Friday, March 20, 2015

Snake In A Pear Tree - A Poem by Patty Mooney

How strange to suck the sweet juice
of pears in their brief season,
as the snake mistakes these trees
for apple, attracted to the red blush.
Gnarled branches scratch its belly
as it winds along limbs
mottled by sun, blending in
with the hissing leaves.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Emergence of a Hummingbird - Photos and Story by Patty Mooney

It all started one Spring, when "Mom" decided to locate her nest outside our house by the garbage cans. The nest, about the size of a porcelain espresso cup, was positioned among the branches of our jasmine bush.

One day when Mom was out and about, capturing insects and stealing sips from the rose grenadine "cocktail" in the hummingbird feeder, I sneaked up and saw two perfect eggs in the nest. It's probably such a cliche to call them "perfect" but how else would you describe them?

Then one cool morning, when Mom was again off doing her own thing, I saw two balls of fuzz in the nest, their little bodies expanding and contracting quickly with their breaths. They seemed so exposed; we have a squadron of noisy crows that regularly patrols the area. But the leaves on the bush seemed a perfect foil.

A few days later, I noticed that one of the chicks was now dominating the nest, and the other one was either hidden or gone. Maybe it was best not to dwell on the fate of the one that was not destined to grow up to twitter in the nearby trees.

A few weeks after the appearance of the nest, you can see how this little fellow had grown big and fluffy, and almost too big for his teacup. His feathers are showing that incandescent hummingbird green. His eyes are open and he seems aware of me yet calm about it. Hummingbirds are so fascinating, aren't they!

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Phone Died Last Night" - A "Found Poem" From Twitter by Patty Mooney

The Poet Artist, Gabriela Anaya ValdepeƱa at Showing of Gabriel Fernandez's Art Modeling a Boa Hand-Knitted by Patty Mooney - Photo by Patty Mooney

Phone died last night.

Charged it today around 4,
Had 64 texts!
Might turn device updates off.
Last night I caught myself
Staring down my dead potted
Shrub, disapproving of it,
Like it should have tried harder.
Loving the fact that I can do nothing.
Someone has compared prices
Using Tropical Paradise 7
Desert Plates 8 count
From Love Fancy Dress.
LOL the ol handle of Stoli?
Feeling a little spacey,
Listing to MF Doom
Drinking OJ and reading.
I think I may actually turn healthy
Very soon.
Let’s get it
Hmmm on a Friday?
Mine are still up!
Slow news day here in the land of the thawing tundra
I guess that’s a good thing.
Now I have to wait here
Till everyone else leaves
Cause we can’t leave by ourselves at night anymore
I hope this rain doesn’t freeze
And build up on the powerlines.

TweetTweetTweet 4-3-09

Friday, January 9, 2015

The House of Pain - by Patty Mooney

After breaking my collar bone while mountain biking on Porcupine Rim Trail, Moab, Utah

I thought I’d tell you about my first visit to the House of Pain, or the hospital, as it is commonly known.

I was two years old. My parents had taken me out to dinner. When I got home, I was so ecstatic from our special event that I danced and spun in the living room and split my eyebrow open on the corner of the coffee table.

My parents rushed me straight to the hospital where I got my first set of stitches. Now, many years older than that wide-eyed little girl, I have limped or been wheeled down countless hospital corridors. Sometimes I have felt that the hospital, that “heartbreak hotel,” is my home away from home.

One time I came out of there looking like a pirate wearing an eye patch because our cat had gouged my eyeball. I’ve hobbled out of there on crutches after a couple of knee operations, the most recent one a Total Knee Replacement last September. I’ve left a set of perfectly good tonsils and a thyroidal cyst at the House of Pain. After a motorcycle crash on the streets of San Francisco, the ER staff pinned my elbow back together. Several years ago, while driving down Fairmount Avenue in my Easter-egg purple VW bug, a man who should have been wearing his glasses pulled out right in front of me. When we crashed, my lower teeth went right through my chin. A doctor by the name of Goodhead stitched me up that time. I’ve had one or two mountain-bike crashes that left their marks, including a broken wrist. And once I fell off a 500-foot cliff, coming to a landing 30 feet below where I fell off. After that one, I knew I was blessed to be alive.

