Friday, March 29, 2019

March 29

My father died on the 29th of March, 1999, twenty years ago, and my mother reminded me of this fact by text. "It was the saddest day of my life," she said. "The others were on the whole happy."

I read yesterday about a woman with a strange genetic mutation who feels no pain, nor no anxiety. Her days, one supposes, are all the same, all happy. 

Our human ability to feel things, including empathy, is paradoxically what makes us fragile and what makes us strong. 

I know that my mother gave my father smoked haddock with a poached egg as his last meal. I know that she was with him in the ambulance, holding his hand, when he died. I know that when we were celebrating his 85th birthday just a few weeks before he died (and when he was fit and bright and dynamic) the lights went out at 9 o'clock and he made us light candles all around the house. The party had to go on. But it was a sign. 

And this evening, looking towards the Berkshire Downs, by Swyncombe Church, the sunset was so beautiful that I know he had a had in it. Another sign. A sign to not fear the future, or death. That death should be just another stage of life. A reminder to pay attention to all the beauty that surrounds us every day. 

I think of him less often that I used to. But he is always there, just around the corner, like a color or a light, a little bit of him, twinkling just out of reach. 


Wednesday, March 27, 2019


I am not sure whether one is supposed to mourn a house. A friend, maybe. But I am mourning both. I have found myself this morning with a profound sense of loss, something I am not really familiar with. The days have been longer, brighter, sunnier. Spring is truly here and with it all the headiness of shedding the cold and dark. So I really have no reason to feel so heavy hearted. I have lost two things that were important to me, not to death, and I am thinking of Elizabeth Bishop. 

Los Angeles is my home. I can not deny the enchantment I feel. I am in its grip. Our house will be sold and with it my anchor. There is a finality to that. The fact that the man who is buying the house is someone I know, someone completely lovely, a man with the heart of a poet, does not help. Or perhaps it does a little. 

The friend is different. Although I use that word carefully now. I wonder how far does a friendship go when an infraction cannot be forgiven. I say that not as a judgement but an observation. I screwed up royally but not intentionally. I apologized profusely over a year.  I have attempted to be present and to make reparations. I am sad.  There is nothing else that can be done. 

I want to be the "fuck you" person but I am not. I want to say it loudly and mean it. But I don't. I am sad and I am mourning the end of a long, long friendship. I will get over it, of course. There is so much to celebrate and so much to be grateful for. But today, on the first gray day in a week, I feel small and alone and not the roaring Leo tiger I am supposed to be. 


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Just want to note

I just want to note this here lest I forget, on the day of the vernal equinox and the super moon, that this is a big day and that this has been a big week. I can feel the planets realigning inside me. We have sold our house to a man with the heart of a poet, I am reconnecting with estranged friends and I am becoming an American citizen (I aced my test!). I can't sleep but it doesn't seem to matter. I am aware of the things that are whirling around me and I am making a note of this so so I can look this up days from now to understand it. If I were an astrologer I would chart it. Connections are being made that feel like ridiculous coincidences. Mother Earth, Guru Ram Dass, God makes her presence known. I don't feel alone. I don't feel alone. I feel connected and purposeful and part of a tiny cog in a huge and magical machine. I just want to remember all these beautiful threads so I can work them out and understand how they fit together. Or not. Maybe I shouldn't ask. But I have a profound sense of gratitude. A deep sense that this is right, that I am where I should be, and that there are forces conspiring right now for good in the world. I know that good things are coming for all of us. 


Friday, February 15, 2019

Tea and oranges

It's a quarter to two and I am sick and I find myself craving tea and oranges, which I have cut into wedges and am eating out of a Chinese bowl, in my bed. It's quiet. But there is moonlight. The dogs are surprised by this nocturnal activity. They see a window which would allow them into the bed and they sit by my side waiting expectantly. 

Something about being sick gives you an opportunity to see another side of your life. You are too sick too work so you contemplate the other things. I am blunt from ibuprofen yet surprisingly open and optimistic and seeing a different future. Sometimes the door opens and you see just exactly what you have to do. It's a unexpected upside of being a miserable git. 

Can we talk about the beauty of oranges? Sweet and sour and refreshing and juicy and the goodness just drips down inside of you. It reminds me of Christmas and my father and the large box he would buy for that season, keeping in the cellar. They were wrapped in purple paper, each one of them. Large, shiny-skinned navel oranges, with babies. 

Tomorrow is the birthday of my youngest child. She will be 24. I can't even wrap my head around this age Twenty four years since she appeared. My sweet, sickly child, always ill as a little girl. I feel my current ibuprofen/acetaminophen diet is a kind of homage to her and her high temperatures when she was little. Sweet, sweet thing. 


Thursday, February 14, 2019


I got very sick today. The sort of sick where you know you shouldn't be driving. Shaking and aching and high fever and all you want is your bed. It came on like a hurricane, unexpectedly, annoyingly, ferociously. My mamma, whom I took to lunch for Valentine's Day, asked me to come
home with her so she could look after me. It made me melt. She is 84 and finds it hard to walk and there she is offering me cups of tea in proper cups and my cozy childhood bed with the flowery pink Laura Ashley cover. It's days like this — children are the other side of the world, Charlie is in Berlin for another few days — when you appreciate your mama. It's not lost on me that it's Valentine's Day and last year I was sunk in a depression in a house with no electricity and no heating and she showed up with a flask of hot water, some milk, some tea bags. She is pretty amazing. And now I lie here stuffed with acetaminophen, sweating through the fever in my pajamas, with the dogs on the newly laundered linen sheets, and I feel grateful. So, so grateful. 

Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends and all the people that kindly keep up with this sporadic blog. Thank you. Every day I wake up and consider changing the world. And every day I don't. I believe the Truth will reveal itself when we are ready. But most of all let's think about love and what that is and what it means. It's kindness and cups of tea and trying to understand the other. 

It really is all that matters. 

Take care. ❤️