Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Hope

One of the exercises presented to us toward the beginning of my time at Women Writing for a Change was the 6 word bio. I heard it offered again later on NPR accompanied with bios of reporters and performers of all sorts (an abbreviated version of the story can be found here http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18768430). The legend is that when challenged to write the shortest story ever, Hemingway produced the following: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."

I tried this exercise numerous times. What I produced varied according to my mood and what I was contemplating in the moment. For example:

Questions everything. Believes nothing. Dreams constantly.
Princess, alchemist, joker all in one.
More than what she first appears.

It's kinda fun. Give it a try. Post your efforts if you care to in the comment section. I would love to see your brilliance!

Today I think I can best Hemingway. I woke up with what I think is a brilliant 2 word bio.

I hope.

It sums the entire content of my spirit.
I hope.
It is the piece I have never lost no matter what crap got thrown at me.
I hope.
Even when I might have given up.
I hope.
Even when I was busted up like dry kindling.
I hope.
It is the small Pandora moth that saves me that
I hope.

Going up to the rooftop to shout my 2 word bio out to all of Clifton.

I HOPE!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Blog About Drawers

A blog about the mundane things that sometimes fill my head.

I'm not sure when What kind of underwear do you prefer became an acceptable question for political or romantic candidates. I have asked it myself mostly because it seemed harmless yet titillating enough to open the door on something more...ummm...suggestive. I didn't think I cared what kinda drawers my man wore. I was mostly interested in getting him out of them anyway.

Was I ever surprised to find recently that I now LOATHE tighty whities. What!?! When did that happen!?! Truth. It is irrational. I have areas that are not logical and I refuse to apologize for them. This is one of them. It is not the brief style. Colored briefs I find sexy and fun. It is that Wonder-bread-ness of the white briefs. Maybe it is the white period. When you have a sea of color choices in front of you what does it say that you choose white - again and again and again? Not one pair of black briefs? Not one pair of leopard bikinis or pale blue boxers?

What does your underwear choice say about you as a free thinking individual? Hmmmmm.........

To me white briefs are the soul of conservative and old-fashioned. Color says you are fun and adventurous. A man who can sport boxers likes to control things. And a dude in a thong - watch the fuck out!!!

Guys, Ima put it in terms you can understand. Tighty whities are the equivalent of white granny panties. We all know how you feel about those. If you are under the age of 70, they just need to GO!

Now onto the TMI portion of the blog......

My first clothing purchase was not the green chucks or blue jeans that my mom initially refused, but eventually bought me. It was bikini underwear. I was maybe 11 and would have worn the granny panties aka the standard Catholic underpants until I was dead if she had her way. I knew that arguing for bikini underwear would be pointless. My mom would refuse. I would whine and pout. But she would win that argument. So I did what any self-respecting rebellious hellion would do. I saved my money and bought my own damn underwear. A 5 pack of pastel colored bikini undies. I loved those drawers. I felt strong and empowered every time I wore them. Self-assured. In control. And thus began my love affair with lingerie.

If you were to open my lingerie drawer, or drawers as the case may be, you would not find a single white garment in there. Instead it is like a Fauvist painting - the red bustier next to the canary demi juxtapose the lime green seamless bra. All layered over a sea of silk and cotton panties in every style imaginable, blue, black, purple, green, ecru. I love the explosion of color every morning when I open this drawer. Choosing the items to wear for a day becomes an event with hidden layers of color beneath my drab and ever present T-shirt and jeans. But it always makes me smile and that's a good way to start any day. From that unknown hit of color under my clothes comes a sense of being alive. Of being me even if the world can't see it at the moment.

A friend of mine called one day and asked what I was doing. I told him I was in a crappy mood and shopping for bras to make me feel better. He laughed so hard he dropped his phone. I know it's weird. When other women go shoe shopping, I will shop for a bustier, a pair of satin panties or a push up bra. I know that the Caribbean blue ones will make me feel floaty while the red ones will make me want to flay someone alive. That there is a power in that purple and gold bra and matching lace panties that makes me feel like a Rani. Like I could seduce anyone with my eyes or my words. Or break into some long-forgotten tantric dance. I can't imagine getting dressed every morning without this. So is it really a surprise that I loathe the tighty whities? Not really. They are just a sad and unimaginative choice to my way of thinking.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Let It Go

Surprising how many times they have to tell me this. Even long after something feels settled there is often a point where I will want to pick it up and caress it again - even if the caressing hurts me. But I am learning.

