Category Archives: at the Rabbits

Every now & again, the Sun shines in Ithaca.

It’s been quite a string of grey days.

(Feel free to peruse the Good morning feed & scroll through the various hues & shades…)

I love easy-eye days
And clouds are one of a handsfull of reasons I moved back to Upstate New York in 2006
But holy-wowie it has been quite grey.


The Sun did make a glorious appearance yesterday


And while I was at work and REALLY wanted to go for a walk in it
It felt quite pleasant to feel the warming on my back as I chopped…

Next time, though, I will go for a walk.
Even if only around the block.

Silent meditation retreat, a redemptive story about Hate, & waffling.

i’m going on a silent meditation retreat in a couple of days.

five days in the absence of phones, reading, speaking, & gently avoiding eye contact.


for over two months i’ve been waffling between going and not going.

in the span of a day i would wake up and be sure

i’m NOT going

and these are the reasons why i’m NOT going.

(a person who i have feelings of attraction for is going to be there…  a person who i can’t stand because she tried to break up a friend’s new marriage is going to be there…  i’ll earn money if i stay and go to work insteeaad… people don’t seem to wash their hands after going to the baaathroom…  i really enjoy sleeping in my comfy bed at hooome…  trekking uphill in the snow to use the outhouse is gonna be cooooold…)

then by mid-day i’d completely change my mind and be sure


and these are the reasons why i’m GOING.

(it’s of benefit to work with my feelings, it’s good practice to just feel…  taking time off seems like a gift right now…  money isn’t everything…  helping out in the kitchen on retreat would feel good to give back to the commuuunity…  being silent is nourishing on a deep leeevel…  reconnecting with folks i haven’t seen for a year could be really greaaaat…)

i threw the I-ching (numerous times), processed with people (numerous times), wrote a “pro & con” list (at least twice)…

you get the idea.


(Lady Queen Rabbit shielding herself from my waffling with a collard leaf…)


less than two days before the retreat

i still catch my mind waffling.

but i’m going.

see, i saw this video the other day

(if you watch it you HAVE to watch it through the end of his reading… for the redemption…)

and this video is what cemented (okay, wet-cemented, slow-drying-wet-cement) my emailing the person leading the retreat that YES i’m GOING to be there yes

because my heart is similar to C. Anthony Martignetti’s heart

o the aggression.


i’m ashamed by this aggression that lives in me/is me.

and how fast it comes up

how FIRST it often arrives

aggression before the softening

(sure, i’m glad that there even IS a softening)

sadly, i’m not one of those “laid back” people

when people say “you’re easy to be around” i’m both astonished and honored

because oftentimes, especially when i’m out in the world, i’m walking around with a pretty tight heart

or maybe perhaps,

a soft heart, very much tucked away behind a lot of hardness.


sure, things soften it, open a few of the (bolted) gates and doors letting in fresh air…

…seeing an elder shopping at a store…

…witnessing couples holding hands…

…someone helping somebody else out…

…being with animals…


but i don’t go around life with an open heart, mostly.

i have to remember to soften, to be open.

and i judge myself for this.

that the aggression is more like breathing than softness is…

in that aggression is the unconscious habit.

don’t have to think about it, it just arises.

to be soft, out in the world, i have to actively practice it.


so when i saw that video, i was reminded of my heart – like looking in a mirror, hearing his story, and remembering

that while being on retreat is no proverbial walk in the park

(even though there is a lot of walking) 

there is a sort of heart-tenderizing which occurs…



if you don’t happen to see any “good morning” photos for a 5-day stretch, you’ll know why.

wishing you all a Happy New Year





frisson, the practice of staying, & other ramblings.


i wish i had began blogging anonymously.

didn’t think of it till later

(this is one of the stories of my life…)

rush headlong into something and then *whoa* and then freak out and hide.


not that i don’t appreciate people reading my blog

i do

it always feels like an honor…

it’s just that i know some of the people who might see the blog

and it makes it sorta challenging to be brave / to not be shy sometimes, you see…

(cue Piglet wringing his hands and standing, feet askew…)

i feel embarrassed, or shame, or like coming out of a closet of sorts…


so a word

i just learned a word this week from the Lady Queen Rabbit


it’s a French word

that means something like an inner tingle, an excitement.

something that i haven’t been feeling

i’m not going to self-diagnose and call it depression

but there is a sort of


numb-ish feeling


and often swirling in “what the hell am i doing with my life” sort of thoughts

i try to drop into my experience of things deeper

like folding the laundry, for example

(an activity that i really don’t enjoy)

but if i can bring my mind to begin to think of gratitude, it changes the whole situation…


(amazing drawing done by a child)

gratitude for the clean clothes

for the water that just magically appears at the push of a button

the miracle of soap

the people who sewed each garment

their lives, their stories

that i have a warm & dry place to stand as i fold these clothes

that they keep me warm and from scaring people

(low blow self-depreciating humor, sorry, old habit, so hard to give it up…)



so this frisson thing…

i’m not sure where to find it.

