Tiger Puff Puff Orange

Tiger Puff Puff Orange

As I write this, my 24-year-old daughter is working remotely from the kitchen table in the next room. She works for a large, California-based clothing company, and while their brick and mortar stores all over the world have closed, the ecom team – which Ruby is a part of – chugs along. Ruby is responsible for what you see when you go to their website and search for women’s tops and outerwear. Sometimes I’ll be in the living room working or teaching on Zoom and I’ll hear her say things like, “I like this top in Raspberry Scream,” or, “Do we have this in Tiger Puff Puff Orange?” Some parents might worry if they heard words like that coming from their child, that in times like these, by which I mean, the pandemic – they’d raised their daughters all wrong. Why isn’t she out there on the front lines sewing masks like her friend Sally? Instead, I feel a deep sense of relief. My daughter is dressing us for the post apocalypse, and it’s very sweet to watch her take it so seriously. “How is Ruby holding up?” concerned friends ask. A day before sheltering in place, I drove to San Francisco from our home on the other side of the bay to retrieve her and her one house plant. She’d only been in her apartment for a month and she was loving her new life and her new job – sometimes walking, sometimes taking a cable car home from work. Her apartment was well lit. All she had to do was walk down four flights of stairs to...
The Great Blah Blah

The Great Blah Blah

Bear with me: I want to tell you what happens when you let life do its thing to you. That’s how my old therapist, Gary used to talk about situations you didn’t love, but which were happening anyway, despite what you might have preferred. “Just let it do its thing to you,” he would say when I was sad or angry or tired, and sitting in the leather chair across from him, sobbing. “Let it do it’s thing to you.” Which is a really great concept – “Yeah man, let it happen” –  but harder to swallow because I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m feeling sad or angry or out of control, there’s a knee jerk tendency for me to want to change the channel, pour a glass of wine, pick up my phone, get on Instagram or open the refrigerator. I want to feel better right now, and run from whatever is working me, instead of letting it touch or change me as Gary might suggest it could. It was the consuming of things that was often my little escape from pain in the years right before the pandemic. The internet too – of course – and my best friend – the phone – were completely addicting. But the consuming of things – even small things, like running to the market when I was certain I needed one bell pepper, and then spending $50 more on things that caught my eye. I did that a lot. I went to the market every few days – felt better the moment I walked in. I exhaled. All those...
When the Virus Came

When the Virus Came

In 25 years a younger person – our children or a grandson or a niece – will turn to us and ask “What was it like when the virus came? What did people do? How did you live?” I’d want to tell them about the prom dress that my friend’s daughter ordered, and which arrived in the mail for a prom that won’t be happening. How I imagined a prom held in a great, open field, all the kids slow dancing six feet apart, moving through the tall grasses, together. How I bought flowers at the market on that last day before they told us to go home – even though they were overpriced and unremarkable. It was a stand for beauty. And the tiny cupcakes I put in my cart, the good wine and chocolate. I’d tell them about the unspoken etiquette of encountering someone on the sidewalk as we walk the neighborhood, the way one of you will veer away, not entirely un-politely, sometimes looking up with a small nod. I see you. The way even though most of the people I see on my walks are neighbors I don’t know, there is more eye contact, more community – something that you can feel that tethers us together. I’d tell them how my 24-year-old daughter, Ruby looked up from her work at the kitchen table yesterday and said that she knew she should be more shocked by this, but that she’d grown up in an age where people took guns into movie theaters and concerts, and children brought guns to school and killed other children. “I’m just...
Coming Home to Mother

Coming Home to Mother

Well, the half and half is gone, but we have plenty of oat milk. And I just peeled the almost dead tangerine, and put half of it in front of my daughter, who is working from the kitchen table. A week ago I might have tossed that tangerine in the compost pile, but now everything seems precious. Especially these things that come from Mother Earth, a term I never related to before – the earth as my mother – but now I see how wasteful I have been. Last night, putting away the bits of onion and mushroom leftover from the scrambled eggs we made for dinner, I reached for a fresh plastic baggie in the box, then put it away, and grabbed a small glass jar instead. And lights and water. Everything is precious. I have more than I need. And isn’t it beautiful, this resilience, this way we can turn towards ourselves, and that line I remember, “want what you have, not what you don’t have.” We will drink coffee with oat milk. And when that is gone we will mix coffee with butter and MCT oil. And when that is gone we will drink our coffee black, and when the coffee is gone we will switch to tea. And when the tea is gone we will begin the day with water – something our Mother, our Mother Earth is still generously providing for us. Thank you Mother, thank you for everything. share this...
Becoming Light

Becoming Light

I hardly know what to say. I could tell you about the trip to Mexico for 13 people that I had to cancel last week – three days before we were set to leave – a trip that all of us were looking forward to, that we had made plans for and spent money on. I could tell you about the difficulty of making the decision, even though the media hadn’t really detailed what non-essential travel was a week ago. How sunny it was in Mexico – how the virus hadn’t even exactly gotten there yet. I could tell you about the stress of disappointing people, of making the wrong decision, and the relief some people had that I had made the hard decision for them, how one friend said she was ready to follow me across the border because she was a good girl and didn’t want to disappoint anyone. And how well I understood that. How sometimes the hardest decisions are the right ones if you listen to your gut. I could tell you about my 83-year-old mother, Suzanne in L.A. How when Mexico was cancelled, I said, I’m coming to you, and she said, “Darling, I adore you, stay where you are.” Not because she didn’t want my company, but because she was practicing a kind of social distancing before she even knew the term. Decided she would be okay, that she was flooded with friends in L.A. And now of course, it’s mostly just my mom and her yappy dogs, though my sweet brother promises to drop by with groceries. I could tell you about...