Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11, A Binary Day- next one is on 1-1-2100

‎11-11-11; this is the long awaited date when prayers and meditation on the postive, will open energy channels that create an interconnectedness and lovingkindness that will embrace the globe. Many millions will manifest a -never before experienced- power through spiritual activities and thoughts. May you find time to sit, breathe and fill every moment of this day with beauty and hope.

Today's plans were rich with mindful activities design to nourish my being.  I know that the only thing anyone has to offer another human being, ever, is their own state of being. Each person needs to be at peace so they can offer that peace to each person they meet.

I took a mindful walk upon a labyrinth. Walking Meditation is best taken,  meant to be taken, with bare feet. My feet are bare, ready. 

A Meditative, Mindful walk is taken by taking slow, very, very, slow steps. One step, slowly, then another. When one first begins, you'll see you feel off balance like a child learning to walk for the first time. Wefeel unsure of our steps because we usually walk at a quicker pace. When walking Mindfully we feel connection to the Earth; we are aware and really feel the Earth under our feet. We think of our in and out breath and when thoughts come we acknowledge them but we let them go and  go back to focus on our breath. When taking a Mindful walk often one may repeat a universal mantra such as: I pray for a world where compassion and love reign with supreme importance-- or just focus on the natural, easy, natural rhythm of the breath.

Before my Mindful walk, I place objects of significance to me on a bench which I use to make an alter in front of the path to the Labyrinth. A six foot stone wall makes a waterfall which sprays and tumbles into a pool; its surrounded by vines clinging to berried trees. I lay mala beads, an amethst geode, alongside several other gems; malachite, citrine... a mediation bell.

I wrote.

The Altar

Objects, not to covet
but to consider.
Energy from meditation
places, memories, and prayer
are set before a Labyrinth.
 I will take mindful walking steps
creating thoughts of lovingkindness,
compassion and ideas to nourish all
The water is falling upon itself
beckoning a cleansing, a renewal,
playfulness that captures the spirit
of children laughing.  The tears of elders
who remember rich memories.
Assured not to reach 1-1-2100
yet they know there is another realm;
their hearts are joyous.
The dance of 1,1,1,1,1,1
is eternal and bright.

I began my mindful walk through the Labyrinth.
All Labyrinth walks end in its center.
I waited, one minute, for the clock to read 11:11.
I spoke to my higher power, My God, my Jesus,
Buddhas spirit. May we all be happy, May we live with ease...
Afterward, a short drive along beautiful Sanibel Island.
I savored a tasty lunch with a dear friend.
We sat on a gorgeous beach
and we took smiling pictures
of each other
and the beauty of our surroundings.

What a Glorious Day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Work Excuse

I'm working so much lately
that I have no time to write.
Data entry all day
and nothing at night.
It's Sunday today
and I have canvas and paint
That's why my words here
are empty and faint.
Yet, I've explained
why my entries are lacking
here on my blog
which I'm attacking
with this very bad poem
because I'm a lackey.
Work isn't a choice;
its less money than I need.
I'd like to blog all day long
have an entry per day,
with practice
my writing surely
wouldn't be so frightening.
So that's my excuse
for not blogging away
I just don't have enough time
 in any of my days.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Visitor

Dead a year ago last Monday
didn't cry to the following
I thought about one day,
hours from her death
when I ran away.
The doctor said she took a fall.
She was shrieking-my mother
who endured pain for me and with me.
I could hear her moans before I stood
in front of her hospital door.
I moved only my head to see her
 as they circled me to show their
own sympathetic, worried faces as
they told me she had fallen in the night.
I turned and scurried, stumbling,
frantic to push out the double doors.
I regret not running in to her room.
Perhaps, I think, if I placed my hand
 on her forehead, or held her hand
if she was cognizent, it could have
lessened her fear or made her pain
bearable; just knowing she wasn't alone.
Instead I bolted in the opposite direction.
Crying, making phone calls to help lessen my pain.
Now, forevermore I will remember
my self-focused action that day
that visit me today.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Compassion is Socialism

A commission to implore each of us
 to see that having global reach
is the right thing to do;
"whatsoever you do for the least of them
you do for me."
A heart which insists
on giving equally to all beings,
with an insistance that reaches
beyond family.
Humans are guarenteed to be enriched
by insuring the comfort of others.
A world or nation asked to be compelled
to lend  their time, talent, and resources
falls on deaf politics.
Not one resting in the fact
that you reap the society you sow.

What's wrong with money spread equally
for food, shelter, medicine?
They speak of decreased quality
without evidence.
Willing hearts
a self promise to remain mindful of others
is what it would take.
A gentle, caring, thoughtful world
is impossible with selfish
and judgemental lines like:
" Let them earn their own money;
They're all lazy;
I want a better car
and bigger house
and better things than my neighbor." 

One human emotion kindled
would heal the whole world.

 The philosophy
of human kindness 
is called socialism
and would be bad
for the greedy country.

How can humans watch, listen and feel
the suffering and not want everyone to eat
and be able to go to the doctor
and have shelter?
Why do humans want to live in a country
where giving to
charities is the standard
and having a nation with a charitible nature
is not desirable?


