Thursday, July 31, 2008

Skywatch Friday - The Caribbean Skies

This was taken two weeks ago in Playa del Carmen Mexico - just before the effects of Hurricane Dolly blew through!
Visit the new Skywatch Friday website for more photos!

On the Lighter Side . . .

Found on the Internet -And then the fight started. . .

A woman is standing nude looking in the bedroom mirror. She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, "I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment."
The husband replies, "Your eyesight is damn near perfect."
And then the fight started. . .

I rear-ended a car this morning.
So there we were alongside the road and slowly the other driver got out of his car. You know how sometimes you just get soooo stressed and little things seem funny? Yeah, I couldn't believe it... he was a DWARF!
He stormed over to my car, looked up at me and shouted, "I AM NOT HAPPY!"
So I looked down at him and said, "Well, which one are you?"
And then the fight started. . . .

After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's license to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home.
I told the woman I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later.
The woman said, "Unbutton your shirt."
So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair. She said," That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me", and she processed my Social Security application.
When I got home I excitedly told my wife about my experience.
She said, "You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability too."
And then the fight started. . . .


My wife and I were sitting at my table at my high school reunion and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.
My wife asked, "Do you know her?"
"Yes," I sighed, "She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since."
"My God!" my wife said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long!"
And then the fight started. . . .

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

After the Fire

A song by Amy Grant

After the fire is over, after the ashes cool
After the smoke has blown away - I will be here for you.
After the stillness finds you, after the winds of change
All that is good and true between us
This will remain the same.

Slowly, slowly, we turn the page of life
Growing, knowing - it comes at quite a price.
After your time of wandering along this lonely road
There will be many voices calling -
I will say welcome home.

Slowly, slowly we turn the page of life
Growing, knowing - it comes at quite a price.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Sea

There is a miracle in the endless sea
and its sojourn to the infinite sky.
Its progeny the sand and the shells.
Just begin to count them
and you will dwell in the miracle,
surely you will.

How does the sea know when it has
reached the shore, and where to
deliver its treaures?
Where do the waves go when
they touch the land?

You may abandon the sea
and travel in a homeward direction,
but when you return
on a luminous and lovely day
it is God you will see
in the iridescent water.

It is God you will hear
in the symphony of the waves.
Look outward and find Him.
The sea never left you
it was, and always will be there
waiting for your return.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A 10 year old girl's dreams

I'm sure no one else will find this as fascinating as I do - but recently my mom found something that I wrote when I was 10 years old. Here it is as I wrote it:
When I grow up I want to be a writer. I don't care if I'm famous or not. Just so I can write. If I do become a writer I would want to write about several things. I want to write about my life and add something different maybe or something that I made up about someone else's life. Maybe my days at camp. They were exiting. So many different odd things happened. I might call that book _____ days at camp. _____is for who ever I name the person. Or I could write about one certain thing like a kind of animal or different people from different lands. What I would really like to write about is something that happened to somebody maybe something funny or maybe something sad. I would like to write a book about a half inch thick. Maybe I could write about a girl in girl scouts and what she did, so the people who read it might join if they weren't already a girl scout.
Some of my dreams came true. I did write about my life and someone else's life and I did not become famous. I think my first book was a little thicker than a half-inch, but close enough. I don't remember writing this, of course, but I know that I always thought writing to be a most noble profession and to see your name on the cover of a book would be the ultimate experience - and that turned out to be true also.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dolphins and Parrots and Lizards, Oh My!

That's me being kissed by a dolphin in Mexico. The whole experience was amazing and so much fun. You go in the water with 5 other people and at first the dolphins just swim among the people and let you touch them. The trainers claim that they love being petted and touched. You get your picture taken in various poses and then you get to swim out, lay flat on your stomach, stick your feet out and two dolphins push you across the water by your feet! They also do other tricks like jumping over you. As I looked around at the other people in the water with me, everyone had a huge smile on their face the whole time. It's something I've probably wanted to do since watching "Flipper" when I was a kid. It was just too cool.
I also got my picture taken with an iguana on my shoulder and another one with two parrots, but there is just too much of me in a bathing suit on those pictures to subject the public to.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Yes, we were in Mexico for five days at a resort in Playa del Carmen on the Carribbean Sea. Last year I dragged my husband to New York City for his only week of vacation and that wasn't his type of vacation, so this year was his choice. It was, of course, spectacularly beautiful and relaxing, but it is very strange being in another country - the unfamiliar food, the language barriers, the lack of access to what's going on at home (no cell phone signal there). On a vacation I find that not just my body goes on vacation, but my brain too. Everyone on the beach would be reading or sleeping but then you would see people (like me) just staring out into the pale green-blue water for endless amounts of time, thinking about pretty much nothing. It's a weird hiatus from normal living and one I feel very grateful and blessed to experience. It rained for about a day and a half because of Hurricane Dolly, but we managed to entertain ourselves :) Well, it's time to get to the laundry and sweeping up dog hair and watering thirsty plants, so for today I'll leave you with a picture of what took my mind away from reality for a little bit.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I'm going to take a blogging break until next Friday. I'll miss you all and probably have tortuous withdrawl symptoms. I'll update you on what I've been up to when I return. Feel free to click on the archives while I'm gone!

