Archive for the ‘touching’ Category

I dedicate my respect of water  to my German „Oma“ (technically my great aunt, but I didn’t know the difference for well over a decade). I have a particularly keen sense of the value of water. Particularly HOT water. As a thrifty Swabian, my Oma made it very clear that those long, languorous, hot and steamy bubble baths were not an option in her tightly run household. A daily hot shower was not an option. And washing your hair every day was positively out of the question.

Luckily for me, the (cold) room she allowed us to stay in had a small sink. This sort of thing was a typical architectural oddity in Germany – and much of Europe – at the time. You see it in movies where the bed is lice-infested, wallpaper peeling off the walls and a filthy community toilet where the last guy on not only smokes but burps and farts his was down the hall. Swabians being particularly tidy, there were no lice, the wallpaper was doing okay and the cleanliness of the family toilet (downstairs and through a door that was sometimes locked) was okay. The water that came out of the faucet on the little sink was – never to be forgotten – ice ice cold.

Forget bungee jumping, snowboarding on wild slopes off the beaten path: wash your hair (upside down) in ice water There’s nothing like it for a truly tingly head rush. This indescribable experience may, on the flip side, bring you numerous compliments on shiny hair. This was the case for me that summer.

Every bath I have taken since, every shower, every time I brush my teeth … I say prayers of thanks for this glorious stuff coming out of the faucet. For the physical property of it being hot – a heat I love making so high and tangy that I can get the full rush of the other extreme. My (only) heirloom from Oma.

What has compounded my respect of water as an adult is the bitter lack of it elsewhere. The breathtakingly respectless, wasteful use of water in my homeland. The three showers a day, gallon-filled toilet bowls, golf courses in Arizona, Las Vegas in its entireity and dozens of other things, the looming devastation of fracking not to be forgotten …

There it is: simple, humble adoration of something so beautiful, fragile, powerful, precious. That begins simply and humbly, like today, with tiny droplets forming on leaves and windowpanes.


One of the most sensual things I have ever done needs a new word to describe it. When I was a kid, we called it “skinny-dipping”. But that’s no longer appropriate, since there’s rarely a skinny person anywhere in sight, and a “dip” implies it’s in and out and rather risqué all the while. This is not the case. It’s a small peninsula in a lake full of people doing the same thing: lying on various mats, blankets, towels, with assorted paraphernalia, stark naked. Occasionally taking a swim. Having a cigarette. Reading. Sunning various sides and flipping from time to time. Adjusting their sun umbrellas as the sun moves. And watching everyone else around them.

I’m old enough not to care much if I’m being appraised while naked. There’s a discreet rule that everyone more or less adheres to: no staring. Eyes flit around but rarely meet. You steal glances at particularly interesting pieces of flesh quickly and furtively. The one situation where it seems appropriate to take longer, more direct looks is when people get into or out of the water or get up to get dressed or arrive and undress.

The entire situation is sensual. Meeting the elements, the air, the heat, the water, the grass and the occasional ant or two with your entire length and folds of skin is a wondrous thing. Absorbing everyone else around you doing the same thing, being so different yet so close to you, in an exquisite long-distance intimacy… truly awesome.

I enter the water gradually. No one will ever convince me that doing it any other way is “better” (men seems to like the idea of plunging, preferably head first, into water considerably colder than bike-ride heated bodies). When I think about it, my preferred pattern of sexuality is similar. Not to be rushed into anything here. And why? Ankles, then knees, thighs. Slowly fingering my way with my toes on the slimy, stony lake bottom. When the coolness hits the perineum, I let out tell-tale breaths, gasps of temperature transition. I cannot help this, and it pretty much continues, if not escalate, while tediously working my way up to the belly, solar plexus, heart. Once the nipples tickle the water, I’m usually okay. From there, it’s sink in. And go. First with a bit of old person, head-stay-dry breaststroke until I feel the moment where the water beckons like a lover to let just go. I turn on my back and relish my best discipline: the backstroke. My goal is the little string of buoys, big yellow balls with little white balls between them, all on a very long rope stretching from coast to coast. On this particular day, I seem to be racing the ominous clouds going in the same direction - obviously the day’s outing isn’t going to be a leisurely one. I reach the rope and glide it between big toe and the next to hang onto my algae soaked flipflop, balancing my way along, arms outstretched. It’s a wonderful chance for a breather and to get a look around, to sink deeper into the fluid hugging me tightly and release more, more, more. Letting go of the rope is always a tiny, sad moment, so I do a bit of floating, twisting, turning, playing. My body is a natural floater and I could stay that way effortlessly for what seems to be forever, making the idea of lying on an inflatable mattress – for many pass me left and right – slightly absurd. And no amount of plastic sticking to skin can ever be seen as good, as sweet, as deliriously encompassing as just lying on water, feeling every little ripple (and bigger ripples), listening, letting go, moving gently with the entire mass – as part of it.

