Saturday, February 21, 2015


When I selected ‘Ripe’ for my word of the year I was not happy about it. It was already a couple weeks into January and I was starting to think maybe I wouldn’t have a word of the year. I wanted something poetic, like “feather” or “threshold” both words one of my friends has used. However I had nothing.

One morning I went to a yoga class where we were asked to pick a word for class. The teacher also talked about New Year’s intentions. So it was on my mind that day and during lunch I was playing with words. I was going with water themed words – current, ripple…and the word “ripe” popped into my head. My whole body responded. My mind on the other hand said, “No! What is ripe in my life right now? I don’t know of anything that is ripe. I don’t want to try and force something. What if nothing comes? I want a word that I can really embody. What happens when you don’t pick/use something that is ripe? It decays. It becomes rotten….”

So the conversation in my head went, I was afraid.

In the fall of 2013 I was at a music festival I go to every Labor Day weekend and a kind-hearted singer (Ellis) mentioned this music gathering in North Carolina that immediately piqued my interest. I looked into it, but did not feel a strong enough urge to invest the money, time or travel to go.

A year later I hadn’t forgotten. I mentioned it to a friend on the phone with whom I hadn’t spoken for at least five years. I told her that each week had a work exchange option for free tuition and I was thinking about applying, “You totally should!” She said.

And so I did.

As I was thinking about my word of the year I thought, “If I go to this guitar/folk week I will be satisfied that I’ve fulfilled ‘ripe’.”

Well, a little over a month later I already have a list of 7 ways in which I’ve embodied ripe (including that hair cut last week). Today the catalog for the guitar and folk week music conveniently came in the mail as I could read all the classes on the bus ride to the lantern festival put on by Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater. I did start to wonder why the hell I wanted to go to this music gathering as many of the classes sounded unappealing and/or for professional musicians. I’ve never been to North Carolina and Asheville sounds like a beautiful/hip place, but really it is my body that is propelling me in this direction.

Skimming through the class offerings, I usually thought, “No,” once in a while I’d mark a class with a question mark. This was the first (and really only) class in the catalog that I said “Yes!” to

Rhythm for Guitarists – And Everyone Else

This class if for all levels, no experience necessary, and guitars are not required! Drawing from eastern and western traditions, we’ll sharpen our rhythmic awareness and expand our rhythmic vocabularies by combing inner (meditative) word with outer (walking, chanting, moving) rhythm exercises. Through group rhythm circles, we’ll explore pulsation, syncopation, beat, off-beats, sub-division and more 0 all with a sense of spontaneity, flow (BOMM WHACKERS, of course! and FUN!!

Ok there is at least something that resonates with me. At the lantern festival I saw the woman who told me about the walking outdoor play about the friendship between Thoreau and Emerson last fall that I loved so I thanked her.

On the way home I was able to get a good bus connection and avoid time out in the cold (though my new long underwear was helping).

This evening I felt restless. I was not up for any tasks, nor reading. I tried playing guitar a little. Apparently I should learn some scales. For the Guitar week the classes are Beginning, Intermediate or Advanced. Intermediate says, “students should have mastered basic skills, and be able to tune their instruments (check), keep time (check), play the principal chords (check) and scales (WHAT?) cleanly, and know how to play a few tunes with confidence (check).” I can play lots of songs with confidence. I’ve written at least 20, but I don’t know ANY scales. Zero. Zippo. None.

Then I knew it was a computer gratitude day but

A. I didn’t feel like going on the computer.
B. I didn’t have anything to say/write.


A. I decided I’d type this on Word and post it tomorrow (if I go on the internet I inevitably will check my email etc. and get sucked in).
B. I guess I did.

A few of my favorite definitions of ripe from

Ripe – arrived at the highest or a high point of development or excellence; mature
Ripe – characterized by full developmemt of body or mind: of ripe years.
Ripe – (of ideas, plans, etc.) read for action, execution.
Ripe (of people) fully prepared or read to do or undergo something: He was ripe for a change in jobs.

Friday, February 13, 2015


I only have two Valentine's Days in my memory.

The first is close to ten years ago when my mother had breast cancer and I'd brought her to the store to pick up some medication. She went to the pharmacy and I went to look at swimsuits. I ended up buying a red bikini, completely out of character from my standard swimsuits that were always some shade of blue (or black) and one piece. When I told my mother she said, "We are both letting go a lot."

The second is last year. I'd just joined an outdoor group with whom I went to Itasca State Park for my first cross-country ski weekend. It was a fun weekend and I first learned of this group because my mother used to be a part of it.

So I wasn't thinking about any of this when I got my hair cut yesterday, but maybe it's fitting that the day before Valentine's Day I plan to donate the results.

I plan to test out these "new" "used" cross-country ski boots today. My ski equipment is old style. Apparently they don't even make the kind of boots I need anymore. But after my ski boots needed glueing for at least the 3rd time I went to a used sporting store and found these. I've been scared to use them as I think based on the way the backs feel that they are going to give my heels blisters. Eventually I'll probably have to buy some new gear, for now I can thank my mom for the hand me downs that I've stuck with thus far.

I'm also glad this Valentine's Day to be spending the day at a Wild Woman Writing Retreat. I wasn't thinking about Valentine's Day when I signed up for the class but now I'm grateful I'll be spending the day doing something I enjoy with an instructor whose classes I always find nourishing.

I'd been debating getting a massage recently (well I wanted one, I was debated spending my money on one). Then my sister-in-law gave me a gift certificate for my birthday! I scheduled the appointment today.

I'm reading one of those rare books that is good enough that I used it today to motivate myself to turn on the light and read (and therefore wake-up). It is called Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy. Historical fiction about WWII.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Nudges in the Right Direction

#1 - Some years ago I was switching banks and I reluctantly opened a savings account with a big online bank. I don't like the idea of banks with massive power, or what I often hear them funding, but there my money went. I thought I had looked into the nearby credit union and didn't qualify. But I looked again recently and anyone that lives in the area can join. So thanks to and their global divestment day coming up next week, I've been nudged in a better direction. I just put in a transfer request. Next week I'll close it (if I can figure out how, it is NOT obvious to me on the website) and join the credit union.

#2 - On Tuesday I received an email from a yoga teacher that she had read one of my poems in class and hoped it was ok. A few days before that I had uncertainly signed up for the AWP conference this Spring. I had never heard of the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs). I wasn't initially drawn to spend money on it, but then I saw that next year it's in L.A. and then DC and then Florida. It's in Minneapolis this year, so even if I don't know what it is, I decided to check it out. I told all this when I wrote back Julie (the yoga teacher) about using my poem. She responded, "I am so glad that you are going to the writing conference!"

#3 - Then today in yoga someone else who works at the studio and was in class Tuesday said she enjoyed my poem.

#4 - I'm going to a new poetry group tomorrow night. One of the women who goes to my regular library poetry group has mentioned it, and then a friend of mine sent me a meet-up link about the same group. So I decided I'd try it. For this group you are supposed to bring a poem based on the month's theme. This month is dedication. I picked out Mary Oliver's The Journey, imagining that others may pick it too, but it is so clearly on target. As I was coming home from yoga today though, I thought about my poem that Julie read on Tuesday. It is called Fall in Love with Your Life, falling in love with the life that you have sure as hell requires dedication. Maybe I'll bring my own poem instead.

#5 - This has a lot of nudges in the right direction. #3:Remembering Karim is my favorite