Bee With Us on Tuesday, July 19 @ Our First MoCo Poetry Bee 6:30 – 8:30 pm @ Helen’s on the Pike, 11120 Rockville Pike

Dear Ones:

The first Dubit Family Poetry Bee (pictured above) was amongst the as-yet best nights of my life:  After a few fabulous days spent in my sun-spangled Upper West Side treehouse of an apartment and seeing the city through these happy but tired eyes, where and how might Scott, Pat, Hannah, Rachel and Zack most like to enjoy their “last supper?”

With a stay-at-home Chinese-and-Chocolates Poetry Bee, of course!  And so, while winter winds blew and sleet slashed the front-facing windows, they wrote their hearts, minds and hopes out in an array of colors, on a variety of surfaces; and I did what I do first, best and most — purchased PoetryBee-related domain names and shot footage and photos of family writing, speaking, singing and dancing their words and works.

Poetry Bee, NYC 1

Poetry Camp for Rachel followed that Summer.  At the time, I was managing the career of Irish author John O’Donohue, who would call in each morning from Conemarra to coach “the poetess Rachel” as he called her.

Edible Poetry, Found Poetry, Green Light Poetry and more were born that Summer.   Inspired by food and wine deliveries to the igloo I’d decamped to the February before, Rachel had the brilliance and temerity to have carry-out brought to us just inside assorted Gates of Central Park — Boys’, Girls’, Scholar’s, Farmers’, Hunters’, Pioneers’, Engineers’, Artists’, Artisans’, Merchants’, Miners’, Mariners’, Warriors’, Strangers’, others….

Edible Poetry Bee

It was all poetry all the time:  John’s voice was poetry.  The names of Gates were poetry.

The names of Full Moons — Beaver, Buck, Blue, Corn, Flower, Frost, Hoar, Hunters’, Pink, Shad, Snow, Strawberry, Wolf — were poetry.  The naming of New Moons was poetry.  Notes written on watermelons, honeydew, apples and oranges, cookies and cakes, rice paper, handmade paper, hands, forearms, foreheads were poetry.  Vanishing Poetry — written in sand and mud, with sticks and fingers, made by wind and rain, by insect wings and critter paws — could nonetheless be recorded by senses and live on in memories, poems, songs, photos, videos.  Poetry atop existing games — Mother May I, Red Light / Green Light, Mad Libs — and poetry as invented games and dances were de rigeur.  

And then,  as William Butler Yeats so famously foretold in The Second Coming — written between the aftermath of World War I and the unfurling of World War II:  “The falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the centre cannot hold….”

Falcon

Wendy’s myasthenia gravis took so many turns for the worse that her UnderCovers agent, UnderWoman, had to take over narrationJohn died suddenly – at the peak of his career and happiness.  Much was written.  The writing stopped.

Wendy and UnderWoman’s myasthenia took new turns for the life-threatening.  There were no “white light” moments but several “come-to-science” studies.  There were years when they only got out of bed by falling.

After their so-called, vastly overrated but thankfully brief death, Wendy and UnderWoman were moved from their city perch in Manhattan to their home state of Maryland.

Walking along what was then the longest uninterrupted strip mall in the world, amidst traffic second only to L.A., they developed “dystopic dysfunctional dysorder” — the only disease that only they had.  They lived in well-heeeled suburbs from which they posed constant flight risks.  The circus failed to hire them.  NYPD was not yet ready to receive their gifts.  The U.S. Army offered to recruit them as civilian scouts but was taking their sweet time…

Happily, ALL OF THIS has since changed.  WE helped CHANGE THIS!

As Ghandi…or somebody…or many bodies…say:  BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT THE WORLD TO SEE.

Satyagraha — holding firmly to truth –  it’s called.  Or as T.S. Eliot, borrowing from Sanskrit wrote in The Waste Land / What the Thunder Said:  “Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih.”

But it’s this hard-core Burton Boards credo that says it best:

“We get up early and go to sleep late….We dream it, we make it, we break it, we fix it. We create. We destroy. We progress.”

And likewise, here, now we:  UNPAVE IT, RESHAPE IT, CELEBRATE IT!

