Friday, July 31, 2009


The art farmer and Chai (Bengal Cat) and Panda (Guinea Pig) are grateful for your kind thoughts during this difficult time. Panda has not been well either. Fortunately for all of us here in the Pacific Northwest, it is cooler today.

Here's one of the art farmer's photos of Chai and Panda from a few weeks ago:

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Yesterday, from my Dalai Lama notepad calendar:

"We can see that all desirable experiences that we cherish or aspire to attain are dependent upon cooperation and interaction with other sentient beings."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009


To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.
(Walt Whitman)

On action alone be thy interest, never on its fruits.
(Bhagavad Gita)

And listen to this.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


The art farmer's Bengal Cat, Chai, is in critical condition. Panda (Guinea Pig) and all who love Chai ask for your kind thoughts and for prayers from those who pray.

Loving portraits by the art farmer.


Above is the first blooming this year of the Poor Man's Orchid (left) and the second blooming for the Streptocarpus (right).

Have taken a few days off from studying the medical transcription textbooks and from transcribing medical dictation so that I can work on my book. The 98-page version (printed by Apple) with my drawings, paintings, sculpture and poetry costs more to produce than most people are willing to pay. Two friends and one of my cousins have bought the 98-page version anyway at the single copy price. If I ordered 100 or more copies from Apple, each book would still cost me $43.31, plus tax and shipping.

Encouraged by those three people who bought a copy of my book, I checked around town and found a digital printing company which gave me an estimate for a run of 100 books, which would bring my cost down to $18.60 per book. Unfortunately the proofs simply did not have the quality of the Apple version.

A few days ago, as an experiment, I duplicated the book twice in iPhoto and edited it down to two more affordable versions. The art work-only version is 46 pages, and the poetry version (with one photograph and one painting) is 42 pages. At that page count, the art version costs me $22.73 ($29.66, including tax and shipping). The poetry version costs me $20.77 (27.54, including tax and shipping). If I order 25 or more at a time, I get a 10% discount, bring the price per copy down to $20.43 and $18.67, respectively, not including tax and shipping.

So, with the edited versions, I'm back to about the same price per copy that I would have paid for the 98-page version that the local printer would do and have not sacrificed quality. Clearly I'm not going to make any money on my book this way, but it is a way to make it available. I'm happy with that.

Here are the front covers-in-progress for the 98-page (art and poetry) version, the 42-page (poetry-only) version and the 46-page (art-only) version of my book:

Friday, July 24, 2009


Thanks to the art farmer for directing my attention in their direction late in the day yesterday. Can you hear them? At least one of the two is a fledgling.


Thursday, July 23, 2009


Goodbye Sadness

Hello Happiness, wherever you are,
I hope you hear my song.
(Yoko Ono)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


He loved me. I loved him. He punched me in the face during a nightmare after he returned from Vietnam in 1971. He was never the same after that night. He could never trust himself not to hurt me. He didn't get help until the last months of his life in 2008. Gary Trudeau is telling our story and the story of countless couples throughout the history of war. I'm shaken but grateful to see this in the light of day.

I woke up early in the morning of July 19 after a nightmare that had its source in 1971. I'm not going to elaborate on the nightmare, but a thought I had at the end of the nightmare was:

"We ALL need help. We are not getting it."

The nightmare had turned thoughtful. On the other side of fear was insight and love and community.

I still need to ask for help as I go on with my life, knowing that I am not alone and never was.

What Gary Trudeau is inadvertently bringing to light is that although there is help for veterans, girlfriends of troubled veterans may not find the help they need or even know that they need help, too.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Wow!!! Listen to my nephew sing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Almost lost my camera a few days ago.

But when I drove back to the trailhead parking lot twenty minutes later, I found it sitting "viewer up" on the gravel where it had fallen from the tailgate of my friend's small truck. She had been concerned when I set it down there, but I assured her that it would be safe. Little did I know.

Tender Mercies.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Thanks to Solitary Walker for his link to the Seamus Heaney Nobel lecture from 1995. As Solitary Walker wrote, "Do read it."

Monday, July 13, 2009


"Forgiveness: The heart accepts everything"

"Forgetfulness: The heart loses its sense of purpose"

From VOICES OF THE HEART, by Ed Young.

Listen to Forgetful Heart

"Constancy: The heart is faithful"

Thursday, July 9, 2009


And a song with a life of its own:

Here and Here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


See Loren's pictures of a new generation.

And many thanks to the art farmer for sharing words about ahimsa and to Nancy who sent me bulbs via the art farmer. I look forward to their flowers late in the summer and early fall.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Here is a nonviolent clip from one of the movies that R that suggested in 2001 and 2002, with reservations because of their violence. Russell Crowe was new to me. Later R suggested "Gladiator" and "The Quick and the Dead." On my own, I watched "A Beautiful Mind."

