Monday, March 31, 2014


The hostile land,
The Great Land,
Called to him down in Georgia
So he ventured North, hitchhiking all the way.

By way of California
and Oregon
and North Dakota,

With only his backpack
and some change
(but not a change of plans),
and a map,
and a compass
to guide him.
What about a flashlight?
And money?

That first night camping,
he thought himself a modern day Thoreau
and decided to go
further north.

The weather hadn't turned yet.
No need for concern.

But wait,
a storm is brewing.

Weeks passed
and the fishing was abundant.
Nights under the stars
after visiting the bars
in town.

This was bliss,
or so he thought.
Days spent foraging,
nights spent sleeping in an old
abandoned bus.

Then the weather turned,
the waters rose,
and heaven knows,
he was scared,
with food supplies decreasing,
and no one to help,
despite repeated attempts.

Until finally he fell
into a permanent slumber,
sickened from seeds
from a poisonous plant.

He had only his journal.
So sad,
the end of this Super Tramp.

How Un-alaskan
of him

to die like that.

My Year of Miracles Day 18

Time for gratitude....

1.  A very enlightening trip to the coast of North Carolina (Topsaid Beach).  Even though it rained most of the day on Saturday, it stopped in time for an evening walk.

2.  My house will be shown tomorrow.  One has to stay helpful.  Maybe he'll buy it!

3.  I have good friends I can talk with.

4.  I can be open about myself without fearing judgement.

5.  Spending a healthy day cleaning for the person looking at the house tomorrow.  Later, some light weight lifting and working on taxes.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Year of Miracles Day 17

Looking forward to a drive down the coast of North Carolina to a retreat among friends, some old and some new.  Topsail Beach is a great place to refresh and enlighten.

Sometimes little miracles happen easily...all will be taken care of.  "The same everlasting Father who cares for me today will take care of me tomorrow, and the day after...there is nothing to fear...I have unfailing strength to bear what comes my way."  (Saint Francis de Sales)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stolen Nazi Art

     A German man is being investigated for hoarding about 3,000 paintings that were stolen during World War II, some of it from Jews literally on their way to their deaths.

     The paintings are now being inspected by art historians and preservationists.  There are paintings by Matisse, Klee, Monet and Cezanne, among many others.

Bone Health

Stomp your feet and jump!

My Year of Miracles - Day 16

Cholesterol's down -- yay!  I have no pain anywhere, what a blessing!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bluebirds: 2014

This year I'm tracking them

March 22:  The male and female are here!  Male posed on the feeder and the female inspected inside the house.

March 23:  The male went into the house and there was no sign of the female.

March 24:  Saw the male again at 8 a.m. but not the female.

(photos from Mar. 24th)

March 26, 2014:  No sign of the female today.  Saw the male on top of the feeder where he likes to sit.

March 27, 2014:  8:20 a.m.  Saw the female, who looks "big with child!"  This morning the male and female were standing together on top of the birdhouse.  Such togetherness!  The female went in while the male remained at the opening.  Like he was protecting her.  The female came out then went back in for a few minutes.  No sign yet of building a nest.

March 31, 2014:  Both the male and female hung around the birdhouse throughout the day :-)  I cleaned out the bottom of the birthhouse.  Wonder when they will start building the nest?  They look like they are "nesting."

My Year of Miracles

Day 15

Went to church in Durham and what a day it was!  From the Hallelujah song from the band to the honest yearnings in the prayers of the people.  Sara prayed for the means to feed 25 students, and her request was granted.  Jason added oil to my car as it was down considerably.

Then I ran into my old friend Beverly at Whole Foods, dropped by Quail Ridge to hear Harlan Coban and ended up getting a copy of Desmond Tutu's new book on Forgiveness.  Such a wonderful day, in spite of the wintry weather.

Plus, I had a nice chat with my son on the phone, and I'm going to be a grandmother to Margot!  (Reminds me of the famous ballerina, Margot Fonteyn).

Cousin Andy's Ancestors during the Civil War

got an email from cousin Andy last week:

"managed to get on a train of wounded back to Richmond from Manassas without having his leg amputated. He ended up staying with the family of  his Uncle, Gen. Joseph Ried Anderson who owned the Tredegar Iron Works and was nursed back to health by his cousin Ellen Graham Anderson.  (JRA was a field commander early in the war but was later brought back to Richmond to run the Tredegar because of its importance to the Confederacy.  They married but she only lived about a year – not sure of her cause of death but could have been childbirth. His second wife was Mary Louisa Blair and the youngest daughter was named Ellen Graham Anderson. MLB’s father was Col. William Barrett Blair and his wife was Judith Cornelia Nichol (daughter of Gov. Nichol of NY.) So we had conflicting loyalties within the family.

We plan to get to Richmond in the future and hope to see you.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Transgender Children

     I learned something new last week, that children are beginning to get re-assignment surgery in high school.  I watched an interview yesterday of a German girl who had had it.  These children I've studied have supportive parents.

My Year of Miracles

Day 14

Today on my walk I took a different path and came face to face with a beautiful white tailed deer.  It's a mysterious landscape, with an old mansion, a creek, a dilapidated barn, fallen trees, and wide open fields.  I looked into the deserted mansion and half expected to see the ghost of Mrs. Haversham come floating down from a window!