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Prayer for World Without Art

People! I beg you,
open your eyes.
Realize, wake up,
accept that
a completed work
 an idea
is reliant on togetherness;
recognizing the necessity of
our interdependence.
Ideological beliefs
break frames- they are
unaccepting notions which
scatter and strangle
all possibilities of beauty,
 spirituality and peace.
Never a compromise
means no halfway
no connection
no balance
not a grain of selflessness
nor an indication of bending.
Only a firm and rigid intolerance,
for color or culture; nor
each person's poverty or illness.
Varying hues, some vibrantly different
thoughts which loosely
stitch the world
into disconnected sounds, segments
that make nothing on their own;
pieces that shout what needs to be done.
Yet, nothing sewn into a complete
work of Art.
A publicized, 24 hour media
fists and fires on the streets-
pictures  and people that
ask and tell---
yet nothing to show,
nothing to show!
We don't need to imagine
the Artless World,
a world without art,
where all things are said
and nothing is done.
Please undo what is;
quilt us together
as one composition,
full of problems and differences
yet unselfishly residing,
under the flattering, natural
 lights of the sun and the moon.
Illuminate our textures as
part of the whole.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Energy of the Muse

My gut holds another person's suffering.
Heavy and quivering, it seeks
what is never available--answers.
Empathy is proof of  interdependence.
My mind prays for healing,
for a whole world of concerns.
 Love and angst are begging twins.
They demand reconciliation.
A great spirit sits by me, settling me down
brings me to my natural life force, breath.

I bring total focus to my
in and out breaths.
Gathering  paint
my mind grabs
 blue and yellow;
calm and hopeful;
or sad and sick?
Here, right now
in this very moment.
I practice again.
 Mindfulness meditation
and  the muse's gentle brushstroke
sends the balance of right energy
inward and outward.

I hold a brushe
then move to express
what is impossible
to translate with words.
Some private thing appears.
The mood changes.
This expression is a healer.
 The muse drifts in and out
to show that actions
are not seers nor ghosts
they are perfect guides
 in the very present moment.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crusty Bread or Dessert, that is the question...

I'd much rather:

 have a good loaf of crusty bread than dessert any day of the week.

 have art supplies than movie tickets.

be in the woods of New England than sitting by the Ocean.

be quietly rich than famous or celebrity rich

live close to all of my family and friends than farther than driving distance away

have a cold, or be cold than be itchy

have a cabin in the mountains than an apartment in the city (unless I could afford NYC).

practice mindfulness than never care to be mindful

end this rambling than go on.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sitting down with Anger

Today I sat with Anger and his sidekick frustration; I invited them in as Thich Naht Hanh suggests.  I understand the surfacing of Anger is necessary and under my control. I can keep him on my mind or cast him aside. Instead, I can invite his mother, Peace, or his sister, Gratitude, to sit with me. Angers company is my choice. He is real and doesn't die, so he needs to be heard. He can be put to the side, and although not forgotten, I can give him rest. Anger is not stronger than I am. I will not be consumed by him for a day, a month, a year or a lifetime but every so often even anger needs my attention.  I believe Anger should be allowed a few minutes; or mindful consideration for an hour. When I interview Anger I find his nastiness retreats once rational thought enters my inner dialogue. He doesn't mind retreating but he has to be heard, understood and accepted first. Anger wants to answer questions and he also likes to be politely told he cannot stay; that he will be replaced by his peaceful, gracious reletives. Then Anger quietly slinks off --taking his anxious pal frustration along. The departure of Anger is quite unlike the simmering, beckoned entrance that is lured by discontent, which beg me to suffer about things unchangeable and unanswerable.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Right now and tomorrow

Call for peace and show
to your self and others.
Consciously squeeze the globe
and feed it the attention it needs
a considerate mantra or
a holy, spiritual thought.
Wipe tears with uplifting actions
let nothing  be lonely for your
Show each person,
especially those who aggravate,
tenderness and listen so you may
recognize yourself,
your suffering,
in every living thing.
Live with solid hope
knowing you can
love the world
enough to heal
its open wounds
 and repair its delusions.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Silent Rain Chain Meditation

Rhythmic sound
an affirming powerful
dance, metal and water
Maples and sweet pine
in nature
ground my roaming
A small river
letting in and letting go.
My breath is natural
allowing me
to accept and let go.
With the sound
and the smell
in breath
out breath
I cling only to
calm and soothing
Mindful of
I repeat
"May we be at ease"
for the world.
Breaths in and out, a flowing thought:
"Impermanence is a welcome thief,
but it steals
being here now."
Listening to the movement
of water
clink down the
rain chain
I focus on impermanence with
each breath
in and out. I am at ease,
I am here now, I am here now
feeding a calm chain of thought
throughout the world
in each moment.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughts that occur to me...

I can count on you
 to disappoint me
just as surely
as I'll find a fry
 on the bottom
of my fast food bag.


When they are ignoring you-
acting as if you're a ghost
when you are speaking...
maybe you just appear


I observed the false notion of ownership
The way people take ownership
of a parking space...
Observe how they wave you in
when they're leaving it--
as if its theirs to give away.


That project made me think about the time
I ate a cold egg-roll.
I finished it and wondered why I started to begin with.
I was disgusted
by my follow through
my own attempt
by my own deed!


Nobody is really safe anywhere at anytime.
Safety is an illusion
that humans must believe exists
or we would all be crazy; paranoid.
Faith too s only real if we make it so.
Why then do most people always "feel"
safe yet lack faith more often?


Monday, July 25, 2011

Lines of thought

Poetry slowly pours
a drink of pictures
and laughs
while you debate.
A paintbrush is a conductor's baton
which decides what
an image will become with each dip.
As a sewing machine follows a pattern
its the artists mistakes that make it theirs.
A pen moves over
paper to remark as you
are haunted by blank places;
Luckily lines of thought
take respite and find happiness
 only in the
maddening wrong turns
colorful, freeing emptiness
that gives creation

Friday, July 22, 2011


on the doors and windows
on the faces of people we see
the animals and the bees
the flowers and the trees
the shacks and the mansions
the races and ethnicities
the earth and the galaxy
Because all are just like me".