As I slowly paddle/stroke my way back to shore, I am utterly taken by the sight of a young couple entering the water. She is an amazing beauty and he fades at first in her light. Reddish hair in a PR-person sort of short bob, her skin is immaculate and truly radiantly white. She has perfect, perky, anti-gravitational breasts that she coyly covers with a towel that looks like she must have inherited from her grandmother. Striped and oldish, it’s peculiarly unfitting to the rest of what she exudes. Both of them are ridiculously thin but still not what I would define as skinny; they are true peninsula eye-candy with fashionably hairless pubes. As I get closer (though far enough away to be able to stare without being obvious about it), I see there is an obvious age difference between the two of them, he being younger, if perhaps not by much. He late twenties to her mid-thirties, hard to say. She was protesting. The slime on the stones was too much for her. She was not going in farther than her calves. This gave everyone around the satisfaction of being able to look at her longer. He was playfully encouraging her to go deeper. She wasn’t having any of it. And then, I noticed a glint. On the tip of his penis, there was … well … something silver. The idea of a pierced penis makes me shudder. I can’t get my head around it. But then, I can’t understand most piercings. Or tattoos. I tried not to look too intently but the pull is awful. In my mind’s eye, I could envision swimming up to him to inspect it – up-close. Instead, I opted for pulling myself out of the water as quickly as possibly. By the time I padded onto shore, they were in an embrace, kissing like the fresh lovers they certainly were. I wondered (as any curious girl would) how his cold metal tip must feel inside. If it hurt him. Or helped him. How long it took her to like it. If she did. And why.

The next day, not a cloud in the sky, the perfect contrast to the porcelain princess marched past my flat little fortress: a proud old woman I would guess to be somewhere over 60. Her flesh literally hung off her bones, she was covered head-to-toe with wrinkles but her skin was as dark as any Caucasian could possibly ever become. I suspect she’s among the daily retiree crowd who play cards and casually talk about life and politics while spread-legged on their little chairs, some fully manicured, some big old hairy beasts, all having an excellent, peaceful time of it.

The beauty of the elements, these people, each and every one of them majestic and beautiful, the energy, the let-go flow and genuine air of “the world is okay today” is intriguing, intoxicating. An experience to relish – and repeat.


Crossing the border, or series of borders, into wakefulness, I am full-body awe this morning. I can feel it get lighter outside because the my body feels ever so gently lifted my the light, the feathers of intensity becoming more intense, one filament at a time, moment by moment. While preoccupied with the light on the outside from inside my closed eyelids, I become acutely aware that my toes are moving, playfully caressing the sheet and the bed underneath it. It’s an innocent movement and a moment of wonder: that is the end of my landscape, right there at the skin of my littlest toe, and it is having so much fun exploring where it is at the moment, I dare not move the rest of me for fear of interrupting. Then one of those inevitable early morning itches appears on my scalp as if to emphatically establish the fact that other regions are actively participating in these manifold changes and rustlings. My fingers find the spot, caress it with a nail-less scratch and surf softly through various layers of helter-skelter hair, establishing the dimension on the other side of the landscape. It appears so unfathomably huge at the moment, the distance between the two points, most of the mountainous terrain between those points still not quite present. I am, after all, not yet awake, so I am not quite there yet go on. Pieces are still being transferred, atom by atom, into this bed, onto familiar places and at familiar distances. At some point, the skeleton will arrive and I’ll be good to go from horizontal to vertical. I am completely transfixed by the beauty of this in-between state and how the I that is building me again this morning can be anywhere. Is anywhere, as I move my exertion to determining if I am alone in bed and, discovering this is not the case, how advanced the state of the other body-building-awakening-process is going. I have often been touched and blessed by a morning-only synchronicity I truly adore, turning over to open blinking eyes into also-blinking eyes. I know this won’t be the case today, but my rapture of the varied states coasts on. I don’t need to “do” anything but be and indeed there is so much to watch and wonder that being here, right now, is sublime joy.


