Tuesday, October 13, 2015

LONG WEEKS

Too many events and changes.
Another friend teeters on dire dx.

Automatic habits loosen,
Requiring supplementary focus.

Time flees, incompletions pile up,
Attention drifts, priorities shift.

Memories of past events sharpen, then fade;
Plans consolidate, then loosen and trail off.

Easily tired by unending detailed tasks;
Relaxation, naps, and retirement beckon.

Seek and welcome beauty!

Ann Beth Blake
(c) May 28, 2015

SHE RETURNS

Left early--smart child,
Slipping away from abandonment, chaos, depression.
Dad returned, briefly, at fourth month, for baptism--
She was already long gone.

Always knew something was broken, missing,
No matter others' multiple reassurances.

Worked real hard for 70 3/4 years to repair and resolve--
To unknowingly remake a safe place for her.

Last week, at first an energy hovering over me;
Then she proofed into my core, my viscera,

To take up residence once again,
At last, she returned home, just in time.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 13, 2015




THREE YOUNG WOMEN

Surprising new photo of mother, never seen and never described. 
No one to ask, mine to project interpretations and hopes.

A tableau of relaxed well-being, anticipatory of celebration.
Three young women sit at angles to each other;
Formal dresses, two matching, Mom in wedding gown.
Her handmaidens, unknown to me, perhaps and probably,
Friends from her job, other wartime librarians, 
Neither of whom look particularly animated.
Mom, clear star of the event, looks gorgeous and happy.
Large floral bouquet, colors indistinguishable in black-and-white,
Fulfills several purposes, one of which is to hide my presence.
So glad she is happy and, probably, relieved that I am legitimized.

In absentia: corresponding photo of male participants.
Possibly intentionally discarded in ensuing years,
Probably garbed to the nines in WWII dress uniforms,
Perhaps replete with swords, cording, metals--
But missing, reflective that Dad might not have been
As excited to wed and to become a parent,
And that he wouldn't stay around well or long--AWOL.

As in previous generation, feminine is present and dominant,
Masculine, often, ambivalent, dreamy, dependent, absent.

Grateful for new vision and version of Mom: joyful, unburdened.

Ann Beth Blake
Siracusa, Sicioia, Italia
(c) Septmber 3, 2015

IN MY BODY

I am always in my body, of course,
Until I am deceased and expired.

When beside myself, I experience being
Outside my body, although not.

Even though uncomfortable and apologetic,
Actually, cues/clues to something deeper:

Some historical hurt, some triggered complex;
Be curious, pay attention, offer attunement;

Explore inner genesis of response,
Accept all hypotheses as meaningful.

Goal: consciousness within the complex:
That I am here, present, and OK.

Even when I feel beside myself and outside
And annoyed and irritated and

Judgmental of myself and others.
Pause, count to 10, recite mantra.

I am in my body always--just a fact.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) Septmber 5, 2015
Onto, Sicilia, Italia




Thursday, October 8, 2015

OLD MAN'S DELIGHT

Quite elderly man with too-long beard 
And uniquely-patterned sweat-stained cap,
Clutches hard-earned cup in public coffee shop,
Taking fatherly delight in anonymous observation
Of two women in intimate, animated conversation.

Gratitude for man's free access to enjoyment
That softens his loneliness and isolation.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 8, 2015

HAIKU FOR LEE

Last poem and breath
Fluid grace and engagement
Always authentic

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 8, 2015



UTAH CONTRASTS

Cold starry nights: Saturn and Andromeda Galaxy visible through telescope.
Sun-drenched days requiring sunscreen and hats--scurrying toward shade.

Spectacular sandstone spires and mesas, some with windows;
Deep river-carved canyons, stranding terraced islands.

Highways smudged and besmirched with deer blood and carnage;
Roads bordered by iconic Buddha-like and temple-shaped rock formations.

Southern Utah's calendar-photo beauty carved out of temporary pourous stone;
Northern Utah's granite peaks bespeckled with swaying golden aspens.