Summer Storm

Published in Tributaries - Spring 2007

Sunlight a moment ago, now dark
tree limbs sway like dancing partners
hanging plants twirl and tip
leaves turn inside out white
yard machines silenced
replaced by distant thunderous moans

squirrel vanish, birds swoop
into sheltering trees, then
a scarlet streak in the charcoal light
a brave one clings to the swinging feeder
the tangled wind chimes and
pattering drops on the awning
make music as I inhale to smell the rain

waves of silver move over the rooftop
a whoosh through the downspouts
its force pushes the long-stemmed
daisies to the sidewalk
the overflow streams off the gutters
in perfect parallel lines to the ground

out the window, is it a large rock?
an ugly, wrinkled snapping turtle
has washed down the driveway
from the lake across the street
I watch it waddle away
as the quiet returns

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Leaving Home

This poem was previously published in The Rockford Review in 2007. It is about my mother.

Hers was a childhood rooted in the Great Depression,
the sixth and last baby born in the summer of 1929,
the least wanted of a life-weary woman
who had born her first twenty-one years earlier.

Steel mills sprang up across the Ohio River, spewing
ash and fire into the sky as the Greeks, Italians, Poles
Germans, Slavs traversed the bridges daily
to toil in the fiery pits.

How did she know it was time to leave when the
only world she had ever known was covered in soot,
when the only place to live was by a menacing river?
When the only night sounds were train whistles and
fog horns and the whoosh of flames hitting the air?

What evening was it when she looked out at the orange sky
and knew she didn't want to fall in love with a mill worker,
didn't want her children's hands and feet
blackened every summer day at play,
never to know the whiteness of snow
or a quiet, black, star-studded sky?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Faith Worth Believing

Faith is an openness to the unknown. It is the willingness to walk in the darkness, to proceed in life without certainty. Faith does not preclude fear, it enables us to act in the face of fear. It is not the opposite of doubt; rather it invites us to entertain and examine all that appears inconsistent with our inherited beliefs. Faith is not an unwavering adherence to a way of life, but a radical interfacing with the unpredictable changes and chances of life itself, and with the commitments we make along life's way.

(Frank Stella from "A Faith Worth Believing.)

Monday, July 14, 2008


There is nothing I do not love about lavender. I think the plant is beautiful and luscious. I adore the fragrance. I even like the word - I named a character in my new novel Lavender. I am drawn to anything in any shade of purple. I've had a small lavender plant in my semi-shade perennial garden for years and it's all but dormant. It just lives with no growth. So I stubbornly tried again - near the front of our yard there is a little more sun, but not full sun as lavender needs. Well, it's thriving (but so is everything else this year) So this is my first lavender harvest!!! My husband doesn't get it - what are you going to do with it? Smell it, of course!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


In this one sacred moment
I am thinking about nothing on Earth
- as it is in heaven.
I feel nothing but a breeze lifting my hair.
I hear nothing but bird songs near and far
and the low shushing of the leaves
moving against each other.
It is a pleasing, singular void,
a reverie of quietude
when every sense is stilled
except for God.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Me and My Guitar

I've known how to play the guitar since I was 12 years old. I have a certain amount of ability. But my growth on the guitar, just like so many other interests I've had, seems to halt abruptly at a certain point. Playing the guitar and singing - by myself - in my living room is a summertime pastime. I get great enjoyment from what I can do when I'm alone, and I have the time to build up some callouses on my tender fingers.

I spent years strumming away at camps, coffee houses, vacation bible schools, a summer camp for a nearby private school, and a few times in church. But it's strange to me that I never gained enough confidence to fully use what seems like the perfect instrument for me. I say that because I have an extremely high singing range and generally you can adapt the guitar to your own key with a capo.

A few times in my neighborhood I attempted to play at our lake picnic area and I felt like a real idiot and swore I would not make a fool out of myself anymore. Even though I consider myself a singer I have a light-weight voice and it really needs amplification. Whenever people find out that you can sing they expect you to be able to sing anything, anywhere! My neighbor kept insisting that I could sing like Janis Joplin so I finally gave him a CD I recorded so he could hear that I sound more like Sarah Brightman than Janis Joplin!