“Beziehung ist eigentlich Energie, etwas, was zwischen zwei Menschen entsteht, wenn sie aufeinander treffen und zwar ganz von selbst.
Es lebt sich das, was leben will, wie immer das aussehen mag.
Aber wir rennen los mit Vorstellungen im Kopf davon, wie eine Beziehung sein soll.
Statt zu spüren, was uns in diesem Moment anrührt, suchen wir mir dem Kopf - wir zwängen unseren Geist in ein Korsett aus Werten, Normen und Regeln.
Und wir glauben, wenn wir finden, was dort reinpasst, wären wir glücklich.
Aber wir wären glücklich, wenn wir den Mut hätten, all das fallen zu lassen und einfach zu spüren, was jetzt ist, herauszutreten aus dem Gefängnis beengender Vorstellungen… das ist es, was ich für den Weg halte, für den einzigen Weg, Liebe zu erfahren.

Sex ist eigentlich Energie, etwas, was zwischen zwei Menschen fließt, wenn sie aufeinander treffen und zwar ganz von selbst.
Da lebt sich, was leben will, wie immer das aussehen mag.
Aber wir rennen los mit Vorstellungen im Kopf, wie Sex aussehen soll, zählen uns unsere sexuellen Vorlieben auf und meinen, sie müssen erfüllt sein, um Befriedigung zu finden.
“Was magst du?” Mir ist die Frage zuwider.
Ich mag alles! Und nichts! Denn ich mag nichts immer und nichts nie.
Es geht nicht um die Vorstellung im Kopf, es geht nicht um die Form, es geht um Energie und die produziert ihre ganz eigenen Bilder, wenn sich entladen darf, was sich entladen will.
Wenn dieses Loslassen gelingt, dann ist wirkliche Ekstase möglich… das ist es, was ich für den Weg halte, für den einzigen Weg, Befriedigung und Erfüllung zu erfahren…”


Sitting smack in the middle of 2009, I wonder.

Slowly, slowly, the ugly head of doubt is beginning to wipe the sleep out of its eyes – as messages filter through that drowsy, still-flooded sea of dreamworld impulses that are all too captivating – giving itself the last little nudge into wakefulness… slowly, slowly. It has, quite clearly, no choice.

Is doubt the right word, I wonder, again? Perhaps we could term it “reality” - or simply the “is-ness of now” or perhaps even – dare I think this? - “awakening”?

There are things to be done, places to go, people to meet, choices to make. Every little, last relationship, big or small, minute or grand - the taxi driver, the stinging bee, the lover, the sister, the cashier, the sunny day - weaves in and around us and affects how we go about our “NOW.” Each day, every day, every second, these interactions shape who we are. We shape who they are. It’s a non-stop dance that we are always, always in the middle of, patiently watching. Stoically bracing for the next twirl, the unexpected twist, the uplift and a tango-ic sink. Without this patient, clear and passionate observation from a mysteriously unflappable center, life would be painful, even unbearable today. These days.

Are we indeed learning that “Virtue consists in a will which is in agreement with Nature.” Nature being everything around us, everything we plant, destroy, walk upon, breathe, touch, see, eat. Agreeing with all of that is obviously not a small task. Especially with challenges like this:

I posted two short tweets back-to-back a few weeks ago. The first one was a very stinging article related to torture. Pertinent and timely. I would link back to it, but due to internet posts now rapidly becoming a “let go” phenomenon, the link is lost to posterity. Whatever you do, don’t try to hold on to what you say. Or what other people have said or written. It’s very zen, actually. To give an impression, though, this link works just as well for more on the topic of torture.