Exquisite Heaven on Earth, clear evidence of higher hands at work; 
Hell's fire and brimstone echoed at every curve and all angles.

Four friends collectively reveling in non-daily-life experiences;
Inward spiritual revelations and soul-expanding images.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 8, 2015






Thursday, October 1, 2015

THREE EVENTS

The Seattle Jungian/Psychoanalytic scene is alive and well, as evidenced by the events described below.

(1) POTENTIAL SPACE: AN EVENING OF ART AND PERFORMANCE, presented by the NW Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study.
Saturday, October 17, 2015, 5-9 pm, The Center for Urban Horticulture--UW Botanical Gardens,
3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98105
This annual event showcases local therapists' art, music, and recitation. 
Yours truly will be in a scene from (see #3 below) The Movement of the Moon, Camille Claudel: Life Phases of the Feminine in Art, Madness, and Love, by Elizabeth Clark-Stern and Lindsey Rosen. Along with many others, I will recite some of my poetry (already published in one of my blogs: abbelcamino.blogspot.com)

(2) HEALING TRAUMA: THE LOST & RECOVERED SOUL IN DEPTH PSYCHOTHERAPY, a Seminar with Donald Kalsched, Ph.D., Jungian analyst, the annual Program for Professionals, sponsored by the Jungian Psychotherapists Association.
Saturday, November 7, 2015, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, Bastyr University Auditorium, 14500 Juanita Drive, Kenmore, WA, 98028. LUNCHEON PROVIDED.

(3) THE MOVEMENT OF THE MOON, CAMILLE CLAUDEL: LIFE PHASES OF THE FEMININE IN ART, MADNESS, AND LOVE, a play with music and dance, by Elizabeth Clark-Stern and Limdsey Rosen.
January 29, 2016; March 11, 2016; and April 16, 2016; all performances at 8 pm, Good Shepard Center Chapel Theater (top floor), 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Seattle, WA, 98103.
In addition to the authors, also featuring Laila Rosen, Ann Blake, Kevin Filocamo, Tim Nelson, and Dylan Hansen. Sound by Donna Lee; Lighting by John Stern. A production by ShrinkWrap Theatre. 

OK! Some progress in readability

OK. The previous 3 entries are readable, but in odd font. I will soonish re-enter the 3 previous blog entries, making them more readable. I might try once more to enter content from Notes--hang in with the experiments. Ann, Octobeer 1, 2015

SORRY FOR GLITCH IN VIEWABILITY

I foolishly poked the button for updating my iPad, which might have messed with the format for this blog: hard to see/read text. Clicking on the text will make it visible--but bothersome. 
I usually write my content in Notes, then copy and paste--but something is wrong at the moment. Let's see if just writing in the blog makes the content viewable. Please hang in there with me while I figure out this anomaly. Ann, October 1, 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015

PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALL

Scandi-American independence 
And do-it-myselfness: refused ride,
Waked the easy two-mile return.

During childhood, Mom admonished 
Me to pick up my feet, that she couldn't
Tell the difference between my 
And Dad's arrival up back stairs.

Scuffed toe of right shoe evidences
Continued shuffling and insufficient 
Attention to relevant elevation.

Once again, prone on pavement,
Probably stumbling on curb,
Before startlingly falling forward--
Purposefully and pridefully using 
Full curb height rather than acquiescing to
Carved-out bike and wheelchair ramps.

Sufficient time between afoot and face-down
To plan landing: NOT on palms, not on face/head;
Shoulder, edge of hand, and knee took the brunt.

Distracting pain, minimal injury--
Just a few bumps and bruised ego:
Must begin adjusting to lessening agility.

Beginnings of slow but certain downward spiral.
Still vibrant and alert, but not quite as dependable.

Ann Beth Blake
June 4, 2015

LONG WEEKS PASSING RAPIDLY

Too many events and changes.
Another friend teeters on dire dx.

