mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: Universe

the ‘unseen hand of the Universe’ today. . .

 

a flexible glass tube flower vase "lost" and now "found" . . .

A friend from my college days wrote to me today that she didn’t understand how elements in my book, “Uncommon Hours” combined such concepts as transcendental values, the tarot, horoscopes and the “unseen hand of the Universe” as components of a consistent world or life-view. I, in turn, was baffled because it’s exactly how my life seems to perk along everyday.

For example, I spent quite a bit of time today in the local Bank of America office trying to sort out some accounting errors and to report fraudulent activity on my checking account. It took a long time because the Bank’s fraud department didn’t answer the phone even after an hour’s wait in the manager’s cubicle. After I went home to try the fraud line again, I returned to the bank to close out my account and open a new one. During this time, I had become friendly with the bank manager who helped me with these transactions. During our chitchat while waiting to connect with said fraud department, she told me about “Instant Pot” – an electric pressure cooker.  I was delighted to hear about it because I’ve used a manual pressure cooker to cook brown rice macrobiotically but had stopped doing it because it took too long. She was enthusiastic about this kitchen gadget that would cook rice, make stock and stews as a pressure cooker (meaning fast) and could also be used as a slow cooker. When I went home, I read about it on Amazon, saving it in my checkout box.

Later this evening, I watched a chamber music special called “Simple Gifts,” a “Live from Lincoln Center” program about artist-led performances at the Shaker community in Kentucky, held in an incredible tobacco barn that was magical in its appearance with daylight showing between the slats and superior performances of artist-led chamber music. I thought it was an interesting concept not to have a conductor, but for various musicians leading the rest of the ensemble themselves, depending on whether/when they had the lead melody including wind instruments. It’s such a simple and basic concept but I had not seen it performed with such a large ensemble. I was also impressed by the co-directors, a husband-wife musician team who played the piano and cello: Wu Han and David Finckel who are also directors of the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center.

Directly after the special, the PBS station segued right into a healthy diet program featuring a Dr. KellyAnn somebody. She was a little grating so I turned it off but idly looked up her book online and read about her regimen to lose weight and turn your health around in 21 days because I had resolved to get in better shape just tonight after we had finished dinner. Her routine turned out to rely on two days of “fasting” and sipping homemade bone broth from beef bones or chicken bones, etc. simmering on the stove for six hours or so.

So if you’re still with me, of course, that brings my day full circle to the convo at the bank earlier where I learned about the Instant Pot which, (voila!,) is capable of making stock that takes hours on the stove in just a couple of hours in its electric pressure cooker mode. Get it? The unseen hand of the Universe, right?

But what about the horoscope part? I had read that Jupiter, a very powerful and positive planet, would enter G.’s birth sign today for the first time in twelve years, perhaps auguring good fortune. Lo and behold this afternoon, we received some good news from a Court ruling, giving us a small victory we had hoped for. Maybe we might even be turning the corner in this David vs. Goliath battle! See what I mean?

The opening question above also challenged the spiritual premise of my book and my first over-reaction was to ditch it, frustrated that yet another reader didn’t “get it” the way that I had intended. After today’s events though, I decided not to give up on it just because someone else could not imagine a life filled with so much serendipity and synchronicity.

Today has been a busy day and I feel the Universe has given me a good lesson (again!)  Hallelujah! This is the way my life goes along, just about every day. I’m not kidding. Is it just following your intuition? Seems like more than that to me, doesn’t it?

Thank you Helpers!

Note: I ordered the “Instant Pot” to make bone broth per the 21 day diet plan. Will buy ingredients today at Mekong, a Vietnamese market in town and make a first batch of bone broth after the pot arrives and I figure out how to do it. Stay tuned.

“these are our days” . . .

garden with plantersSometimes it’s hard to remember what we were like twenty years ago. Since then, we may have grown our hair out, gained weight, lost some but still weigh a little more than we did back then. Even more weighty is what our experience has been since then: how did we make out in our professional careers; what do we do and how do we spend our time now? Most importantly, what’s left that we would like to have out of our days while we are in what’s been called our “third chapter?”

G and I when we first met, >twenty years ago. . .

G and I when we first met, >twenty years ago. . .

I’d been thinking about these questions when I came across an article about Carey Mulligan, the actor who appears to be more independent than most. On her dressing room mirror, written in eyebrow pencil are the words:

“These are our days.

Walk them.

Fear Nothing.”

How pure, I thought. No extra words or flourishes. No project management flavored goals, timelines or milestones. How refreshingly free of “shoulda, coulda, woulda” thoughts. No plans nor agendas. Walking is something we do everyday. Pace yourself.

