Michaelmas Time

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Michaelmas time, Michaelmas time!
Time is turning under the plough.
Under the stars, under the signs,
the ploughman toils with deep furrowed brow.
He turns his thoughts against the cold,
buries his fears ‘neath earth’s deep mould:
frost, like fire, burns white on its blade
of his iron share that red fire made.

I love this time of year. I love the chance to plant morsels of dreams and hope. I love working through the difficult times, tucking them safely away in my heart, allowing them to marinate and transform into the bright blossoms of possibility and clarity. Especially now, as we ready for the deepness of winter, and spring is but a faint glimmer on the other side...I honor my struggle.

On Turning Ten

Monday, September 28, 2009

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed. 

-Billy Collins

The Circle Game

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Please, go get a hankie and make sure you listen through at least one chorus. It gives you hope. It gave me hope. Courtesy of Andrea.


Hymn To Apollo

GOD of the golden bow,
And of the golden lyre,
And of the golden hair,
And of the golden fire,
Of the patient year,
Where---where slept thine ire,
When like a blank idiot I put on thy wreath,
Thy laurel, thy glory,
The light of thy story,
Or was I a worm---too low crawling for death?
O Delphic Apollo!

The Thunderer grasp'd and grasp'd,
The Thunderer frown'd and frown'd;
The eagle's feathery mane
For wrath became stiffen'd---the sound
Of breeding thunder
Went drowsily under,
Muttering to be unbound.
O why didst thou pity, and beg for a worm?
Why touch thy soft lute
Till the thunder was mute,
Why was I not crush'd---such a pitiful germ?
O Delphic Apollo!

The Pleiades were up,
Watching the silent air;
The seeds and roots in Earth
Were swelling for summer fare;
The Ocean, its neighbour,
Was at his old labour,
When, who---who did dare
To tie for a moment, thy plant round his brow,
And grin and look proudly,
And blaspheme so loudly,
And live for that honour, to stoop to thee now?
O Delphic Apollo! 

-John Keats

Farewell, Revenge

I thought I would feel better. I thought if I spoke my truth, I would feel better. I don't. I thought if H1 and H2 knew my story, the way it happened to me, I would feel better. I tried to be snarky and ill-tempered, but the thing is, that is just not me. Not at all. At the end of the day, I still say a little prayer to H1's and H2's angel. I ask that their angel guide them in light and truth and honor. So, you see dear readers, my attempt at revenge is simply not successful.

I feel better when I send out lovely poetry. I feel better when I describe the sunrise, or the late night breezes that wash away the scorching heat of the day. I feel better when I post photographs of my daily journey. I feel better when I see the spider as a helper in the garden, instead of a predator. You see, this has been my problem all along. I never believed that people I knew and worked with on a daily basis, closely, sharing our struggles, our triumphs, large and small could turn on me. Never. I NEVER thought this could happen. Even as it was happening, I did not believe it to be true. I could never believe that fear and revenge could be so strong and heavy handed. I never thought that EVERYONE I knew would NEVER want to speak to me again.

So, H1 and H2, you are off the hook. I will let you be. Instead, you can print out reams of poetry and gardening tips, love songs by Hafiz, photos of puppies and poppies. Even though you are printing this blog out and submitting it to a judge in order to prove I am a liar and cheater, maybe, one of the poems, one of the Morning Musings, will touch your heart, just a little. Maybe then, when you enter a courtroom, you will see before you a person who simply got hurt while working. And, hopefully, instead of trying to smash their last bit of wellness into the ground, instead of portraying them as liars and cheats, you will try to help them, just a little. The insurance companies are hurting people, I know you know that. I know you need to pay for your daughter's Bat Mitzfah, H1. I am sure she will need money for university, so I understand you need to work. However, please remember, one day, your daughter will be well past her Bat Mitzfah, past university, she will hopefully be working in a lucrative profession, one that makes you proud, H1. What happens if a book shelf falls on her, what if she is a teacher and is injured on a field trip? Who do you want sitting across from her when her Worker's Compensation Claim ends up in tatters? What if she has to lie in her bed, waiting for a Claims Examiner like D. F.? You have been around the block. You KNOW she is incompetent. Be the person you would want there for your children. Be an example of human goodness, show your daughter what a good man does, how a good man lives. Please. For her sake.

