Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Poetry Corner - City of Rose

I live in Portland, Oregon, known as the City of Roses and home of Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Coffee People and Powell's Books. For April, Powell's sponsored a poetry contest seeking original poems about Portland. The following is my entry.

City of Rose
KC McAuley

The sun slips behind the west hills
The light shifts and everything is bathed in color
City of Rose
Amber and violet
And deepest of blue.

The sun rises over the hooded mountain.
The light shifts and brings back the color
City of Rose
Amber and violet
And deepest of blue.

From my window
I watch each day as the light shifts across this city.
My city.
City of Rose
Amber and violet
And deepest of blue.

And here is a link to the winning poems. They are all lovely ones.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A Hyena

I learned recently that when a kill is made, the females surround the kill and let the children eat before the males of the pack. The females mean business and they will attack any male that attempts to breach the kill. And I had to ask myself, are we humans smarter than a hyena?

Every 3.6 seconds, someone in the world starves to death. 3/4 of those deaths are children under 5. 75%! That is unacceptable and should be unacceptable to any thinking person on our planet.

What do you think would happen if all the women in the world surrounded our children and INSISTED that the children be fed and housed and educated before one more penny is spent on war. I think we might just stop war.

And think what the impact might be on the world economy. Farmers would be paid to grow food, not to NOT grow food. Instead of building bombs, we'd build houses and schools. Teachers and growers and pickers and canners and all those job forces would have to be increased. And with such a demand for workers, those salaries would have to increase.

Don't you think if it was profitable to feed, clothe, house and educate people that business might actually do it?

It's not enough anymore to work against war. We have to work FOR peace. It's not enough anymore to have 'acceptable levels of violence'. There's no such thing as an acceptable level of violence. It's not enough anymore to tolerate differences. The mere use of the word tolerate implies a sense of superiority and separation.

I heard a woman on the radio say that she couldn't feel for the deaths in Iraq or Darfur or Israel, because that child wasn't her child. I disagree. ALL CHILDREN are my child. And ALL CHILDREN are my responsibility.

It's time I started thinking more like a hyena and less like a human being.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I've written before about my daughter, Bridgete. I've said often how proud I am to be her mother, how brave I think she is for finding her path and sticking to it, how much stronger and better I am for having let myself follow her lead. But today of all days, I need to say it all again.

She's 25 today. I still remember how I felt when after days of labor, no sleep, no food, no progress, I was being wheeled into the operating room where I would have a Caesarean section. My arms were strapped down so the anesthesiologist would be able to monitor my vitals and keep me numb. It's a very odd feeling to be awake and completely unable to move your body from the chest down. But while I was unable to feel pain, I was still able to feel pressure. My contractions were still happening, but it was as if there was someone pushing on my stomach. Then they hung a barrier up between my head and shoulders and the rest of my body. My husband could look over and see what was happening, but all I knew was what I could pick up from the conversation around me and what I could feel in my body.

I felt the pressure of the knife, the widening of the incision, something popped and John said that her head was out. Then the doctor told me I would feel more pressure as they pushed her out of my body.

Through most of my pregnancy, Bridgete had a foot stuck just below my ribs on my right side. Occasionally, when lying down, I could coax her to move it by rubbing on the outline of a foot I could see there. But somehow it always got back there. Now here she was halfway into the world, and that foot was still stuck there. The doctor was pressing and pressing on it. I could feel Bridgete flexing her foot and stubbornly staying in place. Then all at once, she relaxed. She must have been as tired as I was. Her foot dislodged, she came into the world and after the cord was cut, she was weighed and measured (8lbs, 15 oz. 21 1/2 inches long) bundled up and brought over to me and laid on my chest where I could see her. I still couldn't hold her. My arms were tied down and there was still work to do on me.

But Bridgete was here. I spoke her name and she opened her eyes and looked right at me. I felt her body relax onto mine and that was it. I was in love.

For the last 25 years, I have fallen in love with her over and over again. And I know I'll never ever stop. My beautiful, brave, talented, courageous, stubborn (oh so very stubborn...the foot was just the beginning!) independent, honest, intuitive, insightful, passionate, forthright, funny, sweet, love of my life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008



What Ifs:

What if I could meet someone in the art world to chat with?
This is just too easy for me…SHAKESPEARE. I know, I’d probably be disappointed and find out he really was a mediocre talent at best and someone else did the good stuff. But I love Shakespeare, so it has to be him.

What if I could have one wish granted for the benefit of all mankind?
I know it’s easy to say world peace. But it’s not easy to achieve. Peace is not simply the absence of war. It’s a state of mutual respect and acceptance whereby all beings are one.

Pretty big wish.

What if I could travel anywhere in the world?
England. That blessed rock…so much there I want to see and touch and taste and smell.

What if I could live in a period other than the present, for 24 hours?
I want to be a player in Shakespeare’s company at THE GLOBE in Elizabethan England.

What if I could make over three areas of my body?
I have a very Germanic heritage… so…tummy tuck or liposuction, I’d love vision that doesn’t require corrective lenses and my skin is rather scared from bad acne.

What if I could become an animal for 24 hours?
I’m basically hedonistic (read lazy)…so I think a bear as long as it’s hibernation time!

What if I could bring someone back to life for 24 hours?
I’ve lost a lot of people in my life…but I couldn’t bear to lose them again after only having them for 24 hours. Way too hard.

And now, I'm supposed to tag three other bloggers. Bonnie, Chris and Greg! Have at it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 8, 1913

The above date wasn't important in history, nothing of great note seems to have happened. Well, the 17th amendment to the US Constitution was made law. And if you know what that one was, good for you. But this date means a great deal in my personal history. This is my father's birth date. If you are calculating, then you would realize that means he would be 95 today if he were still alive. That would be a pretty amazing thing even in this day and age of longer life expectancy. But when you know that my father died 27 years ago, even you would have to say...he died too young...a mere 2 weeks short of his 68th birthday.

I was only 21 when he died. I didn't know then what an impact that would have on me. In some ways, I still am not aware of how deeply it effects me.

So far, this year has been one of loss. Dear friends have lost parents, which makes me aware of what I missed by not having my father all these years. My niece, who was only a year older than my own daughter, died last month, very suddenly and unexpectedly. Last time I saw her, she was a very alive and vital young woman with her entire life ahead of her. My guilt over not seeing her enough and sharing in her life more has been something to work through. A man I was once very much in love with and hoped to someday see again has died. And finally, last week, our family cat was put to sleep.

Yet somehow, life goes on. I sleep and I wake up and start another day. The sun comes out, or it doesn't, but day goes into night and into day again. Better men than I have written profound words on death, loss, pain, grief. I try to remember that the loss means I have room in my life for new. I try to shed my sadness and look for the new joy that can be in my life. Most of all, I try to cherish what I do have today. I remember that I have wonderful friends, a fabulous daughter, a terrific extended family and that as much I love them, I also have their love with me.

I haven't lost my father's love. I feel it every time I hear his laughter inside my head as I listen to "Car Talk". Someone nearby jingles the change in his pocket and he's here. And I look into the eyes of my own child and know that the love I have showered on her is with her even when I am thousands of miles away. But I have lost his voice, his hand holding mine, his arms when I cry, his eyes full of pride, his being.

I miss you daddy. Every single day, I miss you. Thank you for being my daddy.