Friday, June 24, 2011

They Told Me So

My birthday is in a couple weeks.  I will be 50, the age at which most women go through a croning ritual.  For me, a staff is the perfect symbol of the wisdom that you acquire as you age.  In this case a croning staff.  I was told that a croning staff would come to me and that it would be made by someone I love.  I knew they didn't mean a lover, but a very close friend.  I doubted their wisdom, doubted someone would do this for me.  It is sometimes hard for me to believe and to trust that someone will be there for me when they seldom have in the past.  I prefer to take care of myself like I have since I was very young.  It is easier not to depend on anyone who might disappoint you.

So, that's what I did.  I disregarded what I was told and collected stick after stick to make my own staff, discarding them all as quickly as they came to me.  I have sampled a couple hundred over the last few years.  I never did find one I liked.  Too heavy.  Too short.  Too long.  Too twisty.  Not twisty enough.

Tonight, I was surprised by my friend Dave with an early birthday gift.  A staff with my trailname on it.  As soon as my hands touched the wood, I knew what I was holding.  Dave had made me my croning staff.  I don't know if he knew what he was crafting, but I am glad he listens better than I do.   Turns out it isn't at all about the shape, the length or any of those things by which I was judging.  It was all about the intention and the love it took to make it.  THAT is what makes the wood sing under my fingers.  THAT is what made this feel exactly right.  THAT is the perfect gift to blow away a woman turning 50.

Thank you Dave.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Growing Up Crow

As kids we had a wide assortment of animals we kept as pets.  4 or 5 dogs over the years, a metric ton of fish, hundreds of gerbils, hamsters, tiny little turtles all named Two Bits and a solitary crow named Tar Spot.  His name always reminds me of the hours my childhood mates and I spent lounging on the curb and popping the bubbles that formed in the tar.

Tar Spot came to us through my brother Duz, then a student at Xavier University.  He and two of his friends had gotten the tiny crow-lings.  It was my brother Skip who became both Mama and Daddy to the ever hungry baby.  He spent hours foraging for bugs and worms.  All of us soaking bread in milk and stuffing it into his always gawping mouth.  Honestly I don't know how crow parents do it.  For us it was a full time summer job keeping the crow fed.

Tar Spot lived in the unfinished basement and I'm sure my parents were less than thrilled to have the crow poop on the pool table.  We covered it until he fledged to save them excessive angst.  Tar Spot grew and grew and grew.  One day, my brother Duz decided it was time for Tar Spot to learn to fly.  He had been making flapping motions, training his flight muscles for weeks.  I don't know if Duz was impatient to have his charge take flight or if he had actually done the research about crow development to know he was of an age to do it.  I suspect the former.  He took Tar Spot outside and flung him into the air.  Tar Spot responded by opening his wings and gliding to a perfect ten point landing on the roof of the house.  Thing is, he had no idea how to get down.  He was not raised in a tree and did not understand gravity and how it would work to help him fly.  And his inaugural flight had been human assisted.  So there he sat cawing in his most pitiful voice, the one that made us jump to shove food in his gullet.  We waited hours, but the crow did not budge.  My mom called us from work to see how things were going and asked to talk to Duz who we calmly informed her was on the roof retrieving the crow.  She laughs about it now.

Eventually, Tar Spot figured out how to stop, start, land and fly all on his own with no further help from Duz (I'm not sure, but I think my mom had something to say about teaching the crow to fly that kept Duz out of it).  He spent his days happily foraging in the woods behind our house.  Eventually he lived outside all the time.  He was always a hungry bird and quickly learned which windows had people behind them.  He would perch on the sill in the morning and gently peck the window to wake us up when he was hungry.  Morning for a crow starts very early.  He was very insistent.  As the lightest sleeper, I suspect I was the favorite target.

Some mornings when I would go out, his breath would smell horrible.  My mom said he must have eaten wild onions in the woods which seemed odd since I never saw him eat plants ever.  The mystery persisted until one of the neighbors fessed that he had been pecking their window too and she had been feeding him the leftover garlic bread from the night before.

The thing most of us remember about him is that he would come if you called him (and sometimes even when you didn't).  His dark form would break away from a tree in the woods and he would swoop in looking for a place to land.  We ALL learned to give him a good perch by sticking up our forearm parallel to the ground.  Those who didn't, learned very quickly since he would use your head as a perch instead.  My brother Tom's favorite trick was to lure unsuspecting neighbor kids or cousins into the back yard and to wait for Tar Spot to come winging in.  At the last minute Tom would duck to tie his shoe and the crow would acquire an alternate target upon which to perch, generally the cousin or neighbor kid's head.  That of course scared the shit out of them.  Tom thought this was funny.  He still does some 40 years later.