H1 and H2 Volume Two

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Let's see. Where did I leave off? I can't remember. I have been up since long before dawn. I do this. I can't sleep. I am not sure why. I am exhausted, but I never seem to make it through the night. This has not always been the case. I used to sleep a solid eight hours a night. I love sleeping at night. I have always been an early to bed, early to rise kind of girl. As a child, sleep overs were torture for me. My friends would sleep in until 10 am sometimes. I would have been awake with the dawn, watching them sleep, looking around their room from my sleeping bag on the floor. One time, I will admit, as I lie there waiting hours for my hostess to awaken...I spotted her diary under her bed. Yes, yes I did. May I add a qualifier? This might discredit me and prove to H1 and H2, that I am a liar. A big fat, can't be trusted liar. However, this particular friend was my bosom friend. We still are friends. We met the first day of second grade. Our names were not known alone, only with the other. Everyone in school knew we were best friends. I would sleep at her house nearly every weekend. I called her mother mom. She would drive us around Boyle Heights at night and tell stories of what it was like to grow up in that old Los Angeles neighborhood in the fifties. K-Earth 101 would be blaring oldies like "The Duke of Earl." She would usually have a can of Miller Lite tucked between her legs as she pointed out various spots of interest. But, I digress, again. I apologize H1 & H2. I can't say it won't happen a few more times. I know you are busy Barristers and all and have a lot to read.  So, yes, I did read her diary. The funny thing about it was that I already knew everything that was written in it. How she liked Darryl, a lot. How she would drag her best friend(me,) to watch Darryl and his mates dress up like KISS and play covers in his garage. Good times, my friend, good times. So that is my qualifier. She was my best friend and reading her diary was akin to reading my own memoir.

This first paragraph was written several days ago. I saved it, but had a hard time coming back to it. This tends to happen. It didn't happen before the injury. It is this oppressive heaviness that seems to overcome my entire being, body and soul...It comes on so easily now. It usually intensifies around big events. Doctor appointments, court dates, these are big ones. Much of the time, it is just there. After our meeting on Monday, it was as though a hurricane ripped through me, leaving refrigerators and tires and other debris in it's wake. I spent the entire next day close to bed. In bed actually. I was just embarrassed to admit it on National Television. The rest of the week followed suit. These are hard days for me. I was accustomed to work. I liked to work. I enjoyed returning home after a long day at school. Since this roller coaster became my life, I am unsure of who I am. I remember who I was. Unfortunately, most of the people I knew when I moved to California, I met at school. At one point, I did not know ONE person that I met outside of the Waldorf community. Imagine my state now. At this writing, I am in contact with one person from that community. One. I had a class of 30  students. That makes at least 60 parents, add in step-parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, colleagues, parents in other classes, staff members...That is a lot of people. When I worked the parking lot at pick-up time, I could honestly say I knew most parents, all of their children, nannies, babysitters, older siblings. After my injury, after this fight with the insurance company and the school and the endless, heart wrenching court days, being shunned and not welcome at the graduation of the children I loved and thought of daily for eight years, I now speak to ONE person.

This makes me sad. I am going to bed now.

Hey, H & H!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sorry regular readers, the next few posts are dedicated to a couple of guys in Westlake Village. Yes, sirs, you know who you are. It seems as though you have taken a fancy for my blog. I am flattered. Little Ole' Me, lowly schoolteacher. Single mother, with a capital S. I say capital S, because unlike some single mothers, and fathers, they have help. A weekend here or there, a little child support, health insurance. You see, I didn't have any of those. I had the unfortunate luck of falling in love at the tender age of 20, with a charming, silver tongued devil. Cute as a whip, smart as all get out. Yet, there were many secrets in his crooked smile and good intentions. After trying for a very long time, eleven years, two children, countless ups and downs, I was a Single mother, with a captial S. There was no child support. Actually, I received $30 a week for about eight weeks from his Unemployment Benefits. That was nice. It helped. 

Every time I needed a sitter for my children, I had to scramble to find someone. My job, you see, required many after hour obligations, weekend planning and week long summer intensive sessions to prepare for the next grade level. These summer conferences were often held outside of Los Angeles. I had to find someone to watch my children for a week. Now, I know H #1 has children, so he can attest that finding children a sitter for a week is sometimes difficult. This is especially true if you do not have extra income to pay for such an expense. Oh, and I forgot to mention, beginning in Fourth Grade, I was required to take my class on a week long camping trip. That meant I had to find someone to take my children for a week, and drive them to school in Altadena, make their lunches, clean up after them, make their dinner, ensure they were bathed, etc. It is a lot to ask of someone. But, I did it. Sometimes it was stressful, other times not, but I never knew. I did it because I LOVED my job and was deeply committed to the children and my task as an educator. It wasn't just the academics, or the sciences, or the arts, it was the daily lessons on how to be human. What does it mean to walk in truth, what is the benefit of good manners? We have seen several examples of poor manners of late. Mr. Wilson of South Carolina and Kanye West are just two. However, it was these lessons that filled my soul and helped me look beyond my struggles. It was easy, at first. 