Lady Queen Rabbit posited that perhaps it’s in the art-making process.

this may well be true.

i have yet to test this theory out recently

but i do have the memory of “getting lost” in the process of art-making and it being a sort of intoxicating/satisfying experience.


(another child’s drawing.  i LOVE children’s drawings…..)

so, to carve out the time to do this art-making

for some reason

has been extremely difficult lately.

no motivation, no frisson


maybe it’s simply a time for just being with the quiet-numb-feeling and not trying to change, fix, or run away from it.

to just notice things as they are, watch them shift…

then repeat.

tall order for this twitchy rabbit.

i feel the urge to cause some sort of radical shift, some sort of big sweeping change…


but i’m pretty sure that no matter what, there’d soon follow a settling into this feeling-state again…


i’m tempted, now, to learn French

it seems like a very rich language.

although, i admittedly suck at the pronunciation of many French words…

(and then there’s the memory aspect of remembering words…)

this morning

i was thinking of my Yaya


wondering how or where she found her frisson as she moved through her days…

imagining her ironing…  making meals for herself…  tending to her geraniums…

i guess we all have to find our own sort of connection with this spark/arc/connection with spirit within us…

and i’m having a hard time finding mine


i’m trying.


(hipster spatula)

at the suggestion of a friend, i’m reading The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, and am in the first week of exercises.

we’ll see what unfolds.


i’ll keep noticing the beauty that is all around me


i’ll keep watching things like this.

wishing everyone a lovely Solstice.

thinking about shame & life & blogging


i love this quote

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray.

Jalaluddin Rumi wrote that.

(translated by Coleman Barks.)

it seems perfect that it arrived in my inbox this morning

as yesterday, reflecting on the last blog post had me thinking about my parents

and how it might have been for them when i told them in early 2006 about my choice to move back to New York to live and work on an organic farm.


not being a parent, i do try to put myself in their shoes as best i can.

at the time i had been working four years at a high-end spa practicing massage full-time.

i was making a “good living” for the first time in my life.

but something

which had began to sprout when i was 21 years old

would not wait any longer

and when i was 34 i realized that if i didn’t do something i would regret it for the rest of my life.

so i left my first well-paying job

to move into an unheated, uninsulated “shackette” of about 10 x 13 feet with my cat to live and work and learn and grow (no pun intended) on a small, horse-powered organic farm.

i can’t blame my parents for questioning this decision.

“you’re going to work on a farm without getting paid?!?

well, i’ll get vegetables and a place to live and i’ll get a part-time job i told them

(not yet mentioning the shackette…)

made it back to Ithaca just after the start of May

and after a few months, they could hear it in my voice – happiness.


so, reflecting yesterday about the last blog post

and the clear pull of farming, and returning to Ithaca

and how right now there is no clear pull

but something seems to be unfolding

(starting the blog felt like a clear pull)

even though it felt strange, the hermit-private-sort-of-critter in me was surprised by this pull

after the last wordy blog post

which felt like some sort of coming-out-of-the-closet

(this song running through my mind while at work)

i spoke about it with the Rabbits

how knowing people i know (including them) who were following my blog it felt strange to write… there was this sort of hesitation to write.

there’s a sort of safety in anonymity which wasn’t there


it required a certain bravery.

the two blogs i follow consistently are very honest about their lives.

honest and unapologetic.

it’s what i most respect about their blogs.


i could feel a familiar wanting to hide, to curl away from what i had shared.


or the feeling which came up as a result of what i had just shared…

(that would be a shy okra pod)

i found the internal reaction/reverberation from posting is dreamer a euphemism for procrastinator brought out a familiar wave of shame.


shame is like rust

it has a silent, yet persistent corrosive action.

going public about this life

even if it’s a pretty low-key, relatively boring life

has a coming out quality to it.

a rawness, a nakedness, an exposure.


lucky me the Rabbits often will comment without my solicitation regarding blog posts.

their enthusiasm and encouragement feeds whatever brave thing within that got me starting to blog in the first place.