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Travel, a lesson in the value of nothing

Its been some time since I've made an entry. Thanks to those who've waited it out. I have been so busy I don't know which end has been up; I think both ends have been up because I haven't had much rest.
My daughter's stay, with my grandbaby has ended here; her husband's arrival from Afghanistan was long awaited. Finally, on June 27 we welcomed him home.
First, we packed her whole house up and moved the contents into my garage to be stored. United picked it up to deliver it to Colorado. We drove with the baby from FL to CO on I-10. The drive sucked. It wasn't the length of time or the baby's fussiness; it was the total lack of scenery. Laugh or doubt if you choose to discard my experience but I'm telling you there is absolutely nothing to see AT ALL. Okay, the sky was always there but one can be saturated with blue to the point that even that seems like nothing. The scape was flat and on both sides you could see clear to the horizon, no tree nor a structure to block it. Horrid. yes, we drove through Louisiana and saw nothing but the swamp of the Bayou and tractor trailors for 1000 miles. This nothingness did'nt end with our ride.
When we arrived at my daughter's new place, which she had signed a lease to sight unseen (although she did send a friend to check it out) it was really nice. It is a spacious, 3 floor townhome, with gorgeous views from all windows, and has lots of storage. Yet, United had not arrived and it was empty; completely empty. Not a chair, not a bed, you get it.  We slept on the floor, too tired to go to a grocery store, the baby had his food so we collapsed when he got tired. Let me tell you that my 57 yr old frame punished me harshly for trying to camp like an 8 yr old. Whoa, nelly. It was painful.
It was day three before an air mattress was purchased. I thanked God in heaven--literally- for it.
Five days went by and we decided to treat ourselves and have a sandwich at a local Tea Room. As we walked inside we saw overstuffed couches and couldn't walk quickly enough to claim ours. As I sank into the soft caress of that couch- I thanked God again to allow me such comfort.
When we returned to her place, still unfurnished, I looked out the window and gazed at the Shrine of the Sun perched on the mountain where NORAD also is...The phone rang. It was the mover. He said they'd be delivering in 2 days. I then thought about her husband returning home to a fully furnished/ comfortable home that looked like it was never empty. Yet, I thought, emptiness is a gift. I'm glad I experienced the empty landscape of our journey and the hard floor and empty refrigerator. It has made having any comfort and all the beauty in the world all the sweeter! Gratitude comes from nothing, emptiness.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blogging and Feedback as Healers

When I first began to Blog I thought that my blog would have more to do with Art than Reflection. I think, now, that my blog is more about the art of living. Afterall, what bigger masterpiece do we create other than our own life? While creating our life we relect and within those reflections we learn and grow and learn to cope with life's struggles, and challenges.  As I look back over my posts, my blog entries show me how quickly problems come and go. Although some issues resurface I have a bigger toolbag, which often comes from the great feedback/comments that help me so much.

All of us have heard that we are all the same. We do have the same pleasures and pain and questions that come from living. Yet, after writing an entry, blogger feedback completely reinforces that we aren't only interdependent but we are indeed one.

Most recently, as I resavored the rich text of Life's Big Questions, by Sura Das, I practiced one of the excercises in the text. It instructed to go outside of self and see "self" in everything around us. I was reading in a park. I placed the opened book in my lap and looked out at the trees. One was small, one was medium and one was large. I often feel small and powerless as I navigate through my life; so I chose the small one to be my "self." As I examined the three, I started to analyze, as is my nature. I thought: The small tree is no less significant. It provides a filter for CO2 to turn to oxygen. It is no less beautiful, it is no less graceful as its branches blow in the breeze, as people walk by they count it as a tree; not many would say look at "the small tree." Thinking about my "self" as this particular tree I saw "self" as having equal status and value. It was a poignant moment.

One of the people who commented on one of my blog entries sent a thank you for my ability to share personal thoughts which she said were so much in line with her own family troubles. All of this (blogging) helps us to recognize that we are one human family and all beings human and in nature have equal status and value.

I hope this entry begins your healing wherever you need the reassurance that you are necessary and important to the whole world. 


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Birthday Intentions

A friend suggested that on my birthday I take advantage of the magical portal, that opens up only on one's birthday, and write my intentions for my life for this year. This is something she has done herself. She said its not to be thought about until the morning of my birthday and then, she instructed, just sit down, near water preferably, and write the list. She went on to explain how it is interesting to look back on the list on the following birthday to examine how  many of those intentions are upheld and how life's energy has directed me. I like this idea very much. So, on May 9th, my birthday, I intend to write my personal list.

I wrote about this on my blog to put this idea out to others.  Anything we can do to improve our own lives has worth because in so doing, or intending, we do also, I believe, improve the lives of others. I just read a passage from the book I'm reading, by Lama Surya Das, The Big Questions: How to find your own answers to life's essential mysteries, that happiness truly comes from making others happy. I read that people are unhappy because they too often are preoccupied with the self. In particular, he cautioned attaching to the notion of a separate, independent self that deserves "its own" happiness.

Thinking about those words I began to analyze the times I feel most miserable and indeed it comes down to thinking about self.  How come I was the one who cared for my parents for 5 years and ended up not only losing them but my relationships with my sisters, who were never here to help nor did they call, and then never even received a simple thank you for the care I gave our parents?  Why don't they want to speak to me?  No answers. Why did I earn a Master's Degree in Education only to have my career cut short because my parents fell ill? Why has teaching changed so much its now an undesirable field; not to mention one cannot live alone on the salary? No answers.  All these questions regard self.

As I look at the situation of leaving my job, keeping self out of it,  I remember my mom saying " I don't know what I'd do without you." When I think of my sisters as suffering human beings, leaving my "self suffering" aside, I understand that what they feel or do not feel has nothig to do with me. I do not wish them anything but good in life; so if they wish me otherwise or simply do not wish to have my company or hear my voice, I just think-- maybe I'm a painful reminder of something for them. I know their suffering is not inflicted by me. When I am angered or sad about teaching I think about how my education can be used elsewhere and knowing that to be true is freeing.