Tar Spot stayed with us for about a year, until a neighbor called to complain about the crow eating the tomatoes in their garden.   No they hadn't seen the crow do it.  But Tar Spot was blamed nevertheless and he paid the ultimate price.   I still don't think he was the culprit and based on my own tomato thieves, I suspect that it was really those blasted little squirrels who did the damage.

Duz took Tar Spot to East Fork Lake which seemed the other side of the world to me then.  There he let him go and we all tried to believe that our friend would have a happy life in the wild there.  For the next few years, I would look wistfully at every crow and wonder 'Is that him?'  My brothers would go so far as to call his name, but there was never a response.  He was simply gone.

In the years since then, I have learned a lot about crows, ravens, corvids of all kinds.  Crows are social animals and each rookery speaks its own dialect, patterns of speech that crows learn from their parents.  As Tar Spots parents we had taught him none of this.  Crows that do not speak the local dialect are pecked to death or chased away.  East Fork Lake is the center of the largest crow rookery in our area.  Leaving him there was akin to dropping him behind enemy lines without a translator, this poor little crow who only spoke English and was more human than crow.  His life seems too steep a price for a few tomatoes both then and now.  How I wish my parents had handed those neighbors money to buy tomatoes and told them to go fuck themselves.

Tar Spot became part human because of his life with us.  His life did not go uncelebrated as we in turn became part crow.  We are his legacy.

And so it remains to this day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Journey of a Lifetime

Tell someone you know you're attending a workshop on Shamanism, then sit back and watch the freak out begin.  Tell them you are studying it and have been for the last six or seven years and you may see convulsions.  Extra bonus if the folks you're talking to are science geeks.  Caution:  Full on cranial explosion may result in the latter group. 

I like to kid about it.  Yes, I know it's not your usual go-to-meetin kinda spiritual belief system.  Yes, I know I am white as snow and most of the people who follow this belief system are anything but.  Yes, Mr. Spock I know it isn't logical.  But it is my choice.  If you have heard me speak about it, you are one of the few.  It is not a hanging out my shingle kinda shamanic practice for me.  It's more personal.  It is part of who I am, as immutable as my size 11 feet.  And every step that I take on planet Earth with those size 11 feet is guided by principles, suggestions, and intuitive understandings that come from those very shamanic practices. 

I am not going to defend that here....or ever again.  You are free to take it or leave it. 

That's not what this post is about.  I just needed to say it once.  For me more than for you.  So that I can stop feeling the need to explain it so that it makes sense.  It doesn't make sense.  It never will.  But that doesn't change what I believe. 

Anyway - what I wanted to blog about today is my very first journey.  I had gotten the weird stares and exploding heads and was sitting at my first workshop about how to do a Shaman's journey.  My friend Toby is instructing us in entering an altered state of consciousness riding the back of the drum he is playing.  (No drugs were used or needed.  Just to be clear.)  We are practicing traveling back and forth between here (ordinary reality) and a place that looks very much like here (non-ordinary reality), but isn't, one that responds to every thought I have.  The energy of the universe is accessible and easy to use here.  Some people are struggling just a little.  I have not one iota of angst.  I was made to do this.  Non-ordinary reality is not bounded by things like gravity or day-night cycles.  I am goddess here.  We play in this space, arranging things in what will become our homebase, our powerspot.  I am getting rid of buildings that I don't like while I lie on a picnic table.  The picnic table is ungodly uncomfortable, so I imagine it comfy like my bed.  Still looks like a picnic table, but is now enveloping like a feather mattress.  After that, I divert the river and make it make an ox-bow around my powerspot.  Happy, I kick back to relax adjusting the clouds and sun so that the temp is ideal. 

We are transitioning between here and there over and over.  From there we begin to explore other realities/levels/planes - whatever word works for you here.  I should mention that as soon as I am there the first time in, a lightning fast black blur flies directly at me and leaps into my arms.  The physical impact is negligible, but the energetic impact just about knocks me over.  A roving ball of love I immediately know has greeted me.  This is my beloved Nara, waiting all this time not to come back into the Earth plane as I expected her to, but instead waiting for me to make the journey to her.  A happy reunion of kindred spirits. She walks with me always these days.  We raced on and never looked back.

There have been a million steps on those size 11 feet since that first journey.  Nara is still with me.  I am way happier and more well-adjusted for every journey I have made since that first one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Heart of Shadow

I made a mistake once
I fell in love with a boy who made me laugh
failing to see that he could also make me cry. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Constant

Yesterday started off in prime suck territory.  The usual reason - a dude.