Case in point - the medicine bag (for the story of this see the '3 Loop Day' blog piece). I hung this in April on a trail I use 3-4 times a week as a hiking meditation. Most days I just hike it without looking. I always remember that it is there. I just choose not to look for it as I walk. Sometimes it pulls me like a lodestone. Pulls me off the couch, into my shoes and onto the trail like a puppet. On those days I look. I never approach it or touch it. Just nod in awareness of its presence. If I were to touch it, I don't know what would happen. Frankly, I don't want to find out. It is always there and tempts me to claim it.

Doing that ritual brought me the only peace I have felt in two years. I gave that problem to the ancestors who are doing a phenomenal job. If I were to take it back that would signal to them that I no longer trust them to take care of this for me. I do trust them. It's me I don't trust. Don't trust myself not to fall back into the old ways. So I do not touch it. Give blessings to my ancestors who have unraveled this Gordian knot when I couldn't. Blessings for shielding me from the touch of something that I no longer want. Gratitude for their presence in my life.

I hiked this trail on Sunday night allowing full darkness to settle over me as I walked. The woods at night is a different place. Even though the trail is familiar to me, the gloaming darkness make it seem strange. Owls begin their hunts. Small lizards and snakes call it quits. The birds become silent and only the cicadas sing. The fireflies begin to flash me. Color slowly leaches out of the landscape until it is monochromatic shades of black and grey. A calm settles over the woods and it is contagious.

There have been many changes on my trail. Trees felled. Brush and honeysuckle cleared giving the understory a more open and vulnerable feeling. I don't like this change done in the name of trail maintenance. I prefer the plants to encroach on the trail, for the weeds to brush up against me where they whisper their secrets to me. This feels like Woods Lite. Where you can hike without ever soiling your designer Wonderbread clothes or snagging them in the brambles. It no longer feels like a place you come to meet Nature become one with Her essence, but a scenery you come to use as your backdrop.

I know She will recover. She always does.

I linger on the downslope where the trail is no wider than a deer trace until full dark. When I finally swing toward the uphill climb, I remember the medicine bag and wonder if it is gone. i look for it, but it is too dark to see anything that far off the trail. There are even more felled trees here than the other portion of the trail. I fear it is gone.

So I hiked again yesterday. Hiked it in reverse, which I do sometimes to stir the energy and to give me fresh eyes on the familiar footfalls. This time it was to consciously look for the medicine bag and retrieve it if it looked to be in danger. (I know- big DUH!) My assessment was right from my night hike. There were a lot of downed trees. I am not exactly sure where to look. I refused to pick out landmarks when I hung it that would help me find it again. So in the past, when I see it, I have acknowledged it and if I don't, I don't fuss about it. I am consciously and actively looking (generally if I do that, I break thru whatever protection is woven around it). But I do not see it. Cannot even find a place that looks right for all the downed trees.

I don't let that bother me. The ancestors have done what I asked them to do. I am free. They tell me that it is no longer there. That I can stop looking for it. To let the past go. And to face my eyes to the future.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

