the lowering full moon as it melds into a pale blue sky. Students exit buses in groups and pairs, lugging their musical instruments, porting full backpacks, cell phones in hand, hopes and dreams richly ripe.

The world can’t deter them on this peachy sweet, end-of-summer morning. Invincible, inspiring; their energetic optimism sweeps me to my office, entices me to join their youthful buoyancy, feeds my fearful soul.
09/17 Direct Link
It’s the fires that filter the sun’s rays so one can look right at it. Uncontrolled blazes consume trees, vegetation, wildlife, habitat, and threaten homes on Mt. Hood and the summit of Willamette Pass. That’s where I stay with my family for our annual summer fishing/camping trip.

I’ve not suffered the consequence of a cataclysmic “natural” disaster like fire, hurricane, or earthquake, although I’ve felt several earthquakes, and lived in view of Mount Saint Helens when it erupted.

The summer we lived in Boston a Hurricane threatened the cape. I still remember the steely gray sky and eerie quietness.
09/18 Direct Link
“Keep your fat body off me!” he yelled as she quietly rolled over to the three foot wide space that was her side of their bed. “Don’t worry, I won’t touch you,” she muttered.

In the morning she remembered his words. She felt defeated; raw. Even so, after slipping into her work clothes, she kissed his forehead goodbye. He stirred, smiled faintly and murmured affection.

“Why won’t you just lean over and kiss me goodnight when you come to bed?” She wondered to herself. “Why all this hysterical drama - night after night?”

Knowing the answer didn’t offer her any consolation.
09/19 Direct Link
A teacher had gone down in his classroom. A popular math teacher and JV football coach, he told his AP Statistics students he wasn’t feeling well and then collapsed. While some students helped ease him to the floor, others sat wide-eyed. One young man took charge; having students call 911 and the office, sending others running for coaches and the nurse. He began to administer CPR until the adults arrived, then the paramedics took over. Unconscious when he was lifted into the ambulance yesterday, there was no news on his condition when the Response Team arrived at school this morning.
09/20 Direct Link
Later yesterday I learned that the teacher had undergone surgery. Four stints were placed into his heart and arteries. Members of his family came to school and met with the students in the class where he’d fallen. They thanked the students personally, saying that their quick action and assistance had helped save his life. Now that’s classy. And, such a Godsend. I can only imagine the stress and heartbreak that all would undergo if the outcome had been a vegetal state or death.

Pass it along; ninety-five percent of our youth are 100% great young citizens, and deserve our respect.
09/21 Direct Link
A fine mist greets me in the morning of this last day of summer. Though there will be another few weeks of relatively mild weather, a nip is in the air now. Later in the day, when the sun breaks through, it’s on a lowering course in the sky.

Rain showers chase sunshine throughout the afternoon, finally giving way to enough clearing that a BBQ dinner is possible. Chicken and sweet corn on the cob, vine ripe tomatoes with fresh chopped basil, a pitcher brimming with yellow, orange, and pink roses; all signify the last of summer’s lingering into fall.
09/22 Direct Link
At first I thought she might be an exchange student from Korea. Her English was quite good, her comprehension excellent. She seemed unsettled after I completed what she needed, like she wasn’t ready to go. An hour later she returned. Closing the door she slumped into a chair. Overcoming rigid cultural precepts, she choked out her fear and feelings of absolute powerlessness living through a family crisis that had me groping for answers and resources.

Reflecting upon our exchange, I’m reminded how valuable my communication skills are. Summarizing my understanding as she unfolded her story, helped her know I understood.
09/23 Direct Link
“My parents...divorce...” tears begin their course, “my dad had an affair, mom noticed it, now he demands a divorce...” she wipes them away with her finger. I offer a box of tissue. “In Korea divorce isn’t accepted, my mom doesn’t want it.”

“Divorce,” I’m thinking, “causes serious pain in teens, and cross-culturally is more complicated, but hey, bread & butter issue.”

