Saturday, August 29, 2009

Florida Keys

Sometimes beauty defies language. In an earlier blog I wrote that I wanted to surround my life with beauty in all its forms. This morning I opened my email and found this photograph in an email sent by Randy.
The photo reminds me of Marathon in the Middle Keys and I've been savoring the thought of moving down there.
There is so much I love about it there. It is quiet and the sky is so amazing, outdone only by the ocean. Seabirds, like Frigates, abound and so does the delicious seafood. I feel so at home there and look forward to the day I can pack up my things and move there. It has the meetings I go to, the stores I like and the proximity to shopping in Miami that appeals.
But it isn't a place for everyone. The Keys are about tranquility and serenity, about living a life of leisure and abandon, not the nano second, multi-tasking boisterous world of it's northern siblings. Boating, swimming, fishing and a room of one's own to write books and my mission would be well on its way.
In October I'll be traveling to Marathon, to show it off to my darling friend Nancy and to do my own research about the meetings as well as investigating the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon.
Ahhh, such beauty. I can just see the sunset and taste the loquats, bananas and Mahi-Mahi covered in a mango salsa. 

Sunday, August 23, 2009


In the Summer of 1955, I drove with an uncle and cousins to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. At nine, I was beginning to see things through a new lens. With no filters on the brain, my senses were on hyper alert and activated ten miles away from the shore.

Our windows were down as we drove east and the smell of salt was already thick. I wanted Uncle Milton to hurry and drive faster so I could run into the waves and return to my favorite spot on earth, the sea. In retrospect I was taking notes back then, memorizing every wave, every heartbeat, every suspense filled ghost story. The sea and I were old friends and I knew I belonged to it.

When we parked the car under the house on stilts, we were given the tour: Sand shower. Steps to the beach. Stairs going up to the house. In mere minutes, bags were unpacked and swimsuits were on when I saw something I will never forget. I looked up and someone had opened a door to a small balcony off my bedroom, the ocean waves and wide sand beach were before me, a picture perfect painting that would never leave me. The gentle breeze coming in the small room, the overhead fan clicking like a metronome and the sound of breaking waves took my breath away. The beach house was fragrant with the smell of tanning oils and summer's salty humidity.

I raced out to the water and it welcomed me like a long lost child. I felt a freedom take hold and knew I would always love this place, this Eden.

I spent a week there, walking up and down the beach with my cousins, drinking coke-colas and eating sno-cones. Nothing would ever replace that time. I was melded to the beach.

Since that time some fifty four years ago, I've been to beaches all over the world, but no beach would ever come as close to paradise as that one. No picture would ever replace the one in my memory of my small room's doorway.

Since that time, I haven't smelled salty air nor heard the rush of waves crashing so loudly even a mile from the beach. Could it be we have polluted our air to such an extent our senses can no longer pick up those waves or smell the ocean air? Am I left with only a memory to remind me of those sounds and smells?

I cannot be sure of many things. But if we have lost our sense of smell and of hearing, if we have polluted our air so that salty breezes leave no trace, we have lost the best parts of the planet's body; we have edged her sights and rhythms out of existence leaving us terribly alone. It is the sadness of homelessness, the longing for home once more.

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Thoughts

On August 21, 1968, the day Russian tanks rolled into Prague and took over, I married my first husband, Klaus, in Munich at the courthouse in Schwabing. I was as intent as a Russian tank in marrying him as he was in subduing my spirit.

Today, forty one years later, I woke up to my usual halcyon first thoughts and noticed my ex boyfriend was not among them. I tried dislodging other first thoughts to restore his number one position, but it wasn't working.

In a final attempt at restoring my relationship with Rex I called him. He was pleasant, but noncommittal. He assured me he was not coming to visit until he bought his red cadillac. I remained calm and made no attempts to beg or reconcile. He simply wanted nothing to do with me and I simply didn't want a man who felt that way.

I decided it was probably time to mail the eighty pound 1952 blender he gave me back to him - C.O.D.

This came on the heels of a paradigm shift for me. I had been telling myself that "I would never find the kind of man I wanted. They were all like Rex and others." And of course that is exactly what I got. What I really wanted was someone who was healthy, one who mirrored me in thought, action and demeanor. I decided to reconfigure my thinking. The new thoughts were, 'He's out there right now, looking for someone just like me.' 'I'm exactly what he's been looking for.' And, 'I believe there are more healthy men than unhealthy men out there.'

Two days earlier after a two hour trip to Barnes and Noble, I came home to find the door to my apartment was left WIDE open with no plausible explanation. I zeroed in on the overused metaphor. When God shuts one door, he opens another.
The door to my relationship with Rex slammed shut August 11th when the phone call broke the remaining thread between us. The metaphorical new door opened August 19th.

Today I feel good because there are no armored tanks in sight and I am no longer under siege. I have a pearly feeling that all is well. These are the only remains of the day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

How to Catch a Cab

This is a story that explains things, things that women - and a few men - have been pondering for millenia. Catching a cab may not be the answer to all things, but goes far in the creation of a new paradigm for relating to others.

By example, my eight year old granddaughter was upset about a schoolmate who wouldn't play with her. She brought it home with her, pouting at dinner and escaping into her bedroom. As she wasn't acting her normally vibrant self, my son asked her what was going on.

"So, my little princess, what's the matter? You look pretty sad these days."

"Oh, I'm okay."

"You don't look okay to me. Anything happening that Daddy should know about?"

"Not really. I just don't like this one girl. I've tried over and over again to make friends with her and she doesn't want to be my friend. We were once friends."

"Well, I'll tell you what I do when that happens."


"I just go out and get another one."

"You mean, go out and get another friend?"

"Sure. You'll see, it works really well."

Her answer was sealed with a kiss good night.

During my morning shower, which is every bit a wet meditation in which all knowledge of all things in the Universe occur to me, I got that how one catches a cab is how one does all things.

It's accomplished by doing precisely what my son told my granddaughter to do, what most men everywhere know how to do: Go out and get another one.

In the recent 1.5 million years, male hunter/gatherers have known about this paradigm. Women on the other hand, are more tenuous about going out and getting another one...unless it's shoes. Many women would rather stay in the friendship, love relationship, marriage or job even when there's nothing in it that serves them.

Assuredly, women want to know how to go out and get another one. But all too often, men are the only ones that have been socialized to do this. They will tell you they have the patent on it.

So how does one catch a cab?

First, stop doing it the old way. Give yourself permission to do things differently. If you can walk, talk and feed yourself, you can go out and get another one. Men do this all the time. That's why men after a divorce waste no time in going out and getting another one within a much shorter time span than women do.

Women mourn the relationship for years. Men mourn for 48 hours, tops 72, then go right on out there and get another one. Like catching a cab, they know another one is on its way and stand there thumbs up looking ever so sexy in their Versace suit. It isn't a marathon or a decathalon and, contrary to popular opinion, they aren't afraid of the process, because what's built into their system is to go out and catch another one.

If this sounds oversimplified, try it. Catch a cab and notice when the cab drives past how you feel about it. Angry they didn't stop for you? Pissy that you were ignored? Of course not. It's actually as simple as it sounds. Just stand there and wait a few minutes. Before you know it, another one comes along. A better one. A MUCH better one.

How to catch a cab is like what you do when you learn a new recipe. When the Coquille St. Jacques tastes like Elmer's glue, you get another recipe, a better one. Same for all things under the sun. This time it didn't work, the next time it will. If the next friendship, the next recipe, the next cab doesn't work out, go out and get another one.

It is that simple, except for one thing....remember you have choices. You can stay single forever - or something shorter than forever - or you can catch a cab.