National Park Birthday 2010


Today is the birthday of the National Parks. I got to thinking about how amazing these little jewels are. How they provide us with a sense of who we are and how the land looked before we encroached on it. So, curious, I looked at the list of oh-so-many NP and here is where I have been:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace - Hodgenville, KY
Acadia NP - Bar Harbor, ME
Antietam - Sharpsburg, MD
Arches NP - Moab, UT
Badlands NP - SD
Big South Fork - Oneida, TN
Black Canyon of the Gunnison - Gunnison, CO
Blue Ridge Parkway - Asheville, NC
Cabrillo Nat'l Monument - San Diego, CA
Cape Hatteras - Manteo, NC
Chaco Culture - Nageezi, NM
Chas. Pickney House - Sullivan's Island, SC
Cumberland Gap - Middlesboro, KY
Devil's Tower - Devil's Tower, WY
Florissant Fossil Beds - Florissant, CO
Fort Sumter - Sullivan's Island, SC
Gauley River- Summersville, WV
Glacier NP - West Glacier, MT
Grand Teton NP - Moose, WY
Great Smoky Mtn NP - Gatlinburg, TN
Harry S Truman House Independence, MO
Hopewell Culture Park - Chillicothe, OH
Independence Hall - Philadelphia, PA
James A Garfield House - Concord, OH
Little Bighorn Battlefield - Crow Agency, MT
Mammoth Cave NP - Mammoth Cave, KY
Mississippi River - St. Paul, MN
Mount Rushmore - Keystone, SD
Padre Island - Corpus Christi, TX
Perry's Victory and Peace Memorial - Put-In-Bay, OH
Petroglyph Nat'l Monument - Albuquerque, NM
Rocky Mtn NP - Estes Park, CO
St Croix River - St Croix, WI
Shenandoah NP - Luray, VA
Theodore Roosevelt NP - Medora, ND
Trail of Tears
Voyageurs NP - Internat'l Falls, MN
Wm Howard Taft House - CIncinnati, OH
Wright Bros Memorial - Manteo, NC
Wupatki - Flagstaff, AZ
Yellowstone NP - Yellowstone, WY

That's quite a list - so far. Not bad for someone who solos. A few biggies absent.

So if I were to make my bucket list of place to see, it would include:

Washington DC
Bryce Canyon NP
Canyon de Chelly
Crater Lake
Denali
Ellis Island
Grand Canyon
Isle Royale
Muir Woods
Kenai Fjords
Manzanar
Mount Rainier
Nathcez Trace
Redwood NP
Sand Creek
Wrangell-St. Elias
Yosemite
Zion

If I had to only choose a couple of those - Denali, Canyon de Chelly, Muir Woods, Yosemite.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Perfect Streak


July 9, 1982. I was exactly 21 years old when I did this the last time. For the next 28 years, 1 month, 14 days I held a perfect unbroken streak.

'What is it?' you ask. On that date, I broke up with my then boyfriend Mike and dramatically tossed the roses he sent me in the trash (little did I know these would be the ONLY flowers I would receive from a man or I might have kept those). Looking back all I can think is What a Drama Queen! That would be the last time I had to figure out how to disentangle myself from a relationship - until yesterday.

That is not to say that there haven't been other relationships and other break ups since then, just that I have not been the instigator of them. Most were mutually arrived at. Some of these were kinda sad - like both of us really wanted for it to work, but it just didn't, for some mysterious reason neither of us understood. And having been lovers, we knew we couldn't go back to just being friends. That sucked because I lost a lover and a good friend in one go. Some were arrived at with just a sigh. A few were hard blindsides - the likes of which I never hope to experience ever again. You know the kind. You are happily, nay blissfully, skipping along in the sun dropping daisies behind you when BAM it's over and you never saw it coming. The ones that knock you into next week, or next month, or next year and when you come to you really don't remember the intervening time. One absolute betrayal that I STILL don't understand. You break up with someone, you do NOT humiliate and betray them to force their hand because you are too weak to walk away. All in all, probably not that different from any other woman my age who has been single her whole life. You date long enough and you pretty much experience it all. And I do mean ALL.

After quite a few of these (I won't try to figure out how many because that would be scary - or depressing - or BOTH). Let's just agree that I have done this dance - ALOT. I know the steps and generally can bounce back easily because I have lots of experience. But how do you do the other? How do you lead the dance? What words do you say to gently iterate I want out? That was a mystery. My break up with Mike 28 years earlier had been messy and compassionless. I definitely wasn't gonna do a repeat of that one. I had learned alot about how to conduct a break-up since then. I would bring all those considerable resources to bear and try to accomplish it with compassion and grace.