I could use my visits to the House of Pain as excuses to feel sorry for myself. But there’s something my dad always used to say: A man complained he had no shoes and then he met a man who had no legs.

Let’s take a look at someone who set the world land speed record of 152 mph on a bicycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1986. My long-time friend and hero, John Howard, is a three-time Olympian and Ironman who has raced bicycles most of his 48 years. He has suffered a few crashes. Once he was transported by Life Flight to the House of Pain where he was stitched back up and his jaw was reconstructed. Even after this, as soon as he had recuperated, he got back on the horse, so to speak, and came back with a vengeance.

We all know of a man who once was able to leap off buildings in a single bound, who could move faster than a speeding bullet: Superman. Christopher Reeve. One day back in 1995 he was riding his horse in a sporting event in Virginia, galloping at high speed toward a jump with which he was familiar and confident. With his mind set to go the distance, his horse came to a sudden stop, and Reeve was thrown off the horse.

Five days later, he awoke in a hospital in full body traction. His spinal cord severed at C2, he had lost all movement from the lower neck on down. And initially, he was unable to speak. At first, thinking he would be a burden to his family, he wanted to die.

Reeve’s injury came about doing something he loved: sports. He was a skier, ice-skater and vigorous tennis-player. His version of a wrap party after filming the first Superman was to skipper a sailboat from Connecticut to Bermuda. For years, he often flew a turboprop solo across the Atlantic. Once he was injured in a parasailing accident off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. He always pushed himself -- and sometimes others -- to squeeze the maximum human experiences out of life.

That same indomitable human spirit propelled his quest to restore movement. In public appearances after his accident, Reeve expressed appreciation for all that he had. Instead of complaining about his bad luck, he continued to celebrate the mystery and preciousness of life. With all that he lost, his was the legacy of a “rich” man who gave by sharing his story with all of us.

Some people have never hurt themselves, never paid a visit to the House of Pain. But I’d rather continue adventuring and pushing my limits with a risk of injury than confining myself to a safe and boring life.

I want to thank John Howard, the late Christopher Reeve and all the others who have fallen and gracefully risen to face their adversities. Their exuberance for life continues to inspire and heal me. And their brave spirits are always with me whenever I climb back on my horse.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Day, A New Way - by Patty Mooney

17th century Persian digestive systemImage via Wikipedia

I have been fascinated by the workings of my digestive tract, ever since I was about a year and a half old and conducted an experiment of swallowing a penny to see how long it would take to land in the potty. Fortunately it did not get stuck anywhere on its way down and I believe it was a day and a half later when it was delivered to the "designated location."

When over the last few months my stomach felt bloated and the digestive process seemed sluggish, I consulted my physician who drew blood and gave me a clean bill of health. Still, looking at my profile in a mirror and seeing that I looked pregnant, and now I was experiencing pain after imbibing alcohol, I knew something was amiss. As if that weren't enough to inspire me, my younger brother died in December of coronary arterial sclerosis. And our good friend, the magician, Steve Dacri, just passed in February from colon cancer.

I pulled out some old nutrition books I had up on the shelf by Dr. Norman Walker, about colon cleansing and juice fasting. I knew that there must be some toxicity in my system and that in order to heal myself, I would have to start from scratch.

I decided to eliminate sugar, salt and white flour from my diet. I decided to eliminate alcohol and denatured foods (those found in cans, boxes and in the frozen foods department). And I decided to eliminate dairy and meat. What's left??? Well, in making this radical decision to eat living foods, a whole new world has opened up to me. I pulled out my 40-year-old Champion juicer which still works like a champ, and started to make juices with carrots, apples, cucumbers and leafy green veggies. I voraciously gobbled the book, "Green For Life" by Victoria Boutenko, bought a Blendtec blender - you know, the one in which someone blended a cell phone and it went on ticking, and went to our local Farmers' Market, picked up some fresh organic fruits and veggies, and have been going to town on green smoothies. When I get hungry in the afternoons I munch on organic raw nuts and dried fruits. At the moment I am sipping a green smoothie that contains grapefruit juice, orange juice, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, apple, and a variety of greens and sprouts. (And it tastes awesome.)

