January 25, 2023

Woman on the Edge

I'm a woman on the edge

I'm not mainstream

Sometimes all the politicizing

Just makes me want to scream

They're trying to control our bodies

Trying to control our minds

With social media and TV shows

 And laws that are just unkind

I'm on the edge of screaming

On the edge of rage

Need a little nonviolent communication

Some way to turn the page

I'm on the edge of the circle

Reaching out my hands

Connecting with other women

All across the lands

Connecting with the people of color

Connecting with the men's too

Connecting with all the fabulous queers

Connecting with the Jews.

They can say we're all radicals

They can say we're all unhinged

But we're weaving a stronger tapestry

And they're only see the fringe

January 18, 2023


Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me

And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is purest delight;
To honor its form — true devotion.

© Jennifer Welwood

January 11, 2023

Breaking Up

I'm breaking up with my cell phone. It has been a long, arduous divorce, but I'm hoping to transition into a more pleasant acquaintanceship much like I have with the fax machine. I'm over "till death do us part," or the warranty runs out.

It started innocently enough. I had resisted owning a cell phone for years. Loyal to my landline, even the archaic answering machine that sat brooding on the kitchen counter. My friends thought I was a Luddite.

Everything changed when my daughter was ten Suddenly I had full custody. My ex-wife was in the mental hospital, her partner was being hostile at best. It seemed imperative to have a mobile device. I bought a cheap burner phone for $64. The lowest pay as you go plan ATT offered was $24 a month for this particular electronic security blanket. The phone barely told the time.

Over the years I received a plethora of technological hand-me-downs as various family members took pity on me when they upgraded. At first, I simply enjoyed the luxury of having a decent digital camera, and found myself posting pictures online. Soon I became embroiled in the snarled web of social media - likes and dislikes, tweets and re-posts, comments and trolls, the ever elusive hashtag. I could spend hours curating images, watching reels, getting sucked into another video.

Worse, I discovered games. First solitaire, of course, but come on, who doesn't? It's built-in. Then multiplayer games: Farmville, June's Journey, Words with Friends, Seekers Notes. I was so obsessed I ended up doing three months of physical therapy to release a frozen shoulder.

Now it's at the point where I can't take a bowel movement without playing Wordle first. In the morning I reach for my phone before I reach for my husband, and then it is glued to my hip for the rest of the day. Chip can find out what aisle I'm in at Costco simply by geo-locating my phone.

And even though my phone goes with me everywhere, somehow, I'm always looking for it. Patting my pockets, peering into my purse. It has become a regular icon in my dreams. I'm lost in a strange city. The numbers are not working. How I get back to the hotel?

I've already started. First, I was gentle, deleting all the apps I don't use anyway. Next, to ones rationalized I could always access on my laptop. I had already lost interest in Pinterest and was bitter about Twitter, easy to let go. Then all the news feeds -  I'm done with the gloom scrolling. Finally, I said farewell to my beloved New York Times crossword puzzle and a kissed Sudoku softlygoodbye.

When I get home I'm moving it out of the bedroom back to the kitchen where it belongs, next to the pens and scrap paper. No longer will I jump at every chirp, click, or beep like Pavlov's dog salivating for virtual treats. No longer will I depend on it every time I have a minor wait while standing in line at the coffee shop. If I need to know the weather, I can always look out the window.

Like all breakups, it will be hard and uncomfortable at times learning to live without my electronic companion. I'm sure our friends will be divided. I wonder just how will I engage myself now.

January 4, 2023

The Cloak

Young and naive, she thought there was something wrong with her because she was sad all the time. Either she needed fixing or she was broken beyond hope.

She wore her depression like a cloak of invisibility. Desperate for attention yet hidden away. Unable to release the clasp at her throat. Let go of the heavy wet wool dragging her down.

She could take it off but she was afraid of being naked cold, vulnerable. Seen.

She would cry herself to sleep every night. The cat, her only comfort, licked away salty tears, purred reassurances, listened to all of her secrets.

When was it that someone would finally say,

"You're normal. 

You're different.

And that's okay."

December 28, 2022

Treading Lightly


I'm careful not to step on

The periwinkles by the front

Of the trailer while on my retreat

They seem so brave, so vulnerable

Little heads nodding in the wind

So easily crushed.

Yet they survive last night's hail storm

The fallen branch

Somehow better than I

Maybe it's their

“Tendrils of belief”*

Keeping them anchored

How do I unfurl

Trust the sun will shine again

And turn my face towards hope

*Quote from Adrienne Rich

December 7, 2022

F is for Family


F is for Family
Baby Katharine’s Alphabet Adventures

A special ABC to celebrate alternative, extended, blended, and birth families! 

Welcome to the world, Katherine,
How wonderful you will be!
Because you are the blossom,
Of the most amazing family tree!

November 23, 2022

Slices of Life: Stories, Recipes, Kitchens, Lists, and Tidbits.

My Living Cook Book

It is entitled "Slices of Life: Stories, Recipes, Kitchens, Lists, and Tidbits." Dedicated to my hubby and all of our delicious adventures.

I used the plain white plastic binder my teacher, Lisa Garrigues, gave us for our handouts. Next, I flipped through Santa Cruz Waves magazine to created collages for the front and back, sprinkling in tiny dragonfly stickers and gold stars. Then, I found an unopened pack of kitschy floral tab dividers and rustled up the handy dandy labeler.

I dictate my notebook because it's faster than typing. However, then the editor set in, as much as I wanted to be on a raw diet and reveal the bare bones of my process, I stewed, I chewed, I eschewed.

I chose Courier as my font because it looks the most like a typewriter. I combed through my file cabinet and unearthed ancient college-ruled paper from my daughter's high school; three column accounting paper; pale green graph paper that once was a favorite journal, empty pages torn out, the rest burned. I mixy-matched with my supply of "pretty paper" I keep on hand for printing out various holistic hand-outs. I also took a few photos of journal pages and simply printed them out.

It is divided into five sections -  Her Story, Recipes, Kitchens, Lists, and Tidbits. The meat of the book is the stories, my "Thoughts on" meme. There were several hefty pieces that took me days to write, most notably the insemination story. The tarot reading and a "History of Eating" also took quite a chunk of time. 

Accompanied by Kitchens with a side of Recipes, these are tasty morsels, some saucy, some juicy, some just plain bitter. Always good to stir it up.

The Lists act as a menu of writing prompts: Foods, Restaurants, Words, each one is its own appetizer and desert. 

Garnishing the cookbook is The Tidbits section, a few haikus and ramblings, a spring of fresh parsley to cleanse the palate.