Sunday, February 28, 2010


Every evening I rollerblade by the sea while the sun sets next to and around me and the wind blows in my face. I blade as if I'm flying. Ever since I was a child I've had a love affair with the wind. It stirs my passions and reminds me that I'm free. It lifts me to a place outside of myself where I feel God instantly and effortlessly and life and my humanness and my otherliness become clear for a few brief shining moments.

In Charleston, after Hurricane Hugo, I heard that when a natural disaster fells a multitude of trees, the winds increase for a period of years because their massaging affect on young saplings encourages them to grow. I too grow in the wind and so can you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My cookie peddling days are specific in that I go to set neighborhoods on designated days. This way patrons and shop owners know when to expect me and they wait. They wait for more than the cookies.

My preferance in life is to never rush and to breathe deeply. No matter what personal concerns I may have I leave them in the car when I embark on my cookie walks; hence my enjoyment of these hours is real and I am met with smiles, welcomes, and intimate sharings. What a lesson in humanity.

On Tuesdays my neighborhood is in Beverly Hills. The blocks of Robertson between 3rd and Melrose, a Brahmin shoppers haven where the chi chi restaurant The Ivy sits and so too limos and flashing camera bulbs. Who would think that behind the counters and in the back rooms along this avenue bloom gardens full of hopes and dreams and disappointments, each with its own unique poignancy and beauty.

Stephany, a stunning sparkle of soft brown beauty, masses of black curly hair, a style and figure that rivals any runway model and a vulnerability and neediness that sucks and entices, manages one of these boutiques. She met me at the door yesterday, a breath-taking vision, and a wide smile with tears faintly seen but clearly lurking., and out blurted 'Tomorrow I'm shaving my head!" Silence. She searched my face as she spoke the words and without missing a beat, my past flashing before me of dearly beloveds who had shaved or cut their locks at a crossroads, my answer "How exciting! That's fabulous news!"

And the little girl emerged with a high sweet 'Really?"

Busted. And beautiful. And hyper chitter chatter about the ex-love and the imagined what's, who's and where's of his present life.

Big sigh and deep breath. How perfectly we create these scenarios that take us to our knees. Every single one of us, one way or another, once upon a time experienced an abandonment wounding from a parent or significant elder. It would behoove us to surrender to our brilliant minds and soul knowing that the way to heal this is to recreate a passion deep and authentic, full of neediness and submission and juice, disguised as love, and then be abandoned and faced with the truth. The poison that blocks true love must be expunged to prevent the wound from further festering. The poison of self loathing and unworthiness must be acknowledged and looked at and lived before arriving at love. Love without need, love of oneself, love of another.

I exited this store with Stephany titillated over the new baubles that her non hair would inspire and she said, "Do you really think I'll be beautiful?"

That gorgeous little face, about to leap a little leap that feels monumental to her. If we each could only know that there is no such thing as a mistake. That every thing we do has consequences but there are no mistakes. We must go where our souls lead us, especially if its into the dark corners so that we can dance naked in the light.

Personally I prefer the moonlight.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lime Juice

Last night I had a dream about Sri Lanka. As a girl I lived in India and every year during the monsoons the family would go to Sri Lanka. This was in pre-war days, when the island was quiet and traveling to the north was matter of fact. Little did we know that this particular time is history was sacred in that Sri Lanka (yes, Ceylon then) would never be this way again, ever. In my dream, my sister, Margie, and I were sitting on the upstairs verandah sipping lime juice. We had just been out for our morning story scout and were about to begin our hour long discipline of writing for our mother.

Children and mothers. Mothers and daughters. The gifts that disguise themselves as horrendous requirements where resentment seeds plant themselves and over the years grow into incapacitating wounds. How and why? My mother's passion for writing landed on our heads as a daily requirement during this supposed vacation time. 'Seeing' was not her motive but our daily exercise of wandering and looking so that we would have something to write about grew a muscle that cannot be separated from me even now. Thank you Mom.

Sri Lanka, where my sister and I (except for the morning writing ritual) were wild little bear cubs seeking adventure and finding beauty beyond expression. The sensorial memory of lime juice and it all floods back.

