Saturday, August 6, 2011


"The Gracehoper was always jigging ajog, hoppy on akkant of his joyicity." ~ James Joyce, Finnegan's Wake

Kettle Lakes

I first heard about kettle lakes at a presentation by Loreen Niewenhuis (1,000 Mile Walk on the Beach) at the South Lyon Library. Kettle lakes were formed when a piece of glacier broke off. The glacier melted, and the sand, silt and gravel accumulated on the glacier's travel fell in, and a deep lake was formed. Most of the lakes in Michigan are kettle lakes. 27 are 100 feet or deeper. Six of these deep lakes are in Oakland County. Cass (125 ft. deep), Dunham (118 ft.), Maceday (118), Orchard (111), Union (110), Walnut (101). The photograph here from MSU is of kettle lakes at Grange Hall Road and Dixie Highway. I love these geological tours of Michigan. We're fortunate to live in a state with abundant natural wonders to enjoy.

Wayseer Manifesto

Hope Hard

Be Here Now

Friday, August 5, 2011


While we women were empowering each other yesterday, there were some wild side trips into imagination. One friend was describing picturing herself, not stuck in traffic behind a motorcycle, but on the motorcycle. Flying, hair streaming back. She could feel the abs on the motorcycle driver. We laughed around fantasies. Uniforms. Now, I like a uniform as much as the next, but I think few outfits can compete with Scottish ancestral regalia. Maybe it's as simple as a man in a skirt. I don't tell anybody this. I think it. Minutes later, in the door of a small town coffee shop in Michigan walked a guy in...Highland attire. Complete with sgian dubh. Minus the bagpipes. Now because I've never told anybody this preference, it was a shock to hear the laughter from a friend. "You manifested that." How the heck did she know?

Blissful Me

Yesterday's conversation closed with a writing assignment: to visualize the successful you. The present, attended, blissful me. In whatever way I believe I am contented. Be extravagant, expansive, ecstatic. Maybe a tropical island with a gorgeous fireman? How about clinging to the side of the Jupiter launch today, bound for the gas giant and its groupie moons? Living in a sheltered valley shadowed by Nanga Parbat? I thought about it on my walk this morning. I had a gleeful aha moment, and then I promptly forgot it. What I do remember is I'm content in all directions in my imagined future. My body is housing my spirit and keeping me well and balanced. My brain works cooperatively with my heart to make decisions about my life. Sentipensante. Thinking:feeling. I am contributing to a loving world by being me and sharing my gifts. I enjoy the community I inhabit, and good friends. And I just remembered the aha moment. Fear is just lack of faith in a good outcome. So, it is possible I'm already the successful, blissful me I envision. My new assignment: start believing it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nothing To Undo

We were enjoying conversation and beverages at the Tuscan Cafe in downtown South Lyon, laughing and sharing. One of the women pulled her chirping phone out of her handbag. She passed the phone around with this message on it. A message from the universe. We don't know what it meant, but it felt pretty darn special.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Green Heron, American Bittern, Night Heron

Up at 5 a.m., I walked early, visiting one of my favorite green water habitats. One day I'll figure out if it's a marsh, bog, or fen, or a Michigan swamp. There were lots of birds, the frogs were social networking. Saw birds I haven't seen before. A few I found in my field guide as American Bitterns. One youngster came to join me on the rail. An unafraid juvenile, this was either a Green Heron or a black- or yellow-crowned Heron. He stared at me for awhile, and then half-flew, half-flopped off to the next adventure. A Great Blue Heron watched us all from the top of a skinny dead tree. She would have been perfectly camouflaged, except I saw her fly over there. One of the birds had a short, sharp bark, like a duck but higher-pitched. I wished them all a good breakfast, and went home for my own.