I got to hang out with my friends Suzanne and Fabeku and things got a lot better.  A whole lot better.  And I realized that I can handle changing variables as long as there is a constant.

In mathematics, a constant is a "symbol representing an unspecified number that remains invariable throughout a particular series of operations".  Common examples would include pi, e (of Einstein fame), Avagadro's number, and a variety of Greek alphabet soup that I won't bore you with.  It is the known quantity in an equation.

In my life the same principle applies, there are constants and there are variables.  If there are too many constants there is nothing exciting going on - everything is known.  If there are too many variables, it falls apart because nothing is known nor can it be determined.  So where is the happy balance?

Ten years ago when I remade my life in the wake of being diagnosed with cancer, I jettisoned my friends and my way of life.  I succeeded because I held onto one constant - my career - that sustained me, gave me a place to stand my ground.

Fast forward to yesterday - my job is in chaos as I try to absorb an entirely new set of experimental paradigms and all the associated language, add to that how dudes and I just can't seem to see eye to eye and you might predict someone to be a mess.  But I am OK.  Because this time the constant amongst all that goo are my friends.

They just rock.  And all that shit that troubles me and seems so important, falls away and I move on my Tigger-y bouncy self because they help hold the center constant.  It really is a great gift.  They even gift wrapped it.

So today I realized that radical change can be done, even for someone who like pattern and safety as much as I do, if you have a constant.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I have posted about my dealings with match and my generally unsuccessful attempts with the people I meet out there.  I have discovered how much I like to meet new guys.  There is a rush to it all.  The unknowingness of it that is both angsty and oddly fun.

As much as I like that part, I don't care for the other  end of it - the disolutionment/disillusionment phase.  What seems to happen here is that a decision is made unilaterally about the possible success or failure of the dating, often based on sketchy and insufficient evidence, and termination occurs - mostly by the men in my experience.  For example:  Coasting along enjoying the e-mails, phone calls and text messages.  Having fun.  Learning about each other.  Trying to see if this person might rock the chair across the dining room table at some point way down the road.  Then communication tapers (the mulling phase) and then you get a phone call that goes something like this

I have been thinking and I don't think this is gonna work for BLAHBLAHBLAH reason.  (Usually the blahblahblah reason has to do with me and what I will/won't do).  Buh Bye.

I am left standing there holding the phone wondering what the FUCK just happened?  And what do they mean by that blahblahblah?  I never said that or was even asked how I thought about it.  What DO I think about it?  If I agree with what they said, the parting is easy.  If I disagree with what they said, the parting leaves me with new bags to carry around.  Bags that will have to be worked on before attempting the dating ritual again (I know, not everyone does this, but I just have to deal with them right away).

So what is that blahblahblah about?  It's happened too often in the last two years not to ask that question.  The majority of the time it isn't anywhere near my truth.  So where does it come from?  It is most often a projection from the other person onto me of his own thoughts.  Interesting.  What does it tell me about that person?  Good question #2 (I am on a roll).  Most often it comes from desire (as in I have met someone else and am looking for any reason to justify being able to pursue her and I think it will hurt you less if I tell you blahblahblah rather than the truth) or fear (as in you are too real and honest for me to deal with and it scares me so I will use the blahblahblah to push you away - and take that fear with you).

I think the killer is that in the past I have believed the blahblahblah was true just because someone told me it was, believed that I was broken and undesirable for exactly those reasons they gave.  The fault was always mine.  Where that may have been true once (I can admit it.  The girl was a hot mess), it isn't true any more.  I was shattered once upon a time.  Now I am just beautifully broken.  And I would prefer to hear the truth.  But the truth in most cases is that the fault in a this is no longer mine.

Monday, June 6, 2011


first day on floor six
nor really s
not really r
somewhere in betwixt

spongebob birthday balloon
singing demonically all day
no lunch break

and my new favorite word


say it with me
be va siz' yoo mab

yeah - i don't know what it 
is either
and I can't find the bathroom.  

On Returning to Work

Going back to work today.
Back to the very halls
I was ejected from 
seven months ago. 

I will keep my head proud
and they will not suspect
that I am tasting
ashes in my mouth,
the memory of that rejection.

I will make my 
prodigal return a conquering hero
and they will weep for
ever having kicked 
me from their Garden.

OK, yes.  It's a pep talk of sorts.  Albeit only a marginally successful one.  LOL  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Last Sunday of Freedom

This is it kiddies. My last day of unemployed freedom.

