Thursday, July 31, 2014

Counting moments

These days I am considering my life as a child, remembering in my bones, remembering in my sinews.  As I watch blue jays in the back yard, I remember my first or second blue jay, a wonder of a bird.  There are wonders still to be unpacked from my past.  I return to counting my age in days.

I return to counting my age
The way every small child does.
I am
Fifty-nine and a third
Plus two days.
Each moment counts,
Doncha know,
Each moment counts.
I count mine.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

If I were you

There's something about keeping a long-standing appointment, even when it has been cancelled, even when it has morphed into a cup of coffee in my favorite chair.

If I were you,
Which of course I’m not,
If I were you
These are the questions
I would ask me.
If I were you.
I sit in this hour
In the blue chair.
I do not sit
With you.
I ask my own questions,
Even have an answer or two.
I watch the birds
In the backyard.
The cat prowls
The living room.
Soon I leave to meet
With the client I told
I have a long-standing appointment
At 9 A.M.
Every Wednesday morning.
I will see him
At 11.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Soft blanket, blue

I had my first known seizure before Christmas 2010.  When the family asked what I wanted for Christmas I asked for "soft things."  They gave me a soft navy blue blanket and a soft hippo puppet.  My therapist has soft red pillows.  It's amazing to discover such anchors, to realize "soft things" bring me home.

Perhaps I have done enough
Of looking back
For now,
Integrated enough
To move on
To the one next thing.
There is always
The soft blanket,
It will bring me back
Any time I need
Any time I want
Any time
I lose track
Of who I was
The soft blanket
It can carry me home
Only then to move on
To the one next thing.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I still look to see

It is rather odd to post things to a daily blog, to an unseen, mostly unheard from, audience.  Some days I am most popular in Russia.

I still look to see
How many hits I got
Whether I am more popular
In the US
Or the Ukraine
As if it really matters
Even though
It doesn’t really matter.
Still I am curious
Who is looking
And from where.


Maybe I should have called this Airplanes or O'Hare.  Or Homage to Bensenville.  Still... I'd rather pay attention to the waxwings, even if they're only in the distance, between airplanes.

We hear the waxwings
In the distance.
They mingle with the airplanes
Coming in to land
On the runway built
On the O’Hare expansion.
It demolished an entire neighborhood.
We saw it die
One house uninhabited
At a time,
Until the neighborhood
Went completely dark.
Now the airplanes
Begin their braking
Over our house.
We still hear the waxwings
In between airplanes.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blue jays

I remembered blue jays as primarily grey-blue.  With their disappearance due to the West Nile virus, I had forgotten what stunning birds they really are: grey-blue, yes, but light blue too, with white and black.  Up close they offer much more contrast than I remember.  A pair landed in the backyard, picking seeds next to the garage bushes.  Are those a male and female? I asked my beloved.  To us they look the same, he said, but probably they can tell the difference.

We assumed they left
Down the West Nile… but no.
Or maybe they merely
Took a very long trip.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sometimes the best therapy

Enough said.

Sometimes the best therapy
Happens at night
Under covers
Of sheet and blanket,
My beloved, sound asleep,
Next to me,
And the large grey cat:
He sometimes deigns
To grace our bed,
Occasionally speaks
In the words of his people.
Sometimes the best therapy
Happens at night.

Friday, July 25, 2014

One world at a time

More Nora Gallagher.  This time from Things Seen and Unseen.  There is plenty to do, to contemplate, to figure out, to experience, in this world before moving on to the next.

When asked what he thought
Of the afterlife
Thoreau was heard to say
One world at a time.
One world is enough
For any of us
To imagine,
To contemplate,
Even sometimes
To bear
Without going on
To the next one
Before its time.
One world at a time.
Now is the time
For this one.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This space

Sometimes a space is more than a space.  Sometimes something is holy, not by anything we do or say, but really only because God has chosen to inhabit it boldly.

I write this for you
My client who is not here  
I write this for you
My therapist who is also
Not here
And never will be.
I write this for me
For all who have been here,
For all who will be here,
For me who sits
Calm and quiet in this space
I have made;
In this space
I have loaned.
This space
Is more than an office.
This space
Holds so much more
Than I can name.
I write this for all
Who share it
And even for all
Who won’t.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It cooled enough

It's amazing what difference a weather change makes.  Opening the doors and windows to the outside world, even listening to distant traffic noises, helps me feel connected to the world, to consider what's next, and then, only then, what's next again.

It cooled enough
To turn off the artificial air,
Open the windows and doors,
Listen to the outside sounds,
Consider again the birds
In the backyard,
Listen to the distant cars
On the Elgin-O’Hare
Which goes neither
To Elgin
Nor to the airport
Instead it offers
A convenient shortcut
To the doctor’s office
In Hanover Park.
It cooled enough
To consider what’s next,
And then,
What’s next again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


So many crises... some of them mine. Even last night's dreams had me flowing from crisis to crisis.  I am grateful for coffee and breathing and beginning again.