A Three Story Life: A Day Off

Mom used to ask "are you leaving that for the maid to pick up?" to all 8 of us when we didn't tidy after ourselves. You may remember the story of Mom taking the doorknobs off the doors because Dad used to hang his pants there. (Dad never skipped a beat: he dropped his pants on the floor where the doorknobs used to be.) I asked the maid question in my head this morning; the usual stuff left out for me to put away. Mom tried for 50 years to get the family to do things more her way, and we know how that worked out. So, I am learning s-l-o-w-l-y that repeating the same experiment over expecting different results is insanity. I decided this morning that, as it is difficult to have a whole day off from chores as a primary carer, I can at least set a boundary day for those chores. Today I am unavailable. I have artwork to create for clients. Today's day off is granted to: the maid, chauffeur, accountant, cook, laundress, cleaning lady, tech support, personal assistant, translator, mail sorter, medicine wrangler, hunter of lost stuff, shopper, errand runner, medical liaison. No hollering down the stairs for me unless there is an ambulance required. The thing about boundaries is I have to set them. Then communicate what the boundaries are. Then reset when the goalposts are moved. And then remind everyone involved that there are boundaries for the time being. And describe exactly the time. So, I guess the boundary maker and the timekeeper don't get a day off, but that's okay for now. The rest of us can keep our sanity for another day.

Pay Yourself First Includes Praise

Pay yourself first must include encouragement, compliments, praise, admiration, empathy, sympathy and appreciation. I have (and I think most humans have) a tape loop in my brain that plays the list of flaws and shortcomings I've accumulated through the years. My parents, teachers, peers, spouses, bosses started it, and I took over the DJ job. I try to stop, but addiction to bludgeoning myself with scant praise is tough. "Hello, my name is Linda R. and I'm addicted to shortchanging me." One supervisor, during my performance review, kept hovering her pencil over the checkboxes, eyes glinting, asking "development opportunity?" Well, sure. After the 10th box, I said NO. I'm satisfactory. What I'm developing now is the free will to tell myself so all the livelong day. And then I can exceed expectations.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Music Memories with Goldilocks

For decades I've used "Once upon a time there lived on the edge of the forest a little girl named Goldilocks" to start a blank typing page. The line came from a narrated score we played in middle school band about Goldilocks. A flute passage performed the Goldilocks role in the spoken piece. I can still play it on the flute, if I fumble around. There were other instruments for the 3 bears, an ominous trombone passage represented the dark forest. The memories of playing flute all those years are some of my most precious. When I started to play an instrument, Dad said if proved I would practice, then I could have my own flute. He bought the Bundy from our music teacher, Donald Sinta. I wish every child could share the challenge of learning to play an instrument, the hours of practice, the triumph when you've mastered it, the thrill of knowing your part when the conductor goes down the line to hear which instrument is wiggly, the first solo 1s in competition, and the joy of a concert well-played. My flute was passed to Michelle for a time, outfitted with new pads, and then to Rachel in elementary school (repadded once more), and then back to me. Such a beautiful generational musical circle. A happy 50th anniversary to this special Bundy/Selmer flute, and all the people who shared their joy with me.

Bugler's Holiday, Leroy Anderson

We played this in Al Marco's East Detroit High School Wind Ensemble in the late 1960s. The trumpeters were Dennis Patterson and who else? Amazing talent in high school. Wonder where they are now?

Monday, August 1, 2011


Tools have come up in conversation, been used, moved around and lost in the last couple days. Dad and I moved his toolbox last night. We have had SewerFest this summer in our building. I'm still working on getting the Artist's Dungeon back together. The upside of having your basement jack-hammered and crews of workmen stomping cement and pipe dust and whatall through the house is - you get to rearrange stuff. So Dad helped me move his heavy toolbox. Uncle Ken hurt his back moving his once. Serendipitously friend Rosemary picked up her Dad's toolbox yesterday from her parents' house. Where to put it? Carport? Nope. Too easy to back up a pickup and steal it. Basement? Nope. Up and down the stairs to get a wrench is out. She decided to put it in her dining room, where a buffet might be. I love that placement. I rant often about how we don't make our own tools, don't know who did make them; we don't work with our hands and we don't see the results of our labors. We are deprived of connection to our production. And life coach friends talk about the tools in our toolbox. Is the toolbox empty? What tools do we need to thrive? Do we have a full toolbox but just forgot what goes with what task? I told Rosemary that I was fixing the workbench now that the toolbox is moved. I have to saw two pieces of wood. We have 6 saws in the house, and not one of them cuts. Do we have living tools that do not fix the problem, too? I know that 4 of the saws are my grandfather's. So they are heirlooms. Or art. For now the 4 are no longer tools, unless each is resharpened, or honed. Something to think about with our survival tools, too. Yesterday I moved my toolbox, too.