Everyone has an opinion about torture. Some are very vehemently opposed. Others have a more blasé - as long as it doesn’t affect me - attitude. Others are all for it in the name of whatever sees that route as a means toward a cause (stopping/fighting/ridiculing terrorism, for example).

I rather expected the response I got. People looking up. People re-tweeting.

What I didn’t expect was that the tweet that followed, one about a family that was forced to choose between keeping their home or paying for their cancer-stricken son’s medical treatments, got virtually no response. You could hear the virtual pin dropping in the great void of buzzing digital activity.

My point was, and still is, that torturous situations are rampant this year. Perhaps it was that way EVERY year from the get-go of becoming humanoids. You don’t need to be a prisoner of war, or a prisoner at all. You can be a very normal human being, going about your business and WHAM! it hits you. The leather belt of foreclosure from the right. WHACK! The steel-studded whip of unemployment. Or BOOM! the din of debilitating illness coming upon you or yours that you cannot find appropriate treatment for because you cannot afford it - despite having sustained so much pressure, for the profit of others, for so long.

In agreement with nature means, for me, in agreement with human nature. There are, of course, common-sense charters and proposals (from the United Nations, for one) that agree on some basic premises like the fact that all people should have enough food to eat. Which is, quite obviously, not the case. Isn’t hunger a form of torture? Doesn’t it make sense that now would be a good time to take a look at making sustainable humanity more than a buzz word? Making that “virtuous will” a basic skill set for going from “politically correct“ to “human(e)ly correct”? 

Failing that, it’s all anyone can do - myself included - to focus on the unflappable center. To stoically brace while the madness whirlwinds around your ears.


I realized this morning that perhaps that wasn’t the most intelligent photo to put up on a blog last night. On the other hand, maybe not. There are people who use firearms responsibly and people who do not. From what I’ve read about the family home of the young boy who wiped out 16 lives the other day, his father wasn’t exactly keeping his weapons collection under lock and key. Which is where that type of thing belongs. You should not be allowed to own them unless you are prepared to do this. And only someone who is responsible enough to keep the key on their person at all times or locked in a safe to which only the person licensed to own and operate these things knows the combination. Heaven help us, why aren’t these few simple principles crystal clear?! The other, more dire message to parents everywhere is: know your children! Be there for your children, talk to them, become involved with who they are. Of course, it’s perhaps unfair speculation to say that these parents didn’t. Young boys will be young boys. But hating girls? Having previously pestered the neighborhood kids with air guns? Having been caught by police due to shooting firearms in the woods? Wouldn’t these be clues for you as a parent? If you own only books and sports equipment, you could shrug it off, I suppose. But you should brace yourself carefully - and double up your locks - if you own the sort of stuff this family did. Yikes.

On a lighter note, two other words that start with k have me preoccupied.

The first is “keester,” also spelled “keister” - the etymology is rather dull, which is sad, because it seems like it should be stemming from some sort of German word. What screws me up even more is knowing that a German would pronounce a word spelled like “keister” with emphasis on the second vowel, so it would be “k-eye-ster” and not, as the predictable second spelling variation hints, “k-eee-ster.” The fact that the word is a slang term for buttocks is noteworthy when you see the only other word in connection with it that Merrium-Webster will offer up is “satchel.” (!) Ah-ha… Right. I’ll stop with associative patterns right there, thank you…

The second word is “kindle” which, as anyone who has ever been up to a cabin in Northern US states would know, is a word not far away from “kindling,” which is the small stuff with which a person seeking to start a fire in a fireplace puts underneath logs or wood of some sort. More specifically, it has a Middle English root, “probably modification of Old Norse (how cool is that?!) from “kynda”; akin to Old High German (I knew it!) cuntesal fire…” From there, the definition goes in all sorts of directions: Light, arouse, illuminate, to become animated, to flare up…