I feel better than I have in a long, long time. My elimination process is going swimmingly. I get up a couple of hours earlier than I used to - voluntarily and happily. I have more energy. Yesterday I climbed to the top of a mountain and looked out over a beautiful valley featuring pines, manzanita, yucca and a singing stream, far from civilization. Oh yeah, and I've lost seven pounds. I no longer look nor feel pregnant, after only about three weeks.

ICover of Green for LifeCover of t makes so much sense! These green smoothies are the best way to deliver protein and necessary nutrients to your system. Your stomach and intestines don't get so clogged and bogged down as they do with meat and white starchy foods. And these smoothies taste delicious. Of course the dairy and meat industries do not want you to stray off their products. They really have a stranglehold on people, and I believe that fast-food joints are the downfall of humanity. If you decide to explore the pleasures of eating living foods, I'll bet you'll be happy that you did.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

What Love Is - by St. Augustine

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
- St. Augustine
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Friday, December 19, 2014

It's Time To Get Up In the Morning - by Patty Mooney

"Let's hear those feet hit the deck!" my dad's voice would sail upstairs into the room I shared with my sister, Jeanne. I would hear a brief shuffle of bedclothes in the next room, where my two brother slept. Then silence.

"Well, if Joe and Tom aren't getting up yet," I reasoned to myself, "I'm certainly not going to wake up either." And I'd roll deeper into the blankets. So far, Jeanne had not stirred at all. But actually, I was the only one who had to rise at 6 AM for my high-school classes which began at 7.

It was freezing cold out of bed during those Michigan winter months. The thought of hiking a mile through the heavy, packed snow came as an additional sleep inducer. Sometimes I would be aware of a padded silence surrounding the entire house and I would instinctively know that the snow had again fallen during the night as I slept. The eery brightness of the room so early in the morning would confirm this dreaded thought.

The snow was beautiful to gaze at, out the window, but it was no fun to crunch through huge mounds of it, inch by inch, to school. I often wondered if snow shoes - the kind shaped like tennis rackets that appeared to keep a person suspended above the brutal confection of ice - would help in my predicament.

My mind wandered from pillow to snow, creating a reverie which became a dream: I slip out of bed, dress as speedily as possibly in the ice tongs of the morning, wash my face, comb my hair, shuffle down the stairs and murmur hello to my dad who is sitting at the kitchen table having Shredded Wheat with canned peaches, and a cup of coffee, black. He is reading the Detroit Free Press. The section he peruses depends on what time I come downstairs. Usually I arrive during "Sports."

I decide what to have for breakfast, Cheerios or Wheaties. I gulp down a bowlful of my choice slathered in milk and sugar, and finish in two swallows a tall glass of Minute-Maid orange juice. Then, once I've slipped a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a brown paper bag along with an apple or an orange, I am ready to advance into the morning.

Layered beneath a heavy woolen coat, an oversize woolen sweater, an angora sweater, a flannel blouse, two pairs of jeans, three pairs of knee-highs, a pair of penny loafers, a pair of rubber boots, a knit cap and a muffler, I make for the front door after waving goodbye to my dad.

Now I'm out in it. Winds are hurled at me from off the mountains of glittering snow. The silence nearly crushes me. I feel heavy and lethargic, and I'm thinking of options to my life. Quit school? In the Ninth Grade? I creep towards the monotone orange brick institution sprawled in the new snowfall. At all entrances, the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors mill into the building, churning the snow into a river of muddy water and carrying it into the classrooms.

I hear the shriek of a school alarm. It is my father's two-fingered whistle, followed by, "I don't hear any water running up there," followed by his weightily timed, advancing steps.

I never knew what would happen by the time Dad reached me and I happened to be dozing. By that point, my feet never wanted anything more than to hit the deck and get some water splashed into my face.