Wednesday, February 6, 2013


     Shades of the 1950’s I thought when I walked into the bathroom at the L.A. County Arboretum.  I could imagine women sitting on the metal stools brushing their stylized hair then  taking out ozone depleting tin bottles of hairspray and spraying with abandon,  mist falling in tiny sticky globulettes. To complete the touch up, golden tubes of lipstick, opened to unveil shades of red, (not pink nor orange nor white, those were in later times), were twisted to full height and applied sensuously to pursed lips that always kissed tissue or toilet paper to blot and hold the color.  The changing table was a nod to later times, beyond the 1950’s, into the 2000’s, when benches and chairs would no longer do for changing baby’s bottom.  Before the changing table, the mist of hairspray would have been mixed with the haze of cigarette smoke. 
     Standing in the bathroom imagining the scene, I felt deprived.  Glamorous times when bathrooms were more than places of necessity. But how glamorous are metal stools, cool to the seat, whether on summer or winter day? Elegance attempted though.  This had been a classy place.
      Even though I’m a native Californian and the Arboretum has been in existence since I was in single digits age wise, I’d never been there before my visit last month with a good friend of mine, a friend from my childhood. We choose a very hot day to wander the grounds, and we did not spend too much time wandering.  We vowed to go back.
     Before I went to the Arboretum,  I’d been thinking about deprivation, in a kind of what we once had sense, not in the we never had it sense.  Deprivation in the never had it sense would be another entry, another time, much heavier and would entail thinking about justice and fairness and equity, issues which sit on my sleeve and weigh my shoulders down, but which I don’t want to tackle today.  Today the deprivation comes from the sense of what we had and now do not.  So many things, so many places, so many notions and ideas. Not nostalgia, deprivation.
     In this kind of deprivation, what was gives way to what is now.  It is the gap between the was and the now that the feeling of deprivation fills.  For example, I am no longer young (whew, thankfully), but neither am I old (well, to some, but not in reality).  To shake off young or even middle age requires me to move into or towards old.  And here I sit.  I’ve been here for some time in my adult life but only now am connected to this feeling of deprivation.  I once could run around the bases after hitting a well pitched ball.  I once had long auburn brown hair.  I once had young children, adolescent children, young adult children.  I once taught school.  I once was married.  No longer.  I feel deprived.  I feel like the metal stools waiting for the return of the glamorous 50’s, lined up in a row before the mirror occupied now only by schoolchildren who realize they can sit and stare in the mirror rather than stand and stare in the mirror.
    My feeling of deprivation doesn’t define me.  Instead it serves to remind me of a fulfilling past.  A past that has grounded my future into which I will age with wisdom, hopefully, so that I can continue to see the use of this type of feeling of deprivation as a filler and connector, and then write about the injustice in the world when deprivation does not lead to hope.  In that sense of being deprived, what was, is.  But it need not be.  That is my hope.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


   Most of us live our lives as though we know what is going to happen in the next minute or the next hour or the next day.  We plan.  Sometimes we plot. Always we seek certainty and control.  The feeling of uncertainty is unbalancing and few desire unbalance in life.  What about thrill seekers? We all are thrill seekers in some way.  Some are a bit on the edge and crash through life focusing on challenging life to its limits.  But still, this is a kind of search for certainty.  To choose to face an element of danger and feel an adreneline rush is to find the certainty that there will be an adreneline rush, a kind of antidote against feelings of uncertainty.  Who wants to ponder that life is uncertain?  Too frightening.  So we plan and sometimes plot and often plod along.

     I’ve been thinking about uncertainty a lot recently.  A heavy conversation in my head about the limits of control.  I want to be okay with uncertainty in not such a dreadful way.  I want to return to my understanding of uncertainty as the conduit for possibilities.  I’ve had that intuition before and I’ve been dissecting uncertainty for a while from the feeling of dread.  This has given me firmer grounding.  Yes, life is uncertain. Yes, shit happens. But, the feeling of uncertainty connects me to life and to all others living.  There is nothing ominous about connection to life and connection to others.  Instead, there is hope. Each of us on a similar journey. A hopeful journey.  A journey filled with possibilities in uncertainty.  Possibilities of success and failure.  Possibilities of joy and sadness.  Possibilities of future understanding.  Probabilities of attempts at control.  Certainty of the uncertain.  Before each of us is a door and then endless doors of possibility.  The adventure of life, the adventures in life continue.  Relax. Take a deep breath.  Open the door.

Friday, February 1, 2013

chicken soup

Some need a sip of chicken soup
to soothe a troubled soul.
Slurping but a thimbleful
connects parts to the whole.
Others find a spoonful
satisfies the inner need
So pursing lips,
inhaling slowly,
they procede with latent speed.
Many need a bowl or cup,
Especially from time to time
To satiate that emptiness
that disconnects
their rhythm from their rhyme.
And some, a clear minority?
An extra needy group,
should fill a swimming pool
to be
chicken soup.

unless you don't want to ; )