Birthday Fun
· · · · · · · ·

Birthday Fun

My husband Sabin spoiled me on my birthday. Some of my friends did, too. It was a delicious experience.

We started celebrating early because we had to make a trip to New Hampshire. So we went out for dinner on my birthday eve. The restaurant was The Fig and Olive, which I love. I’ve never had a bad meal there. The chicken tagine was fantastic! I love their fun drinks, also.

On the day of the anniversary of my birth, we drove to New Hampshire. We crowned the day from a small peak.

Then we found a charming American tapas restaurant called Tavern 27, which served the most delicious appetizer type foods. Sabin and I both ordered steak, though I got a small one. The meat was buttery soft and delectable, falling off the knife in luscious little bites of the tenderest flesh. Our kind, attentive waiter explained that it was organic meat from a nearby farm, in honor of New Hampshire’s state tradition of healthful food.

My friend Micki put together a beautiful image for FB, acknowledging me with much love. Don sent me flowers. Lots of emails and phone calls.

It was too much fun.




Birthday Wishes for a Beloved Soul
· · · · · · · · ·

Birthday Wishes for a Beloved Soul

Dear One
I wish for you discernment
that you may see who truly is your friend
and who isn’t
who truly wishes you well
and who doesn’t.
I wish you freedom
from your entitlement, your addictions, and your demandingness
so that you may enter into the clear
sweet peace of humility
that has everything to do with your soft open
heart’s kindness and love
for your core Self
and nothing to do with the curdled ego’s insistence
on gratification.
I wish for you that you seek wisdom
alongside knowledge,
words of gratitude
rather than proof,
and opportunities to give
in the very moments that you are tempted
to take.
I send you my love and my light
in the fullness of this day, your birthday,
as I do every moment of every day
and I wish for you that you feel my love
in every angstrom of your being
and that you learn to hold love in the reverence
it deserves
instead of seeing it as an agent to serve your bidding.
May you push you away the voices of false friends
who whisper in your ear of aggrandizement,
realizing that respectfulness
and honesty
and personal responsibility
is the better path.
May all your decisions be for the highest, best good
of yourself and all living beings,
And may your Higher Self bring you to conscious awareness in this lifetime.

by Traci L. Slatton
Birthday Wishes Birthday Wishes Birthday Wishes

· · · ·


The resonance around a friend’s passing.

Today was my little one’s birthday, and she was home sick with a bad cold.

“I really hate being sick, mom! I don’t want to be sick!” she cried, in her sweet, fierce way.

I tried to console her. I offered to play cards with her or even to snuggle, but she was restless and achey. She wanted to lie quietly and read Harry Potter. I was happy she knew what would make her feel best, and I love seeing her growing independence.

It’s a bittersweet pleasure. Her independence, as does her birthday, means that she’s growing up. She’s no longer my frisky little cub, merging blissfully into my arms. There’s a young woman taking coltish shape. The young woman is creative, smart, engaging, and empathic while also being opinionated; I like her and I enjoy her. I am most eager to see this individual emerge.

But I will miss the little golden cub with her playful leaps and pounces.

This is already a week of missing people. Just a few days ago, a woman died whom I liked and respected. She was a beloved neuropsychologist who had worked extensively with our family, and I had great appreciation for her unique quality of being exceptionally soft and kind while also being imbued with immense intelligence. She was one of my favorite people to deal with. My husband Sabin and my daughter adored her. She managed a difficult meeting at my daughter’s school with rare grace, compassion, and authority.

She was too young to go. And I owed her a phone call to thank her for something. I had in mind I’d call her once the new year got underway.

The day after learning of her death, I attended a memorial service for a friend who had died at Christmas time. Sabin and I sat with our hands entwined, listening to my friend’s husband and children speak lovingly of her, of who she was in all her rich and imperfect and precious human fullness.

I thought how lucky my friend was to have a husband and children who accepted and respected her for exactly who she was; there’s a kind of wholeness in that, and the wholeness remains in the face of loss. I did not manage to find that kind of loving acceptance for myself in the first half of my life. I’m grateful to have been given a second chance.