I stewed and thought about it all week-end. Even went so far as to imagine a scenario where I continued to date him for a few more months just to avoid the whole fucking mess. That felt like such a lie. I knew I couldn't do that. And I knew from my experiences that the longer it went on, the more painful it would be when it came. Quick. Brief. Now. I rehearsed a few steps so that I wouldn't falter. Wouldn't blurt out something that was hurtful. I remembered some break-ups that had been really good ones. Well, maybe not good, but ones that answered my questions and let me say what I needed to before parting. Yes, I definitely wanted to do that. So I phoned him and told him that it wasn't working for me. That he was a great guy and I hoped him the woman who would love him in ways that I would not be able. I don't know what I expected really. Anger? Hurt? In the very least a few questions about why. He was jovial and even-tempered just as he always was. Maybe that was a front? I just don't know. But I found his response irritating. Even in this last moment it didn't feel real to me. He didn't feel real to me.

It isn't that I wanted him to hurt, but I wanted to see a real response just once. Whatever that was. Something honest and genuine. I didn't get it. I don't know why that surprises me. When do things ever turn out the way we expect them to? After I hung up, that's when the second guessing started. I knew it would. I was prepared for it though. It didn't stand a chance. At least THAT particular part is not different depending on which side of the phone you are on.

Sigh.......at least it's over.


Re: Cartoon. I feel the same way. And if ZF had given me this, I would have instantly forgiven him because he made me laugh at the same time he was breaking up with me. That experience I have NOT had.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shake It Up

One thing I learned from my dog, Nara was how to shake. Ever watch a dog do this getting out of the water? The tremors begin at the head and proceed to the very tip of the tail like a wave. No matter how many times she showered me this way, it always made me laugh. And it proved a better way for her to get rid of water than the towel in my hand. Maybe it didn't make me angry because she seemed to enjoy it so much. It was like excessive joy her body couldn't contain (of course what isn't dog joy - really?).


Well kiddies she reminded me that it's time to shake it up. AGAIN.


Love The Cars. Sing it with me.

well dance all night get real loose
you don't need no bad excuse
dance all night with anyone
don't let nobody pick your fun
shake it up, oo-oo
shake it up, yeah yeah
shake it up, oo-oo
shake it up





::pause for air guitar or real guitar if you have it::




About 10 years ago, I remade my life top to bottom. Shook it up and threw out every piece that didn't work. I remember it was hard at the time. But I see how doing that brought such dynamic change and a kinda radiance that my life didn't have before then. I'm being asked to sort thru and shake it up again. So why not just embrace it and shake it up like a dog? Let the change be a joyful expression to the world rather than the fear and drama inspired expression people expect.

Ummmm....ya might wanna back up a bit if you don't wanna get wet.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Talkin Bout Lunch

There have been some interesting discussions over lunch with my boss this week. Ones leading to some interesting observations. Not quite the Aha moment. More like an Ahem one.

He was telling me how his wife carries a lot of the oldest child characteristics. And I began to mentally flick thru the card catalogue of guys I have dated (call me old school, but I still visualize it as a drawer full of index cards). Taking stock of their birth order. Of the 50 or so guys I have dated (I lost the hard count years ago), about 10 of those were single dates where I didn't learn much about their family. There is 1 oldest, really older as he had only one younger sister. Most of them are either somewhere in the middle or the youngest. More than half are the youngest. And the string of guys I have dated the last 2-3 years are ALL the youngest. Given that birth order GENERALLY comes with a set of characteristics, I wonder which of these am I looking for? According to Parent Magazine the youngest child is:

Risk taker
Outgoing
Creative
Self-centered
Financially irresponsible
Competitive
Bored easily
Likes to be pampered
Sense of Humor

By the same standards I am a classic middle child - easy going, peacemaker, generous, nurturing. Those two personalities do seem to mesh well. I am a go-along-for-the-ride-and-see-where-we-end-up kinda girl who is attracted to someone who directs without being bossy. There is not a lot of drama and is a lot of fun. And I do so like a dude who can make me laugh.

In a related vein, I realized that I have always lived in an apartment/house (well - as long as I have done the choosing anyway) that is on the right side of the building. Something about the energy of that space that feels right to me while those on the left do not. Some feng shui kinda thing maybe. My friend Sherry pointed out something like this when she and Dave were condo hunting. Made me think about it. And how one of my friends, who is a lefty, has a house that is laid out in that foreign and backwards feeling way. So wondering if there is a handedness preference for these things?

Other discussions have centered around casting Star Wars with the stable of stars from Hollywood's hey day. That all started with the thought that Clark Gable would have made a good Han Solo. Or maybe a musical version......hmmmm.