so a bow of thanks and a red shiso bouquet to the folks i know and to the folks i don’t know who follow the salted banana.

another quote kept returning to mind yesterday at work (post blog thinking/obsessing)

the best revenge is to live well

i’m not sure how that quote came into mind…

was it hung up somewhere in the house growing up?

couldn’t remember

but was struck by the word ‘revenge’ and how it lives in relative state – that is, if i live well, it’s somehow revengeful to someone or something

which didn’t and doesn’t sit well with me

and yet it’s a sort of pervasive thing…  this living well thing and the shame i have felt for living my life the way i do.

it goes counter to the culture which is projected on magazines, & various media

that i’ve obviously (and unfortunately) absorbed into my psyche


my life, measured by certain standards would not be considered a life lived well, or successful.

but i like my life, for the most part…

and to me, i live a good life

even if i don’t have certain things to show for it

…marriage, kids, a home of my own, new car, sizable bank account, blahblahblah etc…

the feeling of shame or having-done-something-wrong feeling was pervasive, like an internal net of prickly woven shards of rusty metal

and the blog post turned up the awareness of this shame/net-suit.

tight & uncomfortable.

but today

that shard-y, rusty feeling has decreased.

not that it’s fully gone, necessarily

but perhaps loosened?


at the farm in 2010 & 2011 when i worked my very own 1/4 acre of land with the help of Sara & her horses

(and all matter of element and spirits which aided in this venture)

we’d write haiku

on a large piece of slate

that was in the barn nearby where vegetables were washed

we’d write haiku

sometimes for ourselves

sometimes to each other

sometimes creating them together

this was one she had written to me

(the only one i caught a photo of)

the rest were written down in a small book



At the Rabbits – weather blowing through


this image is actually from last week.

more local carrots.  got that great stick.

today while at the co-op, i was met with a new sort of regulation, a new protocol, which i got all worked up about.

it just didn’t and still doesn’t fully make sense to me.

i can try to wrap my mind around it, but something about it seems a little fishy.

no offense to fish.

i got all worked up

got back to the Rabbit warren, er, house, and shared the new protocol

and, unfortunately, my worked-up-ness.

i suppose if i had it together i could have seen that i was all worked up over this thing that i have no control over

and which isn’t the end of the world

i was just all grumped up about it and that’s what i brought into the kitchen

o i don’t like when i do that.


fortunately for me, they are understanding Rabbits, and through some talking and awareness around my getting all worked up, the storm passed…

the knot in my chest loosened

and even the post-flip-out remorse swamp didn’t last too long.

there are just SO many things out of my control.

i can only control my response to things, really, it seems.

choices, and responses.

and as the saying goes, ‘you gotta pick yer battles’

and this is not one i really want to put energy into.

honestly, i miss the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn.

now, that’s a REAL co-op.

and while i don’t know if i could ever live in a major metropolitan area again, and it’s been over 12 years since i lived there, i still often think of the PSFC with a lot of fond memories, especially the people i worked with.

listening to a podcast of On Being of an interview with Sylvia Boorstein also made a HUGE difference in the weather…

it’s lovely – i highly recommend it.

especially if one is a parent, or re-learning how to parent oneself, as in my case.

for those of you who follow the good morning photo every day, i’m going to be away from a computer for a couple days, so there won’t be any posts of the good morning photo till Monday, or maybe Sunday if i get home early.

till then

please enjoy the weekend

and the lovely pear.


and this series of photographs which just sent me into a spin of wonder and awe for the world


Rabbits revealed (still no phone)


since it’s submerged in a bowl of rice drying out from this morning’s downpour, i didn’t have my phone today at work.

it was quite muggy and warm, so i offered the Rabbits the cucumber ends.

(me with the usual zucchini)

they are such good sports.

(their smartphone captured the image)

even gave their okay to be uploaded.

i do love these folks.

At the Rabbits


local carrots have longer roots.

and are more sticky.

Red pepper mouth faces

at the Rabbits, i nearly always chop red peppers.

if you cut up peppers just-so, sometimes, it will look like a pepper mouth

in some sort of expression of emotion or conversation or song…


at the Rabbits


i have a number of jobs.

twice a week, i work for a very kind couple.

they are executives.

they eat a lot of vegetables, and i help support their vegetable habit.

i call them the Rabbits.

some vegetables are more sticky than others…

zucchini is always a sure bet.

cucumber & daikon are the most cooling.

okra seems to have the most staying power, but they haven’t gotten any in their CSA yet.