And so, 2016 finds Wendy, Vergant, UnderWoman and Entourage taking part in the movement to tear down Rockville Pike malls and walls and bring bits of paradise back to what were once above-ground parking lots.  We’re building livable, workable, walkable, lovable, edible, incredible neighborhoods that we are PROUD and HAPPY to CALL HOME.

And guess what?  The MOMENT we called our community “HOME,” we realized — straight out of Oz — that we’ve BEEN HOME all along.  We’ve NEVER LEFT HOME.  We are continuously COMING HOME.  And we’re OVERJOYED that, in the words of Eliot’s Little Gidding: “…The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Folks, we are FINALLY unpacking our bags AT HOME!

Only yesterday we unpacked Poetry Bee in Montgomery County.

IMG_4943

To CELEBRATE and INAUGURATE the first-ever home-turf Poetry Bee, we invite you to join us on Tuesday, July 19, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm in the back yard of Helen’s on the Pike — 11120 Rockville Pike and just one door north of Hank Dietle’s Tavern.

Come with kids, family, friends, books, pencils, pens, open minds and hearty appetites.

Whether you care to share all or part of poems and songs by you and others; take a stab at pieces of verse that fall from Poetry Piñatas; sit back and sip specialty cocktails like First Fig, The Waste Land, The Second Coming and Poe Boys; and / or savor such Helen Wasserman signature dishes as lobster dumplings and sirloin sliders…next week’s Poetry Bee is the place to BEE!

If you can’t join us on Tues., not to fear:  Vergant’s newest ventureLike the Pike — will be hosting other seriously fun events at Helen’s and all up and down Rockville Pike in the weeks, months, seasons and years to come.

FYI:  Helen’s is smack dab in the center of the Pike District – just north of Strathmore and Georgetown Prep, and equidistant between the Grosvenor-Strathmore and White Flint  stations on Metro’s Red Line.

Please note:  Except in prose, pets are not allowed at the July 19 Poetry Bee.  Poetry Bee is sponsored by Vergant, Inc. — brand building and business development for companies and causes.  Eats and drinks are Dutch Treat.

Warmly and looking forward,

Wendy Dubit
Vergant, Inc.
5405 Tuckerman Lane, #319
Rockville, MD 20852
301.530.0684 * cell 917.334.6925
wendy@vergant.com * www.vergant.com

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Dogspeed to You, Dr. Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks

Dear Ones:

Yesterday, Dr. Oliver Sacks — a neurologist, author and musician hailed as “the poet laureate of dedicine” — passed away peacefully in his Greenwich Village home.

UnderWoman and I were lucky enough to meet Dr. Sacks on several occasions:  With Dr. Lewis Rowland at The Neurological Institute of New York; at The New York Academy of Sciences, where we celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday together; at the World Science Festival, of which he was a fan; and at monthly Entertaining Science salons at Cornelia Street Cafe, of which he was a co-founder with Raold Hoffmann, K.C. Cole and others.

I was struck by Dr. Sacks’ quietude, his charisma, his piano playing, his singing, the fact that he was ALWAYS taking notes…and that he wrote fastidiously in a rainbow array of colors — colors organized according to ROY G. BIV — the Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet spectrum of visible light.

He was brilliant.  He was kind.  He was funny.  He was fun.

Alas, due to health issues, UnderWoman and I sat out one of Oliver’s most memorable parties….one was so compellingly described by friends and colleagues that we feel compelled to share it with you.

For that particular birthday — which we’re pretty sure was his Golden 79th — guests were required to come costumed as their favorite Elements from the Periodic Table….and to present and defend their Elements of choice in a scientifically astute but completely silly manner.

That day, Oliver was molybdenum — Mo — 42….

And lest we forget, Oliver Sacks was into heavy metal, too!

What wasn’t he into?

In addition to overcoming near-crippling shyness in his youth, riding a motorcycle rather recklessly in his later youth, traveling the world, playing music prolifically…and using music to bring people out of autism, catatonia, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Tourette syndrome and other sufferings…Dr. Sacks is the author of numerous clinical, autobiographical, entertaining and bestselling books…amongst them (in the alphabetical order he so loves):

A Leg to Stand On, An Anthropologist on Mars, Awakenings (from which was made the Academy Award-nominated feature film starring Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro), Hallucinations, Migraine, Musicophilia, Oaxaca Journal, On the Move, NeuroTribes, The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, The Mind’s Eye and Uncle Tungsten.  His final book — chronicling his own death and dying — is due out later this year.

