Saturday, May 19, 2018

Wash Rinse Repeat

Gray Hair Announces me: Senior Citizen Medicare Eligible

I have been told I am courageous to have long gray hair. 

A Silver Sneakers friend asked "Is there a method to combing hair that long?" As I reflect I realize it is the same as life. Having the right tool is best. Start from the bottom in small sections (chunking). Other life lessons from living collaboratively with hair is that an occasional trim of frayed ends refreshes the whole. Also, do not wash too frequently, it needs its own grittiness for full health. Most importantly: ignore the marketing but learn to find your authentic Wash-Rinse-Repeat.

Medicare Enrollment (Decisions to make)

Medicare Enrollment marketing of me to me is constant. This birthday will be 65. It is a culturally sensitive benchmark. I have a real life benchmark. As of March and it continues each day, I reached my 40 years of 40 hours commitment. A secret goal, it became a way of life; constant, often anonymous community service. Much of it has not been glamorous. Some of it has been risky. Much done with family.

I know it is best to make goals public to get a support network of cheerleaders to help you get the win. But honestly I do not think I would have had cheerleaders until I became a mom. It was a long game and my life cycled through many variations with this one constant. In many ways it centered me when other things were in flux.

Without knowledge of this unstated goal my immediate family in all its iterations were by my side because "It was just stuff we do". In retrospect some of the unilateral decisions collaterally impacted family. I believe for the good. Seven years of Thanksgiving or Xmas Eve at Goodwill Fantasy of Lights, 19 years of being the Prison Chaplain Helpers, community clean-up days, serving meals to homeless, the list is endless. For me there was countless hours on mission statements, bylaws, policy, strategic plans and procedure documents. Then there was coordinating or covering events. And advocacy; preparing and giving testimony on housing, prison reform, capital punishment, gun control, recycling, energy conservation, voting rights, educational reform. Much of this in the six years as LWV of New Haven President.

Why share now?  Partly because I wonder if I had been more transparent, could more good have been done? Partly to thank two people that were steady partners in good works my son (33 yrs.) and my husband (20 yrs.). Partly, to say I am going to refocus a bit so what you expect of me may get a new twist. But mostly to say having it be " ...just stuff we do" has been a life giving gift to me. Thanks to those who shared this with me. 

Some Backstory I did not keep a written log. The 1st 2 years were full-time in VISTA assigned to New Haven. I do not count the 7 years as a foster mom as service -- that was joy. The last 5 years were contractual as full-time Executive Director of WPAA-TV
The most challenging time to do this was during graduate school at age 50. I did my best to make the self-investment be deeper, leveraging school projects into community service. An example being the website. While this alliance has not been retained by those who succeeded my leadership; in the scheme of things that does not matter. When it worked, it worked well.

During foster parenting years; I was in roles like church treasurer, chairman of an all-volunteer TV station in a small town. Looking back, I cannot imagine how it all got done. There was always the more-than full-time job to do too because I was, as they say, the bread-winner. 

Many seniors add or find less family-centric ways to serve their community. It is no longer about coaching their kids sports or PTO fundraisers. It often takes on a more universal flavor. Some start new non-profits or fulfill lifelong ideas of making a difference come to life. Some find stipend work to supplement SSN. Whatever the reason it is enriching lives including their own. I am proud to be an ally. 

For me service is going to remain one day, one engagement at a time where ever serendipity takes me. Why change now?

Inclusion must

In the noise we collectively must choose to speak and enable the voices of others to speak for justice to prevail. 

The breaking of barriers must not get lost in noise or systematic frameworks. Our myopia created by our unique lens of our personal circumstances is a formidable barrier to carving a path for others like ourselves or unlike us, together. 

We must find our own accountability and speak unmasked to those in leadership.

Monday, May 14, 2018


When I take time-out 
slow down
I see the the dust balls, laundry and piles 

piles of books
piles of notes
piles of incomplete

and rest deepens
into depression

I tinker with these posts
for which I took time-out 
before today.

I fill in some. I modify the punctuation.
I find scraps of me.

The clock ticks 
Task to-be-done.

Embrace the day.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Gathering with poets

What gathering with poets reminds me.

  • We have something shared that is both similar and dissimilar.
  • Listening opens us to new places within ourselves.
  • Discovery is central. Some take pleasure in the scaffolding of form or the tease of puzzling within it. Others take flight abandoning form completely. Others pick'n choose what to punctuate. 
  • Why poems: To express. To find. To Tear. To laugh. To become more whole. 

The prompt: 
Write a poem from what instantly connects with you in this poem

Of nature and seasons
only gardens and weeds and the amber of Queen Anne cherries in drops of rain and in the thorns of roses...Frozen forsythia yellowed. If streams mumble ... and grass snakes disappear
into thickets
with soft ferns, boundless fields of summer, lances of trees —of poplar and ash, green armies of burdocks     at dawn when dew gleams snails converse about eternity     pure as a peach 
Of spirituality
Dedicated to the Almighty the cathedral rises ... as straight as Sunday The bells pealed ... the cornets of nuns ... the Jesuits baptized plants Orthodox church’s silence without Mercy.          Why must every city become Jerusalem and every man a Jew?               I’d resurrect them so singly; the New Testament.  
Of metaphor
Like soft signs, fainting maidens, schooners near the theater ... dew gleams on a suitcase ...within frontiers not just in my passport ...murmur of each stone, scorched
 Of change
Converse. Breathe aloud. Burst. Overflow. Expect. Laugh with lighting. Express in haste. ALOUD for eternity. Encore. Encore. Cut the censors that they might go breathless.