Small miracle

My daughter gave me two balloons for Mother’s Day. That was over 6 weeks ago. This balloon is still airborne. It would be on the top of the ceiling were it not tied to that glass container.

It’s partner is not floating towards the ceiling but it is
still more up than down, after 6 weeks.

Small Miracle

Guns & …..


Walking in my neighborhood, I notice tiny red flowers on a gigantic stalk of giant thorns. I guess they need a lot of protection.

I read in the New York Times today that there are more guns than people in the USA. Some people with guns say they have them in case they need protection. Unfortunately these guns are often used aggressively towards people with no protection. Protection is a slippery slope.

Reading the news is bad for my mental health. Neuroscience can now prove the brain (thanks to the amygdala) will remember the bad things more than it remembers the good things.

David Bryne’s Reasons to be Cheerful is a better read. Tells truthful stories which elicit hope.


$230. worth of food in my frig (no Kidding) by Dana Zed

My normal grocery list which contains lots of veggies, lots of fruit, peanuts, cashews, eggs, tuna fish (2) cans of soup (2) bread (the best) milk (gallon), peppermint tea (the big box), toilet paper, a small bar of soap one small yogurt, good olive oil, hummus, chocolate bars, honey, olives, pasta sauce, tofu, hummus, packaged slice of salmon, cheese, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger,mayonnaise (for tuna fish) watermelon, dried apricots, sushi deli plate (I was hungry) and apple juice came this week to $230! I could hardly believe it. Perhaps I should fast a little.

This is getting crazy. Hey, it’s not getting crazy. It IS crazy. Already I have to limit the days I swim laps at the pool because gas is so expensive and I have to drive a bit to get there. I drive because I am addicted to an olympic size pool where I can always get my own lane. Outside. It’s only 13 miles one way of freeway driving but it adds up. Daily swim is out. I’ll have to bike for exercise on the non-swim days. As for food, I’m committed to buying organic. I browsed the non-organic and it isn’t that much cheaper. wow.

Pete’s large cappuccino is $6 plus tip so that’s out too

Perhaps Americans will lose weight and stop being so grotesquely obese. Perhaps something good can come of this. I’m looking for a silver lining. I don’t mind paying tons more for gas if it’ll help Ukraine, but does it? Are gas prices why airline prices are so high? I can’t figure any of this out. I just know I can’t afford the daily swim or going home to the east coast this summer like I was planning.

Oh well…Maybe next year?

I sent my son this photo from my grocery store in Oakland CA
He sent back this from Brooklyn, NY

Warm things in bed

Can’t have the heat on with the windows open

can’t hear the wind at night

or the birds in the morning

with the windows closed

therefore choices are

the hot water bottle

or the heated rock wrapped in a cloth

or a heating pad

which is easiest

Things on my studio desk

I draw a sketch with a pencil which gets photographed. That photo goes into the brushes app on the iPad where it gets digitally painted, generally with bright colors. I love coloring within my own lines. In drawing objects they take on their own personalities. The lotion tube becomes personified and is almost sexy. One can’t look at an object without associations. Therefore, drawing what is on a daily basis is anything but mundane. It is a recording of life on more than one level

Things on my studio desk

Disappointments in the Holidays

December 19 is my daughter’s birthday and December 25 is of course Christmas. The plan is that my son will fly in on the 19th. We are texting back and forth about who will pick up my daughter from the airport.

Logistics are important because we have planned to have a surprise birthday party for her. We need to keep her away from the apartment while decorations are made and people gather. He texts “we’ll see…” and explains that he has received a positive result from a home Covid test. He says that home Covid tests are unreliable and that he will do a test at an urgent care center in the morning. He says he will do the kind where he gets the results back in two hours. He is living on the other side of the continent, 3 hours ahead of me.

I wake up at 7 o’clock to a text from my son saying that he has tested positive for Covid. I call immediately. Sure enough he can’t come for Christmas. Fact is, even though all he has is a runny nose, you can’t get on a plane with a positive Covid test.

Quick to respond, I get all the presents out from under the tree to the post office within a matter of hours.

Later in the day, as I am driving to my elderly friends house in the country, I receive several texts from my daughter’s best friend. We have been texting quite a lot in the last week planning the surprise party. It is a lot of fun planning it and we have gotten closer doing it. Of course when driving on a highway I can’t read a text. I have to say “Siri, read me the latest text” and then I have to dictate an answer and I have to hope that auto incorrect hasn’t messed it up so badly that it is not understandable.

The text conversation on the highway is all about how my daughter has managed to plan her own birthday party. She has invited everybody she likes out to dinner on Saturday night. The people who can’t come to that, she invites to a picnic in the park on Sunday. Julia explains to me that to have the party on Sunday would be redundant as it would be the same people.

My daughter has an important stressful job where she works hard and she is not going to like having a repeat party so the Sunday night surprise party needs to be canceled, and it is.

However I have ordered ahead and bought a $50 very fancy cake that is my children’s favorite. I manage to get the cake to Julia so the young ones can enjoy it at dinner on Saturday night and at the picnic in the park on Sunday.

Before I give it to her, I slice off a little bit for myself and her father and her to have at the simple birthday dinner Sunday night (which was to be the decoy before the big party). I also slice off a piece for my son who can’t come for Christmas. It is cold out and it is colder in New York so I figure it will travel well.

Murder in the Rain

In choosing the title, it was either the word “murder” or the word “rain” to be put first. In this world of social media, we are always considering what has more the draw. So I chose “murder”. No judgement there. Full disclosure, I’d probably prefer to read or watch a mystery over any other genre (feeling appropriately guilty about that and all).

On with the story. Because of the rain, this morning I arrive at my kitchen counter to find hundreds (at least) of ants scurrying around the honey jar. it is closed (thank god for something) but they are all over it. Without thinking, I pick up the jar and wash it off, killing a few score ants in the process. I open the honey and am glad to find none inside. I do all this automatically because my mind’s focus is on one one thing: my coveted morning black tea.

Afterwards, I witness the tiny debris of death in the sink. I also notice the hundreds (at least) of ants still on my counter now searching for something that is no longer there.

i watch them as they communicate to each other, butting heads for a scond and moving on, the way they do. I think about how they are sentient beings with mothers and children. how they work so well together. Without a queen bee, they seem to be one for all and all for one. I am moved by their ability to cooperate far better than humans. I remember how they can carry six (is it six?) times their weight.

As there is nothing left for them to be there for, I decide to wait it out. I don’t kill anymore. The unthinking mass murder moment is over. I am thinking since there is no more honey, the ants will eventually leave. Over the next couple hours as I go in and out of the kitchen I check in with the group. The ants that are all in a tight thick circle around where the honey was, I thought were dead as they were unmoving for hours but later in the day I came by and they were gone. By the end of the night they were all gone.

Drawing by Dana Zed, pencil and watercolor

I had the great good fortune to have a spiritual teacher for 34 years. He died suddenly. We didn’t know he was ill. A few weeks before he died he said if he were beyond alone in empty starkness and the only other being around was an ant, he would try his very hardest to communicate with that ant. It was sort of a crazy thing to say but I liked it and I always remembered it.

It’s a rather impossible situation like one hand clapping. I don’t know how one communicates to an ant but I do know that you don’t have to kill them. There’s always another way.