So how long did the “Branders” look around (”brainstorm” indeed) to be able to christen a sleek little gizmo with this particular name? I’ve now heard this word so often that I had to see what the fuss was about. It makes perfect sense that none other than Amazon would take that first bold step (I think its’s a first?) to produce a flat digital, amazingly powerful digital “book” - and why wouldn’t they? They stand like no other to profit from it! Think of all the gas transportation trucks will save and the miles service men won’t have to walk to put little pink or blue slips on the door/in the mailbox telling you (well, me) to pick up the books you ordered at the nearest “Automated Pack Station” (though they sometimes still resort to post offices, which serve the same purpose, if in an archaic, humans-moving about sort of way). Think of all that paper that never needed to be produced, all those trees saved that can now produce oxygen and all the designers for book jackets, not to mention printers and book-binders that are now free to … well … blog!!! Or perhaps develop clever content from their misery to feed all those Kindles burning out there.

Kindle - could have been candle. But Kindle is also close – from the poetic flow of it – to fondle, cuddle, handle, all those cute “dle” words… I could go on. The fact is, I just cannot sign on for it. It may be one of the “no, no, no - I won’t go” protests like I have held with, say, Facebook, Twitter, other social networks and assorted programs and – shudder – HTML. At some point, there you are. Strange how that works. Not sure if it’s good or bad. I sit here looking at a good some thousand books. I always have trouble deciding which ones would go if they had to. Always. I love the differences in them, the difference in the backs they show to entice you to pluck them from the shelves, full of color, some with glitz and glitter, some with loud lettering, some very soft and delicate. Then you have it out and in your hand and you savor the various sizes, shapes, paper, textures, even smells! It isn’t just the words you read by any means, it’s a total sensual experience. Perhaps “doing it digitally” may be stripping it down to the bare, sexy essentials (I have heard reviewers of the Kindle saying it makes the words themselves even more precious.)  and I’m absolutely sure it could be a brilliant tool for people that are faced with… loss of motor skills, to put it carefully. Or that, for whatever reason, can no longer drive. For them, it certainly re-opens the world of reading.

But for me, I can’t help myself… something, somewhere is lost (or not yet achieved) in this development. I certainly wouldn’t give up my car for a horse, I know going backward is not an option, but I get dizzy and nauseated thinking I would, could or should be reading off something flat, plastic and predictable. Negroponte described it very differently when he envisioned this. Perhaps his version will make it to market some day. With pages that actually move and make paper-like rustling sounds (even if it’s only one page you’re physically turning gazillions of times)… I hope to be able to wait for that day. Or avoid – somehow – altogether.


Greeted by Alfie! Fun talking to his wife! Wonderful dinner, nice light wine...

and now lessons in WordPress and blogging…









It certainly was a bit like “those with severely impaired vision leading the blind” – but we had fun and I could do a bit of quality petting.


While we’re on the subject of sex, dongs and the like, and while we’re giving the platform to one of the most lovely, smart, sassy and sexy evolutionary biologists ever to grace the planet (and may I have the luck to have a drink with her some day…), let’s continue to quote her and link to her, shall we?

This is an article entitled “A Commitment Pill?” from The Wild Side blog from the NYT on Sept. 16, 2008. We have to wait until summer or fall for more recent stuff from Olivia because she’s out bonk… er, on sabbatical? Well, gone somewhere, doing something.

And I quote:

A couple of weeks ago, the arginine vasopressin receptor 1a gene sprang into notoriety: in a just-published study of Swedish couples, variation in this gene was found to be associated with difficulties, for men, in maintaining long-term monogamous relationships. Which suggests the following mischievous thought: could such restlessness be cured one day?



Ballroom dancing is a delicate balance between a man and a woman. The man leads. He literally guides the woman the entire time. Shows her where to go. She follows. Without question, with aplomb, and with many a spin in most dances. How does a girl like me get there? When the push-me, pull-you life taught me to cultivate as a business and professional person collides drastically with the “look mom, no hands! no clue! no guidebook!” life more or less dumped on me as a lover, friend and parent? When the rules on the dancefloor adhere to completely different (and strict) patterns? Hold both your head and your arms up, be pliant but firm, supple but strong, follow his will that guides you softly, the weight of a feather on your fingertips. Trust him. Trust him. Let him lead. Trust him again.

I must confess, I’m still learning – and wondering how something like that can be possible.


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