Anyway! A couple years ago my dear husband, trying to be encouraging and supportive, gave me a whole set-up to perform - an amplifier, microphone, and a device to amplify my acoustic guitar - and have I used it ? NO! So I'm feeling guilty and confused by something I had made a decision to give up on - especially at my age. I mean, if God wanted me to be the next Joni Mitchell wouldn't I have figured it out by now? The desire is still there. A desire that I have for self-expression of every and any kind I can manage. But will I ever dare to risk being a fool again - an amplified fool this time?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Arte Y Pico

Ruth's Visions and Revisions is a blog I truly admire and respect, so I am honored that she chose COEXIST for an ARTE Y PICO award! This award is given to blogs who "deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what the language." Arte Y Pico is roughly translated as "Wow! The best art. Over the top!" Please check out Ruth's blog. Thank you so much, Ruth!
Rules of the award:
1) Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to the show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given him or her the award itself.
4) Award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte Y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award, which is here:" Arte Y Pico
So my choices are:

1. Old, Old Lady of the Hills. This wonderful lady lives in the Hollywood Hills and has been in just about every area of entertainment. She has great photos and memories to share. She also takes great pictures of the wildlife of southern California.

2. The Moohaa - dear Kelly shares honestly from her life, her heart and her faith.

3. Daughter of Eve - this blog looks beautiful and has beautiful writing to match.

4. Writing in Faith - Sandy has an abundance of talents in writing, sharing and photography. Always meaningful.

5. Kathie's Poet Tree - Kathie is a great poet and artist and shares both freely.

A blog takes a certain amount of committment, and strangely you are committing to people you don't know and probably will never meet. But it is a unique way of reaching out to the world and sharing the gifts God has given you. I think all of these bloggers do that beautifully - including Ruth!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north, round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, where they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:5-9

To view more Skywatch photos visit Tom at Wigger's World!

Ohio Summer Flora Update

If you look back on my June 2 post I had a photo of a pathetic looking hibscus. That's it against the back. All it needed was some sun and rain. In northeast Ohio we've had a lot of rain this summer and every perennial plant I have is thriving. There is some miracle in the rain coming down from the heavens as compared to the water that comes from a faucet. I think the perennial garden (top) is actually out of control! Everything seems twice the size of last year.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Guilt of Living

Did you ever feel guilty for being alive? Today I have gone through each moment noticing all that I am here to see, hear, touch, enjoy and love - all that my friends Jeanne and Jacquie are not here for anymore. (see today's earlier post) Maybe that is only one of the gifts that those who go ahead of us leave behind. New eyes to see what they cannot any longer. From the moment I awoke this morning - in a healthy body, in a soft bed that I share with someone I love, to buying a new plant for the house, to getting books to read from the library, to precious time with both of my parents, (still here, still nearby) - I have thought of Jeanne. I walked out on my side deck just now overwhelmed by the sight of the sky and the blooming flowers all around me. I heard my daughter's voice today, I feel the coolness of the rain that is about to fall outside, my little dog is at my feet, keeping me company. I did not spend the day getting chemotherapy or in pain. I did not worry about how to pay my bills - yep, feeling mighty guilty, and yet, aren't all of these things good gifts from God above? Don't we spend our lives striving to attain some kind of peace and contentment?

Both Jeanne and Jacquie touched many people while they were here on Earth. We waited an hour last night at the funeral home just to express our condolences to Jeanne's family. My friends were both loving, wonderful people who loved and knew God personally. This earthly life is all we know right now. We think it is the best of everything and we do all we can to hang on to it, but my friends are now experiencing what we have not. They are in the loving arms of Jesus - where we should all pray to be someday. Any peace or contentment that we experience here on Earth is nothing to what we will know someday. Can I prove that? No, but I believe it with all my heart - no matter how blessed your life is - there is something much better. This can't be it.

So, I've had my moments of guilt today. I'm sad that Jeanne's children have lost her so soon. I am sad that Jeanne will not see them grow to adults. But I also am happy for her. She's already there.

The Dichotomy of a Day

My husband may never know how much it means to me that he always takes a day off for us to celebrate our anniversary. We've gotten into the habit of spending a day riding our bikes along a beautiful wooded towpath trail that follows the remnants of the old Erie Canal. Yesterday we rode 7 miles one way, had lunch in a little town and rode the 7 miles back. The only thing hurting at the end of the day was the result of inadequate bike seats - ouch! It's quite an historic area and there are markers to teach you about the building of the canal. The photo is of one of the remnants.