Automated habits loosen, 
Requiring supplementary focus.

Time flees, incompletions pile up,
Attention drifts, priorities shift.

Memories of past events sharpen, then fade; 
Plans consolidate, then loosen and trail off.

Easily tired by unending detailed tasks;
Relaxation, naps, and retirement beckon.

Ann Beth Blake
May 28, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

SNOWING IN MID-MAY

Spring snow flurries of fluffy cottonwood seed packets,
Hitting windshield with high velocity of Midwest blizzard,
Like stars steaming past sci-fi spacecraft at Mach 7,
Swirling and twisting in mid-air, blanketing grassy hillocks, 
Accumulating in mounds of curbside snow banks,
Never melting but somehow dissipating over time.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) May 18, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

REQUIEM FOR OUR FRIEND

If only we could write symphonies,
A full-orchestra requiem and four-part choir
Would scarcely be sufficient to honor our friend:
Soaring arias, discordant harmonies to reflect our grief,
Wailing violins to wrench our tears and tear out our hearts,
Throbbing timpani drums to register our loss to the world,
Soulful piano solo, using all 88 keys, scales to communicate
The full spectrum of her life well and fully lived: WA and CA,
joy and sadness, together and apart, personal and professional.
 
If only we could paint portraits and landscapes,
Like the art gracing the walls in their home,
Replete with blues and reds, of course:
Our friend dressed to the nines in bright, colorful tops,
Nails and toes painted to match her outfit;
Blond, curly hair recently turned white,
Coifed and brushed to a sheen;
Crafted earrings and matching necklace,
Blue wedding ring and pinky ring to match her eyes.
Blue eyes ever sparking and sparkling,
Spontaneous smile easily erupting.

If only we could make an epic movie in which
A myriad of scenes echo the fullness of her life:
Flowers surround her in all colors of the rainbow;
Loving family and a bevy of friends flow in and out,
Reading, playing cards, tapping on drums, hiking,
Playing tennis, listening to music, cheering for teams;
Conversing deeply about our lives and our plans,
Conversing and laughing and crying and smiling.
 
If only we could have more time, more laughs,
More adventures, more conversations, more silences,
More meaningful glances, more of anything/everything
With our dear wife, mother, grandmother,
Great-grandmother, aunt, friend, nurse, teacher.
 
Our friend's legacy lives on in lives and communities.
She is with us always, as we are with her always.
We grieve and celebrate from now until forever.
 
Ann Blake
May 1, 2015

FRIEND'S PASSING

Life well lived, fully loved.

Now drifting down the river
Toward the other shore,
Around the next bend.

Friends waiting on the beach,
Giving space to the family.

Scarcely daring to breathe
Lest we rock the boat,
Which approaches the 
Crossing, the last portage.

So deeply loved and cherished.

We yearn for every lingering moment,
Yet desperately hope for her peace.

Bon Voyage, Dear Friend. 
Save space in the boat 
For all of us to join you.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) April 23, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

WHO WILL FEED ME AFTER 90?

Older generation expired at +/- 80,
But my life: easier, more resiliency.

Just after 70, long respiratory flu, 
Painful knees, friends facing crises.

Looking down the road to retirement,
Fuller freedom, more frequent recreation.

Looking further, will money, energy, and mind last?
Who will need me/feed me * when I'm really old?

Ann Beth Blake
(c) April 18, 2015

*Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me When I'm 64?"
The Beatles

UNTETHERED

I have always depended on the kindness of friends.*

As my older sister by another 
mother approaches final transition,
I become edgy and untethered.

Atlas' world, a heavy weight 
on my sluggish heart;
Shallow, shunted breathing;

Tearful, then calmed, then tearful.
What would SHE do/say/be?

Surrounded by comfort,
yet adrift, 
unmoored, 
floating,
distracted, 
disoriented.

Unknowns abound,
surreal,
unsettling.