It is only Tuesday
Ten or twenty crises
Have arisen,
Been vanquished
This week alone.
Who knows what tomorrow
Will bring?
I am so grateful
That the dreams last night
Were only dreams.
I sit in recovery
Coffee in hand
I marvel at the fact
I am alive.
I breathe in,
Begin again.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Perhaps I should title this "Challenge."  Whoa seems more true.  This is not my challenge.  These are not my regrets.  I have broken many rules, and sent many regrets.  I am grateful for the times I was not caught.  I remember sitting in my mother's living room, me, a divorced mother of one. She named for all to hear how, as a child,  I always owned up to what I did wrong.  She used an example which I vividly remember was a lie, a creative lie, but a lie nonetheless.  I confessed, to the entire family's surprise.  I admit... I rather enjoyed the surprise.  I got away with a lot growing up, at least I think I got away with a lot.  This side of parenting, maybe they knew a lot of it all along.

Whoa. A new challenge.
Regrets must be sent today
For some rules broken.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


My daughter has chosen a college with perfect weather.

I took another
Of the multitudinous quizzes
On social media
This morning.
Apparently the one place
In the country
With perfect weather
For me.
Is Denver, Colorado.
I must be channeling
My daughter.
Or maybe she
Is channeling
We will drive 14 hours
To Denver
At the end of August
Drop her off
In perfect weather.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Our brain is a funny thing.  It is wired for survival.  Sometimes we need to work at re-wiring.  Saber-toothed tigers, after all, do not wait around the corner these days.  Our brain is an interesting thing.  It is also wired to learn new things, see new possibilities.

I sit with a client
She feels rejected
By the world.
I wait for her
To feel rejected
By me.
I imagine it will come.
Like me
She wants to learn
How acceptance
Lurks in the bushes,
How acceptance
Lives next door,
How acceptance
May even be found
In the cereal aisle
Of the grocery store.
Like me
She wants to learn
To find the places
Acceptance hides.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Early enough

A hummingbird AND a tree full of cedar waxwings.  Who knew there would be such a reward for getting up early this morning?

I got up early enough
To witness the hummingbird
In the bee balm,
My first hummingbird
Of the year.
As if to say
See what you miss
By sleeping later
The mountain ash filled
With cedar waxwings.
Now there is one lone robin
At the very top
Of the mountain ash.
He is
Silent in the sun.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some mornings I wake up as a child

I believe all of us live with a small child inside of us.  Sometimes she wakes up and demands attention.

Some mornings I wake up
As a child
Seek approval,
Perhaps a pat
On the head,
Or simple reassurance
That everything
Will be fine.
This child wears
Black patent leather shoes
Frilly white anklets
A lavender checked dress
With smocking,
She has her hair cut
Pixie style.
She is three.
Some mornings I wake up
The child wakes with me
Demands attention.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I could just as easily titled this Clouds.  Or Sun.  Today, though, the weather feels metaphorical of life.  So Change it is.

The sky was completely blue
This morning
It has now returned
To clouds
Then sun
Then clouds
Then sun.
The cat is hopeful
The sun will answer
His morning sun needs.
Now clouds again
With hope of sun
Now sun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


This therapy thing is interesting.  A lot of attention is paid to "ending well."  This is, ostensibly, for the client.

I found myself hoping
For a last session
Or two.
Now I wonder
Who is closure for?
Who really
Is closure for?
Who is the closer?
Who is the closee?
In paid relationships
Such as this
Where is that boundary

Monday, July 14, 2014

So much promise

I see bee balm next to thistles.  My backyard is not exactly orderly.  Neither, I think, is the Kingdom in which we live.  I am grateful to Robin Currie for her sermon yesterday on the Sower and the Seed.

Rain is promised
For this week
Yet sun still appears
In patches
For short moments
Then disappears
So the promise
May be fulfilled.
I understand
The corn grows higher
This year
In the fields
Of southern Illinois.
My backyard entertains
Bee balm
Next to thistles
So many seeds sown
So much growth
So much rain
So much sun
So much promise.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


We wait for our daughter's return from camp.  She will surely have opinions on the umbrella color and style.

In between rains
We assemble the patio furniture
Just to show
We can do it
Without her direction.
Now we await her input
On the umbrella
The color
The style
Anchored in cement
Free standing.
We are in between rains.
We await her return
For input
On the umbrella.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I had lunch this week with a potential colleague.  Every such encounter offers me options, choices, if I allow them.  Every encounter with every person we meet offers options, choices as well.  Way open, way closed.  Options.  Choices.  A veritable cornucopia of possibilities.  Some of them are mine.