The dichotomy of the day was because after we came home from such a pleasant time together, we showered and dressed and visited another funeral home. My friend Jeanne lost her 6 year battle with cancer. She left behind two teenage children and her husband, Jay. We became friends in junior high and then, in the 80's she moved next door to me. I'll never forget walking over to meet the new neighbor with a plate of brownies and Jeanne opening the door! Jeanne loved butterflies and the room where we said goodbye to her was filled with them - in the flower arrangements and decorating the collages of photographs of her life. Looking at the photos I realized that I couldn't even imagine what Jeanne looked like without a smile on her face. She loved her God and I have no doubt that Jeanne has left her cocoon and is now a beautiful butterfly.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our Anniversary

It's our 12th anniversary.
Here's poem I wrote to my beloved a long, long time ago.
It's pretty lame in it's execution, but its truth remains:

My Unpoem
Thousands of words have bled through my hand
in healing expressions of painful years.
Hours spent seeking precisely the phrase
to vanquish the need in my heart.
In agony on countless nights
the pen would wildly run across my page
until finally I could lay it down in peace.

Now I plead with my brain
for some remnant of language
to satisfy the omnipresent craving
that saturates my heart and mind.
The minute by minute need
is to express fully in words
the experience of you in my life.

My mind is a vacuous space in my head
yet my heart is completely flooded
with a deluge of newfound joy.
And I must accept the unacceptable truth
that there is simply no syntax of words
good enough to describe you.

Friday, July 4, 2008

On The Fourth

In a tiny pocket of Ohio every Fourth of July
children still decorate bicycles in flag-like streamers
and parade around the neighborhood while parents follow
dutifully, the air heavy enough to make them collapse
into beach chairs by the lake with sufficient talk
and beer to take them through the day, with nothing
to do but watch little sun-screened bodies on diving boards,
on the sand, in paddle boats, hands full of chips.

Hawks in trees watch silently, while a blue
heron may, at any moment, take flight with a giant prehistoric
wingspan over the scene, geese honk, ducks laugh,
snapping turtles hide in the mud, the deer wait until dusk
to stare unmoving in the shadows, the tree frogs and bullfrogs
will start up a lonely chorus in the dark.

A campfire will arise from old ashes, chairs will assemble
to watch fireworks in this, their own little world.
As children disappear to beds, adults will encircle the bonfire.
The women may talk of their book club selection,
and of how their discussion will veer off topic so easily.
The men will talk of the Browns and the Tribe and keep throwing
mighty logs on the fire into the early morning hours of July 5th
because no designated drivers are needed.

The smell of burning wood will permeate
hair and clothes and open-windowed houses,
smoldering into the breaking day, calling them back
to a place where children are children and neighbors are friends
where America hasn't changed as much as we'd thought.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Anais Nin

I have once again become entranced by the writer, Anais Nin. (anna-eese). She lived from 1903-1977. She was a woman ahead of her time, most notably for her sexual exploration and expression at a time when women weren't publically showing interest in sexuality. But above all she was a writer. (She did write erotica, but only to make some money at a time when she needed it badly.) She wrote novels and a study of D.H. Lawrence, but in the end her diaries brought her attention as a writer. She filled so many journals that eventually she had to store them all in a bank vault. (see photo) While in New York City my daughter took me to Strand - a two-story book store of old and new books. I purchased one of her diaries and read it, and now I am delving into her other writings. She wrote the kind of books that you want to underline because there are so many beautiful passages. The diaries are edited, but there are also unexpurgated copies. Either way they are a little disconnected and confusing as reading anyone's diary would be - but fascinating just the same. I think I mentioned that a main character in my new novel is named Anais, and I've become extremely fond of the name itself.

Anais Nin is of French and Spanish parents, but raised mostly in the US. She was one of those writers who lived in Paris, lived in New York, lived in LA - that always intrigues me - how writers and artists could just pick up and move thousands of miles away for the sake of their work. It somehow appears that it was easier in the earlier part of the twentieth century. A Parisian writer would get up one day, pack up her pen and journal, hop on a ship, land in New York, walk down the street, find a small apartment and start writing again. So easy!

Here are a few Anais quotes:

There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.

There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.

The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch it, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My 200th Post!!!

This is my 200th post on COEXIST and time to reflect on this blogging trip I've been on since September. In the beginning I was sure I would quickly run out of ideas, but to my surprise I have experienced just the opposite. As I wrote on June 20th, blogging has taught me that I no longer write for healing and understanding, but out of the abundance of love and experiences that God has blessed me with.
Most surprising is YOU - yes, you who are reading this right now. You have blessed my life more than you can imagine. The knowledge that people all over the world can read what I write and the kind, encouraging words of my dedicated "commenters" have renewed my faith in the goodness and generosity of people. What a phenomenon to grow friendships with people I have never met. Thank you.
Living in this world takes a little piece of our spirits every day. We can let it be chipped away until great damage is done, or we can find ways to repair and renew the little injuries we experience throughout our lives. This blog has been just one of the ways I nourish my spirit and my brain.
I hope and pray that when you visit me here you will be refreshed by an inspirational thought, a piece of art or a poem, a rant (that you agree with or not) a photograph of the limitless beauty of the sky, or something that just makes you smile.
Here - I offer what I am.