Friday, August 27, 2010


For weeks, this spider has been standing sentry at the entry way to our home. She has built a web with a 2 foot radius that rises out of lavender plant growing in a wine barrel that sits between the garden fence and the shed. There is one long, thick strand that connects the web to the roof of the shed. To negotiate the walkway to and from the driveway without running into her web, we have to hug the the shed wall.

She is in control of the passage, and we mindfully pass her web repeatedly throughout the day. In this way, she is proving a noble and constant teacher.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Day My Doctor Died

I did not know he was gone

as I harvested seeds from

spent love-in-a mist

and worried

that the size of my family

increased the chances exponentially

for injury and death.

The day before a woman,

whom I hardly knew, grasped my arm

with hopeful fingers

when told I had 14 grandkids.

“Do you have a favorite?”

she asked. “Yes,” I demurred,

“ but the favored one

changes frequently.”

She parried,

“My favorite is in coma.”

The day my doctor died,

I sat on a rolling yard caddy

plucking dried seed pods

crushing their bulbous heads

releasing tiny black seeds

into a Cool Whip container

and imagined my loved ones

hurt or dying.

On the other side of town,

the man who had tended all our family ills:

pneumonia and earaches,

rashes and whopping cough,

broken arms and broken leg,

retained placenta,

morbid staph infection,

congestive heart failure,

had died in his sleep.

He had caught our babies,

and told us in a gentle, measured cadence,

“You need to prepare for your mother’s death.”

The day my doctor died,

I collected seeds to sow.

A hot August breeze rushed

about my bare shoulders.

A plastic tub sat at my feet

filled with seeds and crumbled pods,

the fruit of delicate spring flowers,

the propagation of countless

tender encounters.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pay Off

On August 10, 2010, we paid off the mortgage on our home!

I've heard that in the 1950s, people used to have mortgage burning parties to celebrate the pay off date! We went to Baskin Robbins for hot fudge sundaes.

The moment was sweet and deserved a delicious acknowledgment. It had been a long haul though not the 30 years that are so often part of a home mortgage deal. We bought the place 10 years ago, in a moment of necessity AND impulsive enthusiasm. We planned to stay no more than 5 years. The interest was exorbitant--14.9%-- but in the moment we ignored the significance of that number. Soon however, we began trying to refinance. That proved impossible for a number of reason, the primary one being we had sneaked into our mortgage during a tiny window when getting financing to buy a mobile was relatively easy. But that window slammed shut quickly, and by the time we were ready to refinance, there was no one lending. It actually took us several tries to realize this was the case. We have 3 files labeled: refinance with the year we applied. Once we got so close we could taste the relief, but it bombed.

Three months ago, we knew we had to do something. We are on a fixed income with barely any discretionary money, and we were pouring money down the bottomless well of interest, getting no where fast. We came up with a plan to sell our house and use the equity to pay off the loan and buy a mobile of lesser value. It was that decision that launched us into a wild ride that included many side trips--talking with trusted advisers and researching a myriad of options. Once we started to think more creatively, the solution emerged. We took a giant leap that admittedly involves some scrabbling on the other side, but we are singing joyfully and hopefully.

The mortgage is paid, and in one year, we will have also paid off our credit card debt. We have to work hard for one more year to manage the choices we made, but we are not giving our money to the interest monster any more, and our house is OURS! We've fallen in love with it again and look forward to the rainbows that so often appear in our meadow.