Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mary's Visit

Last weekend, my friend Mary Siebe came for her annual visit from Colorado. She and I grew up in Petaluma together, and have been friends for over 46 (!) years. We went through school together, were in the Petaluma Junior Riding Club together (we both loved horses, and continue to), usually ended up in the same classes (where we weren't the teacher's easiest students, but we had lots of fun), and have kept in touch all these years. What a gift to have a friendship such as this. She was also responsible for setting up the blind date with my husband Mike 37 years ago. During this visit, Mary discovered that in addition to the gift of music (she sings like an angel), she can also draw.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mad River Anthology Interview

I recently was interviewed by local poet John Brugaletta on Mad River Anthology, a progam featured on KHSU which highlights local poets. Not only is John a very good poet, he is a skilled interviewer. He came up with interesting questions and inspired insights. To hear the interview, please click on:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


This painting won Second Place in the Art Competition at the Fish Festival. Jane Robin's wonderful iconic painting of a crab won First Place.
I didn't think that I had time to do a painting for the show, so wrote a poem instead. The poem inspired the watercolor.

Trinidad Morning
(an alphabet poem)

A morning ritual of watching and
being still before the ocean
can’t possibly be a waste of time.
Deciding to devote
even just the beginning of each day to
follow my desire to
greet the morning with reverence, while birds
herald the dawn,
joyful cacophony,
kindles a mood that colors my whole day.
Leagues beneath the water’s ever-changing surface exist
more kinds of fish than I can even imagine.
Not being a biologist gives me the
option to imagine
possibilities without
questioning whether they are in fact
realistic or
simply my inclination
unleash my imagination, and thereby experience
worlds where fantasy and longing
exist alongside
yellowtail and
zostera marina.

June 20, 2009

Trinidad Fish Festival

The Trinidad Fish Festival was this past Sunday, and was by far the best yet. Congratulations to the Chamber of Commerce, and especially Mike Morgan and Patti Fleschner for their hard work and creative ideas!

Trinidad Fish Festival, 2009

Yesterday at the Fish Festival in Trinidad
there were lots of people in town for the festivities.
In spite of the strong wind, it was a delightful day and
people were obviously in the mood for a party.
There were local crafts for sale, rock music blaring,
and lots of happy kids running around with balloons and painted faces.
At any given time, one or two courageous people danced alone in the street, transported by the music and the occasion,
oblivious to the crowds of mildly interested onlookers.

Most of the time, my friends and I sat in the little church,
greeting people who came in to see the sacred art exhibit.
It was an oasis of calm and peace right next to the busy food court and across the street from the loud, raucous music.
From time to time, I ventured out to peruse the booths,
visit with folks, or get something to eat or drink.

Spirit in Aramaic also means breath or wind,
which may not seem germane to that small town street fair,
but I believe that She was definitely at play on this windy day.
It wasn’t just the low pressure that caused the fierce gales to whip down the street and through the crowds,
playing havoc with the supposed order of things.

At one point, a menu took flight, blew across the table, and right into my face,
Taste and see . . .
a $20 bill flew by which I grabbed in flight and returned to the owner,
all things come of thee, oh Lord . . .
and finally with one big gust, my glass of beer seemed to explode and sprayed suds all over me, soaking me and my new pashmina shawl.
anointed by the Holy Spirit . . .

A sacrament of baptism,
only this time with pale ale--
a clear reminder that God was right there in the middle of the revelry having as good a time as anyone.
Lo, I am with you always . . .

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Here is a page from my sketchbook featuring the sunflower mentioned in an earlier post.

Opera Weekend

This past weekend I went to the San Francisco Opera with my friend, Connie Butler. We saw two great productions---Porgy and Bess, and Tosca. We also saw La Traviata, which was fair. But it was a great weekend. My friend, Kali Wilson, joined us for two of the performances. I was unable to get a photo of her, but here is her Web site: kalikeiko.com. She is a wonderful singer and soon we will be seeing her on stage in these productions.