So come… After we’ve ordered up from Amazon everything of Oliver’s that we haven’t already read or heard, let us set our own Periodic Tables in a sumptuous style that would do him proud.

And let us wish Sir Oliver Sacks dogspeed in his new adventures.

Whatever comes next, whatever and wherever in the universe he is, Oliver Sacks was very much looking forward….

And so are we!

Warmly,

Wendy Dubit, UnderWoman and

Lucky Breaks: Casting Life in a New Light

~*~*~

In Honor of Dr. Oliver Sacks

An elemental man –

A well-sung, well-played HERO.

And in tribute to loved ones lost –

Oliver, John, John, Pete, Dad.

I awake this day, EARLY

To arrange pens and pill counters

In the order of

ROY G. BIV

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet –

The light spectrum we see….

No more and no less.

Neither before nor after.

This is the way the rainbow goes

Whether you are standing underneath

Looking up or

Flying over top

Looking down or

Not looking at all

Because your eyes are closed

And you’re WISHING….

Because you’re WISHING

On a STAR.

And at the moment of

YOUR WISHING…

You realize that you are

THE VERY STAR

You wish upon.

Or you’re SINGING!

You’re SINGING

YOUR HEARTS OUT.

OUR HEARTS GO OUT

To all who mourn the passing of

The astoundingly well-sung

Sir Oliver Sacks.

For all those who

Prefer to CELEBRATE OLIVER,

There’s a party at my place

Tonight.

Any way you cut it

Oliver Sacks is

Colorful, bright –

Elemental to his quirky core.

And though UnderWoman and I

Did not have

Our dancing shoes on

For the occasion,

The recounting of it

Was invite enough:

Imagine…

A Golden Birthday for Oliver

At which we were simultaneously

Aged 79 and 42, 1 and 103.

Infinitely large

 

And yet still small.

Were we not

The glimmer of Au

In his sunflower eyes,

The flash of Ag

In his silver hair?!

Oliver was heavy metal –

molybdenum –

On that day.

And heavy metal

He did play.

Who knew?

Mo Oliver!

Mo young!

Mo wise!

Even now…

Mo ALIVE!

Oliver dear:

Whatever elements you now are,

Where~ever in the universe you may be….

Dogspeed to you

In your NEW ADVENTURES.

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Who Art in Heaven….

Who Art in Heaven

We did not grow up a religious bunch.

By the time Scott was three, he feared the letter H (hospital), but thought “little t” to be LUCKY.

“Why?” asked Dad…WHY being Dad’s favorite question.

“Because there are more “little t’s” than any other letter,” said Scott.  “And they are always held higher.”

“Those are crosses,” laughed Dad — our father, Arthur Michael Dubit, born June 30, 1935;  died October 10, 1997.  Our Father, who Art in heaven…or at least who lives on in stardust, linden trees and lilac bushes.

And so began our rudimentary “schooling” in comparative religion and our ongoing education in philosophy, particle physics and astrophysics.

Scott would grow up to become a physician whose “right of passage” was a farm truck painted primer…and later repainted with bees and hives so as to aid himself, Pat, Hannah, Rachel and Zack in their apiary, honey and bees wax businesses.  Gregg would outgrow childhood fears — becoming an Outward Bound instructor, a dog musher, a science teacher, a home builder, a solar expert and the co-proprietor — with wife Gretchen and with children Lydia and Hayden — of Durango Dog Ranch in Colorado.

And I would not grow up very much at all…clinging to the only saying I remembered from synagogue…a saying I’d misunderstood until well into adulthood — Still Small…as in:  “Mommy, why is God still small?  Wasn’t God still small last year?  Why won’t God grow up?  Why should I believe in God?  Why would anyone believe in God?  Why should the God we’re supposed to believe in say and do things like….”

“SSHHHHHHH!” (Whispered VERY LOUD…for all congregants to hear.) “SSHHHHHHH!  God is not still small!”  “SSHHHHHHH!  Don’t ask so many questions.”  “SSHHHHHHH! I’ll tell you later!” “SSHHHHHHH! WOW! Let’s go NOW.”"