I will miss alot of things when I leave his employ. Having good lunch conversation is just one of them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ground Zero

Notice - the following blog post may be offensive to some. You may not agree with what I have to say. That's OK.

I have been thinking this morning about the 'Ground Zero Mosque' which, as it turns out, not AT ground zero, but is a couple blocks away from the WTC site (see photo). I suspected as much - that the journalists covering the story had given it this moniker to feed the frenzy of post 9/11 America. First of all, I have no strong feelings one way or the other about whether this piece of property is developed. I am no more pro-Muslim than I am pro-Christian or pro-Pagan. All those faiths in their conception have beautiful life-affirming teachings. I'm good with that no matter what framework. So, why would I blog about something that doesn't matter to me? Dunno. Guess it does, on some level, bother me when people act out of a place of unconscious thinking or, even worse, hate. Maybe I want to believe that people are better than that, and if shown a way will choose a more elegant compassionate way of being.

Most people I know are not Muslims, so its easy to confuse all Muslims as the same, to group extremist Shi'ite or Sunni Muslims with the average Muslim. But if I extrapolate from what I DO know, Christianity, I find that it is an analogous structure. The vast majority of Christians are cool and loving individuals. But, there are those Christians with extreme beliefs who picket military funerals, blow up Federal buildings and bomb abortion clinics (BTW - killing people to prove your pro-life stance - major oxymoron). So, I ask myself. If a Christian group wanted to build a facility near the site of the Murrah Federal Building would I automatically assume that they want to do that to celebrate the victory of blowing it up? No. I wouldn't. I would want to know what group it is that wants to build - Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian - and whether the people seeking to build were associated with the bombers in some way. So maybe I just wanna know more about the Muslim group wishing to build there and what there intention is in doing so. Surely they know that this is a hot button issue.

Lastly, the land will remember 9/11 long after we who watched the towers fall are gone. We humans are ephemera to the land. Manhattan will burn with that memory for eons. Maybe having a place where Muslims can come and worship will balance that memory of destruction and death with one of compassion and love within the very soil of Manhattan. I am open to the possibility that the intention of the Muslims seeking to worship here is one of peace and healing rather than hate and celebration of that ugly day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1999

The Campbell Co. Public Library called me yesterday. I always cringe when they do, as it always involves overdue materials. This time they called to tell me someone had found a small leather day planner with my name in it in the stacks. Really? Concerned as this also contains my insurance and prescription cards, I double checked my purse. Nope. My day planner was still tucked safely in there along with said materials.

Curious I went to pick it up. It turned out to be from 1999. Had most likely accidentally been included in a box of donated books. I almost tossed it, but decided I would take that stroll down memory lane. How often do you get a snapshot of your life 11 years after the fact?

1999 was the last year of my old life. And nothing at all like Mssr Prince promised it to be. Oops! Excuse me Mssr The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. 1999 was the last year I lived before I was introduced to my buddy cancer. The last year before I took that little side trail to 'see where it goes' that lead me on such a strange but powerful spiritual journey. Hell, it was the last year without ANY spiritual beliefs whatsoever. The last year that I spent curled tightly in a bottle - or a beer can as the case may be. When I crack it open, the first thing I notice is that this day planner is much more empty than any I have seen in years. Was my life really so empty as that? So what did I do in 1999? Let's see.....

I was a good girl and went to the dentist twice.

My baby Nara was still with me as attested to by numerous trips to the vet and the kennel. Our last year together. I still miss coming home to her.

I was driving a Honda Civic that went to the body shop after I swacked a yellow pole in the parking garage. I got new glasses after that.

My knees had not given out yet and I was still enjoying Volleyball. Still enjoying the Pub after. Sometimes before AND after.

In February, I attended my friend Michelle's surprise 40th birthday party thrown by her husband.

I was doing some kind of cell work requiring visits to the lab on Saturday and Sunday to 'feed' or 'split' or 'harvest' cells.

I may or may not have attended one of my nephews' baseball games, as the schedules for their summer league was fully documented in there.

My niece Jen graduated from Ryle and my friend Tony had his dissertation defense.

I attended a shower for Scott and Jen at the Kiln.