I have options
She said
Before she left my office
And moved out again
Into the world.
I have options too,
More than I have named
Until now.
Every choice I make
Opens up the possibility
Of something new.
I delight
In helping people
Find the connections
They need
To take their next steps,
To see
They have options
Like me
Like the woman
Who left my office
To move
Back out
Into the world.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Several interesting conversations this week.  My trainer asked me if I keep a daily journal of my medical symptoms.  I told her I blog... but the blog is way more than medical.  I found myself naming, to a fellow therapist, that part of my vocation has always been to apply for positions I knew would not consider me a viable candidate due to my gender and/or political position.  I have delighted in the interviews, and sometimes...rarely... but sometimes... I have been called.

This week I realized
Part of my vocation
Is to apply for positions
Which may never
Consider me a match.
All the information,
All the experience
I have accumulated
Is useful
Has been useful
Will be useful
And somehow
I know this is true.
Do you keep a journal?
She asks.
I know she thinks particularly
About medical things.
I say
I blog.
Medical things are really only
A small piece
Of the whole.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bright pink

Amazing to me what brings back memories.  Sometimes it's just a particular color.

Bee balm
Bright pink as the color
Of my favorite summer dress
Age 6.
I wore it
To the San Diego Zoo.
I remember the tigers
The California cousins
My bright pink dress
Just like the bee balm blooming
Next to the backyard fountain
With two children
Holding an umbrella.
The backyard fountain,
Now a planter
With marigolds and celosia,
Even amaranthus
And next to it,
Bright pink bee balm
The exact same color
As my favorite summer dress
Age 6.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

You must read this book

Thank you, Martha Durham, for recommending Nora Gallagher's Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic.  I finished it on Monday, recommended it to a client yesterday, and dreamed about it last night.

You must read this book
She said
I know you will understand.
So I did
Though I got stuck
In chapter one
On two stated facts
Which were not true,
Stuck for three days
Until I decided it was time
To move on
To chapter two,
And get with the story.
This morning I dreamed
I went to the Mayo Clinic
They allowed patients
To fly small planes
While they awaited
Test results.
You must read this book
She said.
I did.
I sat with a client yesterday
You might
Want to read this book
I said
Watch out for the two wrong statements
At the beginning.
The rest
Is true to life.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Everyone else, it seems, took the holiday weekend off.  Me?  I am taking today off.

I take today off
To pay attention to
My off-ness.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

She sings upstairs

We will miss the singing.  Still, she will arrive to sing again.

The summer before she leaves
For college,
She sings upstairs
Before she leaves
For one more week
Of camp,
Only to return again
This Friday
To sing upstairs
And leave
And arrive
To sing again,
And leave
And arrive
And sing.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


This is for Nate and Lauren.  This is for Lauren and Nate.  It is my honor and privilege to witness your marriage.

I am privileged
To witness
The wedding of a couple
Who have thought through
And executed
More particulars
Than most every couple
I have known.
Today I will offer some words
But I know
No mere words
Will cover it.
Today I will sign
The certificate
And mail it off
To the State,
The certificate
Won’t cover it either.
Today it will take
All of us
To witness,
All of us,
All the promises
We can make
And then some,
And then some more.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

Wedding rehearsal last night.  Wow.  One of the best rehearsals I have ever participated in.  Wonderful assistance by May Anstee and Rinda Allison (DOK), and a bride and groom who thought through so many particulars.  Stunning.  

There can be no independence
Without interdependence.
I see this
No matter that we missed
The fireworks
Last night.
There can be no independence
Without interdependence.
I see this
As I remember yesterday’s
Wedding rehearsal
And think about
The wedding tomorrow,
The sermon I will preach
From the middle of things
Without notes
Because it takes all of us
All the time
Looking each other
Eye to eye,
Hearing each other
Ear to ear
Holding each other
In love,
Holding each other
Holding each other
Just to hold each other

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wedding rehearsal

I wait for the rehearsal this afternoon. The wedding itself is Saturday afternoon.  I have a parade of wedding memories, some of which bear repeating... some not.

All the clergy
Are out of town
For the weekend
Except for me
So this one is mine.
I wear a collar
To remind myself
This is part of what
I am ordained
To do.
I remember past rehearsals.
I have a thirty year collection
Of stories.
We all do,
The ones who vacation
And me.
We all do.
This one, however,
Is mine.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Teamwork.  It takes all of us.

I read him poems.
He reads Monty Python quotes.
We are quite the team.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What a guy!

Feeling loved and cared for by my beloved.  What a guy!

What a guy!
He drove me to therapy,
Sat and graded papers
In the car.
What a guy!
He took me to work out,
Slept in the car
Facing the pond.
What a guy!
Half asleep
He saw my father,
Now dead,
Looking at him,
Silent as he always was,
Promised him he would continue
To take care of me.
What a guy!
Even asleep
He has my back.