Monday, July 6, 2009


The birds are singing in the darkness. The wind is up. I woke up two hours ago and couldn't get back to sleep.

(from the Bellingham Herald Webcam, overlooking Bellingham Bay and islands.)

5:08 a.m., with nearly full moon visible behind the clouds:

5:17 a.m.:

6:00 a.m. view from my porch:

Now I'm feeling sleepy.

10:35 a.m.:

Slept deeply for 4 hours, then picked up where I left off a few months ago in my second reading of INVISIBLE HEROES: SURVIVORS OF TRAUMA AND HOW THEY HEAL, by Belleruth Naperstek. Got up for the day after reading these words:

"Facing my own limitations, in spite of my own deep needs to make a meaningful contribution -- that has been rough."

(the words of New Yorker in the aftermath of September 11)

For the last few weeks, I've been studying 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, with the plan of being employed again. I am facing my own limitations and going forward anyway. Tomorrow I'll be getting the proofs for my book. Stagefright?

Sunday, July 5, 2009


The "what price" koan:

"Here I sit so patiently
waiting to find out what price
you have to pay to get out of
going through these things twice."
(Bob Dylan, 1966)

A long time ago someone told me that "silent" has the same letters as "listen."

Saturday, July 4, 2009


For most of my life, I've felt ambivalence about the 4th of July. Except for a few years of enjoying small town parades when I was a child, I don't have good memories of this national holiday. For almost 20 years, from 1984 through 2003, I slept mornings and worked evenings as a transcriptionist in a hospital almost every July 4th, usually a busy night for emergency rooms. This year didn't feel any different until I got an email from President Barack Obama by way of Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee:

"This weekend, our family will join millions of others in celebrating America. We will enjoy the glow of fireworks, the taste of barbeque, and the company of good friends. As we all celebrate this weekend, let's also remember the remarkable story that led to this day.

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, our nation was born when a courageous group of patriots pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the proposition that all of us were created equal.

Our country began as a unique experiment in liberty -- a bold, evolving quest to achieve a more perfect union. And in every generation, another courageous group of patriots has taken us one step closer to fully realizing the dream our founders enshrined on that great day.

Today, all Americans have a hard-fought birthright to a freedom which enables each of us, no matter our views or background, to help set our nation's course. America's greatness has always depended on her citizens embracing that freedom -- and fulfilling the duty that comes with it.

As free people, we must each take the challenges and opportunities that face this nation as our own. As long as some Americans still must struggle, none of us can be fully content. And as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect Union our founders dreamed, that triumph -- that pride -- belongs to all of us.

So today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm's way to preserve and protect it. It is a day to celebrate all that America is. And today is a time to aspire toward all we can still become.

With very best wishes,

President Barack Obama

July 4th, 2009

P.S. -- Our nation's birthday is also an ideal time to consider serving in your local community. You can find many great ideas for service opportunities near you at"

It's another subdued 4th of July for me but more hopeful than all those that have come before.

See Alive on All Channels for more about ambivalence.

(At the beginning of the post is one of my linocuts from 1979. I was almost 30 years old then. When I woke up this morning and looked around my bedroom, it caught my attention. It's been on my wall for years, but I haven't looked at it for a long long time. It is about having one's hands full of challenges but celebrating life anyway. If you're wondering about the initials "ARP" on the linocut, scroll down the page here.)

Friday, July 3, 2009

JULY 3, 2009 -- For R

"The 400 Blows" was released when R and I were 10 years old. Along with "Cinema Paradiso," it is a favorite of mine. I was in my twenties when I first saw it. As I watched this clip, I understood how it planted the seeds of my recent black and white photographs. I am still moved by the last moments.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

JULY 2, 2009 -- For R

In 2002, R asked me if I liked movies. I said, "Yes." He told me that his favorite movie was "Outlaw Josey Wales." I told him that my favorite movie was "Cinema Paradiso." He said he didn't usually watch movies with subtitles. "Outlaw Josey Wales" was my introduction to R's long list of favorite movies, all of which I'd not seen before. Each time I would talk with him on the telephone during his chemotherapy that year, he'd suggest another movie for me to see. I'm trying to remember the titles of all the movies I watched at his suggestion. Some of his suggestions came with the caution that a movie might be too violent for me. They were all good movies. R told me much about himself by way of movies. That was one of his many gifts to me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This time of year I walk up the hill to Northridge Woods instead of down the hill to Whatcom Falls Park. If I go down the hill, there are too many mosquitoes for me. Halfway up the hill is a view through the trees of downtown Bellingham, Bellingham Bay, Lummi Island and maybe Orcas Island. Maybe Eliza Island, too. After the 4th of July, the mosquitoes are usually gone but I continue to walk up the hill for most of the summer.