short poem

a friend at work read this a couple of days ago…

By Raymond Carver

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


8 out of 52: anonymous gifts

I’ve just mailed out a few gift certificates to some local friends.  The certificates are for local coffee shops or tea houses — places that  I know a specific person (the one getting the certificate, of course!) likes to go.  It’s taken me a couple of weeks to acquire the cards from the places around town, as I don’t always go near some of these places regularly.

I’m not sure why, but I want it to remain a secret.  I have disguised my handwriting and even used a type of pen that I don’t usually use, not that all of these people  are even likely to know my handwriting!  I also tried to select people who do not know each other, so that it’s not likely to come up in a conversation between two people who received a gift card from me.

I’m curious to know if I will hear about any of these gifts.

out of 52 updates: kiva / valentines day cards

I received my first notification from kiva of a payment on a micro-loan.  The amount of money was small, a few bucks to me, but satisfying to see that the couple who took out the loan are able to start paying it back.

I also have heard from several friends about the little valentines day postcards I sent out.  And everyone seemed to find them attractive, (even though I had been disappointed in how they turned out!)  Little steps toward keeping in touch, little steps toward supporting friendships. . . .

a future “out of 52”

A number years ago, I printed out copies of poems that I really like, and mailed them off to friends.  I’m going to do something similar as one of my weekly life-enhancing actions.  Since April is national poetry month (in the US), I’m planning to do it then, which will give me time to track down people’s addresses, and maybe find some new poems that I like so that I’m not sending the same poems I sent last time.

Any one have any suggestions of poetry you love?

Last time poems included :  definitely something by by Mary Oliver (perhaps Wild Geese, or Rice, which is not as well known as Wild Geese, but really beautiful).  and Wendell Berry (I love his The Peace of Wild Things),  Grace Paley,  Galway Kinnell.   probably Billy Collins…

I’d love new ideas!

7 out of 52: handmade valentine cards

Although I was somewhat disappointed at how they turned out, I spent last evening making valentine’s day postcards, using homemade potato stamps and large index cards.  I’ll be mailing them out to some friends later today.  It was a sudden thought a few days ago, and I decided “why not?”   Valentine’s day is such a weird “holiday,” and I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to it, but this year is just seems like a nice excuse to send out a friendly little “hello, and I’m glad you are in my life” to folks who I like.

Artsy-craftsy — not something I do too often.  Celebrate V-day — not something I do too often.  Remember to mail out cards after I get them — yeah, also not something I do too often.  I have cards here and there that I purchase with all good intentions, then ….. well, then that’s the end of it.  but these are in my backpack, and I just need to stop at the post office and buy stamps.


interests: books versus blogs

In a bookstore, I usually start out in the gardening section, or looking at books on small-scale organic farming and permaculture.  Or buying books on herbal medicine, or coveting interesting beautiful cookbooks, or adventure travel memoirs.  And of course there’s the life sciences section: natural history and ecology, brain science . . . . .

Here, in this blog-world, I’m noticing those are not the blogs that I gravitate toward so much.  Rather, I’m gravitating toward blogs by folks who are struggling with emotional and mental health issues, and I find that interesting.

I  struggled with depression when I was younger.  I never hurt myself, but I did reach a point where I could not carry on a full conversation (after saying “hello” I just wanted to find an empty room, because that was about all I could remember how to say to another person), where I could barely perform the tasks I needed to in a job or in school (and even though I never lost a job, I knew how little I was doing, how little I was able to do).    I still can have anxiety that impacts my level of functioning and my human interactions.  

I still sometimes feel like I am trying to make my way out of that place.  Or that I still have a deep fear about going back into the darkest regions of depression.  Although there are a lot of people who have experienced depression, I have not found so many who understand/have experienced the deeper/darker depressions.   So I suspect that the potential for interaction with those who have had (or who are having) similar experiences is a major influence in what I read here.

6 out of 52: thank you notes

It is embarrassing, but I really have not sent out any thank you notes for a very long time.  Years.  Thank you emails occasionally, or thank you texts, sometimes, yes, but no notes.  (my mother would not be proud…)

But thank you notes are nice.  Really nice.  I appreciate getting one.  And truly, it does not take much time to write one!  (although there is the find a stamp and find an address part, which due to my chronic state of mess and chaos is never so quick!)  But this is something I want to change this year.  I have sent out two in the past week — one to a health care professional for how she works with my dad, another to a friend who had a lovely dinner for a group of friends lately.

My plan is to keep looking for opportunities to send out TY notes over the year.