The only event that stands out in that whole year is that summer I drove to Montana to visit Jim and was gone for 3 whole weeks. The only time I have taken off that much vacation.

Weird that there is so little in that year. I mean that is hardly a good month in some of my current ones. I was 11 years younger - 38. WTF was I doing with my life? Doesn't matter. At 49 I am much healthier in mind and body and spirit than I was at 38. Well....except for the knees. Those really didn't age so well. The rest of me is vintage baby! A phenomenal vintage - 1961.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Playing it My Way

Ok. So maybe you have been waiting to hear about how things go with my new toy. It is spectacular. A sapphire blue Fender Stratocaster that is a perfect match to my bad ass blue Fender bass. I had intended to wait and get a candy apple red one, but this blue beauty fell into my lap and y'all know how the girl feels about blue things. Nuff said. Anyway, I acquired it from a cool dude on Craig's list named Aaron (age 13). So, it is full of 13 year old boy energy. And I do mean FULL. I couldn't have found anything better than this.

So I brought it home where it sat until today. You haven't played it? What gives you ask? Well, I have been stewing (OKOKOK - obsessing) about losing my job and the reduction in salary that seems like it's about to plow me over. And when that isn't quite enough, I move on to my current relationship. Just trying to work every possible angle in my head until I got a migraine and made myself kinda sick. A brain is a powerful tool for evil when you do this.

I came home from work. Ate and watched GLEE. Then thought WTF - GET IT OUT. RIGHT NOW! Don't let another day pass without touching this toy. So I hauled out the amp, the cable, the torturous straight-back chair and the headphones (so my neighbors don't run screaming from the building). Hmmmm.....no guitar pick. I never needed one of these for the bass which is played with your fingers. I was not gonna stop now just because of that. So clever science chica that I am, I slid my mini-Kroger card off my keychain and used that. It worked great. I wonder if Krogers would give me a dozen of those?

I didnt pull up a lesson online. Instead I just played with it. Let it speak to me. Discovered cool and interesting noises, rhythms, sounds that I could make with it. I particularly liked sliding my finger down the neck after I hit a string to hear that rise. Of course I tried it the other way, sliding my finger up the neck too. I also really liked tapping the strings on the neck and setting them to vibrating quietly in some pattern. Sometimes overlaying a single note or two.

Even if I never play it the way Clapton does (which I'm kinda sure isn't gonna happen), I will play it the way I want. Even if i don't learn to play it properly, I am gonna play it MY WAY!!! The thing is that for a whole evening, I didn't obsess or worry. I lost myself in the joy of vibration and happy blueness. After noodling around for an hour I feel better than I have for a while. Pretty sure this is gonna be cheaper than therapy and way more fun!

And just in case you're wondering I am not giving up the bass. The bass is about going deeper. Finding foundations. The guitar is about finding wings.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Running with the Herd

I was communing with the Grandmothers this morning. The number who have made themselves known to me steadily increases. A couple weeks ago I was introduced to one whose ancient weathered face spoke of many winters. They do not all resemble her despite their designation as Grandmothers. Some are fresh-faced and youthful. Their chosen appearance has little to do with power, wisdom or 'age' as they are all both aged and ageless.

Who shows up on any given morning depends on the questions I have asked and what they want me to know. This morning I hurt in my body - the result of a massive unexpected dose of MSG that has given me a migraine and flu like aches and pains, and I can't remember time when my future seemed so poised for something different. Grandmother T. came in dressed in cobalt blue with red trim. Colors I associate with natives above the arctic circle. She sent me to learn from the caribou. To run with the herd. And when I can run no more, she calls the herd to her and inserts them in my energy field so that wherever I go today they go with me. I hear the pawing of hooves on the ice and feel their breath as they circle me protectively, nudging me from time to time to remind me they are there.

After a day with them, G-ma T came in and called the ghost herd back to her. It was quite interesting to have them leap from the vicinity of my chest out into alternate reality and watch as they stood pawing and snorting. They really are a magnificent animal that I know nothing about. I feel like there is something here I am supposed to 'get', but it eludes me.

