Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Six-Word Memoir

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was challenged, in a bar, of course, to write a six-word short story. Here it is, reportedly written on a cocktail napkin. He called it his best story.

For Sale
Baby Shoes
Never Worn

Smith Magazine collected six-word memoirs from writers, famous and not-so. Here's one my sister told me that makes us both laugh. I don't know its origin.

Eight years old,
hair brushed twice.

Probably makes me laugh because it describes my sons perfectly. Except that by eight years old they probably had had their hair brushed never. Combed, yes - only during haircuts.

And here are a couple from her third-grade class:

One mom, Dad.
Sadly, a sister.


Cannot live without wild rambunctious friends.

Here's mine for today:

Dog shakes groundhog.
Grateful for vultures.

How about you? What's your six-word memoir? Post it here in the comments section!
(One rule: six words. That's it.)

Do it Together at Least Once a Week

I am so very lucky. Several years ago, my friend Susan and I practiced Team Gardening. We scheduled time every week to work together in each other's gardens. We alternated homes each time, doing our best to give a similar amount of time to each other. It was an unkempt schedule, and it worked.

It was a little unnerving for me. Susan is something of a Zen gardener. Lots of perennials and evergreens, beautifully, restfully choreographed in elegant spaces. My garden is, shall we say exuberant. I used to call it wildly disorganized until she helped me find a nicer word. Lots of perennials, lots of annuals, crazily bumping into one another and finding their own favorite places to grow.

This year the Rue moved across Brendan's walk to a new spot that it likes much better; the False Indigo jumped across the Fountain Grass to fill in where the Rue had been. I love it that they can work out their differences without me. And the Datura just grows everywhere. Talk about exuberant. (Want some?) Susan's plants stay where they belong, with a sense of deep serenity. I felt a little embarrassed, a little sheepish, and occasionally totally mortified by our exuberance until I got over that nonsense.

Susan and I were shocked at how much we accomplished when we gardened together. WAY more than we could have done in twice the time alone. It must be some exponential synergistic woo-woo thing, but it worked that way every time.

And that wasn't the best part. We learned about receiving. This is a radical concept. We allowed someone to just give to us. And it was scary for both of us. We each had many moments of "oh, but my garden looks so bad", or "we need to haul mulch this time -- is that okay???" Yes, we understand completely the woman who says she has to lose weight before she can go to the gym. And even though we were trading gardens every time, a real live quid pro quo, we were each scared of receiving help - that vulnerable place of I need you. And Here's a wart I have; I'm pretty sure you didn't know about it before now because I kept it hidden pretty well, I'm pretty sure.

So, we talked about all of it. We talked about our difficulty in letting a friend (a friend, mind you - someone who loves us) see our messy garden and help us. And it got easier throughout the season. We talked about our lives. We laughed hysterically. We rejoiced when we got a really big f****r of a weed out of the ground, holding it aloft like a trophy. We got to be better and better friends. And sometimes we cried about our lives. And it got easier to let our friend see our messy life and our dirty, teary face and help. Susan and I have fallen out of the team gardening practice, and yet we're still really good at letting each other see our messy lives and teary faces, and we let each other help.

This year I'm team gardening with Anne. I'm so lucky - again! We have a regular weekly schedule, which gets messed up pretty often because of all of the traveling we both do. And when we get together on our Friday afternoon at 12:30 we catch up on the soap operas of each other's lives while we pull weeds and move mulch. We talk about our fears, our rages and our griefs while we transplant the Japanese Painted Fern. We talk about our poor little less-than/would-rather-be-invisible-thank-you-very-much selves while exclaiming over the abundance of really fat worms; about learning to forgive ourselves for what rotten mothers we were, while we dig up the weed which is the bane of my existence and may truly push me right over the brink; and about how to define miracles while we carefully dig up some errant Passionflower that she is tired of and I can't get enough of.

So do it together - bake, garden, whatever works for you, something that gets your hands in the elements and your heart in beauty and giving - at least once a week. Who knows, you might wind up with some Passionflower and a friendship with even deeper roots that blossoms year round under such loving care.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cool Stuff

Yikes, I thought this blogging stuff would be easy and fun. That I'd be witty and clever, and always have something useful to say. Or that maybe I'd be wise and therefore useful.

And then those gremlin voices crept in and said, "who, you???" I've read Havi, and Lisa, and many others who are really cool. Who do really cool stuff and describe it so that it sounds absolutely fascinating. They're quirky and fun and of course, younger than I am.

And I'm just, you know, gardening while it's still cool enough for me to stand being in the garden, meditating, going to therapy, growing my coaching practice, doing my best not to be annoyed that my neck still hurts, and letting the dogs out, then in, then out...

And now it's been 3 - no actually 4 - months since I've written anything.

So here's what I want to say after all this time: It's time to do something. And not just blog things. (Though that, too) Lots of people in the world need lots of stuff. I have lots of stuff.

I'm pledging to donate 20% of my coaching income (not profit, gross income) to my two current favorite charities: Women for Women International and Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust. Check out their websites and send them some money. Or send me some clients so I can send the money. Then we'll all be doing cool stuff.