This is what we had to say about Dad on the day he died and at his funeral:

Scott:  It began the week before he died, when I came up to say goodbye to Great Grandma.  Actually, it began two months before he died, when, for the first time, he became openly depressed when faced with neck surgery.  Actually it began years before.  I remember, when I was a medical student at Vanderbilt, Dr. Pincus gave a lecture on how patients with rheumatoid arthritis deteriorate (due to the disease and the drugs).  That was the first time I’d known that.  You knew that heart attack and cancer patients die earlier but….

I didn’t think of death, but when he went into the hospital late Wednesday night, I wasn’t surprised.  And then, Thursday, Pat called, and said he had been transferred to the ICU and that I needed to go up.  I was scheduled for the free clinic that night and having trouble finding someone to cover me.  Then I went out to supper with the kids, and it seemed to go slow.  And it was a scary drive because it was dark and because the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur liturgy — who should live and who should die — was going through my head.  And I was scared that he would be intubated before I got there, and I know he did not want that.

Gregg: And then his earth suit wore out….

Scott:  I will never forget going to Ocean City with him one day — way back on a full-family trip. We walked by Mighty Mouse roller coaster and Gregg turned to Dad and said, did you bring your neck brace?

Gregg:  I remember walking on the beach with him one Spring.  It was buggy, and we were all bitten up; but Dad most of all.  He joked about how the insects would probably die of toxicity soon after, on account of all the chemicals in his bloodstream.  I begged to differ: Even the mosquitoes knew he was sweet….

Scott:  So it was dark and late and I was driving fast.  I probably got there around 10:30.  Dad was sitting up in his ICU bed and working so hard to breathe.  His entire being was working hard to breathe.  I sat and held his hand.  He just said how much he loved all of us, though to speak in full sentences would be hard for him.  I talked to him about whether he wanted a broncoscopy or to go on the ventilator, and he was very strong about refusing both.

Gregg:  His time had come.  He was ready for whatever would be next.  He had had a great life.  He gave us a great life.  He was ready….

Scott: I asked if he was scared to die and he said he wasn’t.

And I remember the nurse came in and said we need to draw more blood for a Buffy Coat Smear (where they spin down the white blood cells and try to look for bacteria in a single fraction).  And that was the first time I blocked.

Wendy was against his death or wishes — arguing that maybe he should have the respirator or a glass of Puligny Montrachet or be given Prozac.

Wendy:  Who shall live and who shall die?  Who shall be alive…fully alive…all of their days?  And who should live their days as if they were the darkest of nights? Who shall make of his or her life a blessing?  And who shall cast curse? 

May it be for a blessing.  May it always be for a blessing. 

May his name…and his memory…be for a blessing.

Scott:  You called that morning, earlier than anyone, but not yet ready to let go.

Wendy:  Until you said: “There’s only one way Dad’s coming out of the hospital, Wendy.”  I knew immediately what you meant.  I remembered how Dad had asked for my permission to go…in fact for my HELP in his going…months earlier.  But I told him to ask you and Gregg.  It was cowardly and selfish, I know.  But I had wanted him to hang on just a little longer.  Maybe until Thanksgiving.  Or today, at least until I could get there.  Did you kiss his forehead for me, Scott?

Scott:  I kissed his forehead for all of us. I wrote down every detail like you asked.

Wendy:  I only missed him by 20 minutes!  I caught the first plane I could.  But I asked the cab to stop at Downing Street Cleaner first.  And when they bought out my black dress, I cried and sent it back.  And I thought…even if Dad dies…. No, when Dad dies…. I will be unable to wear black again.  He will have ruined my favorite color for me.  Fortunately, I’d also packed his favorite dress — the flowing one with the apples and trees on it.  If it weren’t for that damned cleaners delay, I might have caught the earlier plane….

Scott:  Rabbi Simon came in soon after your call.  It was a brief visit, but a haunting one, because of the holiday “Who shall live and who shall die” literature.

The time from 5:45 – about 9:30 went slowly.  Then things started deteriorating and moving quickly.

And I have this picture of him sitting up, sweaty, with the half-mask and the neck brace and some stubble.  And I remember him turning to me saying, “I am so tired.”  And later, “I am so weary.”  It was clear that he had been working hard and had not slept for days.

It was about 10am, and I tried calling Mom but she was not home.  Then Barbara Dubit came.  And I remember that she was quiet, and in the background, and a helpful presence.