Wide Water

The day is like wide water, without sound. - Wallace Stevens

I have lived most of my life near a river. I find I can't settle easily in a place without one. There is a spiritual pull to be close to it such that the closer I am the more contentment and ease I feel. I have spent a lot of time just sitting and watching the river - generally the Ohio. The narrow channel that cups the northern tip of Kentucky like a lover's breast. The plain of water it becomes in Louisville just before it steps down the falls. Two places linked by one river. One river that sings many songs depending on where you stand along its length.

Every place sings to me, although some are so quiet I can hardly hear them. I realized that about 5 years ago while visiting my family in Montana. When they suggested I move there (which they do regularly and I love them for the asking), I find I cannot. Not because there is no river, but because the rivers, the land, hell even the sky there sings so loudly I would be able to do nothing but sprawl out and listen.

I know that every being who lives there out of balance with the land makes the song a little less vibrant. That is a steep responsibility and one I would not step into lightly. I would not do anything to risk that thundering chorus of mountains, of rivers, of endless sky. To chance making the song as faint as that of Midwestern rivers. The very thought makes me sad.

So, I stay here where the river still sings. The thought of wide water without sound haunts me. It is something I cannot imagine. That I do not want to imagine.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fraidy Cat

I'm afraid. There I admitted it. My life is changing so rapidly right now and that sometimes overcomes me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

#11 Self-Portrait

I looked at the mirror this morning and I don't recognize the woman staring back at me. Her face is deeply lined. Her mouth turned down at the corners as if this is its natural resting state. But it is the eyes that catch my attention. They seem empty. And I wonder where is the woman who normally shines there?

I invite her back softly into this body where she can dance a life.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

8 of Swords

I have Tarot decks - get over it. I have lots of Tarot decks - get over it. I find messages and meanings in the cards - get over it. LMAO. OK - I do like them. I do get messages with them. I always have from the very first deck I ever saw - which was probably age 10 or so.

These were boring decks where the suit cards were more like a regular deck of playing cards such that the four of wand had an image of 4 wands and nothing more. I saw (and bought) my first Rider-Waite deck in my 20's from Victory Books in Covington. I didn't really use the deck, I just needed to have it. At that time I was still bogged down in the idea that the cards meant what the book said they meant and nothing more. So if I tried to use them and interpreted the cards a certain way that the book did not agree with, I thought I was wrong. Western education taught me to believe books were always right. ZOIKES!!!

Anyway, one of the cards in the RW deck that I have never cared for (no not the death card - that one I have always found oddly beautiful in its Dios de los Muertos kinda way) is the 8 of swords. I don't know why it bothers me. Maybe it's the passive way she stands there controlled by her bonds. No effort to shake herself free or even try to have it be different. It is a card that says someone has given up and accepted a situation that is so bad for them. It speaks of physical, emotional and mental abuse that has been internalized. A place where you become resolved that this is how it will always be. I want that woman to fight and claw her way free of those bonds. Undoubtedly that is why this card bothers me more than any other in the deck. More than Death. More than the Tower. More than the 3 or 10 of swords. Because I have been that woman. Surrounded by shadow, cut off and seemingly without hope.

I recently got Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's Shadowscapes Tarot as I mentioned in a previous blog. I love everything about this deck from its name to the flawless execution of each card. It reads effortlessly with images that are rich and vibrant and miles away from the first Tarot deck that I had seen. So to become used to each other I have been drawing a card or two every morning and sitting with it. This morning I met SPML's 8 of swords. This one has the same kinda thought as the RW image, a swan caught in the briars surrounded by those familiar swords - except the swan struggles to be free of the brambles. The energy of that situation feels more commonplace than the heavy resolve of the RW card. Finding ourselves in a hard spot and flailing to be free. Finding ourselves more and more enmeshed the more we struggle. The only way out is to become calm and cease to struggle. To allow that tiny hummingbird that makes my heart leap with hope to show us the way out.

And yes I see that is the same message my cinnnamon told me on Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#10 Divining Cinnamon

This morning I got up and puttered in the kitchen. I am enjoying a rare day off for no reason other than I wanted to. So, I made a loaf of egg bread. This is a first for me and like most things I try I have absolutely no idea how it will turn out. From the stale remains of last weeks bread (or is it the week befores?) I usually make bread pudding. This past weekend I got some really delectable peaches from McGlassons my favorite farm on Rt 8. They were perfect, but as is the way with most peaches, they are also ephemeral. So I decided that some of the peaches could go into the bread pudding. It smells yummy by the way.

