Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fog & Flowers

It is rather foggy this Saturday morning and I am reminded of the poet Carl Sandburg's poem, Fog:

THE fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

One of my favorite poets, W.S.Merwin, says writing is about listening, about focused attention. And Pierre Tielhard de Chardin wrote: "Seeing: We might say that the whole of life lies in that verb - if not ultimately, at least essentially." Simone Weil said: "Absolute attention is prayer."

For me, Nadine, all this reminds me we all have to "stop to smell the flowers."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day continued

I had a fab time yesterday when Bruce's son and daughter came over for dinner and to celebrate Father's Day. Daryl loves me and he always brings the best out in me. I played with a dried rose bud--actually did cartwheels. They laughed and laughed at me. Danielle brought Bruce a basket of food goodies and the BASKET was for Me! She's the Greatest! I got right in it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

I never knew my birth father. But Bruce is my Dad now. And Susan my Mom. Bruce is making a special dinner for his children today: Pork Loin with Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Sweet Potato Fries, Collard/Kale/Mustard Green Melody (I just LOVE that word-Melody! Saying it aloud makes me so Happy!!!), Salmon Fritters (YUM!)and Garlic Bread. Susan is making a chocolate cake! She is in the kitchen now. Bruce woke up early and made a meatloaf to bring over to Susan's mom's house for lunch! He is meditating now. I know he misses his Dad. Fred. He passed away a few years ago. He was in the hospital recovering from knee surgery and had a heart-attack in the middle of the night. But he lives on in Bruce's heart and soul. Here is a photo to honor him today; it is about what Fred taught everyone he encountered through his perfect example: Follow your Heart everywhere you go, Let the Beauty within you be the Beauty you show, Let your song Soar freely and your Spirit flow:

Bruce's children are young adults. Danielle is a Physical Therapist. Daryl is an Engineering student. Bruce is so proud of his children. They are happy, healthy, intelligent, loving. And funny, too. Bruce says his greatest Father's Day gift is to be blessed with two wonderful children (And blessed with me, too; of course!).

Happy Father's Day. And to all you single Moms out there.Happy Day to you, too. Here is a pretty flower for each and everyone of you. God Bless!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our Path

I listened tonight to something Bruce read to Susan. I think you should read it, too; I think it is wise advice. Something the poet Gary Snyder wrote in his book Practice of the Wild.

"Get control of you own time; master the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-pity. It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on a cold morning. One move is not better than the other, each can be quite boring, and they both have the virtuous quality of repetition. Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick--don't let yourself think these are distracting you from your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our 'practice' which will put us on a 'path'--it is our path."

And here's a pretty photograph from Bruce:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Photo of Me

I like this photo of me. Reminds me of my cat-like nature

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Spring: rain. Then sun. Yesterday it was rain and then sun. The day before; rain. Ah, the weather. At the hour late in afternoon I go outside, tethered, of course, but out nonetheless. I am chained, so to speak, to watching the sparrows flutter about the bird feeder.

This morning I am reminded of Spring, a poem by Mary Oliver,from her book West Wind:

This morning
two birds
fell down the side of the maple tree

like a tuft of fire
a wheel of fire
a love knot

out of control as they plunged through the aire
pressed against each other
and I thought

how I meant to live a quiet life
how I meant to live a life of mildness and meditation
tapping the careful words against each other

and I thought--
as though I were suddenly spinning, like a bar of silver
as though I had shaken my arms and lo! they were wings--

of the Buddha
when he rose from his green garden
when he rose in his powerful ivory body

when he turned to the long dusty road without end
when he covered his hair with ribbons and the petals of flowers
when he opened his hands to the world.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yesterday & Today

I sat and waited and watched the rain early Friday morning; and meditated, too, by the back door, knowing in my heart, Bruce would take me outside once the rain stopped.

After Bruce washed the dishes (I might add that Susan was out with her Mom.), vacuumed, and ate some egg salad (Yuck!), he edited a few photographs for his websites BirchLane, and BruceBarone,listened to Chicago (!) and Jackson Browne (!!), and then he took me outside. The grass was wet and the air was thick but I didn't mind. The rain still fell, slow and steady, lightly it fell on the grass; barely could I perceive the rain drops, but fell they did on the pink wheelbarrow, the pink table, on Bruce, on me, Nadine.

Today, Bruce will mow the lawn and I will go outside late in the afternoon, when the pine trees are bathed in dappled sunlight and the one rose, still wet with yesterday's rain, is my inspiration, sweet sent to my nose.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Getting Better

I slept through most of Thursday and therefore never got to go outside. I was reminded of my life with Bruce when he lived in Eastworks in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where he had his photography studio; how I would sit and stare out the window at Mt Tom four hours and hours and never go outside, except for brief strolls out the loft door and down the hallway. Bruce stared at Mt Tom, too, for hours and hours and photographed it in all seasons and made a 10-minute music video. It is really pretty. You should watch it!