Teeth clenching, 
stomach churning,
eyes skittering to periphery.

Prayers for peace and grace.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) April 20, 2015

* "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, 1947
www.quotationspage.com/quote/30285.html

Monday, April 6, 2015

NO POEMS LATELY

Five-week vicious respiratory flu of 2015;
A friend in dire health crisis;
End of another school quarter:

Conspiracy, or at least experiences, 
Consuming my energy and time,
Precluding creativity and, even, much fun.

Gratifying Easter/påsk: beautiful services;
Positive contact and fun, relaxed meal;
Feeling rejuvenated and back to myself.

As always, Spring has sprung again;
Sun and clouds in equal measure;
Flowers and trees returning to full bloom.

At last, my body energy follows the seasons,
As, once, we all organically participated.
Breathing more easily, focusing more intentionally.

Challenges and joys ahead, life unfolding.
Prayers for friends' aging and passing.
Ebbing and flowing, waxing and waning.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) April 6, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

I'M JUST ABOUT THAT ACTION, BOSS

It seems to me that 
The First Amendment
Protects our right to speak 
And to NOT speak.

Marshawn Lynch, 
Of the Seattle Seahawks 
Plays good football,
Runs a righteous charity,
And, each Friday, flies 
Five inner city kids from
Oakland to watch the
Seahawks' Friday practice. 

Actions speak louder than words.
It's just about that First Amendment, Boss.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) January 26, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

BELATED VALENTINE'S DAY GREETINGS--NEVER TO LATE FOR LOVE!

See web link below for a video sent to me by a dear friend--and now onward to all of you!

Neurologist Oliver Sacks

Neurologist Oliver Sacks has researched neurological anomalies, written many books, lectured widely, and, now, has written a soulful New York Times essay about his response to his current health crisis. 


Dr. Sacks' books: 
The man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat: And Other Clincal Tales
Hallucinations
Musicophilia
The Mind's Eye
Migraine
The Island of the Colorbird
Awakenings (made into a movie starring Robin Williams and Robert Deniro)
An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales 
Seeing Voices
Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
A Leg to Stand On
Oaxaca Journal
Phantoms of the Brain: Probing Mysteries of the Human Mind
On the Move: A Life
A Man Without Words




Friday, February 13, 2015

TORRENT TEMPORARILY ABATED

Walking this morn to a neighborhood 
Appointment; sun peaking through 
Westerly and southerly clouds
Which have dumped rain for weeks.

Refreshing and relieving to bask once more
In sun beams, to breathe deeply again, 
To feel lighter in my steps, to be outside
Sans cumbersome jacket and gloves.

Still in the depths of winter, yet 
Days elongating, flowers and trees
Budding, early blooms blossoming.
Glimpses of renewed hope on the way at last.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) February 12, 2015

ODD BILLBOARDS

When driving, I don't usually pay attention to advertisements along the roadways. Lately, odd billboard photos catch my attention, but fleetingly: One or more men wearing only briefs or boxers, in modestly lascivious poses, advertising all-manner of products and services: IT, hardware stores, or whatever.

The men are not particularly in good physical shape; their facial expressions are fairly blank--neither playful nor suggestive, just matter-of-fact--reminiscent of high-fashion models' blank stares.

I am puzzled by these billboards. What is the point? 
By contrast, bringing to consciousness the ongoing and overtly exploitive use of women's overly-sexy bodies/poses in advertising campaigns?
Lessening the sexist sting of objectification of women by objectifying men too?
Poking fun at the ridiculousness of using human bodies as a sales technique?
Decreasing Americans' prudish response to sexuality by flooding our awareness with non-sexual images of male near-nudity?
If body-related advertisements work for men, similar advertisements should work for women?

At least, maybe, the ad execs are finally attempting to include 64% of the US population in capitalism. Although these billboards catch my attention by their quirkiness, I am no more compelled to purchase their advertised products. Like billboards using female bodies (I assume), my attention goes to the bodies in the short amount of time I fly by in my car. I gather no information about the product/service and am no more compelled to buy their product/service than any other.

