September 13th, 2006

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Good Morning!

I have done what I have not done before, and gone back in and edited my posting from yesterday as to the wedding.

Jane and I had quite a discussion about it.   I have learned to be in the moment, and so what I posted was my personal experience in that moment.  It was also a way to let a group of people know what happened at the wedding from my point of view, but was it necessary, and would I want my grandchildren to read it?   No, I would not.

In posting as I did, I verified that it is helpful for me to just have one, heavy purge, rather than discussing it with different people.  It's gone. 

Amazingly, what Jane and I were working with today was January 31st, where neither of us in our poems really addressed what was going on in our lives at the time.  In our translations, we do.   We were distancing ourselves and we needed to do that to survive.  I have learned to better live in the moment.   That morning there was a pink sky and I was immersed in it and embraced by it, even though my day was a chemo day.  Jane had issues of her own.   You would not know  that from our poems of that day.  

What I was trying to do with my posting on the wedding was to be honest about my hurt, but much of my hurt was for Jan, and my perception of what it might be for Jan.  Jan can handle this herself.   She has.   She has lived with this all of her life.  Many of her friends have been through it, and her parents, will come, in their own time, to accept this marriage, or not, but it is irrelevant at this point.  We all are thrilled.  

I feel at peace today.   I do feel the wedding was an example of people expanding in love to include all.  I don't think anyone judged Jan's parents.   They just realized they were not yet able to accept a uniting of cultural differences, and that, love will triumph, and that will come, and, if not in this lifetime, then, in the next.
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A Taste -

Perhaps this gives a taste of what Jane and I are working on each day.   We continue to refine the translations as we change.   The work of then, stands.  It is where we were at the time, and now, we continue to change.

January 31, 2006

I am dipped
in pink
like an apple
in caramel
when the rouged sky
of morning
a coat
of rose
over the view
soft with radiance,
taste -

Like a petticoat,
the rose of the sky drops,
coating me
in pink -



Each day before Tai Chi we sweep.
The mulberry tree loses its leaves slowly in autumn.

Even during the rainy season its leaves still fall.

Then sweeping is slow.

The wet leaves resist the broom and cling to the ground.

We don’t try to clear all the leaves away, then.

In spring, everything is topped in blossom.

We sweep in summer mostly to remember sweeping.





            I woke this late January day, a chemo day, to the healing power of pink light.  I felt bathed in grace, supported and matched in the rosiness of the sky.  I had been suffering, wanting things to be different than they were, caught up in confusion over another’s wants and desires, and my own.  I let it go, cleansed by the light of your broom.  

             My surgical scar is a gauge.  It flames in pain, when I seethe in anger or perceived self-righteousness.  Harry Potter and I each have a system to warn of danger.  His dangers comes from outside.  Mine from within.  I manage my thoughts now, understanding  that judgment is division, and does not serve me now. 


            Later, though, when I returned to this day, I felt my hurt and pain, pain buried deeply in fiber of muscle, and marrow of bone.  You pointed out  how vulnerable I was, then, like a baby, taking everything in whole, at a visceral, cellular level.  We spoke of watering grief with tears and, allowing time, to heal.  


            You pronounce this the heart of the book.   Perhaps, we are relieved to feel our grief.   The heart is tenderized when we pierce our pain. 


            I am grateful to now have felt the pain, and, perhaps, now to stand on the “proud flesh” of healed wounds. 


            The Mulberry tree comes from China.  You sweep its leaves in Oakland.  East and West merge as one.  Sunrise.  Sunset.   Pink Sweep.   




Jane’s Translation:    Pink Sky Sweeping


Remembering this day from four months later, it feels that some of what this day is about is what isn't said.I am sweeping under your pink sky. Our poems are light and airy. They don’t speak to  what each of us was living through at that beginning to embark on a new and more demanding job, My son making some difficult decisions for himself, you at the moment before another chemo therapy and dealing with Jeff and Jan telling her parents about their decision to marry. How many cultural doubts and wrenching came when that door was opened. Still your words feel somehow both magical and true. Although the pain isn't central to either of our poems, your words, especially, don’t feel like denial. They feel like they open up a bigger circle of transcendence around your pain.

I’m reminded of my notebook from
South Carolina. It documents in 25 poems the eight long years my son’s father and I struggled as young people just starting out, growing our own food out of necessity, feeling our bond dissolving not because we’d lost our love but because we’d lost our way.  Most people who read those 25 poems never know  the pain and struggle that was the ground they grew  from. Rather than being about the sadness of that time, each poem instead represented a brief moment that I had found to write. Each for me is like a momento pressed in wax or shell saved inside a clear jar. They were the moments when the demands of survival lifted briefly. They were the moments when we made some brightness for ourselves to relieve the ache, like these words of ours on this day.