Last night it rained. Today it is rather humid. I think Bruce will take me out later. Meanwhile, as Catherine Ponder says,"Use periods of delay as a time of preparation.......I mentally accept the possibility of something better for myself. Vast improvement comes quickly in every phase of my life now. Every day in every way, things are getting better and better for me."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Middle Path

I simply LOVE Eknath Easwaran. I get his Thought for the Day every day in my in box. You should, too.

Today he says:

Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.
– Montesquieu

"I suggest eating moderately. Fasting may not be as easy as feasting, but after a while it is not too different. Both are extremes. It is not hard to go the extreme way, but what is really difficult is neither to fast nor to feast, but to be moderate in everything we do. This is what the Buddha called the Middle Path. It requires great artistry and vigilance. Instead of negating the body and senses, we train them to be valuable instruments.

"I try to eat good, wholesome food in temperate quantities in order to strengthen the body. If my body is not strong, I cannot contribute to the welfare of society, and I cannot give the best account of myself in life. We harness our physical, mental, and intellectual capacities not to make money or achieve power or fame, but to use these faculties to make our contribution to life."

Bruce and Susan feed me wholesome food. And give me love. And time to meditate.

Here is a photo Bruce took of me meditating:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Two Days and Twitter

It has been a most enjoyable two days; Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday Bruce and Susan prepared a fine meal for his daughter, Danielle, and her boyfriend, Mike, which meant I got to go outside, as it was a BBQ and they ate at the picnic table in the backyard. I relaxed on one of the chairs. No beer or wine or steak for me though, just grass.

Bruce and Susan give me almost everything I want--most of all love. They have taught me the importance of consistency, praise, patience, and positive reinforcement.

Bruce says the focus of successful relationships (Business or Cats; LIFE!) keeping people, or cats, happy, is keeping the emphasis on serving rather than results, on involvement and personal touch, affection and care.

Meow! Meow!

Nothing wrong, says Bruce, with response rates, financial reports, and industry analysis, but once the focus goes too far in that direction, it is far to easy to lose sight of the value marketing ball, which is a matter of acting for the benefit and satisfaction of others. Value, says Bruce, comes from making a continuing contribution to a customer’s success or happiness.

Price and premiums may attract customers, says Bruce, but its knowledge and information, communication and constant giving, if you will, that sustains relationships. Price and premiums may get them in the door, but it does not keep them coming back. Doing it right may please customers, but helping them achieve their goals keeps them.

Bruce says Eccelesiastes reminds us there is a time to sow and a time to reap. He says people who are obsessed with either change or stability are bound to eventually harm their organizations. As visionaries people have to be able to sense when to exploit an established crop of strategies and when to encourage new ones to replace the old.

Which brings me to Bruce's post on his website BirchLane:

Bruce's friend from Twitter, Leslie Carothers, whose Grandfather, Jerold Frederic (I wrote about him a few posts ago) is a world-class pianist, has been very kind to promote Bruce's photography to Interior Designers, writes in her Blog at Furniture Today:

"Many of you know (but maybe a few of you don’t) that Kathy Ireland is the owner of Kathy Ireland World Wide and that KIWW is, according to Newsweek, a 1.4 billion dollar a year company which produces over 15,000 items sold to home furnishings consumers around the world through over 17 different manufacturer licensees.

"I knew Kathy was a huge and well respected name in the home furnishings industry and was very successful but it was not until our communication began on Twitter that I knew the woman behind the brand. And, now, I know the brand AND a bit more about the woman and so do 11,000+ other people who are following Kathy on twitter @KathyIreland.

"Here is what I know to be true about Kathy from watching her tweets over a period of weeks now:

"1. She tweets herself and does not pay someone to tweet for her. This is unusual for a major celebrity and shows me that she is willing to commit her most precious resource-time-to let people know who the woman is behind the brand. I admire this. As someone who tweets for a living on behalf of my clients, I know how much time it takes to be involved in authentic conversations. It shows me she understands the real power of Twitter-to build relationships by giving of herself in a loving, genuine and heartfelt way with many people from all over the world whom she does not know face to face.

"2. She is constantly reaching out to offer people hope and encouragement with their daily parenting (or other) challenges. This proves, to me, that she is genuine in living her brand as a Christian who is “providing real solutions for busy Moms.”

"3. She supports Feed The Children and many other charities and non-profits and is using Twitter and her celebrity status to help raise money for them-successfully.

"4. She speaks out about issues that are, for some, uncomfortable or unpopular. She is not afraid to take a stand and/or educate her followers/readers re: what she believes in. Even when people tell her not to do this, she still does. Kathy has a rare quality-courage. She could lose an endorsement or a licensee and she knows it, but she goes ahead because she knows how many parents and their children could be helped with the correct information. Is there a better definition of a leader? She is fearless on Twitter and I admire her for that alone.