3 seasons have turned around me
Cool fall gave way to a snowy winter
Winter melted into the rainiest of springs
Spring yielding at last to the hot embrace of summer.

7 months of delicious sleeping late
of lingering coffee
of leisurely hikes through the woods.

Weeks spent traveling to Seattle
to Portland
to Virginia
to Tennessee
and to DC
where the only thing that concerned me
was nothing.

Days spent so deep in words
that I would forget to surface for air
spent staring at first snows
through the wavy glass of the kitchen window

Mornings so slow they bumped into themselves
both coming and going
Lunches of such lingering laughter
that will feed me for lifetimes.
Afternoons curled in a chair reading
Being bathed in the cherry red of countless sunsets
Stalking rainbows with my camera
and laughing at the misses.

Hours of complete peace
Minutes of joy
Seconds of fleeting insights

Breathless heartbeats
where the world stops in-between.

Yes, I have had the luxury of time
this last sevenmonth.

And I am better for them.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Imagination Gone Wild

I want desperately to delete yesterday's post.

So why don't you?

Very good question.  It's not because I love it, or even think it well written.  It is because I feel naked with my bits hanging out there.  VERY naked.  And I don't like it one bit.  It would be easy enough to make that feeling go away by conceding to the delete key.  But, I try not to do things out of fear.  And whatever is going on right now has the fear kinda buzzing around.

So I may want kids - big whoop.  Not really news there.  So there is someone I'm kinda interested in who has them - also big whoop.  Hardly the only dude I have dated who  had kids.  Seems we let the imagination of the hook yesterday and forgot to hang it up at the end of the session.  Not only that, I fed it after dark.  Odd where it ended up isn't it?  Standing at the door of the thing I have avoided for so long.  Guess it's time is all.

Wish me luck.  Got my compass and my flashlight and I'm going in there.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Kid Closet

Yunno how you have these dreams growing up about how your life will be.  Then life happens and you're forced to set some of those aside and close the door on those for what you think is ever.  I did that 10 years ago when I came to grips with my inability to have kids.  Just kinda threw all those dreams in the closet higgledy-piggledy.  Slammed and locked that fucker up tight.  Then ran away as fast as I could crying the whole way.

In those 10 years I have made my peace with that closet.  I pretty much leave it alone.  And it agreed to leave me alone.  I stopped dating men with young kids and focused my attention on those without or with grown kids so I would never have to open it again.  We both seemed very content with that agreement - the closet and I.  I started to build a life of all adult-ness and got my kid fix from my pack of nieces and nephews as needed.

And now that closet has been opened again.  I find myself chatting with a most amazing man - the kind I could easily see falling ass over teakettle in love with, and one with three seemingly equally amazing kids that I could just as easily fall ass over teakettle in love with too - because I always do.  Kids are just like crack for me.

So I find myself standing here trembling in my shoes.....equal parts wanting this with all my heart and wanting to run like hell away before it has a chance to hurt.  Because closets are just cruel that way.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The God BLOG

Last night Fringe Festival started here in Cincy.  A must see event.  Find one in a town near you!

Anyway, last night I had the pleasure of watching The God BLOG by Kathleen O'Neill.  In the tradition of full disclosure I will admit that Kathleen is a friend of mine as is the Little Flower, Lisa Cupito.  Man has Lisa got some pipes!  And Kathleen is frankly wasting her time in corporate, because she shone so brightly on that stage.  It was everything I knew it would be.....and more.  Roughly staged, laser-humored, slapstick, thought-provoking.  But Fringe offerings are like that, so a regular attendee expects that.  Still nice to have so much fun on night #1 of this 10 days of rebellion.  Go See it!!!  Go NOW!!

Now I wanna turn to what I really want to blog about which is about the joy of watching someone fulfill a life long dream.  I am inspired by Kathleen - me and everyone else who has ever heard a morsel of the ongoing GOD BLOG.  She has been writing it for years.  Her passion tightly bound in this piece of writing seen only by a handful of people.  This year, after much goading and flicking from nameless friends, Kathleen did something she had never done before, she submitted it to Fringe Festival and of course it was accepted.  Fringe knows quirky brilliance when they see it!

That single step took such courage and I couldn't have been happier to see her take it.  I have seen people attain their PhD, get married, graduate med school, do stand up comedy, etc.  Somehow this was better than any of those.  That single step took her out of safety and into her dream.  Yes, she had to be talked down off the ledge a few times in the past couple months, but really?  Who wouldn't.  It's crazy to think you can write, produce, stage, star in and compose music for a show in six months.....isn't it?

Apparently not.

Love you Kathleen.
Dream Bigger.

All y'all too.

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...