On Paul’s 80th Birthday
· · ·

On Paul’s 80th Birthday

Paul’s 80th Birthday

We went to the Cape for my friend Paul’s 80th celebration. This afforded the opportunity to play on Thumpertown Beach before attending his party. It was wonderful to see him looking so happy, and to reconnect with some of his lovely friends whom I have met along the way.

Eighty is a milestone, and Paul gave a speech that began somewhat morbidly. His is a life that has seen both devastating tragedy as well as brilliant accomplishments and victories. Fortunately, his speech morphed into a more humorous exposition. He was his irascible self, exactly the man we had come to know and care for. If his words weren’t exactly uplifting, seeing him be fully Paul, with his foibles and his lovableness, was an affirmation of the core of the human experience. We are here to be imperfect. And to be loved.
I also owe Paul a debt of gratitude for modeling for me what it means to be an author. I was born to be a writer, but until I got close to Paul, I didn’t have a clue to what that meant.
So in honor of Paul’s 80th, I post herewith a poem I wrote for him more than 20 years ago. I still consider him The Good Man.


for Paul

His face conceives of the sun, gilded by flycasting

For manifold days off the crooked finger of the Cape,

Often around the jettied mouth of the Pamet.

Along those teeming shoals lie blue barnacled oysters, buried

Littlenecks, razor clams, one shard of whose sweet sharp

Crescent slit open my foot in the ebb tide. He sat me down

In the bright ankle-deep water, then trudged off

Across a glittering gilt sandbar, an oasis sculpted out of the flux,

For a band-aid and antiseptic wipe. Two terns

Fed each other, even the greedy white gulls, his favorite

Harbingers of humanity, for once stood peacefully watching

The wind ruffle in from the Bay.

Back home in his tower

(He built it on the earnings of years raking muck up

To publicly expose the threatening unseen)

I showered first, while he watered the pink tomatoes,

Curly beets, tiny triangular hot peppers and fragrant basil,

All fertilized by fish mulch, before he washed off

The luminous sticky sand of the day’s

Adventure. It took him an unhurried hour, maybe longer,

To nurture his green creatures to his satisfaction,

This general succoring in the prosperity of time.


by Traci L. Slatton

Mom Jeans
· · ·

Mom Jeans

I have four children. Three daughters and a step daughter. My step-daughter and older two daughters are teens, my little one is 3. They are all feisty, opinionated creatures, beautiful and intelligent and bursting with life and mischief.

And they are all out to get me.

Mostly it’s subtle, though my oldest daughter did warn me that she wanted to watch me get beaten to a bloody pulp in the boxing ring. Ah, the sweet words of grateful offspring. But usually the blossoming fruits of my and my husband’s loins operate in more roundabout ways.

Like when I was invited to read from IMMORTAL at Sundance. They staged a palace revolt and refused to allow me to wear my trusty Levi’s to the film festival. For some reason they were determined that I would not wear my baggy, comfy, beloved jeans on the cold slopes of that Utah mountain. What is wrong with a trusty pair of Levi’s, one wonders? It mystifies one.

Racking my un-hip maternal brain, I remembered a certain incident when my husband remarked that my middle daughter was wearing jeans that resembled mine, and the aforementioned daughter burst into tears.

“Take that back!” she sobbed. “I do not wear mom jeans!”

But this pales in comparison to the time my oldest daughter saw a picture of the gorgeous, talented Julianne Moore and turned to me with a smile. “I like actresses like her, mom, who remind me of you. You know, attractive middle aged women.”

I can only apologize to Ms. Moore and assure her that, while I now know that I am middle-aged, despite whatever lingering delusions that I had cherished to the contrary, she certainly isn’t.

Back to Sundance. My middle daughter coolly, and relentlessly, dragged me to a nearby boutique and bullied me into trying on twenty five pairs of jeans. 25. Until she found the perfect pair that cupped my ass JUST SO.

This is disturbing on many levels. How would a 13 year old know to think this way? It mystifies one still more. And how does she have the stamina to try on that many pairs of pants? Is it the hormones, antibiotics, and pcb’s in the food supply? I was exhausted by the ordeal, and had to drag my middle-aged self home, clutching two pairs of jeans that cost more than a week’s groceries.