“Fear nothing” is the best advice of all. Upload into the Universe what you can’t manage anymore. Sew them up with tiny stitches and put them away, Push them through the opening and zip the cover tight. Breathe naturally. Since doing that, I’ve found that nervous tics go away. So does a lot more.

Today is Sunday and the day is filled with sunlight and a light breeze that makes the trees sway. G. is tuning a piano downstairs before it is delivered to a new home this afternoon. (How lucky we are that he does what he does with pianos and that we live in this beautiful home!) I’m drinking the last of the coffee and reading my Sunday New York Times newspaper which I relish as one of the luxuries of my week.

our weeping cherry tree flowers every year around May 1st. . .

our weeping cherry tree flowers every year around May 1st. . .

Tomorrow, our new tenants for the front apartment will be coming by for supper. I thought I’d make a vegetarian dish called “Buddha’s Delight” and we’ll make scallion pancakes together. They’ve said that they love dumplings so we’ll make them later on in the Fall after they’ve moved in and things settle down. Earlier in the afternoon, I’ll make some homemade dashi broth with kombu seaweed and bonito flakes; strain it and add some white miso, tofu and green onions for our soup. A good new start to living here in the “piano house.” I hope things work out and that we’ll have a good time.heuchera planters 1jpg

The spring ceramic planters I bought at Lowe’s are filled with dramatically colorful heuchera plants whose leaves contrast with each other against the green of the pots. Coral bells have always been some of my favorite kinds of plants because of the unusual colors the leaves are (chartreuse, light orange and deep maroon) their stems of tiny coral flowers swaying in the breeze.

heuchera planters 2

My idea is to let them grow for awhile in the planters, then place them in the ground. That will allow the pots to change their look and contents with other plantings that catch my eye as the growing season progresses: knee high cosmos plants during the summer, or statuesque foxgloves for example; bright, deep-colored chrysanthemums in the Fall. It will be fun to rotate what’s in the planters outside and mostly, it will be fun to anticipate, fearing nothing.

heuchera planters 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

a life of our own . . .

 

the funniest card . . .

the funniest card . . .

Fate wasn’t done with us when G. and I met over twenty-three years ago.

When I say that “life is long” it’s meant with an amazement that we would meet later in life almost past middle age, and have been together so long ever since.

Today is our nineteenth wedding anniversary from a day when we crept down the back stairs in G.’s piano shop, slipped out the door and drove to City Hall in a sudden swirl of a snowstorm where the City Clerk met us, a gentle smile behind his thick glasses. We were married with no witnesses in the courtroom of shiny golden oak, the wood grain flaming all over the place. We were quiet as we said vows that we had written ourselves.

When we drove home, G.’s workers hadn’t noticed that we had gone out. I started cooking dinner while George went out to tune a piano. I think we had duckling with an orange or cherry sauce with wild rice and braised endive on the side. He called to let me know he was on his way home and called me “Mrs.” For a fellow who had foresworn ever to get married, he was in love with the idea of it as soon as it happened. I, on the other hand, struggled vainly to maintain my independence for over a year, adjusting to marriage again after the first one had frittered itself away such a long time ago.

Today and every day herein, we acknowledge how lucky we are to be living with each other in a life of our own.

Thank you, dear Universe!

 

 

 

a “yarn” . . .

Noro Yarn, "Cyochin"

Noro Yarn, “Cyochin”

Remember when the “New Age” was upon us? Around the time of the millenium or some years back before that? When did the new “Age of Aquarius” really begin anyhow (in the 1960’s and 70’s?)  And is it still going on? Some of my favorite CDs to play in the car are piano compositions recorded by Windham Hill, a label that epitomized new age music for me with work by composers like Liz Story, William Ackermann and Michael Jones. The music itself brings back memories of an easier time in the world, if not in my own at the time. Maybe that’s why I enjoy listening to it now: things are so much better in my life compared to then.

Outside, things feel bleak due to the frustratingly protracted political gridlock in Washington, D.C.; to the shock waves due to mass shootings, global spying, hacking, identity-theft, you name it: everyday it hits us on the news, in the newspapers and on the radio while driving around doing errands. The age we live in now is also pre-empted by an ever increasing social media frenzy whipped up by the press along with random ads that pop up everywhere you look on the internet: a dizzying melange of unasked-for opinions and cyberspace junk mail.

In quieter times past, I, for one, used to rely on “signs”, reading the Tarot spreads on occasion, writing down intentions, visualizing goals and so on. Lately, not so much.

Even so, I was thinking the other day about certain events that have occurred in our little world that have made a big difference, a turn of events outside of our own control. I recognized that almost everything important in my life has unfolded that way: moving down here for a new job over twenty years ago, and meeting my second husband (a piano tuner) because the movers didn’t put the lyre back on my Steinway properly.