First on my list (even though I'm not suppossed to write it until Thursday):
Spend more time OUTSIDE of SELF. :) Intention: It will make those around me happy when I am happy. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rich and Grateful

Communication is not underrated; we, as humans have to have rich conversations.  Those of us blessed enough to be able to talk to our spouse, or a great friend in a deep and nurturing way usually can avoid going to see a counselor.  In my estimation, a great conversation may cover a variety of topics but it always includes rich listening and laughter woven throughout it.

Last night I had one of those conversations. My husband, Ralph, was away for 6 days.  The house is not a home when he's away (Yes, Bill Withers, I can relate to no sunshine when he's gone).  It covered the diverse personalities of each of our 4 chidren, their paths in life, their antics that have driven us crazy (laughs sprinkled in here) and challenges, past and present.  We spoke of our gratitude for the blessings we share our hopeful plans for our future and how we are better because of each other's presence. The feelings I have and all of these topics we discussed are typically covered in  talks between loving spouses; I just appreciate having a partner in life so much. Life is tough and it is wonderful to share the challenges and the highs and lows with someone who connects with me on a deep level. I do not take it for granted; life is so very fragile.

I don't have to have anyone agree with me because this is how I feel at my age and its just my belief. A great talk is equal or above great sex and proves love and intimacy in the deepest and truest sphere.  I like to listen, understand, and I like being understood and lovingly guided to sanity (lol). I like to feel secure, as I do, knowing my back is covered -by my husband and long-standing friends.  I have my (virtual) hand held  and my heart protected.
How filthy rich I am.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Leaping joyfully into the moments

I have said " Look around, what do you see that is beautiful? Savor it." 

I am proud to say that I practice mindfulness. However, since I lose my glasses perpetually, I haven't perfected it.  I am a New Englander; a Massachusetts native. I don't care where I live I can't shed my traits: I move fast, talk fast, and my mind goes like a train about to derail most of the time.  I tend to analyze everything. Everyday, I tell myself to STOP and be present. Nevermind the past, or the future. Make plans but be prepared for upsets. I've learned to only use pencil on my calendars and in my address books, never ink.

Last year I lost my mom. Talk about a major change. I was her best friend and she was mine. Actually, she died on September 13th so it hasn't been quite a year that has passed. I cry, and sometimes I feel as if my stomach will turn over when I have some thought about her; which is almost everyday. Of course, my crying occurs because of something I have remembered about the past--but I'm in the present moment.  I have decided that what I am feeling in the moment IS staying in the moment. It's important to identify what I am feeling, make friends with the emotion, and accept it. Yet, its important not to dwell.  So I practice redirection. I read, create art, clean house, cook, write this blog, and whatever else will take me away from dwelling.

I'll have another major change soon. I've been with  my grandson since the day he was born; in fact mine was the first face he ever saw.  My son-in-law is deployed and my daughter and I are joined at the hip caring for the baby. Soon, thank God, her husband will return to his wife, my daughter, and his son whom he has only seen and held for about about a month and 1/2 total. It's his turn to be with his son to build the relationship with his son that I have had the pleasure of establishing. However, I don't know what I'm going to do when they leave.  I have never in my life, other than in my teen years, focused solely on myself. Getting up and planning a day that's all about me ( manicure, pedicure, wine, lunch, yoga..nah) feels very foreign, I've done that on rare occasion but it would be difficult for me to sustain a life centered solely on my pleasures and needs.  I have been a daughter/caregiver, a wife, a mother and now a doting-helper grandma.  I don't think I have ever had a week that's totally ME focused.  I'm not a gym-goer, a social butterfly, nor one to work on my tan. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit: I'm lost. Those redirections are not totally fulfilling--I give my time to them but they can't appreciate or love me back-- and it just doesn't seem like they'll be enough.

My husband tells me to look forward to visits.  Visits, unless very lengthy, really don't build the kind of relationship I'd like with my grandchild. Plus, money is limited; we can't visit all the times we'd like to. I am torn that one daughter whom I adore is in NY and this daughter and grandson will be in CO. I can't even find a territory that's driving distance to see either. This issue has no solution. The only solution --to keep my head intact-- is to practice mindfulness and to direct my thinking to how fortunate I am to have these people to love and to be loved by these people so much.

My plan is to cry when I feel I have to, read, paint, cook, visit and enjoy my great husband,  He's funny and smart and very kind and understanding.  He knows I love the kids and want to do for them all the time.  Life is too short for sure and personally I like to hug and see the smiles, and have coffee and cook a meal to share and just be able to call and meet up somewhere spontaniously--I want to be with all those I love. It bites to deal with division. I know the adage "it is what it is" and like every other situation in life its has no perfect solution; only having the right mind/attitude will help us cope with anything. If we are humans we can be sure we won't have the right mind/attitude 24-7. Note to self: Don't DWELL.

Gloria Gaynor sang " I will survive!"  That's true, we all do survive...we cope but I'd like to sing " I will thrive!"  I will, at least I am aiming to by leaping joyfully into the moments! I'll open my eyes to what is beautiful and I'll savor it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shaky Faith

I say I have faith but I have to admit mine is shaky at times.  I do believe in the energy of prayer and that praying with someone or in a group has power. I also believe that writing about problem, as I did when discussing the issue with my son-in- law (Another Why, blog entry) will bring attention that may result in others praying for the issue to resolve.

To anyone who did pray, I thank you. Our prayers were answered; he feels much better. I don't know how other than God's healing and our prayers. For 7 weeks he felt terribly ill. I asked my daughter, his wife, to pray with me for him. Quickly after this sincere prayer he feels better and has stopped coughing.