“My mother was diagnosed with cancer in Korea...nine months ago she ran away from dad and brought my sister and me here... ”

She wipes away the spilled tears from the surface of my desk. I sit absolutely dumbfounded.
09/24 Direct Link
She’s had this pent up in her nine months and now it pours forth in a sad but healing flood. Her mom’s VISA is expired, mom hasn’t been to a doctor, her sickness is advancing. Father sent money for a while, but since mom isn’t OK with divorce, the money now is withheld. If he had his way, dad would bring them all back to Korea, divorce and abandon his wife/her mother, and send the two daughter’s back to the USA under foster or host parent care.

Mom is very ill. Oh my God. I call our school nurse.
09/25 Direct Link
He never regained consciousness. Honoring his wishes, the family removed him from life support. Knowing his death was imminent, the support team was in place when confirmation arrived.

Counselors broke the news to the AP Statistics class that had aided him when his heart failed. Students were guided into the safe room where their slow process of grieving began. Clearly in shock, they clustered into groups, hugged, comforted, cried, and talked quietly. Some simply sat and stared blankly, blinking the reality into their being.

Many wrote notes of comfort to his family, with personal memories and genuine prayers of condolence.
09/26 Direct Link
His mother’s birthday. She died six months ago. I wrote of him before. His mom had a brain aneurism. His sister was delivered cesarian 3 months premature. His grieving continues.

A short, slight teen with Latino features, he seems not to have grown an inch in the year I’ve known him. Another teacher’s question prompted me to investigate. I learned he should have been on an IEP. That’s the politically correct term for indicating he’s in “Special Education,” has a below average IQ, is “learning challenged”.

Sweet as a baby bunny, and equally vulnerable. I fold him under my wing.
09/27 Direct Link
He did well. No knock out punch, but a steadiness and firm conviction that assures a sadly shellshocked nation, he’s on our side. What is it that sways us, as a people, to vote in a party that proceeds to undermine the foundations of our democracy, leaving it bankrupt and gasping? How have we been coaxed into apathy as the wealthy are enriched and the middle class is squeezed away?

The Rove machine; swift boated in 2004, and stole the election with hanging chads in 2000. Fortunately fact checking is in , and distortions are out. Obama has that advantage now.
09/28 Direct Link
On Sunday morning I watch “Face The Nation” and “Meet The Press” whenever I can. The evidence mounts that Obama gained an edge on McCain from the first debate. In a half hour interview with Schieffer, Obama reaffirmed the points he’d made and clarified his differences with McCain. My confidence that he’ll be elected is boosted.

When I watched Katie Couric coax Sarah Palin through an interview last week I was aghast. “I’ll just have to get back to you on that..??” Oh my God. So to see a snippet of the SNL “reprise” of the interview was a gas!
09/29 Direct Link
Dire warnings of imminent doom. The deal fell through. The sky fell, but I’m sitting on my deck with chickadees and nuthatches at the feeders, the freeway traffic roars in the distance, the sun descends on a day that WILL go down as infamous in history books. Republicans defying their president, pretending it’s still 1980. An administration facing ignominy as “the hens come home to roost.” Shit all over the place, plenty of blame to smear around. I’m reminded of a cartoon from the Watergate Scandal years, where all the guilty parties point at ‘the other guy’ with shamefaced mugs.
09/30 Direct Link
Sunlight in the east casts a melon hue. I’m at work before the ‘rise’ occurs. Setting comes earlier too, and the lugging of my body is noticeable. Even with eight+ hours of sleep I felt tired this morning. Driving home I noticed it too. The clouds gather, rain’s in the forecast. Time to bring my biolight out of the closet.

Another ‘flash of genius’ struck as I drifted to sleep; a succession of words so profound I almost dismissed the need to write them down:

shot out of the sky
pretending to fly
unable to die

Profound? Well, maybe not.