I am slightly curious, not offended, not titillated. But I am irritated by the marketing use of normal, ordinary, every-day male bodies in comparison to the use of only-the-most-voluptuous female bodies to sell products. Similar to using female bodies (I assume) in ads, I am distracted by the photos and only minimally, if at all, attentive to the actual service/product being sold. Effective marketing?

Ad execs get paid more money than I to create images and sounds that produce motivation and yearning and willingness to part with a buck. I am confused about the overall purpose and efficacy of such a seemingly distracting strategy.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) February 10, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

YOU'D THINK

In grey-skied, dimly-lit Western Washington,
You'd think people would wear bright coats
To help drivers see and avoid pedestrians,

As rain pours from skies, you'd think drivers
Would slow down to avoid sliding and skidding,
To be cautious, to put safety before schedule.

But pedestrians, including me, wear dark clothing;
But drivers, including me, are always in a hurry;
Walkers and drivers focus on individual goals.

Deferring individual wants to collective needs
Requires a level of discernment and maturity
That is rarely achieved and seldom plied.

At least for me, I will wear brighter colors;
At least for me, I will slow down, be more alert; 
At least for me, I will finally smell those roses.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) February 5, 2015

IRS-RELATED SCAM AVOIDED

1-29-14, 7:59 am, message on my phone. Official-sounding woman's voice, very serious and practiced. "The IRS has been trying to contact you, and this is your final warning. The IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. Call (206) 855-5833." Call came from (725) 422-5667. After I checked on the Internet for IRS-related Fraud/Scam information, I erased the message. Danger avoided!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

HAPPY 94th BIRTHDAY, DAD!

Many of us have "the best dad ever!"
My siblings and I had our best-dad-ever
Only until his forty-seventh year.

A man of many talents and, like most of us,
Many flaws, Dad loved us and guided us;
Could still recite poetry assigned in high school;

Fished and hunted with conviction, even
Taking me deer hunting once, with an unloaded
Rifle, offering black coffee, which I still hate.

Dad only saw his eldest graduate from high school,
Didn't see any of us leave home for college or 
See our homes, didn't meet his two grandchildren.

Yet I see our dad in his siblings, my siblings,
And our cousins; many remember Uncle Eddie.
His grandson, Ryan, has Dad's quick,dry wit.

Dad died of a congenital heart defect, which, today,
Would probably have been surgically mended.
Marvels of medical progress came too late.

Instead, we greet you today, where you are, Dad,
In our hearts, in our memories, in Ryan's humor.
Happy 94th Birthday, Dad, from your grateful kids.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) January 20, 2015

IF IT'S JANUARY, IT'S PETER WHITE AT JAZZ ALLEY!

Several years ago, my friend Margaret graciously invited me to attend (and continue attending) an annual Peter White concert at Seattle's Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, just north of Downtown Seattle, accessed from the alley between 5th and 6th Avenues (2033 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121, (206) 441-9729). A loyal fan, Margaret, sometimes attends all 3 days of the gig--completely worth the investment of both time and money, dividends compounding.

The deeply-talented quintet is headed by guitarist-sublime, Peter White. In this year's  mid-January concert, the band adeptly played a blend of smooth jazz and rockin' oldies, narrated by Peter's serious/zany Brit banter. The tight quintet (formed for the Seattle gig--some players for many years, some new this year) played each song lengthily, often incorporating easily-recognized tunes, at least easily recognized by those of a certain age. During familiar oldies, Peter encouraged the audience to sing along. For their encore, the band played Pharrell Williams' "Happy," inviting the audience to "Get up and dance!"