Popular Wisdom by Peter Makuk

Popular Wisdom, A Duo

Opportunity knocks.                                                 
I know, but money talks.                                                       

You telling me?                                                                      
Hey, I’m telling it like it is.                                        

It’s a jungle out there.                                                
Same page, man.  Dog eat dog.                                                           

But it’s no reflection on us.                                       
Right, it’s what’s happening.                                                

It takes all kinds.                                
You take the good with the bad.                                            

But it doesn’t pay to be nice.
Yeah, nice guys finish last.

Winners never quit.
And quitters—well, you know.

You learn from experience.
It’s the best teacher.

You can say that again.
No, man, that’s the bottomline.

Good, now I can breathe.
What?  A sigh of relief?

(I like this satirical poem by Peter Makuk.  Peter was last year's poetry chair at the NC Writers Conference in Wrightsville.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Year of Miracles

Day 13

I am learning about transgender children.

 The Dallas Buyers Club, which I saw recently,  had a transgender character played by Jared Leto, who got the Oscar for best supporting actor.  But apparently the transgender community  was upset because a trans actor didn't play the role.  That got me to thinking about the whole idea of transgender and I realized how little I knew about it.  It was just out of my frame of reference.

Last week I learned that trans children are starting to undergo the necessary medication while in high school, or even younger.  Then yesterday, I found out about a  child, who knew she was trans from the age of 2.  Her mother even stated that at the age of 18 months, she started making her onesies into a dresses.  At 11, she took medications to keep puberty at bay.

Now about 14, Jazz Jennings is a remarkable young lady, and has a foundation which helps other trans children.  She is a great role model and very lucky to have such a supportive family.

The links below direct to more information.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 12

Love is letting go.  I grieved some today.  I prayed.  I meditated.  I taught my class.    I entered 3 poems into The Independent's poetry contest.   That was hard!  But I didn't mind.

Monday, March 10, 2014

"I Need You to Survive"

Here is the song we sang in church:  "I Need You to Survive" by Hezakiah Walker

I need you
You need me
We're all a part of God's body
Stand with me
Agree with me
We're all a part of God's body
It is his will that every need be supplied
You are important to me
I need you to survive [x2]

I pray for you
You pray for me
I love you
I need you to survive
I won't harm you
With words from my mouth
I love you
I need you to survive
[Repeat until director's signals for next part]

It is his will that every need be supplied
You are important to me
I need you to survive

(I need you to survive is the song for Sunday. For this first time, we may not do the harmony but that will come later.)

My Year of Miracles Day 11: A Poem

That Note

From the back 
of my throat
not Darlene Love's
but my own.

Clean and pure.

I coax the shrillness 
out of it.

I practice
until the windshield cracks.

Hurrying now.

The choir is
warming up.

My Year of Miracles

Day 10

Yesterday I sang in a church choir, for the first time in about 50 years.  I loved the song by Hezakiah Walker:  "I need you, you need me..."  It's like a prayer.

Amazingly, the choir received applause.  What a gift, so unexpected.

It's a warm sunny day and for this I'm grateful!  I'm grateful to be a part of it.

How Close Can I Get?

Yesterday I took a walk
through the woods,
 and suddenly
the deer appeared.

Six pairs of ears.
Then eight.
And two small ones,

For the first time,
I got fairly close to them.

And we looked at each other.
For a fairly long time.
Just staring.

I wonder,
how close I can get.

Facing My Dark Side

I look at my character defects of jealousy, resentment, fear, control, not thinking things through, holding onto things, not getting the facts, not setting boundaries, getting bruised, ruminating about bad memories, being dependent, not trusting, being unforgiving, not trusting, low self esteem, being dependent, intolerant, prideful and I realize these things do me no good.  We all have character defects -- it helps to be honest so we can let them go.

For today, I trust the process, forgive myself and others, practice tolerance, and open mindedness.

I have to be ENTIRELY  ready to have God remove them.  "My creator, I am now ready to have you remove every defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding."

I am teachable.  I am open to new people and opportunities.

Friday, March 7, 2014

"24 Hours of Happy"

Pharrel Williams' infectious song called "Happy," which was up for best song at the Oscars.  (Should have won, lost out to Let it Go).

I love the videos of ordinary people dancing to the song, love the pace, the beat.  17 millions hits and counting!

Letter to God

Dear God,

I feel more isolated in Tarboro than I did living on an island in Alaska.  This is an exclusive community that doesn't reach out to the marginalized.  It's going backward in time.  I need more.  More contact with family, more social events, more program.

Be with me God, as I go forward.

My Year of Miracles

     A few nights ago, I was at ECU for a play performance.  We had had an ice storm that morning and the sidewalks were coated.  I suddenly found myself gliding.  Miracle of miracles, I did not fall.  I stayed upright.  This is the goal to stay upright, stay relaxed, and keep walking.

"God With Skin On"

My group is like that,
My friends in Raleigh

Sometimes I struggle
with the idea of God.
Where is he is in life?

He is with me and guiding me now.
He is in my friends when
we share openly, without
any need to impress.
It's good to be open.
With no worries that what I say 
will be repeated.

God is with me and
guiding me now.

He has protected me.
I have coped.

Coped like 
the bridge that hangs
securely over the
until I'm safe on
the other side.

[wow, my house sold about a month after this was published!]

Monday, March 3, 2014