Anyway that is how I came to today's photo. I am drawn to things that are strongly patterned. So as I stirred the cinnamon into the egg/milk mixture, I had to stop for a moment because it was just that striking. As I stared at it for a while longer, I knew I could 'read' it. I know diviners generally use bones or stones or cards (I do have one friend who can read pie and you know who you are PATRICIA), but I gave up requiring any certain tool a long time ago (that is not a dis on my friends who use their tools so capably that I am stunned. Its just how I am). It is just easier for me to use what is at hand. And what I need is almost always within 3-4 feet of where I stand. I once used a brand new box of 64 Crayolas to do a healing session which was just so much fun! But I digress. I gave it a couple stirs with intention and this is the result.

I don't know what anyone else 'sees' in there. But i see a fish trailing a long beautiful tail like a beta (to make it easier, I have outlined the fish in green and reposted the photo). This fish is riding the crest of a huge wave (shown in blue). The fish isnt stressed out or flailing. It is just enjoying the ride. So what does that mean? To me it speaks of relaxing and letting the wave do the work instead of me. That whatever change is coming that things will be easier if I go with the wave instead of fighting against it. Of playing just for the sake of play. Oh - and to get my ass into some water somewhere.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

#9 Finding Home

When I turned 12 I got boobs and softball became a thing of the past. We used to play at Rossford Ballfield. I can still close my eyes and smell the dirt and grass, feel the sun baking down on me, hear the sound of wooden bats (no aluminum bats for us). I took a lot of crap for getting boobs from the other girls until finally I was too embarrassed to continue playing. I resented their size even then.

One of the things on my booby recovery list - yunno the things I was gonna do after I had them made sportier - was to run the bases at Rossford Park until I collapsed in exhaustion. Maybe it was the idea of turning back the clock like Superman circling the Earth by circling those bases. Maybe it was just about purging those memories of embarrassment and self-loathing. It WAS about reclaiming a piece of me that I lost in the dust there.

So I was at Rossford Park today - pulling the last remaining letterbox there. (These were all dedicated to the happy memories I have of growing up in this Wonderbread hell). I was surprised to find the park closed, bleachers and backstops gone and the infields beginning to be overgrown with grass. So despite the 87 degree heat, it seemed this was now or never. So I put my camera, compass, car keys, papers in the grass under the old oak that used to shade the players benches there on ballfield #3 and I began loping over to where home plate should be. No bases or plates in evidence. But that wasn't going to stop me. My body would remember some 40 years later exactly where I needed to sweep to make those turns.

I stood at the non-existant plate and tapped my imaginary bat onto my shoes - just like the big leaguers. I half-crouched into my batting stance and sat back and waited for my pitch. When it came I swang away. My imaginary bat making good solid contact with the ball that vibrated just the way I remembered all the way up my arms. Off I ran toward first. Still all too aware of the bounce. I chugged onto second, then third then home - again and again and again. When I finished the Superman thing hadn't worked. I was still here in this now. Sweat dripping down my face, staining my T-shirt and shorts. Chest heaving.

I'm not sure where it happened, but somewhere in one of those circles, I let down my guard and let myself remember the joy of running those bases. Not remember it thru my adult eyes which might belittle it, but feel it just the way I remembered feeling it then - all the way down to my bones. Light as a bird. Free. Unselfconscious.

As I was walking away I noticed a sizeable stone a couple feet in front of where home plate should be. Something about it called to me. When I flipped it over I noticed a familiar sheen of white under the red clay dust. I brushed off the dirt to see what it was. On the underside of that 'rock,' beneath that layer of dirt was indeed a something familiar to me. Home plate. I stamped my shoe into the dirt and left it there. I had found what I had come for on this day. I had claimed a part of myself. I had indeed found my way home.

#8 Mother Hubbard

I know I am not the best or most frequent cook, but when you find a spider living in your ladle - well I think it's time to stop eating out quite so often. I took this photo Wednesday and never did get around to posting it. But, I am not going to beat myself up about missing a few days this week. Just gonna keep on with it

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...