Thank you God.  Once again you've proven I'm a fool to have shaky faith.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another why...

My son-in-law is stationed in Kandahar, with 4ID out of Fort Carson, CO.  He has been feeling ill for a month now, going out on missions without sleep and ill.  He saw the Medical personnel there.  They told him he has severe bronchitis which is further irritated by the dust that blows around Afghanistan every time he leaves his bunker. The problem is they told him they have no antibiotics to give him.  Not only don't they have antibiotics but we, his family, send him Mucinex, Tylenol, Kaopectate, and more from home.

If a soldier is wounded they Medi-Vac them to a hospital.  Yet, if one catches the flu, like he also had, they administer an IV for dehydration but if one is misfortunate enough contract something for which they need antibiotics, like bronchitis, well tough. If he suffers complications will this be chalked up to "the cost of combat?"

How can we send aid to foreign countries, which includes medicines, and not take care of our soldiers? Sure churches send hats, cookies and blankets; warm and fuzzy things. Although these are lovely gestures none can cure medical ills.  All the constant buzz, the slogans, about taking care of our Military: Support the Military, Support Military Families and the rest of the Hoohaa. Bunk.

This is the United States of ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  God Bless America. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

American Values examined by a saddened Patriot

My thoughts:
If the corporate leaders really loved their country and didn't clearly value money much more they would have gladly made less to keep quality jobs, that had paid benefits, in our country and not shipped them overseas.

If our society really does value, respect and truly hold the helpers of society in high esteem like teachers, preachers, social workers et al, they would pay higher salaries to help ensure drawing more quality people to those professions. Instead its very clear that American society values being entertained much more. This is evidenced by the pay of the actor/actress or our NBA and NFL players.  More puzzling is the comparison of lawyers and teachers.  Teachers, have a specialized education like lawyers,  they also have 7 yrs of education if they earn a master's degree; so why isn't the pay equal or comparable?   Why isn't an educator's education valued the same as a lawyers?  A teacher's contribution to society is less? An educator's profession is a complex practice, the same as law, which requires research (and educator's don't have para-legals do theirs) and there are good and bad teachers and lawyers--so why the huge pay differentiation? One can say people choose their profession, that's true, but why is one's pay lowered if they want to help society? Again, I try to rationalize this: If one gains a well-earned reputation of seedy, mean, cut-throat people through the years, like a lawyer, they are rewarded; again, they're paid more than any lowly helper-profession

Another area where our value of money is evident is our justice system. Our American justice system is one place that proves  if you don't have money, you don't have the same opportunites in this country.  So really, how can we make the claim for liberty and justice for ALL?  Think: If a poor black kid gets in trouble, like the trouble OJ Simpson, a wealthy black man, was in that poor black kid would have been in prison for life so quickly his head would have spun.  The poor,  black or white, have no chance in hell to hire "the dream team."
If we are a kind, humanitarian nation who truly wants America/American people to be strong again why don't the wealthy want to help all Americans to ensure their neighbors have the same quality of life?  They give to charities for tax breaks. It seems there are many wealthy people who look at the poor and give them the stereotypical "lazy" label. 
America has soup kitchens but there are still people who are hungry right here and we continue go outside our country to feed others. There are people who need help rebuilding their weather stricken cities and towns right here and instead we go nation building overseas.  This is a simple question: If a father loves and values his family would he feed others and help others before his own family? This makes no sense. The reason we do it is to keep relationships with others for oil or politics instead of trying to develop strength here. We never needed to be isolationists until now. Our country/family is broke.
If we truly valued education in this country we wouldn't condemn those who are educated and articulate, saying things such as "they are elitest", or "just a good speech giver", like many did when President Obama ran for the Presidency. Instead many said they liked the dumbed down ramblings of Sarah Palin. If we valued education,  our schools would be a serious place for learning and simply not let in kids who are there to socialize and cause trouble and we would hold them accountable for their work. The schools have become a day care for society as it keeps less-than serious, trouble-making students coming to school where they personally have no intention of learning.  I am an educator and I have been asked by my administration to raise students' grades from F's to D's---even when the student never, ever handed in one bit of work! Schools need federal funding and they won't receive any funds it their kids fail because they will have the label of a failing school.  That is the biggest reason kids can't read or do math in senior high and why so many colleges require prerequisites...because the student never was held accountable and they never were a serious student.

We have such a tendency in this country to claim we are the greatest country--what once was true is no longer true. To be a great parent we have to take care of our family. Our country's "fathers" are not doing that. Often, people who make this claim never lived in Germany, or Sweden, or anywhere else and we still, with all of our faults, claim exceptionalism.

My prediction is that these revolutionary uprisings that we are seeing now in third-world countries will be seen in our country in 50 years---this divide, this lack of opportunity for those of us without money, this huge and growing pool of poor, this trend that 2% of the people have most of the money in this country, all of these things are crushing what we've called the middle class, in reality there isn't a middle class right now.  Some of us have a bit of savings, most don't, most live paycheck to paycheck and on credit if lucky enough to have it--for now.

It seems to me we are on the path of revolution. What are our choices? 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Valentine Life

A valentine’s day is a marketing ploy but a valentine life is a rarity; I am lucky, I have one.   From the time I open my eyes in the morning I feel the warmth of love.  My coffee awaits me pre-made from the night before.  If I get to work and I have forgotten my glasses they show up in an hour.  I had elderly parents and when I worked I had peace of mind knowing that if anything transpires they’d have help.  My children have the benefit of a positive influence and a loving guide.  My dog has a friend when I’m away.  My garbage finds itself to the curb without my help.  I have great food, super vacations and a constant and loyal friend…there are so many more little things that add up to a valentine life.  It’s you husband - the most rare, strongest, loving, caring, and funniest man…you’re the king and I am so grateful to feel the warmth of your special love – the love that is a valentine life.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Early this morning I took a drive to the market to pick up some items for supper tonight. Sitting in my car at a light a man driving a waste disposal truck looked over at me and smiled a warm smile as we waited for red to turn to green.  I had just been at the market where a woman asked me what the bunch of greens were I was holding and then asked me how to cook collard greens. While at the deli there a man whom I didn't know he told me a joke and we laughed together. At the check out the clerk told me I had beautiful skin; I thanked her.