And about that time the nurses came and asked Dad if he wanted a sponge bath.  And he just smiled and visibly relaxed and said, Yes. I stepped out of the room for that.  I was standing in the doorway with Barbara, and you could hear him sort of purring.

And then at 10:30 I was able to reach Mom.  And I told her to come in, that things had gotten worse.  She asked if she should continue putting groceries away.  And I told her that she could come in.

She came into the ICU, and he perked up some when she came in.

They kissed (she kissed him on the forehead because his lips were covered by the mask) and she held his hand and he said, “I’m tired of this struggle; I can’t do this any more.”

And she said, “It’s okay.  You’ve fought so long.”

And then she said, “Will you visit me in my dreams?”

And he said, “Yes.”

And then they kissed again, and she cried.

And finally, the nurses get Meises on the phone, and he agrees to transfer him back to Two South, and the give 2mg morphine, which they gave in the ICU.  And then we all wheel him back to Two South together.

We’re all walking down together (nurse, oxygen and transport person, Barbara, Mom and I).  And then his bed docked in the new room.  And then he stopped breathing.  His head turned to the left.  And he would take one gasping breath and like a 30-second pause.  And then he stopped breathing.  But you could still see his artery pulsing in his neck.

And Mom and I and Barbara were all hovering around his bed, and that was it.

It was like a movie ending.  It was like a movie.

I made only one call (and I’m not sure at what point)…to Rita.  Called NIH, and asked for Rita.  And I said, “It’s Scott.”  And she said, “It’s something horrible.”  And I just said, “Dad died.”

I was more in shock in than emotional.

And I remember you (Wendy) came in like you always do — a little frazzled from the plane, with lots of bags, but full of expectation.  And then when you saw him, he was shrouded already, and you just collapsed.

Mom remembers every word, but still can’t talk about it.

Wendy:  He was ready!  Even Mom was ready.  And yet the end came too soon….  Even with all the wines, the woods walks and all the “I Love You’s” uttered and experienced in a lifetime…it was too soon. 

Scott:  It was the right time.

Wendy:  And while I didn’t say a proper “Goodbye” to him that day, I did say “Hello.”

Because when I looked in the mirror, I saw his eyes in mine.  And when I told a joke at the shiva, it was his joke in my joke, it was his voice in my voice….

~~

This is how I would come to know the afterlife:

I looked at myself in the mirror and saw Dad in my eyes:  Fibonacci sunflowers; crayola mashup of moss, silver and daffodil shot through with orange and gold.  Always had we been the aperture of each other’s hazel eyes.  And we were, still.  We still were.

~~

T.S. Eliot Four Quartets / Little Gidding:

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.

Dad and Hannah

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Honoring Eric Mathhew Dubit

Honoring Eric Matthew Dubit

By Greg Allan Dubit

December 19, 2013 * Durango, Colorado

In Honor of Eric Matthew Dubit...pictured above on a full-family ski trip to Vail, Colorado, with Arthur and Wendy

In Honor of Eric Matthew Dubit…pictured above on a full-family ski trip to Vail, Colorado, with Arthur and Wendy

I want to thank everyone for coming here from near and far. Taking time to pause, in our busy lives, and breathe in and out, the rhythm of our respiration mirrors the pace of our lives, and the emotional state we are feeling. Eric’s death has brought us together today. Before talking about Eric’s life I need to express some of my emotions regarding his death. I must admit a swirl of confused emotions around Eric’s death.

When things aren’t going well, when we are failing, when things are a mess what do we do? Do we draw the curtains, hide our shortcomings, or do we reach out for help and admit our weaknesses? If we are secure, if we feel safe enough to let our guard down, then we can be at ease, we can be strong enough to reach for help.

Eric was a big strong man, a macho man, a fitness fanatic, a student of martial arts, yet he did not have the strength to accept help. He did not let his guard down whether in a conversation or in traffic. We must all open our hearts to each other.

When I hear of misfortune I often want to distance myself from it, I want to classify and file the misfortune neatly away and mentally note why I am safe or immune and why this cloud of misfortune would not happen to me or my family. Well, none of us are immune from misfortune, it is why we are together here today.