On Sunday, Connie's daughter Laura was with us. In the photo at left, from left to right---Laura, soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, Connie, me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Two Lovely Ladies in Orange

Last evening, my friend Connie and her granddaughter Erika joined us for dinner. They arrived with a spectacular sunflower that smiles down upon me as I write this. Odds are very good that it will end up in a watercolor tomorrow. It has been great having Erika visit---she's bright, down-to-earth and lots of fun, just like her grandma.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Speaking of Mexican friends (see last post), I recently received these photos of my friends Carolina and Montserrat enjoying some chocolate that I sent them from Partricks Candy in Eureka. While visiting with them in Cuernavaca I learned that they are chocoholics (it is a disease that respects no international boundaries) so wanted them to sample some of our local products. Muy sabrosa! Muchas buenas amigas!

Muchas Buenas Cosas

Yesterday, I had my Spanish lesson with my teacher, Lila. Once a week I go to her home where we sit at her kitchen table, read literature, review grammar and vocabulary, translate some of my poems into Spanish, or simply chat about life in general. Through these conversations, we have become friends, and this has become one of the blessings of my Spanish/Mexican odyssey. Not only is she a gifted teacher, she is a delightful person and these lessons are a highlight of my week. Recently she visited my blog and read my poems about Mexico, so yesterday we discussed them and my reactions to the country. I realized that I had neglected to post the poems that spoke of my appreciation for Mexico, so in order to remedy that I offer this alphabet poem written near the end of my stay in February . . .

Muchas Buenas Cosas

Alphabet poems are good
because they force me to go deeper than my
conscious perception in order to
dig up things that I have
enjoyed about this country—Mexico.
For example, I had the good fortune to
get acquainted with some kindred spirits and made new friends.
However the point of this poem
is to focus on the country itself. I have a
kaleidoscope of impressions and there are
lots of ways to perceive Mexico.
Most of all I enjoyed the Mexicans that I met along the way.
Not all of them, of course.
Occasionally someone was a bit rude but
people on the whole were warm, friendly and
quite as I’d expected. The
roses, bougainvillas, and lime trees blooming as if it were
springtime was another plus.
Tacos, enchiladas, and chile rellenos were delicious and also not
unexpected. I enjoyed the
variety of food and the
warm welcome I
Yes, quite a few Mexicans may be poor, but they do have a
zest for enjoying life and one another.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Guest

The Guest

Last night I dreamed that God had come to visit.
He was here in my house, relaxing on the daybed,
quite at ease and comfortable,
wearing white cotton pajamas,
in the Indian style.
For us, it was a bit of an occasion to have him here,
and we weren’t quite sure how to behave.
It was like being with a distant relative--
that unexpected level of comfort and familiarity
around someone that you don’t really know and haven’t spent much time with.
So while it seemed the most natural thing in the world to have him here,
it was also a little strange and awkward.

All he asked, but he didn’t use words for this,
was that one by one, we go to his side,
touch his hand,
and in doing so, receive his blessing.

But some people didn’t even want to do that,
which seemed odd to me.
It was such an easy thing to do
and he was asking so little of us.

Now that I think of it, he seemed a little weary
and I can certainly understand that.
I don’t think he ever tires of loving or forgiving,
but he still has to put up with us,
and we can make things so difficult.
No wonder that from time to time
he needs a little rest.

Silent Retreat (sort of)

I spent this past weekend in Auburn at a silent retreat on the theme of the feminine in the early church, sponsored by the Community of the Transfiguration, an Episcopal religious community of which I am an Associate. Connie and Lee, two good friends from up here, made the trip with me. Not surprisingly, in preparation for two days of silence, we talked pretty much the whole time during the six hour drive down, and did the same on the way back. Once there, I found that I had a couple of errands to do, which took me away from the retreat center and into the charming town of Auburn. So, it ended up being more of an enjoyable little getaway, punctuated by interesting presentations by our presenter, Rev. Ann Hallisey (see above). I suppose that it was an encounter with the feminine in the contemporary church, and a worthwhile and enjoyable weekend.

In anticipation of the weekend, I wrote the following (alphabet) poem:

The Silent Retreat

A few days set aside for
being quiet, when I
cease talking about
daily concerns, and not verbally
engage the
familiar, mundane topics that
generally fill my
Instead, I seek to
keep silence, in order to
let the
mind take a rest, and
not do anything special. The
objective is to simply be
present to the
quiet place within, and
realize that all of the
vibrate in my head,
waxing melodic like a
xylophone, actually