All of these strangers added pleasant moments to my day.  I am thankful for the kindness and company of strangers.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Drugs and Alcohol

I don't know many families that don't have to deal with alcoholism or drug abuse; if not in their own family or extended family they have a friend who has to deal with a person who has an addiction. My husband and I understand addictions because they run through our family. I think it's interesting that some liquor store signs read: Wine and Spirits--because getting high, in excess, essentially replaces one's spirit.
We, my husband and I, were talking about how kids who may be drinking, or not, and make their first decision to try a pill, maybe the worst one: Oxycontin; or they have their first drink which leads to a life of "needing" to have drink after drink.
Once this starts so does the self-involved behavior. These people consider nobody except themselves and what they need; they become totally self absorbed. Therefore none can have a relationship unless it is a sick one that delivers what they need.
Sickeningly sad, it is, that when one delves in to this choice for the first time there is no understanding about its ramifications. Oh, how their lives will unravel and spiral downward.  How they, for the rest of their lives will struggle and even if they do try to stop and manage to "control" their urge, they still will have cravings and have to live a whole life as an addict keeping their MONSTER on a leash. They will always have a craving for the substance, always, always,always!!! Addicts will tell you over time it lessens to a degree but the urge comes and they spend lots of time fighting it off. Unfortunately, sometimes it comes in an overpowering way and they "fall off the wagon," or go "get high," again; and eventually, done often enough, early death is a result. Families mourn, and think of the life the person could have lived-- only IF.
We, as a family, have both an alcoholic and a drug addict, that no longer live nearby. For years we coped with their antics. We thank God, they no longer live close by. It was hellish to wonder what chaos and drama would visiting or ringing our phone at any hour. We could count on them to create an upheaval just as often as one can find a fry on the bottom of their fast food bag!
We discuss with sadness and grave realization that they are not even missed. Family, a family member, who is not missed; that is tragic. That's because they brought us absolutely no peace, no help, they simply added no value to our lives. That's right, an addict lives a valueless life. We wonder, as we hope and pray everyday, that they can go years off of their substance of choice so they may come to an awakening and we  all can rebuild a trusting, reciprocal relationships. Yet, honestly, we never really trust they will; you just become jaded about what you should expect. Since their addicted behavior has always led them to destruction and us to disappointment, we've come to expect more of the same.
I wonder if on their death beds they will have an epiphany: I didn't do anything for anyone but me, nobody trusted me, I have spent my whole life without clarity thinking about how I could live outside reality.
Whomever you are, try to reach someone with the news their brain will forever change-chemically- before they try this stuff---it only takes ONE time if you have alcoholism in your family to become an alcoholic and it only take ONE time to take an oxycontin and have it lead to your own HELL ON EARTH. If you happen to be personally struggling with an addiction my prayers are with you. Only you can bring the behavior to a halt and begin to fight the addict's battle: Fighting the craving and refusing to indulge. If you succeed you could help someone else; very imporatnt work. You can also take up something you've never done before. Once you help someone or engage in new activity you'll be in reality; where things aren't lovely but they're real.  You're in it with the rest of us. It's not a bad gig to have people actually want to be around you and help you through your struggles; we just can't help you when you don't have clarity or any thought but your next high.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Unlikely Antique Shop- Art- Blog Connection

One day, while in Lee, Massachusetts, I had a day long outing looking through antique shops. If you love antiques, or even if you know nothing about them, New England antique shops are heads and tails above all others. These places have every category of things old.

The artist in me loves to peruse the nooks in these shops which are filled with old letters and photos to find images.  I look for those over a hundred years old, that I can use in my art without any publishing/user conflicts. I scored a load of items in this one little, closet-like, antique shop. I found a letter that is 110 years old, in very good condition, that is beautifully written with a quill pen. Historically, this woman's writing highlights human intolerance for other cultures, energy problems, and paints a vivid picture of how far our technology has advanced since that letter was written. It is very interesting and the struggles and viewpoints of the writer are poignant; I think Smithsonian worthy.

I also found photos. Photos in that lovely sepia tone, and black and whites. Also found a daggerotype (tin photo), and many studio photos from the late 1800's and early 1900's when people posed but never cracked a smile; as if photo taking was very serious business!  I purchased the letter and all of the photos and flew back here to FL. I have made copies of the letter--which I have used as a lettered background for journaling, and copies of some of the old photos to use their heads or bodies in mixed media art (I know that sounds funny, but I draw the rest of them; haahaa).

Enter the blogosphere.  If you haven't ever checked out the blog called Old Forgotton Photos you must:  This blog was created and is run by Connie,  a Minnesotan. She places old photos on her blog hoping to make a family connection to an old photo. She has a marvelous researcher who digs until she finds a living reletive--if any descendants are still alive. Well, I was reading this blog and felt compelled to contact her to see if I could mail the photos I had to her and I would include a return mailer to me, so she could send them back once she scanned and posted them on her blog. Indeed, she said she love to have them and off they went.

After they posted, Connie's researcher made a connection to one of the people in one of the photos I sent. Then, she and Connie, sent me all of the information to contact the living descendent who they found residing in California. I told my 23 yr. old daughter this and she said," They'll think your nuts and hang up on you." It was a chance I took.