I feel the weight of grief because my cousin, my brother, Uncle Eric Dubit has died prematurely. Eric was born on March 7th, 1960 – 53 years ago, the son of Dr. Jules and Joan (Schenick) Dubit.  11 short years into his life’s journey, Eric and Claudia’s father Jules died of a heart attack while on a ski vacation in Snowmass Colorado in January of 1972. He went on vacation and never came home, he was 38, Jules’death at such an early age sent radical ripples through the Dubit clan and friends. My dad, Arthur, started wearing beads and cussing more. Eric and Claudia went from 1st cousins whom we saw occasionally, at Passover Seders to siblings. Our family road trips now had 5 kids and only two adults, a much better ratio for kid domination.

Claudia was, and still is a beautiful and gentle nurturing spirit. Eric was intense, mischeveous, cunning, witty, strong and dark.  Eric was someone I aspired to emulate. Eric attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. where he grew into an athlete of significance at lacrosse, and a swarthy partier. Eric then attended Drew University studying political science and played college lacrosse. On one very memorable trip home from college Eric picked me up in his new Honda Accord (5 speed, which his grandparents Leah and Joe purchased for him) and we road tripped to Ocean City, MD. I remember feeling like I had a body guard. We partied and laughed like teenage rock stars, then I threw up in his new car, and we actually laughed some more…he wasn’t mad.

On December 4th 1979, Joan (Eric and Claudia’s mom) died of cancer.  Eric was 19.  Claudia was 17. Claudia was at her mother’s side…told to look after her big brother.  And she tried and tried.

Joan’s parents, Leah and Joe Schenick, were instrumental in raising and loving Eric and Claudia – each of whom had bedrooms in their grandparents’ home.

But it wasn’t just family that stepped up to help raise Eric and Claudia:  Family Best friend Brett Kramer and his wife Susan mentored Eric, and Eric reciprocated by following Brett and Susan to Annapolis, then to Boulder and to Denver.  It is significant to share that Brett and Susan’s oldest son who lives in Israel is named Jules.

The love doesn’t end there and I must mention another significant figure in Eric’s life, Gordon Sickles. Gordon started working for the Schenicks’ pharmacy as a delivery boy when he was a teen. He became a trusted part of the Schenick family…also helping to raise Claudia and Eric.

Gordon died two years ago, and it is noteworthy that Eric lay in bed with him for hours while he was ill.

“It takes a village”, as the saying goes, to raise a young person.  And the village responded. It should be clear that many people rallied to help guide Eric on his life’s path. My own father, the late Arthur Dubit, also felt the weight of responsibility for his brother’s son. They were co-owners of a water ski boat in Annapolis.

I remember attending Eric’s Graduation from Drew. I recall how close his bonds to his lacrosse teammates and friends were. That night Eric punched a wall and broke his hand. I think he was sad and mad…and scared to be leaving his college friends. Sad, and mad, maybe a little scared are emotions that we can all relate with today, here, now.

Eric went on to Israel, where he studied Hebrew, and Judaism.  He fit in well with the intensity of the Israeli lifestyle. Israelis keep their guard up and Eric did too.

When Eric returned, he would often speak in a mix of Hebrew and English. His time in Israel had a big impact on his sense of Jewishness and Zionism. Eric was always a hawkish debater; you could say he was a competitive conversationalist, but also a storyteller.

Eric held many jobs — a security guard for Nordstrom’s, a fitness instructor specializing in pilates, an Emergency Medical Technician, which was I think, his peak career choice. He took his medic work at Denver General hospital very seriously and this led to his love and marriage to Jen in 2001, which later ended in divorce.

We can’t memorialize Eric without talking about food and coffee. The man had an affair with good food and great coffee and lots of both at odd hours. Eric had a sense of friends and family that was very strong. When Uncle Eric came to Durango he always had special gifts, and Eric was a particularly excellent gift giver, with good taste in clothes and toys.

He longed to be a part of the family fabric. Cleaning his house with Claudia last week was a trip down memory lane. He saved it all — the cards, the letters, pictures. The big man was a softie.

Jake and Tiny were Eric’s cats, and Sammy was his dog. His pets brought him a lot of joy and you could count on photos — with his iPhone held high…in your face.  Sharing pictures and stories of his pets was another big soft spot for Eric.

Eric had to be in the drivers’ seat of life at all times. He enjoyed going fast.  And if you were his passenger, you’d better buckle up.