Go and ask someone, ask around the Pasadena Waldorf School. I'll wait. Ask the ones who walk in truth and light. Ask the ones who are not filled with fear. There are a few there, they may not want to risk their jobs, and their health insurance...but they saw. I was a good teacher. A really good teacher. Was I perfect? Far from it. I made lots of human error. Don't you? I think you may. It is our plight as human beings to struggle with perfection, it is our blessing, our lessons. I was a good employee too. I served on many committees, often as the chair. I arranged visitors and Master Teachers, ensuring they were treated well and would have a pleasant experience at our school. I liked doing it. I felt as though I was offering some service. I was happy to do it. Was I the BEST teacher? No way. But I was good. Successful. I left school feeling fulfilled, deeply fulfilled.

When did that change you ask? I will tell you, but not today. I am tired today. I was in court with H#2. H#1, he will tell you all about it. It was messy. I was in fine form. I had hit my limit. I don't know if you know what it feels like to listen to people batter your life around like a badminton birdie. But that is what happened today. I had to listen to people throw out all kinds of partial truths. The funny thing is, the only person in that room who knew the truth, was me. Yet, I am only allowed to shed wee bits of light on a very muddy background. Then, I risk that whatever I say will be twisted in the darkness and fear and come out something TOTALLY different. It is like alchemy, I tell ya. Quite magical. Kudos.  

Oh there was one funny thing that happened to me recently. I was walking our puppy, Merry. She's a beagle. Really cute, but I digress. I was walking the dog and who should drive by? The very teacher who took my class when I was unable to return due to the severe harassment I was experiencing in my workplace as a result of my work injury. There were many times she could have chosen the high road, but she did not. Oh well. Don't ask her when you take your poll. Anyhoo, walking along, when I see said teacher, former colleague, driving down the road. When she got close enough to recognize me, her face turned to stone. Like Medusa was in the house, turned to stone. She then must have dropped something VERY important, because all of a sudden she had to reach down, under the dashboard, with her dark over glasses; you know the ones, they cover your regular glasses and wrap around  your temples. My mom has a pair. Initially, I was alarmed, maybe a plastic water bottle got caught under her brake pedal. I have always heard that can happen. It looked serious, she was seriously crouched over and intent on getting under the dashboard that instant! I was frightened for her, for me, well, because I was a pedestrian. then the thought occurred to me, maybe a can of beans didn't roll under her brake pedal? Maybe she was ashamed, you know, of something she did, like ruin a person's career when she could have acted with grace? Nah, that couldn't be it...

Tip for the day:
Watch those rolling water bottles, they can get caught under your brake pedal and then you run the risk of looking ashamed. Sleep well, H#1 and H#2. But I am sure you always do...

The Pablove Foundation

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Pablove Foundation

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I now pronounce you...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oh, my. A whirlwind of family activity, nieces and nephews abound! All but one of my eight siblings were here to celebrate the wedding of my nephew. There was artwork and swimming and giggles. There were trees to be climbed and pretty dresses.  My daughter was home from university for the occasion, yippee! We enjoyed summery cocktails as the sun set and family photographs as the moon began to rise. There was slow dancing and the chicken dance. There were many dinners together and time spent lounging around. There was even the briefest Monopoly game known to man, thank goodness...

I am just catching up on real world activities...Be well.

Ablaze & The Heart of The Matter

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The mountains that line the northern boundaries of Los Angeles have been ablaze for several days now. Great grey plumes float in the sky, coloring the sky with a pinky-golden glow. The ash began to fall last night. A thick blanket of feathery ash lay atop our valley. Even as I type this, the glow keeps increasing, the white linen curtains have gone from grey to vermillion in seconds. My gut keeps whispering, just stay inside.

It has been stifling hot. The air is thick and colored and ominous. The cottage feels each season with intensity. Winter storms blow through thin windows and doors. Spring comes alive inside the cottage. Summer, especially late summer can hit the cottage with a great, hot force. It is usually hotter inside than out in the garden...

Yet, as mountains blaze and loved ones  are displaced, this appeared on the cottage floor. It is a heart, sneaking in through the wet towels on the curtain rods. The heart of the matter.