A man answered the phone. I said, Hi, I'm looking for Diana; my name is Pam and I'm calling from___; quickly he put her on- excitedly saying Hey, some woman from  -- FL! Maybe he thought I could transmit our sunny, dry, days since they were having flooding rains then, I don't know. Once Speaking with Diana, I conveyed the whole story and she was thrilled. She told me she and her sister would be traveling to Italy and this picture would travel with them if I would be so kind to send it. She asked me to email all of the information, which I did.

Come to find out, weeks later, when I hadn't heard anything nor received an address to mail to, I heard from her nephew who explained that his Aunt Diana didn't have an email and she gave me his address but he hadn't read it until recently. It was his mom, as a very young girl, in the photo I had. They said they want to know who mailed the photo from CA to MA and that's what they will find out and share with me. How did the photo get to Lee and who received it. Today, I mailed the photo to California.
And that is the unlikey Antique shop-Art- Blog Connection; pretty cool!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hook Us Up. Make us Superstar Divas'.

I received a deluxe Spa package for Christmas from my husband.  What a loving gesture to want me to be pampered; he even took a tour through the spa to see if it would suit me.  This is a very Ritzy-Zen like Spa. He bought it because he liked the smell and the ambiance; so he said.

I really do enjoy a massage, I indulge in them from time to time.  The last facial I had was probably, uh, maybe 5 years ago? I also go every six weeks or so and have a manicure and a pedicure. 

Today, I am going to the spa at noon and they told me to plan on being there until 7pm.  I am very grateful to have the opportunity to relax a day away like this. Yet, some part of me is somewhat ambivilent...and fretful, that when I get out from this day long relaxation fest, I'll get in the car, turn on NPR and  find out the mega-nuke is heading my way.  Crazy?  I don't live like a superstar diva so I'm just wondering --since I am indulging like this--what's the catch?

On the upside, since the first day of 2011, I have been on a cleansing mission. First I tossed out items and even some furniture, then I quit smoking (don't cheer yet its only been since the 10th) and also rid my self of people who have been, well, draining. So all negative and poisonous things I have worked to shed----now, the one trait I have is evident in the paragraph above---worrying that if I do something really great the balance will come from something ugly accompanying my own head is poison---today in the Superstar Diva domain of relaxation I will practice my mindfulness --the cure for a poison head--and stay soaked in each pamering moment grounding myself in gratefulness.

PS: Added at 9:40 pm on 1/21---I came home and said to my husband: " Ya know, I did it all wrong." "What do you mean?" He looked concerned. I continued, "When a woman is asked to marry she should have one question: Do you have $300.00 to send me for a Spa Day once a month? And if the guy's answer is no...the woman should tell him to ask again when he can afford to have a wife!! LOL.  What an incredible day I had honey!!  Thank you so much!"  xoxoxo

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Woody Allen

Where do I begin, when I see Woody Allen, think about Woody Allen, read a Woody Allen book, or watch another Woody Allen movie-- for the gazillionth time --- I feel he is indescribable. He is so deep and rich as a writer/director, and as a person.  He lasers in on his vision by being the person who writes and directs, making sure what he created is clear to the viewer and actors. Brilliant, he's brilliant to keep this control. One time, I sat in my car for nearly an hour as he interviewed with Terry Gross; anyway, I think this interview was on Fresh Air. Unlike in his movies, he spoke calmly and  assuredly mostly to deny that he is anything like the characters he plays or invents and how his life does not mirror his movies, or visa-versa,  in anyway.  I say "Art" doesn't lie about the creator's intimate connections/familiarity with their topics/subjects. Woody, Woody, I thought as I listened to him, I know you are a neurotic, eccentric, shabby-haired genious. Stop trying to hide and act; lord knows you can't act, you always play yourself (God, no, not like Jennifer Aniston!). Accept yourself for the legend you are; ah, Soon-Yi seems Now, this is where idolizing him gets sticky; as one of my dedicated blog readers pointed out he,  is to some a pervert, who married his own daughter. Can't deny there isn't any blood between them; but to honor her position as an adopted daughter, she is a daughter; therein lies the complexity. There have been many geniouses that have had proclivities that are not socially acceptable--I am not judging his personal life--I'll leave that to a higher authority. I still am attracted to his creativity.
Woody Allen is a genious, even if he humbly does not define himself as such. Woody's movies encompass the depths of  our psychological, social,  and political issues that irritate, puzzle, and drive us mad both personally and globally.
The only problem is waiting for his next the meantime I'll just find new things in the old films and keep on idolizing Woody.

Monday, January 17, 2011

If we are all English, Greek, Italian, etc... why can't we all relate?

Have you ever tried to explain how you felt, or stated your opinion about something, only to be argued with?  Yes, argued with about how you feel and debated with about what you have stated you believe! You know; those people who are quick to tell you that you can't or you shouldn't, or that you don't, feel like you claim you do? You know the retorts: Oh! you can't feel like that!! You shouldn't feel like that!  Oh! You don't really mean that!!  When I've encountered these reactions to my feelings I experience pure frustration.  Then, how about times when you've just strongly asserted your opinion about something and then you're told it isn't your opinion at all?  OH! NO! That's not what you believe!! Then they'll start a debate with you over behaviors or things you've said that they think; What about this/that!!?  Falsely interpreting your past statements as their proof to contradict what you've just stated your opinion is!!  It's baffling when we encounter this. I was discussing this kind of behavior to someone once. They explained that when this happens between people we simply aren't speaking each other's language. "Wait, I said, you're saying they're Japanese, and I'm Spanish?" "Yes, she nodded, that's right." Hmm; I was puzzled, we're both English. Yet, oddly I understand the analogy; we may as well be from different places.
Dreamily, I started to think about people like this as our shipmates; because we can be lost at sea together but when we stop at a port one of us is bound to jump ship and not return. Yet when we find our soulmate they drift with us, when we're lost we hold hands, we're happy to sail or to dock--or ride a wave. It's not confrontational [foreign] rhetoric we hope for in our closest relationships, its respectful acknowledgement, rich engagement, and heartfelt understanding. Even if we're from a different country a smile is universal-- something we can relate to. My belief is: if someone upsets you more than they can make you smile and you can't even own your feeings and opinions without a debate---who cares why you can't relate? Find a port, jump ship, and seek understanding.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Secret Challenges