As we mature the truth is that we can’t always be the in drivers’ seat.  And that wasn’t good enough for Eric, so he took an early exit.  I truly believe he is resting in peace.

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Naming of the New Moons

In the open face of a Full Wolf Moon
On a snowy hill, on a dead-still night
I devise a dance, born straight from dream
Alone, for my deepening delight….

Arms outstretched, aligned with lynx
I slowly twirl…and moonlight drink
And in me feel all things, all time…
A current of love, a course of prime.

Earth, ancestors, animals all….
In and with and through me now.
I root to ground and stretch to sky
And am one with the flow.

Now in my elements of sky and snow,
With stars above and earth below,
Ensconced in nature, clad in fur
Embodying everything I live for….

I praise one sun (and believe in more)
But live for many moons
And laugh with certainty that soon….
The north wind’s cooky will wane once more….

Then in a darker sky, where stars burn bright
In two week’s time comes a New Moon night.
And whereas the moons, when full, bore names,
The moons, when new, are shooting blanks!

But we can name them, you and I….
Twirling beneath the twinkling sky!
We’ll name them good and erase them clean.
For THAT must be what NEW MOON means!

As written by Wendy on 01.21.04, and revised 02.02.11.

Notes:  The Full Moons have names, for example, those given them by Native Americans and listed at Farmers’ Almanac, as well as their English, Hindu and Buddhist counterparts, as listed on Wikipedia.

But the New Moons have no names!  So it’s up to us…

For my own first takes, based both on months and, more loosely, on astrological signs, please see below.

Also, for full sun and moon data — including rising, setting and twilight times — please visit the Naval Observatory’s Astronomical Applications site.

January:  Capacious Capricorn Moon

February:  Ascendant Aquarian Moon

March: Propitious Piscean Moon

April:  Transformative Taurean Moon

May:  Auspicious Aries Moon

June:  Magnetic Gemini Moon

July:  Caring Cancer Moon

August:  Loquacious Leo Moon

September:  Vital Virgo Moon

October:  Equil Libran Moon

November:  Steamy Scorpio Moon

December:  Celebratory Saggitarian Moon

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Why We Love GHD

For nearly 25 years — all of FarmHands-CityHands’ life — founder Wendy Dubit has seized Groundhog Day for herself and for the sake of all she cares about most.

She is happy to share the spotlight with Punksutawney Phil, who this morning DID NOT SEE HIS SHADOW — portending the swift arrival of Spring (even as severe Winter storms cripple the Northeast).

She is equally happy that here is one holiday Hallmark has not cashed in on (yet)… and that she and her friends, family, companies and causes can have huge, meaningful fun with.

Wendy uses Groundhog Day to remind us all that:

* Not only is Spring right around the corner…but that it is already happening inside of us…has been built in all along.

* It’s never too soon to start thinking of and planning for Spring — plotting your garden, ordering seeds, enjoying longer days and more birdsong, thinking about what you want to make manifest.

* As Diana Kappel-Smith writes in Wintering:  “In  the winter, everything out of doors seems to be gone.  But…we know  that nothing is gone, and that all the rich life of a June morning is  out there on a January morning.”

* As our dear friend John O’Donohue says, ““Nothing is ever lost or forgotten.”

* Drinking Groundhog Day Cuvee (which Wendy made lots of in her heyday, and will again soon) is a good thing!

Warmly and looking forward,

Wendy (or is that GH)?

P.S.  To read Wendy’s first published poem about Groundhog, written yesterday, keep scrolling!

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Ode to Our Groundhog

To Groundhog, dear….
Who looks up at earth
While sleeping below it,
Who sun smiles down on
(Though you might not yet know it)!
Who emerges tomorrow
To portend SPRING.
Oh, Groundhog, our sign of
All HOPEFUL things!
Oh Groundhog,
We LOVE YOU,
Shadows or not.
For YOU are propitious,
You show us our lot:
That Spring, no matter
How near or far it may be,
Is felt in our bones
Long before we can see.
It rises like sap.
It flows, sweet, fresh free.
It is tender, but strong.
It is here, within me.
And today, though it ices,
Though it freezes and snows….
SPRING, it is COMING.
And YOU let us know!

By Wendy Dubit, 02.01.11

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