Peter's breadth of experience and depth of musical knowledge glowed brightly as he played his nylon-stringed instrument, lovingly cradled and raucously swung. In his many albums, Peter adeptly spreads his wings to soar across soulfully beautiful melodies, often written about specific places and personal experiences. Since the early 1990s, Peter (then brown-haired and shaggy) has recorded 14 solo albums. Whimsical and warm, Peter's fans feel welcome to chat, get signatures on just about anything (although he declined my tongue-in-cheek request to sign my food take-out box), and pose for photo ops (got one!).

Michael Paulo, a sensual version of the Energizer Bunny, on saxophones, wailed while dance-walking his way though the concert, gaining every aerobic advantage. Michael flirts as well as he plays his horn, intensely in the moment, then strolling away with a secret, sweet, dual-dimpled smile. Michael plays a small (soprano?) sax as well as a larger (tenor?) sax, playing both with joyful abandon and excellent finesse, widely grinning the entire concert.

On keys, Gregg Karukas, ensconced and almost dwarfed behind a bank of two large keyboards, provided fluidity and harmony par excellence--also grinning though all tunes. This year, Gregg finally played a new solo--"finally," because last year, just for the irony of it all, I bet (and lost) that Gregg would play a new solo. Had I waited only one year, I would have had 6 more bucks in my pocket. The previous tried and true solo, "Girl in the Red Dress," was, of course, fabulous. This year, Gregg came front with his hand-held keyboard, proving that he too could dance while swinging a tune.

Dwayne "Smitty" Smith on bass was appropriately garbed in Seahawks hat and jersey (that afternoon, the Seattle Seahawks had won the NFC Championship Game: Seattle Seahawks 28, Green Bay Packers 22). Smitty seemed humble and hesitant as Peter introduced him and, later, as Peter encouraged a long and longer solo. Smith's list of musicians with whom he has played is long and illustrious, including the Isley Brothers. One of the best advantages from the bass is the low cadence that vibrates through my body, as any dependable heart beat should. 

Last, but certainly not least, Eric Valentine, who played with Peter White for the past several years, made a blur of his drum sticks. Long dreads swing and sway as Eric wailed on his kit. Eric's innovative and purposeful flailing produced a three-dimensional foundation for the other four band members. Late in the set, during his solo, Eric pulled his headband over his eyes as he beat out complex rhythms, as well as tossing and catching his sticks.

As their last set of the weekend, band members generously played long and hard. All members brought joy and energy to their work, which, although certainly vigorous, effortful, and sublime, looks a lot like the height of play.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) January 20, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

NOT EVEN A FAN, BUT. . .GO HAWKS!!

What a game on a wintry bi-polar Seattle day,
Now gusts and gales, then sunshine and calm,
And vice versa and vice versa again and again!

Although I don't follow professional football,
I love almost anything done exceptionally well;
Quality is the standard for my enjoyment.

At half time, zero to 16 in Green Bays's favor;
Watched passively until last several moments,
When, against all odds of staying in the game,

The Hawks pulled the rabbit out of the hat;
Unfortunately, Green Bay tied the score, 22/22,
Going into weirdly-complicated over time.

Even with injuries on both sides, Green Bay's player
Limping, Hawks' Sherman hugging left arm to body,
Hawks ran the ball to touchdown in first several minutes.

Game over: Seattle Seahawks, 28, Green Bay Packers, 22.
Yay for the home team, the home ground, the 12th fans!
And, me, out on the highways before all beaks loose.

As I entered Starbucks to chronicle this sports moment,
Ultimate favorite song playing, Rhapsody in Blue,
At perfect loud-ish volume, ending a marvelous day.

GO HAWKS!

Ann Beth Blake
(c) January 18, 2015

HARD RAIN GONNA FALL*

Rain and wind so severe, the road has a surf:
Gusts of wind pushing accumulated pools of 
Water down the street, making actual waves.

Wind audible, jostling evergreen boughs, swaying trees;
Rain gushing from down spouts, bouncing off roofs.
Just another blustery, wintry day in Western Washington.

And, then, calming weather pattern, rain abated,
Patches of blue sky, slight breeze, sunshine on shoulders.**
Just another bi-polar day in Western Washington.