You can call it synchronicity or serendipity. Or we could just acknowledge that the Universe, and God, have plans for us that we know nothing about until it is revealed to us. It almost makes me think that we should just live and let live, and mostly get out of our own way so that the Universe can do its thing more easily than having us try to fix things ourselves. Do you ever find that to be true in your life too?

I am writing about this nebulous topic today because of what happened to me this weekend. I had been unsuccessful in three attempts to order yarn online from WEBS, a yarn warehouse about an hour’s drive away from me in Northampton. The appearance of the three lots of yarn in my hands was very different in gauge, weight and color from what I had seen (or imagined) on my computer screen.

instead of mailing it back a third time, I got in the car and decided the only way that I might find yarn I wanted to make something for myself with, was to go and take a look in person.

I was right because there was only one yarn in the entire warehouse that drew me in, a gorgeous new Noro yarn.

yarn 5It was multi-colored and a swatch had been knitted up that hung beside the yarn on the shelves so that you could see what the colors looked like knitted up. I’ve worked with many multi-colored yarns before this, most of which surprised in a negative way, the colors not blending or looking right, which can result in omitting some colors and being surrounded by lots of little balls of various color lots to choose from when finishing a garment. I’ve been there lots of times, so I was glad to see the swatch that showed the beauty of how the colors played out together.

It was very expensive, but with the credit of the returned yarn, and a discount based on the dollar amount of the yarn, I could almost justify going for it. I thought maybe I could afford just six skeins and knit a vest with a kimono look. At the last minute, I asked for four additional skeins which brought the discount up to 25% off. With ten skeins of this unusually beautiful yarn tucked safely in my car, I found a parking place in town after a few tries and had a quick lunch at Osaka, my favorite Japanese restaurant. Over soft-shell crab tempura, I sketched out designs on index cards while I ate to see how the ten skeins of yarn could be used in an unconventional manner but didn’t come up with anything novel or exciting.

On the way home, as I was thirsty from the saltiness of my lunch, I decided to swing by Barnes and Noble to have an iced tea and look at their yarn books, not having found anything earlier in Northampton. The book section didn’t yield anything, but then, my eye fell on a magazine by Noro, the manufacturer of the yarn I had just bought with a patchwork sweater on the cover made out of the same exact colorway of the new Noro yarn that was sitting in my car.Yarn 2

The pattern was perfect: a loose-fitting tunic with dolman sleeves and interesting patches knitted in various cable designs on the asymmetric tunic front. I couldn’t believe it. It was as though I led myself (or was led) to look for and find the yarn in one place, and then find the pattern in a second, three hours later, a third of the state of Massachusetts apart.

Noro pattern of a tunic sweater with patchwork

Noro pattern of a tunic sweater with patchwork

Oh, and that’s not even to mention that while I was browsing in one of my favorite stores called “Irrisistibles” in Hamp that has books and household whimseys, I saw a display of metal hanging placards, one of which said, “Everything Will Be All Right.” It was $30 and I thought, I can just print that out myself when I get home and put it on the fridge. It was definitely the right message for me at the right time. New age or not, that familiar twinge of recognition, seeing a message meant for me was unmistakeable. I was buoyed up by it on the way home having forgotten that maybe I wasn’t struggling along alone after all.

So, how “new age” is that for a day filled with coincidences? You’ve heard of the phrase, “there are no accidents,” right? Well, what I take away from this little yarn saga is that the Helpers are definitely out and about and that even when I don’t think I need help, their generous handiwork is very apparent. They must be laughing their heads off up there!

I hadn’t wanted to make the drive out to return the yarn, and when I did, the only yarn I liked appeared to be prohibitively expensive. With the credit and an additional discount, I unwittingly purchased ten skeins, the exact amount of yarn required by the pattern on the cover of Noro magazine to make an unusual patchwork tunic sweater.

Plus, the real gift of the day was coming across and being reassured by the comforting admonition that “everything will be all right.” If you believe it, maybe it will happen.

Priceless.

so far, so good. . .

so far, so good. . .

one wish. . .


I was in Porter Square yesterday for a late lunch and saw something that caught my eye in a shop specializing in Japanese pottery and decorative things. They were papier mache dolls of Daruma, used in a practice to focus one’s intention on a wish, place it into the Universe and follow it to completion.

Since Monday is the Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon, I bought two of these dolls, one for me and one for George–and have been thinking about what my wish would be. Apparently, you’re supposed to make the wish and fill in one eye on the doll (see Wiki Daruma doll photo above.) Each time you look at it, you Read the rest of this entry »