How to have better political conversations

“So this is my call to you: let’s put this country back together. Let’s do it despite the politicians and the media and Facebook and Twitter and Congressional redistricting and all of it, all the things that divide us. Let’s do it because it’s right. And let’s do it because this hate and contempt that flows through all of us every day makes us ugly and it corrupts us, and it threatens the very fabric of our society. We owe it to one another and our country to reach out and try to connect. We can’t afford to hate them any longer, and we can’t afford to let them hate us either. Empathy and respect. Empathy and respect. If you think about it, it’s the very least that we owe our fellow citizens.”

This quote is from a TED talk by Robb Willer.


Be Like Water

I remember hearing this for the first time in 1971. For a year, I practiced Kung Fu and learned even my diminutive 100lbs could be a force to be reckoned with….    Most important in my development was going with my nature – choosing goals that I was likely to do. Example: It does not matter how good for me tofu may be, or how many times it got to my refrigerator, if I could not get it down my mouth, trying to make myself eat it was a useless goal. Now when choosing changes to eating, exercise, etc, I start with what am I likely to actually do.

Be Like Water: The Philosophy and Origin of Bruce Lee’s Famous Metaphor for Resilience

“In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.”

With his singular blend of physical prowess and metaphysical wisdom, coupled with his tragic untimely death, legendary Chinese- martial artist, philosopher, and filmmaker Bruce Lee (1940-1973) is one of those rare cultural icons whose ethos and appeal remain timeless, attracting generation after generation of devotees. Inspired by the core principles of Wing Chun, the ancient Chinese conceptual martial art, which he learned from his only formal martial arts teacher, Yip Man, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. When he left Hong Kong in 1959, Lee adapted Wing Chun into his own version, Jun Fan Gung Fu – literal translation: Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu – and popularized it in America. (I bought his book this morning.)


Halloween Picture of my parents from a 1967.

The main themes in my life recently have been the understanding and letting go (or not) of attachments, mostly to things. Three years ago, I inherited the house my parents had lived in and loved for the last 35 years. It needed a lot of work, particularly dealing with water. If you dam water up it find another way to flow- emotions work the same way I think. Recently with the news in Sandy’s wake, we are well aware of what water can do!

I believe the house issues are in a stable state now but this exercise has showen me that taking care of the house and yard  really is more than I can physically (and financially) support. I have loved this house and all the happy and trying times spent here. My parents loved it and the 1/2 acre yard. Dad had fabulous plantings of organic vegtables and beautiful flowers. His beds were never straight but a labryinth of circles and curves. I have noted before that I believe my Father’s approach to rolling with life was “When in doubt, turn the compost.” The rabbits now have a warren where his compost used to be. Ten years ago when he passed, his friends planted a Magnolia tree in his memory because he always wanted one. Now it towers high, producing those creamy white fragrant blossoms. How do I leave Dad’s tree? Mom and I put his ashes around it  The reality of how little humans leave behind when they pass away- except stuff. Things my Mother treasured are of no real value or meaning to me- so do we continue to carry this stuff just because?

I have taken the path of sending the majority of belongings on to others through sale or donation. I have gotten to help some local charities I believe in which feels good. Like many of you I have seen my collection of books as friends that have been with me for years for reference or just seeing them reminds me of a lesson or event. My Father also collected books but his are cloth bond , old and fragile. Most I can’t sell for the price it would take to ship them. Again something treasured for years which has no tangible value.  So far I have invited friends to come and take books that interest them – about 15 boxes gone so far. Books have been the hardest so far.

Getting the house ready to show is an odd experience because I removed all the personal pictures and nick-nacks that litter my life. It looks like my house but different. well folks ending for today. I am glad to blog again. I have not even had time to read blogs and I miss the snapshots of other lives from the blogosphere.

Ecstatic Enlivened Equinox

“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”
Edwin Way Teale

Time now to harvest the thoughts and actions  we planted in spring. To rejoice with gratefulness for the harvest and turn inward as the nights get longer and the days shorter. To acknowledge  what came to fruition and what died on the vine. We preserve what we can for the cold months ahead, fruit, produce and dreams.

“Yesterday I was clever 
so I wanted to change 
the world and today 
I am wise so I am 
changing myself.”
Zahid Iqbal Khan

If your returns this season are not what you hoped, now is the time to reflect, find your balance and look for what within you must change to assure greater success in the coming year. If nothing WITHIN you CHANGES, then your past will be your future. You could always gaze at the full harvest moon for inspiration.


35th Sourwood Festival Black Mountain NC

Sourwood Tree in bloom
(Oxydendrum arboreum)

Every August the Black Mountain / Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce, presents the SOURWOOD FESTIVAL.  Black Mountain’s annual Sourwood Festival is always a hit with the locals and visitors alike!   This is a big happening around here, time for great music, many vendors with fine art and unusual local crafts and products like soap and honey.  Food vendors have something for everyone: sausage, corn on the cob, BBQ,  to gourmet vegetarian fare. Did I mention that it is totally free.  Most of the town gets in on the act. On year my Mom was in the parade dressed up as a clown, strolling along, waving and pulling a red wagon. I don’t remember why she was in the parade probably to represent the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry where she volunteered for years. Mom and I expected this to be a treat for my daughter who was 5-6 at the time- Nana playing dress-up. The surprise was on us- my daughter did not recognize her at all and was having no part of talking to this stranger with weird makeup on her face.

Tomorrow I am going to a talk about healing herbs in the garden at Mellie Mac’s Garden Shack. All part of the fun. The  blossom of the Sourwood tree provides the nectar for the world-renowned honey. It has also been used as a medicine, great for making tools and sled runners.  Unfortunately an early frost hit during the blooming season, so wildflower honey will have to do. OK by me. The music and dancing starts Sat. morning until Sunday afternoon!  I am sure there will be teams of Cloggers, who make me tired just watching them. It is probably time for a powered funnel cake,yum.  I’m off to have fun.  English: A funnel cake covered in powdered sugar.

Book review – The Blue Orchard

The  Blue Orchard is a novel, written by Jackson Taylor in 2010. The title caught my eye on the shelf at the library so I read it. Wally Lamb was quoted on the cover: “Taylor is a master storyteller and his novel is riveting, substantial  and unforgettable.”  Since I have enjoyed, She’s Come Undone  & I Know This Much Is True   I appreciated his opinion. Based on the life of the author’s own grandmother and written after almost three hundred interviews with those involved in the real-life scandal.

I found this book interesting on a number of levels. The image of poverty as a life-style was eye opening and very humanizing. I can’t imagine being forced to leave home to start a new life working for strangers. The treatment of the molestation and the events that followed were handled in such a matter of fact kind of way. I was very engaged in her life and times and the perception with which it was written. The  later years as a white woman working for a black doctor was interesting picture of race relations of the time. Which leaves us with the long history of abortion – with the moral questions and the risk medical people took to keep the woman safe. For me, it was a fascinating read.

Ahoy matie

The Coast Guard tall ship Eagle leads other ships into Hampton Roads for OpSail 2012 off Norfolk, Va

I must go back to the sea again the lonely sea and the sky and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

white capped waves and billowing sails the call of the gull an eagles nest to sit atop and watch the sea go by i climb the rigging hand over hand and sway with the breeze a good life a sailors life the sea is a love that landlovers can never understand the crisp salt air on your face the feel of an upcoming storm playing in the blowing winds and being gently rocked in the watery cradle.