*Dylan, B. (1985). Fear no evil (album).
**Denver, J. (1971). Poems, prayers, and promises (album).

Ann Beth Blake
(c) January 18, 2014

SCARLET TRUMPETS

Facing four cardinal directions, 
Amaryllis blossoms silently sound
Exuberant celebratory joyfullness.

Elegant, flamboyant, bursting with color,
Blossoms signal both endings and beginnings,
Amidst dark winter days and nights.

Vibrant and vivacious hue offers remembrances
Of Spring past and hopefulness for Spring future;
Hope for resurgence and renewal of life force;

Hope for return of longer days;
Hope for new buds and new births;
Hope for another opportunity, for regeneration.

Ah, Amaryllis, your blossoms prompt
Optimistic yearnings, fun-filled fantasies,
And portents of positive possibilities.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) January 18, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TANNENBAUM UP, TANNENBAUM DOWN; ONGOING HOLIDAY REMEMBRANCES

Each year, with utmost pleasure and satisfaction,
I purchase my holiday tree, then, ten days later, 
Recycle the tree to city compost, happy with the cycle.

All through the year, despite sweeping, 
Mopping, and vacuuming, tree needles turn up 
In common and unusual places, reminding me 

Of holiday joy that continues the year long;
Of things permanent and impermanent;
Of the ever-present stability of instability;

Of the ubiquitous and essential messiness of life;
Of my gifts and imperfections; of the Yin/yang symbol, 
Balancing light and dark: light dot in dark, dark dot in light;

Of the first day of Winter, heralding extension of daylight;
and, overall, of holding two sides of all continua, such as:
joy and sadness, love and hate, gain and loss, birth and death.

The toils of fall-quarter teaching preclude holiday letters.
A fortnight into the first month of the new year, my continued
Holiday glow prompts me to think fondly of my important people.

So I reach out, even as the Ides of January approaches,
To clearly and loudly express that I love and value you.
Without family and friends, I would be adrift and alone.

Because of family and friends, I thrive; I tell my truth;
I easily express the love for you burbling inside me;
I joyfully and gratefully receive your returned love.

As I enter my eighth decade to participate in the last
Chapters of my life, I am glad you are here with me.
I am glad to be companions on this wondrous journey.

As always, Peace, Joy, Equality, and Hope!
From my heart and soul to you and all of yours.

Much love,
Ann

Ann Beth Blake
(c) January 13, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 WENT OUT WITH A BANG!

A brief, flaming love affair, erupting like fireworks, 
Then bursting like over-inflated ballon;
Offered many gifts, like many Christmas seasons.

Experimented with flirting, new behavior--fun;
Still have juice and proclivity to respond in kind;
Showed up, told the truth, even though rampantly 
Ungrounded in the madness stage of new romance.

Got overwhelmed, was over my head, felt scared.
Set limits, which guided me back into my skin and head.
Both of us bounced back out of the intensity;
No recriminations, but regrets about dashed hopes.

Ann B. Blake
(c) January 4, 2015 

CREATING A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION TO LEAD A MEANINGFUL LIFE

In his Seattle Times article, Wes Moore described his decision and subsequent actions to change jobs to create a more meaningful life. Mr. Moore ended the Seattle Times article with the following: "That was years ago, and it changed how I approach my New Year's resolutions. I no longer make resolutions. Instead, I ask: What is the thing that makes me come alive, and what am I willing to do, to do just that?" I finally feel comfortable using New Year's as a way to examine my path. I can say to myself, "We've all made it this far, but how do we make "making it" matter?"

Wes Moore, youth advocate, Army combat veteran, social entrepreneur, and host of "Beyond Belief" on the Oprah Winfrey Network. His first book, "The Other Wes Moore," was a New York Times best seller.

Moore, W. (2014, December 31). Creating a New Year's resolution to lead a meaningful life. The Seattle Times, p. A11.