"5. I know, from Twitter, that Kathy had to evacuate her family during the recent Santa Barbara fires, she has four children, she spends “bubble time” with them each day-no phones, no radio, no internet-no external stimuli whatsoever-just she and her kids with total focus on their needs.

"6. I know Kathy is very good friends with Elizabeth Taylor and that @DameElizabeth-as she is known on Twitter-adores Kathy in return.

"7. Kathy frequently asks her followers what THEY think about business decisions she is considering. For instance, recently, she asked her followers if they thought she should launch a new home magazine . She got huge feedback. Follow her and go back in her “tweetstream” and you will see the conversations and what the “twitterverse” thought of that idea. She understands the power of Twitter to “source the answers you are seeking from the crowd.” This is known, in the online world, as “crowdsourcing.”

"For instance, imagine you are going to High Point or Vegas and you have 1500 opted in consumers “following” you on Twitter. Why not ask them before you go something like this on Twitter: “Hey, we’re going to High Point to buy furniture for you, what would you like to see us carry?” ( And, furniture retailers like @iposit and @HighStyleClt are using Twitter to hire people, too.)

"8. Kathy understands that, through Twitter, when people admire and know WHO YOU REALLY ARE and WHAT YOU REALLY STAND FOR-OVER TIME, they begin to trust you and that this precious gift of trust is worth it’s weight in gold.

"Let me ask you this:

"At the end of the day, do you think that the people that are opting in to follow Kathy on twitter and ask her help and advice might just be a little more likely to walk into your store or go online and find out where they can buy a piece of Kathy’s home furnishings line? Do you think, if you are a manufacturer who licenses one of Kathy’s designs, that you might want to be on Twitter and talk with her to get the cross pollination that would develop as each of your “follower” groups witnesses the conversation between the two of you and jumps in with their own thoughts? If you are a furniture retailer carrying one of Kathy’s lines, do you think you might want to go on Twitter and talk with Kathy about how well her lines are selling, what consumers love or, even, what consumers are asking for? How valuable do you think this might be to you?

"I imagine Kathy knows the answer.

"Trust takes time. Building relationships takes time. Twitter accelerates the process over the entire world-in real time-allowing you to converse with potential customers in both your local trading areas or, if you are an ecommerce player, across the entire world. The choice is yours."

Bruce says he likes this Blog entry that Leslie write because it addresses the importance of dialogue in marketing. Trust comes from dialogue. And Bruce has first-hand experience with Kathy Ireland asking him on Twitter if Susan and he were happy with "her" lamps which they (and me!) have in the bedroom. His answer? A resounding "Yes!"

As Bruce wrote, All You Need Is Love.

When Bruce worked at Hearst Magazines, he once overheard a top circulation executive say to a copywriter, "that’s a beautiful direct mail package, but does it communicate that we love them?"

Personally, I like to keep in mind Bruce and Susan's philosophy: "We love our customers (and our Nadine!) and we will do whatever it takes to make them happy."

Ah, this is a long entry for me and it has made me a bit weary. Think I will take a nap in bed. Oh, and the lamps--they are Kathy Ireland lamps. Bruce and Susan have such good taste--and love.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I was a bit under the weather yesterday. In fact, as soon as Bruce sat down to eat his lunch, a turkey burger, I got sick on my stool and on the kitchen rug. I don't think I spoiled his lunch. And I don't know why I got sick. I hadn't even been outside yet; so no grass eating. I crept off to the bedroom and rested for a few hours in the windowsill. I thought about what Eknath Easwaran wrote the other day:

As a person abandons worn-out clothes and acquires new ones, so when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within.
– Bhagavad Gita

AH. I think I understand. The basis of meditation remains valid for all of us. Trying to speculate about previous or future lives serves no practical purpose, since this life is headache enough. Let us confine our attention to this life and try as far as our capacity goes to learn to love here and now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rainy Friday

It is a rainy and cold Friday (for June!) but I am sitting on the chair by the door to the backyard itching to get back outside. I have been out almost every day. A few days ago when Susan and Bruce came home from grocery shopping I darted outside as soon as they opened the door. And just a few days ago I chased two squirrels up a tree; I didn't even know I had THAT in me. WOW. But yesterday when Susan took me out she put the leash on me. I'm okay with this; at least I get to go out and eat the grass. Bruce is busy today trying to find photography work and sell some photos. I watched Bruce's music video with him the other night and I really like it--I'm IN IT!!! And Susan is getting her website ready to go live; I'm NOT on THAT--YET!!! Susan makes soap--with LOVE. Bruce and Susan say Love Is All You Need. I agree. Love is a verb. And I know they love me. Now if they would only let me go outside!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009