The most challenging things can be the hopes or promises which one keeps hidden.  Most people will admit -silently- that they have or have had these internal stirrings that they don't share. I really want to stop this habit, or pretty soon I'm going to_____(fill in the blank).
It seems that only after the fullfillment of these hidden hopes or self promises are we ready to say them out loud. We generally talk about them or share them only when we know we are in the clear.
For example, if one promises themselves to quit smoking and makes an attempt but they aren't sure they want to or can stay with it they keep quiet. They don't say anything while trying; maybe they don't want smoke-free cheerleaders because they find all of the accolades and hooplah "for just trying" very annoying.  Maybe until they know they can meet the challenge and completely fullfill the goal they think staying quiet about their effort is best.  Maybe one wants ----makes a promise to self--to save money yet they continue to buy a $4.50 Starbuck's Latte everyday  while knowing that cutting out this one purchase could save them $135. a month. If they tell someone they want to save and are observed buying the daily latte, they may be told "hey, if you stopped buying your latte...,"; and we don't want to be told or judged as as an irresponsible person--because, we justify,  life is short and we deserve a daily indulgence--so we continue our self sabotage.
Perhaps part of us is uncertain about our private goal, or we know it is half-hearted, or we're afraid it'll be jinxed if we dare tell anyone; or are we trying to avoid judgement if it doesn't come to pass? Would we do better to put it "out there" in the universe?  Only, I guess, if you don't mind public failure or evaluation.  Maybe that's why they are most challenging, these hidden hopes or self-promises, because we have to be very sure of our success and our personal level of desire and committment before we dare whisper a word outside of our own heads.

Friday, January 7, 2011


My friend told me that she is a Golden Apple finalist; this is a wonderful honor for a teacher. This award is the fruit of being at the top of your profession, a true teacher of merit. I am also an educator, but I haven't been practicing for a while. Yet, I understand how much it takes to create lessons of merit and how wonderful it is to be able to be recognized in this way. My energy now goes toward creating art.  Much to my surprise and delight, I began to sell my art. Most recently, I was asked to supply ten pieces to showcase for a month in one venue, Starbuck's, but to hang it in time for our city Art Walk, which is held on the first Friday of each month.
I know both of us feel proud to be recognized. Not everyone will think a teacher who gains a Golden Apple has the best teaching technique nor will everyone love my art either. Nonetheless, these kudos are self-fulfilling because each of us knows how much heart we put into our work; the lack of total approval is good because that is what keeps us humble and growing.  We do our best, put our heart into what we do, and smile knowing that many people understand and appreciate what we've done.
Being humble will keep us focused on the fact that we are still evolving and continue to try new things, aiming  to do even better while fully understanding that we will never gain the approval of everyone. That really would be achieving the impossible, so it can never be the goal.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Geographical Separations

Anyone that is a baby boomer remembers growing up in some sort of a neighborhood. People really knew their neighbors- we'd open the door and go in like there house was ours!  More often than not, our siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and friends lived nearby long after high school ended. Remember when you could tell a mom and pop storekeeper you'd be back with the $1.00 you owed them and they'd trust you for it; and I'm pretty certain most people made good on their word. 
Then we grew up and most of us didn't stay in the same town, city or suburb we grew up in. I find myself longing for the connections to the local mom and pop merchants, family, my own children lately, because geography divides us. In my community, which I have lived in for 8 years, I only know my immediate next door neighbors; and we are friendly and help each other out but we don't socialize. The connections we have nowadays often come from a work environment, or a connection to some activity like art, church, etc. Yet, most often, the people in these places are not our family, children, or best friends. Many people can say that those who are closest to us in our hearts don't live close by.  These separations usually happen because a marriage begins or ends, a job or a wish for a change of some kind is desired. Now each person is in their own space but without quick support, other than the telephone, Skype, email, or a letter but never is their a ready hug available.  I wonder, are geographical separations part of the cause of family breakdowns?    Geographical separation definately took away the old neighborhood. Does living away from the people closest to us develop more self sufficient and independent people? I have often wondered if the popularity of blogging, facebook and other social media  aren't virtual medications for our underlying starvation for living closer, in  the old neighborhood community,  where the merchants know you and you can get a real hug from a trusted friend.

Meditation Door-hanger

Meditation Door-hanger

Making handpainted, jewelry

Making handpainted, jewelry
resin pour over all.

State Forest, Pittsfield, MA

State Forest, Pittsfield, MA
Me, standing there, in my meditation image.

Tick tock

Tick tock
"Time flys, catches fire, and sinks." p. malafronte (2010)

My Blog List

All Art and text entries are the registered works of Pam Malafronte. Do not copy, distribute, or use any text or art on this blog without expressed permission.

3 of 10 paintings exhibiting at Starbucks

3 of 10 paintings exhibiting at Starbucks

Peaceful Buddha

Peaceful Buddha
Be compassionate toward yourself

Start a true Rebirth on Earth

Start a true Rebirth on Earth
SOLD 8/13/11

Birds of What Feather?

Birds of What Feather?
Not Available

Time is KING---SOLD

Time is KING---SOLD
Longevity and Joy within

In Kinder Garden

In Kinder Garden
Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

ClothPaperScissors, My Art for their Readers Challenge

ClothPaperScissors, My Art for their Readers Challenge