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The wedding -

                     I continue to say:  


    We all are thrilled, and continue to glow in the petals and rays!

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Keith Olbermann on 9-11

Sept. 11, 2006  

Keith Olbermann speaks.

This hole in the ground

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space.   And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.

Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres.  The terrorists are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation.  There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death,  after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections?  How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street." 

In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced.  An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help.  The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.

May this country forgive you.

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humor from Nora Ephron -

Op-Ed Contributor

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Dinner

Published: September 13, 2006

WE would like a bottle of Pellegrino. The waiter brings the Pellegrino. There are four of us at the table. The waiter brings glasses for the Pellegrino. The glasses happen to be extremely tall. Tall glasses are not necessarily the best glasses for Pellegrino, but before I can say a word on this profound subject, the waiter pours the Pellegrino into the tall glasses.

When the waiter is done pouring, there’s a tiny amount of Pellegrino left in the bottle. My husband takes a sip of his Pellegrino, and the waiter is back, in a flash, with the last drops of our Pellegrino. He tops off my husband’s drink.

The first bottle of Pellegrino is now gone. We’ve been at the table for exactly three minutes and somehow we’ve managed to empty an entire bottle of Pellegrino.

“Would you like another bottle of Pellegrino?’’ the waiter says.

I haven’t even had any of this one!

I don’t actually say these words.

I love salt. I absolutely adore it. Occasionally I eat at a place where (in my opinion) the food doesn’t need more salt, but it’s rare.

Many years ago, they used to put salt and pepper on the table in a restaurant, and here’s how they did it: there was a salt shaker and there was a pepper shaker. The pepper shaker contained ground black pepper, which was outlawed in the 1960’s and replaced by the Permanent Floating Pepper Mill and the Permanent Floating Pepper Mill refrain: “Would you like some fresh ground black pepper on your salad?” I’ve noticed that almost no one wants some fresh ground black pepper on his salad. Why they even bother asking is a mystery to me.

But I wasn’t talking about pepper, I was talking about salt. And as I was saying, there always used to be salt on the table. Now, half the time, there’s none. The reason there’s no salt is that the chef is forcefully trying to convey that the food has already been properly seasoned and therefore doesn’t need more salt. I resent this deeply. I resent that asking for salt makes me seem aggressive toward the chef, when in fact it’s the other way around.

As for the other half of the time — when there is salt on the table — it’s not what I consider salt. It’s what’s known as sea salt. (Sea salt used to be known as kosher salt, but that’s not an upscale enough name for it any more.) Sea salt comes in an itty-bitty dish with an itty-bitty spoon. You always spill it trying to move it from the dish to the food on your plate, but that’s the least of it: it doesn’t really function as salt. It doesn’t dissolve and make your food taste saltier; instead, it sits like little hard pebbles on top of it. Also, it scratches your tongue.

“Is everything all right?”

The main course has been served, and the waiter has just asked us this question. I’ve had exactly one bite of my main course, which is just enough for me to remember that, as usual, the main course always disappoints. I am beginning to wonder whether this is a metaphor, and if so, whether it’s worth dwelling on. Now, suddenly the waiter has appeared, pepper mill in one hand, Pellegrino in the other, and interrupted an extremely good story right before the punch line to ask if everything is all right.

The answer is no, it’s not.

Actually the answer is No, it’s not! You ruined the punch line! Go away!

I don’t say this either.

We have ordered dessert. They are giving us dessert spoons. Dessert spoons are large, oval-shaped spoons. They are so large that you could go for a swim in them. I’m not one of those people who like to blame the French for things, especially now that the French turned out to be so very very right about Iraq, but there’s no question this trend began in France, where they’ve always had a weakness for dessert spoons.

One of the greatest things about this land of ours, as far as I’m concerned, is that we never fell into the dessert-spoon trap. If you needed a spoon for dessert, you were given a teaspoon. But those days are over, and it’s a shame.

Here’s the thing about dessert — you want it to last. You want to savor it. Dessert is so delicious. It’s so sweet. It’s so bad for you so much of the time. And as with all bad things, you want it to last as long as possible. But you can’t make it last if they give you a great big spoon to eat it with. You’ll gobble up your dessert in two big gulps. Then it will be gone. And the meal will be over.

Why don’t they get this? It’s so obvious. It’s so obvious.

Nora Ephron is the author, most recently, of “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman.’’

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quote -

"Too often we underestimate how quickly our feelings are going to change because we underestimate our ability to change them."

-- David Gilbert