Riding the causeway on rickety bicycles with half naked sun blackened fishermen casting their nets on one side and elegant rigged fishing boats on the other when a mighty gust of wind blew us off into the water with panic and then hilarity; discovering a hole full of puppies on the beach amongst giant conk shells and turquoise jellyfish carcasses and brainstorming on how to rescue them and make them ours while brilliantly plumed kingfishers swooped and teased; returning home and sitting for tea-time treat at our table whose legs rested in bowls of water so that the mammoth ants that roamed the island couldn't nibble our fresh coconut filled dosais before we did. I can smell the air, and feel the texture of the point in time, I can hear my mother's voice and feel my sister's hand. All because of lime juice and my dream.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Good Red Road

Two years ago today my Dad lived his last day as a free moving being out in the sunshine and soft moist air. We had had a glorious week together, on the surface, revisiting family shenanigans and sipping fresh juices. Underneath, and over and through it all though, Dad was grieving the loss of Mom. She had passed 5 months earlier and that ebulliant, knight of the round table presence of his, was now but a mask. His soul needed to join hers but his body was in pretty stellar health for a 90-year-old. His spirit managed to create a crisis. The next morning he woke up, was rushed to the hospital, and after 105 days in ICU joined my Mom on the Blue Spirit Road, on her birthday! Yes they are together now. I have no doubt that their work and challenges keep right on coming; he meets them with gusto and an explosive laughter.; she with a shrug and a chuckle.

So while they’re off working their way down the medicine wheel together, we here on the Good Red Road of earthly walking get to have moments like this. What is it to lose a dearly beloved? The choice is ours, every minute, every day and the truth remains the same.

The Good Red Road is to be walked until the moment comes when we exit at the top. To carry the spirit of our loved ones in our hearts, and live their contributions to our beings with every sublime sunset, every doggie nuzzle, every glance from a child, every lovers’ spat, and every hardship that looms. We can feel their love and experience their presence. The mind is a powerful thing and every feeling is connected to thought and every thought is a choice.

So now, in celebration of my Dad and my family of raconteurs (yes, jubilant recitals around the dinner table and regularly interspersed with Louis Carroll) I face this day of memory with:

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:

Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—

Of cabbages—and kings—

And why the sea is boiling hot—

And whether pigs have wings."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

What more perfect day than Ash Wednesday to begin my Tigress Tales. We human beings do love rituals, seasons, cycles and the comfort of familiarity that they all bring. This six weeks before the glorious day of resurrection and new life and baby animals and flowers and the light bright feeling that all will be well in our worlds once again because we’re being given another chance to transcend our winter weeks of folded wings and introspection and rumination to stand tall and open our chests and say ‘Yes’ to the sky and God and everything that we ever wanted to be and do, is wondrous indeed.
Yes, Ash Wednesday is the day to begin to share a smattering of the wonders of human encounters and the appearance of angels in sheep’s clothing.

Last night, after almost 3 hours on the 405, usually a 60 minute drive at rush hour but this time a bolox of never-ending red tail-lights stuck behind each other and creeping at 2 miles per hour, I met an angel. Usually as I slide down the off ramp of my exit there is a homeless man standing on the corner and I am ready for him, with window down and cookie in hand to sail by and pass it to him as I round the corner. I didn’t think that he’d be there tonight because I was so late but I was ready anyway. A butterscotch for communication cookie, perfectly soft and ready to be devoured, and there in the shadows a man, taller and different. Yes, a man, a new man, about my age and well postured standing with a crutch and one leg. I handed him the cookie as I rounded the curve and he leaned in, smiled and said ‘Thank you! I’ve heard about you!” And I felt God smiling on me the rest of the 3 blocks home. He thought that I was his angel but he was mine....after the long haul of a drive to hear these words and receive his smile.

So, should I introduce myself? How do I do that? Where do I begin? I think I’ll let the who and where tell themselves through these passages but for now, to explain the cookie. I am Francie, as in ‘Francie’s Magic Cookies’, ...a newly resurrected company of cookies with magical powers (intentions as some prefer to call them). The cookies, which came into this incarnation last summer have been boomeranging their magic back to me on a daily basis and I have stories to tell before I die.....about the beauty and wonder of simple interactions out there on the street with strangers. That’s only part of what I have to share but very at the heart of this inspiration. So now I have begun. Tigress Tales has embarked on its grand adventure. Thank you for joining me.